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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ebor meeting at York - Day 1

In today’s blog:
Review of yesterday’s racing
Today’s Racing Selections
2010-11 Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List

Review of last week’s racing
A did well keeping my money in my pocket yesterday as all 3 horses that caught my eye were well & truly beaten. The Confessor did not get a good start – major error for me as I thought low-numbers were best at Kempton, but it’s a RH track and high-numbers are more favoured – and tho’ he tried hard to get back on terms he had no chance really. My error with the draw demonstrates that when you step out of your comfort zone (the AW is not my forte) then you have to read carefully. Kipchak also suffered from a wide draw, and Cabal ran a stinker!
There were some bright spots from the trainers in form tho’, with Andrew Balding (5 wins; 8 placed; from 30 runners in past 14-days = 43.3% strike-rate) getting a 13/2 winner from his only runner of the day, Kakatosi. Other in-form trainers were; Henry Cecil (4w; 3p; 16r = 43.8%) with his only runner Miss Antonia winning at 6/1; and Saeed bin Suroor (10w; 10p; 29r = 69.0%) winning with his only runner Layali Al Arab at 8/11; and don’t overlook Paul Cole with 2 winners from 2 runners (that makes it 4 winners from 8 runners in past 4-days). Only 4 trainers with 40%+ placed strike-rate in past 14-days went into yesterday with just one runner, and 3 had winners Balding, Cecil, and Suroor – the loser being Clive Cox with Xeralda at Wolverhampton. That would have been a great yankee!

Last, but not least, a great welcome back for Ruby Walsh who rode his 1st race since that crashing fall on Celestial Halo on Grand National day in April. Let’s hope he rides his next winner soon.

Today’s Racing Selections
It’s the 1st day of the Ebor meeting at York and so I cannot be tempted to engage in the class 5 & 6 offerings at Brighton this afternoon.
I will give the opener at York a miss as I’m not one for sprints, but a blog that does is SPRINTERSTOGO – check it out (see link). Me? I would not underestimate Barney McGrew who has the rail from stall 1 and could be very tempting at 25/1 if he’s in the right mood.
With the Derby form looking dodgy, I would not take 2/1 about Rewilding in the Great Voltigeur, as such, I think there’s some value to be had about the places (¼ odds a place 1-2-3, and its 8/1 the 3rd fav). Monterosso @ 8/1 and Total Command @ 12/1 are at longer odds than they should be; Total Command is relatively unexposed. The International Stakes also looks ripe for an upset and a winner at long odds. Despite Rip Van Winkle having much the best form based on his 2nd to Sea The Stars in the Eclipse last year, the fact that O’Brien has him entered for several Group 1’s over a mile this autumn suggests that this extended 10f trip may expose his stamina and I cannot have him at just 9/4 (Hills). I’m not sure Cecil’s Twice Over enjoys going left-handed and he did not seem to handle York when he ran in the Dante as a 3yo whereas his Royal Ascot conqueror BYWORD can go LH, and now he’s shown that there are no stamina doubts over 10f he looks the one to beat. But, this is a funny old race and cases can be made for Suroor pair Cavalryman and Cutlass Bay, and the French horse Jakkalberry who are all 20/1+, so this is another watching race for me.
Finally, if Mick Jarvis runs ALMIQDAAD in the 4:40 then take note. It’s his only runner today, and he’s had 3 winners in the past week from just 8 runners (with a couple of 2nds too!). ALMIQDAAD was considered his best 3yo last season, but had no luck. He’s been running very well this season in top handicaps and was perhaps unsuited by the undulations at Goodwood last time and York does suit a front-runner. He’s 10/1 and worth an eachway interest.

There is no blog selection today as nothing jumps out the page at me, but it could easily be a day for the long shots and I would not put anyone off having a punt.

2010-11 Chasers & Hurdlers Alert List
MIDNIGHT HAZE, 8yo chaser trained by Kim BAILEY

The 2009-10 season saw a welcome resurgence in the fortunes of Kim Bailey who, in 1995, won the Gold Cup with Master Oats and the Champion Hurdle with Alderbrook. That training ability never goes away, and there is no doubt that Bailey can prepare a horse to win. MIDNIGHT HAZE looks a horse destined to take advantage of what looks a lenient mark of OR120 having raced just 3 times in 2009-10 and winning twice. With only 5 chase runs to his credit there is plenty of scope for improvement. In the first of those races he beat Sydney Sling, who won NTO and has since looked competitive off a mark 5lb higher, by 14-lengths. Also beaten that day was Senor Shane (won 3 times since and raised 19lb), Prince Des Marais (won twice since and raised 17lb). Next up, he was 2nd with 12st, trying to give Far More Serious 2lb. Far More Serious has gone up 27lb since that race, so it was no surprise that MIDNIGHT HAZE was beaten. But, also in the field that day were Bradford Boris (won twice since and raised 29lb), Mr Prickle (also won twice since and up 11lb). All-in-all, it would not take too much imagination to consider MIDNIGHT HAZE had already shown himself capable of running to OR130+ measured against such opposition. His last start also resulted in a win, albeit by just a head, in heavy going. The front 2 were well clear of the remainder and the race seems to have taken its toll as the runner-up Dune Raider has not run anywhere near the same form in 3 outings since. It looks as tho’ Bailey has given MIDNIGHT HAZE plenty of time to recover from that race and, as he is well able to win when fresh having won both his seasonal debut’s, he looks to be one to have an interest in first-time-out in the coming season, as he also appears well handicapped on OR120.

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