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Record of the blog selections

Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Saturday 31 October 2015

The weekend opens with an 8/1 winner

What a terrific day for the blog yesterday.
Only one race was assessed, and only one selection given - but what a selection!  It was an early start at 8:30am, but we had to get in early to grab the 8/1 odds about WAKANDA, as very quickly those odds started to tumble as the market recognised his outstanding chance on known form.  As such, he started the 11/4 joint fav, but he was never in danger of sharing the spoils making-all to win by over 4-lengths.   This exciting 6yo will hopefully pay his way again this season as he climbs the ratings, and what I like about his trainer Sue Smith is that she is prepared to blood her youngsters early and take advantage of their lenient handicap marks.

The win has taken the pressure away from me as I've now given a 2nd winner to all those who signed-up for the blog-via-email after the fantastic winning double we had on 10th October.  And these winners are not 6/4 chances; oh no, odds of 8/1 is a great winner by anyone's standards.  It also reinforces my own belief in my race-reading ability and that my "horse alert" method works.

Onto Saturday, and we already have a wager on the board with an antepost stake on DYNASTE in the feature race of the day at Wetherby, the Charlie Hall Chase at 3:05pm.  We've managed to secure some value as we are on at 5/1, and I expect him to start at 7/2 or shorter.  However, the soft ground is against him, and if making a selection this morning I would not be on DYNASTE.

We have a host of alert list runners tomorrow, but I cannot just wager on them blindly; they have to be followed when conditions are right for them.  To prevent other potential tipsters from knowing what's on my alert list by reading the blog, I'll only mention those that I'm considering for a wager.
There are 3 cracking jump meetings at Wetherby, Ascot and Ayr, which mean there is no need for a scatter-gun approach to wagers - we can pick and choose our targets. There is nothing on the Ayr card for me despite a couple of horses on the alert list being involved, so let's concentrate on Ascot.

Ascot has an absolutely 1st-class card, and I wish I was there and not here in Cornwall (even tho' I am visiting my 13yo son as it's half-term).  The 2m1f (Listed) handicap chase at 2:15pm looks a cracker of a race with 12-starters and a 9/2 fav in Sgt Reckless, who has only had 3 chase races. He has potential, but I think those odds do not represent value in so competitive a race.  Now, Baby Mix has been on my alert list for 2 years and has been knocking on the door of a good win since returning from a long break in April.  He goes well right-handed and boasts good speed figures, but I'm not sure that the trip will suit him, as he's been racing over 2m4f to good effect this summer. I think Ulck Du Lin will be hard-pushed to win off OR142, and I think a better chance is held by the 7yo Royal Regatta who is relatively unexposed having had only 6 chase races to date, and he was only just touched-off over C&D back in March.  Odds of 9/1 look fair eachway value at quarter-odds a place.

Then at 3:25pm there is the 3-mile Grade 3 handicap chase with a large field of 15-runners, all of whom are serious handicappers. Likely fav Ned Stark has won 3 of his 5 chase races, but this is a tough 3-mile and, for me, he's not yet proven he has the stamina for it. What A Warrior won this race last year off OR135, and he's rated only 5lb higher; but he had the benefit of a winning run last year and comes into this off a break of 235-days. Virak didn't run well here in February with only 3 rivals, and probably wants soft ground. Pendra is on my alert list - and is also my entry on the Alternative 10-2-Follow list (see the link) - but I feel this trip may expose his stamina limitations, and he's going to be best when tackling the 2m5f at Cheltenham in the "Paddy Power". As such, I'm wondering if the winner will be one of my other alert list runners. Fox Appeal may not have stayed 3-mile as a hurdler, but he showed he stayed the trip as a chaser last week when 3rd at Cheltenham, a track that doesn't suit him (that was his best performance in 4 visits there). However, the "good" ground is a worry, as he needs some juice to show him best form. Present View has looked vulnerable beyond 2m6f, but he may have the class to carry him to victory anyway (as he's certainly better than OR145) if the ground were favourable. However, he's another who wants it softer than "good".  With doubts over most of the market leaders, I'm thinking of sticking my neck out with the final horse on my alert list in the race; one that stays the trip and has won twice on "good" ground as a hurdler - Leo Luna. This horse was bred to win a Derby but, too slow to win a 3yo maiden, was sold to trainer Gary Moore. Admittedly, he's not beaten much in his 3 wins over fences, but he can't do much more than win when given the opportunity. I just wonder if I'm reading too much into this horse's races as a novice chaser. That Barry Geraghty has been booked for PENDRA has swung my opinion, but I can only go eachway. I will be having a small eachway on LEO LUNA as well.

Selection already advised:
Wetherby 3:05 DYNASTE, £10 win @ 5/1

Ascot 2:15 ROYAL REGATTA; £5 eachway @ 9/1 (Bet Victor & Paddy Power, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Ascot  3:25 PENDRA; £5 eachway @ 8/1 (generally available, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Ascot 3:25 LEO LUNA: £2.50 eachway @ 18/1 (Bet Victor & Paddy Power, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Total = £25 staked

Friday 30 October 2015

Potential star in Wetherby Listed chase

We side-stepped a couple of losers yesterday when the results of the two races I looked at both went awry.  Thankfully, the odds on both races when I reviewed them in the morning did not suggest any "value". However, the 3m3f hurdle went to the race-fav Jack The Legend (and I did write that the race would likely revolve around whether he'd transfer his chase form to this hurdle race); and the Durham National finished with the same 1st and 2nd (in the same order) as last year!
Royale Knight certainly loves these marathon trips and comes into his own once they go further than 3-miles.  If he lines up for any race over 3m4f he has to be seriously considered.

There is only one race on my radar for Friday, and that is the Bet365 (Listed) handicap chase at 2:15pm over 2m3f & 85 yards. Only 8 runners go to post, and one who stands out is on my alert list - Wakanda. A 6yo trained by Sue Smith, he improved well last season, running in 8 chases in his novice season, winning 3 times. That included giving recent chase winner Oscar Rock a good thumping - and he gave him 5lb too!  A bold front-runner, he was outclassed in the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Aintree in April but, before that, he's shown himself capable of a 145+ performance. Off OR139 he will take some beating and odds of 8/1 look generous.

Also in the race is Theatre Guide who, two seasons ago, ran 3rd in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury off OR145, and who is now on OR140. He's only had 6 races since that Hennessy run, and was last seen refusing when beaten in the Topham Chase over the National fences at Aintree. He clearly stays 3-mile and more, so is this 2m3f trip too short for him? At 4/1, his odds look too short despite him being one of the classiest in the race.

Pumped Up Kicks is the 9/2, 2nd-fav carrying 10st13lb, only 8lb less than Theatre Guide. Personally, I think this horse will need to find significant improvement on his recent form, and he does not strike me as the sort of horse who will find 7lb+ which is what he'll need to do to win this.

Off The Ground is next in the market at 5/1, but he lost the plot when with his previous trainer, and was running ok till falling on his debut for Charlie Longsdon 4-weeks ago. He still has to prove he's back to form for me. And Firth Of The Clyde will likely prefer a trip shorter than this and his stamina will be put to the test.  Stamina is also the doubt for Mountain King as every time he's raced beyond 2m1f he's struggled.

Both Fago and Shadows Lengthen has something to prove. Fago beat Simply Ned (now rated OR161) as a novice chaser in November 2013, giving him 7lb and a 3-length beating. Unfortunately, he's come knowhere near that form since.  Shadows Lengthen won this race last season off a 2lb lower mark, but he had the benefit of a run then, and he usually needs a run to get his season going. This year he comes to the race fresh, and that may scupper his chances. However, the trip and ground are perfect for him.

At the odds, and being the youngest in the race (alongside Mountain King), I have to take the plunge with WAKANDA as it may be one of those opportunities we get rarely in a season to make hay. This is an exciting 6yo and is one we will return to a few times this season.

Wetherby 2:15, WAKANDA £8 eachway AND £4 win @ 8/1 (available generally at 5th odds a place 1,2,3 - Stan James, Paddy Power, Betfred)
Total staked £20

Thursday 29 October 2015

Phil Hobbs making long journey to Sedgefield

A couple of interesting meetings at Sedgefield and Stratford, with both having races which are potential wagering opportunities.

Sedgefield first, and the Class 3, 3m3f handicap hurdle at 2:30pm in which only 8-runners go to post. Personally, I think we can immediately discount Night In Milan who will be using this race to attain race-fitness for a handicap chase in November.  His trainer sent him out for 2 handicap hurdles at this time last year, and he made no impression in either. The top-weight Sealous Scout isn't a confirmed stayer at this trip as he's only won once from 7 races beyond 2m6f, and when he won he beat another non-stayer.
The Grey Monk has had an interesting short life.  Sold as a foal for just 350 Euros (£300), he went thru' the sales ring at Goffs as a 4yo store-horse for 210,000 Euros! He was purchased by Alan Potts (owner of Sizing Europe) and trained by Henry de Bromhead, but failed to show the promise of his physique, and so went back to the sales where he was sold for just £2500 in September 2014 to his current owner. So far he's won 2 from 3 races for his new owner, who had to go to £14,500 to retain him when he won a "seller" LTO. I think his OR124 rating looks reasonable and though his stamina is an unknown beyond 3-mile, he shapes as tho' he will stay the trip. Vaihau has only once shown a glimmer of form, that was when winning over 3-mile at Towcester. However, the fav pulled-up and the other 3 rivals where badly handicapped and outclassed.
The 10yo Snapping Turtle is consistent, but slow, and I can't see him winning. I also can't see the 6yo Iora Glas winning as he's looked very one-paced beyond 2m4f.  George Fernbeck has recently been chasing. As such, his OR115 rating looks a tad high for hurdles, by about 10lb; but he does stay 3-mile-plus. Finally, Jac The Legend returns to hurdles after wining his debut chase in the Spring and following-up with another decent effort.  Whether he'll transfer his chase form back to hurdles is debateable, but he has some ability.
For a Class 3 hurdle, now I've looked at the runners I can see why Night In Milan is so short in the betting - the opposition is dire.

Onto the Durham National handicap chase at 3:00pm over a trip of 3m5f.  This Class 3 chase will take some staying, but seems to have attracted a small, but useful field of decent horses. Lackamon won this in 2013 (when run in April), and was 2nd last year (when run in October) but doesn't look capable of being involved this year. Royale Knight beat him last year to win this race, but races off a 12lb higher rating of OR136, which looks tough but he is strong on stamina, having finished only 15-lengths behind the winner Many Clouds in the Aintree Grand National in April. Sun Cloud was 4th last year off OR132, when he patently failed to stay the trip.  So off OR140 it would be a surprise if he could turn the tables on Royale Knight.
On his day, Twirling Magnet is a 145+ chaser over 3-miles; but only he knows when these days are! He's not done well this summer, but has been given a break of 123-days and that may have rekindled his enthusiasm. Stamina beyond 3-mile is possibly his weak spot, as he's fallen or unseated at eith the final fence or 2nd-last on 3 occasions when he's tired at about 3-mile. There are no stamina issues about Woodford County, who started as joint-fav for the Welsh National last December. A winner at 3m2f on soft ground, OR126 looks very lenient for the 8yo, and this horse is the only runner for Philip Hobbs at Sedgefield today, and his first runner at the track in over 5 years. Finally, we have Finish The Story and this one doesn't look capable of winning off OR114, even with just 10st in the saddle.

I was going to make WOODFORD COUNTY the selection for today, but his odds are just 3/1. Personally, I would prefer 4/1 before making him a blog selection, but he certainly has a favorites chance.

For the hurdle race at 2:30pm, GREY MONK is 8/1 and with such weak opposition he may well be able to win this, it will all depend on whether Jac The Legend can return to hurdles in a better mood than when last seen in this sphere. 

No wager advised.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Patience is not just a virtue, it's a signpost to profit

As the jump season gathers pace, we still have periods of ordinary fare such as yesterday and today.
Unless you have a significant edge in the form of stable information (which I do not subscribe to) then - in my opinion - it is very tricky, if not impossible, to make regular profits on racing at Class 4 or lower.
Sometimes I find a horse, especially from an unfashionable stable, that is rated OR90-110 and on the upgrade, capable of perhaps reaching OR135+ with good handling and a slice of luck, but they don't come around often,  I've a couple like that on my alert list and I'm waiting for the right opportunity to come about in which to wager on.
As such, I'm not tempted by the meeting at Fakenham today, and it is likely that I will wait until Thursday (and the meetings at Sedgefield and Stratford) before considering my next wager. The class 3 handicap chase at Stratford over 2m3f looks very interesting, as we could see the return to the track of talented 3-mile novice hurdler African Gold.
On Friday, the meeting at Uttoxeter does not look special, but Wetherby on the same day has a couple of good races including a Class 1 Listed chase over 2m3f.

However, it is Saturday that holds the feature race of the week - the Charlie Hall Chase. The race pulls together some of the best chasing talent seen last season. Can Grand National winner Many Clouds defy top-weight? Will Irish Cavalier continue his rapid progress? Can Holywell reproduce his form of the Spring? Can Cue Card recover his form of 2013, and his win in the Betfair Chase?

Looking at the betting for the race, the antepost fav is Dynaste, who has been given a tremendous chance by the race conditions as (along with Cue Card and Ballynagour) he's not won a Class 3 (or better) chase since the cut-off of the 30th September 2014. Even so, Dynaste was running some tremendous races last season: 3rd in the Betfair Chase; 2nd in the King George and then a disappointing 3rd in the Betbright Chase in January.  There is no ground worry, and the trip is perfect; the only doubt is the recent form of his trainer as David Pipe has been struggling to find the winners' enclosure in October.  Ignore the recent run in France by Dynaste, as the ground was described as very soft, and soft/heavy ground is very unsuitable for Dynaste.
Cue Card has not run well on his seasonal debut for the past two seasons, and last season he was running about 15-20lb below his best.  As such, I do not think he should be the 2nd-fav as he'll need to be in top-form to take this.
Holywell would be the value in the race at 7/1 with Paddy Power, but he's also been a notorious slow starter when making his seasonal debut for the past few seasons.  However, his trainer Jonjo O'Neill has started very well this season.
Menorah has only won once beyond 2m6f (from 8 attempts) and that was when winning this race last season - when he beat a poor field. He went on to prove the form NTO when 2nd in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, and the "good" ground will be in his favour; but I feel this horse (who will turn 11yo on 1st Jan) has had his day in the sun.
Many Clouds won the Grand National last April looking like he was still an improving horse, and if the race hasn't taken too much out of him, he could be in the mix here even with 11st 10lb. I just feel he'll be up against it giving 10lb to the likes of Dynaste and Cue Card. That, and the "good" ground will be against him.
Ballynagour is an odd one, as he's not looked capable of mixing with this grade till going down by just a "head" at Aintree last April in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl. It may be that he just found his perfect conditions that day, and he was the only horse that came into the race "fresh" as he hadn't run since pulling-up in the 'Hennessy' last November. That said, if he runs to 160+ then off just 11st he will be tough to beat, but he's another trained by David Pipe.
Anything sent by Paul Nicholls needs serious consideration, and he sends two - Rocky Creek and Sam Winner. I like Rocky Creek as he's a very consistent performer who always tries his best. Unfortunately he seems to have plateaued at about 157-158, but what is in his favour is that he has run very well on his seasonal debut (2nd in the Hennessy in 2013, and 2nd in the Grade 1 Champion Chase in Ireland last year). Sam Winner took a 4-runner Class 1 chase at Aintree in December last year, hence his 10lb penalty, which looks to have scuppered his chance, as he's another that can run well on his seasonal debut.
The last horse with the potential to win this race is Irish Cavalier, sent by Rebecca Curtis. Already a winner this season, and looking an improved horse in the process, he needs to find another 10lb at least to win this off 11st 6lb. However, I reckon he will go well and he's one for Cheltenham next March. Curtis also has The Romford Pele entered, but this horse will need mud and a large dose of good fortune to bring him into contention.

Looking at the antepost betting, the 5/1 offered by the race sponsor Bet365 about Dynaste seems good value, as I think he'll start the 7/2 fav if the ground remains "good", and he may start even shorter odds than that. Cue Card will not be far away, but his lack of "zip" last season suggests he's going to be placed at best. I think with 11st 10lb, Many Clouds will find more than 3 of these too good for him and at 5th odds a place 1,2,3 his current best odds of 6/1 do not represent value. If you are looking for an eachway wager, then I think the 12/1 offered about Rocky Creek looks the best value available, though he's unlikely to win if they all finish the race.

I've taken the 5/1 about Dynaste.

Antepost Selection
Wetherby 31st October 2015
Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase: DYNASTE, £10 win @ 5/1 with Bet365

Monday 26 October 2015

Post-weekend review - 24th/25th October

Confidence is a major part of playing the horses.
When you have confidence you back your judgement with greater conviction, and when confidence is lacking you see issues and give them greater importance than they are worth. I just hope some of those who read the blog saw the worth of the narrative that I wrote and had more courage than me.

In hindsight, the Sunday meeting at Aintree should have been a tremendously successful one, but as I'd wagered on 3 consecutive losers last week (altho', to be fair, Turn Over Sivola ran a cracker on Saturday and possibly just lacked race fitness) my conscience was telling me to play safe.
Hence, despite strongly considering Benbens in the "Veterans" handicap chase, I put too much emphasis on the ground conditions and overlooked him for the "safe" wager on Maggio, who ran well, but never looked like winning, to be 3rd.
Benbens was on my alert list last season after winning 2 of his 2st-3 chase races in the Spring of 2014, but he's failed to visit the winners enclosure since - until yesterday - and I doubt he'll be able to follow-up.

However, worse was to follow, for with the feature race, the Old Roan handicap Chase, my form assessment was virtually spot-on - yet I did not advise a wager! 

I wrote that the race looked to be between 3 horses: Sound Investment (who won), Buywise (3rd) and Johns Spirit (pulled-up after being badly hampered). It was a case of what if, as I narrowed down Sound Investment to be the best value in the race at morning odds of 9/1, and he indeed ran a cracker.  As the trainer's rep confirmed after the race, this race had been the plan for a long time - possibly since he was put away before the Cheltenham Festival after winning at Newbury in February.  This was a career-best effort and the 7yo could find another 7-10lb.  As such, he's one to follow for the rest of the season at trips between 20f - 22f. 
Johns Spirit was running well until impeded by the fatally injured Rajdhani Express, and was unable to recover the lost ground. This 2m4f trip is his best, and these top handicaps are where he'll ply his trade as he's about 7lb short of top class.
Buywise, despite being 3rd, was a little disappointing, and was probably dropped-out too much, and brought back into the race too late to win.  The thought is he will step-up in trip to 3-mile but, so far, he's not shown the stamina for 3-mile and maybe best at 2m6f instead. 
The revelation of the race was the performance of 12yo Wishfull Thinking who was on my alert list as a 2nd-season chaser when I expected him to progress to be a 170+ chaser, but he's not gone better the 162-164.  He does, however, love this Aintree circuit and if he were mine I'd not run him anywhere else this season.

At Wincanton, Cowards Close ran poorly and was pulled-up despite being the 7/4 fav. As I wrote in the blog appraisal of the race yesterday, he will be a much better horse on soft ground and he's not one to write off yet. The ground was too quick for him and though he's won before on "good" ground, he only beat 3 horses when winning on it as a novice, and the best of those is now rated OR123 and he was conceding Cowards Close 7lb.  If he goes to Cheltenham for the 3m2f chase there in December in which he ran 3rd last year - and the word "soft" is in the going description - we will see a different horse.

No selections advised today, but I am feeling more confident now than I was yesterday morning, as I know my methods work and work well.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Aintree beckons

Jumping the 3rd-last, it looked like the blog selection Turn Over Sivola was destined for finishing no worse than 3rd and, with a strong finish up the notorious Cheltenham hill, possibly might win. However, he started to weaken after jumping the 2nd-last fence and was soon swamped by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th home.  Overall, the selection ran about 10lb below the level I expected, which was disappointing.  You expect top trainers such as Alan King to get their horses to the track fit enough to run their best in the conditions.  The trainer of the winner, Dr Richard Newland, again proved himself to be capable of matching and beating the best by bringing Boondooma to win the race off a 308-day break, and the 8yo may be capable of winning again when re-rated.

It seems to me we are witnessing a changing of the guard when it comes to trainers, and although both Nicholls and Henderson had winners yesterday, so did capable young names like Rebecca Curtis and Nick Skelton on Friday.

We have an extra hour this Sunday as the clocks went back overnight, and it gives us a little longer to look at the form for meetings at Aintree and Wincanton. There are a number of alert list horses running and we have an exciting day ahead.

At Aintree at 1:55pm, we have a 3-mile conditional jockeys handicap hurdle.  Not my usual sort of race, but I like 3-mile hurdles as very few horses truly stay this sort of trip if they are run at a good gallop. Last year Carn Rock ran a good 4th off OR110, and that was off a break. He's had a pipe-opener recently, and could push the fav Sykes, who is only 6/4 for this with his stamina unproven.

Then, at 2:30pm, we have a veteran's handicap chase over 3m1f and Danimix will prove tough to beat if in the same form as he was 2-weeks ago. He's re-opposed by Benbens who is 11lb better-off, but Benbens would prefer soft ground.  Lie Forrit won this race last year, but off a 20lb lower rating and I cannot see him winning this. Ely Brown hasn't completed a race in 20 months and is another who would prefer softer ground, if not heavy. Not so Maggio, who has not finished out of the 1st-3 in 4 races at 3-mile and who will handle the "good" ground. He's a LTO winner and is being aimed at the Grand National, but he's likely to go well here as his trainer will want to maintain his rating to guarantee he lines up next April. When he met Mwaleshi in January over 2m5f on level weights, Mwaleshi easily beat him, so you may be thinking that on 10lb better terms Mwaleshi should be well-in today - but Mwaleshi was at the limit of his stamina that day and this 3m1f trip will expose his stamina limitations. Any Currency has been racing on Cross-Country courses and cannot be expected to be up for this, and the trip is also too long for Russian Realm.  MAGGIO could upset fav Danimix in his search for a hat-trick and 9/1 looks fair eachway value.

The feature race of the day is at 3:30pm and it's the Old Roan Chase over 2m4f.  A limited handicap, this race will see the return of some excellent chasing talent, among them Johns Spirit (odds of 11/2) who seems to have been around for ever yet is still only an 8yo. Johns Spirit has been on my alert list for nearly 3 years now and has more than paid his way. He was only beaten a head in the "Paddy Power" handicap chase at Cheltenham last November off OR156, so on a mark of OR157 he's certainly capable of winning this if he's fit and well.  Others on my alert list in this race are Buywise (11/2) and Sound Investment (9/1). Outside of these 3, the only other horse who may be capable of winning is Splash Of Ginge (10/1) who, on a going day is very decent. Sound Investment has been aimed at this race for a long time as he's been kept away from chasing since winning in February in order to protect his OR155 rating. He was given a hurdle race earlier this month so comes here race fit. I just feel that he'd prefer good-to-soft ground, but he wont be far away and will likely be aimed at the Ryanair Chase at the Festival next March. Buywise is very exciting as, with luck on his side, he'd have won at the Cheltenham Festival last March. As such he comes here only rated a 1lb higher on OR147, and, being proven on the ground and at the trip, he holds a great chance.  He won on his seasonal debut last year so being fresh is no handicap. He was also in the "Paddy Power" last November and has 3-lengths to find to beat Johns Spirit based on that race, but this hold-up horse will not have to weave his way through as many horses in this and that may prove the difference.  At the odds, Sound Investment at 9/1 (quarter-odds a place with Bet365), is probably the best value, but it would not surprise me to see Johns Spirit or Buywise win this either.

At Wincanton, there is a decent 3m2f class 3 handicap chase at 2:45pm which should go the 2/1 fav Cowards Close, last seen staying-on in the race won by Drop Out Joe. Cowards Close is on my alert list as he can win off this OR130 mark despite probably being a better horse on soft ground, and as the season progresses and we get softer ground we will see this horse come into his own, and I expect him to be a OR145+ chaser before the seasson ends. Another on my alert list in this race is Dont Do Mondays, but he's not shown in the past that he has the stamina for this sort of trip.  So, the likely danger to the fav is According To Trev, who does stay 3m2f and also handles good ground, and has slipped to an interesting OR132 rating just 2lb above his last winning mark. His jumping can be error-prone, but a safe round will see him push the fav and at 6/1 he is an interesting eachway possibility in this 8-runner race (5th odds a place, 1,2,3).

I'm going to play safe and try and recoup some recent losses with an eachway wager on MAGGIO in the veterans chase whose odds of 9/1 look good value.

Aintree 2:30 MAGGIO, £5 eachway @ 9/1 (Bet Victor, Paddy Power, Hills and Ladbrokes all go 5th the odds a place 1,2,3)

Saturday 24 October 2015

Be wary of novice chases

We return to Cheltenham today for another cracking day of jump racing.
Unfortunately, the blog selection yesterday Vintage Vinnie showed he still has a bit to learn about jumping fences when making a serious error on the 2nd-circuit before coming down at the 3rd-last fence when under pressure. It's possible that he'd have won this had he not fallen, as he'd have been involved at the finish and was still going well. He remains on the alert list.

The opening event is a new race being a 2-mile Class 2 handicap chase (replacing a 2m4f Class 2 handicap chase won for the past 2 seasons by Johns Spirit). Of the 12 runners, 5 have had the benefit of a run this autumn or which Workbench put up the best performance when beating Purple 'n Gold. They meet again with Workbench on 8lb worse terms, so David Pipe (trainer of Purple 'n Gold) must think he has a chance of reversing the placings, but the win by Workbench was eye-catching.
Of the others, Next Sensation loves it round here but usually needs a run, and I prefer Eastlake - ridden by Barry Geraghty - who is 5lb better-off for their meeting at the Festival in March, as he has shown he's capable of winning on his seasonal debut. Turn Over Sivola was also in that race (running 5th) and the 8yo could hold the key to this tricky race. Trainer Alan King has his stable in good form, and he has only 2 runners today. Trainer Evan Williams has two entered, and while Going Concern looks a little out of his depth here, De Faoithesdream will almost certianly try and make-all setting a strong pace - which will be perfect for Turn Over Sivola who, at 9/1 looks fair eachway value.

From my alert list there are several runners at Cheltenham.
In the 3:20pm we have Fox Appeal, and in the 3:55pm there is Miss Serious, and then at 5:05pm is Saffron Wells.

Fox Appeal just does not like Cheltenham, so he's off my radar in the 3:20, despite him being 3rd fav. The race fav Audacious Plan needs to find some improvement on his seasonal debut, but he's 13/2 which shows how wide open this race is. Last years winner Roalco De Farges is 2nd-fav but the good ground wont suit him as he likes some give, and if he's going to win a race this season then this will be it - hence he's 2nd-fav. This looks a race that will go to one long in the market and of those in the 10/1 - 12/1 range, Theatrical Star should go well as he's very consistent, jumps and stays well, and should appreciate todays ground. The worry for me is that there are a lot in this race who want softish ground and they wont get it today, so the race is tricky to fathom.

There doesn't appear to be value in the  next few races on the card, and the novice chase will all depend on the jumping ability of Parlour Games.

The handicap hurdle at 5:05pm looks another tough nut to crack, The reason Saffron Wells is on my alert list is that I want him to go novice chasing as I think he will be a decent handicap chaser.

Overall, the best opportunity looks to be in the opening race of the afternoon, as I've looked at the meeting at Kelso, and only the 3:05pm handicap chase catches my eye but the race-fav Gold Futures looks very strong in that race and offers no value.

There's already been money for TURN OVER SIVOLA as yesterday evening you could obtain 12/1, and now he's into 9/1. Given how competitve the race is, it will only be a small eachway wager, as we have a good Aintree card tomorrow to get stuck into.

Cheltenham 2:10 TURN OVER SIVOLA, £5 eachway @ 9/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)

Friday 23 October 2015

We're having a vintage year

Not a great performance from the blog selection Jayandbee yesterday. There seemed to be solid support in the betting market throughout the day, which was encouraging; and the horse travelled well for much of the race until about 5-out (with just under a mile to run) when he was unable to go the pace of the winner. The proximity of Buck Mulligan to the winner at the end of this 3-mile chase suggests this was a poor race and, had Jayandbee been at the form of his 2013-14 season (before injury) he'd have won this easily.

Onto today's racing and we return to Cheltenham for the first time this season. It's great to be back at the Prestbury track, but the racing doesn't seem particularly inspiring. The "good" (possibly good-to-firm in places) ground has seen the fields cut-up a lot, as trainers want to protect their horses from a possible injury at this stage of the season on ground firmer than ideal.

In the opener, John Ferguson sends his unbeaten hurdler Penglai Pavilion for the novice hurdle, but I'm not sure he's shown enough to be as good as his RPR rating. Not only that, but this 2m5f trip will certainly test his stamina as he's only raced over 2-mile so far. No such worries for Irish trained Exarro who won a competitive race over this trip in Ireland LTO. And the same for Casual Approach, who beat a useful field in Ireland last month including Snow Falcon who ran 5th in the Neptune novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Trained by Gordon Elliot, Casual Approach is the most likely winner in my opinion, but you cannot ignore many in this field including Sandymount Duke who is the ride of Barry Geraghty. Overall, the form in the race gives the punter little to go on.

The 2-mile novice chase at 2:45pm has a disappointing turnout of just 4-runners. However, Dormello Mo is a good yardstick having the most chasing experience despite being, at 5yo, the youngest. Heavy ground probably didn't suit Rock The World LTO, but today's ground will suit and he could return to front-running tactics that worked well when winning at Galway on 8th September. Sizing Codelco is possibly the weakest on form of thise with chasing experience, and today is the chase debut for Qewy. Trainer John Ferguson is better known for his hurdlers, so this could prove tough for Qewy.  As such, if having a wager, I'm tempted by Rock The World who is ridden by the capable Barry Geraghty, and odds of 5/2 look fair value as he probably will start the fav at 7/4 unless there is significant support for Qewy on his chase debut.

I'm going to bypass the 3-mile handicap hurdle, and move on to the other novice chase at 3:55pm which is run over 3-miles, and looks a cracker. There are two in this off my alert list - Ballykan and Vintage Vinnie. The 5yo Ballykan looks a tremendous prospect having won both his novice chases over 3-mile, jumping soundly in the process.  Today, he concedes 3lb to the 6yo Vintage Vinnie, who was born to be a chaser.  He absolutely walloped subsequent winner Upswing on his debut, and if confirming that ability today he will prove hard to beat. Paul Nicholls' Vicente will certainly need to have improved a fair bit over the summer to win this, and a stronger challenge could come from A Good Skin who raced to a good level in the Spring of this year, winning at Cheltenham in April. As we've seen this season (with Cocktails At Dawn on 10th October) experience counts for a lot in novice chase races at this stage of the season, and you cannot ignore A Good Skin. With the others looking outclassed, it remains to consider whether there is any value in the betting.  The presence of Vicente has skewed the top of the market, and the odds of 11/4 about VINTAGE VINNIE look fair to me, as I'd have expected him to be 9/4 or less for this race, especially as he's receiving 3lb from his main rivals.

The remaining 3 races on the card look tough to fathom, and I want to try and get into the remainder of the weekend on a winner and I reckon VINTAGE VINNIE gives me the best chance of that. Rebecca Curtis is a very capable trainer, and she won this race last season (with The Romford Pele) and her stable is in excellent form, with this horse being her only runner today.

Cheltenham 3:55 VINTAGE VINNIE, £10 win @ 11/4 (available generally Bet365, Stan James, Bet Victor, Coral)

Thursday 22 October 2015

Dodging bullets!

No selections posted yesterday, and it was a good job as we dodged a bullet or two!

Promanco suffered from a poor ride at Fontwell, and tho' he wouldn't have won his race he probably would have been 2nd. He could be worth another chance if turning out again soon. The race winner Drum Valley ran a cracker under 10lb-claimer Ben Ffrench Davis, making-all and staying-on strongly. As I wrote yesterday, he didn't lack stamina and the only real doubt was whether he'd be race-fit off a 319-day lay-off - this is the sort of thing that can only be assessed in the paddock before the race.  Not being at the track - or having pictures relayed from the paddock by the tv companies - does put the punter at a disadvantage and is one of the items that you have to build in to your risk assessment of the race.

Even so, Drum Valley is going onto my alert list as he holds a chase rating of OR124 (he won this hurdle off OR132) and he must surely be able to take advantage of his chase rating.

At Worcester, my assessment of the opening race fav Playing The Field was spot-on as the 10yo struggled to make an impression despite being the 3/1 fav. It was the next race on the card that took the wind out of my sails,  I thought that the race-fav Skylander was well ahead of his OR128 rating, but his stamina was severely tested at this 2m7f trip and on reflection his best trip as a chaser is 2m4f. The ground being good-to-soft was not a problem as he's won on soft ground as a hurdler twice, and a drop in trip should see him back in the winners enclosure. Unfortunately, I overlooked one from my alert list in this race in Upswing - a horse who'd shown himself to be a capable 3-mile hurdler on soft/heavy ground but had yet to demonstrate similar ability as a novice chaser. There must have been plenty of stable support for the horse as the morning odds of 7/1 were soon gone and an SP of 9/2 was returned. This was a missed opportunity, but Upswing is the sort of horse Jonjo O'Neill can run up a sequence with as he will improve on softer ground and should stay another 2 or 3 furlongs.

The only other horse I considered yesterday, Days Ahead in the 2-mile Class 4 handicap chase, ran a stinker and was reported by his trainer to have suffered breathing problems and lost a hind shoe. All-in-all, this was a good reminder to stick to better quality racing involving better quality, proven horses.

There are 3 meetings today at Carlisle, Ludlow and Southwell, and these midweek meetings can throw-up some decent racing at this stage of the season as trainers endeavour to get their horses race-fit. The 2-mile "Beginners' Chase" at Carlisle at 2:50pm has been won by some decent horses in its short 4-year history and I will be watching this race with interest. Yorkshire trainer Sue Smith does well with her horses when they go chasing and I'm expecting a big run from Special Wells on his chase debut.

There is nothing of interest to me at Southwell.
Ludlow is one of my favourite courses and, being right-handed, it has a fair share of course specialists. The 3-mile Class 4 handicap chase at 4:15 has only 5-runners (Kasbadali is a non-runner) but we could have a wagering opportunity. Current fav is Butlergrove King who won on his debut for his trainer earlier this month over 2m4f, but has not looked a 3-miler on his attempts a the trip earlier this year. Buck Mulligan has won twice at 3-mile; once as a hurdler and once on his chase debut here when virtually gifted the race. I know him from old, and he's not got much in the tank beyond 2m5f. Jayandbee is a C&D winner (3m1f actually) but was off the track for 16 months through injury before returning in September. He's been givena chance by the handicapper if he's returning to form as he's run well off OR111 and is on OR103 today.  As for Victor Leudorum, he's capable of winning this on his best form, but he appears to have lost his way completely. That leaves Dabinett Moon who has only had 2 runs under rules as he's been plying his trade on the point-to-point field. However, he is a full brother to his stable-mate Strongbows Legend who was rated OR130 at his peak. There is not much scope in the betting for him, and he's 100/30.

I started off writing this assessment of the 4:15 at Ludlow thinking Dabinett Moon was the likely selection but, on reflection, JAYANDBEE does not have to find much on his previous run to take this weak race, and his prominent running style should ensure he's given every chance. Odds of 9/2 look fair given the dubious form-lines of his 4 rivals and he's the wager.  I know it goes against what I've written earlier in the blog about sticking to better quality racing, but this is a very weak race which won't take much winning. That, and I consider Jayandbee should be 9/4 for this race and not 9/2.

Ludlow 4:15, JAYANDBEE, £10 win @ 9/2 (available with Coral and Betfred)

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Quiet day today, but busy weekend beckons

After a few quiet days, we have couple of interesting meetings today at Fontwell and Worcester. 
I like Fontwell  - and not just because it is a local track to me here in Brighton – as it gives the chasers a fair test.  You can see the trainers like it too, as the novice chase over 2m3f at 3:00pm today has been won by some decent chasers in the past 5 years, such as Fruity O’Rooney, Virak, and Black Thunder.  Paul Nicholls has won this for the past couple of seasons, and his entry Calipto will be hard to beat – hence he is odds-on at 4/7.

The 2m5f Class 3 handicap hurdle at 3:35pm could be a wagering opportunity, as Charlie Longsdon’s entry Promanco looks leniently treated on OR121 and, with his rider claiming 7lb, he could be tough to beat.  The 2nd-fav Mercers Court didn’t beat much LTO when winning here over 2m3f, and while the next in the market Taradrewe comes here on a hat-trick, her revised rating of OR127 could well be her undoing. The top-weight Drum Valley has been off the track for 319-days and may well need the run, but his rating of OR132 is workable especially as he has a 10lb claimer riding. He certainly won’t lack stamina for this trip as he was running consistently at 2m6f to 3-mile in 2014 at Class 2. I’m a bit worried about the ability of Promanco’s rider – amateur rider Mr Sam Painting – and this isn’t reflected in the odds available as I’m looking for 4/1 or longer.

Worcester opens with a Class 4 handicap chase over 2m7f, which hangs around whether the 10yo Playing The Field retains his ability after being off the track for 516-days. Personally, I doubt it, but there isn’t an obvious candidate to beat him.  That race is followed by a novice handicap chase over 2m7f at 2:15pm, in which the fav Skylander will prove hard to beat.  The 2nd-fav  Relentless Dreamer has lots more experience over fences, but appears to have hit a plateau in his development.  I have a alert list runner in this race in Upswing, who could prove (in time) to be a better chaser than hurdler, but he looks up against it in this race.

This could be a day for a multiple wager on some short-priced runners, and the next on the card at Worcester at 2:50pm holds another potential opportunity in a race which is similar to the one last Friday. There are 5 runners of which 3 are very unlikely to be win and, while the other 2 are closely matched, one comes into the race in good form – Days Ahead.   This horse finally got his act together LTO at Newton Abbot over an extended 2-mile, and his stamina and experience should put the jumping of the 2nd-fav the 4yo All Together, under pressure.

I’m not offering an advised wager today, but I will be having a small personal wager on Promanco, Skylander and Days Ahead in doubles and a treble.  There is plenty of good jump racing to come this week, with meetings at Ludlow and Carlisle tomorrow, Cheltenham on Friday and Saturday, and Aintree on Sunday, as well as other meetings at Kelso and Wincanton. So there is no need to hurry into wagers.

Many thanks to those readers who have donated to receive the blog by email.  From now on, I’m posting the blog out on email about an hour before the blog goes online.  There will be a twitter notice when the blog goes online.

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Saturday 17 October 2015

Champions Day at Ascot, but first...

What a great day for followers of the blog yesterday, with the only selection given OPEN HEARTED really showing his heart and making-all to win at odds of 9/2.
As I wrote on the blog yesterday when assessing the race, there were only two horses in it and it was very difficult to split them on known form. So, with one offered at "evens" and the other at 9/2 it was a no-brainer as to which horse was the best value - it was like tossing a coin and being offered "evens" about heads and 9/2 about tails. Watching the race, it was a true test and I'm keeping Open Hearted on my alert list, and adding Knock House as well, as this was a tremendous effort from the 6yo having his debut for the season.

That makes 4 winners from 9 selections this season for the blog.  I will try and keep this good run going, but it will not be easy.

Apart from the Champions Day meeting on the flat at Ascot, we have 3 jump meetings today at Ffos Las, Stratford and Market Rasen.  I'm sticking to my tried & trusted methods of winner finding, relying on my alert list when possible, and sticking to better quality races when not; but there is not much value on my radar at the 3 meetings this afternoon.

The first wager of the jumps season was on Cloudy Bob, and he ran a solid 3rd at Worcester over 2m4f on unsuitable "good" ground. He is out again at Market Rasen, but over 3-mile today, and again it is "good" ground. He doesn't have the stamina for 3-miles, but he does like this track as his last win was here over 2m5f on soft ground. After that win he was rated OR128 and now he's slipped to OR118, so he is very well handicapped and, being just an 8yo, time has not caught him up yet.  So, in my book, he's a winner waiting to happen when he gets the right conditions - unfortunately, that isn't today. He may sneak 3rd place being on such a lenient mark, but I would bet against that and for those of you who are more adventurous a "place-lay" on the exchanges could prove profitable.

I've looked at the Stratford 2:55pm race which is a 2m4f handicap chase, but there are too many "dodge-pots" in this race for me, and anyone of the field could win it if they were in the mood.

So, no selection today but I'm sure readers who have been about these past couple of weeks won't be complaining.  I will take a look at Sunday's jump racing later this afternoon and see if there is an opportunity for tomorrow.

Friday 16 October 2015

Don't come knocking, the door is open

Today's horseracing is fairly ordinary and (at the start of the day) I didn't think I would be advising a wager.
However, at Fakenham at 4:00pm there is an interesting 3-mile chase which provides us with an opportunity. Only 5-runners go to post, so it is likely to be a trappy affair, but the field is - in my opinion - split between 3 with little chance of success, and 2 with a high chance of success.
The 3 who I think have little chance are:-
Bucking The Trend - off the track since February 2014, but only a 7yo.  He is likely to need the run today, as his trainer Tim Vaughan is struggling to hit form and winners are few and far between. Watch this horse as he is on an attractive mark when recovering his fitness and form.
Wiesentraum - small fields are his cup-of-tea, but he's lost form badly over the past 12-months and his run last month (the race won by Oscar Rock) gave little scope for a return to the winners enclosure today.
Kilbree Kid - has crept up the ratings to the point where he is now poorly handicapped and needing (in my opinion) respite from the handicapper. The trip and ground will suit him today, and he is a consistent sort who will likely give his running but, I fear, he wont be good enough.

This race is between Knock House and OPEN HEARTED.
Knock House is unproven at 3-mile - I don't consider beating 2 rivals at Huntingdon at odds of 1/2 to have been a severe test of his stamina - and his Cheltenham Festival 5th suggests that 21-furlong is his current limit.
OPEN HEARTED hasn't proven his stamina at 3-mile either, but he's won at over 2m6f over hurdles, and more importantly he's shown he's better than his OR138 rating in the past. He's a safe jumper of a fence and at the odds - he's currently 9/2 with 5/1 available occasionally - he's worth an eachway wager. I included him on my alert list after his latest run for Dan Skelton, who acquired him from Nicky Henderson in the summer, and I'm expecting an improved run from him today,

Fakenham 4:00 Open Hearted, £8 eachway AND £4 win @ 9/2 (BetVictor, William Hill, Ladbrokes who are BOG plus quarter-odds a place 1st & 2nd)
Total Staked = £20

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Thursday 15 October 2015

Don Cossack begins his Gold Cup campaign

The plan was to recommend a wager this afternoon, but the ground at Carlisle isn't soft enough.  As such, I can't recommend a wager on my alert list horse Loose Chips in the 3-mile Class 3 handicap chase at 4:25pm today.

I believe Loose Chips is a lot better than his current OR130 rating as he ran to 138 on my ratings last February when 2nd on soft ground at Sandown.  The good ground today will be too quick for him, so success will be dependent upon the errors of others in the race.  As such, I feel the advantage in this race lies with the fav By The Boardwalk but, as he's currently at odds of 7/4 (at best) he is too short in the market for me to recommend as a wager.

We've had a quiet week so far since the winning double on Saturday.  I did think I had a wagering opportunity yesterday but, due to internet issue and problems with my laptop, I was unable to properly research and post a blog.  As it happened' the horse I intended making a selection ran 3rd in the 3:50 at Wetherby, Final Assault. This was a very promising run from the 6yo, as he made-up considerable ground from the 2nd-last fence to be beaten under a length by the winner. I had a personal eachway wager on him (so no money lost) and providing the handicapper isn't silly with him (and as he was 3rd that is unlikely to happen) he looks very promising for his next run.

As such, no selection today; but there is some potential for possibly Friday.

Ocer in Ireland today, DON COSSACK begins his campaign that hopefully will end with him winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March.  I currently rate him the best staying chaser in training and his race today at 4:30pm will be little more than a gallop for him.

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Monday 12 October 2015

Successful double on Saturday - £186.75 profit

What a day for the blog on Saturday!
It was so good that I decided to have a break on Sunday even tho’ there was another good meeting at Chepstow where I was anticipating another winning selection (check out my twitter feed @wayward_lad) with Danimix.
As such, the blog is having its best ever start to the season, with profit now running at £223.71 on total advised stakes of £70.00 – that is an incredible 320% Return on Investment.

As you can imagine, the response to Saturday’s winning selections – only 2 given and both won – was tremendous, and currently I am in a quandary as to which direction to go in next.

Before that tho’, a quick review of the racing on Saturday, and the first selection put up by the blog was COCKTAILS AT DAWN who ran exactly as I hoped he would, from the front in a trail-blazing ride, putting those novice chasers have their debut over fences under pressure from the off.  Quite why this proven chaser was allowed to drift in the betting from a morning price of 5/1 to an SP of 6/1 is beyond me, as I thought he should have gone off the 5/2 fav. He didn’t show any improved form on Saturday when winning, so he’s played his hand with regards his handicap mark now, and may prove tricky to win with again in handicap company this season unless he finds some improvement. So I wouldn't be tempted to take antepost odds about him going for the Paddy Power handicap chase at Cheltenham, which is where he's expected to go next.  I reckon I've found one that looks primed to go well in that race - and he's not in the betting lists!

The other selection was DROP OUT JOE who was well fancied in the betting, shortening from a morning price of 7/1 (I did advise on the blog when it was posted at 10:30am to take those odds quickly) to an SP of 5/1. He went off the 2nd-fav to Sausalito Sunrise, who was looking ominous 4-out. However, he never led, and he looked outpaced by DROP OUT JOE approaching 3-out.  For some reason, jockey Richard Johnson eased Sausalito Sunrise before 2-out and he was pulled-up.  A vetinary inspection post-race found nothing wrong with him, and trainer Phil Hobbs could offer no explanation for the horse being pulled-up.  As the horse was a well-supported 11/4 fav, that isn’t good enough from the trainer or the jockey.  Despite that, I really could not see anything beating blog selection DROP OUT JOE the way he finished the race, as he was 10-lengths clear 2-out and still 6-lengths clear jumping the last. He’d been on his own in front for so long it was no surprise to see him idle on the run-in, but he rallied again when the runner-up challenged, giving the impression there was plenty left in the tank.

There is a meeting at Sedgefield this afternoon, but I can’t see any value.

The response to the winners posted on the blog on Saturday was great but, strangely, not as enthusiastic as when I posted a 25/1 winner in November 2013 with my sole selection of that day (it was Midnight Appeal on 13thNovember 2013).  From the numerous requests to be included on a blog email list, I have had less than 20% respond to my introductory email.  So this blog is only being emailed to those who have responded and acknowledged the terms.

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Saturday 10 October 2015

Jump racing hots-up at Chepstow

A great day of horseracing today, both jumps and flat with the Cesarewitch - first run in 1839 - taking place at Newmarket. The Cesarewitch is one of the few "heritage" flat handicaps that is holding its own in the modern era.

Over the jumps there are two meetings today at Chepstow and Hexham, and it is the Chepstow meeting which has the better quality racing. The opening couple of races are novice hurdles, and these sort of races are best assessed in the paddock beforehand as you really need to see just how fit the horses are at this time of the season, and then gamble on how well they have been schooled at home.  Trainer Dan Skelton has a great strikerate here with his hurdlers (5 wins from 11 runners) and he has 4 hurdlers entered at Chepstow today, all at decent odds.

The novice chase at 3:20pm looks interesting.
The likely fav is Blaklion who I thought was super-consistent last season when novice hurdling. He stays 3-mile well in that sphere, so today it will all depend on how well he takes to jumping fences. The Paul Nicholls trained As De Mee will be well schooled, but the worry for me with him is that all 3 hurdle wins came going right-handed, and he disappointed when going left-handed. Will he handle left-handed Chepstow?  Racing Pulse was a decent novice hurdler in 2013-14, but missed last season entirely. If he's back to his best he could be a good chaser as his novice hurdle run when beaten by Seeyouatmidmight in Feb14 looks a lot better now than it did then. Regal Encore is also at about the same level as Blaklion over hurdles, whereas Native River looks outclassed. Probably the classiest of these over hurdles is Pearl Swan who is having his first run for Peter Bowen having left the Nicholls stable. He's had his problems, but still has plenty of ability and the change of stable plus going chasing could revive his career. Perhaps the value in the race is proven chaser COCKTAILS AT DAWN who is only having to concede 8lb for being a chase winner and, if he runs to the level of his LTO win at Sandown in April, he will take a lot of beating; odds of 5/1 look generous to me for this Nicky Henderson trained novice.

There are a couple of handicap hurdles but they look very competitve, so I'll give them a miss and instead move on to the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 5:05pm which looks a cracker.

The 11/4 fav is Sausalito Sunrise but those odds look no value based on his novice form of last season, and OR144 is about his level in my opinion; and it will take a horse running about 5lb+ above their rating to win this. Cowards Close (on my alert list) is one such horse who looks capable of running to that level and more. A safe jumper and resolute galloper, he may prefer some give in the ground. Audacious Plan improved with every run as a novice chaser last season, but he may want longer than 3-mile to show his best as he's generally one-paced at the business end. Drop Out Joe was unlucky to bump into a rejuvenated Wayward Prince last season, denying him a win in the valuable "Grimthorpe" at Doncaster. However, his run at Aintree in May suggests that he can defy this OR133 rating on todays ground, especially if he's  improved his jumping. At OR136, Standing Ovation needs respite from the handicapper, as does Garrahalish.  Whereas The Romford Pele (on my alert list), who will likely need todays run after being off the track 358-days, and also seems to prefer small fields of under 10-runners.  Another off my alert list in the race is Sego Success, who has stamina a-plenty and will come into his own when we get softer ground later in the season. Even so, he looks well handicapped, and meets Doing Fine on 4lb better terms than when he finished in front of his at Cheltenham in March. Handy Andy always runs his race, but OR125 has him at his level. The 10lb rise for Buachaill Alainn looks too much for this win LTO.  This trip looks beyond Oscar Fortune and OR132 looks a tad too high as well. Terminal hasn't won since he was a novice chaser (ran in the RSA Novice Chase at the Cheltenham Festival won by Lord Windermere in 2013), ans appears to have lost interest. For me, the value in the race lies with DROP OUT JOE at 7/1 generally, but be quick as some bookies have trimmed to 13/2.

Chepstow 3:20 Cocktails At Dawn, £4 eachway @ 5/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1, 2)
Chepstow 5:05 Drop Out Joe, £4 eachway @ 7/1 (available generally, quarter-odds a place 1, 2, 3)
Plus: £2 eachway double, Cocktails At Dawn and Drop Out Joe
Total Staked = £20

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Friday 9 October 2015

Henryville a horse with potential

The blog selections continued the good start to the jumps season on Wednesday with the 3rd profitable day from 4 “tip-days” so far this season.  As per the Selection Log page (on the right), profit is currently at £36.96 on total stakes of £50.00 – that’s a 73% Return on Investment.

I thought we came very close to a winner on Wednesday with Dreamsoftheatre, the only ride of top Irish jockey Barry Geraghty.  For that reason alone, I could not understand why the horse drifted in the betting from 9/2 in the morning to an SP of 7/1.  The horse was given an exemplary ride by Geraghty, who was obviously aware that the horse may not have the stamina to last the trip, and coaxed along to be given every chance approaching the 2nd-last fence. Unfortunately, stamina was running low at that point and the horse hit the 2nd-last fence hard. Without that mistake, I think he may well have taken the spoils as the winner was also running on fumes and wandered all over the track on the run-in from the final fence, but managed to hold off our selection.

As for the other selection, I was right about the race as there was little depth to the runners in terms of stamina at this 3-mile trip. Unfortunately, the pace looked slow for the first couple of miles and when it quickened up for the final mile, our selection was given too much to do. Even so, she stuck-on to be 3rd and the eachway double was landed.

Today, there is a sole jumps meeting at Newton Abbot.  The key race of the meeting is at 3:35pm which is a 2m5f “intermediate” chase and, under the terms of the race, there is very little to split the runners. As such, it is no surprise that 4 of the 6 runners are at odds of either 7/2 or 4/1. If I was asked to put my head on the block and plump for just one, it would be Henryville as altho’ he’s only had the one chase race, he was easily the best of these over hurdles and has improved rapidly over the past 18 months.  But really, it would not surprise me if any of the 6 in this race won, and so no wager is recommended.

There are some cracking races planned for the weekend over the jumps, and let’s keep the powder dry and be patient.

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Wednesday 7 October 2015

Barry Geraghty makes rare mid-week visit to Ludlow

The jump season gathers pace, with a couple of interesting mid-week meetings at Ludlow and Towcester.  Tomorrow, we have meetings at Exeter and Worcester, and on Friday there is an interesting meeting at Newton Abbot.  As such, the opportunity to find a wager is growing, although the form for these early season meetings can be a bit sparse.

The Ludlow meeting has the best race of the day at 3:15pm, a Class 3 handicap chase over an extended 3m1f.  This race has gone to 2nd-season chasers for the past couple of seasons, and that’s probably the best place to look for the winner.  The early fav for this afternoon’s race is just such a horse, DREAMSOFTHEATRE was a novice chaser this time last year when he ran in this event, and was struggling to be consistent with his jumping.  This season, after being given a long break, he returned with a better display when winning at 3-mile at Bangor, and followed that up 10-days later with another win at Cartmel over the same trip as today. As the 3rd horse (btn less than ¼-length) went on to win convincingly NTO, I’d rate that win higher than the handicapper who has only put him up a 1lb to OR128.  Given he’s the only ride today for Barry Geraghty, I’m surprised he’s as long as 9/2 in the betting.

Is there anything that can beat him? The 2nd-fav Azure Fly is the only other 7yo in the race, and he doesn’t look like he has the stamina for this trip as his best form is short of 3-mile, but he is being supported in the betting, and is now the 7/2 fav.  Rio Milan is next in the betting, but although he loves Ludlow (2 wins from 4 runs) he’s not tested beyond 2m4f as a chaser, and couldn’t stay the trip as a hurdler. King Massini hasn’t won since he was a novice chaser in December 2013 but, if he can recapture that form, he’s thrown-in here off OR113 – it is a big ask tho’ of a horse who may have lost his love of the game.  Sybarite is an unusual one to consider.  He’s not run in a chase since March’12 - that was 3½ years ago - but has improved 20lbs as a hurdler in the intervening period.  He wasn’t a great novice, but he was highly tried so any faults were exposed. He could be interesting if he’s learned to jump a fence in the summer.  Best Boy Barney looks poorly handicapped now on OR130, and the 6yo Lemony Boy is just a novice chaser albeit a promising one – but he’s meeting experienced horses today.  Of more interest is Allthekingshorses who will strip fitter for his run last week, is one who stays this trip well and he loves “good” ground. He is a live eachway candidate at 14/1 in a race with a lot of horses holding question-marks.

The 3-mile Mares’ handicap hurdle at 3:50 could be another wagering opportunity, as there are not many horses capable of winning at this sort of trip over hurdles, if they go a decent pace.  Neither the fav Jean Fleming, nor the 2nd-fav Lily Waugh, have form at this sort of trip and look vulnerable to me.  Whereas Handmaid stays 3-mile and always runs a fair race, tho’ can look one-paced.  The 5yo Miss Serious has now won 3 of her 5 hurdle races and is proven at this trip and she looks possibly the best at the odds being 6/1. She also has an entry for Friday at Newton Abbot, but races here instead.

This looks an opportunity for an eachway double.

Ludlow 3:15 DREAMSOFTHEATRE, £4 eachway @ 9/2 (Available with Bet365, Bet Victor and others at 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
Ludlow 3:50 MISS SERIOUS, £4 eachway @ 6/1 (Available with Bet365, Bet Victor and others at 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
AND: £2 eachway double on DREAMSOFTHEATRE and MISS SERIOUS

Total Staked = £20

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Monday 5 October 2015

Golden Horn rules supreme

What a tremendous result it was for British horseracing with GOLDEN HORN – bred at Newmarket - taking the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe in emphatic style under a brilliant ride from Frankie Dettori.
As I wrote last week, in GOLDEN HORN we had a 3yo colt who was a cut-above the ordinary and who should have been going in Sunday’s race unbeaten.  The wide draw (14) wasn’t encouraging, but the horse had the class to overcome that and in Frankie Dettori, who is enjoying a renaissance of his own this season, he had a jockey capable of steering him to victory.

The form of the race looks outstanding, with last year’s runner-up Flintshire, filling the same spot; and the best of the French-trained 3yo colts New Bay taking 3rd place, just ahead of last year’s winner Treve. It would be tremendous if GOLDEN HORN stayed in training as a 4yo, but that isn’t really possible in this day and age.  Realistically, the only reason wonder horse FRANKEL was kept in training as a 4yo was to demonstrate that he was capable of maintaining his form at 10-furlongs and wasn’t just a top-class miler.

The plan was to issue a blog on Sunday, not just because of the meeting at Longchamp but also because there was a runner from my alert list who I thought was just about nailed on to win.  That horse was SIMPLY NED, who was running at Kelso in a race he’d won last season.  He was back to the same rating of OR157 yesterday, and I had hoped that the presence of Croco Bay (who put in an exceptional performance when winning at Ascot last November on soft ground, and followed that up with a good 3rd at Cheltenham at the Festival last March) to whom SIMPLY NED was giving 6lb, would ensure we obtained 9/4 and qualify for a blog selection.  However, that was not the case and although the opening odds on SIMPY NED were 7/4 they never went longer.  Long-term readers of the blog will know that I do not advise wagers over the jumps at odds under 9/4, that is as low as I’m prepared to accept.  It means we will miss some winners like SIMPLY NED, who won very comfortably and probably should have started odds-on, but you have to build-in to your risk assessment the possibility of your selection being brought-down or otherwise impeded and prevented from winning by the actions of another horse.

Saturday 3 October 2015

Keep the powder dry for another day

It was a disappointing effort from the selection, Royal Battalion, yesterday; and the writing was on the wall after they had barely gone a mile with jockey Jamie Moore hard at work. I think I was right to oppose the odds-on fav for the race, Shear Rock, as although he won he was under hard driving to get back into the race and head the Irish import Disputed,who came in 2nd.
It made me realise that sticking to the alert list is probably the best thing to do with selections until the form settles down.
Still, the blog has made a decent start to the jumps season from the 3 selections to date: 1 winner, 1 placed, and 1 lost
Profit = £28
Total staked = £30

There are two meetings over the jumps today (Saturday) at Fontwell and Hexham.
At Fontwell, the main race that I am interested in is the 3:20pm a Class 2 handicap hurdle over an extended 2m3f.
The topweight is an old friend of the blog, FOXCUB, who has won a couple of times for us and is a horse who runs well at Fontwell. He started last season in this race and ran 2nd off OR129 finishing well clear of the 3rd horse, but was unable to contain the winner that day, Henryville, who won of OR138 and  ended the season rated OR156 going on to run 4th in the Pertemps Final over 3-mile at the Cheltenham Festival - so, no disgrace in defeat that day.
In his next race, he made an early mistake and couldn't make an impression after that. However, at Bangor in November, he made-all over a similar trip to today off OR132. In his final couple of races he was outclassed in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot and the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton. The worry is that he may just need this race to reach peak fitness, and trainer Tom Symonds would like to go chasing with him this season.
The current race-fav PROMANCO looks very well handicapped on OR122 if the promise of his latest win in May is anything to go by. However, the same can be said for the 2nd-fav AFTER EIGHT SIVOLA who won well over 2-mile LTO and has won over a similar trip to today. The other LTO winner in the race is GIOIA DI VITA, who is another who could be well handicapped as, behind him when he won LTO was a subsequent good winner.
A tricky race to fathom, and one in which I'd like to side with my alert list horse but realistically, I can't as there are too many improving unexposed rivals. I expect FOXCUB to run well, trying to make-all as usual; and, if he gets them all off the bridle in the final mile then, who knows?

As such, no wager advised today, but we may have one tomorrow.

Friday 2 October 2015

Battalion to win the match

Not the best of meetings at Fontwell this afternoon, and winner finding could prove tricky.  I was hoping that some of the races would be more competitive, but it seems that the best approach (if you are considering having a wager) is assessing whether the fav for each race is beatable or not, and taking it from there.
There are no alert list runners out today, but it looks like there will be a couple running over the weekend.
Back to Fontwell, and the opening juvenile maiden hurdle looks wide open, and the following handicap chase has been reduced to just 3 runners. However, the Class 3 handicap hurdle at 3:15pm looks more interesting. The race-fav is Shear Rock, and he's running off OR115 which is 7lb higher than his rating LTO when he won at Market Rasen in June. I think he's vulnerable off this revised rating as he looked at the extreme of his ability when he won that race, and he only won that race by a "neck". I'm more interested in another in this race, Royal Battalion sent here by local trainer Gary Moore.
If you want an example of how the finger of fate can effect horseracing, then Royal Battalion is perfect. His dam, Yummy Mummy, is a full sister to multiple Group 1 winner Fame And Glory, and his half-sister is none-other than multiple Group 1 winning 3yo filly Legatissimo.  As a yearling, Legatissimo sold for £350,000, and her half-brother Royal Battalion sold for £575,000 - yet, one is winning Group 1 races on the flat, and the other is contesting a handicap hurdle at Fontwell.
I think we will see significant improvement from Royal Battalion as a hurdler as he's already shown that he's capable of jumping a hurdle and winning this summer. The soft ground, and having just 2 rivals did for him in his last race in August, but today's ground and opposition should keep his mind on the job.
Disputed spent the summer with Gordon Elliot in Ireland, running 9 times for him without winning - and if he couldn't win with the horse, then I doubt Chris Gordon is going to find much improvement with him, and he looks highly rated on OR119. Gordon also runs Superciliary but that horse has been off the track some time and would probably prefer softer ground than today. Finally, Lyssio looks outclassed.
I was going to take a look at the handicap chase at 3:50pm,  but that race looks a bit tight. There is not much between Chris Pea Green, Workbench or Purple N Gold.. Workbench won this race last season (it was the last race he won) and looked a better horse afterwards when trying trips over 2m4f. His form hasn't looked good enough this summer; so perhaps the likely winner will be either of the other two heading the market. But it looks a race that none can be truly discounted from, so I'm passing it over.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, I'm fairly confidant we should have a wager tomorrow.

So then - the 3:15pm handicap hurdle at Fontwell today,  Do we have a wager? As I think the race is just about a "match" between Royal Battalion and Shear Rock, and there isn't much to seperate them on known form at this sort of trip, but ROYAL BATTALION has scope for further improvement (he is, after all, just a 4yo), at the odds I have to go with ROYAL BATTALION on whom you can obtain 11/4 generally, whereas Shear Rock is at odds-on generally at 10/11.

Fontwell 3:15 ROYAL BATTALION, £10 win @ 11/4 (available generally)

Thursday 1 October 2015

Looking forward to the weekend and the Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe

The jumps season is slowing warming up.
It is a period when you need to be patient and wait for your reward.
There is an interesting 2-day meeting at Fontwell over Friday and Saturday, and we should be able to find a wager on Saturday when one from my alert list runs there.
Sunday, along with the Prix De L’arc de Triomphe being staged at Langchamp, also has three good jump race meetings at Uttoxeter, Huntingdon and Kelso. Again, we should be presented with a wagering opportunity at one of these meetings, and I’m pretty sure which horse I’ll be recommending, so long as the odds available are value.
There’s plenty of opportunity waiting for us, we just have to be a bit patient.

One of my personal disappointments at the moment, is the absence of the Nick Mordin column from the RP Weekender. Whether you love him or hate him, Mordin always manages to provide a thoughtful alternative look at the weeks racing. The Weekender has expanded the column inches of “Pricewise” Tom Segal, but he is not in the same league.  I’m already getting fed-up with Segal’s whine about not finding winners of the major handicaps on the flat. Perhaps instead of relying on getting the nod from some of Britains best trainers, he should start reading the formbook instead.

The focus of the racing world will be on Longchamp this Sunday afternoon, where TREVE attempts to win the race for the 3rd time.  She has shown that her ability has not diminished this season, having won all 3 starts and confirming her superiority over last year’s “Arc” runner-up, Flintshire.  Thing is, my opinion is that this year we have a 3yo colt in the race who is perhaps a cut-above the ordinary – GOLDEN HORN.  Without a doubt, were it not for a bit of poor tactical riding by Frankie Dettori at York, GOLDEN HORN would be going into Sunday’s race unbeaten.  The ground being Good-to-Soft is a slight worry, but only slight as a horse of this class should be able to act on virtually any type of ground.  A lot could depend on the draw, though when we know what the draw is I can’t really see it affecting the odds being offered for the race.  That said, I just can’t’ consider TREVE as value at just “evens” – and she’s odds-on with a few bookies.
GOLDEN HORN at 9/2 is more interesting (available with Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Coral) but, along with the ground worry, he’s also had a long season and it will all depend on how he travels through the race.
At this moment, if I was going to have a wager, I think I’d have to go for a horse that is relatively unexposed yet has shown enough to warrant a place in the race and comes into the weekend fresh is the Irish-trained FREE EAGLE. Although this will be the first time the horse has tackled 1m4f being sired by High Chaparral the trip should not prove a problem. From his debut as a 2yo over a mile at Leopardstown, he has looked a seriously high-class horse. He missed most of his 3yo season but in both his runs this season he’s looked a more than capable Group 1 horse.  Available at 16/1 generally, it is not difficult to see him finding another 5lb or more on Sunday and being right there in the mix.
No wager recommended, as this is a jump racing blog, but I would not put anyone off an eachway wager on FREE EAGLE for the Arc.

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