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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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Sunday 24 December 2017

Boxing Day 2017

An action-packed day of racing for Boxing Day and, as usual, I'm trying to put together a "Yankee" wager and provide readers of the blog with a profitable Christmas bonus.  On busy days like Boxing Day, I'm looking for horses that have been overlooked by the market as at most meetings there will be a lot of punters who are unfamiliar with the form having a wager - and those punters will be focusing on top trainers, well known jockeys and the race favourites.  So I'm looking at those "long-distance travellers" and solitary runners from trainers with a good strike-rate at the tracks who horses are not the fav and maybe trading at a point or 2 longer than they should be.

I do not want to be diverted by the feature races at Kempton, so I'm starting my review of the racing with Wetherby's card - and that is where champion jockey Richard Johnson is riding and he could provide us with a few winners.  Johnson rides Petticoat Tails for Warren Greatrex in the opener at 12:30pm. Greatrex has a 28% strike-rate at Wetherby (25% in hurdle races) and he travels 198 miles to race here. Johnson also rides the stables Aloomomo in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at 2:10pm, and Bright Tomorrow in the handicap hurdle at 2:45pm. I like the chance of Aloomomo as he won off OR129 at Newbury over almost 2m7f on soft and he races off OR133 in this race. He could be a 140+ chaser based on that Newbury win, and he comes here race-fit from hurdling.
The Rowland Meyrick is a top handicap chase and last years 2nd Wakanda (an old favourite of mine) races off OR144 which is 5lb lower than last year, but his run LTO did not inspire my confidence in him. I think his stablemate Delusionofgrandeur has a better chance, but he's up 8lb to OR142 for his LTO win.  This Sue Smith trained pair will likely try and force the pace and this should suit Aloomomo.  Richard Johnson also rides Grey Gold for Kerry Lee in the 2m3f chase at 1:40pm, and though he's 12yo (he's 13yo on 1st Jan) this horse is Kerry Lee's only runner here and could go very well.
Market Rasen has the Linconshire National over 3m3f as the feature race, and this race has a few interesting runners.  There are 3 trainers with good strike-rates and only one runner entered at the meeting: Saint John Henry (David Pipe 30% in chases), Vinegar Hill (Stuart Edmunds 50% in chases); and Petite Power (Fergal O'Brien 24% in chases) - however, I don't think either of them look the likely winner. For me, BORIC who has been in the form of his life this season looks the most likely winner over this trip as he will stay every yard. So long as the ground does not turn heavy, he has a great chance.
Fontwell looks  tricky meeting. There are several that interest me: in the 2m2f handicap chase at 2:00pm Bredon Hill Lad is a C&D winner who won LTO and this could be an easy task for him. Dan Skelton has runners all over the place, yet he sends just one here in It's Afreebee who wears blinkers for the 1st-time in an effort to revive his form. I also like the look of Marienstar in the final race of the meeting who is the only runner here for Neil King.
Wincanton has a good Class 3 chase in the Lord Stalbridge Handicap over 3m1f at 2:05pm.  Last years race was a fiasco as a loose horse brought down all but one of the entire field and then the final horse standing pulled-up and refused to race. Kerry Lee (see Wetherby above) sends Krackatoa King for this and it's her only runner here - I think the horse has a great chance in this race as he is a dour stayer in good form.
Sedgefield has a good meeting, and the busy Dan Skelton sends a couple here too.  The horse travelling the furthest is Glimpse Of Gold in the 12:25pm sent by Tim Vaughan. Vaughan has a decent strike-rate here and this horse was in good form in the Spring. He ran in a chase LTO on 23rd October, and I think the horse has been aimed at this race. At 2:05pm there is a 2m3f handicap chase which looks like it lacks depth and the consistent Whitsundays could be the answer.  He wasn't beaten far over C&D back in March and had his first run after a 6-month break on 2nd December when he ran 2nd at Bangor over 2m1f, and it looks like this has been his target for some time.
Huntingdon is where Venetia Williams sends her only runner of the day: Becauseshesaidso in the 2m7f handicap chase at 3:00pm - however, I'm not convinced that the horse will stay this trip. Even so, the field for this race is so weak it will not take a lot of winning.
At Kempton, the novice chases at 1:20pm and 1:55pm are worth watching but they are too competitive to wager in. The feature race, the King George VI Chase at 3:05pm looks like being a cracker and for me the interesting thing is the entry of Fox Norton.  If Fox Norton can find some improvement - and it only needs to be about 5lb - then he's bang in there with a chance of winning this.  I'm not yet convinced Might Bite is the world-beater that people think, and at the odds I'm solidly behinf Bristol De Mai who I think should be the fav considering he's won at right-handed Sandown, and was a top-class novice chaser with form on good-to-soft ground.  Sure, he's a better chaser on soft ground (or worse), but he's no slouch on good-to-soft either.

So, my Yankee Shortlist is:-
Wetherby 2:10 - ALOOMOMO
Market Rasen 2:15 - BORIC
Fontwell 2:00 - BREDON HILL LAD
Sedgefield 2:05 - WHITSUNDAYS
Huntingdon 3:00 - BECAUSESHESAIDSO
Kempton 3:05 - BRISTOL DE MAI

The final Yankee is:-
Fontwell 2:00 - BREDON HILL LAD @ 3/1 (Stan James) very consistent performer
Sedgefield 2:05 - WHITSUNDAYS @ 3/1 (Stan James) looks like he has been aimes at this race
Wetherby 2:10 - ALOOMOMO @ 3/1 (Stan James) this horse could be 10lb ahead of the handicapper
For the final selection I will be on
Market Rasen 2:15 - BORIC @ 8/1 (Stan James) a dour stayer he will run to his rating but may need a bit of luck.
OR you could have...
Kempton 3:05 - BRISTOL DE MAI @ 9/2 (Stan James) this horse is a proven performer and he should be the fav for this race at 2/1, these odds are an insult.
£2 win yankee and £1.50 eachway yankee = £55 staked

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Have courage in your convictions

"Have the courage of your knowledge and experience.
If you have formed a conclusion from the facts and if you know your judgement is sound, act on it - even though others may hesitate or differ.
You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you.
You are right because your data and reasoning are right."
Benjamin Graham

This statement was written in respect of investment on the stock markets, however it resonates very well with the betting markets too.   Sometimes you have to wait for the best opportunities to come along and sometimes they are so obvious that you "refuse" to see them!  In hindsight, that certainly seemed the case with Blaklion last Saturday as he so dominated the Becher Chase that the returned SP of 7/4 was considered generous by some (for instance, Tom Segal "Pricewise" in the Racing Post).  But you always have to take account before the race the potential effect of luck on the eventual outcome and I don't think that was reflected in the odds.

This weekend's 2-day Cheltenham meeting isn't the best of the season although the 3m1f novice chase on Friday has produced some good horses and will be worth taking an interest in.  I am also looking forward to the 3m2f Class 1 handicap chase on Friday in which race-fav's don't have a great record. With 4 of the last 5 winners aged 9yo or older, experience has counted in the past, and of the only "older" horses in Friday's race Mysteree - who has won on his seasonal debut for the past 4 seasons (didn't run in 2014-15) - looks very interesting. 

Saturday's feature race at Cheltenham looks a tricky event but I'm hoping that STARCHITECT can make-up for  his defeat LTO.  He ran a cracker that day, always in the van and it was only because the winner (Splash Of Ginge) had the run of the race that he didn't succeed. 

Saturday 9 December 2017

So close, but no cigar

We hit the crossbar on Saturday when Sugar Baron came with a storming finish to fail by just a neck to peg back the long-time leader Benbens in the London "National" at Sandown.  We were on at the "value" odds of 11/2, as his SP was just 3/1, and I'm sure come the end of this season his rating will be above OR145. Unfortunately, his jumping wasn't the best I've seen and at numerous fences he lost a few yards - and that more than counted come the finish.  I expect Nicky Henderson will work on his jumping and we will see a more complete chaser next time out. Fair play to Benbens winning this race as a 12yo - he will be a 13yo in 3 weeks time. Benbens has come into his own in these marathon chases - twice 3rd in the Scottish National, 4th in the Bet365 Chase, 5th in the Welsh National - he really deserved to win a race like this.

At Aintree, Sametegal was given an easy ride out wide and off the pace, he looked to have no chance when going very wide at the "Canal Turn" and I even feared he may be pulled-up then, he was so far off the pace. But no, after jumping the 3rd last, he made up considerable ground on the long run to the 2nd last fence and I thought a horse of his class had it in the bag as they approached that fence. Unfortunately, he received a bump there and that possibly cost him the race as although he got going again - and was briefly in 2nd on the run-in - the effort was too much. Even so, I think had he been ridden closer to the pace he could well have won this or at least pushed the eventual winner very hard.

Earlier in the day at Aintree, we saw Blaklion win the Becher Chase, and it was an emphatic win, he never looked in danger of not winning from about the 4th last fence. However, as I wrote in my blog, Blaklion is a most consistent horse, he was the same as a hurdler, and I didn't see any improvement in today's performance - the others just weren't good enough to beat him. However, the handicapper won't see it like that and if he goes up 5lb or more then he may find winning another handicap this season tricky.

The performance of the day was from novice chaser Sceau Royal in the Henry VIII chase at Sandown - he looked an exceptional chaser and if I have seen the winner of the "Arkle" next March, this is it. So whether to take the 8/1 on offer for that race depends on whether he goes for that race or the JLT Novices Chase over 2m4f for which he's 12/1 - he certainly looked like he would stay that trip no problem today and the JLT is the easier of the two in my opinion.

Jack Frost nipping at your nose....

The frost has descended on the country and (so far) we have 3 meetings going ahead at Aintree, Wetherby and Chepstow. There is an inspection at Sandown at 10am.

Aintree has the best racing going ahead as I write with the feature being the Becher Chase at 1:30pm.  There are 16 runners going to post headed by Blaklion on the meagre odds of 5/2 - however, the 8yo who was  4th in the Grand National over this course last April has a favourites chance as he handles the course, handles heavy ground (it will be heavy when the frost burns off) and is consistent enough to be capable of running to his rating of OR153. He also comes here race-fit having chased home Bristol De Mai at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase. So, can he be beaten today?

Of those closest in the market, I think the heavy ground will find out Highland Lodge. He may have a great record in this race, but heavy ground with tax his stamina. Vieux Lion Rouge won this race last year and also handles soft/heavy, and he won't be far away. The Last Samurai will need a career-best run to win this off OR159 carrying 11st 12lb and I don't think he will be capable. While As De Mee won over these fences last season, it was over 2m5f and this trip will likely find him out.  The one that I like is Goodtoknow - a prominent runner, who handles these fences, and goes well on soft/heavy. He stays this trip well too and his rating of OR142 puts him in with a good chance. Odds of 12/1 look fair value, especially as Ladbrokes go quarter-odds for 4-places, as it's hard for me to see him not finishing worse than 4th. However, Blaklion should win this race but I cannot bet on him in this race at odds of just 5/2 as he should be at least 9/2 in my opinion.

The other race over the National fences today is the Grand Sefton, a Class 2 chase over 2m5f and I think the class horse in this race is SAMETEGAL who is relatively unexposed and could be a lot better than OR144. He's won on soft ground over 2m4f at Newbury from a rating or OR143 and with this being only his 7th chase race he could have a lot of improvement in his still to come. Gas Line Boy has a favourites chance being a front-runner who handles the ground, but the 11yo may be unable to hold off the younger horse. Odds of 6/1 look good value on Sametegal.

At Sandown, the Henry VIII novices chase at 1:45pm looks a cracker, and while Brain Power could be another Altior for me, the jury is still out. At the odds, I'm looking to take him on and North Hill Harvey could be the horse to upset the odds as he showed his class when winning the Greatwood Hurdle off  OR141 with 11st and Modus in 2nd carrying 4lb less.  Odds of 6/1 look value to me as he should have too much speed for Finians Oscar and he's a better horse (as far as the form book shows) than Sceau Royal and Capitaine; so it all depends on whether Brain Power is the real-deal or not.

Whatever the result, Henderson has a great chance in the last race on the Sandown card with SUGAR BARON at odds of 11/2.  He just lacked a finishing kick in the Bet365 over C&D last April but he is very well handicapped to me on OR135 and I reckon he will be in the mid-140's by the end of the season.  The only danger I can see will be coming from top-weight Southfield Theatre who made a big step in th right direction LTO and with a 7lb claimer on, he could be interesting. The fav Doing Fine is a consistent performer but his rating of OR137 is about his ceiling.

Today I will be having a couple of win wagers on SAMETEGAL @ 6/1 and SUGAR BARON @ 11/2, and a place-only wager on Goodtoknow at 3.10 (1st-4 finish) on the exchanges. I will also have a small wager on North Hill Harvey.

Sunday 3 December 2017

When Saturday comes...

Three selections - two winners at SP's of 6/1 and 11/4 and available at 7/1 and 9/2 when I posted the blog.  Not only that, but my 3rd selection - Missed Approach - was named midweek for one of the strongest handicap chases of the season at odds of 33/1 and started at 20/1. You won't find me tipping odds-on chances on this blog and shouting "boom!"

I'm really enjoying my racing at the moment.  This season has been a breath of fresh air to me and I think it is because I've dropped the subscriptions element and that has reduced the pressure to perform to order. Essentially, I'm going through the same motions to find my wagers:-
- choosing the best races;
- seeking to oppose a weak favourite;
- finding a horse with proven form at the trip and on the ground;
- ensuring that (in my opinion) it should be in the 1st-2 in the betting;
- finding that the odds are a lot longer than I expect.

When you have days like yesterday with 4 meetings at Newbury, Newcastle, Bangor and Doncaster and with top-class racing at a couple of those meetings, finding a "blot" in the market isn't too difficult for me. What I have found difficult in recent years is writing up the reasons behind my selection in enough depth and clarity to provide comfort and confidence to readers behind the selection.

Over the years, I think I've proven my ability to find winners, and so I'm taking a back seat on the blogging and writing a shorter synopsis of which yesterday's blog was a good example.

I do hope readers - 106 read yesterdays blog, and 147 read my Ladbrokes Trophy analysis in midweek - were on the selections. Even the losing wager on Missed Approach was very entertaining - I thought we were on the winner for a long while and was riding the horse along with Richard Johnson!

Keep visiting and reading the blog, especially on a Saturday.  And I promise to do my best to ensure the winners keep coming.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Saturday 2nd December

It's a big day for me, as I nailed my colours firmly to the mast of MISSED APPROACH for todays Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase earlier this week, having place antepost wagers back in September and October - I'm on at 66/1.

I think the preparation for the horse is perfect as he comes here fresh, with the best jockey available in the saddle in Richard Johnson, and he has blinkers on 1st-time to keep his focus on the race.

There is some great racing today, and I will be having some other wagers as there is plenty of sport to choose from. At Bangor in the 1:35pm which is a 3-mile Class 3 handicap chase only 5lb covers this field of 7-runners and I'm taken with BELLS OF AINSWORTH who stays well, has form on soft ground and should improve for his recent run.  Odds of 7/1 look very generous to me.

At Newcastle, I think BEWARE THE BEAR has an excellent chance of winning the Rehearsal Chase over 3-mile at 3:20pm. He will love the soft ground and has abundant stamina and odds of 9/2 look fair. The dangers will be Bishops Road, if he can reproduce his run in this race of last season, and Our Kaempfer who at his best form will be in with a great shout.

But the attention will be on Newbury at 3pm, and if you are not on already, the 25/1 offered on MISSED APPROACH could be the best value of the day.