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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 24 February 2018

Value in the Betdaq Chase

Today is possibly the last Saturday before the Cheltenham Festival that we can find some Festival winning form - and yet what a disappointing Saturday of racing we have. There are just two jumps meetings at Kempton and Chepstow, with Newcastle, Lingfield and Wolverhampton staging all-weather meetings of flat racing. There is a jumps meeting in Ireland at Fairyhouse, but that doesn't count in my eyes.

The Chepstow meeting is very ordinary fare - a Class 2 handicap chase run over 2-mile is the feature race of the day there and it has attracted only 7 runners, the highest rate being the 12yo Eastlake who runs off OR147 but is very inconsistent.  As it is, the youngest horse in the race is the 9yo Baby King and he may just be the answer as he does like to get his toe in the ground and the sfot ground at Chepstow will be to his liking.  It may have been the slighty better good-to-soft ground that upset him when he met Overtown Express at Newbury in December over an extended 2-miles, and though he was well beaten that day, BABY KING did start the fav and is 4lbs better-off now with Overtown Express who's form has taken a dip since. In 2nd that day in December was Rock On Rocky and he went close NTO but was disappointing LTO here at Chepstow on heavy ground.  BABY KING is the current 15/8 fav which looks a tad short to me - I'd be looking for 5/2 at least.

Earlier on the Chepstow card, I like the look of EDDIEMAURICE in the Class 3 handicap hurdle at 3:05pm. This horse had had a lot of races so holds no surprises - but he is consistent, and the soft ground and 2-mile trip should play to his strengths.  Odds of 6/1 look fair value as the fav Diable De Sivola is on quite a high OR135 rating, and Moabit looked to be out of love with the hurdling game LTO after spending the latter part of 2017 racing on the flat.

At 3:40pm there is a Class 2, 2m7f handicap hurdle, and BOOK OF GOLD has the best recent form, running 2nd LTO over 3-mile at Newbury having pressed the leader most of the way, That was his 1st run at this sort of trip and with stamina proven he will not be far away.

Having once has a mare in training (with a syndicate) with Sheena West who trains at Falmer on the outskirts of Brighton (where I live) I will be rooting for HARMONISE in the Adonis Hurdle run at Kempton at 2:25pm.  Sheena needs a bit of luck, as she has the talent to prepare and place a horse when she has the ammunition.  Unfortunately, she's struggling to find owners and I think she is  down to under half-a-dozen horses in her stable. If you have a syndicate with owners based in the South East of England, there's no better place I'd send your horse that Sheena's friendly stable on the glorious South Downs with Plumpton, Fontwell, and Lingfield within easy reach.

The feature race of the day is at Kempton at 3:35pm and it's the Betdaq Handicap chase run over 3-miles.  With 15-runners going to post this is a most competitive race, but I hope I can give you a pointer to a profit in it.    The fav Acting Lass will not be able to hit a flat-spot like she did LTO, and at 4/1 she isn't the value in this race. Similarly, the 2nd-fav Tintern Theatre is not a safe enough jumper of a fence.  I think this 3-mile trip could find out Art Mauresque and it's interesting that Nicholls hasn't put Bryony Frost and her 3lb claim in the saddle.  The trip is also a worry when considering Theatre Territory, as it is with the 9yo Master Dee. No trip problems with the 12/1 chance GO CONQUER though, as he tore apart a good field in the Sodexo Gold Cup over 3-mile at Ascot in November before an uncharacteristic error at the 14th fence when returning to Ascot in December did for his chances LTO.  If he can repeat the Ascot form today then he has a terrific chance of making all on this track that does favour a front-runner.  Of the others, I am really surprised that AS DE MEE  is trading at 33/1; he stays 3-mile really well (won over 3m2f in October beating Wakanda) and he chased home Go Conquer when they met at Fontwell in October. He was giving that horse 3lb that day (Bryony Frost - and her 5lb claim - was in the saddle) and he's in receipt of 2lb today - he could be one for a place-only wager as he should fill one of the minor places with a clear round.

Friday 23 February 2018

Cold Snap Ahead

The racing this week has been interesting as trainers get what should be a final spin - and hopefully a winning one - into their horses before the Cheltenham Festival.  There have been some decent performances this week, for instance INSTANT REPLAY yesterday at Sedgefield; BAND OF BLOOD at Doncaster on Wednesday; and BUCKLE STREET also at Doncaster on Wednesday (this 5yo could develop into a decent staying chaser).

There are more interesting types out today and some that catch my eye are:-
POLLY's PERSUIT - only runner for Nicky Henderson at Exeter today, running in the Mares' Hurdle at 3:40pm.
COO STAR SIVOLA - will need to win this to gain an entry to the 3m1f handicap chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
SOCKSY - improving mare, possibly didn't appreciate the heavy ground LTO, but will stay this 3-mile trip.

Tomorrows racing looks like being very decent and with the forecast cold weather due to hit the country on Sunday/Monday and expected to last most of next week, good performances on Saturday could have a huge influence on results at the Cheltenham Festival next month - it's just over 3 weeks away.

Regarding the Cheltenham Festival; I've been invited to participate in a Charity Tipping contest via www.horses4causes.com and I'm also planning on writing a daily blog Monday to Friday during Festival week.  In the meantime, I've been updating my personal stats sheet, looking for trends that the others ignore, but also focusing on the trends that are the most important.  So many Festival "Guides" are produced now that it makes no sense to produce my own - so what I do it focus on the best bits.  I'm also planning on attending the London Racing Club Festival Preview evening on Thursday 8th March and (finally) I'm expecting to be at the Festival on the Thursday and Friday.  I'm not sure where I'll be - probably in the "Best Mate" stand on the Thursday, and will try and obtain a Tatts ticket for the Main Stand for the Friday.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Top Notch day of racing

What a beautiful "Spring" day to go racing on! When I took the dog for his morning walk at 7am today the weather was glorious.  We have 3 meetings at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton so plenty of racing to choose from.  My selections on the blog have not had much luck these past couple of Saturdays, so I'm hoping for a change of fortune today.

At Ascot, small fields have stifled the "value" available, as I don't want to place a wager at odds under 9/4.  The feature race at Ascot is the Grade 1 Ascot Chase over 2m5f at 3:35pm.  Old warrior Cue Card won this race last year, and he also won the race in 2013 on his way to Festival glory.He may just have one more good race in him.  However, he will need to be on the top of his game to win this race as the 7yo's Coney Island, Top Notch and Waiting Patiently all hold top claims.  For me, the horse with the "proven" form is TOP NOTCH and with Nicky Henderson in tip-top form recently he is the horse that the others have to beat.

Earlier on the Ascot card at 2:25pm there is a 3-mile Class 1 (Listed) handicap chase with just 6 runners going to post as Gold Present is a non-runner.  The betting has been re-juggled and the new fav is Another Venture, but I think that horse will need to find more improvement to hold off HOLLY BUSH HENRY who is in top form and goes well for jockey James Bowen.  I thought the horse was a little unlucky not to win LTO when meeting the unexposed chaser Ballydine and he can go one better today. He has nothing to fear from the other 4 runners in the race who are all well exposed chasers. To me odds of 7/2 look good value as I think the horse should be the fav and trading at about 9/4.

At Haydock the ground is heavy, and that will really sort the runners out at the Northern venue for the feature race, the Grand National Trial at 3:15pm.  Blaklion was beaten in this race last year when racing off OR152, so I really cannot see him winning off OR161.  In my opinion a 13lb rise from OR135 to OR148 was far too much for The Dutchman for his win here at Haydock LTO. The "joker" in the pack is Wild West Wind who could be well-in running off OR144 and he will certainly relish the mud - but his jumping can expose him. At just 3/1 he is too short in the market for me. SILSOL ran a cracker in the Welsh National considering it was just his 5th chase race, and this top 3-mile hurdler (rated OR158 in April 2016) can go well off OR144 as he has plenty of good form on heavy ground and odds of 9/1 are great eachway value. 

I'm going to leave my selections at that:-
Ascot 2:25pm HOLLY BUSH HENRY @ 7/2 - £10 win
Ascot 3:35pm TOP NOTCH - best odds available are currently 2/1, so try and obtain 9/4 (or longer)
Haydock 3:15pm SILSOL @ 9/1 - £5 eachway (Bet365 offer quarter-odds 1,2,3)

Finally, it is now less than a month to the Cheltenham Festival and the "preview" evenings are being announced and, to get you in the swing of things, Ben Aitken of Narrow the Field has published his essential guide to the Festival  Ten Cheltenham Stats which provides some terrific info.

Friday 16 February 2018

Liam Treadwell & Mon Mome

When Liam Treadwell announced this week that he was retiring as a jump-jockey it brought back memories of his Grand National win in 2009 on the Venetia Williams trained Mon Mome. This was before I started writing my blog in March 2010, however - back then - I was a regular contributor to the Betfair racing forum (now defunct) under the moniker "Wayward Lad". 

Mon Mome was a favourite horse of mine before he ran that day, as I had backed the horse at the 2007 Cheltenham Festival when he'd run 4th in the 3-mile handicap chase on the opening day when he was just a 7yo.  He returned to Cheltenham the following year to contest the same race, but could only finish 6th in 2008.  However, he was staying on very strong from having been well off the pace. After that race, he went to Aintree to contest the Grand National but he was badly hampered when jumping "Bechers" on the 2nd-circuit losing a lot of momentum, and he was never able to get back in contention. 

In the autumn of 2008 his form took an upswing as, on his seasonal debut in November, he very nearly won a Class 2 handicap chase over an inadequate 2m7f, before going to Cheltenham in December and winning a Listed handicap chase over an extended 3m1f beating a very decent field.  On the back of that, he went to Chepstow 15-days later to contest the Welsh National as the 9/2 fav.  That race was run on soft ground which was expected to suit Mon Mome but, if you look at his subsequent form, soft/heavy ground did not bring out the best in him.  He didn't run well, and so was sent to Towcester in mid-January for a 3-mile hurdle race probably to rekindle his enthusiasm. Not being the quickest horse, he could only stay on to be 2nd. He then went to Haydock in mid-February for what has now become the "National Trial" but back then it was Grade 3 handicap chase run over a furlong less than tomorrow's Betfred Grand National Trial being run over 3m4f & 97 yards.  The ground at Haydock was heavy that day, and Mon Mome hated it showing now form at all - but he did finish the race. With marathon distances appearing to suit him, he missed the Cheltenham Festival in 2009 and went for the Midlands National run over 4m1f at Uttoxeter.  The ground was soft that day, and Mon Mome was carrying 11st 12lb. He was the only horse carrying over 11st to finish the race, and he came home a tailed-off last of the 8 finishers - but he had been "in-the-van" up until the 18th fence.

Going into the National, I had reviewed the runners a few weeks before the race (as I always do) and back then I was convinced a horse with more than 11st to carry had little or no chance of winning the race. However, I was aware that a class horse could run particularly well in the Grand National even with a big weight to carry as in 2005 I had backed the French-bred Royal Auclair "place-only" to be in the 1st-4 at 18.0 (or 17/1) on Betfair, and the horse had run 2nd that year (looked like winning 2-out) carrying 11st 10lb.

My shortlist of chase winners over 3-mile; horses aged 8, 9 or 10; allotted weight between 10st 1lb and 11st; included Mon Mome and on reviewing his form I came to the conclusion that the likely "good-to-soft" ground on National day would suit the horse better than the soft/heavy ground on which he'd run his previous 4 races. I also knew (as he'd finished the race in 2008) that he handled the Aintree fences and stayed the trip. To me, he was almost certain to finish the race barring a mishap. I reviewed the race of 2008 and the interference at Bechers was just in camera and he looked lucky not to have been brought down - without that, I thought he could have been in the 1st-4.  As such, I expected the horse to be at 16/1 but was amazed to see he was priced at 40/1 the week before the race. 

I posted my thoughts onto the Betfair forum, and a lively debate ensued - most sages telling me a French-bred could never win the Grand National.  My retort to that was if Kauto Star, Exotic Dancer, or Neptune Collonges (who subsequently won the Grand National in 2012) were running in the race - and they were all French-breds who had filled 3 or the 1st-4 places in that years Cheltenham Gold Cup - would they dismiss their chances so readily?

As the week progressed and various newspaper tipsters posted their selections and previews of the race, most (if not all) ignored Mon Mome, purely on the basis that he was a French-bred, and French-breds don't win the National. As such, Mon Mome's odds went out to 60/1 on the Tuesday before the race, 80/1 on the Thursday before the race, and on the day itself 100/1 was available with some bookies offering 6-places at quarter-odds.  Not only that, layers on Betfair were offering 170 about Mon Mome (my old friend Alan put £6 on Betfair looking to be laid at 200, and he was!).  I was placing money in small amounts all week long, telling all my friends and anyone else who would listen.  An old friend sent me an email the day before the race saying "give me the name of one horse for the National, just one horse" - I wrote back Mon Mome.
On the day of the race, at about mid-day when I became frustrated and a bit annoyed that no mention of the horse had been made on any of the tv coverage; I posted a new thread on Betfair titled "Mon Mome: 9/2 Fav for the Welsh National, 100/1 today - why?" I still have a copy of that thread on my laptop (cut & pasted onto a word file).
Liam Treadwell gave the horse a tremendous ride that day, kept the horse covered-up towards the rear of the field on the 1st-circuit allowing him to find his rhythm and enjoy himself.  As the 2nd-circuit progressed I was confident of a return on the place-part of my eachway wagers when Mon Mome cleared the Canal Turn in about 5th or 6th going easily and the race for home commenced.  As the leaders approached the 2nd-last fence, I thought Mon Mome was the only possible winner as Liam Treadwell had yet to ask his mount a question, and I was stood in front if the tv shouting encouragement that could probably be heard in the next street. It was only as they approached the final fence that Mon Mome was asked, and what a response! On clearing the fence he quickened away and in a matter of strides opened up a winning advantage. What I love about jump racing is when you have a good winner the long run-in from the final fence gives you plenty of time to appreciate the moment - and boy, did I enjoy that moment! 
I can't remember how much I won that day, but it was well into 4 figures.
So, a big "thank you" to Liam Treadwell who contributed towards giving me one of the best days racing I've ever had.
Good luck in the future, you deserve it.  

Saturday 10 February 2018

Native River for the Gold Cup?

Today we see last years Gold Cup 3rd Native River, make his seasonal debut at Newbury in the race he won last year, the Denman Chase. As he did last year, he meets just 2 rivals (which is very disappointing) but they are a talented pair in Cloudy Dream and Saphir Du Rheu.  The latter is an old favourite of mine and sent here by Paul Nicholls and Saphir Du Rheu is also having his seasonal debut.  I don't think there is that much in this race and, on Gold Cup form, Saphir Du Rheu holds a 3lb advantage.  I also think this trip (2m7f & 86 yards) will suit Saphir Du Rheu better than the 3m2f of the Gold Cup.  Cloudy Dream needs to step up abour 10lb on previous form to be involved in my opinion.  At odds of 4/1, the value has to be on SAPHIR DU RHEU.

The Betfair Hurdle is far too competitive a race to review, but I do like the 3-mile Class 2 handicap hurdle earlier in the day at 1:50pm.  Just 8 runners go to post and they are headed in the market by Barters Hill who returns from injury after 456 days off the track.  I'm sure he will be fit and well, but fit on the gallops and "race-fit" are different things. If he is still as good as he was then he will take all the beating.  I'm not sure if Bastien is a true 3-mile hurdler, and will the ground be deep enough for King Uther? Last February, Lough Derg Farmer chased home Testify over 2m7f on soft ground at Bangor, at level weights.  He was beaten nearly 3-lengths that day and now Testify is rated OR145 as a chaser. I think that is the best recent form in the race, and trainer Nicky Henderson is in top form.. Odds of 11/2 about LOUGH DERG FARMER look decent value to me and quarter-odds 1,2,3 with Bet365 means that an eachway play is available.

I've not had much luck this pace couple of weeks after a tremendous day at Cheltenham, and jumping was a big issue with all 3 of my selections last weekend, with COGRY falling at the 1st fence in his race. I've wagered on 3 x 1st fence fallers in the past 2 weeks! It is a surprise to see Cogry contesting a race over 2m4f at Warwick today, as he's best known as a 3-mile-plus chaser, but he did win a couple of hurdle races over this trip so he may not be out of his depth.  He certainly wont be stopping due to lack of stamina and I expect him to be going for it from the off to make is a stamina test.  If Kylemore Loch can recover his best form of 2016 then he's in with a great chance off OR151 and this is his trip and ground. I'm not sure Value At Risk will be up for this as he's a much better hurdler than chaser. Templehills is a stablemate of Cogry and will try and make-all as he did last year to win - but that was a much weaker race than this. It is very tempting to take the odds of 11/1 about COGRY to small stakes.

Newbury 1:50pm - LOUGH DERG FARMER, £5 eachway @ 11/2
Newbury 2:25pm SAPHIR DU RHEU, £10 win @ 4/1
Warwick 3:15pm COGRY, £5 win @ 11/1

Saturday 3 February 2018

Saturday 3rd February

I've not posted a blog this week, but the racing has been mediocre - even yesterday.  Today we have a few interesting races at meetings at Sandown, Wetherby and Musselburgh as well at the "Dublin Festival" at Leopardstown in Ireland.

At Sandown there is a 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 3:35pm which is right up my street.  Most of the runners are very familiar to me with considerable chase form to study.  At times like this I rely of my personal ratings, and the horse that comes to the for is COGRY.  He's been running well and so long as his run LTO over 3m5f hasn't taken too much out of him, he should go close today.  Personally, I think that most of the horses in this race have been running below their ratings, and some are stepping up to 3-mile for the first time, or just lack chasing experience at this level. At odds of 11/1, COGRY represents decent eachway value (quarter-odds a place 1,2,3).

Earlier on the Sandown card there is a 2-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 1:15pm and there are only 6 runners.  I was on Big Jim LTO and he could well try and make-all like he did that day but that will likely set the race up for one of the better chasers and if TOP GAMBLE handles this right-handed track then he looks great value at 4/1, as he is a proper class act at this trip - just below top grade.

The race I am really looking forward to today is in Ireland, at Leopadstown at 2:20pm and I reckon PETIT MOUCHOIR will see-off Footpad and install himself as the best 2-mile novice chaser seen this season. There was not much between this pair as hurdlers, but PETIT MOUCHOIR always finished in front of Footpad and I reckon that will be the case today.

My 3 for today:
Sandown 1:15pm TOP GAMBLE, £10 win @ 4/1
Sandown 3:35pm COGRY, £5 eachway @ 11/1
Leopardstown 2:20pm PETIT MOUCHOIR, £10 win @ 3/1