Welcome to the World of Horseracing
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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Tuesday, 2 March 2021
Saturday, 27 February 2021
Saturdays usually brings a lot of visits to the blog, and if this is you first time here lets me tell you a little bit about myself. As per the headline above, I've been writing a horseracing blog since March 2010, nearly 11 years. For the first 7 years, I recorded my advised wagers (the results pages per season are on the right), and as per the summary at the top of the blog, for jump racing I advised wagers on 520 races over those 7 seasons, basically 75 wagers per season, and the cumulative advised stakes were £5,726 (or £11.01 per race) and the total profit recorded was £1,525.39; which is equivalent to a Return on Investment of 26.60%.
Why did I stop recording my wagers? Keeping up with the form-study and maintaining a regular blog (I was posting 3 or 4 times a week during the jumps season) was too time-consuming. While I was enjoying it for a lot of that time, eventually putting in the hours (I reckon I was spending over 20 hours a week maintaining the blog) became a chore.
So, for the 2017-18 season, and ever since then, I've written just a Saturday blog for information and enjoyment, and concentrated my wagers on the Cheltenham Festival, and the Aintree Grand National meeting. Last year, just to remind you, the Profit for the Festival was £99.16 on cumulative "advised" stakes of £186.00. That is equivalent to a Return on Investment of 53.3%. This is to advised stakes, and I know a lot of my readers place wagers in multiples of what I advise, so they had a very good Cheltenham Festival indeed! For the record, my advised wagers last year were:-
Day 1 - Tuesday
Day 2 - Wednesday
Day 4 - Friday
Triumph Hurdle: Selection - Goshen LOST (£10.00) - fell when clear at the final flight
Gold Cup: Selection - AL BOUM PHOTO - WON - £66.66 (Stake = £20 win @ 100/30)
Friday, 26 February 2021
After posting the previous blog, I was asked why I'd opposed Sire Du Berlais in the Stayers' Hurdle when he's proven over C&D having won the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle for the past 2 years run over the same C&D and earlier o the same day as the Stayers' Hurdle. The main reason is the horses age: Sire Du Berlais is a 9yo, and since Galmoy won his 2nd Stayers Hurdle back in 1988, the only other winning 9yo's have been Inglis Drever (2008) when winning for the 3rd time, and Big Bucks (2012) when winning for the 4th time. There's only been one winner of the race winning for the first (and only) time as a 9yo - since the 11yo Crimson Embers in 1986 - and that was Solwhit in 2013. What you have to remember about Solwhit was the 14 of his 16 races prior to winning in 2013 were at Grade 1 level an he won 6 of those; so he was not out of place competing at Grade 1 level, albeit at shorter trips than 3-mile. Sire Du Berlais has only run at Grade 1 level once, and that was when he was 3rd in the Christmas Hurdle behind my antepost selection the 6yo Flooring Porter. The current fav for the race Paisley Park is also a 9yo, but he has won the Stayers Hurdle before (as a 7yo in 2019), so he's not completely discounted as he is proven at this level, but he's not improving.
The next race I'm looking at is the Ryanair Chase, run over 2m5f on Day-3 (Thursday). This race tends to go to specialists at the trip, horses not quick enough for the QMCC run on Wednesday, and without the stamina to contest the Gold Cup run on Friday. Of all the "senior" Grade 1 races, the Ryanair has fewer LTO winners taking this race, only 5 of the past 10 winners won LTO. That's probably because they were running in races too far away from the 2m5f trip of this race, so I'm happy to accept a good run and a 1,2,3 finish LTO.
There's no qualms about the fav Allaho, who won LTO beating talented stable-companion Elimay over 2m4f on 27Jan. That pair pulled miles-clear of the 3rd-placed horse which makes rating the race tricky, but I've given Allaho a rating of 160 for that win. Third in last years RSA behind Champ, Allaho was also 3rd in the Albert Bartlett novice hurdle over 3-mile, and so this reduced trip is probably in his favour. Only a 7yo, there should still be improvement in him, and he's trained by the "master", Willie Mullins.
The 2nd-fav is Imperial Aura, and this is one I don't quite get. Sure, he's improved with every run in his completed races to-date over fences. He won the Novices Handicap Chase (now transferred to Sandown) off OR143 last year, running prominently throughout. Unfortunately, he unseated his rider LTO at the 2nd fence, but had he completed and won, beating Master Tommytucker in the process, then I could see why he is the 6/1 2nd-fav; but for me, he has to prove he's a Grade 1 chaser.
Last year, I tipped Min to win, and he did - but it was a close-run thing. He's run only twice since then, and when reappearing in the Grade 1 "John Durkan" on 06Dec he looked as good as ever. However, for his Festival "prep" race, he ran in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase over 2m1f at Leopardstown on 06Feb (he was 2nd in this race in 2020) and threw-in the towel mid-race having to be pulled-up. Although he is a 2-time winner of the Dublin Chase, both of those wins were against inferior rivals to the level of Chancun Pour Soi, and Min has always looked a better horse at 2m4f. However, he is also now a 10yo, and he may just not be the horse he once was.
Last year, Min was just head of Saint Calvados and, when you watch the race again, with 2 fences to jump Saint Calvados looks the most likely winner as he's going so well. However, a poor jump at the last fence and having to be switched-out on the run-in to challenge Min must have cost him more than the margin of defeat. I thought he was an unlucky loser last year. Saint Calvados has also only had 2 runs this season, his reappearance being in the "King George" on Boxing Day, and what a run he put in. It was his first attempt at 3-miles, and I thought the trip found him out, so no disgrace in defeat there. Personally, I would have liked him to run in the 2m5f Ascot Chase next (that was won by Dashel Drasher) but he went for the rescheduled Cotswold Chase at Sandown, and was just making his move from the rear when hitting what looked like false ground on landing, slipping and un-shipping his rider. So, while we have to take his form and fitness a little on-trust, he is only 8yo, and his two best runs have been over C&D of the Ryanair Chase (he was only beaten a nose in the PaddyPower Handicap on 01Jan20 off OR157 giving 15lb to Oldgrangewood, now rated OR146). At odds of 9/1 NRNB he look fair value to me.
In a recent interview, Willie Mullins appeared to want to send Kemboy for a 3rd attempt at the Gold Cup, but he has an able deputy in Melon, who was 2nd in the "Peter Marsh" novice chase over 2m4f last year. that was the 4th time he's been in the frame at the Cheltenham Festival (2nd in the "Supreme" novices hurdle; 2nd in the 2018 and 2019 Champion Hurdle, and 2nd in the "Peter March") he clearly loves Cheltenham. This season, he was well beaten in the "John Durkan" (see Min above), but ran much better in the 3-mile Savills Chase on 28Dec where he led from the 12th fence until headed at the last but he only went down by 2-lengths, the trip possibly being his undoing. His subsequent run in the Irish Gold Cup on 07Feb (won by Kemboy) was disappointing, but if you can forgive him that run, he has a chance in this should he go for it - he would certainly make the race a stamina test. With stamina not an issue at this trip, odds of 9/1 NRNB he look good value to me.
Of the others, Fakir D'oudairies doesn't look good enough and this trip is an unknown for him at this level. I like Mister Fisher, but he'd be trying to win from a break of 97-days as his last run was when winning on 11Dec at Cheltenham over 2m4f, and lack of a recent run is not in his favour at this level. And Kemboy is most likely to go for the Gold Cup.
My advised selection is MELON at 9/1 NRNB with Betfred and/or Boylesports.
Advised wager: Ryanair Chase - MELON - £5 ew & £5 win @ 9/1 (5th odds a place 1,2,3)
And I'm putting him in an eachway double with Flooring Porter for the Stayers Hurdle on the same day (see earlier blog for the narrative).
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Further to the post on Monday, Honeysuckle has been pushed-out to 3/1 by Hills, and I think that is great value about the mare considering she is in the form of her life, loves Cheltenham, and has the advantage of the 7lb mares' allowance. Hills are not (yet) offering NRNB, and if you want that the best odds available are 5/2 from Betfred. I've nothing against Goshen, I think he's the best gelding we've seen hurdling this season, and I have absolutely no problem with him being a 5yo as - and I did this exercise a few years ago - there is no reason that 5yo's should be opposed in the Champion Hurdle. Those that take part in the race because they are good enough (and not those providing the owners with a jolly) do well. Unfortunately, I just don't think that he's 7lb better than Honeysuckle.
Today, I've been looking at the Stayers Hurdle over 3-mile on day-3 of the Festival. This race was won by Lisnagar Oscar last year, and that he's 20/1 in the betting for the race this year tells you that it was a bit of a shock result. Why was it a shock? Mainly because the 3-mile hurdling division lacks a true star in the mold of Big Bucks, Inglis Drever, or Baracouda. I think we all thought Paisley Park was going to develop into a major player after winning in 2019, and he went into last years race as the odds-on 4/6 fav, but when the chips were down he found nothing. No explanation for that performance, other than he lost a couple of shoes during the race. The reliable and consistent Bacardys was 3rd, however that he was 3rd suggests the race was a poor vintage.
This season, no true clear favourite has emerged. Paisley Park narrowly beat Thyme Hill at Ascot on 19Dec (and that isn't a good omen, as most winners at Cheltenham run between Christmas Day and Valentines Day prior to winning at the Festival), and that looks to be the best of the form in the UK. I really can't see the 9yo Paisley Park improving, but he should run a "160" performance. However, the 7yo Thyme Hill has improved with every run, and lacked a bit of luck at the Festival last year when 4th behind Monkfish in the 3-mile Albert Bartlett novices hurdle. As such, I'd favour him to be the best of the UK challenge, and he's at 7/2 NRNB in the betting.
However, you cannot ignore the Irish in this race, and Gordon Elliott will be sending the 9yo Sire Du Berlais, twice a winner of the 3-mile Pertemps Handicap hurdle; last year carrying 11st 12lb off a rating of OR152. I rated that performance about 5lb better than Lisnagar Oscar in the Stayers' Hurdle later on the card, and so a repeat next month would put him bang-there. However, on 28Dec, Sire Du Berlais was beaten by another improving young staying hurdler - Flooring Porter. Now a 6yo, this horse is trained by Gavin Cromwell who trained Espoir D'Allen to win the Champion Hurdle in 2019, and Darver Star to run 3rd in the Champion Hurdle in 2020; this was no mean feat as Darver Star started the season winning a handicap hurdle as a 7yo off OR106. Back in 4th on 28Dec was Fury Road (3rd in the 2020 Albert Bartlett just ahead of Thyme Hill) and he franked the form with a good run on Sunday 21Feb at Navan.
To my mind, Flooring Porter along with Thyme Hill, are the most likely to win the Stayers' Hurdle. Both are improving, both have age on their side. However, while Thyme Hill is 7/2, Flooring Porter is 14/1 NRNB (and 16/1 without that insurance). He has to be the value.
Advised wager: Stayers' Hurdle - FLOORING PORTER - £7.50 each-way @ 14/1 (5th odds a place 1,2,3) PLUS £5.00 win @ 14/1 (with Paddy Power)
Monday, 22 February 2021
That was a weekend! GOSHEN recaptured the form of his novice hurdle season, and looked a proper Champion Hurdle candidate, with easily the best 2-mile hurdle performance we've seen this side of the Irish Sea in some time. It is not easy to rate the form, but you know it was 160+ as GOSHEN had Navajo Pass (OR156) and Song For Someone (OR158) under pressure a long way out. He just powered through the mud looking a very good hurdler. It has certainly made me take another look at the antepost betting.
Goshen is at 9/2 NRNB with PaddyPower/Betfair and BetVictor, and those odds look fair to me. Why? Because he's certainly in the frame to win the Champion Hurdle, but the 7lb mares' allowance puts the advantage with Honeysuckle. It looks like Honeysuckle has improved since winning the Mares' Hurdle (beating Benie Des Dieux) last March, when you watch how easily she won the Irish Champion Hurdle on 06Feb; so you have to think she's also 160+. If so, Goshen will need to run to 170 to be in with a winning chance, and you have to wonder whether he can as a 5yo. Maybe his best chance will be in 2022. Current Champion Epatante needs to recover the form of last season, and even that may not be good enough next month.
The Goshen performance has pushed Honeysuckle out to 11/4 (from 5/2) with Hills and Bet365. More importantly, it has also possibly moved Mullins to keep CONCERTISTA in the Mares' Hurdle; and she has hardened in the betting to 6/5 (from 6/4). While we are on the Mares' Hurdle, Henderson has confirmed that the most likely Cheltenham target for Dame De Compagnie is the Mares' Hurdle, and while I cannot see that one troubling Concertista, she should be in the 1st-3 - so I'm happy I took 14/1 ew as she's now 9/1 (Hills & Bet365) and as low as 6/1 with some bookies.
The other interesting result was CHAMP running 2nd over 2-miles, and I think that was a great effort. He should improve a lot for the run, and he is now a serious contender for the Gold Cup for which he is 6/1 NRNB.
There will be another update later in the week.
Monday, 15 February 2021
Saturday, 13 February 2021
There's no jump racing in the UK today, so that gives me the opportunity to make a start on forming an antepost book for the Cheltenham Festival. I placed these wagers yesterday with NRNB (non-runner, no bet) bookies at the best odds I could find. For me, the whole point of an antepost book is placing wagers which give you a distinct chance at great odds should the horse run, so I tend to look for horses that may change targets closer to the day of the race. This may produce a few odd wagers, but if the horse doesn't run, then you get your stake money back!
Over the next week or so, I'm going to be adding to this antepost portfolio, and - on the Sunday before the Festival - I will be making my selection for the Ultima Chase Handicap on Day-1.
I'm also going to post a couple of links to race videos on Sportinglife which is free to register with, and when you login you can watch lots of race videos, no limits. I use it all the time. I've not done this before on the blog, so fingers crossed that it works. But the reason for doing it is seeing the performance with your own eyes is better than I can explain in words.
Finally, in respect of the Cheltenham Festival, I enjoy trends as some of them are very strong and you just cannot ignore them. But a trend is not an immovable object, trends help you produce a shortlist and it is form that should be the basis of your final selection.
Friday, 12 February 2021
It's that time of the year again, reputations are still intact, hopes are flying high. It's been a funny year since last March - no Aintree, no Punchestown, and now (due to the weather) no jump racing at a key point in preparation for the Cheltenham Festival. It all points to a few surprise results in March, there ain't gonna be no certainties!