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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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Sunday 28 November 2021

Cloudy Glen takes the Ladbroke Trophy

It could have been a glorious Saturday, but it was not to be.  I went through the runners of the Ladbroke Trophy Chase, and came-up with 5 likely winners:-
Cloth Cap: 12/1 (Betfred 6-places), or 11/1 (7-places with Skybet & William Hill)
Remastered: 14/1 (Paddy Power 6-places), or 12/1 (7-places with Skybet & William Hill)
Copperhead: 18/1 (7-places with Skybet & William Hill)
Canelo: 33/1 (7-places with William Hill)
Cloudy Glen: 33/1 (7-places with Skybet)
I totally ignored the top of the betting market, which was focused on the Irish-trained entries; the main reason being is this race requires a bit of experience to win, and none of the Irish-trained entries had the form showing that. As it turned-out, the fav Eklat De Rire was the subject of a major gamble and went off at odds of  just 3/1 - and ran an absolute stinker being pulled-up after jumping the 16th of 21 fences.  And there was some major plugging of this horse before the race by celebrity tipsters calling the horse a "monster" and suggesting anything other than a win was out of the question.
So, what of those on my shortlist?
Canelo was the worst performer: he never really got going and pulled-up along with Eklat De Rire.  Copperhead was up with the leaders until the 16th fence which he blundered at; and that mistake knocked the stuffing out of him. He pulled-up after jumping the 19th fence, but this was a good run and a drop back to a trip around 2m6f should see him win again off this handicap mark.
Last years' winner Cloth Cap ran a cracker as expected. He led the field at a strong pace until 4-out and stayed-on to be 6th. Absolutely nothing lost in defeat here, and he looks poised to win a decent handicap this season - could that be the Grand National in April?
Remastered: what can I say? He was "in-the-van" throughout, came up alongside the eventual winner at the 4-last fence where his young jockey asked for a big one - and he tipped-up on landing.  I thought at that point he was the most obvious winner, but nothing is guaranteed in horseracing! It did look a bad fall, but he was soon up on his feet, and trainer David Pipe was quick to post that the horse appeared to have suffered no ill effects.  He is clearly a lot better than his OR146 mark.
If I'd known that more prominent tactics would be employed with Cloudy Glen, then I'd have made him a firm selection as he was clearly well-handicapped on OR140 as he ran 2nd off that rating in the "Kim Muir" at the Cheltenham Festival in March.  He'd not been ridden prominently in a chase for almost 2 years, yet he won 3 of his last 4 hurdle races making-all. Knowing how well he stayed, I knew he was sure to go close when he jumped the 16th fence (about 6f from the finish) alongside the then leader Cloth Cap - at which point 3 of the 1st-4 were horses on my shortlist. He is a bit quirky, so there is no telling what he might do next time, but if similar tactics are employed then there is no reason he can't run well again.  The from pair were a long way clear of the 3rd horse and this form looks strong. 
Given that the horse that beat him in the Kim Muir - Mount Ida - is only rated OR152, it would not surprise me to see that one figure strongly in the betting on the Grand National.
The runner-up Fiddlerontheroof ran a great race, but he could not pass the winner on the run-in and so probably isn't a Grade 1 chaser (yet); but this was a mighty boost of the RSA form in which he was 2nd to Monkfish (and also - indirectly - to Bravemansgame via Pay The Piper).

I was very nearly right with the Rehearsal Chase too, but opted for Spiritofthegames over the eventual winner Aye Right.  I thought Spiritofthegames would relish this trip but no, he looks to have dropped in ability based on his two races this season and may now have to lower his sights.  As for Aye Right, he just had to match the best form of last season to win this, he's a rock-solid 150-152 chaser so if the handicapper raises his rating from OR151 then he will have difficulty winning again in a handicap. But he is super consistent and resolute, and I expect him to be placed next time in the "Slybet" Chase at Doncaster as he was last season.
I hope you had a great day of sport on Saturday, and maybe next time we can nail a big priced winner.

Friday 26 November 2021

Saturday 27th November - Ladbrokes Trophy H'cap Chase

We have one of the best chase handicaps of the jumps season this weekend in the Ladbrokes Trophy Handicap Chase at Newbury. Always run at a strong pace, and always a race that produces good winners; and this year looks like being one of the better editions.

Before I go on: I discussed the race and my thoughts on the likely winner on the WRAP (What's Racing About Podcast) hosted by Peter Bell: here is the link

 https://www.buzzsprout.com/1811838/9615280  The plan is to have a chat with Peter maybe once or twice a month, and to try and find a few decent winners and entertain the listener at the same time.

There are 21 runners going to post, and while I don't want to go through them all, the market leaders look a bit short in the market to me. I'd be surprised if On The Ropes can win this off OR153 even if he is trained by Willie Mullins, and while Eklat De Rire appears to have more potential, he finished tired LTO and I wonder if he has the stamina for a race like this. Ditto Fiddlerontheroof, stamina isn't proven. 
Those that I think will be involved for the final half-mile are:-
Cloth Cap: last year's winner (off OR136) and still fairly handicapped on OR154, he is likely to be in the places.  Remastered: a strong stayer and well prepared for this race having had a prep-run over hurdles.  I like this horse a lot and his OR146 rating gives him scope to go well.  Copperhead: a bit of a punt as to consider him you have to draw a line through last season, when his stable was under a cloud. Now Joe Tizzard is trainer in-all-but-name, this horse could revert back to his novice chase form which would make him very attractive off OR148. Canelo: won the "Rowland Meyrick" on Boxing Day off OR142, and has done nothing wrong since, but now is back on that winning rating. He could be the sort to grind out a win in this race if weather conditions turn nasty. Finally, Cloudy Glen: ran a top race when 2nd in the Kim Muir, and while I can't see him winning, he could pass a lot of beaten horses in the final half-mile and sneak into 4th or 5th place. Most bookies are going 5th odds a place, and paying-out on 6 places; and Skybet and William Hill are paying 7-places.
The best odds available are:
Cloth Cap: 12/1 (Betfred 6-places), or 11/1 (7-places with Skybet & William Hill)
Remastered: 14/1 (Paddy Power 6-places), or 12/1 (7-places with Skybet & William Hill)
Copperhead: 18/1 (7-places with Skybet & William Hill)
Canelo: 33/1 (7-places with William Hill)
Cloudy Glen: 33/1 (7-places with Skybet)

My advice:
Remastered: £5 eachway @ 14/1 (Paddy Power 6-places)
Canelo: £2.50 eachway @ 33/1 (7-places with William Hill)
Copperhead: £2.50 eachway @ 18/1 (7-places with Skybet)
Total staked = £20.00

Up at Newcastle, the Rehearsal Chase over 3-miles at 2:05pm looks very interesting. For me, two horses jump out: Aye Right and Spiritofthegames.  Aye Right was 2nd in the Ladbrokes Trophy last year, so coming here instead looks a good pointer, but I feel he may find his rating of OR151 too much to win off in this competitive field. As such, Spiritofthegames looks the one to be on; he stays 3-miles (provided the ground isn't soft) and he looks very well handicapped on OR141.  He always runs his race, and is very consistent, and odds of 6/1 (available generally, 4-places eachway), look fair. 
Newcastle 2:05pm - Spiritofthegames - £5.00 eachway @ £6/1 (Skybet 5-places)

Sunday 21 November 2021

A 16/1 winner for the blog!

 A great result yesterday, with JERSEY BEAN - advised in the morning at 9/1 - drifting out to an SP of 16/1 (I just missed 18/1 about a minute before the off). Those odds were a bit daft considering the horse had everything in his favour: trip, ground, fitness, a course winner, and he's a prominent runner too.  My morning thought was that he'd go off around 7/1, and with 4-places available from some bookies in this 11-runner race, I just could not see how having a wager on him eachway would not result in small profit at least.  This is why - in my opinion - it pays to think about how you wager: always remember you are in control and you should ONLY have a wager when you think the odds are in your favour. Add that JB was Oliver Sherwood's only runner yesterday, and 4 of his last 8 runners have won or placed in the past week, and there was no reason that this horse - who has improved with nearly every run he's had over fences - should have been 16/1.

I thought, about a mile out in the Betfair Chase, that I had a chance of another winning wager on Royale Pagaille, but he was thoroughly put in his place by A PLUS TARD.  It is difficult to rate a performance when the winner finishes like he did yesterday; all I can do is say that APT ran to his official rating of OR172, and that this was a better performance than his Gold Cup 2nd last March - and it should be, as at 7yo he's still improving.  Having re-read my own blog yesterday, the wager I should have recommended was a £5 win wager on Royale Pagaille at 9/1 and a £5 Straight Forecast: APT to beat RP as that paid £9.01 to a £1.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but a mental note to me and the readers - do not ignore the Forecast option.

At Ascot, I placed a speculative wager on Defi Du Seuil but, without a doubt now, the horse is a shadow of his former self. It was good to see Lostintranslation win again, but I'm not excited by this result and it was a fairly ordinary performance.

I was more impressed with BOB OLINGER winning in Ireland as that race has been won by some top-class novice chasers and Bob Olinger won this without breaking sweat.

Saturday 20 November 2021

Saturday 20th November - Betfair Chase

It was a great day at Cheltenham last Saturday, all that was missing was a winning wager!
Over the day I met up with friends old and new, and discussed a potential new branch for the blog - more of that when the thought develops into reality.

I will be honest, I think today's cards are fairly poor for a Saturday in November, and that is almost certainly due to the lack of rain around the country.  There are quite a few of my alert list horses running today, and I will pass on those that I think have a decent chance: but first the feature race of the day - The Betfair Chase at Haydock.

Just 7-runners go to post as Next Destination is a non-runner.  This looks a weak renewal, and I think if Bristol De Mai wins then while that result may bring a few tears, it will demonstrate how weak the race is. We have a couple of dodgy 3-milers in Imperial Aura and Waiting Patiently, and I do not expect either of them to win this, and Chatham Street Lad is outclassed.  Clondaw Castle was well exposed at Aintree in April, and looked no better in the Charlie Hall Chase 3-weeks ago. Now while I do not expect Bristol De Mai to win today, he will run his usual race; so a +160 performance will be needed to win this, and there are only 2 horses in this race capable of doing that over this trip: A Plus Tard and Royale Pagaille.
A Plus Tard ran 2nd in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so he is (on form) the best horse in this race - but he's ran well below his best on his seasonal reappearance for the last 3 seasons, so why will he be different today when his ultimate target is not this race, but the Gold Cup in March?  That leaves C&D winner Royal Pagaille, who is 3-months younger than APT and at 7yo is the youngest in this race. It is a "punt" but all Royale Pagaille has to do is have improved 7lb over the summer and he is bang in there.  Ignore his Gold Cup effort, the ground was far too quick for him and his jumping fell to pieces.  I'm on at 8/1.

Earlier in the card, I have a soft spot for Jersey Bean who runs in the 12:40pm over 3m4f.  This sort of trip is up his street and being a prominent runner, he's going to be in control of the pace. 

At Ascot, there is only one horse that I'm interested in: Defi Du Seuil - can he make a comeback? If he is anywhere near his best (and I mean within 10lb) then he will win this race. If he can't win this, then there really is no future for him and maybe a switch to hurdles is required.

That's it from me for today: 
Haydock 12:40pm JERSEY BEAN - £5 eachway @ 9/1 (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4 PaddyPower)
Haydock 3:00pm  ROYALE PAGAILLE - £10 win @ 9/1 (PaddyPower)
Ascot 2:05pm DEFI DU SEUIL - £5 win @ 100/30 (PaddyPower)

Friday 12 November 2021

Friday 12th November - Paddy Power weekend

With a planned attendance at Cheltenham on Saturday for me, my first Cheltenham race meeting since March 2020, I have written the weekend blog earlier than usual as on Saturday morning I will be driving from Brighton to Cheltenham. If you see me there, be sure to say hello.

The day opens with the Triumph Hurdle Trial at 12:30pm, and this Grade 2 race can be a good pointer to the Festival, and has been won by some decent horses in past years. I will wait to see what the betting is like on the day, as I usually find the value in a race such as this is in the "place-only" market on the Tote.

The 3m1f Class 3 handicap chase for Amateur jockeys at 1:05pm is more to my liking, and with 8 of the last 9 winners carrying over 11st (those under 11st are 1 win from 48 runners), I'm focusing on the top of the handicap.  The Irish-trained Mindsmadeup has won his 3 races (23 runs) going right-handed, so he's out at left-handed Cheltenham. The 12yo Dawson City won LTO and that was probably his win for the season. The 7yo Milanford is interesting, but also an unknown quantity.  His rider isn't too bad, wins a few races, and he could be the sort to cause a surprise. Minella Encore looks too slow to win a race like this, and I'm not sure he has the stamina either. Another Venture could be the one to be on: having his debut for Nicky Henderson, he won well off a 209-day break last season over 3-mile at Ludlow making virtually all, and that sort of performance will see him be tough to beat in this race. Plan Of Attack was 4th in the "Kim Muir" in March 2020, but hasn't looked the same horse since then, although he wasn't going too badly last year in the same race till falling 3-out; and trainer Henry De Bromhead has booked Gina Andrews for the ride and she is one of the better riders in the race.  Forza Milan looks as slow as a boat; and I very much doubt that top-weight Opposites Attract has the stamina for this race. 

The feature race of the day is at 2:15pm; the Paddy Power Gold Cup handicap over 2m4f. This field looks like making the race a classic, plenty of potential winners. From the top; Simply The Betts loves Cheltenham, but only ran in this race last season when 6th to Coole Cody. It's a big ask but if he's fit he could be thereabouts off OR154. A big field will be a new experience for the 6yo Protektorat, but he is also weighted to go close off OR154, he could be very interesting to follow this season. Back in 2016, I was on Aso at 16/1 for this race, and had he not hit the 2nd-last hard he'd probably have won that year off OR144 with a 5lb claimer as by the end of the season he was on OR156. He's not the horse he was tho' and I can't see him being in the picture.  Before he won LTO, I wrote that I could not understand how Paint The Dream had not won more races, and then he won in convincing style. He's up 5lb to OR152, but I think he has a great chance if he copes with the big field.
Last year, Al Dancer was 3rd in this race off OR154, and this year he's running off OR149 and having his 1st run for trainer Sam Thomas. On the back of that, he started fav for the Caviar Gold Cup here in December, but was hampered by a faller mid-race and had no chance. He has a helluva chance. 
Lalor makes his debut for Paul Nicholls and has been dropped to a mark of OR149, a rating he is more than capable of winning this from, and he's a very lightly-raced 9yo.
I'm not that impressed with Caribean Boy, as he struggled in the "Plate" handicap chase at the Festival behind The Shunter.  Midnight Shadow hasn't won since beating Paint The Dream on 01Jan20, but hasn't improved since that race, unlike Paint The Dream.
One of my favourite horses is Spiritofthegames, ever since he caught my eye at the "Trials" meeting when 3rd over C&D to Kildisart off OR146 back in Jan2019, he has threatened to win a race like this - yet apart from winning his debut novice chase he is winless in his 13 starts (16 including hurdle races) since then! On his best form, he wins this by 4-lengths, but will he?
Another that I think will go well is Manofthemountain: yes, he was 2nd LTO to Paint The Dream, but now he's 5lb better-off and this C&D will bring out the best in him, especially as he has the stamina for 3-miles. He looks a massive price for an eachway wager. 
Zanza went into my notebook LTO when 3rd t Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup, but I expected him to go to Newbury next, as his record at Cheltenham is UP/UP/F/PU. 
Dostal Phil has potential, as he's only had 5 chase runs, but he's not the best jumper of a fence and his stamina for this trip is unknown.  No such worries with last year's winner Coole Cody, but he's a 10yo now and hasn't repeated that winning effort since. 
Up The Straight is another interesting contender: just 7yo and not jut on  tempting rating of OR138 but with capable 5lb claimer Tabitha Worsley in the saddle.  Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see my local trainer Nick Gifford win this race with Belargus, but his best form is going right-handed, and he has fallen a few times. If Dyrann De Carjac was in the form of his novice chase days he would be a steal off OR137, but he's clearly had issues and his recent races suggest he may struggle.
If the Irish raider Funky Dady is involved in the finish, then we may as well all give up and take up tiddlywinks; he looks slow and more likely to be puled-up tailed-off. Galahad Quest is more interesting but he's only a 5yo and this may be beyond him.  You can never ignore the horses of Venetia Williams and her Farinet may only be a 6yo, but he looks to have lots of potential: can he win this?
And finally, there is Nietzche: who is sitting dangerously low in the handicap having sneaked into the race off OR133.  This trip is right up his street.

What a race!  I cannot make up my mind, and will likely have a punt on several in the race: probably Al Dancer (13/2); Nietzche (16/1); Manofthemountain (22/1); and Spiritofthegames (18/1). 

My wager of the day will be on PLAN OF ATTACK @ 7/1 in the 1:05pm

Saturday 6 November 2021

Saturday 6th November 2021 - Aintree

We have some top-class racing from Aintree and Wincanton today, with supporting meetings at Fontwell and Kelso over the jumps.  I have a stack of horses from my alert list running today, and I will try and mention as many as possible that have winning chances. 

At Aintree, the 3-mile handicap hurdle at 1:08pm brings us the seasonal debut of Remastered, and I can see this horse having a big season - but not over hurdles. He was just below top-class last season but then he only had 4 chase runs and there's loads of potential in him. 

At 2:15pm, we have the feature race in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over 2m5f over the National fences. Of the 13 that go to post, there are 2 on my alert list: Senior Citizen (who I tipped to win LTO) and the exciting Midlands National winner Time To Get Up. I don't think Aintree will suit Time To Get Up, and this trip is too short for him, but he's on a great handicap mark of OR144.  I think Senior Citizen will be tough to beat in this race, as he ran well over C&D in April coming 3rd off OR137 and so OR139 and being in better form suggests he has a winning chance. There's plenty of 4/1 about, with Bet365 going 9/2 and Bet Victor at 5/1, and odds of 5/1 look generous given the lack of opposition. 

Later in the afternoon at 3:20pm, from my alert list is the 6yo Wilde About Oscar, and he may not be the best-off at the weights in this race on known form to-date, but he could end up once of the best staying hurdlers by the end of the season. 

At Wincanton, the feature race is the Badger Beer Handicap Chase over 3-mile at 3:00pm. Last year, the 1st-2 were separated by a short-head and they return to do battle again: El Presente and Potterman. The fav for the race is Cap Du Nord, who is a horse who runs well but rarely finishes in front: on form, he should win, but will he?  Potterman always goes best when fresh, and he wasn't fresh last season in this having had a run at Chepstow a few weeks earlier, so this year he looks well-set for a bold run, and odds of 12/1 (4-places) with Bet Victor looks generous in this 13-runner race.

At Kelso, from my alert list is Doyen Breed, a 6yo with Sandy Thomson, who looks better than average and one to keep an eye on. He runs in the 3m2f hurdle at 1:35pm and he ran a stonker over C&D last season, so he should be capable of winning this.  Odds of 5/2 are fair as he could easily start at 7/4 in this race.  

I didn't put up a winner last weekend: and I would like to rectify that this weekend - as it's my birthday weekend: I'm 62yo on Monday 8th.  So, my main selection is DOYEN BREED at 5/2 (available generally).  Trainer, Alan King is doing really well and he could have a cracking day of racing: so I'm also having a small eachway double on SENIOR CITIZEN at Aintree  POTTERMAN at Wincanton.  Bet Victor offer 5/1 on Senior Citizen (4-places) and 11/1 on Potterman (4-places) and I'm on.