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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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Thursday 30 December 2021

Thursday 30th December 2021 - 10 weeks till the greatest show on earth

We are on the final countdown, in just a little over 10 weeks we will (hopefully) hear the roar of the crowd at Cheltenham heralding the start of the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the commencement of the Cheltenham Festival.  It's time to start looking in earnest at building the Cheltenham portfolio: a select set of wagers at odds much longer than can be obtained on the day of the race, about a horse that holds an outstanding chance. 

The highlight of last years portfolio was a £20 wager on Stayers' Hurdle winner Flooring Porter at 14/1, and in doing so he made a significant contribution to the profit for the blog selections. For the 3rd year in a row, I posted a profit on the week, and in 2021 it was £183.50 profit on total stakes of £237.00; that's 77.47% Return on Investment.

I'm going to try and make it 4 years of profit in 2022, but to make things a bit spicier, I'm going to try and find a "gamble": a horse to try and win over £500 for the blog. I'm looking for another "Cue Card" who I tipped to win the Ryanair Chase in 2013; or a "Coneygree" who I tipped at 12/1 to win the Gold Cup in 2015.  It's not easy finding such winners, but I'm going to try an find an outstanding candidate.

There has been some great racing over the past week, and let's take a look at some of the results and the implications. Boxing Day brought us the "King George" at Kempton, and we had a surprise winner in the Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer. It was only TF's 2nd run over 3-miles, his previous effort being when well-beaten in the Savills Chase on 28betDec 2020 behind A Plus Tard. It was a good effort in the "King George" but the race did fall apart somewhat. Both Henderson horses (Mister Fisher and Chantry House) ran stinkers; Lostintranslation isn't the horse he was before injury; Minella Indo looks to have a breathing problem; and Saint Calvados doesn't stay a yard further than 2m5f. To be honest, had Asterion Forlonge not crumpled on landing at the final fence, I think he'd have stayed-on best and won. He has had some jumping problems, as when 3rd in the "Marsh" to Chantry House that was only his 3rd completed chase race. But his handicap chase win at Punchestown in April was a cracker of a performance, and if he can complete a race (he also unseated when going easily in the "John Durkan") he is the sort who could run a massive race in either the Gold Cup or the Ryanair.  Given Asterion Forlonge looks capable of a 165+ performance, odds of 25/1 (available generally) look massive for the Gold Cup, especially when Minella Indo looks unlikely to repeat his winning performance of last March, and nothing longer than 25/1 in the betting looks capable of beating him. 

At Leopardstown on 28th Dec, A Plus Tard was beaten on-the-nod by Galvin, with good yardstick Kemboy in 3rd just under a length behind. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with the run of APT; he picked-up well on the run-up to the 2nd last, then went clear into the final fence.  It was on the run-in that he was caught, and as he had the eventual winner under a hard-drive from after the 2nd-last, it is possible that APT idled in front, or that his jockey thought the race was won. Both these horses are Festival winners, so the Cheltenham hill holds no worries for either: I just feel that of the pair I'd expect A Plus Tard to win next time they meet as he has better tactical speed and can put the race out of reach of Galvin.   Also, I think APT is about 10lb better than this performance at his best (such as when he won at Haydock) and for me he is the one to beat in the Gold Cup come March.  At current odds he's 7/2 (available generally), but I cannot see him starting much shorter than 3/1 on the day (if he goes there next) so hold on before placing a wager until you can get non-runner - no bet.

Dual Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo is due to run at Tramore on New Years Day, and while I've already suggested that he's a decent each-way wager for a place (that was when he was 20/1; he's now best-priced at 16/1) he will be a 10yo in 2022, and I just cannot see him winning the Gold Cup in March.  I'm more tempted by Asterion Forlonge from the Mullins stable, especially as he's in the same ownership as Al Boum Photo.

Suggested Antepost Wager:
Cheltenham Gold Cup:
ASTERION FORLONGE - £5.00 eachway @ 25/1 with William Hill or Bet365, 5th odds a place 1,2,3
Ryanair Chase:
ASTERION FORLONGE - £2.50 eachway @ 16/1 with Bet Victor or Bet365, 5th odds a place 1,2,3
Total staked = £15.00

Sunday 26 December 2021

Sunday 26th December - the Boxing Day blog

Merry Christmas to readers of the blog, and let's hope today is a good one! It's the Boxing Day blog and there is a real feast of horseracing today.  Big days like this give choosy punters a host of opportunities to find a winner and make a profit.

There are going to be plenty of changed plans and so a fair-few non-runners, so review your planned wagers as some races could end-up being very easy to find the winner in.  There are meetings at Kempton, Wetherby, Sedgefield, Market Rasen, Fontwell, Huntingdon and Wincanton, as well as Leopardstown, Limerick and Down Royal in Ireland - so there is no need to just stick to the major, competitive races.

Some people reading this blog will be focusing on the feature race of the day, which is the "King George" Grade 1 chase at Kempton. This race takes a truly exceptional horse to win this aged 9yo or older; the last two horses to do that were Cue Card aged 9yo in 2015, and Kauto Star aged 11yo in 2011. As such, I have to go against the 9yo's Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon and Lostintranslation. The most likely winners of this race - in my opinion - are Chantry House and Minella Indo. At the official ratings, Minella Indo is head & shoulders above this field on OR175, and with 1st-time cheekpieces applied odds of 4/1 (and 9/2 with William Hill) look massive. The only "doubt" is that when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Minella Indo showed form perhaps 15lb better than he's shown in any other race - hence why he started at 9/1 for that race. Trainer de Bromhead does not send many across the Irish Sea, but when he does we should take notice.

The other race I love on Boxing Day is the "Rowland Meyrick" handicap chase at Wetherby. There is a strong field for this Grade 3 chase over 3-miles, and again the majority of winners are aged no older than 8yo (the last "older winner being the 10yo According To Pete at 33/1 in 2011). So I'm happy to omit Top Ville Ben (9yo), Lake View Lad (11yo), Takingrisks (12yo), and Windsor Avenue (9yo) from calculations. This is a step-up in trip from 2m4f for Silver Hallmark, and I think odds of 5/2 are too short to consider him for this race. For me, it's Good Boy Bobby who was only just touched-off LTO at Newcastle. I also considered Empire Steel as trainer Sandy Thomson only has 2 runners today, both at Wetherby (the other is The Ferry Master in the chase at 1:00pm), but the form for this horse is difficult to assess. The Ladbroke Trophy Chase winner Cloudy Glen usually goes best fresh, and that win was a tough race for him. 

There is an interesting mares' novice chase at Wincanton at 12:53pm over 2m4f; with just 6 runners.  The fav is Precious Eleanor, but I think this one can be opposed as she's a bit one-paced. Trainer Nicky Henderson entered 3 for this race, and sends chase debutant Fantastic Lady who is well regarded by the stable.  Jockey Tom Cannon has the ride, and he is 2 wins from 7 rides for Henderson in the past 5 years.  This is more of a speculative selection, but as Henderson has only one other runner at Wincanton with a 7lb claimer riding, there may be something in this.

I love having wagers in 3-mile hurdle races as they can be very weak contests. At Fontwell at 12:32pm 3m2f hurdle race looks like a good opportunity. Khan won at Lingfield over 2m7f beating subsequent winner Dolphin Square (who had Certainly Red well behind when they met at Newbury). Khan was 3rd to the fav Not At Present when they met LTO, and on better terms and can reverse the placings this time.  Odds of 7/2 are freely available (4/1 with Bet365).

That's my Boxing Day Yankee:
Fontwell 12:32pm KHAN @ 4/1 with Bet365 (7/2 available generally)
Wincanton 12:53pm FANTASTIC LADY @ 10/1 with Bet365 (8/1 available generally)
Wetherby 2:10pm GOOD BOY BOBBY @ 9/2 with Bet365 (9/2 available generally)
Kempton 3:05pm MINELLA INDO @ 9/2 with Bet365 (4/1 available generally)

£2 win Yankee - 11 bets - £22 staked

Friday 10 December 2021

Saturday 11th December - Racing Post (handicap) Chase at Cheltenham

Talk about feast and famine.  
Last week we had more decent racing than we knew what to do with, and we made hay! The blog looked at 6 races and found the winners of 4 at odds of 9/1, 4/1, 3/1 and 13/8 - some readers posted the outcome of some tasty multiples!
This week, we have 3 meetings at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Hereford, and (apart from the feature race at Cheltenham) I'm struggling to find a race to have a wager on. It is very disappointing.
As such, I'm sticking to the Racing Post Gold Cup (handicap) Chase over 2m 4f & 127 yards.
There are 15 runners going to post and - to be honest - the race looks weak. 
The race has been on the calendar since 1963 under various names, and in all those years the last time a horse aged 9yo or older won was in 1993 (Fragrant Dawn): so why the 9yo Lalor is the 4/1 fav at the time of writing is beyond me.  This race is won year after year by a young, under-exposed, (rapidly) improving chaser - so why should it be different in 2021? That said, I expect Lalor to be placed, but he will need a career-best effort to win this off OR151.
Silver Hallmark (odds of 6/1) has only had 3 chase races, but he has shown potential to be capable off OR145, but I feel his best form has been on softer ground than he will encounter on Saturday.
Dostal Phil (odds of 7/1) was the first horse I considered for this race, but I've passed him over as his style of racing (held-up) suggests trips of 2m6f+ will be his best; but he won't be far away.
Beakstown (odds of 8/1) has yet to win a chase, but he has been highly tried. But I don't think he's improving and the winner of this race will out-perform their official rating.
Midnight Shadow (odds of 8/1) won the "Paddy Power" LTO and went up 7lb in the handicap as a result. There have been winners of this race that have won the "Paddy Power", but not many and OR154 may well prove too much for this horse.
Farinet (odds of 8/1) was due to run in the "Paddy Power" but was withdrawn due to the ground - and he may find this ground (on the good side if good-to-soft) too lively for him to run to his best. I also think he needs to have improved +10lb on his LTO win at Sandown in March if he's to win this.
And that brings me to the horse that I think will win this: FUSIL RAFFLES (odds of 9/1). There was no disgrace in finding it impossible to concede 12lb to Bravemansgame in October; but he ran better than OR152 in the process. Then, he was the best of the finishers in the 3-mile "Charlie Hall" at Wetherby, and I think he's not a proper 3-mile chaser.  Fusil Raffles ran a cracker in the 2m4f novices Marsh Chase (Grade 1) at the Festival when 2nd to Chantry House, and I think he's a 7lb better horse on what we've seen this season.  I'll be honest; I took 10/1 with Paddy Power and Bet Victor on Thursday evening with both offering 5th odds to 4-places eachway (there are only 15 runners remember!).
The 10yo Coole Cody (odds of 9/1) was running well till falling in the "Paddy Power", but he was being ridden and he fell 2-out - and that is the sign of a tiring horse, and he's gone up 2lbs in the handicap to OR143. 
Cepage (16/1) pulled-up in this race last year on his seasonal debut; and none of the other runners look capable of featuring in the race.  Zanza (odds of 11/1) ran well in the "Paddy Power", but his last 3 wins have been at Newbury, and that's probably where he will win his next race, not undulating Cheltenham. 

I contributed to a podcast with WRAP (What's Racing About Podcast) hosted by Peter Bell and discussed the race and my thoughts on FUSIL RAFFLES on Thursday evening: 

My wager tomorrow is just on the one race:
Cheltenham 1:50pm
FUSIL RAFFLES: £5 eachway @ 9/1 (Paddy Power & Bet Victor, 5th odds 4-places)
and £5 win @ 9/1 
Total staked = £15

Saturday 4 December 2021

Saturday 4th December 2021 - Tingle Creek Chase

What a cracking day of horseracing we have this Saturday:  Aintree, Sandown, Chepstow and Wetherby; it's almost too much to contemplate.  On busy days like this, the intelligent punter holds the upper-hand, we don't have to wager - we can pick & choose our targets. What you have to watch out for is there have been a lot of non-runners declared.

Let's start with Wetherby (for a change) as there are a couple of Class 3 races there, and with all the focus on Sandown and Aintree we may find a bit of value to shop punters have chosen to ignore. The 3-mile chase at 1:37pm has just 9 runners, and we can quickly discount a few (like Minella Till Dawn, Grange Ranger & Chef D'Oeuvre).  I'm not convinced Admiral Barratry has the stamina for 3-miles, and Cobra De Mai has not run well for some time.  When they met in April-19, "Cobra" beat Rocky's Treasure, but "Rocky" has held his form better since then winning a Class 2 at Doncaster in Dec-20 off OR138. That's 6lb higher than his current rating, but his recent races have been poor efforts.  However it is interesting that 5lb claimer Harrison Beswick has the ride as he's worth his claim. Sirwilliamwallace is another whose stamina is unproven at 3-mile; so the race looks between the LTO winners Castle Robin and Saint Palais - and I tend more for the latter who won well over 2m7f LTO.  Rocky's Treasure could be an interesting eachway as he's 20/1 (available generally), or place-only wager though.  I'm not interested in the Class 3, 2-mile hurdle race there.

Chepstow has a strong card of races, headed by the Class 2 handicap Chase over 2m7f & 131yards at 1:22pm.  The topweight Truckers Lodge goes well fresh and though he's a C&D winner, this trip looks a bit short for him as he's been running well in marathon chases. The 9yo Run To Milan does not have many miles on the clock, and he looks unexposed at this trip. He was a promising novice hurdler, and he could be a rapid improver this season having run well on his seasonal debut on 02Nov.  Eclair Surf was going well until falling LTO, but it is a concern that both his wins have come on heavy ground; he's one for when the rain comes.  Colorado Doc is not guaranteed to stay the trip; and the jumping of Iwilldoit fell apart when he last ran in a chase. As such, I'm surprised that Supreme Escape is 20/1: he may be 4lb out of the handicap, but he's 2 from 5 at Chepstow winning on good and heavy ground, and he's also a 3-mile hurdle winner at Doncaster. I can forgive him his run in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April, and it's likely he need his run LTO at Aintree in a 3-mile hurdle. He may not win this, but he's an interesting place-only wager (Skybet are 18/1 4-places ew). The most likely winner looks to be RUN TO MILAN in my opinion, and there's lots of 13/2 available.

At Sandown, there is a top-class card, and the Grade 1 novice chase before the "Tingle Creek" looks a belter.  At this time of the season, it does not pay to go-in too heavy as improvement in novice chasers can be rapid; that said, I do like the chance of Edwardstone to overturn the fav Third Time Lucki here. At Cheltenham, I thought TTL was fortunate to hold onto the race as last-fence-faller Captain Tom Cat was staying-on strong. Last season, Edwardstone was the better hurdler, and on level terms in this I'm seeing 11/4 (he was 7/2 yesterday afternoon) on him as better value than 9/4 on the fav.

In the Tingle Creek, my thoughts are we should see Chancun Pour Soi, Greaneteen and Nube Negra coming to the final fence align-abreast.  Greaneteen was disappointing LTO at Exeter, but a repeat of his win at Sandown in April puts him bang in here - so long as his jumping holds-up as that has let him down in the past. Not faults on that score for Chancun Pour Soi, who (possibly) ran too quickly after winning at the Dublin Festival Grade 1 when running 3rd in th QMCC at the Cheltenham Festival. He goes well fresh, and he should put in a faultless display, but will that be enough to beat Nube Negra? Forget his run at the Punchestown Festival, NUBE NEGRA ran 2nd (beating Chancun Pour Soi) at Cheltenham, and his seasonal debut win last month puts his in the driving seat in my opinion. Odds of 100/30 look very attractive to me.

In the "London National" at 3:00pm, a race over an extended 3m4f, the horse that looks the most likely winner to me is the top-weight Highland Hunter. Trainer Paul Nicholls knows he has a decent marathon chaser in his stable in this one, and he improved every run last season.  The form of the Midlands National at Uttoxeter is looking strong, and I was expecting to see a market move for this one.  As such, he's still available at 9/1 (with William Hill offering 4-places ew), and that looks cracking value in a race that looks fairly weak.  It could be one helluva day for Paul Nicholls.

It is not difficult to see Protektorat winning the "Many Clouds" Grade 2 chase over 3m1f at 2:05pm at Aintree and I cannot believe that he's available at 100/30 (and 7/2 with William Hill).

That looks enough races to be taking into consideration today. My wagers are going to be:
Chepstow 1:22pm RUN TO MILAN @ 13/2
Sandown 3:00pm HIGHLAND HUNTER @ 9/1
£5.00 eachway double with William Hill 

Aintree 2:05pm PROTEKTORAT: £10.00 win @ 7/2 with William Hill