It's just 3 Saturdays to the Cheltenham Festival, and this weekend is probably the last one for any realistic chances to show form and go on and run well there. However, according to the stats, it s unlikely. One good thing is that the blog returned to form last Saturday with a good winner in Does He Know - tipped up at odds of 4/1 went off at 9/2 and romped home a good winner. He's been tipped as a potential Ultima Handicap Chase winner on the opening day of the Festival, but he looks an out-and-out stayer to me and when he was outpaced about a mile out that underlined the fact. My other selection, Caribean Boy, was very disappointing - he looked to struggle on the ground and perhaps the race came too soon after his recent win (when we were on him).
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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 26 February 2022
Saturday 19 February 2022
We've not had much luck with selections for the past few weeks. Sometimes the way races play-out, you just can't read the formlines well. Let's see if there's a change in fortune today.
We've 3 jumps meetings at Ascot, Haydock and Wincanton; and I'm starting my preview looking at Ascot and the "Reynoldstown" Novice Chase at 1:50pm over 3-miles has a wide-open look about it with all 6 runners trading at between 3/1 and 7/1. However, the Kim Bailey trained Does He Know ticks a lot of boxes. We know he stays the trip, and his form lines are solid (chased home the progressive Threeunderthrufive LTO), and he handled soft ground over hurdles so he should cope with it over fences. I thought he'd be fav for this as while Does He Know has decent form in the book, the others are all "potential" horses who may improve, or they may not. As such, Does He Know is available at 4/1 generally for this and I'd have thought odds around 11/4 would more reflect his chance.
From the RP results, the quote of the Assistant trainer: "Does He Know (does have) form on soft... on ratings has a favourite's chance... it was a strong staying performance" - pretty-much what I wrote (see above) on the morning of the race.
The Listed Chase over 3-miles at 2:25pm at Ascot is interesting as older horses have a good record in this race. It could be because younger progressive chasers are being held-back for the Cheltenham Festival; that's certainly what I thought would be happening with Caribean Boy who showed he had no stamina issues when winning LTO over 3-miles and my immediate thoughts were he was a potential "Ultima" Chase handicap winner on the opening day at the Festival. He's being aimed at the Grand National though, and he could be value in this race running off OR149. The fav for the race is Fiddlerontheroof, but he needs to find improvement (in my opinion) to win this off OR155; and that's a big ask. Hold That Taught won a weak-looking Class 3 at Carlisle in October but hasn't looked the same horse in a couple of runs since then. Odds of 7/1 are available on Caribean Boy, and they look value to me.
The Ascot Chase (Grade 1) over 2m5f looks a cracker of a race, and there's not much between these runners. On my ratings, the best recent form is from Mister Fisher, and he is worthy of his OR160 rating. I cannot say the same about Fanion D'Estruval (OR162), Saint Calvados (OR162) or Waiting Patiently (OR160). Fakir D'Oudairies is an odd one: there's something about him that doesn't add up. If forced to make a selection it would be Mister Fisher who goes well right-handed and is consistent at this trip and handles soft ground. Odds of 6/1 are fair.
The heavy ground at Haydock is not my idea of fun; we could see a lot of very tired horses finishing races in slow-motion. I will be avoiding this meeting. Wincanton stages a fairly ordinary meeting and there does not appear to be anything of value running there. So, it's just Ascot that provides a couple of selections - as the Ascot Chase at 3:38pm looks too close to call.
Saturday 12 February 2022
An interesting day of racing lies ahead which, after the tremendous "sabre rattling" of the Irish-based trainers at the Dublin Festival last weekend - will it be a complete clean-sweep for the Irish of the championship races at the Cheltenham Festival - further exposes the lack of depth in the UK training ranks.
We have 3 meetings at Newbury, Warwick and Uttoxeter, and it's at Warwick where I'm going to start as there are 3 good races to consider. The "listed" hurdle over 2m5f at 1:35pm only has 4 runners but a couple - Whitehotchilifili and Get A Tonic - have little chance of winning unless the other pair - Marie's Rock and Indefatigable - run well below form. I'm not convinced that Marie's Rock is worthy of an OR140 rating, but I know for sure that Indefatigable is capable of OR147 and she is in good form too. Odds of 11/10 are short, but she could well go off at odds-on; and this could be a day for a short-odds multiple wager.
The next race on the card at Warwick is the "Kingmaker" novice chase over 2-miles at 2:05pm and again only 4 horses compete. For Pleasure has no chance, and while Brave Seasca has won his last 3 chase handicaps, this race is a massive step-up in class. For me, Third Time Lucki is overated at OR153 by about 7lb; he could be 150+ but he's not shown that capability yet. There is no doubt Edwardstone is a class 2-mile novice chaser and I agree with the handicapper and accept his OR159 rating, and that should make him odds-on for this race but you can find "evens" in places. He's another one for the short-odds multiple wager.
That Class 2 handicap Chase over 2m4f at 3:15pm looks a cracker of a race. The LTO winner Falco Blitz (who we were on 4 weeks ago when winning at 7/1) looks fairly treated being raised only 3lb for that win. The French import Celebre D'Allen has won his 2 hurdle races since arriving at Phil Hobbs yard, and this is his UK chase debut. This 10yo last won a chase in France in November 2018, that was over 3 years ago! Sure, he is leniently treated by the handicapper on OR135, but I have doubts. I was on Jacamar LTO at Cheltenham, and he was let down by a very poor jumping display in that hot handicap, and he won't find it easier today - he could struggle again. The Irish raider Dinny Lacey looks to have a tough task here off OR137. The trip is a new one for Cheddleton, and there's a doubt he will stay, but he is in good form. Lieutenant Rocco could be interesting, but his last run when pulling-up was disappointing and his jumping can be sketchy. The King Of May bounced back LTO and has gone up 7lb to OR130; but I'm not convinced he's up to winning this. All-in-all, it looks like a good opportunity for FALCO BLITZ to follow-up on his LTO win, and odds of 5/1 look very fair.
At Newbury the opening race has the top Paul Nicholls novice chaser Bravemansgame looking for his 4th chase win on the bounce. He looks potential Grade 1 staying chaser, but he has a tough task giving 16lb to the promising handicappers Grumpy Charlie and Pats Fancy. Of that pair, Pats Fancy looks the better treated given the way he easily beat the subsequent handicap winner Imperial Alcazar, and odds of 9/2 look fair, especially as the Nicholls stable is out of form (just 1 win in the last 14-days from 37 runners).
The Denman Chase over 2m7f at 2:25pm is a race to watch but not wager on. Clan Des Obeaux should win this as the ground will not be soft enough for Royale Pagaille. But then, with the Nicholls stable not firing this past few weeks, and the ground doubt for Royale Pagaille, we could be in for a surprise result - definitely a race to watch and not wager on!
That's it for me; I've looked at a lot of races and time now to place the wagers.
Saturday 5 February 2022
After last weeks white-out, I've been licking my wounds and contemplating a return into the ring. Unfortunately, today's racing in the UK looks less than poor; but it is competing with top-class racing at Leopardstown in Ireland.
The only race that interests me today is the Veteran's Chase over 2m6f at Musselburgh at 2:05pm. Top-weight Calipso Collonges is in form and this trip should suit him well after running 3rd LTO in the "Tommy Whittle" at Haydock. Odds of 4/1 are available generally, and that looks fair - the only issue I have is the 6lb claimer in the saddle. I just don't think he looks up to riding this horse to win.
To be honest, today is a looking a day for a good walk.