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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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Sunday 30 October 2022

Sunday 30th October - Hindsight

No doubt about it, hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Yesterday, a great "win" double was staring me in the face, and I overlooked the obvious and instead tried to fathom a tricky early-season handicap chase. 

Re-reading my own blog, what I should have done was stay with Bravemansgame - especially when his odds drifted due a spectacular, and ill-judged, gamble on Ahoy Senor. And I should have coupled that selection with Proschema in the 3-mile hurdle earlier in the Wetherby card.  For years, I've made clear my opinion that 3-mile hurdle races are a punters paradise as very few horses have the ability to win at 3-miles, and yesterday - as I wrote on my blog - Proschema merely had to repeat his effort when 2nd in this race last season to be in with a winning chance. As it turned-out, he didn't even have to do that as the fav Sporting John was very disappointing (he does have more than his share of off days), and the 2nd-fav Threeunderthrufive was using the race to prepare for a season of chasing.

Looking ahead with this pair, Proschema is a long way short of winning a Grade-1 Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival,  but it's certainly worth noting him outside of Grade-1 races. The same applies to Bravemansgame, who though he won, he didn't set the world alight to me.

Let's take a quick look ahead to the renamed Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury on 26th November - for decades this was the "Hennessey" and latterly the "Ladbroke Trophy" . 
It is interesting that Dan Skelton has entered Protektorat, but OR164 looks a tough mark for him in a top handicap like this.  I'm more interested that Bravemansgame could run in this off OR161, as yesterday's race will have him in peak form for the 26th Nov, those odds of 14/1 look interesting.
Last years' runner-up Fiddlerontheroof looks capable of running another big race off OR155, he's at 16/1.  The "Ultima" Chase winner Corach Rambler should be in the mix, but current odds of 6/1 are laughable at this time.  I think the ground was a bit quick for Fantastikas in that race, but he still ran well, and odds of 25/1 about him look interesting as he's a lot better than OR142, and that rating should ensure that he is just in the handicap proper, with 10st or 10st1lb to carry.

Those are my 3 early antepost selections for the Coral Gold Cup Handicap Chase:
Bravemansgame @ 14/1
Fiddlerontheroof @ 16/1
Fantastikas @ 25/1

Friday 28 October 2022

Saturday 29th October - Charlie Hall Chase

We're right in the thick of it now, this weekend is a feast of decent jump racing. There are top-class meetings at Wetherby and Ascot, and a solid supporting meeting at Ayr; and these follow a great couple of days of jump racing. The Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) at Wetherby at 3:35pm is the feature race of the day, but has a disappointing low turnout of just 5 runners. The Paul Nicholls' trained Bravemansgame is the likely fav, and so he should be as he appears to have much the best form to-date and gets a valuable 3lb from his highest rated rival Eldorado Allen.  I reckon Ahoy Senor is a horse who could probably do better over a longer trip, and I also think he was flattered LTO at Aintree.  Do not underestimate the 10yo Sam Brown who ran a career-best LTO at Aintree, and he may give the fav the most to think about.  This is a stamina-test for Paint The Dream, and there's potential that he may stay 3-miles - but will he find improvement? I cannot recommend a wager in this race, but will likely try a reverse forecast with Bravemansgame coupled-with Sam Brown to small money.

Earlier on the card at Wetherby is the West Yorkshire Hurdle over 3-miles at 3:00pm, and while Sporting John looked every inch a Grade 1 hurdler over this trip LTO, he won't have things all his own way in this as he does seem to run best when on soft/heavy ground.  The race was won last year by Indefatigable, but she races this year on worse terms and even if she can match that effort, she'd be unlikely to win. The horse in 2nd though, Proschema, looks interesting as he's repeated his "pipe-opener" at Chepstow. He gets a valuable 4lb from Sporting John and a repeat of last years' run could be enough. Thomas Derby was well beaten in this race last year, and it's not easy to see him running better this time; Threeunderthrufive would need to improve 20lb on his last hurdle run and so would Oscar Elite.  With Skelton's horses running much better than those of Hobbs, I'm thinking the value in the race could be Proschema.

The Ascot card is a real favourite of mine and one that I've had some good wins at over the years.  The opening novice chase at 1:30pm is intriguing as we see the top-class, yet enigmatic, Goshen run his chase debut.  Jumping fences could really be the making of him, and it should be applauded that trainer Gary Moore has switched him from hurdles as a 6yo.  That said, I'm not willing to risk a wager on the horse as all his 3 rivals look to have the potential to cause an upset. 

The Ascot 2:40pm race is a 2-mile handicap (Class 1) chase, and brings together a very competitive field of runners. On 1st-glance, the only one's that I can discount are Daly Tiger and Joke Dancer, but that still leaves 7-runners all closely matched. The 5yo Nassalam was "put-away" after winning LTO in February at Fontwell, and could be a lot better than his OR145 rating. Amoola Gold loves Ascot, and has slipped to a rating of OR143 which puts him 10lb better with Before Midnight when they met here over C&D last November. Thyme White was considered to be well-handicapped but he was beaten here off this OR142 rating last March. If Gumball ran to his potential off OR137, then he'd win this race by 20-lengths but he's just unreliable - however, he is fit from a campaign on the flat. Monsieur Lecoq won this race in the Stewards' Room last year, but he's not repeated that sort of form since (was behind Amoola Gold and Before Midnight over C&D a month later), and he's plenty to prove. One that looks interesting is Frero Banbou who is sent by Venetia Williams:  he was a well-beaten 3rd in this race last year, but clearly improved as the season wore on.  I cannot imagine he's here on a "pipe-opener" and he looks fairly handicapped. This is a tricky race to fathom: NASSALAM @ 7/1 could be the answer, as he's won here and is probably the only one in the race with potential to improve on what we've seen of him so far. 

Finally, the London Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot at 3:15pm.  This Class 1 races brings together a top-class field of 13 runners.  The ground isn't soft enough for Good Boy Bobby, or Mister Malarky, and probably Full Back. The 7yo Tea Clipper ran a cracker just 21-days ago at Chepstow and could improve for the run, but this 3-mile trip may extend him. No such issue's with Kitty's Light, and the ground will suit too; and he ran in the Chepstow race but was well behind that day.  He can get tailed-off, but on a going day he is well-handicapped. The lightly-raced 7yo Annsam won over C&D in December, and the runner-up won NTO, so that form is strong; so even though he's rated 5lb higher now on OR139, he's fairly handicapped. The downside is he's not run since April and will probably need the run. The 14yo Regal Encore loves Ascot, but must surely be feeling his age now. The 7yo Our Power hasn't shaped well in races over this sort of trip, and this is a stiff 3-mile likely to be run at a good pace. The same applies to Danny Kirwan who while being a course winner over 2m5f isn't guaranteed to stay the trip.  It's no surprise to see Major Dundee heading the betting: he's only had 4 chase races, and he's won twice, run a good 2nd and been 3rd in the Scottish National - what's not to like? Up The Straight steps up in trip as he's not improved as a chaser, but he's going to have to improve a lot to win this race.  Poppa Poutine is a horse that appears to want marathon trips. And that leaves Rapper: he's only had 5 chase races, and appeared unsuited by Cheltenham at the Festival, but he probably deserves another chance as his couple of wins before that suggest he has potential as a staying chaser - certainly at 40/1 he's worth a small ew wager.

Ascot 2:40pm - NASSALAM - £5 win @ 8/1 (William Hill)
Ascot 3:15pm - RAPPER - £2.40 eachway @ 40/1 (Paddy Power quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4)
Ascot 3:15pm - MAJOR DUNDEE - £10 win @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

Saturday 22 October 2022

Saturday 22nd October 2022 - Cheltenham

What a week it has been, but next week could be even more tumultuous. They say a day is a long time in politics, but the situation changed by the hour this week.  At least we have the regularity and security of horseracing - and the powers that be managed to make the sensible decision to maintain a 4-day Cheltenham Festival and put-to-bed any thoughts of including Saturday and making it 5 days long.  Apparently, it was the ground and the heavy rain that occurred on the course on the 2nd day of this years' Festival that swayed opinion - the possibility of heavy rain during a 5-day Festival could turn the spectacle into a public flagellation.

We're back at Cheltenham today with a half-decent card to review and - hopefully - find a winner.

There's a 3m1f handicap chase at 2:05pm and the fav is The Hollow Ginge who was just pipped in the race last year off a rating of OR137.  He's on OR127 today and the reason is his form went down the pan after that and, while he does go well fresh, it' a big ask for him to rekindle his form.  Another 9yo, Captain Cattistock is the 2nd-fav and he's won his last couple of races and goes off OR132 which is fair, as he won over 4-miles here at Cheltenham off OR135 in a hunter-chase back in April 2021.  To be fair, he was much the best horse in that race and this is a tad more difficult, as he meets The Wolf on 10lb worse terms than when they met in February.  The Wolf goes well fresh, and will appreciate the ground today - at 8/1 he looks much the best value.This will only be the 4th chase race for Coeur Serein, who is better-known as a hurdler. There's the possibility that his jumping is more confident now, so he's fairly handicapped on OR137. The 7yo Almazhar Garde is also fairly handicapped, but he never seems to run well at Cheltenham, so I'll ignore him. So, having started off thinking Captain Cattistock was the most likely wager, I've flirted with Coueur Serein, and ended-up falling firmly with THE WOLF who is trained by the very capable Olly Murphy. 

There's a 2-mile handicap chase at 3:15pm but this race looks very competitive, and the Mullins entry Dads Lad could be well-in off OR135, as could Gordon Elliott's entry Poseidon. This meeting is used by Elliott to gain knowledge of the level of the UK horses, especially the novice chasers, so he sends over horses that he knows well and can provide him with a good yardstick to the form. Mullins is more "reliable" in that he won't send a horse over from Ireland unless he thinks is has a good chance of winning. 
Just the single selection this week.  We were a tad unlucky last week in the race was run at a serious pace which knocked the stuffing out of our selection, who wasn't able to mount a serious challenge and ran 2nd.  I'm hoping for a better result today.

Cheltenham 2:05pm - THE WOLF £5 eachway & £5 win @ 15/2 
(available generally, 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
Total staked = £15

Saturday 15 October 2022

Saturday 15th October 2022 - Champions Day at Ascot

I'm sure most eyes will be on Ascot and the "Champions Day" meeting there. Even Kwasi Kwarteng may pay a visit, to explore if he's any better with wagers on horseracing than he is playing the financial markets like he would a roulette table.

The racing at Ascot looks tremendous, but I'm not a great one for placing wagers on the flat at this time of the season.  Though, I can't see Trueshan being beaten in the opening Long Distance Cup on ground that he will love, and over a trip that we know suits him well. But the horse I really want to see is Baaeed winning the Champion Stakes.  It has been a glorious career for the horse, and what progress - his opening race was a class 4 maiden over a mile at Leicester, just over 15 months ago.

My focus is on the jumps racing at Market Rasen, where the class 2 handicap chase over 2m5f at 3:37pm looks very interesting.  Only 6 horses go to post, and I'm drawn to the bottom-weight GUY who never seems to run a bad race, but always seems to find one better. The "good" ground holds no fears for him, and the trip should suit him as he was a close 2nd in the race last year.  I think he's a good bit better than OR129, whereas his rivals all look to be on ratings that they may struggle to win off.  Killer Clown usually needs a run; Kiltealy Briggs possibly wants 3-mile; it's tricky to know what to make of Irish raider Rapid Response; and Orrisdale goes too well on heavy ground to suggest that this quicker surface will bring out the best in him. The obvious danger to the selection is the likely fav Tamaroc Du Mathan, but Market Rasen is not a great hunting ground for Paul Nicholls. 

Overall, GUY appears to represent the best option in the race, and I managed to get-on at the odds of 9/2 (I'm writing this bit on Friday evening).  There was a little bit of 6/1 available (from Bet365 and Skybet) around about 16:30 on Friday afternoon, but that was soon snapped-up (not by me, I might add), so I took the last of the 9/2 with BetVic.  As I write, there still plenty of 4/1 available, and that's fair value in my opinion.

In my last blog, I discussed some options for anterpost wagers, and I'm going to expand that theme during the jumps season.  The "Paddy Power" Gold Cup at Cheltenham on 12th November is always a top quality handicap to get involved in. The Irish-trained Busselton recently won the Kerry National over 3-mile, but before that he's run well many times over the 2m4f trip of the "Paddy Power".  He's had a busy season already, so it's no certainty that he will line-up for this race in November, but if he does he will likely be shorter odds than the 14/1 currently quoted.  Another horse that looks very interesting is the mare The Glancing Queen who goes well at Cheltenham, and possibly felt the soft ground when 7th in the "Plate" handicap chase over the course & distance at the Festival.  Coming to the 2nd-last that day she looked capable of finishing in the 1st-3, but emptied-out quickly.  I'm putting that down to the more testing soft ground . For an 8yo she has very few miles on the clock, and she could prove to be a lot better than her rating of OR145 when the conditions suit.