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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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Friday 25 November 2022

Saturday 26th November - "Hennessey" Gold Cup at Newbury

Blog updated on Saturday morning - updates in blue.
It may have a new name, but jumps fans know it by only one, The Hennessey.  There's been a bit of talk that the race isn't what it was, and it may be that it's 6 years since a proper "Gold Cup" horse - in the form of Native River - has run in the race, but it's still a competitive handicap.  Personally, despite having a decent Gold Cup record (the Weekender says 10 winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup ran in this race on their way to the big one), this isn't a race that I would naturally look to as a stepping-stone to winning a Gold Cup. Why, because it's too close to Christmas and effectively rules out a run in either the "King George" at Kempton, or the Savills Chase in Ireland. ones

Being a race with a long history, there are lots of statistics. As with all statistical trends on horseracing, the first point of call has to be the strongest: stick with lightly raced chasers, as 11 of the last 17 winners had fewer than 10 chase runs, and only 1 of the last 27 winners had run more than 15 chase runs (Gingembre in 2002). If you take out the anomaly of 10yo Sizing Tennessee, only 1 horse older than 8yo has won this race since the 9yo Teeton Mill in 1998 - step forward Denman. There's no Denman in this race, and so I am content to put a line through Lostintranslation, Remastered, Potterman, and Diablo De Rouhet. Back on 30th October, I had an early look at this race for some antepost value, and came up with 3 horses: 2 are not running (Bravemansgame, and Fantastikas) but Fiddlerontheroof - advised at 16/1 - is, and his hurdle run on 7th November will have set him up for this. He was unlucky to be beaten in this race last year, and I think he has every chance of winning. I don't think the fav Le Milos, will have ground soft enough, and his odds are too short to suggest value. There's never been a 5yo winner of the race although (to be fair) very few have tried.  Even so, I can't have Busselton running off OR149 as despite winning LTO in the Kerry National, he's not shown form suggesting he can win off this rating.

There's 4 of the 1st-5 from the Ultima Handicap Chase running (who said this race isn't what it once was?) and all 4 - Corach Rambler, Gericault Roque, Oscar Elite, and Our Power - have a great chance, it is difficult to split them, but I favour Corach Rambler to do the best. Trainer Paul Nicholls runs many horses in this race, but his last winner was Denman; however, he could have another with Threeunderthrufive who ticks a lot of boxes. Probably outclassed at Cheltenham, he looks capable of a bold show being a prominent runner. The way I look at the race, the likely winner is either Fiddlerontheroof or Threeunderthrufive, both are available at 10/1 (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5). I didn't post odds on Friday evening, as I was hoping for a better market on the day. Skybet offer 6-places and 10/1 on Threeunderthrufive, and 11/1 on Fiddlerontheroof. This does look a more competitive race than usual and any one of the six named in this paragraph could win, so (if betting) keep stakes small. Personally, I'm relying on my surviving antepost wager at 16/1 on Fiddlerontheroof.

There are some great races on today, and the Class 2 handicap chase at 1:20pm over 2m6f & 93yds looks a great race to have a wager in. I'm not convinced Zanza is returning to his form of 2021, whereas Killer Kane should come on for his recent run and this trip being just short of 3-miles is right for him. The trip is also perfect for C&D winner Dublin Four, but he's had plenty of runs and may not have more improvement to come. On the upgrade is LTO winner Java Point (also a C&D winner) who I like a lot. For me, it's between Java Point and the fav Demachine, who also won LTO and was strongly fancied for the "Gold Cup" on this card last season, but weakened from 2-out to finish 5th to Cloudy Glen. Clearly the trip stretched him, and he bounced-back at Uttoxeter in May over 2m4f, but he suffers from having to carry 12st in this race. I think odds of 17/2 about JAVA POINT look fair value, and he's my selection in this race.

There's an interesting 3-mile Class 3 handicap chase at Bangor at 1:28pm and it may pay to wager on Keep Wondering who has 10lb claimer Elizabeth Gale riding, and she's 2 wins from 3 rides this season. Keep Wondering should stay this trip and his recent hurdle run over 2m7f should have him fit for this, and trainer has a 22% strike-rate with chasers at Bangor. Odds of 4/1 are not great though, and it may pay to hang on and keep an eye on the betting.

At Newcastle, the feature "Rehearsal" Chase over 2m7f & 91 yards is the last on the card at 3:25pm, and we see the return of top-class novice chaser L'Homme Presse. Trainer Venetia Williams has had 4 wins in the past week, and there will be a lot of confidence about this horse today, as he could develop into a Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate this season. Last years' winner Aye Right will make sure this is a proper stamina test, but he wont be winning today. There are a few in this who are trying the 3-mile trip for the first time, and they are difficult to assess. The odd-one-out is Into Overdrive, he's won his last 4 chase races and gone from OR112 to OR138 today, and unexpectedly won his seasonal debut over 2m3f last month.  It's never easy to assess form from the Northern tracks, but he's in the deep end here. The really interesting one is Happygolucky: he looked a decent chaser in the making in 2020-21, but has been off the track since winning at Aintree off OR149, demonstrating how unlucky he was not to win at the Cheltenham Festival. If he's fit and ready, he could be worth a punt today at odds of 15/2, but I really cannot see him winning unless he comes back just as good as when we last saw him run. 

My one advised selection today is: 
Newbury 1:20pm JAVA POINT - £5.00 eachway @ 17/2 
(generally available, 5th odds a place 1,2,3)

Saturday 19 November 2022

Saturday 19th November - Betfair Chase at Haydock

It's a big day for Haydock racecourse, but the weather hasn't been kind and the races on the soft ground there are likely to be gruelling. Before heading into today's races, a quick look at last weeks blog: and we were close with the main selection Il Ridoto, who looked poised to take the feature race of the day as they leaders approached 2-out, but although staying-on to be 4th he had nothing left in the tank. He is only a 5yo and there will be opportunities ahead for him.  Although not a selection (the odds available were below my 9/4 threshold for selections on the blog), there was plenty of confidence on Tea For Three at Uttoxeter, who travelled well and found plenty to win well.

The feature race today is the 3m1f & 125yds (Grade 1) Betfair Chase at Haydock. The soft ground has reduced the field to just 5 runners, however the Gold Cup winner - and winner of this race last season - A Plus Tard returns, and looks near impossible to beat today. There's no certainties in horseracing, but it may pay to have "straight forecast" wager on the race to put the 1st-2 in the right order. What could come 2nd? On their best recent form, my rating suggests that there is little to split the other 4 runners in the race. Bristol De Mai is a 3-time winner of the Betfair Chase, but he pulled-up last year and I can't see him being 2nd unless the other 3 run exceptionally poorly. Frodon was a mighty winner with top-weight just 14-days ago, but he won't be able to bully Bristol De Mai who also likes to lead, and if things don't fall his way he tends to lose interest. He may throw in the towel with half-a-mile to go. Protektorat won a poor Grade 2 over 3m1f at Aintree last December, but was beaten before the final fence in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and plodded on to be 3rd - I'm not convinced he's a true 3-mile-plus chaser. Remember, he couldn't beat the current OR147 chaser Empire Steel over 3-mile when conceding him just 4lb.  And that leaves Eldorado Allen, who was a good 2nd in the "Charlie Hall" over 3-mile at Wetherby, and also beat top stayer Royale Pagaille over 3-mile at Newbury. He comes here race-fit, in good form and the ground isn't an issue - I can't see him winning, but he can be 2nd

What other races are worthy of interest today? Earlier on the Haydock card at 12:40pm there a Class 3 3m4f handicap chase, and stamina is really going to be needed in this race. One that stands out for me on form and on the odds, is Innisfree Lad: he ran a great race 20-days ago to be 2nd to improving Houston Texas (runs in Haydock 3:35pm) and was not beaten far when 3rd in the 4-mile "Eider" at Newcastle in February. He ran off OR135 that day, now he's on OR129 and with stamina no problem he looks a value eachway wager at 14/1 (Skybet are 5th odds 4-places on this race). The market leaders Wouldyoubewell and No Cruise Yet are priced on potential and not form (both only beat a couple of horse's LTO).

The card at Ascot is disappointing; nothing wrong with the races on offer but with 6 or fewer runners in the 1st-5 races on the card, betting opportunities are few - I just don't like betting at short odds, there is so little reward for the risk.  The only race that's interesting is the extended 2-mile (Class 2) handicap chase at 3:15pm. A few of these met here at Ascot 3-weeks over this trip, and perhaps the winner that day - Thyme White - can follow up again. However, he meets Frero Banbou (who was 2nd) on 7lb worse terms, and Frero Banbou looked sure to improve for the race. The 7yo Boothill currently 3/1, won LTO but that was only his 2nd chase, and he's going to be mixing with some solid handicappers here. The Irish raider So Scottish is also a novice with 2 wins from 2 chase runs and looks well handicapped on OR135, but the same applies to him as Boothill. With ground likely to be too soft for top-weight Third Time Lucki, for me the value is with Frero Banbou who is 11/2 with Bet365 (5th odds a place 1,2,3).

Haydock 12:40pm INNISFREE LAD - £2.50 eachway @ 14/1 (Skybet 5th odds a place 1,2,3,4)
Ascot 3:15pm FRERO BANBOU - £2.50 eachway @ 11/2 (Bet365 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
£2.50 Eachway double with Bet365 (5th odds a place 1,2,3 both races) 

Haydock 3:00pm - Straight Forecast £5 staked
1: A Plus Tard
to beat
3: Eldorado Allen

Total staked = £20

Friday 11 November 2022

Saturday 12th November - Paddy Power Handicap Chase

New comments added this morning (Saturday) are in blue.

A quick recap on last Saturday.  The early selection Ashtown Lad was well supported and followers of the blog had the value at 8/1, but he just wasn't good enough - however, he was 3rd so the advised eachway wager was without without loss.  Not so with Senior Citizen who never looked happy throughout the race, and the writing was on the wall not long after they started. He's always best fresh, so I'm not expecting having any further wagers on him this season after that poor effort.  We very nearly pulled-off a good win with the final selection Lord Accord, who ran an absolute cracker to be the only rival to push the win, the outstanding Frodon.  I'd rate Lord Accord a bit higher for this effort, and he looks to be a fast improving horse. 

The Cheltenham meeting has the Paddy Power Handicap Chase as the feature race, and the meeting is one of the best of the jumps season. It opens with the Triumph Hurdle Trial and the winner of this race is usually one of the better juvenile hurdlers, so get your notebooks out. I'm probably going to take a look at this race on Saturday morning (I'm writing this on Friday afternoon), so if you are reading this on Friday, please take another look on Saturday after 11am for any updates. The opener at Cheltenham at 12:35pm looks tricky to fathom.  I'm not that taken by French imports having their UK debut, so odds of 13/8 about Blueking D'Oroux are very skinny.  The interesting ones in my opinion are the next couple in the betting: Scriptwriter @ 4/1 and Mr Freedom @ 11/2.  Scriptwriter was near Group-class on the flat, and he's in good hands with Milton Harris.  Mr Freedom cost just £800 at the sales - you struggle to find a new sofa at that price -  yet he's looking very decent over hurdles for Sheena West.  A trainer local to Brighton, Sheena West mainly sends horses to Fontwell and Plumpton, so if she goes elsewhere it's worth taking note.  Mr Freedom will not be going to Cheltenham for a jolly.  I shall be having a small (personal) wager on Mr Freedom, bit I cannot advise a punt on this race. 

The amateur riders handicap chase over 3m1f at 1:10pm looks interesting.  A lot of these riders wont be capable of riding a winner here, and those who still have a claim are probably not up to it. The capable Gina Andrews has jumped off Anightinlambourn and onto Bobhopenohope and I expect that pair will try to make all. However, I'm liking the look of BRAVE WAY who has won his last couple of races, stays the trip and is sent over Henry de Bromhead.  This mare hasn't many miles on the clock and could be a class above these. Odds of 15/2 (William Hill, 5th odds places 1,2,3,4) look very fair.  Now best-priced at 13/2 and shortening, I'd say the value has gone on this horse.  Hope readers took the 15/2 on Friday evening.  For those looking for an interest in the race, Bobhopenohope is now 10/1 with BetVictor (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5) and should be there at the finish.

Now the main event: Paddy Power h'cap Chase at 2:20pm. The early fav French Dynamite won a decent hurdle 3 weeks ago, but his chasing form needs to improve 15lb on what we've seen to-date for him to win this. Stolen Silver was on the upgrade all last season and ended with a career-best in April, but this looks a big ask off OR150.  Going left-handed at Cheltenham is a new experience for Ga Law, and he looked listless LTO at Aintree. Yes, that was off the back of a new 2-year lay-off, but he needs to find a tonne of improvement on that run to figure in this race.  Galahad Quest was 5th in this race last year when running off OR135, and he's on OR131 now; but he runs like a horse who wants further than 2m4f and he will likely be in the places again.  The 5yo Il Ridito won a decent race at Newbury in Nov-21 with Numitor well behind, as well as Frero Banbou, and Grey Diamond.  Sent to Sandown on "Tingle Creek" day for the Grade 1 novice chase he was outclassed, and heavy ground did him no favours in a couple of races after that, but at Ayr in April he showed his form again. There was a lot to like about that race, even though he finished tired - he has had wind surgery since - and he looks the sort to go well. 

I can't have Coole Cody, at 11yo (he'll turn 12yo on 1st Jan) age has surely caught up with him. The 9yo Deyrann De Carjac has had too many races, but not so Happygolucky but he's been off the track since Apr-21, and previous to that race he'd started fav for the "Ultima" handicap at the Festival and run 2nd.  If he's fit, he could go well, but it's a big ask. I'm more interested in Umbrigado who won a grade 3 handicap chase at Newbury in Mar-21off OR144, but then had some problems. He comes here fit from hurdling (won LTO) and trainer David Pipe knows what is needed to win this race, and his horses are in form. There aren't many better 14/1 chances.  James Bowen in the saddle and not Nico de Boinville suggests Mister Fisher isn't expected to win, but he's capable of a bold show.  This will be a 3rd run in the race for Simply The Betts, and I can't see him winning this now. One I've not mentioned but looks primed for a big run is Midnight River: he tore a race apart 16-days ago when winning at Stratford, and trainer Dan Skelton went close in this race last season when Protektorat ran 2nd. The worry is that he's a hold-up horse, and this race needs to be ridden from the front. 

For me, IL RIDOTO ticks a lot of boxes, and odds of 8/1 are fair but not generous. I also think Umbrigado is worth a smaller interest at 14/1 (William Hill and Coral).

Advised wagers:
Cheltenham 2:20 - IL RIDOTO - £5 eachway @ 8/1 
(available generally, 5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5)
Cheltenham 2:20 - UMBRIGADO - £2.50 eachway @ 14/1 
(William Hill or Corals, 5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5)

At Uttoxeter, the betting for the Class 3, 3m2f handicap chase at 2:12pm is dominated by the fav Tea For Free, who was in a different class when winning LTO. He is up 13lb to OR125 but that may not be enough to stop him as he could be rated a lot closer to OR140 by the end of this season. Odds of evens look a bit short to me, as he wont have things all his own way as the capable, experienced chaser Classic Ben is the 2nd-fav with plenty of 15/2 available.  I can't recommend a wager, as if Tea For Free is an Or140 chaser in the making then he will easily win this, but there are no certainties in horseracing.

Friday 4 November 2022

Saturday 5th November - Aintree and Wincanton

Not the best of Saturday's lies ahead.  Even though we have meetings at Aintree, Wincanton and Kelso the level of racing available to the punter is fairly ordinary. 
I'm going to take a look at Aintree first, and the 3-mile handicap hurdle at 1:01pm looks an interesting place to start.  I've said before that stayers' hurdles are - in my opinion - a good betting medium (I'm setting myself up for tipping another loser here), and this race has the feel of an upset. The early betting was dominated by Gericault Roque, who spent last season novice chasing and improved hand-over-fist; and Milan Bridge who, though being the same age as Gericault Roque at 6yo, is less experienced. I think this could be a step too quick for Milan Bridge, and David Pipe - trainer of Gericault Roque - also has Remastered in the race. I'm never comfortable when a trainer has a double-entry.  This race looks a big ask for Flight Deck, coming off such a long break; and so I'm drawn to ASHTOWN LAD. He stays really well, as proven by his 5th in the Scottish National in April, and he wasn't far short of being one of last season's best novice chasers - but he was also a very adept staying hurdler before going chasing.  His last hurdle race was at Aintree over this trip when he wasn't disgraced. Odds of 8/1 look very decent, especially as Skybet are offering 4-places to 5th odds. 

More to come.... All the above was written on Friday afternoon, and Ashtown Lad is now a best-priced 6/1 with Milan Bridge the 11/4 fav. This is pure speculation on Milan Bridge; yes Paul Nicholls has his horses flying (16 wins from his last 41 runners) but that does not warrant sending him off fav in this decent handicap. Flight Deck is now the 2nd-fav on 4/1 and he looks handicapped to the hilt will little room for further improvement from the 8yo. So, hoping you read this blog on Friday evening and have taken advantage of the pointer on ASHTOWN LAD.

What else do we have today?  The "Grand Sefton" handicap chase over the National fences at 2:11pm will be exciting to watch, as the race is over 2m5f and will be run at some pace. With Al Dancer apt to make mistakes with his jumping, I would be looking to oppose this 4/1 joint-fav but with what?  There's a couple of old favorites of mine in the race: Spiritofthegames and Senior Citizen. Both have performed well over these fences before, with Senior Citizen coming 2nd in this race, and he looks poised for a good run in this.  Senior Citizen goes best off a good break, he has won his seasonal debut in 3 of the past 4 seasons and was 2nd in the race he didn't win. He looks sure to go well so long as he gets around and in 4 races around these fences he has never yet failed to finish. Odds of 15/2 (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5 with Skybet - others offer just 4-places) look very fair given his record. Sure, Lifetime Ambition comes over from Ireland for this, but his run at Punchestown LTO probably flattered him, and he's not value at 4/1.

I'm trying not to look too hard for winners, studying the form too long can make you force the form to fit your (subliminal) selection. There are strong reasons for the above couple of selections (Ashtown Lad and Senior Citizen), and the odds available when advised on this blog (Friday evening for Ashtown Lad; Saturday morning for Senior Citizen) make an eachway wager on the pair available.

At Wincanton, the "Badger Beer" handicap chase over 3m1f at 1:50pm is always a solid race, and this year it has punters-pal Frodon as topweight with 12st to carry. The 10yo will need to be at his best to win off this mark, and his last 3 races were not good enough.  Potterman has run 2nd in this race twice, and there's no reason he wont be in the places again, while Rocco (last year's winner at 40/1) hasn't shown similar form since.  Lord Accord won well LTO (beating my selection The Wolf, in the process) and comes here proven fit and in-form; the 7yo is my idea of the fav and he'll be carrying just 10st 6lb, which suggests his current odds of 6/1 look fair value.  Also in the race is Neville's Cross who pulled-up behind Lord Accord at Cheltenham: he is interesting as on his day he is more than capable of running well off his current mark of OR142  - he beat Danny Kirwan at Kempton easily in May, and that horse ran a cracker at Ascot last Saturday. Odds of 22/1 look enticing for those who like a more speculative wager.

Aintree 1:01pm - ASHTOWN LAD @ 8/1 (advised Friday) £5 eachway (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4)
Aintree 2:11pm - SENIOR CITIZEN @ 15/2 - £5 eachway (5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5 SKYBET)
Wincanton 1:50pm - LORD ACCORD @ 6/1 - £5 win (Bet365 and William Hill
Total Staked - £25