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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 25 February 2023

Saturday 25th February - Kempton

We have, what could well be, an informative day of racing at Kempton today. The meeting opens with the "Adonis" juvenile hurdle over 2-miles and I will be surprised if the fav, Scriptwriter, is beaten today. He has an official rating of OR132, but I reckon he's more like 140+. The Irish-trained challenger Nusret has not shown he's up to OR130 in my view, while Perseus Way is about right on OR125. It's the recent hurdling debut winners Rare Middleton (Paul Nicholls) and Sarsons Risk who probably pose the danger.

I'm fairly happy with the antepost wagers for Cheltenham; you cannot guarantee winners, but hopefully we will be in with a good shout. If you didn't read last Sunday's blog, take a look below. On 11th February, I advised a £5 eachway wager on Boothill for the Arkle; not because I think he can beat the market leaders Jonbon and El Fabiolo, but at the then 40/1 odds he looked a value punt for the 3rd-placed slot. I'm expecting a small number of runners in the Arkle - probably El Fabiolo / Jonbon / Dysart Dynamo / Final Orders / Boothill / Fil Dor and maybe a couple of others - and today Boothill should be able to cement his place in the race on the day. Boothill runs in the 2:25pm at Kempton, the Pendil Novices Chase over 2m4f, and his jumping ability should carry him to victory in this race today. Datsalrightgino has shown his ability to stay the trip, but his jumping let him down at Cheltenham; if he's improved that then he's in with a shout.

The 3rd race on the Kempton card is the 3-mile Coral Trophy (h'cap) Chase, which is a long-standing race on the calendar. If Annsam is in the same mood as when he won LTO over C&D 42-days ago, he will take a lot of beating.  It will take a career-best from Cap Du Nord to win this off OR132, but he's running exceptionally well.  There's another improving 8yo that runs prominently, stays the trip well and looks well handicapped, and that's Bobehopenohope at 20/1 (generally available) and with 4-places he looks an eachway steal. 

While I think there's a tiny bit of value in the Scriptwriter odds as there's 7/4 available in places, and I think he's more of an "evens" chance, there's not so much in the Boothill odds of 2/1 as Datsalrightgino isn't that far away from him in ability, and this trip is an unknown for Boothill.   So, if you are happy playing fav's, I would not put you off having a wager on SCRIPTWRITER.

My only personal wager today is £5 eachway on BOBHOPENOHOPE @ 20/1 which is generally available, with there being 4-places paid at 5th odds. 

Sunday 19 February 2023

Sunday 19th February - just 23 days to go

Not long now, and time to take a look at the betting to see if there is any opportunity lurking in the Cheltenham Festival betting. Before we go any further, what about Shishkin! He looks absolutely back to his best, and fully recovered from the head-to-head battle with Energumene at Ascot last season. He's entered for the Ryanair Chase, and I hope readers of the blog took note of my blog from 31st December: here's a reminder of what I wrote:- The Ryanair Chase.  It will be interesting if Shishkin goes for this race as it looks perfect for him at this time, and odds of 8/1 are worth a small wager as if he does line-up for this he will likely go off at 3/1.
I'm putting the following into eachway doubles and trebles. Why eachway and not win only? These selections "should" be in the 1st-3 of their respective races, but are either not likely to win (eg: Nube Negra, and Conflated) or could win if luck goes their way.
In the QMCC: Nube Negra
Ryanair: Shiskin & Conflated 
Stayers' Hurdle: Flooring Porter
Gold Cup: Stattler
Right now, I have Shishkin 10lb ahead of anything else likely to run in the Ryanair Chase, and I'm really surprised that 5/4 is readily available, as I think he should be odds-on for the race.  To me, this is a "Master Minded moment", and readers with longer memories will recall 2009 when Master Minded won the Champion Chase for the 2nd time at odds of 4/11 and many decent judges thought that was VALUE as he should have gone off at 1/8, he was such a certainty.  This is a massive advantage for the punter, and we have to include Shishkin as a "banker" in doubles and trebles.  I can see him having only 4 or 5 rivals in the Ryanair and starting the race with an SP of 2/5.

Who to couple him with? 
In the Turners Novice Chase we have Mighty Potter, who looks to have that race at his mercy, and is available at 11/8; and in the Arkle Nov Chase, blog readers are already on El Fabiolo.  It is probably not a good idea to tie that pair at current odds with Shishkin as it just creates another level of risk.
If we consider other races, is the Willie Mullins trained State Man capable of an upset in the Champion Hurdle? No horse is unbeatable, even Constitution Hill - and State Man might be capable.
The NH Chase may offer some better value, as I sincerely don't think either of the Mullins pair of Gaillard Du Mesnil and Ramillies are capable of winning this race on the form they've show to date. With Chemical Energy having to "recover" his form, the pair I think could provide the winner is Churchstonewarrior and Mahler Mission, and they are available at odds of around 6/1 (NRNB).  Those are not great odds, but it means we are not squandering the 5/4 available on Shishkin. 
The next race worth considering is the "Brown Advisory" and the fav Gerri Colombe @ 5/2 and Thyme Hill @ 6/1; I do not think either The Real Whacker or Sir Gerhard will be good enough. 
I'm going to think a bit more about this overnight, and finalise my selections tomorrow. 

(Monday evening: 20th Feb) Whichever races we look to for potential multiple wagers including Shishkin, they have to be the Grade 1 championship races, and we've looked at 5 of those already.  The Champion Chase is possibly too tricky to single-out a solid selection. There's no doubt that Energumene is a top-class two-mile chaser when you look back at his "match" with Shiskin at Ascot last year; and while he ran flat at the Cheltenham Trials meeting, it is not inconceivable that he will bounce-back from that. Edwardstone is probably better than he showed that day at Cheltenham, as his rider allowed the eventual winner Editeur Du Gite to get away from him. I just cannot see EDG being given as much rope in the QMCC, but there is another horse that could upset the leading fancies: Gentleman Du Mee. He is lightly raced, and is an improving 7yo; he could be very interesting on the day. No, the QMCC has too many complications for me.
The Stayers' Hurdle looks wide open on paper, but I think the front-3 in the betting Blazing Khal, Teahupoo, and Home By The Lee all have to raise their game to run better than 160 on my personal assessment. They are all just short of the mark, so the younger pair of Blazing Khal and Teahupoo are the ones more likely to find the required improvement. I'm still of the opinion that Flooring Porter is the one to beat in this race. 
I cannot begin to assess the Triumph Hurdle, and the 3-mile Albert Bartlett looks a real head-scratcher at this point. So it looks like I'm back to the 3 races I had with potential selections on Sunday:
NH Chase: Churchstonewarrior / Mahler Mission
Brown Advisory: Gerri Colombe / Thyme Hill
Unfortunately, the best odds available on NRNB terms are from BetVictor, who have:
11/10 on Shishkin
9/4 on Gerri Colombe,
5/1 on Thyme Hill,
6/1 on Churchstonewarrior,
8/1 on Mahler Mission
Those horses are combined in 4 x £5 win trebles:
1) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Gerri Colombe @ 9/4 plus Churchstonewarrior @ 6/1
2) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Thyme Hill @ 5/1 plus Churchstonewarrior @ 6/1
3) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Gerri Colombe @ 9/4 plus Mahler Mission @ 8/1
4) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Thyme Hill @ 5/1 plus Mahler Mission @ 8/1

Saturday 11 February 2023

Weekend of 11th/12th February

The Dublin Racing Festival last week was really something to savour, and I expect we have seen several Cheltenham winners performing there. Hopefully, readers of the blog are already on a couple of them at decent odds: El Fabiolo in the "Arkle" and Mighty Potter in the "Turners".  Let's have a quick run-through the races:
Supreme Novices Hurdle
The excuse given regarding the poor effort by Facile Vega was the searing early pace, and as it did result in a good time you cannot take anything away from the winner, Il Etait Temps. This was a very taking effort and I notice that he is now 9/2 in the betting. Mullins does have a stranglehold on the race, with only Marine Nationale in the top-5 of the betting that isn't trained by him. With Impaire Et Passe looking more likely to run in the "Ballymore" - and I think Gaelic Warrior may be going for another target, possibly the County Hurdle. One to keep an eye on is the ex-flat horse High Definition - he's possibly the type to go extremely well if the ground is riding more good than soft on the opening day. 
Advice: IL ETAIT TEMPS - £10 win @ 9/2 (NRNB)
Arkle Novice Chase
This race looks like cutting-up and we could have fewer than half a dozen runners on the day, as the market leaders Jonbon and El Fabiolo look head & shoulders better than any of the other expected runners (barring Mighty Potter). As I'm expecting Appreciate It and Banbridge to go for the "Turners" over 2m4f, and Dysart Dynamo to possibly give this race a miss (he's just not good enough), and Saint Roi to go for one of the chase handicaps; there is the possibility of finding a very long-odds punt on a horse for 3rd place. A couple look interesting: Haddex Des Obeaux @ 20/1 (NRNB) but he runs today at Warwick, so will likely miss the Arkle; and Boothill @ 40/1 (NRNB) and as you likely wont be able to get eachway 1st-3 on the day, they look worth a speculative wager as if they don't run you get your stake money back, and if they do you should have a realistic chance of 3rd place in a 6 or 7-runner race.
Advice: BOOTHILL - £5 eachway @ 40/1 (NRNB)
NH Chase over 3m6f
I the life of me, I cannot understand why Galliard Du Mesnil is the 7/4 fav for this race. The Mullins stable also have 2nd-fav Ramilies, but there's a possibility he may run in the 3-mile "Broadway" Chase on the Wednesday, and he may be better suited to that race having been caught close home LTO.  Mahler Mission ticks a lot of boxes; he's a thorough stayer (twice a 3-mile hurdle winner) and was an impressive winner LTO. He runs tomorrow at Navan, and I expect him to win there, which means his current odds of 9/1 (Corals) or 13/2 (Bet365) with NRNB are worth taking. City Chief (Henderson) is also interesting, as he looks capable of being in the mix, but Cheltenham may come a bit too soon for him. Chemical Energy was the Gordon Elliott choice, but he ran a stinker behind Ramilies LTO, and it would be no surprise to see him miss the Festival. With Gerri Colombe almost certain for the "Broadway", and Churchstonewarrior likely being beaten by Mahler Mission tomorrow at Navan, we have Mister Coffey - another who just isn't good enough. To win the NH Chase requires a performance of 155+, and if after 3+ chase runs a horse is still well short of that level then he's not going to find 15lb behind the sofa! The rest of the entries just don't look good enough at this point. 
Advice: MAHLER MISSION - £10 win @ 9/1 (Corals)
Ballymore Hurdle over 2m5f
I've read this race wrong from the start. 
I thought Hermes Allen would go for the 3-mile "Albert Bartlett", but he's now a firm 3/1 fav for this race. He ran away with the "Challow" LTO and it's tricky to put a value on his form as we have no real depth to novice hurdlers this side of the Irish Sea. Then I thought Impaire Et Passe was destined for the "Supreme" but he's 2nd-fav for this - his form lacks a stamina test though. As I wrote earlier, I think Gaelic Warrior is bound for the County Hurdle. The 7yo Good Land is only entered for this race, but I think he's more of a 3-miler and odds of 5/1 for this are plain daft; especially when you compare his form with Champ Kiely who is 8/1. Some trends are worth paying attention to, and that the majority of recent winners of this race were 6yo's suggests that those that are 7yo have missed the boat. The 6yo Inthepocket ran well LTO behind Il Etait Temps over 2-mile, but this trip would suit him better; he's interesting. Then you are in the realms of speculation: and for this race we probably need to wait another couple of weeks.
"Broadway" Chase over 3-miles
Last weekend, Gerri Colombe was a good winner at Sandown over 2m4f, with Balco Coastal in 2nd.  He looked like 3-miles would be right for him and I can see him being a Gold Cup contender next season.  However, connections have a long-term plan for this horse, and it would not surprise me if they side step this race - and Cheltenham - altogether, especially if the weather is dry for the next 6 weeks and we have "good" ground come 15th March. Regards The Real Whacker, I don't think he's good enough to win this race, and the form of his LTO win has been let-down by the runner-up. So, overall I'm happy with my current wager on Thyme Hill, who may be a bit old at 9yo, but he is a rock solid contender: not one of the best, but he may not need to be.  If I knew which entry Mullins was going to run in this race, I'd suggest a wager, but we will have to wait for him to make up his mind. 

Cheltenham Festival Antepost Wagers
Supreme Hurdle:  IL ETAIT TEMPS - £10 win @ 9/2 (NRNB)
Arkle: BOOTHILL - £5 eachway @ 40/1 (NRNB - Skybet & Paddy Power)
NH Chase: MAHLER MISSION - £10 win @ 9/1 (Corals)

Already Advised:
Arkle: El Fabiolo @ 9/4 
and Turners: Mighty Potter @ 3/1 : £10 win double
Turners Nov Ch: MIGHTY POTTER - £10 win @ 7/2 (Paddy Power)
Cheltenham Gold Cup: PROTEKTORAT - £15 win @ 9/1 (paddy Power or Skybet)
Supreme Hurdle: Impaire Et Passe - £5 win @ 10/1 (Coral or Labrokes)
Ballymore Hurdle: Marine Nationale - £5 win @ 25/1 (Skybet or, Ladbrokes & Coral)
Broadway Chase: Thyme Hill - £5 win @ 8/1 (Bet365 or Skybet)
Broadway Chase: Thyme Hill - £5 win @ 7/1 (William Hill, NRNB)
Arkle: MIGHTY POTTER - £5 win @ 25/1 (Paddy Power)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 11/2 (Bet365)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 9/2 (William Hill, NRNB)

Total Staked to Date: £100

Sunday 5 February 2023

Dublin Festival - Sunday 5th February

Readers of the blog must be pleased to be on-board El Fabiolo after that emphatic win in the Irish "Arkle" yesterday, comprehensively beating all the other leading Irish 2-mile novice chasers. As I wrote on the blog yesterday, he was easily the best value in the race at 5/1 given he was a top-class novice hurdler, and he'd already shown he could jump a fence.  El Fabiolo is now best-priced at 9/4 (Bet365 & Skybet, plus others) and I think that's good value as there is nothing other than Jonbon that has the potential to stop him winning the Arkle in March. Personally, I'd have thought he would be the 5/4 fav for the Arkle after yesterday. Even so, readers of the blog should well be on El Fabiolo at 11/2 or 5/1, as I recommended him as the antepost wager in early January.
There is no doubt that at home on the gallops, the Mullins stable staff reckon Appreciate It is a high-class horse, as there was an almighty punt on the market yesterday, but he just didn't have it when the chips were down. His older half-brother (Danny Kirwan) is best over 2m4f, and perhaps he will be more suited by that trip, but so will the horse that pipped him on the post yesterday: Banbridge.

Who will start the fav, and likely winner of the "Turners" at Cheltenham over 2m4f will be decided in the Ladbrokes Novice Chase (I remember as the Dr PJ Moriarty) over 2m5f at 1:40pm today. Readers are already on Mighty Potter at 7/2, and he should win today. He easily beat today's rival Gaillard Du Mesnil over 2m4f in December, and as that horse is probably at his best over 3-miles, it is difficult to see a reversal of places today over this 2m5f trip. The other Mullins horse in the race, James Du Berlais is a bit of an enigma. It will be only his 4th run for Mullins today, and he clearly has something about him or he would not be in this race. He briefly showed his potential in the Champion Stayers Hurdle over 3-mile on 29April22 but, as he wasn't up to winning that, he's come chasing. Personally, I have the feeling that he will be best over 3-mile, and I suppose we will find out today. What we cannot overlook is that Mighty Potter was a Grade 1 winning novice hurdler, and you cannot find fault in his win at Fairyhouse LTO: so I'm surprised that he's not odds-on today, the 5/4 that's available looks good to me, and he will likely be the 2/1 fav for the "Turners" at 2pm today.

The following race is the Dublin Chase over 2m1f and I'm sure Mullins will be hoping his Blue Lord will win emphatically today (after stable companion Energumene was so poor last week). For me, anything less than a 10-length win will not be good enough. 

The Irish Champion Hurdle is much more interesting, as I wrote on my blog immediately after his County (handicap) Hurdle win that State Man was a grade-1, 160+ hurdler, and here he is rated OR167 having won 3x G1's. Is he my selection today? Personally, I think his stable companion Vauban looks the better value. When the Mullins pair met on 29Dec, that was his seasonal debut, whereas State Man had already won the "Morgiana" on 20th Nov. So, at 5/1 he looks a stand-out wager, especially as the mare Honeysuckle looks to be on the wane. You have to remember that Vauban is just a 5yo and he will improve for his recent run, and he is maturing.

My wagers today? As I think Mighty Potter is almost unbeatable, I will put him in a double with Vauban.  

For the Cheltenham Festival, I am also going to include a double on EL FABIOLO and MIGHTY POTTER
Cheltenham Festival Antepost Wagers
Arkle: El Fabiolo @ 9/4 
and Turners: Mighty Potter @ 3/1 : £10 win double

Already Advised:
Turners Nov Ch: MIGHTY POTTER - £10 win @ 7/2 (Paddy Power)
Cheltenham Gold Cup: PROTEKTORAT - £15 win @ 9/1 (paddy Power or Skybet)
Supreme Hurdle: Impaire Et Passe - £5 win @ 10/1 (Coral or Labrokes)
Ballymore Hurdle: Marine Nationale - £5 win @ 25/1 (Skybet or, Ladbrokes & Coral)
Broadway Chase: Thyme Hill - £5 win @ 8/1 (Bet365 or Skybet)
Broadway Chase: Thyme Hill - £5 win @ 7/1 (William Hill, NRNB)
Arkle: MIGHTY POTTER - £5 win @ 25/1 (Paddy Power)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 11/2 (Bet365)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 9/2 (William Hill, NRNB)

Total Staked to Date: £70

Saturday 4 February 2023

Dublin Festival weekend - 4th & 5th February

What a tremendous weekend of horseracing we have ahead of us. Leopardstown has put together a couple of days of absolutely top-class sport, and come Monday morning we should have a fairly good idea what the final plans are for most of the races at next months Cheltenham Festival. 

Before that, let's take a look back at last Saturday's Trials Day at Cheltenham, and - the the 2nd year running - I drew a blank; but then last year I went on to have what was probably my best ever Festival. So, fingers crossed, let's hope the gambling gods are on my side again. My early wager on Protektorat for the Gold Cup looks cooked. I thought he'd improved over the summer to put in a career-best effort in the Betfair Chase - but perhaps the result flattered him. The 1st-3 home on Saturday - Ahoy Senor, Sounds Russian, and Noble Yeats - will all be looking for a stamina-sapping strong pace on rain softened ground in March, but I fear they will all be struggling come the final 2 fences. Maybe it's time to look again at Bravemansgame? One notable performance, and there were a few, was from Stage Star who carried 11:10 to win the novice h'cap chase in some style. The form looks rock solid, and he looks certain to go well in the "Turners" on Cheltenham Thursday, as that's a race that should cut-up. Trainer Paul Nicholls also sent out Il Ridoto to win over the same trip later in the afternoon, and he looks really interesting going forward, and keep an eye out for the 3 who finished in from of him on New Years Day: Midnight River, Stolen Silver, and Nassalam.  The 3-mile Stayers Hurdle was thrown a curved ball when French-trained Gold Tweet won the Cleeve Hurdle. With Teahupoo elevated to being the antepost fav after a fairly facile win in the "Galmoy" - and I'm not really convinced by either Teahupoo or Home By The Lee - I think this Grade 1 race is primed for a surprise result.

The Irish Arkle on Saturday looks like being a race to savour - what a field! In my opinion, Appreciate It is not a 7/4 chance with this opposition, and if I'm having a wager it won't be on him. It's the other Mullins entries I'm interested in: Dysart Dynamo, El Fabiolo, and Saint Roi (Flame Bearer is the one Mullins entry that I think isn't good enough to be in the field and will likely be used to set the pace). I'm not yet convinced Dysart Dynamo can jump well enough at speed to win this race, but if he does then he will likely win. Ditto El Fabiolo, who I have already punted on for the "Arkle" in March. The one Mullins horse that can jump, and was a very good hurdler (we can only guess how good Appreciate It could have been as a hurdler), is Saint Roi.  He was ridden with a lot of confidence on Boxing Day here at Leopardstown, in a race with good pace - and if he doesn't win this then he should be in the 1st-3, and there are 3-places in this 8-runners race. I'm not convinced that this trip of 2m1f is long enough to see Banbridge at his best, and he will likely struggle in this race.  For me, the best value in the race is EL FABIOLO; he's generally 5/1 (Bet Victor have him at 11/2) as we know he has speed, and has shown he can jump. Like the others, he now has to combine these skills - there will be mistakes, almost certainly one will fall - and I'd rather be on a 5/1 chance to find out than one at 7/4. If Appreciate It wins today then, at as a 9yo, we could be looking at another Moscow Flyer.

The Irish Gold Cup is all about Galopin Des Champs, but he won't have it all his own way.   The 11yo Kemboy will ensure that this is a proper test, as will Stattler (who I have already punted on for the Gold Cup in March), but do not overlook the only entry by Gordon Elliott: Fury Road. He's not top-class, and at OR158 is just a bit too good for anything but the very best handicaps, but he goes well over this C&D as shown when he beat Run Wild Fred who went on to chase home Stattler in the NH Chase at Cheltenham.  If Galopin Des Champs wins today by more than 10-lengths, then he could start odds-on in the Gold Cup. If he only just scrapes home, or is beaten, then we could see a big shake-up in the betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Let's be honest: he's unlikely to be beaten on merit as he looks an exceptional horse. God forbid that he falls today, that is no way to win a wager on a horserace. However, it is still 6 weeks to the Gold Cup in March, and horse's do get injured on their home gallops - that's the risk the odds represent. Come 3:15pm today and you could wish that you have £5,000 on at 13/8 for the Gold Cup - but, personally this is a race for watching.

At 3:40 at Leopardstown, we have a Grade B handicap hurdle over 3-miles, and the one in this that I have a personal interest in is Jungle Prose. For a few years I was a member of the Nick Gifford Racing Club, having joined it just a few months before Covid kicked-in. The club had 2 horses, both mares: Mystic Dreamer (who had already won a bumper at Cheltenham) and Jungle Prose. As restrictions were lifted, I was able to attend Warwick races in Sept2020 to watch "JP" in a bumper there. She made-all and won at 14/1 - with it being the last race of the day and only 40-odd people on the course, you can possibly hear me shouting her home on the race video as I had £20 on with the only on-course bookmaker. I apologised for having the wager when I collected my winnings. She went hurdling and I had high hopes, as we knew she was resolute, gave her all, and had a bit of speed about her. Also, with Yeats as a sire, I expected her to be at her best when tackling trips over 2m6f.   Sure enough, a year later in the autumn of 2021, she was racing at 3-miles but kept finding one-too-good in her races. We also found out that she absolutely hated very soft & heavy ground. That winter, 2021-22, she struggled and when the better weather came in the Spring bringing good ground, she had lost her mojo. We thought we'd gone as far as we could with her and, as she had a half-decent page, that a small breeder could pick her up at the sales and try their luck with her in the paddocks. Off she went, and we received a better sale-price than we were expecting; then we learnt who had bought her: Gordon Elliott. 
The rest, they say, is history - Jungle Prose ran a fair race on her stable debut over a trip too short for her (2m4f), and then stepped-up to 2m7f on "good" ground she won 3-weeks later. Then, she won again, and again, and again making 4 wins on the bounce in 5 weeks, and going from OR85 to OR137.  She was tried in a Grade 2 hurdle on 27-Dec but struggled on the soft/heavy ground: no surprise there!  It will be a tough ask for her today, but she has her trip and ground (yielding), plus a 7lb claimer in the saddle. Good luck to her new owners, the Bull On Syndicate - and I see she has an entry at Cheltenham in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle over 3-miles, so I may see you there.