Thursday, 10 October 2019

The end of the blog ! - but not of the previews...

For the past couple of years, I’ve posted race previews on this blog, during the TVB pre-season; the TVB post season - and mid-week, during the main TVB season.

The blog has served a purpose, in enabling me to get my thoughts out to a bigger audience than just the TVB subscribers - however, that has effectively been the extent of it…

I did originally hope that my postings might generate a bit of discussion - and whilst there have been a few comments made, most of the time, it has simply been a monologue from me.

Partly because of this, I have decided to stop the blog.
However, you will doubtless be pleased to hear (!) that I intend to continue posting my thoughts - just in a a different place…

Instead of the blog, all of my race previews (pre-season, post-season and mid-week), will now be posted on sub-forums in the main TVB forum:

Posting on the TVB forum will make it easier for the existing TVB subscribers to follow (as I already post extensively on there).

Also, I’m hopeful that posting on a forum - rather than a blog - will encourage a few more comments (as forum as designed for inter-action - and blogs aren’t !).

Anyway, if you do want to keep reading my thoughts - and you are not already subscribing to the main TVB service - then you will need to follow the above link and register for access to the forum.

Once you have done that, you will be able to view - and post on - all of the non-member sub-forums (and it will be in one of those, that I will post my previews).

I’ll look forward to seeing most of you in the TVB forum (it’s a very nice place - honestly :) )


Friday, 19 April 2019

Saturday April 20th

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow - but there is little of interest at either Newton Abbot or Carlisle, so all of the attention is on Haydock...

It’ hosts the final of the Challenger series and the first six races on the card are each worth £50,000. Consequently they are competitive events !

As I mentioned last Saturday you need to tread carefully at this time of the year: the ground will be quick and it's impossible to know what form some of the horses will be in.

Certainly a few of the results at the Cheltenham midweek meeting with difficult to fathom - though unsurprisingly the market managed to work out most of them !



Martila is the one that interests me most in this.
She ran well on her most recent outing when fifth at Kelso.
That was in a better race than tomorrow's and she was only beaten 5 lengths.
Prior to that run, she had won over the same course and rather surprisingly gets to race tomorrow from a mark 1lb lower.
The step up in trip is an unknown - though it may unlock some improvement.
At a price of 10/1 this evening, back against her own sex, she is worth a small interest…

Selection: Martila at 10/1


With 16 runners this race will take a bit of figuring out !
That said I quite like the look of Casa Tall.
He was last seen competing in the Martin Pipe hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Ultimately he finish well beaten in that contest - however he was still travelling strongly rounding the home turn and just seemed to run out of gas in the final couple of furlongs.
He drops back half a mile in trip tomorrow and has also been dropped 2lb by the handicapper.
Obviously tomorrow's race is not as strong and whilst there are 3 or 4 possible dangers Casa Tall looks like a reasonable bet at 8/1.

Selection: Casa Tall at 8/1


It confuses things a little that Alan King runs two in the race, but I'm sure that Salmanazar is capable of winning a race of this nature.
Certainly he ran well enough last time when third at Newbury in a similar contest.
He's been dropped a pound in the ratings for that run and there is no reason why he shouldn't run well again tomorrow.
A price of 8/1 in an 8 horse race with no stand-out contender, makes him a ‘value’ bet.

Selection: Salmanazar at 8/1


The fair bit of guesswork required but I can't resist getting involved with Sunnytahliateigan again…
I tipped him earlier in the season when he was a disappointing 3rd of 6 at Doncaster.
That was on the back of a really promising seasonal debut run at Cheltenham, when he also finished third - but in a much more competitive race.
If he can recapture that form, then he must be capable of going close tomorrow.
In truth, I don't know what's gone wrong the last twice (he’s also disappointed at Warwick) but the fact has been off the course for over 100 days suggests he may have had an issue.
If he's back in the form he showed at Cheltenham, then he could prove tough to beat tomorrow from a mark 4lb lower.
There is a slight question mark over the trip - but hopefully that won’t prove issue.
Of his rivals, then Skidoosh is the one I fear most back on his favoured quick ground.

Selection: Sunnytahliateigan at 10/1

Friday, 12 April 2019

Saturday April 13th

The 2018-19 TVB season may have ended last Saturday - but the NH season itself, will continue until the end of this month.

In fairness, there is some really good NH racing during April: Ayr, today and tomorrow: Cheltenham, next week; Fairyhouse, next weekend - and then Sandown, the weekend after that.

You may well ask, why I don’t continue the TVB season until the end of April ?! - but the reality is, whilst the racing is likely to be very good - figuring out what will happen in the races, just gets harder….

Horses who have been on the go all winter, will start going ‘over the top’ in April; whilst those who have been given a winter break, will begin to hit form.

Knowing whether a particular animal is ready to do itself justice, is therefore extremely hard - yet that is arguably the most important piece of the race solving puzzle…

As a consequence, I’m disinclined to get involved with this part of the season - officially speaking anyway - though ofcourse, I invariably have a view on things…

That’s certainly the case at Ayr tomorrow, where the card kicks off with 5 excellent races - and I have an opinion, on each of them !



I tipped Saint Leo on his penultimate outing, over tomorrows course and distance.
He looked set to win that race - but took a crashing fall at the fourth last.
Understandably, he was sent over hurdles on his most recent outing - presumably to rebuild his confidence.
He didn’t run badly either, finishing sixth at Kelso. As a result however, the handicapper has reduced his mark by 2lb - and his chase mark by the same amount.
If he had won on his penultimate outing, then he would probably have gone up by 6lb - so arguably, he is 8lb ‘well in’ tomorrow ! (with scope for further improvement).
I accept that’s a positive take on things - but I also think it’s a legitimate argument.
Certainly, I think he has a very good chance tomorrow. My main concern is with quick ground, as he is unproven on it (it may not be an issue - it’s impossible to say).
Of his opponents: then I think Azzuri wants taking on, at the price (currently 3/1).
I can see an argument for Magic Saint - but equally he still has a bit to prove: and whilst Duke of Navan, Forest Bihan and Nuts Well, should all run their race - they are all exposed and have little in hand of their mark.
In the circumstances, Saint Leo is definitely worth a risk, at around 9/1.

Selection: Saint Leo at 9/1


Drinks Interval is the one that interests me most in this..
She was really impressive, when winning at Chepstow back in October - and whist she’s not repeated that form in 4 subsequent outings, there have been good reasons…
She fell next time out at Market Rasen; and then didn’t run too badly behind Magic of Light at Newbury (on which form, she holds Molly the Dolly); she was then unable to lead at Doncaster; before finding the RSA too hot, on her most recent outing.
She ran with some credit in that race, however - and a 6lb drop in her rating now means that she is quite attractively weighted, on her first run in a handicap chase.
She should relish the quick ground - and may get an uncontested lead.
If she does, then she could prove hard to pass.
In fairness, there are a few others in the race, who look potentially dangerous:
Azzerti and Onefortheroadtom, chief amongst them. However, both are unproven over tomorrows trip, which has to be a concern.
Claud and Goldie will have no issues with the trip - and I could see him running a decent race.
He could easily be 20/1+ in the morning - and would hold some EW appeal at that price.

Selection: Drinks Interval at 9/1


The races get harder to solve as the card progresses - and this one looks a real can of worms !
I’d be happy enough to oppose favourite, Nube Negra - it’s finding one to take him on with, that’s the tricky part !
Suffice to say, no result would massively surprise me, but if forced to side with one, I would probably opt for Irish challenger, Pearl of the West.
He won well at Cheltenham in October - and was then given a 5 month break before reappearing on the AW at Dundalk, 2 weeks ago.
He ran well enough that night, to finish second - but I suspect the main purpose of the race was to get him spot on for a return to hurdles.
Conditions should be spot on for him tomorrow - it’s really just a question of whether he is good enough to win a race of this stature…
Plenty of others can be given half chances, at big prices.
Anemoi is probably the outsider who interests me most - and he certainly holds some appeal at 25/1 (maybe EW).
Equus Amadeus, Irish Roe and Brain Power are all capable of getting involved - even if they are also equally capable of not featuring !

Selection: Pearl of the West at 10/1


Relatively speaking, this is the least competitive race on the card - but still not an easy one to call.
Ballywood is probably the one to beat - but there is no margin in a price of 9/4, especially with him stepping up in trip.
That said, it holds more appeal than Secret Investor at the same price - particularly as the latter is held on Kempton form, by Castafiore…
She finished a fair way in front of Secret Investor that day: with the pair finishing second and fourth, behind Bags Grove.
On exactly the same terms it’s difficult to see why Secret Investor will turn things around tomorrow - assuming that Castafiore is in the same form.
In truth, that is not guaranteed, as she subsequently ran in the JLT at the Cheltenham festival - and there is a chance that race will have left a mark.
However, if it hasn’t then she is definitely the bet, at around 7/1.

Selection: Castafiore at 7/1


Impulsive Star provided one of the high-lights of the TVB season, when I tipped him to win the Classic chase at Warwick, in January - and I think he could be capable of winning this, as well.
He followed up that win, by being pulled up in the NH chase at Cheltenham - but I don’t think the rain softened ground suited him that day.
Back on a decent surface - and off a mark just 6lb higher than at Warwick, he’s got a real chance tomorrow.
Big River strikes me as the most interesting of the market leaders, following his eye catching run behind Beware the Bear, at Cheltenham.
He’s 14/1 on BF this evening - and looks worth having on side at that price.
Chances can obviously be given to plenty of others: but at very big prices, both Brian Boranha and Kingswell Theatre, also hold some appeal.

Selection: Impulsive Star at 20/1

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Friday 22nd March

With the TVB season ending in a fortnights time, I doubt there will be many more posts on the mid week blog, this season…

The first 2 months of the year are always very quiet.
Even if the weather doesn’t takes its toll, there are precious few decent races run during the mid week…

Then ofcourse, March arrives - and brings Cheltenham - followed swiftly by Aintree…

However, tomorrow is one of those rare days, when there is some reasonable mid week racing.

It’s the first day of a 2 day meeting at Newbury, and they’ve put on an interesting and varied card…



This isn’t an easy race to call (the case with just about every race on the card !) - but Tanit River looks quite interesting, with Richard Johnson on board…
The horse is not very reliable - but he has got significant ability and is now on a mark just 1lb higher than the one he won from at Sandown, last February.
That was a fair race - and whilst he has done little in his 3 subsequent outings, I’m not too worried about that.
He raced with a fair bit of enthusiasm last time - in first time cheek pieces.
He didn’t get home that day - and they have now been dispensed with - but they did suggest that his fire still burns.
The booking of Dickie is an interesting move - and course, trip and ground should all be fine.
Most of the otters can be given a chance - with nothing standing out as a particular danger.
Voie dans Voite is an understandable favourite, on the back of a very good run last time.
However, he has a poor win record - and holds limited appeal at a price of 5/2.

Selection: Tanit River at 10/1


Another very open looking race, where half a dozen could be given a chance.
That said, I could be quite keen on Kings Walk.
He ran very well last time, when finishing second to an extremely well handicapped horse.
He’s been raised 3lb for the effort - but that only puts him on the same mark that he won from over hurdles, last season.
The concerns are the trip (he’s unproven over 3 miles) - and the form of his stable.
As a consequence, I would be disinclined to chase his price down - even though I think he has the ability to win.
Again, most of his rivals can be given a chance - with Red Rising just about the most interesting of those, at this evenings prices (around 10/1).

Selection: Kings Walk


A class 2 handicap during the mid week is a rare thing..!
Nube Negra is an understandable favourite - but 5/2 looks too short.
He seemed to be travelling well last time - but he fell - and it’s never appealing to take a short price on a horse running on the back of a fall…
It’s yet another race where cases can be made for quite a few - but I’d be inclined to take a small risk on a couple at decent prices…
Late Night Lilly is a stablemate of Nubre Negra - and she was noted making good late headway last time, on her first run for over a year.
If she can build on that, I could see her outrunning her odds…
Prince Charmin is the other one of interest, at the prices.
He ran well on his debut for Tim Vaughan last time - and has subsequently undergone a wind op.
The booking of a useful 7lb claimer is an interesting move - and again, he appears to have been under-estimated by the betting.
You should be able to dutch the pair of them at odds of around 6/1 - and that holds  more appeal from a betting perspective, than the likes of Sunshade, Maquisard, Zanza and William H Bonney (who are all a similar price).

Selections: Late Night Lilly at 12/1 and Prince Charmin at 12/1

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Thursday 28th February

It’s not been easy finding mid-week races to preview, during February…

I don’t like to get involved with anything below class 3, because there is too much guess work required (and the races are far more susceptible to ‘plots’ !)

However, there has been very few class 3 races run this month (never mind anything better !) - so my mid-week output has been limited…

Things are a bit better today:
There are 4 meetings - and whilst opportunities are limited at Musselburgh and Clonmel, there are some interesting races at both Taunton and Ludlow…



There are a couple of official ‘eye catchers’ running in this, in the shape of Whoshotwho and Bastien.
Both caught the eye on their penultimate runs - before disappointing last time out (which generally isn’t the idea !).
In fairness, it’s relatively easy to forgive Bastien his most recent effort, as that was in soft ground at Lingfield.
His previous run at Huntingdon, behind Bags Groove, still reads as decent form - and he doesn’t look badly handicapped off a mark of 132.
It’s harder to forgive Whoshotwho his latest run.
He was already beaten when unseating at Ludlow - and there was no obvious reason for the poor effort (he was sent off a short priced fav).
He’s been given over a month to recover - so could bounce back today.
However, at the prices, I would rather be with Bastien…

Selection: Bastien at 11/2


I don’t like selecting favourites - and this isn’t a particularly weak race - however, I’ll be surprised if Colonial Dreams doesn’t win…
The form of his last time out second to Ballymoy in a class 1 race at Ascot, is of a different level to that of most of his rivals in todays race.
He’s been raised 3lb for the run - but I’ll be surprised if he can’t win from a mark of 132.
Interestingly, he’s Nico de Boinvilles only mount on the card - and he’s chosen to ride at Taunton rather than travel Ludlow, where Nicky Henderson has a couple of fancied runners.
Ignoring him, I would struggle to choose in the race, as a case could be made for most of the others.
However, I do think he could be different class - and even at 11/8, I’d be tempted to get involved…

Selection: Colonial Dreams at 11/8



Venetia has been in hot form recently and I think Uhlan Bute can provide her with another winner in this.
He was a little unlucky not to win a similar race over course and distance a week ago - and gets to run off the same mark this afternoon.
In theory, there is a chance he might not have recovered from last weeks exertions - but Venetia is a master at turning them out again quickly…
It’s possible to pick holes in the case of all of his rivals - whereas he looks very solid.
Unfortunately, he’s been backed in to 9/4 this morning (not helped by the fact that Andy Holding has tipped him) - but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see his price drift a little…
At around 3/1, he would represent a fair bet.

Selection: Uhlan Bute


I’m surprised that Mish Mash can be backed at 25/1 for this.
I guess her case isn’t water tight - and she’s facing some in-form rivals - but I still think she is worth a risk.
Certainly her handicap mark looks feasible - as she’s back on the same rating that she finished second from at Hereford in November.
Todays step up in trip is a slight concern - but Ludlow is a tight track and the relatively quick ground should ensure it’s not a major stamina test.
The main attraction however, is her trainer and Jockey…
Henry Daly tends to target his horses at Ludlow, so they are always worth looking out for.
The real eye catcher though, is the booking of crack 5lb claimer Jonjo O’Neil Jr.
Today is the first time he’s ridden for Daly - and Mish Mash is his only ride on the card.
That alone piques my interest - and encourages me to try and build a case for her !
If she’s going to run well, I would expect her to be backed - so you can either wait for market support and take a shorter price with more confidence: or back her now at 25/1 and keep your fingers crossed !!

Selection: Mish Mash at 25/1

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Friday 15th February

Things have been very quiet on the mid-week blog, since Christmas…

The relatively poor racing at this time of year, always makes it tricky - but the lack of rain and resultant unseasonably quick ground, has seen lots of very small fields, which makes previewing the racing, a little pointless..

Worse still, the last twice that I have posted on here, the racing hasn’t even taken place !

On the first occasion, because of frost - and last week, because the outbreak of equine flu.
I’m beginning to feel a bit fated !

I don’t usually preview racing on a Friday, as I like to prepare for the weekend (and this one looks as if it will be particularly busy).

However, there’s very nice meeting (hopefully !) taking place at Sandown tomorrow - so, considering the lack of recent action, I thought I should make the time to preview a few of the races…



A competitive race to start proceedings - and I’ll offer 3 against the field:

Maquisard is the class horse in the race (hence top weight ! ) - and he ran really well to finish third in a better class contest at Kempton over Christmas.
However, his jumping can let him down - and I’d be a little worried about his ability to get up the Sandown hill.
Each way may be the best policy with him - and a price of 9/1 just about allows that…
The second one of interest, is Dorking Cock.
He very inexperienced, but ran well on his handicap debut last time, at Wetherby.
Off the same mark, I would expect him to run well again - though his price of 6/1 is quite tight.
The final one to note, is Extra Bald.
He is making his handicap debut, after just 3 runs over hurdles.
He could be anything - and so is quite risky.
However, the fitting of first time cheek pieces is an interesting move - and he doesn’t appear too badly treated.
The market will probably advise on his chance - and he’s already a bit short to be taking a risk with (8/1).
That said, he could easily go off even shorter, if he is fancied…!

Selection: Maquisard EW at 9/1 


Darebin is the one that interests me most in this.

He won a better class race over course and distance, on his penultimate outing - before finishing fifth, again over course and distance, on his most recent run.
He was behind stablemate. Not Another Muddle, that day - but is 11lb better off tomorrow (including his jockeys allowance).
It’s interesting that Gary Moore again runs both horses in the race - and Not Another Muddle heading the weights, helps Darebin.
Of the others, then Grey Gold is quite interesting.
He’s 14 now - and clearly in decline. However, he runs from a career low mark tomorrow, in ideal conditions - and has a good record fresh.
At 16/1 this evening, he could be worth a tiny play…


Kalashnikov should win this - but I wouldn’t want to be taking 4/7 on him to do so…

He faces a couple of decent rivals, in the shape of Glen Forsa and Dalila du Seuil - and I woouldn’t be too surprised too see either of them give him a real fight.
The issue for both however, could be the trip - as they would prefer further.
That said, Dalial du Seuil in particular, doesn’t seem to lack pace, so if she fully tuned, Kalshnikov could have his work cut out, conceding her 7lb.
In truth, it’s probably a race to watch, as it may well have festival implications for all 3 of the main players…


Queenohearts and Danse Idol are closely matched in this, based on their most recent run, in a listed race at Haydock.

Queenohearts came out on top in that race - but the 5lb weight turnaround, means there should be very little between the pair tomorrow.
Rather than try and choose, it might make more sense to take them both on.
Dulhallow Gesture is an option - but so to is Liberty Bella.
She’s won her last 2 races in the style of an improving mare - and the fact she’s comes from an unfashionable stable, means that she’s likely to be under-estimated in the betting.
Certainly, the 7/1 on offer this evening, looks decent value, in what appears to be a pretty tight race.

Selection: Liberty Bella at 7/1


This is another very open looking race, in which a case can be made for quite a few of the runners.

Strong Pursuit would certainly be of interest, if he’s well backed - but as he’s returning from a 400+ day absence, there’s a lot of guesswork required.
Certainly, his price of 4/1 this evening, is too short to be taking a risk on…
Kansas City Chief is more tempting - and it’s interesting that he’s already been backed this evening.
It’s not easy to decide if he’s well handicapped - as he’s generally run over hurdles, since he moved to the UK.
However, a mark of 133 doesn’t seem unreasonable.
The fitting of first time cheek pieces could be significant - as could the fact that Tom Scudamore is in the saddle, when he could presumably have ridden Two Smokin Barrels.
He can be backed at 12/1 this evening - and may be worth a small risk at that price.

Selection: Kansas City Chief at 12/1

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Thursday 7th February

For the first time in over a fortnight, the weather has relented - and there is some reasonable mid-week racing taking place.

There’s always a danger that the weather will scupper proceedings at this time of the year - and in fairness, things have been much better this season, than they were last.

However, even when the weather isn’t a problem, the quality of the mid-week racing in Jan and Feb is often poor - so it’s a relatively rare day, when both things align !

There are 4 meetings tomorrow: at Huntingdon, Doncaster and Ffos Las in the UK - plus Thurles in Ireland - and all 4 tracks host at least a race or two of interest...



The days best quality racing takes place at Huntingdon - and this listed race, is the best quality race on the card.
It also contains, what is likely to prove, the most talented horse running on the day, in the shape of Angels Breath.
He’s the current ante-post favourite for the Supreme novice hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, on the back of his debut win at Ascot, in December.
That was a grade 2 event - and he won it very nicely - though in truth, it’s relatively easy to pick holes in the form.
That said, it was a very good first effort - and the fact that Nicky Henderson was prepared to run him in a grade 2 event on debut, suggests he is very decent.
We may found out tomorrow, just how decent, as all 5 of his rivals are fair sorts, all with potential themselves.
He also steps up half a mile in trip - which is an interesting move.
Huntingdon is a sharp course, so the trip is unlikely to be an issue - but we should certainly learn a bit more about him…
He’s impossible to oppose - but equally, unbackable at 1/2.
If there is a bet in the race, it could be I K Brunel, each way at 20/1 (or without the fav, tomorrow), as he shaped with distinct promise behind Elixir de Nutz on his hurdles debut at Cheltenham.
That said, this is probably more a race to watch and learn from, than it is to bet in…


With a question mark, of some sort, over all of the runners, I suspect this a race where the market will prove very revealing…
That’s certainly likely to be the case, for Master Blueyes and Misteron, who are both returning from long breaks: but also for Malaya, on the back of falls on his 2 most recent outings…
All 3 would be dangerous at their best - but unless they are the subject of significant market support, they should probably be passed over…
Eric le Rouge and Not that Fuisse, are progressive sorts who are moving up the handicap - it’s hard to know whether the handicapper has got them yet: whilst Thistle do Nicely, is making his handicap debut - and it’s hard to know whether he is well handicapped.
By a process of elimination, I end up with Townsend.
He is having his third run for Nigel Twiston Davies - and is potentially well handicapped based on his old Irish form.
He showed up quite well last time at Hereford - and has undergone a wind op since then.
He too comes with risks - but they appear to have been factored into his early price, more than is the case for most of his rivals…
It’s not a race you could be confident about (certainly without seeing the market moves) - but at tonight’s prices, I think he’s just about the best bet.

Selection: Townsend at 7/1



This looks an open race, where a case of sorts can be made for most of the runners…
Sliding Doors strikes me as just about the most interesting one, in first time cheek pieces.
He ran well last time, to be beaten just a neck, at Ludlow - and now has a 7lb claimer in the saddle.
This is s slightly stronger race - but he seems to be improving and so should go close…
The 2 others of major interest at tonights prices, are Skidoosh (8/1) and Dans le Vent (10/1).
Like the main selection, they are relatively unexposed, and so should have room for improvement.
Dans Le Vent is also wearing first time blinkers - and the way he races (lazily !), suggests they could have a positive impact.
My inclination will be to spread small stakes across the 3 of them, if their prices drift a little, in the morning…

Selection: Sliding Doors at 6/1

Ffos Las


This is probably the best betting race of the day - and it contains the days best bet !
Johanos ran really well in a decent race at Newbury, in December.
He finished fourth that day - but travelled strongly for most of the contest.
It wasn’t surprising that he tired eventually, as it was his first run for 18 months.
Ordinarily, there would be a concern on a second run back, after a break - however he’s been given 50 days to recover - which should be plenty.
It also strike me as interesting that he is running at Ffos Las.
It’s a course renowned for it’s heavy winter ground - and Johanoss 2 career wins have both been achieved on heavy going.
With his stable in really good form: and a 7lb claimer taking over in the saddle, Johanos has plenty to recommend him.
In fairness, it’s a competitive enough race, with 18 runners - but only half of them probably count, so 8/1 isn’t too bad a price.
Ice Cool Champs, Cobolobo and Scotchtown, strike me as the main dangers - with Lord Bryan an outsider to note, if seriously backed…

Selection: Johanos at 8/1