Thursday, 22 February 2018

Friday February 23rd

Lunchtime Update

I’m having lunch early today, as I want to get finished with todays racing before I move on to tomorrow.

Win, lose or draw, there will be no Review his evening – so it will be next week before I’m back on the blog (weather permitting !)

Socksy can still be backed at 11/4 in the 3:00 at Warwick.
Nothing has been strongly backed against her.
If she improves – even just slightly – on her last time out effort, I think she will take a bit of beating…

Calipto has been the one for money in the 3:30 – and that’s understandable.
As I said last night, he is more than capable of winning (and also, of not completing !).

Cobra de Mai is on the drift – and would become interesting at 5/1+: whilst Drumlee Sunset is still worth a small play, at around 8/1…

Surtee du Berlais has been well supported at Exeter – and is now in to a best price of 8/1.
I’m not sure what to make of that...
We could have been responsible (it’s unlikely to take much, in such a fragile market) – but equally, she may have been tipped up elsewhere – or just fancied by connections !

Market movements close to the off may be informative: though with a level bat, I still think there is a bit of margin in the current price.

Shotgun Paddy has been well backed in the 4:50 – but I won’t be joining in with that particular gamble.

Spookdooky can still be backed at 14/1 – and that is far more appealing.

I guess there was a chance that I might choose Surtee du Berlais as the Lunchtime Nap today – even though her price is much bigger than I normally go for…
I’m sure you’ve all picked up that I think she has a big chance – but that’s mainly on the assumption that Coo Star Sivola won’t be at his best.
If he handles the trip/ground then he will be a tough one to beat…

I don’t have many reservations about Socksy, whom I just think will take a lot of beating !

Lunchtime Nap: Socksy 3:00 Warwick (Fair Price 11/4)

Evening Preview 

There are just a couple of NH meetings tomorrow: at Exeter and Warwick.

As you are probably aware, I prefer not to get involved with the racing on a Friday, as I would rather use the day preparing for the weekend ahead.

However, there are some really good races tomorrow – so much so, that I felt obliged to offer my opinion !

The first race of interest, is this mares handicap chase at Warwick (3:00).

It’s possible to make a case for most of the runners – but despite that, I’m pretty keen on Socksy…

She won on her chasing debut at Ayr in November; and followed that up by running well behind Another Venture in a decent race at Chepstow in January.

The interesting thing about that run, was that it occurred when Fergal O’Brien’s horses were out of form.
He’s now back in form – so I would expect her to put up a better performance.

If she does, then despite there being a few potential dangers in the race, I think she’ll win.

She’s 3/1 in a place tonight – and anything above 5/2 tomorrow, is probably a fair bet…

The following race on the card (3:30) is the most valuable of the day – and also looks quite open.

There are a few in it, who are potentially well handicapped – but Warwick is a tricky course to jump round.

Calipto and Drumlee Sunset are both capable of winning – and also, of not completing !

Cobra de Mai will almost certainly run a big race – and is probably the one to beat.

At the prices on offer this evening, I would take a chance on Drumlee Sunset at 8/1 – but that might change tomorrow, when we can actually place a bet !

Over at Exeter, there is an eye catcher running in the 4:15 race – and I’m quite excited about her !

Surtee de Beralis reminds me of Tanit River, who was a winning eye catcher at Sandown last Friday.

She’s the outsider of the field, at 14/1 – but I’m sure her chances are much better than that…

She’s potentially very well handicapped – and showed definite promise last time at Chepstow (in the same race as Socksy).

It helps her case that I don’t really fancy the favourite, Coo Star Sivola.

He’s stepping down in grade, and is potentially well handicapped – but I’m far from convinced that he wants 3 miles in the Exeter mud (assuming that’s what he will get !).

I’d be more fearful of Ice Cool Champs – but he wouldn’t put me off Surtee de Berlais…

The final race of interest, is the Devon National at 4:50.

This looks really open – and I won’t be overly surprised, whatever wins…

At the very early prices, I liked Yanmare – but the 16/1 has already halved - though you’ll doubtless be able to get 16/1 about him in running at some point ! (he tends to get outpaced, before staying on late).

Thomas Patrick is a probably the right favourite – though it’s a big ask for a young, inexperienced horse.

The one I like most now, is Spookydooky.
He was favourite when third in the corresponding race 12 months ago – and runs from the same mark tomorrow.

He can be backed at 16/1 this evening – but I doubt very much he’ll be that price come the off !

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Wednesday February 21st


One of the things that puts me off tipping during the mid week, is the predictive power of the markets !

So often, horses are backed (or drift !) to what should be crazy prices - if viewed in conventional terms.

And yet, more often than not, the markets are spot on – and the horses run precisely as they suggest.

It’s almost as if someone knows..!!

Today, there were numerous fine examples of the market predicting the outcome of races: starting with the veterans chase at Doncaster

On the first show last night, Band of Blood was installed a 5/2 favourite.

In some respects, that was understandable – as he was ‘well in’ following his last time out win.
However, there were also plenty of reasons to oppose him (in conventional terms).

I therefore wasn’t surprised to see him drift this morning – and he was 4/1 on BF at lunchtime.

I saw him touch 11/2 at one point (he may have got even bigger) - however, come the off, he was just 2/1 !

It must have taken a huge amount of money to force his price down to that point – and it clearly came from people in the know.

If ‘form students’ had been backing him, he never would have drifted…

In the race, he did briefly look in trouble, when Sego Success kicked for home, having jumped the third last. However, as that one tired, Band of Blood moved in to over-drive and powered home for a comfortable win.

I suspect there are some happy connections this evening !

Earlier on the Doncaster card, Buckle Street was another very well backed winner.

He was 7/1 early – but come the off he had been backed in to 4/1 favouritism (usurping original favourite, Duke Debarry, who drifted from 4/1 to 8/1).

In the race, Buckle Street was under pressure form before the home straight - but he kept on finding and eventually got the better of Tanarpino – and then managed to hold off Classic Ben.

The latter ran a good race – and looked the most talented horse in the race.
I just fear his attitude may not match his ability…

At Ludlow, Goohar, was another who was very well backed – and somehow found a way to win…

He was 11/1 last night when I first mentioned him; 6/1 at lunchtime – and 3/1 at the off !
If the race had been delayed half an hour, then the way his price was shortening, he would probably have gone odds on !

Again, he didn’t look likely to win for much of the race – but his tenacity saw him home in front.

Finally at Punchestown, Eagle Lion was the horse of major interest in the Pertemps qualifier.
He was put in short last night (9/4) – but looked very solid in the market at lunchtime.

However, 5 mins before the off, he could be backed at 8/1 on BF !

There was some late money for him – but the massive drift clearly told the story, as he was pulled up…

The moral of the stories: in these midweek races, the money is often far more predictive than the form book – but then I guess you already suspected that, didn’t you ?!?!

Lunchtime Update 

Maybe not too surprisingly, Band of Blood is a drifter in the veterans chase at Doncaster.
He was 5/2 last night – but can now be backed (or layed !) at 4/1+ on BF.

Segos Success, Carloes Destrier and Ballynagour, are all solid in the market.

I’ll probably look to dutch them on BF, rather than lay Band of Blood…

Duke Debarry is also quite weak in the market, in the 2:50 race (now 5/1).

Classic Ben and Ballycrystal Court are solid enough.
9/1 on the former is probably a reasonable bet…

Over at Ludlow, Goohar has been hammered in the betting in the 3:30.
He was 11/1 in a couple of places last night – but you now can’t beat 6/1.

I’m not overly surprised – and I’m pretty sure he will be primed to run his race.

In the same race, Federici has also been well backed.
He was 5/1 last night – but is now 7/2.

It’s no longer easy to spot the value in the contest..!

At Punchestown, Eagle Lion has remained very solid in the 4:45.
He was 9/4 last night – and that is still the price.
He’s definitely the one to beat…

That said, Delta Work has also been well supported (8/1 into 11/2) – and I suspect that Eagle Lion will need to put up a decent performance, if he is to win…

As I said yesterday, I’m keen to press on with the Luncthime Naps – but unfortunately, there is nothing suitable today…

I could take a speculative swipe at Sego Success – or Classic Ben – but neither are really Nap material.
Eagle Lion could be – but we are guessing on his ability, and he is prioced up too short, because of his connections.

Consequently, it has to be a day for watching – with maybe a few small bets, to help maintain the interest !

Evening Preview 

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow: at Doncaster and Ludlow in the UK – plus Punchestown in Ireland.

All 3 tracks host a decent race – or two: I just need to remain mindful of the likely quicker ground 😊

The feature race on the Doncaster card, is Leg 2 of the Veterans chase (3:20).

Regular readers will know that I love my veterans chases – and this is a very nice example…

Band of Blood heads the market, following his romp at Exeter, 10 days ago.
That’s understandable – but I’m not sure I would want to take a short price about him…

For a start, it was his first race in over 600 days – so there must be the possibility that he will ‘bounce’.
That’s particularly true, because the race was run on desperate ground - and whilst he didn’t appear to have a hard race, I suspect he did…

He would also have been far better suited to that slog in the mud, than he will be to racing around Doncaster.
I’m not saying he can’t win – just that at 5/2, I would have to take him on…

The 3 of prime interest, are Ballynagour, Sego Success and Carole’s Destrier.

All 3 will be well suited to conditions – and are feasibly handicapped.

I think Sego Success is just about the most interesting of the trio.
He’s won over course and distance – and I suspect he’s been targeted at this race.
7/1 is a fair price.

The other race of major interest on the Doncaster card, is the preceding handicap hurdle at 2:50.

Duke Debarry has been installed 4/1 favourite – and he certainly has a chance.
That said, his chance doesn’t look that much better than quite a few of his rivals…

It’s an open looking contest – but Classic Ben at 10/1 and Ballycrystal Court at 14/1, appear better value.

Both are completely unexposed – and whilst they may not be up to the task, at least you are getting a price to find out !

The best race on the Ludlow card, is the amateur riders chase, at 3:30.

Federici has run really well in a couple of top class handicaps this season - and if he can reproduce that form, he should win.
Unfortunately, he’s not guaranteed to do so…

Goohar is also quite unreliable – but he ran well last time, over tomorrows course.

Henry Daly is in very good form – and tends to have his horses primed to run at his local track.
11/1 about Goohar seems like a decent price…

The most interesting race on the Punchestown card, is the Pertemps qualifier, which is off at 4:45.

All eyes will be on Eagle Lion, as he represents the same connections that have won the past 2 finals of the series.

Unfortunately, because of that, he’s likely to be sent off a very short price – and therefore can’t be a betting proposition.

In theory, he is one who should really be opposed (from a value perspective) – however, it’s not easy to figure out who best to oppose him with…

Delta Work and Hareth are 2 of the likelier types in the race – though I couldn’t feel overly confident about either.

I also couldn’t feel confident about Velocity Boy.
He was an eye catcher, when he last ran – 3 months ago ! 
That was over fences and he was an eye catcher, with a view to him running again over fences, relatively soon ! (and ideally over shorter).
It looks to me as if he’s probably running in this, to get some fitness before tackling a more suitable race, back over fences. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Tuesday February 20th


It was a really poor afternoon, with non of the horses of interest winning – and few even featuring…

The ground at both Taunton and Wetherby was quicker than I expected – and that was undoubtedly a factor; however, I think the lack of continuity over the past few weeks, also had a big bearing…

It was clearly a bad day to bring back the Lunchtime Nap – and Northandsouth was never put into the opening race on the Wetherby card.
He’s a quirky individual – but it was still a disappointing effort.

The flat runs of Pistol Park and Vengeur de Guye in the 3:35 – and the win of Dresden – suggested that the ground probably wasn’t heavy.
It’s always hard to get a feel for the going at this time of the year, as it can significantly change from day to day (and course to course).

San Pietro and Luna Flow were also both disappointing – particularly as they were relatively well backed…

Things were no better at Taunton

Will o’the West put in another shoddy round of jumping in the 3:10.
I suspect he’ll be back over hurdles, sooner rather than later.

In the same race, Speedalong jumped better - but simply wasn’t good enough.

Caid du Lin and Black Mischief at least performed with some credit in the 3:45 – though neither was a match for Unison (whom I’d expected the ground to be too soft for).

Finally, Jayo Time continued to drift – presumably on account of the ground – and never featured in the 4:15 race.

I’m not sure I’ve had a worse day on the blog, all season !

At least on the positive side, things should be better tomorrow…!!

Lunchtime Update

Will o’the West has been backed in to 8/1 in the 3:10 at Taunton, with Speedalong drifting to 11/1.

I don’t really understand the drift on the latter, as I can see no reason why he won’t run his race.
He’s worth a small play at those kind of odds…

In the following race, Black Mischief has been backed into 3/1 favouritism, which doesn’t really surprise me.
He has the right profile – the issue is simply the ground…

In the same race, Caid du Lin has also been backed – but 4/1 on him looks short enough…

Jayo Time is surprisingly weak in the betting for the 4:15 and can now be backed at 5/1.
He’s definitely worth chancing at that price.

Over at Wetherby, Northandsouth is another one who is surprisingly weak, in the opener.

I can only think that it’s because he’s not being ridden by Bryony Frost (so is effectively 3lb higher).
7/2 on him is a decent price…

Pistol Park is now a 5/2 shot in the betting for the 3:35.
If feels too tight – but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s not !

Vengeur de Guye is still a 15/2 shot and splitting stakes across the pair is a fair strategy.

I might deploy the same strategy in the 4:40 – in which Lunar Flow is a 3/1 shot and San Pietro 7/1…

I’m keen to get the Lunchtime Naps up and running again.
The weather has prevented me from having many strong opinions recently – but the fields and races have stood up pretty well today.

That said, I don’t feel as strongly about anything as I would really like – though I do think that Jayo Time and Northandsouth are the most likely winners of their respective races – and fair prices…

I think Northandsouth has the easier task of the pair, so I’m going to make him the Lunchtime Nap.

For those of you who can, he’s currently 9/2 on BF – and is definitely worth backing at that price.

Lunchtime Nap: Northandsouth 2:00 Wetherby (Fair price 7/2)


Evening Preview 

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow: at Taunton and Wetherby in the UK – plus Clonmel in Ireland.

And they aren’t bad meetings either – for a Tuesday.
There’s even a Graded event at Clonmel – though it’s a novice hurdle, which would require a fair bit of guesswork, in order to solve !

There are some reasonable handicaps on both the Taunton and Wetherby cards however – giving hope that we might be on the way out of the woods (or more accurately, rain/frost !).

There’s even an eye catcher running at Taunton  - Invicta Lake in 3:10 race.
The only problem is, he was an eye catcher with a view to running in low grade races over hurdles – and this is a handicap chase…
In fairness, he didn’t do too badly on his most recent run – which was also over fences – but equally, he didn’t do enough to persuade me to side with him…

I’d be more inclined to take a risk of Will o’the West.
He is handicapped to win – and Henry Daly couldn’t be in better form.
On the flip side, the horse hasn’t exactly taken to fences – and he bled last time (so he comes with risks !)

I take his 2 month absence as a positive – though Taunton can be a bit tricky to jump round.
He’s 10/1 this evening – and could be worth a small risk at that price.

In the same race, Speedalong also looks quite interesting, on the back of a win in a fair race last time – and he’s a general 7/1 shot…

The feature on the card is the handicap hurdle at 3:45.
Most of the runners seem to be up against it, either on account of the soft ground – or because the handicapper has probably caught up with them.

That makes finding the winner, a bit tricky..!

The ground is the issue with Black Mischief – but if he gets away with it, I think he’s the one to beat.

Caid du Lin is the other one of interest – though there is a possibility that he could do with a rest (he’s been very active, this season).

Assuming the ground is soft, then Jayo Time looks the one to beat in the handicap chase at 4:15.
He was in the process of  running his best rest in ages, last time at Hereford, before falling at the last.
It’s not ideal, arriving on the back of a fall – but provided he’s fully recovered, I think he will take the beating.

He’s certainly very well handicapped, based on his old form – and the run did suggest that a fair bit of the old ability remains.

If the ground wasn’t as soft, I would be very interested in Canicallyouback.
However, he has a marked preference for decent ground and I don’t think he’ll get that…

Northandsouth looks the one to beat in the opener at Wetherby.

He ran really well in a better race at Warwick last time, when he was unlucky to bump into a couple of useful types.
He’s in off the same mark tomorrow, and I think he sets the standard, in what doesn’t look an overly competitive race.

The market suggests the Princess Monoke is the one to beat – but at 5/2 the pair, I’d rather side with Northandsouth.

Pistol Park is the one of most interest in the 3:35 – provided you have a forgiving nature !

His recent form is poor – but he’s slipped down the handicap as a result.
It’s also interesting to note, that he’s been well backed in his last 2 races…

He’s undergone a breathing op since his most recent run – and is fitted with a tongue tie. 
If they do the trick, then on ground he should relish, I think he’ll be hard to beat…

That said, he’s been well found in the market, and it therefore may be a better idea to side with Vengeur de Guye…
He was beaten 8 lengths by Pistol Park last season  - but is 6lb better off tomorrow,

That suggests it should be close between the pair – and Vengeur de Guye doesn’t have the same question marks over him.
Maybe backing him at around 7/1 and saving stakes on Pistol Park, is the way to go …

I like the look of San Pietro in the handicap chase at 4:40.
He’s having his second run for Donald McCain, having run with some promise on his stable debut, last month.
If he can build on that, I would expect him to go close.

Lunar Flow looks a danger, on his first run after a wind op – however he has been well found in the market.
San Pietro can be backed at 15/2 this evening - and that is a fair price.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Thursday February 15th


It was a mixed day for the horses of interest…

Glance Back took the opener at Leicester, having looked beaten, jumping the last.
He drifted out to 15/8 at the off – and was available at over 3 on BF, so hopefully a few of you got involved with him…

Heavenly Promise was backed into 11/2, in the 2:15 – and travelled quite sweetly.
However, she had nothing in reserve when push came to shove.
She’s already rated 78 – so can’t go much lower.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see her sent off to the breeding sheds…

Unbelievably, Crosspark was retuned at odds on, in the 2:45 contest (10/11).
He was 11/4 when I posted last night – but his price just got shorter and shorter.

I couldn’t get involved with him at 6/4, at Lunchtime – so I certainly wasn’t interested in him come the off.

That said, I was very curious to see how he ran – and simply, that was disappointingly !

He was taken on for the lead – which probably didn’t help – and the trip was maybe on the short side for him – but I still would have expected better than a well beaten fourth place…

Over at Kelso, Chti Balko was also backed into a crazy price at the off.
He was 9/2 last night – but returned at 6/4 !

Admittedly there was a non runner – but it was still difficult to fathom the level of support.

As with Crosspark, he came up short – with the race won by eye catcher, Cyrus Darius.

Bruichladdich was yet another one to come in for heavy support – and he was sent off at 11/4 (though again, a NR was a factor in his price).

He was still going well enough when he stepped at the third last and took a fatal fall.
It’s always a bit sobering to watch an animal pay the ultimate price for our entertainment…

Finally, Rothman was backed into 8/11 at Fontwell – and looked to be in control of the race, turning in.
But he then got the third last all wrong – lost momentum – and couldn’t get back at Bramble Brook.
I wouldn’t judge him too harshly – though in truth, he isn’t the most consistent of performers…

I’m afraid that’s it for yet another week on the blog.

There isn’t much of interest tomorrow – and I’d rather spend the time preparing for Saturdays action.

Again, it’s not been possible to find a Nap this week – but the weather looks to be on the improve, so hopefully I’ll be able to get them going again next week.

I hope everyone has a good weekend !


Lunchtime Update 

Despite already being relatively short prices, all of the horses that I was interested in last night, have been heavily backed this morning.

In the opener at Leicester, Glance Back has been cut from 2/1 to 6/4.
I couldn’t argue with that – but I think there is minimal margin in the current price…

Similarly, Crosspark has been hammered in the betting from 11/4 in to 6/4.
Again, I couldn’t argue with his current price – but there is precious little margin in it.

The price of Heavenly Promise has remained about the same (15/2) – but he is more of a speculative shout…

Over at Kelso, Chti Balko has been cut from 9/2 to 3/1.
Again, I can’t see anything in that price (he has more on his plate than Glance Back and Crosspark)

Whilst Bruichladdich is in to 4/1 from 5//1 yesterday – but as with Chti Balko, isn’t a certainty…

Finally, at Fontwell, Rothman can be backed at even money – which again, is about the right price…

The morning market moves have made it very difficult to get involved this afternoon.
I had earmarked Crosspark as the Lunchtime Nap – or failing that, Glance Back – but both have been backed to the point where there is minimal value…

If either one were to drift out to 2/1, I would become interested – but I can’t justify the risk at current prices.

I could take a risk on Bruichladdich – but he faces 9 rivals and 4/1 fees like the right price for him.

I can only apologise for raising expectations – but the market has moved to such an extent on the horses of main interest, that I can’t bring myself to Nap anything…

If it’s not the weather, it’s the betting – all a bit frustrating, really..!

Evening Preview 

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow: at Leicester, Kelso and Fontwell – and no less than 5 TVB eye catchers running !

Glance Back is the first of those, in the opener at Leicester – and he looks to have a very good chance.

He finished third over course and distance, on his most recent outing – and could easily be capable of going 2 places better.
Certainly the first 2 home in his last race look better than any of the rivals he faces tomorrow – so off the same mark, if he can run to the same level, then he is very much the one to beat.

The slight concern, is that he tended to jump to his left last time – and 2/1 is hardly a massive price. That said, I wouldn’t want to be laying him…!

Heavenly Promise is the one of most interesting the following race (2:15).
He’s not an official eye catcher – but I have been keeping a close eye on him !

He ran well on his penultimate start at Bangor, before not getting home over 3 miles last time.
Dropped back to 2m4f tomorrow, he must have a fair chance against mostly modest rivals.
He’s 8/1 this evening and that looks a fair price…

Crosspark is the second eye catcher running on the Leicester card and he looks to have a very good chance in the 2:45 race.

He caught the eye last time at Warwick, when travelling really well in the Classic chase - but not getting home.
He’s significantly dropped in trip tomorrow – but won the corresponding race last year, off a mark just 2lb lower.

Soft ground is key to him, so whilst it’s quite tough looking race, I think he’ll take a bit of beating.
Creep Desbois looks the one to beat – but 11/4 about Crosspark looks a fair price.

There are also a couple of eye catchers running at Kelso – Cyrus Darius being the first of them (2:25)

He caught the eye 2 runs ago, when winning on his seasonal debut at Ayr.

I expected him to go on from that – but he’s been beaten the last twice and returns to hurdles tomorrow.

He’s another who won the corresponding race last year – and although he has to carry 6lb more tomorrow, he still has a good chance of doubling up.

That said, I slightly prefer the chances of Chti Balko – particularly as he can be backed at 9/2, as against the 3/1 on offer about Cyrus Darius. 

The big race of the day is at 3:00 – but it has only attracted a field of 4.
Shantou Flyer and Big River look two to concentrate on - but they also head the betting.

It’s a race which is probably best watched…

Bruichladdich is the second eye catcher running on the card – and he looks to have a very good chance in the handicap hurdle at 3:35.

He had no chance against a very well handicapped horse last time – but ran well to finish second.

He’ll be unlucky to come up against such a well treated rival again and 5/1 looks a fair price.

The final eye catcher runs in the 3:10 at Fontwell.

Rothman caught the eye last time, when finishing second in a better race at Kempton.

The winner of that race, Mercian Prince, has subsequently franked the form – and if he runs to the same level tomorrow, Rothman will win.

The issue with him, is that consistency isn’t his strong point – and with just 2 rivals, and a price of 4/5, he can really only be watched.

With a few potential candidates, I suspect there will be a Lunchtime Nap tomorrow.
Make sure you tune in, to find out who it is…!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Wednesday February 14th


The ground was riding very soft at Towcester this afternoon, and that had quite an impact on the results…

In the opener, GI Jayne was a huge pre-race drifter (out to 16/1 – 20+ on BF) – and in the circumstances, it was not too surprising to see her pulled up.
Goodnight Charlie was also a drifter (out to 8/1) – and she didn’t finish the race either…

With both Ceann Sibheal and Grand Introduction, running poorly, it was a bit irritating that I had chosen to take them on with Colmers Hill - as he also ran poorly.
Oneida Tribe was the only other horse in the race that you could really have picked - and he came home a reasonably comfortable winner.
Dark Aster was yet another big drifter in the 3:10 race (out to 7/1 from 3/1).
She seemed to hate the ground – and was well beaten…

Lickpenny Larry was the only Mention on the day, who ran well – and he looked unlucky not to win.
He tanked through the race – touched 1.2 in running – but faded up the hill.

He will definitely win a race this season – and sooner rather than later…

Lunchtime Update

There isn’t a great deal to report, in terms of market movements, at Towcester

In the opener, the price of GI Jayne has been trimmed a little (now 8/1) – but she’s not been supported in the way I thought possible.

In the same race, Goodnight Charlie has drifted to a more attractive looking 6/1.

Unless there is a lot of support for GI Jayne, I would be inclined to go with Goodnight Charlie…

Colmers Hill remains the value option in the 2:40 – though Ceann Sibheal and Grand Introduction could well prove too good for him.

Dark Aster can still be backed at 3/1 in the 3:10 – and may be worth a risk at that price: whilst there has been a bit of support for Lickpenny Larry, and 5/1 is now the general price on offer…

I don’t feel particularly strongly about any of todays Mentions.

I like the look of Goodnight Charlie – though that’s dependant on there being no significant support for GI Jayne.
Lickypenny Larry is the other one of major interest – but more because he’s a horse who I think will come good at some point (not necessarily this afternoon).

As a consequence, there is no Nap today…

Evening Preview

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow: at Towcester and Ayr in the UK – plus Fairyhouse in Ireland.

There’s little to get excited about at either of the last 2 named: and whilst the racing at Towcester lacks a bit of quality, it is at least reasonably competitive…

In the opening handicap hurdle (2:10), I quite like the look of Goodnight Charlie.
She shaped with promise last time, on the back of a run – and if she has come on for that, she should go close.
That said, a price of 9/2 is tight enough…

The other one of interest in the race, is the Dan Skelton trained GI Jayne.
Skelton also saddles the race favourite, Café Au Lait – however, Harry Skelton rides GI Jayne.

She disappointed twice in the autumn, but reappears tomorrow on the back of a long absence and having had a wind op.
She is 10/1 this evening and probably worth a risk at that price.
Certainly if she is backed tomorrow, I think she could turn out to be the one to beat.

In the 2:40 race, both Ceann Sibheal and Grand Introduction are running under penalties, following wins last week.
Both are capable of winning, provided they have recovered sufficiently from their exertions.

Of the 2, I slightly favour Grand Introductions: though Comers Hill at 10/1 may be the best bet in the race, as he could be the one who takes advantage if the markets leaders don’t run their races…

Dark Aster is the one I like most in the 3:10.
Richard Mitford-Slade has done really well with just handful of horses this season - and this one has shown promise in a couple of novice events.

It gets to run in a handicap for the first time tomorrow and an opening mark of 114 looks reasonable – as does a general price of 3/1…

The final race of interest the card is the handicap chase at 4:10 – and regular readers won’t be surprised to read that it is Lickpenny Larry, that attracts me most…

I pointed him out last time, when he ran fourth in a better race at Doncaster.
I think tomorrows test is more suitable – so off the same mark, he must have a decent chance.

It’s a low grade contest, so not one you could be confident about – though he does look a fair bet to me at 13/2 – with Badilou appearing the most likely danger…

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Thursday February 8th


Dell Oro ran well at Huntington this afternoon – but wasn’t quite good enough to go with Vinndication and Western Ryder, when the pace quickened, and he could ultimately only finish fourth.

The winner looked a very useful prospect – and I suspect there was little shame for Dell Oro in defeat.
I’m sure he’ll be up to winning races in due course.

Kaddys Dream also ran a fair race in the opener.
In fact, she looked to have it won, when she kicked for home rounding the final turn.

However, she’d either been asked for her effort too soon - or she has a physical issue - because she didn’t get home (which is what happened on her previous run).

It’ll be interesting to see whether a ‘w’ appears next to her name the next time she runs (signifying a wind operation)…

I was a little concerned as to whether Midnight Target would have sufficient stamina to get home in the 1:45 – but I needn’t have worried.

I would have been tempted to take a chance and nap her regardless – if I could have got a price at Lunchtime.
However, she was a 13/8 shot at that point.

By the off, she had drifted to 3/1 (presumably on account of worries about the trip) – which was a little irritating (unless of course you had backed her – and with BOG !).

She laughed at any stamina concerns – powering home in a manner which suggested a step up in trip was exactly what she needed !

Over at Doncaster, Buster Thomas was badly impeded by a medley at the first fence  – and in the circumstances did well to still be in with a chance, turning for home.

However, he had no more to give, up the straight – and ultimately finished well beaten.

Good man Vinnie had no such excuses – and was simply well beaten…

Clondaw Native also ran a fair race in the 3:30 – but was no match to Gunfleet (which I anticipated) and Nautical Nitwit (which I didn’t !).

In the same race, Fingerontheswitch also ran quite well to finish fourth – without appearing unlucky, in any way…

Finally, Red Indian wasn’t good enough to get the better of Brillare Momento, at Towcester.

I suggested Brillare Momento for a race at Ludlow yesterday – but she was re-routed to Towcester when that meeting was abandoned.

There is no reason to think that Red Indian didn’t run his race, which suggests that Brillare Momento put in a much improved effort (which was always a possibility, following a breathing operation).

I did really fancy Red Indian and wasn’t surprised to see him backed in to odds on – but as I’ve said a few times recently, you do need something in the price to warrant a risk and it simply wasn’t there…

That’s it for another week on the blog !

There are a couple of half reasonable meetings tomorrow – but my focus will be switching to another big weekend ahead.

Furthermore, I won’t be back on the blog before the middle of next week, as I’m away for a couple of days at the beginning of the week.

At least it felt like there were a few shoots of improvement, in the air today - which will hopefully grow a little more, next week…!


Lunchtime Update

Most of the horses that I was interested in last night, have been backed this morning – which makes finding ‘value’ very hard…

One that hasn’t is Dell Oro, in the big race at Huntingdon – and he is still worth a small play at 20/1.

In the opener on the card, Kaddys Dream has been backed in from 5/1 to 4/1 – and that price looks quite tight.

In the 1:45, Midnight Target was 2/1 last night – but is 13/8 now…

She’s a tough one, as based on form, she should win – but there are a couple of issues with the track and the trip.
It’s therefore not easy to accept such a short price…

I’m a bit suspired by how well backed Buster Thomas has been in the Doncaster opener.
He was 10/1 last night – but is just 13/2 now.

In the same race, Good man Vinnie has been backed in from 14/1 to 9/1 (which does seem closer to the mark)…

Fingerontheswitch is another who has been surprisingly well backed (12/1 into 7/1) – and maybe that explains in part, the slight drift on Clondaw Native (out to 7/2, from 10/3).

Finally, at Towcester, Red Indian has proved very popular.
He was 2/1 last night – but is a general even money shot now.

The defection of Lady Karina is a factor in that – but he’s still been very well backed…

I had planned to make Red Indian the Lunchtime Nap – but a price of Even money leaves little margin for error.
All things being equal I think he will win – but you do need a margin in the price (and I’m not sure there is now one in his).

Similarly, Midnight Target has been backed into the point, where there is insufficient in the price to justify the risk.

The only other one worthy of consideration is Clondaw Native – but he faces strong opposition in the shape of Gunfleet – whilst the money for Fingerontheswtich could also be significant…

On balance then, I don’t think there is anything worthy of napping at the prices available at Lunchtime (hopefully one or two of you were able to secure better prices, earlier in the day).

Evening Preview 

There are 4 NH meetings scheduled for tomorrow: at Huntingdon, Doncaster and Towcester in the UK – plus Thurles in Ireland.

Fingers crossed, it looks as if all 4 will take place – and there is some reasonable racing, as well…

The best of the action takes place at Huntington, where the high-light is the Listed Sydney bank memorial hurdle (2:15).

This looks a really open race – which I wouldn’t be surprised to see won by any of the 6 runners…

Consequently, Dell Oro has to be the one of most interest, as he is outsider of the field, at 20/1.
He’s clearly well thought of – and has reasonable form – so at that price, has to be worth a small play…

In the opener on the card (1:15), I quite like the look of Kaddys Dream.

The stable of Robin Dickin has been in really good form, recently – and the horse should be at a peak, on its third run after a long absence.

The drop in trip is a slight concern – but odds of 5/1 compensate for that…

Favourite, Midnight Target is the one of interest in the following race (1:45).

She was an intended runner at Ludlow today – but has been re-routed following the abandonment of that meeting.

The new venue is a slight concern (she has lots of form at Ludlow), as is the step up to 3 miles.
However, she is potentially very well handicapped – provided she copes with those 2 things…

There are a couple of eye catchers who will be drinking at the ‘last chance saloon’ on the Doncaster card…

The first is Buster Thomas, in the opening contest (1:55).
He caught the eye 3 runs ago at Exeter – but hasn’t performed as well on his 2 subsequent outings.

In fairness, both of those runs were on very heavy ground – which he may not have handled.
A first time tongue tie, suggests breathing issues – and if it does the trick, then he must have a very good chance from a mark 7lb lower than at Exeter.

The other one that catches my eye in the race, is Good Man Vinnie.
He still has plenty of untapped potential as a chaser – and 14/1 is a fair price about his chances…

Fingerontheswitch is the other eye catcher running on the card.

He contests the handicap hurdle at 3:30 – and whilst the quicker ground could also see him running better than he has done recently, he faces some tough opposition…

Clandaw Native and Gunfleet are both unexposed novices who get into this race off reasonable marks.

The form of the latters recent win at Ascot appears strong – and he looks the one to beat, with 10/3 a fair enough price…

Finally, there is a decent handicap hurdle, taking place at Towcester, at 2:55.

It seems significant that Ben Pauling has chosen this race for Red Indian, from a variety of options.

The recent form of the Pauling yard has been a concern – but his last 4 horses have all won, which suggests things can’t be too dire !

Admittedly they were all at short prices – and his comeback will be better tested today, when he saddles a few less fancied runners.

Red Indian is relatively well fancied – but his last time out third place in the Lanzarote is much stronger form than you normally get at Towcester.

Lady Karina and Brillare Momento are worthy opponents – but I doubt they’ll be up to beating Red Indian – assuming Paulings horses are back in top form…

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Wednesday February 7th


Drumacoo did everything but win at Fairyhouse, this afternoon…

Coming to the last, he was a length clear of Westerner Point and seemingly going the better.
However, he then put in a slow leap – whilst Westerner Point was much quicker.

As a result he started up the run in a couple of lengths down.
He ran on really strongly – but had just got a bit too much to do – and failed by a nose to get up…

Fine lines and all that…

Earlier in the afternoon, Smokey Joe Joe looked like winning – but was caught close home by Graineyhill.
At least he should have rewarded anyone who played him in running (his BSP was 8 – and he touched 1.34).

Apparition was relatively weak in the market for the 2:45 race and never really featured.
I’m not sure what was going on there, to be honest…

Lunchtime Update

The meetings at Ludlow and Fakenham, have gone the same way as the one at Carlisle - meaning that the only NH racing today, takes place at Fairyhouse

In fairness, my strongest fancy on the day was always at Fairyhouse, in the shape of  Drumacoo – though he has been backed since last night…

11/4 then has become 9/4 now – and that’s right on the cusp of what I would consider ‘value’.

I’ve no doubt that he could beat todays rivals – but he’s a fragile horse, so you can’t be sure that he’ll be tuned up to do so (though Barry Geraghty in the saddle, is a positive indicator).

I’ve backed him at 5/2 – but I’d not prepared to chase him down any further than that…

I had a bit more of a look at the other races on the card, but little else caught my eye.

In the 2:45, I quite like the look of apparition; whilst in the 3:20, I think Smokey Joe Joe will make a good pre-race back to lay in running (as he travels strongly).

Drumacoo was obviously the only one under consideration for the Lunchtime Nap – but he’s not really got the profile I would go looking for, so I’m not going to put him up.

It looks as if things could take a significant upward turn tomorrow, with decent looking cards at Huntington and Doncaster – so hopefully I’ll be able to find one to get the Lunchtime Naps rolling again…


Evening Preview 

There are 3 NH meetings scheduled for tomorrow: at Ludlow and Fakenham in the UK – plus Fairyhouse in Ireland.

Though whether all 3 will actually take place, is a different matter…

The weather continues to wreak havoc with both the fixture list – and field sizes, when the racing is on.

As a consequence, I’m disinclined to spend too long looking at the mid week racing, as it tends to feel as if it’s going to be a waste of time !

That said, if Ludlow is on tomorrow, then there and a couple of reasonable races on the card…

The first is the mares handicap hurdle at 2:40 – and it’s attracted a really strong looking field (for the grade).

Most of the runners can be given a chance of some sort – so it’s not one to be going mad on.
I quite like the look of Brillare Momento, who is having her first run following a wind op.

She has travelled nicely in her 2 most recent races, before cutting out – so a breathing operation, would seem to make sense.
Certainly she looked very useful prior to her last 2 runs – so if it has done the trick, I would expect her to go close.

Unfortunately, the angle has already been picked up on – and she’s now a best price of 7/1.
Considering the risks – and the opposition – I wouldn’t want to go any lower than that…

Dallas Cowboy is the one of major interest in the following race, at 3:15.

He’s been sent over from Ireland by Tony Martin and is the only ride on the card for Donagh Myler.

His form definitely gives him a chance – but it’s the ‘subtle signs’ that generate the real appeal.

The expectation is always that Martin’s horses will be backed – and heavily so – if they are going to win.
However, my experience is that he’s very clever at getting the money on…

If the horse is backed at any point from 9:00 onwards (he’s an 8/1 shot this evening), I’ll be interested – even if it’s a late drifter !!

Ignoring Dallas Cowboy, then Midnight Target looks the best handicapped horse in the race: though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big run from Azzuri – particularly if there’s money for him (he has dropped to a mark that should be able to win from).

I tend to leave the midweek Irish racing alone (aside from the occasional big meetings) – but the Fairyhouse card doesn’t looks quite good.

I wouldn’t want to commit on too many of the races, without seeing how the market moves – but I’m prepared to offer an opinion on the 3:50.

I was a fan of Drumacoo when he was trained in England by Ben Pauling – and he ran a very nice race on his first run back with Michael Hourigan (he trained him before he went Pauling).

That was over hurdles in a decent contest at Navan in December.
Barry Geraghty was on board that day and he retains the ride tomorrow – his only ride of the day…

Based on official ratings, it looks a 4 horse  race – but I suspect that Drumacoo is a fair bit better than his official rating.
I’d be happy enough with the 11/4 on offer this evening…