Friday, 27 April 2018

Saturday 28th April

There is some ridiculously competitive racing tomorrow – which I could easily spend hours pouring over !

However, I need to remind myself that the TVB season is now over – and for good reason !
Races are particularly difficult to solve at this time of year…

The rain at Sandown won’t help things either – so you should think of the following more as final day musings, rather than solid advice !

Good luck if you do choose to get involved !!



4 against the field: Show on the Road; Burrows Edge; Friday Night Light and Going Gold.
At 28/1, the last named is probably the most interesting – but it’s a wide open race, in which most of the runners can be given a chance.


This looks between Top Notch and Art Mauresque.
The former should win – but is priced accordingly. The latter represents better value (provided the ground remains quick-ish) - and is certainly worth considering EW, if you can get 5/1…


Needless to say, Altior should win this – but he makes limited appeal at 1/4.
The question is whether it is worth taking him on…
On decent ground – and with an uncontested lead –  I would be tempted by Special Tiara. However, Ar Mad will almost certainly take him on – plus, he may not get his ground.
Diego de Charmil was really impressive at Aintree last time – even if his race probably took very little winning.
It would be a major shock if he were to beat Altior – but at least he arrives in top form…


This doesn’t strike me as an overly strong race (considering the value).
I was really keen on The Young Master when he fell at the first in last weeks Scottish national.
I don’t know how much that took out of him – but if he’s still in top form, I think he’s the one to beat.
I think Minella Daddy and Rathlin Rose have both got chances – but at a really big price, I’ll take a small chance of Relentless Dreamer.
Rebecca Curtis has had a horrible season – but she won the Scottish national – and it would be kind of typical, if she were to take this as well !


I think Call me Lord should win this – but I won’t be backing him at 7/4 !


War Sound will undoubtedly run well in this – but he’s got to be vulnerable over the trip – and with a hill at the end.
The tricky bit is finding one to beat him…
Ramonex is probably over priced at 16/1 – and could be worth a small play.


What a race to finish the season with !
Wait for Me won it last year – and must have a good chance of following up off a 5lb higher mark.
Le Breiul win last time – but was still a bit disappointing !
However, he gets first time cheek pieces tomorrow, so I have to keep him on side (as I thought he could be a really good horse).
I thought Ordo ab Chao ran well on his debut for Olly Murphy – and he would be interesting if strong in the betting.
Whilst I really fancied Landin at Aintree – but he ran no sort of a race.
Maybe first time cheek pieces will sort him out !
Another ‘short’ list of 4 !



I fancied Hurricane Darwin for the cross country chase at Cheltenham – but I fancy him even more for this !
8/1 is a perfectly acceptable price – even though you’ll probably get bigger tomorrow (I would suggest waiting).


Wicked Willie is a rare runner in Ireland for Nigel TD – and this looks a winnable race.
Rogue Angel and Fine Rightly  are both of some interest – maybe from a back to lay in running perspective (the former front runs, whilst the latter is a strong traveller)


Apples Jade or Benie des  Dieu..?
Apples Jade, of course ! If only they were all that simple J


It’s hard to look beyond the market principals in this…
Farclas, Mr Adjudicator and Stormy Island.
I’ll probably bide my time and see if I can get 4/1 on one of them.
I’d like it to be on Mr Adjudicator – but there really is very little between them…


Isleofhopesendreams has the form to win this – if he is in top form.
That’s far from guaranteed after a couple of recent hard races – but on the flip side, he is trained by Willie Mullins !


Time to get the pin out !
Spades are Trumps is unexposed – and his defeat of Paloma Blue reads very well.
He’s maybe worth a small risk at 20/1 (if you can get it !)

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Friday 27th April - Punchestown Day 4

Just the 3 winners at Punchestown for Willie Mullins today ! – but they were the 3 most valuable races on the card – and he also had one beaten a short head !

It was heartening to see Faugheen bounce back and win the big race of the day.
As I said last night, 8/1 was a bit of a gift – and even his SP of 11/2 was quite generous, given that he was the outstanding horse in the field (accepting he had a couple of question marks over him).

It’s more of the same tomorrow – and it will be no surprise if Willie again bags a few winners…


He’s certainly got a good chance in this race, as he saddles favourite, Kemboy.
I respect his chance – but it’s one of  his other runners, which really catches my eye…
Pylononthepresure would have gone close at Cheltenham, if he’d not tried to take most of the fences home with him !
His jumping also let him down at Tramore last time – so it’s a concern,
However, if he does manage to get it right, he’s got the talent to go very close in this off a mark of 135.
At 25/1, he’s worth a small risk…


Willie won’t be winning this race, as he’s not got a runner ! – but I’m not sure what will !
La Bella Vida should run her race and is not a bad EW option, if you can get 16/1…


It will be fascinating to see how the unbeaten novice Samcro, fares against Champion hurdle runner up, Melon.
I do think that Samcro is the real deal – but this will be by far his stiffest task to date – and over a trip arguably short of his best.
I’d like to see him win, because it’s always good to see a top class horse – but I won’t be betting on it…
I won’t bet on Melon either, despite the fact he’s the obvious alternative.
Instead, I’ll be siding with Wicklow Brave.
He won the corresponding race 12 months ago – and at 12/1, looks a good bet to repeat the feat.


Pallasator is understandably favourite for this – but he looks vulnerable to me…
Willie fields 6 against him – and again, it is quite likely that he’ll have the winner.
Scarpeta is the most strongly fancied of his runners – but that is because Paul Townend rides.
It strikes me as very interesting that Willie is prepared to let Getabird take his chance in this, just 3 days after disappointing in the 2 mile novice.
He’s the highest rated horse in the race – and is a decent bet at 7/1…


I can’t see Balnalsow winning this.
He was clearly primed for Aintree and Derek O Connor abandons him for Uxizandre.
He’s the one to beat – but comes with plenty of risks for a 5/2 shot.
Sambremont is a more interesting option, at 25/1.
He was a fair performer under rules a couple of seasons back – and is still only 8.
He may not be quite good enough to win, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him outrun his odds.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Thursday 26th April - Punchestown Day 3

There was a slight change in the way things panned out this afternoon, with the Big 2 becoming the Big 1 !

Willie Mullins won 6 of the 7 races on the Punchestown card – which is impressive going – even if he did field multiple runners in most of the races.

Clearly a lot of his horses are in top form – though choosing which ones to side with remains tricky, with a number of his more fancied runners obliging today (unlike yesterday).

Tomorrows card looks no easier to crack than those on the first 2 days, so the suggestion is to keep stakes to a minimum !


There are quite a few of interest, in this 24 runner handicap…
Two of the Henry de Bromhead runners: Tisamystery and  Three Stars, head the list.
Both of them have strong 2m handicap form – with the former, in particular, a big price at 20/1 this evening.
Tycoon Prince and Mr Fiftyone are 2 others of interest – though they are more speculative.
Mr Fiftyone is probably the more appealing of the pair – particularly as he’s had a recent pipe opener at Dundalk.
Lake Takapuna is the final one worthy of a mention - simply because his price of 50/1 is too big for a horse who has a definite chance of placing…


It would be a mighty effort for Bless the Wings to take this, a week and a half after finishing third in the Grand National. I’d have to take him on, at a price of 5/2.
Choosing between the JP McManus runners isn’t easy, so my inclination would be to take chance on Ballyboker Bridge.
He’s got good course form and is capable of outrunning his 16/1 price.


Willie Mullins is responsible for 7 of the 12 runners in this – which isn’t a particularly healthy situation…
Victory for either Penhill or Bacardys wouldn’t be a big surprise – but the market is wise to them.
It’s amazing that Faugheen can be backed at 8/1 (presumably because Paul Townend appears to have deserted him) – and he has to be worth a small risk at that kind of price.
Similarly, Identity Thief at 6/1 is a fair bet, particularly now that he’s demonstrated he stays the 3 mile trip.


Glenloe and a Great View give JP Mcmanus a strong hand in this – and victory for either would be no great surprise…
At a bigger price (33/1), Burren Life is quite interesting, in his first time blinkers: as is Moonshine Bay, for Jessie Harrington.
Both horses have been contesting graded novice events on bad winter ground, so may be capable of improvement, now that they are racing on a better surface.


It’s impossible to look beyond Footpad in this.
He’s been hugely impressive this season - and granted a clear round, he should win.
With only 7 runners, the race hasn’t got an EW shape - which is a shame.
I’d be happy to oppose Petite Mouchoir – as he looked liked he’d had enough, when losing at Aintree, last time.
Asthuria could be an interesting option in the ‘without the fav’ market.
She could easily be 7 or 8/1 – and may be a touch of value at that kind of price.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Wednesday 25th April - Punchestown Day 2

The results at Punchestown yesterday, were just about as unpredictable as I expected – and that’s excluding the novice chase ! (which had one of the most bizarre finishes I’ve ever seen !).

The rain softening the ground, didn’t help things – but I think it was mainly a case of a number of the horses not running up to form, after a long season on the go.

All this said, it was interesting that Mullins & Elliott still managed to win the 5 main races on the day between them – just not with their most obvious candidates !

The ‘system’ seems obvious then: stick to lesser fancied representatives of the ‘big 2’ !


I’ve no idea what will win this: my only observation is that Icanstay should make a good pre-race back, to lay in-running – assuming he jumps off OK (which isn’t totally guaranteed !)


Using the ‘system’ described above, Good Thyne Tara could be quite interesting.
She has some form with Samcro, which reads well: she also ran third at this meeting last year, staying on well to finish just over a length behind Pravalaguna.
At 9/1 she looks a fair bet (maybe EW)


Next Destination is very much the one to beat – but 13/8 is too short about anything, at this meeting…
The Mullins third strong, Brahma Bull looks quite interesting for a 25/1 shot – particularly as he may improve for his run at Cheltenham.
Similarly, the Gordon Elliot third string, Lackaneen Leader, could be over priced, also at 25/1…
Both horses have a lot to prove – but I doubt they would be running, if their trainers didn’t feel they were capable of being competitive.


Road to Respect is the right favourite – even though he is held by Outlander on their Down Royal run from November !
Outlander has disappointed on his 2 most recent runs – but if he bounces back to form, he’s got a definite chance.
Djakadam should run his race – and looks a good bet to place (less good to win !): whilst Sizing Granite could definitely be worth a small speculative play at 33/1 in a race which looks nearly impossible to call with any confidence.


Yet another very difficult race to call (do you notice a theme ?!).
5 of the first 6 from the Cheltenham bumper, do battle again – and simply choosing which one of those will come out on top this time, is a very tricky task !
Rather than get involved with that formline, I’d maybe take a chance on Dorking Boy.
His trainer Tom Lacey could hardly be in better form – and it seems significant that he’s brought the horse over to contest this race.
Confidence couldn’t be high – but at 16/1 he’s maybe worth a small play.


I was quite keen on Polidam, last time at Aintree – but he didn’t handle the big fences.
Back over conventional obstacles, he’s worth giving another chance, at the general 12/1.
The other one of interest is Woodland Opera.
He’s won at the past 2 Punchestown festivals – so has probably has this on his agenda for quite some time (unlike many of his opponents).
A price of 8/1 is tight enough – but probably not far off the mark.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Tuesday 24th April - Punchestown Day 1

It’s always hard to fathom the Punchestown festival - positioned at the very end of a long season…

Many of tomorrows runners will have ‘gone over the top’ – but in a lot of cases, we won’t know which ones until it is too late.

Also, the recent warm weather will have dried out the ground, so the going is likely to be a fair bit quicker than has been the case for the past few months.

All in all then, quite a few imponderables – and that’s before we get on to the races themselves !

On the flip side, the racing on day 1 is excellent – and as a consequence, I won’t be able to resist a small play or two – so thought I would share my views.

There will be no updates tomorrow (this is the TVB closed season, after all !) – but I’ll try to find time to post a few brief thoughts, the evening before each of the days…


The first of 3 grade 1 races on the card.
It’s hard to see beyond the top 3 in the market: Getabird, Mengli Khan and Paloma Blue.
Getabird is understandably favourite after an impressive win last time at Fairyhouse.
He got the run of the race that day though – so the victory may have flattered him a little.
Both Mengli Khan and Paloma Blue are the same price to place, as Getabird is to win – and I’d be more inclined to go with one of them.
I think Paloma Blue has untapped potential – provided he can be settled.
He should be able to place - and may be able to win.
At around 5/1 he's not a bad bet (EW).


A wide open handicap where confidence is limited…
Low Sun holds most appeal – though he could well end up a bit bigger than the current 12/1.
Of the outsiders, then High School Days is moderately interesting – particularly at 40/1 !
However, it’s the kind of race where there could easily be a plunge on something (probably owned by JP McManus !)


A truly fascinating contest – and I find it amazing that Douvan, Min and Un De Sceaux are up against each other !
Whilst all 3 are (or have been) top class – they all have fair sized question marks over them.
Certainly it would be hard to back Douvan at even money, on the back of a fall in his only run in over a year…
Min is a more solid option – but has had a couple of hard recent races and Paul Townend has deserted him.
The same is true of Un De Sceux – and the ground is likely to be too quick for him…
Conditions should be perfect for Special Tiara and I can see him running really well.
He may not be quite up to winning – but at 25/1, is backable EW.


As with the hurdle race, it’s hard to look beyond the top 3 in the betting: Monalee, Al Boum Photo and Shattered Love.
On various form lines, they are within a couple of lengths of each other – so it could simply be a question of which one is on the best form and relishes the conditions.
At the prices, I would have to side with Shattered Love (6/1) – even though she may prefer softer and has had a couple of recent tough races.
I’ve actually backed her for next years Gold cup, at 33/1 – and if she wins this, she won’t still be that price !
Jury Duty interests me most of the outsiders (he has form with Shattered Love) – though he too would prefer softer ground.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Monday April 9th


I think I was a little premature yesterday, suggesting that the ground had sorted itself out !

It maybe wasn’t quite as bad as has been the case recently, but it was still pretty testing – and that wouldn’t have suited Mick Thonic.

Whether it was the reason he was beaten, is a more debatable.

He travelled nicely up to the home turn – but then found nothing.

The ground may have been the issue – but it’s just as likely that his breathing problems remain.
Whatever, he ended up well beaten…

That said, he still ran better than Western Climate did in the handicap chase at 2:50 !

I felt there was always a doubt over whether he would run his race, on the back of a very tough race last time.

The betting seemed to suggest he was in peak form – but it clear after just a couple of fences, that he wasn’t on his game.

He was soon detached, and was pulled up before the home turn.

So much for market confidence !

The market was much more accurate in predicting the performance of I’m a Game Changer.

He was backed early this morning – and went off 9/4 fav.

Again there were some question marks over his well-being – but he had clearly returned to action in good heart and won like a very well handicapped horse.

The final runner of interest on the day, was Strawberry Spirit.
She was a speculative one – and I would have wanted some market support in order to get involved.

It never materialised – and she was sent off at 20/1 (her BSP was over 30).

She was in touch to the home turn – but backed out of things quickly from that point.

She is likely to be dropped a few pounds for the run – and I’m sure she has sufficient ability to win a race (probably over a little shorter).

Lunchtime Update

If the objective of yesterdays preview, had been to identify horses which would halve in price this morning – then I think it could be argued that I’ve done pretty well !

Unfortunately, that isn’t the objective of the preview – and all it shows, is how difficult it is to preview races (or tip/back in them) when the markets aren’t mature.

In the handicap chase at 2:50, Western Climate has precisely halved in price.
He was 6/1 yesterday – and is 3/1 now.
If you knew he was fit and raring to go after his exertions at Uttoxeter, then maybe 3/1 isn’t too bad a price.

However, we are guessing on that score (though maybe those who have backed him, have a little more knowledge !).

I’m a Game Changer hasn’t quite halved in price in the 3:20 – but 3/1 in to 9/4 (best), is still a significant move.

Again, if we could be sure he was fit and raring to go after 6 months off, maybe 9/4 would be acceptable – but we don’t have that knowledge…

Mick Thonic is the third one to come is for very heavy support.
8/1 last night, you now can’t beat 9/2.

I have less of an issue with his price crash.
He was clearly too big last night – and there is less guesswork involved.

Strawberry Spirit (4:30) is the only mention from last night that hasn’t come in for serious support (that’s speculation for you !).
She was 12/1 yesterday – and has drifted to 20/1 is a place.

I’d want to see a bit of support before siding with her – but there is still time for that…

As you may have picked up last night, I am keen on Mick Thonic.
I always felt the price was far too big – and whilst it’s a little disappointing to see him shorten so much, I can understand it…

There is probably still a bit of margin in a price of 9/2 (though I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drift a touch) – so I’ll make him the Lunchtime Nap.

Lunchtime Nap: Mick Thonic  Ludlow 3:55 (Fair Price 9/2)

Evening Preview 

As I said in my reply to Elliots question over the weekend, I did think that there might not be any more midweek blog entries this season…

However, there are 3 NH meetings tomorrow – all of which look likely to take place – and the ground shouldn’t be desperate.

Aintree may be looming on the horizon, but I’ve still managed to find a bit of time to look at the cards…

With meetings at Kempton, Wincanton and Ludlow, I expected the best racing to be taking place at the first named venue - but that’s not the case.

It’s not at Wincanton neither (which would have been my second guess): instead it is Ludlow which stages the days best racing.

To be fair, it’s a track that often punches well above its weight – and that’s the case again tomorrow, when they put on a really good card…

The first race of interest, is the handicap chase at 2:50.
I quite like the look of Western Climate (6/1) in this – though I would like him a fair but more if he’d not endured a gruelling race in the Midlands National, just over 3 weeks ago.

TBH, it’s anyones guess how he will have come out of that, so he’s maybe not a betting proposition.
However, if he is back to peak form, then sporting first time blinkers, and with Sean Bowen in the saddle, I think he’s the one to beat…

I like I’m a Game Changer (3/1) in the next (3:25) – but again, he has question marks over him…

He’s not run for 6 months – and comes from the stable of Philip Hobbs (which hasn’t been in good form for ages).
It’s also a negative that Dickie isn’t in the saddle (even tho Noel Fehily is good substitute).

On the plus side, he drops in class tomorrow (to class 3) – and whilst he was quite well beaten on both of his starts in the autumn (in class1 and class 2 events), he had excuses on both occasions, and ran better than the form book implies.

If he gets things right tomorrow, he could outclass his rivals…

I’m quite keen on Mick Thonic (8/1) in the 3:55 – provided the ground isn’t soft.

He was in the process of running a good race over tomorrows course and distance, back in October, until unseating at the third last.

There were reasons for his 3 subsequently disappointing runs – and I felt he performed with distinct promise on his return from an absence, at Hereford last month.

The ground would have been too soft for him that day, but he still showed up well –and the run should have put him spot on for tomorrow.

Sean Bowen is a positive jockey booking – and if he does get his ground, I think he will take a bit of beating.

There is a big field of mares assembled for the 4:30 race – and I might take a small chance on Strawberry Spirit (12/1).

I’ve been keeping an eye on her in novice events and she definitely has ability.

She makes her handicap debut tomorrow of a mark of 103 – and whilst there is plenty of guesswork involved, that feels like a reasonable mark.

It’s the kind of race where the market will need to be monitored closely – but if she does come in for some support, I’ll be inclined to take the hint !