Saturday, 27 October 2018

Sunday October 28th

It was nice to have a few winning selections on the blog today…

The prime purpose of the blog, is to share my views - not for me to tip (I save that for the Main service !) - but all the same, if I express a strong fancy for a horse, it’s pleasing when it runs well.

It was particularly pleasing to see Modus run so well this afternoon.
Clearly, he’s not a natural over fences - but he has an abundance of talent - and was ridden by a jockey who gave him plenty of confidence.
Ultimately, that combination was just about enough to get him home in front…

Tomorrows meeting at Aintree is a cracker - with a number of really interesting races.

That said, they are again races which we should be primarily watching and learning from (similar to Chepstow, a couple of weekends ago).

Obviously, it will be nice if I can pick out another winner (or two !) - but that becomes more important, from next weekend onwards..!

Anyway, here are my thoughts on each of the races on the card:



Aye Aye Charlie sets the standard in this - and in fairness, it’s quite a high standard.
He was placed in grade 1 novice company last season - and with a rating of 142, should be more than capable of taking an average maiden, this season (or even, an above average one !).
That said, he faces a few rivals with some potential - and as a consequence, I couldn’t be interested in him at 1/2.
If he’s still that price (or shorter !) at the off, then he will almost certainly win - but there is a chance that one of his unexposed rivals could be very useful.
Stoney Mountain is the most obvious one - as he has good bumper form: though I wouldn’t be surprised to see big runs from either Present Ranger or Dorking Cock.
Very much a watching race…

Selection: Stoney Mountain at 4/1


This is the first of a series of really fascinating races on the card…

Settimo Milanese heads the market on his first run in a handicap for Dr Newland.
He’s very hard to quantify - but a mark of 125 doesn’t look unreasonable.
He’s 4/1 this evening - and if he’s well backed tomorrow, I suspect he’ll win…

That said, at the prices currently on offer, I’m more inclined to take a chance on Jump for Dough.
He won a couple of handicaps at Musselburgh, early in the year, before finishing fifth in the Pertemps qualifier at the same track.
He wasn’t seen again, until reappearing at Hexham last month.
He ran a nice race that day - looking as if the run would bring him on.
He wears a tongue tie for the first time tomorrow - and if that has the desired effect, I would expect him to run a big race.

There are plenty of others, of potential interest - so keep an eye on the betting for moves on Spiders Bite and Ready and Able, in particular…

Selection: Jump for Dough at 12/1 - danger Settimo Milanese


2 official eye catchers run in this - and the main TVB season hasn’t even started yet !

Both Beat That and Double Ross, caught the eye in a the veterans race at Chepstow 2 weeks ago - and I would expect both to run well tomorrow.

The betting has picked up on Beat That.
That’s understandable - as he still has potential (even though he is a veteran !).
He may win - but 5/2 is too short in such a competitive race…

Double Ross on the other hand, is an 8/1 shot - and worthy of support at that price.
He caught my eye last time, simply because he looked so full of himself !
Assuming he’s not quite as exuberant tomorrow (he fell at the very first fence, last time!), I think he will run a big race.

The other one of particular interest in the race, is Pendra.
He is a very fragile horse - and he tends to run his best races, first time out.
This is his first run in a veterans chase - and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him backed in to favouritism.
If you can secure the 7/1 on offer this evening, he’s definitely worth a saver….

Selection: Double Ross at 8/1 - danger Pendra


I don’t have a particularly strong view on this race (but it is still very interesting !).

Bryon Flyer looks the one to beat - but a price of 3/1 isn’t particularly tempting…

In fact, Paisley Park holds more appeal at 10/1 - though I wouldn't be surprised to see either Haul Away or Lygon rock, beat them both…

Unfortunately, the 4 named, head the market.

At the prices, Paisley Park is probably the value option - even if he may not be the most likely winner…

Selection: Paisley Park at 10/1


The big race of the day is a real cracker - tho I suspect the market has things about right…

That said, I would be prepared to take on Cloudy Dram on his debut for Donald McCain.
He’s very talented horse - but quite a polite one too (he’s generally prepared to let one of his rivals go in front of him !)

On pure weights and measure, he can’t beat Flying Angel.
That one had his measure when the 2 met over course and distance, 18 months ago - and he’s 12 lb better off tomorrow.
However, whereas Cloudy Dream is a model of consistency, Flying Angle is anything but !
That said, at respective prices of 11/4 and 11/2, you have to take a risk on Flying Angel…

Frodon is the other one of major interest - but he’s third fav behind Cloudy Dream and Flying Angel.

Certainly, I would struggle to make a strong case for any of the longer priced runners…

Selection: Flying Angel at 11/2


This is another really interesting race - but a hard one to call…

All of the runners have significant potential - so it really is a race best watched.

I’ll take Polydora and Lord du Mesnil against the field - but mainly because they offer a bit of ‘value’.

Both are completely unexposed - and I’m a fan of their respective trainers.
I don’t know whether either will prove good enough to win tomorrow - but I’ll be a little surprised if both don’t win races this season…

Selection: Lord du Mesnil at 16/1 - danger Polydora


There is too much guesswork required to offer a proper selection in this.
However, I suspect that Rebecca Curtis is going to bounce back this season - and Legends Gold looks like the kind of horse she has historically done well with.
If it’s expected to win, it will be backed (even shorter than the 4/1 available this evening).

Selection: Legends Gold at 4/1 

Friday, 26 October 2018

Saturday October 27th

To say that the opening day of the Showcase meeting was eventful, is a bit of an under-statement - with two horses running out, in their respective races, when looking likely to win.
The Cheltenham hill has often seen results change - but rarely in quite such a random fashion !

That said, there was little random about most of the results on the day - with very well backed horses taking 4 of the races.

Unfortunately, a couple of the horses I selected in the handicaps, were completely friendless in the market.

The drifts on Asking Questions (12/1 last night - BSP 34) and Lord Condi (16/1 last night - BSP 42), left a bit of a taste.

Both horses should have been fit - and they had progressive profiles - but even in-running, they were layed in a manner that suggested someone knew today wasn’t going to be the day…

The market is getting embarrassingly predictive.
I had hoped that it might not be quite so accurate at Cheltenham - but alas…

Anyway, there isn’t much we can do about it (other than find something else to bet on !) - so I’ll continue to play things with a straight bat…

Rather surprisingly, tomorrows racing doesn’t look quite as good as todays.
Certainly there isn’t the same balance - and whilst there are two or three good looking races - there are also a few disappointing ones.

Here are my thoughts on all 7…


This is a really interesting race - but there is probably a bit too much guesswork required, in terms of fitness, to warrant getting heavily involved…

Cogry won the corresponding race last season - and off a 3lb higher mark tomorrow, he should go very close - provided he is in the same form.
Unfortunately, his form isn’t guaranteed… (nor is his jumping !)
Based on his fourth in last years Hennessy, it can be argued that Braqueur D’or is just about the best handicapped horse in the race.
He’s not run this season - but came to hand early last season, so I suspect he will be able to do himself justice.
The issue with him, is the course - I don’t know whether it will suit him.
If it does, I think he’s the one to beat - though there isn’t much margin in a price of 7/1…
Relentless Dreamer probably represents the best value in the race at 16/1 (in places).
His form from last season is very solid - and he still looks attractively handicapped.
There is a question mark regarding his fitness - but if he’s ready to himself justice - and provided he handles the track - then he could easily place…

They would be my 3 against the field - but there are probably twice that number whom I’d be fearful of !
For Good Measure looks as if he could have been targeted at the race; whilst Minella Rocco is well handicapped - even with top weight.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Dell Arca run well - following a good showing in Ireland, last time.

Selection: Relentless Dreamer at 16/1 - dangers Braqueue D’or and Cogry


The betting suggests this is between Gumball and Redicean - and it may well be right.
However, with fitness assured - and in receipt of weight from all of her rivals, Pearl of the West may warrant a small interest…
Certainly, from a handicapping perspective, she can be given half a chance - whilst Sean Bowen strikes me as an interesting jockey booking.
I’ve little doubt that the betting will provide a good guide to her chance - so if she is supported, I would be inclined to take the hint…

Selection: Pearl of the West at 14/1


If there is a bet on the card, then I suspect it could be Modus, in this…
He was a very decent handicap hurdler, the season before last - and hacked up in the Lanzarote hurdle off a mark of 145.
That suggests he could be well handicapped tomorrow off a mark of 146 - assuming he’s as good over a fence as he was over a hurdle.
In truth, that is open to question - though he was unbeaten in completed chase starts, prior to running at last seasons festival.
He was well beaten in the JLT, there - and subsequently in a grade 1 event at Aintree - but those race were significantly better than the class 2 handicap he runs in tomorrow.
The drop back to 2 miles is another question - but he finished second in the 2016 Greatwood hurdle, so I expect him to handle it.
In fact, with Foxtail Hill and Bigmatre, likely to ensure a ferocious gallop, a bit of stamina should be an asset.
Modus’ stable mate, Tommy Silver is a possible danger - though I don’t think he’s quite in Modus’ class.
In truth, I don’t think anything in the race is quite in Modus’s class - which is why I think he’s the best bet on the card

Selection: Modus at 9/2


I’m really not sure where to begin with this particular contest !
I could see top weight, Wait for Me, running well - though he’s probably not quite well enough handicapped to win.
Milrow finished second in the corresponding race last season - and based on that run, could again run well (despite a price of 40/1).
As with Wait for Me, however, a win is unlikely…
If forced to pick one, I’d probably side with NotwhatIam - and hope that the market backs me up.
In reality however, I’ll just be watching the race…

Selection: Notwhatiam at 9/1


This is a disappointing race - and in truth, I’ve not really got an opinion on it…
Dinons has by far the best hurdles form - but mainly because most of his rivals have very limited hurdling experience.
I’d have to make him the selection in the race - but it’s another race where I won’t be getting financially involved myself !

Selection: Dinons at Evs


Yet another race with limited betting appeal…
The question should be, whether Movewiththetimes can take advantage of the 7lb he receives from Monbeg Legend and Cubomania.
I think he will - but at 5/4, he holds no appeal from a betting perspective.

Selection: Movewiththetimes at 5/4


This is a much more competitive race than the two that precede it - but it’s not much more of a betting contest…
Romeo Brown is the one who appeals most, on the back of a very promising debut in a hot bumper run at this course on New Years day.
That form certainly sets a fair standard - but it’s impossible to know how much ability most of his rivals have.
Northern Bound is certainly one that I could be interested in - but in truth, this has to be another watching race…

Selection: Romeo Brown at 6/1

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Friday October 26th

The first Cheltenham meeting of the new season, is always a cause for excitement - and tomorrows is no different.

Apparently the ground is in good condition (watered, to ride on the soft side of good) - and the card is both interesting and varied.

There are 7 races; with 3 big field handicaps, complimented by 4 novice events.

I doubt I’ll get involved with any of the novice events, as there is too much guesswork.
I might have one or two small plays in the handicap however, as I do think that the fields can be narrowed down quite significantly.

Here are my thoughts:



The Irish have a strong hand in this, with Irish trainers responsible for the top 3 in the betting.
In terms of proven form, that’s quite reasonable - though all of the English horses have plenty of potential.
It really isn’t a race that I would want to get involved with: but Havana Beat may represent a bit of value at 10/1.
He showed fair form in the spring, and should be fit enough to do himself justice, following an outing on the flat at Kempton, earlier this month.

Selection: Havana Beat at 10/1


This doesn’t look quite as open as the previous contest - but it’s another race which I will have no difficulty in sitting out !
Diakali is the the rightful favourite - but I couldn’t consider him at 6/4.
He was a dual grade 1 winner when trained by Willie Mullins - and won twice over fences, for Gary Moore at the end of last season.
However, they were uncompetitive events at minor tracks and the wins told us little…
He will face a very different test tomorrow - and whilst he may be up to it, I won’t be betting on it.
I would be far more tempted by Storm Home.
She showed a good level of form over hurdles last season - and whilst she disappointed on her chasing debut in May, I’d be prepared to ignore that.
She has plenty of potential - and if she is fit, she looks a reasonable bet at 6/1.

Selection: Storm Home at 6/1


The first handicap of the afternoon - and not an easy one to solve…
I’ll offer 3 against the field, in the shape of And the Now, Brillaire Momento and   Court Minstrel.
I think Brillaire Momento sets the standard for the race - and I would expect her to be placed.
She won a novice race at this meeting 12 months ago - and I have no doubt she will be primed for a big run tomorrow.
The trouble is, she’s not particularly well handicapped - and is unlikely to show huge improvement - so she is vulnerable from a win perspective…
And the Now is making his handicap debut - but has novice form (and bumper form) which suggests he could be well handicapped.
The question with him, is whether he will be fit enough to do himself justice.
I suspect the market will advise on that, close to the off…
Court Minstrel is well handicapped - and he’s fit - the problem with him, is that he is rising 12 and he must have good ground to race on…
He showed last time at Chepstow, that he retains sufficient ability to win a race of this nature - and I think he’s the one to beat.
Unfortunately, he’s been well backed this evening and the current 7/1 looks tight enough.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drift a little tomorrow - and that won’t stop me from backing him.

Selection: Court Minstrel at 7/1 - dangers: And the Now and Brillaire Momento


TVB favourite Lil Rockerfeller has his second run over fences in this - and he should win.
He was a class above tomorrows rivals, over hurdles - and his jumping was proficient enough on his recent chasing debut at Uttoxeter.
Shannon Bridge looks the obvious one to follow him home.

Favourite to beat second favourite - how very perceptive of me :)

Selection: Lil Rockerfeller at Evs


This is a fascinating novice hurdle, with the top 3 in the betting all making their hurdling debuts, having looked very useful in winning their respective bumpers, last season.
I wouldn’t really want to choose between the 3 - though Sebastapol did look particularly good, when taking an historically strong race at the Scottish Grand National meeting, at Ayr, in April.
Bang on Frankie has some decent hurdle form - and is the one most likely to take advantage, if inexperience costs the market leaders…

Selection: Sebastapol at 7/4


I quite like the look of Asking Questions, in this…
He’s relatively unexposed, with only 3 runs over fences (2 of which he won) - though he has also run 5 times in PTPs (winning once).
He showed a good attitude when winning his chases last spring - and he should be fit enough to do himself justice, following a second placing over hurdles at Southwell, earlier in the month.
The main concern has to be his inexperience - but if he jumps round cleanly, I suspect he’ll go close.
Presenting Julio looks the main danger.
He was a slightly unlucky fifth in the corresponding race last year, and gets to run off a 3lb lower mark tomorrow.
He also has Jamie Codd in the saddle - which is always a huge plus in amateur rider races…
The final one I’ll offer, is Sergeant Brody.
He’s very speculative (general 40/1 chance !) - but it strikes me as interesting that his connections are opting to run him in this race, on only his second chase start under rules…
He did win a PTP a couple of years back (and was placed in 2 others) - and I suspect has a fair bit more ability than he’s so far had opportunity to show.

Selection: Asking Questions at 12/1


This is possibly the trickiest of the 3 handicaps on the card…
Again, I’ll offer 3 against the field, in the shape of Lord Condi, Sunnytahliategan and Man of Plenty.
Lord Condi has only run in 3 novice hurdles - so is a little short on experience for a race of this nature !
More than that, he didn’t jump very well last time - and that was in a a 3 runner event !!
He will need to improve in that department - but I do think it interesting that connections have chosen to run him in this race.
Martin Keighley targets this meeting - so I suspect the horse will be primed for a big run.
Whether he’s up to the job, is a different matter - but there is sufficient juice in the price to warrant a small risk.
If he’d had a recent run, then I would be quite keen on Sunnytahliategan - but he’s not seen a racecourse since January.
It’s his run prior to that, which makes him of particular interest - when he split Golan Fortune and Bastian.
They are now rated 23lb & 11lb higher in the handicap, suggesting that Sunny had quite a job on trying to beat them !
He’s just 3lb higher himself now - which means he could be a well handicapped horse.
Certainly at 33/1, it is worth taking a small risk on his fitness.
Man of Plenty is the final one of interest.
He was a bit unlucky when finishing second in this race, 12 months ago - and based on that form, has a good chance.
Based on his most recent run at Market Rasen however, his chance isn’t so good - but I suspect that was all about getting him ready for tomorrow.
I’m not sure he’ll be quite good enough to win - but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him get placed.

Selection: Lord Condi at 16/1 - dangers Sunnytahliategan and Man of Plenty

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Wednesday October 24th

Things have been pretty quiet on the NH front, since Saturday…

Only 3 meetings have taken place in the UK (plus 1 in Ireland) - and all have suffered with small fields and consequently, uncompetitive racing.

Once again, it’s down to the weather - specifically, a lack of rain, which is causing firmer than ideal ground.
It’s all a bit ironic, considering it was an excess of rain which messed up the end of last season !
Such is life, I guess…

Things are a bit better tomorrow - and the fields have stood up reasonably well at both Worcester and Fontwell.
It’s hardly top class racing - but most of it is fairly competitive…

That said, low grade racing at this time of year, is a bit of a minefield, so if you do get involved, I would suggest treading very carefully !



There are only 7 runner s in this - but all can be given a chance of sorts…
Truckers Highway won the corresponding race 12 months ago - and off a higher mark.
He’s clearly the one to beat, if he’s close to his best - and I’ve little doubt that the market will advise on that score…
The ex-French, Brave Dancing, is another one who is impossible to asses, on his debut for Ben Pauling.
Again, the market is likely to assist…
The other 5 runners are more straightforward to assess - though deciding which one is best at the weights, isn’t simple.
I would expect Mercian King to run his race - tho he could be vulnerable from a win perspective.
That said, he has a good attitude, and that will stand him in good stead, if he’s still got a chance, jumping the last.

Selection: Mercian King at 6/1


I like the top weight, Gunfleet in this - but the worry is that he’s making his seasonal debut and therefore might not be cherry ripe.
I suspect that he is the most talented horse in the race - and could well be capable of defying a mark of 134 (he won off 130 over hurdles, on his final outing last season).
Without wishing to sound like a broken record (!), the market will doubtless advise on his fitness, as the off time approaches…
I’d be prepared to take on favourite, Baden; whilst second fav Overland Flyer, has a few questions to answer (particularly with regard to his resolution).
By default, that could allow in either Allelu Alleluia or even Classic Ben, if Gunfleet isn’t ready to put his best foot forward…

Selection: Gunfleet at 4/1


There is a field of 15 for this - and it is the most competitive race on the card, by some margin.
In fairness, that’s what you’d expect for a £30K race, for horses rated 130 or lower…

It’s nearly impossible to work out what’s going to win it - as the winner will almost certainly show improved form.
Worse still, most of the runners have plenty of scope for improvement !
Accepting that it wouldn’t be a shock if any of the 15 runners won, I’ll offer a short list of 3: Dory; Rebel Royal and Victarion…

Dory probably sets the standard, form-wise - though I expected him to be ignored in the betting because he is relatively exposed.
That appears not to be the case, as he’s proving popular this evening (14/1 in to 9/1).
There is a chance that one of the really unexposed horses will be too good for him - but I would expect him to run a big race - and first time cheek pieces and a decent 7lb claimer, suggest his connection's are giving it their best shot…
Rebel Royal and Victarion filled the places behind Commodore Barry, in a novice hurdle run at this course, in May.
At the revised weights, Rebel Royal should come out best - and he’s also had a recent run, so shouldn't lack for fitness.
The case for Victarion is based around the fact he was favourite that day (so probably under-performed) - whilst his stable is now in much better form.
Strictly on the book, he can’t win - but I wouldn’t let him go off at too big a price (he’s currently a 14/1 shot).
I’ll probably spread stakes around the 3 mentioned (plus one or two others, if the prices are generous enough !) - but I’d suggest Rebel Royal, as just about the most likely winner…

Selection: Rebel Royal at10/1


Quality is thin on the ground at Fontwell - so I’d be particularly wary about getting involved.

That said, it’s interesting that Dickie Johnson chooses to ride there, rather than at Worcester (where he could have partnered Victarion - amongst others).
He will doubtless pick up a winner - or two - it’s just a case of figuring out which ones..!


Never Learn may well be one for Dickie - but he seems short enough in the betting at 7/4…
I’d be more inclined to take a chance on Jarlath.
He’s back on his last winning mark - and should be fit, following a recent run on the flat.
Ground and trip should be fine for him - and he’s run well at Fontwell in the past.
He can be backed at 11/2 this evening - and that seems fair enough in an open looking 6 runner race…

Selection: Jarlath at 11/2