Thursday, 20 December 2018

Friday December 21st

There are a couple of NH meetings tomorrow: at Ascot and Uttoxeter.

The Uttoxeter meeting isn’t too bad - certainly better than many of the mid-week meetings - but it doesn’t have the quality of the Ascot card, so that is where I have focused my attention…

There are only 6 races on the Ascot card: and with a bumper, a maiden hurdle , a novice hurdle and a novice chase, it doesn’t sound the most inspiring - but superficial descriptions can be mis-leading !

Every race is of interest - with the bumper looking just about the best one run so far this season.
That said, a fair amount of guesswork is required both for it - and the opening maiden hurdle - so I’ve concentrated on the other 4 races, where there is a bit more form to work with…



There may only be 6 runners in this - but this looks a pretty open contest…
My 2 against the field are Brianstorm and Dustin des Mottes.
Both are having their second runs for new trainers, having shown mild promise on their stable debuts.
Brianstorm debuted for Venetia in a handicap hurdle at Ascot, last month.
He was a bit too free that day and didn’t get home - but he could be a different proposition tomorrow, with the run under his belt.
We’re guessing on his ability to jump a fence, but assuming he can, I think he could be the one to beat.
Dustin des Mottes made his debut for Dr Newland at Newbury last month - and was blown away by Knocknanuss.
That said, he travelled well to a point - and the winner was probably very well handicapped.
Again, I would expect him to perform much better tomorrow - and he is worth saving  stakes on.

Selection: Brianstorm at 5/1


Angels Breath is going to have to be a rare talent, if he’s able to win this race on his hurdling debut - and has to be opposed at around 5/2.
I’m sure he is very talented - and I have the utmost respect for his connections - but this is a particularly strong race…
Thomas Darby sets the standard, on his defeat of Elixir de Nutz and subsequent narrow defeat by Didtheyleaveuoutto.
That’s Supreme novice quality form - and asking Angels Breath to match it on his first attempt, is almost certainly too much…
More than that, the likes of Danny Kirwan and Seddon, have already shown themselves decidedly useful over hurdles - and still have plenty of potential…
It’s almost certainly a watching race (unless you choose to lay Angels Breath !) - but if I did get involved with it, I’d probably take a small chance on Thistle do Nicely…
He’s actually got just about the best form in the race - though doesn’t have the potential of some of his rivals.
There is also a question mark over the ground for him - if it is very soft.
On the flip side, he’s 20/1 this evening - and must have a decent chance of at least being placed…
Certainly he holds appeal, at nearly twice the price to finish in the top 3, that Angels Breath is to win !

Selection: Thistle do Nicely at 20/1


TVB favourite, Lil Rockerfeller, runs in this - but I doubt that we’ll be cheering him home in front…
He ran at Cheltenham last Friday - but a careless mistake saw him unship his jockey at the second fence.
Clearly, he’ll need to jump better tomorrow, if he’s to have any chance - but even if he does, I think he’ll have his work cut out to cope with Vindication…
He’s only run 4 times over obstacles - and just once over fences - but he looks a serious talent to me.
He beat Coolanley, Champ and Western Ryder in his 3 runs over hurdles - and all of those efforts suggest he is at least a 150 rated horse.
Furthermore, he looked just as good - if not better - on his chasing debut at Carlisle…
Tomorrows 2m4f test will suit him much better than it will, Lil Rockerfeller - and I struggle to see him beaten.
In fairness, Count Meribel is a solid rival: and Jerrysback has plenty of potential - but I’ll be surprised if they are able to beat Vindication.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m not in the habit of selecting even money shots - but I think this particular one will win !

Selection: Vindication at Evens 


This is a strong looking race of its type - but I think Le Musee will be hard to beat…
He ran really well last time, when runner up to Champ, at Newbury.
The winner hacked up that day - but that was no refection on Le Musse, who beat 13 other rivals, very comfortably.
It was a strong field as well - with Speedo Boy third and Man of Plenty fourth.
The nice thing from Le Musee’s perspective, is that he only got a 4lb rise for his efforts - as with Champ out of the race, he would probably have gone up double that amount !
That means he is probably still well handicapped - though it’s likely he will need to be, if he is to win this…
Always Resolute looks the main danger, having bolted up on his debut for Ian Williams.
He runs from a mark 9lb higher tomorrow - but it’s guesswork as to whether that will stop him.

Selection: Le Musee at 5/1

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Wednesday December 19th

It’s been a few weeks since there has been any decent mid week racing - but there is some tomorrow…

They race at Newbury and Ludlow - and in years gone by, the former track would almost certainly have provided the main fixture - but not nowadays…

Ludlow has been punching above its weight for a few seasons now - and it’s the same again tomorrow, where its card is superior to the Newbury one.

In fairness, there are some interesting novice races at Newbury - as you would expect for a track located close to the main NH training centres - but if its competitive races you are after (and generally, I am !) - then the focus has to be on Ludlow.

The potential big issue for the day, is rain…
They’ve had quite a bit at both tracks - and I’m sure they’ll get more. Consequently, it’s difficult to know how the ground will ride.
I’m guessing it’ll be on the the soft side - but it is guesswork.
If you do get involved, then you should try and establish the state of the ground - and ensure it is suitable for whatever you are supporting… (I’ll try to provide updates in the forum for main service subscribers).



This Class 2 event is the most valuable of the day - and has drawn a decent field.
Capeland is favourite, on the back of his good run last week, at Taunton.
He’s 5lb ‘well in’ for tomorrows contest - and provided he’s not feeling the effects of his recent run, he is the one to beat.
That said, I can resist 11/4 in a tight looking 11 runner handicap…
Robinshill is quite interesting: as he has good course form; isn’t badly handicapped - and should handle the ground (whatever it is !).
However, at tonigths prices, the best bet in the race, is Un Prophet…
He’s not the most consistent (few of Venetias are !) - but he has form which suggests he could go close: has won over course and distance - and is potentially well handicapped.
The form of Venetias stable is also a positive.
3 falls in his last 6 runs, is a worry - but the Ludlow fences are amongst the easiest in the country.
His defeat of Keeping Moving at Exeter, last season, stands up to close scrutiny - as does his second to Champagne at Midnight.
He’s certainly not guaranteed to run his race - but if he does, then he could just about win - and as a consequence, is worth a risk at 12/1.

Selection: Un Prophet at 12/1


The state of the ground is likely to have a big bearing on this race…
If it’s good, then Spiders Bite should be the one to beat.
He was taken out of an engagement at Carlisle on Sunday, on account of soft ground - so it will be interesting to see whether he’s allowed to participate tomorrow, if there has been a lot of rain.
I personally think he will be fine on soft - and connections may possibly let him take his chance, as it’s their local course.
In that scenario, I wouldn’t surprise me to see his price drift massively - which would be tempting !
However, for the purposes of this preview, I will assume he will be taken out on account of soft ground (quite an assumption, I know - but such is life, if you preview the night before !).
In his absence, Fox Appeal is the one that interests me most.
He won this race a couple of seasons back - and from a pound higher mark.
In truth he’s probably in slight decline now - though he shaped well enough on his seasonal debut at Taunton and holds Beau de Brizais on that run.
That said, this is quite a trappy looking race (even ignoring the state of the ground): as I could make half cases for a few:
Tenor Nivernais could be very interesting - particularly on soft ground; whilst I think that Silverhow still has potential - though I’m not sure he will be fulfilling it tomorrow !
Opening Batsman and Holly Bush Henry are two more who could possibly run well.
In summary then, not a race to be going mad with - with Fox Appeal the token selection.

Selection: Fox Appeal at 15/2  (Spiders Bite, if he runs !)


I’d be quite a bit sweeter on Honest Vic in this - and he strikes me as the bet of the day…
Certainly, his fifth place in a much better race than this at Cheltenham in April, gives him a very good chance: as does his sixth place at Market Rasen, the following month.
The form of his season debut run at Chepstow, doesn’t read quite as well - but it was a relatively strong race and he was quite well fancied,
It was also over the bare 2 mile trip - and I’m pretty sure he will benefit from stepping back up to 2m5f tomorrow…
Henry Daly loves to get a winner at Ludlow - and Alice Stevens is a very interesting jockey booking.
In short, Honest Vic has ticks in plenty of boxes - and tonights 7/1 is a good price.
I would ordinarily, just go with him - however, Burrows Park for Venetia, looks potentially dangerous, on his second run back after a long absence.
In the circumstances, I would suggest saving stakes on him…

Selection: Honest Vic at 7/1



This is the most interesting race on the card - but not an easy one to call…
Most of the runners can be given a chance - and if I were to get involved, I’d be inclined to take a chance on a couple of the outsiders…
Vodka all the Way has his second run over fences, having unseated on his chase debut at Chepstow, 11 days ago.
He was weak in the betting that day - but has Dickie on board tomorrow, which I suspect will result in more interest !
He’s not an easy one to assess, based on form - but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t ultimately prove better than his current rating of 125.
His price tonight is 14/1 - and he would be worth a small risk at those odds.
Vieux Lille is a similar price - and again, that holds some appeal.
He will be having his first outing for Jamie Snowden - having transferred from the stable of Philip Hobbs.
He finished second to Yala Enki in the 2016 Tommy Whittle chase at Haydock - and runs tomorrow from a mark 10lb lower.
That means he is potentially well handicapped - if his new connections have him primed.
I suspect the market will advise on expectations with him…

Selection: Vodka all the Way at 14/1 & Vieux Lille at 14/1

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Thursday December 13th

I’ll only be covering the racing for 1 day, on the blog, this week…

It’s been pretty uninspiring week, so far (plus I've had a few things on) - and with the weekend effectively starting at Cheltenham on Friday, it only leaves tomorrow for me to preview…

There are 4 meetings taking place: at Warwick, Taunton and Newcastle in the UK - plus Tamore in Ireland.

The best racing takes place at Taunton, where the likely decent ground, has resulted in some very competitive fields.

In truth, I can’t see any stand out bets - but there are certainly a few horses of interest running - and maybe one of those can find a way of coming home in front..!



Christmas in April is probably the most interesting runner in the race, on his chasing debut - but he makes scant appeal at the 7/2 on offer this evening, in a race where few can be safely dismissed…
It maybe a mistake (!) - but I’ll probably give Hugos Horse another chance.
I supported him last time at Ludlow, when he made his chasing debut.
He was incredibly weak in the betting that day - and ultimately finished well beaten.
However, he travelled powerfully through the race and traded close to even money, in running.
He’s clearly got plenty of talent: and Paul Nicholl applies cheek pieces for the first time tomorrow. He has also booked a 7lb claimer - and the horse has been dropped a pound.
He definitely has the ability to win a race of this nature - I just don’t know whether it will be tomorrow !
I’ll back him pre-race (he’s 12/1 this evening) - and lay him off in running.
If he wins - great: if he doesn’t get home - I’ll hopefully not lose on him !
Most of the other runners can be given a chance of some sort, so it really isn’t a race over which you could feel confident.

Selection: Hugos Horse


This is another open looking race - though Majestic Touch looks the form pick, based on his latest run.
That was at Newbury, is a better race than tomorrows, when he finished second to French Crusader.
Our Merlin was a couple of lengths back in third, that day - and he went on to frank the form, with a good win, last week.
Majestic Touch is stepped up in trip tomorrow- and I think that will suit: he has also been dropped a pound in the handicap (and that always helps !).
The issue, is a price of 5/1 in a competitive 13 runner handicap.
It’s maybe about right - but there isn’t much of a margin.
Don’t Ask is the other one of some interest - but he’s already been backed this evening and again, the current 8/1 looks about right.

Selection: Majestic Touch


The third competitive handicap in a row - at least this one offers a moderately attractive bet (at tonight's prices).
I thought Western Miller ran a nice race on his seasonal debut at Wetherby, 3 weeks ago.
He tried to make all that day - and jumped well - but was swallowed up after jumping the third last and ultimately finished well beaten.
I would expect him to improve for the run - and he’s been dropped 3lb. Paul O’Brien also replaces Johnny Burke in the saddle - meaning he’s effectively 6lb lower.
There are plenty of potential dangers - but I will be surprised if Western Miller doesn’t run well - and a price of 12/1, even lends itself to an EW play.
Otter Moons is probably the most interesting of his rivals - but again, it’s a race where few can be ruled out with confidence.

Selection: Western Miller at 12/1 



I was really impressed by Hard Station, when he won at Market Rasen 3 weeks ago, as he beat a couple of bang in form horses.
He was also backed to do so, suggesting connections knew they had a well handicapped horse.
He’s 8lb higher tomorrow - and running over a shorter trip.
However, Dickie takes over in the saddle and I suspect he is the one to beat.
Hoke Colburn is second favourite - but I’m more interested in Keep Moving…
He’s a horse who I’ve watched closely on every run, since he made his UK debut at Newbury over 2 years ago.
He’s got loads of ability - and is definitely much better than his current mark - but things just won’t seem to click for him.
If they do tomorrow, he will win - it’s just a question of whether they do !
He’s a 5/1 shot this evening, which is about right.
Maybe back him and save stakes on Hard Station…

Selection: Keep Moving at 5/1

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Friday December 7th

There’s some really good racing at Exeter and Sandown tomorrow - in fact, I would be quite happy if the racing this weekend is of a similar standard !

Exeter, is particular, puts on a couple of outstanding contests, which would grace most Saturday cards…

There’s also a meeting at Sedgefield - though it doesn’t inspire to quite the same extent !

Time is a bit tight for me this evening - so the previews are briefer than I would like.
Still, as they say, it’s quality that counts - not quantity :)



This is the first of the exceptional races, run on the card.
It’s an incredibly strong handicap (far stronger than most class 3 races) - and I’m sure it will pay to watch it closely…
Awake at Midnight and Siruh du Lac were both impressive winners of good races last time - and neither has been harshly penalised for their win.
The issue for both, will be 2m4f on potentially heavy ground, as neither is proven in the conditions.
It doesn’t mean they won’t be able to cope with it - just that it’s impossible to be confident they will.
As a consequence, you couldn’t take too short a price on either…
Rather than side with them at relatively short prices, I’d be inclined to split stakes across Eamon An Cnoc and Zamdy Man.
They are 2 of the more exposed runners in the field - but both will relish heavy ground and will be well suited by the trip.
Eamon an Cnoc ran really well last time in the Betvictor Gold cup; and whilst Zamdy Man has more to prove on his seasonal debut, I’m sure Venetia can be counted on have him ready to do himself justice on his seasonal debut...

Selection: Eamon an Cnoc at 9/1 & Zamdy Man at 12/1


This is the second quality race on the card - though in truth, it is probably one to watch rather than bet in.
It sees Black Op make his chasing debut - and if he’s as good over fences as he was over hurdles, he will be exceptionally hard to beat.
He would be expected him to win almost any novice chase he contested - so it says much for the quality of this contest, that he’s no certainty…
Topofthegame is the first of his main rivals.
He represents Paul Nichols - and could turn out to be his best novice chaser.
He had a try at chasing last season - but fell on his only outing.
It was therefore put on hold until this season.
He did however manage to put up a series of excellent efforts in top class handicap hurdle races - so there is no doubting his ability.
White Moon is the other one of major interest.
He ran really well until falling at the last on his recent chasing debut at Cheltenham.
That was a very strong race - and despite running for the first time in a year, White Moon would have gone close to winning, without the mishap.
Assuming the incident hasn’t had a lasting effect, he sets a high standard.
Defi de Seuil and Westend Story are good enough to win average novice chases - but they will be relative outsiders in this.
I wouldn’t really want to call the winner - though White Moon is possibly a bit of value at 7/2.
It’s really a race to be savoured, tho…


This is the third race of interest on the Exeter card - but the interest is mainly because it contains an official eye catcher…
The Two Amigos caught the eye last time, when running really well against the Some Chaos.
That one looked a very well handicapped horse (confirmed by his good run at Wincanton today) - so The Two Amigos lost little in defeat to him.
He was raised 3lb for finishing second that day - but he finished 9 lengths ahead of the third.
If Some Chaos hadn’t run in the race, then The Two Amigos would likely have got himself a 10lb rise in the handicap.
I therefore think he is probably still well handicapped.
Tomorrow's trip of 3m6f is a step into the unknown for him - particularly on heavy ground.
As a consequence, I again would be wary about taking too short a price.
That said, the opposition doesn’t look overly strong.
Garrane has a similar profile - and similar questions to answer; and whilst Firebird Flyer is potentially very well handicapped and will be well suited by the test - he is also nearly 12…
The Two Amigos looks worth a risk to me, at a price of 3/1 or bigger (I would suggest he should be about 5/2).

Selection: The Two Amigos at 7/2



This is the most interesting race on the Sandown card - but it’s frighteningly competitive !
If asked to select the most likely winner, I’d side with Glen Rocco - but 5/1 is too short in a 16 runner novice handicap chase.
Lithic probably sets the form standard, on the back of his second to Springtown Lake over course and distance, last month.
8/1 is probably about the right price for him tho…
In terms of a ‘value bet’, I’d side with Secret Legacy.
He was a fair novice hurdler last season - and should have benefited from his debut run over hurdles at Bangor, last month.
He didn’t really feature that day, but should be better for the outing.
He can be backed at 20/1 this evening - and that could be worth a small risk, in what looks a relatively open contest.

Selection: Secret Legacy at 20/1

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Thursday December 6th

There are 4 NH meetings tomorrow: at Wincanton, Market Rasen and Leicester in the UK - plus Clonmel in Ireland.

A host of racing - but it’s definitely a case of quantity over quality…

The Leicester card is again all hurdle races - and only marginally better than the card they staged on Sunday !
Things are a little better at Market Rasen - but it’s low grade stuff and relativity uncompetitive, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see favourites dominate proceedings…
The fields are bigger at Clonmel - but it’s a typical Irish mid week meeting - better watched, than punted on !

Which leaves Wincanton…

In fairness, their card is pretty good - for a mid week - though there is a big question mark concerning the state of the ground, so I would advise treading cautiously, until there is some clarity in that area (it’s currently reported to be good - but a lot of rain has been forecast).

There are 2 class 3 handicaps on the card - which are by some margin, the best 2 races of the day.

Here are my thoughts on them both…



Three interesting horses head the market for this - and whilst I’d be a little surprised if they finished first, second and third - I’d also be a little surprised if one of them didn’t win…
Cobolobo is the market leader, on the back of his short head defeat by Kilbricken Storm.
The winner is rated 152 - Cobolobo races off a mark of 123 tomorrow.
If the form doesn’t flatter him, he will absolutely dot up !
In fairness, it almost certainly does - but that doesn’t mean he still won’t win.
He’s very much the one to beat…
Second favourite, Some Chaos, has already won races 2 races in impressive fashion, this season.
On his seasonal debut, he hammered Cuddles McGraw - and that one won comfortably next time and is now rated 14lb higher.
Some Chaos has gone up 20lb - but he’s probably worth that rise.
Heavy ground would be an unknown: and Cobolobo a worrying opponent - but I still wouldn’t be surprised to see him win.
Reikers Island is third favourite - and it says much for the strength of the race that there are 2 ahead of him in the betting…
He ran well to finish third in a strong novice handicap at Uttoxeter, on his seasonal debut - and running off the same mark, that form would be strong enough to make him favourite for most races of this nature.
Of the 3 market leaders, he looks the one most likely to run his race - he just hasn’t quite got the upside of the other 2.
Maybe EW, at 5/1, is the best way to play things (as he should place - and could win).
It’s hard to seriously look beyond the 3 mentioned for the race winner - though if there is to be a surprise, Royal Paladium looks the one most likely to cause it.
He fell at the first on his seasonal debut: but has a very good record fresh and has run well at Wincanton in the past.
Venetia's horses are also finding their form - no doubt helped by the softening of the ground (which would also suit him).


There is an official TVB eye catcher running in this, in the shape of Our Merlin - and I would expect him to run very well…
In fact, I would nominate him as the most likely race winner - provided the forecast rain does materialise.
There is little doubt he wants soft: he finished second to Call me Lord and third to Remiluc last season, in much better races than tomorrows - and both of those were on heavy ground.
Since then, he's run 3 times on quicker ground - and has not performed as well.
However that has seen his handicap mark drop - and I thought he showed definite signs of a return to form, in his most recent run at Newbury.
That should have put him spot on for tomorrow - in which case, he could prove hard to beat.
He may also get an uncontested lead - which on a sharp track like Wincanton, will be a big bonus…
Of his rivals, then Darling Maltaix and Jaboticaba both look potentially dangerous - but both have been well found in the market.

Selection: Our Merlin at 12/1

Monday, 3 December 2018

Tuesday December 4th

As you will doubtless have noticed (!), it’s been a few days since I last posted on the mid-week blog…

The thing is, when I do post, I like to cover 4 races - and there hasn’t been a mid-week day since last Monday, when there were even close to 4 races of interest !

I’m not sure why I think 4 is the ‘right’ number..
I guess it feels sufficient to engage - without being so much, as to bore !

Anyway, I can see that if I try to stick the ‘4 race' rule, I might not be posting again this week, so I’ve lowered the bar, a little..!

There are a couple of decent races at Southwell tomorrow (grade 3 events) - and whilst the Fakenham card isn’t as good, there is one reasonable race.

I’ll therefore preview just the 3 races for tomorrow (could this be the future for the mid week blog, I wonder..?!)



I quite like the shape of this race, with 8 runners, non of whom can be completely dismissed.
That said, I think it can be broken down into 4 ‘pairs’, in terms of the likelihood of winning:
Most likely, are Another Crick and Destrier.
The former sets the form standard - but the latter could possibly improve past him to win, on his chasing debut.
The next pair are Doc Carver and Super Sid.
Doc Carver is held on form by Another Crick - but there wasn’t a lot between them when they met at Chepstow: and Another Crick may have benefited from being held up off a fast pace.
Super Sid is another chasing debutante - and whilst his form over hurdles isn’t as strong as that of Destrier, he has plenty of potential.
The third pair are Castafiore and Walsingham Grange.
Castafiore shouldn’t beat Destrier - as he finished behind him last time, over hurdles and had the benefit of a run; whilst Walsingham Grange has quite a lot to prove on his second run over fences.
The final 2 are Swift Crusader and Eureu de Boulay.
I won’t say they can’t win - but I will say that victory for either, looks relatively unlikely…
With the market dominated by the first pair, I suspect the ones to concentrate on, are Doc Carver and Super Sid.
Both have a chance - and have probably been under-estimated in the early betting.
Doc Carver can be backed at 7/1 this evening: and Super Sid at 12/1.
My inclination, would be to try and get those prices - and then see tomorrow if Another Crick and Destrier drift to around 4/1.
I’d even consider backing Walsingham Grange and Castafiore - but I’d want double figures about both of them...


I don’t think there is a stand out contender in this race, either - but at the prices this evening, Present Times makes most appeal…
I actually tipped him last season, when he disappointed badly at Exeter, on his penultimate outing (though he was subsequently found to have injured himself).
What was interesting, was that he was backed in to 3/1 that day - in a class 2 race.
His other runs last season, stand up to quite close scrutiny - and I suspect he’s well handicapped.
He won on his seasonal debut 12 months ago, so hopefully fitness won’t be an issue tomorrow.
If that’s the case, then he’s a fair bet at this evening’s price of 7/1…
Non of his rivals have a water tight case: Crosspark has been running over fences: Wemyss Point is rising up the handicap; Saint Ladylime is making her seasonal debut (possibly before returning to fences).
They all can be given a chance - but not really a compelling one.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tomngerry turn out to be the biggest danger to Present Times - assuming the last named runs as well as I hope !

Selection: Present Times at 7/1



Balibour is the one that interests me most in this…
He’s only run twice over fences and performed creditably on his chasing debut at Kempton, in October.
He finished third that day and on the back of that run, was sent off at just 6/1 for a relatively strong novice handicap at Chepstow, last month.
However, he never game himself a chance in that race, pulling far too hard throughout.
It’s difficult to know why that would happen, with benefit of a run under his belt and not wearing head gear.
If he does the same tomorrow, he’s unlikely to win (though Fakenham is much better suited to front runners, than Chepstow !).
It’s interesting to see Leighton Aspell replacing a 5lb claimer in the saddle - and hopefully he will be able to settle the horse.
He’ll almost certainly need to, with an extra half mile to travel.
Wood Pigeon looks the most interesting of the other runners.
He’s one of a pair in the race, trained by Olly Murphy - and Aiden Coleman in the saddle suggests he’s probably (though not definitely !) the stables number 1.
He’s making his seasonal debut - but I doubt that will be an issue: and has won at the course previously - which is a definite positive, as Fakenham is a pretty unique track !!

Selection: Balibour at 7/1