Thursday, 14 February 2019

Friday 15th February

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

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


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

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

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

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


Sandown


12:50 


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

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

Selection: Maquisard EW at 9/1 


1:20 


Darebin is the one that interests me most in this.

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

1:50 


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

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

2:25


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

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

Selection: Liberty Bella at 7/1


4:05 


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

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

Selection: Kansas City Chief at 12/1

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Thursday 7th February

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

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

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

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


Huntingdon

2:00

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

2:35 

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

Selection: Townsend at 7/1

Doncaster

2:45

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

Selection: Sliding Doors at 6/1

Ffos Las

3:35

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

Selection: Johanos at 8/1

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Wednesday 23rd January

I’ll only be previewing one day on the blog, this week…

There was little of interest either yesterday or today: whilst I be covering Thursday on the Main service (it’s Thystes chase day at Gowran Park) - and I tend to opt out of Fridays, as I like to spend the time to preparing for the weekend…

When I looked at tomorrows cards earlier in the week, I was quite optimistic.

There are a couple of class 3 handicaps (which is what I tend to target, during the mid-week) on both the Catterick and Hereford cards.

However the final declarations for 3 of the 4 races, have proved to be disappointing…

The 2 Catterick races have only yielded 7 runners between them: whilst there is only 4 declared for one of the races at Hereford.

There is a decent field for the other Hereford race - but to complete tonights preview, I’ve had to look at a couple of novice events on the Hereford card…

In truth, whilst the 3 races I’ve ended up looking at, are all fair contests, I don’t have a particularly strong view on any of them - so if you do choose to follow the selections, I would suggest keeping stakes to a minimum !!


Hereford

1:45

I’d be disinclined to support Mulcahys Hill at 6/4 in this - the question is, what to take him on with…
Second favourite, Sully D’Oc AA (what a ridiculous name !) is making his UK debut - so it’s all guesswork with him (though the market will probably guide).
Aintree My Dream is the obvious one to side with - though I might be more inclined to take a chance with Wilde Blue Yonder…
He’s been struggling to jump hurdles recently - never mind fences - and hit one early, on his chasing debut last time out.
However that was in a fair race at Newbury - and he did mange to get round..
If he’s learnt from that experience, I could see him running well tomorrow.
I think it adds to his case that he’s already 10 and has had plenty of issue, so connections won’t want to be messing around with him. I suspect that every race he runs in, he’ll be trying to win (and alas, you can’t say that of every runner that steps on a track !).
He’s 13/2 this evening - but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see closer to 8/1, at some point tomorrow…

Selection: Wilde Blue Yonder


2:15

This is a really interesting novice hurdle - in which I could give at least half a dozen a chance (which is unusual for a race of this nature).
More than that, I would struggle to choose between the 6 - though that’s mainly because there is limited form to assess.
Morning Vicar, Bold Plan and Diomed des Mottes, have all got a chance - but the market is wise to them.
I’d be more inclined to take a chance on Lord du Mesnil, Talktomenow or Mahari.
The last named would be very interesting, if Kerry Lee was in any kind of form - but she’s not, so he can only be watched.
Talktome now disappointed last time - but has a definite chance on the form of his hurdling debut behind Getaway Trump at Plumpton (that one is now vying for favouritism for the Betfair hurdle).
However, if forced, I would probably side with Lord du Mesnil.
He travelled strongly in a good class handicap last time - but didn’t get home.
He’s subsequently had a wind op - and drops back 3 furlongs tomorrow.
He’s more exposed than most of his rivals - but arguably has just about the best form in the book.
I think he has a very good chance of placing - and a fair chance of winning (though it is quite possible that one of his rivals will improve past him).

Selection: Lord du Mesnil at 8/1


3:20

I hoped I might be able to fathom this race - but I’m struggling…
Henryville was an official eye catcher on his most recent start - and I tipped him 10 days ago, when he was due to run at Kelso.
However, he bolted before the start that day - and was thankfully, withdrawn…
After those antics, it would be hard to support him again - even though I’m sure he is very well handicapped.
It also doesn’t add to his case the fact that he will be running tomorrow, over a trip that will stretch him - on ground that’s likely to be a bit too soft.
He is still half tempting at a big price (around 20/1) - but objectively, he should probably just be watched (though he could make a good back to lay in running play - assuming he consents to start !).
The trouble is, I’m struggling to find anything in the race which I can make a solid case for:
Dr Des and Conna Cross could both be interesting, if they stay the trip - but that is far from guaranteed;
Arthur's Gift is also quite interesting - but the ran poorly last time.
And it’s the same story with just about all of the runners - as there is a significant question mark hanging over each of them.
Obviously, one will positively answer their question - it’s just not easy to figure out which one it will be !
Bramble Brook strikes me as maybe the best option.
The issue with him is his most recent outing (last in a 3 horse race) - but prior to that he had run well on his seasonal debut, in a fair contest at Uttoxoter.
He should be fine with the trip and ground - so if his last run is ignored, he can be given a good chance.
He’s 12/1 this evening - but could easily be a bit bigger tomorrow - and maybe worth a small involvement.

Selection: Bramble Brook

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Thursday 17th January

I’ve no idea why, but there is a glut of decent races tomorrow…

Up until yesterday, there had barely been a mid-week race of interest, since New Years Day - but, without exaggeration, I could easily have previewed 10 of tomorrows races.

Ofcourse, that’s not what I do on the mid-week blog - that level of effort is saved for the weekends !
The mid-week is supposed to be a relaxing amble through the following day races - so I’ve restricted the preview to 4 races.

Ofcourse, I still had the issue of deciding which 4 !
However, there are 2 official eye catchers running (and I like the chances of them both) so that was a couple of races taken care of.
I could easily have selected the 2 others from an excellent Market Rasen card - but instead I opted to go to Wincanton…

Here are my relatively brief thoughts !


Ludlow

2:15

Whoshotwho was an eye catcher on his most recent outing, at Haydock, behind Daklondike
I tipped the winner that day - but turning for home, I would happily have jumped ship to Whoshotwho !
He was travelling very powerfully - but he didn’t get home in the heavy ground.
He was also running over a trip further than he’d run over previously, so returned to 2m4f on decent ground, I would expect him to run a very big race.
The question is really whether there is anything sufficiently well handicapped to beat him…
The market likes Gortroe Joe - but I prefer Whoshotwho.
Truckers Highway is in good form - but he’s up in the weights, and in class.
More Buck’s and Town Parks would both have a shout on their best of their form - but there are reasons for doubting they will produce that tomorrow…
If you can get 5/2 in the morning (and I think you should be able), then he would strike me as a fair bet…

Selection: Whoshotwho


Market Rasen

3:45

Sands Cove was an eye catcher last time, when he ran at Hereford.
He was also a speculative tip that day - and I briefly thought he might provide a big priced win.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen - but he did run well - and I was left with the feeling that we were probably on him a run too soon…
I knew that was a risk when I tipped him - but at the odds, felt it was worth it.
I like the fact that he’s been given a month to recover from that run - and that he’s running at Market Rasen, a course where his trainer does well.
Trip and ground should be ideal for him - and he’s now embarrassingly well handicapped !
The only negatives are that he’s 12 years old - and he has to shoulder 12st7lb.
However, he can be backed at 7/1 this evening, so in a 7 runner race, those negatives are certainly factored into the price.
The race should take very little winning - and if Sands Cove can build on his last run (and handle the weight), I think he will win.

Selection: Sands Cove at 7/1


Wincanton

1:55

This doesn’t appear to be a particularly deep race - and I like the look of Highest Sun.
He ran well in what was a slightly better race last time, at Cheltenham.
That was also his handicap debut - and only his second run in the UK, so it’s reasonable to think he should be able to improve a fair bit.
In truth, I don’t think he will need to, in order to win this.
Snapdragon Fire looks his main rival - but he was raised 5lb for finishing second last time, which looks harsh.
The other one worthy of consideration, is Peterborough.
He won last time out - but that was a a weaker race and he’s been raised 6lb.
Highest Sun has been backed a bit tonight - but 5/2 still seems a fair enough price.

Selection: Highest Sun at 5/2

3:35

I’ve suggested a couple of shorter priced horses for tomorrow - but the odds available on Skellig Rock are more in line with most TVB selections !
A bit like Ulan Bhute today, the main attraction with him, is his trainer…
Rob Walford has been in great form for a few weeks now - and Skellig Rock is his only runner on the card.
Ex. Irish, the horse made his UK debut over course and distance, back in November and ran a nice race.
He was still travelling strongly jumping the cross fence but he got that wrong and was then under pressure.
Maybe unsurprisingly, he couldn’t make any inroads on the leaders up the home straight - but he ran on well enough and a 5lb drop in the handicap looks generous to me.
He can be backed at 11/1 tonight - and whilst there are a few potential dangers in the race, that strikes me as a fair bet.

Selection: Skellig Rock at 11/1

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Wednesday 16th January

For just about the first time this year, there is some half decent mid-week racing tomorrow…

This time last year, fixtures were being washed (or frozen !) away - but now it’s the lack of rain, that’s the issue.

In truth, even with perfect ground, the mid-week racing in January (and February) tends to be limited - and thats certainly been the case so far this month !

However, they race at Newbury tomorrow - and whilst it’s not a stellar card, there are a couple of interesting handicaps.

Theres also a veterans chase at Plumpton, which is moderately interesting - so at least there is a bit of action to fend off the boredom (or to distract from the Brexit shenanigans !)  


Newbury

1:10

As class 4 handicaps go - this is a pretty good one !
Certainly, a few of the runners have the potential to operate at a higher level - so I would expect the form to hold up.
The 3 horses that head the market are of obvious interest: and I would just side with Ar Mest over En Meme Temps and Maquisard, if forced to choose - mainly because of the 10lb claim of jockey Nial Houlihan (who is exceptionally good value for the allowance).
Beyond the head of the market, the one that interests me most, is Volpone Jelois.
Formerly trained by Paul Nicholls, he transferred in to the care of Chris Gordon, prior to his most recent outing.
He didn’t shape too badly on his stable debut - but I would still expect him to show marked improvement tomorrow.
It also strikes me as very interesting that his new owner, David Maxwell, takes the ride - as he tends not to be active during the mid-week (presumably he also has a proper job that needs attending to !).
In such a relatively strong race, he couldn’t be a confident pick - but I do think he represents a bit of value at 12/1.

Selection: Volpone Jelois at 12/1

2:50

Based on form, it’s impossible not to be drawn to Carlos du Fruitier in this…
He finished third on his most recent run, in a very strong novice handicap that took place on the King George under-card.
The form of that race has already been franked in no uncertain terms, by recent winners, Glen Rocco and Dell Oro.
They finished second and fourth in the race, with Carlos du Frutier sandwiched in between them.
He’s been raised 2lb for his efforts, but if he matches that form tomorrow, he will take a bit of beating,..
Mister Malarkky and Quarenta are the obvious dangers - but they are a similar price and it's impossible to make as compelling a case for either.
At a big price, I’ll also be keeping an eye on Chic Name - though he could well need the run after 3 months off the track.

Selection: Carlos du Fruitier at 3/1


Plumpton

3:10

There is rain forecast for Plumpton over the next 12 hours, and if it materialises, then Ulan Bhute will take some beating in this…
He’s not badly handicapped - but the big positive with him is the form of his stable.
Venetia has hit one of her purple patches over the past few weeks - and it shows no sign of ending !
When that happens, it’s generally folly to oppose her runners - particularly in lower grade handicaps.
Ignoring that angle, then the race looks relatively open, and it’s possible to make a case - or at least half a case - for most of the runners.
However, if Ulan Bhute is in the same form as most of his stable-mates appear to be, then that is likely to give him the edge required to win.
Enthusiasm would be slightly tempered if the rain doesn’t materialise - but even then, I would nominate him as the most likely race winner.

Selection: Uhlan Bhute at 7/2