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…



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 


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…


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…


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


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...



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…


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



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


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