Monthly Archives: April 2013

Aintree 2013 – Day 3

The big day is almost upon us and it’s been a good meeting for the blog so far with Legacy Gold doing the job nicely in the last today

Tomorrow bookies will be falling over themselves to give the best offers on the race (run at 415) and unless your selection clashes with Tom Segal’s Pricewise one tonight it’s likely that best odds will be found tomorrow morning.

Hills and Ladbrokes supposedly offer 12/1 the field tomorrow so anyone fancying On His Own or Seabass (albeit for likely small stakes) should wait for 9am and get on what they can quickly. They may just pay on first four places  for each way though

Betvictor offer ¼ odds first 6 which is hard to top for those who want to cover many horses in each way singles

Other firms offer first 5 and it could be worth keeping a close eye on Stan James particularly who I believe plan to offer best price on every horse later in the morning tomorrow – if they are that competitive on win odds their place book should hold equally profitable punting opportunities

I can’t add too much more to what I put in my Grand National blog for the big race except to add the name of SOLL into the mix. I didn’t really expect this one to get into the race but he has done and creeps in with a very low weight after a superb round of jumping saw him win at Sandown last time. He is well weighted with Teaforthree compared to their Hennessy running and on breeding should prefer the better ground. He could be worth a small ew addition

And now to the back up races:


 With a dead 8 runners there is a good ew angle here – less so if one were to drop out.

Favourite is UP AND GO but he does appear a bit too short for me and is unproven on anything other than soft ground.

DODGING BULLETS was disappointing at Cheltenham and have never thought of him as anything other than a 2 miler before today. The ground may suit him a lot more today but he didn’t perform well at this meeting last year and doesn’t appeal at all at a top price of 11/4 right now

The recommendation is EDUARD from Nicky Richards’ stable who deliberately avoided Cheltenham to keep him for this. Very much a work in progress, he has appealed all season as a potential star of the future. The fact that the stable ran him earlier in the season at Cheltenham (as they did with another stable novice Duke of Navan) shows the regard they have for it to me – they don’t go there for the fun of it

His last defeat on paper was disappointing but am willing to excuse it because of the ground


1.5 pts ew EDUARD @5/1 ¼ 123 (365)

(and cross fingers for no nrs)


I have no strong view on the next 2 races ( I will say though that Celestial Halo has generally underperformed here in the past after running well at Cheltenham)



Have had this race in mind  for MAC AEDA since seeing him in the 5 day decs. Twice I’ve seen him tanking along in races and looking a major player only to fail through stamina over longer trips. Last time at Haydock it was over 3 furlongs further in very soft ground; similarly in the Scottish Grand National last season on good ground that marked him to me as a horse to follow closely this year.

His mark has slipped nicely to 126 and I’m very hopeful of a big run.


The potential fly in the ointment is BATTLE GROUP who won easily here on Thursday in a hurdle race off the same 131 mark as today. He finished second in this race last year off a 6lb higher mark. If he has come out of that race well he will be a threat.

Recommendation 1pt ew MAC AEDA 14/1 (1/4 1234)

(will also be looking to back without the fav – if that is Battle Group)



 No strong view – my shortlist currently is COCKNEY SPARROW, CRY OF FREEDOM and maybe FIRST IN THE QUEUE at very big odds (not familiar with jockey there puts me off a little but ground will suit this one much better than his recent runs)


Bet365 have a far better offer than anyone else for this by offering ¼ odds 1234.

It looks like the money is coming down for TISTORY already and that has to be respected from the Henderson stable. PURE SCIENCE (bred to win a Derby), would emulate his stablemate The New One if he won this – they both finished 6th in the Cheltenham bumper before tackling this.

There wouldn’t seem to be much between him and PURPLE BAY on that Cheltenham run, and he in turn has little in hand of WYLDE BLUE YONDER.

In terms of value I’ll pick MASTER MALT who I think has the best single piece of form in the race ( anarrow defeat by River Maigue at Ayr last season after which he was bought by JP MacManus) and I expected to be a single figure price.

0.5pts ew MASTER MALT 14/1 (1/5 123 P Power) 0r 12/1 (1/4 1234 with B365)

* late update on this race – I am quite taken by support on Betfair for Fair Loch and have added a small ew @25/1 also 

Thanks for reading this and any other posts over the Aintree work

Good luck




(as I complete the piece I see Pricewise has gone for Chicago Grey and Quiscover Fontaine in the GN – both in my shortlist from earlier this week)

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


Aintree 2013- Day 2

No posting for day 1 as it looked more of a watching day (just some updates through Twitter @Senor_Moodoir). Aintree is a meeting where surprises do happen – some horses come here after being trained to the minute for Cheltenham and can be a little past their peak.

Day 2 looks more interesting for betting and some thoughts below

Odds won’t get available freely until after todays racing is over but some early musings about what might look of interest

The first two races don’t really appeal as betting propositions at this stage

3.05 Melling Chase

Odds are available here and it’s another chance to see the superstar of the chasing game at the moment, Sprinter Sacre.

Over two miles he would be expected to make mincemeat of this opposition here even though they are the best he has yet to encounter this season. But this race is half a mile further and with his stamina unproven at this level that has to give his rivals some hope.

Flemenstar and Cue Card are great horses in their own right but the former has never run outside of Ireland and is understood to not be a good traveller. Furthermore, I think that Cue Card’s form is looking slightly stronger now in hindsight of Cheltenham.  He did give Sprinter Sacre a semblance of a race at Cheltenham last year and is seen as the biggest threat. With his stamina being assured over this trip he rates a bet for me.

Finians Rainbow hasn’t shown enough form this year to come under consideration but For Non Stop is interesting at very big odds. He travelled very well up to a point last time but his best form has been on this track and it may suit better than Cheltenham. He may well be ridden for second here also



2pts ew Cue Card @7/1 or better (1/4 odds 1-2)

0.5 pts ew For Non Stop @40/1 (Sportingbet ¼ 1-2)

1pt ew For Non Stop @12/1 w/o Sprinter Sacre 1/4 1-2 (P Power)


3.40 Topham Chase

The traditional curtain raiser to the Grand National – a ‘miniature ‘ version of the big race over the same fences but a shorter trip of 2ml 5.5 fur.

Previous form over the course and in this race is so often a plus here.

Chance Du Roy is therefore the obvious one having finished 2nd in this last year and now amazingly better off at the weights with Fistral Beach and Little Josh who finished behind.

Tartak was top weight that day and finished well down the field – he did have an excuse as having broken a blood vessel during the race. We know he can jump round here though and he lines up tomorrow with a massive 23lb better mark and having run a god third at Cheltenham to show his form hasn’t completely deteriorated. He has to be of interest with his low weight.


Peter Bowen has won this for the last 3 years with the admirable Always Waining. That one goes for the big one instead this year but he could have an able deputy in Gullible Gordon who was backed down from 33/1 to 20/1 earlier this week. He jumped nicely round here before the trip found him out in the John Hughes Trophy in December and his mark as fallen since. An interesting outsider.

I’d be happy taking ew on Chance Du Roy at 8/1, Tartak at 14/1 and Gullible Gordon at 20/1 but preferably with firms that decide to offer ¼ 12345 on the race – evening update 10/1 available in a place on Chance Du Roy with 5 places. (arranging stakes so that they would all win approx 10pts on win part)



 At Fishers Cross comes here with form far superior to anything else and is likely to be a short priced fav. A word of caution though – the ground will be faster than he encountered at Cheltenham and throughout this season and this race has often thrown up big priced surprises.

A few years back the owner had hot favourite Wichita Lineman who came here with very similar credentials – he got involved in a duel with main rival Massinis Maguire and they both ended up getting chinned by 20/1 shot Chief Dan George.

I am struggling to find a reasonable outsider currently though and it looks a race just to watch right now and to avoid piling into the fav on



Need to wait to see some odds here but initially attracted by Meister Eckhart (smashing Cheltenham effort), Peckhamecho (on his Welsh Champion hurdle run and back in a similar race) and the progressive looking Prima Porta right on the bottom 10 stone weight


evening update – happy with prices available on all 3 here; 10/1 Meister Eckhart; 20/1 Prima Porta and 25/1 Peckhamecho all available – recommended to back all ew to win 10 pts on win part

5.25 Mares Bumper

Again prices required – the Sandown mares race which threw up the winner last year was run in appalling ground this year and that could count against those who come here from that with a hard last race – and the ground conditions will be totally different to make the form line questionable

I like the form of Irish raider Legacy Gold at the moment, whose trainer is very adept at this type of race. Evening updatewould have taken anything with double figues on this one after Runswick Royal gave formlines a big boost earlier today – 14/1 available 1/4 1234 1pt ew recommended

good luck



( good chance to use some nice enhanced place terms which can be used to advantage in combo bets tomorrow and Grand National for anyone who wants to escape the singles only options)

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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized


2013 Grand National

Saturday 6th April is the day for the biggest betting race of the year when an expected maximum field  of 40 line up for the 2013 Grand National over four and a half miles at Aintree.


The fences may not be as daunting as they once were but the likelihood is that by making them ‘easier’ the speed of the race may be quicker making it no less of a test than before for horse and rider (and in my own mind no less likely to cause the occasional unfortunate accidents)

Until the final declarations are revealed on Thursday there still remain 49 entries – if no more drop out than all of the lowest weights from Major Malarkey down will be eliminated ( current entry list is here

Some basic stats to help pinpoint the winner:

Age: Experience tends to count for a lot in this event. 8-12 is definitely required but 9-11 would be the ideal range.

Stamina : We have to go back to Gay Trip in 1970 to find a winner that hadn’t won over at least 3 miles previously. It used to be said that a good 2 and a half mile chaser was ideal for this (by Gay Trip’s trainer funnily enough!) but there isn’t much evidence to support this now. Being able to have the pace to win over that trip is desirable but further stamina is most definitely required. Even after the last fence a lot can change in this race – just watch Specify’s win in 1971 if you can to find this out

Course experience: Not essential (last two winners were untried over the course ) but having jumped round before has to be desirable.

Weight: This used to be crucial in the past with a big leaning towards those weighted 11 stone or less. In recent times we have seen this matter somewhat less. This could well be down to the course becoming easier (and the ground not being so soft) but I still recall John Francome’s words that this race was much more of a test of weight carrying on a horse than any normal race. I still believe that lower weighted horses have some advantage in the race – last year 4 of the first 5 were less than 10st and although the winner was higher it could be argued he was leniently treated on his past form and was a very classy animal. Higher than 11 stone and you need a horse that would not look out of place in a Gold Cup field

Preparation: Nowadays if you want to maximise your chance win this you need to get weighted leniently by the official handicapper. Running at the Cheltenham Festival a few weeks earlier is usually a no-no. Many trainers have run their aspiring winners over hurdles rather than chases in recent years – the aim is not to show your hand before the weights are released – having too high a weight then could spell doom. Worst prep races for me are Haydock’s Grand National Trial – usually raced in bog-like conditions and can often can finish off a horse for the season before it’s even lined up for this. Also the John Hughes Trophy over the course earlier in the season – having a pop round the fences down the field is good – winning it and running your handicap mark is a cardinal sin!


Time to look at some runners:

The best race as a pointer for this year is probably last year’s event:

From that we have:

(1st Neptune Collonges (now retired))

2nd Sunnyhillboy 10st 5lbs (rating 142) – this year 11st 4lbs (152)

3rd Seabass 10st 12lbs (rating 149) – this year 11st 6lbs (154)

4th Cappa Bleu 10st 10lbs (rating 147) – this year 10st 11lbs (145)

6th Ballabriggs 11st 9lbs (rating 160) – this year 11st 4lbs (152)

10th Swing Bill 10st 3lbs (rating 140) – this year 10st 8lbs (142)

Fell – Weird Al 11st 8lbs (rating 159) – this year 11st 8lbs (156)

Fell – Quiscover Fontaine 10st 4lb (141) – this year 10st 7lbs (141)

Fell – On His Own 10st 11lb (148) – this year 11st (148)

Fell – Becauseicouldntsee 10st 3lbs (140) – this year 10st 6lbs (140)

Brought Down – Rare Bob 10st 9lbs (146) – this year 10st 6lbs (140)

Brought Down – Chicago Grey 10st 13lbs (150) – this year 10st 7lbs (141)

Caught on the line last year, Sunnyhillboy has lost his chance for me now having to carry nearly a stone more. Seabass looked to not quite stay the trip and also has increased weight to overcome so is passed over. Ballabriggs had a massive burden last year after winning in 2011- he has less to carry here but still is over the weight I would be happy to see him carrying – quite conceivable he could be around 4th or 5th again though (but without winning)

The interesting ones from the ‘class of 2012’ for me are:

CAPPA BLEU. 12 lengths behind Sunnyhillboy and 7 behind Seabass, he is better off with both this year. Moreover he was twice hampered in the race and got further behind than was ideal when the action started to hot up. Given more luck in running I can see him turning the form around with both as he finished stronger than any of those in front of him. He’s always had a touch of class about him since winning the Cheltenham Foxhunters as a 6yo (now 11 but lightly raced for one his age). His prep run at Ascot was eyecatching and makes his rating of 145 look lenient  – gave 7lbs to Vino Griego and that one is now rated 151


ON HIS OWN. Looked a big contender when falling at Bechers Brook on second circuit and will be bidding to emulate West Tip who won this race after having departed at the same fence when travelling equally well the year before his win. His hurdles prep looked ideal and he has got in off the same mark. Currently around the 7/1 mark and favourite which will be cemented if Ruby Walsh takes the ride. The worry is that’s plenty short enough for this race and that was a nasty fall he took here last year – will he remember it? Nevertheless has to be on the shortlist.

QUISCOVER FONTAINE. Take no notice of Racing Post comment that he was ‘always in rear’ when falling at 17th last year. He was still travelling nicely then and travelling alongside eventual winner Neptune Collonges when he fell. Has been given an interesting prep over trips that are probably too short for him now and handicap mark has been protected. Some concerns over stamina (hasnt won over 3 miles or more yet) but ran perfectly well in the Irish Grand National in 2011 when 4th – 4.5 lengths behind Sunnyhillboy there but a stone better off in this race.


CHICAGO GREY. Too early to say what would have happened with him here last year when State of Play brought him down. We do know he is very well in and possibly the best handicapped horse in this race on past form having slipped down to 141. He has won since this weight was allotted and has performed at 150+ level in the past. Another for the shortlist but the worry with him is that he does get behind in his races. That isn’t always suited to this race but he is likely to have the best pilot on board to cope with this problem in Paul Carberry


Previous National form is also brought to the table by Big Fella Thanks (4th in 2010, 7th in 2011). Both times he has jumped round for fun and then patently failed to stay the trip – no reason he should do any differently here. Always Waining is also a course specialist having won the shorter Topham Trophy 3 times – he has never raced here off the sort of mark he has here though and no reason to suggest the increase in trip is what he needs. Both of these should be running in Friday’s Topham in my view

Non course form is headed by the top weight and former Gold Cup winner, Imperial Commander. He is 12 now and has had his problems – his mark of 158 is on the lenient side but it’s a huge ask to carry 11st 10lbs to victory here – Red Rum was the last to carry more nearly 40 years ago. He would be seeking to emulate another old Gold Cup hero, L’Escargot who won this as a 12yo. L’Escargot did win this at his third attempt though and carried 7lbs less.

Teaforthree (11st 3lbs) has long looked a likely National type. I do worry that a hard race in the Welsh National may not be the ideal prep though and his mark of 151 is plenty high enough. He has some ground to make up on JOIN TOGETHER (11st 2lbs) as well from last year’s form and that one appeals more ( he also has run over the course in the John Hughes and has done very well to only get a 2 lb rise for that effort)

Roberto Goldback  (11st 6lbs) was bought as a National horse and supposedly trained for the race all season. So why on earth did they start him off by running him in a valuable handicap at Ascot which he won by 9 lengths and destroyed his handicap rating? His form tailed off since and he is now 4lb higher than at Ascot – not convinced he has all of the stamina attributes for this test though

Across The Bay (11st 2lbs) doesn’t appeal as the type to like these fences for me despite being trained by Donald McCain who has few peers for this race (Ballabriggs his best chance this year for me)

Colbert Station (11st 1lb) is figuring highly in markets but is running off a far higher mark than ever before. His price is more to do with his trainer (Ted Walsh) and likely jockey (AP McCoy).

We get to my favoured 11 stone and unders now and of those not already mentioned, BALTHAZAR KING (10st 12lbs) has to be of interest. He has lots of Cross Country chasing form which ought to translate well to the demands of this race, stays well and likes to race prominently – all attributes that could stand him in good stead for this. He should like the ground also while it remains good or good to soft. Another one for the shortlist.


Saint Are (10st 8lbs) should also get a mention further down the handicap as he has such a good record at this meeting having won here for the last two seasons. That wasn’t over the national fences however and his age of 7 heavily counts against him – he does tend to ruin his chances sometimes with bad errors and these fences aren’t  the place for that!


After this analysis I have the following shortlist for this year’s race







I couldn’t put anyone off backing any of these so it just comes down to prices available and value to break them down further now. Join Together is just over the weight level I am looking for but all others have 11 stone or less.

Betvictor head the list of firms offering said ‘value’ by paying out ¼ odds a place on the first 6 places. This is likely to be highly unprofitable for them and is a shop window offer to bring in more customer interest. For those who like to back several each way selections they have to be the main port of call as will pay out on 2 more horses than many High Street firms. If you can’t bet with them then take one of the firms that offer ¼ odds first 5 places (Bet365, Skybet, Boylesports, Paddy Power at time of writing out of the major firms).

The only reason for me to touch other firms is if they are considerably higher win odds than anyone else but this isn’t that likely – Betfair is usually the place to get the highest ‘win only’ offer.

Bear in mind that many firms will offer ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ after final declarations come through on Thursday. If the SP ends up greater you would get the higher price also but recent evidence suggests that most will have a lower SP so I would always advise taking the highest price (as long as place terms are acceptable).

If push comes to shove, best value for me of those at the head of the market is CAPPA BLEU at 11/1 ¼ 12345 ( 10/1 first six with Betvictor)

Best outsider :  QUISCOVER FONTAINE at 50/1 ¼ 12345 (40/1 first six Betvictor)


Good luck with whatever you back and enjoy the race (and lets hope they all come back safely!)



**Thurs morning update – final decs now out – lists of odds and who offers best place terms can be found here


Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized