Monthly Archives: March 2014

Grand National 2014

G National 13
Another year has gone by and National Hunt racing’s greatest spectacle at Aintree racecourse is upon us once more.
With the forecast looking promising we can expect decent ground and a well run race. Anything can happen at the first few fences where the speed can be too much for some to jump accurately and its not until 7 or 8 obstacles have been completed before race riding can start to develop properly. It’s important not to get too far behind too early – midfield with a circuit to go is usually as far as you would want to be behind the leader

I covered much of the race stats in last years blog and as mentioned before there is a good guide to the date here

The current runners can be found here

And for up to date odds check here

It’s very important to shop around here for the best value. Standard each way terms for a handicap are ¼ odds 1234 but as this is such a big event many firms will offer five places. BetVictor currently offer ¼ odds 123456. ( the one firm to avoid for each way bets would seem to be RaceBets if they continue to offer a ridiculous 1/5 odds 123!)
The more the number of places that are paid the less the win odds can sometimes be to make up for this concession. If you can get high win odds and extra places it really is the best of both worlds so choose carefully!

Be sure to use Non Runner No bet prior to the final declarations also – if the worst does happen and your horse gets pulled out you will not lose your money then.
The night before the race could also throw up better odds as firms try to push their product – but beware at 8pm on Friday night when Racing Post’s pricewise selection is officially released (its often apparent by market moves whet it will be prior to then) – expect any put up there to be trimmed significantly.
Saturday morning may some further price enhancements for horse not touched by the main tipsters

For stats suffice to say, weight is the one I look to most and I have a big leaning towards anything carrying 11 stone or less. Age and experience come next. 9 to 11 is the preferred age and previous course experience or proven form in similar events is highly desirable

And so onto the runners with my thoughts on most of the contenders (bear in mind that these are the current 5 day declarations and some may drop out before Thursdays’s final declaration stage):

1. TIDAL BAY age 13 weight 11st 10lbs ;trainer Paul Nicholls ;jockey Sam Twiston Davies
It will bring the house down if this popular veteran can triumph but despite the handicapper dropping his mark to 161 there are so many stats for him to defy. The last 13 year old to come close to winning was Aintree stalwart Rondetto in 1969. The last horse to carry this kind of weight to victory was Red Rum in 1977. Added to all of this, the more the ground dries out the less it will suit him and he could find himself outpaced. It’s hard enough to come from way back in this race as his style dictates but he would need some juice in the ground to have his best chance. Too much against him for me to fancy him but would still love to see him do well.Tidal bay
2. LONG RUN 9 11st 9lb; Nicky Henderson ; Mr S Waley Cohen
Another at the top of the weights, Long Run was at his peak as a 6yo when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It’s not unusual for French bred chasers to start regressing earlier than others and while retaining plenty of ability he does seem to be going in that direction this season. I think his mark of 160 here is probably about the level he is now so again facing an uphill struggle off such a high weight. On the plus side, his rider has an excellent record in this race – on the downside Long Run has always been prone to miss the odd fence out and he wouldn’t want to do that here
3. HUNT BALL 9 11st 7lb; Nicky Henderson; Andrew Tinkler
If you believe the old adage that two and a half mile chasers are best for the National then you might give him a chance. I don’t believe they are and Hunt Ball only just gets 3 miles on a park course which rules him out for me.
4. TRIOLO D’ALENE 7 11st 6lb; Nicky Henderson; Barry Geraghty
Needs good ground but don’t quite think he has the class to carry this sort of weight here and it’s not ideal to hear he had a breathing problem in his last race. Has winning course form in last years Topham over a shorter trip and also as a 7yo has an awful lot against him on stats – the last one to win was Bogskar in 1940!
5. ROCKY CREEK 8 11st 5lb; Paul Nicholls; Noel Fehily
Has always looked a chaser going places and although he has a high weight there is enough class about him to give him some chance. However at 8 he is probably a year ahead of himself here and with only 7 chase runs under his belt he may be lacking. This wasn’t the plan for him earlier in the year and he seems to be here because he had a hiccup which meant he couldn’t run in the Gold Cup. While he has perfomed well twice this year there is still a suspicion he isn’t quite finishing off his races as well as others. A good jumper I can see him competing and loking dangerous for much of the race and then wilting in the home straight. Not without a chance of top 5/6.
6. QUITO DE LA ROQUE 10 11st 1lbs; Colm Murphy (IRE)

Hasnt shown much this year but has had good performances on Aintree’s regular Mildmay track in the past. A leap of faith required to fancy him here
7. COLBERT STATION 10 11st ; Ted Walsh (IRE)
One of the possible mounts for AP Mc Coy – was well fancied last year but never got involved before unseating his rider. 2lb higher mark here considering he hasn’t done much since is hardly appealing
8. WALKON 9 11st; Alan King; Wayne Hutchinson
Second to Triolo d’Alene in the Topham last year he isn’t attractively handicapped on a 5lb higher mark here. His one attempt at a National –the Scottish version ended in him being pulled up and I find little to recommend his chance here
9. BALTHAZAR KING 10 10st 13lb; Philip Hobbs; Richard Johnson
Terrific performer in Cross Country event s at Cheltenham. The fences may be similar there and he was fancied on back of that in last year’s race. The pace of this race is so different though and Balthazar was burnt out before the race began in earnest. Similar likely again – though if the ground is better than last year’s good to soft he could stick around a bit longer. A safe jumper who would be expected to complete at least
10. WAYWARD PRINCE 10 10st 13lbs; Hilary Parrott; Jack Doyle
A course winner twice on the Mildmay track, Wayward Price seems to save his best for his reappearance runs nowadays. Likely to find the pace of the race I problem I feel
11. MR MOONSHINE 10 10st 12lbs; Sue Smith; Ryan Mania
Same connections as last years winner, Auroras Encore here.Mr Moonshine comes here under a carrer highest mark. He ran well over the course to be third in December but has gone up 16lbs since. The handicapper would appear to have his measure.
12. TEAFORTHREE 10 10st 12lbs; Rebecca Curtis; Nick Schofield
Already discussed and selected as an Ante Post bet in my previous blog posting (10/1 now all gone at time of writing this) there are many positives here. His front running style may make him susceptible to a strong finisher but he could have ground most into submission by then. Running at Cheltenham Festival prior tho thsi can be a negative but I very much saw his run there as a warm up – whereas for many it is the main event and this is an afterthought. Bar a mishap I struggle to see him out of the top 4teafor3
13. ACROSS THE BAY 10 10st 11lb; Donald McCain; Henry Brooke
Has completed the course twice so must be fancied to do so again. But he likes to be up front and paid for that last year when weakening badly in the home straight to finish 14th. Would appear to need a shorter trip
14. DOUBLE SEVEN 8 10st 11lb, Martin Brassil (IRE)
The other possible mount for McCoy, his chance would appear to rest on the ground being no softer than good. If McCoy picks him the price will shorten but is handicapped high enough on what he has achieved and as an 8yo stats don’t favour his chances
15. BATTLE GROUP 9 10st 10lb; Johnny Farrelly; Brendan Powell
‘Enigmatic’ would be a polite way to describe this fella who hit a purple patch of form at this meeting 12 months ago winning twice. His record on last three runs sees two pulled ups and a refusal to highlight the risk involved in backing him. His mark is plenty high enough but if the fences are to his liking it wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see him competing – the ability is there – but strongest likelihood remains he will down tools early!
16. BUCKERS BRIDGE 8 10st 10lbs; Henry de Bromhead(IRE)
No winning form over more than 2.5 miles counts him out for me immediately
17. LION NA BEARNAI 12 10st 10lbs; Tomas Gibney (IRE); Davy Russell
A previous Irish Grand National winner – that has been a good pointer for this race before but not when they come here aged 12. Would need some cut in the ground and if it did come up soft he would be expected to stay on. Others fancied more
18. PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE 11 10st 10lbs,;Willie Mullins (IRE)
Has been Ante Post fav for this race in years past but never made it to this stage until now.I’m sure if Ruby walsh were riding some would have latched on to his chances but I’ve had the feeling before he may just not quite get this trip. Form this year also indicates a regression
19. MONBEG DUDE 9 10st 9lbs; Michael Scudamore; Paul Carberry
The Dude likes to be hald up and come late to win his races. Very tough to employ those tactics here but it can be done (Rhyme n Reason was famously last at Bechers first time in 1988 before triumphing). Paul Carberry was at his finest when using these tactics to perfection in the 2013 Welsh National. It should be noted however that his half length victim there – Teaforthree – is 13lbs better off. No course experience for the Dude but he has Zara Phillips 3 day eventing expertise in his team to prepare him for these kind of fences
20. BIG SHU 9 10st 8lbs; Peter Maher (IRE); Peter Buchanan
All of his form comes in cross country events and hunter chases. This marks him down as a good jumper but the pace of this race will be something new to him and expect him to be out of his comfort zone here
21. BURTON PORT 10 10st 8lbs; Jonjo O’Neill; Brian Harding
Hard to imagine that Burton Port is 10 – he seems to have been round a while and was competing at the top table of chasing for a couple of seasons.He would have been about top weight if he ran in this last year and has now slipped down the handicap after some poor efforts this year. His last run gave some hope that he may have found some ability again and if Jonjo O’Neill has managed to prime him back to form for the big occasion (wouldn’t be a shock!) then he is a dark horse in the race.
22. OUR FATHER 8 10st 8lbs; David Pipe
Always looked to have plenty of talent but it’s a while since we’ve seen it. Hard to fancy
23. MOUNTAINOUS 9 10st 7lbs;Richard Lee; Jamie Moore
This years Welsh National winner is a fine jumper who revels in soft ground. On anything quicker than soft he may find things happening a bit too quickly. Needs lots of rain to boost his chances
24. THE RAINBOW HUNTER 10 10st 7lbs; Kim Bailey; Aidan Coleman
Unseated rider here last year at a point that was too early to tell if he would have been involved. His caerer best win at Doncaster last time now sees him on highest ever mark of 144 and that should be his downfall – you need to come to this race having something in hand of the handicapper
25. VINTAGE STAR 8 10st 7lbs; Sue Smith; Brian Hughes
At 8, the stats are against him but this one has the look of a National horse to me – it may just be a year too early. His sire normally produces good ground performers so there is a chance that his soft ground form this year can be improved upon. Without his fall last time at Cheltenham, I would feel a bit stronger but we can be sure he has been schooled plenty on Malton’s Aintree style fences since. There are worse 40/1 shots for sure as he has had more chase experience than most 8yos in this contestvintage star
26. CHANCE DU ROY 10 10st 6lbs; Philip Hobbs; Tom O’Brien
Winner of the Becher Chase on this course before Christmas he has two ways of running at this track. In the Topham last year he was in trouble from the start. Satmina for this trip has to be an issue for me
27. HAWKES POINT 9 10st 6lbs; Paul Nicholls; Ryan Mahon
Close second in the Welsh National, he’s another who need the ground to be soft or else it may all be a bit too quick for him. Only 7 chase starts is a bit of a negative but he is 9 years old so should be strong enough for this test now. Place chances if the rain comes
28. KRUZHLININ 7 10st 6lbs; Donald McCain
Too young at 7? Has another entry on Saturday and think it’s likely that Donald MCcain would prefer him to run in that at this stage of his career
29. PINEAU DE RE 11 10st 6lbs; Dr Richard Newland; Leighton Aspell
There has been some interest in this one in Ante Post markets recently after a fine run over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival. Ran over the course in December but fell at an early stage – generally a sound jumper. Good jockey booking but races here off a career highest mark of 143 – can he really be improving at the age of 11?? Can see why he’s been backed but seems short enough now around 20/1. A suspicion that he might need more time between his races also?
30. GOLAN WAY 10 10st 5lbs; Tim Vaughan; Michael Byrne
Likes to dominate and will struggle to have things all his own way here. Readily discounted
31. TWIRLING MAGNET 8 10st 5lbs; Jonjo O’Neill
Beaten last time at Cheltenham when unseating rider. No form at this kind of mark that would prompt me to give him a chance
32. VESPER BELL 8 10st 5lbs; Willie Mullins(IRE)
One run over this course saw him get no farther than fence 1.Probably too young and not enough chase experience yet
33. THE PACKAGE 11 10st 4lb; David Pipe; Tom Scudamore
Another ‘dark’ one, The Package has always had ability but is a bit fragile having only been seen once in the last year. The ‘bounce factor’ from that Cheltenham run could be a concern . Ran in this race as a fancied 14/1 shot in 2010 (too young then?) but didn’t seem to enjoy the fences before unseating rider at the 19th
34. RAZ DE MAREE 9 10st 3lb; Dessie Hughes (IRE); Davy Condon
No encouragement in runs this year to think he is well weighted off a mark of 140
35. ROSE OF THE MOON 9 10st 3lbs; David O’Meara
Been following this one since he chased home Bobs Worth over hurdles at Cheltenham in 2011. Has looked a bit lacking in pace at a higher level since then. Didnt get competitive in the Becher Chase in December when on a mark of 135 and comes here 5 pounds worse off. Think he’ll struggle to keep up early
36. SHAKALAKABOOMBOOM 10 10st 3lbs; Nicky Henderson; David Bass
Well fancied for the race in 2012 but didn’t get home then after being prominent most of the way. 9 lbs lower mark here but he’s done nothing so far this season to show he retains the same ability
37. ALVARADO 9 10st 2lb; Fergal O’Brien; Paddy Brennan
The owners have been placed regularly in this race in recent years courtesy of Cappa Blue and State of Play. Alvarado doesn’t have quite the class of those two and seems to have two ways of running. 139 is a plenty high enough mark
38. LAST TIME D’ALBAIN 10 10st 2lb; Liam Cusack(IRE)
Placed in the Topham last year but with no winning form over more than 2.5 miles I think he should be sticking to that shorter race again

39. LOST GLORY 9 10st 2lb; Jonjo O’Neill
Pulled up after being tailed off in last two outings is not the preparation you would like to see for this! Only reason for support would be if you like the name

40. ONE IN A MILAN 9 10st 2lbs; Evan Williams
A career best when 4th in the Welsh National doesn’t put him in here as a total no hoper. Would need some heavy rain to replicate the deep ground conditions though
With only the top 40 guaranteed a place those below have to wait until Thursday’s final entry stage and hope that some above are taken out of the race to get in. For now comments on the next half dozen who stand best chance of getting in

41. GOONYELLA 7 10st 1lb; Jim Dreaper(IRE)
Being another 7 year old is a bit of a put off. Has plenty of chasing experience for his age though and on breeding it’s entirely possible that better ground may suit him here. Looks a thorough stayer
42. SWING BILL 13 10st 1lb; David Pipe
The second 13 yo in the race, Swing Bill has popped over these fences 6 times now, finishing 6th in the race last year. He’s a very unlikely winner but would be one to look at for markets to finish the race /finish in top 10 etc.
43. SOLL 9 10st; Jo Hughes; Mark Grant
My early fancy for the race – mentioned in January blog – I have backed him at 50/1 but fear his heavy ground runs since Christmas have scuppered his chances a bit here. 7th last year when it was a year too soon for me. If he does get in and manages to recapture his form I think he has a serious chance – but that’s a very big if!
44. MINELLA FOR VALUE 8 10st John Butler
Hard to make out a case here – mark is too high
45. NIGHT IN MILAN 8 10st Keith Reveley
An interesting runner right at the bottom if he manages to get in the race. Needs good ground and may well get that now. Downside is he may want to dominate from the front and there’ll be competition for that role. Nevertheless, a decent outsider despite 8 not being an ideal age
46. SAINT ARE 8 10st Tim Vaughan
9th in the race last year as a 7yo. Previously had won twice at this meeting on the Mildmay course. Form this year not encouraging though it has to be said he has never run well at Cheltenham where he pulled up last time.Looking unlikely he will get in but if he does I might have a small tickle if someone puts up a 3 figure price.

We have to assume the remaining 19 runners entered will be struggling to get into the race now


Ground will be a factor here for sure so thoughts may change as we get to race day. Soft ground looking unlikely right now but if the rain does fall there are a few resolute stayers whose chances will improve.
Employing my favourite stats I’m looking for something weighted no higher than 11st that is aged 9, 10 or 11. Previous course experience and proven stamina (either in this race or in similar well run races like the Scottish, Welsh or Irish nationals) are preferential

This gives my optimum shortlist of
TEAFORTHREE (Grand national + Welsh national form)
MONBEG DUDE (Welsh National form)
MOUNTAINOUS (Welsh national form)
HAWKES POINT (Welsh National form)

The last two named would appear to need the ground to be soft and as that doesn’t look likely right now I’ll be leaving them until more rain materializes.
Teaforthree is weighted to beat Monbeg Dude on their Welsh National run and his running style should be better suited to this race as he can maintain a handy position throughout
I have already put him up at 10/1 on a previous blog posting but 9/1 may still be available Welsh national dude

He doesn’t quite fit the stats with his age but if the ground does continue to look like being Good or Good to Soft I can see Vintage Star performing well at big odds so a small play at 40/1 ew wouldn’t go amiss – he ran well in the Welsh National despite the ground probably being against him

Already recommended

1pt ew SOLL 50/1
2.5 pts ew TEAFORTHREE 10/1 (taking ¼ odds 12345 NRNB)

Additional selection
0.75 pts ew VINTAGE STAR 40/1 (BetVictor ¼ odds 123456!)

Thanks for reading

Good luck with whatever you back and hoping they all come back safe and well

Comments as always are most welcome


(It’s always good to read some different views so here’s a couple of respected blog sites to give some alternative opinions )

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Time for tea?

I’ll be doing a full Grand National preview in just over a week once the 5 day declarations are out but there’s a bit of value right now prompting an early post.
A few stats for the race were on last year’s preview but an excellent rundown of the race facts can be found on here
My main focus will always remain on finding something on 11stone or less and so despite the obvious class of Tidal Bay and Long Run on 11st 10lb and 11st 9lb, it will take an effort not seen since the days of Red Rum to win off that weight.
In my January update post I did advise Soll for the race. After a very promising return before Christmas however his subsequent campaign has been perplexing. Two gruelling heavy ground marathons with him finishing legless on both occasions are not the preparation you would want for this event. On his last start he looked jaded already from them, and while he’s still in the race right now I am far from hopeful of his chances at the moment.
The standout though is current favourite, Teaforthree. A terrific run in this race last year saw him finish 3rd (and the only horse to carry over 11 stone to finish in the first 12 speaks volumes). This year his campaign has been much more geared to this race including what was always intended to be a warm up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He gets in on 10st 12lb this year – an ideal weight for the stats and has that course experience behind him. Effective on all ground except firm (which just won’t happen anyway for safety reasons) I find it very difficult to pick any holes in his chances
With some firms now offering Non Runner No Bet it means that if he doesn’t run for some reason we won’t lose our cash – and with an extra place being offered with some (and which has to be taken), I find it hard not to see him in the thick of it again (always need a little slice of luck in running to get round here of course)
I can’t imagine for one minute that he will be a double figure price on raceday so would take the 10/1 around now – the race has cut up a little since the last declaration stage and 6/1 or even 5/1 on the day would not be a surprise to see


2.5pts ew Teaforthree 10/1
(NRNB ¼ odds 12345 with 365, Paddy Power or Betfair Sportsbook)

Already advised 1pt ew Soll 50/1

Thanks for reading


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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Results 2014

The final day started badly when long time Gold Cup hope, First Lieutenant was pulled out of the race. The rest of the day didnt get much better with some shock wins that I couldnt come close to picking. Ironically, Gigginstown Stud (who own First Lieutenant) has a field day with their other runners having 4 winners. Another reason not to fly Ryanair in the future!

It’s back to the day job for me now and the blog will be quiet until Aintree in the first week of April (before then any messages will be on Twitter)

Looking ahead to next year I see no reason why O Faolains Boy can’t be competitive in the Gold Cup. Ballyalton is a less obvious name that I’ll be following with novice chases in mind. More of That could prove to be one of the greats – he beat Annie Power on merit and stamina didnt come into her loss

It’s been a successful week for the blog – ending with a 39.87 pt profit to a level stake.

Hoping that some winners have come your way and thanks for reading throughout the week




Festival Results 2014




 0.5 pts ew The Liquidator 20/1 (1/4 1234) – LOST

0.5 pts ew Three Kingdoms 40/1 (1/4 1234) – LOST


1pt ew Time For Rupert 16/1 – LOST

0.5 pts ew Solix 50/1 – LOST

0.5 pts ew Muldoons Picnic 33/1 – LOST

1pt ew double

 My Tent or Yours 4/1 3.20 Chelt – 2nd

Dodging Bullets 5/1 2.05 Chelt – LOST


1pt ew Doyly Carte (w/o Quevega) 20/1 – LOST


1pt ew Close House 16/1- LOST

Daily Profit/Loss   -12 pts (12 pts staked – no returns)




1pt ew Le Bec 16/1 – fell

1pt ew O’Faolains Boy 25/1 – won (returns 33.25 pts)


1pt ew Bayan 12/1 3rd (returns 4 pts)


3pts win Sire De Grugy 3/1 won (returns 12 pts) – went as high as 4/1!


1pt ew Goodwood Mirage 10/1 – brought down

0.5 pts ew Orgilgo Bay 20/1 – 3rd (returns 3pts)

0.25 pts ew Hawk High 40/1 – won (returns 13pts)


1pt ew Neck or Nothing 25/1 lost

1pt ew Our Kaempfer 33/1 – lost

Daily Profit/Loss    +48.75 pts  (  16.5 pts staked – 65.25 pts returned)

Running Profit/Loss +36.75 pts




 3pts ew Oscar Whisky 10/1 fell


1pt ew Grand Vision 16/1 lost

0.5pts ew Cross Kennon 33/1 lost


1.5pts ew Al Ferof 5/1 lost


1pt ew Champion Court 14/1 lost

1pt ew Third Intention 16/1 5th (returns 5pts)

0.5 pts ew Tartak 33/1 lost


1pt ew Roberto Goldback 20/1 3rd (returns 6pts)

1pt ew Spring Heeled 18/1 won (returns 24.5 pts)


Daily Profit/Loss +13.5 pts  (22 pts staked  ,  35.5 pts returned)

Running Profit/Loss +50.25 pts




1pt ew Broughton 13/2 – LOST


1pt ew Cheltenian 10/1 – LOST

0.5 pts ew Runswick Royal 50/1 – LOST


0.5 pts ew Masters Hill 22/1 (w/o 2 favs) – LOST


2pts ew First Lieutenant 12/1 (Ante Post) – NR – LOST

1pt ew First Lieutenant 16/1 NRNB – NR – VOID


0.5 pts ew Thomas Crapper 25/1 2nd (returns 3.62 pts)

0.5 pts ew Une Artiste 25/1 – LOST


1pt ew His Excellency 22/1 – LOST


Daily Profit/Loss -10.38 pts  (16 pts staked  -, 5.62 pts returned)

Running Profit/Loss +39.87 pts ( 66.5 pts staked ; 106.37 pts returned  +59.9%)

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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Day 4


Another good day for the blog after shaky start to the day when Oscar Whisky managed to get no further than the first fence.
Third Intention scraped into 5th to get some place money back with those firms who offered the extra place.
The final race worked out perfectly though with Spring Heeled delivering the good and Roberto Goldback placed.
Thus the day ended with a profit of13.5 pts (running total for the meeting now shows us ahead by 50.25 pts)
Onto Friday, the final day of the meeting:

1.30 Triumph Hurdle
Generally ¼ odds a place 123 but 888 are offering ¼ 1234
Odds here
The top prize for 4yo hurdlers or ‘juveniles’ as we like to call them.
This used to throw up some funny results – I still cant fathom how horses like Shiny Copper and Ikdam won it – but since the inception of the Fred Winter Hcap it has become more reliable for getting winners at the head of the betting.
Calipto is the favourite and is unbeaten over obstacles for Paul Nicholls. His initial win was a hot looking event but his last win didn’t tell us too much more. He has the highest official rating in the field. Downsides – no form on an undulating course like Cheltenham, ground quicker than he has encountered so far? Also I am starting to get concerned that the form of his stable isn’t quite as it should be after some runners this week haven’t quite been delivering as I might have expected.He doesnt appeal to me at the odds available.
Broughton and Guitar Pete both have collateral form with Clarcam and I was very impressed with the former’s win at Musselburgh. Clarcam got a soft lead there but Broughton picked him up easily and won really well. He is my main fancy for this race and I would be stronger still if it hadn’t been for the ground watering and fog before Thursdays card which seemed to soften the ground a bit more than would have been expected. He hasn’t run at the course but on the flat seemed to thrive at Goodwood and you cant get much more of an up and down course than that!
Guitar Pete is a threat who has improved all season ( I wouldn’t read too much into Lindenhurst’s victory over him right at the beginning). He may want softer ground though and has to reverse good ground form on this course with Royal Irish Hussar ( disappointed badly since but a big contender on the rest of his form)
Tiger Roll is another I suspect needs softer (by Authorised – they usually do) and this also applies to Kentucky Hyden who would definitely have a shout at big odds if it did get soft.
Don’t underestimate the John Quinn pair either (won this with Countrywide Flame). Pearl Castle was a little disappointing to me last time and I do prefer Rutherglen out of the 2 – he looks a very gutsy type while not quite proven in this grade – yet there looks to be some improvement there and could be suited by this course.
It’s an open race but I am struggling to see Broughton out of the frame and so the recommendation is
1pt ew Broughton 13/2 (888 taking their ¼ 1234) (15/2 is available with PP but I think the extra place is massive here)

2.05 County Hurdle

50/50 split here between firms offering ¼ 1234 and 12345 here – look for the latter
Always a tough handicap but there’s only one that’s had my eye for sometime here – Cheltenian. Philip Hobbs has a good record in this and the Betfair Hurdle has been a good guide. I thought he was well handicapped in that and he travelled like a classy horse but just couldn’t sustain the effort in bad ground. He won the Bumper here in the past so we know he acts on the course.The ground has changed now and as I mentioned on Twitter earlier today I’ve had a play here.
A word about the likely fav Arctic Fire. I’m sure he has the ability to win this but seems a quirky type who can pull very hard. He needs a lot to go right but the pace of this race may suit him – the price is too low though for a horse that Ruby Walsh has been ready to pass by in novice hurdles earlier this year.
1 pt ew Cheltenian 10/1 (corals ¼ 1234 – or take 9/1 with firms offering 12345)

2.40 Albert Bartlett Hurdle

General ¼ odds 123
One of the most eagerly awaited clashes of the season for me between two high class novice hurdlers, Briar Hill and Kings Palace
Briar Hill won the Bumper here impressively last year. He is a bit of a deceiver as he doesn’t do much stunning work at home and can appear to do just enough in his races – this is no bad trait and as yet we just don’t know how far he can go. The price on him has tumbled this week as he was mooted as the ‘banker’ of Mullins’s attack on the three novice hurdle races – he has won the other two!
Opposing him is one of the quickest jumpers of a hurdle I have seen in the novice department for some time – Kings Palace – who has been fav for this for a long time previously.
I really struggle to see anything else troubling these two – they both look distinctly above average
The weight of money for Briar Hill has made Kings Palace close to an each way price though and if he reaches 4/1 or higher (not there yet) he may become a recommendation
There are other decent horses in the race but I will be looking for some value in them in markets without the two favs tomorrow
So for now at least – no bet – but check back in the morning for an update here

3.20 Gold Cup

¼ odds 123 generally
The ‘Blue Riband’ event of the Festival and one where the blog already has a view from the ‘January update’ and ‘5 days to go’ postings.
I have longed for First Lieutenant to run in this race on decent ground and while it looked like he might be rerouted for a time he has made it.
The value of the bet is more in the place side for me and I see him as the main threat to Bobs Worth who has a fairly irresistible 5 out of 5 record at the course and is a wonderfully tough animal to beat. If the bookies try to lay Bobs Worth at over 2/1 I may well be having an interest as well
Silviniaco Conti’s lack of course form concerns me – as does the trainer’s form at the Festival so far. Last Instalment was undeniably impressive last time but also has no track form and it was touch and go him running because of the ground no longer being soft.
Triolo D’Alene is only the price he is because his trainer made some loud noises about him and AP Mc Coy was booked – I can’t see him as a 12/1 shot at all and why he should be shorter than The Giant Bolster (who has been here and done it) baffles me. There could be an angle here tomorrow for match betting if anyone offers that pair together
Previously recommended
2pts ew First Lieutenant 12/1
1pt ew First Lieutenant 16/1

4.00 Foxhunters Chase
Generally ¼ odds 123 but some offer 1234
Hunter chases and amateur riders – you have to have some knowledge about the Point to Point scene here and I just don’t follow it enough to have a strong view.
Like the Kim Muir on Thursday having a good rider on board is a massive positive and 2 I will be looking at that fit that bill and are nice odds are Pearlysteps and Certain Flight. I just can’t recommend a bet on the blog though with my lesser expertise in this field here
No Bet

4.40 Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
Generally ¼ odds 12134 but look for that 5th place again!
Less experienced jockeys here (the bigger the claim they make the less winners they have ridden)
The race is named after David Pipe’s father and the fact he only has one runner here Vieux Lion Rouge is notable – he has also said it was his best handicapped novice of the week. Wouldn’t dissuade anyone from backing him but the odd aren’t anything special and I llok for a couplof value outsiders here instead.
Thomas Crapper won a competitive event on the course in good fashion in November. On his next start the trip proved his undoing and then heavy ground was his downfall at Ascot. Back to optimum conditions here and worth a small nibble
Une Artiste represent a stable who have done well in this and she is a previous Festival winner. She may be a bit quirky but back over hurdles and on a reasonable mark of 140 she is interesting at big odds

0.5 pts ew Thomas Crapper 25/1 (365, Stan James both offering ¼ 12345)
0.5 pts ew Une Artiste 25/1 (365, Stan James)

5.15 Grand Annual Chase
Generally ¼ odds 12134 but look for that 5th place once more!
The traditional ‘getting out’ race is always a minefield that I won’t get bogged down in too much
Claret Cloak would be a strong fancy on this ground if it wasn’t for me having some concern if he will act on the course – think a flat track may suit him better. Novices do have a good record in this race though and this horse has plenty of class – best seen if his effort can be left late. He is verging on a bet but is just slightly too short right now and I’ll play only if I can get more than 10/1
We know that His Excellency can perform here. He is a bit of a monkey and can run two ways but the handicapper has given him a chance here off a mark of 142 (fell last year when still having every chance off 151). This is the sort of strong paced race that could see him in his best light
(I’ll also add that Mr Mole is badly handicapped– has a mind of his own and is an atrocious price – so lets see him bolt in now! )
1pt ew His Excellency 22/1 (Coral , Bet Victor – both currently pay on 1st 4)

Hoping everyone’s had a great meeting
Thanks for reading once more and any comments welcome



I will be waiting patiently for any prices to drift on Bobs Worth or Claret Cloak and will poist on Twitter during day (@Senor_Moodoir)if I see something I like

Two additional bets added though
2.05 0.5 pts ew Runswick Royal @50/1 (VC 1/4 12345)
Improving young horse and 4lb rise not harsh for his latest win – just think he’s been overpriced a bit because of his non fashionable trainer

2.40 Betting without Briar Hill and Kings Palace here;
0.5 pts ew Masters Hill 22/1 (365 1/5 123).

He’s been the only one to try and make a race of it with Kings Palace this season and back over a trip and decent ground I don’t think he should be this high in comparison to others in the race

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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized



Cheltenham Day 3

Oscar Whisky Chelt

What a difference a day makes! After some abject performances yesterday the blog se;lections have steamed back today to record a 48.75 pt profit on the day and 36.75 points ahead on the meeting so far. O’Faolains Boy got the Ante Post selections off to a lovely start, Sire De Grugy cemented the profit and then there was a lovely surprise when Hawk High (as high as 50/1 available today) won the Fred Winter.

It would be too much to hope we can match those type of figures but we can but try!

Thursday races:

1.30 JLT Novices Chase

¼ odds 123 generally available

The change of this to Group 1 status has really elevated this race last year and attracted many that would normally have plumped for the Arkle or the RSA. For me, it is the classiest race of the three this year.

Because of the change in conditions, previous stats may not be too relevant

I advised Oscar Whisky in my January update blog at 10/1 and he’s still here with a fine chance on ground that should suit. Some judges have crabbed his latest win but that was on terrible ground and this should be his optimum conditions. I expect him to uphold his form over others he has beaten this season now that he won’t have to shoulder all of the donkey work up front himself.

Djakadam has been well touted by the Irish shrewdies recently as a Gold Cup horse of the future but his price is more about potential than actual form,a remark I would also give to Harry Fry’s Vukovar. Neither can be totally discounted it but I’d want a bit more juice in their odds

Taquin Du Seuil needs softer ground we have to think (same for Double Ross)and the main danger is Felix Yonger back on the kind of surface he looked so impressive on earlier in the season (soft ground just doesn’t show him in the same light). A saver on Felix, who seems a very professional jumper might not go amiss

But I rely on the ante post bet here

Previously recommended

3pts ew Oscar Whisky 10/1

2.05 Pertemps Final

¼ odds generally but search out for those offering ¼ 12345

Very tricky handicap – a rating stat would tell us to avoid anything that is 143+ though. Some will have been laid out specifically for the race and expect the change in ground to bring about some notable improvement in some contenders. These weight stats are being beaten this week it has to be said and the better ground must have something to do with that so I am less inclined to dismiss the higher weights than normal.

What I am loathe to do in such a tricky race is to back anything at single figure odds so despite strong claims for both I can’t back Fingal Bay or If In Doubt.

It’s the kind of race where I look for the overpriced outsiders but definitely not a race to go overboard on.

There aren’t many that scream out as being ahead of the handicapper but two take the eye for small stakes.

Grand Vision was a very useful novice (3rd in Albert Bartlett 2 seasons back) who then suffered an injury and missed a season. He seems to be gradually fin ding his way back to form this season and it was no disgrace not to match Saphir Du Rheu and today’s Coral Cup winner Whisper over an inadequate trip last time. A mark of 142 is fair on his novice form and that also shows he operates on this course/distance/ground

The other one has been to this well many times before – Cross Kennon. He’s a front runner who can be very hard to pass and 139 is not a harsh mark. He ran well off the same mark here in November and is better off with Southfield Theatre was 3.5 lengths in front, and also Pineau de Re who finished a neck behind. Expect him to be in the van throughout and trying to beat them off from a long way out. This tactic is not strange to see in winning this race –  Buena Vista, Kayf Aramis and one of my all time favs from past years, Willie Wumpkins all did it that hard way too.


1pt ew Grand Vision 16/1 (Hills ¼ 1234)

0.5 pts ew Cross Kennon 33/1 (Skybet & Paddy Power where ¼ 12345 is available)

2.40 Ryanair Chase

Generally ¼ odds 123

I have to admit to this being a bit of a graveyard race for me in the past – it often seems to be the consolation prize for horses who can’t quite get into the Champion Chase or the Gold Cup. 3 mile form seems to outweigh form from shorter trips and a previous win at Cheltenham is a notable must have.

Benefficient and Dynaste represent last year’s JLT form but Dynaste has yet to perform to his highest level at this meeting in the past and I’m not sure if the JLT form is quite up with what others have achieved.

Al Ferof is my marginal preference but I would be very wary of Menorah, whose form at the back end of last season is arguably the strongest in this race. He hasn’t done much this season but is the dark one here.

Not a strong enough view to recommend a bet though

3.20 World Hurdle

Generally ¼ odds 123

The inclusion of Annie Power into this event has kind of robbed it of betting interest to me. She could well be a class above them but is untested over 3 miles and that has to put me off taking any short odds. Her price will be shorter still after the wins of Vautour and Faugheen for the Mullins team will see liabilities running onto her and stablemate Briar Hill on Friday.

Big Bucks still has question marks after his reappearance from a long injury lay off – he is the best staying hurdler I have ever seen but he is 11 now and we can’t tell for sure if he retains all of his ability.

Expect Big Bucks’s stablemates to make this a true stamina test to expose any weaknesses in their rivals.

Given the doubts about the top two,  I would normally be looking for something each way to oppose them with. At Fishers Cross would prefer much softer ground though so not to expose his jumping flaws. More of That hasn’t raced over the trip either, and his full brother Eastlake’s record wouldn’t give any confidence for him staying it.

Rule The World is the interesting outsider for me. Second to The New One in the Neptune last year he looked a serious prospect for the future then but got badly injured on his next start. It’s great to have him back and his astute trainer, Mouse Morris, will have him trained to the moment for this I’m sure.

He just isn’t quite big enough to recommend but we may look at this race again tomorrow if firms offer markets without the two favourites

4.00 Byrne Group Plate

Generally ¼ odds 1234 but again there are firms who will pay that extra 5th place if you can get it

My mail box was swamped earlier today with ‘Racing Post Tracker’ info of horses I was looking out for being entered in this race.

There are several possibilities for me

There is a weight stat favouring anything rated less than 142 but as previously mentioned I am less inclined to stick rigidly to that with the ground.

Previous soft ground could also be responsible for a good record for French bred horses in this.

A previous run at the Festival is a must though for me – and the Irish have a terrible record in this race.

These two stats are enough to put me off the fancied Sraid Padraig.

Tap Night went into mine and many other notebooks for this race with an eyecatching display here in January. It also went into the handicappers notebook though who raised him to 145 – and the fact that AP Mc Coy deserts him for Colour Squadron puts me off there

Johns Spirit and Colour Squadron were the 1-2 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last November on the course. This hasn’t been a good guide here in the past and the handicapper appears to have their measure now but I am interested in the favourite for that race, Champion Court, who disappointed then and was found to be not right subsequently. He finds himself here, despite being allotted top weight, about a stone better off with both of them – and has the great assistance of Ryan Hatch to claim 7lbs to bring his mark effectively down to 150. This really is an attractive mark for a horse who has enough class to be a Ryanair chase runner. Hatch is very good claimer who has already won the Betfair Hurdle this year and has Festival winning experience from Same Difference last year. Stats may not be in his favour but I like his chances here.

Third Intention is a cliff horse for me – I will follow him over one most probably but won’t desert him here at his price. I don’t think he’s been campaigned that well on ground that has been too soft for him at times and for me this is more his ground/trip. He’s also slipped from a mark in the 150s to 143 and I’m sure he can win something decent off that if things go his way. Timeform give him a squiggle as being unreliable but I think that’s a little unfair and his third at Ascot last time got a nice boost when O Faolains Boy took the RSA today

At the bootom of the weights, Tartak is a bit of a lurker getting in off 131 (should be 129 but the minum weight is 10st). He was third in this of 134 last year and showed in October he can still be effective in this type of race. I’m always happy to ignore runs in Haydock’s awful soft ground as he had last time


1pt ew Champion Court 14/1 (365 paying 1st 5, Paddy Power 1st 4)

1pt ew Third Intention 16/1 (sportingBet 1st 5, others 1st 4)

0.5 pts ew Tartak 33/1(888 1st 5, others 1st 4)

4.40 Kim Muir Trophy

Generally ¼ odds 1234 but again some firms offer 12345

Another competitive handicap but this time for amateur riders.

For amateurs it makes a huge difference to me how much experience they have and if they are claiming weight that’s a big turn off. The best amateurs can have a significant advantage in ability and experience.

The market is dominated by Indian Castle and Cause of Causes and there is a natural inclination to think both have been laid out for this race.

Donald McCain likes this race – Cloudy Lane was his first Festival winner here and he came very close with Super Duty last year. Indian castle won well last time and easy to see why he’s fav with a top rider on his back. The worry though is that his best form comes on softer ground.

Cause of Causes had several entries at the meeting but has come for this with the excellent Nina Carberry to do the steering. The handicapper hasn’t missed the move though and 140 isn’t exactly thrown in on his chase form although he was weighted higher over hurdles. He can’t be discounted but I feel others are overpriced as the bookies try to keep these two short.

Roberto Goldback is a bit of a veteran now but it’s a very long time since he got the good ground he wants and a mark below 150 (144 here). Sam Waley Cohen has won a Gold Cup so I think we can’t crab him when it comes to experience! He is both top rated on Racing Post ratings and Timeform to highlight his form chances. I am a little concerned about previous course form but the price is too tempting to ignore

Spring Heeled was an eyecatcher over 4 furlongs further here in November when he appeared not to get home. This ground appears best for him and on this shorter trip I can see him being a big player here with another top amateur on board. He’s another I suspect has been mapped out for this race but the price is far more to my liking


1pt ew Roberto Goldback 20/1 (Stan James and Betfair Sportsbook both pay out 12345)

1pt ew Spring Heeled 18/1 (Stan James)

As always comments are welcome – thanks for taking the time to read the blog and best of luck once more!


Not many firms wanting to get involved in markets without the favs in the World Hurdle – further muddied by Quevega still sitting in the race and far from guaranteed to be a runner. Will leave that alone.
Despite the Ryanair being my bogey race at the Festival though I think Al Ferof’s form at the track is a bit too solid and the 5/1 available this morning is making him an each way proposition as I struggle to see him out of the frame. Not going mad here given my record in the race before but adding in
1.5 pts ew Al Ferof 5/1 (BetVictor, Paddy Power, Stan James)

(prices have moved on some of last nights selections I’m afraid – Racing Post pricewise put up Champion Court and Hugh Taylor of At The Races threw in Grand Vision Third Intention has also come in for some overnight support)

Here’s hoping for another good day!

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Day 2


A sad day today with the Champion Hurdle result being marred by the sad loss of one of racing’s up and coming stars, Our Conor during the race.

His terrible mishap may well have cost The New One the race also, leaving a bittersweet taste in the mouth regarding the final result.

The blog picks haven’t shone today recording a 12 point loss but tomorrow is another day ands so ‘once more unto the breach’:


Wednesday’s card:

1.30 Neptune Novices Hurdle

¼ odds 123 generally available

A classy event but I think it concerns the fron 4 in the betting and at the moment value doesn’t jump out on any.

Faugheen has been touted as Mullins’s top novice hurdler through the winter (Vautour won Supreme today). He certainly seems to have an engine but his wins haven’t been without jumping errors and he’ll need to sharpen that up here. His bumper form deserves special mention having beaten today’s Supreme 2nd Josses Hill by 20 lengths! Some vibes from the stable in preview evenings in the last couple of weeks were slightly negative

Stablemate, Rathvinden has had more positive vibes recently and ran second to Red Sherlock here in January, the pair pulling well clear of their field (albeit on softer ground) in the manner of two class acts. They should be close again but despite his tail swishing antics, Red Sherlock is a tough type who often looks to do just enough in his races. I think he may confirm that form and there is no obvious reason he won’t go on this ground.

Nicky Henderson had a woeful record in this race until Simonsig finally did the business and ground is maybe more of a concern for Royal Boy.  He appears weakest of the big 4 for me now.

Of the 4, I have marginal preference for Red Sherlock at the odds of 4/1 but they are all a bit skinny for betting unless one of the firms goes ¼ 1234 this evening


2.05 RSA Chase

¼ odds 123 generally available – current odds here

The two selections I made in my January update post are still here and I am happy to leave it at that.  .

This is an open race and I still think the Irish runners are too short in an open field. As previously mentioned in the blog, Annacotty is one I would like to keep on side as well as the two selections and would not put anyone off backing him at 20s (may get a few of these in trouble with his attacking front running style, although may prefer the ground a little softer)

Previously advised:

1pt ew Le Bec 16/1

1ptew O’ Faolains Boy 25/1

(the latter carries my strongest hopes for this race now that Barry Geraghty is confirmed aboard – some may think the good ground may not suit but he has point to point form on the surface)



2.40 Coral Cup

Most firms offering ¼ odds 12345 (avoid any offering first 4 because of this)

Highly competitive handicap but worth nothing that nothing has ever won from a mark of 147 or above,  despite some good placed efforts from the high weights.

One of those efforts was from Get Me Out of Here (second off 155 in 2012) and he’s had a quiet time this season up to now where he is reunited with Tony Mc Coy. On better ground, a bold effort would not be surprising but he does have a killer stat to overcome to win off 148. 25/1 is fair though and I certainly see him placing again.

I put up Meister Eckhart for this race last year and he ran a great race to be 2nd off 143. The stable’s runners ran well on Tuesday but he is 6lb higher and that rise just puts me off supporting him again.

The lighter weights appear to be the best place to look and there are two that give the impression of being ‘laid out’ for this.

Clondaw Kaempfer, came to Donald McCain with a big reputation last year and it was noted then by the trainer that soft ground wouldn’t be the horses favourite surface. McCain had Son of Flicka spot on for this race a couple of years ago and I can foresee a big run. The one negative for me is his lack of course experience which sways me instead towards Bayan who recorded a second here last year

Bayan represents another previous winning trainer in Gordon Elliott and looks to have been put away for this since December. Elliott certainly got this race right with Carlito Brigante who bolted up in the same colours and Bayan will get the ground he performs best on


1pt ew Bayan 12/1 (generally available)



3.20 Queen Mother Champion Chase

¼ odds 123 generally available

With reigning champion Sprinter Sacre sidelined this has a more open look and is further thrown into confusion with the three horses I consider to have best form in the race – Sire De Grugy, Arvika Ligeonneire and Somersby all having shown their best form outside of Cheltenham.

With the ground getting quicker also there seems to be a general drive by the firms to try and ‘get’ Sire De Grugy but they could overdo it here and he is gradually verging into value territory.

He has finished second twice in his two starts here but they weren’t bad runs and I’m sure Jamie Moore would have liked to have ridden the race again and come later after being nabbed by McCoy inspired Kid Cassify on the run in.

He is the best 2 mile chaser in the country and now he’s got to 3/1 I will be playing as I think that’s just too much – his Ascot win last time represented another jump forward in his form to me.

So the recommendation is 3pts win Sire De Grugy @3/1 or better (now available with a few firms)


4.00 Cross Country Chase

A nice spectacle to watch is my tactful description of this race. Since watching the field dawdle round until the final home turn in A New Story’s year and then all go for a mass sprint in the home straight – crowding each other in the process, I have been turned off it as a betting medium

No Bet thank you very much


4.40 Fred Winter Hurdle

1/4 odds 1234 generally but again check for those who offer 5th place payouts again

Always a competitive race but there is a notable stat favouring the highest flat rated horses in the race. Here that seems to be a toss up (96 rating each) for Goodwood Mirage (eyecatching run last time) and Orgilgo Bay (once rated 103). The better ground could see both of them improve and the latter has already been backed from early quotes of 33/1 today.


1pt ew Goodwood Mirage 10/1 (BetVictor, Hills)

0.5 pts ew Orgilgo Bay 20/1 (Sportingbet – who pay out 5th here also)



5.15 Champion Bumper

Generally ¼ 123 but some firms offering ¼ 1234 now

Covered  a few days ago in a previous blog post, both of those I put up there are running and content to stick with them – prices haven’t altered too much since

Already advised

1pt ew Neck Or Nothing 25/1

1pt ew Our Kaempfer 33/1



Thanks for reading once more


Good Luck



*Morning Update*
4.40 Have a sneaking feeling about Hawk High in this. Don’t consider him especially well weighted on what he has done but have a strong suspicion he could improve markedly on this ground. The Easterby threat is not what it was in the 70s and 80s but he only has a couple of entries at the meeting and doubt he would just send this down for a day out
0.25 pts ew Hawk High @40/1 added to portfolio

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Day 1


At 1.30 pm on Tuesday 11th March  ‘the roar’ will sound out for the start of the first race of the 2014 Festival

The first day has often been one of the bigger ones for me for taking a view but this year it might well be the quietest of the 4 with some tough races and value hard to pinpoint

Nevertheless, here goes

130 Supreme Novices Hurdle

Generally ¼ odds 123 but some books offer 1234 (and check out Paddy Power’s money back offer if you finish 2nd,3rd or 4th for sure!)

I find myself having question marks over the first few in the betting here

Irving slipped under the radar a bit earlier in the season but has progressed into the form leader coming into this after a very impressive win last time out at Kempton. The downsides are that his best form is on softer ground and most pertinently over right handed tracks. An undulating left hand course now faces him and with no form on such a circuit, I’d need a bit more than 3/1 to be tempted.

The Mullins stable come next in betting with Vautour (might need more of a trip and more experience) and Wicklow Brave (didn’t impress enough with jumping technique last time out). (If either or both do exceeb themsleves expect to see money for Lieutenant Colonle in Wednesday’s Neptune

And so I look for the value outsiders instead. I don’t include the Henderson pair here despite the trainer’s good record in this race – Vaniteux’s price is nothing to do with form and just about recent stable homework – Josses Hill has had a recent setback and not convinced that a stiff 2 miles is for him anyway.

The shortlist comprises Gilgamboa, The Liquidator, Un Ace and Three Kingdoms

( I would dearly love to see Wilde Blue Yonder win as I know one of the owners – but it’s against my religion to back anything that has FF next to its form – hope it runs well though!)

Gilgamboa. I can remember only Redundant Pal trying the Boylesports Hurdle– Supreme double in recent times, and he managed 5th in 1989. He looks a progressive sort and we know he operates at a good pace in a big field. 12/1 probably about right but can see him shortening with the McCoy factor.

The Liquidator boasts something quite rare in this field : course form!. An impressive win here in November and a solid display in last season’s Champion bumper ( statistically one of the best guides for this race), he was almost fav for this before a poor display at Kempton in January. It seemed still 50-50 he would run here last week but have to assume he’s showing something again at home now he is the sole representative from his stable’s strong novice team. A big player if back to his best.

Un Ace doesn’t have the form to match these but he could be called the winner some way out at Doncaster last time and seems to want decent ground –there would be worse 50/1 shots

The one who shouldn’t be 50/1 though is Three Kingdoms. His form is all largely handicaps but the form of the one he ran at on this course before Christmas should not be sniffed at – giving weight to Quick Jack and Deep Trouble who now have far higher marks. He has also beaten the highly progressive Vibrato Valtat on ground that probably wasn’t ideal. That form isn’t reprentative of his price here ( a quick glance at Racing Post ratings will confirm that) and he has to be a bet



0.5 pts ew The Liquidator 20/1 (365,888, Skybet taking ¼ 1234)

0.5 pts ew Three Kingdoms 40/1 or better (888 offer 50/1 ¼ 1234 if you can get it)

Oddsscheker prices here:



2.05 Arkle Trophy

I don’t remember a year I didn’t fancy anything here but find 2014 a bit of a minefield with no value appearing.

Champagne Fever looks the one who should be the best chaser but experience lacking – he may get the lead to himself here though which well help.

Expect Trifolium (needs softer ground?) and Rock on Ruby (only form in 2 and 3 runner races so experience a huge problem) to be trying to keep early tabs on him

Grandouet may have been best of these over hurdles but just doesn’t look as if he’s transferred all of that ability to chasing yet.

Dodging Bullets would be my idea of the safest ew bet – ground will suit but have this nagging feeling he will find one too good

Valdez is out of his depth to me


Verdict : No single bet but see Champion hurdle


2.40 Baylis and Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase (or the ‘Ritz Club’ for those of us with penchant for the older titles)

¼ odds 1-2-3-4 generally available

A big race to follow stats for me which tell us that the vast majority of winners carried less than 11st (this takes out the top 15 runners in one fell swoop) and should be aged less than 11 (bye bye to the likely to be gambled Alfie Sherrin and Fruity O’ Rooney)

If we apply form at previous Festivals now, the standout is Time For Rupert (one time RSA fav and runner up to Big Bucks in the World Hurdle).

Injury has seen him slip from the top flight but so has his handicap mark and he showed his first return to form last time out at Doncaster. This course has always suited him very well and he’s fancied to reagins some of his former glories

Solix is another that interests me right at the bottom of the weights. He too has previous Festival form running 5th in the 2011 Coral Cup off a 23lb higher mark than he has tomorrow. The suspicion was he had lost his form but in the Skybet Chase in January he had many in trouble on the home turn until the soft ground told and he finished 4th. Better ground will undoubtedly help him .He finished placed at Sandown only last Friday when soft ground/rh track combination didn’t suit at all – there is a chance of course this may come too soon after that but at the price it’s a chance worth taking.

Muldoon’s Picnic is the final selection here – no course form, just a belief that he could be reasonably treated now that the ground is getting better once more


1pt ew Time For Rupert 16/1 (general)

0.5 pts ew Solix 50/1 (BetVictor, Stan James, Coral, Betfair Sportsbook)

0.5 pts ew Muldoons Picnic 33/1 (general)


Oddschecker link here:


3.20 Champion Hurdle

¼ odds 123 generally offered – a good concession as there are just 4 main protagonists – avoid firm offering 1/5th for ew

The piece de resistance of day one! I really would have liked to have seen Annie Power and Un De Sceaux take their chances here but we still have a stellar field as Hurricane Fly attempts a 3rd win in the event.

The inclusion of Captain Cee Bee in the field as a pacemaker is a blessed relief. His stablemate, My Tent or Yours shouldn’t have any problems with a slow early pace now, and The New One won’t have to make the running

It all makes for a fairly run event and hopefully no excuses. I am of the opinion that Hurricane Fly’s best form is at Leopardstown rather than here (though not by a huge amount), and I don’t back 5yos in this race so Our Conor is not for me (maybe next year)

There appears very little between The New One and My Tent or Yours so at prices marginal preference is for My Tent or Yours as the ew bet at 4/1 or more

Not quite enough to merit a recommendation but an ew double with Dodging Bullets in the Arkle is half tempting

I don’t foresee a winner outside of the main 4 – not the ideal course for Jezki for me and Melodic Rendezvous needed very soft ground to have any chance of an upset



Going for the place angle here with

1pt ew double My Tent or Yours 4/1 or better with Dodging Bullets 5/1 2.05 Chelt

(for anyone without a Paddy Power account take note that they do offer £10 max on The New One at 8/1 – that is the best value to be had by far)


4.00 Mares Hurdle


This is all about Quevega who does very little all year and just gets tuned up for this and then wins

Corals offer a crazy 4/1 about an odds on shot here for new accounts (max £10) for anyone who can avail themselves of that

I can’t back her at prohibitive odds but it’s hard to oppose her also – hopefully more firms do a without the fav market here tomorrow and we might see something but for now the verdict is NO BET


4.40 National Hunt Chase

Another No Bet race for me.

Foxrock looks the obvious one to be laid out for this race but 5 and 6yo have a very bad record in this which counts against him at the price and Rogue Angel.

Shotgun Paddy’s need for softer ground is concerning enough to sway me there and Shutthefrontdoor is the marginal choice but don’t like the 7/2 sort of price being offered

I’ve tried to find an interesting outsider but so far failed to come up with anything!


5.15 Rewards4Racing Novices Handicap Chase

Things to look for here from a stats perspective:

Handicap chase debutants


Previous novice hurdle form at the festival

Beaten on at least 2 first chase starts and being a maiden over fences not such a bad thing


All of this leads me to Close House as the pick – this ground and trip look optimum and his chase mark is 8lb lower than his highest hurdles mark. He could have crept in leniently.



1pt ew Close House 16/1 (take ¼ 12345 with 888 if you can otherwise the general 1234)


As ever comments are appreciated – have a good week with whatever you back and enjoy the spectacle!

Thanks for reading 


(updates planned every evening for following day’s racing and additionally during the day if anything of interest is worth adding)

Evening update – value appearing in the Mares Hurdle now in the ‘without Quevega’ market
Doyly Carte will like better ground and not sure that Cockney Sparrow would have beaten her at Doncaster last time if she had stayed up. Jockey booking now unknown but 20/1 without the fav is too big for me. Kelso run last time was poor but all of Donald’s ran badly that day and the stable form has turned since.
Recommendation: 1pt ew Doyly Carte w/o the fav @20/1 (1/5 123) – Paddy Power/Stan James

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Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Bumper Preview

I wasn’t planning to cover this race until the night before but after scanning the 5 day declarations and the latest odds there are a couple of bets to be had in the race for me.

Wednesday’s final event has the betting dominated by the Irish challengers. That’s not entirely surprising when we consider their blanket bombing of this event has resulted in 16 of the 21 wins since its inception.

Willie Mullins as per usual heads the attack with 3 likely runners (Shaneshill, Black Hercules and Killultagh Vic) – he has a fine record in the race but it’s always a guessing game as to which of his is best and the bookies take no chances with having them all trading at 10/1 or less. One of them may turn out to be another superstar but unless privy to stable info that one is significantly better then there is hardly much value there

Dermot Weld also has a couple near the front of the odds (Siver Concorde and Vigil) but worth noting his record in the race is quite poor – even his subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite of Passage could do no better than 3rd

With the Irish runners mostly so short (and many having form on much softer ground than is likely now) the value bets for me come from the home side where odds are more generous.

The unbeaten Modus is the shortest price of the GB runners based on a very impressive course win on Jan 1 on soft ground. While he looked very good I do find myself questioning what he actually beat that day and I find myself drawn more to another bumper run at the course in November for my selections.

The bumper run at the Open meeting in November looked very strong at the time and the exploits since of the winner Red Sherlock do nothing to dispel that.

He pulled clear with Carningli and Our Kaempfer in the home straight with some good subsequent winners (Wadswick Court and Cogry) well in their wakes.

Carningli didn’t exactly advertise the form next time but ground could well be to blame for that.

However the impression I took most at the time was that the very green looking Our Kaempfer could ultimately prove the best horse in the race.

He hasn’t been seen since but I’m sure that’s down to the ground (his full brother Clondaw Kaempfer has won on soft but has always had suspicion that it doesn’t really suit him as well). Lack of experience may be an issue but the engine is definitely there and 33/1 more than outweighs the downsides.

Looking back at the race again however did provide another notable eyecatcher – Neck or Nothing. Irish trained at the time (sold for 200k two days before the race) – he now represents same connections as successful with Cheltenian in this race in 2011.

Neck or Nothing’s run is worth a look on video as he was moving ominously behind the pack when losing all chance with an acrobatic display after spooking and trying to jump a road before the home turn. The birds had flown by the time he had righted himself but he was still spotted putting in a nice finish up the hill and there was clear indication he had the ability to be seriously involved in the finish if that hadn’t happened

I also suspect he has been saved since to keep away from the bad winter ground and am sure that Philip Hobbs will have him fit enough for this

If the ground were still to stay too soft there must be a chance the either or both will not run so betting with NRNB is a must here (if ground does stay soft then I also consider Definitly Red overpriced currently –  would be much shorter I’m sure if his stable was higher profile – will save that for nearer the time though as ground not looking to go that way right now)



1pt ew Our Kaempfer 33/1 NRNB (BetVictor, Stan James)

1pt ew Neck or Nothing 25/1 NRNB (available fairly generally but avoid Will Hill who do not offer the nrnb concession)

Odds link for the race available here:

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


5 days to go!

With the first five day declarations in today excitement is building as we approach the Festival once more. (Tuesdays 5 day decs can be found here )

It’s still hard to predict who runs where in some cases and what will the ground be like. Currently it’s soft (good to soft in places) but the forecast looks dry and good to soft looking more likely – and who knows we may even have genuine good ground at some point during the week. A word of warning though – the water table is so high that it would probably not take much rain for the ground to deteriorate so it’s still a bit of a ‘wait and see’. I’ll be blogging every night before each days racing next week but for now a quick recap through what was already put up in my last blog and how they look now

RSA Chase

1pt ew Le Bec 16/1 – still generally 14 or 16 available and largely because Emma Lavelle’s charge hasnt run since so not much more to add! (havent heard anything negative since though)

1pt ew OFaolains Boy 25/1 – now offered between 12 and 16 max – his second chase run didnt go to plan but he did indeed return for the Reynoldstown where a nice win cemented his chance here. I believe better ground will suit and think he’s still overpriced on that effort. I’m hoping Barry Geraghty can renew his association with no obvious Henderson candidate for him to ride.


There still appears no obvious standout to me in this race and can see anything rated around 150 being able to win it.

I did put up Annacotty’s chances on Twitter after a fine effort last time out at Cheltenham when failing under a big weight after being taken on for the lead early. He was added to my portfolio at 33/1 and while I see 20/1 as a fair price I think the value margin is not quite enough to put him up on the blog at those odds (though wouldnt dissuade anyone from adding him)

A lot of preview nights seem to suggest the Irish challenge will outpoint the English here but I’m not so sure they are ahead and dont like the fact that none of their three main raiders have any course form here.


JLT Chase

3pts ew Oscar Whisky 10/1 – now 7/1 best price and as low as 5/1

Oscar has run since in a not too impressive win at Sandown where the bad ground undoubtedly didnt help him. I dont take negatives from that – yes, it could have been visually better but it’s his Cheltenham record that is all important for our purposes. The better weather forecast is good news – good to soft would be ideal for Oscar – Felix Yonger would be the one I fear most if the ground does verge on good.


1pt ew Fox Norton 25/1 – Non Runner (LOSS – 2pts)

The perils of Ante Post betting struck here when he was taken out of the race a couple of weeks ago making this a losing bet. I dont know the reason for his withdrawal but it’s a shame as his form lines were working out nicely and hope to see Broughton advertising the Doncaster race now ( though suspect the hill may not suit this one as well as others)



2pts ew FIRST LIEUTENANT 12/1 – now as high as 16/1

Clearly made to look second best behind Last Instalment last time but the ground was too soft for him there. There is a question mark now if he runs in the Gold Cup or the shorter Ryanair Chase dependant on the ground. However, tonight the same owners Last Instalment is described as 50-50 to run and will only compete if the ground is soft. The weather forecast suggests it wont be and this would also suggest that First Lieutenant wil run in this race now on the ground he so dearly needs.

With ‘Non Runner No Bet’ now available there is some insuranced if he does run in the Ryanair (original bet would be a loser) and I think its worth bolstering what we have on this now as I think his place claims are so strong if he gets optimum conditions

Therefore another 1pt ew First Lieutenant (16/1 BetVictor taking NRNB) making 3pts ew in total

I firmly see Bobs Worth as the horse to beat here still (peerless 5/5 record at Cheltenham). I’m hopeful we may see some firms offering more lucrative prices than 2/1 come the day here and if any firms do tasty price boosts on him would take what you can there


Nothing to add for other races yet. The feature on Tuesday, the Champion hurdle doesnt offer any value at this stage to me. I feel a bit robbed here that the Mullins camp may not let Annie Power and Un De Sceaux take their chance in this race. I may be wrong but it all seems to be a grand effort to let Hurricane Fly have his best chance of winning (really not sure now is the time to see if Annie Power stays 3 miles in the World Hurdle instead). Thankfully, even if Un De Sceaux does not run we now have the inclusion today of Captain Cee Bee to provide some pace in the race. The New One won’t have to make the running now – My Tent or Yours won’t lose the race by pulling and we should have a case of the best horse winning with no excuses.


Back on Monday night for the real fun to start!





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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Uncategorized