Monthly Archives: March 2015

Festival Round-Up

And so another Festival is over and it’s time for a tally up

It was looking touch and go to get in front over the first 3 days with a few too many placed horses for comfort – but we finished with a flourish on the final day. On The Fringe 8/1 and Killultagh Vic 14/1 (admiittedly might have been hard to get on at this price) made the week a profitable one – one easy winner and one nail-biting photo finish.

I hope a few had kept the faith by this time!

Day 4 had 10.5 pts staked on day of race bets and returned 33.25 pts. There was a 2pt loss on Ante Post bets from the disappointing Blaklion.

So this is now how the figures stand

The initial bank was 50pts

Current Balance is 71.06 – Profit of 21.06pts (42%)

and we still have 5pts of Ante Post bets to run in the Grand National (Monbeg Dude wasnt given too hard a time on very quick ground on Tuesday and probably had quite a nice prep)

The blog will go into hibernation for a few weeks now and be back for the Grand National at the start of April – a summary of the big race at the 5 day stage and some daily write-ups for the 3 day meeting I would hope.

As for next year the Gold Cup already looks a mouthwatering prospect with Coneygree, Don Poli and Vautour. Other races have a distinct Mullins dominated look already. At least Peace and Co proved himself as a viable challenger for the home side in the Champion Hurdle with a win in what looked a very classy Triumph today.

I dont’t do Ante Post bets this early but I think Arctic Fire’s performance to chase home Faugheen in the Champion was overlooked a little – and he would have benefitted from a stronger gallop still. Whether he’ll be able to get that next season I don’t know but Power’s quote of 16/1 seems very big now he has proved himself at the top level – he isn’t that far behind Faugheen on this week’s evidence

Thanks for reading throughout the week and hope you all had a profitable and above all enjoyable experience!


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Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham 2015 – Day 4

Heavy rain is expected at Cheltenham later tonight which makes life very difficult to do any kind of analysis. I wouldn’t want to be in Tom Segal’s Pricewise shoes this evening when he has to put forward selections not knowing if the ground will stay good or turn to soft tomorrow.
Until we are armed with this knowledge I won’t be making much in the way of selections until tomorrow morning when the blog will be updated but will put some initial thoughts down below


5mm of rain overnight will ease the ground a little but not enough to inconvenience too many – dry at moment but rain could still threaten

Day 3 didn’t provide any winners. Saphir Du Rheu, Ma Filleule and Rawnaq all contributed some place money to the coffers by reaching the frame. 7 pts were returned on day of the race bets (loss of 6.5 pts) and there was a 2 pt profit from the Ante Post portfolio.
A run down of the final day’s card:
1.30 Triumph Hurdle
¼ 123 generally available but in the good old days this was usually ¼ 1234 and a few firms are starting to offer that
Peace and Co has looked the star in this division this season and is justifiably favourite. His last win over Karezak came in a very slowly run event and it will be a world away from the fast pace tomorrow. I have a slight niggle that he may not stay as well as others up the final hill in a strongly run event and will be looking to oppose tomorrow at under 3/1. There were similar musings from several Preview nights and I wonder if the bookies will try to get him tomorrow. It could be a case of overdoing it if they do and if he were to get to 4/1 then he might be worth a dabble.
If the rain doesn’t have much effect I think stablemate Hargam has a lot going for him. Both he and the favourite have annihilated Starchitect this season and that one did no harm to the form with an excellent run here earlier in the week. It it does turn soft then Hargam’s claims will lessen- he can cope with it but seems a much better horse on a decent surface.
Beltor has looked impressive in two starts but his form lines weren’t advertised quite so well in the Fred Winter race.
Top Notch looks to be Simon Munir’s second string but could become a much stronger player if the heavens open.
The aforementioned Karezak has been beaten by many of these this season but always performed with great credit. I don’t think he’ll mind what ground it is and I really think he is crying out for the strongly run race he’ll get here. He’s the interesting one for me if firms offer a good enough price with 4 places as he is so consistent at this level



Hargam still a big player under current conditions but the rain will bring stamina into play more.The firms offering 1/4 1234 are where I’ll be looking and Karezak will be hard to keep out of the finish for me.


0.75pts ew Karezak @20/1 (365, Stan James – both offering the extra place concession)

2.05 County Hurdle 2 miles
¼ odds 12345 should be available here and has to be used in such a competitive race
Quite a compact field in terms of ratings for this this year and only 12lbs separating them all. It doesn’t quite have the class at the top pf the field as per usual and although the stats favour lower weights I don’t think that might matter as much as they are all so close.
Quick Jack is being backed as if he’s the handicap plot that many expect.
If the rain doesn’t come my eyes are drawn to top weight Hawk High (handicap winner here last year) and Commissioned (god only knows why they ran him last time when they already knew he hated soft ground!).
It’s wait and see for those two and back to the drawing board if the heavens do open


What rain that has come may still be enough to scupper Commissioned’s chances but Hawk High can still operate on Good to Soft (any more rain might be a problem). Lots of Irish raiders who could have been laid out for this – I don’t think Quick Jack is that well handicapped – but Noel Meade’s pair Rich Coast and Waxies Dargle are both of interest at over 20/1

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle 3ml
All ¼ 123 for now but I would be surprised if someone went an extra place as it much the most competitive of the novice hurdles this week
We have Blaklion Ante Post for the blog already here and I doubt he’ll be affected by whatever the rain does. His two Challow Hurdle conquerors both ran well on Wednesday and he’ll be much better suited by this 3 miles. I think he’ll reverse Doncaster form with Caracci Apache now he’s back on this course. His price hasn’t changed much since I put him up and some 14/1 is available – I think that price is very still
Value At Risk is the main danger I think and he might prefer a bit of rain. He looks like he’s crying out for this 3 mile trip and his course experience here in January is a positive.
No More Heroes doesn’t have the same previous run here and wasn’t right when beaten last time. He really needs the ground to soften up a fair bit for me – but if that does happen he does have the class to be involved.
I’m less convinced by Black Hercules’s claims and how they relate to his price here. He looks a real stayer but hasn’t got the strength of form that other Mullins novices have had this week (its that stable connection that makes his price so low for me)
Previously Recommended
1pt ew Blaklion 12/1


The overnight rain will be a bonus to Value At Risk and I’ll be backing up the Blaklion bet with him (who also won’t mind the ease in going). No More Heroes may need further rain yet.

Recommendation 1pt ew Value At Risk 11/1 (Paddy Power)

3.20 Gold Cup 3ml 2fur
The piece de resistance of the whole meeting and quite possibly the trickiest conundrum all week
A few firms already offering ¼ 1234 and I don’t blame them – if ever a non handicap needed it this would be it
I don’t think I could really rule out any of the 16 likely runners with great confidence.
Silviniaco Conti is the form horse and if this race were run anywhere else might well be my pick. His record at Cheltenham (looked likely to win last season but didn’t get home) is a negative and will surely have me looking elsewhere for a pick. Quite what to pick is ground reliant though and for tomorrow! Previous good Festival or form on the course form is a must for me so ones I will likely be ruling out as well as the fav are Carlingford Lough and Djakadam, who both didn’t shine here last season


We will have a proper stamina test here with that extra bit of rain and Coneygree, Many Clouds and Silviniaco Conti all wanting to be prominent. I’d love to see Coneygree the novice do well but Gloria Victis and Lanzarote both paid the ultimate price for jumping into the top level too early in their chasing careers – above all I just hope he comes back safe! His jumping will put others under pressure early though. I’d be looking for something with proven course form that stays very well.

Holywell fits that bill and always comes to peak form at the Festival where he is 2/2. It’s no negative that he is ridden by Richie McLernon (rather than AP McCoy who rode him in both of those victories). Jumping is a slight concern at this high level and I think he could be a drifter in the market today. 12/1 at the moment won’t drag me in but if he goes 16/1 with a firm offering 1234 I think I’ll bet.

Last years winner Lord Windermere won’t want too much extra rain but has also a great Festival record and has become too big at 20/1. I thought he ran a great trial last time at Leopardstown before condition told and will have be trained to be at his peak for this again.

Smad Place is the other at a big price. On this season’s form he’s up against it but he has consistently performed well at Grade 1 events at the festival and I expect him to be staying on at the finish.


0.5pts ew each

Lord Windermere 20/1

Smad Place 33/1

both with Skybet offering 1/4 1234

4.00 Foxhunters 3ml 2fur
¼ 1234 offered by some here – others just first 3
You really need a good knowledge of the Point to Point scene to have an opinion here – and I’m lacking a bit in that department. Unlikely I’ll be having any substantial bets here.
There will be a big difference in the abilities of the amateur jockeys competing and that can’t be ignored .
Salsify is a previous winner on the comeback trail from injury. On The Fringe has been placed in this but slightly disappointing given his reputation on both occasion. Paint The Clouds looks bets of the home trained team and has a previous course win albeit over hurdles.All meet the criteria of having a top Amateur on board
Carsonstown Boy was second last year (On The Fringe 3rd) so is interesting at bigger prices. From a jockey perspective I can’t ignore Aerial either who was a decent 150+ horse when trained by Paul Nicholls and has won his last two Points.
Any further PTP insight is greatly appreciated here though!


The fact they have form in this race, have good jockeys and the extra place concession all prompt me to these two each way as I’ll be amazed if neither hit a place at very least


1pt ew On The Fringe 8/1

0.5pts ew Carsonstown Boy 14/1 (unfortunately Pricewise took the 20s last night)

Both fairly widely avaialble but it must be with one of the firms offering 1/4 1234

Onto the two last handicaps – not races to be chasing losses on for sure
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hcap Hurdle 2ml 4fur
A Mullins trained /Gigginstown owned unexposed French import has won this twice in recent years (Don Poli and Sir Des Champs). Roi Des Francs has the same profile again and so is the obvious one to leap out – but not an attractive price as a result.
Killultagh Vic is interesting from the same stable off what could be a lenient mark


I think Killultagh Vic’s mark of 135 could be about 6-7lb les than it really should be and for that will be having an interest with Ladbrokes currently going well above the Betfair price



1pt ew Killultagh Vic 14/1 (Ladbrokes 1/4 12345)

(This price disappeared within a few minutes of posting unfortunately but 12/1 still worth a bet if available)

5.15 AP Mc Coy Grand Annual Chase 2ml
This year named in honour of the retiring champion jockey. And that’s why his mount Ned Buntline is so short with bookies fearful of a plunge and a successful Festival send off.
I’m going to pass on this race for now and has have far too many still on the shortlist


Thanks for reading – and please check in tomorrow morning when hopefully we’ll know just what the forecast rain has done


Initial Bank 50pts

Current Balance 37.81pts

Ante Post Bets still to run 7pts

Day 4 bets 10.5 pts staked

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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham 2015 – Day 3

A decent day for the blog today with Ante Post selection Windsor Park winning (advised at 12/1) and Southfield Theatre running a good second (advised 20/1) after making a bad mistake 4 out. If team Mullins had had their way and sent Don Poli to the 4 miler things could have been even better!
Day 2’s day of the race bets had no draws so there was a 6.5 pt loss there but the Ante Post picks returned 23 pts from 6 pts staked
Onto Day 3:
1.30 JLT Novices Chase 2ml 4fur

Generally ¼ odds 123 available
Only 4 runnings of the race doesn’t give us much data for stats.
Ptit Zig has been my long term fancy but it’s never ideal to come into a race such as this with a fall on the last start. That could have been a blessing in disguise as it saved him a hard race against some very useful types. He still remains the selection but is a bit too short a price to bet given that last blip
I certainly prefer him to Vautour whose priced is based on his hurdling form and the Mullins factor than what he has actually done over fences this season.
Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido are closely matched this season and should be involved at the business end but the lack of course experience for the former is a slight negative.
Splash of Ginge proved he doesn’t operate on right handed tracks last time and will be much more at home again back here now. Nigel Twiston Davies has had big priced placed horses in this before and could well hit the frame again here at big odds
Selections; Ptit Zig (but No Bet), Splash of Ginge ew


The Tullow Tank’s defection leaves an eight runner field – hopefully no more come out or that 1/4 123 will revert to first two. Ptit Zig has gotten too big now at 5/1 with Paddy Power and rates a bet at that price (especuilly after reading in P Nicholls column on Betfair how many fences he has jumped at home since his last fall). Splash of Ginge also a bit big for me at 22/1


1.5pts ew Ptit Zig @5/1 (Paddy Power)

0.5pts ew Splash of Ginge 22/1 (Stan James)


2.05 Pertemps Final 3ml

Look for firms offering 1/4 12345 for sure in this very competitive handicap

Edeymi’s eyecatching run at Musselburgh has fooled no one and firms chalk him up at too low a price based on what they think was being hidden.
Last years close fourth Trustan Times gets similar condition again and could be involved again with ground conditions back in his favour
My eye is mainly drawn to a horse I have followed for some time and is totally unexposed at this trip – Brother Brian.
Stamina is unproven but he’s always looked like he needs further and his 3 runs over the course have all been ones for the notebook. Hughie Morrison has kept him off the track since a good run against much higher rated pair Rock on Ruby and Volnay De Thaix in December to preserve his mark. Softer ground in the interim probably wouldn’t have suited either
This is still a race where 5yos have a distinct disadvantage – a big negative for Dawalan especially as he has such a big weight.
Big Easy is consistent in this grade and should again run well – although he continues to have his mark raised without winning. A strong pace will suit and can see him having place claims.
Unique De Cotte won well at Ascot last time despite hardly hitting one hurdle right. I can’t help but think that flaw will be exposed more in the stronger pace and better ground he will encounter here.
1pt ew Brother Brian @12/1 (365, Stan James , Betfair Sportsbook all paying 5 places)


Brother Brian a victim of Pricewise so all 12/1 sadly now departed. 11/1 still available with 5 places on offer

2.40 Ryanair Chase 2ml 5fur

1/4 odds 123 should be widely available
Not a beloved race of mine for picking winners in but that has to break one year.
A common theme amongst winners is that they were proven over 3 miles.
The Irish seem very bullish about Don Cossack’s chances this year and he has form over further. I’m not sure if he would have beaten Champgane Fever or not last time when that rival fell. It’s more of a worry that on his sole venture to the course he himself fell.
Johns Spirit was going as well as anything 3 out before stamina kicked in in the King George at Kempton over Christmas. He has some very good course form here to make him a contender but all of that form is on Cheltenham’s Old Course which is used earlier in the season – his New Course form (as he races over here is less impressive as stamina does become more of an issue.
It does appear strange that Balder Succes is a bigger price than Ma Filleule after he beat her last time but the latter is the selection.
Balder Succes does seem to thrive in smaller fields and his record of non completions at Cheltenham is a problem. He is also unproven over further
Ma Filleule on the other hand is proven at 3 miles and she really came to hand at this time last year. It was expected that she would improve a lot for last run and connections have talked her up very confidently since.

ma filleule
She is one of the best jumpers of a fence around (witness her win over Aintree’s National fences last season) and I am struggling to see her out of the frame
1.5 pts ew Ma Filleule @5/1 (general)


6/1 is available currently on Ma Filleule with Hills and Boyles but as she is trading less on Betfair don’t expect that price to hold for long

3.20 World Hurdle 3ml

1/4 odds 123 generally available but a few firms offering a very decent 1/4 1234
The blog is already covered for this with our Ante Post pick Saphir Du Rheu taken at 8/1 and now disputing favouritism around 5/1.
I still make him the one to beat (he does have marginally the highest official rating in the field) with stablemate Zarkandar the principal threat.
Cole Harden is interesting at bigger prices now that he is back on decent ground and has had a win op since his last run
Previously recommended
2pts ew Saphir Du Rheu @8/1


Ladbrokes offering 1/4 1234 and 7/1 on both Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar as I speak – thats a full point bigger than Betfair and for anyone who can bet with them I’d advise to back both each way if you can get on with those terms

4.00 2ml 5fur Hcap
Another competitive handicap- afew firms now offering an extra 5th place – hopefully more will follow
The two at the top of the weights, Hunt Ball and Rajdhani Express have performed well in higher grades and have been waiting for this better ground. Hunt Ball hasn’t been given much help by the handicapper though and actually meets Rajdhani Express on 6lb worse terms (including riders claim) for 2.5 lengths beating in Dynaste’s Ryanair Chase last year.
Rajdhani Express is a previous Festival winner and his mark has dropped a little since an eyecatching run at Kempton last time. 3 miles on soft ground was too much for him but nothing was going as well up to the home straight and as long as that effort hasn’t taken it’s toll I see him as a big player here.

Attaglance is another with good festival form and must be considered – he has a 4lb higher mark than when narrowly touched off in the novices handicap last year. That rise in weights is just enough for me to hold back on him – he’s getting a bit too old to be progressing now.
The other for my shortlist is Irish novice Rawnaq who isn’t harshly treated off 141. He ran a great race in the Greatwood Hurdle here in 2013 and appears to need decent ground. Experience could be an issue but novices have a reasonable record in this race so it isn’t such a negative.
Buywise is perfectly capable of winning a contest like this but invariably makes a bad error in his races – it could prove costly again
Bookies are probably running a bit scared of offering a high price on David Pipe’s Monetaire given how easily the trainer won this race last year with Ballynagour
1pt ew Rajdhani Express @12/1 (Paddy Power/Betfair Sportsbook both paying 5 places)
0.5pts ew Rawnaq @25/1 (365, Paddy Power)


12/1 still vavailable for Rajdhani Express although he is slightly less right now on the Exchanges

4.40 Kim Muir Hcap 3ml 2fur

Again a few offering an extra place and maybe more will follow
Amateur riders take charge here and experience in the saddle counts for a lot. I would be against any rider who is claiming weight.
I got a little excited at the 5 day entries when seeing Vintage Star had Nina Carberry jocked up. He’s one who really needs decent ground and was hinting at a form revival last time out now his mark is dropping.
Alas today I see that Nina has been required elsewhere and so my interest has waned a bit.
Champagne James has only had 3 chase starts and no experience at this distance. He is unexposed and looks a possible plot for this race from the Walsh family. Gold Bullet has a similar looking profile and a top amateur jockey on board
Masters Hill once had Gold Cup aspirations from Colin Tizzard but has started to rediscover his potential this season. He’s high enough in the weights but there’s still enough scope in his mark there to see him be a player.
The selection is another novice chaser who has crept in at the bottom of the weights.
The Ould Lad was considered good enough to contest todays RSA Chase but was presumably pulled out as he got in this race. He just needed the run last time but had an upward profile previously and ran well on this course in December.
0.75 pts ew The Ould Lad @16/1 (ladbrokes, Hills, BetVictor)

This price already under attack on Betfair so not sure it will hold out for long!


The price has held out on the selection despite dipping under 16/1 on Betfair last night – probably because Pricewise went elsewhere. He styas firm at that price on Betfair for now

Thanks for reading once more and good luck!


Initial Bank 50 pts

Current Balance 35.31 pts

Ante Post Bets still to run 11pts

Day 3 Cheltenham Bets staked 13.5 pts

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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham 2015 – Day 2

Day 1 was largely dominated by team Mullins (and his two jockeys Ruby Walsh and Paul Townend – much to my chagrin in the last – riding 5 of the days 7 winners)
The ante post selections in the blog today seemed to be too fond of 4th place scuppering the place angles of their respective bets.
It was left to the two selections in the last to return some investments and finish 2nd and 3rd.
The ground looked pretty quick today and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they watered this evening to prevent it getting too fast.
Assuming Best Odds Guaranteed on Generous Ransom who returned at 8/1 there were 9 pts staked on Tuesday’s day of race markets and 8.81 pts returned.
10 pts were lost on Ante Post wagers today but there are some nice positions to run on tomorrows cards which I will go through now:

1.30 Neptune Novices Hurdle 2ml 5fur
Generally ¼ odds 123 available
Surprisingly this race has thrown up some future Champion Hurdle stars in the past despite being over a trip much further. The last two winners, Faugheen and The New One, being ideal cases in point.
It’s usually a competitive affair and despite having an open feel to it it’s a bit of a shock to see only a field of 10 lining up – 7 of which are officially rated within 9 lbs of one another.
It’s a race I have already covered Ante Post and have a good position on having put up Windsor Park at 12/1 a few weeks ago – he’s now around 5/1.
I do think his form behind Nichols Canyon is the strongest coming into this and that he should be the likelier one of the two to benefit from the better ground and the longer trip. I don’t think there’s any value left in him at current odds but am very happy with the position I have on this race.
Parlour Games has arguably the strongest form of the English but stats followers will be well aware that Challow Hurdle winners have a bad record in this. I also have a feeling he may need softer ground to be most effective. – a remark I could also give to Outlander who has no form on such a surface
At bigger odds, Ordo Ab Chao is the most appealing outsider (14/1 best with Paddy Power). He won what looked quite a strong novice event at the course in January and has been a little overlooked in the betting for me.
No Bet for now at current odds
Previously advised
1pt ew Windsor Park 12/1

2.05 RSA Chase 3ml
Generally ¼ odds 123 available

Another race where the blog has a strong Ante Post position, having tipped Southfield Theatre at 20/1 in January. He’s now around 6/1 and fits the stats perfectly as a 7yo – the age that has dominated this contest in recent years.
Only 3 horses aged under 7 have triumphed since the late 1970s, and one of them was a 5yo and getting a much bigger weight concession than is received by them now.
This is too big a negative for me to support the current favourite Don Poli, The Young Master, Wounded Warrior and Adriana des Mottes.(of these I do think Wounded Warrior could be one to follow in coming seasons and may be a touch overpriced but is more one for softer ground)
Kings Palace won’t have to worry about vying for the lead with Coneygree any more now that one has been rerouted to the Gold Cup. This will help his cause but it’s hard to forget how disappointing he was at last year’s Festival when strongly fancied for the Albert Bartlett hurdle.
If In Doubt did amazingly well to win a big handicap comfortably at Doncaster considering his jumping was so bad. It shows he must have an engine but this is a much harder course to jump around and it’s a bit of a surprise to see him turning up for this race.
I still think Southfield Theatre is the one to be with and is hard to see out of the frame given a clear round on ground that will suit him so well.
Having already got a very good price on him I don’t see the need to reinvest more but wouldn’t put anyone off supporting him with Paddy Power currently offering a tasty 15/2. Paul Nicholls has been putting him forward as one of his strongest chances of the week at recent Preview nights
So for blog purposes it’s No BET but for anyone not already on the selection I wouldn’t pass him by

Previously advised

1pt ew Southfield Theatre 20/1

1pt ew Champagne West 16/1 (NR and therefore a losing bet)

2.40 Coral Cup 2ml 5fur
Many firms offering ¼ odds 12345 and you really need that in this highly tricky handicap
It’s hard to spot anything that looks well ahead of the handicapper. The obvious exception could be Paul Nicholls’ French import Aux Ptits Soins but its impossible to tell if his mark of 139 is a fair reflection of his form or not. It’s certainly a tough baptism to throw the horse into a race like this on his British debut.
I’m going for two small each way investments in the race.
I used to think 5yos had a disadvantage in this race but 3 have now won in the last 10 years so am less dissuaded. Baradari performed well at the Festival this year and looked an improved performer when tackling a longer trip last time. Venetia Williams must always be respected in any Cheltenham handicap and at 20/1 is worth a poke.
It’s anyone guess whether a Tony Martin runner is fancied or not – the market will surely tell us tomorrow if it is. Marinero had the misfortune to come up against Douvan earlier in the season but creeps in near the bottom of the weights here and with a decent 5lb claimer on board.
There’s always a good chance that anything sired by Presenting will be a better horse on good ground and that’s what sways me in his direction here as he is unexposed under the conditions tomorrow
0.5pts ew each
Baradari 18/1 Skybet ¼ odds 12345 (16/1 still acceptable as long as 5 places offered)
Marinero 16/1 Skybet, Bet Victor, Hills, Paddy Power – all offering a 5th place


An extra selection here which somehow eluded me last night. Dell’Arca was favourite for this race last year and was bang there at the last before finishing 5th. He is on a slightly higher mark but this year’s renewal doesnt look quite as strong in my mind. While he operates on soft ground his best form is at this track and on good ground which he gets here. I’m happy to ignore his last run at Taunton where he kept to the inner and the first two raced very wide – almost certainly he was on much worse ground.

Corals have upped the place game by offering 1/4 123456 and with that extra place thats where we will go for this one


0.75pts ew Dell’Arca 22/1 (Corals 1/4 odds 123456) – (25/1 is available for 1st 5 and acceptable also)

3.20 Queen Mother Champion Chase 2ml
Winston Churchill once said that Russia was ‘ a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’ but I think that could easily apply to this race as well this year.
Sprinter Sacre is the best 2 mile chaser of the recent era but has only raced once since a heart problem was diagnosed. It’s just so impossible to gauge how good he still is and that makes it so difficult to back him or lay him. I do worry about him coming up the hill with all of the problems he has had
Sire De Grugy has also had injury issues but looked back to himself when winning at Chepstow last time. He won this race last year when everyone wanted to lay him as it was always known this was not his favourite course. It was a weaker race than this year though and this is a stiffer test
Dodging Bullets is this year’s form horse and like so many of Dubawi’s stock has improved with age. The issue with him is how his form in March has not matched up to earlier in the season in previous years.
Champagne Fever doesn’t seem to have a trip right now. His novice form last season doesn’t look quite strong enough for me and he has since been campaigned over as far as 3 miles.
Mr Mole is a reformed character this season having been the bad boy of jump racing in his younger days. He was presented with a win at Newbury after Sire De Grugy’s fall but won well enough to suggest he could have beaten him anyway.
Special Tiara is a fantastic jumping front runner who will ensure a proper pace here but may just be a little below this class when a stiff finish is involved. His presence in the race should help the one who I think is the best outsider Simply Ned – a horse who desperately needs a sound surface to show his best.
Like most of Nicky Richards’ he a slow developer but has a consistently upward profile through his carrer and is a fluent jumper. He will be sitting out the back in this race and picking up the pieces but I can see him running into the frame at decent odds. 20/1 is available and worth a small each way investment

Simply Ned
0.5pts ew Simply Ned 20/1 (Betfred/Totesport)

4.00 Cross Country Chase 3ml 7fur
¼ odds 123 generally available
Not run over conventional fences this race this spectacle is nice to watch but doesn’t tempt me for punting purposes. Experience over the course is usually a must but most of the field have that
It’s a definite NO Bet race for me

4.40 Fred Winter Hcap Hurdle 2ml
Generally ¼ odds 1234 offered here though it would be a surprise if a few didn’t offer 5 places come the day
A great race for the blog last year selecting a 40/1 winner and a 20/1 place. Both were based on the previous record of decent flat performers in the race. Last year’s third Orgilgo Bay had the highest flat rating in the field at 103 and that stat has produced 3 winners in the past 10years.
Having had only the requisite 3 previous runs to gain a handicap mark has produced 70% of the winners in the same period.
We don’t have anything that has reached a rating of 90+ on the Flat competing this year but 6 horses have achieved ratings in excess of 80; Dai Bando, Arabian Revolution, Starchitect, Zarib, Mr Gallivanter and Sebastien Beach. Of these Arabian Revolution and Zarib have had just the three runs and they are the two for my shortlist.
Arabian Revolution was unlucky to come up against leading Triumph Hurdle contender Beltor on his second run and it was no disgrace for him to lose there when conceding 7lbs. Sebastien Beach was over 4 lengths back in 3rd that day and reopposes on only 1 lb better terms. John Ferguson’s charge has won well at Huntingdon since and the form has been boosted by the third in that race since (jockey Noel Fehily commented after the race that he had the class to run in Triumph). His hurdling form is all on soft ground but better going shouldn’t be a problem as has won on good ground on the flat. The booking of Barry Geraghty to ride is an obvious bonus.

arabian rev
Zarib also came up against a leading Triumph contender at Cheltenham in January when comfortably disposed of by Peace and Co. That was a very false run race and so hard to interpret the form literally. He won a very weak race easily since. I have the utmost respect for his up and coming trainer Dan Skelton and he doesn’t appear harshly handicapped on a mark of 133.
Of the two marginal preference goes to Arabian Revolution however as I see his form a little stronger and he appeals as a slightly stronger stayer
1pt ew Arabian Revolution 10/1 (general)


Alas only Racebets who I do not use have come up with 5 places so far. If anyone else does come up with 4 places and 12/1 Zarib I may well add him to the portfolio but nothing done for now

5.15 Champion Bumper 2ml
Look for a few firms offering 4 places here
A breeding ground for future Festival winners for sure this is often a race to get stung on. If I backed everything in the field that I heard was ‘best in the stable’ I could easily have 7 or 8 running for me.
I think Supasundae’s Ascot win is the best piece of UK bumper form on show here (Yanworth second) but he has since been sold to Henry de Bromhead’s stable and now represents Ireland.
General Principle and Wait For me are two I have heard talked up a lot recently and the Wille Mullins stable is once again represented en masse.
I heard very good things about Stone Hard at the beginning of the season and he would be my pick if pushed. He doesn’t appear to be the stable first string on jockey bookings but that doesn’t always work out in this event and Paul Townend has already had 2 winners today so is hardly a disadvantage. What might find him out would be quicker ground.
He’s more of a hopeful selection and for the purposes of recommendations this remains a NO Bet race

Thanks for reading once again
Comments welcome as always and good luck


Initial Bank 50pts

Current Balance 16.31 pts

Ante Post Bets Staked 17 pts

Day 2 Cheltenham bets staked 6.5pts

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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham 2015 – Day 1

The waiting is over and Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival is upon us.

As usual for this meeting there will be special offers in abundance. Enhanced place terms are always worth looking out for and there will be some daily offers that I will highlight whenever possible this week.
Unfortunately there will also be a plethora of crazy enhanced prices to offer for setting up new accounts but I won’t be looking out for any of those. They usually have a very low maximum bet acceptance and are just marketing gimmicks. Useful only if you have the chance to open an account in the name of your grandmother or dog!
Also make sure to check when taking a price for ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ (available with the majority of firms) so that if the SP does end up bigger you won’t lose out
The going at time of writing is good to soft with good in places. With some light rain forecast later today but a drying day tomorrow we hopefully shouldn’t see too much difference this time tomorrow.
Onto the racing:

1.30 Supreme Novice Hurdle 2ml
¼ 123 odds a place generally available for the opening race of the meeting.
Odds available here:
Some offers of note that should be worth much consideration for those having accounts with these firms: ; We will refund all losing single stakes on the Supreme Novices Hurdle as a free bet if Douvan wins (up to £50) : ‘Place a bet of up to £25 on the first race of the festival, and if your win or each way bet doesn’t come in, we’ll give you your money back as a free bet!’
This doesn’t have quite the competitive look to it that it usually has with two standout contenders at the top of the market frightening off all but 10 opponents.
Douvan heads the market for Ireland based on two very easy wins over 2 miles this season. It is a bit questionable what he has backed and this will be far his sternest test to date. He could be another Willie Mullins world beater but his short price is largely based on hype and doesn’t represent great value to me.
L’Ami Serge is next up and for me has slightly stronger credentials. His last two wins were on soft ground in small fields but his first win this season at Newbury is perhaps more telling – an easy win over Kilcooley has been advertised greatly by the runner up since. He doesn’t seem the most fluent jumper at times but always looks to have loads left in the tank and is the one to beat for me in this race. (A 66 day break since his last run isn’t ideal in terms of stats for race winners of this but we know he can perform well fresh)
Jollyalan is the other in the field with a handicap rating over 150 but has even more jumping concerns at this level and still looks a bit of a work in progress judged on his latest defeat at Sandown.
Qewy will also have some support and won very nicely at Newbury last time. It’s a while since a good ex flat racer won this event but going back in time many of those that did (French Ballerina, Flown, Harry Hastings, Shadow Leader) were all proven performers at 12 furlongs or more. It’s a little offputting for me that Qewy has only proved himself at lesser trips and I wonder if Aintree might have been a better target for him with stamina in mind. The uphill finish here could be his undoing.
Some Plan also gets a mention at a big price. He looks a horse for the future but ran his rivals into the ground from the front last time. He is likely to ensure a strong pace here which will have many in trouble. I can see him having improved enough to reverse earlier season form with Seedling but he may still be setting up the race for others in the home straight.
Verdict: I was considering a bet on L’Ami Serge a couple of weeks ago when he was around 9/2 but decided to wait until it became non runner no bet when I thought there was a good chance he would be the same price or possibly better. That plan has gone a little awry and at time of writing 7/2 is best available which is just under the price I would have wanted to recommend.
He is the selection for the race but is not a bet recommendation for now . (One to include in ew multiples for the day)


Ground remains unchanged at Good to Soft with Good in places overnight. The forecast is for a dry and suny day so it could well be all Good by the time of racing.

I will be having a play on LAmi Serge if 4/1 or higher becomes available but for now it it isn’t. It all depends on whether the money comes down for Douvan from Ireland if his price goes out or not.

2.05 Arkle Trophy 2ml
¼ odds 123 generally available
Another offer to take note of here from Paddy Power: ‘We will refund all losing single stakes on the Arkle Chase as a free bet if Un De Sceaux wins.’ (£50 max refund)
Un De Sceaux is a short priced favourite for the Irish and could well be in a different league to his rivals here.
He will undoubtedly blast off from the front from the start (1980 the last time we had an all the way winner) and very hard to envisage anything having the pace to live with him. There isn’t really another rival left in the declarations who looks a likely front runner anyway (Clarcam tried it last time and paid for the effort so will probably be held back more on this occasion)
There are enough negatives to put me off him though.
Not having ever run at the track and having no experience of this festival occasion. For a horse who both Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty have said ‘ they haven’t felt in control of’ during parts of his previous wins – the chances of the occasion getting to him have to be considered.
He’s a low quick jumper (fell on his first start this season) and that style may encounter problems at this undulating course.
If he can surmount these issues he most likely wins – and wins easily but at odds on (8/11 currently best on offer) that’s too much to risk
I’ve already selected Vibrato Valtat Ante Post for this and am happy to sit with that position taken at a bigger price than is available now. He won’t be vying for the lead early and will be ridden to pick up the pieces from the back. I think he’s improved since beating Three Kingdoms at Kempton and while that rival looks a big price in comparison I would be concerned that his jumping may not be quite good enough here.
Court Minstrel gets a mention as a big outsider who really needs good ground to be most effective. We can forget his last run because of that and he’s another ‘stalker’ who will be held up at the back.
At the moment this a no bet race for me at current odds though Vibrato Valtat gets the pick for the each way multiples.
Previous recommendations
2pts ew Vibrato Valtat 7/1
1pt ew double Vibrato Valtat 6/1 + Jezki 6/1 (Champion Hurdle)


No extra bets for me but if I could get on with them Ladbrokes’s 11/8 currently offered on Clarcam to beat Josses Hill would be interesting. The latter has some big jumping problems to overcome

2.40 3 mile hcap chase
Generally ¼ odds 1234 but take note that some firms are dangling a carrot of offering 5 places.
Low weighted horses used to be ones to look out for here with the advantage on the side of those carrying less than 11 stone. That theory didn’t work last year though with Holywell carrying 11st 6lbs to victory and two others placing from 11st+.
Being aged 11 or more was another big negative but that doesn’t affect many this year..
Novices have a good record in recent years and much of this augurs well for Ned Stark who looked a chaser going places when winning at Wetherby last time. Alan King won this with a novice (Fork Lightning) in 2004 and Bensalem for him looked like doing the same until falling in 2010 (before making up for that the following year!)
The Druids Nephew appeals as the main danger with Barry Geraghty back onboard – a combination that looked a little unlucky here against Gold Cup bound Sam Winner in November. That form still makes him look as if he could have a few pounds in hand of his mark of 146. Despite him being touted for the Grand National I very much doubt that this is a prep race and that this has been his main target this season.
In contrast this should really be a prep race for Monbeg Dude who I have already tipped up for the Grand National. With the weights now out he can still be competitive here but connections will want to be saving something back for Aintree or else he could have been very interesting at 25/1 (still place potential though)
Pendra has seen support in recent days and may do so still with AP McCoy on board but he isn’t for me. He’s been well supported to win handicaps at the Festival for the last two seasons off lower marks but hasn’t delivered and has a stamina question mark at this trip. Barrakilla has a nice weight with 10st 7lbs but is also unproven over 3 miles.
Gallant Oscar is of most interest of the lower weights but with all of his form on softer ground there is a question mark over him on this quicker surface

1pt ew Ned Stark 8/1 (BetVictor/Betfair Sportsbook who both offer 5 places)


9/1 currently available on Ned Stark with BetVictor (level with Betfair Exchange price)

3.20 Champion Hurdle 2ml
The centrepiece of the first day and as long as the 8 declared runners are still there at the start it’s generally ¼ odds 123 on offer
Again we have a previous ante post recommendation running here with Jezki taken at bigger odds than are now available.
With ground conditions likely to suit I would expect him to reverse earlier season form with Hurricane Fly.
Faugheen will be taking on better class opponents than he has routed so far this season but could easily be up to the task. It’s just a little niggle about his jumping that makes me think his current price of 5/4 best is a tad too short. Expect that to shorten or lengthen depending on what happens to Douvan and Un De Sceaux earlier in the day.
The New One is the other member of the Champion Hurdle triumvirate but his jumping has long had a question mark at the top level and is a worry again.
It’ll be a big shock for me if the winner comes from outside these main three and the biggest conundrum here will be how the race is run.
There’s no pacemaker in the field so Faugheen could be allowed to dictate the fractions. Jezki’s owner also has Kitten Rock in the race – he should be there on his own merit but could he be sacrificed to apply some pace and not let Faugheen have it all his own way?
For now it’s a no bet race at current odds for me with the Ante Post interest already on board
Previously recommended
2pts ew Jezki 6/1

Nothing to add this morning for this race

4.00 Mares Hurdle 2ml 4fur
Generally ¼ 123 (beware a few offering 1/5th)
Quevega won this 4 times in a row and now team Mullins look set to monopolise the event once more with an arguably better mare – Annie Power – a short price favourite.
The stable also supplied last years 2nd Glens Melody but there was no contest when these two met as novices and Annie ran out a very easy 12 length winner.
The problem is that Annie Power hasn’t run yet this season and her preparation has had some problems according to reports – or else she may well have been running in the World Hurdle instead.
It’s quite likely that she won’t have to be 100% to win this but while she is much the likeliest winner her odds are quite prohibitive given those little doubts about her wellbeing this year..
Polly Peachum is highest rated of the home contingent and does have a rating 5lb higher than Glens Melody. She hasn’t been seen since pulling up at Kempton – a run largely best ignored as Caroles Spirit slipped the field and got too far clear under an inspired Daryl Jacob ride giving the others and impossible task to catch her. That 106 day absence is a slight concern although it seems likely that she has been waiting for better ground.
I cant back Annie Power but wouldn’t want to back against her either. Betting without the favourite would be the main market of interest for me and so will look for more firms to offer that tomorrow before making any judgement


Betfred/Totesports 4/1 (1/4 123) for Polly Peachum in their betting without Annie Power looking the most attractive option this morning. Barry Geraghty seemed qiuite optimistic about here chances in his regular At The Races blog last night

4.40 National Hunt Chase 4 miles
¼ odds 123 with most firms
There are some unhappy Ante Post backers around here after Very Wood became a runner today after being announced as a runner in the RSA Chase at the end of last week (and Ante Post fav Wounded Warrior swapping with him)
Very Wood does have a lot to recommend him having won at the Festival as a novice hurdler last season when looking a real stayer.
Stamina for 4 miles is unproven but that applies to virtually the whole field. He appeals as the likeliest winner but I wouldn’t feel confident enough to put him up as a bet at around 7/2.
If any firm did offer 4 places on this tomorrow I might be looking more for a longer priced outsider each way.
Vivaldi Collonges (inexperienced but appears to need an extreme distance and decent ground) and Theatre Queen (quirky but extraordinary performance last time considering she stood still at the start ) would be two such to consider
For now it’s a NO BET race


With some firms now offering 4 places I’m tempted by a small bet here.

Vivaldi Colonges isn’t a stats pick – he’s probably too young and not enough chasing experience for that. But I just feel the distance and going here are going to be right up his street and he has an excellent pilot aboard in Will Biddick.

Recommendation 0.5 pts ew Vivaldi Collonges 16/1 (1/4 1234 – Betfred/Totesport)

5.15 2ml 4fur Novices Hcap Chase
The finale is generally ¼ 1234 but again look out for a few offering that extra place.
I’ve had Thomas Crapper in mind for this race for some time and he has sneaked in with a very low weight after some inspired placing over inadequate trip and bad ground to get him back to a mark of 134 from 138.
Cheltenham, decent ground and 20 furlongs all seems to be his optimum conditions and his form against current RSA fav Don Poli at the Festival last year looks all the better now..

thomas crapper
I’m hardly being imaginative in nominating Generous Ransom as his main danger. Nick Gifford has looked after this one carefully throughout his career and he came of age at Cheltenham last time when looking the winner a long way out.
The family all have a marked appreciation for better ground so it was no surprise to see him wilt a little on the run in there. I expect more improvement than the 8 lb raise the handicapper has given him back on better going – and expect him to confirm the form with third home Irish Cavalier
1.5 pts ew each
Thomas Crapper 15/2
Generous Ransom 7/1
Both with BetVictor and Betfair Sportsbook who offer 5 places


Generous Ransom now a mouthwatering 10/1 with BetVictor and with 5 places. That’s a point higher than Betfair Exchange who are only 9/1 right now (same price as their Sportsbook who also offer the 5th place option)

The blog will get some updates each morning if anything catches my eye on the day of the race.
Day 2’s thoughts will appear tomorrow evening – hopefully in advance of Pricewise selections – and will continue in the same way for Day 3 and 4.

Many thanks for reading and good luck this week with whatever you end up backing
Comments are always most welcome


Initial Bank 50pts

Current Balance 14 pts

Ante Post Bets staked 27pts

Day 1 Cheltenham bets staked 9 pts

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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

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