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a fortysomething (hic...50) who's been employed in the betting industry since leaving school

Cheltenham Festival Day 3 -2018

Day two began with the ground still described as ‘dead’ and very much on the soft side. The forecast suggests we could have a lot of rain overnight and so ground could worse again tomorrow (check going reports in morning to see just how much but we could get some real ‘gloopy’ conditions)

Onto the races tomorrow:

1.30 JLT Novices Chase 2ml 4fur

This doesn’t have the same look of class as the two other novice chase championship races.  Finians Oscar was ante post favourite for this early in the season but after a good start his season certainly hasn’t gone to plan and it looked unlikely he would ever make it here. His bravery at jumping has been questionable but he does have the ability to win this. There has to be a question mark over him though still.

I’d like to see some course form for the favourite Invitation Only – and it’s also noticeable that Benatar’s career has been at flat tracks until now. Terrefort is unbeaten in the UK and will like the ground but also is missing any form at this track.

Shattered Love did race here last year and didn’t look to enjoy the experience so am also wary there.

Modus does have course form but I’m not fully convinced that he is up this level as a chaser.

I’m finding it possible to make a case and a negative for nearly everything here.

It’s only because I think the price is too big that I’m going to have a small play on Kemboy (probably high odds because he is perceived to be the Mullins second string).

Having seen him as a novice hurdler at Leopardstown last year he had a look of a horse who would be better in time as a chaser. He performed fairly well over hurdles here last year and I think he can cope with deep ground


0.5pts ew Kemboy 20/1 (365 paying 1/4 odds 123)


2.10 Pertemps Hcap Hurdle 3miles

Quite likely to be a bit of a slog and I think the one that sticks out as being suited to this kind of test is Forza Milan. It’s always a plus in my eyes to see anything sired by Milan when ground gets bad

I’m often exasperated in trying to guess the plans of the Jonjo O’Neill stable but think he may have had this race in mind for some time here and it’s interesting that cheekpieces are reached for first time now

Killian Moore always rides him and claims a handy 3lbs off in the ground.

He has performed well before after a break so I’m not too concerned by a near 3 month absence in the run-up to this (that could all be about keeping his mark in check).

The stable have won this race three times before and know what it takes to win it


1pt ew Forza Milan 14/1 (365 paying1/4 odds 12345)


2.50 Ryanair Chase 2ml 5 fur

With many firms still quoting Douvan here at 3/1 prices are bound to change as soon as he becomes a non runner after running today.

It would be great to see Cue Card bounce back to win this but can’t help thinking his last race was a brutal one that may have taken a lot out of him.

Cloudy Dream will be suited by the drop back from 3 miles but is a better horse on good ground.

It’s currently advantage to last years winner Un De Sceaux in my mind but doubt I will be betting on this race


3.30 Stayers Hurdle 3miles

Sam Spinner has been the revelation in this division this season and the deeper the ground the more it goes against his rivals and favours him.

Not having course form is the negative for this throughly likeable galloper but he can be expected to be attacking his rivals early and exploit any stamina weaknesses from a long way out

I would have fancied a few to be able to challenge him on better ground but on this going he is going to take some beating.

He would undoubtedly be shorter if trained by a more fashionable stable



2pts win Sam Spinner 4/1 (several offering but beware any who still quote Apples Jade and may impose a Rule 4 when that one gets taken out as expected)


4.10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Hcap  2ml 5 fur

Far too difficult a race for me to solve at the moment and I’ll readily pass for now…


4.50 Mares Novices Hurdle 2ml

I think the Irish mare Laurina holds all of the aces hre and will be very difficult to beat but the price is too short to tempt me.

Cap Soleil may improve for the return to deep ground and is the one I might be looking at each way or in markets without the favourite


5.30 Kim Muir Challenge Cup 3ml 2fur

A handicap with amateur riders.

Squoauteur has been the subject of handicap plots before and with Jamie Codd on board he’s already priced in anticipation of the same.

Mall Dini also has a top amateur on board and wasn’t far away in this last year. He has also probably been aimed at this for a while but the ground looks likely to be against him

I’m happy to swerve these two and prefer another ridden by a top Irish amateur – Final Nudge.

He ran a great race under a big weight in the Welsh National and looked to be feeling the effects of that still when down the field at Sandown a few weeks later.

He won’t mind this ground and after a decent break since am hopeful he can bounce back here as he has the class to defy a high weight here. (was still travelling very well in the ultra testing Midlands National last year when departing late on last year – this race can’t be any more attritional than that)


1pt ew Final Nudge 22/1 (Corals)


Thanks for reading once more and good luck!



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Posted by on March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Festival Day 2 -2018

Day one did indeed have softer ground as we expected – some described it as dead – but it doesn’t appear to be that 1980 style ground I was expecting and race times suggest it’s not as bad as envisaged. Thankfully there doesn’t appear to be a huge course bias either. While it’s still soft the forecast suggests that it certainly won’t get worse tomorrow and with drying conditions it might not be too attritional on day 2

Onto the races:

1.30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle 2ml 5fur

Samcro is a very impressive individual and will take a world of beating but this race does have a history of short priced ones getting beat. He is the big talking horse in Ireland this year and many will be very disappointed if he is turned over.

It would not surprise me to see him win but I would rather go for an each way alternatives.

I’m happy to see Duc Des Genievres rerouted here. He was beaten by Samcro last time but was the most obvious to take from that race who would benefit from a longer trip. I think he can give the favourite something to think about. (Third horse Paloma Blue ran very well on Tuesday despite pulling away his chances again)

I also like Black Op’s chances. He probably would have won last time but for a last hurdle blip and had been in front plenty soon enough. The New One won this race after getting beaten similarly in the same race so that defeat shouldn’t detract from his chances

Next Destination is too short a price for me in relation to the other two I just mentioned. Vision Des Flos was impressive last time and his stable look to be going well now but I think he still has something to prove on form

Getting a firm that offers ¼ odds for each way purposes is pretty important here if there are similarities in win odds


1pt ew Black Op 10/1 (365 1/4 odds 123)

1pt ew Duc des Genievres 14/1 (Paddy Power/Betfair Sportsbook 1/5 odds 123)


2.10 RSA Novices Chase 3ml

This could be one the races of the festival and there will be no more popular winner than Black Corton and Bryony Frost. This one has a fantastic attitude and done nothing but improve all season. His jumping his assured and it will take a serious horse at the top of their game to beat him.

Elegant Escape beat Black Corton at Newbury earlier this season but the second was giving weight that day and reversed form on level terms at Kempton. The stiffer track may be in Elegant Escape’s favour….but on the other side Black Corton has course winning form

I don’t think there will be a lot between these two but the Irish pair of Presenting Percy and Monalee may be a step ahead of both.

Both have fine previous Festival form over hurdles and both always promised to be better chasers.

Presenting Percy would probably prefer better ground and did have quite a hard race last time when receiving weight and a beating from Our Duke ( the winner is a serious candidate for Friday’s Gold Cup)

Monalee’s season hasn’t gone quite to plan after a fall midway through it. It was good to see him bounce back from that next time – especially as I believe he had a slight setback just before the race – his effort can be marked up because of that.

I have backed Monalee ante post here at bigger prices so won’t be going in again at 7/2. I think he is the one to beat here but there is a slight niggle in my mind about jumping now if he is being taken on at any stage in the race.

It’s not a strong conviction though and I could equally see some attractiveness in backing Black Corton or Elegant Escape each way here.

No recommendations for now


2.50 Coral Cup 2ml 5fur

Always a very competitive handicap

I really liked Burbank’s run at Ascot last time. It signalled a return to form after disappointing efforts earlier in the season. He ran really well at this meeting last year and Nicky Henderson looked like he couldn’t contain his liking for this one on two recent preview evenings.

Really soft ground is something we just don’t know that will suit him or not but he is at the top of my shortlist…any maybe the ground won’t be quite so bad anyway tomorrow

The ground could also be better for Mount Mews but this one has won on it before. He wasn’t as adept over the bigger fences as his rivals at Ascot last time and has been brought back to hurdles. That could be a shrewd move as he has a decent mark here and this trip could be ideal

These two will be my main plays

1pt ew Burbank 18/1 (Hills, Betfred/Tote)

1pt ew Mount Mews 16/1 (Ladbrokes, Corals, Boyles)

  • an extra recommendation added here on Wednesday morning with the sponsors paying a generous 1/5th odds a place for the first 7. Graceful Legend is a tough mare who seldom runs a bad race and gets on very well with her 5lb claiming jockey. I think she paid for taking on the favourite in her last race and doesnt probably stay 3miles. She’s better judged on previous course form here and doesnt deserve to be as big as 66/1  0.5pts ew Graceful Legend 66/1 (corals 1/5th 1234567)


3.30 Champion Chase 2miles

Hard to get involved in the 2 mile chasing championship. Altior is the one to beat but hasn’t had the most straightforward of seasons and was the subject of a last minute scare at the beginning of the week. Douvan has also had a chequered career since disappointing in this race last year – he was almost retired earlier this season.

This could let in Min although I doubt he has the talent to beat either of the other two if they are on song (Ruby Walsh choosing to ride Douvan might be a slight negative but as todays Champion Hurdle showed having Paul Townend on board instead isn’t too much o a downside). He hasn’t done much wrong this year though in his preparation for this

Politologue will go on the ground and might appeal to each way punters. Not for me though given his previous form on this course (including a bizarre running out earlier in his career) which suggests to me that he is more effective elsewhere.

Reigning champion Special Tiara would have been my each way choice but the softer ground has gone against him

If Altior is 100% I’d expect him to be too good but with a few doubts seeded about his wellbeing it’s a just a race to watch for me now

No Bet at the moment but I would be very tempted by Min each way if the other big two were backed and he got to 9/2 or bigger


4.10 Cross Country Chase 3ml 6fur

A specialist race in every sense and never been one I’ve been keen on. Strong messages for both Cause of Causes and the enigma that is Tiger Roll coming from Ireland during preview nights but I’ll happily sit this race out

No bet – put the kettle on time!


4.50 Fred Winter Hcap Hurdle 2ml

Eragon Du Chanay has crept in at the bottom of the race after a dominant win on bad ground at Sandown last Saturday. He probably didn’t beat a lot that day but is well in on the back of that. It is a huge ask though to run two races in that short space of time on very bad ground.

Paul Nicholls has a great record in the race – and so do the highest rated flat horses who appear here. Both stats heavily favour Act of Valour who has to be at the top of my shortlist.

I also like his Newcastle victim Look My Way who looks to have gone forward since. This one has also won on heavy at Ffos Las. The ground can be really bad at that track and so whatever he encounters here will hold no fear. He ran really well here behind Apples Shakira last time when really putting it to the Triumph favourite. I’m sure they won’t press on quite as early here with her not to worry about


1.5pt ew Act of Valour 9/1 (Paddy Power/Betfair Sportsbook/Betfred/Tote/Bet Victor)

1pt ew Look My Way 12/1 (365, Hills)


5.30 Champion Bumper 2miles

The Leopardstown race where Blackbow beat Rhinestone looks the strongest piece of form here.

My initial impression was that the second might reverse on better ground at Cheltenham but that hasn’t materialised. Rhinestone’s chance is still boosted by virtue of Barry Geraghty picking him instead of Didtheyleaveuoutto. Blackbow certainly looked the better long-term prospect but I was worried about his action that day and how he would cope with better ground. That might not be such a problem now

Acey Milan has done nothing but improve this season and being by Milan should have no issues with deep ground. ( I need to see how MS Parfois performs on Tuesday first – as stated in day 1 blog I was a bit worried about stable form here)

This looks a strong race and well worth watching for future prospects. Tom George’s pair The Big Bite and Seddon both are highly regarded and shouldn’t be totally disregarded at big odds ( the trainer started the meeting in the perfect way when winning Tuesday’s opener).

(Adrian Heskin made a point of picking out Seddon as a really nice type in a recent preview evening – he didn’t have to do that but obviously holds him in some regard)

I couldn’t put anyone off Blackbow, Rhinestone or Acey Milan but will go for a slightly more speculative recommendation at big odds

0.5 pts ew Seddon 50/1 (Boyles) – would take 40/1

Thanks for reading once more


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Posted by on March 13, 2018 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Festival Day 1 – 2018

The blog is back for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival!

It will be a shorter and more condensed run through than recent years due to my own time constraints this year.

I’ve detailed a few important stats when looking for winners in previous years but anyone looking to expand on that is recommended to visit the excellent site. (A lot of work has gone into this so if you do find it useful be sure to leave a donation to the worthy cause it has been done for)

It’s a completely different looking meeting to recent years though with heavy ground looking a possibility on the opening day. We have to go back to the early 1980s the see anything similar and it does put a completely different spin on trying to anticipate the likely winners this year. The stats I have used in the past may well be affected by this difference. Ability to act on the going could well have a far greater bearing than usual and could throw other statistical trends up in the air.

Reminiscence time now to see just what this sort of ground can do to decimate a field can be seen here in the 1980 renewal of the RSA chase

A lot of plans made through the winter may be up in the air now with the anticipated Good to Soft going on Day 1 no longer materializing.

We’ll know a lot more after racing has started on how bad the conditions are. There has been a marked tendency at this course when it has become very boggy in recent years for hurdles races to be dominated by horses racing on better ground on the far rail. I’m hoping this isn’t the case here but if it is I expect there to be a fight to secure the prime spot

Onto the racing – odds for each race can be found via – I will list best available price I can find at time of posting where applicable for any selections


1.30 Skybet Supreme Novices Hurdle 2miles

There didn’t seem to be an overwhelming vote of confidence for Willie Mullins’s favourite Getabird at preview evenings in the run-up the big meeting. I was half expecting 3/1 to be available on the day but his price has firmed up since and he looks likely to start much shorter now. That’s a lot to do with the softer ground (good ground would have been a concern). There is still a question mark over his ability to race left-handed (same applies to his Punchestown victim Mengli Khan). It is that, and some doubts I have about the form of that race (Mengli Khan seemed to run well below previous efforts), that make me uneasy here.

Kalashnikov is most fancied of the home team and comes here after an impressive Newbury win against seasoned handicappers. He showed soft ground held no fears there but truly heavy conditions may not suit quite as much. He was beaten on bad ground at Sandown by Summerville Boy before then. That race had a slightly unsatisfactory feel about it to me at the time and I’m not so sure the winner can uphold the form given that Kalashnikov lost a shoe in the race.

First Flow is another to consider as he is also proven in deep ground but he needs to improve on what he has achieved so far. The potential is definitely there though.

Slate House has good course form earlier this season but seems to have gone backward since.

Claimantakinforgan and Western Ryder will both struggle on this going from what I have seen from them this year

The other interesting one is Paloma Blue. He was the only one to come close to the much vaunted Samcro on paddock inspection in terms of looks on his last start at Leopardstown. He took a strong hold during the race but travelled as well as the favourite turning into the straight. The earlier antics then took their toll and he weakened into third. I’d be worried that with the big atmosphere certain here he might not settle again – in which case the final hill will almost certainly find him out. If he can be settled by Davy Russell though he is a player

Marginal preference is for Kalashnikov here. He would have been an each way bet for me at 5/1 or better on soft ground but on heavy ground I’ll probably be holding fire now


2.10 Arkle Trophy 2 miles

The presence of some high quality novices at the front of the market here has frightened all but rank outsider Robinshill off and we just have 5 runners.

With three of them all racing from the front this year many are anticipating a burn-up which could have let something come in to pounce from behind.

Brain Power is the one that doesn’t need to lead but a last run fall and some below par course form don’t attract me to him.

Saint Calvados hasn’t got the hurdling form of others but has impressed greatly with his jumping in some easy wins this season. He has the ground to suit him but there is some question mark with his rather pronounced action that this undulating course may not suit as much as the flat ones he has been winning over.

Many seem to have been marking Footpad as another who needs to race from the front. He lead Petit Mouchoir at Leopardstown but I don’t believe it’s something he has to do – he certainly didn’t as a hurdler. He’s been leading simply because his jumping has been so proficient and I actually think that he might be better here because he has a rival he can give him a lead.

Petit Mouchoir reopposes again and can be expected to improve on that effort. He was the best hurdler out of these but he did make some errors on that last start. I can’t help thinking that with two better jumpers taking him on he might be drawn into mistakes again – and that will cost him here

Footpad is my choice to win this. He was about 6/4 a couple of days ago but is nearer to Evens tonight. That’s a little bit too short to make him a recommendation in ground that has been suggested could be ‘puddingy’


Likewise I am loathe to oppose two short priced favs later in the card.

Buveur D’Air is around 4/7 for the feature event – the Champion Hurdle at 330 – but it’s hard to oppose him in his bid to repeat last year’s success. Previous winner, Faugheen, didn’t look the same horse on his last start. Faugheen’s stablemates – Yorkhill (ran abysmally last time out and avoided by the main stable jockeys here) and Wicklow Brave ( talented but quirky – has been known to plant himself at the start) I am also happy to discount.

My Tent Or Yours would have been an each way bet here for me given his previous record in this race but the heavy ground has to be a negative for him.

There’s easily potential for a big priced outsider to hit the frame here – it’s just that finding it is the problem with so many looking to prefer better ground. For reasons noted last year, I hope that Ch’tibello is one that can do that but he did run flat last time and was still feeling the effects of an attritional performance at Haydock. It could be that his Wincanton conqueror, Elgin is the one to grab a place. He is proven on bad ground at Cheltenham already this season (when he stuck to the far rail like glue!)

Apples Jade (also around 4/7) looks the other short-priced one that can’t be opposed in the Mares Hurdle at 4.10. She also comes here to defend her crown and looks a better horse than last year. Her opposition looks weaker still to me and so would be the more attractive option to me of the two hotpots at that kind of price. Benie Des Dieux is a more unexposed than the rest and the only who I could see representing any kind of threat


On the rest of the card I find the Close Brothers Handicap at 530 practically impossible to solve at this stage.


In the earlier Ultima Handicap at 250 I think it would take a monster effort from top weight Gold Present to win in these conditions. Last years second, Singlefarmpayment, I also have to rule out on the likely ground. My short list for this race are  three novices – Coo Star Sivola, Vintage Clouds and Ramses de Teillee.

Coo Star Sivola and Ramses de Teillee would both struggle on previous stats as 6yos but as they are French breds I’d be willing to ignore that as they do tend to mature earlier. Coo Star Sivola has good previous Festival form and looked improved for stepping up in trip last time. He was 8/1 a few days ago but there isn’t much juice in the 5/1 now (I’d like a bit more in the price to counteract the one negative in my mind which is the jockey). Ramses de Teillee comes from a stable that has to be respected in this race and will like the going. My concern here is that all his best form appears to be at Chepstow and that can be a track for specialists.

Vintage Clouds is a second season novice and was running well in this last year until falling. I think this year’s ground will be far more to his liking. Unfortunately he has been found in the market too and the 14/1 that was freely available on Sunday is long gone!

With the prices all a little below what I would want on all three it’s another no bet race for now


The final race to consider is the 4 mile National Hunt Chase at 4.50. Over this trip and on this ground this is going to be a severe test of stamina. I’m not convinced that favourite Jury Duty has the fortitude for it on this going. There were two that stood out to me as likely to appreciate both going and trip.

Firstly, the mare MS Parfois will relish the ground and has won at the course. She would have been a bet until I noticed some fairly horrendous form from her stable in recent weeks. This is a little offputting.

Therefore I am drawn to her Warwick victim, Duel At Dawn, who looks another who could be ideally suited to such a test. He ran well at this course when beaten by reopposing Sizing Tennessee but is 5lb better off with that one today and also looks a stronger stayer than his conqueror there


I wouldn’t have been nominating this one on normal ground but he could well come into his own in this likely slog and is an each way recommendation with some firms offering 4 places


1pt ew Duel At Dawn (use firms offering 1/5 odds 1234 – paddy power have best price of 16/1 at time of writing)


Good luck to all once more and thanks for reading




Summary of selections

1.30 Kalashnikov 

2.10 Footpad

2.50 Coo Star Sivola/Ramses de Teillee/Vintage Clouds

3.30 Buveur D’Air

4.10 Apples Jade

4.50 Duel At Dawn (recommended bet ew with 4 places)

5.30 PASS!


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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in Uncategorized


Epsom Classics 2017

Epsom Classics 2017

A quick summer outing for the blog with Classics weekend at Epsom looming. The Oaks (for fillies) kicks comes first on Friday but the 238th running of the Epsom Derby (for both sexes – though it’s usually only colts) is the centrepiece on Saturday.

Northern stables can hardly claim to much success in the big race with Dante being the last horse to bring back the Blue Riband to Yorkshire in 1945.

He was trained in Middleham – just like Mark Johnston’s Permian this year – and I really think this one has very strong claims to end the Northern drought in this race.

He certainly wouldn’t be a stats pick on where he is trained – neither on the fact that he has graduated from a handicap win earlier in his career. What is in his favour is that he is highly progressive and comes here after winning one of the most notable trials – the Dante Stakes in decisive fashion at York last time. That win saw him come through a battle and ultimately win going away at the finish. He looked like a horse who would be even better stepping up to Saturday’s mile and a half trip

In both that and previous races he has looked a horse with good tactical pace – something that often is vital around the Epsom track. With a potentially large looking field, being able to secure a handy spot just behind the pace could be even more invaluable this year.

He has already proved himself around the tricky Epsom track with a close second to Cracksman (reopposing again) here earlier in the season. The form of that race has looked extremely solid – in years past it was a notable trial and for once, it would seem to be doing so again this year.


Permian has probably improved since then but on the bare form it may look like he may struggle to reverse placings with the winner. Cracksman’s big problem for me comes with his breeding. He’s by Frankel out a mare by Champion sprinter Pivotal. That really doesn’t scream a 12 furlong horse and I have a feeling that he may have been winning over his optimum trip on 10 furlongs that day

Another horse in the race, Best Solution, would also seem an unlikely winner on breeding which suggests him to be more of a miler. He confounded that by winning the Lingfield Derby trial impressively. What is notable here though is that he is owned by Godolphin – as are Dubai Thunder and Benbati. William Buick would most likely have the choice of ride of any of these yet has picked Permian (owned by another member of Dubai’s ruling family) who was especially supplemented to the race on Monday at a cost of £85,000.

As usual there is a big representation from Ireland from the Aidan O’Brien stable. While they have strength in number, the lack of choice of a mount yet from Ryan Moore tends to indicate there is no stand out performer amongst them. The market favours Cliffs of Moher most out of the raiding party. This one won the Dee Stakes last time (beating Bay of Poets – 3rd beind Cracksman and Permian at Epsom). He did look to be tapped for toe that day when Max Zorin quickened the tempo up front – that does worry me when it comes to the tactical pace aspect in this race

Eminent, another son of Frankel, is also high up in the betting. He’s the one bringing Group One 2,000 Guineas form into this but was a bit of a disappointing 6th that day. Again stamina here wouldn’t be assured on his pedigree.

For me this is a weak looking Derby. Whilst it is a Group 1 race, I’m not so sure there is a genuine Group 1 mile and a half furlong performer in the race this year. Cracksman may well prove up to that level but I suspect at 2 furlongs less. If such a type were to emerge, then Permian might well find one too good. But in the belief that he definitely won’t find three that good I make him a solid each way proposition

There are two interesting ones at much higher odds that I’ll be backing my main selection up with.

Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen ran creditably at Group level last season. He’s only run once this year when just touched off by the reopposing Khalidi – the latter had race fitness on his side. It’s fairly likely that lack of a run beat him that day yet he is available now at more than twice the odds of his rival.


He wouldn’t like the soft ground that Epsom had earlier in the week but that is drying all of time and 66/1 seems far too big. It’s just the fact that his trainer is less known that is making the odds here

John Gosden’s main hope may be Cracksman but it’s also interesting that Crowned Eagle is still a likely runner here despite his best piece of form being a Windsor handicap win. That day he did look like a Group performer in waiting – and that’s no surprise given he is a sibling of 3 Group race winners at this trip. The main worry again was that he really had to be scrubbed along early in that race to get a good position early – the tactical pace angle may be a problem. He is the one horse in the field who I can most envisage being a Group 1 performer over this distance in time – it may just be too early for him.

The 48 hour declarations for this race will be released tomorrow morning. From then on, Rule 4 deductions could be imposed to prices. Betting now would normally be Ante Post rules and non runners would be deemed losers. There are plenty of firms who do offer Non Runner No Bet and so that could be wise to use in some cases

(odds available here: )


2.5 pts ew Permian 11/1 (Boylesports paying ¼ odds 123)

0.5 pts ew Salouen 66/1 (32 red/888/Unibet – all paying NRNB ¼ odds 123)

0.5 pts win Crowned Eagle – taking 33/1 NRNB here where available – 40/1 is available with Hills but not 100% convinced he will run yet and would prefer comfort of stakes being returned.

Whilst, I am not sure there is a proven Group 1 performer in the Derby, there most definitely is in Friday’s Oaks in the shape of Aidan O’Brien’s 1,000 Guineas runner-up Rhododendron. That form was emphatically boosted by the winner, Winter, last weekend. While her stamina has yet to be proved, she is by Galileo and that has to be a positive. Her ability to act on a track like this is also something we don’t know and would be the main thing that would dissuade me from taking odds of around Evens for her to win. It’s not really that original to pick 2nd fav Enable as her main danger. Stamina looks assured and her impressive win at the tight Chester circuit gives every confidence that this track should hold no fears. The O’Brien stable will no exactly how they stand on that form having had the second Alluringly (reopposes again). The strength of money on the day for the favourite should tell us all we need to know here – the signs so far have all been positive though. 48 hour declarations have already been done for this race earlier today and 10 runners will go to post

No recommendations at current odds though I think the favourite will be hard to beat


Good luck to all with whatever you back this weekend


Thanks for reading




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2017 Grand National

2017 Grand National

Welcome to another blast of stats that hopefully will pinpoint the winner of this year’s big race at Aintree.

Runner, riders and all of the odds can be found here

(scroll down the page to find full list of odds and place terms from every firm)

Note that place terms may well vary with some firms paying 4 places, some 5 and some 6 or even more. I cannot stress highly enough that (unless betting win only) there is a much bigger advantage on your side the more places are available. If you are betting each way then avoid the firms only paying 4 places unless the win odds are markedly higher than others. Also be sure to take a price (rather than SP) as most will shorten up as we get closer to the race. There may be some competition to be best in the market tomorrow so best to check markets on Saturday morning – those that haven’t been put up by Pricewise (comes out at 8pm) or by the Sporting Life the night before might be have their best offers then

In common with the last 2 years I have attempted to pinpoint the main factors needed to find the winner of the big race.

In 2015, Many Clouds defied most of these (too young, carrying too much weight) but subsequently proved himself to be an exceptional winner. Sadly, this warrior gave his all in beating the new star of the NH chasing scene, Thistlecrack, earlier this year and he is no longer with us.

In 2016, the system proved much more effective highlighting the winner Rule The World (advised 50/1) and 3rd Vics Canvas (advised 80/1) as selections. A 34.5 profit such as from last year will be hard to replicate but we can but try!

The key factors I look for are weight, stamina, age and number of runs this season. 2015 was run on good ground and 2016 had softer conditions. I think it’s likely that on decent ground the weight factor becomes a bit less important – currently it’s looking that we will have fairly similar conditions this year. However, with only one horse carrying more than 11st 6lb this year (The Last Samuri), this factor won’t be dismissing too many runners at all

The factors are broken down into points as such (taken from my 2015 post)

Weight. ( W )
11 stone or less a big positive = 3pts
11st 1lb to 11st 6lb – less of chance but still not insurmountable (particularly on decent ground) = 2pts
Over 11st 6lbs = 0 pts
Stamina (S)
It may seem obvious but there was a train of thought once that 2.5 mile horses were ideal for this (largely stemming from Fred Rimell/Gay Trip victory). There is nothing to back this up nowadays.
A winner over more than 3 miles is necessary so we give 1pt for that
Not having won over at least 3 miles in hurdles or chases is such a big negative to me that it carries MINUS 1pt
Proven stamina in a competitive National like Handicap (3ml 4fur or more) =3pts
*Please note I do not consider Cheltenham’s NH Chase in that last criteria. It is over 4 miles but is for amateur riders and usually slowly run so can give a misleading stamina impression. Likewise the 3ml 7furlong Cross Country race at Cheltenham doesn’t count either as it is run at a totally different pace. 
Age (and Chasing experience) (A)
9,10 or 11 is the desired age bracket to have here and gets 2pts.
Since the turn of century (and not counting Red Marauder’s heavy ground freak race) that covers all but two winners (Bindaree 8yo in 2002, Many Clouds 2015), and all but 6 winners since 1980.
Those 8yos that have prevailed did have chasing experience on their side so get 1 pt if they have had at least 10 runs over the big fences
Streetwise 12yos can also triumph occasionally but would need a previous run over the National fences to get 1pt
A 7yo hasn’t won since 1940 so that has to be a big negative and gets MINUS 1pt. There have been 33 to try in this millennium and the best was Big Fella Thanks with 6th place in 2009 (two of this years runners Vieux Lion Rouge and Cause of Causes both returning this year tried and failed at 7.
13 and 14yos don’t often run and their price would reflect that they are past their prime. No points for them but don’t be surprised with a top 10 finish as National veterans Swing Bill and Hello Bud have done in the last 3 years. And the there was Vics Canvas of course last year, who might well have won but for near catastrophe at Bechers Brook on the first circuit.
Runs This Season (R)
When you realise that none of the last 24 winners came into the race without having at least 3 runs it has to be important and so is given 2pts. A run since Christmas is also important so we’ll take off a point for any that haven’t
These I think are the key statistics for which to base a scoring system and I will apply to each horse below. A total score of 10 pts is possible for the ‘ideal stats fit’

So here is how this years runners stack up given these criteria:

Houblon Des Obeaux 10 3 3 2 2
Bishops Road 10 3 3 2 2
Saint Are 10 3 3 2 2
Just A Par 10 3 3 2 2
Rogue Angel 10 3 3 2 2
Thunder and Roses 10 3 3 2 2
Gasline Boy 10 3 3 2 2
The Young Master 9 3 3 1 2
One For Arthur 9 3 3 1 2
Vicente 9 3 3 1 2
Raz Da Maree 9 3 3 1 2
Bless The Wings (res) 9 3 3 1 2
Cause of Causes 8 3 1 2 2
Regal Encore 8 3 1 2 2
Ucello Conti 8 3 1 2 2
Pleasant Company 8 3 1 2 2
O’Faolains Boy 8 3 1 2 2
Lord Windermere 8 3 1 2 2
Measureofmydreams 8 3 3 2 0
Goodtoknow 8 3 1 2 2
Doctor Harper 8 3 1 2 2
Viva Steve (res) 8 3 1 2 2
The Last Samuri 7 0 3 2 2
More of That 7 2 1 2 2
Perfect Candidate 7 2 1 2 2
Wonderful Charm 7 2 1 2 2
Tenor Nivernais 7 2 1 2 2
Definitly Red 7 3 1 1 2
La Vaticane 7 3 1 1 2
Saphir Du Rheu 6 2 1 1 2
Roi Des Francs 6 2 1 1 2
Wounded Warrior 6 2 1 1 2
Blaklion 6 2 1 1 2
Ballynagour 6 3 -1 2 2
Highland Lodge 6 3 1 2 0
Stellar Notion 6 3 -1 2 2
Cocktails At Dawn 6 3 -1 2 2
Drop Out Joe 5 2 1 2 0
Double Shuffle 5 3 1 -1 2
Knock House (res) 5 3 1 1 0
Sambremont (res) 5 3 3 -1 0
Shantou Flyer 4 2 1 -1 2
Vieux Lion Rouge 4 3 1 0 0
Le Mercurey 3 3 -1 -1 2

***Now confirmed that all 4 reserves will not get into the race***

Now some comments for the top points scorers from this list:



Venetia Williams’ charge seems to have been around for years but is still only 10. In his pomp he was rated as high as 162 and capable of holding his own in the highest class. Like many French-breds he seems to have regressed a bit earlier and is down to a mark of 149 here. Runs in the Welsh and Midlands Grand Nationals this season confirm his stamina. His best form has always come on soft ground and unlikely to get conditions here. I’m not sure his hard slog in the Midland Grand National so recently will be a great prep for this and that was also off a 5lb lower mark


Kerry Lee’s runner was very fancied for this last year but failed to make the cut. He ran in the Topham instead but got no further than the first fence. His form this season has not been so good and he has a marked preference for much softer ground than he will get here



Second in this race in 2015 (from a mark of 143) and fancied last year off 146 (was one of the blog selections) but was pulled up. The ground is the key here and the rain that came last year effectively killed his chances. The stable is in good form and the booking of Davy Russell is a positive. At the moment the ground looks to be in his favour although I’m sure connections would have wanted to see no watering taking place. It should still dry out enough by 515 to not be an inconvenience to him. Strangely for an 11yo tomorrow will see him wearing blinkers for the first time (has worn a visor before)


His record in the Whitbread Gold Cup (2nd and 1st in last two years) gives this one his stamina credentials. He hasn’t performed over this course in two previous tries although the ground could be an excuse. Should get his favoured conditions tomorrow though he had them at Musselburgh recently and was pulled up then.



Mouse Morris won this with Rule The World last year and has two great stats fits running here as these two have won the last two runnings of the Irish Grand National. Mouse has few peers in getting one ready for a big race so although something for both to find on form this year we can be sure they will be primed for this. Bryan Cooper had the pick of 5 runners this year from the Gigginstown team and sided with Rogue Angel (he did pick the wrong one last year though!). Rogue Angel did have a spin over these fences in the Becher Chase before Christmas – that was down the field but probably just a sighter for this – and more importantly it didn’t push up his handicap mark


The Ian Williams stable is in fine form recently and that has to be a positive on this one’s side. There are some negatives to balance though. He got no further than the first fence in this contest in 2015 and has been a horse in the past who seems to need things to go his own way to be seen at his best. In a big field like this he may struggle with that. Stamina points come from a win at Haydock in 2014 where things did go his way – but there have been a few other attempts where he has struggled to get home. Although Gas Line Boy does get full points they may be misleading in this case



Being an 8 year old he may be a year too young but he’s be far more experienced than most his age as he started chasing at 5. Although ridden by an amateur in Sam Waley-Cohen that can’t be construed as a negative here. Sam is the most successful jockey riding over the National fences with 5 wins over the course on his cv and a close call with Oscar Time in this race. I’m not always convinced that the Whitbread Gold Cup which he won last year is as good a stats pointer as other distance hcaps but it was still a good performance for a relatively your horse to win as he did. Trained specifically for this race by Neil Mulholland he ran a nice trail when 5th at Cheltenham in his last run


Representing Scotland. Another who is really a year too young but displayed some dour stamina qualities when winning at Warwick in January. He had previously ran very well over this course in the shorter Becher Chase when staying on strongly in 5th. His Warwick win has seen him rise substantially in the handicap here to a mark of 148 from 137. That puts him worse in with the 4 horses who beat him in the Becher. This longer trip will be totally in his favour but connections would probably have been happier with some rain to soften the ground



Bought by Trevor Hemmings to replace Many Clouds. Another 8yo but being French bred that might not be such a negative and again he’s quite experienced for his age. Demonstrated that stamina was his forte when winning the Scottish Grand National last season. He got good ground there and that’s a must – conditions are looking right for him again. Trained for the race and is a noticeably better horse in the Spring. The one negative would be if he is a good enough jumper. In days of yore I think he would have struggled more but the easier fences these days will help his cause. The booking of top northern jockey Brian Hughes is a bonus.


At 12, this Irish challenger could be a year too old but he has some fine performances in staying chases on his cv. His second to Native River earlier this year was probably a career best but that did come on his favoured soft ground. On the likely conditions tomorrow it’s easy to see him getting too far behind as he did here in 2014 when staying on late into 8th


At number 41 in the list he is first reserve and needs one to drop out to get in. Another 12yo so maybe a year too old but his second in the Irish National last season puts him into the mix. Denis O Regan has gone close in the race before on Black Apalachee. Likely to be held up and the sort to run into a place if he gets in

** Update – now confirmed that with no withdrawals Bless the Wings and the other three reserves will not get into the race ***

That covers all those with 9 pts or more

Of those with 8 I have to give particular note to CAUSE OF CAUSES. He’s a bit of an oddity in that he has US flat breeding and started off looking like a 2 mile hurdler. He tried this race as a 7yo in 2015 off a mark of 146 and finished 8th. In the last 2 seasons he was won the 4 mile NH Chase at Cheltenham and the 3ml 7furlong Cross Country Chase. As previously noted I really err on the side of caution in using those two races as stamina guides for this. If I did include either he would get 10 points. It’s also worth noting that for the 3 previous seasons after excellent performances at Cheltenham he disappointed on his following start. This may be an indication he was trained for that meeting far more – that could be the case again

I won’t go into detail on every other single runner but here’s a few notes on others that are well fancied in the betting and the negatives I have that sway me against them:


6th last year and 4th in the Becher Chase this season. That shows the fences hold no fears but he still hasn’t conclusively proven he has the stamina. His form also looks fairly exposed now and the handicapper hasn’t let him off enough to make me think that a place might be the best he can hope for


Anything ridden by Ruby Walsh has to be given a second look but his stamina for such a test is a big question mark. All his form comes on a softer surface also


Fine effort to be second last year off 10st 8lbs. That effort and another fine performance over the course in the Becher Chase since have not gone unnoticed by the handicapper and the burden of 11st 10lbs is likely to prove his undoing for me. He’s a real trier but not the biggest horse to shouldering top weight in this test


Former brilliant winner of the World Hurdle but had problems since. Still a classy individual who was 6th in the Gold Cup (worse off with Saphir Du Rheu who was one place ahead). His stamina over this trip is completely unproven but much the biggest issue with me is the fact he has only had 8 chase runs in his life and lacks the requisite chasing experience I would be looking for. He is the choice of Barry Geraghty to ride in this over Cause of Causes



Another Northern hope who is vying for favouritism. Stamina certainly not proven for me and he gave no encouragement for that before falling in the 4mile NH Chase at Cheltenham last season. Has had a largely upward curve this season except for his Haydock effort. That was much the most competitive race he faced and his jumping was put under pressure there. I have a feeling this one may prefer smaller fields and will be out of his comfort zone with 39 others in the race


5th in the Gold Cup and so could have a fair mark from that effort. Stamina this far is unproven though and his jumping has looked suspect more than once in his career. Also at 8yo he could be a year to young


Last seasons RSA winner was outstayed by Vieux Lion Rouge at Haydock. His stamina for this is also a question on his earlier Hennessy Gold Cup effort and at 8 he may be a year too young


Has demonstrated these fences hold no fear for him when winning the Becher Chase in 2015 and second in the same race this year. He might have been unlucky then as looked the likely winner but idled on the long run in to let Vieux Lion Rouge get past. Stamina looks to be a big issue over this longer trip though and only having one run this season is a big negative also


At 7 the stats are totally against him and his stamina is totally unproven (related to Nil Desperandum who was 4th in this and a very strong stayer). He could be a National horse of the future but worrying that connections thought he sulked when fancied at Cheltenham in November. The big field here may not be ideal.



Has been vying for favouritism since his Becher Chase win and another dour effort at Haydock. That might have confirmed his stamina but he didn’t look to get home last year. It could be the combination of age and ground were against him then but he hasn’t had the requisite 3 runs this season either. Far too many negatives for me for the price being offered


Of the full 10 pt scorers I am particularly drawn to the Mouse Morris pair – Rogue Angel and Thunder and Roses. They are both really strong stats fits for me. The lack of experience over the course for the latter’s jockey Mark Enright is the biggest negative I cand find here.

Saint Are has to be selected as well as the ground looks to be right for him this time. If it does rain or if they water the ground too much then I would have less hope

Vicente and The Young Master have both done enough by this point of their careers to suggest that being 8 might not be such a negative for them.

Narrowly missing from the final list are Houblon De Obeaux and One For Arthur (both would become more interesting if the ground were a bit softer). Bless the Wings is another with definite place chances but at time of writing is still the first reserve and needs one to drop out to get a run.

Once again with extra places being offered I have no problem giving several selections here but taking extra places is imperative (and taking 1/4 odds rather than 1/5th)


2pts ew Rogue Angel – take 25/1 with firms offering 1/4 odds 5 places or more

1pt ew Thunder and Roses – take 33/1 with firms oofering 1/4 odds 5 places or more

1pt ew Saint Are – take 40/1 with firms offering 1/4 odds 5 places or more

1.5 pts ew The Young Master – take 20/1 with firms offering 1/4 oods 5 places or more

1.5pts ew Vicente – take 25/1 with firms offering 1/4 odds 5 places or more

Total outlay 14pts – (1 point can equal £1, £10, £20..whatever equates to budget in all cases)

Good luck to all with whatever you back (and as always lets hope all runners and riders come back safely)




One For Arthur wins for Scotland! As mentioned he was very close to being one of the selections but I thought the ground had just gone against him. Hopefully some were less dissuaded by that and stuck with him as stamina firmly won the day again. He fitted every stat needed except age where ideally he would have been a year older.

As for the actual selections, it was unfortunate to lose Vicente, The Young Master and Thunder and Roses all quite early. Rogue Angel had a great spin up front for most of the way but ultimately faded away badly in the home straight.

It was left for Saint Are to run onto into a place and rescue some returns from the recommended investment.

1pt EW at the recommended 40/1 would have returned 11pts – therefore a loss of 3pts on the day from the suggested 14pt investment.

The great news is that all 40 runners and riders returned safely from the event.

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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham Day 4 review

Cheltenham Day 4 review

Another Cheltenham Festival comes to an end.

This has seemed a bit of an attritional one at times but the blog recommendations finished with a flourish on Day 4 with Rock The World winning the finale in good style

The day started with selection Ex Patriot running a smashing race in the first and he looked a possible winner approaching the last. He couldn’t come up the hill as well as the winner but it should be remembered he broke loose before the start. I’d be inclined to rate him as the 2nd best horse in the race behind Defi Du Seuil and if he gets similar good ground at Aintree he’s be one to keep on the right side of. That track’s less testing nature should suit him ideally

L’Ami Serge and Wonderful Charm came agonisingly close to winners. I think Katy Walsh might have been a bit too busy marking her main market rival On the Fringe on the latter in the Foxhunters – both had a lot of ground to make up from 3 out and it just proved too much to pull back stablemate Pacha Du Polder

Penhill’s win in the Albert Bartlett showed the skills of Willie Mullins to a tee. He would never have been a thorough stayer on the flat but his strong pulling tendencies have been rectified. I remember Mullins doing similarly with Simenon who went on to be high-class on the flat. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Penhill doing the same – we could see him at Royal Ascot in the summer?

The real one to take out of the Albert Bartlett for me though was the 2nd Monalee. I’m sure he would have been hard to beat on softer going and he should be a very potent force in the novice chasing ranks next season. He’s be at the top of my list as next year’s RSA winner right now

Sizing John put stamina doubts to bed in the centrepiece and was a decisive winner in the Gold Cup. Native River made it a test as expected but didn’t jump quite as well as I’ve seen before – he put in a lot of short ones. Softer ground would have helped but he’s still a young horse and will have other chances in this race.


Hopefully both make it back next year. If Thistlecrack can return from injury and Might Bite and Yorkhill can join them it could be quite a year. (Jessica Harrington also has another very strong potential candidate to add to that list in Our Duke who purposely missed the Festival)

I hope everyone’s had an enjoyable week. A full synopsis of results for the 4 days is listed below. There were a few near misses but ultimately a decent profit on recommendations

The blog will be back for its usual Grand National focus the day before the big race (Sat April 8th). It will be hard to match the success of last year’s race but I can but try!

Thanks for reading throughout the week





Summary of recommendations :

Day 1

1pt ew Singlefarmpayment 15/2 (1/4 odds 12345) – 2nd (+0.88 pts)

2pts ew Apples Jade 9/2  (1/4 odds 123) – won (+11.25 pts)

2pts win Edwulf 11/2 – lost (-2pts)

1pt win Champers on Ice 8/1 – lost (-1pt)

Day 1 performance – Stakes 9pts Returns 18.13 pts

Day 2

1pt ew Shattered Love 25/1(1/5 odds 123) – lost (-2pts)

1.5 pts win Whisper 7/1 – lost (-1.5 pts)

0.75 pts win Our Kaempfer 16/1 (lost -0.75 pts)

1.5 pts ew Peregrine Run 10/1 (1/4 odds 12345) (lost -3pts)

0.5pts ew Simply Ned 66/1 (1/5 odds 123) (lost -1pt)

0.5pts ew Simply Ned 66/1 (1/4 odds 123) (lost -1pt)

0.3 pts ew Percy Street 33/1 (1/4 odds 1234) (lost -0.6pts)

Day 2 performance – Stakes 9.85pts Returns 0

Day 3

2pts ew Top Notch 4/1 (1/4 odds 123) 2nd (level)

0.75 pts ew Barney Dwan 20/1 (1/4 odds 12345) 2nd (+3pts)

0.5 pts ew Zarkandar 28/1 (1/4 odds 123) lost (-1pt)

1.5 pts ew Thomas Crapper 12/1 (1/4 odds 1234) 4th (+3pts)

0.5 pts ew Toe The Line 33/1 (1/4 odds 123) lost (-1pt)

0.75 pts ew Whats Happening 14/1 (1/4 odds 1234) lost (-1.5 pts)

Day 3 performance ; Stakes 12pts   Returns 14.5 pts

Day 4

0.5pts ew Forth Bridge 33/1 (1/4 odds 123) NR (loser with ante post rules -1pt)

0.25pts ew Ex Patriot 40/1 (1/4 odds 123) lost (-0.5pts) – anyone getting 4 places would have had a return

0.5pts ew Wait For Me 18/1 (1/4 odds 12345) lost (-1pt)

0.5pts ew L’Ami Serge 33/1 (1/4 odds 12345) 2nd (+3.62 pts)

1.5 pts ew Native River 4/1 (1/4 odds 123) 3rd (level)

1pt ew Native River 5/1 (1/5 odds 1234) 3rd (level)

0.75 pts win More of That 14/1 lost (-0.75 pts)

1.5 pts win Wonderful Charm 11/2 lost (-1.5 pts)

0.25 pts ew Salsify 40/1 (1/5 odds 1234) lost (-0.5pts)

0.5pts ew Rather Be 14/1 (1/4 odds 12345) lost (-1pt)

1pt ew Rock The World 14/1 (1/4 1234) won (+17.5 pts)

Day 4 performance; Stakes 14.25pts  Returns 29.12 pts

For the full 4 day festival the total performance for the recommended bets is


45.1 pts




16.65pts (36.9%)

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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Uncategorized


Cheltenham 2017 – Gold Cup day

Cheltenham 2017 – Gold Cup day

The third day of Cheltenham dispelled any ideas that the Wille Mullins stable were under a cloud with a 4-timer for the Closutton trainer. Un De Sceaux dominated from the front in the Ryanair while Nichols Canyon returned right back to form in the Stayers ( a result I really couldn’t see coming)

It would have been interesting to see the result if Top Notch had met the second last fence better giving Yorkhill the impetus. He was pulling the deficit back on the run-in but the favourite could have been idling a little as well.

Barney Dwan ran a great race in the Pertemps and for a time looked the likely winner when kicking clear on the home turn. Unfortunately for him, Presenting Percy must have been a grade race winner masquerading as a handicapper and cut him back on the run to the last.

Thomas Crapper also came up against an Irish winner who was well ahead of his mark but still claimed place money.

There was much sadness to follow though when Toe the Line fell on the flat and broke a leg. She had to be put down. Thoughts must go the connections.



Early thoughts for the final day of the meeting below

(Friday lunchtime updates added where applicable at foot of each race)

1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2miles (and nearly 1fur)

Odds can be found here:

The championship race for 4yo hurdlers. Quite a few in this race have displayed their best form on softer going and will be hoping that the course is watered again this evening. It still may not be ideal conditions for them. This would include the favourite Defi Du Seuil and the main Irish hope Mega Fortune for me.

Master Blueeyes won’t mind the ground and the form of his easy Kempton win has already been franked by Flying Tiger’s win the Fred Winter (Evening Hush 2nd reopposes). He was visually very impressive but clock watchers weren’t quite so bowled over by the win

Charli Parcs was hot favourite for that race but looked to be up against it when falling. I’m slightly surprised to see him at the Festival after that mishap but the jungle drums from the Henderson stable continue to beat on this one’s ability and he has been well backed again in recent days.

It’s worth noting that him and Defi Du Seuil were due to meet earlier this year at Cheltenham. Charli Parcs was made a non runner that day and Defi Du Seuil won it. In the morning they bet around 4/5 Charli Parcs and 2/1 Defi Du Seuil for that race before the withdrawal

I really wouldn’t be surprised to see him bounce but cannot bring myself to back a horse at such a low price after a fall. Jumping fluently in this race is a real necessity for me.

Mega Fortune, Bapaume and Landofhopeandglory are closely matched on form earlier this season. I think we may see improvement from the last named on this ground and he could represent some value at double figure odds

Ex Patriot was just outstayed by Dinaria Des Obeaux last time on soft ground. He’s held by others on Leopardstown form but I think is one of the bigger priced ones who we could see step up on better going. His partner Rachael Blackmore can’t claim her normal 3lb allowance here unfortunately but she is riding on the crest of a wave right now

Unfortunately my ante post selection , Forth Bridge, was not in the final declarations. I’m not sure why as he already had Brian Hughes booked to ride. I hope the horse is ok as he’s one to watch for the future.

No recommendation for this race as yet. In the past, firms did offer ¼ odds 1234 for this race. If that happens again this evening I may add something then. 

A few firms have chalked up 40/1 with 1/4 odds Ex Patriot as I look again this evening (it doesnt appear that any are offering 4 places as yet) He’s a horse I could quite see running into the frame on the better ground here so will have a small play:


0.25pts ew Ex Patriot 40/1 (Stan James, Betway offering 1/4 odds 123

Friday update

Not much discernible move at the top of the market. Mega Fortune did look the best of the Irish challengers in the run-up to the race but is drifting no doubt due to not getting his favoured soft ground. Ex Patriot still available at 40s in a place but is slightly less on the Exchange now

NOTE Stan James now offering 1/4 odds 1234 – back to the good old days in the 20th century when that was fairly standard for this race. It was a much bigger field in those days though and often had shock results. Ex Patriot at 33s appealing with them…also Evening Hush at 50s is worth noting as she could have an easy time up front if connections revert to the tactics that seemed to suit her well earlier this season

2.10 Randox Health County Hcap Hurdle 2ml 179yds


Ivanovich Gorbatov won the Triumph Hurdle on this card last year when he got the good ground he needed. He might well have support again with similar conditions but I couldnt see any physical progress in him since last year when seeing him at Leopardstown recently. I think he may have peaked last year

North Hill Harvey represents the Skelton team who won this with Superb Story last year. Like that one he’s been put away since his Greatwood Hurdle run at the end of November.

Wait For Me ran very well in this race last year and comes here off a lower mark. The good ground should also be in his favour and he’s very much at the top of my shortlist. He went very close in the Champion Bumper a couple of years ago surrounded by the likes of Moon Racer, Modus and Yanworth. He’s been a little disappointing since in relation to those and has taken time to master his hurdling and has pulled a bit too hard. Interesting that he sports a tongue tie tomorrow. I’m not too sure about the form of the Hobbs stable this week so will be watching the run of Defi Du Seuil with him in mind

L’Ami Serge is also one I like at big price. He is high in the weights but has long looked like he has a big race in him. It’s a long time since he has run in a handicap but there’s a chance a fast paced event like this could suit him. Don’t expect to see him until late on the scene.

Court Minstrel is another to note back on his favoured good ground. He’s slipped down to a decent mark after disappointing efforts on soft going. It could be that he prefers a flatter track than this though (have a feeling Aintree might be more for him)


0.5 pts ew Wait For Me 18/1 (Bet 365 paying 1/4 odds 12345) – Lost (-1pt)

0.5 pts ew L’Ami Serge 33/1 (Betfair Sportsbook paying 1/4 odds 12345) – 2nd (+3.62 pts)

Friday update

Wait For Me is certainly the best backed horse here since last night with 11/1 the best available right now. Vosne Romance backed at bigger prices but was a highlighted Pricewise selection. One of last nights favourites, Mick Jazz, is now a non-runner so there may be a small Rule 4 deduction to come off earlier prices taken


2.50 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle 3ml

Gordon Elliott has already had a great Festival and Death Duty has long been considered his best hope and banker for the meeting.

I would expect him to be very well backed tomorrow.

This race can be a real test for a novice though and it isn’t always a case of the best horse winning it…it’s the one who can slog it out best who often prevails.

Monalee has been a victim of Death Duty already this season but is a lovely big chasing type with a future ahead of him. All of his form has been on much softer ground – something we would expect from a son of Milan. The undulating course is also something that would concern me for him so much as I like this individual there is too much against him here for me.

Wholestone has been my long-term fancy for this event. He won here in a good time over an inadequate trip and has lots of track experience. He’s the grinder in the pack for me who may be best suited by this test.

The only downside to his chance came up at a preview evening where Carl Llewellyn (connected with stable) intimated he may have had a setback since that last run. The stable’s runners haven’t really been shining this week yet

He holds Ami Desbois on earlier form. The Worlds End and Constantine Bay appear to be similar gutsy types but their form so far is just a little below – plus both are unproven on the track.

Penhill was quite a talented handicapper on the flat for Luca Cumani but often ran too free for his own good. He also had some stamina limitations in that sphere which would concern me at the business end of this race (it’s usually strongly run and should be again)

No recommendation at this stage…it would have been Wholestone each way but for a few niggling points in my head about his well-being. I hope I am wrong about them as I think he’ll take some beating here if he brings his A game to the table

Friday update

No surprise to see that Death Duty has shortened given all of the strong vibes from his trainer in the last few weeks. Every chance he will be shorter still on the off. Consequently most others are drifting. Monalee was the Pricewise selection and he has stayed fairly steady in the market



3.30 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup 3ml 2fur

The centrepiece event of the meeting so a runner-by-runner analysis here


Looks brilliant at times but that mostly seems to be when the ground is very soft and on less undulating courses. Reportedly not right when well behind Native River but for me he needs this race to be run at his favourite stomping ground Haydock to have a chance




Formerly trained by Philip Hobbs where his talent was sometimes blighted by indifferent jumping. Now with Henry de Bromhead in Ireland he was very impressive in easily winning atop handicap last time. Has the class to be competitive but I think may be found wanting when he has to dig deep on the final hill



One of the great stars of the National Hunt scene in recent years. I fancied him strongly for this race last year. He fell then when yet to be asked a question. A year on and to me he doesn’t look quite the same horse this time round.


Soft ground may be necessary to him now. Looked impressive at Ascot last time but that is slightly dampened when seeing that Tenor Nivernais recorded quicker sectionals in a handicap on the same card (and over a longer trip)

He will raise the roof here if he wins



Placed in the last two years (last year after an interrupted preparation) but has also fallen twice here in different races. A little disappointing on the face of it when beaten by Outlander at Leopardstown over Christmas. He has been the best backed horse in the run up to this year’s renewal but is another whose best form comes on softer going




Beaten in today’s Ryanair Chase and almost certain to be declared a non runner



Previous winner of the Novices Hcap Chase here and had Cue Card behind when winning at Wetherby on his seasonal debut. Decent performer at his best but well behind in 5th last year and needs a leap of faith to fancy him here



Winner of the 4ml National Hunt Chase last year when beating Native River. Jumping has always been an issue with this horse despite undoubted ability. That can’t be a weakness at this top level



Possibly boasts the best single piece of form here over his career when he resoundingly beat Annie Power in the Stayers Hurdle. The world looked at his feet then but he’s had a lot of problems since. At one point he was even entered for the Cross Country Chase at this meeting. In the process of running very well until unseating close home last time. If his mercurial trainer has got him back to his best he would be a very serious contender

more of that



This young chaser has done nothing but improve since winning at Aintree last season (where he first seemed to click with Richard Johnson aboard). His Hennessy win wouldn’t be Gold Cup winning form on the face of it but a tremendous weight carrying performance in the Welsh National certainly is.

Stamina is his greatest asset so expect him to put his rivals to the sword from some way out with some aggressive jumping. Softer ground would have been an asset so watering tonight would be to his advantage



His Leopardstown form is exemplary and would have to put him into the mix but away from there it seems to be a slightly lower level. Stamina unproven quite this far and fell here in the JLT last year (still going well at the time)



Jumping doesn’t always seem fluid enough for this former Stayers hurdle runner-up. He’s up against it on all recent form. Trainer thinks he could get into top 5 or 6 but place terms on offer don’t really go that far!



Spent most of his early career having to watch Douvan’s backside over shorter trips. Finally got his day in the sun when winning the Irish Gold Cup last time out. The good ground should be in his favour more than many and he’s still relatively unexposed at 3 miles. He will be stepping into unknown territory from the home turn where his stamina will be tested

sizing john



Previous Hennessy winner who failed at this level last year when at the peak of his powers. Form this year doesn’t give encouragement for anything better



Just behind Cue Card in the King George at Kempton (might have been closer but for trying to race with Thistlecrack too early). All of his best efforts come at that track. His only try at Chleltenham was a disappointment but he was found to be not right that day. Still evidence points to him being best on a right-handed track so something to prove here. Partnered as usual by Lizzie Kelly, the sole female rider in the race





The ground could well be the overriding factor here. Native River would be my clear choice as the one to beat if it were a bit softer..but he has enough form on the sort of ground he should encounter here to give encouragement that it won’t be too much of a handicap. His style of running would be very close to that of recent winners, Coneygree and Denman. He’s still going to be difficult to keep out of the frame for me but he could just be vulnerable to something with a turn of foot in quicker conditions. Sizing John could be such a horse but I’m not 100% convinced on his stamina yet. More of That is prehaps most interesting of the outsiders. He’s had his problems but has the class and the stamina to win if the signs of a renaissance last time are true


1.5 pts ew Native River 4/1 (use firms offering 1/4 odds 123 – Bet 365, Corals, Ladbrokes cuurently)

(NOTE a few firms pushing out price slightly since I put this up earlier today and 9/2 can be found – taking 1/4 odds is important though)

0.75 pts win More of That 14/1 (Stan James, Ladbrokes, Coral)

Friday Update

As expected, Empire of Dirt is out. The horse for money is Djakadam no doubt encouraged by Mullins’s 4-timer yesterday. Consequently the Tizzard pair, Cue Card and Native River have drifted out slightly with 5/1 now available on both.

Skybet’s 5/1 with 1/5 odds 1234 would now be particularly attractive on Native River for me so adding to the recommendation here with

******1pt ew Native River 5/1 (1/5th odds 1234 Skybet)*****




4.10 St James Place Foxhunters 3ml 2fur

I don’t follow the point to point scene enough to know all of the form here.

On The Fringe has dominated this race in the last 2 years. His ‘trial’ race at Leopardstown this year was far more encouraging than his effort in the same race last year. He still managed to win here last year but it augurs well that he looked in much better terms with himself this time. He is 12 now so isn’t getting any younger but the talent is still there

The ground will be far more favourable to him this year as well but that also applies to Wonderful Charm who mixed it with the best in previous seasons under normal rules. I don’t think there should be a lot between these two in odds but the latter is much the better value right now

Katy Walsh has been drafted in to ride this talented horse who was one of the easiest winners you will ever see at Musselburgh earlier this year (Will Biddick rode him the last twice but is under contract to ride Ask the Weatherman here)

Ask the Weatherman is an up and coming horse in the Hunter chase world but would seem to prefer softer ground.

Salsify (previous winner but also now 12) and Paint the Clouds have both performed well in this before and will appreciate the soft ground. They would be each way possibilities at bigger prices (would especially look in ‘betting without the favourite’ markets here)


1.5pt win Wonderful Charm 11/2 (Bet Victor, Bet 365, Skybet)

added recommendation;

Salsify is a previous winner of this and this is the first time in a few years he has his desired good ground again. A few firms paying 4 places here so an each way play is added at a big price

0.25pts ew Salsify 40/1 (Paddy Power/Betfair Sportsbook paying 1/5 odds 1234)

4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hcap Hurdle  2ml 4fur

Another highly competitive handicap where more scrutiny is required.

Gordon Elliott would love to win this one as his formative years were spent with Martin Pipe. The Storyteller looked an obvious plot but he had to be withdrawn last weekend. Runfordave has been transferred from the Coral Cup to this race purposefully to try and secure that victory. He would be at the top of my shortlist right now

Check back later this evening for more on this race

A bit more on this race now. Whilst Runfordave remains high on the shortlist there are two I prefer more.

Battleford was a close 2nd in the Festival Bumper last year and could have a lenient mark off 135. He has been largely disappointing over hurdles but is slowly getting there.

Top of my list though is Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be who just failed over a shorter trip last time (keep an eye out for Coeur de Lion in the Triumph earlier who narrowly beat him). He also ran in the Bumper back in 9th but looks to have made the transition to hurdling much better. I think this longer trip will suit him well and his mark of 136 looks attractive.

His stablemate Thomas Campbell looks a hard ride and not ideal for this sort of race.

No Comment is current favourite and his last win has been boosted by the second winning at Sandown last weekend. That form was on softer ground and with a slight question mark on stable form I wouldn’t want to be a backer at single figure odds


0.5pts ew Rather Be 14/1 (Bet 365, Betfred paying 1/4 odds 12345)

5.30 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Hcap  2ml

Another competitive handicap to finish off the meeting.

For obvious reasons Nicky Henderson usually has a few runners in this but this year only has Theinval. That could be a tip in itself as the horse is on a good mark compared to his hurdling rating. His best form has come over a longer trip though.

I think last year’s race could be the key here.

Dandridge finished 2nd that day with well backed Rock the World just behind him in 3rd. Rock the World is 5lb better off for this. (Solar Impulse the winner is also back but has changed stables since and appears to have lost his form)

The latter has had a wind operation since his last run. He hasn’t raced since October but it was the same story last year.

The Harringtons who train him are very close friends of the Hendersons and I think this race will mean a lot to them also.

rock the world

I think he’s been trained specifically for this and gets the ground he needs

Le Prezien has avoided other races this week to run here. He is a novice and his jumping this year would give me concerns now he is mixing it in this more competitive grade


1 pt ew Rock the World 14/1 (Betfair Sportsbook 1/4 odds 1234)



Thanks for reading both today and through the week.

Best of luck with whatever you back







Summary of recommendations so far:

Day 1

1pt ew Singlefarmpayment 15/2 (1/4 odds 12345) – 2nd (+0.88 pts)

2pts ew Apples Jade 9/2  (1/4 odds 123) – won (+11.25 pts)

2pts win Edwulf 11/2 – lost (-2pts)

1pt win Champers on Ice 8/1 – lost (-1pt)

Day 2

1pt ew Shattered Love 25/1(1/5 odds 123) – lost (-2pts)

1.5 pts win Whisper 7/1 – lost (-1.5 pts)

0.75 pts win Our Kaempfer 16/1 (lost -0.75 pts)

1.5 pts ew Peregrine Run 10/1 (1/4 odds 12345) (lost -3pts)

0.5pts ew Simply Ned 66/1 (1/5 odds 123) (lost -1pt)

0.5pts ew Simply Ned 66/1 (1/4 odds 123) (lost -1pt)

0.3 pts ew Percy Street 33/1 (1/4 odds 1234) (lost -0.6pts)

Day 3

2pts ew Top Notch 4/1 (1/4 odds 123) 2nd (level)

0.75 pts ew Barney Dwan 20/1 (1/4 odds 12345) 2nd (+3pts)

0.5 pts ew Zarkandar 28/1 (1/4 odds 123) lost (-1pt)

1.5 pts ew Thomas Crapper 12/1 (1/4 odds 1234) 4th (+3pts)

0.5 pts ew Toe The Line 33/1 (1/4 odds 123) lost (-1pt)

0.75 pts ew Whats Happening 14/1 (1/4 odds 1234) lost (-1.5 pts)

Day 4

0.5pts ew Forth Bridge 33/1 (1/4 odds 123) NR (loser with ante post rules -1pt)

0.25pts ew Ex Patriot 40/1 (1/4 odds 123) lost (-0.5pts) – anyone getting 4 places would have had a return

0.5pts ew Wait For Me 18/1 (1/4 odds 12345) lost (-1pt)

0.5pts ew L’Ami Serge 33/1 (1/4 odds 12345) 2nd (+3.62 pts)

1.5 pts ew Native River 4/1 (1/4 odds 123) 3rd (level)

1pt ew Native River 5/1 (1/5 odds 1234) 3rd (level)

0.75 pts win More of That 14/1 lost (-0.75 pts)

1.5 pts win Wonderful Charm 11/2 lost (-1.5 pts)

0.25 pts ew Salsify 40/1 (1/5 odds 1234) lost (-0.5pts)

0.5pts ew Rather Be 14/1 (1/4 odds 12345) lost (-1pt)

1pt ew Rock The World 14/1 (1/4 1234) won (+17.5 pts)

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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

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