Category Archives: Horse Racing

Cheltenham 2017 – Champion Hurdle Day

Cheltenham 2017 – Champion Hurdle Day

Another Cheltenham Festival is upon us and has there ever been one with so many high-profile casualties dropping out of important races in the run up to it!

The going is currently good to soft but with drying conditions still likely we could be in for a good ground week. With so much immediate form on softer conditions this winter we could see a few surfacing this week who improve a lot for these conditions

Onto a run down of day 1:

Unfortunately two of my main fancies for today, Movewiththetimes in the opener and Value At Risk in the finale have joined the casualty list in the last 24 hours.

It’s made this a bit less of a betting day for me but will try to narrow down the principals a bit from what we have left

*****(Tuesday morning update added at end of each race where applicable)*****


1.30 Skybet Supreme Novice Hurdle 2 miles

Odds available here:

Odds are headed here by Irish raider Melon representing the Willie Mullins team (successful in 2 of the last 3 runnings). Melon has only been seen once on the racecourse this season with an easy win in a fairly ordinary event at Leopardstown. That at least proved he is alive after so much speculation about his ability for months preceding the race. He looked fairly babyish in the paddock to me but did the job well. I do wonder with his inexperience how he will cope with the huge crowd and preliminaries here. He could win but his price is priced on what stable he is from and on home reputation – it is nothing to do with form and there is no value in his odds.

Mullins also has Bunk Off Early who has been mixing it in better company. He looked all over the winner last time before being outstayed by Neptune fancy Bacardys over a slightly longer trip. It’s quite astonishing to see his sire Zebedee have a runner here as he was a precocious 2yo sprinter. There have to be some question marks on breeding therefore about how he will stay on up the hill here. I can see him tanking along into the home turn but wonder if something else will finish off the race better.

Crack Mome also appears for  the Mullins squad. Another with a big reputation earlier this season, he has something to find on what he has achieved so far but could improve for the better ground

Ballyandy boasts the strongest piece of form here in winning the Tote Gold Trophy where he seemed to flourish for a strong gallop. He should get that here. There have been some rumours coming into Cheltenham about the general well-being of his stable but a big priced winner on Friday seemed to scotch that a little. He is a previous winner here having won last seasons Champion Bumper – the double has been achieved before

High Bridge was 6th in the Bumper beaten just over 4 lengths. He’s unbeaten over hurdles this season where his rider amateur Alex Ferguson was able to claim his 7lbs allowance. He can’t claim that tomorrow and that has to be a big negative to his chances – I would have had him as the value bet in the race if he had an experienced jockey on board.

River Wylde showed his liking for decent ground at Kempton last time but is 3lbs worse off with the second Elgin here. I’m not sure if the difference between the two in form merits the difference in odds between them here. The latter found Neon Wolf much too good previously at Haydock but that one would have been favourite if he turned up here

Lastly a quick mention for Labaik. He has talent but is highly quirky and would be odds-on to plant his feet at the start and not run at all based on his recent visits to the racetrack!


Ballyandy is the most solid pick for me and hard to see him out of the frame. Elgin appeals of the big prices as one who could run into the frame but at current odds I won’t be getting very heavily involved in this race


Tuesday Morning Update

Doesn’t seem to be too many big moves int the market here. Just a small ew play for me when 33/1 Elgin appeared with 1/4 odds a place

2.10 Racing Post Arkle Trophy 2 miles

Odds available here:

Altior stands head and shoulders above these on form and it’s very hard to see him getting beaten as long as he completes. He’s looked fairly proficient in his jumping this season and the only thing I could see threatening him would be a slow tactical pace. (His least impressive win over hurdles came in such an affair at this course)


I wouldn’t be surprised if Nico de Boinville controlled the pace from the front to deal with that as he did last time at Newbury.

Of his rivals, Charbel was the highest rated over hurdles of the rest and looks the main challenger here. He could make the pace also but I’m sure connections don’t want to make him the sacrificial lamb in this race either. Taking on Altior too much could cost him dear if he does.

As long as David Bass plays it sensibly he would be my choice to follow the favourite home. There are a few in the race who might have already decided to ride for a place here

Selection (unsurprisingly) is Altior (far too low in odds to tempt me to bet though!)

2.50 Ultima Hcap Chase

Quite a big race for stats in the past here. Novices have perfomed quite well and the higher weight have been at a disadvantage.

The Druids Nephew has slipped back to the same mark that he won this race impressively off in 2015. He has to be a player on that basis but his form was much better coming into that race and I just wonder if he’ll be sharp enough this time.

Noble Endeavour has run well at the course before and had had positive comments from his trainer at preview nights. The 11st 11lb he has to carry is what puts me off even if his actual mark could be reasonable enough

I have a feeling this trip may stretch the novice Ibis Du Rheu a little and so the one that stands out to me is another novice chaser, Singlefarmpayment.

He was unlucky to be brought down last time but looks well handicapped on what he has achieved this year (including an impressive course win). Tom George could have run him in the RSA chase tomorrow but obviously feels his mark needs exploiting here


First recommendation of the day here:

1pt ew SINGLEFARMPAYMENT 15/2 (Bet 365 and Bet Victor currently offering ¼ odds 12345


Tuesday morning update

Definitely ahead of the price here. Singlefarmpayment now a top price 6/1 on Oddschecker (7.4 to back on Exchange in win only market)

3.30 Champion Hurdle 2 miles

The highlight of day one but sadly missing it’s last two winners, Faugheen and Annie Power through injury:

Runner by runner analysis here:


Disposed of a competitive handicap field at Ascot in impressive fashion despite a high weight. That immediately meant he was ready for this grade. Good ground should suit and handicappers have made such a jump before in the same season (Celtic Shot and Make A Stand immediately springing to mind). Definite contender though would have liked to see him perform better than he did on the course at the beginning of the season – does it suit him? – the jury is out on that one

brain power


Third in last year’s Supreme Novices then a narrow winner at Aintree from Petit Mouchoir. Started the season chasing but switched back as some of the principals dropped out. His sole hurdle win this season is a mile away from Championship form. Has undoubted potential but price is very skinny on what he has achieved. Even the trainer admits he needs softer ground and a prime candidate to see his odds drift on the day of the race


No crabbing this horse from me as I explained in my blog this week!. Has come out of a small wind operation well since beaten by Yanworth last time. Prior to that I thought that he might not quite get home on a stiff track like this but maybe he might now that this little issue has been sorted. He’s a very slick jumper and a better horse on a decent surface. I’m hopeful he will run on from the back to grab a place


Looked a potential new star when skating up at Aintree in his novice season. Unfortunately injury ruled him out of most of last season. Hasn’t done enough yet this year to make me think he is a contender at this level


From last years juvenile crop which it has to be said have looked distinctly average last year. I did see him at Leopardstown both this year and last and was impressed how much he had strengthened up over the 12 months interim period. Probably flattered last time to get so close to Petit Mouchoir last time while a 2 way battle was going on up front. I think he’s up against it here


Champion Bumper winner in 2014 but has had a few problems since. Unbeaten this season and could have run in the Supreme Novices. Rerouted here probably as he is 8 already and has left it late to get here. Nothing in his form that merits his current price in my view and not for me


I’m putting these two together as they represent past Champion Hurdle form which could have been a higher level than this year’s race. Neither are getting any younger and have had their chances

Both beaten by Yanworth at Kempton over Christmas (Ch’tibello 3rd) and hard to see how they will turn that around.

Mytentoryours has been the subject of some glowing gallop reports lately and is the one of the pair who might just spring an upset. He’s always been his own worst enemy by pulling too hard and if age has finally calmed him down – and the talent he undoubtedly has has come back – then they should all be a little bit frightened

The New One seems to be slowly regressing on the other hand. Connections have talked about sending him chasing or going to the Stayers this season which indicates they think his time might have gone in this race.


Boasts the best Irish form this year courtesy of two wins at Leopardstown. He looked hard fit to me for his last win and not sure if there’ll be much improvement from that. I’m also concerned about him on this track and whether he will come up the hill.



Another from last season’s juvenile crop. Started the season well but has found his limitations since and beaten by Yanworth and Ch’tibello last time


The 2016 Irish St Leger winner would be the classiest of these on the flat. His preparation for this is hardly conventional with his last run being in the Melbourne Cup.

Can have two ways of running over hurdles – and more often than not it’s the negative side that turns up as he seems to want things to go his own way.

Has the ability to be a contender but it will be something of a shock to see him win (Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride Footpad in preference)


The favourite and deservedly so. Didn’t win by far last time at Wincanton but the way he pricked his ears on the run in suggested he was only doing as much as he had to. That course, and also Kempton over Christmas, would both be very sharp for him and this course should suit much better


The negative with Yanworth is his jumping. It might well have cost him a win in the Neptune last season as he was kept wide to have a clear view of his hurdles (Yorkhill nipped up the rails saving much more ground and got first un on him)

He did look better at Kempton but still doesn’t have as fluid a technique as others



Petit Mouchoir has made the running on his last two runs so he looks the most obvious front-runner here. I don’t think he’ll want to make it an end to end gallop though and I wonder who will share the honours up front – Moon Racer and The New One are probably most likely.

I can see the winner coming from one who sits just behind that pace but without being right at the back.

Yanworth at the top of my shortlist but the ‘elephant in the room/ that is his hurdling just prevents me from making him as a solid bet. Brain Power is a big danger if he handles the course. Mytentoryours is perhaps the value option at around 16/1 for those looking at the bigger prices if reports of his homework are true. Ch’tibello should do himself justice – I struggle to see him beating Yanworth but he makes some appeal in the ‘Betting without Yanworth market at around 20/1


Tuesday morning update

Sadly Ch’tibello misses the race with a minor foot infection. He’ll probably be fine tomorrow so it’s gutting for connections for this to happen on the day. Probably Punchestown for him now. Strong money for Yanworth so far see him down to around 9/4 from around 3/1 last night

4.10 Mares Hurdle 2ml 4fur

3 horses dominating here and all from Ireland. Limini and last year’s winner Vroum Vroum Mag from team Mullins and Gordon Elliott’s Apples Jade.

The vibes about Vroum Vroum Mag really haven’t been very positive recently since she struggled to win at Doncaster. She is the one I would most easily pass over with Ruby Walsh also making the same decision and riding Limini.

Limini beat Apples Jade last time well enough to suggest it would be hard for the Gigginstown runner to turn the form around. There is a suggestion that Limini may be best fresh though and I didn’t think she was that impressive when winning the Mares Novice race last season.

At the prices, Apples Jade has to be the each way bet for me with ¼ odds being available.


These three are someway ahead of the UK team on form. Lifeboat Mona and Colins Sister have both looked good but are both stepping up to a higher grade. I think the latter mare in particular could be up to this level in time but to me she wants a softer surface than she will encounter here


2pts ew APPLES JADE 9/2 Bet 365 (be sure to take ¼ odds 123 rather than 1/5th)


Tuesday morning update

Pricewise went for Apples Jade the selection which probably prevented any hope of 5/1 appearing. Still 9/2 available in places which is better than can be found on the exchange. Sadly, Colins Sister bruised a heel and is out – it would have been nice to see how she fared in this grade but there will be other days for her!

4.50 JT McNamara National Hunt Chase 4 miles

I can see JP McManus wanting to win this race badly as it is named after a rider who won so many races for him until his life was tragically cut short.

If the British handicapper is right, his Edwulf is a 159 rated horse and some way ahead of these. The trip should suit, he has one of the best amateur riders possible on board and he was very impressive last time up. A fall in his previous race is the one nagging doubt about him but the race was won by Minella Rocco last year who had a similar question mark coming into the race. He just needs to get settled into a nice rhythm early


Champers on Ice appeals as the main danger from the home team. He was totally outpaced here over 2 and a half miles last time and this trip could be right up his street.

I think win only is the more prudent way to go here so the recommendations are:

2pts win Edwulf 11/2 (WillHill)

1pt win Champers on Ice 8/1(generally available)

5.30 Close Brothers Hcap Chase

I had Value At Risk marked firmly down for this one but nothing leaping out for me now he has dropped out. I may do an update closer to the time if things become clearer. While it is a handicap there is only 4lbs separating all the runners so it’s almost a conditions race in reality


Tuesday update

I went through this race a bit overnight but nothing really shone out. Foxtail Hill might be well in but had his own way in the lead last time off a low weight. He has much more on his back now and strong likelihood that others will take him on. This could set it up for something to come from the back. Most of the field seem to be in the grip of the handicapper. I really liked Bun Doran‘s win at Ayr earlier this year but would be very concerned about the ground for him. Tully East performed well at the meeting last year and could do again back on decent ground.  If I had to pick one it would be Double Ws  at 16/1, who should like the ground and is still relatively unexposed at this trip. The North don’t get too many winners at Cheltenham these days but Malcolm Jefferson’s strike rate here must be one of the best for them. He did get a very positive mention from the jockey Brian Hughes at one of the preview evenings. Not a confident selection by any means and a race for low stakes



Monday Evening Update (8.50pm)

Pricewise in the Racing Post has put up two of the selections from earlier today:

Singlefarmpayment has been put up at a rather incredible 10/1 with Boylesports and 8/1 generally. At the moment 15/2 is the best available anywhere and there is no 8/1 even on Betfair exchange. Good luck to anyone who can avail themselves of 10/1 tomorrow morning!

Apples Jade has also been tipped at 9/2 so that price will be lucky to hold unless there is strong support for the Mullins pair.

A few firms going 1/4 odds a place in the Arkle has made it meat and drink for a ‘filthy each way bet’ Bet 365 in particular are appearing in black type on Oddschecker for many with their win odds. Charbel for instance is 12/1 1/4 odds 1-2-3. You get 3/1 for the place part of the bet here. On the place only market on Betfair Exchange the same horse is 5/4 to lay just to illustrate what value can be taken here. There are similar stand out place odds for all of the other runners so perfectly possible to back two and still come out with a profit if only 1 places. Charbel would be my strongest recommendation for an each way play with these place terms. Whatever you fancy, I would also recommend perming each way doubles if you have a selection or two in Wednesday’s Champion Chase also (Simply Ned remains my main each way play here). If you can get 1/4 odds a place as well here you are increasing the place odds in your favour even more. Your account may suffer for this kind of bet in time though!



Thanks for reading – and here’s hoping we can get off to a good start with the meeting

I will do quick updates later this evening and at lunchtime tomorrow if more value appears. Firms will update their odds again later and there may be some better place terms available then also

Good luck with whatever you back!




Summary of recommendations so far:

Day 1

1pt ew Singlefarmpayment 15/2 (1/4 odds 12345)

2pts ew Apples Jade 9/2  (1/4 odds 123)

2pts win Edwulf 11/2

1pt win Champers on Ice 8/1

Day 2

1pt ew Shattered Love 25/1(1/5 odds 123)

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

Day 4

0.5pts ew Forth Bridge 33/1 (1/4 odds 123)







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Royal Ascot 2015 – Final Day

Royal Ascot 2015 – Final Day

It’s been fast ground all week at Ascot but there is a real threat of heavy rain coming on Saturday to upset the party.
This makes analysis very hard to do the day before. We could easily have a completely different surface being raced on tomorrow and that could also change the draw bias (which has seemingly favoured low numbers in most big hcaps on the straight course this week)
Thoughts are below but it’s impossible to give any recommended bets until knowing the exact conditions and I’ll be holding fire with most of my bets until as long as possible if the heavens look like opening (will add anything on Twitter during the day tomorrow)

2.30 Chesham Stakes (2yos – 7 fur)
7 furlong races for 2yos will have been very thin on the ground so far this season. Many of the runners have a ‘novicey’ look to them at this stage and will be types that improve with age and distance.
You would think a horse that bears the name of the famous stables would have to be decent and Ballydoyle is the early favourite. That has a lot to do with the Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore combination I’m sure. The actual form of his only start is not the best in the race but he is entitled to improve.
Tonkinese has the best form for me and should really be the favourite here. Also from Ireland, the form of his debut third has worked out very well and he has subsequently won over this trip on fast ground. If the rain does arrive it may not be such an issue as his sire Authorised is an influence for soft ground performers
Mark Johnston’s filly Dessertoflife is also worth a mention if the rains come as she has already won over this trip on soft ground. That win was only 6 days ago though so will this race come too soon?
Selection; Tonkinese (4/1 each way with firms offering 1/4 odds 123)

4.05 Wolferton Hcap (4yo+ – 1ml 2 fur)
Niceofyoutotellme is a few pounds well in here if the form of his excellent 3rd in a Sandown Group race is taken at face value. He won’t appreciate any rain that might fall though.
Mahsoob and Collaboration have been ahead of the handicapper so far this season and probably still on the upgrade. The former is 9lb higher for his latest win and hasn’t raced on anything softer than good yet. Collaboration has gone up 7lbs for his latest win and in contrast he seems more effective when the word ‘firm’ isn’t in the going description.
Mount Logan was well behind Collaboration at Epsom on his seasonal reappearance but was involved in a barging match with another runner at the back of the field. He will be a lot better for that run and I can see winning races of his mark of 100 this season. He’s another for whom a lot of rain might be a negative and this trip may just be a bit shy of his best.
I can’t really give a selection here without knowing exactly what ground they will race on

3.40 Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2 – 4yo+ – 1ml 4fur)
With only 7 runners this has now lost its appeal as an each way heat.
I don’t think there is much between Telescope, Eagle Top and Postponed if the ground remains Good or better. I certainly don’t think that Telescope should be around 5/4 while the other two sit around 7/2.
Sir Michael Stoute’s charge (impressive winner of this race last year) won very well last time at Newbury but his rivals there were not of the same class as he faces here.
Anyone who follows my blog religiously will know I like Postponed and I have backed him Ante Post for this race when it was still possible to get each way with 3 places. He’s been running over too short a trip this season and the ground hasn’t been quick enough for him. He’s back over the trip where he comfortably disposed of Snow Sky at York last season
Neither Telescope or Postponed will really want too much rain to be getting in the ground.
Eagle Top has two lengths to make up on Telescope from King George form last season but was very inexperienced then and could well bridge that gap now.
He was given considerate handling on his reappearance and although he has never raced on ground softer than good, both his sire and dam were effective on it.
He could well be the one to be on if the ground becomes softer than good
It’s hard to imagine Hillstar (hampered at a crucial stage in this race last year) being fit enough to win on his seasonal debut
Quite apart from the ground issue there is another problem with this race though – there is no obvious front runner. It could be a messy tactical affair and that would dissuade me more from getting any further involved in this race.
Selection; on Good ground or faster – Postponed but if the rain falls and there is some soft in the description it will be Eagle Top

4.20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1 – 4yo+ – 6 fur)
Hard to know how good Australian raider Brazen Beau is who leads the betting (same applies to fellow Antipodean Wandjina). The Aussie hope in Tuesday’s King Stand only managed 13th despite being quite well fancied. I’d much rather rely on previous Ascot winner Mustajeeb but he’s a tiny bit skinny at around 5/1.
Tropics has been around a while and performed well at this level but he looked better than ever on his reappearance winning with a lot in hand despite the margin. A drop of rain will help him more than some of the others and he’ll be my main play if the forecast is right – hopefully 12/1 or more will still be available
I’ve been a fan of Music Master for a long time but he ran so badly at Haydock last time that I can’t support him here. ** since writing I’ve read a valid excuse for his last run – he was wearing a new bit and couldn’t breathe. 20/1 suddenly looks quite tempting!
Selection; Tropics (any rain increases his chances)


5.00 Wokingham Stakes (Hcap – 3yo+ – 6 fur)
Quite possibly this is the most difficult race to solve of the week. 28 runners and hard to dismiss anything totally – with only 12 lbs separating the field on official ratings.
A low draw has been favourable in big field handicaps on the straight course this week – if the rain holds off that has to be advantageous. If the rain does fall heavily who knows where the draw bias will be
I could write something equivalent of War and Peace if I summed up every horse here so will restrict to the three I have at the top of my shortlist:
Gamesome 12/1
Probably the most unexposed in the field, he got going late last time to dead heat for 5th at Newmarket. I think he has the potential to be a bit better than his mark of 100 as he gets more experience. Has a low draw which so far this week has been an advantage and he proably won’t mind a bit of rain
Dinkum Diamond 33/1
This 7yo has been a consistent type all of his life and seems to go on all surfaces. He dead heated for 5th with Gamesome at Newmarket and his mark is 1lb lower. The real standout is the jockey though with Edward Greatrex taking another 7lbs off his back. I’ve mentioned this boy before and he really is great value for his claim – a jockey going places. The claim effectively makes him bottom weight in this race with 8st 11lb on his back . He also has a low draw and I think he should be much less than the quotes of 25/1 -33/1 I have seen today
Robert le Diable 14/1
An interesting French raider who may be on the opposite side of the track in stall 20. He won’t be bothered by rain either and his mark of 104 is about 4-5lb below where I think it should be on his run behind Mecca’s Angel at Longchamp
I have backed all 3 of these each way already taking as many places as I can find offered. In such a race ¼ 12345 is a must have but take note of firms like Paddy Power who pay first 6

5.35 Queen Alexandra Stakes (4yo + 2ml 5fur)
The longest flat race in the calendar always attracts a few no hopers. There are 4 horses in the race with a hcap rating over 100 PLUS the totally unexposed Wicklow Brave from Ireland. His form is all National Hunt based but he looks highly useful when things go right for him.
Ryan Moore has an incredible strike rate riding for Willie Mullins and he may well prevail but at no more than 11/8 he is a very skinny price.
Times Up is getting quite old now and has stamina limitations beyond 2 miles. Oriental Fox hasn’t run for nearly a year so must have had some kind of setback.
We are left with Marzocco and Rawaki as the potential main rivals and I would normally be thinking of them as the each way horses to back. But with both it will be a complete stab in the dark to know if they will stay this trip and I’ll happily pass on this race

*Saturday Morning Update*

It was light drizzle at Ascot this morning but the ground had quickened a little since yesterday. With 6mm forecast before racing that really shouldnt make the ground much different from earlier this week. Hopefully what rain trhere is will just serve enough to keep the sting out of the ground so that it isn’t too firm.

This is good news for Postponed in the Hardwicke. I just hope the race isn’t too tactical and he isn’t forced into making the pace again as in his two starts this season. I do feel he is better coming from just off the pace in a strongly run race. A lack of pace will be just as much of a hinderance to him as it will the rest of the field though – this could all come down to jockeyship

Tonkinese shouldn’t mind the ground either way in the first and in the second race (after a bit more study) if I had to pick one ew at current odds it would probably be First Flight (value compared to Mahsoob on York running)

Tropics and Music Master remain bets in the Golden Jubilee with Hills paying 1/4 1234. Tropics wouldn’t have minded softer ground but hius record on Good to Firm is quite impressive. He saw too much daylight in this race last year and hope to see him pounce late on here.

Gamesome is being well backed in the Wokingham and the subject of Pricewise last night. He’s plenty short enough for such a competitive handicap but I’d really prefer to be on a low drawn horse now after what we have seen this week.

My one recommendation comes in that race with the previously mentioned Dinkum Diamond. It’s that 7lb claim that I really like and we know he is suited by this race as was 3rd in it on fast ground in 2013. He effectively carries a 4lb lower mark today and has shown no signs this season that he is on the downgrade.

I think he has a sound chance to hit the frame again from his low draw (Watchable in stall 1 likely to add some pace to that side as he did in Ayr Gold Cup)

Recommendation 0.75pts ew Dinkum Diamond – 28/1 (1/4 odds 12345 with 365, Sky, Tote/Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes)

Good luck for the day and hope it’s been a successful week
Thanks for reading



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AP’s last day – Sandown 25 Apr

The Bet365 Gold Cup (or in its previous guise of the Whitbread Gold Cup) is the last big chase handicap of the season and a traditional send-off to National Hunt racing’s year
The spotlight on the meeting is all the more magnified by it being the final day of riding for 20 time champion AP McCoy. I’m sure coverage will be monopolised by this and not a sentence will go by without some reference to the great jockey.
He has two rides at the meeting but none in the showpiece event.

Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts for the day’s tv races with some recommendations:
Ground could become a major issue tomorrow and prevents me from getting too heavily involved with this card. On the flat track today the ground was ‘good’ but it was suggested that watering this week had left it on the dead side. We have to assume the jumps track is similar but if some forecasted heavy rain arrives tomorrow afternoon this watered ground could deteriorate quite quickly

2.00 Alzammaar is the early fav and really appreciated a step up in trip last time at Newbury. He’s back to 2 miles here and although the finishing hill is stiff he could need a bit more of a test. Top weight Old Guard interests me more. Paul Nicholls seemed quite sweet on his chances for a longshot in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham until rain came to get rid of the good ground. He’s big enough to carry his weight and ground should be much better if it stays rain free before 2pm. I was hoping for a bit better than the early show of 6/1 however so refrain from putting him up as a recommended bet

2.35 Al Ferof and Menorah have the best form but both have something to prove here. I don’t tfind this a particularly attractive heat for betting but with Jack Sherwood reunited on Rebel Rebellion he makes best appeal of the outsiders with Paddy Power’s early 16/1 quote (as low as 8s with Ladbrokes and Hills)

3.05 McCoy’s mount Mr Mole likely to see support with him on board but the horse remains a bit of an enigmatic customer (although 10x better than he used to be!) Sprinter Sacre would dot up in this on his old form but he’s got a lot to prove now after his Cheltenham failure. His presence in the field does rule out the race as a betting medium for me – it would be great to see him return to past glories but impossible to know what form he will turn up in here.

3.50 The main event the Bet365 Gold Cup.
Former Gold Cup here Bobs Worth has slipped down the weights considerably and I can understand why he was backed for this midweek. At his height he won races by being a supreme trier but I’ve seen several like him where the efforts eventually catch up and then it’s a downhill curve. I think he too may have been ‘broken’
This is often a race for young horses and Le Reve is my ideal type having skipped Cheltenham and Aintree to purposefully wait for this race..
He must be one of the biggest horses in training so it’s no surprise he has taken time to realise his potential and this season has seen him start to do just that. He has already won over the course twice this season (it’s a place that takes some jumping so course experience is important) and this place will suit him much more than Kempton where he was beaten behind Rocky Creek last time (that one has to come back from a very disappointing effort in the Grand National).
Ground shouldn’t be a problem even if some rain falls and the one question mark is stamina – but he shapes like he can handle a test.
With some firms offering 5 places he has to be the recommendation

1pt ew Le Reve 9/1 (Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power offering 5 places)

4.25 Box Office is AP McCoy’s last ever ride and while he does hold a good chance he will undoubtedly be overbet to leave him at unattractive odds.
This will increase the odds of the others and I’m siding with Dan Skelton’s Go Odee Go who looks to be an improving type and a bit too big for me at 12/1
Rayvin Black also gets a mention as he gets on very well with Thomas Garner and will put them all to the sword with his front running style. It’s just that I think 2 miles is his trip and he may falter on the uphill finish here
1pt ew Go Odee Go 12/1 (365, Boyles, BetVictor, Hills)

Thanks for reading once more

Enjoy the day and good luck!


Saturday recommendations 4pts staked
1pt ew Le Reve 9/1
1pt ew Go Odee Go 12/1


Le Reve did very little wrong jumping the last in the lead only to be outstayed on the run in finishing 3rd (+1.25 pts)

Go Oee Go might have preferred a bit quicker ground but travelled well out the back and came through late to get 4th and place money – as he returned 14/1 and all mentioned firms are Best Ods Guaranteed I’ll be claiming that price (+2.5 pts)

Profit for the day +3.75 pts

Running balance 67.23 pts from the initial bank of 50 pts (17.23 pts profit and this does not include the 4pts staked on the 2,000 Guineas next weekend)

(prices correct at 1830 UK time 24 Apr – see for current quotes)

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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in AP McCoy, Horse Racing


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Scottish Grand National day 18 April (+ 2000 Guineas Antepost update)

Saturday’s cards see some quality jump racing at Ayr and some high class flat racing at Newbury
Some brief thoughts below with my best offerings for the day:

The main event
Scottish Grand National 3.45 AYR
I have some doubts about effectiveness of Gallant Oscar over this extreme trip and if ground maybe on the quick side for him.
My two against the field are Sego Success and Trustan Times
Sego Success is having a very similar preparation to Alan King’s Godsmejudge who won this 2 years ago. He looks all about stamina and will be much better suited by the pace here than at Cheltenham last time where it all developed into a bit of a sprint. I can see him reversing form with Broadway Buffalo from that run here in race that will be run at a true gallop from the off
Trustan Times has also had a similar preparation to when he came here last year and finished 3rd behind Al Co (latter reopposes but a negative for me that he was probably trained for the Grand National instead last week where he fell at the first). He ran well to a point at Cheltenham and when it was clear he wouldn’t be placed the foot was taken right off the pedal
Both horses should be effective on this ever drying ground in Scotland
I could see Harry the Viking running into a place on this ground as well as he’s been very consistent of late and I have a lot of time for his trainer. He keeps going up in the weights without winning which just puts me of him as a recommendation but wouldn’t put anyone off at 25/1+

1pt ew each
Sego Success 14/1 (take ¼ odds 12345 with 365, Coral or Betfair Sportsbook)
Trustan Times 16/1 (365, Coral)

3.10 Ayr
The preceding race has the best bet of the day for me in Duke Of Navan.
He looked a really good recruit when winning on his debut this season but then seemed to disappoint when beaten at odds-on on the last two occasions. Those defeats don’t look bad at all now as his conqueror Just Cameron easily won a handicap off 140 at Haydock since. That makes Duke of Navan’s mark of 139 look very workable now and he is back on ground that suits him so much better now.
There should be some pace in this race with Strongpoint and Dunraven Storm in the field which will suit his hold up style. Nicky Richards could have upped him in grade at Aintree last week but I think has kept him back specifically for this.

duke of navan
3pts win Duke Of Navan 7/2 (Skybet, Ladbrokes)

3.25 Newbury
A very competitive handicap but Buckstay is so consistent in this grade I have to have a nibble at 8/1 with 5 places being paid out by some.
Lincoln winner Gabrial should be his chief opponent and at bigger prices I give ew squeaks to Santefisio and Mister Music who both have performed well on higher marks. The latter was behind Buckstay last time but travelled well into that race and could have just needed it
1pt ew Buckstay 8/1 (365, Paddy Power both paying 5 places)

2.15 Newbury
Not recommending a bet directly in this race but it’s going to make very interesting watching. Last season’s brilliant two-year old Tiggy Wiggy has stamina to prove and a very interesting rival in Jellicle Ball who had time analysts in raptures on her splits on her debut.
With Ryan Moore booked I wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter run very well and there could be something in 365’s 50/1 for her to win this race and the 1,000 Guineas for those who can get on with that firm

Thanks for reading and best of luck


Saturday’s recommended bets 9pts staked


Duke of Navan 1st 7/2 ( +10.5 pts)

All went beautifully here once the selection just managed to avoid an early disaster with two fallers at the first fence

Buckstay unplaced (-2pts)

A fairly exaggerated hold up ride here and he was ultimately on the wrong side of the course anyway. Never involved in finish

Trustan Times and Sego Success both unplaced (-4pts)

Trustan Times made a few too many jumping errors – he had an outside place chance at the home turn before running into a faller and then it was race over. Sego Success was a disappointment, travelling well until the final circuit and then unable to compete as the heat was turned up

This leaves the blog with a 4.5pt profit on the day and a running balance of 67.48 pts from the initial 50pt bank



There’s a further bet for me to be had now after watching today’s Classics trials.

Despite narrow defeat I was very impressed with Estidhkaar‘s effort from the front in the Greenham. Paul Hanagan was probably aware others may have had more pace in behind over this 7 furlong trip but he beat them all off comfortable except Muharrar and wasn’t done at the finishing line at all. A course record shows the result in very good light and I can see him doing far better over a mile in the Guineas where he should be able to sit just off a decent pace. Improvement must be expected from today and he wouldn’t be the first to be defeated in the Greenham and to come back and win the colts classic. The one thing I wouldn’t want to see is soft ground at Newmarket in 2 weeks time on which he seems to be less effective. He seems definitely to be going for the race from what I have read since and this also leaves the owner’s Zawraq to be free to be aimed at the Derby now he has another bona fide contender for the race.

I would expect Paul Hanagan to be riding again and think he should be a single figure price now. Hence I’m happy to take the 14s generally now offered


2pts ew Estidhkaar @14/1 2,000 Guineas

(Tote/Betfred, Boyles, BetVictor. Corals, Betfair Sportsbook, SportingBet)


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Free Handicap – Newmarket Apr 15

Wednesday’s Newmarket Craven meeting sees the first real clues for home contenders in the forthcoming Classics.
The European Free Handicap doesn’t always have the biggest influence on the 2,000 Guineas but that could change this year with John Gosden’s Faydhan in the line-up.
He’s currently a top price of 5/1 2nd fav for the Guineas and his presence here has frightened off all but 4 opponents over this 7 furlong trip.
All eyes will probably be on him and if he’s as good as his home reputation he may well dot up. It’s the hype in Newmarket that makes him no more than about 4/9 tomorrow – a skinny price for just one win. On paper that 6 length win over subsequent Group winner Dutch Connection is certainly impressive but nearly impossible to rate properly. The second improved drastically afterwards evidenced by the fact that the 3rd and 4th who were just behind were plying their trade in handicaps afterwards from marks in the 70s (Faydhan given 102 tomorrow)
But this race is also seeing the reappearance of another highly promising type in Glenalmond and I think that’s where the value lies in this race.
Glenalmond first sprang to prominence when he was significantly upped in grade for his second start last year and ran very green to finish 4th in York’s Gimcrack Stakes. His inexperience was all too obvious but he looked to me the best horse in the race. He is 3lb better off for a length beating by Jungle Cat in that – but I would have expected him to beat that one again on level weights on what I saw. Gimcrack winner Muharrar later went on to prove the form was not far behind the best of his generation when 3rd in the Middle Park Stakes.
He then ran in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster where a disappointing last behind Estidhkaar. That looked a backward step until it transpired he had pulled a muscle and was practically walking on 3 legs after the race. I’m therefore happy to ignore that run but it seems he has been priced up tomorrow as if that were his true form.
If the Doncaster run had been ignored I really think he would be about the 6 or 7/1 mark for this race.
Of the other two in the race tomorrow, Home of the Brave is also more about potential than form. He was soundly beaten when upped in grade at Kempton after running too freely – something which must be a concern when running fresh on his debut again here – and there must also be some stamina concern over this 7 furlong trip.
Tupi gets weight from all but didn’t do enough to suggest that he was Group race level – something that the selection certainly did to me.
Glenalmond will almost certainly not be 100% ready tomorrow with a possible tilt at the 2,000 Guineas in mind – Karl Burke will have left something to work on with the season ahead. However, the same should probably be true of all 5 runners so they should start on a fairly level playing field here – only paddock inspection will start to reveal which are more forward than others and I can’t build that factor into an early price selection

I think his trainer remains severely underrated – the fact that of his 21 juveniles last season he got 20 of them to win races- is a massive pointer as to his skill. But while he remains underrated the prices on his runners may be over generous.
Toocoolforschool was his highest rated juvenile last season but Glenalmond wasn’t far behind, and this full brother to Group 1 winning Wootton Bassett can start to reveal he is a top quality colt this season.
I remain full of respect for the favourite so only a small bet is recommended on the selection to win the race itself – but it’s the market where we don’t include Faydhan where I think the real value is to be had.
Betting without the favourite markets are usually worked out by automation from the race win odds. But using this method instead of working out manually can give out some anomalies.
As Glenalmond is marked up at over double the odds of the second fav with some firms he comes out far too high for me on this special market (in reality I think he should be fav or joint fav when Faydhan is ignored)
0.5 pts ew Glenalmond 14/1 (365)
2pts Glenalmond @7/2 (Betfair Sportsbook ) – betting without favourite

Thanks for reading and good luck


RESULT: Glenalmond seemed plenty fresh enough on his debut throwing his head around in the first furlong despite a strongly run race. He didnt have the pace to get with the two who raced up front but ran through to the line and I suspect will improve a bit on this performance. The winner Home of The Brave looked to have improved significantly from 2 to 3 but I think we can judge that Hugo Palmer’s team are well forward judged on both his and stablemates runs today. Despite being 4 lenghts behind, my selection was giving at least 5lbs away to those in front and gives me enough reason to think he can improve on that this season – possibly over a mile or over 7 furlongs when the ground isn’t quite as quick

A 3pt loss on the blog today leaves us with a balance of 62.98 pts from an initial bank of 50pts at the start of the year

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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Horse Racing, Newmarket


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Grand National aftermath

A quick resume of yesterday’s big race and how the blog selections have performed

A re-run of Many Clouds magnificent win can be seen below

It wasn’t the result we wanted from the point of the blog but nothing should be detracted from a superb performance by the winner. He was a young horse in Grand National terms and coming back after an attritional race in the Gold Cup which would have finished off many for the season. Moreover he carried the kind of weight to victory that hasn’t been seen since the days of Red Rum in 1974. All of these were big negatives from a stats view going into the race and so he was never going to be at the forefront of my selections
All in all he must now be considered as one of the very best winners of the race in the modern era considering what he had going against him.
My main tip Rocky Creek looked beaten soon after they started the second circuit and I don’t think was jumping as well as he did last year. It was too far out to give lack of stamina as a reason and unless something comes to light to explain it, must be considered a very disappointing run.
Monbeg Dude was given a terrific ride by Liam Treadwell to secure some place returns for Ante Post followers. For a time at the final fence I thought he might catch them up front as he came with a strong run from the back of the field. The effort was just too much but he ran a great third and might have been a bit closer still but for being hampered by the fall of French outsider River Choice at Bechers first time round.
The Game Changer did give some place returns in a later race after looking the likely winner two fences out.
Aintree was a little disappointing overall slightly mirroring last years results where Cheltenham was also the better meeting for profit.
It’s always a bit of a watershed time for me now with jump racing – the Scottish National next Saturday holds some interest but generally my betting interests will die down with jump racing until November now and Flat Racing will gradually take over

Results from last week:
Thursday 9pts staked , 3.62 pts returned
Friday 10pts staked , 13.05 pts returned
Saturday 16 pts staked 4 pts returned
Previous Grand National Ante Post Bets returned 9.25 pts

So from an initial bank of 50 pts at the start of this year we now have a balance of 65.98 pts (slightly below the balance after Cheltenham but still just under 32% ahead on the year)

It’s an interesting week next week with the first big Classics trials starting on the Flat and the Scottish National on Saturday so the blog may be in action again in the next 7 days

Hopefully back again soon



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Grand National Day 2015

Saturday morning update at bottom of page


The final day of the Aintree meeting and the showpiece event the Grand National is due to start at 4.15pm
There were no withdrawals prior to Friday’s deadline which meant that all reserves miss the race. Subsequent to this Carlito Brigante was taken out after being found lame so 39 runners are now due to start the big race
I listed each horse with remarks about their chances and with a scoring system earlier in the week on this posting
A list of bookmakers odds for the big race can be found here:

Some initial things to note from this odds list.

This is the biggest horse racing shop window of the year for bookmakers when they look to bring in new accounts.
Many will offer enhanced odds and place terms which may well be unprofitable to them. For anyone who doesn’t yet hold an account there will be further carrots dangled with higher odds again on fancied horses (though to limited stakes) and the offer of free bets in the future.
For any newbies out there who aren’t sure of how to take advantage of such offers please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@Senor_Moodoir) and I will endeavour to help if I can

Also if betting online get bets on early. There is unprecedented traffic on betting company sites on this day and some may struggle to handle it! Some have been known to crash as they cannot handle it in the past

And so onto the race:

Lets hope it’s a cleaner race than Friday’s Topham – run over the same course but a shorter trip – where two thirds of the field failed to complete. The fences may be easier nowadays but that may just increase the speed they jump. Loose horses were causing plenty of problems in Friday’s race
The big talking point will undoubtedly be the final appearance of champion jockey AP McCoy which is the reason why his mount Shutthefrontdoor is favourite.
Undoubtedly, this one is a much shorter price than he should be as a result but its market forces that have driven his price so low. Bookmakers predict he will be one of the shortest priced favourites ever with all of the support they expect but I’m not so sure he will get as short as is predicted.
He’s currently hanging around 7/1 though his real odds should maybe be double that. While he fits the bill on stamina he fails on so many other stats – and firms will be aware of this.
If you fancy him I would advise to wait until the shop windows open tomorrow morning and firms may well be competing to be the ones offering the top price on him. I’ll be surprised if you can’t get a bit more than 7/1.
Once on course bookmakers become involved in the hour before the race that price may contract though I think there is another in the race who may well be backed also – and possibly even vying for favouritism.
I can’t recommend backing him myself and on my other post I formulated a shortlist where I think the possible winner will come from.
The first 7 of these all fit the trends of previous winners best in the race and have the form in the book which gives them a serious chance. The last two have a slight failing on the stamina front but I believe have the potential to erase that negative they have.
I have already advised bets on Godsmejudge and Monbeg Dude earlier in the year in January and February.
Godsmejudge would still have been my top selection but for a real dismal run over hurdles three weeks ago. He is a shorter price than I advised now – and I wont be backing him anymore now that I’m already on.
Monbeg Dude was disappointing in his trainers mind last time out where the fitting of a tongue tie was blamed. I’m a bit disappointed that he doesn’t have a jockey who knows him well on board as he needs to be given a patient ride and held up until late. Nevertheless last years 7th (didn’t quite stay after running a bit too freely) is still overpriced in my eyes at 40/1 – especially when 6 places are available. If you haven’t backed already I still rate him as a value outsider to keep with.
Al Co has come if for some support in the last week to around 25/1. He’s one for a saver as he probably is the best stats fit of all. It’s just a bit offputting that he seems to be ridden as if he doesn’t want to many horses round him – a negative if that is applied on this track.
Last years winner and second Pineau De Re and Balthazar King still have place chances. Pineau De Re is now 12 and that may just count against him along with his rise in the weights. Balthazar King also has a slightly higher mark and I think has got a little too short at around 10/1. I can see him running well but again finding one too good.
Royale Knight is improving but needs to be off a much higher mark than he has won off before. It’s the huge jump in class for me that just keeps him off my list to bet.
I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from Soll at around 20/1. He does have some stamina to prove but his new trainer David Pipe seems to have revitalized him and a different training regime could see him a stronger stayer.
The two bets for the day I will suggest at currently available odds come last.
Across the Bay represent the McCain stable who have such a good heritage in this race stemming from the mighty Red Rum. He was very unlucky to be taken out of the race with a circuit to go last year but has proved he likes the course. I hope he can be ridden with a bit more restraint to get home this year but at 50/1 and with 6 places available he is worth an interest.
The main bet is Rocky Creek however. He was 5th last year and jumped around the course with aplomb only to fade late home. I think he can improve on that and am relying on his trainer’s great record at bringing improvement to horses by means of a breathing operation. He looked a stronger finisher last time at Kempton after coming back from his treatment.
While I don’t see a jumping problem some luck is always need at this course. You can be the best jumper in the world but if you run into one in front of you that isn’t so good at the obstacles it can be all over.

rocky creek
He should be the favourite in the race for me and I see him too big with 10/1 offered . Paul Nicholls has become known as ‘Mr Saturday’ this season with such a fine record in landing the big weekend pot. This would be the ultimate weekend result for him and I can see people latching onto this. I don’t expect his SP to be as high as 10/1 and could conceivably see him challenging Shutthefrontdoor as favourite
3pts ew Rocky Creek 10/1 (Betfred/Tote who pay ¼ 12345) or take BetVictor’s 9/1 where they offer 1st 6
1pt ew Across The Bay 50/1 50/1 (BetVictor ¼ odds 123456)

(already advised earlier this year

1.5 pts ew Godsmejudge 28/1 + 1pt ew 25/1

1pt ew Monbeg Dude 33/1)

As for the remaining races on the card there aren’t too many bets that take my fancy for now but here are some thoughts with selections recommended in the last two races:

2.15 Parlour Games and Nichols Canyon are the pricipals and had only a lenght between them at Cheltenham. There shouldn’t be much between them again but both would prefer softer ground and the form hasn’t really been advertised by those behind since. As Der Mee’s form is also on softer ground and while Three Musketeers looks promising he’ll need further improvement here. Days Of Heaven missed Cheltenham and is the one that most takes the eye as he looks to be firmly on an upward curve. The problem is that this distance is new territory for him and that prevents me backing him

2.05 Gods Own has all the best form here and gets his desired ground. There is a reservation about his form on left handed tracks which he put to bed to some degree with his second in the Arkle last time. More critical for betting on this race is that there is no obvious front runner (Solar Impulse maybe) and this could be a tactical affair. Court Minstrel is the one I have my eye on most as track and ground should definitely suit – but I wouldnt want to see Paul Moloney overdoing the waiting tactics if the pace isn’t quick-

2.50 Hard to tell if his serious blunder deprived Zarkandar of victory in the World Hurdle or not. He was certainly going well at the time but ultimately Cole Harden won going away. The latter gets his ground again and should have no competition for the lead up front. Much will depend on who has recovered from that race best. Last year’s winner Whisper should also get closer now he’s had a run under his belt. If there is a shock then Henryville ran a huge race under top weight in the Pertemps final at Cheltenham. That entitles him to mix it with these and he’s the most appealing of the outsiders-3.25 Buywise throws many races away with bad jumping and you have to take that on board if backing at a short price. Vino Griego is a quirky character who hasnt shown much form in his last three races – but now he’s back on good ground. Last year he had similar conditions in this race when touched off by the reopposing Duke of Lucca but is now 10lbs better off. I’d be chancing he is on a going today at around 8/1 but he certainly isn’t the type of horse to risk the life savings on!

5.10 One For The Guvnor could be well in on his handicap debut but has been priced accordingly at an early 5/1. I slightlyprefer two Irish raiders at bigger odds. The Game Changer was well fancied in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham but the rain on the day probably scuppered his chances. He has his ground now and an excellent pilot aboard in young Luke Dempsey. At still bigger odds, Little King Robin, is also back on a surface that suits. She is a trail blazing front runner – a style that is suited by this course – and she has a touch of class. She’s top weight on the back of that but I find her odds to big for this

Find the odds for this race here :


1pt ew The Game Changer @12/1 (365, Ladbrokes, Skybet, Corals)

0.5pts ew Little King Robin @25/1 (generally available)

5.40 Hard to read the form in this Mares Bumper. The Irish challenge looks predictably strong with Whistle Dixie and Babylone des Mottes at the head of the early markets. Sunshine Corner has to be on the shortlist but connections intimated that she may not want the ground this quick after her debut victory. Chocca Wocca is the first foal of the very classy mare Chomba Womba and I’ll be watching her with interest. I’m a sucker for anything the Crawford family send over to this meeting in Bumpers and they won this with Legacy Gold two years ago. They have Verona Opera here at a big price and you can be sure she’ll be trained for this – the connections main aim will be to sell her on the back of it. Her debut run doesnt look good enough but I think she improved plenty next time up when winning easily. Sh’e worth a punt at big odds because of her connections record in bumpers alone

Find the odds for this race here:


0.5pts ew Verona Opera  40/1 (365 – who offer 1/4 odds 123)

(apologies to those who read this before this morning where I accidentaly called her Verona Gold – thinking of Legacy Gold again!)


A small amount of ovcernight rain at the track but nothing that should prevent if being decent racing ground once drying winds take some effect later.

I was looking forward to seeing some value in speical bets markets this morning on the big race but compared to last year the selection is quite poor. There are a lot of meaning less oness out there (star sign of winner, first letter of winner) and it’s very disappointing to see that ‘Top 10 finish’ which was widely available in last few years has been missed out by all so far. Sadly that’s probably a result of too much automation in compiling these days and the program that being built in.

Match Bets are the others that interest me but again there’s a pretty poor selection with many firms.

The standout for me is with BetVictor who offer

5/6 Oscar Time v 5/6 Court By Surprise

I strongly favour the former here. He may be a veteran but he has loads of good course form and in Sam Waley Cohen has the pilot with the best record over these fences on his back. Court By Surprise is a decent horse but has had a long lay off and no experience over these fences at all remain the only major firm offering 6 places for each way punters and that should be the first place to look – if the win odds are available better elsewhere with firms offering 1st 5 then they should be considered intead. There remain a few firms (Betfred, Tote, Hills) only paying 4 places and that really is the last resort for each way betting now. Do try and get bets on as early as possible and take the price – when the shows come in from on course bookmakers later they will supercede these and in majority of cases they might well be less. Most firms do offer ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ so if you do take a price now you will get the final SP price if it happens to be bigger anyway

There is one other bet I have to recommend now from an earlier race

2.50 Aintree

4pts Cole Harden @15/8 (without Zarkandar)

I wasn’t confident enough to pick Cole Harden in the race itself as I thought it would be close between him and Zarkandar. In this special market ofered by a few firms I no longer have to worry what Zarkandar does – he can win and Cole Harden finish 2nd and we stil collect.

I do think his Cheltenham win has been slightly undervalued and no reason he can’t control the race again from the front on a course that should suit him even better. Bet 365 have the same market with him at 5/4 and that’s much more like what price I think he should be – the tip is given in the belief that 15/8 is simply much too big

With regard to previous selections the money has come significantly for 5.10 selection The Game Changer and last night’s 12/1 no longer available. 8/1 is now best.

Pricewise also put up my main Grand National pick Rocky Creek last night. 10/1 has now all gone. 9/1 is still available but I think that wil shorten further through the day

Thanks for reading

Comments on the blog are always most welcome


Total recommended stakes for day of race bets today = 16pts

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Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Aintree, Grand National, Horse Racing


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Aintree – Day 2

Aintree – Day 2

Day 1 of the Aintree Festival wasn’t a great day at the office.
Hargam was very well backed but ran poorly and the Aintree veteran Big Fella Thanks travelled well to a point but was a bit disappointing behind an impressive win fpor On the Fringe and Nina Carberry . The last selection of the day Bellenos ran well and led into the straight before holding on to secure some place money.
So with the 9pts staked on Thursday the place returned 3.62 pts, a loss of 5.38 pts on the day
The best sight of the day was to see Arctic Fire get up safely after a horrid looking fall in the main event.
Onto tomorrows fare – we might get some watering to the course tonight but we can expect similar decent ground:

1.40 2ml 4fur hcap hurdle
Firms have been  very slow to price this race up on Thursday – having said that it is a very tricky affair.
A few notes on some but If I have any selections it will probably be tomorrow now
Mijhaar has seldom shown the talent we know he has but he’s back on the course where he showed his best piece of form this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run well here but he’s just too frustrating to tip.
Baradari never got into the race at all at Cheltenham and could still be spotted full of running in last place 3 hurdles out. He was too far back to make any impression but is capable of better.
I thought Some Buckle had an attractive mark at Sandown last timewhere he ran well despite some very testing conditions and he’s another for the shortlist but interesting that Paddy Brennan elects to ride stablemate Olofi instead
At 9 he’s the veteran in the field but has shown enough in non handicap races this season to make me think he retains all of his old ability – he’s certainly very nicely in on his 4th to Rock on Ruby at Cheltenham in January. The worry is that the ground may just have turned that little bit quick for him
A Gordon Elliott runner with a low weight and winning recent form immediately stands out in a contest like this and no surprise to see Knights Parade as an early favourite
For now it’s a NO BET race

2.15 2mile novice hurdle
Glingerburn has improved consistently through the season and must be considered the top novice hurdle in the North of England right now. He bypassed Cheltenham for this and is the one to beat with a potent turn of foot.
Qewy ran 5th in the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham, albeit someway behind the front 4. With McCoy on board he looks the stable first string but I am more drawn to his stablemate Commissioned who has been waiting for good ground to return.
It had been reported before his last race at Cheltenham that he disliked soft ground so I’m not really sure why they ran him on it. I’m happy to draw a line through that disappointing run.
He had had a break but was impressive on good ground on his reappearance at Cheltenham – he also ran well at this meeting last year
Commissioned is the marginal selection for now but I’m waiting to see more strength in this market also and maybe a few more firms offering ¼ odds a place before making a bet – check back tomorrow!

2.40 Mildmay Novice Chase 3ml 1fur
This principally revolves around whether World Hurdle runner –up Saphir Du Rheu will reddem himself over the larger obstacles. He went back over hurdles after two non completions in novice chasing earlier this season.
He is surely the best horse in the race but the jumping issue prevents me from getting involved in this race – I would like to see him establish himself as a Gold Cup contender for next season though

3.25 Melling Chase 2ml 4fur
Hard to rule out anything completely here.
Sire De Grugy would be a highly popular victor but this trip is unknown territory for the former two-mile champ and the ground maybe quick enough for him.
Balder Succes seems to prefer single figure fields. Don Cossack and Champagne Fever looked like they were going to run close at Thurles earlier in the season before the former fell 2 out and are tightly matched.
Cue Card has the best form prior to this season – but nothing has really gone right for him and it remains to be seen if he retains all of his old ability.
Simply Ned was 7 lengths behind Sire De Grugy at Cheltenham but was always on the back foot after a bad mistake at the top of the hill when the race was just starting to develop.
I think he’s the value outsider – he’ll like the ground and has run well at this meeting last year. Stamina isn’t proven but he’s starting to look like he needs further than 2 miles as he gets older.

This is a very competitive looking race and surprising that so many firms are quoting 1/5th odds a place right now so ew backers should look to use firms offering 1/4 odds where feasible


0.5 pts ew Simply Ned 20/1 (Skybet, Stan James)

4.05 Crabbies Topham Chase 2ml5fur
The ‘Mini Grand National’ is run over the same big fences but a much shorter trip and draws a 30 runner field.
I was a bit disappointed with Rajdhani Express’s 8th at the Cheltenham Festival where conditions all looked to be in his favour. Ground and trip should be right again but he just appears a bit too short a price hereafter that last run
Eastlake was 3rd here last year giving the impression he stayed this trip – something he hasn’t done since. He still looks like he would prefer a strongly run two miles to me
Bennys Mist has run this course well twice before when the ground is decent (1 length ahead of Eastlake in this race last year and only 1lb worse off). He should be prominent once more but is a few pounds higher in the handicap now and that could just make the difference between a win and a place. I don’t really see why he should be a bit bigger than Eastlake in the markets currently though and take him to confirm that form.
At a bigger price still I like Rathlin who has come down the handicap a bit this season but has performed at the highest level in the past.

He ran well at this meeting this year behind Boston Bob (Rajdhani Express 7 lengths behind him and 2lbs worse off today). He’s been largely disappointing this season on soft ground until showing some sparkle last time.
I think he needs this better ground and represents the best value in the race
Search for firms offering 5 places for a start!
1 pt ew each
Rathlin 33/1 (365)
Bennys Mist 16/1 (Tote/Betfred, BetVictor, Paddy Power)

4.40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle 3ml
It would be great to see a win for Coneygree’s younger brother Flintham but the ground isn’t anywhere soft enough to favour this one.
Minella Rocco has looked a bright prospect this season but I wonder if he’s ready yet for this kind of level with a big field on much quicker ground than he’s used to.
Vyta Du Roc is more streetwise and would have finished closer at Cheltenham but for a last hurdle blunder (holds Ordo Ab Chao on that run). He’s closely matched on previous season form with Blaklion but the latter was very disappointing at the Festival
There’s a few potential improvers at bigger prices and there have been some turn ups in this race in the past.
Foryourinformation looked a much better horse on decent ground last time and promises to be better still over this longer trip
Our Kaempfer went straight into my notebook after a close third to Red Sherlock in a Cheltenham bumper last season. He ran much too freely when down the field at the Festival that season and has been slow to show his potential again. The penny seems to be dropping in his latest two runs. This 3 mile trip is new and a bit of a question mark but he’s still overpriced for me


0.5pts ew each

Foryourinformation 18/1 (365)

Our Kaempfer 33/1 (365, Stan James)

(both firms offering 1/4 odds a place 123

5.15 2ml 1fur Bumper
Often a race to sport a star of the future but too many unknowns for me.
I like the way Barters Hill beat off all comers in his Newbury win (Buveur D’Air still a promising 2nd) but the ground will be something quicker than he and many others in the field have so far experienced
I’m too in the dark to be placing a bet on this race

Thanks for reading the blog once more

If you agree or strongly disagree with anything please feel free to leave a comment

Good luck!



A disappointing day in general with the lack of enhanced place terms being offered on some races for such a big meeting. While it can be mathematical suicide for the bookies to give too much away it’s a bit of a shock to see so many still offering 1/5th ods on the main race of the day the 3.25. There isn’t one of the 10 runners you could rule ourt completely and far worse races have been offered with 1/4 odds in the past.

Todays extra bets:

1.40 0.5 pts ew Baradari @20/1 (Skybet, BetVictor). 5 places would have been nice but everyone is paying first 4. I backed this one at Cheltenham where he was given far too much to do and  am expecting better today. The quicker ground shouldnt be a problem as he ran well on it at Ascot before Christmas

2.15 As previously mentioned I like Commissioned’s chances back on ground that suits and he ran well at this meeting last year. I am fearful of the favourite Glingerburn so I think the bet to be had lies in the ‘betting without the favourite’ market

1pt ew Commissioned (w/o Glingerburn) @9/1 (ladbrokes)

(he is as low as 10/1 with some firms to win the race with Glingerburn included)

Friday selections = 10pts staked

UPDATE; Friday results had Rathlin 33/1 and Our Kaempfer 33/1 (but with 20p Rule 4) both placed,  resulting in returns of 13.05 pts – a 3.05 pt profit on the day

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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Aintree, Horse Racing


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2015 Crabbies Grand National

2015 Crabbies Grand National

With the 5 day declarations now in for Saturday’s big race it’s time for a rundown of the likely runners.


48hour declarations are now in and no horses have come out of the race – This means the first 40 listed are all declared to run.

As alluded to in some of my previous posts there are certain stats that can highlight those with a better chance of prevailing. To try and pinpoint these further I’m going to give a scoring system to each runner based on each of these.

Latest odds for the big race from all of the major bookmakers can be found here:
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.
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 one winner (Bindaree 8yo in 2002), and all but 5 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 29 to try in this millennium and the best was Big Fella Thanks with 6th place in 2009.
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
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’

Below are the 5 day entries and there is a final 48 hour declaration stage to come on Thursday where a few more horses may drop out. (I will amend the list if necessary then)
Horse are listed in racecard order with the highest weighted first.

LORD WINDERMERE 9yo 11st 10lbs
Trainer: Jim Culloty ; Jockey : Robbie McNamara
Score= 5 (W 0, S 1, A 2, R 2)
Top weight on basis of last year’s Gold Cup win. Even allowing for the softer ground this year he ran a lifeless race before eventually pulling up. Hardly an ideal prep and although ground should suit now the statistics are all against him now

MANY CLOUDS 8yo 11st 9lbs
Oliver Sherwood; Leighton Aspell
Score =4 (0,1,1,2)
This season’s Hennessy winner was more competitive in the Gold Cup biut like so many others was taken out of his comfort zone by Coneygree’s relentless galloping. That was such a test that I would suspect it will have finished many runners off for the season. Reading between the lines I think he’s only here because the owner likes to have a runner and doesn’t have anything else this year. I’ll be very surprised if this one can be competitive and hope he’s not given too hard a time as he remains a good prospect for next season

UNIONISTE 7yo 11st 6lbs
Paul Nicholls ; Noel Fehily
Score =4 (2,1,-1,2)
As a 7yo he has it all against him and good early season form really did nothing to help his handicap mark which is now 6lb higher than when finishing a remote 6th in the Hennessy. Preparations have to be much more low key for this race to avoid inflated marks like this so he’s not for me this year.

ROCKY CREEK 9yo 11st 3lb
Paul Nicholls ; Sam Twiston Davies
Score= 6 (2,0,2,2)
Falls behind on the stamina stat with my scoring but could arguably be higher. Looked a real stayer as a novice hurdler but in his chasing season he looked a bit of a weak finisher (most notably in this race when 5th). If he hadn’t folded up so badly in the straight he could easily have been given an extra 3 pts added and there must be plenty of hope on his latest win at Kempton that the weakness could have gone. That’s down to a breathing op and it’s worked really well with other Nicholls horses this season – notably 2 mile champion Dodging Bullets (another weak finisher who is now totally transformed).
Rocky Creek comes into this race on a mark of 154 but since that was given to him he’s now rated 163 after his Kempton win. So he’s one of a small handful who comes into the race ‘well in’.

rocky creek
In last years race he was the ‘wrong age’ at 8 and was the only horse to carry more than 11 stone and be in the first 10. It’s a performance that can be built on this year when more is in his favour
He should be favourite for me and despite not quite covering all the stats he should be very competitive in this race

FIRST LIEUTENANT 10yo 11st 3lbs
Mouse Morris ; Nina Carberry
Score = 7 (2,1,2,2)
I’ve long had a fondness for this one and he was my Gold Cup pick last year until being pulled out on the day of the race. A much better Spring horse and should get the decent ground he needs. Nina Carberry should have a great spin round as he’s a fine jumper normally but I’ve never seen him as a thorough stayer and 3ml 2fur is about his limit. Doesn’t quite seem the same force he was this season so far also. I’d be much happier to see him running in the shorter Topham Trophy on Friday around this course.


BALTHAZAR KING 11yo 11st 2lbs
Philip Hobbs ; Richard Johnson
Score =9 (2,3,2,2)
Hard to beat on Cheltenham’s cross country course, he ran too freely up front when not getting home in this race 2 years ago. Ridden with a bit more restraint he finished a good second last year and warrants his place close to the head of the market on that. Hasn’t run since November but usually performs well fresh so that shouldn’t be too much of a negative. A 3lb higher mark than last year won’t help things though but he remains a contender for a placing

balthazar king

Jonjo O’Neill ; AP McCoy
Score=4 (2,3,0,-1)

The favourite – but let’s face it he only is so because it’s the jockeys final ride in the race. A win in the Irish National and has proven stamina from that. Here endeth the positives though and he really should be at least double his current odds of around 7/1. He’s too young, doesn’t have enough chasing experience and an interrupted preparation this year all weigh his score down.Public support could see him shorten up further still come the day but favourites haven’t got the record you might expect with only 6 winning since 1970.

PINEAU DE RE 12yo 11st
Dr Richard Newland; Daryl Jacob
Score=9 (3,3,1,2)
Last year’s impressive winner has now gone over the ideal age threshold and is on an 8lb higher mark. His preparation coming in hasn’t given the impression that he’s quite as good but his trainer is never one to underestimate. Faces an uphill task nonetheless to repeat the same performance

Here he is in his finest hour last year to get the juices flowing!

BALLYCASEY 8yo 10st 13lbs
Willie Mullins; Ruby Walsh
Score=4 (3,-1,0,2)
Apart from the fact he may be Ruby Walsh’s mount I can’t think of a less appealing contender for such a race. Doesn’t appear to get home over 3 miles and has been tried at shorter trips this season. What is he doing running here?

SPRING HEELED 8yo 10st 12lbs
Jim Culloty; Nick Schofield
Score =5 (3,1,1,0)
Touted by many as an Ante Post pick earlier this year he comes into the category of ‘doubtful stayer’ to me. I put him up as a bet at last year’s Cheltenham Festival when he obliged at a big price. That was mainly because he looked like a non stayer to me earlier in the season over 3ml 4fur and I thought the shorter trip was made for him. Whilst that thought remains in my mind I have to pass him over for this race.

REBEL REBELLION 10yo 10st 12lbs
Paul Nicholls; Ryan Mahon
Score= 6 (3,-1,2,2)
In great form this season and hhas winning form on this course – but everything is at much shorter trips and stamina is a massive concern. His upturn in form this season also seems linked to the partnership formed with young claimer Jack Sherwood. He isn’t experienced enough to ride him here so that’s also a negative for his chances. Another who should be in the Topham on Friday instead

DOLATULO 8yo 10st 11lbs
Warren Greatrex; Dougie Costello
Score=7 (3,-1,2,2)
On a 9lb higher mark than he has ever won off before and stamina for this trip is a big question mark. The handicapper has ruined what chance he did one have for me – and it wasn’t that high anyway

MON PARRAIN 9yo 10st 11lbs
Paul Nicholls; Sean Bowen
Score=8 (3,1,2,2)
Looked an Aintree star of the future when jumping around this course for fun before eventually finishing 2nd in the 2011 Topham. He’s been a bit of a disappointment since and didn’t show too much on this course before Christmas. A win at Cheltenham since when 25/1 showed he still retains some ability but the handicapper has raised him back to a mark of 148 (highest winning mark 142) on the back of it.
Karen McLintock; Brian Harding
Score=8 (3,1,2,2)
A once highly useful hurdler for Gordon Elliott, he’s hit some revival in form with a new trainer this season. While he should get the decent ground he needs he’s back to a very high mark of 147 and was comfortably beaten of that last time out.

NIGHT IN MILAN 9yo 10st 9lbs
Keith Reveley; James Reveley
Score 8 (3,1,2,2)
A bold jumping front runner who could be suited by the challenges of this course. His last win however was of a mark of 136 and he has 146 here. His only two efforts off such a rating have seen him beaten (though not totally disgraced). Some stamina to prove at this grade, particularly given his running style

RUBI LIGHT 10yo 10st 9lbs
Robert Alan Hennessy; Andrew Lynch
Score=6 (3,-1,2,2)
Irish raider who was once competing at the highest class at around 2.5 miles. Isn’t quite the force he was but there is absolutely no reason to assume he has suddenly found new stamina reserves. He doesn’t really stay 3 miles and so has very little chance here for me

THE DRUIDS NEPHEW 8yo 10st 9lbs
Neil Mulholland; Aidan Coleman
Score= 7 (3,1,1,2)
Another who comes here ‘well in’ – 10 lbs in his case after a runaway win at the Cheltenham Festival. His rider there, Barry Geraghty is now injured and Aidan Coleman should be a more than capable substitute.
Stamina is a bit of an enigma as he seemed to get 3.5 miles ok at Cheltenham earlier this season but then capitulated quite quickly in the Hennessy over 3ml 2fur.
There are also a few doubts about his low jumping style for these fences but my principal concern would be that he was trained to win at Cheltenham and the National is a bit of an afterthought.

CAUSE OF CAUSES 7yo 10st 9lbs
Gordon Elliott; Paul Carberry
Score= 5 (3,1,-1,2)
As previously stated I don’t count his win over 4 miles at Cheltenham as sufficient proof he has the stamina for this race. It was slowly run and the final sprint would have suited a horse who really a 2 miler over hurdles.
Expect to see him racing at the back of the field on the first circuit but as he’s only 7 I have to pass him by

GODSMEJUDGE 9yo 10st 8lbs
Alan King; Wayne Hutchinson
Score=10 (3,3,2,2)
My early ante post pick and comes out perfectly on a stats front. His preparation was all looking good until a fairly horrendous last run over hurdles at Bangor.

Alan King issued an upbeat statement afterwards saying the horse was fine and simply didn’t like going hurdling.
It’s not ideal though to see a run like this only 3 weeks before the big one and I’m more hopeful than confident on his chances now

AL CO 10yo 10st 8lbs
Peter Bowen; Denis O’Regan
Score 10 (3,3,2,2)
Another who comes out perfectly on the stats, last season’s Scottish National hero ran really well in the same race that Godsmejudge was so disappointing in at Bangor.
Regular rider Jamie Moore is injured so we wait to see who replaces him.
Didn’t impress over these fences before Christmas but I doubt he was expected to do much in that race and it has managed to get his mark down a couple of pounds. Trainer Peter Bowen knows how to get one ready for these fences – Mc Kelvey was a good 2nd in the race and Always Waining and Dunnbrody Millar excelled for him in the Topham in recent years.

al co
The one real concern comes with the trainers quote after his Ayr success : ‘Jamie (Moore) always had him on the outside because he loves to have plenty of daylight. I thought he got to the front a bit soon, but it worked out fine‘. – Peter Bowen, trainer.
He was ridden similarly wide at Bangor and if he does need all of that space he is on the wrong course here. He will lose valuable lengths and the Canal Turn could be a disaster

MONBEG DUDE 10yo 10st 7lbs
Michael Scudamore; Liam Treadwell
Score 10 (3,3,2,2)
My other Ante Post pick had some doubts expressed about his wellbeing at Cheltenham. Connections obviously expected a better showing there but I thought he ran ok on ground that had firmed up a bit too much for him.
A perfect score on Stats with a previous win in the Welsh Grand National on his CV.
Ran well here last year despite being a bit too fresh. I would have preferred Paul Carberry to be on board again so it’s disappointing to have a jockey on board who won’t know him as well (he needs to be held up and delivered with a late run). Liam Treadwell gets the call and at least he has the Grand National T shirt having won on board Mon Mome in 2009


CORRIN WOOD 8yo 10st 7lbs
Donald McCain; David Casey
Score=6 (3,1,0,2)
Fair novice last season with some bold jumping front running displays. Was found out when upped in grade and yet to recover similar form levels since. Probably not experienced enough for this kind of test yet in his career.

THE RAINBOW HUNTER 11yo 10st 7lbs
Kim Bailey; David Bass
Score=5 (3,0,2,0)
Two appearances in this race have seen him unseat rider on both occasions. An outsider who has had far from an ideal preparation and something to prove on stamina.

SAINT ARE 9yo 10st 6lbs
Tom George; Paddy Brennan
Score=8 (3,1,2,2)
Never seen with a chance when running in this race as a 7yo in 2013. Previously had a good record around Aintree’s Mildmay course. Perhaps starting to rediscover his best form at 9 and with a change of trainer but he’s been raised a massive 16lbs in the ratings since finishing 3rd behind Oscar Time on this course in December. Some harsh handicapping there may have sealed his fate

ACROSS THE BAY 11yo 10st 6lbs
Donald McCain; Henry Brooke
Score=10 (3,3,2,2)
An interesting contender who has led the field at at Water Jump for the last two seasons only to be hampered by a loose horse on both occasions. Last year was particularly costly as he went from clear leader to clear last place in just a few strides. He still did well to get to the coat tails of the principals at the Canal Turn but had used up too much petrol by then.
His stamina side scores high by virtue of a 3ml 4fur win at haydock in heavy ground but he didn’t get home in the National two years ago when leading until the home turn (so it is a slightly questionable 3 pts)
If he can be ridden with a bit more restraint (as when winning at Haydock) he could be an outsider who will outrun his odds. He did show he was coming back to form before being brought down at Cheltenham last time.

across the bay
Trainer Donald McCain had had a poor season by his standards but there can’t be any around with a better heritage in this race

TRANQUIL SEA 13yo 10st 5lbs
Warren Greatrex; Gavin Sheehan
Score=3 (3,0,0,0)
Once a classy performer when trained in Ireland he looks to be a downward curve now and has definite stamina limitations. Just likely to be here to give the owners a runner I suspect.

OSCAR TIME 14yo 10st 5lbs
Robert Waley-Cohen; Sam Waley-Cohen
Score=8 (3,3,0,2)
A National veteran having been placed twice in this race and in an Irish National. Showed he wasn’t finished yet when winning the Becher Chase as a 13yo.
You won’t see many 14yos running in this race (2 in last 10 years) and his age should negate his chances of winning.
He does have a rider who has an excellent record in this race however and don’t rule out a top 10 finish

oscar time

BOB FORD 8yo 10st 4lbs
Rebecca Curtis; Paul Townend
Score=9 (3,3,1,2)
You won’t see a race won on much worse ground than the West Wales National at Ffos Las this season. Bob Ford won that farce of a race and so prompted the handicapper to raise him a bundle so he could get into this race.
He won’t find such ground here and on all other form he is now out of his depth on this mark

SUPER DUTY 8yo 10st 4lbs
Ian Williams; Will Kennedy
Score=5 (3,0,2,0)
Looked useful as a novice chaser when trained by Donald McCain but was then sidelined for over a year. Stamina unproven and not enough to suggest he retains the same ability since his return yet.

WYCK HILL 11yo 10st 4lbs
David Bridgwater; Tom Cannon
Score= 8 (3,3,2,0)
Stamina is no issue here – in fact he’s likely to be just too slow on decent ground to keep up with the others! Preparation not ideal with only 2 runs and a fall in his last race. Easily discounted.

GAS LINE BOY 9yo 10st 4lb
Philip Hobbs; James Best
Score=10 (3,3,2,2)
A maximum score here but that’s based on performances off much lower handicap marks than he has here. Owned by the Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club, both Mick and the trainer have said that he’s a horse who needs ‘everything to go his way ‘in a race. Unlikely he’ll get that here.

CHANCE DU ROY 11yo 10st 4lbs
Philip Hobbs; Tom O’Brien
Score=5 (3,0,2,0)
Boasts a great record over these fences in 6 attempts. His performance in the 2013 Topham was lack lustre and he fell another time but the other 4 mark him as horse who thrives here

Unfortunately it’s mostly over shorter trips and on his one attempt at this race last year he patently didn’t stay close home. He still managed 5th and could achieve a similar placing again whilst the ground isn’t too soft. An unlikely winner but one to watch out for with top 10 betting

PORTRAIT KING 10yo 10st 3lbs
M Phelan; Davy Condon
Score=10 (3,3,2,2)
Another with a top score that may flatter him. His stamina points come from his Eider Chase win in 2012 and his form recently doesn’t match up to his 140 rating. Appears out of his depth at this level.

OWEGA STAR 8yo 10st 3lbs
Peter Fahey ; Robbie Power
Score=4 (3,-1,0,2)
Little to recommend with this Irish challenger. Too young and not enough chasing experience plus a stamina issue make him a rank outsider.

RIVER CHOICE 12yo 10st 3lbs
R Chotard; David Cottin
Score=4 (3,-1,0,2)
Owner Fergus Wilson has a history of sending no hopers to big races. This 12yo has all of his form in France – largely on heavy ground and over shorter trips. There’s nothing to suggest to me that he is a serious contender

COURT BY SURPRISE 10yo 10st 3lbs
Emma Lavelle; Richie McLernon
Score=6 (3,1,2,0)
We have to assume this one has had a setback as not been seen since early November despite an obvious preference for decent ground. Had a progressive profile until then and although not proven over marathon trips there was enough to suggest they could suit

ALVARADO 10yo 10st 3lbs
Fergal O’Brien; Paul Moloney
Score=8 (3,3,2,0)
The owners and jockey have a magnificent record of placed horses in recent years and Alvarado continued that trend with 4th last year. He was going as well as anything with 6 to jump but then seemed to get outpaced at a crucial stage before his stamina kicked in to secure a place close home.
His preparation with only one run isn’t ideal this time round and getting outpaced again is a worry.
I could see a similar run again this year and a placing isn’t out of the question again – but perhaps lacking the tactical speed to win the race on decent ground

SOLL 10yo 10st 2lbs
David Pipe; Tom Scudamore
Score=8 (3,1,2,2)
Soll was my ante post pick for the race last year when trained by Jo Hughes. That was based on a promising run in this race in 2013 when I considered him too young ( a bad mistake at the Chair not helping his cause before fading close home to finish 7th).
Everything went wrong with his preparation last year and he ended up running in the Topham instead over much too short a trip
This season he’s been moved to David Pipe and has rediscovered his potential (the trainer attributing this to blinkers and a tongue strap being fitted). As a result of his two recent wins he’s another who comes into this race as ‘well in’ – to the tune of 7lbs.
He’s likely to be the biggest horse in the field by some way but that didn’t stop another ‘giant’ Party Politics winning this race. Such big horses normally take longer to reach their peak so he could be close to that now at 10 years old.

The negative here is a stamina query, Whilst he races like a stayer he hasn’t got home in real marathon tests like the National before – but that was with a different trainer and I wouldn’t put it past team Pipe to bring on some more mettle in that department.

ELY BROWN 10yo 10st 2lbs
Charlie Longsdon; Brian Hughes
Score=6 (3,1,2,0)
For a 10yo he has very little chasing experience and with just one run this season resulting in being pulled up, he has a poor preparation for this race. Hard to give any chance.

ROYALE KNIGHT 9yo 10st 2lbs
Dr Richard Newland; Brendan Powell
Score=10 (3,3,2,2)
A second string to last year’s winning trainer’s bow – and another top score. Royale Knight seems all about stamina but his form is all at a much lower level than this. He’s been kept away from chases since winning easily off a mark of 124 which saw him raised a massive 15lbs to his mark here of 139. The question is whether he’s improving enough to cope with that. Good ground seems to suit

41. BAILEYS CONCERTO 9yo 10st 2lbs (first reserve)
Dianne Sayer;
Score=6 (3,-1,2,2)
The handicapper seems to have this one’s measure now and there is a big stamina question mark.

DUKE OF LUCCA 10yo 10st 2lbs (2nd reserve)
Philip Hobbs
Score=8 (3,1,2,2)
A winner on the Mildmay course at this meeting last year, he hasn’t shown too much sparkle so far this term. Nothing to suggest this sort of trip is what he needs.

43. Raz Da Maree ( achance on very soft ground) and 44. The Package are the last two reserves but it must be highly unlikely that enough runners will now drop out for them to get into the race
A resume of the top scorers:
10 pts


I would tend to think that this list as above comprises the likeliest winner and we can trim this down further with the removal of three horses who I think have inflated stats and are out of their depth in this race: Gas Line Boy, Portrait King, Bob Ford
I will also include two horses whose lower scores are because of low stamina points that I believe have the potential to be improved on this year SOLL and ROCKY CREEK

This leaves a final shortlist of
I’ve already advised Godsmejudge and Monbeg Dude as Ante Post bets* and see no reason to add any more to either of them now.
With bookmakers increasingly opening up their shop window as the big race approaches we should see increased place terms coming to the fore – are already leading the way with ¼ odds 123456.. others could follow their example yet.There could well be more value to be had on Friday than there is now so I’ll hold fire to add other bets until then when the ground situation should be far clearer

This blog will be updated during the week as further news about the big race emerges. Daily previews for the other races will also appear each evening
For now, thanks for reading and enjoy the week ahead
(as always comments are most welcome on the site)

*Previous Ante Post recommendations:


1pt ew Godsmejudge 28/1 (1/4 1234)


0.5 pts ew Godsmejudge 25/1 (1/4 12345)

1pt ew Monbeg Dude 33/1 (1/4 12345)

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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Aintree, Grand National, Horse Racing


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