Cheltenham and Donny

Photo : Getty images

I was really disappointed with my selections yesterday. I really fancied the chances of COURT BY SURPRISE but again he just emptied when push came to shove. You get some roght and some wrong, and yesterday was a wrong day! Moving on to the second day of the international meeting and there are some cracking cards.

The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup is the highlight and it will be intriguing to see if the very game and brave VILLAGE VIC can be successful again. He was a real handicap snip when winning this last year of a mark a full 22lbs lower. He ran another cracker again when just getting pipped by TAQUIN DE SEUIL last time. He will most certainly be thereabouts and will try and jump them into submission. BOUVREUIL is really interesting, he was ridden off the pace in the BetVictor but was staying on well. He will be ridden much more handily for sure today and he has a cracking chance. There are quite a few trends that go against VILLAGE VIC today including his weight and age. THOMAS BROWN has a crackimg weight and meets alot of the trends for this race. He has always looked a smart prospect and won well last time at Aintree and he really caught my eye that day. He has only been raised 3lbs and could run a big race. 

I really fancied ZIGA BOY last week in the Becher and he came to grief when brought down at the first fence. He runs again at Doncaster today at a track he is 2 from 2 at including on good ground. This chase is a drop in class to his last win here and he is only 4lbs higher than that race. NO DUFFER is his main danger but I think he is perfectly poised to tale this race today.

The mares’ hurdle in the last at Cheltenham is a cracker and the Nicholls yard are quite bullish about the chances of JESSBER’S DREAM. She ran a few crackers last year and could be potentially a decent horse. Alan King has the favourite in MIDNIGHT TOUR but it’s his second string MIA’S STORM who catches my eye. She has won a couple of decent races at the end of last season and looked like she needed the run last time at Ascot. She continued to stay on though behind LIFEBOAT MONA who had flown away. She’s a very smart mare but it was the way my selection carried on towards the end that suggedts she has more to give.

£5 win ZIGA BOY 12:55 Doncaster

£2.50 e/w MIA’S STORM 3:35 Cheltenham

£5 win THOMAS BROWN 1:50 Cheltenham

Blog results :

Staked = £65

Returns = £101.25

Doncaster Friday

COURT BY SURPRISE runs at Doncaster in the 2:15. He ran well in snatches last week at Sandown when well fancied by some, including me! This shorter trip should suit more and he is definitely poised to win. He has won here before and on good ground and drops to a class 3 handicap so potentially could be on a nice mark in this class. It’s unusual for him tobe turned out so quickly.

ITALIAN RIVIERA 2:50 DONCASTER is thriving at the moment and is unpenalised for a smooth success at Catterick last week. He could make it four out of four for this yard.

L’AIGLE ROYAL 2:40 CHELTENHAM has hardly turned out for the Skelton’s yet. The return to this trip will help and previously he was a decent horse running behind both DEFINITLY RED and AS DE MEE. The ground will help and he could run a big race.




Aintree and Sandown

Photo : Mike Egerton/PA

Another successful week on the blog last week following on from KRUZHLININ the week before. NATIVE RIVER was very impressive and looks a really potential superstar based on last week’s success. Looking forward to seeing how he develops during the year. On to this week, another cracking card at both Aintree and Sandown.

The Tingle Creek is the race of the day. SIRE DE GRUGY looked back to his best last time out and has won this twice and has a superb record here. UN DE SCEAUX is the favourite but I worry about his record first time out and think he now needs further. AR MAD is very interesting and has bags of scope. However, based on his last run, SIRE DE GRUGY gets the nod for me.

The Becher chase is a hell of a handicap and there are lots of trends that descimate the field. Paricularly around the age of a horse. ALVARADO has been backed all week and has a great record here, but I’m not sure this is long enough and the ground will suit. SILVERGROVE has lots of potential and shout be thereabouts after a decent run at Cheltenham last time. Alan King is starting to motor recently and ZIGA BOY, despite his age, ticks alot of boxes. He destroyed his rivals at Doncaster last year and if you can forgove the last two runs last year he has to have a chance. He’s warmed up well for this and he should be primed for a big run and I think this track will suit.

CORRIN WOOD has always been a smart horse and lost his way considerably with Donald McCain. He ran back to his best last time when eventually caught at Cheltenham by ANTEROS. This race is a huge drop in class and he is very well handicapped. The 7-2 price isnt going to last long and that could ge real value. He should breeze this.

FINGAL BAY is a very classy staying hurdler and his reappearance run was much better. This is a drop in class and despite his big weight he could and should be better than these. He is back on his last winning mark of OR148 when he won the Pertempts and that is surely his target this year. The claim from the jockey will certainly help his cause. Big run expected.

Selections :

£10 win CORRIN WOOD 245 Chepstow

£2.50 e/w FINGAL BAY 120 Sandown

£5 win SIRE DE GRUGY 3.00 Sandown

Hennessy Gold Cup

Photo by PA (The Telegraph)

Last week’s first blog for a while proved to be a cracker with one of the advised two, KRUZHLININ going in at 9-1. A nice £56.25 profit! I’m hoping for a continuation of that luck today. The Hennessy is one of my favourite Gold Cup races, you need quality, stamina, speed and generally to be a handy horse.

NATIVE RIVER is a worthy favourite and he could certainly show the improvement needed to win this. He’s ridden handy, his stable are confident and has the champ on board (yet to win the race). Is he genuinely up to this class? I think he is and he could be the next rising star from the Tizzard yard. Previous winners of this fab race do include MANY CLOUDS, BOBS WORTH, DENMAN (twice), TRABOLGAN etc. Let’s see!! I had VICENTE in the Scottish National and he is another rising star but I think he needs further than this trip. I’ve had TRIOLO D’ALENE on my watch list for ages, if the ground gets even better he has a cracking chance. He’s on his last winning mark an carries 5lb less than when winning this a few years ago – could he repeat Denman and win it twice? He’s worth an each way bet! Readers of my blog will know my love affair with HOLYWELL, since napping him to win the Pertempts at the festival I’ve always followed him. Last time out was purely a pipe opener for this. He isnt really a horse for this time of year, however a three mile trip, on goodish ground, with a quick pace is right up his street. Blinkers are on, he carries 10lb less than his second to UN TEMPS POUR TOUT at Cheltenham and he is in effect 7lbs better off with that rival today. The pace of the race is key and if Richie gets him jumping up near the pace his speedy jumping and stamina will come in to play. He’s a monkey and it all depends on his mood. I’ve always thought he was a high class horse and should have been rated at 160+. A couple of plays in a cracking race!

GASSIN GOLF is an interesting contender in the 1405 at Newbury. He has ran a couple of crackimg races in the past in better standard races than this. Narrowly beatentwice in the Imperial Cup at Sandown off OR121 and OR132. He’s running off 3lbs higher in this and on the same mark as his encouraging return at Fontwell. That was his first run for over a year and this increased distance could well suit too. The drying ground will certainly play to his strengths and I think he’s a much smarter horse than he’s shown. Big run expected.

Selections £5 e/w HOLYWELL 1510 NEWBURY -£10

£5 win NATIVE RIVER 1510 NEWBURY (6-1 when blog went live) + £30

£5 win GASSIN GOLF 1405 NEWBURY -£5

Total staked £30

Returns (including stake) £101.25

Haydock and Ascot

Happy National Hunt season! It’s been a fair old while since I did a racing blog! Playing football and work being hectic are the main reasons. The former has given way to the latter now; meaning I may have a bit more time to blog again. I trust everyone is well and hopefully I’ll be able to find a nice priced winner here or there.

The Betfair Chase is the feature of the day and it’s a shame there is a reduced field. CONEYGREE has to prove his fitness after a lay off and SILVINIACO CONTI just seems to find one to good here. SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT could run a big race with the ground as it is, however, I do feel he is a bit short of this level. So, I’m opting for CUE CARD, for me he is the best chaser at the moment and this is possibly his last season at this level. He consistently runs well here and with a run under his belt he could be tuned up for this.

The Fixed Brush Hurdle is a cracker and YALA ENKI has got the ground but again I think he’s short of this level. CAID DU BERLAIS ran a cracker last time at Aintree but another 8lbs over a shorter distance will catch him out I think. My bet of the day is KRUZHLININ, he was going well at Aintree but didnt stay the distance at the pace. Today’s shorter trip will help and he’s got a 9lb pull on CAID DU BERLAIS. Blinkers are applied to sharpen him up too.

DODGING BULLETS ran a decent come back race last time I thought. His trainer is rather bullish about him stepping up in trip and today’s ground will certainly suit. The 10lb pull in the weights with GOD’S OWN must give him a great chance.

Selection £5 each way KRUZHLININ 225 Haydock – WON 9-1 = £56.25 (profit)

£5 win DODGING BULLETS 205 ASCOT – PU = £5 lost

Cheltenham Festival Day One

Here we are ladies and gents……the greatest sporting spectacle known to man! God I love this week, the anticipation, the excitement, the performances. Sit back, enjoy, shout and scream!!
The race that gets us away is going to be a three way affair in my eyes, with the top three in the market being those. ALTIOR has had a cracking season and has won four on the bounce, including here. His run at Kempton was solid and the form has been franked a few times. MIN could be another Mullins hotpot and has demolished his rivals this season and is understandably the favourite. BUVEUR D'AIR has likewise run very well this year and been equally impressive. He also has solid bumper form behind BARTERS HILL twice. CHARBEL will go off likety-split and could stay on for a place but I am opting for Mullins/Walsh in what has become a benefit race for them in recent years.

Short and sweet. Nothing can or will get close to DOUVAN, hence the number of defectees from the line up. It should be simple!

My heart is telling me HOLYWELL. Everyone who reads my blog knows what
I think of this fella and what a treat he gave me when I napped him for the Pertemps three long years ago! Despite his poor form this year, class is class, and so is course form here. I'm just worried a out his last run at Doncaster. Was his trainer playing the game to get his mark reduced or has he really fell out of love with the game? I hope it's the former! His mark has been reduced by a further 6lbs to a mark of OR153. His lowest mark since he won this race off a mark of OR147. KRUZHLININ is lightly raced and has decent form in the book beating LE REVE last time and the form stacks up a little and he is on an eye carching mark for this race. SOUTHFIELD THEATRE hasn't been himself this year but he has possibly been hitting above his weight. He's back to a winning mark and could be very well handicapped on his second to DON POLI last year.

Can ANNIE POWER dominate against the boys and she gets a 6lb allowance too! She has a hell of a chance, but personally I think it will all happen too fast for her! With a run I would be very interested in MY TENT OR YOURS but surely he's been absent too long! I love LIL ROCKERFELLER but I feel his owners have listened to their heart rather than their heads – he would have had more of a chance in a 'lesser' race! TOP NOTCH has a cracking chance based on his second to IDENTITY THIEF in the Fighting Fifth. However, I'm opting for an old head in this. THE NEW ONE has been the down the places in the last couple of festivals but I think this is his year, and his trainer is very upbeat too!

With no Annie Power this is more competitive. For me though there is only one selection, POLLY PEACHUM. I have followed this mare since day two when she ran at Warwick. She has ran some amazing races since, including when just pipped in this last year. She is now 6lbs lower in the ratings and has been very steady since last year's defeat. This will be her last ever outing and I hope she goes out with a bang! I think FLUTE BOWL has a hell of an each way chance based on her last run and we shouldn't forget BITOFAPUZZLE despite two poor efforts.

PONT ALEXANDRE has been a bit of a forgotten horse. He was 6/4 favourite for the Neptune in 2013. Injury forced a long absence yet to be fair he has had two solid efforts since his return and he could trounce this lot at a great price – he's 10-1 in places when I write this. Of the others I think SOUTHFIELD ROYALE has all the credentials to take this and DEFINITLY RED has caught my eye all year.

KATGARY has been a horse I've always thought a lot of and am convinced he needs good ground to get the best out of him. He hasnt run for a while and that has been to wait for the better ground. This is one of my best bets of the week and I hope I've found a big festival winner again!! The ground should have dried out even more by the time he races too!! Lump on!!

Imperial Cup at Sandown

Photo :
It was great to see OPENING BATSMAN run back to some form last time I did the blog and a 20-1 second wasn't a bad tip at all!
The festival is on the horizon and I'm sure like me you'll all be counting down the sleeps and starting to look at the form. I've got quite a few in the notebook ready to go and hopefully it will be another profitable week. Whatever happens it will, as always, be one hell of a spectacle. The weather appears to be warming up so watch out for those good ground horses at long last getting their ground!! It's been a while coming! I'll hopefully manage to get a blog done every night with a write up for every race! Bring it on!
On to today and here are my four :
I flagged this mare up last time she ran on here and she did it very well. I think there is a lot more to come from her and she will be one for the festival next year. Dickie Johnson thinks she's the best mare he's ever sat on, a pretty good indictment. She got seriously hindered in this last year but has really come on since then. She will be too good for these despite giving weight all round, her stablemate may be the danger!
Normally this race goes to one of the horses who is in the first few in the betting, I cant see that trend changing today. My selection won well last time at Towcester and comes here as an improving type, with only a 3lb rise for the last success. I think there is more to come and interestingly Dickie chooses this one over the stablemate, who he has a good relationship with that one's owners. This must have a better chance. If the ground was better I'd be finding it difficult to split ALCALA and CHIC THEATRE but I dont think they'll be involved with it being this soft.
CLAYTON 3.10 SANDOWN (treble)
Was a decnt flat horse and got to a mark of OR104 in that sphere. He has slowly but surely started to improve and understand what is required over obstacles. He has two good runs behind him on testing ground and gets in here off a feather weight. He receiving nearly two stones off RAYVIN BLACK and will ground like this and the speed of the race that will count in his favour. The pace should suit his flat speed and I expect to see him burst through towards the end.
I don't normally venture to Ireland but this mare went into my notebook on the off chance last year. She is slowly getting what is required and race well, but well behind CASHEARD LADY last time. That one went on to be second behind LIMINI next time who's the hot favourite for one of the mares races at the festival. That is decent form and with the ground being testing again, I'm hoping today is finally the day for her to lose her maiden tag.
My dad's selections are :
Father – £94.34
Son +£2.96