Warwick and Kempton

Houblon-Des-Obeaux.jpg

Last Saturday saw a bog of welcome profit for the blog with the win double of LIFEBOAT MONA and GARDE LA VICTOIRE going in. Let’s hope there is more to come today and I’m hopeful of a big run in a race where I have a cracking record over recent years.

The Lanzarote Hurdle is the feature race of the day at Kempton. What a shocker that was this week with the news of this course’s potential closure. While the investment and ideas of the Jockey Club sound reasonable you can’t close a track with the history Kempton has. Let’s hope the council and arguments from the racing paternity stop it, if it goes through we may see similar issues with NH venues. So, to the race itself. I do think OLD GUARD has another big race in him, possibly at the festival, but not today off this weight! DOESYOURDOGBITE won nicely last time, despite running in snatches but this is his biggest test to date. BENNYS KING doesn’t know how to run a bad race and should be thereabouts but the one who catches my eye is one who meets a lot of then trends for this race. CHESTERFIELD ran a cracker behind BRAIN POWER last time after a long absence, showing me some of his old class and potential remain. He was developing into a decent looking hurdler for John Ferguson before the lay off and indeed he was going well here when falling at the last in his penultimate run. He’s been well supported all morning and the current 8-1 from BETY365 is worth snapping up.

In the 32RED.com chase SANDY BEACH steps up in trip to 3m. He looked very good last time when beating ERICHT at Newbury in November and if he stays he will run a big race. KRUZHLININ went in for me on the blog last time at Haydock and he stayed very well up that hill. He’s a previous winner of this and despite being raised 10lbs to a mark of OR146, I still think that’s short of what he could be. The revert to hurdles was to put some confidence in his jumping after facing the big National fences. I think the hurdles and the confidence of his last win will have sharpened his jumping up. He stays forever and ion he jumps he wins I think.

I have put up the last three winners of the Pertemps Hurdle at Warwick on the blog. FLINTHAM, JOIN THE CLAN and UNCLE JIMMY and it’s also where HOLYWELL caught my eye for his festival win. Warwick is an interesting course, and is generally quite easy to get a rhythm but in this race you tend to need to be up with the pace, a strongly run front end can leave the others caught too far behind, so it pays to go with a pace pusher who can stay. LOUGH DERG LEADER could be very smart and he looked it last time, but he came from off the pace, that puts me off him today and this is his biggest test to date. COGRY came back to form last time, but it was a nothing race and the change in conditions helped him but not his rivals. I’m opting for SAINT JOHN HENRY; he’s a nice weight for a 3m contest and he made all here last time, and course and distance form helps here. He’s been raised 7lbs for that win and I think he has another big race in him. The ground will suit and he needs to win this well for me to have a competitive chance in the final at the festival, so I reckon they’ll go for it with him and hit them hard from the front. Let’s hope he stays if they do that!

The Betfred Classic chase is a beauty. 20 old timers going at time over £3m6f – awesome! SEGO SUCCESS flatters to deceive but the first time blinkers may help, but I doubt it. KNOCKANRAWLEY was developing into a smart stayer before the lay off and I doubt he can be competitive back from a monster break, but his a notebook horse for the next race or two. SHOTGUN PADDY has showed a few glimpses but again he just doesn’t deliver when push comes to shove. I’m opting for HOUBLON DES OBEAUX, he ran a cracker behind NATIVE RIVER in the Welsh National last time, he has got a lot of weight but has carried it before. Charlie Deutch’s 3lbs will help and despite being 6lbs higher than when running in this last year he’s in much better form. He’s won off this mark before, will love the ground and he catches the eye a full 19lb lower than when running behind THE YOUNG MASTER and then CONEYGREE in the Denman Chase. You need a bit of class to win this, he has class and will run a cracker.

Selections

HOUBLON DES OBEAUX 3:35 WARWICK £5 win 14-1 William Hill

SAINT JOHN HENRY 2:25 Warwick £5 e\w 12-1 William Hill

KRUZHLININ 3:15 Kempton £5 win 5-1 Bet365

Blog Stats

Placed £150

Returns £193.75

Sandown

skysports-life-boat-mona_3835240.jpg

Well last week must have killed many a pundit and lined the satchels of those bookies. Some very big priced winners didn’t help anyone last weekend. My selections were based on good ground and then the heavens opened, annoying to say the least. That persistent rain also chucked all form out of the window and certainly left me scratching my head. I thought ITV’s coverage was really good and it will only get better; people will never be happy however. They have to ‘dumb it down’ to try and increase people’s understanding and get people involved in racing. Their first Opening Show this morning was again very good and had some good pieces on there. I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop the programme.

On to today:

Ive been waiting for LIFEBOAT MONA to run again and wondering when the years would send her out again with the festival in mind. She was superb last time when waltzing clear of her rivals at Ascot in November. She has been raised a huge 13lbs to a mark of OR140 for that. I think she could and should improve further and she is entered in the mares hurdle at the festival. She up against some better rivals today in BRIERY QUEEN and DESERT QUEEN and they will make her work harder, but she should take this. I would be tempted to go for the other mares race at the festival if it was me and based around the mark she will probably be.

In the 32RED casino chase HOLLYWOODIEN really caught the eye at Wetherby last time on Boxing Day and he will improve again but an 8lb rise in the ratings may slow him down. DE FAOITHESDREAM was hoping up last time before falling and his jumping an let him down but I expect him to be going well from the front again. This is I think will set it up for GARDE LA VICTOIRE, who despite his weight, has the class to beat these. Two miles won’t be a problem and he was just pipped in the HALDON Gold Cup and ran well over behind YANWORTH last time. This is a drop in class and he should prevail.

COURT BY SURPRISE has been running well recently in defeat, both against his rivals. today and young horses. In a form line through LOOSE CHIPS, who beat him by 1/2 a length previously, he is 6lb better off at the weights for such a short distance defeat. He was running well when he didn’t really stay the trip when ROCKY CREEK won last time, this drop to 3 miles will help him. At Doncaster last time, youth and bette ground for me were the cause of his defeat and he was eased once they went away. I can’t ignore his mark of OR128, sandwiched between two previous winning marks. His could be real each way value in this.

Selections:

£5 win double LIFEBOAT MONA 9/4 (WILLIAM HILL) 1245 Sandown and GARDE LA VICTOIRE 2/1 (WILLIAM HILL) 150 Sandown (WON = £48.75)

£2.50 e/w COURT BY SURPRISE 28/1 (SPORTING BET) 300 Sandown (unplaced)

Stats

Placed £150

Returns £193.75

Cheltenham – Happy New Year

the-romford-pele-highland-retreat-lamb-or-cod_3217898.jpg

Happy New Year to everyone who reads this! Hope you all had a good celebrations and I wish you all a prosperous year. Yesterday was another damp squib with my selection COURT MINSTREL running nowhere near to the standard he can and I was really disappointed with him. Anyway as always you win some you lose most!!

ITV start their racing coverage today and I really hope they get it right, Channel 4 messed things up a few years ago but I hope the ITV behemoth can put a new spring in racing’s step when on the TV.

The 12.50 at Cheltenham is a superb race. ARPEGE D’ALENE is well thought of by his yard and he will love he better ground; he’s one to put in the notebook for later in the season for me. WARRANTOR ran an absolute cracker here in the Bet Victor Gold Cup in what was a huge step up for him that day, was it a fluke? VYTA DU ROC is a classy horse too and ran pretty well in the Hennessy and he’s been dropped another 2lbs to an appealing mark of OR141 and he should be thereabouts. I always try and follow some form lines and look for value so Im opting for LAMB OR COD. He’s been raised 8lbs for his last success and Ive always rated him as a potential smart stayer and he would have won a few more than he has but for his injury. POTTERS CROSS franked the form of his last race by going in yesterday; he’ll love the ground and Im expecting a big run. What a cracking race though.

CLAN DES OBEAUX looks a very smart horse and I think he will take the Dipper Chase where I think O O SEVEN will return to form and give him a run for his money.

VILLAGE VIC will make a bold bid from the front again in the 2.00. However, I think he is now handicapped to his best, watch him prove me wrong now! TOP GAMBLE isa bout 7lbs better of than last year with VILLAGE VIC and he’s run some great races so is worth a few quid each way. AS DE MEE ran very well at Aintree last time but this is a different proposition and he doesn’t seem to go here. I really fancied THOMAS BROWN in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and he ran a stinker, they never got him in it and I thought it was a poor ride. I’m willing to give him another chance as I feel he has a race like this in him, the handicapper seems to as well, he hasn’t been given any slack despite his poor run last time; I still think he has the potential to be a good chaser and he’s on a good mark in my book. I just hope they ride him more positively today!

My final selection is in the Relkeel hurdle. I love LIL ROCKERFELLER and he is such a game horse and Im sure he will ben thereabouts again but he always bumps into one too good recently. COLE HARDEN catches the eye back over hurdles but I don’t think the ground will be soft enough for him. I’m going for a gamble on OLD GUARD, he was developing into a smart horse last year and has been pitched in at a very high level. This I feel is slightly easier and he ran with a bit of his old sparkle last time behind THE NEW ONE and he’ll love the ground and he certainly loves the track. Worth an each way punt at 16-1.

Hope there’s a few winers here! Enjoy the racing and Happy New Year to you all.

Selections

£5 win LAMB OR COD 12.50 Cheltenham 10-1 William Hill

£5 win THOMAS BROWN 2.00 Cheltenham 12-1 Ladbrokes

£2.50 ew OLD GUARD 3.10 Cheltenham 16-1 William Hill

Staked – £135

Returns – £145

 

 

Newbury – Court Minstrel

court-minstrel-evan-williams_3115129.jpg

Photo : Sportinglife.com

What an awesome jumping display we saw with Native River in the Welsh National. I was confident he had the ability but it was the weight that worried me. Once he kicks din the home straight though I knew he was home. I hope if you read the blog on Boxing Day you took my advice and got the price. I got a very nice 6-1.  On to today and it’s just shorter blog as I’ll write a more detailed one for the Cheltenham meeting tomorrow where we see what ITV racing will look like for the first time.

COURT MINSTREL (3.00 NEWBURY) is where my money goes today. He has always been a smart horse and is even better on genuinely good ground. He won’t get it quite that good today but he has won on good to soft before. Interestingly he hasn’t run in a Class 2 handicap in over a year and a half, he won when he did off a mark of OR145. He is on a mark of OR149 today and has previously beaten ROCK THE KASBAH off this mark in a class one hurdle race. In two other class 2 hurdles see has also won. He’s carried a big weight to victory before too and Im expecting a big run off top weight today.

Selection

£5 ew Court Minstrel 3.00 Newbury 16-1 William Hill

Blog stats

Staked £130

Returns £145

Boxing Day Racing

img_0517

I hope everyone had a very merry christmas! It was certainly a day of food and drink in my household. Last week’s selections were awful, apologies to everyone who followed my advice. There are times when the form, the handicap system and my thoughts just don’t add up. CORRIN WOOD is certainly a monkey, he was miles out of it and then stayed on better than anything to claim fourth; so much talent.

I’ve done quite a bit of studying of the numerous cards that is the feast of Boxing Day and will hopefully have found one or two. One thing for definite is I recommend getting on NATIVE RIVER today ahead of his tilt at the Welsh National tomorrow; I can’t see the 6-1 being around near the off, and with no penalty he’s effectively 8lbs well in and looked a smart horse last time. I could obviously highlight all the short price horses today like lots of other ‘tipsters’ will do. We all know that from THE NEW ONE, CUE CARD, MR MIX, DUSKY LARK etc there are some winners, but not much value. So again, I’m looking to handicaps as I like to try and solve the puzzle and get some value.

Kempton’s TV card kicks off in great style with a Novice chase. POKER SCHOOL seemed to run well through the fog last time and he has been raised 8lbs to a mark of OR125 and he could run another good race. GOLD PRESENT is certainly a topical selection and he won well at Doncaster last time so can’t be discounted. TWO TAFFS has lots of potential and an opening mark of OR138 for his chase debut indicates this. He should have given KRUZHLININ more of a race last time but the ground was against him. A return to good ground today and his potential is why he has my money on him.

The Kauto Star noises chase is another belter to watch. FRODON looked very good last time when staying on to win the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, and the Nicholls yard is quite bullish about him, despite a quick turnaround. If he reproduces that today then he will e hard to beat. MINELLA DADDY is ultra consistent with form figures of 22112. He stayed on well last time but couldn’t beat the resurgent REGAL ENCORE. AMORE ALATO is an interesting candidate, in his novice hurdle days he beat the likes of VANITEUX and wasn’t far off IRVING. Richard Johnson has a record of 120221 when riding him and he ran well to win on good ground last time. He certainly has the potential to be a good stayer on good ground. With Johnson’s record on him, the ground, and his previous novice form I’m on at a great price.

As Ive said above the two big races of the day for me go to THE NEW ONE, who looks as as good as ever. While THISTLECRACK obviously has bags of ability and potential this is the first time he played with the big boys. CUE CARD also looked as good as ever last time and I think he will win.

So, my next selection goes in the final hurdle race. The Hobbs/Johnson horse is well regarded and they have been waxing lyrical about his chances, he won well last time at odds-on at Ffos Las and he was chucked in the champion bumper last season. SOUTHPORT has done nothing wrong so far and is a lively outsider. You can also add the likes of INSTANT KARMA and DOESYOURDOGBITE to the notebook no matter how they perform today. I’m opting for MOSCATO, he was a decent stayer on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott and he has been steadily learning his trade in his past few runs. The ground will help and he has a great chance to finally get off the mark. I’m chucking VICENZO MIO in here too, he was a decent horse and has dropped a few pounds and could catch the eye today.

The final race for the blog today is the best of the rest – The Rowland Meyrick chase. Wetherby is a stiff track and needs to be respected, I always look for course form and also form at Haydock as they are similar. YALA ENKI ticks the Haydock box after a run away success last time, he’s been raised 1olbs for that and it may stop him. The winner of the race for me is BLACKLION, he RSA chase win is by far and away the best form and he ran well behind NATIVE RIVER in the Hennessy. This easier race and his previous course win but him at the front of the market. YALA ENKI will set it up for him and I think DEFINTLY RED will run on for second.

A cracking day – enjoy everyone. Take the hint on NATIVE RIVER for tomorrow too.

Selections

£5 win BLACKLION 1.50 Wetherby 3-1 Betfred (3rd)

£2.50 ew AMORE ALATO 2:05 Kempton 10-1 William Hill (3rd – £8.75 returns)

£10 win TWO TAFFS 1:30 Kempton 5-1 William Hill (2nd)

£5 win NATIVE RIVER 2.40 Chepstow (WON 6-1 when advised = £35 returns)

Good luck.

Staked -£130

Returns – £145

Ascot

Not much luck last week on the blog. ZIGA BOY was going well for along way but just couldnt match the others. MIA’S STORM was well in with a chance two out but died away, I think better ground and a flatter track will suit her. THOMAS BROWN was just poor, he was never in it! 

So we move on today. A couple of cracking handicaps at Ascot plus a few at Haydock. My first selection is not in one of the televised races. CAPTAIN CONAN has always been a smart horse and he is dropped seriuosly in grade today. He was third three years ago as favourite in the Tingle Creek behind SIRE DE GRUGY and he is a full 20lbs lower than that race today. His rating of OR139 is fair on what he has, or hasnt achieved since, but potentially that is a very low mark for a horse of his ability. He has won on soft ground and won on decent ground so that shouldn’t be an issue. 

The Long Walk hurdle is an intriguing race snd UKNOWWHATIMEANHARRY is worthy favourite and he looked very good last time. I cant see BALLYOPTIC reversing places. The main challengers come through the French Champion Hurdle form. Both PTIT ZIG and ALEX DE LARREDYA come with winning form from it and are the big dangers to the fav. The former got put in his place by the French horse last time, however, I think PTIT ZIG on a right handed track and on better grond will prevail today and an early 8-1 is a great price.

The last race on Ascot’s card was formerly the Ladbroke and both JOLLY’S CRACKED IT and STERNRUBIN return again after their epic battle. Both are now on higher marks and I’m not sure they can repeat last year’s heroics. Especially with the former being off for a year. The race will be frenetic with STERNRUBIN, RAYVIN BLACK and UNISON going from the front. They could set it up for one off the pace, although STERNRUBIN as we’ve seen before could make all. However, I’m opting for DIEGO DU CHARMIL to bounce back from his disappointing run last time behind a few of these. He was sent out too early according to his trainer and he ran much too freely. He is suited by coming off the pace, like he did when he won the Fred Winter. He is 8lbs higher than that today but is on the same mark as his previous poor run. I think he still has bags of improvement in him and could run a big race at a huge price.

I put up CORRIN WOOD the other week, and he is now over timber today and again, based on his previous form, he is on a very appealing mark. He beat BLACK THUNDER who was running off a mark in the mid 150s to win that day. His mark today is OR128 and could prove a real handicap snip. Last chance saloon today though!

Selections

£2.50 e/w CAPTAIN CONAN 1.50 Ascot

£5 win PTIT ZIG 2.25 Ascot

£5 e/w DIEGO DU CHARMIL 3.35 Ascot

£5 win CORRIN WOOD 2.40 Haydock

Blog stats

Staked £80

Returns £101.25

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.

£5 win COURT BY SURPRISE DONCASTER 2:15

£5 win ITALIAN RIVIERA 2:50 DONCASTER

£2.50 e/w L’AIGLE ROYALE 2:40 CHELTENHAM

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