Haydock

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Not much last week although both KRUZHLININ and HOUBLON DES OBEAUX ran good races. With the recent cold snap taking Ascot and Taunton there is only racing at Haydock today to look forward to. There are some nice races though and a few competitive handicaps.

The Peter Marsh Chase is the feature and there are several horses with great chances. It’s the first time we will cast our eyes on French import ALARY, surely not another Gold Cup candidate for Colin Tizzard. I think French horses need a race or two in England to adapt so I’m happy to watch him. DEFINITELY RED ran a cracker lat time when winning the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby and he has good course form here and should run a solid race, he has to place. BRISTOL DE MAI continues to run solid races but I just don’t think he has got when push comes to shove. VINTAGE CLOUDS, as a novice, and a light weight catches my eye, but no seven year old has won this for over 20 years. I’m opting for SAUSALITO SUNRISE. He is a very good staying chaser and he won a couple of smart handicaps last year and is 8lbs lower in the ratings than when 4th behind MANY CLOUDS at Kelso last year. He ran very well at Cheltenham last time and caught my eye. He was moving well when hampered as he was just starting to make a challenge. He may have the required class to take this and is a smart jumper and stayer.

CULTRAM ABBEY is one to note back over hurdles in the last at Haydock. He won a class 3 hurdle beating MIJAAR over slightly longer and I’m interested in the switch back to hurdles when he showed promise first time back over fences this year. The apprentice takes 5lbs off his back and he could run a big race at a decent price.

£5 e/w SAUSALITO SUNRISE 3:15 Haydock (12-1 Willam Hill)

£5 win CULTRAM ABBEY 3:50 Haydock (11-1 BET365)

Staked £170

Returns £193.75

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Warwick and Kempton

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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

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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

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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