Sandown and Mussleburgh

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Photo: Rex Features

I think it’s only fitting to dedicate the blog to another brave hero whop died what he loved doing best. RIP Many Clouds, what a horse! The way he won last Saturday typifies the horse he was. So sad but we have to remember these brave horses and celebrate what enjoyment they gave us and how they love doing what they do.

On to today and a few cracking races to get my head around.

The Edinburgh Handicap Chase at 205 is having its inaugural run and there could be a few national clues in it. ALVARADO has to win or run very well to give him a chance of getting in there big one but he’s a bit long in the tooth now I feel. JUST A PAR is no doubt being targeted at the bug race but he has to shoulder a big weight but this is a race he could certainly win off this mark and he will appreciate the ground. GONALSTON CLOUD has missed his chance I feel, he should have won last time but was given too much to do. He stays forever though and could be in the mix. AZURE FLY is one who has been very consistent at shorter trips and if he stays he could run another cracker and is a value each way bet in a competitive affair. I am opting for DANCING SHADOW though, he caught my eye when finally getting his head infront at Doncaster last time in a race that I really fancied COURT BY SURPRISE in. He will love the ground and Noel Fehily on board is a huge plus and I think he will run a big race.

I have been waiting for DIEGO DU CHARMIL to come out again. He hasn’t shown anything like his true self as when winning the Fred Winter last year. He didn’t cope with the ground last time at Ascot and never really got into the race which STERNRUBIN won before that. He has had a nice break and will really like the ground and I’m still convinced he is a very smart horse and I think he will take this today. A definite win bet.

The Betfred Mobile Heroes Hurdle (3:00) is a belting puzzle to solve. The trends indicate a big weight is a huge disadvantage so forget the first 5 on the card. BEHIND TIME is a worthy favourite and is being very well supported. He ticks lots of boxes but I want to see another run after his flop last time. He could be very decent and if he runs anything like his first outing he should take this but his last run still sits in my mind and casts a doubt. EL TERREMOTO won on heavy at Haydock in November and it will be veery testing today which could suit him. VALHALLA has been very consistent prior to Christmas over hurdles and if he takes to the ground could be a very good each way bet at 22-1. I can’t ignore ROLLING DYLAN though. He’s never been out of the first three and was just pipped by SHANTOU BOB last time when stepping up in trip. An 8lb rise is fair and he will love the ground and should run a big race.

The final chase on the card at Sundown is another little belter. OTAGO TRAIL has shown glimpses of his quality and will love the ground but he has a big weight to carry. ROCK THE KASBAH looks a progressive horse and if he stays, and if being a big IF, he could win this. I can’t get away from SANDY BEACH though, he ran very well behind OUR KAEMPFER and KRUZHLININ last time when I think the ground was a little too quick for him. This softer ground will help, he’s a strong traveller, and a good jumper and I can’t believe there is 14-1 about him in places. He is the bet of the day for me.

SELECTIONS

SANDY BEACH 3:35 Sandown £10 win (14-1 Ladbrokes) (pulled up)

DIEGO DU CHARMIL 3:15 Musselburgh £5 win (9-1 Ladbrokes) (Won = £50)

DANCING SHADOW 2:05 Musselburgh £5 win (7-1 BET365) (Won = £40)

Staked £205

Returns £283.75

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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

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

Boxing Day Racing

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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

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

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