Newbury – Court Minstrel

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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

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The Grand National

Photo courtesy of Fran (@Riosrider)
 
Here we are then! The big one! The Grand National is here, the world's greatest steeplechase. Millions will be watching, hundreds of thousands will be there – what a spectacle it is! I hope first and foremost that all the horses and jockeys come back safe and sound. The changes that have been made to the track should encourage this and it will prevent these do gooders chirping up about horse safety too. It will be a cracking race – I'm hoping I've got the winner for the first time in 25 years!! See my report below for my four selections for the race.
This is what the twitter gamble guys are going for in the race :
@Tonythetyke – FIRST LIEUTENANT
@Fernando_RFC2 – AL CO
@DazGilbert1 – SAINT ARE
@Liamkenniford – ROCKY CREEK
 
Here are my selections for today :
MANDY'S BOY 1650 CHEPSTOW (nap) (Unplaced = -£5.00)
Has spits and spots of decent form last year behind the like of MANJAKANI at Stratford and AGREEMENT at the same venue. He seemed to run better last time and the handicapper has given him a real chance. His last winning mark was OR115 on good ground. His mark today is OR103. He is incredibly well handicapped, has a light weight and must run well.
 
Mersey Novices Hurdle 1330
Nichols Canyon was very well supported in Neptune at Cheltenham but could never land a blow and I'm not convinced he willbe able to today either. AS DE MEE deserves this step up in class after some really good performances and is interesting. PARLOUR GAMES is a worthy favourite after his second in the Neptune but I'm optimg for what looks like a progressive horse in THREE MUSKATEERS (3rd – 7-1) He won well at Wetherby earlier in the season and then followed that up with a battling win in a Grade 2 hurdle at Warwick in January. He missed the festival for this and despite it being another step up he looks a promising horse.
 
Doom Bar Maghull Novices Chase 1405
God's Own ran a cracker in the Arkle and showed his previous ability in that race. Could he have burnt his bridges though by really trying to go after Un De Sceaux in that race? I'm opting for COURT MINSTREL (treble)(Unplaced) who also ran well in the Arkle and was ridden sensibly after his chance had gone but he still stayed on for fifth. He will love the ground and has a touch of class as we saw last year here when he won a competitive hurdle here off a big weight. He has the ability I have no doubt to win this.
 
Silver Cross Stayers Hurdle 1450
COLE HARDEN caused a but of an upset by winning the World Hurdle and he got a bit of a start on them that day. On this flatter track I don't think he'll get that today and I think he'll struggle. I'm going for ZARKANDAR (unplaced) who ran such a good race at Cheltenham considering he made such a bad mistake two out. To keep going and make third was really impressive and shows how good he is. This track will suit and I think he'll run a big race and will win this.
 
Betfred Handicap Chase 1525
I'm not betting on this race as nothing really appeals – however DUKE OF LUCCA (WON 9-2) goes again this year off a mark 3lbs higher than what he won it off last year and has a good chance.
 
The Crabbies Grand National 1615
I've opted for four in this and I'll take them in order of preference. MON PARRAIN (nb) (unplaced = -£5.00) is my first choice. He has always been a smart horse and despite his quircks he has loads of ability. He has ran well over these fences, getting pipped in the Topham a few years ago and he ran well behind OSCAR TIME in the Becher in December. He then showed his class for this jockey when jumping for fun from the front and winning at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. He will love the fences and the ground and if he gets near the front and in a nice rhythm he could run a cracker at a big price. AL CO is my second choice, he ran well when winning the Scottish National last year and meets lots of the trends for past winners of the big one. He has been well prepared for this and the form of the Scottish National is tobe taken into account these days. Next up is ROCKY CREEK he looked really well last time and is well in with his rating from when the handicap was given. He could be a grades horse running in a handicap. There were question marks against him last year but he answered those and he has a huge chance today. Finally I'm opting for FIRST LIEUTENANT who has been a decent horse in his time and it seems Mouse Morris has got a bit of the old sparkle back, the trip is the worry but that is always the case in this marathon event! Good luck is needed for anything to win this and I'm hoping my four give me a good run for my money.
 
My blog four today are :
MANDY'S BOY 1650 CHEPSTOW
MON PARRAIN 1615 AINTREE
COURT MINSTREL 1405 AINTREE
ZARKANDAR 1450 AINTREE

My Dad's selections are
Nichols Canyon 1330 Aintree (Won 3-1 = £9.37)
Cole Harden 1450 Aintree (2nd – 2-1 = £1.25)
Duke of Lucca 1525 Aintree (WON 9-2 = £14.06)
Balthazar King 1615 Aintree (Fell -£5.00)
 
Standings
Father 10-9 Son
Profit
Father -£62.13
Son £131.71
 

Cheltenham Day One

Here we go everyone! Strap yourselves in, the festival is upon us! Get your money down, your TV's on or set to record and bring on the buzz! As always Tuesday is a cracking day with lots of competitive racing and top horses to choose from. Will the Mullins yard destroy the bookmakers satchels on day one? Has Ruby made the right choice? Will McCoy get a winner on the first day? All these questions yet no answer! Personally I think the Mullins yard will have a couple, you can read these below. The twitter gamble guys have opted for the following tomorrow :
 
@DazGilbert1 – NED STARK 1440
@Tonythetyke – HORIZONTAL SPEED 1715
@Fernando_RFC2 – DOUVAN 1330
@LiamKenniford – SEGO SUCCESS 1640
 
Here are my selections race by race.
Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle 1330
As ever what a great race to start the day. DOUVAN has been touted as a good thing and has been stronlgy supported and could be very good from a yard who have won the last two runnings. He may prove me wrong but I don't think he'll stay up the hill in a race that is usually as quick as this one is run at. Plus I think the ground may be too quick for him. L'AMI SERGE has the potential but has he got the solid form in the book, not for me! I'm opting for an unexposed type however, on QEWY who I feel has the ability to improve again. He's well bred and despite also not having much form on the better surface I loved the way he went about beating the field at Newbury last time when beating CARDINAL WALTER by 6 lengths. He has gone on to frank the form since. BOUVREUIL was back in third and he has a decent form line through RAYVIN BLACK who was just pipped in the Imperial Cup on Saturday. The ground is my main concern but I think he has rhe ability to win. Interestingly when asked to pick a horse that he would like to ride in the week Sam Twiston-Davies replied Qewy!
The Bandit's selection – QEWY (Unplaced = -£5.00) My Dad's selection – JOLLYALLAN (unplaced -£5.00)
 
Racing Post Arkle Chase 1405
If UN DE SCEAUX can jump around at his break neck speed he has to have a cracking chance and is a worthy favourite, odds on though? Not for me! I have to go against an odds on horse in a race like this and he does have a question mark against his jumping. JOSSES HILL was well touted but has flattered to deceive this year and VIBRATO VALTAT could be the main challenger to the favourite with sime really eye catching perfomances along the way. CLARCAM has done nothing wrong this year but was put in his place by the favourite in a small field last time. However, I'm opting for COURT MINSTREL, he has always been a very smart horse on better ground and he travels so smoothly through his races. He is two from two over the bigger jumps this year with good in the title. He has also won 3 times with good to soft ground. He has a good record fresh and I think he is a cracking each way chance tomorrow and possibly better.
The Bandit's selection – COURT MINSTREL (unplaced = -£5.00) My Dad's selection CLARCAM (unplaced -£5.00)
 
Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase 1440
This is a cracking handicap and there are loads in with a shout. Firstly THE DRUIDS NEPHEW has caught my eye a few times this year and he could be well handicapped. MENDIP EXPRESS has looked consistent again this year and should be thereabouts. However, I've opted for one of my preview horses GEVREY CHAMBERTIN (treble). I've always thought he has a race like this in him and despite being dropped in class last time he won well from tne front and the blinkers really helped. I'm hoping the same tactics on ground he'll enjoy will pay divident. He's been raised 9lbs for that success but he's still pretty well in compered to his old hurdle form. Watch out for LOST LEGEND staying on late at the end!
The Bandit's selection – GEVREY CHAMBERTIN (treble) (unplaced = -£5.00)
My Dad's selection – BLACK THUNDER (unplaced -£5.00)
 
Stan James Champion Hurdle 1520
For me I cant see past FAUGHEEN here. He's yet to really break sweat but is top class and will take this. I hope HURRICANE FLY runs well too, but for me Ruby has made the right choice and the Machine will fly home!
The Bandit's selection – FAUGHEEN (WON – 4/5 = £2.50) My Dad's selection – THE NEW ONE (unplaced -£5.00)
 
OLBG Mare's Hurdle 1600
Everyone is harping on about how good Annie Power is and how she will win this easy. I beg to differ, firstly she has to show she has overcome her injury against a class field and secondly I think she is better over further! My selection in this is one of my best bets of the week – POLLY PEACHUM. She has gone from strength to strength and is a different animal on decent ground. She can be forgiven her last run as the ground was too soft and she's been given time to come back. She has form here at this level and I think there is more to come from her. I'm really confident of a big run!
The Bandit's selection – POLLY PEACHUM (nap) (2nd 9-1 = £5.62)
My Dad's selection –
 
Toby Balding National Hunt Chase 1640
PERFECT GENTLEMAN (nb) is my selection here and one of the Mullins string who I think has a great chance. He looks like a stayer and should come on even more for this extra distance. He's shown he gets 3 miles well and has won on ground similar to this. He should jump well despite a blunder a couple of runs ago. If THEATRE QUEEN starts the race well he has a good chance based on how much ground he made up last time to finish fourth.
The Bandit's selection – PERFECT GENTLEMAN (nb) (4th – 10-1 = £6.25)
My Dad's selection –
 
Novices Handicap Chase 1715
A cracking race to finish the day with a good few of these having very strong chances. THOMAS CRAPPER is one of these and is potentially another horse well treated on his hurdle form.KELTUS has some solid form in the book and this step up could see the improvement come out of him. BOLD HENRY ran really well here in November but has since flopped, he could run well. However, I think STELLAR NOTION is the answer here. He ran a couple of cracking races earlier this season at Leicester and Kempton. His last run here was disappointing but that was on pretty soft ground and I'm willing to overlook that as he looks a smart horse.
The Bandit's selection – STELLAR NOTION (unplaced = -£5.00)
My Dad's selection –
 

Scottish National

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Here we go again! The second big National within a week and to go with it a cracking card at Newbury featuring the Greenham. The blog produced a few inners last week with my nb COURT MINSTREL going in at 16-1 and WHISPER at 4-1. Not to let the ship down my dad came good with LAC FONTANA 9-2 and BALDER SUCCES 7-2. Hope you followed. I have opened a bit of a profit gap up with my dad as you can see below due to COURT MINSTREL.

On to today and the selections are below :

JACOB CATS 1530 NEWBURY (NAP) – (unplaced -£5.00) he looked a decent handicapper a few years ago when under the care of Richard Hannon Snr. Judged on that form he has dropped to a very appealing handicap mark and is albs lower than his last handicap success. Has moved yards and from a high draw with Hanagan on board I think he has a cracking chance at a big price.

TIDAL BAY 1550 AYR (NB) – (unplaced -£5.00) I know, I know – he’s not my nap, but that shows how much I fancy my nap today! I was gutted last week when he was effectively brought down. He is chucked in again off this mark making most of the others run out of the handicap. He has to give albs to his nearest rival is rating 19lbs higher too. He’s the class horse, he will stay and the trainer said he was bouncing this week. The ground should be sort enough and even if it fires a little he has success on good to soft! Come on my boy! I’m also throwing a few pence at YES TOM too. He ran out an impressive winner on his debut for the yard and his record at Ayr reads 2,2,2,1,4,1,2,3,3. Mr Carberry comes over to ride and he has to have a cracking chance too.

J WONDER 1420 NEWBURY (TREBLE) – (WON 4-1 = £12.50) this filly really caught my eye last year when drawing away from the field at Newmarket with MIDNITE ANGEL. They demolished that lot and then she ran behind LUCKY KRISTALE in the Lowther and never got into it in conditions that were probably too fast. She is a sister to CHACHAMAIDEE who developed late and this second season could see some real improvement and I’m chancing her to turn over AL THAKHIRA.

KINGMAN 1455 NEWBURY (WON 15-8 = £5.86) this is a cracking Greenham and should be a proper Guineas trial with a lot of the top contenders opposing each other. My selection looked every bit a class horse last year and for me I think there will be even more to come from him in the classic year, starting today. I’m fascinated to see how ASTAIRE runs over 7f as he was very good last year. LAT HAWILL won easily last time and takes a big step up and I may have had a bit on him but for Frank being in the saddle. Knowing him he will leave the horse with too much to do. Sit back and enjoy!

COURT MINSTREL 1440 AYR (2nd – 8-1) did us a favour last week and despite a alb penalty he has to have a chance but MY TENT OR YOURS is similar to the Tidal Bay scenario – he is the class horse, however giving that weight over shorter will effect him more in my opinion and it may set it up for the MINSTREL to come late again!

My Dad’s selections are:

ASTAIRE 1455 NEWBURY (unplaced -£5.00)

MONTBAZON 1440 AYR (unplaced -£5.00)

VALCO DE TOUZAINE 1515 AYR (unplaced -£5.00)

GREEN FLAG 1550 AYR (unplaced -£5.00)

Running totals

FATHER 6-8 SON

Profit

FATHER £47.42

SON £129.66

The Grand National

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The big race day has arrived! First and foremost lets hoe these wonderful creatures all get round safely. Secondly lets enjoy the spectacle! A decent couple of runs on the blog yesterday with HOLYWELL winning for me again. What a horse he is proving to be and now favourite for the Gold Cup!!! My nap also ran a cracker, ROLLING ACES (16-1) was just pipped after running a corker and showing his true form. How impressive was MA FILLEULLE too, I thought she might run a decent race as I said on the blog, but she;s a brave one and oozing a bit of class! On to today, my Dad has a few selections as always and you can see our latest results below. He will be reading this in his hospital bed after having a knee replacement surgery! Hope you’re doing well Dad x

TIDAL BAY 1615 AINTREE (NAP) – (UR = -£5.00) I’m sure if you’ve read my blog a lot you will know how much I love this horse! If he wins today it will most certainly bring down the curtain on a fantastic career. Everyone keeps saying no 13 yo has won it, he’s too old etc. Not me, he’s been dropped a good few pounds by the handicapper to gives him a real go at this and when the weights came out I lumped on ante-post at 25-1. The rain I think has arrived so it could be soft at the off, he has bags of stamina and if he thereabouts at the last fence the run in should bring about all his qualities. If he runs well he may stay in training too! Go on the old boy show ’em what you’re all about! My other selection in the race is the other Wylie horse PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE, he was favourite twice for this before injury and he has been looked after this year. Ruby rode such a gentle arc eon him at Thurles when he had every chance to win, I thought then I wonder what they are saving him for!

COURT MINSTREL 1710 AINTREE (NB) (WON – 16-1 = £50.00) this horse produced two fantastic runs under this jockey last year and is worth another chance. He beat SAMTEGAL easily last year and is dropped a couple of pounds, he has lots of weight to carry but for a reason, he’s the class horse in the race and is rated 8 lbs better than the next horse. If he’s on song he’ll murder them.

HINTERLAND 1405 AINTREE (TREBLE) – (unplaced = -£5.00) was running a cracker in the champion chase before being brought down, he may not of beaten Sire de Grugy but he would have been close. I think he’ll win this today, he looks a different horse this year, jumps smoothly and quickly, and will enjoy the ground. Great chance

WHISPER 1450 AINTREE – (WON – 4-1 = £12.50) we know the likes of At Fisher’s Cross and Zarkandar are very good but this horse has really impressed me this year and he appears to be very progressive. I think he’s got more improvement in him and could be the surprise package here outside the top two.

I also fancy a little flutter on GULLINBURSTI 1525 (3rd – 10-1) who ran an much improved race last time at Kelso of a big weight, with less in then saddle today and another bold show he can take this race too.

My Dad’s selections are :

LAC FONTANA 1330 (WON – 9-2 = £14.06)

BALDER SUCCES 1405 (WON – 7-2 = £10.94)

MELODIC RENDEZVOUS 1450 (unplaced = -£5.00)

RENARD 1525 (unplaced = -£5.00)



His national selections are TIDAL BAY and BALTHAZAR KING.

Current standings : FATHER 6-7 SON

Profit :

Father £67.42

Son £121.30

Good luck if you’re having a flutter!