Doncaster and Newbury

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Photograph by : Caroline Norris

With the festival on the horizon I’m starting to get my head around some of my potential fancies and stocking up the betting bank. I reckon it could be a much more open festival this year. There won’t be as many Mullins favourites going in and I think there is some potential value in the big races as well as the handicaps. Watch this space!!

On to today:

The best race of the day is the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster. THE LAST SAMURAI is using this, as last year, as a prep for the big one at Aintree. He will no doubt run a good race but he has 6lbs more weight to carry this year and races off a 12lb higher mark. WAKANDA will have to push it from the front after a change in tactics backfired last time and I think he will set it up for two of them. The first one is LOOKING WELL, he was staying on very well when defeated by ZIGA BOY here last time over a shorted trip. This longer distance could play to his strengths. However, I am opting for VIVALDI COLLONGES. He gives us a lot of value in the race and even though the rain isn’t perfect he has winning form on soft ground and worse. The jockey has a good record on him and he is racing off a good mark. The stats show that not many winners of this carry more than 10st 12lb, I don’t think that extra pound will make too much difference! He ran a stinker at Warwick last time behind a resurgent ONE FOR ARTHUR, it is noted that he did exactly the same last year and then won next time out. He also defeated the aforementioned at Kelso last year and therefore has some solid form. He will love the smaller field and I think he’ll run a big race at a big price.

VOCALISER ran a cracker last time at Haydock off a 4lb lower mark in a similar class 4 race. He was just pipped by DEEPSAND that day and the 3rd that day (RAISE A SPARK) and the 4th (CHEIFTAIN’S CHOICE) have both won since. I think he will win well today.

The Greatwood Hurdle has cut up a little due to the rain and I really fancy the chances of an old favourite, MELODIC RENDEZVOUS. He has lost his way a bit, but he is getting a bit long in the tooth. However, there was a bit of sparkle there behind YANWORTH last time and he has only ever run once before at a lowly level as this, and won. He should have too much class for these and will have the confidence to beat them off top weight! He’s good value!

Finally, VIC DE TOUZAINE, is a progressive looking horse and despite the step up in class, he should run well and will love the underfoot conditions. He was beaten when running well last time by DUSTY LARK, who had the benefit of course fitness. He is the one who catches the eye in a field of question marks.

Good luck whatever you’re on!

Selections

£5 win VIVALDI COLLONGES 3:35 Doncaster (14-1 Paddy Power) (PU)

£10 win VOCALISER 3:50 Newbury (9-2 BET365) (UP)

£5win MELODIC RENDEZVOUS 2:40 Newbury (8-1 William Hill) (UP)

£5win VIC DE TOUZAINE 3:15 Newbury (4-1 William Hill)(2nd)

Staked

£260

Returns

£283.75

Cheltenham Day One

It is here at last! The greatest week on Earth! Or so I think anyway! Time to sit back and watch a feast of racing over the next few days that will make you yearn for more once it's over! Whatever happens this week, lets hope all the horses return safe, jockeys too and we have a festival that will be talked about for years to come.
 
On to my selections :
 
Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle

What a race this is to kick the Festival off. I love this race as it signals the begininig of the week but it's also a bloody tough race to call the winner of. There are several of these that have really good chances. GILGAMBOA is an improver and he won the big Irish Handicap the other week and comes here as a horse that could really be anything, I'm not sure the ground will paly to his strengths though. VANITEUX has always been touted as a good thing but the thing that sticks in my mind is his defeat by AMORE ALATO, a reproduction of that would see him well beaten. I've backed WILDE BLUE YONDER every race this year and if he stays on four legs he has an each way sneak. VAUTOUR comes here with obvious credentials and looked good last time when defeated The Tullow Tank in the same race CHAMPAGNE FEVER won last year. My selection though has to be IRVING, he has been nothing but impressive in each race and looked very good last time when easing away with the race and having AMORE ALATO a distant second. He has form on better ground in Germany and for me looks to be a very decent horse. Hope he gets me off to a good start.
 
SELECTION – IRVING (nb) (unplaced)
DAD'S SELECTION – WICKLOW BRAVE (unplaced)

Racing Post Arkle Chase

God I love this race as well! I have had a few goods wins too, including CONTRABAND and of course who can forget the mighty TIDAL BAY trouncing NOLAND and the others in 2008. This is a tight little contest and a lot can be made for all the leading contenders. VALDEZ has impressed me with every run and he could run a big race at a decent price, he will surely go on to bigger things no matter what happens. We all saw what CHAMPAGNE FEVER did last year although his Boxing Day defeat sits badly with me and that's why I have written off his chances. For me TRIFOLIUM is the best Irish contender. He beat FELIX YONGER last time, on that horse's preferred ground and at level weights after previously being beaten by him giving him 4lbs. My selection also finished second behind DEFY LOGIC when they both beat CHAMPAGNE FEVER. DODGING BULLETS could run a big race with his Chletenham form in mind and he has really improved since the operation he had on his palate. I still havent mentioned ROCK ON RUBY who brings the best hurdle form to the table!! What a race, sit back and enjoy!
 
SELECTION – TRIFOLIUM (nap) (3rd – 11-4)
DAD'S SELECTION – ROCK ON RUBY (unplaced)
Baylis and Harding Handicap Chase

Jesus wept! This is a right old handicap with several horses close to my heart! This is what NH racing is all about, finding the winning horse in a race like this!
HOLYWELL, my star horse of last year, that I napped at 25-1 to win the Pertemps goes. I've got to put a little on him but I don't think he has the expereicne of a big, classy chase like this yet. He's getting better but will be one for next season for me. MA FILLEULE I backed last time when she won at Kempton, she is a decent horse and was due a race like that, however a 6lb rise and the slightly better grpound put me off her. Over recent years horses aged 8 or 7 have had a great record in this, and also horses with a light weight! I'm hoping my horse beats the weight voodoo. My selection is one of the horses I follow and for me two things make me opt for him. The better ground and a great record when fresh. My selection is PACHA DU POLDER, he's always had a bit of class, and finally showed it when winning at Newbury last year. He has rran over 3 miles before and that was on soft ground which he hated and he finished second. The extra distance I think will improve him further. He will bowl along near the front and with being fresh will be up with the pace and will hopefully stay up the hill. 33-1 is huge and Paul Nicholls reported him to have had an eye catching racecourse gallop! He could be my big handicap winner this year!
 
SELECTION – PACHA DU POLDER (unplaced)
DAD'S SELECTION – HOLYWELL (WON 10-1)
 
Stan James Champion Hurdle

These races just keep getting better and better! Right, I may get egg on my face but I'm saying the Fly will lose! Firstly no 10 year old has won this race since SEA PIGEON in 1980, secondly I think THE NEW ONE, MELODIC RENDEZVOUS and MYTENTORYOURS will run him out of it. I would be placing all of my money on MELODIC RENDEZVOUS if the ground were softer and despite his jockey claiming it won't matter, I think it will, especially when the other contenders will enjoy it more! MYTENTORYOURS is my selection and I thought he was impressive when beating THE NEW ONE at Kempton and despite everyone saying TNO will be better I don't think he will reverse the placings. I even think he may take this race after the last flight and up the run in, coming off the bridle neaer the finish! Although, that may be a fairytale! Regardless though it will be a cracker and I can't wait!
 
SELECTION – MYTENTORYOURS (2nd – 3-1)
DAD'S SELECTION – THE NEW ONE (3rd – 100/30)

OLBG Mares Hurdle

QUEVEGA has made a mockery of this over the past few years and there is strong evidence she may do it again! However, I'm going for an upset. HIGHLAND RETREAT may have what it takes to finally knock her off her perch! She has done nothing wrong this year and while she has not knocked any trees down she has gone about her business in a very classy way. Not much more to be said, QUEVEGA is the best mare on show but she may get turned over, hopefully by my selection.
 
SELECTION – HIGHLAND RETREAT (unplaced)
 
Terry Biddlecombe Amateur Rider Chase

Old Terry will be looking down ansd be honoured to have this race named afer him and I'm sure the amateurs will give him a good show! If the ground were softer I would be all over MERLIN'S WISH, unfortunately I think it's dried out too much for him. My selection is BEEVES he gave SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR 5lbs at Aintree in October for a 1/2 length defeat and then finished a gallant second to ELY BROWN at Leicester in December. He is now 8lbs lower in the ratings than that 1/2 length defeat and with better ground and level weights, he may well run a cracker!
 
SELECTION – BEEVES (unplaced)

Rewards4Racing Novice Chase

The first comes to a close with another cracker! PENDRA will probably be all the rage and rightly so judged on previous form. ERICHT has been put up as a big chance for the Henderson team by a few shrewdies. However, the way AHYAKNOWYERSELF won a Market Rasen in the summer really caught my eye, he then ran well in behind MELODIC RENDEZVOUS at Wincanton and that is smart form. He has doen pretty well over the bigger obstacles and he is effectively 5lb well in judged on his last suucess when beaing BIN END at Leicester. He's my main option in the race but I also have to have a little on GRANDADS HORSE, who will enjoy the better ground and you cannot rule out BABY MIX either.
 
SELECTION – AHYAKNOWYERSELF (4th – 33-1)
 

Newbury

Only a short blog today as I'm short of time!last week was a decent week with my nap GREY GOLD (4-1) and my nb GRENDISAR (9-4) winning. Despite the heavens opening we are racing again today! Here are my selections below – hopefully throwing a winner or two up.
 
FAR WEST 1535 NEWBURY (nap) – (FELL = -£5.00) was a top juvenile last year and handles the ground really well. Returned a bad scope last time behind MELODIC RENDEZVOUS and he would have been closer but for the stomach ulcers he had. If he is close to Melodic then he will be close here today. You generally need to have a bit in your locker and I think this guy has as I think he's better than his current mark. Harry's 5lb will really he,p in this ground as it did last week.
 
AL FEROF 1425 NEWBURY (nb) – (2nd – 5-4 = £0.78) the ground could be getter for this boy but I still think he will take all the beating today and for me 13/8 is a huge price. He'll jump them into the ground and has more class thean any of these. He should win comfortably.
 
DODGING BULLETS 1500 NEWBURY (treble) – (2nd – = £1.25) this finishes off my Nicholls treble and he has been a revelation over fences. He was decent over the smaller obstacles but has shown huge improvements in the sphere. It will be a battle with MODULE but he has a touch more ability for me.
 
ANDY KELLY 1350 NEWBURY – (FELL = -£5.00) hardly had any racing compared to others. Will like the ground and has some decent form in the book, beating KILMURVY easily and then going down by a short margin at Ascot.
 
Here are my Dad's choices for today :
 
UPSWING 1350 NEWBURY (WON 11-4 = £8.59)
IRISH SAINT 1535 NEWBURY (3rd – 6-1 = £3.75)
NIGHT OF PASSION 1550 WARWICK (unplaced = -£5.00)
THOMAS BROWN 1640 NEWBURY (unplaced = -£5.00)
 
Current standing are :
Father 5-4 Son
 
Profit :
SON = £70.85
FATHER = £75.85
 

Ascot and Haydock

Well the blog is well and truely on a roll! With the last two winning naps Indian Jack (5-1) and Uncle Jimmy (15-2) obliging! It has seen me turn the tables on my dad and pull it back to 3-2 in the competition, although I'm now in more profit than him! To be fair today's ground is going to be shocking but there are some cracking races on offer! Let's hope we can maintain our form and find more profit for everyone. If you're having a flutter, good luck!
 
CEASAR MILAN 1605 ASCOT (NAP) – (unplaced = -£5.00) this horse was bought up by the Stewart/Wiley connections as a potential smart thing and went off a hot favourite first time out. He bled and finished last that day but then re-appeared encouraging behind DEPUTY DAN last time out. We saw what he did last week and this horse will improve further for that run, will enjoy the ground and I think is one for our notebooks!
 
CAROLE'S SPIRIT 1350 ASCOT (NB) – (2nd – 3-1 = £1.88) his horse has done nothing but improve and cosily put away As I Am last time out. The ground should suit her and she should stay. She has a real touch of class and I think she will beat Mickie. I have backed MICKIE the last two times but I think despite the favour in the weights that she has done too much too soon and this will be a step too far.
 
VALOROSO 1515 HAYDOCK (TREBLE) – (unplaced = -£5.00) ran really well last time when just pipped by Ma Filleule at Kempton. Comes here with that form and other good form behind. This is going to be a real slog and the light weight will help and despite this being a step up I think this horse is better than his current mark. He's a cracking each way bet and will run a good race to at least place.
 
THOMAS CRAPPER 1425 ASCOT – (unplaced = -£5.00) he steps back here in trip after the last run proved too far. There is some really solid form in his book. He win at Cheltenham in November was impressive and the likes of WHISPER and UNCLE JIMMY were behind him that day. My only worry is the ground. Robin Dickin said he avioded the Lanzarote because the the horse doesn't like the ground too soft! Today it's even worse! We shall see! Also think IRISH SAINT could run a big race in this. (WON 6-1 – grrrr!)
 
I am also having a little treble on these three GRANDIOSO 1500 ASCOT (2nd – 4-1) HIDDEN CYCLONE 1535 ASCOT and MELODIC RENDEZVOUS 1440 HAYDOCK (WON – 7-4)
 
Here are my Dad's four for today :
 
KNIGHT OF PLEASURE 1425 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)
KNIGHT ALLIANCE 1515 HAYDOCK (unplaced = -£5.00)
THEATRICAL STAR 1500 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)
SOMERSBY 1535 ASCOT (fell = -£5.00)
 
The current standing are :
 
RESULT
FATHER -£20.00
SON -£13.12

Running totals
FATHER 3-3 SON

PROFIT
SON £72.88
FATHER £53.04