Aintree day one – A dedication to James Graham

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Ive had a few weeks off the blog from Cheltenham. It takes a fair bit of study to write these blogs and after the hectic week of the festival I just needed some time to recharge my batteries. The flat season will be in swing soon and I will keep blogging throughout that too, hopefully bringing you winners in both formats of this awesome sport. I am dedicating this blog to my good friend James Graham, he regularly reads this and I saw him at the weekend to ask him if he had won by following my advice for the festival. He did with Willougby Court but denied to be greedy and put it in a win treble when the others didn’t win. He also didn’t see my tweet about Friday’s selections and missed Pacha Du Polder and Penhill. So, James, this one is for you today – I hope there’s a winner for you!! ūüôā

Manifesto Novices Chase 1:45

This is a cracking little race to kick the festival off. FRODON comes into this bang in form and he has looked very good the last twice. He is clearly suited by good ground and he will make sure it is a decent pace. TOP NOTCH looked to be unlucky at the festival, he made a mistake two out which looked like it cost him the race as he was staying on well at the end. If he reproduces that tomorrow he will be hard to beat. CLOUDY DREAM ran a cracker in the Arkle but that looked to be well above what he has produced previously and he was fortunate as CHARBEL fell and the rest of the competition weren’t much good in my opinion. I’m going for a cheeky each way on MAX WARD. I was very impressed with the way he went away from the field over this trip last time at Kempton. It wasn’t a hard race and the market leaders have had some tussles of late and he will love the ground and despite this being a step up he looks very progressive. We will certainly find out, but 20-1 with Paddy Power is a huge price!

Doom Bar Juvenile Hurdle 2:20

DEFI DE SEUIL was very smart at the festival and has been all year, he will take some pegging back in this and looks the best Juve nile we’ve seen this year. I like the look of the Queen’s horse at a bigger price though. He has swerved the festival for this, will love the ground and looked smart when winning at Musselburgh last time. DIVIN BERE ran a beauty at the festival and Im fascinated to see how he gets on against the favourite.

Betway Bowl Chase 2:50

CUE CARD is the favourite for this but I have to take him on. He fell again in the Gold Cup and that will have taken its toll, the ground will also be too quick for him in my opinion and he is a definite lay. EMPIRE OF DIRT was lots of people’s banker for the festival but UN DE SCEAUX jumped them to death, he will not have to take anything like that on in this and will appreciate the better ground and I think he will get compensation here.

Betway Aintree Hurdle 3:25

Buveur D’Air was my first winner at the festival and I cant see anything beating him tomorrow, no bet, just watch and admire.

Foxhunters Chase 4:05

PACHA DU POLDER came good for me at the festival and helped me to a very profitable return with PENHILL. He ran a great race and should be thereabouts again under the same rider. This track should suit him more and with a steady run race over a shorter distance it should play even more to his strengths, I do expect them to ride him much more handy. BIG FELLA THANKS catches the eye in opposition at a cracking price.

Betway Red Run Handicap Chase 4:40

RAVEN’S TOWER has to have a cracking chance in this off a light weight. He is 1-1 here and won off a mark just one pend lower than today (OR138) when beating KEEL HAUL and PARSNIP PETE. The latter is only 2lbs better off but needs to make up 9 lengths, not going to happen. My selection has other smart form, he was beaten in a good race taken by POKER SCHOOL off a 5lb higher mark ¬†after coming third to ULTRAGOLD. He made a bad mistake early on last time that took him out of the race. He has had time to recover and I think will run a big race.

Selections

¬£5win RAVEN’S TOWER 4:40 Aintree 12-1 William Hill

£5win EMPIRE OF DIRT 2:50 Aintree 5-2 William Hill

£5ew MAX WARD 1:45 Aintree 20-1 Paddy Power

Blog Results

Staked £340

Returns £332.50

Aintree Day One

Photo by Fran (@Riosrider2)
 
Day one of the Aintree festival. Usually it pays to side with horses who have swerved Cheltenham, however this year we've had a slightly longer break between the two. Whatever happens over the next few days I'm sure we're in for a right treat, there are some great races to watch and a few tricky handicaps to try and solve. We of course then have the biggest puzzle of them all – The Grand National! My record in the big one just isnt great, the last time I won I think I was eight! I'm now 35!!! However, I have an antepost ticket on MON PARRAIN at 50-1 after he won for the blog on New Year's Day. I'm chuffed the ground will be on the better side for him and also chuffed that Sean Bowen rides. He has a great chance and I reckon he'll run a cracking race! I'll probably pick another couple but haven't made my mind up yet!
Here are my selections for Day One. Good luck with whatever you back and I hope you win!
 
Manifesto Novices Chase 1340
A small but distinct field and a few with obvious chances. The main one is VIBRATO VALTAT who should have been UN DE SCEAUX's main rival in the Arkle, but he never ran a true race. I'm not sure whether he will get this trip? JOSSES HILL has flattered to deceive this year and I don't think his jumping will hold up. I'm opting for CLARCAM (WON 5-1), he may also not get the trip but I prefer his chances with Ruby on board. He was put in his place in the Arkle too but he really caught my eye in the Fred Winter last year and was unlucky when falling. He has had a couple of solid runs this year and doesn't have either VAUTOUR or UN DE SCEAUX to overcome.
 
Betfred Juvenile Hurdle 1415
HARGAM will be a short priced favourite for this based on his third in the Triumph. The Nicholls pair really don't do it for me. I'm opting for INTENSE TANGO (unplaced). She struggled against her male counterparts last time but she comes here fresh and will enjoy the better ground. Her weight allowance may also support her speed at these weights and help her overcome her rivals this time. She looked a decent horse when putting PASS THE TIME and ANIFILET in their place at Doncaster.
 
Betfred Bowl Chase 1450
HOLYWELL (nb) (3rd – 5-2) was my tip for the Gold Cup and is my tip here. He ran a cracker at Cheltenham and it was a shame the ground swung to the soft side that day as I really thought he would win the race. SILVINIACO CONTI misfired that day and on this ground I can't see him reversing placings with my tip. MA FILLEULE is a tough mare and she will be there at the finish. HOLYWELL has the class, the jumping ability and the ground to beat all his rivals.
 
Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle 1525
JEZKI comes here with a real chance of giving the champ another victory in his swansong. ARCTIC FIRE has been ultra-consistent this year too and must have a decent chance. However, I have to opt for my old favourite ROCK ON RUBY (2nd 7-2) though. He missed the festival and will be fresh. Despite being 10 years old he can still mix it with the young guns. He has a good record here and produces good efforts on better ground. I think he'll battle up the finishing straight with the other two above and his heart will bring him out on top.
 
Crabbies Fox Hunters Chase 1605
Only one horse here for me. PACHA DU POLDER (nap) (2nd 7-1) is a horse I always followed and has made a brilliant start in this sphere. My selection improves so much on better ground and I'm expecting a big run tomorrow. He started out this year being beaten by TEAFORTHREE on soft ground and he then won easily on good ground at Ludlow. He's a nice mover and a smart jumper. He is closely matched with BIG FELLA THANKS on old form and I expect both of them to be fighting it out up the finish.
 
Betfred Red Rum Chase 1640
CLARET CLOAK will enjoy the better ground and ran well last time behind ULCK DU LIN at Ascot. He runs well fresh but 11st 12lbs is a lot to carry in this. Even a 5lb taken off by Sean Bowen may not be enough. BABY MIX fascinates me; he's been off for a while and was a smart hurdler on good ground. With this break to overcome and a return to form needed he may not do it, but he's well treated on his old form. I'm opting for TED VEALE (treble) (unplaced) he's down to his last winning mark of OR141, which he's won twice at. He has got a nice weight and has good form when the ground is better. He also has a strong form line through CLARCAM and I think he'll run a big race!
 
Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle 1715
The last race on day one and it's a cracker to try and solve! DALAWAN is smart yet disappointed last time behind CALL THE COPS, can he recapture his form? CALL THE COPS has been raised another 7lbs for that win and I think he's handicapped to the max now. LAC FONTANA could really improve for the extra distance amd is worth a saver! UNIQUE DE COTTE and my old favourite JOIN THE CLAN deserve praise and should run well. Now this is where I get silly! I have followed KATGARY (unplaced) all year based on his efforts last season and I was and still am convinced he's a smart horse. Good ground I'm sure is key and with a little bit of confidence back in him for winning in a lower class last time I think he'll run well. He is carrying a stone less than he did last time too. My advice here, ignore me, I'd go over the White Cliffs for this one!!
 

Craven Meeting

I used to love watching this meeting on the TV as it was the first chacne to really see some horses preparing for a classic tilt and I think its such a shame its not on Channel 4 anymore. Below are my fancies tomorrow though :
 
PACHA DU POLDER 1550 CHELTENHAM (NAP) – (unplaced) this horse as I have said before on the blog really does need good ground. He ran a decent race at the festival and for me drops back to a more workable trip tomorrow and must have a great chance.
 
FLYBALL 1420 NEWMARKET (nb) – (unplaced) was impressive in defeat in the Brocklesby and then followed that up with a narrow vicotry at Leicester. Should run another good race and the way he bounces out will give him a crucial lead over the others
 
MUSHIR 1530 NEWMARKET (treble) – (2nd – 3-1) I was really impressedwith how this horse won at York last year moving easily through the entire field to score. He is bred to stay this distance and I think will give a good account of himself.
 
MAJEYDA 1605 NEWMARKET – (3rd – 6-1) she won well over a mile here towards the end of last season and she went into my notebook then. I'm willing to give her a go here despite the high profile opposition.
 
I also like the chances of TOP SMART on better ground and depsite reverting back to hurdles THE ROMFORD PELE really does have some decent form in the book and should run well at a big price.
 

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)
 

2013 – The Bandit’s review

I figured as it was the last day of the year that I should look back on my blogging exploits of 2013. Firstly can I say a huge thank you for all you guys and gals that take time to read my blog every week. I really enjoy sharing my views on a sport we all love and I've really enjoyed interacting with some of you over Twitter this past year. I've been able to join #Teamchoochoo and get a share in a race horse! Cheers @ianmallard. I've also had over 11,000 views of the blog this year – awesome stuff. Another big thank you to those of you who RT the blog on Twitter.
 
So here are my blogging highlights this past year!
 
HOLYWELL

I tracked this horse all last season and knew it had a big race in it! I mentioned it as one of my strongest bets at Cheltenham of the week here. He only went and obliged at 25-1 – I napped him that day and it was great to get some responses on twitter from people who had read my piece and thought they would have a go too. Cheltenham was quite a good festival for the blog as I also had BACK IN FOCUS, LORD WINDERMERE, CHAMPAGNE FEVER, HURRICANE FLY, AT FISHERS CROSS AND BOBS WORTH that won for me. Took some money off the bookies that week.
 
OPENING BATSMAN

I napped this fella on the blog just before Cheltenham when he beat Rolling Aces at Kempton. Was great to as thr race panned out just like I thought and I also had a top treble that day with my nb IRISH SAINT and my treble horse GRANDIOSO also landing. Read the blog here
 
PACHA DU POLDER

My form was pretty hot in and around this time and I napped this horse at Newbury. It was always rated highly by Paul Nicholls but never seemed to get his ground. It did this day at romped in at 18-1. Another huge winning nap! Read the blog here
 
TIDAL BAY

I have mention this old boy! He's my favourite horse in training and what a year it has been for him, his Lexus techincally came in 2012 but what a turnaround Paul Nicholls has made with this horse! It makes you wonder what he could have achieved had he been there all his career and how poor Howard Johnson really was! His performance in the Hennessey giving Bob's Worth 6lbs and only just being beaten was ace and also what a brave fight he gave in the Welsh National just last week. He for me is already a National Hunt legend!
 
That was the end of the jumps season really except for the Aintree festival, this always seems to elude me and I never quite get the winners there! I'm still waiting for a National winner too – getting a bit like AP did before his success – just cant seem to pick the winner! Tidal Bay this year? Who knows!
 
I'm not as good on the flat with my selections as I seem to be over the jumps and to be fair I love the jumps more! The flat season revolved around these blog highlights for me
 
KINGSGATE NATIVE

An old favourite of mine and I put him up on the blog to win the Temple Stakes at Haydock and he obliged at 14-1 that day.
 
DECLAN CARROLL

Now Mr Carroll is a northern trainer I've followed for a few years and he is good to watch around York, Catterick and Beverley. Particularly with sprinters on their first or second run. Last year he sent out LASTCHANCELUCAS to win at 100-1 at York. This year I selected TWEETY PIE of his on the blog and it romped in at 66-1! Keep your eye on him, he sends a few big priced winners out every year. Read the Tweet Pie blog here
 
We of course cant forget the passing of one of the greatest horsemen of all time in Sir Henry Cecil. What a man he was – a privelege to have seen him train. We were also treated the the likes of TORONADO, DAWN APPROACH, DANK, and of course the blistering display from TREVE in the Arc.
 
It's been quite a year and I've loved every minute of it, I look forward to blogging more this year and maybe sharing a few more winners with you.
 

Kempton and a few others

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and the man with the big white beard brought you everything you wished for! I'm staying with my family in Burnley at the moment so can get the old man to give us four horses again for the blog today. I need to see if I can beat him after last time. Each selection will be bet with a £2.50 each way stake.
 
Current standings FATHER 1 (+£38.44) SON 0 (-£7.50)
 
My four for today are below :
 
PEPITE ROSE 1415 WETHERBY (nap) Р(WON Р4-1 = +£12.50) ran some very good races last year, notably at Ascot and Haydock when running in defeat. She was also running a cracker in behind PACHA DU POLDER at Newbury when she fell. Looks good at these weights and has some form on soft and heavy ground. The stable won this race last year.
 
ELY BROWN 1445 LEICESTER (nb) Р(WON Р13-8 = +£5.08) this boy has crept up the weights and rightly so. Defeated HOLYWELL last year at Warwick on soft before HOLYWELL went on and won at the festival. Needs to jump more fluently but has a real chance and the stable are doing well too.
 
GLENS BOY 1340 LEICESTER (treble) Р(unplaced -£5.00) is coming back after a long lay off but was pretty decent before that. Won at Newbury over three miles defeating IKODORU ROAD. If fit, has a chance on that form.
 
MICKIE 1400 KEMPTON Р(WON Р5-2 = +£7.81) she really showed she has bags of stamina when winning last time beating PATEESE. She is up 8lbs for that but with the ground being so testing today all her stamina will come to pay and she is worth another crack.
 
My old man's selections :
 
MICKIE 1400 KEMPTON РWON (5-2) = + £7.81
DEFINITE LADY 1450 WETHERBY Р2nd (5-1) = + £3.12
VALOROSO 1505 KEMPTON Р2nd (9-2) = + £2.81
IPSOS DU BERLAIS 1455 LEOPARDSTOWN Р3rd (20-1) = +£12.50

Result
FATHER = £26.24 profit
SON = £20.39 profit

Running total =
Father = + £64.68
Son = + £12.89

Father 2 Son 0

Aintree Day Two

Not a bad first day on the blog although they were all nearly's at Aintree. The nap did come in though – it was good to see HUNT BALL back winning again. I was gutted about REBEL DU MAQUIS as he was running really well until falling. On to Friday and a case of my heart ruling my head!
 
PACHA DU POLDER 1540 AINTREE (nap) – (unplaced) now I know that all the stats are against this horse here. No horse has won this off this weight or this rating. However, I do think he really is a top class horse and we got a glimpse of that last time out when he jumped like a stag and cruised to success. He has the cheekpieces on again and will relish this ground even more in my opinion. I think his jumping is superb when he's focussed and I think we will see a new star tomorrow! I can really see him flying the fences and bounding on similar to how DENMAN won the Hennessey. He is rated that high for a reason. Told you my heart was ruling my head!!
 
COTTON MILL 1650 AINTREE (nb) – (unplaced) I was really disappointed with his run at the festival and he is much better than that. This flatter track and decent ground should play to his strengths. He has a good cruising speed, jumps well and should run true to form.
 
CAILIN ANNAMH 1725 AINTREE (treble) – (2nd – 8-1) the better ground should play into her strengths and has the potential to take this. Jessica Harrington wouldn't send one over for a race like this without a sniff.
 
FORGOTTEN VOICE 1400 AINTREE – (2nd – 9-2) he was really impressive last time and with decent ground forecast the race may be set up exactly as It was when he beat BRICK RED.
 
ROCKY CREEK 1430 AINTREE – (3rd – 9-4) he has been kept for this and has been impressive all year. The ground is the worry but he has run well on it before, he does look at different horse this year and I think he will take this.
 
SPRINTER SACRE 1505 AINTREE – (WON 1-3) no words do this horse justice other than the French one MAGNIFIQUE. He will take this with ease.
 
AT FISHERS CROSS 1615 AINTREE – (WON 11-8) this horse owes me or anyone else nothing. A pure battler that oozes class, the doubt is the ground but class will prevail.
 
Lets hope we fare better and Pacha does me proud. Good luck if you're having a bet.
 
BLOG STATS :

Naps 34/149 = 22.8%
Wins 141/760 = 18.5%
Placed 201/760 = 26.4%

Win and Placed = 45%

@Tweet_Naps overall record. Click the link. All Time Profit/Loss currently +£63.83
 

Cheltenham 2013 – Day 2

Day one I think was as good as we were all expecting. Superb performances by Hurricane Fly and Quevega going down in history were the highlights for me. I thought TOUR DES CHAMPS ran well and he has a big handicap in him on better ground and I was a bit disappointed by how KENTFORD GREY LADY petered out after moving very menacingly close home. Overall though I was happy with the blog throwing up JEZKI placed and wins for CHAMPAGNE FEVER and HURRICANE FLY. I still think Jezki would have been a bit closer but for that poor jump at the last!
 
On to day two and here are my selections for Wednesday.
 
1.30 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase

With this likely to turn into a slog the battling qualities and sound jumping ability of BACK IN FOCUS (WON 9-4) give him a real chance, he is an out and out stayer and that may be needed tomorrow. My one question mark over him is whether or not the ground will be soft enough. I will have a little bit on him, but fancy RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL (FELL) to possibly get the better of him. This one is another sound jumper who should relish the conditions, which judged on the times, are good to soft. He ran very well behind PACHA DU POLDER at Ayr last year and that form could be strong enough.
 
2.05 Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle

PONT ALEXANDRE (treble) (3rd – 6-4) is a potential superstar! The stable have been exceptionally positive about his chances and his rock solid form. He is the form selection and will have a wedge of my money. I will also be having an each way saver on CHATTERBOX (unplaced) who has been really impressive this year and has done nothing wrong. He defeated MY TENT OR YOURS and then followed that up by defeating LAC FONTANA giving buckets of weight away. What a cracking race this is, and I haven't even mentioned the form and abilIty of THE NEW ONE (WON and how wrong was I!!!!), but I think these two will hold that one up the hill. Sit back and enjoy a cracker.
 
2.40 RSA Chase

This is an entriguing race and BOSTON BOB appears to have the credentials and character for this, he should certainly appreciate the step up in trip. UNIONISTE was very impressive last time but I reckon the ground brought out the best in him that day. So my money is on Jim Culloty's progressive LORD WINDERMERE (WON 8-1). He is another one who looks like he will relish the step up in trip and if anything that was evident when he was defeated by BOSTON BOB by only half a length after nearly destroying a fence in his round of jumping! A great price too for me!
 
3.20 SportingBet Queen Mother Champion Chase

If there was ever a horse racing banker it surely has to be SPRINTER SACRE. He is a joy to watch and I can't wait to see him in action again tomorrow. So, with him to win no questions asked, who is getting place money and finishing second? My each way selection is SANCTUAIRE (unplaced) If he is ridden positively as in previous races I can't see any other of the field getting close to him other than the Aeroplane. I'm staggered that he is 25-1, yes, SS has stuffed him on every occasion but are the others such as WISHFUL THINKING and SIZING EUROPE really that better than him? I beg to differ!
 
4.00 Coral Cup

If you can pick the winner of this, you are either damn good, or having a lucky day! The latter for most. Competitive as hell as always and a case can be made for lots of them! I am putting my each way money on two of them. It sides at times to stick with quality horses at the top of the handicap. I was encouraged to see CRACK AWAY JACK (unplaced) run somewhere near his best when behind TIDAL BAY at Wetherby, and then followed that up with a decent second here behind OSCAR WHISKY. That form is strong and a drop back to 2m5f may help again. My second option is slightly stronger for me. CASH AND GO (nb) (unplaced) is a bit of a forgotten animal. His second here in the Racing Post Hurdle behind OLOFI is impressive and this step up should suit him. He had PROSPECT WELLS way behind that day too. The drying ground will help and he ran pretty well at Newbury last time and I think this extra distance and stiff track will suit.
 
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle

I'm putting my money on a decent priced outsider here. MILORD (4th – 16-1) hails from a top yard and one who knows how to pick a race for a horse. He ran well behind CHATTERBOX and LAC FONTANA last time and a return of that effort will see him have a chance and is pretty well weighted. He is one of those handicap hunches I get from time to time as he fits the progressive profile needed to win this and he has a similar profile to WHAT A CHARM when he won a few years ago. I'm also having a saver on BORDONI (unplaced) who looked good at Market Rasen last time and was a decent horse on the flat who apears to have taken well to hurdles.
 
5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

There are times when you watch a horse for the first time and think wow! I remember watching a clip of GOLANTILLA (nap) (3rd – 9-1) winning the race at Cork and thinking he was special. He is out of GOLAN and destroyed some good horses that day and I have been waiting for him to run in this. I think he will run really well.
 
All the best on day two everyone. A summary of my bets are below
 
1.30 RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL (FELL)

2.05 PONT ALEXANDRE (win) (treble) (3rd 6-4) CHATTERBOX (ew) (unplaced)

2.40 LORD WINDERMERE (WON 8-1)

3.20 SANCTUAIRE (ew) (unplaced)

4.00 CASH AND GO (win) (nb) (unplaced) CRACK AWAY JACK (ew) (unplaced)

4.40 MILORD (ew) (4th – 16-1)

5.15 GOLANTILLA (win) (nap) (3rd – 9-1)
 

Grim in Donny?

At last a run of decent weather! With good ground forecast at most tracks now we should see some horses run up to the standard they are capable of. I have a couple of those today! Last weekend's blog was very successful with my best three OPENING BATSMAN (12-1), IRISH SAINT (5-4), and GRANDIOSO (9-4) all winning. I was very impressed with Opening Batsman and the extra 6lb pull he had with ROLLTHEACES certainly helped his cause. He never gave an ounce away around the inside in what was an excellent ride by Noel Fehily. Hopefully there are a few more winners below with the Festival just around the corner! Can't bloody wait!
 
PACHA DU POLDER 1550 NEWBURY (nap) – (WON 18-1) this horse is blooming talented but has really disappointed this year. He is running off a mark of 145 today which potentially is way below his true ability. For me the ground is the key, he has solid form on good ground like when defeating RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL at Ayr last year. Mr Nicholls has a great record in this and in my opinion this boy, IF back to his best could make a mockery of this. He could run a stinker again though too!!
 
CAPTAIN KELLY 1605 DONCASTER (nb) – (3rd – 7-4) he defeated BALLYCASEY in a point to point a few years ago and that one is currently tipped up as a big chance in the Albert Bartlett at the festival. This one ran poorly on soft ground at Chepstow but then followed up when I tipped him in a jumpers bumper. He will love the better ground and I expect him to win this.
 
AAIM TO PROSPER 1530 DONCASTER (treble) – (WON – 13-8) this horse is a very short price for his handicap debut on what he has done so far. However you cannot deny that he could be incredibly well handicapped off 124 considering his Cesarewich win off 107. He should destroy these!
 
CALGARY BAY 1455 DONCASTER – (unplaced) he is two from two in handicaps here at Doncaster and he has a touch of class about him, as shown when winning the Skybet chase here. A return to good ground will bring the best out of him and McCoy gets on well with him.
 
TOUBAB 1420 DONCASTER – (WON – evens) the ground will bring significant improvement in this one and he should win this relatively easy! He was and still is a damn good horse and his mark of 140 is, I think, too generous!
 
BALLYTOBER 1405 NEWBURY – (FELL) he could have more to give and is progressive considering his good second last time at Bangor. The apprentice jockey takes an invaluable 7lbs off and that could be the bit that helps him in this more competitive race.
 
ALL THE ACES 1515 NEWBURY – (unseated) this one has course and distance success and has some good form. He could be very well in judged on his old form including a second to PROSPECT WELLS here. His poor performances really are worrying but again the ground was terrible on his last two runs.
 
HEY BIG SPENDER 1440 NEWBURY – (2nd – 11-2) this is another one who could be well in. He has ran well in snatches this term and his fifth at Warwick behind MOLOTOF is pretty decent form. A return to an extended trip and better ground could play into his strengths. A reproduction of his Warwick run will give him a great chance.
 
Well those are my selections for today. If you liked what you read please give it a retweet in Twitter or sign up to follwo the blog. If you are having a flutter do so with your own means and good luck!