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.
 
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Cheltenham 2013 Gold Cup Day

Well what a day that was!!! The nap HOLYWELL rompted in at 25-1. As I said on the blog he was one of my two top bets for the festival, and boy did he prove me right. Good job to be fair, as all my other selectons disappointed. It was great to hear on twitter of a few of you who took my advice, and thanks for your nice comments. I'm on a bit of a run at the moment and hoping it will continue.
 
On to the final day, where has it gone already! Below are my selections for Friday and the second of my big fancies! Enjoy the racing and enjoy the Gold Cup.
 
1.30 TRIUMPH HURDLE

This is always a difficult one to win and it is competitive again. My selection in this is FAR WEST (2nd – 4-1), while the Nicholls string hasn't been firing on all cylinders, this one is a damn good horse. He has won well twice here and that could be his trump card. I'm hoping this gets the Ditcheat team off the mark. I think the slightly better ground will go against ROLLING STAR. I am however having a little each way on SWYNMOR (unplaced) who despite his poor effort last time looked all over the winner before falling at the last before that. He may still run to his capabilities.
 
2.05 VINCENT O'BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE

This is the race for my second big fancy of the week. He is a real favourite of mine, but this is not a case of heart ruling head as he has fantastic ability and the form to boot. COTTON MILL (nap) (FELL) ran exceptionally well at Newbury behind MY TENT OR YOURS and they even thought of entering him in the Champion Hurdle. Next year definitely. Last season he was very impressive at Warwick defeating subsequent impressive winner AMBION WOOD. He was then going just as well as SIMONSIG in last year's Neptune when unseating Denis by going throught the side part of the hurdle. He will appreciate the better ground and will have the pace to run these into the ground up the hill. His was impressive last time and that will have put him right and DENIS O'REGAN did say this was his best ride of the week. For a little each way money HISABAAT (unplaced) is on a very good mark considering his form in the Triumph here last year.
 
2.40 ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES HURDLE

The winner of this race has to have immense battling qualities. AT FISHER'S CROSS (WON 11-8) has been nothing but impressive this year and showed true grit and determination when holding off THE NEW ONE last time out. How much stronger does that form look now, he also beat MEDINAS by about 12 lengths here on December, further form franked. Whilst this as always is a tough race to win I can't see past this one!
 
3.20 BETFRED GOLD CUP

I have to side with the favourite BOB'S WORTH (nb) (WON 11-4) here. Not only does have have superb course form (4 from 4) but he will stay all day and has been finishing his races off so strongly. If you go back into his form he has beaten the likes of ROCK ON RUBY and CUE CARD and in his last two outings defeated FIRST LIEUTENANT here in the RSA Chase. He then jumped superbly in the Hennessey beating TIDAL BAY, and look what he did since then. He has the class, the form, the engine and is the one for me. SILVINIACO CONTI has done nothing wrong and is a good jumper too but if push comes to shove in the final furlong or two I think he'll struggle. I am going to have a bit each way on CAPE TRIBULATION (unplaced) who has come on so much lately and the forecast rain and the staying slog this is will help him, I just don't think he has the class.
 
4.00 FOXHUNTER CHASE

Again another one that really doesn't interest me, but I will put up TRICKY TRICKSTER (PU) to maintain his comeback from injury. He was a potentially top class horse and did run well in the Grand National a few years back.
 
4.40 MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS HANDICAP

GEVREY CHAMBERTIN is going the right way and was very impressive at Wincanton. However, there are a few with better chances in this at a lower weight. MA FILLEULE (unplaced) is one of those, receiving 11lbs off GEVREY is a lot to get and when you look at her form it makes me fancy her chances more. She won well at Warwick last time in a Grade 2 race, so she drops in class and the second (SWINCOMBE FLAME) franked the form when running well behind QUEVEGA on Tuesday. The third in that race KAUTO SHINY also ran well in the same race behind the supermare! At a big price DOUBLE ROSS (3rd – 14-1) is worth my each way money, he is the only confirmed front runner and may not get pegged back!
 
5.15 GRAND ANNUAL CHASE

The final race of the festival and I'm hoping to go out with a bang. ULCK DU LIN (treble) (PU)has the right profile for this and is a progressive horse. This one has more to offer and ran well beating NOZIC last time in bad conditions, and depending on the weather it may be a slog in this.
 
So those are my selections, I am equally as confident about COTTON MILL as I was with HOLYWELL, but please don't think that what I say is gospel and as I had a 25-1 winner I know it all, I don't! If you are having a flutter, do so at a level you can afford and good luck!
 
Here are my selections in short :
 
1.30 FAR WEST (2nd 4-1) SWYNMOR (ew) (unplaced)

2.05 COTTON MILL (nap) (FELL) HISABAAT (ew) (unplaced)

2.40 AT FISHER'S CROSS (WON 11-8)

3.20 BOBS WORTH (nb) (WON 11-4) CAPE TRIBULATION (ew) (unplaced)

4.00 TRICKY TRICKSTER (PU)

4.40 MA FILLEULE (unplaced) DOUBLE ROSS (ew) (3rd – 14-1)

5.15 ULCK DU LIN (treble) (PU)
 

Saturday at Kempton

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With a couple of weeks to the Festival stables will be putting the final touches to their hopes. I’m not into ante-post betting so will just wait until the day before finally selecting my horses for each day. It’s a shame Newcastle was off today due to more inclement bloody weather. I can’t remember such a period of cold and wet weather before. I hope we have a few dry weeks up to the festival and get good racing ground. Remember though if that happens that the form book can go as most big races this year have been contested on soft or heavy ground. The ground is good at Kempton today which will help good old NACARAT in what may be his final appearance. I can’t back him today though on recent form.

Here are my selections for today :

OPENING BATSMEN 1550 KEMPTON (nap)(WON 12-1) ran well in defeat behind ROLLING ACES last time at Wincanton. He has taken well to his fences and is on the upgrade. He will prefer the better ground and is in receipt of an extra 6lbs today from ROLLING ACES, with that concession and better ground he has a great chance in my opinion. That said there are still some other potential winners in this race other than these two.

IRISH SAINT 1405 KEMPTON (nb)(WON 5-4) won well here on his British debut and then just seemed to get outpaced by ROLLING STAR last time out. Another who I think will benefit from the better ground and he should have too much for the others today.

GRANDIOSO 1440 KEMPTON (treble) – (WON 9-4) has been a bit of a revelation this year and has been progressing well. His run away success at Ludlow was impressive last time and he has every right to have a stab at this level. Paul Nicholls has a cracking record in the race too with six out of the kast seven winners including NATAL and HERECOMESTHETRUTH.

LAC FONTANA 1515 KEMPTON(3rd – 9-4) got run out of it abit over the final couple of hurdles last week at Newbury. Not saying he would have won bumthe never got the chance, possibly why he is back this week. Another one on better ground should run better, I think he will win easily.

FILBERT 1330 KEMPTON(4th – 13-2) had a successful introduction to fences at Ludlow and whilst off top weight he is probably least exposed of all these and open to further improvement.

HAND ON BACH 1625 KEMPTON (unplaced) has been running in some hot maiden and novice hurdles against the likes of PUFFIN BILLY and last week against LAC FONTANA and CHATTERBOX. He is pitched in here for his handicap debut and he could prove to be a good each way snip. The stable won this last year too.

HENRYVILLE 1700 KEMPTON(unplaced) finished third behind PUFFIN BILLY on his debut and then lost in a jumpers bumper. Hoping the form of the bumper behind Puffin Billy will hold up against these.

PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE 1435 FAIRYHOUSE(2nd – 8-11) this boy is a monsterof a horse and one I’ve always followed since Graham Wylie acquired him. He won this last year before injuring himself and being ruled out of the National. He should be too good for these and this will put him in good order for the big on in April.

There we are then, these are who my well earned shillings are on today. Lets hope there is a winner or two here. If you are having a flutter do so within your means and good luck!