Betfair Chase

After a crackingweek at Cheltenham last week the National Hunt bandwagon rolls on with the showpiece chase of the day : The Betfair Chase. I always remember how awesome Kauto Star was in this when he won it for the final time, he murdered them in a performance that will always stay with me, he was magnificent that day! Only one winner for the blog last week in COPPER KAY, but she looks like one to follow this year. A few nice handicaps today to watch aswell as the big event. Good luck if you're having a flutter!
 
MIJHAAR 1425 HAYDOCK (nap)

I've kept saying that this fella has a race like this in him. He's still on a very attractive mark for me and ran ok last time at Cheltenham. He travels really well but they seem to just get away from him. I think this softer ground and the track will suit him and stop that happening. These fixed brush hurdles will test their jumping but my guy is due to go chasing soon and should be able to cope. He is a huge price but is a smart horse and I think today is the day. I also like the chances of DEFINITLY RED, who has decent track form and looked a smart type last year, he made need the run.
 
ROCK ON RUBY 1440 ASCOT (nb)

Didnt do bad in his reappearance and this drop back down in trip won't cause any issues. He has to give 8lbs to Brother Tedd but he is used to doing this and the stiff turn for home will suit my guy better. It's a shame the ground is soft for the returning to form COURT MINSTREL, but I don't think he will go in ground this tacky.
 
HOLYWELL 1500 HAYDOCK (treble)

This is my heart speaking over my head, however he needed the run big time in the Charlie Hall and he is too big a price for me to ignore. He was second in this race the other year and we all know how much he stays in at times in these marathon trips. He doesnt like it too soft but his heart and battling qualities will give him a sniff over the final couple of fences. If his jumping is fluid he will be there at the end.
 
FAGO 1515 ASCOT

This horse looked decent as a novice a few years agobut his jumping let him down. He has got better with that and I'm interested to see how he runs dropped back in trip on this stiffer track. He will appreciate the ground and could do this very easily, or balls it up and fall.
 
My Dad's selections are :
 
BEAU LAKE 1210 HAYDOCK
GUNNER FIFTEEN 1315 HAYDOCK
TEA FOR TWO 1425 HAYDOCK
ROYAL PALLADIUM 1535 HAYDOCK
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 1-1 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £9.39
Son -£4.07
 
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Charlie Hall Chase and Ascot

Today really sees the National Hunt season kick off in earnest with the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby plus a decent supporting card at Ascot. Most trainers will be happy with the rain that arrived over the past few days although I'm not sure it will have done my old favourite Holywell any favours in the big race. Lots of old favourites are running today and as always at this time of the season most of them need a run in them.
As before I'll have a head to head battle with my dad over the NH season, him being a jumping fan like me.
 
Sit back and enjoy the action today.
 
SAM WINNER 1505 WETHERBY (nap)
This horse goes really well fresh and will love the ground. He ran some cracking races last year; winning the Murphy Chase at Cheltenham carrying 11st 10lbs on soft ground. He then beat MEDERMIT and MA FILLEULE at Aintree off a mark of OR156. He proved (to me at least!) that he was a top class staying chaser in the Lexus when he just didnt quite get the trip that day. I'm hoping Sean Bowen will bounce him out from the front here at Wetherby, he may need a sterner test than this three miles. Eight year olds have a decent record in this and I'm hoping of a big run. HOLYWELL knows it's the Autumn and would prefer better ground, I think DYNASTE is the danger.
 
SIGN OF VICTORY 1450 ASCOT (nb)
Will love this ground and won this easily last year. He is carrying a stone more in weight but he's a high class hurdler in this ground. I'm expecting another dominant run and 5-1 is huge for me!
 
BABY MIX 1415 ASCOT (treble)
This guy has been knocking recently and again the ground is key. My only doubt is the trip but he did start his novice chasing career over this distance and won a few. He ran well last time and I thought the jockey should have gotten him nearer but saying that he probably needed the run. Today is his day.
 
ROCK ON RUBY 1400 WETHERBY
The old favourite returns! The question mark against him today is his stamina. I don't think this will be an issue; he has been caught for pace recently in the hot races he used to win and non of these plodders will have that change of gear. Class is class and I think he'll stay and win this well. Staying hurdles will be his arena this year if he does.
 
My Dad's selections
 
AQALIM 1400 WETHERBY
NABUCCO 1450 ASCOT
WHAT A WARRIOR 1525 ASCOT
GM HOPKINS 1545 NEWMARKET

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!!
 

Cheltenham Happy New Year

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Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’re ready for the celebrations this evening, I thought I would do the blog on New Year’e Eve as tomorrow morning we all may have a slight headache! Whatever you are doing tonight, enjoy yourselves and immerse yourself with the people you care about. I wish you all a prosperous and healthy 2015, with many a success from our old foe the bookmaker.

Well I hope everyone has had a wonderful festive period with their loved ones. I know it bloody knackered me as always. I thought I would start the new year with a look back at 2014 and my racing highlights. The number one best thing for the Bandit this year was to finally own a very small share in a racehorse. I can only but thank @ianmallard for this and his efforts with #teamchoochoo. It’s a great venture to be part of and to see a horse you have bit in not only run, but win was a great feeling. I know we have got even bigger plans for the future, bring it on! Make sure you give Ian a follow, top fella and knows his racing!

My second highlight has to be HOLYWELL winning again at Cheltenham. The horse has always been close to my heart especially after I napped him to win at Cheltenham the other year on this blog. Here was the write up – Holywell – I hope he has the credentials to compete in the Gold Cup this year but I think his jumping needs to shape up a bit first!

My final thought for the year was that my old mate and favourite horse of all time TIDAL BAY got a happy retirement! What an enigmatic horse he was, I just wish Paul Nicholls would have had him from the start, I’m convinced he would have won a Gold Cup if he had. He won an Arkle, a Maghull Novices Chase, a Cleeve Hurdle, the Bet365 Gold Cup, the West Yorkshire Hurdle twice and not forgetting that awesome late burst in the Lexus Chase two years ago. He will always be a star for me, happy retirement old fella!

As I write the blog we are already looking on the horizon for the Cheltenham Festival, I think it is something like 10 weeks away, can’t bloody wait. One thing is for sure we will have some more racing treats before then.

I’m hoping the change in a year will change my fortune on here, I’ve been shockingly bad recently and can only apologise to my dedicated followers, my old man is currently whooping my arse in our little competition, tipping up EMPERORS CHOICE more recently too. So here’s to a change in fortunes!

The twitter gamble guys have opted for :

@TonytheTyke Arctic Court 1520 Catterick

@Fernando_RFC2 Zeroshadesofgrey 1210 Cheltenham

@LiamKenniford Ptit Zig 1320 Cheltenham

@DazGilbert1 Diocles 1355 Cheltenham

Here are my selections for New Year’s Day :

MON PARRAIN 1245 CHELTENHAM (NAP) (WON 25-1 = £78.12)

This guy ran a creditable race when I tipped him up in the Becher Chase last time. He jumped very well and Ryan Mahon looked after him once the race was over for him. That can be a stepping stone to success for me in this race. He has been dropped another 2 lbs to a mark of OR142. He drops down a grade and off top weight has every chance with the very talented Sean Bowen taking 5lbs off his back. Top weights normally do well in races like this and I think he will run a big race and jump soundly on ground that will be up his street. The one that really worries me is CADEAU GEORGE, he has been raised 12lbs for his defeat of KNOCKANRAWLEY last time. That horse has franked the form too winning at Newbury the other day, he could be a real improver!

PTIT ZIG 1320 CHELTENHAM (NB) (WON Evs = £4.06)

Won so impressively last time, gaining his third chase success in a row! His jumping was quick and immaculate and he put the well touted JOSSES HILL to the sword. His rival today is CHAMPAGNE WEST who conversely didn’t look that great last time and was made to work a bit for his success. My selection is rated 5lbs better off on the ratings with a mark of OR157 yet they meet here on level weights too. Another solid round of jumping should boost his ankle credentials even further!

CAID DU BERLAIS 1355 CHELTENHAM (TREBLE) (3rd – 5-1 = £3.12)

Was running well in behind when he slipped on landing and was pulled up in the Fish Egg Gold Cup. I really fancied him that day as I was so taken aback by how he won the Paddy Power Gold Cup previously. I really think this horse is one to follow and will produce even better displays. Therefore I have to go with him again. I’m interested too in how SPLASH OF GINGE runs, he was just building a challenge in said Fish Egg Gold Cup when falling. ROLLING ACES is one of my horses I always follow and he ran very well when in behind WISHFUL THINKING earlier in the season, a reproduction of that will give him a sniff, but to be honest I think he is handicapped to his best at the moment.

ROCK ON RUBY 1505 CHELTENHAM (WON 5-2 = £7.81)

Now this is a race! Barring HINT OF MINT a case can be made for all of them. BEAT THAT has potentially the best recent form in the locker with his defeat of DON POLI at Punchestown in April. That one has since won two chases inclusion a Grade One at Leopardstown the other day. BEAT THAT must run well. Both SILSOL and VANITEUX are young pretenders to the throne, with the latter never really impressing me as yet. SILSOL however has impressed me with his ability and attitude and like my selection, he likes a fight! However, class is class and what can you not say about my horse, he is rated superior to most of these and showed now that this trip is more up his street as age catches up to him. He still has his smooth hurdling style and his big heart and over a favourite course he could be hard to peg back. All aboard!!!

My Dad’s selections I will add tomorrow before I re-post the blog.

Current standings

Father 5-3 Son

Profit

Father -£2.16

Son £74.50

Cheltenham and Donny (just!)

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We I must say I’m a tad disappointed by the racing on offer today. There are some class horses on show but the number of entries really is poor. Other than the big chase at Cheltenham there is not much handicapping which The Bandit loves to try and solve. However, beggars cannot be choosers and we still have the likes of Rock on Ruby, The New One and Caid Du Berlais on offer. One more week of work left to go before the big Xmas break, I’ve managed to get most of the old shopping done so can sit back and relax and enjoy the festivities.

The boys return for a twitter gamble this week, only one winner Lightening Rod me out of last week’s bet, but we remain ever hopeful!

The boys have opted for :

@LiamKenniford ROCK ON RUBY 1545 CHELTENHAM

@Fernando_RFC2 SEWN UP 1845 WOLVERHAMPTON

@DazGilbert1 CYFLYMDER 1425 SOUTHWELL

@TonytheTyke IKORODU ROAD 1340 DONCASTER

Here are my selections for today :

IKORODU ROAD 1340 DONCASTER (NAP) – (3rd – 7-1 = £4.37) has a decent record here and won in 2012 here beating JUNIOR off a mark of 131. Today he runs off 134, this being a previous winning mark and only a pound higher than his last success in October 2013. Hr has also had a couple of near misses here and while he can go better over further I think the ground will be really tacky today and play to his strengths. GRANDDADS HORSE did me a real favour last time at Ascot and gave me a tidy profit but he prefers better ground and I think he will struggle today giving my horse 5lbs.

ROCK ON RUBY 1545 CHELTENHAM (NB) – (WON – 5-4 = £3.90) what an old favourite this guy is. Ran in snatches last time over a trip a bit too sharp for him but he was still there trying to give more at the end. This is his race for the taking today, especially getting 5lbs from LAC FONTANA and he doesn’t have a penalty to carry for the first time in eons!!! Game on!!

SOLAR IMPULSE 1325 CHELTENHAM (TREBLE) – (PU = -£5.00) I have been really impressed with this horse this year, and he’s still only a baby yet! Ran well at Wetherby on good ground beating TURN OVER SIVOLA and then just found MONETAIRE too good last time on ground a little soft. Today he has slightly better ground and despite a 5lb rise I still think he has more to offer.

CAID DU BERLAIS 1400 CHELTENHAM – (PU = -£5.00) I honestly didn’t think he would have enough to win the Paddy Power but the more I look at that performance the more I like it. To beat JOHN’S SPIRIT in that manner and he is a damn good yard stick at Cheltenham was nothing but impressive and I think they have turned him out quickly again because they think they have a smart horse here. I tend to agree, this is very competitive too but he looks like he has more to offer and a 5lb rise may not stop him.

My Dad’s selections are :

NO BUTS 1400 CHELTENHAM (unplaced = -£5.00)

BLAKLION 1435 CHELTENHAM (WON 9-4 = £7.03)

LAC FONTANA 1545 CHELTENHAM (unplaced = -£5.00)

L’AIGLE ROYAL 1415 DONCASTER (3rd – 7-1 = £4.37)

Results

Father 3 – 2 Son

Profit

Father -£21.36

Son £8.90

Aintree Day One

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Aintree has come around again faster than you can say AHYAKNOWYERSELF. It should be a cracking few days and I’m even more happy as there has been and should be rain for old Tidal Bay. My each way ante post bet of 25-1 is tucked away ready! I also like the other Wylie horse PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE who has been a favourite for the race the past few years and has snuck in quietly this year under the radar! I backed him when Ruby Walsh hardly moved a muscle on him in his last race at Thurles and he’s worth a saver too. Anyway on to tomorrow!

JUVENILE HURDLE 1400

ACTIVIAL (NB) (unplaced) is my selection, he was put in his place by CALIPTO earlier in the year but was very good last time beating COMMISSIONED and the biggest plus for him is he is fresh! Cheltenham takes a lot out of horses and with him being laid out for this it may just help. I’m not sure CALIPTO would have won even without his irons slipping but its going to be a cracking race whatever.

BETFRED BOWL 1430

SILVINIACO CONTI (NAP) (WON 9-4) has the class in the race and I’m sure if he would have been taken left with the others in the Gold Cup he may have prevailed. Whilst DYNASTE was impressive at the festival I think my selection will have too much and I still think he stays this trip. Lump on!

DOOM BAR AINTREE HURDLE 1505

ROCK ON RUBY (2nd – 10-1) is the horse who will take this returned to hurdles. Doom Bar is one of my favourite ales, and ROCK ON RUBY is one of my favourite horses too. A good match, I’m not worried about his return to hurdles as he has always been class in that sphere and despite his huge blunder at Cheltenham he was looked after once that had happened and he may take this.

FOX HUNTER CHASE

PENTIFFIC (unplaced) is my selection in a race I know not a lot about.

RED RUM HANDICAP

KINGS GREY (unplaced) takes my eye here, her has ran well here in the past and has dropped to his last winning mark. Must run well.

MANIFESTO NOVICES CHASE

OSCAR WHISKY (2nd – 7-4) is the one for me here in what looks like a cracking renewal and early faller last time but he has solid form before that.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HURDLE

UNCLE JIMMY (TREBLE) (unplaced) was one of my best bets at the festival and he was getting into the race before making a huge blunder two out. He may not have got anywhere near as he was too far off the pace earlier in the race. He’s still on what I think is a reasonable mark of 140 and he should run another good race.