Monday, 30 March 2015

Weekend Review -30th March

Well it was a great start to the flat season, we didn't manage to get Dinkum Diamond into a place but on the comments below my Saturday post my brother alias "Wayward Lad" picked the winner in Naadirr.
Naadirr also features along with Tatlisu on my sprinters to follow page(see link above) and he also won at 8/1 on Sunday which was great as I have an interest in him through Middleham Park Racing.
The results on Saturday at Doncaster were certainly influenced by the weather in one way or another. The headwind was very strong and those attempting to lead struggled to last out the distance with those taking cover reserving energy and powering through at the end.
Having been to Doncaster when it's windy I know how hard the wind blows across the track and it would have been a real test for the 2yo's in the Brocklesby but Mark Johnstons Ravenhoe knew his job and started a great 2yo treble for the stable on the day with Rah Rah winning at Kempton and Buratino at Chelmsford. All three won well and it bodes well for the stable over the coming weeks as they have 127 other 2yo's in the yard. 
Johnstons treble must also have been a surprise for team Hannon losing out at Kempton and Chelmsford with their two 2yo's as you would have thought they too would have wanted to get off to a flying start with at least one winner.
Marco Botti's Moohaarib and David O'Meara's Mondialiste, who both ran well in the Lincoln, look worth following. Certainly Moohaarib would have finished a lot closer but for his wayward passage-maybe caused by the head on wind.
There were quite a few hard luck stories over the two days which I've made a note of.

Winners and Losers
This weeks winners and losers accolades go to Charles Hills and Alan King both Weekender columnists.
The "Loser" award goes to Charles Hills for not mentioning his unraced 25/1 3yo maiden winner Pandora in his stable tour and the "Winner" award goes to Alan King who was more up front with the Weekender readers and headlined 14/1 winner Chatez telling us that he had a wind operation, was progressive, should run well and that his official rating of 96 was a fair mark. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Cammidge Trophy

The flat season starts tomorrow and the Cammidge Trophy is the first sprint to get our teeth into.

All the runners are coming back from a break so they are evenly matched on that score.

Last season the race was won by Henry Candy with Dinkum Diamond and his post 2014 race comments were as follows  "He ran some good races last year without winning. Sprinters are extraordinary and I´ve always been full of hope that he would come back to winning form. He´s only tiny, but he´s got a huge heart. I see no reason why he won´t stick around Group 3 races this season(2014). As he´s got older, he seems to cope with most types of ground".
He won this first time out last season on soft and the chances are he will have been prepared with this race in mind this time around so he could run above his 10/1 odds on this slightly better going and with the strong Graham Lee booked - he has a definite ew chance.

Jack Dexter won this in 2013 and was third last season. He doesn't have a 5lb penalty this year so has potential to turn the form around with Dinkum Diamond.

It remains to be seen whether Astaire will be better suited by this less competitive field or not. He was campaigned in Group 1 company last season but as we all know there isn't much between these sprinters and I would like to see him get a win on the board first.

Richard Fahey Heaven's Guest finished 6th of 9 last season and he has had this to say recently about his chances this year. "He has a pound or two to find with a couple of these but has come to hand quickly this year, albeit he’s still a little backward in his coat. He’s fit and ready to go".

Marco Botti - Naadirr - "He's in good form and he's working well, I would be a little concerned if the ground turned soft. We have to check the ground to make sure. He wouldn't want it any worse than it is at the moment. He's a fast-ground horse, but he's ready to run and six furlongs is his trip."

Mick Easterby - Aetna - "If it doesn't rain again, she won't run. We'll have a look in the morning. She's working very well and she loves heavy ground."

Jim Goldie - Jack Dexter - "I'm very pleased with him. Things have gone really well this spring. He's obviously not 100 per cent, but he'll be as well as he was when he won it two years ago, so I'm looking forward to it. It looks a very good race this year. There's the Middle Park winner (Astaire), the filly who won the Wentworth (Aetna) and last year's winner (Dinkum Diamond). He's a contender, as they say."

I would imagine Justice Day will lead the field along together with Dinkum Diamond and hopefully Graham Lee can keep him going to the end.

The last 10 years winners are below :

2014 Dinkum Diamond69-512/1Henry CandyOisin Murphy110
2013 Jack Dexter49-515/8FJim GoldieGraham Lee110
2012 The Cheka69-212/1Eve Johnson HoughtonNeil Callan113
2011 Jimmy Styles79-222/1Clive CoxAdam Kirby111
2010 Inxile59-517/2David NichollsPaul Hanagan111
2009 Prime Defender59-23/1FB W HillsMichael Hills112
2008 Aahayson49-214/1K R BurkeFergus Sweeney110
2007 Rising Shadow69-513/2David BarronJimmy Quinn113
2006 Les Arcs69-215/2Tim PittNeil Callan116
2005 La Cucaracha48-1116/1B W HillsMichael Hills103

Given the success of the Cheltenham blog posts I will also be delving into some other big races over varying distances as we progress through the flat season in order to try and build up a bank and of course there is the "Grand National" meeting coming up shortly.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sprinters to Follow

The sprinters to follow page is beginning to take shape and I will be adding to it over the next few weeks and updating trainer comments on a daily basis so please revisit to keep on top of things.


It's the first week of the flat and I've just been round to my local newsagent and purchased the  Racing Post Weekender which cost me £3.00.
Although the price is up they still haven't put back in the paper "Weightwatcher" which is a useful tool when looking through and evaluating the form. What you have to do to get that element now is purchase Thursdays edition of the Racing Post which would appear to be some sort of marketing ploy to rake in more money from loyal readers.
On looking through the "Weekender" it's become like an old flat handicapper - the odd glimmer of hope but mostly nowhere !
Lets hope we get an injection of more than just ink soon !

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Festival - Day 4

This week is proving to be a very successful venture.

A comment we've heard a lot of this week from winning connections is "He's had a wind operation and all we wanted was good ground"

Onto to Day 4 the final day.

1.30 Triumph Hurdle
This race used to catch my imagination but it's not going to be this year and maybe I will give it a good go next.

2.05 Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle
I selected Rich Coast at the beginning of the week and I've been sitting and waiting for any comment from the trainer as to whether this horse would run or not, but there was confirmation this am when he was declared for the race.
Noel Meade is an excellent trainer and Rich Coast is an improving horse who has the flat speed required. He will be at home on the better going, provided it doesn't rain too much and the 20/1 available is a fair price, although at the time of writing we are yet to know who will be riding.
The dogs have been barking for The Game Changer all week so he may well attract some support.

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Don't really have a view on this race and will sit it out.

3.20 The Gold Cup
After Coneygree's win at Newbury I wanted connections to run him in the Gold Cup and thankfully they have as I think he has a massive chance and hopefully they will just let him run his race.
Obviously he is not the only horse in the race with form and its very competitive and should have us all glued to whatever we can get our eyes on. I certainly wouldn't put anyone off sticking with their own thoughts but I am happy with Coneygree carrying my money.

4.00 St James Place Foxhunter Chase
I put in good words for Carsonstown Boy and Two Rockers in February and at the time the former was 33/1 and he is now a best priced 20/1 with Coral. Two Rockers on the other hand doesn't run and Adrian Maguire is represented by Seventh Sign who fits a few trends for the race and this ex Alan King horse has a decent chance for the Irish and he too is 20/1 with a number of bookmakers.
J J Codd is having an excellent week in the amateur events and goes for the treble having won on Cause of Causes and The Package by riding Vital Plot who is a massive 25/1 - definitely worth an ew wager.

4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys
I have had David Pipe's Vieux Lion Rouge in mind for this race all week and although he has the burden of 11-6 he has the assistance of Keiron Edgar who has been in fine form of late. Kieron missed the Cheltenham festival last year through injury and I'm sure he will be trying his heart out to win this as he was gutted last year. The stable are in top form and have been unlucky not to have had at least one more winner this week.
It will be interesting to see who rides what for the Mullins stable as McKinley is well handicapped for a Grade 1 winner.

5.15 A P McCoy Grand Annual Chase
The final race of the week and it would be great for the maestro himself to win on Ned Buntline and I don't really wish to oppose him for that reason - but irony often plays its part on these occasions and Jonjo O'Neill has booked Paul Carberry to ride Eastlake who has gone well here in the past and 14/1 is a fair price.

Have a great day and Good Luck to all !

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Festival - Day 3

Half way through the week and things are going quite well with another winner today - on the 17th February 2015 in my blog post I wrote the following :

Moon Racer, who was purchased by his connections for 225,000.00 after winning a bumper at Fairyhouse back in 2014 was the impressive12L winner of a bumper at Cheltenham in October. It was a race which contained a number of previous winners and his connections, despite temptations to run in other races at the festival, have stated that this race will be his target. You couldn't fail to be impressed by the manner of his win at Cheltenham, leading for all but the first furlong at a good tempo before powering away to win easily and at 12/1 with most bookmakers he is a fair price for this as I cant see him being out of the first 3.

I'm hoping that it's going to be another good day for the David Pipe stable as I've gone with a few of theirs on Thursday.

1.30 JLT Novices Chase
This is probably another for the Mullins/Walsh bandwagon

2.05 Pertemps Network Final
The top 24 in the Handicap remained in the race at the overnight stage and I have already backed David Pipe's Unique De Cotte who gets in on 10-9. He seems to have been prepared with a Cheltenham handicap in mind. He won here earlier in the season and he also won well at Ascot recently.

2.40 Ryanair Chase
Some would say Hidden Cyclone is too old at 10 to win this but he ran well here last year and I'm hoping that he will do so again.

3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle
I think this is pretty wide open - there is nothing in the field that shouts out "Back Me" and for that reason there are 17 runners and I will be watching from the settee.

4.00 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate
This is another race where I took advantage of "Non Runner No Bet" leading up to the festival and I backed Monetaire in all engagements. He looks to have been put away for this after his win at Newbury in November and he gets in here at the bottom of the handicap and hopefully Tom Scudamore can guide him home.

4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup
The Package although 12 ran a good race last year to finish 8 3/4 length third to Holywell and Ma Filleule and he's dropped 4lb in the handicap since then. He seems to have been campaigned with Cheltenham in mind and the slightly extra distance and the booking of leading amateur J J Codd make the 16/1 on offer with several bookmakers tempting.

Good Luck !

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Festival - Day 2

Well we had a winner yesterday in Cause Of Causes and hopefully that is the first of a few over the rest of the week.

The big Mullins/Walsh accumulator nearly came off with Annie Power, the fourth leg, seemingly with the race at her mercy crumpled at the last to the relief of many a bookmaker. It was a great achievement nonetheless and the stable won that race in any event with the second string.

Wednesday looks to kick off with more of the same and I am not going to bet against Nichols Canyon in the Neptune at 1.30.

2.05 RSA Chase
Willie Mullins wanted to run Don Poli in the 4m National Hunt Chase but after Cause Of Causes demolition of the field I expect he is relieved that Gigginstown House stud had the final say on Don Poli's engagement.
He looks  a serious horse but David Pipe has been banging the drum for a while that Kings Palace is his one of his best chances of the week and you cant ignore that and the 4/1 on offer across the board looks worth having.
The Young Master and Southfield Theatre make this no walk in the park for either of the above.

3.40 Coral Cup
Aux Ptits Soins has his first run for Paul Nicholls having sneaked into the race - it didn't look like it was possible earlier in the week. He looks to be short on experience having only had 3 runs in total and that may not be enough for the hurly burly of this race against seasoned handicappers.
I took a view earlier in the week about placement of some of the horses in this and as a result I backed Activial at 12/1 and Goodwood Mirage at 20/1.
J P McManus has two runners in the race and it is significant that A P McCoy rides Goodwood Mirage instead passing over the O'Brien trained Plinth. Jonjo O'Neill has stated that he thinks Goodwood Mirage is well handicapped on what he has achieved so far and come 3.50 we will know if he was right.
Activial has had 6 races but has shown some useful form over 2 miles in finishing third in both the Ladbroke and Betfair Hurdles and his trainer thinks that he will improve for this step up in distance.
Blackmail, Lac Fontana, Baradari and Daneking are others to consider because of Tony Martin's plots, Nicholls recapturing Lac Fontana's County Hurdle winning form, Venetia Williams habit of pulling one out of the hat and Mullins and Walsh's sheer brilliance.

3.20 Queen Mother Champion Chase
I don't really have a view on this and personally I would like to see Sprinter Sacre win.

4.00 Cross Country Chase
Normally I would avoid this race but having watched Toutancarmont's French form on You Tube I am convinced that he will run well and go close - see previous blog post.

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle
I tried to find a selection in this race earlier in the week but my searching didn't throw anything up so it's another one to watch.

5.15 Champion Bumper
I have reviewed this race previously on the blog and put up a good word for Moon Racer and I've no need to change my view. He won well at the course LTO and if he runs up to that form he will be difficult to beat in my view.

Good Luck with your selections, keep a calm head and don't chase your losses - there's always another day.

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Festival - Day 1

The Cheltenham Festival is probably the most anticipated and talked about race meeting in the UK - we certainly don't get this much hype about Royal Ascot.

Day 1 sees the prospect of 4 horses from the Willie Mullins stable going off as favs(Douvan, Un De Sceaux, Faugheen and Annie Power) and no doubt that quartet will form an accumulator for many people both here in the UK and in Ireland. Can this feat be pulled off ?...well you have to remember this is racing at its most competitive and although possible the chances are at least one will fail and this could happen as early as the first race.

1.30 The Supreme Novices Hurdle
I have said previously that ideally I like to have witnessed a horse run in a race that resembles in some way what they will face at Cheltenham. Most races at the festival are run at a fast pace and that leads me to my selection Qewy who in being an ex flat horse for John Oxx has that aspect already on board. I thought he ran a good trial at Newbury last time out when he quickened from the field in impressive fashion to win going away. John Ferguson seems to have a good squad of runners at his disposal this week and I think this is his best season so far in terms of winners.
I'm not overly convinced by what L'Ami Serge has done on the racecourse and Douvan will probably get more problems from his own stablemates. Alvisio Ville is one that could outrun his odds - he was well backed for the festival after he won at Leopardstown over Christmas and on the back of that he went off the short priced fav in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle, at the same track but he could only finish a labouring third behind Nichols Canyon (runs tmw) and Mullins sheepishly put it down to lack of experience. David Casey takes the ride with McCoy not willing to give him a second chance switching to Harry Fry's Jollyallan.

2.05 Arkle Trophy
Un De Sceaux is at short odds to take this and I'm not going anywhere near those in a Novice Chase on what is a tricky track jumping wise. Paul Nicholls has had 2 winners of the race but not sure Vibrato Valtat's jockey is up to the job(he may prove me wrong) as he may try and keep tabs on the fav and if he does he will run himself out. If the fav were to fall or fail for some reason, which is not beyond the realms of possibility, it could leave the way open for something coming off the pace and David Pipe could get a bigger price winner of the race than he did last season with Sail By The Sea who is an unknown quantity, however it's not a race for me.

2.40 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase
I have already backed Pendra and Ned Stark for this at decent odds and hopefully one or the other can win. The sponsors of the race sponsor Alan Kings yard so it would be fitting if Ned Stark won and King has been talking him up for a while in his Weekender column. J P McManus seems to like winning this race and that was the main reason I went for Pendra who ran well at the festival last year which is always a bonus. He has also had a wind op since he last ran and he seems to have been put away for this race.

3.20 The Champion Hurdle
I haven't really got anything in mind for this so it's a race I will just watch with a cuppa ! and I will probably have another one for the Mares Hurdle at 4.00 as it's a race that doesn't inspire me.

4.40 National Hunt Chase
This is more like it a 4m Novice Amateur race ! - Having studied were McManus might run his horses it wasn't hard to work out Cause Of Causes would be running in this as it was the owners only declaration and therefore I took the early odds for him. He ran well at the festival last year which puts him in the picture and his trainer has been doing increasingly well here. Very Wood's inclusion in the field was a surprise but that's probably more down to the owners placement of there vast array of runners at the meeting. Alan King has a good record in this so Sego Success should be thereabouts at the finish as will Cogry who could well be a Grand National contender next season.

5.15 Novices Handicap Chase
This is another race where I am going for the McManus runner in Bold Henry. He won the Paddy Power going away here in November after having made errors early on and no doubt his trainer will have him spot on for this.

As usual a difficult days racing and if you get one winner you are doing well.

Good Luck !

All About Winning !

We are now 1 day away from the Cheltenham Festival and I guess that most of you will have placed all of your bets.
It's A P McCoys last festival and he says its not the taking part that counts but that its all about winning. That may be so for the connections of the horses but for the punter you can get some pretty tasty odds about the places and over the last week or so I've been putting together my own list of bets with this in mind.
Moon Racer, Two Rockers and Toutancarmont are three I've sided with so far and others worthy of a mention over the next few days are :
Qewy - Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle
Pendra and Ned Stark - Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase
Cause Of Causes - Toby Balding National Hunt Chase
Activial, Vieux Lion Rouge and Goodwood Mirage - Coral Cup
Unique De Cotte - Pertemps Network Final
Hidden Cyclone - Ryanair Chase
Camping Ground - Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate
Rich Coast and Goodwood Mirage - Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle
Coneygree - The Gold Cup
Vioux Lion Rouge, Dell Arca and Goodwood Mirage - Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hcap Hurdle
Monetaire - A P McCoy Grand Annual Chase

All of the above can be backed Non Runner No Bet so you will get your money back if they don't run. O'Neill's Goodwood Mirage and Pipe's Vieux Lion Rouge and Dell Arca are a few that are hard to work out as to what their chosen engagement may be.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Cross Country Glenfarclas Handicap Chase

This is another of those tricky races that most people who go to Cheltenham see as the time to visit the queue for the bar !
However all is not lost punters because this year the winner must surely be the french trained TOUTANCARMONT.
Trained by Madame Pacault this grey horse has shown exceptional form over the Cross Country fences in France and they look to be slightly more difficult than those at Cheltenham.
Toutancarmont dispatches double banks with ease and has a finishing turn of foot that should blow away any horses lying up with him as they turn into the straight.
Distance wise he can stay the longest race distances possible, as a 6yo he won the 4m 4 1/2 f Prix Anjou-Loire Challenge on Good to Soft in May 2013 and has won 10 cross country races in all at 3 different tracks so is adaptable course wise and when you watch him he is clever at his fences.
His jockey is Jonathan Plouganou and the only doubt to him running well is if his jockey doesn't study the course well enough and loses his bearings - other than that he will give you a great run for your money.

Selection - TOUTANCARMONT @ 8/1

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cheltenham Preview Night - Aintree

I attended the Cheltenham Preview night at Aintree last night and the usual pundits and trainers were in attendance namely Charlie Longsdon, Ben Pauling, John Parrott, Andy Holding and John Morris.

The whole event was filmed by William Hill and this will be on their website shortly to view/listen to ?

Essentially the panel were all over the Mullins horses throughout - Douvan, Un De Sceaux and Faugheen on Day 1 and put up alternatives such as L'Ami Surge, Qewy (ew) in Supreme - Kitten Rock in the Champion Hurdle etc.
On Day 2 the two I noted in the Neptune were Windsor Park and Beast of Burden - in the RSA I noted Southfield Theatre - in the Queen Mother Hidden Cyclone(may run Ryanair).
On Day 3 in the World Hurdle I noted Monksland and Jetson(ew) and Module in the Ryanair and Day 4 in the Gold Cup there were words for virtually every runner and those that got more than others were Coneygree, Holywell and Djakadam.
But these evenings tend to cloud your judgment rather than help it and although you get some information of some use a lot of it is what you already know and I generally go to see if anyone backs up my own view.
Anyway you can form your own opinions once you have listened to what William Hill put out on their website in the next few days.