Mark Ball Cheltenham Round Up Blog uploaded - Premier League Week 8 Darts, Ante-Post Focus & WGC Matchplay Golf uploaded - Alan Potts Blog uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Day 4 uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Day 3 uploaded
Welcome to Paul's blog which can be accessed by all users and which will be updated on average once a week.
Now that From Soba To Moldova has gone to print, I feel like the shackles have been let loose after an intensive four months of putting the book together in addition to writing all the usual website content at the same time. Now I remember why I gave up writing The Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide! I say ‘four months’ but it’s been a project in the planning for over 3½ years as I first started it whilst bored out of my brain sitting by a pool on summer holiday piecing the first strands together for potential inclusion.
All members should receive their complimentary copy by the early half of next week. Any non-members interested in purchasing a copy for £20 can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for details about how to obtain a copy.
There are 20 chapters in all on my punting theories and philosophies (as...
Apologies for the lack of blogs recently. It has been a case of all hands to the deck writing my new punting theories book, From Soba To Moldova, with any spare time dedicated to that project, which will be going to print in just over a couple of weeks and despatched to website members on February 27th. I’m pleased to say that I have finally found a front cover I am happy with of Soba and have the final three chapters of 20 to finalise before proofing and editing.
It has been a case of the quiet before the storm for the first weeks of January but the action is set to ratchet up a gear this weekend for Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham and a good supporting card at Doncaster before it moves up another couple of gears for the inaugural Dublin Festival the following weekend. I wish I could attend but I can’t give up two...
I can’t say that I am too disappointed that Christmas and New Year is over as it’s the busiest week or so of the year for writing copy for the website. Don’t get me wrong though, I love top class jumping, but there’s an awful lot to keep on top from December 3rd to January 1st.
In all I racked up over 30,000 words just on the horse racing alone, plus the football in addition to the cricket, nfl and darts covered by Paul, Andy and Mike and Mark Ball’s latest Variety Pack. Therefore I am now well and truly in need of my usual mid-season mini break and to rest those eyeballs. I am afraid that age has now caught up with me as for the first time I have been prescribed reading and screen work glasses!
As such I will heading off to Budapest from Monday to Thursday next week so I...
I woke up to a heavy blanket of snow this morning so thought it would be apt to give details of the Christmas schedule.
On the racing front, everything will continue as normal up until Thursday, December 21st, where I would normally be writing a preview of the Friday action from Ascot but I am away at an overnight Christmas function so that preview will be uploaded early on the morning of racing instead.
Between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, in the Race Previews I will be covering all four days from Leopardstown (Dec 26-29), the two-day Kempton Meeting (Dec 26-27), the Welsh Grand National Meeting from Chepstow (Dec 27), the Challow Hurdle Meeting from Newbury (Dec 30) and Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day Meeting (Jan 1) plus any other bits and bobs of interest on those days. Therefore the...
The jumps season is now fully into top gear since my blog a fortnight ago and I thought it was interesting how many winners at the Cheltenham November Meeting ran at their two-day meeting the previous month, which I have banked into my memory for next season.
As many as seven winners at Cheltenham last weekend ran at the October Meeting and, just for the record, the same number ran at the Festival the previous season. Whether that is because the November Meeting is not as strong a fixture as before (the big two races of the BetVictor Gold Cup and Greatwood Hurdle were well below par in my view) or whether the October Meeting is getting better, I’m not sure.
The novice races in particular proved to be lucrative contests for punters following October Meeting form with North Hill Harvey, Black Corton and Slate House following up their...
With an exhausting and highly enjoyable trip to The Breeders’ Cup (was more like equine bingo on that track) and Las Vegas now behind me, it’s jumps racing all the way up until the end of the Punchestown Festival.
A ‘save’ on Wuheida saved my Breeders’ Cup and I didn’t play on any of the tables (as ridiculous as it sounds I go to Vegas to take a break from gambling!), so the only thing I won was 5000 air miles for picking the lucky seat of 25E from Spirit Airlines on a short flight from San Diego! Unfortunately for me, however, the chances of me using an internal flight in America in the next 12 months are as likely as Del Mar hosting the Breeders’ Cup again anytime soon, so the chap sitting next to me got a nice little present. San Diego is a beautiful part of the world by the way being a big city with a small city feel.
After alerting members in last week’s Ante-Post Focus that I would give my selection for the Old Roan Chase in Sunday’s ‘Thought for the Day’ at the top of the home page as I needed more time to think about the race, I hope that you joined me in on taking the morning 16/1 about Smad Place.
He wanted it whereas Cloudy Dream, not for the first time, didn’t. Despite picking up a two-day ban I thought it was a smart piece of riding from Wayne Hutchinson to intimidate and lean in on his rival who was clearly going the better from the home turn to the final fence. So, a very nice start indeed to kick of the Jumps Season (proper) and the next Race Previews will be on Thursday, November 16th where I will be looking at Day 1 of the Cheltenham November Meeting and then every...
We still have the Racing Post Trophy and The Breeders’ Cup but that’s pretty much it as far as I am concerned for what I thought was just an okay flat season. Enable was the star, clearly, and the sprinting division was the best I can remember for many years, but I’d rather be in the Cracksman camp going forward of the Gosden pair if they ever meet.
I thought we had it with G M Hopkins at 20/1 in the finale on Champions Day until he was mugged close home by Lord Glitters. I think time will tell that he was beaten by a Group 2 horse or better in fairness. Still, we had our success on the day with Librisa Breeze who was also bolstering the profits for the Horses to Follow column with his 10/1 victory having been 16/1 before he was Pricewise'd. My ten to follow for the jumps season will be uploaded towards the back end of this week....
The jumps season is starting to simmer up nicely and it’s always exciting watching the better novice chase prospects make their jumping debut, of which there have already been a number to catch the imagination. All-Inclusive Service and Jumps Season (from last season) members should have received their renewal invite so please get in touch if this is not the case, as indeed should any prospective new members. The service officially restarts at Cheltenham in November but doubtless I’ll also cover the Charlie Hall Meeting before then too before I will be taking a week off to attend to The Breeders' Cup. The Sunday Supplement will have to wait this morning so I can catch up with the trials from America last night. Suedois won again I see.
I have been looking at the Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets and there is a 25/1 shot that stands out for me at...
I’ll be covering the Arc de Triomphe card in Race Previews on Saturday (it would be nice if our 16/1 ante-post position can follow up Found in the same column last year) and, after the Arc, it’s then just Future Champions Day at Newmarket and Champions Day at Ascot before I turn my attentions fully to the jumps.
As such, later this week I will be inviting all current All-Inclusive Service Members who signed up last autumn to re-subscribe outlining details for the next 12 months, which will include the World Cup, Ryder Cup and The Ashes in addition to everything else that is usually covered, so an even busier year ahead beckons. The following week I will be inviting all of last season’s Jumps Season Service Members to re-join following their break since the end of the Punchestown Festival, and then the...
A couple of well-backed winners but it wasn’t really my week at Doncaster. Hopefully Premier League Picks will make up for it as we’re 3-3 so far this weekend (3/1, 5/4 and Evens), including the preferences before the recommended bet, with my suggestions on this afternoon’s two big games still to come. PL Picks will return on Friday.
It was good for the wellbeing of the race moving forward to see the class acts come to the fore in the St Leger (14 of the last 26 favourites have now justified their market position), though unfortunately for me Crystal Ocean didn’t quite see it fully out and was outstayed by Capri who now looks Arc bound for Aidan O’Brien alongside last season’s second and third, Highland Reel and Order Of St George, the latter having been ruled out of the Melbourne Cup by his owner yesterday. Ulysses joins them at...
The four-day St Leger Meeting is the main focus this week and I’ll be previewing the last three days that are covered on ITV Racing.
Day 1 focusses on the Legends Race and the Scarbrough Stakes (Listed) which is not sufficient to include it as part of the 30 leading days on the Flat I am covering (not being shown on terrestrial television), though the Scarbrough is amongst the leading 12 races of the meeting included in the Big Race Trends section. Four of the last six Scarbrough winners went on to win a Nunthorpe, another was placed in a Nunthorpe, and last year’s winner, Priceless, went on to win the Temple Stakes so it would be nice to think that this year’s winner can go on to much better things.
Irish Champions Weekend didn’t really hit the spot with me as a spectacle this year. Perhaps it was due to a below...
It’s a busy week ahead culminating with Irish Champions Weekend from Leopardstown and The Curragh which I’ll be covering within Race Previews.
On the racing front before then I’ll be back for Ante-Post Focus on Wednesday and Horses to Follow on Thursday which is now 25 points up for the season to level stakes after a profitable York Ebor Festival for that column. I have also been preparing ahead of the St Leger Meeting (for which I’ll be covering the last three days) so later this week I will upload the leading dozen races for Doncaster in Big Race Trends.
You know that the Jumps Season isn’t too far away when we hit September and quotes from trainers’ open days begin to emerge and it’s even looking like we’ll see Coneygree in the Kerry National next week. I’d love to then see him...
It was a quiet week just passed but that’s all set to change with the York Ebor Festival beginning on Wednesday which I’ll be covering daily from Tuesday afternoon and we already have a couple of ante-positions in the Great Voltigeur and Ebor. Given that I have already covered Saturday’s big race, the Ebor, there will be no Ante-Post Focus this week. Horses to Follow returns on Thursday and Mustashry was a nice winner for us last week for that column.
It’s looking like being an above-average Juddmonte, Yorkshire Oaks and Nunthorpe so we can have no complaints at present at the quality of the three Group 1s and the two-year-old races are also shaping up nicely. As for the handicaps, I fared better in those at Glorious Goodwood than I expected finding a couple of nice-priced Mark Johnston-trained winners...
I’m looking forward to next week’s York Ebor Festival for which I’ll be covering all four days and will take a first look at the meeting on tomorrow’s Ante-Post Focus having already covered the Ebor itself last week.
I’m back after a weekend away at St Mellion down in Cornwall. That the first time I’ve ever played three rounds of golf in as many days and it was like a scene out of Dunkirk by the time I had finished my 54th hole. They used to hold the Benson & Hedges tournament there until the pros complained that it was too difficult so I reckon Justin Thomas and co had it easy in the USPGA at Quail Hollow!
Ciaran and I agree disagree over whether Hideki Matsuyama bottled it or not (I say he did) but it was still a profitable USPGA if you followed Ciaran’s pre-tournament...
That’s Glorious Goodwood done and dusted for another year and the next stop is the York Ebor Festival where I will be covering all four days. Between now and then it’s proper cracking-on time with the book.
Hopefully you kept the faith with Brando who won the Prix Maurice de Gheest (Group 1) this afternoon at a shade over 9/1. At those odds it was as if bookmakers were making us an offer we couldn’t refuse! That’s the last time I will use that line for Brando, I promise.
One of my Horses to Follow (that column returns on Thursday mainly with eye catchers from Goodwood), I made the point in today’s ‘Thought of the Day’ that Brando looked very much overpriced at nine times the price of Caravaggio having finished ahead of him in the July Cup despite being unfavoured by his track position at Newmarket when he...
A big well done to Ciaran Meagher who had a terrific Open Championship for us.
Not only did Ciaran recommend Jordan Spieth at 16/1 to win the title but also advised Matthew Southgate at a very tasty 45/1 to be the Top English player and Richie Ramsay at 4/1 (his biggest advised stake of the tournament) to be the Top Scottish player, who both won their respective categories. You can read his reasoning for those selections in the ‘View Example’ copy in the right-hand menu of the home page. In addition, his each-way plays on Marc Leishman at 50/1 in the outright market and Ernie Els in the Top South African at 18/1 returned dividends. Overall his recommendations returned 118.5 points from 25.8 points stakes, thus further increasing his profits on his advices for us in his first season writing for...
The main focus this week is The Open Championship and hopefully we can find the winner in consecutive years following Henrik Stenson’s 30/1 success 12 months ago.
I’ve managed to fix it that the family are on summer holiday for a week whilst I’m home alone for Open Championship week (funny, that) and have openly made no secret of the fact that I’m keenest on Sergio Garcia of the big names, so it’s now a case of finding a couple of back-up selections and best bets in other markets. My preview will be uploaded on Wednesday following Ciaran Meagher’s much more in-depth preview.
With The Open taking precedence and it being relatively quiet on the racing front now until the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (which is the next day I am covering in Race Previews), there will be no Ante-Post Focus...
A terrific finish to the Coral-Eclipse (that hyphen is the cleverest piece of punctuation from a race sponsor) and it was very pleasing to be on the right side of it with our Ante-Post Focus recommendation, Ulysses.
My first thought was that Ulysses didn’t like being in front for too long after travelling very strongly in behind horses and quickening up very smartly (just as he did when he won over C/D back in April) but, having watched the race a few times since, I've come to the conclusion that it was more of a case of Barney Roy finishing strongly. The point shouldn't be lost that the winner was giving as much as 10lb to the runner-up, but would the result have been different if 3yos were receiving 11lb, as was the case in the Eclipse up to this year?
Anyway, so much for the theory that I kept hearing before the race that Ulysses was...
I’ll be continuing with Ante-Post Focus on Wednesday trying to follow up Antiquarium’s 16/1 winning recommendation last year in the Northumberland Plate and also be taking an early look at the Irish Derby, and Horses to Follow where I will looking back at Royal Ascot on Thursday before the next meeting I cover which will be Newmarket July Festival between July 13-15. Then it will be King George Day on July 29th and virtually straight on to Glorious Goodwood.
Before then we’ve got the Tour de France starting on Saturday which I am previewing later this week and will feature in the General Sports section and, two days later, it’s the beginning of Wimbledon which Carl Redden will be covering for us with an outright preview and then round-...
There’s no other place to start really other than with Wings Of Eagles after winning the Derby having been my Ante-Post Focus recommendation. Another one for the office wall.
In fact, it proved to be one heck of a weekend with Real Madrid (recommended at 5/1 at the start of the knockout stage) winning the Champions League a few hours later meaning that we ended the football season showing a Level Stakes Profit of 31 points and then the following night, the cherry on the cake was Ciaran Meagher following up his 20/1 successful advice of Alex Noren the previous week with Jason Dufner winning The Memorial at 66/1. We’ve had worse weekends! Ciaran and I will both be covering the US Open which begins on Thursday on Tuesday.
Wings Of Eagles ended up at a bigger price on the day (40/1) once punters didn’t have a Scooby Doo who...
I’m not quite sure how but somehow I stumbled across predicting a 2-1 win for Arsenal in yesterday’s Thought for the Day to cap a very pleasing and profitable first season of having a crack at the weekly ins and outs of the domestic action and I’m also hoping that Real Madrid can give us a 5/1 return next Saturday in the Champions League Final that follows on from the end of the Derby Meeting in a big day of sport.
I read lots and lots of arguments for why one team should beat another from a tactical perspective and it all makes sense but, at the end of the day, I think the best way to bet on football is by pure gut instinct and if that means going against popular thinking, then all the better. It’s such a rare occasion when you hear an ex-professional footballer involved in broadcasting not tip up the favourite for any given...
Even though I find betting at York hard going, and particularly in the handicaps where southern form meets northern form for the first time properly during the season and there will be Yorkshire-trained plots about the turn The Form Book upside down, I’m looking forward to watching the next three days’ action.
From a punting perspective at this season’s Dante Meeting, things aren’t made any easier with the forecast rain plus the usual pace and draw puzzles on the straight course to get your head round, so I’ll be taking it easy for much of the next three days in terms of betting. I won’t be able resist a placepot though with such big fields in the handicaps and much mug money in the pot. I expect the bookies to be looking forward to the next three days too!
I’m not sure that the Musidora will turn out to be much of an Oaks Trial as the...
Plenty of interest over the next seven days as it’s Eurovision, Chester May Meeting, Champions League Semi Finals and Players’ Championship week.
I’ll be waiting to see both semi-finals before making any final decisions on the Eurovision Song Contest as the staging is important and then I will upload the preview on Friday evening. I see that the Portuguese entry that I nominated as the best song in this year’s extravaganza in the previous blog, and regardless what you think about the quality of the songs it is one hell of a television production, is now into as low as 6/1 second-favourites having been 16/1 last week.
That’s maybe not as big a gamble as the one landed by my 12/1 ante-post recommendation for the 1000 Guineas, Winter, who returned at 9/1 but was 33/1 a week earlier, but it might end...
And so ends another jumps season. After a quiet opening day and a half for us, it turned out to be an okay Punchestown Festival in the end with Sizing Granite at 14/1 being the highlight (the rationale is listed at the top of the ‘View Example Copy’ in the right-hand menu) and I know that some members also took an each-way chance on Wicklow Brave at a morning price of 18/1 on a good Day 4 for us, plus Saturday’s results were also positive in the main.
Something remarkable will have to happen to stop Ann & Alan Potts from winning the owner of the year awards come December after their silks were carried to victory on a staggering ten occasions between the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown Festivals. It’s not as if they have anywhere near the same number of horses as Gigginstown or J P McManus. I’m not sure that their Sizing John would be my horse of...
Before I look back at Aintree and look forward the upcoming sport in today's blog, just a quick note to say that it is my intention from today to include a very short 'Thought For The Day' at the top of the home page every morning.
No big-priced Grand National winner this season, though I was very hopeful with the way that things were going for the first 3m4f of the race with my on-the-day fancy Rogue Angel enjoying himself out in front and then my ante-post hope Blaklion taking over – far too soon as it turned out. So after a good Friday when Rather Be (available at 14/1) was the highlight, it was a slightly frustrating end to the meeting, highlighted by Politologue inexplicably stumbling two strides after flying the final fence, a big leap which looked to have secured him victory being a horse who stays 2m4f and was just starting to get on...
I returned from my five-day break last night and I must officially be the first person to ever catch a cold from the weather in Dubai!!!
It was a first trip to the Emirates for me so a real eye-opener (as was the taxi driving down Sheikh Zayed Road - a general free-for-all of six lanes to do what you like - all that was missing was Dastardly & Muttley, Penelope Pitstop and The Ant Hill Mob) which included the grandeur of Dubai World Cup night despite the rain and the gales, and what a privilege it was to see the magnificent Arrogate win in the flesh. The stride on that beast making his ground on the final bend.
However, the horse that caught my eye for the upcoming season in Europe was a favourite of mine from last year in Ribchester so don’t be surprised if he features in the six-weeks’ Royal Ascot Ante-Post articles that...
Come gather around people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing
The domination of the Irish was the main talking point from last week’s Cheltenham Festival where they won seven of the ten handicaps in addition to the small matter of 12 other races including four of the big five. So much for the suggested anti-Irish bias from the BHA Handicappers then.
What I found more important about the handicaps going forward however was just how well the higher-weighted horses performed last week and the top weight in particular. It looks like dead are the days of trying a win a Festival handicap the...
Not long now and I’ll be using the weekend to recover after an exhausting couple of weeks attending various preview evenings in Britain and Ireland. All good fun though and I have one more event at Cheltenham FC on Monday evening.
My many thanks to Alan Potts for stepping in to cover Ante-Post Focus for the last two Wednesdays and hopefully he convinced you back Definitly Red for the Grimthorpe Chase who he described as “a solid bet at 3/1 if declared to run.” Incidentally, his back up selection of Seldom Inn was sent to Kelso instead and won at 8/1. Good luck to his two double-figured contenders for the Imperial Cup tomorrow.
The timings for the next week or so are thus:
Friday 10th: Weekend Preview (approx. 4.00 p.m.) Cheltenham Ante-Post (7.00 p.m.)
Saturday 11th: Cheltenham...
A good day yesterday. Particularly at Ascot where I was keenest on Bigbadjohn (8/1), Air Horse One (7/1) and Tenor Nivernais (6/1) in their respective races.
The 30 lengths’ victory of Tenor Nivernais could mean that he ends up being officially ‘best in’ for the Randox Health Grand National so the top price of 50/1 can certainly be argued to being very much on the generous side for Venetia Williams’ charge. The stable has already pulled one rabbit out of the hat in the race with Mon Mome at 100/1. It’s hard to think that he won’t go up at least 10lb for that (probably a deal more) runaway success even if the race did fall apart, though that was down to the pressure he was applying from the front.
Three of the last ten Grand National winners were officially at least 5lb ‘well in’ having improved...
A busy morning having covered ten races for Sunday's action. It’s also SuperBowl night so All-Inclusive Service members are urged to check out Ross Miles’ preview and especially after nailing five winning recommendations out of six last year including the MVP at 22/1. I have all good intentions to stay up for the duration but usually crash out not long after the Half Time Show. Lady Gaga this year so it should be a spectacle at least no matter what you make of her dulcet tones. You can even bet on what song she opens up with! Come on Miles, no view on this? Sort it out lad.
Before then it's the final round of the Phoenix Open golf and three of Ciaran Meagher's four ante-post picks have chances in their respective markets so plenty of sport to keep us entertained today. ***His headline selection of Hideki Matsuyama won recommended at 11/1...
The Cheltenham Trials start in earnest on Saturday with a nine-card at Cheltenham alongside the Sky Bet Chase Meeting at Doncaster followed by Irish Champion Hurdle Day on Sunday.
In fact, the trials started properly earlier today when Shaneshill won the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle in gutsy fashion (this x3 Cheltenham Festival runner-up won’t be far away in the Stayers’ Hurdle) and the Gold Cup and Ryanair entry, Champagne West, made all off 154 to win the Thyestes with plenty to spare. There’s no question in my mind that they should chance their arm in the Gold Cup. On His Own and Djakadam were second in the Gold Cup after they won the Thyestes as was Hedgehunter, though his Gold Cup runner-up run was the following season. Arkle won both races in 1964.
In terms of Cheltenham Festival Preview Evenings, I will be on the panel in events held in...
I returned home from a short break to Prague for the first time late last night (it was interesting to experience air temperatures of -17 for one early morning stroll down to the Charles Bridge) so the batteries are now recharged for the big push towards Cheltenham. In a desperate attempt to try and find some common ground with the taxi driver on the way to the hotel I tried to engage in a conversation about the Velka Pardubicka, but he had absolutely no idea what I was going on about.
“The Velka what?”
“You know, the big horserace over lots of fences near Prague. The biggest fence is called The Taxis so you should have heard of it. Josef Vana wins it every year. Charlie Mann won it once. Red trousers.”
“Old guy, I think he’s won it eight times now.”
“Horses? In Prague? No.”
“Okay, can you recommend any...
You may have noticed that The Racing Post are running what is sure to be a popular January-long ‘Queens of the Turf’ series, highlighting the best fillies and mares to have given us so much pleasure over the years. A little further down this blog I have listed my top 50 fillies/mares.
Three or four years back I had the idea to write a book on such a subject featuring the top fillies and mares from the last 50 years but never got round to it despite preparing a lot of the groundwork. The idea was for an A-Z double spread of the Top 50 with a secondary listing of the next 50 fillies/mares that would be given one page each. Such a book might have seemed strange not to also recognise the all-time great fillies/mares from further back in time so would have included a third section to recognise those including Pretty Polly, Sceptre, Sun Chariot,...
This is the last blog before the holiday period so my very best wishes to you all for an enjoyable and hopefully profitable Christmas week.
The only day’s racing that I won’t be covering between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day is Friday 30th featuring only Newcastle and Taunton over jumps in Britain and Ireland. Otherwise it is action all the way which will commence with a Boxing Day preview on Christmas Day, including Ante-Post Focus next Wednesday as usual, but there will be no Cheltenham Festival round up on Boxing Day. January 2nd will be the next edition of that feature for reasons highlighted earlier. This week’s Ante-Post Focus was uploaded yesterday where I suggested a second recommendation for the Welsh Grand National and fancy a...
A little too much crossbar hitting at last weekend’s Cheltenham two-day meeting for my liking, particularly with Aso in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and Bally Longford looked home and hosed at a double-figure price in the staying handicap chase the previous day until faltering on the run-in. I’d be surprised if they don’t both pick up a nice prize this season. The frustration with Aso was that Frodon wouldn't have been in the line up in the first place if Exeter hadn't been abandoned eight days earlier for which he was declared to take on The New One.
Onto this weekend’s racing and I have already covered the Silver Cup and Long Walk Hurdle in Ante-Post Focus, the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle (formerly the Ladbroke) is featured within the Race Trends section and I’ll be covering the best of Friday’s racing later this afternoon and...
A good weekend on the sport front with a full house of five winning recommendations out of five between Premier League Picks (Sunderland at 12/5, Chelsea draw no bet at 6/4 and Middlesbrough at 4/5 equating to a treble of just over 14/1), and NFL Week 13 (10/11 and 5/6).
Ross will be back on Thursday with his Week 14 picks and I’ll return on Friday for the next preview of the weekend football alongside the weekend racing preview. Paul Smith will be previewing the Fourth Test between India-England on Wednesday morning and we are now just over a week away from the World Darts Championship where Mike Henderson has already been studying up after the first round draw was made. His preview will be uploaded next week.
Before then we have the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup...
Native River extended the continued success for the Ante-Post Focus column this year having been recommended five weeks earlier when 16/1 was available for the Hennessy. I will be looking at the Becher Chase in tomorrow’s copy and maybe also the Welsh Grand National (both races are covered in the Race Trends section) where I have an early fancy, though I’m not sure that his price will contract in the near future so I may hold off another week with him.
Most of us have a type of race in which we fare better than others and staying chases are comfortably where I have performed best down the years - Rule The World and Vicente being very good ante-post examples from last spring. My on-the-day 33/1 each-way recommendation of Carole’s Destrier underlined that view by making Native River pull out all the stops. I have digested the...
I am looking forward to the Hennessy on Saturday which I will be attending for the first time since Denman’s second victory in the race. I am often at Towcester on Hennessy Day but no more since they halved their racing programme for greyhounds last year and this was one of the days that went (moved to today actually). My Hennessy trends appear as the third race down in the Race Trends section.
We are in a nice position too with Native River recommended at 16/1 on October 12th in Ante-Post Focus so I felt happy in suggesting a second bet for the race in yesterday’s copy hoping to follow up Royal Regatta’s nice win for that column last week. I will be covering Day 1 of the two-day Newbury Meeting later today and hopefully we can have as good as Friday as last week. Andy Richmond's look back at...
I turn 47 today. I know, I know, I don’t look it. Phenomenal, isn’t it!?
I thought I’d google the main news story for the day I was born – apparently it was Richard Nixon being the first President to attend an NFL game when in office. Riveting stuff. More interesting is that I was born on Mackeson Gold Cup day which was won by the Ted Rimell-trained Jupiter Boy who beat the subsequent Grand National winner, Specify, into second. Google also tell me that the numbers of my birthday mean that I am on Life Path Number 7. Good to know. This represents analysis, awareness and understanding. I am also apparently the searcher and the seeker of the truth and 3485.6 billion M3 worth of water has flowed through the River Danube since I was born. Oh yes.
As for this season’s ‘Mackeson’, to say I am annoyed that I didn’t go with my initial thought of Taquin...
Greetings from Malta. I have my nose in front in the casino thanks to a third place in last night’s poker tournament and five lucky hands on the spin on the Ultimate Poker table and will be making sure that I keep it that way before I return on Tuesday in time to write Wednesday’s Ante-Post Focus on the BetVictor Gold Cup where we may well witness a four-year-old start favourite in Frodon. The next Race Previews will be uploaded on Thursday featuring the Friday card of the three-day Open Meeting at Cheltenham and the official start of my Jumps Season Service.
I’ve been watching the best of the racing whilst away and was obviously delighted that Valseur Lido kept my and Gigginstown’s good record going in the JNWine.com Champion Chase having trumped him up in last week’s Ante-Post Focus and it was a classy performance that has...
Firstly a very Happy 16th Birthday to my son and also a very Happy and Chilled Out 85th Birthday to my dad falling asleep watching the snooker. A busy and expensive day in the Jones household! Pizza and Manchester City v Barcelona it is later. 2-2.
The final newsletter before the eve of the Cheltenham Festival was sent out this morning so if it didn’t appear in your inbox then please check your spam filter. The Jumps Season Service officially restarts next week.
It’s Haldon Gold Cup Day. If Garde La Victoire can pick his feet up then he looks the right favourite in receipt of 12lb from Dodging Bullets who Paul Nicholls is expecting to have a better season now that he has had a clear run with him before stepping him up in trip and has even said that he’ll have a...
Just in case you weren’t aware I am kicking off The Jumps Season Service two weeks earlier than advertised so will be uploading my thoughts on tomorrow’s Wetherby and Ascot cards later today rather than waiting for Cheltenham in a fortnight’s time. I couldn’t resist and especially as they are both shaping up to be cracking cards. There are also plenty of interesting young horses running at Wetherby today so I’ll be watching this afternoon’s coverage with a keen eye.
I would also like to draw your attention to a new menu item in the right-hand column called Race Trends which is part of The All-Inclusive Service and where I will give stats on 75 of the top races of the jumps season. As I was best known for race trends, this is probably a long overdue addition to the website. It’s not reams and reams like when I wrote my Betting...
I have already given my Ten to Follow for the season in the Horses To Follow section and now is the time of the year that many racing enthusiasts start to embark on the annual jumps season previews. Later this week I will focus on ten forgotten horses that could be flying under the radar for the upcoming campaign having missed all or the vast majority of the previous season and give a round up of the various stable tours so far picking out the highlights.
Not unlike many of the horses featured in THE FINAL FLIGHT JUMPS GUIDE 2016/2017, the second edition of this particular horses to follow publication has very much come on for the run after a promising debut and is now set fair to join the likes of similar books from long-standing authors Mark Howard (One Jump Ahead), John Morris (Jumping Prospects) and Paul Ferguson (Jumpers To Follow...
Officially my Jumps Season Service restarts on November 10th ahead of Cheltenham’s Open Meeting but I have decided to bring it forward by two weeks and will comence the first of my weekend previews on Friday covering Charlie Hall Chase day and I will also previewing the best of Ascot jumps card for Saturday afternoon. So if you have yet to re-subscribe or are looking to become a member for the first time and wish to receive that copy in time, please get in touch asap. I will initially look at the Charlie Hall in Ante-Post Focus on Wednesday and then the Breeders’ Cup the following Wednesday followed by the BetVictor Gold Cup where last year we found Annacotty at 16/1.
You will probably have noticed that the jumps stable tours have started in earnest across all media. I did mention that I will...
The success of the Ante-Post Focus articles continued yesterday when The Tin Man, recommended at 8/1 two months earlier for the Champions Series Sprint, showed a decisive turn of foot to claim the prize with some authority. The star of the show however was Almanzor who confirmed his status as the best horse in Europe and is likely to have Royal Ascot and the Arc on his agenda next year.
I’ll cover the Breeders’ Cup in Ante-Post Focus at some point before the action in early November from Santa Anita but, aside from that, it’s jumps racing all the way now up until after the Cheltenham Festival. In case you missed them, last week I gave my early views of the Hennessy Gold Cup in Ante-Post Focus with a 16/1 recommendation and uploaded the October Catch Up for the Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post copy. The...
With no major sporting events taking place in the very near future, it’s going to be a little quieter than usual with regards sports content for the rest of October. The next horseracing copy will be Ante-Post Focus at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday followed by the October Catch Up featuring Festival-based news from the last month under Cheltenham Festival on Thursday and then a preview of Champions Day on Friday. My jumps Horses to Follow will be uploaded next week.
The excellent two-day meeting at Chepstow whet the appetite over the weekend for THE JUMPS SEASON SERVICE that officially starts on November 10th when I preview the opening day of Cheltenham’s three-day Open Meeting, though I will cover the best of the Charlie Hall/Ascot jumps cards that take place on the same afternoon a couple of weeks earlier as...
What an achievement for Aidan O’Brien to train the first three home in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and fortunately for us, it was Found who emerged on top of his trio having recommended her at 11/1 a couple of weeks earlier in Ante-Post Focus.
I initially thought that Ryan Moore might have gone a fraction too soon bearing in mind what happened to her in similar circumstances in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes when she was caught close home by My Dream Boat but, in a race like the Arc, he had to commit at that stage so well was she travelling and she found (you see what I did there, this isn’t just thrown together you know) the usual acceleration associated with a winner of the race making it five winning years out of six for fillies. It was nice to find her. Enough of this.
The next Ante-Post Focus will feature...
After a busy summer of horseracing and sport I’ve just returned from my week’s holiday in time for a big weekend of action as we gear up towards the core area of this website – The Jumps Season. I do hope that I’ve not missed any news regarding the England football team or the Willie Mullins-Gigginstown relationship whilst I was away.
Just a quickie update to give you timings for the next few days on what’s being uploaded with the Ryder Cup, Arc de Triomphe and the World Grand Prix darts taking centre stage.
I will upload the Ryder Cup preview on Thursday afternoon and, once the pairings are known for the Friday foursomes and fourballs matches, I will then crack on with those previews and upload them as soon as possible afterwards. Ditto for Saturday’s foursomes and fourballs after they have been announced and then again for the...
This will be the last blog for around ten days as I am away for a week from Wednesday. However, before I leave I will upload Ante-Post Focus, the Tour Championship Golf preview, Ross Miles’ look ahead to NFL Week 3 and Premier League Picks, which would usually be uploaded in the latter half of the week. The next major two events I am covering are the Ryder Cup and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe card at the back end of next week.
I have yet to see the race but it was nice to read that Brando won the Ayr Gold Cup at 11/1 having been in the Horses to Follow list since the Wokingham. Talking of horses to follow, like for the last two years I will compile a list of ten horses I want to keep on the right side for the jumps...
Phew, what a hectic and dramatic week that was! The intention was to upload a September Catch Cup for the Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post section last week, which I have more or less finished, but I felt it best to hold it back for a quieter spell so that will be uploaded this week instead.
Although my Ante-Post Focus advice of Fascinating Rock didn’t make it to the Irish Champion Stakes following a bad blood count, the on-the-day replacement suggestion of Almanzor (returned at 7/1) more than made up for that. Whoosh! Suave Dancer Mach II. In addition, my 14/1 each-way recommendation for the St Leger a week earlier, Housesofparliament, hit the frame (third) for a profit, though obviously we got lucky following Idaho’s mishap, even though he was only beaten less than a length. Ante-Post Focus...
Hopefully you received the quarterly e-newsletter on Thursday where I outlined my plans for the coming year or so.
As the website approaches its first anniversary, official invites to current members will be emailed later this month but, in a nutshell The Jumps Season Service will remain exactly the same as in 2015/16, and a new book on betting psychology/guidelines I have just embarked upon writing will replace Trainer Trends for the All-Inclusive Service where the golf content will also be increased.
The membership cost for both services will remain the same and I have extended the cap for the All-Inclusive Service members from 50 to 75. If you would prefer to get in touch before official invites are sent and sort things out early then no problem. If you didn’t receive the e-newsletter but want to see a copy,...
The second half of the Flat Season in between the festivals can be a little tiresome which has me yearning for some proper jumping action and we’ll get that in Ireland now and again in September. The seven-day Listowel Festival starts on September 11th. Gigginstown supplied the winner and third in the feature race of the Kerry National last year so it might be worth checking out their (likely to be many) entries, especially as they were Rogue Angel and Rule The World who then added the Irish Grand National and Crabbie’s Grand National later in the season.
As with last year, I will write a shortish September and October catch up to include within the Cheltenham Ante-Post section taking on board the news since last spring. It was good to see a top class novice chase prospect out so early with Shantou Village...
The Olympic Games or, The ‘If It’s Not British Then We’re Not Showing It Olympic Games’ as the BBC should rename it, is finally nearing its conclusion (feels a lot longer than two weeks). With the athletics being on far too late, it’s fallen a bit flat for me.
I never thought that watching young men in tight speedos or even tighter lycra would do it for me but I have to say that I enjoyed the track cycling and diving most. British people are very fast on bikes and Chinese people know how to jump into water without splashing extremely well. The tae-kwon-do was also interesting. There is not enough live kicking on prime Saturday TV in my opinion. I also never expected to ever hear the words shouted out: “kick her in the face” by my daughter at any stage in her life. I also quite enjoyed the end of the modern pentathlon, mainly as it reminded me of the...
The roadshow moves on to York this week where I will be covering all four days. I set up and appeared on The Punters’ Panel for them in the paddock before all their race meetings about 15 years ago which is still going strong. I also used to be their racecard tipster under the guise of Baron Ferdinand, who you may remember winning the Magnet Cup back in 1993. Not my idea for the name of pseudonym, trust me!!! I’ve not attended the Knavesmire for around five years so I don’t know if The Baron is still going strong or not and, if so, whether the red aeroplanes next to the horse’s name in the racecard (also not my idea, trust me!!!) is being persisted with.
The retirement of Paul Carberry was announced last week and he will sadly missed from the saddle. Bobbyjo winning the Grand National is widely regarded as being his career highlight but my personal...
With the next main racing coverage being the York Ebor Meeting and my main interest in the Olympics coming in the second week of the Rio games, it will be a relatively quiet next 5-6 days with regards to website content, though the Olympic golf and tennis events will be uploaded in the next few days. I know that Carl is particularly keen on one bet in the Women’s event but wants to see the draw first which takes place at 3.00 p.m. today.
Therefore I hope that All-Inclusive members have the opportunity to find time to take in the questionnaire that I emailed you on Thursday afternoon asking for your views on all 19 areas that service covers. If you didn’t receive it, please check your spam filter, and if you still didn’t receive it then please drop me a message.
The initial replies make for interesting reading. For example, Golf is scoring right up...
I’m looking forward to The Olympic Games which start later this week. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be covering as yet but I’ll certainly have a stab at the golf, some of the athletics and Carl Redden will be looking at the tennis. We'll play it by ear or, in other words, I'll make it up as I go along!
With the USPGA Championship washed out last night I watched the Decker-Budd documentary on Sky Atlantic instead which I would heartily recommend you catch if possible. It really was a terrific programme and ended with the pair meeting each other for the first time since that 3000m race in the 1984 Olympics at the same stadium where the infamous fall took place. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but the pressures placed on Zola Budd at such a tender age were just enormous.
The golf washout also meant that I got round to finish watching Billions....
Just before Royal Ascot I asked in my blog if any members had questions for Alan Potts relating to betting strategy, French racing or any other facet of the game after he had agreed to a Q & A session. On the eve of the King George and Glorious Goodwood I am pleased to upload his answers to 25 questions posed and thank him for his time in doing so.
I've done my best to answer these question as openly and honestly as possible and I hope you won't mind the odd one where I've deviated away from the original point. It's in the nature of this sort of piece that winning bets get the most mentions here, either because that's a direct response to the question, or because they provide the best examples when making a point. But please bear in mind that the losing bets, the bad days, weeks and months that don't get a look in here, certainly...
It was tense and dramatic viewing on Sunday afternoon if you followed me in on Henrik Stenson recommended at 30/1 two days before The Open Championship and didn’t lay off. It was also outstanding golf from both the Ice Man and Phil Mickelson as they slugged it out like prize fighters shooting 63 and 65 but I always felt that the Swede held the edge during those final 18 holes so I am glad that I held my nerve. As I wrote in the final day preview, I really fancied him to get the job done so I managed to resist the temptation to green up, though having backed him each-way makes that easier of course as the insurance was already there. Unlike newspaper and website golf tipping columns, Stenson was also one of just two pre-tournament outright selections rather than the five players or more everyone else seems to do these days.
In finishing a clear runner-up,...
Irrespective of what happens in today’s two major sporting finals, we have shown a nice profit on both Euro 2016 and Wimbledon but surely for all neutrals it has to be a case of come on France, anyone but Portugal!
Many thanks to Carl Redden for his thoughts over the last fortnight where his each-way advice on Angelique Kerber at 25/1 (1/2 odds a place 1-2) and a Serena-Kerber final at 14/1 were the highlights of his recommendations. Carl will return to cover the U.S Open and I’ll see if I can twist his arm to find a little time to also cover part of the tennis at the Olympics whilst he is training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. If you have made a few quid out of his tennis selections and would like to sponsor his efforts in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society then you can do so via http://justgiving.com/Carl-Redden2...
We enter a busy July in good shape in a number of markets and particularly following Antiquarium’s 16/1 success in the Northumberland Plate recommended in Ante Post Focus last week, not least Adam Hewson’s summation at the end of his politics blog two weeks ago that Theresa May “represents as an attractive alternative to Boris” at 13/2 so anyone taking his advice is sitting pretty about the Home Secretary becoming the next PM as she is now trading at 2/5.
I try to keep any political thoughts to myself on social media etc. but what a total mess the last week has been on the domestic political scene. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so important. Not that I’ve ever been a Boris fan but, as for that Michael Gove!!! I can’t believe for one second that his actions are down to a last-minute change of mind. The way...
Ola en Espana! My base for the next three weeks. I’m all connected up over here so everything will continue as usual with the next copy uploaded being a preview of the Northumberland Plate in Big Race Focus on Wednesday followed by Horses to Follow on Thursday and a preview of the Euro 2016 last-16 knockout stages and Andy Richmond's look back at Royal Ascot in his Beating The Bias column on Friday. Then I’ll start looking at the Tour de France next week which starts on July 2nd and Carl Redden will be putting together his Wimbledon views.
Royal Ascot was never going to be easy with all the rain and we had and up-and-down week. Tuesday was good, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday were okay and the less said about Friday the better. The ante-post side of things went well even if three of the eight recommendations ended up...
A big week ahead with Royal Ascot, the US Open golf and the European Football Championships taking place. As such there will be no Horses to Follow or Ante Post Focus this week to help me keep on top of it all but next week I’ll mainly be listing runners to catch my eye from the five-day meeting in a longer edition.
Royal Ascot previews will be uploaded by 6.00 p.m. the evening before racing in the Royal Ascot section rather than Race Previews, the US Open preview will be uploaded on Tuesday morning at the latest (maybe Monday evening) where I’m very keen on a 40/1 shot as highlighted in the quarterly newsletter and the second round of group matches for Euro 2016 preview will be uploaded on Wednesday morning. If you didn’t receive the newsletter then please check your spam filter. If you still didn’t receive it then please let me know and I’ll check the...
No good in the Derby and a 14/1 runner-up in the Oaks but hopefully I persuaded many of you to back Smuggler’s Moon at 16/1 in the Surrey Stakes whose chance I made it clear I was sweet on. I was at Epsom but missed a trick in not realising it was also Greyhound Derby night until it was too late so next year I’ll have to consider the double if they are on the same day again.
Smuggler’s Moon was certainly the highlight of the Derby Meeting for me and, as such, I’ll soon add my pre-race comments regarding his chance in the ‘Example Copy’ section on the now-finalised right-hand menu alongside Carl Redden’s reasoning for tipping up Garbine Muguruza for the French Open at 16/1 back in December in his Three to Follow feature. Carl will next return for Wimbledon fortnight.
The roadshow moves onto Royal Ascot next week...
You will probably have noticed that I have now all but finished restyling the menu on the right hand side of the Home Page. Once ‘Darts’ has been added it will all be complete. This should make it easier for you to head straight the sport or guest contributor you want to read and keeping them all together rather than scrolling down the old sections to locate what you wanted.
Like myself, Paul Ferguson and Alan Potts are mainly jumps based so their next regular copy won’t be until the jumping game is back in full swing in October. However, Alan will return in early July to cover the key Horses In Training sale at Deauville that has produced many UK winners in recent years. Alan has also suggested that he is up for a Q&A session over the summer if there is sufficient interest where he would be happy to answer any questions whether it be on betting...
As some of you will know, I like Cotai Glory’s chances of running a big race in the Temple Stakes at a big price but he has been doubly declared at Haydock’s two-day meeting as he is also engaged in tonight’s Achilles Stakes (7.30) where top price of 6/1 looks too big to me if they decide to run him in that Listed race rather than tomorrow’s Group 2. Ground conditions and forecast are likely to decide in which race he runs.
I’ve run out of Rule The World posters now and they were sent via Parcelforce’s 48-hour delivery service yesterday so, if you asked for one, it should be arriving very shortly. Whilst waiting for the one member of staff to process 30 parcels thus causing a long queue out the door which lasted 30 minutes (I tried not to look too many of them in the eye), a girl of around ten years of age with her mother (I think) asked me what was in...
Eurovision didn’t go as at all hoped and it would be have been extra nice had the Lockinge Stakes Ante-Focus Focus each-way recommendation at 20/1, the continually under-rated Euro Charline (second at SP 12/1) had gone one place better but Francesco Molinari still made it a weekend to remember by coming up trumps by winning the Top European market in The Players Championship as recommended before the start of the tournament at 40/1 for a tasty profit on the tournament and the weekend in general.
If you also took my each-way advice on Hideki Matsuyama at the shorter price (22/1) for seven places in the outright market then you would also have had a return as he tied seventh. This means that we have now shown a profit in six of the last seven golf tournaments. The next golf event that I will be covering is the...
Due to a technical problem I have had to load the Eurovision Song Contest in the Blog.
Here we go again but without Portugal who failed to enter for the first time ever having never finished higher than 6th in 60 years and Turkey who declared themselves non runners after originally stating their intention to enter again, so that’s three years on the spin now without them. Also missing are Romania who were chucked out as their host broadcaster failed to pay their fees and not even an even an ex-Westlife star could get a bad Irish entry out of the semi-finals. Not qualifying for the Final is anything but a new experience for Ireland in recent years as they continue to churn out ultra-bland entries but it is for perennial Top 10 finishers, Greece, who failed to qualify for the first time with their folk-rap combo...
A delayed flight back from Las Vegas means that the intended start to the Royal Ascot Ante-Post Service (6 weeks) has had to be put back 24 hours so that will commence on Tuesday at 7.00 p.m. and then on Mondays at the same time thereafter.
Well, it was only a week but my God It felt like three and I’ve no idea where my body clock is right now so please excuse any typos! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do this week as in addition to covering all the usual weekly stuff plus previewing The Players’ Championship Golf, keeping on top of the Dante Meeting and, of course, it’s Eurovision Song Contest week, I haven’t seen any of the 1000 Guineas card, Chester May Meeting or the weekend’s action yet so I’ll have to burn the candle at both ends for a few more days yet. So please keep a close eye on the ticker this week as there will be all sorts...
Just a quick blog and reminder that I am now away until May 9th which will be the first of the Royal Ascot Ante-Post series.
Hopefully either Alan McManus, Mark Selby or Marco Fu can spare my blushes having stated at the beginning of the event that Ding Junhui will never win a World Championship as he just gets too nervous on this stage. He hasn’t shown any signs of that yet and no one has played better than him over the tournament but it might be worth looking to backing his opponent in the final, if he gets past McManus, if he takes an early lead.
As for the tennis, all three of Carl Redden’s selections for the two events this week have reached the weekend semi-finals so let’s hope one or both and can go on and win it. Pablo Carreno Busta would be particularly nice having been advised each-way at 40/1 so he...
Well that’s that for another domestic jumps season though I will be covering all five days of Punchestown this week the evening before each day’s racing after which The Jumps Season Service comes to a close and will restart for The Open Meeting at November in Cheltenham. Congratulations to Richard Johnson, Gigginstown House Stud, Craig Nichol and Paul Nicholls, and I hope some of you had a dabble at odds-against on the latter when I suggested that Mullins was the wrong favourite for the Trainers’ Championship in mid-January. Given what he has at his disposal, Colin Tizzard was the British-based trainer of the season for me by a country mile.
The highlight for us of course has to be Rule The World winning the Grand National after being-recommended ten days earlier at 50/1 with Vicente, Annacotty (x2) and the trifecta in the Ryanair also...
After Rule The World at 50/1 last week, we followed up with Vicente recommended at 16/1 in the Scottish Grand National yesterday alongside some other nice results in the Saturday preview. Unfortunately, there are no more Nationals now until the Kerry version at Listowel in September. Summer jumping is not for me I’m afraid. Paul Nicholls now leads the Trainers’ Championship by £33K from Willie Mullins who plans to send Vroum Vroum Mag to Sandown and surely now Un De Sceaux.
I might not have much of a clue when it comes to big-field 5f handicaps but I’ve long stated that staying chasers is where I have been strongest down the years so fingers crossed we can complete the hat-trick in the Bet365 Gold Cup on Saturday, which I will cover initially in Big Race Focus on Wednesday. Then it’s the Punchestown Festival the following week which closes the...
……………seas would rise when I gave the word. Now in the morning I sleep alone, sweep the streets I used to own. Do do do, do do do, do, do, do. Do do do, do do do, do do do. I used to roll the dice, feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes. Listen as the crowd would sing, now the old king is dead long live David Mullins. One minute I held the key, next the walls were closed on me. And I discovered that my castles stand, upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand. I hear Jerusalam bells a-ringing. Roman cavalry choirs a-singing. Be my mirror, my soul and shield. My missionaries in a foreign field. For some reason I can’t explain, once you’d gone there was never an honest word. And that what was when I ruled the world.
It was either that or Take That!
A fantastic result for the Big Race Focus column ten days earlier when Rule The World...
I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front lately as the three weeks’ run up to and including Cheltenham right through until the end of the Grand National Meeting is my most manic six weeks of the year from a work perspective. The blogs will increase to 2-3 a week again from next week after the Grand National and The Masters have taken place when I shall be in Spain with my laptop taking a few days out. With regards to The Masters, I will upload my preview on Tuesday where I will be gunning for a sixth straight profitable golf tournament.
I head out to Spain most years for this particular week as, although I can recharge the batteries, I’m not one for sitting by a pool all day so need my mind to be occupied, therefore having the Cheltenham April, Craven, Greenham and Scottish National Meetings to focus on keeps me happy. This year whilst out there I...
It’s fair to say that we have had a very good last few days.
Fairyhouse went particularly well with four winners strongly highlighted from six races covered and although my ante-post fancy of Bonny Kate didn’t live up to expectations in the Irish Grand National, my each-way selection, Folsom Blue, finished fourth at 20/1. In fact, we were a little unlucky not to draw on all six races as my 25/1 each-way fancy for the Ryanair Gold Cup when there were eight runners the day before, Blair Perrone, finished third but there were two non runners the next morning. This, on the back of California Chrome, Postponed, Vazirabad and Euro Charline e/w (2nd at 25/1) at Meydan and highlighting 3/3 winners at Kempton.
My selection at the semi-final stage of the World Match Play, Jason Day at 11/5, also won meaning that we have now...
I’m really looking forward to Easter. Not so much because it’s the high-quality, three-day Fairyhouse Meeting to get stuck into or copious amounts of chocolate to devour or even watching Germany teaching England a footballing lesson but, finally, it means that after Good Friday my inbox will be no longer be clogged up by All-Weather Championships updates! It’s been relentless over the winter. Relentless I tell you.
I’ll be writing the Saturday racing preview whilst all that is going at Lingfield focussing on Haydock and the Dubai World Cup Meeting. This weekend’s race previews will be uploaded over the course of three days so that I can properly cover the first two days of Fairyhouse which takes place on Sunday and Monday. I posted my initial thoughts on the Irish Grand National in Big Race Focus earlier today. Next Wednesday's Big Race...
Now that’s all over for another year it’s a case of recharging the batteries over the weekend which will consist of watching the cricket, golf (looking a three-cornered affair between Day, Stenson and Rose), rugby, football, Formula 1 and racing. Regards the T20 Cricket World Cup, Paul Smith has covered the big India-Pakistan game today, one of the biggest rivalries in world sport so that will be some atmosphere.
Last year I gave a review of the Cheltenham Festival in two sections (in the same copy) analysing my recommended bets and then looking back at all races for clues for the future, which went rather well highlighting a number of nice-priced winners at Aintree and beyond. I’ll work on that starting on Monday and upload it later in the week – look out for me announcing when it has been posted in the moving ticker.
We had a fightback on...
I’m heading down to Cheltenham on Monday afternoon so this will be my final blog before the Festival starts. So, first and foremost I wish all readers, members or otherwise, a very enjoyable week irrespective of how the punting goes but also all the very best of luck for the 28 races as we will all require plenty of that.
Most of us are asked for a Festival Banker so here’s mine. Paint The Clouds in the Foxhunters’. The forecast is for a dry week but I imagine it will ride quite holding on Day 1. By Day 4 however, and on virgin ground for the Gold Cup course this season, I dare say it will be darn sight quicker so expect the good ground horses to be well backed for Friday in the next few days. I can certainly see Paint The Clouds, who is currently 8/1, challenging On The Fringe for favouritism in the Foxhunters’ if the rain does keep away and especially...
I am at the Sky Bet Cheltenham Preview Evening at Towcester Racecourse tonight followed by another preview night at Bristol tomorrow and will include anything of note in the Cheltenham Ante Post copy which goes daily for the next 12 days from 7.00 p.m. tonight. I will be covering the Imperial Cup in Big Race Focus on Wednesday.
A fourth profitable week on golf on the spin following the WGC-Cadillac Championship which was won by Adam Scott last night in a thrilling final round where McIlroy blew a three shot lead. Although we ended up the tournament in front I was left with a feeling of what might have been however as, although Danny Willett tied McIlroy for Top GB & Ire after being advised at 12/1 before the start of the event, he plonked his ball in the drink at the last hole. In addition, one of my three outright selections, Bubba Watson, was only...
Before I look back on last night’s BetBright-run Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening, just a quick mention in case you missed it that Paul Smith has previewed the T20 Cricket World Cup for us with his outright and team-by-team analysis and will return next week with his views on the Top Batsman/Bowler and Specials markets. Mike Henderson, fresh from two successful selections out of two (15/8 and Evens) from the Premier League last night has looked at the UK Open Darts which starts this lunchtime and I’ve covered the first WGC golf event of the year at Doral and will return tomorrow with my half-way update. Andy Richmond’s latest Trading Talk article was uploaded this morning.
The Walkabout Bar in central London was the venue for my first Cheltenham Preview Evening in 16 years in a non-working capacity and it was an enjoyable night even if just three bar...
Tomorrow I will be attending the first of four Cheltenham Festival events when I head to the Walkabout Bar in Temple, Central London, for the BetBright preview including Rich Ricci and Sam Twiston-Davies. I’ll mention anything of note in the next Cheltenham Ante-Post copy. Then it’s the Handicap Weights Lunch at Cheltenham on Monday followed by a preview evening in Bristol the next day followed by the Let’s Live Racing preview evening on the Monday night before the meeting starts at Cheltenham FC where I am on the panel with Davy Russell, Aidan Coleman and Michael Shinners so I am looking forward to that. In addition, last week I finished writing trends copy for all 28 races so, if you want to read those, they will soon all be up on the Attheraces Cheltenham site. All the Grade 1s are currently available to view, the rest will follow shortly.
The last of...
After finding Bubba Watson at the half-way stage in my Saturday blog last week I thought I’d have crack at this weekend’s Honda Classic at the same juncture ahead of my first full-blown preview of the golf season for the WGC Championship at Doral on Wednesday. Rickie Fowler leads on -8 with Jimmy Walker on -7, Sergio Garcia on -6 and Adam Scott on -5. This high quality quartet should fight it out with rank outsiders at the start of the week sitting on -4 and -3. I priced it up as 9/4 Fowler, 3/1 Scott, 7/2 Garcia, 4/1 Walker 12/1 Everyone else combined, so have taken the 13/2 about both Scott and Garcia, though I'll be hiding behind the sofa every time this twitchy pair of putters is lining up a three-footer!
I’m guessing not many of you caught the Eurovision Making Your Mind Up show on BBC4 last night? I sat through it pulling all kinds of faces. I can...
Now that we are into Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening season with the first major event taking place tomorrow at Exeter Racecourse, although I wrote this copy a couple of years ago it’s still very relevant today (with a couple of edits) so here’s a quick reprise if you missed it first time round. It’s likely that I will attend four this year – the BetBright event in London, the Sky Bet event at Towcester Racecourse, on-course bookmaker Andy Smith’s event at Bristol and the Let’s Live Racing event at Cheltenham FC.
For most keen racing fans a trip to a Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening is an essential part of the preparation and, having survived close to 120 such events as either a reporter, panellist or just a plain enthusiast enjoying a night out, if I don’t know what I am listening out for by now, then I really am in trouble. Now there’...
When I was seventeen, it was a very good year. A very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights. We’d hide from the lights, on the village green, when I was seventeen. Except I was stuck in a CPVE course at Kettering Boys’ School (where the missing Russian satellite was detected by our physics teacher which NASA couldn’t find I’ll have you know) whilst darting in and out of Roy Christie bookmakers whenever I could to watch the racing. This will only become relevant when you get to the bit about dear old Combs Ditch.
After double-figure price runners-up in the Betfair Hurdle and Betfred Grand National Trial for the last two weeks in Big Race Focus, I’ll be trying to go one better in tomorrow lunchtime’s copy with an early look at the BetBright Chase and Eider. I’ve never attended either race but both have been fairly lucky races for...
I will go through the many ramifications of Faugheen missing the Champion Hurdle in Week 15 of Cheltenham Festival Ante Post on Monday evening. Unfortunately, he won’t be the last big name to be ruled out in the next month as trainers now start to crank up the fast work. As the training gets harder, chasing types are more prone to get injured. Although Rich Ricci’s captain, as Alastair Down described him, will not get the opportunity to take to the field, the Mr Blobby silks will still be carried by favourites in the Supreme, Arkle, Champion Hurdle and Mares Hurdle on Day 1 if, as seems likely, that Annie Power heads to the CH and Vroum Vroumg Mag switches to the MH.
So, although the Day 1 four-timer ante-post bets have gone down for so many punters, there’s still time for a more lucrative, replacement four-timer bet if they like which no one seems to...
I was fortunate enough to be a guest at the spectacular Sky Garden for the Crabbie’s Grand National launch yesterday where the views are truly jaw dropping, particularly on a day like yesterday without a cloud in the sky. I’ve not been to The Shard before but I imagine the two advantages that the Sky Garden has over its near neighbour are (a) it’s free and (b) you can also see The Shard. The most disturbing news of the event, however, was being informed by Crabbie’s staff that they no longer produce their strawberry and lime line of ginger beer. Disaster.
The rest of the day was top drawer. I got lucky with a good table including Sportinglife.com editor, David Ord, The Daily Mail’s Charlie Sale, author Sean Magee, Boylesports’ PR man, Leon Blanche and Tom and Sophie George amongst others, and we were entertained by the superb Laura Wright who will...
At this time of the year I am usually super stressed finalising the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide which always went to print the Wednesday after Betfair Hurdle day but, now I have taken that weight off my shoulders, I can enjoy myself in the lead up to Cheltenham for a change. Therefore it’s off to Newbury for the racing this afternoon followed by The Who at Wembley tonight, which will probably be the last time I see them after giving me so much pleasure down the years.
I’ll also be hanging around in London for a few days as, in my capacity as a feature writer for the Grand National Meeting in their racecard, I am attending the Grand National Weights Lunch on Tuesday at The Sky Garden. I’ll highlight anything of interest to crop up from that in a later blog. I’m pretty sure last year when Oliver Sherwood was interviewed that he stated that...
A sporting rather than horseracing theme to today’s short blog though a reminder that I have taken an early look at the Betfair Hurdle in this Wednesday lunchtime’s Big Race Focus column where I have a 16/1 each-way fancy. I hope you took an early view on Bristol De Mai last week as with Annacotty the week before.
Ross Miles went out with a big bang to his weekly NFL analysis with five of his six suggested bets on the Superbowl coming up trumps including Von Miller to be named Most Valuable Player at 22/1. Not even the lure of Beyonce shaking her stuff could keep me up past midnight however so it was a pleasant surprise to look at my account in the morning. My many thanks to him for his weekly previews. I’m no NFL expert but am told by people who are that it was weird season form-wise and although Ross had his highs and lows, it’s fair to say...
There has been plenty written about whether Willie Mullins can win the British Trainers’ Championship so I thought I would do some extremely basic mathematics to see if he should be favourite over Paul Nicholls who currently holds a lead of £775,000 over him.
Even if Mullins was to win the Supreme, Arkle, Champion Hurdle, Mares Hurdle and Champion Chase on the first two days of the Festival, that still leaves him short of Nicholls and the chances are that at least one of those won’t win given the combined odds are over 16/1. However, I do appreciate that he will mop up plenty of prize money, especially in the Champion Hurdle, and he is also strong in the Neptune, JLT and has two live shots at the Gold Cup. Nicholls will be adding to his tally all the time as well though and I’d expect him to pull a few more quid ahead of Mullins in the run up to...
My Week 12 edition of Cheltenham Festival Ante Post was uploaded last night and weighed in at a record 10,200 words outside of Week 1 where I give my starting positions since I first started this service in 2009. Even since last night a heck of a lot has been reported so here’s a brief overview of the ten most interesting snippets since 7.00 p.m. last evening and I will go into much more detail in next Monday’s copy:
Yanworth has been raised to 158 which is 9lb higher than any horse in last season’s Neptune.
CHAPS Barbados Novices’ Handicap Chase favourite, Doctor Harper, has been raised to 141 which makes him ineligible for that 0-140 at present.
More Of That will bypass the Scilly Isles as Geraghty will be required for Leopardstown on the same day, an unfortunate part of the Irish Gold Cup meeting being brought forward 24 hours...
What a day for Alan King yesterday bagging four big prizes and the opener at Doncaster which has prompted a quick deletion in the Trainer Trends section that he is at the top tier of the second division after a couple of disappointing years by his standards.
In terms of big handicap successes, King has been the man in Britain this season having taken the Paddy Power, Hennessy, Sky Bet Chase and Freebets.com Trophy and, with a Neptune favourite and a strong hand for the Triumph plus Smad Place for the Gold Cup (he confirmed that was the aim this morning) and plenty of handicap chances, I can see Cheltenham Racecourse hastily reorganising their Stable Tour Media Day schedule in the lead up to March 15-18 as there is no planned visit there at present whereas there is for Henderson and Nicholls.
His Annacotty has been a real star for us this season...
Today is somewhat of a recovery day (from screen work anyway) after yesterday’s Cheltenham Ante Post Week 11 copy weighed in at 10,800 words so this morning will mainly consist of watching Novak Djokovic take on Kei Nishikori before a first look at the weekend racing for tomorrow’s Big Race Focus in the afternoon. I’ll be at Cheltenham for Trials Day on Saturday which should be informative as always (and it's also been a lucky meeting for me down the years) and later today we’ll get to know the Cleeve Hurdle entries.
I did pop into the Racing Post website first thing however to see that they rated Faugheen as the second best hurdler on their RPR ratings to Istabraq in the last 20 years. I have to admit being taken aback to see Dato Star in joint-third with Alderbrook though. I wonder what Hurricane Fly fans will make of that? Or Binocular or...
After crashing out as early as 8.30 last night, I couldn’t sleep after 3.00 a.m. but that was ok as I got up to watch Djokovic v Simon in a classic five setter at the Australian Open before Match Of The Day (kinda fun being a Liverpool fan) and am now flicking in between the Big Bash Final and final round of the golf from Abu Dhabi which will take me up to the Irish Champion Hurdle card at Leopardstown interspersed with Everton v Swansea to be followed straight on by Arsenal v Chelsea. That’ll finish just in time ahead of the NFL Championship matches and the PGA Tour golf. My kind of day!
The kind of day, however, where you can do your brains if not careful so I’m being selective and have backed the draw (13/5) in the London Derby, had a Patriots-Panthers double (13/8) and fancy Jamie Lovemark (7/2) can haul back the two shots he has to find with Jason...
I’m back after three nights in Amsterdam just in time to see Ruby Walsh ride his 2500th winner. Or so we think. How can the authorities not know? There are such things as Form Books and then you count his winners.
This was my first trip to Amsterdam and my poor legs! If you’ve not been before, as charming as it is, most of the canals areas look the same which isn’t ideal when you are lost at night time. I didn’t find a Coral but I stumbled across a few interesting places along the way and yesterday tried a cake from a local coffee shop. Luckily I am not previewing the weekend racing today or I might end up tipping Nigel Twiston-Davies trained favourites or something. I see that he hasn’t even entered The New One for the World Hurdle. I’m a bit spaced out man.
As I mentioned in Cheltenham Ante-Post Week 8, I would start dropping in...
I’m back after three nights in Amsterdam just in time to see Ruby Walsh ride his 2500th winner. Or so we think. How can the authorities not know? There are such things as Form Books and then you count his winners.
This was my first trip to Amsterdam and my poor legs! If you’ve not been before, as charming as it is, most of the canal areas look the same which isn’t ideal when you are lost at night time. I didn’t find a Coral but I stumbled across a few interesting places along the way and yesterday tried a cake from a local coffee shop. Luckily I am not previewing the weekend racing today or I might end up tipping Nigel Twiston-Davies trained favourites or something. I see that he hasn’t even entered The New One for the World Hurdle. I’m a bit spaced out man.
As I mentioned in Cheltenham Ante-Post Week 8, I would start dropping in...
A couple of parish notices.
I am away between Monday and Wednesday so there will be no Big Race Focus on Wednesday next week. It’s not the best weekend for an ante-post focus anyway as Mullins should win the three Grade 1s with odds-on shots Un De Sceaux in the Clarence House Chase, Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Douvan in the Irish Arkle. The Cheltenham Ante-Post copy will be pre-set to go live at 7.00 p.m. on Monday as usual.
The Australian Open Tennis starts on Sunday at midnight and Carl Redden will be previewing the season’s first Grand Slam on Saturday as well as the best of the First Round action and then return on Thursday covering the start of the Third Round.
The entries for the Gold Cup, Champion Chase and Ryanair were announced this week and I’ll be looking at that deeper in Monday’s Cheltenham Ante...
I made reference to the big market move for Limini in the last week in last night’s Cheltenham Ante-Post copy and news has emerged this morning that “she’s ready to come out” according to Willie Mullins. As big as 7/1 for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle a week ago, she is now as low as 4/1 and looks like being sent over to England for her first start since May with her trainer commenting that she is just coming to herself now. He didn’t state which English racecourse though.
Mullins looks set to bring over some of his quality novices to Warwick on Saturday which looks a cracking card in the making, even if the Hobbs office have entered Onenightinvienna for the wrong race that he is not qualified for, so it’s very likely that I’ll be in attendance.
I actually came pretty close to being Warwick’s Racecourse Manager around 1999 (I can’t...
A busy time in the Sport section today starting with Mike Henderson who continues with his BDO World Darts Championship coverage and has bets in all four of today’s quarter-finals. In addition, Matt of Football Elite has given his take on how to approach the FA Cup ahead of this weekend’s Third Round matches and, for what it is worth, I have had a look at The Masters Snooker that starts on Sunday. The NFL has now reached the knock-out stages and Ross Miles’s preview of the Play-Off games will be uploaded on Saturday. Andy Richmond is under the weather so his Trading Talk article will be a couple of days later this week. Carl Redden will be previewing the Australian Open Tennis next week.
I am usually seriously under the pump at this time of the year writing the book so, giving that up has finally given me some time to do other things in January and...
Congratulations to Richard Johnson for reaching the milestone of 3000 winners. Some have said that remarkable achievement hasn’t received as much coverage as it should have done, especially outside of racing, as he’s not A P McCoy and I’ll go along with that. I had the pleasure of dealing with Johnson quite a few times when I was Master of Ceremonies at Towcester Racecourse and also on a Cheltenham Preview panel at Oswestry and he’s a real gent. It doesn't often get mentioned that he has won all four of the big championship races at the Cheltenham Festival (Rooster Booster, Flagship Uberalles, Anzum and Looks Like Trouble) but the biggest favour he did me was when guiding Edmond to win the 1999 Welsh Grand National having been on ante-post from an early stage.
Another real gent is J P McManus and after he had six winners at the Leopardstown Christmas...
A Happy New Year to you all.
I usually attend Cheltenham today but, alas, falling on a Friday this year means that I need to watch it from home to write the weekend preview which will be uploaded by early evening. A real shame as the Dipper Chase and Relkeel Hurdle in particular look belting affairs. Two of my four Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post selections run this afternoon but as long as they run well, that’s all I care about today.
I can let you know now it has been announced that Matt Tombs will taking over writing the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide after I decided 16 years was enough for me last summer. If you are unfamiliar with Matt, he used to write the Road to Cheltenham series on the Oddschecker website and wrote a book this year called How To Bet And Win At The...
Now that’s all over it’s time for the proper stuff. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to attend the King George VI Chase since See More Business beat Challenger Du Luc, mainly due to work commitments previewing the next day’s racing and, of course, that’s the case again this year as I work through Kempton and Leopardstown’s cards for tomorrow and will upload them in the early part of this evening.
The Welsh Grand National Meeting (and Wetherby today and tomorrow) have both been abandoned as has Limerick today (they are looking to reschedule the Grade 2 novice chase for later in the week) with the plan being to run the Welsh National on January 9th like when Synchronised and Monbeg Dude won it. That’s usually a quiet Saturday anyway so expect more journalists...
It came as an immense shock to hear about the death of The Times’ Racing Correspondent Alan Lee aged 61. I didn’t know him particularly well but I enjoyed a pre-season panel I was on at Cheltenham Racecourse that he chaired and he always said hello or gave a head nod as we passed one another on the track. Three times he won the HWPA award for Journalist of the Year and his articles in the national papers often broke the news first on major stories. He will be sadly missed.
Christmas is going to be a hectic time so I thought it best to give a schedule of what will be going up when over the next week or so. The darts may change a little depending on how late the evening games finish and blogs will be uploaded as and when I can squeeze them in.
Weds Dec 23: Big...
I have covered the first day of Ascot’s December Meeting in Race Previews. The weekend preview should be uploaded to view from late afternoon onwards and in Tuesday’s blog I will outline the schedule of what will be uploaded when over the Christmas and New Year period.
Disappointing news two days ago that Coneygree is very likely to miss the Gold Cup with a separate setback but thankfully it’s not career threatening. I will cover the implications of this more in Cheltenham Ante-Post on Monday but his omission would change the whole rhythm and tempo of the race that I discussed in Week 1 of that service and will therefore bring more contenders into the mix. If you are a subscriber, I am sure you can see where I am already going with this! This news also only underlined what...
Week 5 of the Cheltenham Ante-Post Service was uploaded last night and Mike Henderson’s outright betting preview of the World Darts Championship went live early this morning. Mike’s first round analysis will be uploaded on Wednesday morning with Big Race Focus also being available from 1.00 p.m. tomorrow.
To celebrate 10,000 editions of The Racing Post, they have been running a series of Top Tens since they launched back in 1986 (I still have the first edition in my garage somewhere with Graham Goode’s TV tips) which usually spark plenty of debate. The Top Ten to generate most interest for a mainly jumps enthusiast like myself was their (or Peter Thomas’s) Top Ten jumps horses during that period and it is hard to quibble with eight of them; Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre,...
Yesterday’s Tote Placepot at Cheltenham paid a record divided of £91,000. As most of us will have at least one Placepot tale to tell, I thought I would share mine (or three actually!), though I should say that I don’t really have this bet anywhere near as much as I should on the very biggest racing days when there is so much mug money in the pool. Something I aim to put right in 2016.
It was Cheltenham Gold Cup Day 2014. One of my favourite days of course but also as I could properly relax for the first time during the week as there was no overnight copy to write which was always frantically put together in time so I could be out and about for the first four races and then head back to the press room to finish it off in between the Foxhunters’, Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and Grand Annual. As...
I’ll be heroically ploughing through the Cheltenham Friday card today to be uploaded around 4.00 p.m. having been struck down with a dose of man flu which is probably going to rule me out of a run at Prestbury Park on Saturday. The first race tomorrow is at noon and not 12.30 as stated in some papers. Andy Richmond’s latest weekly Trading Talk article is available to view in Guest Contributions where he has some interesting trainer stats as well as highlighting horses to follow. If you missed it, I also previewed the Caspian Gold Cup in Big Race Focus yesterday.
The debut for Willie Mullins of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle talking horse, Min, the most talked about maiden from France since Joan of Arc as someone put it, is the main focal point at Punchestown (2.25) this...
Back in blighty after a long weekend away and today I’ll be taking a look at the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with a view to tomorrow’s Big Race Focus article. I have also added Emma Lavelle and Tom George to Trainer Trends now taking us up to 25.
What have I missed whilst I was away? The Grand National being put back to 5.15 p.m. caused a bit of a rumpus. I was at Lord Gyllene’s Grand National which was run 5.00 p.m. on the Monday following a bomb scare having been put up at a friend’s aunts which meant that I was in the same clothes for three days running! It was the only race run that day so hard to say that it worked but the build up was fun. I like the way Punchestown host their Festival from mid-late afternoon to around a 7.30 p.m. finish with the principal event run at 5....
A preview of the best of Sunday's racing will be uploaded by early evening.
A shame that Simonsig joins Un Des Sceaux, Sprinter Sacre and Dodging Bullets in missing the Tingle Creek, for the race in general of course but also as I was pretty keen on Sire De Grugy each-way with the dead eight but obviously not so much now. But it’s still a very good race. For whatever reason I’ve only attended the Tingle Creek twice, when Sound Man and Twist Magic won it, and this year I’ll be sitting in a bar in the Costa Blanca watching the action unfold during a long weekend where I’ll be getting in the final few rays of sunshine until after Cheltenham and one last throw of the golf clubs before they are locked away in the garage.
A horse to note for its next few starts is Harvey Logan who finished second in a 2m4f handicap hurdle...
Today’s Big Race Focus will be on the Becher Chase and maybe one other race and uploaded at 1.00 p.m. and I will preview Friday’s card at Sandown tomorrow late afternoon/early evening. I have also added Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins to the Trainers Trends section this morning.
With regards to Nicky Henderson, I never thought I would see the day but he now has a twitter account (@sevenbarrows)! This coincides with a blog he writes (or has ghost written for him far more likely) on the Stan James website replacing Harry Fry. In five days of being on twitter he has accumulated over 4000 followers. The early signs of that blog are very encouraging if you want to keep up to date with the latest from Seven Barrows. Of course Stan James sponsor the Champion Hurdle so that’s a good fit...
Well, the Hennessy couldn’t have gone much worse for my two ante-post selections, one being withdrawn less than an hour beforehand and then the other fell at the first fence! Then, to really rub it in, I had to sit and suffer and watch Smad Place, who I backed in last year’s race, absolutely hose up. However, it was still a good day principally due to Identity Thief (advised at 8/1 on Wednesday in Big Race Focus) winning the Fighting Fifth following on from Annacotty at 16/1 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in the same feature two weeks earlier. It’s the Tingle Creek next weekend but, as I have no desire to take on Un De Sceaux, I will be looking at the Becher Chase and maybe also the John Durkan in this Wednesday’s Big Race Focus trying to find the early value and keep the very good...
Saturday, November 28th
I love the Hennessy, not attending it as there just isn’t enough room at Newbury to cater for the race to enjoy the day properly, but the build up and then when the action ratchets up as they head out onto the final circuit as one by one they drop away. If you are not within a few lengths at the first fence in the home straight (four out) then forget it.
Denman aside, Galway Blaze back in 1985 was probably just about my favourite winner ahead of Strands Of Gold. Hard to believe that there were only eight runners when Ghofar won looking at how competitive the race is these days. It’s been a while since I backed the winner, State Of Play in 2006, so hopefully one of my two ante-post bets that I put up in Big Race Focus over the last couple of weeks can put that right. Next Wednesday’...
Today is the first day of the Hennessy Meeting which is a most competitive card and features a cracking renewal of the Grade 2 staying novice chase plus the exciting Modus has his second start over hurdles. Shaneshill also makes his chase debut at Thurles this afternoon. I will be uploading a preview of Friday’s card later this afternoon and, in case you missed it, I gave my updated view on the Hennessy plus a look at the Fighting Fifth in yesterday’s Big Race Focus.
The seven-runner novice chase I am referring to today which features Un Temps Pour Tout, Value At Risk and Beast Of Burden (all three receive weight from their four rivals), takes place over an extended 2m7f so you might therefore think that should be a better RSA guide than the 2m4f novice chase that takes place at Newbury tomorrow but only Lord Noelie of RSA...
A fair old chunk has been uploaded since 7.00 p.m. last night starting with 8000+ words in Week 2 of the Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post Service where I advised my first bet of the meeting. This morning I have also uploaded four more sets of stats to Trainer Trends (around a dozen more to come in the next week), Carl Redden’s three to follow on the WTA Tour for 2016 including his ante-post advice for the Australian Open for the ladies’ title in January and Alan Potts has given an update on the French imports he has discussed in previous articles.
Having previewed the Hennessy a week ago, my job this afternoon for tomorrow’s Big Race Focus article is to try and find the Fighting Fifth winner or, failing that, the best ante-post bet of any of the other leading races this weekend in Britain and Ireland. And what a...
I’ve just returned home after attending Haydock which was a sea of yellow as usual since Betfair started handing out free scarves entering the course, and they went down well for the first bitter day of the season. I’ll report back on the racing in tomorrow’s Week 2 of the Cheltenham Ante-Post Service.
Of the three head-to-head match ups in the big races on Saturday (on paper at least), I only managed to call Irving to beat Top Notch right with Silviniaco Conti not on his A-game and Brother Tedd outspeeded by a former Champion Hurdler in a steadily-run race but I hope that I convinced some of you to back Dresden at a nice price (returned at 7/1) giving the going places Henry Oliver another good winner and I was surprised that Monksland (5/2) didn’t start favourite to win the beginners’ chase...
In case you missed it, I previewed the Hennessy Gold Cup in Big Race Focus yesterday and this early evening I will be uploading a preview of the best of tomorrow’s action. Andy Richmond has given his latest instalment of Trading Talk in Guest Contributions today looking back at the The Open Meeting at Cheltenham for future clues, Adam Hewson has given the latest of his political betting blogs in Sport discussing the best value for the Republican race in the New Hampshire Primary and Mike Henderson will be previewing the weekend darts event covered on Sky in Glasgow which will be uploaded on Friday.
Most years I attend the Horserace Writers’ And Photographers’ Association annual awards at the Lancaster Gate Hotel in London and, being a member, I am eligible to vote in most of the categories....
I turned 46 yesterday. I know, I know, I don’t look it. Phenomenal isn’t it? Anyway, after the mad rush of just about getting the Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post Week 1 copy out on time, I can now have a little bit of a celebration today and will be cracking open the Ginger Joe later after taking a look at the weekend racing for tomorrow’s Big Race Focus copy which is part of the All-Inclusive Service and is uploaded at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday where I first suggested Annacotty as a bet when he was 16/1.
As for that first Cheltenham Ante-Post copy, I had a little editing problem after it went live I need to get sorted so just to say that in case you didn’t pick it up, the Hilly Way Chase takes place in December and not January and Thistlecrack ended the season the highest British trained novice hurdler and not just...
Sunday, November 15th
A terrific start for the weekly Big Race Focus feature since the official launch (though we were also in profit in the three editorials of live testing) which forms part of the All-Inclusive Service with Annacotty winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup at 12/1 having been advised at 16/1 on Wednesday. I am not sure yet which race or races I will feature in this week’s Big Race Focus at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday as much will depend on how the races look like shaping up but, with Vautour likely to frighten off opposition in the Amlin 1965 Chase, it looks like being between the Betfair Chase, Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle or Coral Hurdle. I’ll be at Haydock next Saturday so if you’re attending please give me a shout.
A reminder that the first Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post copy will be uploaded at...
With too much action to cover in one day I have split the weekend preview into two so Sunday’s racing analysis will be uploaded late afternoon today. Ross Miles’s NFL Week 9 advice is now uploaded as is Cameron Stansfield’s Paddock Notes from an interesting card at Bangor on Wednesday and Mike Henderson continues with his coverage of the Grand Slam of Darts and has two advices for tonight's quarter finals. Carl Redden's preview of the ATP Tour Finals from the O2 which start tomorrow will be uploaded later today.
More Of That and Shantou Village were the stars of the show on Day 1. I will go into more detail about their performances in Week 1 of Cheltenham Ante-Post on Monday at 7.00 p.m. but I hope I convinced you to have a few quid on Shantou Village who bolted up at 9/2 in the Grade 2...
Today is the official start of both The Jumps Season Service and the All-Inclusive Service. Up until this point all the content has been live testing so has been extra free copy for those who subscribed early which I hope you have benefitted from, but now we start properly with my preview of the first day of the Cheltenham three-day Open Meeting which will be uploaded late afternoon in Race Previews. I have already given my early views on the Paddy Power Gold Cup in Big Race Focus. Andy Richmond’s second article in his weekly Trading Talk feature is now available to read in Guest Contributions and Mike Henderson will be continuing with daily darts previews this week in Sport. The weekend preview will be uploaded on Friday late afternoon and the first proper...
I’m back from my week away and we officially start on Thursday so a few timings.
I stated last week that my early views on the Paddy Power Gold Cup will be posted today but that will now be posted at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday. In fact, having given it some thought, the Big Race Focus feature look ahead at the feature race of the weekend will be posted at that time and date throughout the jumps season rather than on Tuesdays as that gives me more time to study the race and weights as I will be tied up writing the lengthy Cheltenham Ante-Post copy every Monday and I would rather not rush it to get it out the next day lunchtime.
The first of the Race Previews will be uploaded on Thursday late afternoon/early evening taking a look at Day 1 (Friday) of the...
I am off to Malta early tomorrow morning for my annual early November trip of mainly bamboozling the locals with raising under the gun with 5-2 off suit, so this is likely to be my last blog until Tuesday, November 10th ahead of when we officially launch two days later when I preview Day 1 of The Open Meeting at Cheltenham in ‘Race Previews’. However, I will be checking and replying to emails daily. If you've never been to Malta before they have a drink out there called kinnie which is a bittersweet alternative to coke - don't buy it. It's an acquired taste shall we say! The national dish of fenek (rabbit with garlic and rich tomato sauce), now that's an altogether different matter.
On that Tuesday (the 10th) I will be giving my early views on the Paddy Power Gold Cup in ‘Big Race Focus’....
Before I take a look at the best of the weekend racing, a note to say that I have uploaded the latest bi-weekly Cheltenham Ante-Post catch up this morning, Alan Potts gives an interesting French import running at Ascot tomorrow in Guest Contributions and five more trainers were added to Trainer Trends yesterday evening. Mike Henderson will be posting his daily thoughts on the European Darts Championship on Saturday and Sunday, Ross Miles’ Week 8 NFL preview will be going up on Saturday and also look out for the first of Paul Ferguson’s Novice Notebook monthly copy that will be uploaded this weekend.
It was disappointing not to see Irish Cavalier’s name amongst the decs for the Charlie Hall as this is the race that his stable have said since his Newton Abbot win was the next plan. I will be interested to hear why not. Maybe...
I am pleased to say that the tablet and mobile formats are now both set up which should make it easier to navigate around the website via those platforms. There will be a few more tinkerings on all three platforms before we officially start on November 12th. You will notice, for example, that the subscription based copy (not the public areas such as this blog) is now black and white text so the blue doesn't drain your colour printer ink! I know some of you like to file hard copy. If it is still coming up white in blue in those areas, click on Control and F5 at the same time. You will also now notice a Login on the Home Page rather than scrolling down to the individual links.
Over the last day or so I have posted my early thoughts on the Charlie Hall Chase in Big Race Focus and Andy Richmond...
Well done to Carl Redden who, after hitting the crossbar more than once with beaten finalists in recent weeks, advised David Ferrer to win ATP Vienna at 5/1. Carl will return with the end-of-season World Tour Finals at the O2. Before then, Mike Henderson will be covering the European Darts Championship that starts on Friday looking to build on his superb record of 9/10 winning bets in the head to heads at the World Grand Prix.
You will notice another item has crept in on the menu called 'Trainer Trends' as part of the All-Inclusive Service. So far it has stats for seven jumps trainers but I will be adding to it as the season progresses so we will have around 25 trainers by the end of November where I highlight in what specific areas and racecourses we should respect and beware. The idea being...
After an enjoyable couple of days racing at Cheltenham it will be a case of watching Aintree from home today where the focal point of a competitive card is the Grade 2 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase at 3.30. The full weekend race previews for the Jumps Season Service and All-Inclusive Service will start at Cheltenham on November 12th but here’s my in-a-nutshell thoughts about each contender:
Wishfull Thinking – Bolted up off the same mark in last year’s race and Hobbs surely must know that this race and the Peterborough (which he also won last year) are his only two realistic chances of a victory this season so he should have him ready, it’s just whether now being a 12-year-old has withered his powers and can he really be in as good order as he was on this day last season?
Rajdhani Express – Appeared to be...
I’m at Cheltenham for both days and setting off before Saturday’s decs are released so it is highly unlikely that I will be able to give a few views on tomorrow’s action but given the stat I wrote in yesterday’s blog about David Pipe’s record with handicappers moving up from 2m4f to 3m, then Willem is quite interesting today at a double-figure price especially as it’s a Pertemps Qualifier. The downside argument is that this qualifier has not been one Pipe has targeted since it was moved from the December Meeting six years ago even though it was their chosen route to qualify Buena Vista in both seasons he won the final (beaten out of sight both times) and Saint John Henry looks their number one hope today. If you missed that line here it is again: “Another angle to look at is when he (Pipe) raises...
The second of the Horses to Follow won yesterday at Newmarket when Mootaharer strode away in the final furlong to win by 4½l. The first, Aleator, was runner-up last week at 11/2. As for the well-supported Mootaharer, there was some Evens floating about the night before (SP of 4/7) and he earned a 25/1 with Paddy Power for the 2000 Guineas. A half-brother to Muhaarar he may be, but he looks like he will appreciate a mile next season on this evidence and he reminds me of Estidkhaar who won the Superlative and Champagne Stakes last year. He might want some cut underfoot to be at his best though looking at his action.
They race at Carlisle today which gives me a link to the new Trainer Trends part of the website which will go live next week as part of the All-...
Ahead of their Showcase Meeting that starts on Friday, Cheltenham have announced four significant changes to the Festival. I will wait until the Cheltenham Ante-Post copy goes live on November 16 before I go into those in detail but here’s a quick summary:
Cross Country Chase changes from a handicap to a conditions event - Tick
Horses must finish in the first six in a qualifier (was first eight) to be eligible for the Pertemps Final - Double Tick
The new Trull House Stud Novices’ Hurdle for mares has been registered as the Dawn Run Novices’ Hurdle - Tick (except I would prefer it to be called the Dawn Run Novices’ Hurdle with the sponsor name before it, I think she’s deserved it. A big bugbear of mine I’m afraid)
There will be a...
I am delighted to announce that in addition to Alan Potts (French Imports), Paul Ferguson (Novice Note Book starting soon) and Cameron Stansfield (Paddock Reports), that from next week RacingUK pundit Andy Richmond will be supplying weekly content from a trading perspective to appear in ‘Guest Contributions’ as part of the All-Inclusive Service. In addition to expert analysts within the Sport section, I’d say that’s a very strong team.
If you caught ATR early last evening then you were treated to Rich Ricci running through plans for his legion of superstars. This was no ten-minute skip through however as he candidly spoke for as long as 45 minutes. That’s 45 minutes! For someone who likes to take on short-priced favourites it can be a little boring for me seeing his horses all too regularly...
The Champions Day analysis went quite well I think. Solow touched 6/4 which was the priced I listed in my end summary to get involved, Wicklow Brave hit the frame having suggested that at 14/1 he was an each-way bet and my on-the-day each-way alternative to Jack Hobbs (after Ribbons from ten days earlier) of Fascinating Rock won. Journey was good in the Fillies and Mares race but not quite as good as Simple Verse and I hear that Strath Burn finished lame. I will take an interest in the Breeders’ Cup and give a few thoughts about it in the blog but that’s now it as far as I am concerned with the Flat this season, which I thought was the most boring Flat season for many a year.
Moon Racer might well be the Pipe stable star this season and Sky Bet, who sponsor the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, have...
I’ll be uploading my Champions Day thoughts in ‘Race Previews’ by early evening where maybe, just maybe, we might even see the lesser-spotted Gleneagles if it doesn’t rain! What I will be seeing for certain tomorrow, however, is Chas and Dave in the evening. A must annual event for me! Just brilliant musicians and a great night out. New Zealand vs France will have to wait I’m afraid. Ross will be giving his Week 6 NFL preview in ‘Sport’ which will be uploaded on Saturday.
If you have not had a chance to do so then I urge you to check out the Attheraces jumps microsite which I am sure will help whet your appetite a little more for the upcoming action over the next few weeks. Just open the normal Attheraces website and click on Go To The Jumps Microsite. As part of that microsite I have written...
My pre-season Ten To Follow last season went very well as between them they notched up 18 wins from 39 starts giving a level stakes profit of 51 points so the pressure is on a little. Chopping it down from around 25 to 10 was not easy but I’ve gone with the following. It’s a little novice-chase heavy but I wanted to keep back the championship performers ahead of when I start the Cheltenham Ante-Post copy from mid-November onwards.
No horse caught my eye more in the paddock in terms of the combination of wellbeing and physical presence at last season’s Cheltenham Festival than Noel Meade’s Apache Stronghold which is the principal reason for his inclusion. He was no match for the brilliant Vautour in the JLT but confirmed places with Valseur Lido from their Grade 1 clash at...
As we are live testing, this gives me an opportunity to look at things before I officially launch on November 12th and I have had a rejig of 'Sport' and 'Guest Contributions'. From now on any non-horseracing related articles will feature in 'Sport' rather than 'Guest Contributions' and I have already moved previous copy over. 'Guest Contributions' was becoming overloaded with content so this will help to balance copy out more. From now on 'Guest Contributions' will contain only horseracing articles from anyone other than myself. As such, you can read Carl Redden's preview of the ATP Shanghai Masters in 'Sport' which was uploaded this morning.
Later this week I will give a Mid-October update in 'Cheltenham Ante-Post' looking back at the best of the action and news in the first couple of weeks of the month but before then I...
Chepstow’s excellent two-day card continues today and Alan Potts has highlighted a couple of French imports to look out for future reference in ‘Guest Contributions’. Also look out for Ross Miles’s Week 5 NFL preview after two highly profitable weeks.
I am pleased to announce that Paul Ferguson, author of Jumpers To Follow 2015/2016 which I reviewed last week in the blog, will be providing a monthly Novice Notebook feature for us in 'Guest Contributions' this jumps season. Purchasers of his publication down the years will know that this is the area where he concentrates his thoughts. On the subject of jump season publications and book reviews, below is the second of three such books in the series I am covering.
I reviewed the ninth edition of Paul...
Before we get onto the racing, a hat tip to Mike Henderson who has been in sensational form all week at the World Grand Prix Darts and is 8/9 in the individual matches heading into tonight’s final (none shorter than 8/11) plus he advised Michael van Gerwen at 21/10 at the beginning who is a best priced 1/5 to beat Robert Thornton. His thoughts on the final are now in Guest Controubitions where he has an 11/10 fancy. Ross Miles’s NFL Week 5 preview is now in Guest Contributions bidding for third cracking week on the spin. In the Presidents Cup golf, Danny Lee is out of contention to be Top International but if Jordan Spieth wins his singles game then he will be Top USA player which was advised at 9/2.
Can you name the only...
I had to smile when according to The Racing Post this morning Harry Fry was listed in ‘Hot Training Prospects’ underneath a feature on Dan Skelton. Jeez Louise, I thought he was already there! His name may not be next to Rock On Ruby in the record books in the season of 2011/2012 but it was he who looked after his training during his Champion Hurdle winning campaign. Okay, he is not in the very biggest league yet with the likes of Mullins, Nicholls, Henderson, O’Neill, Pipe and Hobbs but he is right at the top of the next list in my view.
Where Fry is going to be particularly strong this season is with his novice chasers as Activial, Jollyallan, Bitofapuzzle, Fletchers Flyer, Jolly’s Cracked It and Thomas Brown in addition to Henryville who got off the mark over fences last week are...
Both of Mike Henderson’s darts advices won last night taking him to 5-5 so far this week for the Grand Prix in Dublin in addition to Michael van Gerwen now being only a best-priced 8/11 having been advised to lift the title at 21/10 at the beginning of the tournament. I would like to think that only Gary Anderson (10/3) can stand in his way with all the other top names eliminated already in a week of shocks so far in this unique double-in format. Jelle Klaasen is third-favourite at 16/1. Mike’s sole advice for tonight’s second batch of Second Round games is now uploaded in ‘Guest Contributions'.
I previewed the Champion Stakes yesterday in ‘Big Race Focus' and have offered an each-way selection against Jack Hobbs at 20/1. My 33/1 ante-post each-way suggestion for the Arc in the first of this...
I was against Golden Horn in the Arc but what a ride from Dettori. The Breeders' Cup hasn't been ruled out and given that the BC Turf has struggled for double-sized fields, it strikes me that if Golden Horn runs then, tactically, this could be perfect for him. Overall it was a pretty good day at Longchamp for the Race Previews section with Goldream and Make Believe being offered as win preferences successful at industry SPs of 15/2 and 9/2 and it was a good start to the Big Race Focus feature with Flintshire suggested e/w at 33/1 two weeks earlier finishing runner-up for the second year running. I will be covering the Champion Stakes tomorrow in the next Big Race Focus attempting to snaffle up the early value.
In Guest Contributions, three of Ross Miles' four handicap spread bets came up trumps in Week 4 of the NFL last night...
It's Arc Day and could be an historic day if Treve can become the first-time winner of Europe's greatest Flat race (sorry Derby fans). I've previewed the Longchamp card in Race Previews and I've chanced a couple against Treve in hope more than expectation. If neither of them can win, I'll be cheering on probably the best filly/mare I have seen, and that is saying something coming from Miesque's biggest fan.
Mike Henderson has previewed the World Grand Prix Darts and Ross Miles bids to follow up his amazing Week 3 selections in the NFL with a proposed yankee this evening in Guest Contributions.
Before all that, Carl Redden's pre-tournament 13/2 advice for the ATP event in Kuala Lumpur, Feliciano Lopez, has made the final this morning where he plays David Ferrer and is now 6/4 to lift the crown giving punters who took...
Before I get into the main thrust of today’s blog which is a review of Paul Ferguson’s excellent Jumpers To Follow book, a few house notices for members.
I will be covering Arc Day in ‘Race Previews’ tomorrow which will be uploaded early evening before I put my feet up and watch England v Australia. Also going up in ‘Guest Contributions’ tomorrow will be Ross Miles’ NFL Week 4 preview (expectations are now sky high Ross after an amazing 91pts profit in your first column last week) and Mike Henderson’s preview of the Grand Prix Darts. Uploaded today is an appraisal of five teams that have gone under the radar from Matt of Football Elite, the first of his monthly columns.
Mark Howard’s One Jump Ahead and John Morris’s Jumping Prospects have been...
As you might expect I am quite a big fan of trainer stats with them being such creatures of habit, and especially over the jumps. As such I am mulling over whether to develop a new menu header for All-Inclusive Service members called ‘Trainer Trends’. If so, it wouldn’t be reams and reams of copy or endless lists of figures, I’ll just be getting directly to the bottom line of where we should respect and beware certain trainers.
For example, The Racing Weekender have a profile on Brian Ellison this week. What I like about the Weekender’s stable tours is that they give ten-year stats as they can prove far more enlightening than the four-year stats that appear in the daily paper. As good a target trainer as Ellison is, looking at his record over jumps over the last ten years, there are some serious warning signs for...
This afternoon I shall be mainly lounging about a spa with herbal tea and fruit and reading Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2015-2016 and I will post a review later in the week in the blog. Suppose I better use the gym whilst I am there. Latest uploads in the last couple of days available to view for All-Inclusive members are a couple of horses in Horses To Follow, my Presidents Cup golf preview in Sport plus French Imports by Alan Potts, a Political Betting article by Adam Hewson and an excerpt from Matt Tombs' new book, The Road To Chetenham, in Guest Contributions.
Tomorrow is the opening entry date for the Martin Wills Writing Awards. The trust commemorates Martin Wills who was an amateur jockey and journalist who died in a fall in 1992 and the awards are now in their 24...
I have to start with a hat tip to Ross Miles who made a quite brilliant start to his weekly NFL analysis in ‘Guest Contributions’ last night nailing a 16/1 winner when Julio Jones copped his advice to score two touchdowns or more at 16/1. In addition, all three of his spread bets came in where he went for a bit of extra value rather than the 10/11 take-your-pick lines advising Denver -9 at 9/5, Pittsburgh -5 at 13/8 and Atlanta -4 at 11/8. In fact, if anyone followed him in on the advised 2pts Trixie (paid 38/1) and the two touchdown advices then they would have made a 91 points profit on the night! Like I wrote in the introduction, I haven't selected any old charlies to provide content for 'Guest Contributions', only carefully chosen people who I trust and are experts in their field knowing their...
It's Cambridgeshire Day. Given I have been manic dealing with all things website related this week I can't say that I have had time to have a look at the race in any depth but, for what it's worth, I think Man Of Harlech is a big price at 25/1 in relation to the favourite, Bronze Angel, given that he is 4lb better off with that rival having been beaten 1 1/2 lengths into second when they met at the St Leger Meeting. Man Of Harlech and Wales tonight would be a nice double for us boyos!
Jumping fans have a good card (or good first three races at least) at Market Rasen to get their teeth stuck into today. The opening juvenile hurdle can often throw up a leading Triumph Hurdle candidate so that race should be worth a watch. I'll also be flicking through the channels tonight in between the Tour Championship Golf Third Round,...
Here we go then! After working on the website over the summer, we finally go live today and a week earlier than I had anticipated. Please take a look around the website and I'd be very interested to hear any thoughts that you have, good or bad, and if anything isn't working as you think it should. I'm sure we'll have a few little glitches but as the subscription elements don't start officially until November 12th, that gives me plenty of time to sort those out.
Although the subscription elements of The Jumps Season Service and The All-Inclusive Service don't officially kick in until November 12th, you can still access content for those services if you have already subscribed as I will be live testing for the next six weeks so will be giving my thoughts in the relevant menu items as part of that, though not to the full...
I'm sure that we would all like to wish Robert Thornton well in his retirement. It was his riding of Shankar as a conditional jockey when I first started to take him seriously and bar one terrible misjudgement in his Racing Post column a few years when having a pop at two highly respected broadcasters, I have nothing but praise for him. In the saddle he made few mistakes especially at Cheltenham where, apart from Ruby Walsh, I think he rode the course better than anyone. All in all he posted 16 victories at the Festival with highlights being Katchit in the Champion Hurdle, Voy Por Ustedes in the Queen Mother and My Way De Solzen in the World Hurdle where he outrode Johnny Murtagh on the runner-up, Golden Cross. My favourite Thornton moment though from a punting perspective was when he fended off Monet's Garden on Voy Por Ustedes...
Willie Mullins doesn't usually like to get his top young prospects out until at least mid November so it was with interest that the likes of Bachasson and Long Dog won at the Galway Festival (and again subsequently) and he also saddled two very impressive winners at the Listowel Festival in Gangster and Augusta Kate. Gangster was having his third run for Mullins and Gigginstown since moving from France last spring but was an odds-on failure at Galway after he won his maiden hurdle but this was much more like it and I particularly like the way that he jumped his hurdles. He looked a bit like Bacchanal, the former World Hurdle winner of Nicky Henderson's.
Augusta Kate impressed me more though winning by 23l on her bumper debut. A daughter of the top class Feathard Lady and owned by Lee Westwood, Alan Shearer and Ant &...
It may be the second day of the Ayr Gold Cup Meeting, where I have done quite well following Richard Fahey in recent seasons, but my main sporting focus today is not on the start of the Rugby World Cup but the opening day of the Solheim Cup, the women's equivalent of the Ryder Cup. USA are odds-on despite fielding 11 of the 12 players who lost heavily two years ago but I am more interested in the Leading Points Scorer markets and I've backed Morgan Pressel at 8/1 for USA who was 4-4 in her last Solheim Cup in Europe. If you thought that the Ryder Cup was becoming less feisty and more of a love-fest, that can't be said to be the same for the women who are desperate to beat each other and makes for terrific viewing. Hard to forget Mallon and Robbins asking Storenstam to re-take her bunker shot after she holed out arguing that she...
I woke up to shock news this morning that Sheikh Obaid is moving all 23 horses he has with Luca Cumani to Roger Varain including the King George winner, Postponed. It was also Cumani that gave him his biggest ever winner when High-Rise won the Derby. No decision has been given as to why of yet and I'll doubt we get one. A serious kick in the teeth for one of the best in the business and even stranger decision with the Arc de Triomphe just over a couple of weeks away for which Postponed is one of the leading opponents to Treve, John Oxx has really struggled since the Aga Khan moved his horses to Dermot Weld. Growing up, Cumani was the the man in my eyes and the stable I elected to follow in the 1980s in my most formative years.
A little bird tells me that Rebecca Curtis has her string arond three weeks more forward than...
I wonder how Peter McNeile is feeling this morning having lost his job as Commercial Manager at Cheltenham Racecourse after suggesting that bookmaker sponsorships weren't as important as other sponsors in light of the Racing Post article that the powers that be are considering banning bookmaker sponsorships unless they pay more from their offshore business? Might be scare tactics more than anything else but an interesting development nonetheless. The Lidl-Eclipse has a nice ring to it.
Good luck to David Casey who has his last ride today before retiring. Some punters like to think that in these circumstances the other jockeys don't put it in the same effort to send them off on a winning note but that really is codswallop as they want to keep the rides for the same owner next time. Okay, Andrew McNamara went out on a high...
Below is copy supplied for the ATR website on September 1st:
With regards to the market for the world’s oldest classic first run in 1776, of the five British Classic races, it has been the Ladbrokes St Leger that has been the most consistent in terms of churning out successful favourites in the last quarter of a century and by some margin with Kingston Hill becoming the thirteenth winner in the last 23 runnings to justifying that support last year. As such, it is therefore no surprise that 29 of the last 33 winners finished in the first three last time out so it makes sense to concentrate on such runners and it is unlikely to be a coincidence that two of the four to fail this statistic were both Godolphin-owned horses with Mutafaweq filling fourth place in the Great Voltigeur and Classic Cliché fifth spot in the Irish Derby...
Overall a pretty good week which started off very well, notably with Latharnach repaying my advice of looking at the 22/1 without the red-hot favourite, Gleneagles, as he pounced late to grab second. The other highlight was Trip To Paris winning the Gold Cup at 12/1 having been the main each-way advice for the race and Illuminate was a fairly confident shout in the Albany Stakes winning at 4/1 but not so good towards the latter end of the week leaving me with a feeling of what might have been, especially as The Grey Gatsby looked all over the winner of the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes but couldn’t get a run until too late after being hemmed in Dettori on the third between 5f out and the furlong. Otherwise I am sure he would have won a minute.
Other winners to...