Clear, concise, comprehensive horseracing analysis and insight from Paul Jones, former author of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide, concentrating on jump racing in addition to the best of the Flat and leading Sports events.
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The Cracksman Conundrum


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 Perhaps it was due to a below-par Irish Champion Stakes and the favourites for the National Stakes and Moyglare being withdrawn on the day, or too many surprise winners of the big races or maybe it was just the weather(!) but it lacked something and it didn’t come across as having a great atmosphere on television unlike for the major Irish jumps festivals. If you had told me beforehand that my two nicest winners over the two days came in the handicaps I would have laughed in your face!

As for the Arc Trials, from a pure, selfish, monetary perspective I hope that Cracksman doesn’t run in the Arc as he looks the main threat to Enable and his absence would enhance the prospects of the recommended ante-post position. As a racing fan though I have very mixed feelings as the day that the best 3yo colt in Europe over 1m4f (or any distance in his case this season) doesn’t partake in the most important, all-aged 1m4f race in Europe with a primary reason being that they won’t have the jockey they want (Dettori will be aboard the favourite), is a very sad day for racing. As for this week's Ante-Post Focus ​,I’m not sure yet what race I’ll cover in this Wednesday’s copy as I can’t see any real edge in the St Leger.

With regards to the sport that we’re covering in the next week, Ciaran Meagher returns tomorrow to preview the third of the four FedEx Cup events, the BMW Championship, in which Dustin Johnson is favourite to defend his title, it’s a big Sunday in the PL with Chelsea v Arsenal and Man Utd v Everton, which will be covered in Premier League Picks on Friday and Andy Richmond will return on Sunday with his NFL Week 2 preview. Week 1 was covered in two parts but it makes sense to keep it altogether so the plan going forward is for his copy to go live on Sunday mornings.

The Champions League starts tomorrow with a couple of cracking games and I gave my pre-tournament view yesterday with four recommendations to keep us going throughout the group stages, though no outright selection as yet. Like last year I’ll wait for the knockout stages as that policy worked well last season with a 5/1 winner. Looking further ahead, the next darts tournament we’re covering is the World Grand Prix in Dublin starting on October 1st.

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