Category Archives: horse racing

Making the grade

We are going to look at the two major races at Sandown this afternoon, both will be significant yardsticks for the season.

The going is Good to Soft and whilst a dry day is forecast, the temperature is not expected to get above 3 Celsius after being below zero overnight. As usual, I will be getting a first-hand course report in time to brief members with my betting plans later this morning.

A further inpection is planned for 10 a.m. but officials are very optimistic that racing will go ahead.

1.45 1m7½f Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)

A cracking novice chase with all five runners capable of winning further races.

Brain Power made a big impression on chase debut at Kempton.

He looks sue to be a big player come the ‘spring festival’ meetings.

Finian’s Oscar is also a top class prospect.

However, he could be vulnerable dropping back to 2 miles against a horse of the class of Brain Power.

On my private tissue I have them provisionally priced as follows:

Brain Power           13/8

Finian’s Oscar        5/2

Capitaine                13/2

North Hill Harvey  7/1

Sceau Royale         12/1


Brain Power

2.55 1m7½f Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Fox Norton sets a very high standard and looks to be still progressing. His reappearance win at Cheltenham was impressive.

The only negative I can find is that he’s possibly better going left-handed. He had to be hard ridden to win at right-handed Punchestown last season, but even so that form is high class.

Of the opposition Sir Valentino looks to be overpriced. Currently around 20/1 with the books. He returned to form on latest start and is expected to run well.

My early tissue:

Fox Norton       4/6

Politologue       11/2

Sir Valentino    13/2

Ar Mad             20/1

San Benedeto  25/1

Charbel             25/1

Fox Norton

Peter Walwyn MBE

The sad news was announced yesterday that Peter Walwyn had died. Like many others I would like to pay tribute to one of the true greats of horse racing. His achievements as a trainer are legendary.

I first met Peter and his wife, known to all as ‘Bonk’ at Newbury many years ago. My first and lasting impression of Peter was of his warmth and passion for racing.

We met and spoke over the ‘phone numerous times over the years and I was always impressed by his knowledge and forward thinking.

Lambourn and racing generally owes this man of his word a huge debt of gratitude in so many areas.

He has laid a foundation for significant advancement in racing welfare and inclusiveness which I hope will be taken forward in his name.

Delightful company and a true gentleman. I will miss him.

Peter Walwyn trained Grundy, ridden by Pat Eddery, just gets the better of Bustino in the King George. An epic battle described as the ‘Race of the century.’


Terrific card at Newbury this afternoon with two graded and two listed races amongst the seven race card. The going is Good to Soft and a dry day is forecast.

Going to look at two races both honouring two greats of National Hunt racing:

12.45 2m7½f Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Black Corton has been in fantastic form, putting up his best performance yet when winning at Cheltenham on latest start. Always previously considered best on good ground that latest win was on testing ground. That victory was his fifth consecutive win, all partnered by Bryony Frost, who is in the saddle today.

Black Corton may well continue to progress.

Fountains Windfall won on his chasing debut at Southwell, where his jumping improved as the race progressed. He was a progressive hurdler last season, and could be even better over fences.

I provisionally price the field as follows:

Black Corton 2/1

Fountains Windfall 9/4

Sir Ivan 5/1

Wait For Me 8/1

Elegant Escape 10/1

Black Corton


1.20 2m6½f Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)

O Maonlai is weighted go close in the race he won last year.

He goes well fresh and this race has been his target.

Arguments can be made for both Bouvreuil and recent Aintree winner On Tour, but both need to prove their effectiveness at this trip.

Currently a general 11/2, which is in keeping with my thinking.


O Maonlai

As I outlined to my select group of members on the weekly review message last Sunday – now the form is now setting down and we have suitable jumping conditions, I will continue to increase turnover levels and look to push the overall profit levels higher. Whilst maintaining a selective value led approach.

Yesterday we were rewarded with a good 12/1 winner at S.P. which followed another decent winner earlier in the week.

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25/1 opener

Three jump meetings for us today from Ascot, Haydock and Huntingdon. The headline race from the four graded races on offer is the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock.

We are concentrating on two races from the Haydock card in this analysis where the going is already reported as Heavy. The Lancashire track has had plenty of rain, with more forecast throughout the day. Any significant deterioration in the ground will be a factor.

Later this morning I will be getting direct course reports from all the tracks before briefing members with my betting plans.

12.10 1m7½f Newton Novices’ Hurdle (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Form of all of these is difficult to evaluate.

Dynamite Dollars looked impressive on latest start, but beat little.

I would be wary of anything at short odds.

A case of sorts can be made for all.

Locally trained Waterlord makes his debut for the McCain yard after a two year absence and is  worth keeping an eye on at big odds. Currently available at around 25/1.

My private tissue at this early stage:

Dynamite Dollars  5/2

Whatmore             4/1

Midnight Shadow 5/1

Gortroe Joe           6/1

Delire D’Estruval  8/1

Waterlord             10/1

Windshear            33/1



3.00 3m1½f Betfair Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)

Well over £100,000 on offer to the winner.

Bristol De Mai returned to form at Wetherby and last season’s course win made a lasting impression.

Outlander also returned from the wilderness when winning on latest start.

Cue Card was beaten by Tea For Two when last completing.

My provisional tissue which is at variance with the generally available early prices:

Bristol De Mai  7/4

Cue Card           7/2

Outlander         7/2

Tea For Two     6/1

20/1 bar


Bristol De Mai

Over the past seven days we have had just the five selective bets producing four winners. Those four include winners at 9/4 and 10/3, the latter being our biggest bet of this week so far. Plus two more successful lays against short priced favourites, the latest being against a heavily backed 8/11 shot.

Added to our 10/1 winner earlier in the month, it has contributed to our profits for the new season and year overall.

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Fine time

Ideal jumping ground at all three of our meetings today from Cheltenham, Uttoxeter and Wetherby plus I will be keeping a watch on Punchestown where the ground will be a little more testing.

Day 2 of the Open meeting from Cheltenham and two races for us to look at this morning.

1.50 3m3½f  (Old) Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

A difficult race to evaluate with many of these having later season targets. The Grand National being the main aim for most.

Doing Fine is the only horse coming into the race of the back of a good recent performance.

Although exposed he is expected to figure. A general 5/1 at present and a couple of firms are going a quarter odds the first three.


Doing Fine


2.25 2m4½f (Old) BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)

 Eighteen declared with over £90,000 going to the winner.

Kylemore Lough and Ballyalton are the two of most interest.

Kylemore Lough is well handicapped, has conditions that suit and has been aimed at this race on his first start for Harry Fry.

Ballyalton also figures on a good handicap mark. He had a prep race over hurdles at Aintree just under three weeks ago and looks sure to go well.

Kylemore Lough is my provisional 6/1 favourite followed by Ballyalton at 8/1.

Best early prices for the pair are 13/2 and 11/1 respectively.

Kylemore Lough

As always I will be getting reports direct from the courses throughout the morning before finalising betting plans and briefing my select group of members at noon today. Membership terms have been updated, see all the latest options and get your free information pack at:





Harri up

Final day of the 2017 flat season plus the jumps campaign continues to develop with interesting cards from Aintree, Wincanton and Kelso.

We are going to look at three races from Wincanton. The going is Soft.

1.15 2m4f Banz Carewear For Kids Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Class 4) (4yo+ 0-120)

Most of these are exposed, the exception being the joint top weght Achille.

Hasn’t been seen on the track since finishing a close up fifth in a competitive race at Ascot.

That was his only start since moving to his present stable from France.

Potentially well handicapped, with conditions to suit.

Venetia Williams’ runners are going well.

Difficult to price, but I’ve provisionally put the 7yo grey in at 3/1. Currently a best priced 5/1.

Wincanton racecourse

1.50 2m5½f Z Hotels Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+)

Wide open race in which The Organist is worth close inspection.

Much better than latest run suggests, as she was badly hampered approaching the last hurdle and was eased.

The Organist

3.35 3m1f Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+ 0-155)

Henllan Harri is expected to go well.

The softer ground will suit and the jockeys claim is a big positive. Odds of 10/1+ look fair.

Henllan Harri


Highlight of this week so far has been the 10/1 winner from our only bet yesterday.   Membership terms have been updated, see all the latest options and get your free information pack at:





Learning day

Good afternoon of racing ahead including three jumps meetings from Wetherby, Ayr and the first card of the season from Ascot. Going to look at three races from Wetherby where the going is Soft with light rain forecast.

1.30 1m7f  Happy 50th Birthday Jayne Forth Novices’ Chase (Class 3) (4yo+)

Born Survivor has point to point experience and shouldn’t lack for fitness on chasing debut. Evens my provisional tissue.

Born Survivor


2.05 2m Mares’ Hurdle (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Soft ground is a concern for favourite La Bague Au Roi.

Lady Buttons worth a look in a race which is very difficult to price. Currently a best priced 8/1.


Lady Buttons


3.15 3m bet365 Charlie Hall Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (5yo+)

A repeat of Coneygree’s last run in the Punchestown Gold Cup would make him very difficult to beat.

Cue Card is the obvious danger.

Bristol De Mai worth a close look. I’m hoping he can get back to his best after disappointing on his last three starts.

Impossible race to price with confidence.



It is another learning day with so many making their seasonal debuts. The form will start to settle soon, making races easier to price more accurately. For the latest membership terms and your free information pack, go to:

Top class weekend

Tremendous day of racing ahead with four turf meetings in Britain from Cheltenham and Kelso over the jumps and two top class flat cards at Doncaster and Newbury. Plus there is a  decent fixture in Ireland from Leopardstown. There will be plenty to take from today and from the Aintree and Wincanton cards tomorrow.

Looking at two races from Cheltenham this afternoon. The going is on the soft side of Good.

3.10 2m  (Old) Randox Health Handicap Chase (Class 2) (4yo+)

Both Some Plan and Le Prezien have course form that makes them fairly handicapped.

With many here making seasonal reappearances it is a difficult race to price.

Both horses mentioned are worth consideration.

Some Plan

4.20 2m4f  (Old) Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices’ Chase (Class 2) (4yo+)

The grey Alcala held every chance when slipping up on the bend to the home straight on latest start.

Two Taffs put up his best performance at Ayr on latest start.

Fitness is not an issue returning from a break.

9/4 joint favs my provisional tissue.



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Five winners from six bets so far this week which included a solid 3/1 winner at Exeter plus another strong and successful lay of a short priced favourite. The sixth consecutive successful lay, prices ranging from 2.6 to 2.1.

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Grey day

Five turf meetings for us today with Champions Day at Ascot being the major attraction with over £4 million in prize money.

Fantastic card at Ascot, but not one that appeals to me from a serious professional backing perspective.

It would be good to see Order Of St George and Harry Angel run to their best and confirm their rightful positions at the head of the two markets. Neither should be inconvenienced by the softer ground conditions.

As a clear sign that the winter season is edging closer we have three jump meetings this afternoon. As has been the case throughout this opening month, plenty of runners making their seasonal or racecourse debuts whilst there is cut in the ground. A lot of yards are much further forward this year.

I am going to briefly look at two races from a very interesting Market Rasen meeting, the only fixture today to report the going as Good.

4.00 Capitaine looks to confirm the good impression he made on chase debut.

I go 6/4  as apposed to the majority of the books who are offering even money this morning


4.35 Ready Token can go well fresh. He is on a fair mark with conditions to suit.

4/1 fav on my private tissue.

Ready Token

Four bets only so far this week and three winners including an impressive 3/1 victory at Carlisle. Terms for the 2017/18 Jumps Campaign are now available at:

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Class to tell?

Quite short today as I have contacts I wish to talk to after they arrive on course. Those discussions may have a bearing on my betting plans for today and will be briefed to members at 1.00.

It is a very good afternoon of racing and I expect a lot can be gleaned from it as we have decent going conditions for our two races of interest.

3.00 Newmarket 7f (Row) Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) (Class 1) (2yo)

Expert Eye was noted on debut and duly confirmed that opinion when winning at Goodwood.

He is a very high class prospect and deserves to be at short odds. 1/2 my tissue.

Expert Eye


3.05 Chepstow 2m3½f totequadpot Novices’ Chase (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)


Finian’s Oscar will be at very short odds to make a successful chasing debut.

However he takes on a worthy opponent in Alcala.

Difficult to price, although I would have them closer together in the market.


Alcala (grey)

Plenty to go at this weekend and I will be looking to build on the two winners from our three bets only so far this week.

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They provide you with a significant discount against the standard rates.

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Ones to watch

Contrasting going reports today with our two featured meetings. Ascot is Good to Soft whilst Fontwell are watering to maintain good ground.

This is a transitional phase of the year as we enter the last full month of the flat and we start to see the higher quality jumpers make their seasonal debuts.

We start with the two Group 3 events at Ascot and then onto the most valuable race at Fontwell this afternoon.

2.25 Ascot 1m4f Gigaset Cumberland Lodge Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo+)

The Galileo bred Waldgeist sets a very high standard on his French and Irish Derby form.

Conditions are fine and he deserves to be at short odds. 10/11 my provisional tissue.


3.00 Ascot 6f John Guest Bengough Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3yo+)

A peak form Blue Point will prove difficult to beat. Disappointed on testing ground at Haydock latest start when he could not quicken in the final stages.

I expect a return to form on today’s surface; good to soft should be fine. 6/4 my provisional tissue.

Blue Point

3.05 Fontwell 2m3f Winner Group Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)

Six of the seven here are making their seasonal debuts. With a few interesting horses who are expected to progress further.

Loverboy is an ex French horse having his first start for Dan Skelton after his move from France last week. Not seen on the track for 2 1/2 years.

I anticipate that both Diable De Sivola and Dashing Oscar will have successful seasons.

Definitely a race to watch for the future.

Dashing Oscar

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