Tag Archives: grand national

National experience

The Aintree going is a big factor again today. The ground on the Mildmay and Hurdle course is Soft whilst it is Heavy on the National course. However, the area has had a dry night and the forecast is for a warm breezy day with temperatures up to 15 Celsius by this afternoon. It is likely to be drying ground which can make the surface unresponsive.

One race to look at this afternoon plus the Grand National.

4.20 3m½f Ryanair Stayers Hurdle (Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle) (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)

 Sam Spinner and Wholestone have little between them on Cheltenham form.

Sam Spinner will be ridden positively and may still progress.

Wholestone looks sure to go well, but doesn’t always find a great deal at the finish.

If L’Ami Serge runs, he has a live chance of following up Thursday’s success.

I have the front of the market as follows:

Sam Spinner  9/4

Wholestone  4/1

L’Ami Serge   4/1

Sam Spinner

Grand National

I will be getting a course report from Aintree at lunchtime before briefing members at 1.00 p.m. By then we should have a better idea how the ground will ride. At present my thoughts on the Grand National are for Gordon Elliott’s Ucello Conti. Has course experience with conditions suitable. Daryl Jacob again takes the ride over the national fences.


Ucello Conti

 Summer campaign

We are now in the final weeks of the main seven month 2017/18 jumps campaign which has yielded a rewarding 35% profit on stakes invested.

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33 Musketeers?

It’s going to be a warm day at Aintree with the temperature predicted to reach around 20 degrees Celsius (68F). The going remains Good and the course has been lightly watered overnight.

Two races analysed:

2.25 Aintree 2m4f Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)

As with the Melling Chase yesterday, I price this somewhat differently to the early books.

Messire Des Obeaux sets the form standard off his third place effort in the opening race at  the Cheltenham Festival. Conditions are suitable.

Brio Conti continues to progress. Comes here after successive victories at Kempton and Doncaster.

Unbeaten in all four career starts the morning favourite is Finian’s Oscar. His most solid piece of form is his win at Hereford three starts ago last December.

My tissue:

Messire Des Obeaux  4/1

Brio Conti  9/2

Finians’s  Oscar 9/2

10/1 bar

Messire Des Obeaux
Messire Des Obeaux on his way to landing the Betfred Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury

4.20 Aintree 3m½f (3m149y) Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)


A difficult race to evaluate with queries about all twelve contenders.

Yanworth was disappointing in the Champion Hurdle and has to prove he stays.

Cole Harden will have conditions to suit, but the cheek-pieces and tongue tie are replaced with a visor.

Supasundae stayed on well to win the Coral Cup at Cheltenham and steps up to 3 miles for the first time.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see a bigger priced winner. Three Musketeers can go well at big odds. Currently 33/1 generally.

4/1 the field my provisional tissue.

Three Musketeers

Good day for us yesterday with a strong bet on 4/1 winner Fox Norton. We have special summer memberships now available that include the rest of this month free. See: http://www.slh.co.uk/summer-special/

Fox to sink Sub?

Two races for us today at Aintree. The going is Good and a dry day with light cloud is forecast.

As with all the big meetings it is worth searching through the special offers. For example some are going quarter odds on the Melling Chase if you fancy one of the longer odds runners.

3.25 Aintree 2m4f (2m3f200y) (Mildmay) JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)

Sub Lieutenant stayed on well in the Ryanair, however I do have doubts concerning that form.

A few of these finished behind Fox Norton in the Queen Mother and although he has to prove he stays, I do expect Fox Norton to confirm that form.

My provisional tissue:

Fox Norton         7/2

God’s Own          5/1

Sub Lieutenant   5/1

10/1 bar

Fox Norton

4.40 Aintree 3m½f (3m149y) Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)

A back to form West Approach would set the standard.

He weakened quickly from two out in the Stayers Hurdle after travelling well. A tongue tie is fitted today.

The Worlds End held every chance when taking a heavy fall two out in the Albert Bartlett.

Constantine Bay was hampered by that fall and can improve.

I price the front of market as follows:

The World End    3/1

West Approach   11/2

Constantine Bay  8/1

10/1 bar

West Approach

Back tomorrow morning for National day.

A saint and a lord…

Today we have the first day of the flat and two relatively modest jump cards as we approach the Aintree meeting next week. We are going to quickly look at two races from Uttoxeter. The going is Good to Soft, sunny spells and showers are forecast.

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3.05 Uttoxeter

2m 4f handicap hurdle and with a few exceptions most of the thirteen runners have been on the go all season.

Saint Cajetan is fairly handicapped in an open race. Drying ground is in his favour, with his 2nd at Wetherby back in October looking a solid piece of form. Brian Hughes is booked, which can only be a plus.

Silverhow and Land League are unexposed and may improve.

Difficult to price, but I have provisionally put Saint Cajetan in as my 5/1 favourite, 9/1 best with plenty of the books this morning.

Saint Cajetan

4.50 Uttoxeter

Lord Bryan expected to figure after putting up an improved performance on latest start.

4/1 my provisional tissue, which is roughly the current price on offer.

Lord Bryan

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Tightly knit

Seven races this afternoon at Wetherby, the first five are all Class 4 events and the final two are classed at 6 and 5 respectively. A marginally better overall standard than the other turf meeting at Fontwell.

The going is Good to Soft at Wetherby where we look at two races containing quite a few handicap chasers who will be familiar to many.

2.50 Wetherby

Negatives concerning all five runners in this tightly knit race, where nothing can be ruled out.

I provisionally price them as follows:

Gin Cobbler 11/4

Roxyfet  11/4

Ever So Much 5/1

Chestnut Ben 5/1

Akula 11/2



3.50 Wetherby

Swing Hard comes into this race in form after a gutsy victory at this track ten days ago. Expect a positive ride.

Attimo is weighted to reverse earlier form with Swing Hard, but broke blood vessels on latest start.

Volt Face latest Towcester form is suspect.

Treat Yourself is well handicapped, but found little for pressure on latest start.

My tissue:

Swing Hard  5/2

Treat Yourself 3/1

Attimo 7/2

Volt Face  7/1

14/1 bar


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Marginal value

We stay at Newbury for the second day of the meeting. The going is Good to Soft (Good in places) and another bright spring day is forecast.

Newbury 2.25

Wide open race in which the veteran Ericht has his ideal conditions.

The 11y.o. looked the winner going to the last at Doncaster on latest start, before weakening on the run-in and just being caught.

That was over 3 miles and this 4f drop in trip will suit him. Currently a general 10/1 which looks about right.



Newbury 4.10

Just the five remain for this 2m novice hurdle.

Top weighted Sir Antony Browne may find conditions on the sharp side.

Most Celebrated found little for pressure on latest start over today’s c&d.

Adrrastos form is suspect.

Beach Bar is a useful flat horses making hurdles debut.

Whin Park needs to improve.

At the prices Most Celebrated is the marginal value at the 2/1 on offer. I go:

Sir Antony Browne  13/8

Most Celebrated  13/8

Adrrastos  6/1

Beach Bar 12/1

Whin Park  33/1


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Howlong test

Start of a fairly decent two-dayer at Newbury. The going is Good to Soft and racegoers can expect a pleasant spring afternoon. One race for us to untangle:

 2.30 Newbury

Howlongisafoot won unchallenged at Stratford last week by an eased down 28 lengths. However he beat out of form opposition there and this race looks much stronger.

There is no doubting that the Chris Gordon yard is in good form with eight winners from the last twelve runners to which Howlongisafoot contributed with that Stratford victory. Clients were on one those eight as part of our three winners from three bets only last weekend.

Private Malone has been a disappointment this season. He has a piece of form from last year which makes him look very well handicapped. Connections will be hoping the first time cheek-pieces bring him back to life.

Midnight Monty is very interesting on his first start for the Tom Lacey yard. Previously with Keith Reveley, he is also a horse that is fairly treated.

Howlongisafoot is a vulnerable favourite, with Midnight Monty being of most interest. Currently the books go 2/1 Howlongisafoot with Midnight Monty in at 5/1. Worth keeping a watch on the market.


Chris Gordon gallopsOur next special membership after Cheltenham is for the Aintree Grand National meeting. Advance booking is just £20 for membership covering the period Saturday 1st to Sunday 9th April. Advance booking rate available this weekend only.

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Grand National preview

The modern day Grand National is very different to the race that was run back in the day.

Modification to the fences and increased prize money have made it a wide open handicap, with the vast majority of runners having some sort of chance.

A brief look at some of the major contenders. I will be analysing the race in greater detail Friday/Saturday when we have a clearer picture.

Last year’s winner Many Clouds is favourite at around 8/1.

He appeared to delight everyone with his latest success at Kelso, where he travelled and jumped well and was visually impressive.  However the form of that Kelso race is suspect.

This year’s renewal looks stronger than the 2015 race and at the current odds Many Clouds is of no value.

Silviniaco Conti returned to form at Ascot when blinkered for the first time following the previously worn cheek-pieces.  A high class horse that is handicapped to win, it is his possible stamina limitations that concern me.

Silviniaco Conti
Silviniaco Conti

The Last Samuri put in a career best run when winning at Doncaster on latest start and could improve again. He looks to have a good mix of speed and stamina and jumps well.

At the 10/1 on offer I would keep him onside.

Holywell and Cause Of Causes were in action at Cheltenham, both horses returning to something near their best.

Cause Of Causes is a thorough stayer who was never nearer than at the finish in last year’s National. At the time of writing he is not sure to get a run as he needs a few above him in the handicap to drop out. If he does take part and his jockey can keep him closer to the leaders he will be staying on at the finish. Around 20/1 is fair.

Holywell was beaten by a very well handicapped horse at Cheltenham and if staying the National trip must go well.

Bishops Road comes from the in-form Kerry Lee stable. He stayed on strongly to win the National trial at Haydock. Soft ground would bring him into the reckoning. Currently best priced 25/1.

Bishops Road
Bishops Road

Back tomorrow morning for a look at the Friday card.

Aintree Special

Before looking at today’s racing, just a brief word regarding the Aintree Special membership.

From just £20 (£22.50 to include bets by text), you will get my work from tomorrow right through to the Sunday after the Grand National.

Highlights from a very profitable Aintree last year were:

Rajdhani Express WON 10/1
Saphir Du Rheu WON 7/4
Whisper WON 7.6

All were straight win bets and as you can see, we cater for the traditional and exchange backers.

There is plenty of detail on my website and you can secure your place now at: http://slh.co.uk/index.php/aintree-spec-2016

Aintree starts on Thursday
Aintree starts on Thursday

Newbury start a good two day meeting and there are two races I want to touch on this afternoon.

In the 3.00, I was impressed by Roycano’s performance when winning at Fakenham last time out. This was the 6 y.o.’s first victory in six starts since his hurdling debut in 2013. Whether he can progress and defy the weight rise remains to be seen. The books go 9/4 favourite, I am 3/1 on my tissue.

In the following race at 3.35, bottom weighed Potter’s Cross had every chance when falling five out on latest start. Of his rivals, I see Viva Steve as the main danger. I rate both as 3/1 chances.

Back tomorrow morning.

Festival Membership

Since we lost the meetings at Lingfield and Ayr earlier in the week, the slight ease in the ground has permitted a full racing programme to go ahead in the past few days.

Today Catterick report their going to be Good to Soft whilst the more exposed Chepstow is again on heavy ground.

Not much inspiration from today’s cards. One race to look at is the 3.25 at Catterick. Irish import Just Georgie was noted as one Sue Smith could progress after two good showings in points.

Ran a decent second behind a long odds-on favourite on Boxing Day at Sedgefield. Will appreciate the better ground and is expected to figure today.

4/1 on my tissue and just a half point above that at present.

Bristol De mai
Bristol De Mai on the gallops

Tomorrow we have Tea For Two and Bristol De Mai  in opposition at Sandown. I will take an in-depth look on tomorrow’s blog post. Going conditions may be affected by the heavy rainfall forecast overnight.

3/1 winner yesterday made it seven winners from the last nine bets. Momentum is building as we head towards the Cheltenham Festival.

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