Welcome to the World of Horseracing
Profit for the 2016-17 Jumps Season = £84.38
from wagers on 26 individual selections (4 winners, 6 placed)
Total Staked = £280.00
Friday, 31 January 2014
Thursday, 30 January 2014
Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Tomorrow, Towcester's card is already in doubt with an inspection planned for today at 1pm, and Wincanton is due an inspection at 7:30am tomorrow morning. With rain forecast throughout today, it looks doubtful that either of these meetings will go ahead.
Friday's planned meetings at Catterick and Cheptstow also look doubtful. Chepstow is having an inspection as I write this blog but with the course waterlogged in places and rain forecast for today, Thursday and Friday (when it could be very heavy), it is difficult to see a positive outcome. Catterick on Friday is probably the best chance of jump racing before the weekend.
Saturday see's 3 meetings at Sandown, Ffos Las, and Wetherby and the ground is already heavy at all these tracks and we've yet to have the forecast rainfall.
As such, I'm using my free-time to put together my Cheltenham Festival Bulletin for 2014.
This year's bulletin will have a slightly different format, which has been brought about due to the loss of my statistical records going back to 2002. I'd used the enforced break caused by the Foot & Mouth disease of 2001 which stopped the Cheltenham Festival going ahead to form a natural "line in the sand" for my trend analysis. So, what I'm doing this year is adding a 3rd-part to the Bulletin. Previously, I'd produced a general overview of the Festival and what to look for; then I'd put together a race-by-race assessment of trends and personal notes. This year, the overview will remain but the race-by-race assessments will be briefer. To compensate, I'm introducing a final section "The Essays" which will be a more in-depth look at some of the races in which I think there can be found an advantage for the informed punter.
The Bulletin in 2013 was a 12,000 word document and it is likely that this years Bulletin will be closer to 15,000 words. As such, I'm hoping on improving on last years performance which produced a 12pt return on stakes of 6pts; that a "return-on-investment" of 100%. As per last year, those blog readers who have already donated at least £10 since 30th September 2013 will automatically receive a pdf version of the Bulletin when it's ready.
Sunday, 26 January 2014
I did not have much luck with my recommended wagers. At Cheltenham, TAP NIGHT was disappointing having dropped too far off the pace early on. Being ridden by AP McCoy, I cannot imagine this tactic was planned so it is more likely the horse was playing-up. Even so, the horse made great progress before the 2nd-last and flirted with getting involved, but the effort proved too much. Had he run to the form expected he'd have won this race as he's about 12lb better than this. As expected, Double Ross ran a good race but in my opinion he's not improving he is just very consistent. If he goes up again, and it is likely, then he's going to find life tough. As for Wishful Thinking he bounced back to his best to take this. I've never thought him better than a 160 performer, but he does love Cheltenham and this was his 4th win from 6 starts at this 2m5f trip (he was 2nd on another occasion) and with 4 wins from 6 runs on soft ground, he was always likely to handle the heavy ground. This was an improvement on his run here in the Paddy Power when the ground then was possibly too quick for him.
At Doncaster, NIGHT IN MILAN ran a great race until the final half-mile when he literally ran out of puff. He was taken-on for the lead by Solix and the pace set by that horse was far too fast for the ground which looked more heavy than soft. As such, in my opinion the race collapsed in the final half-mile when the eventual winner The Rainbow Hunter and 2nd-placed Belle Anrai stayed on. Considering that Belle Anrai was easily brushed aside by NIGHT IN MILAN when they met over C&D in December and was only 4lb better off on Saturday, I'm sure that NIGHT IN MILAN would have run a lot better had he not been challenged for the lead by Solix.
Not a great day, but we only lost £16 of the £30 staked as TAP NIGHT secured 3rd place.
Saturday, 25 January 2014
Thursday, 23 January 2014
The methods of Barney Curley are fairly simple.
I think this should be amended to include a sub-clause which state a horse should be fit enough to race to its merit. If a horse is found unfit to race (which has resulted in an exceptionally poor performance) then the stewards may order that (a) the horse is to be banned for life, or (b) the official rating is to remain unchanged.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Monday, 20 January 2014
I do feel a bit robbed tho' as for both races I gave a good plug for the eventual winner. When I assess a race, I very nearly always start writing the blog not knowing what my eventual selection will be, so you can read my thought process. With the GRANDIOSO race, I've always thought this was a good horse if not a world-beater and, as such, one that we can obtain a decent price on when placing a wager. It is never easy when a trainer has a couple of entries in the same race and, as I wrote in the blog, I was finding it difficult to split the pair on ability. I sided with Grandioso as he had the benefit of the 5lb allowance claimed by jockey Harry Derham. Unfortunately, I was wrong and Bury Parade, who had showed he was capable of a +150 performance when btn on just a nose on 31st Jan last year, bounced right back to form on his favorite heavy ground (now 5 wins from 9 starts on soft/heavy, plus that "nose" defeat). Perhaps what I should have done was placed a "saver" wager in the form of a straight forecast on Bury Parade to beat Grandioso, as I could not see any of the others in the race being involved in the finish. The exacta paid £24.00 to a £1 stake, so only a small wager on the forecast would have been enough to turn a profit.
The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock was very exciting. The selection VINTAGE STAR was always up with the pace and took up the lead before 2-out. He looked like moving into a decisive lead on the run-up to the final fence but was unable to do so. As such, after leading over the final fence, he succumbed to the challenge of the winner - whose jockey was in receipt of a 7lb claim and he'd already won the opening race of the meeting - and had nothing left to give. In fact, he almost lost 2nd place on the run-in to Merry King who was staying on strong. The winner Wychwoods Brook was unexposed at this trip, never having run beyond 2m5f and having only won at 2m4f. I did write that he could be the "joker in the pack" but only someone with a crystal ball could have picked him out as a potential winner before the race based on the form book.
So, from the wagers we made a small loss with GRANDIOSO returning £12.44 (after a 15% Rule 4 deduction) for the £15 stake; and VINTAGE STAR returning £12.00. The loss on the day was £5.56.
Even so, readers of the blog should have lumped onto SIRE DE GRUGY who won the Grade 1 Chase later in the afternoon at Ascot. The SP of 5/4 was very generous, and he even went 6/4 at one stage before the off. Old stager Somersby was never a realistic rival as he'd have needed a career-best effort to win and that was never on the cards. Can Sire De Grugy win the Champion Chase? Only if Sprinter Sacre doesn't take part in my view. Sire De Grugy is about 162-163 and that's about 20lb behind Sprinter Sacre at his best. Put it this way, I'd bet on Cue Card to beat Sire De Grugy at levels around Cheltenham in the Champion Chase.
Saturday, 18 January 2014
The graduation chase at 12:55 has only 5 runners, but I've been waiting a long time for FILL THE POWER to return to the track. I reckon his OR129 rating is lenient (he was rated OR135 at one point last season) and the ground and trip should suit him.
The 1:30 has a couple of alert runners in COVERHOLDER and O'FAOLAINS BOY contesting this 2m5f novice chase. Of the pair, I favour O'Faolains Boy as he should improve for his chasing debut, but they both look to have a tough task with the topweight Taquin De Seuil.
The feature race at 3:15 - the class 1 (grade 2) Peter Marsh Handicap Chase over 3m1f has a number of runners from my alert list. KATENKO, VINTAGE STAR, MERRY KING, and SYDNEY PAGET. On heavy ground, this race will be gruelling, and you definitely need a horse that can stay the trip. This is a tricky race to assess. First, I'm discounting Sidney Paget as he's not at his best on heavy and is handicapped to the hilt on OR142. Yes, he's only a 7yo but he's had 9 chase runs now and plenty of opportunity to shine. Next is Merry King who I think is one-paced. The only chase race he's won was the only one he's run in with less than 10 runners (it was a class 4) and while he ran perhaps his best race at Haydock when btn a short-head on similar ground, he'll need to improve on that by 7lb to win this. The Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on 30th November was a gruelling test, one from which the winner Hey Big Spender has not yet recovered (since PU twice). In 2nd that day was Vintage Star and a repeat of that effort should be good enough to win, but will he be capable? He's had a tough race since in the Welsh National when it looked like he didn't stay the trip as he was going like the winner 4-out but had nothing left over the final 3 fences. As an eachway proposition, his odds of 7/1 (Stan James quarter-odds a place) look useful. It is Katenko who is the enigma in this race. Last season, I rated his final run at 162 (RPR163) and that puts him right in the mix for this. Since then, he has had an attack of colic which ruled him out of a Cheltenham Gold Cup attempt last March. However, judged on his effort in the Hennessy Gold Cup on 30th Nov, he is over that. He was running exceptionally well, in a prominent position until falling at the 14th of 21 fences when his jockey asked him to put a short stride in. He was surely none the worse for that as he came out again the following week at Aintree, but I'm not sure what happened that day as a mile out he started to struggle. As such, I feel he still has to prove that he has the ability of last season, as it's one thing to run along with the pack for the first couple of miles, it is quite another to make a move when the chips are down in the final mile. Of the others, there is some support for Night Alliance but I reckon his win in the Tommy Whittle Chase was overrated - he's up 13lb for that and he'll be found out. The one horse with form that may surprise is The Minack who goes well when fresh so coming here off a 700-day break is no concern. If he's still as good as he was he'll be in the mix. Lastly, Wychwoods Brook tackles 3-mile for the first time and he could be the joker in the pack especially with his jockey claiming a 7lb allowance. A tricky race indeed.
I've had BOBCATBILLY on my alert list since he won at Ludlow in early December, but he may have been collared by the handicapper now; so something like Kingcora may be the sort of unexposed improving horse to trump him in the 1:15 over 2m3f.
In the Ascot 3:00 over 2m5f & 110 yards, I will be surprised if Renard can win off OR144. Unfortunately, I only recommended a wager on this horse when he ran at Cheltenham off OR129, and he won his next couple of races off OR127 and OR135 at odds of 7/4 and 7/1 respectively which justified my support of a 2pt wager for that Cheltenham race in December Other alert list runners in this race are BURY PARADE, GRANDIOSO, THEATRICAL STAR and WHAT A WARRIOR. I rate the Nicholls pair of Grandioso and Bury Parade fairly close, altho' Bury Parade has to repair the damage in confidence following his refusal to race LTO. As such, Harry Derham with his 5lb claim swings support to GRANDIOSO as Theatrical Star looks held by the handicapper, as does What A Warrior. Odds of 8/1 about GRANDIOSO look very attractive.
I cannot see SIRE DE GRUGY being beaten, even on heavy ground, by his rivals in this field and odds of 11/8 could seem a gift by 3:45pm.
ROUDOUDOUVILLE ran a great race over hurdles considering he;d been off the track nearly 2-years LTO. As such, I'm expecting a big run from this horse who was rated OR145 as a chaser in December 2011. Running off OR120, he should prove too strong for his 4 rivals in this hurdle race.
It is a very interesting day of racing and the heavy ground could mean a few upsets.
Haydock 3:25 VINTAGE STAR, £5 eachway & £5 win @ 7/1
Ascot 3:00 GRANDIOSO, £5 eachway & £5 win @ 7/1
Friday, 17 January 2014
The weather has not only claimed the meeting at Chepstow today, but it has also claimed my day at the office. Flooding at Balcombe in mid-Sussex has stopped all trains, and the line is closed from Haywards Heath to Gatwick. As such, I'm at home today as I don't fancy a 3-hour journey to London via Littlehampton and Horsham, and probably the same again this evening to get home.
There is therefore just the one jumps meeting today at Musselburgh, and the card looks decent. I have no alert list runners today, so I'll take a look at the racing with a fresh eye. Trainer Sue Smith very rarely sends horses to Musselburgh, only 3 in the past 5 years of which 2 have won and she sends 3 here today with one in the opening race, Twice Lucky. However, Twice Lucky has only won once in 20 starts to I would not be running to take the 7/4 currently on offer, and the 2nd-fav Tears From Heaven (who won this race in 2012) could be the answer.
The Class 3 hurdle at 2:45 over 2-mile sees a couple of in-form trainers join Sue Smith with an entry: Donald McCain has Sud Pacifique, Brian Ellison has Stormy Weather and Discovery Bay, and Sue Smith has Groomed. The fav DISCOVERY BAY ran a cracker when 2nd over C&D to subsequent Ladbroke Hurdle winner Willows Saviour, and I would say that a repeat would be good enough. Also in the race is the useful Sky Khan who won in a canter when last seen on the track in August. The doubt about this one is that his trainer Richard Guest has not had a winner at Musselburgh in the past 5 years from 11 runners. Odds of 2/1 are not great about DISCOVERY BAY so I cannot recommend a wager.
The final race of interest today is the 3:20, a Class 3 handicap chase over 2m4f. This race has a fairly open look about it and, as such, I'd be prepared to oppose the fav Bar De Ligne. The one that catches my eye is the Aneyeforaneye who has been running over 3-mile recently without winning but who won a couple of races over this sort of trip last season and who has slipped to OR125 from OR132 in the process. Odds of 15/2 look very interesting.
No recommended selections today.
Thursday, 16 January 2014
Sunday, 12 January 2014
I'd also placed an eachway double combining Shotgun Paddy with another of my selections on Saturday, Filbert. Unfortunately, he was run out of the places on the run-in and came in 4th. This looked a solid race run at a good pace, and the winning effort from Desert Cry was a career-best from this horse. Filbert hit the 2nd-last and that probably cost him 3rd place, and he'll probably do a lot better over 2m4f as will the runner-up Grey Gold. The 3rd placed Elenika is a lot better than this yet has only won once from 18 chase starts. This gelding ran his best form in the Spring of 2013, so perhaps he'll improve with the sun on his back in March-April.
I really thought my day was going well when FREE WORLD was allowed to start at 8/1 and then quickly moved into a 5-length lead a mile out jumping superbly and being given a very gentle ride by the 7lb claimer Miss Brooke (daughter of the trainer?). With all the rest under the cosh 4-out, I thought FREE WORLD was going to romp home an easy winner. Unfortunately, his rider allowed the eventual winner Chicklemix (who won at Towcester LTO over a similar trip) to come upsides approaching the final fence whereupon FREE WORLD made his only jumping error. The rider of Chicklemix had been hard at work for much of the final half-mile and was able to keep the momentum going to the line, whereas FREE WORLD probably could have done with a reminder before the final fence which could have meant a better jump.
Finally, it was a poor effort from Buddy Bolero at Kempton. The old-stager Planet Of Sound galloped them all into the ground and probably repeated his effort when 3rd here at Kempton in the Racing Plus Chase in February 2012 (nearly 2 years ago). I hope the handicapper isn't too hard on the 12yo as, in this sort of form, he could be capable of running into a place in the handicap chase on the opening day at the Cheltenham Festival; a race he was 11th in last year.
Overall, a profit of £26.25 on the day to recommended stakes.
Saturday, 11 January 2014
FILBERT has been on my alert list for some time and his win LTO confirmed the promise he'd shown earlier in his career. He runs at Wetherby in the 2:15 over 2-mile and while I'd prefer to see him running over a slightly longer trip, he looks well-in here. Of the others, the only one that I fear is Grey Gold who has run a couple of great races without winning and is a lot better than his OR138 rating but who looks like he needs heavy ground to show his best form. I think FILBERT will enjoy what should be a good pace, and have the speed and stamina to pick off the leader on the run-in as he did LTO. Odds of 13/2 with BetVictor are very generous, and 6/1 is generally available. I thought he'd by 4/1 for this, maybe shorter, as he's unexposed and there are question-marks over the trip or ground about the others.
Later at Wetherby, in the 3:25, we have an old horse-to-follow of mine a few seasons ago, FREE WORLD. This horse won LTO and trainer Lady Susan Brooke seems to have found his key. Rated OR153 at his peak with Paul Nicholls, he races off OR105 today having won off OR100 LTO. His form last season suggests that he should be capable of running to 120+ and I am surprised he's not the fav for this race. The actual fav Ravens Brook was left in the lead 4-out when he won LTO, and it is impossible to know how good he is, but I don't think he has the ability to beat FREE WORLD. Just compare the disparity of their speed ratings, and FREE WORLD has the highest speed rating in the race. Odds of 5/1 with BetVictor and Bet365 look very generous and I would even wager on this horse at under 3/1.
At Warwick, both AL ALFA and DOLATULO are on my alert list in the 1:55. Of the pair, I consider AL ALFA to hold the better chance, and he ran a great race LTO when 4th at Cheltenham. It is a big drop in trip today for him and he's only ever once before raced over 2-mile, and never before as a chaser, so it is an unknown. But, he could well outstay them all if trying to make-all.
The Betfred Classic Chase over 3m5f at Warwick at 3:35 looks wide-open. If the trip were under 3m1f then I'd have no hesitation about selecting LOCH BA, but this trip could well find him out. I do not think the form of Boyfromnowhere is good enough to take this, and I am more interested in SHOTGUN PADDY who is in tip-top form and will enjoy the ground and the trip today. At 17/2 with BetVictor, Stan James and Coral, he looks great eachway value.
Kempton has a tremendous 8-race card. I think Captain Chris will have to be at his best to win the 2:10 and at just 2/1 he's not value as he may not be able to repeat his best form of last season. Blog favourite FOXCUB runs in the 2:40 and it is a significant step-up in class. As such, he's 28/1 but, even so, I'm expecting a good run from the horse. Pity there is not 16 runners as I think he'll find a few too good for him. The 3:15 looks a good handicap chase. After winning LTO, I put Good Order on my alert list but this 3-mile trip may be too far for him. As such BUDDY BOLERO who is also on my alert list looks good value at 4/1. A repeat of his form when 2nd to Vintage Star at Carlisle should be good enough to beat Relax.
Kempton 3:15 BUDDY BOLERO, £10 win @ 4/1 (available generally)
Wetherby 2:15 FILBERT, £5 eachway @ 13/2 (available generally)
Wetherby 3:25 FREE WORLD, £10 win @ 5/1 (available generally)
Warwick 3:35 SHOTGUN PADDY, £5 eachway @ 17/2 with BetVictor, Stan James and Coral
Total staked = £40
All the best from Wayward Lad
Friday, 10 January 2014
Thursday, 9 January 2014
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Monday, 6 January 2014
The period from Boxing Day to Valentine's Day is when 95% of all winners at the coming Cheltenham Festival in March will have their final preparatory race. As most winners at the Festival will also have won their latest race, it is imperative that form study starts now. Buy the Weekender of a Wednesday, and make note of the race winners especially those aimed at the Festival. I am not as big an antepost punter as I used to be as trainers are more likely to give their horses multiple entries now that the Festival is over 4 days and with some races overlapping. Even so, you may be able to find an opportunity.
There is no jump racing today and, with the awful wet weather, I am not hopeful of any kind of jump racing in the next few days. So don't squander valuable funds chasing winners on the all-weather, study the form and make preparation.
With the enforced break due to the weather, I've been reviewing my SIPP (see blog Pension Builder) which had a good 2013 - although it was near impossible to have a bad 2013 on the stock market. I'd be glad if any readers to a look at that blog, which I contribute to from time to time, and made a comment or suggestion. Those who enjoy a wager are more likely to seek to have greater control of their own destiny, and control of your pension scheme is vital for your finances.
Many thanks to those who have contributed to my poll regarding a Cheltenham Festival Bulletin, if you have not done so yet there is still time.
All the best from Wayward Lad.
Friday, 3 January 2014
The success of SILVINIACO CONTI over CUE CARD in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day will likely lead to the latter returning to the Cheltenham Festival to endeavour to repeat his success in the Ryanair Chase rather than attempt the Gold Cup. It was easily a career-best effort from the winner and, had he repeated that in last years Gold Cup (he fell 3-out with a rare jumping error) then I think he'd have taken some beating. For me, CUE CARD is one of the bravest chasers going. Although he has improved a few pounds since winning the Ryanair Chase last March, he has possibly reached his ceiling at about 174-176. That puts him well clear of his potential rivals in the Ryanair Chase, but leaves him about 5-7lb short of the level required to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Hopefully, connections will take the easier target and aim for the Ryanair and current odds of 3/1 look hugely generous given the superiority he holds over his potential rivals.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup market was also given a vigorous shake-up not only due to the result of the KGVI Chase but by the victory of BOBS WORTH in the Lexue Chase in Ireland on 28th December. By my reckoning (and also Racing Post Ratings), this performance was perhaps 10-12lb below that of SILVINIACO CONTI. Even so, it was a remarkable come-back for the horse, tho' whether he can find another 12-15lb between now and March is debateable. As such, at the current odds there is only one horse I could possibly wager on for the Gold Cup, and he was also my advised wager last year, and that is SILVINIACO CONTI; currently available at 4/1 with a number of bookies.
William Hill go 3/1 CUE CARD (for the Ryanair) and 4/1 SILVINIACO CONTI (for the Gold Cup) and I'm having a £20 win double on that pair today.
I'm in a bit of a dilemma over production of my annual Cheltenham Bulletin. Normally I start producing my draft document about now, updating statistics from last years festival, and making early suggestions for wagers. But, last year, I lost my laptop and had no back-up of my horseracing files. As such, my statistical research for the previous 12 years has gone as well as "word" versions of my previous bulletins. My aim is always to issue the bulettin as soon as possible after Valentines Day on 14th February, but I do not think I have the time to reproduce the entire bulletin from scratch in the next few weeks. What I currently intend doing is producing a scaled-down version, focusing on some individual races but, before I embark on the exercise, I'd like to verify what the response would be. Last year, I sent out 45 copies of my Cheltenham Bulletin and I'd like to beat that total this year.
I've added a poll to the top-right of the blog page and would be gratetful if you could if you could answer the questions polled. If you are not interested then don't take part as I can then compare the number of site visits to the number of responses top guage the interest.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.