Monday, 30 August 2010

Blank Holiday Monday

Desperate times. Just about gathered my senses but I did infact wake up just in time to watch the disaster of Mondays bet unfold at Ripon. You know when you wake up and you are greeted by the news that Tony Culhane has replaced Frankie Dettori as the jockey on board that the bet is not going to be landed. Very very frustrating. The fact that Webbow meanwhile ran an abysmal race surely means that horse may well retire come the season end as it has nothing more to give and appears very unlikely now to ever win again.

It was a big hit to lose out betting so big on one horse but it is only the equivalent of losing three times in succession with smaller bets and I have full confidence I correct my latest mini losing streak with another tempting winner come the weekend.

Importantly the weather across the country looks like it will be dry for the forthcoming week which means that most tracks could be riding better than Good come Saturday. This could make the Haydock Sprint Cup a lot more appealing from a betting perspective and also the supporting card.

I would have liked to have gone to Haydock to watch the big stars in action on Saturday but I have another Christening to attend. There is still a chance that I may be able to attend both but I will only be interested in visiting Haydock should I be able to find a horse I believe to be ultra value and with an exceptional chance of winning.

Alive but not far off death

Arrived home in the early hours (typing without spelling badly is proving quite difficult) to find that BET365 have now been worried by my straight forecast bet and reduced their odds on Uphold from 9-2 to just a measily and more accurate 7-2. Meanwhile they have decided to shorten their odds on Webbow from 8-1 down to 7-1. William Hill meanwhile have ended any odds they had available on the market as they appear to be worried about possibly being caught out through lack of research. I am still incredibly hopeful that I have picked out the best two horses for Oddspundit readers and I PRAY TO GOD that I have set up the Straight Forecast! God afterall simply owes me one after reading out his hymns at Sundays Christening!

I doubt very much that i will be compos mentis before 4PM on Monday which will mean I miss the excitement of the Ripon event. Ultimately I may have to watch a recording of the race on Attheraces.com but hopefully my bodily functions start to cycle before the scheduled start of the race and I get to feel the emotions of a quite incredible win or a disastrous choice once more.

Meanwhile I must mention my mate who likes his golf. He backed my recent bet Matt Kuchar for the recent USPGA event this week and he proved successful in a playoff against Martin Laird for the FEDEX Cup tournament. Once again my own personal selection has proven to be one or two tournaments out of date as per usual. This is certainly one thing I am noting for possibly next season as I seem to be very near yet so far away from gigantic wins on the US and Major Tour events. I wanted to concentrate on mainly horse racing for the inception of this blog as I wanted to maintain my discipline but it would appear that regular smallish discipline bets on the subject would be of worthwhile interest come next season when the PGA circuit starts once more.

I am not sure whether it is worth mentioning but on a whim I recently placed a bet on the US to win the RYDER CUP at 2-1. I am not sure as to the value of this bet but there are some impressive talented youngsters coming through on the US tour whch makes me think that 2-1 is far too big in a two horse race. I am not sure if I can be described as mental when I placed the bet but the fact that 7-4 is now the current best price on the USA I feel vindicated about my unpatriotic selection. I have 100 reasons to cheer on the enemy but when there is money on it I simply do not care!

I wish you all the best of luck with any bets you place on Monday!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

BET OF THE YEAR - RIPON BOWELS HANDICAP

Luckily I was otherwise engaged today as I had a Christening to attend which meant I missed out on any likely bets I was interested in placing as I had no time to blog. In any case the only race I had slight interest in on Sunday the favourite ended up winning so I would have been out of pocket.

I am out tonight to continue the celebrations and no doubt I will be in a deep state of ill health tomorrow as it has been a good three weeks without any alcohol. This means I am only 50-50 to be awake by race time and most likely to only get out of bed after it is all over. As it so happens there is only one race that has me interested as a betting prospect on Bank Holiday Monday and that is the very competitive 0-100 Class 2 Ripon Bowels Handicap at 4.10PM.

Very few prices are online at present which is very frustrating as it would have been useful to have some kind of guidance on what could prove to be the best value.

I did a trends/stat check for this race last year and I was so confident in my selection Billy Dane that I bet heavily (came 2nd). In the end every stat and trend flew out the window and the highly promising Wannabe King sluiced home to look ready for Group company next time out. Sadly Wannabe King never progressed but it would be of no coincidence should he prove good enough to win the Warwick Conditions Stakes at 2.45PM a year to the day since he last tasted victory. This however is not a tip as he will have to overcome a very long absence to gain the win.

The Ripon Bowels Handicap itself is a race more often than not suited to front runners drawn in a high stall. Numerous times over the years a horse from the highest two gates has flew home infront. Its no secret though and prices are normally indicative of the type of runner and their starting stall. It is paramount that you are not too far behind turning for home. Wannabe King last year ran an amazing race from Stall 6 as no horse drawn low had ever had a prayer historically when the renewal had consisted of more than a dozen entries. Generally all the renewals before last year where there has been 16+ runners had gone to a horse in one of the highest three stalls. This cements the fact that you are looking for a prominent racer who can take advantage of an easy early position.

There is also a noticeable age trend with only two horses older than four years old gaining the victory in the last ten years. Younger horses ideally hold the edge over their elders because they are obviously less exposed.

The OBVIOUS winning chance has to be Uphold despite his probable favouritism tomorrow. Ridden by Frankie Dettori he no doubt will be well placed from the beginning from his starting gate in Stall 17 and he should prove very difficult to beat as he could easily be a 100+ rated horse next season. Rated only 90 at the moment then a big handicap looks ready for the taking and there is no likelier destination in my book than it going to Uphold on Monday.

The best of the rest is most definitely Webbow who absolutely loves his racing at this time of year and has ALWAYS at least PLACED in any race he has ran in August. He also adores Ripon and has been a close 2nd in this race previously in his career. It is immensely significant also that Kieran Fallon has picked up the ride for this event and the starting stall could not have been kinder in handing him stall 18. My only concern with Webbow is his ability to put his head infront. It has been a long time now since he last won in August 2007 and at the age of eight he is unlikely now to be improving. Although I find it hard to imagine him proving better than Uphold in this contest I REALLY like him to be better than the remainder of the field and take second place.

This makes me deadly keen on a STRAIGHT FORECAST bet which could be deemed a Mug Bet but when the two horses you feel have the best chance are drawn perfectly then it seems pretty daft not to have a reasonable dabble on hopefully being correct in your prediction!

Pundit Selection:

4.10 Ripon - Uphold (9-2 generally but look for anything bigger if you can on Monday)
4.10 Ripon - Uphold / Webbow (Straight Forecast)

I have split £100 between the two bets. £65 on Uphold to win and £35 on The STRAIGHT FORECAST! I have bet now because I am still sober where as if I had of left it until tomorrow I would have been paralytic and probably betting HUNDREDS like a madman! These are abnormally larger bets than normal for me, especially on the 34-1 forecast but this race is there for the taking and I just hope that luck is with me come race time! No doubt I will miss it all and be in bed praying for my life in which case I hope to awake with a fresh grand in my betting account!

Good luck if you are following me!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

No Success Today

My two picks for today proved fruitless as Bonfire Knight could only stay on for a close 2nd in the main handicap of the day at Beverley. Meanwhile my Noble Storm selection in the Bullet Sprint ran far too keenly early on and drifted away close home. Quite possible that he has not trained on since being a three year old but not certain yet so should be reviewed closely next time out.

I have decided to have a little tipple on the Queen's horse at Windsor this evening at 6.10PM. Kingdom Of Fife has looked only moderate in Group company this season but this seems the perfect race for him as it lacks the quality of a regular Group 3 and so he should be seen in a better light. Has form on softish ground from earlier in his career so that should not be an issue. He was third in the race last year at only a 7-2 price and he has done nothing wrong in the last twelve months to suggest he deserves to be ignored at the 9-1 offerings that Betfair bring.

There is no horse in this line up on a par with last years winner Campanologist who has since won at G1 level abroad. This to me suggests that Kingdom Of Fife has a very fair chance of pulling off a result against his six rivals.

Pundit EXTRA Selection:

6.10 - Windsor - Kingdom Of Fife (9-1 on Betfair)

Blog Off Bad Weather!

Due to the treacherous weather suffered in the last week or so my attention to detail regarding current upkeep with the racing form book and racing fixtures is pretty uninformative. Not had a single look at any races since last Saturday as just not understood the point of betting when the ground is like it is. I am however going to endeavour to find at least one or two horses for todays racing that hopefully may appreciate the conditions on offer and be of decent value.

A portion of todays Channel 4 televised racing comes from Beverley this afternoon as they have had some good fortune with the weather where the ground remains "Good". There is a very interesting, but sadly for each way backers, 15 runner Class 2 handicap on the card at 3.00PM over 1m 2f.

The horse that catches my eye in this race comes from an unfashionable stable but on the quality of its form to date would appear to still be well handicapped. Bonfire Knight is the horse in question and still only rated 82 this horse is not far off winning. Is today the day? Well the 5lb claimer Ian Brennan is ready aboard and the horse has been handed a nice starting gate so that he will not have to work hard to get into a decent early position just off the leaders. His recent form when finishing 2nd on both occasions is pretty promising as on the first of those two occasions he was EIGHT lengths behind Rebel Soldier but only gave 6lb to that rival so the form is still very decent as Rebel Soldier went onto Group 3 success at the Goodwood meeting next time. If you take that well handicapped winner out of the equation then Bonfire Knight beat the others quite convincingly in 2nd place yet due to the authority of his defeat his handicap mark was actually REDUCED by 1lb.

Then last time out Bonfire Knight was again second behind Tepmokea. This run was acceptable as the horse had not raced for 49 days prior to the outing and I frequently persist on the IMPORTANCE of a recent run! The fact he had not had one then that second place was a commendable effort and Bonfire Knight was only penalised with a 1lb penalty.

There will be a HUGE amount of pace on offer in this race as several of the field like to lead at a decent gallop so it will be interesting to see how they go about the race. It is highly likely that the Mick Channon trained Aattash will get into the early lead but he will be hassled for it in all likelihood which has me hoping that they go off too quick infront. This could play into the hands of the chasing group which I expect Bonfire Knight will be a part of. Interesting chance.

In the next race we see sprinters take centre stage for the relatively famous Beverley Bullet Sprint (Listed) race at 3.30PM. This is a speed test over 5f but is SIGNIFICANTLY won by horses that are quite adept to running over 6f and even further as it is all uphill! Any horse who only races over 5f has not tended to win this and if that stat holds firm today then 13-2 chance Spin Cycle has not got a prayer.

My own value seeking has pinpointed me in favour of Noble Storm who was a very close fourth place in last years renewal and a 9-4 favourite! He comes here at 10-1 with Bet365 and having had a stop start season with just two runs to date it could be that he is about to strike having had a much needed prep run last time at Nottingham 18 days ago. It is massively important, more so than it is in races over further, that a sprinter has had a run within the last three weeks as I am quite certain that well over 95% of winners in sprints have had a run no more than 21 days ago.

The draw at Beverley also tends to be very significant with highly drawn horses massively favoured in the betting over sprint trips. Noble Storm is drawn in stall 8 here out of 12 runners as Masamah in stall 11 does not start. The added bonus is that there are a couple of slow starters in high gates so he could quite possibly get a very decent early position and make a race of it with Masta Plasta who is likely to blaze a trail from his starting gate in 9.

I might dilute my form reading to look at some of the races on soft ground but for now that is my lot for today! Hopefully the weather does improve soon as I hate betting when the ground is not quick on the flat.

Pundit Selections:

3.00 - Beverley - Bonfire Knight (12-1 on Betfair)

3.30 - Beverley - Noble Storm (10-1 with Bet365)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Tightening The Purse Strings

As the season lengthens on into September anyone and everyone who regularly bets will understand that winners do tend to become less frequent as the ground softens up and horses get tired. I made quite a big mistake last year of not tightening up my betting expenditure after the Ebor meeting and it came at a costly price. Do not get me wrong as there are still some fantastic races left this season but it is twice as hard from my point of view to find winners in September to early November as it is in May to Mid-July. August is usually quite good for me too but this year it has been a little unsatisfactory.

One of the features of late on in the season is the increased focus put on two year olds which are races that never interest me as many progress at different rates and some develop sooner than others meaning it is never quite a level playing field. There are still some fantastic races left that I love to try my hand at like the Ayr Gold Cup and the Haydock Sprint Cup but the reliance on good fortune seems to be quite high in these late season sprints.

Saturday's Goodwood Celebration Mile (Group 2) lacks the quality it deserves once more and Premio Loco will no doubt start a keen favourite for the event. However there is always the possibility that this could be one race too far for this seasons big improver and so it would not shock me one bit if he was to prove not quite upto the task. This in turn would leave many a punter puzzled but in the latter part of the flat season - anything goes!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Changing Lanes - A Monster Gamble

Just came back now to see what the current odds are for the 3.30 at Newton Abbott and it is quite astonishing that SOME bookmakers now go only 4-1 about the chances of Changing Lanes despite being 14-1 still at 11.30am this morning with Ladbrokes. A monstrosity of a gamble appears to have occurred.

I do not think people would have backed it so heavily had they read my blog first that has probably put the jinx on it!

Whether it wins or loses, it would seem I have once again backed the value price!

On second inspection the former favourite has pulled out which does lead to 15 runners to go to post! How much did the bookmakers pay Paul Nicholl's to withdraw his runner? God only knows!

Swapping Codes And Changing Lanes

Sunday see's some relatively decent French Group racing on offer with Stacelita surely likely to try and lead from the front and punish her rivals. The odds are about right on her chance though and I do not really rate any of the opposition at Group 1 level to risk an outsiders bet so I was tempted by trying my arm at Jumps racing for today instead.

My intention therefore today is to provide myself (and you) with the winner of the main race at the Newton Abbot Summer Festival at 3.30PM. The Totesuper7 Handical Hurdle (Class 2) ran over a distance of 2m 6f and conditions likely to be slightly murky with good to soft ground.

The first realisation I had when looking at the form was that a large proportion of these runners would prefer this ground to be pretty fast so should not be at their best given the conditions today. There are only four previous runnings of the race to date according to Racingpost but having looked historically myself this is just a malfunction of Racingpost's (rendered useless and inept) database. Well come on, we pay good money to have information put before us and I find it ridiculous when the "Past Winners" tab is quite often incomplete so you have to go searching yourself for the missing information!

The full historical roll of honour is as follows for those that require it:

2009 WINNER - Raslan - 6yo -125OR
2008 WINNER - Indian Pipe Dream - 6yo - 122OR
2007 WINNER - Sonnyanjoe - 9yo - 119OR
2006 WINNER - Rushneeyriver - 8yo - 118OR
2005 WINNER - Goblet Of Fire - 6yo - 126OR
2004 WINNER - Mr Ed - 6yo - 137OR

Prior to 2004 the race in 2003 was just a Class 3 event with a small field and in previous years to that it was run as a Novice Hurdle so results can be ignored.

So with the full winners list revealed we can instantly notice that no horse younger than 6yo has proven to be successful to date and 5 of 6 winners have had between 118 and 126 Official Ratings (OR).

Only Goblet Of Fire for Paul Nicholls in 2005 has proven good enough to win having had a gap of more than 37 days since his previous run.

Paul Nicholl's runs the favourite for this renewal There's No Panic and with two recent course victories to that ones name it is not difficult to see why the Bookmakers have installed him as their one to beat. I am not so certain he should be with the ground likely to be of some concern. It is also noticeable that a favourite has yet to win this race but at the same time no outsider bigger than 12-1 to date has managed to win either.

My idea of the winner based off this homework is Changing Lanes who will enjoy the cut in the ground. He has been lightly raced this summer with just two starts but both runs have been far more impressive than the hurdle races he ran in before going chasing last year. He looks like his potential cap has not been reached yet and this 2m 6f trip could be his ideal distance in softening ground. Tim Vaughan used to train Changing Lanes until this year and with a move to the J L Flint stable in Bridgend they seem to have established ready improvement from the horse.

Hopefully the improvement is good enough for today.

I would have advised this being an each way selection but the fact remains that only 16 runners at present remain in the field and we all know one more will pull out before the race begins to make the bookmakers another nice wedge. Therefore stick it all on the win and go for broke and hope to make the bookies pay double!

Pundit Selection:

3.30 - Newton Abbott - Changing Lanes (14-1 with Ladbrokes)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Nunthorpe Shocker - The Shrewdie Who Won

A female racegoer was one of the lucky few punters that profited from Sole Power's freak success in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) on Friday afternoon at blistering odds of 100-1. (121-1 on the tote).

This was a horse that I myself had backed in the 2009 Ebor Festival meeting for the Yearling Sales race on Ladies Day along with Midnight Martini. I scooped 1st and 3rd that day and felt very lucky but never ever imagined that Sole Power could progress from his 3rd place there to be a Group 1 winner just 12 months later.

Racegoer Jo Hopkins meanwhile from ironically Nunthorpe Road in York placed a bet on Sole Power to win the big race after doing her form analysis and hearing rumours that the horse "liked soft ground".

Yes Jo is the shrewdest punter of them all but the fact the ground was indeed the quickest it had been over the four days and was indeed Good to Firm is only a small matter we'll ignore as we applaud Jo's £200 win from her £2 stake.

Original Story appeared in the York Press.

Discanti Can Beat His Odds at Ripon

My one additional bet comes from Ripon at 4.10PM in the Ripon Cathedral City of Dales Handicap (Class 2) race. Discanti is an astonishing price quite frankly considering the form he has shown this season. He may well be appropriately handicapped and not have much hidden from the handicapper but crucially he has a Course and Distance (C&D) win to his name which COULD matter for much more. He ran against Gap Princess at York earlier in the season and beat her despite carrying 1lb more in weight. He reopposes here level weights with that rival yet Gap Princess can only be backed at 13-2 whilst Discanti is upwards of 25-1 on Betfair. Considering the Tim Easterby yard had Hamish McGonagall hose up at York this week these are quite astonishing odds from what could prove to be a beneficial draw on this sort of ground. He was flying at the death on his most recent start over 5f at Beverley and a return to 6f at Ripon should see him in good light. Value of the day? Perhaps.

Pundit Extra Selection:

4.10 - Ripon - Discanti (25-1+ on Betfair)

Saturday Preview - Mission Profit

Saturdays best televised racing takes place at Sandown and Chester today but there is also a quality Ripon handicap on later available to ATR viewers. I will discuss my selections in the order that they will appear on our screens today. Good luck to anyone still mad enough to be reading my ridiculous selections! (thats why my friends were calling them on Thursday at York where winners were more sparse than water in a desert).

First up today comes a very impressive line up in the Atalanta Stakes (Listed) race. There are three non-runners but all had little chance of making an impression so we are left with a deadly six to seperate on form and race preparation.

My first acknowledgement was to appreciate the quality of Seta who looks a group horse in waiting. Meanwhile Decorative is a very unexposed sort and looks capable of better than what she has achieved so far on her two starts. She will undoubtedly improve but what is her level? Unsure. However both of these participants have been kept off the course and only one previous winner this decade has won this race having had more than 28 days off from racing. Just to clarify - ONLY 1 in 10 have won having had more than 28 days off. Would that make you want to bet on a horse that is very short odds?

Long Lashes meanwhile has had a recent run and was my initial thinking as to who the winner would be as she proved her Group 3 credentials last year and made a satisfactory reappearance only 22 days ago. The problem with her is that I have niggling doubts about her ability. This may only be a Listed race but it is a tough one and she will still be improving. Her odds are respectable at 5-1 but it has to be a bet on Blue Angel at quite ridiculous 12-1 odds that gets the vote here. Blue Angel can be considered an eye-catcher the way she ran last time at Goodwood over an insufficient 7f test. She was held up from a poor draw and made to wait for her run as she was blocked off in the home straight before finding a gap late on to be a never nearer fourth place. A stiff mile rather than a sharp 7f could be the answer to her getting a result. Richard Hannon states on his website -

"Blue Angel was unlucky not to be placed in the Oak Tree at Goodwood and on that form she must have a chance in the Listed Atlanta Stakes. She had to be switched twice down there and was only beaten a length and a half at the end, finishing best of all."

My concern with Blue Angel is though whether she can turn around previous Ascot form with Chachamaidee who herself looks pretty useful and on an upward curve. Blue Angel had not had a recent run before that lacklustre effort but Chachamaidee was unlucky herself with a terrible start yet still managed to floor all her rivals barring the winner Field Day.

My suspicion is that the biggest value lies with Blue Angel but I consider to be more of a place option and I am only interested in winning so therefore I will take the plunge and hope a sizeable punt on Chachamaidee brings me a result. Trends are in her favour and if she can start on terms and settles well she could be the one to beat.

The next big race of the day comes from Chester in the shape of the Chester Handicap (Listed) race. The ground is dreadingly on the soft side for this renewal and it looks initially like a race I should not honestly get involved in. Emerging Artist however appeals despite a wide birth in stall 10 here. This front runner is quite a specimen and there could be better to come yet as this is only his first season racing. He was brushed aside in a tough Goodwood handicap last month but showed an improved performance at Ascot when taking 2nd in a decent race. Interestingly no winner of this race has come from odds bigger than 7-1 in the last decade so Emerging Artist at 13-2 represents a good thing! Do you honestly believe that? There could be something in it though and what is more revealing about the trends is that only one horse rated as low as 91 has ever won or EVEN made the first three. That means the favourite Jedi rated 91 also has it all to do here. Horses rated 95 have by far a better record and so I am happy to stick with Emerging Artist who is rated 96 and will appreciate the softened ground (grand sire Sadler's Wells).

Next up is the 3.10 at Sandown run as the Sunderlands Handicap and this was the race that I did begin to study the form of for last night before I realised I was too tired to make an assured selection. However the price has collapsed on one horse I was heavily considering - Forte Dei Marmi. This horse won me the Zetland Gold Cup earlier in the season at Redcar but absolutely EVERYTHING was in the horses favour that day. On this occasion he does not have the greatest draw and he will need everything to fall right for what has been stated by connections to be a "bridle horse" in the past. I have also just discovered that Pricewise is the reason for the reduction in value and so I can readily oppose it now at the 9-1 odds.

Not since 2002 has a horse managed to win from a DRAW in Stall 8 or below! Impressive stat. Infact all the winners between 2003-2009 have come from a double figured draw which shows the necessity of getting an early position either in front or cosily tucked in behind horses. These are very important requirements so despite Forte Dei Marmi being a very classy sort there has to be some doubt. It is also worth mentioning that only ONE winner has won this race having had more than a 35 days off the track and that was when it was a Class 3 affair back in 2001. Forte Dei Marmi again would appear to have it all to do based on the two aforementioned stats alone so now he is not a double figured price I will seek my value elsewhere.

I am carefully considering backing topweight Kings Destiny who no doubtedly has a few things going for him. He's come down marginally in the handicap which could make him competitive and he has the use of a double figured starting gate and he ran last time out within the limit I stated earlier. He also has the benefit of an incredibly in form stable which is pounding the winners enclosure lately. My concern though is regarding the ground as the rain has never come. It will be a tip in itself though if the stable keep Kings Destiny in the line up as they are unlikely to risk the horse on ground that may cause injury. If it runs then I envisage it has a great chance at value odds. The pace surrounding this race revolves around how quick Australia Day will take them along. This is likely to be pretty fast as he only has one style of running and that is to bomb it and set a good gallop. Kings Destiny will have to remain prominent to have any sort of chance as he is capable over further and would not want the closers to swamp him late on.

The 3.25PM handicap at Chester has an incredible historical roll of honour. None of the last five winners have been priced shorter than 16-1! There was also a 50-1 winner in 2000. Pretty remarkable indeed. This years renewal is weaker due to four non runners and so only 13 will go to post. It is important punters ignore any television coverage this afternoon that will no doubtedly mention CHESTER DRAW BIAS. Over a 7 1/2 furlong trip the draw bias is infact quite minimal but they would not have you believe it in the media which is why possibly there have been so many big prices win this race.

My idea of the winner here is Side Glance trained by Andrew Balding. There should be an abundance of pace on offer as at least four or five of the line up like to lead so hopefully they can kill each other off and leave it to the held up horses to fight out at the death. Side Glance has form at varying trips but I have a suspicion an incredibly fast run sharp 7f could be perfect. This is only a standard bet as anything can happen at Chester when all said and done but he would be the one that interests me most for the race. The ground should not be an issue as he is a full brother to Advertise who has two wins to his name in softened ground.

I will make a new posting later regarding the non-televised Ripon feature race run at 4.10 if I can work out the likely winner.

Meanwhile....

Pundit Selections:

2.05 - Sandown - Chachamaidee (6-1 various)

2.50 - Chester - Emerging Artist (13-2 Bet365)

3.10 - Sandown - Kings Destiny (24-1 on Betfair)

3.25 - Chester - Side Glance (11-2 Bet365)

Mount Ethos - Finally A Winner!

I thought it was never going to happen and that it was going to be a repeat of Royal Ascot for myself where I would manage to claim no winners. One of my excuses at Royal Ascot though was that it was a favourites meeting and I so rarely get interested in a favourite I had no prayer. However at York there had been a reasonable cross-section of results over the first three days but I still hadn't managed to knock one in.

Then Mount Ethos turned up on the final day in the opening 1m 6f handicap. Thank God! 12-1 earlier on in the day and quite a sizeable bet due to the fact I read my own blog and quite clearly stated "if Mount Athos can continue his upward curve now he tries to overcome this extended trip then I can see no other winner. 12-1 is a great price offered." See even I believe in myself sometimes!

However it was not a straight forward win and my heart missed five beats inside the final furlong as I thought my horse had been struck by lightning. Instead it was Franny Norton's whip that had hit the horse and started to make it run sideways towards the nearside rail. At this point I was imagining it jumping over the rail and running into the crowd.... when my luck is not with me it usually is definitely not with me! Fortunately the horse then straightened up and powered on once more with 100yds left to claim a quite cosy victory despite the short winning distance.

Perfectly timed win but I STILL need another nice one over the weekend to end up in profit somehow for the week. Can it be done?

Find out as I will be reviewing the form some more this morning and posting my Saturday Preview by lunchtime.

Here are the races I expect to be interested in:

2.05 - Sandown - Atalanta Stakes (Listed Race)

2.50 - Chester - Chester Hcp (Listed)

3.10 - Sandown - Sunderlands Hcp (Class 2)

3.25 - Chester - Totescoop6 Hcp (Class 2)

4.10 - Ripon - Ripon Cathedral City of Dales Hcp (Class 2)



Pick some winners and if you match any of mine then double up your stake and pray for a result!!

Friday, 20 August 2010

York Day Four - Back To Basics!

Fresh mind fresh impetus I plan today. Whilst there has been a non stop barrage of rain overnight in Lancashire I have made sure that it has been dry over in York and conditions will be even quicker than yesterday on the Knavesmire today. I do not envisage many hold up horses getting a look in and I am keen to stick with favourable draws with prominently ridden horses if I can - unless something really exceptional catches my eye.

In the opening Melrose Stakes at 1.45PM I have sided with Mount Athos who has been an improver all season and tried his hand in a competitve Goodwood handicap last time when clearly unsuited by the track on the downhill section. Despite this he was still able to run a solid race and finished in fifth to collect some prizemoney for connections. Mouth Athos is being stepped up in trip here but I can only see improvement occurring from it as he is bred quite well for stamina with the Dam being a 12f runner and his Sire Montjeu having collected numerous G1's over the same distance. I did a quick trends check to establish how many runs prior in the season has been the maximum for any recent winner in the last decade and the most I counted was SEVEN. This stat therefore excludes Bay Willow from calculations who has already been tested on EIGHT occasions already this season. It looks a very competitve race but if Mount Athos can continue his upward curve now he tries to overcome this extended trip then I can see no other winner. 12-1 is a great price offered.

The second race on the card is the very competitve Strensall Stakes AT 2.15PM which looks to me like it could very much be a rematch between the favourite Rainbow's Peak and the Tom Tate trained monster Kings Gambit. Jamie Spencer has opted to ride this horse ahead of the relatively classy Distant Memories but this is an obvious choice as it will be nowhere near soft enough for the latter named rival. Rainbow's Peak is a very short price but I honestly feel EVENS is a more accurate reflection of the horses chances in this. He has already readily disposed of Kings Gambit at Ascot on only his second start this season and with a break since he should have improved and developed further. It is no mistake that this horse has an entry in the Champion Stakes and whilst that might be one grade too far at this moment in time there is no reason why he cannot prove he is a Group 3 winner waiting to happen here.

In the City Of York Stakes (Listed) race that follows at 2.50PM I am tempted to side with Palace Moon on ground that is quickening by the hour. He has proved a tough cookie from hefty weights in top handicaps over 6f and 7f and ran St Moritz close at Newmarket despite appearing to have worse ground to contend with and a poor draw. Red Jazz would have appealed but he is an ungeniune sort and three year olds have not cut the mustard in this race over the years with only one proving successful in the last decade. Castles In The Air meanwhile is simply overrated.

In the big race of the day at 3.25PM we see the creme-de-la-creme of sprinters take to the stage for the showcase Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) run over 5f. This speed test could well be a straight fight between Starspangledbanner, Equiano, Fleeting Spirit, Kingsgate Native and Borderlescott. Obviously I've named them all in order to jinx them and make it a surprise result!! Infact my winner comes from that shortlist and the horse I feel should put up a bold bid is Kingsgate Native now that he has had an extra two week break from normal since his last race. Kingsgate Native is a former winner of the race and at 2yo proved to be an exceptional horse. He has not regressed and despite going to stud and failing he reappeared this season and still looked the same calibre of old when winning the Temple Stakes. Seven winners of the Temple stakes have ran in this race over the last decade and two of them have won so in essence it would make the 8-1 that is available a very decent price. Despite the poor draw at Newmarket last time in the July Cup Kingsgate Native still put up an admirable showing despite meeting trouble in running to claim fourth. He definately as the speed and it would appear that five furlongs is his natural preference so I expect him to compete well. Slight issue surrounding the draw here but from historical results it would appear that as long as you are on one side or the other then you have a decent chance.

I will not say I am confident as I cannot be having not had a winner but I am once again hopeful that these four selections will see me straight somehow for the meeting!

Pundit Selections:

1.45 - Mount Athos (12-1 Bet365)

2.15 - Rainbow's Peak (13-8 various)

2.50 - Palace Moon (11-2 Bluesquare)

3.25 - Kingsgate Native (8-1 Bet365)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Despair

Dear oh dear, just got back from my long jaunt over the pennines to York and what an expensive day it was. Doubling up trackside on bets that I had already placed at marginally better odds earlier in the day... only needed one reasonably priced winner and I was home and hosed.

However - Nothing! Not a bean and to confirm the bad luck I have had / bad form I have been in since Tuesday Sariska decided to plant her feet at the start of the Group 1 to rub salt into the wounds.

Despite losing money going through rough patches I am not deterred and I am simply going to revert to my method for Weekend racing. So far this week I have been researching the form and selecting my picks the night before so that I can write up my blog in the morning and then go about my daily business / relax. It has proved fruitless so far and this is not how I would approach the racing at a weekend. On the weekend I wake up bright and early and review the cards to see where the best value prices are and bet and blog accordingly. I suppose a morning fresh mind helps that extra 10% and I am desperate for every edge I can get for the fourth and final day of the Ebor Festival on Friday.

So lets hope you have not lose faith... or if you have lost faith come back on Friday anyway and use my selections as ONES to AVOID!!

Today consisted of three horses priced 20-1 plus so they were always more risky. However the form shown (including Sariska) of my shorter priced selections today was truly absymal. At least I can say I was unlucky on Wednesday with Times Up meeting trouble inrunning... today I have no such excuse - simply DREADFUL!

York Day Three Preview - Where Is The Luck?

Thursday is the third day of the York festival on the Knavesmire and more importantly it is LADIES day and SUNNY!! Even more special for York is that I will be in attendance also. I can be spotted as I will be sweating profusely as I uncontrollably sway backwards and forwards muttering "need a winner, need a winner!"

I am still mortified about the opening race of Day Two when Times Up my big priced fancy had a shocking passage and was barged as he tried to get past a wall of horses. In the end he sneaked through when the leaders had already grabbed three to four lengths on him so for him to only just get touched off by less than two lengths and be fourth is a credit to the horse. The only positive spin on that result was I had actually put a small some on the place to pay for my elaborate win bet. Money back = RESULT!!

I do not have long this morning as I am in charge of taxiing my friends. Keeps me sober at least on the course so that I don't get too excessive with my "topping up" procedure.

I am not going to explain my two year old fancies in the first two races because I never tip on these affairs. However as I know what I plan to bet on in advance I can willingly mention that in the 1.45 DBS Yearling Stakes I am punting on the outsider Diamond Geezah who runs for decent connections in Barry Hills and perhaps has his best form to come now reverting to 6f for the first time. Incidently it could be worth me pointing out that I won this race last year with Midnight Martini at stupid odds... it started my day off exceptionally well! Lightning striking twice though I will be requiring this time around.

The second race on the card is the 2.15PM Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) where again I was fortunate enough last season to be present to watch the exceptional Lady Of The Desert cruise home infront. It was never in doubt last year but on this occasion it looks a more competitive race. I decided to ignore the favourite who carries a penalty for an already Group 2 successs and target Margot Did ridden by Hayley Turner. Short priced horses always win this race so I was not keen on plumping with an unknown outsider. Hooray caught my eye based on form she has showed but bookies are willingly pricing her up at big odds and they do not give anything away for free so perhaps they KNOW she is not good enough!

To the races now that I have bigger fances in and more confidence surrounding. Tiger Reigns in the 2.50PM Addleshaw Goddard Stakes is exceptional value at upto 24-1 on Betfair currently. Grab with both hands is my approach to this. I did a small trends search last night and noticed a couple of interesting aspects regarding the eventual winners of this event. Three and four year olds have a significant advantage due to them not being in the handicappers grip and thus have won 8 of the last 9 renewals. However the three year olds that have been victorious have not won more than once previously in the season (ignoring wins in a maiden). The two well fancied three year olds that line up on this occasion have both won two handicaps already to date in 2010 and therefore in my eyes are more exposed than first appears. Red Ransom and Capponi have both been touted as potential Group class but have not yet been upped to that grade and so it is doubtful as to the reality of those statements by connections. No horse weighted 9st 7lb has won a renewal in the last decade so I am keen to avoid the top weights which basically left me with my selection Tiger Reigns that caught my eye the most at the current prices. His connections always felt that he would make improve with age and he has been relatively lightly raced this season with just four outings which should put him in perfect shape for a test like this. Stall 18 is the only concern but the last three winners have come from double figured draws so not all hope is lost just yet!

In the big race of the day I need look no further than Sariska in the Yorkshire Oaks (Group 1) at 3.25PM. She had her excuses in last years renewal and that they were acceptable as she had come into season and the ground was incredibly fast. Sariska also had the problem of trying to take on an older horse with Group 1 success to her name and this proved too much on the day though she did stay on to challenge. Snow Fairy will have a similar problem this time around as this seasons dual Oaks winner tries to compete with Sariska who achieved the feat last year and arguably against a better quality of opposition. Sariska for me but at 9-4 the bet will not be too large.

At 4.05PM a middle distance Listed affair takes place run over a 1m 4f trip. For this event I am quite sweet on Eldalil trained by Sir Michael Stoute. John Oxx meanwhile has to be respected in this race having won it no less than three times in the last five seasons. He runs the favourite this time but with only two runs previously to his name this may prove to be abit much at this stage of his career. Eldalil is clearly well regarded having been given an Irish Oaks run in which the ground probably catered for his below par performance. Sir Michael Stoute obviously holds this filly in high regard as she proved her quality when runner up at Ascot in the Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2). A repeat of that run is required to win here and there is absolutely no reason at all why it cannot be achieved. 4-1 still represents a good bit of value about her chance.

In the finale we witness the three year old sprinters take to the stage in a very competitive 5f (Class 2) Sprint handicap. I noted that since 2005 this race has become a Class 2 affair and EVERY winner has previously run in the Glorious Goodwood meeting. A very strong statistic and that meeting appears to be the ideal preparation for any likely winner of this race. There are several strong contenders making their appearance here having run at Goodwood on this occasion but it is the outsider amongst them Skylla who I feel has been unfairly ignored in the market and is an incredible 20-1 price. Skylla ran a very strong race against older horses on her debut this season to finish third behind the very speedy Captain Dunne. It was a good piece of form as the two older horses that finished infront were very solid class 2 runners. Captain Dunne has since gone on and been runner up in a Listed race at Chester. Connections took a chance and upped Skylla in trip for her next outing and she was readily dismissed in a very hot 3yo handicap at Newmarket. She most likely went too quick as she tried to lead a massive field and she paid the price in the end. Interestingly last time they put her back in 5f company and held her up on a course that is already quite sharp and tends to ride better for prominently ridden horses. As a result of that she could only muster sixth place but Paul Hanagan is clever enough to make notes about how her rode her that day and make slight adjustments to her inrunning placement to be more competitive on this occasion and put up an improved showing. She still looks quite well treated to me considering she was runner up in a Listed race as a two year old. Clearly capable of a decent run for her new Fahey connections and I envisage something decent here.... HOPEFULLY!!

Pundit Selections:

1.45 - Diamond Geezah (20-1 with Bet365)

2.15 - Margot Did (11-4 various)

2.50 - Tiger Reigns (22-1 on Betfair)

3.25 - Sariska (9-4 Bet365)

4.05 - Eldalil (4-1 various)

4.40 - Skylla (20-1 Skybet)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Times Up Notes

I realised after I went out that I had not wrote any details as to why I felt Times Up was a terrific looking bet in the opener. Hopefully though you have bet blind with the knowledge that he is one of my biggest bets today.

The reason I like Times Up despite him carrying topweight is that he was not shown to good effect last time as the pace of the race was only intermediate and therefore he was unable to catch the leaders. He is very well related and a close relative or the notable Group 1 winning stayer Give Notice so a dawdling pace over 12f was never going to work out well. On this occasion with the big field it looks like there may be several who want to get to the front and that can only help Times Up's chance of being successful.

Jamie Spencer is the jockey in the saddle and plus points regarding this booking is that he is 2 from 3 on the stables older horses in the last five seasons. Also worth noting too that Jamie Spencer has won this race twice in the last nine runnings. Trainer John Dunlop meanwhile boasts a 25% strike rate at York throughout the last five years and he trained the winner Camrose in 2005 who incidently also carried a hefty weight.

Times Up's dam Princess Genista ran in the Oaks and his sire Olden Times was a Group 1 winner over 9f in France when he won the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. This typically stylish colt was great value yesterday evening at 16-1 and still represents some value interest at the current 12-1 price.

Main opposition but not as kindly priced are no doubtedly Satwa Moon and Life And Soul.but I am almost verging on confident that perhaps I have made the correct choice.....

Time will tell on Times Up!

Pundit Recap:

1.45 - Times Up (now 12-1 various, previously advised at 16-1)

York Day Two Preview (Part 2)

The two races remaining that I have an invested interest in is on Day Two are the Lonsdale Cup (Group 2) and the quirky final Fillies' handicap (Class 2) race on the card.

In the Lonsdale Cup at 2.15PM only nine runners go to post which makes it slightly easier to pick a selection that can get close and should not be unlucky inrunning. Horses that have won a Group One previously have often done well in this race under a penalty which suggests that proven class can prove an advantage. However for this renewal there are no such runners and this arguably is a weaker renewal than has been witnessed in the past. Two horses run having been penalised for winning Group 2 races and they are Akmal and Illustrious Blue. The latter runner is perhaps fortunate to be Group 2 winner so the penalty will not be helpful and it is his rival Electrolyser who remains my firm interest for the race now he has had two runs this season to gain fitness. On both his efforts so far this season Electrolyser has put up a solid performance just short of what is require to win. The fact Electrolyser likes to run in front can only be an advantage on a York course that invariably favours horses racing prominently. His likely partner at the head of affairs will be Akmal who has the disadvantage of the 3lb penalty. At the same time Akmal only has an Official rating of 109 where as Electrolyser rates higher with an OR of 114. In a handicap my selection would be 8lb worse off than he is here and that surely gives him an incredible chance of being the BEST horse in the line up! Sizeable bet on this is needed as the two favourites have only proven themselves at Listed level and all previous winners looking back have shown their Group form prior to running here!

The 4.40PM Fillies' Mile Handicap is a Class 2 and arguably one of the easier races of the meeting due to the fact only eight runners go to post. However as usual with three year old handicaps it is likely some horses have still to show their best form and improvement in several may be likely. My concern regarding the favourite Sooraah is that she has regularly been running in her career over similar trips and has been penalised accordingly for her two successes and second place last time out. On all those occasions Sooraah was ridden by the 5lb claimer John Fahy so she always had a useful assistant able to take weight off of her. For this race the exceptional Kieren Fallon takes the mount and whilst he offers experience it means for this race she is up against a much tougher test. I am not certain either that a filly who has been running her career races in low class 4 and 5 company deserves to be such a short 9-4 price when all said and done.

Last seasons winner was Shamwari Lodge and she had shown her form previously in decent company and warranted her 3-1SP. It is also possibly significant that she stepped up in trip for the first time to be victorious and be one step ahead of the handicapper as a result. Maid In Heaven fits the billing as a potential winner in my eyes from a favourable price. She has been successful on half of her career races on turf and was even considered good enough by her trainer to take on older horses at Chester on a track that was unlikely to suit this large filly. She ran quite a decent race in the circumstances in ground not certain to suit and back at York, on much better ground, against her own sex and age group she is a BIGGER price! Madness in my eyes, but I am not complaining. It is good news that she has only had the one turf start at a mile trip as she looks sure to improve over a mile on better ground. All her wins so far in her career have come over shorter trips but on testing tracks like Leicester and Pontefract. Her penultimate effort at Newmarket in July was over a 7f trip and was an expensive handicap. On that day she lacked the pace to challenge the leaders despite proving to be very well backed and a short 9-4 favourite. As I stated previously - this is a lesser race, over possibly a more suitable trip and her price is bigger. Definite VALUE!

Pundit Selections (In Full) For Day Two:

1.45 - Times Up (16-1 with Betfred)

2.15 - Electrolyser (11-2 various)

3.25 - Hillview Boy (13-1 on Betfair)

4.40 - Maid In Heaven (7-1 with Skybet)

That to me looks like an outsiders dream Lucky 15! Best of luck!

York Day Two Preview (Part 1)

York Day Two is upon me and now I am able to bet from my abode I have renewed confidence that I can put the errors of Day One behind me. The most stupid mistake I made for day one was "assuming" the weather would be much worse than it was and placing my bets early on the proviso the ground would be good and good to soft in places, if not worse. There were times being run QUICKER than standard on Day One which suggests there was even perhaps some firm in the ground despite the going description reading good and the goingstick measuring 6.6! I think they were having us on a little there. Its frustrating but I did not have enough time or energy to make accurate judgements yesterday. Day Two though is a different matter and my optimism for a nice winner is verging on simmering which indeed tends to be a good sign from past experience.

The main feature of Day Two is the Ebor handicap. A gruelling test for horses over 1m 6f which interestingly this year sees no three year olds rated high enough to make the cut.

The Ebor race tends to have significant trends that can normally reduce the field dramatically. Highly rated horses for example with an official rating above 102 have never won the race according to my research since at least 1989. I would have to start paying Private Detectives to go back any further but I will assume a winner rated so high is a very seldom occurrence. With the trend noted it enables me to reduce the large field by six runners. Looking back some more I have also made a note that not since 1996 when Clerkenwell won the race has a horse not had its previous run out within 40 days. Clerkenwell even then had run 45 days previously so it can be considered very important to have been prepared well for the race and be totally race fit for the test ahead.

Meanwhile antepost backers of Martyr should be worried as Ladbrokes willingly are offering prices bigger than their rivals at present on the entrant. Never a good sign for punters when they do that on a favourite. I am also not certain myself if Overturn has the pace to win a race over this trip as his best career runs on the flat have come over two miles. He was handed the Northumberland Plate on a very distinctive plate lets just say when last seen on the flat and this will be a totally different experience for him. High stalls though do have a pretty strong recent record in this race however due to the probable fact that everything tends to go off too fast infront and the horses that take their time finish very strongly. Overturn's usual make all style may well falter here and this could well be one race too much for the season.

After discarding the horses that have not run recently and the horses that are too highly rated we are not left with too many runners. As females rarely win the race (despite winning last year) then I will throw out Rosika as a winning possibility too. The horse meanwhile that READILY catches my eye from the few that remain is Hillview Boy who despite being aged six has never previously ran over a trip this far. This is strange as he has often been seen to see out his races quite strongly over 1m 4f and has appeared this season to be ready for a step up where as the trainer has proceeded with keeping the distances short of ideal in a bid to collect place prize money but not pick up any further hefty penalties. This has worked well as the horse has only been raised 5lb in total since picking up a healthy winning prize in a Listed handicap over a testing 1m 4f at Hamilton.

On form I see Hillview Boy bang there and with him having had a small break since his last run of 39 days. That could be a benefit rather than a hindrance as this promises to be a break neck gallop and Hillview Boy will be able to hopefully switch off and come through late past his rivals. I am pretty keen on this so think on when placing your bets! I am not even put off by Ladbrokes at present still offering 11-1 compared to all their rivals who now only go 10-1 about Hillview Boy's chance. Betfair though do offer the best value as 13-1 is available at present.


My selections for the rest of racing will be available tomorrow before racing. I am out and about for awhile but should be back to complete my write up before noon. If you want to get an advanced start and bet early then take my word for it and bet on Times Up in the opening 1m 4f handicap. This horse looks very capable and despite topweight I still think Times Up has an above average chance at very favourable odds. I will explain further in my blog posting tomorrow morning.

Pundit Selections:

1.45 - Times Up (16-1 with Betfred)

3.25 - Hillview Boy (13-1 on Betfair)

Remember I will be posting Part 2 of my preview Wednesday lunchtime.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

York Day One Preview

York Day One features the Juddmonte Stakes which is a Group One of high importance and features a very pleasing selection of high quality pedigrees in action. The chief supporting race on the opening day of the festival is the Great Voltiguer Stakes which is a Group Two for three year olds only.

My early interest comes in the opening race of the meeting where the sprinters are in action over a unique 5 1/2 furlong trip. In form history it gets classified as a five furlong race but the extra 88 yards will no doubt see a swapping of leaders on the approach to the line. Last year saw Barney McGrew prove victorious and he quite often had been "headed" on the approach to the line when running over six furlongs. The drop down to 5f proved right up his street and he turned out to be a decisive winner.

I expect a simlar story for this renewal and my main interests as pointed out yesterday evening are Cheveton and Sir Gerry. Cheveton would ideally want the ground to be soft and I am abit disappointed there has not been more rain in fairness. However I still felt that he was a decent bet at 11-1 and that his odds would shorten come race time. 10-1 is now the best price but he has a 2nd place to his name over 6f at York on good ground in a competitive Class 2 race last season. He comes here 8lb less in the handicap and with half a furlong less to endure. The signals are promising and he could run a decent race.

My other selection Sir Gerry could spring back to form back in handicap company on a suitable track. He was not too far away last time out and he has a good Listed win to his name from earlier in the season when beating Elnawin. He was also runner up behind Triple Aspect at Windsor and a similar run to that here will put him right in amongst the action at the end of the race. He is rated quite highly but a decent claiming jockey has been booked to compensate for that and the 7lb weight allowance that Adam Beschizza is allowed makes Sir Gerry excellent appeal. Lets not forget that Sir Gerry has a Group 2 to his name on this course from his early days and with the ground not being overly quick he has to be heavily considered as a winning chance.

I am not massively keen on anythingelse on Day One in truth and my bets in the Group races are moderate. In the Great Voltigeur Stakes at 2.50PM Midas Touch has been my bet but at the time of writing I notice Ladbrokes go bigger than any other bookmaker so my initial interest has lessened as a result. My other bet has come in the Juddmonte Internation where I feel Byword is a very interesting recruit to the top rank and pulled off a decent performance to win the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on ground that may have well been quick enough for him. He remains okay value at current 10-3 odds as Rip Van Winkle confidence in the market reduces by the hour.

There will be better previews of the racing on offer later in the week as I have no work commitments and will have time to write up my views. Looking forward to tomorrow already - lets hope today brings a winner though!

Pundit Selections:

1.45 - Sir Gerry (16-1 previously advised)
1.45 - Cheveton (11-1 previously advised)

2.50 - Midas Touch (small bet 3-1 Ladbrokes)

3.25 - Byword (10-3 with Bet365)

Monday, 16 August 2010

A Soft York Week Expected

All those concerned with horse racing head to a dampened York this week as the rain looks likely to be a willing participant on the Knavesmire for the Ebor Festival. Bookies generally appear to have priced up races with Good to Firm in mind antepost so there will be some value about I am sure during the course of the week and I am hopeful of claiming one or two rewards over the four days.

My own day trip to the Knavesmire will be on Ladies Day this coming Thursday where I expect to be greeted with the sight of streaky false tans patterned by the rainfall amongst many long and never ending legs. Unlikely that many women will dress for the rain so my own spirits may not be made wet even if my suit jacket is. As usual for a day out at the races I aim to go there with one or two very strong fancies with the remainder in my thoughts as being "good value bets". I begging myself that I find the right mix to make good profits!

Current form was given another boost meanwhile on Sunday when Bounty Box over powered her rivals at Pontefract when coming home a clear 7-1 winner. However I am pretty disgusted with myself that I split my stake between that rival and Queen's Grace who came stone wall last! I should never have gone near it and I put too much emphasis on two year old form when there were distinctive signals suggesting already that the horse had not trained on this year. Mistakes happen though and I am well known for some big errors in judgement on occasion but usually I try in vain to sweep them under the carpet by providing a nice winner. Hopefully you backed Bounty Box and all is forgiven! My other 11-1 Forest Crown bet at Bath came third which was no use to me but it was an interesting run as she was unable to dominate and had to settle in rear before trying to run on late when the favourite and leader had already flown. She will not get raised much for that effort so handicaps and Listed races should remain open to her and she can improve next time when being greeted once again with quick ground from a better draw.

Pretty poor were my golf bets and despite Matt Kuchar looking at one stage like he could be a shock 59-1 winner for myself he eventually wilted under the pressure of being the early tournament leader in rounds one and two. His swing is a bit of a strange one but it held up well in the early tournament stages before the faults shone through at the weekend under pressure. My other suggestion Paul Casey never got to grips with the course and only turned up form wise once Saturday arrived as he made a late dash up the leaderboard to finish in the top 12 just behind Kuchar. The golf bets were not totally outrageous as both came in the top 12 at the end and this could be seen as a competant result but my own personal thinking regarding the golf is that I am not well equipped enough to offer any serious analysis and my bets should be treated with caution.

My experience with my horse racing far outweighs that of my golf and therefore the golf tips should always be minimum stakes. It was just ashame that I never tipped Matt Kuchar to be first round leader as he was a 59-1 shot in that market as well. Now that WOULD have been a nice winning bet!

Tips for York tomorrow will be pretty sparse as I have work commitments and so they will only be revealed once I know what the hell the weather is going to do. All I can say though is that if there is some decent rainfall in the morning then I am ALL OVER Cheveton in the opening 5 1/2 furlong handicap!! Take NOTE and GOOD LUCK with your bets! Expect an update tomorrow at lunchtime.

**Update 9.28PM - In the opener on Tuesday I have placed early bets on Cheveton 11-1 and Sir Gerry 16-1. I will detail my reasons why in my preview post tomorrow. Both decent value at those prices in a competitive race.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sunday Selections (Betting Preview)

Sunday sees the big match between Goldikova and Paco Boy at Deauville this afternoon and for once it would appear as if it IS actually a two horse race. There will be no betting from me as I think Goldikova is in her own league and despite Richard Hughes' prediction that Paco Boy can finally get the better of his biggest rival I am not betting my hard earned on the outcome.

Other than the big event at Deauville there would appear to be two quality Listed races on offer in the UK at Pontefract and Bath. These are the races I will be concentrating on today to try and get a little extra ready in anticipation for York now that my golfer appears to have given up the goose over at Whistling Straits. Matt Kuchar played like the horses I bet on. Led early, led halfway, stumbled, missed gap, lacked pace, held there after. One round to go yet though in that so I will never say never but he needed to start the day at AT LEAST -8 to stand any remote chance of winning still in my view.

At 3.40PM Pontefract hosts the Flying Fillies' Stakes which is a Listed race run over a 6f trip where the emphasis is put on stamina in the gruelling uphill run to the line. It can sometimes be a benefit for a horse to have shown form over further in a previous race. There is no draw bias so that hinders the prospect of cutting down the 14 strong field.

What I have noticed about this Pontefract affair is the regurgitating statistic of horses running badly last time out going on to win this race. Lochridge in 2003 is the only filly to have won this race having ran well on her previous start. From the last nine renewals EVERY winner of this race barring Lochridge has been UNPLACED on their most recent start. Does that make you want to bet on 3-1 hope Beyond Desire? All the main fancied horses in this race have ran well last time out and gone close. Bounty Box is the exception as she was fourth last time and is just 7-1 here. However that can be considered some value as Chester was always likely to be too quick a track for her. Her previous run at York in a Group 3 race when she was staying on late is a better indication of her level of form. Bounty Box has a recent run in her favour and is a very strong possible winning candidate.

The other horse that fits the bill for this race is the unconsidered Queen's Grace who was absurdly ran in a Chester Sprint last time out despite stamina previously being one of her traits. She came plum last but this stiff six furlongs is ideal for her and 20-1 is the BIGGEST value bet I could have expected to see. Hughie Morrison does not train many Listed winners but Queen's Grace won one for him at Newmarket as a two year old when she beat the well regarded Puff quite nicely. She has proven a disappointment this season when stepping up in trip to 7f and obviously ran like she was carrying a suitcase on her back last time out at Chester over an inadequately sharp 6f.

Tough call between the two value bets here. Biggest value on Queen's Grace but biggest chance is most likely Bounty Box! Equal stakes on both perhaps?

Also today the Dick Hern Fillies´ Stakes is ran at 4PM over a mile at Bath and is a competitive Listed event for fillies that have not won a Group 1 or 2 in the last 12 months. Bath is a track known for having exceptionally quick ground due to having no watering system and the uphill climb to the finishing line can make it a decent test of stamina and a good race for galloping horses.

I cannot remove my focus from an interestingly priced filly named Forest Crown for this event. How on earth can she be rated an 11-1 chance? The only negative she has is that she is in the widest gate and will like to race in the lead or very prominently. However she is very capable of pinging the gate as she did at Nottingham to beat some very highly regarded rivals with consummate ease. That performance may have come in a class 4 handicap but it was a Listed quality performance and Forest Crown never needed to be hard ridden. Field Day who was runner up went onto Royal Ascot to win the Valiant Stakes (Listed race) comfortably and the filly that ran in fourth was only a close runner up next time behind First City. First City runs here and is just 5-1 to win and herself has very good chance that some would consider a healthy draw.

The other positives regarding this race is that Jim Crowley remains in the saddle on Forest Crown and the filly returns to fast ground which she did not encounter on her most recent start when sent off an incredibly short priced EVENS favourite. Not only the ground went against her but a gap in her timetable of 45 days would not have helped either. Fillie's need to be kept on the go to show their best form and the 29 day gap she comes here with is much more beneficial.

Please Sing is another rival who holds claims based upon the fact she was runner up in this event last year as a three year old. She comes into this renewal in similar form to last year so her 12-1 odds are a little far fetched and she could interest any place backers out there at the very least though I concentrate myself on the win market.

My only bet in this race will be on the overpriced Forest Crown who looks to have conditions to suit with only a minor negative being the outside stall.

Pundit Selections:

3.40 - Pontefract - Bounty Box (7-1 Various) and Queen's Grace (20-1 Skybet)

4.00 - Bath - Forest Crown (11-1 with Skybet)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Dafeef Steals The Value

Dafeef scored nicely for Ted Durcan and Godolphin in the 3.20 National Stud Stakes at Newmarket this afternoon. Like whacky madmen the public are he was only brought in slightly late on from his original 10-1 odds as confidence behind the favourite Bated Breath slightly dwained on the realisation that soft ground could prove too much.

Dafeef often a strange behaving individual on this occasion acquitted himself well and gave myself a welcome winner as I head into Sundays racing before my assault at York next week.

If I get a winner from that small sporting event currently taking place in the USA then by Monday morning I could be in an ultra confident mood and ready for a hefty charge at the value selections.

I hope some of you followed today with Dafeef and that it gets you ready for Tuesday!

An update will be online tomorrow with my selections for Sunday.

Meanwhile congratulations to Blackpool who pulverised Wigan Athletic on their own ground 4-0. A terrific away win and a perfect example of why betting on football at this stage of the season is a bookie benefit bet!

KEEP AWAY FROM IT!!

Saturday Racing Bets

Saturday see's abit of a weather mix as some courses have escaped the weather better than others but all have been affected in some way for todays action. My interests come from across the board - Newmarket, Doncaster, Newbury and Ripon.

Looking to grab one winner for small/middling profit and two plus for a nice sizeable chunk of wedge for my York trip.

Let the analysis begin.....

First race of the day that has attracted my attention is the 2.30 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Group 3) at Newbury run over a distance of 1m 5f. Classy runners Kite Wood and recent Group 2 scorer Sans Frontieres have 4lb penalties to contend with which makes this a very competitive race and brings in one or two alternative possible results as a result. The horse that attracts my attention is Laaheb ridden by Richard Hills who has a 5/8 strike rate on the horse albeit in a lesser grade. He can often lead but there is a fair amount of likely pace on offer here so I envisage Richard Hills will track the leaders and see how much horse he has left underneath three furlongs from home and push the button. If the horse is as classy as he appears then he could easily be better than the 111 he is currently rated now that he is stepped up in trip. He makes decent appeal at current odds. Remember Kite Wood is carrying a full stone more in weight than last year due to no age allowance and a Group penalty to his name. His short odds need to be studied carefully as I am unaware of any value in them though I could be wrong.

The 3.05 Hungerford Stakes (Group 2) is next up at Newbury and is a race run over the 7f trip. Defectors at the time of writing are Balthazaar's Gift, Palace Moon and Angel's Pursuit which as a result makes this a seven race affair. Pity for each way backers but if you are anything like me - it is only the winning THAT matters! There are a few strange prices knocking about but these do not concern the favourite and I envisage Ouqba back over his favourite 7f trip to prove too good in these conditions. Cat Junior and Finjaan would both prefer quick ground whilst Himalya struggled to get his head infront in handicaps so it would be a brain destroyer for me if he was to prove a winner stepped up into Group class. Golden Stream is another who would appear to enjoy quicker conditions and looking at the last decade of results we are able to see that only Paco Boy has won this race for the three year old age group. That would suggest three year olds have to be world class to win this race and Shakespearean would appear not to be that good according to all known form.

The 3.20 over at Newmarket is guaranteed to be run in soft ground and that will affect the chances again quite possibly of several runners in this 6f Class 2 handicap. The favourite is Bated Breath but all known form has been on quick ground. It is clear he is a well regarded individual by the fact he holds a Sprint Cup (Group 1) entry at Haydock next month. He has been supported into a best price 16-1 shot which is pretty short for a lightly raced three year old running against hardened older opposition. My own personal opinion regarding the favourite is that his three wins have not been against adequate opposition and he still has a fair bit to prove to convince me of his absolute potential. Being topweight in a high class handicap against some better experienced rivals who have raced more recently and might be better suited to conditions makes me keen to swerve him this time around. I could regret it but I will take the chance! Gramercy has improved beyond recognition throughout this season and comes here seeking a hattrick. He does appear to be a possible future Group race contender and will has conditions to suit here which makes him decent appeal to oppose the favourite. However it is Dafeef who I think can benefit most from the soft conditions and prove a fruitful winner at larger odds. He will be able to track the pace and his stamina for seven furlongs could be important in ground he should appreciate over a 6f trip. He already has one scintillating win over Gramercy this season so it is worth a bet to see if that can be repeated against an improved opponent.

Ripon hosts the Great St Wilfred 6f (Class 2) heritage handicap at 3.30 and it is amazing how Yorkshire has somehow escaped the worst of the weather and the ground remains Good in most places on the track. I would not normally contemplate a bet on an older horse but I did it last weekend and he ran well enough for me to be interested again this time around. The horse in question you ask? Fullandby. He was not far away at Haydock when staying on and he has been dropped 1lb by the handicapper as a result and with Dale Swift taking over in the saddle his weight is reduced by a further 5lb. Fullandby will only carry 8st 2lb for this race which makes him ultra competitive as the slightly soft ground will be right up his street. Fullandby was running off a mark of 100 still in June 2009 so just 15 months later he will make his claim off just a mark of 86 (jockey claim included). Might just be another placed run but I have no reason to see why he cannot win. Advanced is another contender that should be suited to how the race will pan out. Goodwood last time out runners have a very decent recent record in this race too so a cover bet on this runner is a worthwhile option.

My intended bet at Doncaster comes in their 4PM Class 2 7f event. Opus Maximus will appreciate this 7f test and looks due to win at a decent price. A cover on the place should save on any losses.


Pundit Selections:

2.30 - Newbury - Laaheb (5-1 with Sportingbet)

3.05 - Newbury - Ouqba (11-4 with Bet365) *Free bet on next TV race if a winner

3.20 - Newmarket - Dafeef (10-1 with Bet365) *See above

3.30 - Ripon - Fullandby (16-1 with various bookmakers)
Danger - Advanced (14-1 with various bookmakers)

4.00 - Opus Maximus (9-1 with Skybet)

Update Delayed

Been out buying some more tropical fish and I have the stresses of Fantasy Football this morning so a betting update will be with you before 1PM. A few friends and I are battling it out for a possible £130 in total this season. BIG MONEY!

I already have some notes on todays racing but would like to complete my analysis before discussing them incase I regret an early posting and spot something better later on.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Weekend Betting Preview

It looks a pretty busy betting weekend of sport with my regular favourite horse racing taking its usual Saturday afternoon slot which will this weekend coincide with the start of the Premier League football season. There is also another sporting event over in the USA at Whistling Straits which I am not going to mention right now as I do not want to think about it until it has finished. (For those of you not understanding this then you will need to read my previous blog posting).

I do not bet on football matches until at least a couple of months have passed unless I find ridiculous value against a team in form. The start of the season is often quite iffy form wise and there are tendencies for irregular upsets all over the show. It can be a minefield to have an accurate opinion regarding any game from my experience.

The horse races I have noted as my betting targets for this weekend are as follows.

SATURDAY

2.30 Newbury - 1m 5f Group 3 (CH4)
3.05 Newbury - 7f Group 3 (CH4)
3.20 Newmarket - 6f Class 2 hcp (CH4)
3.30 Ripon - 6f Class 2 hcp (CH4)
4.00 Doncaster - 6f Class 2 hcp (ATR)

SUNDAY

2.40 Deauville - 1m Group 1 (ATR/RUK)
3.40 Pontefract - 6f Class 2 hcp (RUK)
4.00 Bath - 1m Listed (ATR)


You may wish to get a head start and see if any of your picks match mine before tomorrow lunchtime! As you can see there are quite a number of races with a large percentage of sprints to review. With the weather likely to be very iffy this weekend I will have to be extra careful and may pass up on the chance of betting in some of the above. Hopefully though what I do ultimately bet on has solid value and my reasoning can tempt you into a few thrilling bets.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

No Secrecy Behind My Fancy

The Sovereign Stakes (Group 3) held at Salisbury is the courses annual main event and this years renewal looks better than ever with no less than six rivals rated 110 or above taking part amongst the field. Godolphin have two entries in the race and despite one of their runners Poet's Voice looking well out of his depth it is their other runner Secrecy that has made me intrigued on his first outing for 188 days.

I always prefer my horses that carry my money to have had a recent run but occasionally I can be tempted by a horse that is fresh that will relish it's first run back. Occasionally they can run better than they should and if Secrecy can match his run when a FIVE length winner of a Newmarket handicap in 2009 then he will be tough to beat.

I see the race being a very strong test of stamina as the Salisbury Mile track is uphill and takes some getting. There will be a significant pace likely with Poet's Voice and Sea Lord expected to blaze a trail infront. Sea Lord may well be good enough to maintain his lead but stepping up into Group company for the first time I would expect this to prove much more difficult than the handicaps he has previously succeeded in.

Secrecy will be able to gain a good vantage point near the rail from his nine draw and I see him capable of coming through the gap late on and making his challenge if fully fit.

Hearts Of Fire is a decent animal and clearly this is a step down in grade for the expected race favourite. However at 9/4 he is no value when only one of his runs so far this season would have been good enough to win this event. Dream Eater in my mind is a much more consistent rival and his 11-2 odds are value in my eyes and would make an excellent bet in addition to the main value Secrecy.

The Reverse Forecast makes some appeal.....

Pundit Selections:


4.15 - Salisbury - Secrecy (10-1 with Skybet and Sportingbet)
Plus - Salisbury - Dream Eater (6-1 with Skybet)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

USPGA - My Golf Bets

The USPGA starts on Thursday at Whistling Straits Golf Links built along the shores of Lake Michigan. One of the weird facts about the golf course is that a flock of sheep are left to roam around and help set the scenery for what is supposed to be based upon a British Links course. What are the odds that Tiger Woods hits and kills a sheep with one of his stray drives? Evens I would say!

I cannot begin to even discuss how unfortunate I have been over the last seven days with some of my "well reasoned" but "unplaced" bets. Two words that are causing me personal torture right now are Hunter and Mahan but the more I dwell on it the worse it will get so I shall not digress.

For the USPGA event I was keen to look at strong competitors initially who know what time of day it is. I think youth has the potential to be this years USPGA winner and I was keen to look at someone who was well placed in the current rankings and who had shown some strong form already this season.

Driving distance and accuracy are supposedly two of the most important traits any likely winner should have if the media is meant to be believed. I am not totally convinced distance will play a major part but players who can get the ball on the green in regulation and have a good driving accuracy throughout the four days will be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday evening.

My own betting choices for the event are as follows:

Paul Casey

I am not one to usually side with a Brit due to our constant bottling tendencies in big competitions but Paul Casey can play very well when things fall right. Low scoring may not be all that likely but this guy can hit a ball pretty well and is very much capable of mounting a challenge on his rightful day. He just needs a bit of consistency and he will win a Major event soon - preferably this weekend!

Matt Kuchar

This guy has appeared from nowhere. I am not an avid golf watcher, I mean I would rather buy random stuff and spend my money on a wide range of things as opposed to filling the pockets of Rupert Murdoch and his Sky executives. Matt Kuchar has only missed the cut in three tournaments this season from the twenty he has participated in. He is ninth in the FEDEXCUP standings and has had a whopping eight top ten finishes this season from his twenty starts! That is some hot golf! He is not a big hitter and only rates averagely in that respect with 286yd drives but what he lacks in distance he makes up for with his 69% driving accuracy which will come in very handy on this Links course. Mind the sheep, already got a Tiger Woods dent on it!

His Greens-In-Regulation percentage is well above the norm at just over 70% and his scrambling rates equally as impressive this year at almost 66%. He was tied in sixth in the US Open Championship so is no slouch when it comes to the Major events on US soil.

Both can still be bet on at 59-1 on Betfair and I am content enough to have small interest bets on both CASEY and KUCHAR with the option of laying off later in the tournament when their odds have come in.

Pundit Selections:

USPGA at Whistling Straits

Paul Casey and Matt Kuchar (59-1 on Betfair)

Three Moons - I Await The Upavon Stakes Landing

The Upavon Fillies' Stakes at Salisbury at 4.05 features eight runners (at the time of writing) that are scheduled to head to post to compete for the winning prize. The race is run over a testing ten furlong trip and it is clear that younger horses hold the edge with all previous winners this decade being aged three or four years old.

My first problem when working out what may occur in this race was to understand where indeed the pace will come from? None of these like to blaze a trail and the only confirmed front runner scheduled to start is Fatanah who herself likes to only dawdle in the lead and not go overly quick. Then looking through the rest of the field the form book is filled with inrunning comments such as dwelt, in rear and slowly into stride. This affair could come down to simply which horse is the fastest in a sprint or which horse is best placed with three furlongs to go.

The horse that does catch my eye is Three Moons at outrageous Betfair odds of 25-1. Totally ignored and people readily willing to lay her at much bigger prices than the Bookies dare to offer. She ran no sort of race last time out but the trip can be blamed for most of that bad showing. Connections have attempted the 12f trip on two occasions now and both times Three Moons has ran poorly and not seen her race out. When brought back to 10f at Ascot inbetween those runs in the Wolferton Handicap she ran better than the bare form. Up against the males on that occasion she equipped herself well in what was a pretty gruelling challenge. The softer pace likely here over the same trip will play to her strengths and even if she cannot muster a winning challenge I see her as too much value to pass up as I have extreme doubts about the way the race will pan out to be too interested in the rival competition.

Just remember that before Three Moons suffered her injury that ruled her out of much of 2009 she ran runner up in a Listed race at Newbury over the same trip. That day she was behind a very well regarded filly called Take The Hint and Three Moons herself finished a fully FIVE lengths clear of third place Moneycantbuymelove. The latter went onto win a Listed race next time before eventually placing behind Midday the Group 1 Nassau Stakes. If she is well enough then Three Moons is vastly superior to the price that is on offer for todays Fillies' Listed test.

Lastly Richard Hughes was enthusiastic about his mount after the Ascot race and he reacquaints himself with the ride for todays event. He has an excellent record for the trainer Harry Dunlop with a 32% winning strike rate in the last five seasons. 25-1? A joke!

Pundit Selection:

4.05 - Salisbury - Three Moons (25-1 available on Betfair)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Good End To The Weekend

Snaefell cruised home on Sunday evening to land his third Group 3 prize in the Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh. The 9-1 chance sluiced past his overrated rivals with a quick dash around them late on and looked a comfortable winner at the line. The race for once went exactly as I had imagined it and this looks to be excellent timing and a solid morale booster in anticipation of my planned York excursion in eleven days time.


Snaefell - a classy ageing grey

Earlier on in the day my massive bet in the Prix De Gheest at Deauville failed to materialise and the selection Alverta looked well below par. It is likely that the best horse in the race ended up the winner as Sprint Cup winner Regal Parade showed his love for the 6 1/2 furlong trip. Often seen losing over six furlong if the ground is not soft, the added trip here proved perfect. I did not see it as a wrongly priced up selection though at just 5-1 and so I decided to swerve it on this occasion with 13-2 chance Alverta. An uninspired decision!

I also had a tiddler of a bet on Zoffany (not mentioned on here as a last minute decision) because I could not see for the life of me how the Richard Hannon 4-9F Strong Suit could possibly be a good bet. This was only intended as a bet to pay for my 5.15 Snaefell selection and so with both of them winning it proved to be a very profitable day despite the early horrid experience over at Deauville.

Snaefell Can Strike In Phoenix Sprint Stakes

The Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Group 3) is a competitve event run at the Curragh late on the card at 5.15. On first glance it does not appear that strong with the best rated horse in the field being Duff at 110. Other notable runners include favourite Bewitched who looked very classy several starts ago at Haydock and repeated that form last time out at Naas when winning a Listed race. Bewitched in my view however is very short odds considering she needs to improve her form once again to take this affair.

The most interest in my book comes from Curragh lover Snaefell who rarely runs a bad race at the track. He showed when winning a Group 3 in heavy ground on the track that he is not just at his very best when running over the minimum 5f trip. The way this race will be run will suit Snaefell perfectly and I can vision him running a big race late on when bypassing his rivals.

9-1 is available at the moment and it does appear value considering he looked as if he was about get back to winning ways when a staying on third last time out.

Snaefell carries a 3lb penalty for being a Group 3 winner over C&D last September but I am not certain that it will stop him from winning here.


Pundit Selection:

5.15 - Curragh - Snaefell (9-1 with Ladbrokes)

Alverta Can Win Prix Maurice De Gheest

Deauville is my destination today for their Prix Maurice De Gheest (Group 1) challenge run over a peculiar distance of 6f 101yds. Alverta comes here on the final leg of his personal three race foreign excursion in an attempt to improve once more and take the Group 1 prize.

Alverta in training


First time up at Ascot she finished well down the field having apparently not travelled well on her trip over from Australia. However her real class shone through when she was able to finish third at Newmarket in the July Cup behind the classy Starspangledbanner. Despite racing alone and with the knowledge that she had previously won a Group 1 back in her native country over a mile it was pretty impressive for the 66-1 chance to get so close.

Todays trip has an extra 101yds distance and that will be perfect for her. Add to that the fact when she won over a mile in Australia it was in rain softened ground which she will be encountering again today. Alverta too has the benefit of the recent July Cup placing which has been very informative in recent seasons and has proven a good form marker for winners coming out of this race.

Pricewise beat my What's Up Pussycat yesterday with his short priced Our Joe Mac. I was perhaps too daring with my selection considering Our Joe Mac had his conditions to suit. Today though Pricewise has selected Varenar which looks a good bet but I am taking him on with the ageing Australian beauty Alverta to restore my faith in value.

Pundit Selection:

2.40 - Deauville - Alverta (13-2 with Coral)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Haydock and Newmarket Saturday Preview (Scoop 6)

Haydock and Newmarket are the destinations responsible for a heavily accumulating Scoop 6 Jackpot this weekend and with the weather likely to be like it is with showers throughout the day it could well not be won yet again. However I will be having my own crack at it with a few spare quid and plan my main bets accordingly in the hope of some good returns.

First up my selections at Haydock where I hope to be at later on should the weather remain calm for the rest of this morning. In the 2.20 I think Whats Up Pussycat has a very strong claim over this mile adjudged on her latest appearance when staying on and hampered near the finish. She only gets a 1lb penalty here thanks to that bad luck and due to her relatively lightly raced nature and the fact she is unexposed at the trip there could be alot more to come now she has had two races to get fit. She was midfield in a Group 3 last season in heavy ground and also 4th in a Listed affair on ground quite soft so if she can show that a mile is her trip then she is storming odds at 10-1! It is worth noting that owner Dr Koukash only employs jockey Jamie Spencer when he thinks he has a higher than average chance to win!

The Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (Group 3) is next up on the card at 2.50 and it is a race I was fortunate to back the winner of last year when Jukebox Jury stormed home to show the first signs that he was a more than just a good horse. There is a significant three year old bias historically with 9 of the last 12 winners being from that age group. In 2008 no three year olds ran so that stat could have been even stronger given the chance. The mitigating factor here concerns the ground as apart from in 2008 when no three year olds turned up, the other renewals have all been on good or faster. Therefore I am asking myself - Is the soft ground a good leveller against a very healthy three year old weight allowance? Answer is that I am not sure.

However the four year olds in this race do offer plenty of appeal. Most notably Class Is Class who is Sir Michael Stoute's representative. He is well thought of and showed a vast improvement when last seen to beat vastly superior rated rivals over a ten furlong trip. The visor was partly the reason for the improvement shown and that is kept with for this race. Interestingly Sir Michael Stoutes record in the race since 2000 is four entrants with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd to his name. A bet on Class Is Class with a cover on the place could be the bet here. The three year olds in the race look decent but none of them have ever tried Group 1 level prior to today so are they THAT good? Most likely beatable is my opinion!

The other factor in the race is Jamie Spencer. He had the option of riding both Green Moon (talented) and Icon Dream but sided with a ride on four year old Distant Memories who is very consistent and will have no problems on a soft surface. Some say that jockey bookings are the biggest clue in racing and that could well be the case here. With that knowledge it is very difficult to decide which will be my main bet in the race. A cover bet will undoubtedly be needed on this one!

Fortune did indeed favour me last year as I was a benefactor of Libel Law's success in the 3.25 race. Usually a strong heritage handicap and quite disappointing there has been no betting on this race available before today.

I am not sure whether I am turning mad but in this race I keep focusing on the bottom horse Persian Peril. On the surface of things he looks well out of his depth running in a class 2 race but with the ground like it is (horse will relish it) and with the weight that he carries he very much appears in my eye to be initially overpriced. Add to that the Owners exceptional "lucky" record on the course where she has had four runners and three winners then it looks very interesting. Jockey Andrew Elliot is given the ride solely on the basis P J Macdonald is unable to do the weight so that should not be considered a negative here. A combination of high weights and wrong trips can be considered responsible for many of the career losses of Persian Peril but I am willing to give him the chance of providing a shock result in this. The best of the rest is undoubtedly Braveheart who will be a likely cover bet for myself. He is expected to show improvement for cut in the ground but whether he wants it this soft is up for debate.

At Newmarket I have two planned interests for the televised racing. The ground has cut up badly overnight and will indeed be SOFT ground so ignore your newspaper racecards today is my advice. Abergavenny in the 2.05 is the mount for Richard Hills to give him a possible three-timer in this handicap. The ground will be an unknown so it will be small stakes for me now but Richard Hill's has made Newmarket his destination today and this is vastly inferior to the usual standard of a Class 2 race. With the topweight here only rated 88 then this could easily be considered a Class 3 affair in all but name.

In the 2.35 race I made notes when doing my earlier revision that the winner needs to have at least placed in a Listed race last time or won her maiden last time out. With Khor Seed having in fact won a Listed contest last time that is ultra strong form in the context of this race but there has been an absence of 42 days for whatever reason that makes her one to avoid at a short price in my mind. The probable challenger and likely highest class challenger is White Moonstone who was put on course for a competitive Ascot maiden for he racecourse debut and won well. Only very good horses make their appearance on the race track at Ascot and Godolphin could have a decent recruit on their hands. This race will tell us more but she could very well improve past Khor Seed with that run behind her.

Please bare in mind that my Newmarket bets will be minimal stakes as I plan to be at Haydock to enjoy watching my main bets romp home.... in theory!

Pundit Selections:

2.20 - Haydock - What's Up Pussycat (10-1 with Bet365)

2.50 - Haydock - Class Is Class (6-1) and Distant Memories (5-1)
Can't decide at the moment which will be my main bet. Other one I will cover with. Apologies.

3.25 - Haydock - Persian Peril (25-1 with Bet365) cover with Braveheart (5-1 generally)

..............

Minimal Stakes. May help your Scoop 6's....

2.05 - Newmarket - Abergavenny (13-2 generally)

2.35 - Newmarket - White Moonstone (3-1 with Sportingbet)