Wednesday, 30 November 2011

1st December - Selection rationale

The quality of the racing is slightly improved tomorrow…
There are 3 class 3 races (amazingly, I think these are the 3 highest class NH races to be run so far this week !) and I have a tip in each !!
Hopefully, at least one of them will ensure that December gets off to a decent start…

Leicester 2:00

I’m sure that a few of you will recall me tipping Fiendish Flame when he ran a fortnight ago.
My enthusiasm for him that day, was based on the fact that he was a very well handicapped horse who might get an uncontested lead.
Well, he led that day – but proceeded to jump alarmingly to his right at every hurdle – not ideal on a left handed track !
Tomorrow, connections have shown sense and chosen to run him right handed. Once again, he is likely to get an uncontested lead – and he is now also 3lb lower.
His antics at Haydock detracted from the fact that he actually ran a really good race. He was beaten just over 20 lengths – but he must have given away far more than that with his erratic jumping.
If the problem with his jumping has been improved (I doubt it will have been fully cured) – I think he will be very hard to beat tomorrow. In fact, I will be surprised if any of his opponents, with the exception of Kells Belle, can get with a dozen lengths of him !
In a way it is a shame that Kells Belle is in the race. She has the potential to be very good – and I can understand why she is odds on. However, horses like her are often over-rated and if she is – I think that an on-form Fiendish will beat her !
As it is, she is making the book, as there is no way Fiendish Flame would be 11/1 without her in the race !
I did think long and hard about the best way to stake the race.
If Fiendish jumps OK, I think he will win. The only horse I can possibly see beating him in that situation is Kells Belle.
I thought about a straight 3pt win (I think he is just about the strongest tip I have given so far !): I also thought about EW – but that doesn’t really make sense in these particular circumstances. So instead, I went for most of the stake on win only, with a ‘saver’ on a straight forecast for Kells Belle to beat Fiendish.
I hope the logic behind the staking makes sense !

2.5pt win Fiendish Flame 11/1
0.5pt SF Kells Belle to beat Fiendish Flame

Market Rasen 2:25

There is quite a lot of speculation with Lucky Landing for an 11/2 shot – but I simply couldn’t let him go untipped…!
The biggest issue is that he has never jumped a fence under rules – but as you are no doubt starting to realise, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for horses who make their chasing debuts in handicaps, particularly if they have some decent PTP form behind them…
Lucky Landing finished placed in a couple of Irish points – but it is his debut run in a NH flat race just over a year ago, that really takes the eye.
He won that race at Uttoxeter, beating Poole Master, who himself won at Uttoxeter this afternoon.
Furthermore, he won that day, despite the test being wholly inadequate for him. That victory evidently took a lot out of the horse (he is still only 5) and the remainder of last season was a disappointment.
However, he showed much more promise on his seasonal debut 3 weeks ago, when staying on to take third place in a novice hurdle at Carlisle.
He is upped in trip by a mile tomorrow – and put over fences. This should provide him with a much more appropriate test.
He is the only runner that Donald McCain has at the Lincolnshire course – and the only ride of the day for stable jockey Jason Maguire.
Here’s hoping they haven’t gone all that way for no reward…

1pt win Lucky Landing 11/2

Wincanton 2:45

I think Tarkari has a fair chance in this handicap hurdle.
It’s the lowest class hurdle race that he has run in since he came to this country (he was previously trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins).
Despite the fact he has never won a race on these shores, he has performed with credit on more than one occasion.
Most recently, in September, when he finished fifth in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen. He had finished second in the same race a year earlier on his first run in the UK.
Tomorrow he gets to run off a mark 5lb lower than his last Market Rasen run and that should be sufficient to make him competitive.
His is not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination, but I could see him running a very good race at decent odds, in what looks be a trappy race.

0.5pt win Tarkari 16/1

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

November Monthly Summary

With no tips tomorrow, the first month of TVB early bird tipping draws to a close…
I like to keep records of all the bets advised (well, I don’t actually like to – but I feel it a prudent thing to do !) so that I can analyse them.
This helps me better understand where my strengths and weaknesses lie – and helps me make sure I keep focused on the appropriate races.
November has been quite an interesting month. The headline figures are as follows:

37 Bets
37 points staked
40 points profit (so an ROI of 108%)

The number of bets is about where I expected (though I can see it increasing a little, as I’ve made a conscious decision to tip more of my ‘marginal’ fancies).
The points staked is lower than I would have expected. In part, this will have been caused by me tipping more marginal horses – a lot of these will be 0.5pt selections. I also tend to be overly cautious when staking (non of us are perfect !).
The points profit is higher than I would have expected – but not massively so. If I’m honest, I think I ought to be able to achieve 50% ROI per month, on average. 100% is obviously very good (though the odds quoted won't be achievable by everyone, so the number is slightly flattering) – but it is from a very small sample, so I don’t think too much should be read into it in isolation…

Looking at the results in a little more detail:
10 of the 37 bets finished either first or second. This is good – and is where I want to be. I aim for 25% of my selections in the first 2. A further 7 finished third or fourth, which reassures me that the first figure is reasonable – just short of 50% of my selections are placing.
The average odds of all selections were 15/1. This is a bit higher than I would have expected – but provided the strike rate is there, I have no issue with that !
If a quarter of your selections finish first or second at average odds of 15/1, you clearly have a significant edge. Broadly speaking, the suggestion is you are getting 15/1 on horses that should be 8/1. I would generally expect to be getting 12/1 on horses that should be 8/1 – so November has been a very good month.

Another measure I like to use is price taken verses BSP (Betfair Starting Price). The value of this measure is debatable, but I think that generally, BSP provides the most accurate indicator of a horses chance of winning a race (all of the relevant factors have been taken into consideration – and there is no over-round).
Based on this, I would have made just over 8.5pts profit. Clearly nowhere near as good as the actual profit – but non-the-less, reassuring that I’m picking the right kind of horses…

Although far from perfect, the staking has also been reasonable: there have only been 7 selections with more than a point bet on them and they have yielded 2 winners and a third (backed EW). This suggests that I have majored on the right horses.

I could analyse the results in a lot more detail, but to be honest, with a sample size of just 37, it would be of limited value !

In summary, it has been a good month – but one which could have been a lot better !
There may have been 4 winners – but there were also 6 runners up. They were priced at 25/1, 25/1, 16/1, 14/1, 7/1 & 11/2. 4 of the 6 traded odds on IR on Betfair – so with a bit of luck, profits for the month could have been crazy !
Furthermore, that ignores the 3 winners that I put on the blog as mentions. They were priced at 10/1, 11/1 and 16/1.
It’s fair to say, that if everything had fallen into place, 100 points profit on the month could have been achieved !
However, as we all know, things rarely fall perfectly, so I won’t be losing much sleep over the fact they didn’t in November.
It does give me something to target for December though... ;)

Monday, 28 November 2011

29th November - Selection rationale

It’s a low key day tomorrow for NH racing, with just a couple of meetings scheduled for Southwell and Ayr respectively…
I say ‘scheduled’ because the Ayr meeting is actually in some doubt. The going is already soft and further heavy rain is expected overnight.
However, the prospect of significant additional rain, is the prime reason I have a tip for tomorrow. What I’m ideally after, is sufficient rain to make the going bottom-less – without there being enough to cause abandonment !!

Ayr 1:35

I think the early bird prices for this race were about right – provided the ground doesn’t deteriorate from it’s current ‘soft’.
However, deterioration is a distinct possibility – and if that occurs, I can see there being some changes in the market…
I don’t believe that heavy ground will help the chance of current favourite Premier Sagas. Firstly, he has never won (or indeed run) on anything worse than ‘soft’ and secondly, because he has a weight of 11st12lb to hump around. Generally, the heavier the going, the less weight you want to be carrying…
This being the case, the horses to concentrate on should be at the bottom of the handicap.
Ideally they should also be fit – and have shown their best form on heavy ground. Step forward Sibenek…
He won a race at Carlisle almost exactly 12 months ago, over the same distance as tomorrow’s race. The ground that day was bottom-less and Sibenek relished it. His previous wins in Ireland had also come on heavy ground, so it wasn’t surprising that he should be well suited by it.
He has only encountered heavy ground once since the Carlisle victory and that was when finishing runner–up to one of tomorrow’s opponents, Alexander Oats. On the revised terms and with a fitness advantage, Sibenek should have his measure tomorrow.
In summary, Sibenek is a reasonable bet, who will become a much better bet if the rains come (provided the meeting goes ahead !).
In that sense, he is a bit of a gamble – but at the odds available, one that I am happy to take.
Perhaps any readers in the south west of Scotland would be good enough to do a rain dancer this evening – though please be careful that you don’t get too carried away ;)

0.5pt win Sibenek 10/1

28th November - Race reivews

Well it was back down to earth with a bump today, with both of the selections running disappointingly.
If I’m honest, I was a bit surprised. I felt comfortable with both horses as selections and was quite happy with their movements in the market pre-race (which is often a good guide for what will happen in a race).

Phardessa was settled in last place – a few lengths off the main group. However, she appeared to be travelling well, not pulling (which was a slight fear) and her jumping was generally sound.
I expected her to make progress on her rivals down the back straight, which she did a little. However, she made a mistake at the last fence in the back straight – and that was that.
Her race was over almost immediately – and she was pulled up soon after.
Maybe the ground was just too soft for her. I expected it to suit but perhaps it didn’t. Maybe the mistake was more significant than it looked…
Whatever, it was ultimately a very disappointing performance – though almost so bad, I could consider forgiving it !
By contrast, the winner As De Fer, was very impressive. Apparently he is being targeted at the Welsh National – though that will be a completely different kettle of fish for him, than today’s contest…

I was a little surprised by the ride given to Get Ready to Go, in so much as I expected him to be close to the pace - or even forcing it. Instead, he was restrained near the back.
However, he travelled sweetly and jumped well and it did look like he might be involved in the finish.
Like Phardessa though, he went from apparently travelling well, to being beaten, in a matter of strides.
In his case, it did look as if he didn’t stay the trip (there was a slight doubt). This would also explain why he was ridden with more restraint than I expected.
I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, when his stablemate, Frameit, came with a strong looking challenge after the last. I wouldn’t have been overly happy to have rejected a 33/1 winner.
However, it had to pass Tony McCoy on a horse that had been backed in from 7/2 last night to odds on at the off ! Passing AP is never easy at the best of times, but in such circumstances, there was only ever likely to be one outcome – and Frameit came up short….

On the plus side, we did save 5pts by me not tipping Azione !
He went off 8/11 – have been put in at 3/1 by Victor Chandler yesterday evening !
However, they were saved having to pay out as after racing prominently and then being passed, Azione couldn’t quite get back up and was eventually held by Mickmacmagoole.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

28th November - Selection rationale

After the heady heights of Saturday, it’s back to reality tomorrow with a couple of low key NH cards taking place at Ffos Las and Folkestone respectively,
In fairness, they are not too bad for a November Monday and I have managed to find a selection at both meetings.
Hopefully I can build on Saturday’s good work…

Ffos Las 2:20

The first thing that struck me about this race, is that there is a significant question mark against almost every runner.
For some it is their general well being (3 of the runners were pulled up last time out), whilst a couple more haven’t run for a significant period of time.
Obviously, neither of these are absolute reasons for not backing a horse – but generally, they don’t add to the case to do so !!
Fortunately, the horse that caught my eye, doesn’t fall into either of these categories…
Phardessa is a fairly useful mare – both over hurdle and fences. She made her seasonal debut at Chepstow earlier this month and travelled notably well through the race until weakening, on entering the home straight.
As it was 7 months since her previous outing, I suspect she needed the run that day. The fact connections are now switching her to the larger obstacles supports this theory (it is not uncommon for a horse to be given a pipe-opener over hurdles before going over fences).
I feel that Phardessa is fairly treated off a mark of 117; she will be well suited by the test of 3 miles on soft ground; has performed very well on her only previous visit to the Welsh course – and should now be fit enough to do herself justice.
In a race where there are doubts over just about all the other runners (and some of them, major doubts) I think she is worth a play at a best priced 14/1.
I’ve gone EW mainly because of the doubts over the other runners. Obviously this plan will be scuppered a little if there is a NR and the place terms change.
Hopefully that won’t happen – or better still, we won’t care if it does because you get paid on the place part of the bet regardless, if your horse wins ;)

1pt EW Phardessa 14/1

Folkestone 2:35

I’m taking a bit of a chance with Get Ready to Go in this race…
Not least because Neil King has 2 runners in the race and the stable jockey, Alex Merriam, is on the other one !
However, I just have a sneaky suspicion that Get ready to Go is going to run a big race tomorrow.
He ran well on his seasonal debut earlier in the month, jumping and travelling well at the head of affairs, until weakening on entering the home straight (I bit like Phardessa !). Again, if the run has brought him on, he should last for longer tomorrow…
Last season, he was a progressive novice hurdler, who finished the campaign running unplaced at Folkestone, when the 7/2 favourite for a 10 runner handicap.
Tomorrow’s race looks no more difficult that than one – and Get Ready to Go is running off a mark 4lb lower.
I also think it significant that the tongue tie which he wore last season – but which was absent on his seasonal debut – is re-applied tomorrow.
In summary, whilst he couldn’t be described as rock solid, I think Get Ready to Go is worth a small play at the best odds available

0.5pt EW Get Ready to Go 14/1

Ffos Las 2:55

I’ll be quite surprised if Azione doesn’t win this race.
I was even more surprised to see Victor Chandler install him as 3/1 favourite in their early bird market !
That really was some kind of a rick ! B365 installed him at 11/10 – which I suspect will be much closer to the mark…
I was half tempted to tweet him as 5 point bet – but it didn’t feel quite right to do so !
Hopefully one or two amongst you availed yourself of the gift that was around for a little while. I suspect an odds compiler somewhere, might have a few uncomfortable questions to answer tomorrow…!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

26th November - Race reviews

How do you begin to summarise a day like today ?!?
The main purpose of this blog is to ensure that I remain disciplined in the selecting of horses – and the backing of them…
Well, after today, I think few people would disagree that I’m firmly in the zone with regard to the selection process (to be honest, I think I have been since the onset of this project - I‘ve just not had the breaks until today).
Unfortunately, my backing remains a source of irritation. I have improved things a little – but you know what they say about leopards and spots !!
Still, I did make a fair profit – and I know a few of you did too – so I can’t complain too much…

Anyway, on to the performances of ‘the magnificent 7’ (obviously, some performed more magnificently than others !!)

Storymaker ran OK at Bangor.
In truth, he looked a little outpaced all of the way round (he would have preferred softer ground) - but he managed to remain in touch until the final few fences.
He then quickly lost ground and was pulled up having jumped the third last.
I think he remains very much one to keep on the right side of. His last 3 form figures are now ‘PPP’ – which will put a few people off ! However, back on very soft ground, with a few more pounds off his back and in a less competitive race, I reckon he might be able to surprise...

A fine performance from Roalco De Farges to win a really competitive race.
I mentioned last week, how I think that form reading is sometimes more of an art than a science.
Before the race, Steve Mellish (I think) was saying on RUK how he felt that Roalco De Farges had been harshly handicapped. On the face of it, I would agree – but you sometimes have to look a little deeper…
Somebody clearly didn’t think he had been harshly handicapped for him to be backed as he had been in his 2 previous races. Money does tend to talk – you just sometimes have to listen carefully to hear…
As he had never jumped a fence under rules, there was also no guarantee in that department. However, experience in 3 PTPs clearly counted for a fair bit.
Despite a variety of mishaps in the race, few would argue that he was ultimately a convincing and worthy winner.
He is clearly a horse of significant ability and it will be interesting to follow his progression.

Rebel Dancer ran an absolute shocker in the Gerry Fielden.
He literally was never out of last place.
I’ve no idea what to make of the run – but I won’t be rushing to back him again in the immediate future !!
Rock on Ruby put in a tremendous performance to win under top weight, over a trip that looked to be too short.
It will be fascinating to see how he is campaigned but he did look like he could be out of the top drawer.

If Roalco De Farges was an advert for reading between the lines, then the Hennessy provided a similar advert for just sticking to the script !!
My only slight irritation was that I didn’t have the courage of my own convictions and really go for the race.
The winning forecast was £133 – that would have helped the P&L no end !!
Watching the race, I was actually really surprised that Carruthers won. He struggled to get to the front early and everything seemed to be happening a stride to quickly for him.
It just goes to show that there is no substitute for guts – and he has those in abundance.
Planet of Sound cruised through the race and looked the likeliest winner to me from about half way.
Ultimately, he was simply outbattled by Carruthers and lost very little in defeat.
Whether either horse can go on from this, remains to be seen…
Carruthers is likely to find himself rated up in the 150s which will make like tougher: Planet of Sound is more likely to be taking in graded races, so will need to have progressed for the outing – which couldn’t be guaranteed…

Persian Gates again tanked through his race.
Ultimately, he failed to get home – and if you didn’t know better, you would think he needed a drop in trip.
There were one or two eye-catchers in the race, so you budding form students would do well to watch it again – I think there may have been some future winners on show…

And finally, Hey Big Spender….
My biggest bet of the day, so it was particularly pleasing to see him come good.
As I said yesterday, I think he is a bit better than an average handicapper – and he proved that point today.
As is invariably the case with him, his jumping was not foot perfect. However, he has such an engine, it doesn’t seem to bother him.
If he ever cracks the jumping, the opposition really had better watch out !
Again , there were other eye-catchers in the race – non more so than The Hollinwell. Some might think his proximity holds the form down, but I had him as the biggest danger. On song, he is also a very talented animal.
From here, Hey Big Spender goes to Chepstow for the Welsh National, for which he is now a best priced 16/1. Unless of course, you are a TVB follower, in which case the 25/1 is already secured ;)

So all in all, a great day – and one that leaves the P&L looking very healthy.
I know from tweets/texts that a number of you profited from the selections, which is obviously very gratifying.
I’m taking tomorrow off from tipping. The domestic action is of limited quality and I couldn’t see anything I fancied. I do like the look of the 2 Irish cards though, and that’s where I’ll be concentrating my efforts. As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love betting on the Irish racing – I probably bet on more Irish races than I do English races ! However, my approach is very different and I’d need another blog to cover that ! Something that I simply don’t have time to even contemplate doing !!

Until tomorrow evening/Monday, then…

26th November - Selection rationale (update)

Storymaker caught my eye last time out when he ran in a competitive race at Carlisle.
He travelled well through the race, looking likely to play a part in the finish as others around him dropped out.
Ultimately, he didn’t get home but that was his first run for 4 months so I suspect it was needed.
He is fairly handicapped and has a good record at Bangor, so I’m optimistic he will put up a decent showing today.
Confidence would be much higher if the opposition didn’t look as strong ! (I feel I’ve said that a few times lately !). However, a lot of his opponents have big potential, whereas he has the form in the book.
I would much prefer to be putting him up EW but with the 7 runners, I don’t think it is worth it for the just 2 places.
He probably needs 2 or 3 of his opponents to not run up to their potential if he is to win. However, the thing about potential is that it is often unfulfilled !!
If his rivals aren’t up to the job, then Storymaker sets a solid standard and I’m sure he will be there to take advantage of any slip ups.

0.5pt win Storymaker 33/1

I’ve put up a lot of horses today: 7 in total, which is more than double the number I have put up on any previous day…
I thought long and hard about each one – and the truth of the matter is that if any of them hadn’t been running on a Saturday, they would have been a tip.
It’s just unfortunate, that they all chose to run on the same day (a bit like waiting for a bus, I guess !!).
Obviously, if non of them perform, it could be a disaster of a day (relatively speaking !) – but that’s a risk I’m prepared to take. I believe I’ve staked them all appropriately – and on the flip side, just one winner, should ensure it’s not a losing day.
Fingers crossed that some of the luck I’ve been saving up, gets paid back today !!

Friday, 25 November 2011

26th November - Selection rationale

I guess I could be accused of going a little crazy tomorrow – but some days, I think you just have to go for it. Hopefully I’ve chosen the right day to have a tilt at…!

As there are so many selections and because this is my third post of the day (!) I’ll keep the rationale for the selections relatively brief…

Newbury 1:30

Clearly there is a lot of guesswork involved in trying to solve this particular puzzle, but at the odds, I think it is worth taking a chance on Roalco De Farges.
He is quite lightly raced and progressed nicely last season to win a 15 runner handicap hurdle at Chepstow by 6 lengths.
Next time out, he was well fancied for a very competitive handicap hurdle at the Punchestown festival, but finished well back.
First time this season, he was equally well fancied for the Tote Silver trophy but again made little impression.
The weight of money on both occasions, in such valuable races, suggest that he is a horse of significant ability
Connections have chosen to put him straight into a handicap for his chasing debut – but with 3 runs in Points under his belt, jumping hopefully won’t be an issue.
At 20/1, I think he is worth a small speculative play.

0.5pt win Roalco De Farges 20/1

Newbury 2:05

If Empire Levant is in the same form he was when hacking up at Newbury on Thursday, then he will clearly take some beating.
However, that was only 2 days ago, in a less competitive race, so I think he is worth taking on…
There are a few options, but I think Rebel Dancer is the most sound one. He finished second in this race last year off the same mark, before falling in the tote gold trophy, when still in with every chance.
He didn’t show a great deal in 3 runs on the flat over the summer, but showed a lot more when fourth at Wetherby a fortnight ago.
If he has come on for that run, I think he will go very well over a course and distance that clearly suits him.

0.5pt EW Rebel Dancer 16/1

Newbury 3:10

If it wasn’t the Hennessy, I would be pretty confident I’d nailed this race !
However, it is – and there has to be a chance that one or two of the totally unexposed horses will make massive improvement on anything they’ve done before, so I have to tread carefully…
From a handicapping point of view, I think I’ve picked out the 2 best handicapped horses in Carruthers and Planet of Sound.
If the ground was heavy, I would only be on Carruthers – and big time – but it’s not and that ultimately could prove to be his undoing.
That said, I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t run a huge race as I simply can’t see why he’s got the lenient rating he has. He finished fourth in Imperial Commanders monumental Gold Cup of a couple of seasons ago and to my mind, hasn’t really gone backwards since then. Whilst it’s true that not all of his subsequent performances have matched that one, he has rarely had ideal conditions and had still continually performed with credit.
Off a mark of 146, I think he’ll take some catching…
Planet of Sound won a grade 1 chase at Punchestown 18months ago and has only competed in 2 grade 1 chases since that point. Yet despite this, he has a rating of 158 – which is far from that of a grade 1 performer.
He loves quick ground and has 3 wins and a second from 4 runs at Newbury. He has also shown himself quite capable of running after a long break.
The long break this time came about because he was having breathing difficulties – but if the problem has been resolved, he must go very close.
For the really brave amongst you, a small forecast on the 2 wouldn’t be the worst investment ever made…

0.5pt EW Carruthers 20/1
1pt win Planet of Sound 14/1

Newbury 3:45

If I had missed out one of the tips tomorrow, it would have been this one – but then you all know what would have happened !
I felt it was worth investing 0.5pt as a form of insurance !!
The case for Persian Gates is built primarily around his last run at Wetherby, where he pulled like crazy but was still in the process of giving Fistral Beach a real fight, when he came down at the second last.
Tomorrow, he is 6lb better off with Fistral Beach – but is twice the price! Now that has to be value !!
In fairness, Fistral Beach may well come on for the outing, which was his first of the campaign, but Persian Gates is a very progressive sort and if he can be settled a bit better, I would be optimistic that he could get the better of Fistral Beach.
Of course he has another 13 rivals to concern himself with – but I don’t think the race is as competitive as the numbers suggest and think Persian Gates is a fair bet at the price.

0.5pt win Persian Gates 10/1

Newcastle 3:30

In a way, I hate races like this !!
I was absolutely sure in my own mind that I was going to go in heavy on Hey Big Spender the next time he ran – so what do connections do ? Find a really competitive 8 runner chase, where at least half the field are of significant interest (or would be if they weren’t facing Hey Big Spender !).
The fact is, I think Hey Big Spender is a bit better than your average handicapper. I think he is a borderline gold cup horse – maybe not good enough to ever win it – but certainly good enough to compete at that level.
He is also big enough to take any weight he is asked to carry – so I don’t think that the 11st12lb burden he has tomorrow should prove troublesome.
Generally, when horses of his calibre compete in average handicaps, with conditions to suit, they win.
He certainly made a lasting impression on me when he won an average handicap at Warwick off the same mark last February – and he ran very well on his debut at Cheltenham a fortnight ago, when presumably needing the run.
If that race has brought him on, I think he will take some beating tomorrow…

1.5pt win Hey Big Spender 11/2

I intend to put up one more selection for tomorrow – but I think I will wait until the morning to do that. The write up will follow shortly after…

25th November - Race reviews

Otage De Brion ran a really solid race to finish third behind Quicuyu at Doncaster.
Normally a prominent runner, Sam Waley Cohen took the decision not to get into a battle for the lead and held him up near the back of the field.
It was pleasing to see that he accepted restraint, travelling and jumping perfectly adequately.
He made his effort down the home straight and approaching 2 out, it briefly looked like he may mount a serious challenge.
However, the winner quickened away again and he was left to battle on for a well deserved third place.
He is clearly in good heart at the moment. Whether he can be found a winning opportunity will depend on the opposition he has to face.

Frontier Dancer ran very disappointingly at Newbury.
He travelled fine for the first half of the race but as soon as the pressure was applied, he had no answers.
He was beaten entering the home straight and finished a very remote last.
It looked as if he had gone backwards from his Ffos Las run and he couldn’t be supported next time out on the back of this showing…

In the 2 mile chase, Rileyev and Oh Crick finished first and third respectively.
It was a gusty performance from Rileyev who only looked the winner in the last 50 yards of the race – still, that’s where it counts ! He has a very good attitude and I could see him progressing further…
On the other Oh Crick travelled really well through the race but just didn’t find when it mattered. His handicap mark won’t be dropped for this effort and I think his best chance of success will be if he is stepped up half a mile in trip. Time will tell if connections agree…!

25th November - Selection rationale

A couple of tips for this afternoon.
I was interested in them both last night, but didn’t feel compelled to put them up at the prices on offer. Both have drifted a little this morning and whilst neither is a stuning bet, I think there is a bit of value in both.
Frontier Dancer is only available at 6/1 with Boylesport and Sporting Bet. I wouldn’t class either of these as one of the ‘big bookmakers’ – but you can beat those odds on Betfair, with reasonable liquidity – and the horse is drifting in general, so I don’t think the price will be a problem.
Onto the reasons for the tips then...

Doncaster 2:35

Otage De Brion was a fair novice chaser for Charlie Longsdon, the season before last. He managed to win a couple of reasonable novice chases and got himself a handicap mark of 142.
Last season, he was under the care of Nigel Twiston Davies but everything went pear shaped for him - with 2 falls and a pulled up in his 4 outings…
Presumably in an attempt to sort him out, he was then transferred to his owner, Robert Waley Cohen and given a spell hunter chasing before coming back to compete under rules this autumn.
Today will be is fourth run under rules this term and his performances have improved with each run. Interestingly, his handicap mark has also dropped (by 17lb over the 4 runs).
So today, he gets to run off his lowest every handicap mark (117) on the back of his best run for some time (3rd at Bangor, having raced prominently and travelled well).
Unfortunately, he is running in quite a competitive race and so might find one or two improvers. That said, I think Otage De Brion will run his race, which should be good enough to place – and may even be good enough to win !!

0.5pt EW Otage De Brion 16/1

Newbury 2:45

As regularly reader(s) will recall, Frontier Dancer was the first winning tip given on this blog – and is still responsible in the main, for it remaining in profit !!
He only won the race at Ffos Las by a short head – but I think he was value for much more than that…
He cruised through the race and looked sure to hack up having jumped the second last. However, he made a mess of the last and eventually only just hung on.
As a result, the handicapper has only been able to raise him 3lb – but I believe he was value for more than that. Today, he is also without the 3lb claim of the jockey who rode him at Ffos Las.
On the other hand, 2 seasons back, he was competitive off a mark 10lb higher than he is running off today, so if Lawney Hill has him back to that level of form, it can be argued that he is still very well handicapped.
I’m prepared to gamble that is the case – only horses with plenty in hand travel as he did at Ffos Las – despite his victory that day, I suspect Lawney had left a bit to work on…
The race doesn’t look massively competitive to me and although I thought the 5/1 last night was fair, I’m happier with the 6/1 available this morning…

1pt win Frontier Dancer 6/1

Newbury 3:15

Just a quick mention for this race, where 2 of my recent tips, Rileyev and Oh Crick, cross swords…
Of the 2, I would prefer the chances of Rileyev, who I think has now run himself into form. However a price of 11/4 makes limited appeal.
I did consider tipping Oh Crick, but if I’m honest, I think he wants a couple more runs (probably on winter ground) to get a few more pounds off his rating.
There is a chance he will come good today but I think it is much more likely that he will find his form in the spring, by which time his rating should be down to a workable level in the low 130s…

Thursday, 24 November 2011

24th November - Race reviews

Buffalo Bob ran a cracking race at Newbury – exactly as I expected him to do.
He set off from the front and his quick, accurate jumping, soon had many of the field in trouble.
I said yesterday, that to beat him, one of his rivals was likely to need to have about 10b in hand of the handicapper. Unfortunately, two them had about 20lb in hand !!
That ‘lldoboy and Zarrafakt cruised along side him at the third last and though he kept on battling, they were way too good for him.
That is always the risk in a race such as that, but I can have no complaints about the performance of Bob – nor his rookie jockey, who didn’t seem to put a foot wrong.
To his enormous credit, Bob kept on battling and finished an honourable third – 10 lengths clear of the fourth placed horse.
At the end of the day, if it was always as easy to double your money, I don’t think I’d have too many complaints…

At Taunton, Thunder Child ran a very disappointing race.
He travelled fine for the first 2 miles but then came under pressure and found nothing.
However, his performance in the race, was nothing compared to his performance in the market !
I rejected him at 15/2 last night and was therefore shocked to see him a best priced 7/2 this morning ! Evening more shocking was that he went off at 8/1 !!
They say money talks – but if that’s the case, I’ve no idea what it was saying !
All this said, I do think Thunder Child remains one to keep a careful eye on…
The race went to one of the nominated dangers, Mr Chow, who was making his fencing debut but jumped like an old hand. I suspect he will be out again very soon in an attempt to follow up before he is re-assessed!!

Also from the Pipe yard, Grands Crus continued his march to the very top with a smooth victory in a decent novice chase at Newbury.
His jumping was more severely tested today than it had been at Cheltenham but once again, there was no semblance of a mistake.
Mark my words, this is a very, very good horse – and I’m quite happy with my 33/1 voucher about him for this seasons Cheltenham Gold cup…

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

24th November - Selection rationale

Tomorrow provides a test to see who has been paying attention over the past few weeks !
There are 2 horses running tomorrow, who have been directly or indirectly referred to, in earlier blog posts…

The horse that has been previously referred to directly is Thunder Child, who is running in the 3:30 race at Taunton.
Those of you with good memories will recall that he was put up at a tip when he was due to run at Exeter on the 9th of this month.
He was very well backed that day – but pulled out of the race (maybe because of the ground). I said to look out for him next time, when hopefully he would get decent ground – and a few less unexposed sorts to run against…
Well, he’s got the ground – but I’m not liking the look of the opposition !
- Sarika was desperately unlucky not to win last time at Ludlow, on his British debut. He gets to race off the same mark tomorrow….
- Rivermouth travelled like a dream on his seasonal debut at Huntingdon before not finding quite as much as expected. He has blinkers applied tomorrow.
- Mr Chow is thrown into a handicap for his chasing debut off a very attractive mark, having already had a pipe opener over hurdles…
All 3 could literally be anything - and even at 15/2, I can’t bring myself to put Thunder Child up as a tip. Even if he does come good, I won’t be cursing – honestly !!

The horse referred to indirectly, is obviously a little trickier for you to find (as it was never referred to by name !). However, if you take a look at the write up on the 10th November, you will get a clue…

Newbury 2:45

Buffalo Bob is horse I know very well – and I’m happy to trust him with my biggest bet so far…
He really is a truly admirable horse, who goes from the front and jumps for fun.
He is also pretty talented, as he should when winning this race last year, from a mark just 1 pound lower than he races off tomorrow.
Following that win, Buffalo Bob was raised to a mark of 134 – and simply, that mark was just beyond him
He ran decent races on his next 2 outings, against much better opposition – but he came up a bit short each time.
His final 2 outings of last season were a little disappointing but I think he had probably had enough for the campaign…
First time out this season on 9th November (clue !) he ran a really promising race at Bangor where he was one of 3 horses I noted in the race (big clue !!).
In truth, he was the one I probably liked most from that race, as he ran as if he would improve for it – but finished in a position where he was likely to be dropped a few pounds…
Roll on a fortnight and the handicapper has indeed played ball by dropping him a generous looking 4lbs. Kim Bailey has also enlisted the services of his ‘go to’ 7lb claimer, Charles Green.
Now I’m sure that young Mr Green is not quite as competent as a professional but on a horse as genuine as Buffalo Bob, most of that 7lb will be a gift…
Therefore, it is reasonable to view it that Buffalo Bob has been dropped the best part of 10lb; should be fighting fit – and is running in the same race he won 12 months ago !
Maybe you can now see why I am so keen on his chance !
I really can’t envisage him not running well – the only concern is whether there will be something in the race that is significantly ahead of the handicapper.
Unfortunately, there a few possible candidates for this and so Buffalo Bob has to be a EW tip.
That said, I do think something will need to have the best part of 10lb in hand to beat him – here’s hoping that’s not the case !!

1.5pt EW Buffalo Bob 12/1

23rd November - Race review

At Wetherby this afternoon, Sophonie ran a decent race, but was let down by her jumping…
She made a couple of bad mistakes early on – but still managed to move comfortably into contention round the home turn.
Another bad mistake at the second last put paid to any chance she may have had – and she could only plug on for fourth place.
There can be little doubt that Ferdy Murphy will take advantage of her handicap mark at some point this season – she could even be the sort to run up a sequence.
I suspect she will be at her best when there is some give in the ground – but whatever, she is certainly one to keep a close eye on…

Earlier in the afternoon, Fists of Fury justified the trip over form his native Ireland, with a gritty display in the novice chase.
He looked sure to be beaten, when Battle Group ranged along side him at the second last, Tom Scudamore apparently still taking a pull !
But it was Fists of Fury who found more over the last 2 obstacles, eventually winning quite comfortably.
Honest John led at a good pace, early in the race, but once overtaken by Fists of Fury, he was soon a spent force.
As if often the case, he seems to have gone backwards rather than forwards following his first run after a long absence…

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

23rd November - Selection rationale

It’s pretty uninspiring stuff tomorrow, with just the 2 domestic NH cards at Wetherby and Fontwell.
Wetherby often produces reasonable mid-week fixtures, but tomorrow’s is a little below standard.
That said, there is very interesting novice chase at 12:55 for which, Charles Byrnes sends across Fists of Fury, from his Limerick yard.
He will take a bit of beating – though Honest John could make him pull out the stops, provided he has progressed from his seasonal debut.
More of a race to watch then to bet in though…

For tomorrow’s tip, I have turned to the 2m handicap chase, which will be run at 2:00.
It really doesn’t look like an easy puzzle to solve, but I’m going to take a chance on the Ferdy Murphy trained mare, Sophonie.
In truth, I rarely back Ferdy Murphy horses – and I suspect I will rarely tip them – but I’m prepared to make an exception with this one.
She has only run 4 times in England: 3 times over hurdles last season and a sole chase appearance this season.
However, she was quite experienced for her age, over both hurdles and fences in her native France, winning a 4 year old chase – and finishing runner up no less than 5 times (sounds ominous !!).
She made her seasonal debut at Kelso 3 weeks ago and travelled really well to the second last fence, but then stopped quickly. Apparently she broke a blood vessel that day, which is obviously a little concerning.
However, provided that was a one-off, I think she should be able to go close tomorrow.
Obviously, I could have put her up EW – but with just 8 runners in the field, that is always a slightly risky ploy – unless she finishes second of course !!

0.5pt win Sophonie 14/1

22nd November - Race reviews

Well, it’s reassuring to see that some things don’t change !!
I put up 2 selections today: the first of them, Ray Diamond, was win only and finished second (14 lengths clear of the third) having traded at 1.30 IR.
The second, Near the Water, was put up EW and finished fourth, beaten a head for third place (with the next horse 32 lengths back !).
I’m need to be careful that I don’t start feeling a bit paranoid about all this !!

A few quick comments on how they ran:

In becoming the fifth runner-up in 11 tips (pretty good going, but only half way to my record of 10 runners-up in 20 tips !) Ray Diamond ran the honest, game race I expected.
AP had him close to the pace from the start and whilst he shrugged off the other challengers down the home straight, he couldn’t withstand the late run of First Avenue.
The scenario was always a possibility – and whilst a couple more furlongs or softer ground would have helped – I can have no real complaints about the result (in isolation, that is !!).

Near the Water also ran a perfectly decent race. He was held up out the back, as I expected, and made ground down the back straight. However, he just had too much to do and never really looked like getting there.
That said, third place did look a distinct possibility – and he probably would have secured that with a better jump at the last.
In fairness, it might all have been academic if Wide Receiver, who was a couple of lengths up and still going OK, hadn’t capsized at the third last fence…

On to tomorrow then…

Monday, 21 November 2011

22nd November - Selection rationale

Before I get onto explaining the logic behind tomorrow’s selections, a few words on the performances of today’s mentions…

If I had tipped today, it would most likely have been Good Order.
However, as I mentioned last night, I have a bit of an issue tipping at odds of 5/1 or less. Clearly this is silly as a horse can still represent value at 5/1 (it could represent value at 1/5 !).
When there are only 6 runners in a race, 5/1 is roughly the same as 10/1 when there are 11 runners in the race (ie. the horse is deemed to have an ‘average’ chance of winning).
I do try to look at things that way, but I guess there is less margin for error when you are operating at lower odds.
Anyway, I digress !!

Good Order was well backed before the off, and his returned SP was 5/2.
In the race, he jumped pretty well and travelled nicely – but he was always playing catch up with the leader and eventual winner, Frontier Spirit.
Non the less, it was a fair performance from Good Order, who given my time again would have been a 1pt win tip. So we can kind of consider ourselves lucky to have saved a point on the race !!

Pin D’estruval was pulled out of the handicap chase at Ludlow. What made his defection interesting was that having been available at 13/2 last night, he was a best priced 7/2 when he came out.
I don’t know the reason behind his non-participation, but if connections were a bit galled at only being able to get 7/2 on a horse available at almost double those odds the night before, I would have some sympathy !
With him no longer in the race, Blindspin became a much more interesting proposition. If his SP of 7/1 had been available last night, he would have been a bet – and maybe more than just a point !
He actually ran very well, tracking the early leader, favourite Wessex King. When that one started to struggle down the back straight, Blindspin took up the running and looked the most likely winner. However, he was collared at the second last, by Wester Ross, who went on to win easily.

Namarama ran a fair race to finish fourth at Kempton. He moved nicely down the back straight but didn’t find much when asked for his effort after the home turn.
It was a long way to travel for connections, for a relatively flat effort…

So onto tomorrow’s racing.
There is a reasonable meeting at Lingfield and a second NH meeting at Sedgefield (which doesn’t particularly inspire me !).
Generally, it is interesting to see how many more races at being priced up the night before. 12 months ago, on a day like tomorrow, I’m sure there would only have been 2 or 3 (generally by B365).
Tomorrow, there are 4 at Lingfield alone – and a further 3 at Sedgefield.
I guess this is because the bookmakers want as much information as possible before they start taking significant money, in the morning.
12 months ago, Betfair would have provided them with a lot more information than it does now, with virtually no liquidity. Times change – and we need to change our approach accordingly…

I got chance to look at the Ligfield races before they were priced up, so I knew in advance which horses I was interested in.
I always prefer to be in this position – though it’s not always practical for me to achieve.
Hopefully, it will pay divides tomorrow…

Lingfield 2:50

I may have had some time in advance to study the race but Ray Diamond was always going to be the horse I would be interested in…
I thought he ran very eye-catchingly last time, suggesting to me that he was ready to go close on his next run.
I was kind of hoping that his performance might have gone unnoticed and that I might get a double figure price on him – but it was not to be… I guess when you book AP McCoy to ride a horse for the first time, you are likely to draw attention to it !
I actually think 11/2 is tight based on what the horse has achieved – but I doubt he will drift much with the champion on board.
McCoy should be the perfect partner for Ray Diamond, who is very game and likes to race prominently.
I’ll be really surprised if he doesn’t run a big race – and would see him as a near certainty to be placed.
I’ve put him up win only, simply because of the price and the fact I use EW as an insurance. I also believe that Ray Diamond is quite capable of wining the race – and hopefully he will prove the point tomorrow !

1pt win Ray Diamond 11/2

Lingfield 3:20

Near the Water is more my kind of horse – or at least, more my kind of price !
Put simply, the 20/1 on offer was around double the odds I would have priced him up at.
He has got perfect course form (2 from 2) putting up his 2 best career performances at the track; He made a promising re-appearance in a decent hurdle race at Fontwell a couple of weeks ago (coincidently, the same race that Ray Diamond ran in) – which is exactly what he did last season before winning second time out; He has also got the services of promising apprentice Brendan Powell. Those of you as old as me will remember Brendan’s father being a very decent NH jockey. If his son is half as good, his 7lb allowance won’t last long.
On the negative side, the horse seems to be inconsistent and is not sure to get the 3 mile trip. His wins have been over 2 miles – but he has win his races by staying on so I’m optimistic the trip won’t be an issue.
Unlike Ray Diamond, who I think is a great EW bet, I think Near the Water will either win or finish no-where. I’ve put him up EW simply because, at 20/1 I would hate him to be pipped and to get no return on the race.
Also, you have to see Wide Receiver as a big danger. When he won first time out this season. It was suggested that he had 40lb in hand. Tomorrow he runs off a mark 34lb higher – so he could still have 6lb to play with ! I’m not saying he has – but I do think he could still be ahead of the handicapper…

0.5pt EW Near the Water 20/1

Sunday, 20 November 2011

21st November - Update

It’s actually not bad racing for a Monday, tomorrow. However, there are mainly small fields and whilst I do have a couple of half fancies, I can’t bring myself to tip them, when the odds are around 5/1. There is something inside me that means I need to strongly fancy one, to put it up at that kind of a price !

At Ffos Las, Good Order interested me in the handicap chase at 1:55. Tom George is runnign him in a handicap on his chasing debut, which is always an interesting move.
He could be significantly better than his mark – and 9/2 isn’t too bad a price in a 6 runner race – but there is a fair amount of guesswork involved…

At Ludlow, I’d be happy to take on Wessex King in the handicap chase at 2:15. I’m actually quite a fan of the horse, but I think he could be vulnerable off top weight.
The 2 that interested me were Pin D’estruval and Blindspn. However, both like to make the running – as did Wessex King last time out.
Consequently the result of the race is likely to be significantly influenced by jockey tactics (who chooses to kick on and who chooses to hold up).
There is no way of knowing how this will pan out so although Pin D’estruval was tempting at 13/2, I decided to pass on the race.

Finally at Kempton, it’s difficult not to be enticed by bottom weight Namarama in the handicap hurdle. He travels over from Ireland on the back of a promising run last time out.
However, on closer inspection, there were at least a couple of others who were also of interest (Georgian Girl and Cool Strike). The 4/1 available on Namarama therefore became less attractive…

Overall, it has been another quiet week, during which the P&L has bobbed around the same point.
Obviously 4 seconds in the past 7 days at odds of 25/1, 25/1, 7/1 and 16/1 were always going to mean it would be a frustrating week – particularly as 3 of the 4 traded odds on in-running ! Whilst backing 3 of them EW meant that the P&L didn’t go backwards, the difference if just one of them had won, would have been quite significant.
Still, I guess it at least demonstrates that I remain in the zone :)

19th November - Race reviews

I was out of the house for the majority of the day yesterday and so didn’t see any of the afternoon’s races live. However, I managed to find an hour yesterday evening to catch up on the events of a busy days racing…

I must firstly mention how good it was to see both Kauto Star and Master Minded bounce back to form with stirring victories.
In truth, I was surprised by neither result (just the prices – of Master Minded in particular !). As the old adage goes, class in permanent and there could have been little doubt, that if Paul Nicholls had the 2 of them ripe, they were going to take some beating.
There really haven’t been many horses over the past few decades that could get near these 2 superstars, when they are on their game…
Nicholls clearly knew that yesterday could provide Kauto with his best chance of a final glorious victory. Long Run was unlikely to be cherry ripe and the rest of the opposition still hadn’t proved themselves out of the very top draw.
Long Run did look rusty to me – and he made a number of jumping errors – it was therefore to his enormous credit that he got as close to Kauto as he did.
To my mind, his reputation was enhanced yesterday, not dented…
That said, I still believe he will have his work cut out to beat Mater Minded in the King George – assuming Nicholls had still left something to work on yesterday…
When on form, Master Minded is the most efficient jumper of a fence I think I have ever seen (Best Mate would run him close though – and was the more consistent).
He wasn’t at his brilliant best over the obstacles yesterday – and the ground was as quick as he would have liked.
Therefore, assuming he is at his peak for Kempton and there is a little more juice in the ground, I think Long Run will have to put in a performance even better than he did when winning the Gold Cup, to win the King George.
Clearly a race to look forward to…

Anyway, enough of my ramblings on the days showcase races – and onto the important things, the performances of the tips !!

Horse: Indian Daudaie
Price Advised: 6/1
ISP: 5/2
BSP: 4
Position: Unplaced

Indian Daudaie managed to steal the title of ‘most disappointing performance from a tip’, previously held by Backfromthecongo !
As I said yesterday, I was pretty confident that I had found one with him – and the significant market support, only increased my confidence.
It was therefore massively disappointing to see him come under pressure on the home turn and find absolutely nothing.
The RP reviewer suggested that something must have gone wrong with the horse – and that was clearly a possibility. There was an expectation that he would put in a career best performance yesterday – and whilst that obviously didn’t happen, he didn’t even run that close to the level of form he had shown himself capable of last season.
All in all, very disappointing.
Just a quick mention for the winner, Any Given Day, who put in a tremendous performance under top weight on his seasonal debut.
He is a really likeable horse though I do fear he might now struggle this season; I’m not convinced that he is top class – but handicaps are likely to be a thing of the past for him, for a little while at least…

Horse: Sa Suffit
Price Advised: 16/1
ISP: 14/1
BSP: 23.8
Position: Unplaced

Horse: Kayf Aramis
Price Advised: 33/1
ISP: 22/1
BSP: 32
Position: Unplaced

In truth, neither Kayf Aramis nor Sa Suffit would have been a tip a week ago.
They fell into the marginal area, which I have chosen to include in the tipping.
I clearly need to be a bit careful with horses like this – simply because competitive 20 runner handicaps are never going to be easy to solve and I didn’t feel that strongly about either runner (unlike with Olofi last Sunday).
As it turned out, Dynaste was a total blot on the handicap and the rest of the runners may as well not bothered to turn up !
It will be interesting to see how far he can progress this season.
Of the tips; Kayf Aramis is clearly in decline and can only be watched at present; whilst Sa Suffit will doubtless benefit from a return to fences and softer ground.

Horse: Rileyev
Price Advised: 16/1
ISP: 16/1
BSP: 21
Position: 2nd

Although Rileyev finished second and therefore produced a profit, it was still a bit of a frustrating race to watch…
I chose him ahead of Imsingingtheblues because I felt he would make the greater improvement from their meeting at Cheltenham, last week and was available at double the price. I was right in that he did make the greater improvement – but it wasn’t sufficient to close the gap completely…
If Rileyev had jumped a little more fluently, the result may have been different – and I would back him to beat Imsingingtheblues if they met again next week under the same terms – but it was yesterday that counted and Imsingingtheblues still held a decisive edge.
Maybe I was just trying to be a little bit too clever – I missed an 8/1 winner even though I picked up on the right formline.
Part of the issue with being an early bird bettor is that you have to make snap decisions before the market moves. With a little more time, I might have weighed up the pros and cons slightly differently.
All academic now however –and it was a profit on the race, I guess…

As you’ve probably figured by now, there will be no tips today !
Hopefully, normally service will be resumed this evening – provided I can make a little free time to check out tomorrow’s cards…

Friday, 18 November 2011

19th November - Selection rationale

I’ve been prolific with my posts over the past week or so, but things are going to slow down over this weekend… I’m tied up for most of tomorrow and Sunday, so I’m afraid, posts will be thin on the ground between tonight and Sunday evening.

You therefore better make the most of this one: the logic for tomorrow’s tips…

Haydock 12:50

I very rarely back Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh runners…
I’m a big fan of both (especially Ruby – though I don’t think he is quite in AP's class ;) ) but the trouble is, I’m a ‘value bettor’ and runners representing this combination are normally over-bet and consequently shorter in the market than they should be...
In theory, you could say that is the case for Indian Daudaie tomorrow – but I’m not so sure…
I like to think that studying form is as much an art as a science – with an ability to read between the lines absolutely crucial…
Based purely on the form book, Indian Daudaie has a fair chance tomorrow - but 6/1 probably looks on the short side.
However, if you look at the more subtle factors, I think they paint a very different picture…
Nicholls only took charge of the horse last Christmas time and if you examine the way he campaigned it, you can be pretty sure he thought it was a very decent animal…
It made it’s debut in grade 2 company at Cheltenham before going over to Ireland to contest a grade 1 race.
It’s 2 other races last season, were at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.
It ran really well at Cheltenham before falling at Aintree (when going well).
I just feel that with a summer on it’s back, Indian Daudaie will start to fulfil his potential this season.
Nicholls has said as much himself about the horse – and it is also very interesting that he has targeted it at a race sponsored by it’s owners.
I expect it to be backed tomorrow – and if it is, I think it will win !!

1.5pt win Indian Daudaie 6/1

Haydock 2:30

This is a hell of a race to have a crack at, but I’m going to give it a go…
In truth, I think half of the field can be relatively safely eliminated for one reason or another – and there are 2 runners I want to focus on with a split stake:

Sa Suffit is probably the more likelier winner. He is well treated over hurdles compared to his chase rating and looked to be back in form on his seasonal debut at Kelso.
If he’s the horse I think he is, he should go very close off a mark of 135.

Kayf Aramis is a funny one, in so much as I think he is almost the obvious choice – at the prices ! There is no doubt he is very well handicapped; he should be well suited by the trip/going; he represents top class connections and should have come on for his seasonal debut at Exeter (when I was half interested in him).
If he wins and I’ve not tipped him, I’ll be really irritated – so I’ve tipped him !!

0.5pt win Sa Suffit 16/1
0.5pt win Kayf Aramis 33/1

Ascot 3:20

Again, Rileyev is something of a ‘value’ bet at the prices – having read between the form lines a little !
According to the form book, he can’t beat Imsingingtheblues – who finished well ahead of him at Cheltenham last week.
However, I suspect that Rileyev is being brought to the boil more slowly – and that he will have made the greater improvement from the Cheltenham race.
In truth, I don’t see it as that competitive a race. I think Anquetta is the one to beat (along with Imsingingtheblues) and a lot will depend on how quickly that one is improving…
In short, at the available prices – and with the security of EW – I thought Rileyev was worth a small play.

0.5pt EW Rileyev 16/1

18th November - Race reviews

Today’s 3 tips shared one characteristic: they all handled the obstacles put in front of them very inefficiently.
As a rule of thumb, if you don’t jump with alacrity – you won’t win many NH races…!

Horse: Fiendish Flame
Price Advised: 16/1
ISP: 28/1
BSP: 40
Position: Unplaced

Fiendish Flame set the trend with one of the most alarming exhibition of hurdling I’ve seen in a long while, diving sharply to the right at most of the obstacles !
To be fair to the horse, he has done similar in the past: I knew that in advanced, but hoped it had been sorted out (otherwise why run him left handed ?)
Ultimately, he ran a tremendous race to only be beaten around 20lengths, as he must have forfeited far more than that with his erratic jumping.
He could only possibly be of interest if returned to a right handed track…

Horse: Doctor David
Price Advised: 7/1
ISP: 11/4
BSP: 3.51
Position: 2nd

Doctor David’s jumping display wasn’t anywhere near as shocking – but for a horse who was very fluent over his obstacles, it was still extremly disappointing.
He was hesitant at many of the fences and whilst he looked like becoming a fortuitous winner when Toubab fell at the second last, his lack of hard conditioning after his long absence, ultimately found him out.
I would be inclined to just watch him next time…

Horse: The Rainbow Hunter
Price Advised: 10/1
ISP: 7/1
BSP: 10.35
Position: Fell

Despite his fall, The Rainbow Hunter did at least manage to jump some of the obstacles cleanly. However, he was hesitant at just as many…
Ultimately, he paid the price for his ponderous jumping, when he was put under pressure.
His second successive failure to complete the course could well see him put back over hurdles next time for a confidence booster…

Dealing with 'Bad Luck'

This blog moves so fast, I don’t know how many of you will have seen it – but Roy left a comment yesterday, following the narrow defeat of Wise Hawk, suggesting that my ‘luck’ has got to change for the better in the non to distant future…

In my reply, I said that I would create post, explaining the method I used to cope with the mental impacts of ‘bad luck’. Rightly or wrongly (and it something that is difficult to be dogmatic about – we all remember the times we suffered bad luck, better than the times we got lucky !) I feel, I’ve never had much luck as a bettor.
Ultimately however, you either have to deal with your luck – or stop playing the game !!
Luck doesn’t go in cycles (even though it might feel like it); luck is completely random. The fact that you’ve had 30 years of bad luck doesn’t mean you’ll then get 30 years good luck. In fact, you are just as likely to have another 30 years bad luck.!

Talking of which, I recall, 30 years ago (!) backing a 100-1 winner in a betting shop on the outskirts of Manchester. There were literally about half a dozen 100-1 winners a year at that time (the exchanges weren’t around, forcing bookmakers to price up realistically) so a 100-1 winner was a very rare occurrence !
I went back to collect my winnings a few hours later, only to find out that the horse had been disqualified and placed second !!
I was gutted – even though I had backed it EW. Connections subsequently appealed against the disqualification – and I remember thinking how ironic it would be if it were re-instead. I would have backed a 100-1 winner; the history books would show it was 100-1 winner – and I would have been paid on it finishing runner-up !
However, to my relief (I’m almost ashamed to admit !) the Jockey Club decided that the interference was more severe than the local stewards had deemed and the horse was placed last !!

About 10 years ago, I went through a spell of really bad luck. I remember it came to a head with the Racing Post chase at Kempton (in February).
I had backed a horse (I think, trained by Nicky Henderson) and it came to win the race at the second last, only to decide to take the fence with it, rather than jump over it !
As I say, it was the last in a long string of near misses, but it was the one that forced me to change my methods to better handle my ‘bad luck’…

At the time, I remember looking on Betfair and seeing that the horse had traded around 1.8 in-running.
I had backed it at about 20/1 (win only) and had consequently got nothing for a really good pick.
From that day on, I have always put a low lay on Betfair to ensure that if my horse runs close to expectation – but doesn’t get the luck – I get a reasonable reward…

It happened yesterday with Wise Hawk: I had £5 win on at 25/1, meaning a profit of £125 if it won (I’m not a big bettor !).
However, I then put an in-running lay in Betfair, ensure that I won at least £40 if the horse traded odds on in-running (which it did).
Admittedly, I would have only won £80 if it had hung on – but that is a price I’m prepared to pay to smooth out my P&L – and keep myself sane.

I can’t emphasise how important that second point is. It must be bad enough keeping your head if you are just backing horses which keep getting pipped – but when you are trying to pick them out, such a run of form, can knock you off the rails – and it’s imperative that doesn’t happen to me.

Of course, from a tipping perspective, I can’t tip to win - with a lay on BF at even money: I have to tip EW. But that is fair enough, it has a similar (if less efficient) effect. In truth, I’m not generally interested in the other places – it is just the insurance of finishing second that I want. I think Paddy Power may offer something like that – though I’ve not checked it out properly…

So there you have it: how I keep sane through these periods: and how I’m trying to keep the tipping P&L ticking along when luck goes against me…

Obviously, it is not the most efficient way of betting – and I would like to believe that things would even themselves out over time. But for me at least, that time is a long time coming and I really think I would have lost the plot by now without my ‘insurance’ policy…

18th November - Selection update

Generally, it is my intention to tweet tips as soon as prices are issued (hence ‘early bird’). However, there will be occasions when I think that a horse that I fancy, has been put in too short and is therefore likely to drift. On these occasions, I will wait for a better time to strike – and that is what I have done with Fiendish Flame today…

Last night, Fiendish Flame was put in at a best price of 12/1 by the early bird bookmakers – and as low as 8/1 with B365…
It could be argued that was a fair price – and I wouldn’t have been too unhappy with it, but I thought it might drift…
The reasons are more to do with the opposition than they are with the horse itself – so I am comfortable backing a ‘drifter’ on this occasion…
It was kind of inevitable that Remember Now and Sure Josie Sure would be backed, bearing in mind their connections and the fact that they are both relatively unexposed.
I would certainly give both a good chance – particularly Remember Now – but he’s very short in the betting at 2/1…
I would rather take a chance with Fiendish Flame - a former decent chaser with Donald McCain who has his first run Jennie Candlish today.
At his best, Fiendish Flame was comfortably a 140+ rated horse – today he gets to run off a mark of 128. If Jennie Candlish has him fit and raring to go, I think he will take some stopping off that mark…
My enthusiasm is even greater because I was never really convinced with him as a chaser – he’s a bit on the small side and consequently can struggle with fences.
The other big plus with him is that he is a front runner – and Haydock is a front runners track. Furthermore, he could get an uncontested lead…
If this is the case, I can see him being very difficult to peg back – and that’s by horses trained by Henderson, Pipe or anyone else who cares to show up !!

0.5pt EW Fiendish Flame 16/1

Thursday, 17 November 2011

18th November - Selection rationale

A couple of tips for tomorrow signals that the more aggressive tipping is under way !
Furthermore, there might even be a third ! I’m monitoring one closely but it’s price is a little tighter than I would like. If it does transform into a tip overnight, I’ll tweet it some time in the morning…

On to the 2 tips that have already been sent:

Haydock 1:20

Doctor David is a horse I’ve always loved.
For those of you not familiar with him, he’s a steel grey –and looks a bit like a rocking horse ! That’s not to say he can’t run though – because he can !!
As you know by now, I’m also a fan of his new trainer, Lawney Hill.
She was responsible for my first winning tip on this blog – and I’m hopeful that she can also be responsible for the second !
However, this tip isn’t about heart ruling head, I think Doctor David has a real chance in this race – assuming he is fully fit after a near 600 day absence…
In truth, the absence shouldn’t be a problem if Lawney wants to get him right,. She has proven time and time again that she is quite capable of readying one after a long time off.
That being the case, then I think Doctor David has a great chance.
He’s unbeaten in 3 runs round the course – his defeated opponents including the high class Kalahari King and Planet of Sound.
In a way, it’s not surprising, as Haydock is well suited to Doctor David’s aggressive style of running.
His most significant opponents tomorrow, lack Doctor David’s jumping experience and I’m hoping jockey David Bass can apply some pressure in that area, over Haydock’s relatively demanding fences.
If he does, then I would be optimistic of a positive outcome…

1pt win Doctor David 7/1

Ascot 3:20

This is probably the first of the new breed of marginal tips that I intend to put up – but at a best price of 10/1, I think The Rainbow Hunter is worth a small risk…
Interestingly, he was only 17/2 for his previous start: in the Badger Ales chase at Wincanton. That was his first run for Kim Bailey, having been trained last season by Andy Turnell.
Clearly, his new connections felt he had a decent chance in that very competitive race – so it’s difficult to understand why he is a bigger price in a slightly less competitive race tomorrow.
True, he fell at the first that day (!) – but that is almost irrelevant, as far as tomorrow’s race is concerned.
Last season, he had shown himself to be highly progressive – and a decent enough jumper.
Provided there are no more jumping lapses tomorrow, I think he should go very close in a race where I’m happy to eliminate around half the field, for one reason or another…

0.5pt win The Rainbow Hunter 10/1

17th November - Race review

Horse: Wise Hawk
Price Advised: 25/1
ISP: 10/1
BSP: 10.84
Position: 2nd

How do you deal with something like today’s race…?
The second 25/1 shot in the last 3 selections, who has finished an unlucky runner-up – and this one was only beaten a head ! I guess I’m getting closer to a winner…!

Yesterday I was bemoaning the fact I managed to miss putting up 3 double figured winners in 4 days; today it is the fact that the ones I do put up don’t seem to get rub of the green…

Still, these things are sent to test you – so you’ve just got to get on with it and believe that ‘luck’ evens itself out in the long run (and when it does, I’m going to go on one hell of a run !!).

Anyway, onto the race itself:
Wise Hawk travelled like a dream (again) and looked sure to hack up rounding the home turn (again !).
The big question was always what he would find when put under pressure – and whilst he didn’t quicken as might have been hoped, he did find – and kept on finding…
Unfortuantely, it was not quite enough – simply, his head was up when it should have been down. On such fine margins, fortunes are won and lost…
On the plus side, it was a very creditable performance for a 25/1 shot (sic !). It was good to know that I had read his apparent frailties correctly – just a shame that I didn’t get suitable reward !.
Worse still, the world and his wife will now know that he is a well handicapped horse, waiting to win a race (unless of course, he has had a breathing operation, as the impact of those tends to start wearing off after a couple of runs).
The bottom line therefore, is that he is unlikely to be a tip again – but I can’t accuse Wise Hawk of not giving his best when he was !!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

17th November - Selection rationale

Just before I let go of today’s results (!)…
There was an air of inevitability that one of the 3 horses I considered tipping today (Uffa Fox would never have been a tip because I didn’t think we could ever have got a ‘value’ price on him) was going to win…
I knew it this morning when I woke up – and half considered tweeting them as tips (all the prices were still available) but that seemed an inappropraite thing to do…
However, I did promise myself – and this was before any of the races were run – that from here on in, I’ll be tipping more horses…
As I’ve said previously, I’ve got a staking plan to handle how strongly I feel about a tip – but from now on, if I’m considering it as a tip, it will be a tip ! (though maybe just 0.5pt win).
My biggest issue is simply time. I struggle for time to study all of the races - and I struggle for time to handle the communication and do all the write ups. That said, no-one is making me do anything – and I can tweak the rules as I go along, so that is what I intend to do…!
In addition to more tips, there will be slightly shorter write ups.
In truth, I’ve no idea how many people are reading the write-ups – for all I know I could be writing things purely for my own amusement ! Whatever, it will save me a little time if I cut things down a bit, so that is what I plan to do…

Just the one tip for tomorrow then – and at the price on offer, it is fair to say it would have been a tip yesterday, never mind tomorrow !!

Wincanton 1:05

I always find it difficult on a day like tomorrow, when there are many possible races for me to find a horse in – but no compelling ones…
I followed lots of leads trying to find a tip for tomorrow and was drawn to this race by the presence of Festival Dreams, whom I was keen on the last time it ran.
However, on looking through the field, it was a different runner that caught my eye…

In truth, it was actually the last run of Wise Hawk that makes it interesting…
In that race, he travelled like a dream, and was cruising behind the leader and eventually winner My brother Sylvest, as he rounded the home turn.
Wise Hawk then emptied pretty quickly – and I think there are 3 possible reasons for this: firstly, he may have needed the run (it was 7 months since his previous outing); secondly, he may not have stayed the trip (he is racing over 2 furlongs shorter tomorrow); thirdly, his previous breathing issues may have recurred (he wasn’t wearing a tongue tie, though he had on his previous 3 outings).
If it was the last reason, then I would expect the tongue tie to have been re-fitted for tomorrow – but it hasn’t…
My educated guess is that he needed the run (he might even have been operated on during the close season to resolve the breathing issue – though this is pure speculation on my behalf).
If it was simply that he needed the run, then I can’t see how he can fail to go close tomorrow – as he will actually be running off a pound lower mark.
It is true that his last run was by far his best over hurdles – but, to balance that, he is still relatively lightly raced and clearly had some issues, so maybe things are just starting to come together for him.
Whatever, I think he is worth a small risk at very attractive odds –even though it is possible to make a case for quite a few of his opponents.
I will certainly be expecting him to travel well through the race tomorrow, the question is how much he will find up the home straight.
Here’s hoping it’s enough !!

0.5pt EW Wise Hawk 25/1

16th November - Review of the day

If I have an achilles heal when I am betting, it is that I’m too cautious…
When it comes to tipping, I think I have the same flaw !

Hot on the heels of the missed double on Saturday, came the missing of a 14/1 winner today.
True, I would probably only have had 0.5pt on it – but it would/should have been a decent profit on the day.
If Llama Farmer hadn’t been in the race, I would have tipped Lexicon Lad – but I had a sneaking suspicion that Llama Farmer might come good – and I didn’t really want to tip 2 in the race.
Anyway, what’s done, is done ! Hopefully, some of you took the ‘unofficial’ advice (learnt from Saturday !). I had a small wager on them both myself – but it was scant consolation really…

In terms of performances, Lexicon Lad travelled like the winner throughout the race – and was trading around 2/1 on BF with a circuit still to go !
Llama Farmer threatened briefly down the far side – but faded up the straight. I dare say I’ll give him another try – I’m a sucker for certain horses !

In the first at Warwick, Uffa Fox made a bad mistake at the first and never recovered. Having been strong in the market during the morning, he wasn’t so strong immediately prior to the off. I got the feeling that today wasn’t going to be the day, whatever…

At Hexham, Signalman nearly gave me double cause for woe ! He ran a really good race but was ultimately beaten by a horse with a few pounds in hand of the handicapper.
I think life might be difficult for Signalman. He strikes me as a very honest horse, who will never have any secrets from the handicapper. Placing him to advantaged could prove tricky for his trainer, James Ewart…

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

16th November - Update

The second blank day on the trot – and whilst I did consider a couple of options for tips, there is just too much guesswork involved…

Non of today’s mentions covered themselves with glory – which, in a way, I was quite pleased about !
That said, I found interest in all 3 races – particularly in the runs of the 2 horses which I have been keeping an eye on…

Although superficially disappointing, I won’t be removing either Caulfields Venture or Realisation from my list of horses to follow.
Both ran today, as if in need of a much stiffer test of stamina than they were ever going to get in small fields on sharp tracks.
There will be other days for both of them this season.

In the 2:30 race at Folkestone, I managed to predict the market with my normal unerring accuracy ;)
Having been 5/1 and 7/1 respectively last night, Set in her Ways and Edgefour managed to go off 2/1 fav and 7/2 !
If I wasn’t interested in either at last nights prices, I certainly wasn’t going to be interested at half the odds !
As it turned out, both ran disappointingly – so the race was one well dodged…

On to tomorrow then, where I got closer to tipping than I had done yesterday…

Hexham 1:10

It is the outsider of the field, Signalman, who interests me most in this race…
He’s run 3 times over fences and put in a reasonable performance each time. He was runner up in a couple of small field novice chases last season – and although he finished last on his seasonal debut, he did try to chase Notus De La Tour, who is potentially a very decent novice. He makes his handicap debut tomorrow and looks fairly handicapped off a mark of 120.
The issue I have with the race however, is that it is very difficult to get a proper handle on it. There are just too many unknowns – and whilst I’m quite happy to side with the outsider in such a situation, I can’t quite take the next step and make him a tip…

Warwick 1:00

Just a quick mention for Uffa Fox.
In the early part of his career, he threatened to be much better than a 93 rated animal. However, he became very disappointing until his final run, just over a year ago, when he won at Wincanton.
Unfortunately, he injured himself winning that contest and has been off the course since.
However, if he is fit and well, then he should be up to winning a race such as tomorrow’s. As was the case with last year’s victory, the market will doubtless say whether he is primed to run a big race.

Warwick 1:30

I got very close to a split stake tip in this race.
The 2 horses I was targeting were Lexicon Lad and Llama Farmer.
I have a slight preference for the former – however he is making his fencing debut tomorrow, so has to be a risky proposition.
That said, I suspect he has enough natural ability to go close in a race such as this, if his jumping is up to it...
Llama Farmer is becoming a bit of an enigma.
He looked very good when winning a novice hurdle at Haydock around 18 months ago.
However, since that point it has been disappointment after disappointment.
Tomorrow he runs off a mark of 105 – having been originally allocated a mark of 123 over fences.
It’s dangerous to keep making excuses for a horse like him – but I can’t help feel he will come good again, one day. I’m now just hoping that day isn’t tomorrow !!

Monday, 14 November 2011

15th November - Race thoughts

It’s pretty poor stuff tomorrow…
Just a couple of NH meetings at Folkeston and Fakenham respectively – but it is low grade fayre, with small fields to boot.
Ironically, a couple of the horses I’m keeping an eye on are running – but neither will be much of a price (due the strength of the opposition). I also had a look at the best race of the day (Folk 2:30) and whilst I don’t have a tip in it, I do have a view…!

Folk 1:30

In some ways, I think this is the most interesting race of the day – and there is a potential angle into it…
Arbeo, Ballyclough and Tony Dinozzo were all fair bumper horses last season – and all 3 make their hurdling debuts tomorrow.
The last 2 mentioned represent strong connection and consequently could be well-backed.
If the price is right, I might be tempted by a small play on Caulfields Venture, who caught my eye on his seasonal debut at Chepstow and now has the advantage of the others of both a recent run and some hurdling experience.
I’ve no idea what price he might be put in at – but anything around 5/1 would be potentially interesting…

Folk 2:30

If I had tipped tomorrow, it would most likely have been in this race…
I spent a little while looking at it, but couldn’t come up with a compelling angle.
The 2 that interested me most, were Edgefour and Set in her Ways – with a slight preference for the latter.
However, it wouldn’t be a tip that I would make with any conviction – and at odds of 7/1 and 5/1 respectively, I didn’t find it too difficult to move on…

Fakenham 3:40

Realisation was a horse that caught my eye last time out at Chepstow…
He was baulked when trying to make his run and then eased when beaten.
He is fair performer on the flat, where he is rated 83. If he can get anywhere near the equivalent rating over hurdles (around 120) he should win tomorrow.
However, I have 2 major issues with him: firstly the presence of Langley, who is a complete unknown quantity, making his debut for Tim Vaughan; and secondly his price of 11/4 – which leaves little margin for error.
On balance, I’ve decided to take a watching brief on the race…

14th November - Race review

Horse: Pocket Aces
Price Advised: 14/1
ISP: 15/2
BSP: 10.0
Position: 4th

My concerns over the well being of Pocket Aces proved unfounded…
As with so many of my selections, he was very strong in the market and that market strength looked justified for a good deal of the race.
He tracked the leader for most of the race, apparently going easily. However, when push came to shove approaching the second last, he came up short, eventually fading into fourth place.
It was still a very meritorious run – and of all the horses I have put up so far, I would say this one warrants the tag ‘winner next time’ most ! I even suspect he could hold his own in stronger company (though I think today’s race was a fair one for the grade).
Needless to say, I’ve noted him in my book – and provided the price is right, expect to see his name tweeted up again, in the non too distant future…

Sunday, 13 November 2011

14th November - Selection rationale

I have to acknowledge that Pocket Aces is as risky a selection, as I’ve put up so far !
However, I’ve staked him accordingly – and if he runs to the level which he was capable not so long ago, he should hack up tomorrow ! 14/1 about such a scenario seems quite reasonable to me…

As a novice chaser, Pocket Aces was a fair sort: he was just 16/1 to beat Long Run in the Feltham at the Kempton Christmas meeting and although outclassed in that race, it does give an indication of the regard in which he was held, a couple of years ago…
Last season was a bit of a wash out for Pocket Aces – apart from his second run of the season, over 2 miles at Cheltenham, behind Daves Dream.
Pocket Aces finished an eye-catching fifth in that race, prompting the RP’s spotlight to write:
‘Pocket Aces was the eyecatcher as, having been badly outpaced and got well behind, he stayed on taking in the final 2f and is clearly crying out for a return to further. Rated 130 here, he looks more than capable of winning a decent prize off that mark.’

Roll on 3 disappointing runs, and Pocket Aces appears tomorrow in a Class 4 race, over a 2m4f trip, running off a mark of 111.
Compared to the Cheltenham run, he is now running in a race 2 classes lower and off a mark 19lb lower – despite the RP expert thinking he was quite capable of winning off the higher mark !
As you can see, Pocket Aces is potentially dangerously well handicapped !

However, the question mark with him is whether he is still the horse he was – and we won’t know that until around 2:40 tomorrow…
If he has had physical problems, then first time out is quite possibly the best time to catch him. He’s performed well after a break in the past, so if connections want to get him ripe for tomorrow, it should be possible.
He’s also run well on his 2 previous visits to Plumpton. Let’s hope he makes it a hatrick of decent runs tomorrow !!

0.5pt win Pocket Aces 14/1

13th November - Race review

I seem to be running through a gamut of emotions at the moment: disappointment with Backfromthecongo on Thursday was replaced by irritation with myself yesterday and frustration with Olofi today…!

Horse: Olofi
Price Advised: 25/1
ISP: 8/1
BSP: 8.84
Position: 2nd

In fairness, it wasn’t really the horse’s fault, he travelled like a dream through the entire race, but as I said in my post yesterday, when there are 23 runners in opposition you need luck – and he didn’t really get it.
In truth, it is debatable whether he would have beaten Brampour, but that one did get a perfect run on the home straight, whereas Olofi was taken wide and messed about on the run to the final hurdle.
He finished with tremendous gusto, once balanced after the last – but Brampour had already flown.
Today was the day for Olofi – there can be no doubt about that. He was backed in from 25/1 (which was still available this morning) to 8/1 third favourite. In a race as competitive as the Greatwood, that is an almost unbelievable market move (especially as Pricewise didn’t put him up !).
Still, the EW insurance did it’s job I guess – and as a result, a small profit was returned on the race. Though I can’t help feeling it could have been so much better…

Horse: Le Beau Bai
Price Advised: 16/1
ISP: 12/1
BSP: 17.76
Position: Unplaced

Over at Fontwell, Le Beau Bai ran a lifeless race. He didn’t move out of the last 2 or 3 and was eventually pulled up.
It’s impossible to know whether something was ailing him or if he just didn’t fancy it today. Either way, I would take some persuading to follow him next time…

So the Open meeting comes to an end. It was a tremendous 3 days with some great performances – and no end of eye catchers for the future.
I made a few notes at the time but I will watch every race again carefully, over the next few days. One things for sure, the meeting will be a goldmine for the next forthcoming months – and I’ll be doing all I can to dig out as many nuggets as possible…!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

13th November - Selection rationale

Another excellent afternoon’s racing, with the final day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham; the Southern National card at Fontwell; and a couple of very decent cards over in Ireland at Limerick and Navan respectively…

I’ve got a couple of tips for tomorrow and as both are in bigger, more competitive fields than I would like, I’ve kept stakes low.
I do like both though – and will be very disappointed if Olofi in particular doesn’t run a race – but as I was reminded earlier in the week, they are not machines.
So fingers crossed..!

Chelt 2:20

With 24 runners over the 2 mile trip, this is going to be fast and furious.
A certain amount of luck in-running will also be required, but provided Olofi gets it, I feel sure he will go close.
He actually ran fifth in the equivalent race last year, behind the top class Menorah. Furthermore, he did it as a 4 year old and off a rating 2lb higher than he gets to run off tomorrow.
The horses in front of him that day subsequently franked the form – and although he didn’t go on himself, he only ran twice more last term.
On his seasonal debut this term, he ran in a decent hurdle race in France and finished a fair 4th. Provided that run has brought him on and with an extra year on his back, Olofi has sound credentials in a very tough race.

0.5pt EW Olofi 25/1

Font 3:15

The Southern National is another very competitive race – though with just the 16 runners this time !
Le Beau Bai was the horse that caught my eye in this contest. He threatened to be a top class stayer a couple of years ago, when he went off 4/1fav for the Welsh National and finished third to Dream Alliance.
He hasn’t really progressed from that point – but he has still managed a fair level of form over the past 2 seasons, including finished third in to Silver by Nature in the last 2 runnings of the Grand National trial at Haydock.
The last one of those was in February of this year off a mark off 137. It is therefore a little surprising to see him competing off a mark of 131 just 3 runs later. As Le Beau Bai is only 8 years old may not yet have reached his peak as a stayer – certainly there is no indication that he is in decline.
Second time out looks to be the time to catch him and if that is the case, I can see him running a really big race tomorrow.

0.5pt EW Le Beau Bai 16/1

12th November - Race review

Horse: Oiseau De Nuit
Price Advised: 40/1
ISP: 33/1
BSP: 37.84
Position: Unplaced

As I said last Sunday when I tipped Frontier Dancer, I don’t always get the final selection and staking spot on – and I think today proved the point rather well…
As you may have gathered, I had a short list of 3 potential selections for today: Galaxy Rock, Oiseau De Nuit and Dorset Square.
I opted for a small play on Oiseau – and as they say, the rest is history..!
Galaxy Rock powered up the Cheltenham hill to record a comfortable victory, whilst Dorset Square battled on like a lion to defeat Pettifour.
In between those 2 victories, Oiseau De Nuit, was well beaten in the Paddy Power Gold cup – though a juddering mistake at the ditch at the top of the hill didn’t help his cause…
I can only hope that one or two of you followed the unofficial ‘advice’.
I managed to hit lucky myself as Bet365 pushed Dorset Square out to 10/1 at around 11:00. As they were also biggest on Galaxy Rock, I had a small win double on the 2.
Maybe I used up all of our luck in that instant !!

12th November - Selection rationale

I thought long and hard before putting up Oseau De Nuit as a tip today…
I considered putting him up yesterday evening – but figured I would sleep on it overnight !
I know it’s only 0.5pt EW – but that isn’t the point. I’m trying to do this tipping properly – and Oiseau De Nuit is a marginal call.
However, I have a staking plan to help with that – and if he were to win, or even place, at such big odds, without me putting him up, it would be a bit of a sickener…
So, onto the case for the horse today:

In one respect, I can understand why he has been priced up art 40/1 – but on the other hand, I think it is a serious under-estimation of his ability…
In terms of the negative’s: the trip is a worry; he’s got a 10lb claimer on his back, whom I don’t think has ever ridden a winner under rules (!); and at 9 years of age, he is quite exposed..
However, on the plus side: he won the Grand Annual at last year’s festival by 3 and a half lengths off a mark just 8lb lower than today and the 10lb claimer will offset 3lb of that additional 8lb; he then followed up by running a stormer at Aintree off a mark a 1lb higher than today and ran an equally good race on his seasonal debut in the Halden Gold cup; he’s always looked like 2m4f would be within his compass; The Tizzard stable have hit form this week after a few weeks in the doldrums.
Like I said, it’s a tricky balancing act – and at 20/1, I wouldn’t be playing – but at 40/1…
Obviously, in a race like this, dangers abound (and that was part of the reason I was disinclined to tip in it).
If Mon Parrain is the horse connections seem to think he is, he could bolt up: Wishful Thinking is a very useful, improving horse. I was also personally drawn to both Loosen my Load and Noble Alan - and big runs by either wouldn’t surprise me..
However, this blog is all about ‘value’ – and there is little doubt in my mind, that the best value in the race lies with the relatively unconsidered Oiseau De Nuit…

0.5pt EW Oiseau De Nuit 40/1

Elsewhere on another very good card, I like the look of Galaxy Rock under AP in the staying chase at 1:55 and Dorset Square, who is representing Willie Mullins in the staying hurdle at 3:10.
I was half tempted to put up the latter as a tip – but I chose not to. I hope that decision doesn’t come back to haunt me…!