Darran

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Darran last won the day on February 14

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About Darran

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  • Birthday 08/26/82

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  1. An interesting Hunter Chase this afternoon at Lingfield and the Full Trottle fully deserves his place at the head of the market. If you read my Hereford preview then you will know I am a big fan of this horse. He is so consistent and is a good solid horse and is one of my favourite horses running in Hunter Chases at the moment. He only won once last year when showing the benefit of a wind op at Ludlow, but his 2nds to Shotavodka at Hereford and Mr Mercurial at Cheltenham were top performances as well. I think he does have the best form in the race, but I'm not so sure that he is as far clear as the odds suggest. He was punted early on last night and has drifted out slightly to 10/11 this morning, but I still think that is on the short side. There is every chance this is going to be a strongly run race in what is likely to be holding ground and that could just see his fitness levels tested. He might well win and I am loathed to take him on, but I just don't see any value in his current price. Excitable Island is the horse who was given the 4 miler on Cheltenham's Hunter Chase night after Battle Dust lost his saddle cloth. He then did well to finish 4th at Stratford in the John Corbet Cup given he wasn't travelling from a fair way out. The problem is this race is over 2m4f and it isn't hard to think that connections have been forced to run here as I think this trip will be too sharp for him. Net D'Ecosse was stuffed at Warwick behind Hazel Hill, but it is interesting he has been given a wind op since then so clearly connections thought there was a breathing issue. He retains the tongue-tie as well just to make sure. His last win came back in May at Kilbeggan over this trip in soft ground off a mark of 128. That form is obviously good enough to see him run a big race here, but there are two things that concern me. First of all his former trainer Noel Meade didn't think he wanted soft ground so this holding ground today might not suit. Also his form since coming over isn't the strongest. Now he was 2nd to Road To Rome's stablemate Irish Anthem at Clifton in December and his trainer is off the belief that Irish Anthem is better than Road To Rome, so if you take that at face value then it probably wasn't a bad run, but I am not so sure myself. Maybe the drop back to this trip will help, but if there is still a wind issue concern this race will test that. Newsworthy is the other one in single figures. As I wrote in my review of the Taunton race I thought he ran better than his distance behind the winner suggests. Obviously we now know that he had no chance of beating Road To Rome, but I thought he traveled really in the race despite his jumping not being the best after he made a mistake early on which seemed to knock his confidence. Trip and ground look ideal and he clearly didn't stay 3m6f back in a point at Cocklebarrow, but he also made mistakes that day so that concern remains here. I do though think he still has a chance because if I am right about his running at Taunton then he would have a fair chance of hitting the frame here. The only other one I think is worth talking about is the horse I am going to make the main bet in the race, Bally River Boy. Those who read my Ffos Las preview will know I had a small bet on him ahead of that race which of course didn't happen because of EI. Granted he pulled up at Warwick, but he couldn't make the running that day and I think he sulked. He should have a much better chance of making the running in this lesser race. He did well to win at Fontwell last season and he ran pretty well in the John Corbet Cup despite pulling up because he didn't stay that night. His reappearance run saw him win by 20L at Ffos Las. Now that wasn't the strongest race in the world, but that was still an impressive performance to win in testing ground. I don't think he will have any issues with the drop in trip here and I hope that he might be able to put the others under pressure with his front running tactics and we know he will just keep going as well. The final plus is that James King is back in the saddle after he rode him in that Ffos Las race. I think Full Trottle is the best horse in the race, but he could be vulnerable this afternoon especially at the price, and Bally River Boy is likely to make this a test in the ground and I think he has a good chance of being capable of making all. I certainly don't think he should be a double figure price. I am also going to have a small saver on Newsworthy because I thought the Taunton run was better than it looks on paper and hopefully he can jump better than he has done on both his starts this season. Bally River Boy 1pt e/w @ 12/1 with William Hill, BetVictor and Betway Newsworthy 0.5pts e/w @ 6/1 with Betway
  2. Hunter Chase - 4.45 Haydock

    It is amazing that Road To Rome started off by winning a maiden point in November. What a certainty he was that day! Today was a personal best as well and having had 7 runs since November doesn't seem to have affected him at all which is staggering. I'm sort of kicking myself for not having backed him for Cheltenham, but even though I knew he was good I wasn't really expecting him to prove to be this good. Granted you can pick holes in the others given they were making their seasonal returns, but he annihilated them. His jumping was superb and the rest just couldn't cope with him. The only one that could was Ballotin who would have finished 2nd had he not tried so keep with the winner. He should be up to winning Hunter Chases I would have thought. The winner is now in single figures for Cheltenham and deservedly so. It will be harder to make all there, but he is one of the leading contenders that's for sure. If Pacha Du Polder was meant to be further forward than he was last year then he has no chance at Cheltenham as this was miles behind his Doncaster run. Granted he seems to love the race, but I couldn't back him at all and yet again his jockey was struggling to present him right at his fences. Dineur finished last and was never involved so he has to improve a lot to go to Aintree and Ardea was a bit disappointing as well. Sybarite finished 2nd and did what he nearly always does. His connections had said he was retired a year ago so it was odd to see him back, but clearly he does retain his ability. Next race is at Lingfield on Monday.
  3. Like I said been poor for weeks could struggle to reach the playoffs at this rate
  4. Hunter Chase - 4.45 Haydock

    Wow that was some performance. Continues the very profitable start to the season as well mainly thanks to road to Rome.
  5. Hunter Chase - 4.45 Haydock

    I thought Risk A Fine won despite not having things in his favour on Friday. Having the best jockey in the race was a big help and he rode him superbly especially to take full advantage of the situation. Makes it easier when you are on the best horse in the race, but even so you need the right man on top. The track didn't suit him and a trip just over 3m was as far as he wants to go, but even though the 2nd ended up 2L behind he was always being held. I think he is much better than he showed today and I fully expect him to win more races this season. Good to take advantage of another drift as well and that makes it 5/7 so far this season. Onto one of the bigger Hunter Chases of the season, The Walrus at Haydock. Annoyingly it gets underway at 4.45 just as the football is about to finish and if you read my Non-League tips on here you will know I am at a game tomorrow. It is a fascinating race and having been on Road To Rome 3 times already I have to be on him again tomorrow. The ground is a slight concern as I don't think he wants it too soft, but it will continue to dry out so hopefully it will be fine. No doubt he will be making the running the again and I think he can take advantage out of being fit compared to the others who seem to be using this as a prep. Pacha Du Polder will be bidding for a hat-trick next month and this is clearly a run to get him straight for Cheltenham. He was woeful in his prep race at Doncaster last season although he had a rushed preparation heading into that race and Nicholls has said he is further forward this time around. He has gone well fresh in the past so he might be up to winning this, but he is 12 now and it isn't hard to think he will come on for the run. He also seems to need a stamina test nowadays. I'm still not a big fan of the jockey either despite the fact she won at Cheltenham. On ratings Ballotin has a chance here and we know the trainers horses are running better this season. His last start last season was terrible so he would certainly need to improve on that. He clearly handles all sorts of ground and I imagine this might well be Maxwell's Aintree horse. If he is fit he could be the biggest danger to the favourite. Dineur won the Aintree Foxhunters the last time we saw him in 2017, but as I wrote ahead of the Ffos Las race he was due to run in last week, I think he will need this with Aintree very much the target. Apart from when Ardea unseated on his Hunter Chase debut he has finished 1st or 2nd on every start under rules. That is some effort and he is a consistent sort. He finished just in front of Pacha Du Polder at Doncaster last year and as much as Pacha clearly needed it, this trip is probably more in Ardea's favour. I'm not sure he is up to winning this, but I can see him running well and he probably shouldn't be as big as he is. It would be surprising if any other the others got involved. Road To Rome has already been well backed, but I still think the price is fair given he has race fitness on his side given the other main rivals are all making their seasonal return ahead of bigger targets. I am going to a save on Ballotin though. This trip and ground look ideal for him based on his French form and I can imagine he will be in better shape than his last run of last season. He also won on his seasonal/trainer debut last season off a mark of 139 and if he repeats that here he has to be involved at the finish. Road To Rome 2pts @ 7/4 with Unibet Ballotin 1pt @ 9/2 with Bet365 and pretty much every other bookie.
  6. Couldn’t back Salford at the moment. Bar the wins against Wrexham and Salford they’ve been poor for weeks. They are 18th in the last 10 form game table. Farsley just missed out as a bet so couldn’t put you off that.
  7. I was considering putting Spennymoor up as a bet on the handicap and then decided to add them into the treble, but on thinking about it again I actually think it is worth backing them on the handicap. Boston put 5 past them last week and as I mention in the preview things have got even worse for them off the field in the week. As long as Spennymoor take the game seriously they could easily put a few past them as well. Spennymoor -1 2pts @ 8/5 with Betfair, 1pt on the -2 @ 15/4 with Unibet and 0.5pts @ 9/1 with Unibet
  8. Hunter Chase - 4.25 Fakenham

    Great to continue the great start to the season and that is now 5/7. Preview for Haydock will be up later.
  9. Hunter Chase - 4.25 Fakenham

    So Risk A Fine has drifted out to 8/11. I was waiting to see if it would go bigger, but it has been that price for a while and I make it a bet at that price. Risk A Fine 4pts @ 8/11 with Bet 365 and pretty much everyone else
  10. I will start with the reviews of the two races on Thursday. The Kelso race will be one of the more stranger races we will see this season. Shantou Flyer drifted like a barge all day and was freely available at odds against, whilst Mr Mercurial was well backed into around 15/8. On course the betting couldn't have been more different as Shantou Flyer was backed like it couldn't get beat and Mr Mercurial drifted like it only had 3 legs. Then we had the race itself. Shantou Flyer was plenty keen enough in front and after he got headed at 4 out he looked a beaten horse. The fact he touched 120 on Betfair tells you that. Meanwhile Sir Jack Yates and Mr Mercurial kicked on, but approaching 2 out the winner started closing back on the front two. Sir Jack Yates dropped away at that stage suggesting that he needed the race and it was her Mr Mercurial was sent into a clear lead, but that was the worst thing that could have happened. Clearly his new owner/trainer/jockey hadn't actually watched any of his previous races because if he had he would have known this is something he needed to avoid. I did say in the preview that the concern was the jockey not knowing the horse and as soon as they jumped the last his head went up in the air and he pretty much pulled himself up. With the jockey nowhere near strong enough either it meant Shantou Flyer was able to come through and score easily. I suspect he will be seen at Fontwell a week on Sunday in an attempt to qualify for Cheltenham. I don't really know what to make of the performance to be honest, but it was an improvement on Warwick and he does do well at Cheltenham so who knows. I suspect the 2nd is heading to The Festival as well to give his owner a spin round. He clearly still retains his ability but you would be fair from certain his owner would be capable of getting him to win on this showing. Leicester was a much better story and meant we ended the day in profit as Asockastar won pretty cosily in the end. He didn't exactly lead like I thought he would, but they went such a slow gallop that it didn't really matter. I thought he was given a good ride because he kicked on at just the right time and Just Cause who is always held up just didn't have the speed to respond. He had been very keen in the early stages which wouldn't have helped, but for me he was firmly 2nd best on the day and the best Hunter Chase form going into the race ended up being the right way to go instead of the good recent pointing form. The winner is Cheltenham bound and I am sure he can run a nice enough race for connections, whilst the 2nd will probably be better in a race run at stronger gallop and he does have the ability to land one of these this season. Onto today's race and I am gutted that Risk A Fine has turned up in a race like this although I am sure his connections think differently. Showed he had a fair level of ability when trained by Philip Hobbs and last ran for him in 2015. He then went missing until pulling up at Hackwood last May. He then returned for new connections at Chaddesley Corbett over Christmas and boy was I impressed with what I saw. He made all and never saw another rival beating a horse in Sego Success who was running well off marks in the 130's last season, by 7L. He was the horse I was most impressed by that day and he clocked the same time as Hazel Hill so the clock backs up what a good effort that was. The only other serious rival is Zeroshadesofgrey who made a winning pointing debut in a Novice Riders race at Cottenham a couple of days after Risk A Fine won. He was driven out to beat Vivaldi Collonges by 3/4L. Local Show who was just behind in 3rd has won since although he was 2/7 and it was a weak race and the 2nd was stuffed on the same card and his jockey doesn't seem to be doing him any favours. It was a fair effort that was actually rated the same in the pointing form book as Risk A Fine's win, but that surprises me. He seemed to lose his way under rules last season and he also seems a better horse over hurdles. He might be the same age as Risk A Fine but he is certainly more exposed so we know where we stand with him. His jockey has won just 5 races in 93 rides in points and this is his first ride under rules and he goes up against one of the best around in James King. I expect King to dictate matters on Risk A Fine and I would be very surprised if he doesn't win based on his Chaddesley win. The problem is he is 4/7 and there is little juice in that price and sadly I just can't recommend a bet at this stage. I would be surprised if he drifted to a backable price but should an angle in come up I will add it to the thread.
  11. It was good to be back in profit on a Saturday after a couple of tough weekends. Hopefully that will continue this Saturday where I have 6 bets. Boreham Wood v Hartlepool Just one bet in the National League this week and I am glad that Wood have signed Haringey's star striker this week as it makes them even weaker in their bid to stop Dorking winning the Bostik Premier, but I am not sure he will turn the home sides form around. Goals have been an issue for them so they have had to do something and they were lacking in that department again on Saturday when losing 1-0 at Maidenhead. It has been 6 league games since they last picked up 3 points although to be fair they have drawn half of those so they are still making themselves hard to beat, but I think the away side are value here. Having only lost twice at home they have then gone and lost their last two home games to Maidstone and Havant and Hartlepool should on paper be a much tougher test. Richard Money was a mistake, but at least Hartlepool have done something about it and the team has really improved for Craig Hignett. They beat Braintree and then they drew with Leyton Orient last Saturday and if they had scored a penalty then they would have taken 3 points against the team 2nd in the league. I think they have a real chance of picking up 3 points here and the 12/5 with Bet365 and BetVictor. Hampton & Richmond v Gloucester City For my sins I am off to watch my side again on Saturday. I have seen us more this season than I have for a long time and given I have only seen us win once it has been on the whole a pretty depressing experience. However I think we are a very attractive price to win this. We had to sack Chris Todd as his stint was a massive failure, but I thought getting Mike Cook in his place was a mistake. However he has massively improved the side and they have won 2 and drawn 2 of the 4 games he has been in charge for. Crucially in that time just one goal has been conceded and we look as strong at the back as we did before Todd took over. Granted goals are still a concern and the 2 against Slough on Tuesday night were the first 2 goals from open play since before Christmas.1st half against Slough we only had one shot, but the 2nd half was much better and we scored 2 good goals. If we can play like that then I am very hopeful we can beat a Hampton side who I don't rate at all. Strangely enough they also played Slough in their last match and they were very lucky to get a point as Slough were much the better team and Hampton equalised in injury time. I have said before there is little between most of the sides in the bottom half of the NLS and there is no way City should be over 3/1 to win this game. Hampton struggle to score goals so a 0-0 wouldn't be a big surprise, but Gloucester are playing with much more confidence than they were and there is every chance they could get the 1 goal which might well be all they need to win this. Slough v Dartford Speaking of Slough for all they should have won last Saturday against Hampton the fact remains they have only won once in their last 9 games and not at all in their last 5. That is puts them in 20th place in the 10 game form table. Their issues seem to be in the 2nd half as that seems to be where they are dropping points. Dartford are flying at the moment and it looks like they will be in the play-offs yet again. They have only lost twice in their last 10 matches and that has seen them rise up the table. Their away form is a slight concern. It took them until deep into injury time to beat a 9 man Woking in their last away game and they hadn't won in 4 prior to that including only drawing at East Thurrock. However that is more than factored into the price as they shouldn't be anywhere near 3/1 (BetVictor) to win this. Truro v Oxford City Oxford's form has fallen off the edge of a cliff and they have picked up just one point in their last 6 games. That point came against an out of form Eastbourne side as well. Truro might have only won one of their last 5, but they have only lost by the odd goal when they have lost and those were against better teams than Oxford. I think they are a bit better than their league position suggests as well and given they have more to play for than Oxford I think a price just over 6/4 (Marathon) looks a good one about a home win. Darlington v Southport Granted the home side are doing pretty well themselves having lost just twice in their last 9 league games although the win at Blyth was their first in 4. Southport's good form looked to have come to an end losing two including 4-0 at home to AFC Telford, but they then bounced straight back with a hugely impressive 5-3 win over leaders Chorley last Saturday. This is no gimmie, but I do think the away side are over priced at 21/10 (BetVictor) because I do think they are one of the best teams in the division despite their league position. Treble I rarely put up a treble, but this one pays 5/1 with BetVictor and it makes plenty of appeal. I have written plenty about Bradford Park Avenue and the fact they clearly don't want promotion. I'm not surprised Altrincham have been backed and I think they will win. Nuneaton look in even a bigger mess than they did when I opposed them last week as the new owner has left them this week and the club really is in a sorry state. I just can'[t see how 3rd placed Spennymoor don't pick up another 3 points. Welling have had to cut their budget in recent weeks as well which is a shame as it might well cost them a play-off place. Torquay travel to South East London this weekend and they look almost unstoppable at the moment and are pretty much scoring goals for fun. Hartlepool 1pt @ 12/5 with Bet 365 and BetVictor Gloucester 1pt @ 63/20 with Marathon Dartford 1pt @ 3/1 with BetVictor Truro 1pt @ 153/100 with Marathon Southport 1pt @ 21/10 with BetVictor Altrincham/Spennymoor/Torquay 1pt @ 5/1 with BetVictor
  12. Been a really strong start to the season with Ascokastar making it 4/6 so far.
  13. Think he is way overpriced now at those odds. Mr Mercurial been well backed at Kelso and don't think the price offers any value now to be honest.
  14. Over a month of the Hunter Chase season gone and we have only had 4 races which is crazy really. Hopefully the flu has been contained and the weather will play ball for the rest of the season. Having said that of course the flu is still playing apart and we are left with just 4 runners apiece in the two races on Thursday. I will start at Kelso where Shantou Flyer is bidding to try and get one of his qualifying runs in for Cheltenham. Just to remind you he has to finish 1st or 2nd in two Hunter Chases by a week on Sunday. I am sure they thought he would be qualified by now and they might be regretting the decision not to run at Taunton where he would have likely finished 2nd. I thought his Warwick run was really disappointing though. It was nowhere near the levels he had shown last season and I don't even think you can say he might have needed the run. It goes without saying if he shows the form of last season then he will win this, but at long odds on I am happy to take him on. There has to be a bit of a question mark on the ground as well. He has won on good ground in the past, but not for sometime and it might just be that he needs to get his toe in nowadays. Mr Mercurial has been a really solid Hunter Chaser for a few seasons now and arguably he was as good as ever last season as he landed a hat-trick of wins including a really good one at Cheltenham. His new owner/trainer/jockey paid £36k for him at the sales and it was probably enough money for a horse who is now 11. What concerns me more though is the fact he is a horse who has taken some knowing the past and he hasn't always been the easiest of rides. Having said that his form gives him a leading chance. Sir Jack Yeats won this race last year and it was already his 3rd Hunter Chase run of the season although their hand was forced as they wanted to qualify him for Cheltenham. I thought he ran respectably enough at Cheltenham and Aintree and his 3 previous runs in Hunter Chases look's decent. Purcell's Bridge's form doesn't look good enough although he did post a good time when winning on pointing debut last month, but his handicap form prior isn't good enough to win this. Shantou Flyer might well win this, but I didn't like his Warwick run and he comes up against 2 useful performers here who I would rate higher than all the horses who finished in front of him that day bar the winner. If Mr Mercurial's new jockey can get him to put his best foot forward he has a strong chance and Sir Jack Yeats also has an obvious chance with the best jockey in the race. I think it is worth backing them both to small stakes. Sir Jack Yeats 0.5pts @ 4/1 with Unibet Mr Mercurial 0.5pts @ 4/1 with Unibet As the betting suggests the Leicester race should be between Just Cause and Ascockastar. The latter was a surprise 2nd at Cheltenham to Barel Of Laughs and then in the Stratford Foxhunter when 2nd to Chosen Dream. The problem is those two runs were way above the form he had shown previously. I do think the Stratford form is suspect given the heavily watered ground, but you have to say he ran really well in both and he certainly has the best Hunter Chase form in this race. Just Cause's Hunter Chase form is a fair way below what Ascokastar has shown. He was well beaten at Catterick last March and he ought to have won at Fontwell but his owner/jockey was probably to blame for him not wining. I'm not sure of the reason why, but Tim isn't riding his horses this season so that is certainly a plus for the horses chances. He ended last season with an easy win at Dingley. This year he has run at Cottenham twice. He was picked up by Now Ben in the first which is good form and every chance he needed that as he won later in the month beating Warwick 2nd Mr Mix by a neck. The betting has gone for Just Cause, but I don't think there is much between the two of them at all and Asockastar looks the value now. He is likely to make the running and that could be beneficial in a small field. He won first time last season so you would hope that he would be fit enough here even though his main rival has had two starts so might have the advantage in fitness. For now I am prepared to take those 2 2nds at face value and his trainer is aiming him at Cheltenham next month. Like I say I don't think there is a great deal between them so will take Asockastar at the prices. Asockastar 1pt @ 11/8 with Betfair and Paddy Power
  15. Profit on the day so happy enough with that. Boston and Eastleigh both won and I think Workington were 8/11 as the double became a single. Probably a bit unlucky with the draw bet as well as Chesterfield's winner was a penalty. Good news on the AP front as Dorking have now gone 6 points clear after winning 7-1 today and there are only 10 games left.