*** Cheltenham Festival Competition: Well done to 1st. Mully, 2nd. Vangovin & 3rd. Gray306 ***


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Everything posted by Darran

  1. Given it has been confirmed there will be no more hunter chases in the UK this year and it is hard to see there being anymore in Ireland it is time to review this years service. What is amazing given how poor form I was in for the first 2 months of the season was that I managed to scrape a profit of 3pts. Now it does depend if you did the Tote forecast or the CSF at Catterick, but if you did the CSF you would be about a point up. Obviously it is the right thing to do regards the suspension of racing, but just purely looking at hunter chases it is frustrating that having started to find the winners that there won't be a chance to start building a healthy profit. Nailing that big forecast at Catterick was the key as was getting getting Clondaw Westie at Ffos Las and Full Irish at Fakenham. I only put bets up in 19 races staking 41.5pts and had returns in 7 of them returning 44.5pts. If we do get anymore in Ireland then I will cover them, but otherwise it is going to be a very long wait until January when hopefully we will be back to some sort of normality.
  2. Thankfully Australian racing was able to continue after a scare earlier in the week and their looks to be a few betting opportunties on the main card at Rosehill plus the metro card in Victoria which this week is at Bendigo another country track after it was at Mornington last week. Rosehill race 5 4.10am Going to take two against the field. Villami was really good 1st up in a Listed contest and if she can buiuld on that performance than she has to be bang there off a light weight. She has form with Loving Gaby in the spring which obviously stacks up well. I mentioned Kementari last week when he was set to appear in The Galaxy. They took him out and have decided to aim him at this G3 instead. Could be a good move if he is anywhere near the form he showed before he went to stud and as I mentioned last week he trialled very well earlier in the month. Villami @ 3/1 with William Hill Kementari @ 5/1 with Bet365 Rosehill race 6 4.50am The G1 Tancred Stakes features plenty of familiar names to UK and Irish punters and also those who were watching Rosehill last week as the front 3 in the betting all ran last week. Verry Elleegant is not surprisingly the favourite after her great run when being beaten by Addeybb, with Avilius back in 3rd. They are up to 2400m here, but I can't see the form being reversed. Hugh Bowman said he was happy with how Avilius performed, but he looked ordinary to me and he just doesn't seem the same horse as last year. Verry Elleegant won the ATC Oaks over this trip so that isn't a concern and she can win, but I am going to chance a couple at bigger odds. Mustajeer was last year's Ebor winner and he was pretty poor in the Melbourne Cup after that. He is now in Australia full time and his two runs back from a spell have been good efforts as he won 1st up over 1900m and then finished 2nd to a very progressive horse last time out. Up to 2400m will be more suitable and the Ebor was essentially a G1 handicap in all but name. I think he can run a good race here. In the same colours I also like Danceteria at a big price. He was trained by David Menuisier over here and ran a really good race when 4th behind Enable in the Eclipse. After that he won a G1 at Munich before a trip to the Cox Plate which didn't go well. That can be ignored though and I think he is slowly coming to hand this prep. He only beat one home 1st up, but last time he travelled well before fading in the straight in testing ground. It won't be as soft here and with blinkers on for the first time I can see him running well given his European form is very strong. Mustajeer @ 8/1 with William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfred (e/w) Danceteria @ 25/1 with BetVictor and Betfred (e/w) Rosehill Race 9 6.50am Star of the Stars won a G3 over 1100m 1st up and should enjoy the step up in trip. He has a superb record at Rosehill where he has won 4 of his 5 starts and looks set to travel just behind the speed from his draw in 8. Star of the Seas @ 100/30 with William Hill Bendigo Race 1 1.15am The slight concern is that Grand Promenade is having his 7th start this prep and that is fairly unusual in Australia, but his win at Caulfield over this trip after being trapped 3 wide with no cover for most of the race was really good. This looks a good race for him. Grand Promenade @ 7/5 with Paddy Power Bendigo Race 6 4.30am Going to have 2 bets against the field in this. Twitchy Frank has been so consistent since his last win just under a year ago at Caulfield. He has mainly run in his native Tasmania since and gone close in some decent races. He should go well again here. Mirette has a touch of class about her although she was very disappointing 1st up in the Echuca Cup. She has run well against Princess Jenni a couple of times last year and that is strong form. She has a good 2nd up record so hopefully she can improve here. Twitchy Frank @ 6/1 with Betfred (e/w) Mirette @ 12/1 with Betfred (e/w) Bendigo Race 8 5.50am The big race of the day and I have to be with Princess Jenni. I tipped her up at Moonee Valley last week and on the face of it she was a bit ordinary, but she was not suited by the way the race was run and nothing was really finishing from the back on the card. This hopefully should be run to suit and she has a really good chance for me. I am also going to cover Debt Agent who set some great finishing sectionals 1st up at Flemington earlier in the month. He was a good horse in Singapore prior to coming over here and he looks capable of running a good race in this. Princess Jenni @ 100/30 with Betfred Debt Agent @ 15/2 with Betfred (e/w 4 places)
  3. Totally get this. I am married to an Australian so the first couple of trips we made I made sure I learnt about how it all worked over there just in case we ever moved at some stage. Glad I did though as really enjoyable the Australian racing and it is good class stuff but it’s something I did almost out of necessity and trying to do more on Hong Kong racing for example doesn’t massively appeal to me. Suspect that will be the only country with racing on very soon though.
  4. On The Sod looks a very promising horse based on that performance. Will be interesting where he goes next although the situation we are currently in will have a big say I would imagine. Looks a possible John Corbet cup winner though. Getzie ran a big race and looked like he would hit the frame at one stage. The other selection was a bit disappointing. Profit though which is the key. I think I’m right in saying the next hunter chase is the one at Fairyhouse over Easter should Ireland get that far and the meeting takes place.
  5. Regular readers of my previews will know that I don't tip in Irish hunter chases that often. The main reason for that is the fact I don't usually have the time to add Irish hunter chases to my usual workload of Non-League Football and UK hunter chases. With both those two out of action at the moment it means I can actually spend a bit of time on the Irish scene and they have a hunter chase at Downpatrick on Sunday. We have two horses at the top of the market Complete Sizing and On The Sod. I know the former has Jamie Codd on, but I don't really fancy him. It wasn't a strong open that he was 2nd in last time and the time before he fell in a hunter chase at Clonmel. That was in January and it was his first run since last May when he went off 8/13, but didn't seem to handle the good ground when he was well beaten by Rewritetherules. He also finished lame that day and his history shows that he clearly has had his issues over the years. He could come on for the run last time, but I think he needs to. On The Sod is 3/3 and has Rob James on top who will be on top of the world after winning at Cheltenham last week. Had one run last season and then returned to beat Samurai Cracker by a short head in November. That is strong form as he has won a hunter chase since and run well in some good races including when falling at the last in the Naas race Billaway won in January. Last month he was an easy winner and he clocked a decent time. The odd comment after the race from his trainer suggested that he would only go for a hunter chase if it was at a left-handed venue. I find it odd because it was a right-handed track last time so I don't see it being an issue and he looks a very promising horse. Heydour was rated 123 over Rules when trained in the UK and was 2nd a couple of times at Ludlow and Huntingdon. He won a maiden point last month, but that form wouldn't be good enough to win this. That was on heavy though and his good form in the UK was on decent ground. The trainer is using the horse to help give his 18yo son experience and he now can only run in hunter chases. On his UK form he'd have a chance, but that would suggest he wants good ground and that he got away with heavy ground last time as it was a much lower class. Handy Headon has been supported and I can understand why. He was impressive when winning his maiden in January where his trainer said the next target was he hunt race at Punchestown point to point which he pushed Rewritetherules close in. Now Rewritetherules apparently wasn't at his best that day and he wasn't great at Cheltenham last week, but I still think it was a good run from Handy Headon. If Punchestown does happen then he will be aimed at the Bishopscourt Cup a race he fell in last year. Holycross Lito showed some good form in points in 2017 winning 4 times. She then went under Rules but it never really worked out for her so she went back pointing and produced a superb performance to beat top pointer Longhouse Music (who also runs here) in October. She was disappointing on his next start which was in a Clonmel hunter chase in January, but given she has been off since my guess is she had an issue that day. She has to have a good chance if at her best. Next in the betting is Longhouse Music and she has won 20 times in 36 starts in points. After the defeat to Holycross Lito she won a couple of weeks later, before being well beaten by Mighty Stowaway when only 4th. She had a break after that and returned a couple of weeks ago when winning easily at 1/2 although the horse just in front did fall at the last. The problem is her Rules form is pretty poor including in a couple of hunter chases in 2017 and 2018. With pointing being closed in Ireland she has been forced to run in a hunter chase and on her Rules form I have to rule her out. Well Bill was a winner a couple of weeks ago where he reversed form with Like A Demon who had beaten him the time before. This race was named as his next race after that win, but he has hardly been a prolific winner in points and needs to find something for me. The other one worth mentioning is Getzie who has more letters than numbers in his form, but he is clearly coming into form. 2 starts back he was very unlucky to slip on landing at 2 out and he had to be pulled up. He then duly bolted up by 12L to lose his maiden tag at the beginning of the month. Interestingly a hunter chase was mentioned as a possible aim after that win so connections clearly think he is up to running well. If he can continue on the progression then he can outrun his massive odds. On The Sod has to be the main bet for me. He looks a like he could be pretty could and he might well turn out to be hard to beat. I'm not sure about Complete Sizing and Heydour probably wants better ground. Handy Headon has been backed and can't be ruled out although Punchestown (if it is on) is clearly the main aim. Longhouse Music's rules form puts me off, but Holycross Lito who has beaten her twice anyway looks a good e/w bet at the prices as she is better than she showed last time and it could be worth forgiving her that effort. Finally I am having a small e/w bet at Getzie at 66/1 as he is clearly coming to himself and looks over priced at huge odds. On The Sod 2pts @ 2/1 with Bet365 Holycross Lito 0.75pts e/w @ 9/1 with everyone Getzie 0.25pts e/w @ 66/1 with Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power and Betfred
  6. Young Rascal a bit of a drifter before the off as the money came in for the fav, but the British horse battled well to beat the ex British horse. Going to set him up nicely for the Sydney Cup. Hopefully when I wake up there will be more money made!
  7. Future Score has come out of the Mornington Cup
  8. Yep and hopefully they will be able to keep going although given how quickly we went from Gold Cup day to having no racing at all here it clearly is a fast moving situation.
  9. I wouldn't bank on that as I think it could go at any stage
  10. Lots of good racing taking place in Australia on Saturday morning as they have one of the biggest days of the season at Rosehill. The Golden Slipper for 2yo is one of the biggest races on the calendar and that is one of 5 G1 on the card. I wont have anything in that race, but some of the other races interest me and there are a few ex UK runners and 2 William Haggas trained runners on the card. The first of the Haggas runners is Young Rascal who goes in the G3 at 2.10am. He has top weight, but I think he deserves it on his achievements over here. He was impressive when winning a Listed race at Kempton in November and the 2nd has gone on to win a G2 at Meydan since. Before coming to Australia he went to Hong Kong to run in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin and he ran as well as could have been expected. He is being trained with the Sydney Cup in mind in 3 weeks, but this doesn't look an overly strong contest and he should be up to going pretty close. The favourite is Mugatoo who used to be trained by Dave Simcock. The best he managed over here was a win at Doncaster last May off 81, but he has been very progressive since going to Australia winning 3/3. He has been impressive in all 3 starts which have come over 1600m, 1800m and then 2000m last time when winning the Canberra Cup beating some of today's rivals. Given his win at Doncaster was over 1m6f (3000m) that takes some doing and clearly stepping up in trip is going to suit. Strictly speaking on UK ratings Young Rascal is very well handicapped compared to Mugatoo, but we already know Mugatoo has got acclimatised to Australian racing and is improving fast. That tips the balance in his favour for me although I will have a small cover bet on Young Rascal as well. Mugatoo Evs @ Betfred Young Rascal 4/1 @ William Hill and Betfred The Ranvet Stakes is a G1 over 1m2f and is due off at 3.25am. Avilius was a very impressive winner of this last year and he was in flying form this time last year. The problem is he hasn't really been in the same sort of form this time around. What I will say though is his best form has seemed to come in Sydney and he is 3/3 at Rosehill. This prep he was a running on 5th over 1400m at Caulfield and then he did the same up to 1600m at Randwick. Last time he was a bit ordinary in the Australian Cup at Flemington though. He could easily bounce back here though and has a big chance. Verry Elleegant has a chance and was in front of Avilius at Randwick last time. I just wonder if he isn't quite as good over 2000m though. William Haggas' other runner is Addeybb and he is favourite for this which isn't a massive surprise given his form. He landed the Wolferton at Royal Ascot beating Magic Wand which is obviously good from. He also won the Rose Of Lancaster at Haydock in August, before a new PB when 2nd to Magical in the Champion Stakes in October. I was listening to William Haggas on Sky Sports Racing this morning and he was thinking the ground wouldn't be soft enough although it should still be a Soft 5 at least. Yes he does enjoy desperate ground, but he shouldn't have an issue under these conditions. He wasn't great on his seasonal return last year, but the year before he bolted up in the Lincoln first up so that shouldn't be a concern. Avilius is a good rival, but Addeybb is the best horse in the race for me and hopefully he can make a winning debut in Australia. Addeybb 11/8 with William Hill and Betfred As mentioned in my Moonee Valley preview I was in Australia at this time last year and although not actually at Rosehill it was great to actually watch Winx win her 4th George Ryder Stakes (4.05)live in the afternoon and enjoy all the build up instead of just watching the race when I got up. No Winx here obviously, but we do have star New Zealand horse Te Akau Shark who managed to finish 3rd in last year's Cox Plate. This prep he is 2/2 both in G1 company in New Zealand and at Randwick last time when beating Verry Elleegant and Avilius. His closing sectionals were impressive and he is the one they have to beat. Super Seth is a horse I have had in my black book (it is what Australian's call their tracker) since I saw him win at Ballarat on his debut a year ago as he was really impressive and it was clear he was going to turn into a good horse. He has now won 5 of his 9 starts which includes the Caulfield Guineas in October. This prep he has won a G3 at Caulfield 1st up and then finished a close 2nd in the G2 Futurity Stakes at the same track. He did well in a trial last week to get him primed for this and I think he looks the big danger to the favourite and I will save on him, but Te Akau Shark looks a level above him at the moment. Te Akau Shark 11/10 with Bet365, William Hill and Betway Super Seth 4/1 with William Hill and Betfred Race 6 at 4.45 is the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Shadow Hero is the favourite having won the Randwick Guineas last time over 1600m. He was very strong late on running the final 200m in 11.67 which was the 2nd quickest of the day. We know he stays this far as he is already a G1 winner over this trip. I am going to take him on with Chenier though for Godolphin. He doesn't have the best of draws, but he does have McEvoy on top and you couldn't ask for a better man in the saddle in that circumstance. He is another one in went into my black book after winning his debut. That came at Sandown and he was really impressive. He bombed out on his 2nd start, but has returned in good form in two starts on his 2nd prep. Both were behind Alligator Blood at Flemington and he was strong late both times when 3rd in a G3 and then 4th in the Australian Guineas. In the latter he clipped heels as well and it was a huge effort. He looks like 2000m is exactly what he needs and he looked good in a trial last week. He looks set to run a big race here in my view. Chenier 11/2 @ William Hill, Betfred and Betway Race 8 at 6.10 is the Galaxy which is a handicap sprint. I backed Pierata in this last year and he just failed to catch the top class Nature Strip that day. I think he can go one better here despite top weight. He hasn't won this prep, but he has won twice 1st up and he has had two trials including winning one earlier in the month. He is one of the top sprinters in Australia and is worth backing to land this. It will be interesting to see Kementari back after he proved a flop at stud. He has trialled well and when last seen he was running huge races in all the big sprints without winning one. If in that sort of form I doubt he will be far away. Pierata 4/1 @ William Hill, Betfred and Betway Mornington Cup (5.10am) Usually in Victoria on a Saturday one of the 3 tracks in Melbourne hosts the main meeting, but this Saturday is one of the rare times when it doesn't and instead we head to the coast and Mornington for their Cup (yes basically every track in Australia has their own Cup). This race is full of ex UK/Irish horses and the key piece of form for me is a race which featured a few of those at Caulfield last month. It was the first race on the card and at the time it wasn't fully known if what looked a track bias was certain to be the case, however there was. Basically anything which had to come from behind and wide had no chance. Aktau (ex Roger Varian who won at Glorious Goodwood on his last start here) won that contest but certainly had the perfect run and although he has a chance for sure he might not get things go as well here. 2nd home was Inverloch (ex French) and he led so certainly had the run of the race although he did go on to win the Victoria Cup over the same course and distance a week so is clearly in good form. The two I like though were 3rd and 4th. My main bet is Future Score who was trained by Mick Appleby and owned by the very shrewd Horse Watchers. He has done really well since his Australian debut for Matt Cumani a year ago and he has won 4 times already as he has gone up through the grades. I've long thought he would be ideal for one of the country Cups and I would imagine that Matt has aimed him at this one for a while. He ran a really solid race to finish 3rd at Caulfield and now he is stepped back up in trip that should be perfect as his best win so far in Australia was at Flemington over 2600m. I think he's a really solid e/w play here. The former William Haggas trained Just Benjamin has had just the 3 starts in Australia and won the 2nd of them at Caulfield over 1800m when Aktau was behind in 3rd. He was wide with no cover last time and to finish 4th was some effort in the circumstances. His last win in the UK was at Musselburgh on Derby Day and that was over 2500m so he has been steadily building up to running over this trip by his trainer as is the norm in Australia. He looks progressive and is also worth having onside. Future Score 8/1 with Betfred Just Benjamin 3/1 with Bet365 and Betfred (Sky don't have the rights to Mornington so the only way of watching it live or a replay will be via the superb and it is free to sign up so no reason not to)
  11. Don't follow HK racing at all so no help there sorry.
  12. Good stuff and she did it well. Think in the end the fav used too much up getting to the lead, but might not have made any difference anyway. Princess Jenni just ran very flat sadly and there was nothing there when asked for an effort.
  13. Time to have a look back at the Foxhunter although going forward it is hard to think it is going to have much baring on anything this year unless somehow Ireland can continue. Speaking of which the Irish runners bounced back after their poor showing last year although we did see a surprise winner in It Came To Pass, but given the next 4 home were the front 4 in the betting the form is rock solid. Thanks to Marcle Ridge setting a strong pace and the fact the Gold Cup was slowly run there was only 5 seconds difference between the two races whereas usually it is double that. It Came To Pass had fallen at 3 out in 2016, when still in contention, when On The Fringe won the race for the 2nd time on what was just his 5th start. Prior to that he had finished a really good 2nd in the big hunter chase they used to have at Leopardstown and he only went off 9/1 for the Foxhunter that year. It went downhill after that before leaving Jim Culloty's to Eugene O'Sullivan. As I said in the preview he actually beat Billaway last April at Cork over 2m4f on just his 2nd yard for O'Sullivan and would have finished 2nd to Caid Du Berlais at Punchestown if he hadn't unseated. On all that you could have given him a chance and you start to wonder how any bookie offered 300/1 (as he was during the day with at least Bet365) let alone the 66/1 SP. The problem was his two dire runs the last twice especially the PU in a point in January. Although after the race Maxine said at Down Royal he wasn't right and in the point the ground was too testing and sucked off two of his shoes. Obviously it would have been nice to have known that beforehand, but at least there was reasons for the horse to have won the race and more proof it wasn't a total fluke. He was always travelling well and Maxine gave him a cracking ride bringing him into the race at just the right time. If Punchestown does happen then obviously he would have a leading chance especially with no Caid Du Berlais. There is also no reason why he won't be a big player in this next year. Billaway was looking to give his trainer a five-timer on the card and ran every bit as well as they thought he would and he is surely going to be back for more given he is only 8. His jumping wasn't always the best which didn't help, but otherwise I was always happy with the way Shantou Flyer was going and I thought Dave gave him a cracking ride and he was basically in a similar short of position as last year. He landed the e/w money, but he was beaten by two better horses on the day and this must have been his chance over for winning this race now. Annoyingly I would have rather he finished 4th and Staker Wallace 3rd given we were on ante-post so only got the 3 places. Still we got 14/1 (or 10s if you wanted NRMB) and he returned 15/2 so that is why I took ante-post odds. He ran well and basically him and Minella Rocco followed each other during the race which was similar to last year when Codd and O'Connor also followed each other from the back to somewhere near the front. He's 9 and has little racing and he surely still has more to come if he can stay sound. The class horse in the race (Paul Kealy's preview in the Racing Post still makes me laugh a week on although he wasn't the only culprit) Minella Rocco did run better than I thought in 5th, but he also proved he is nowhere near the level he was despite people who don't have a clue about hunter chases trying to say differently. Derek still choose wrong though. Apart from the winner I thought the other superb run in the race was from Marcle Ridge who ended up finishing just 1L behind Minella Rocco despite setting a strong tempo out in front. Perhaps his jockey will be thinking he should have kept some in reserve, but for him to not drop out of the back of the TV after setting the pace was some effort and a huge step up on what he had done to date. He really enjoyed himself out in front and at only 8 he should have plenty to offer next season. I said in the preview Law Of Gold was fancied by some shrewd pointing experts, but even so it is staggering he was only sent off at at 12/1. He did make headway and looked like he might get involved at one stage, but that run petered out pretty quickly and he was a well beaten 7th in the end. He is only 7 though and if he can continue his progression then he could easily be a player in this in years to come. Kalabaloo ran well enough in 8th whereas Alacla in 9th was never a player. I was surprised to see Don Poli finish 11th in the end because at one stage he dropped himself out the back and I thought he would be pulled up. He might end up pointing again next season as he clearly isn't anywhere near good enough for the good hunter chases. Top Wood was prominent for most of the way, but he faded very tamely and sadly he won't even get chance to retain his Aintree crown and it might well be retirement for him. Caid Du Berlais was up there early and lasted a bit longer than last year, but then just dropped back and back and back until he was tailed off and pulled up. It's strange as he has won at Cheltenham but he seems to hate the place now. I'd have wanted to back him at Punchestown though, but he surely won't get the chance. So a really good performance from the winner and the form looks solid and I would imagine plenty of these will be back for more next year. Just a brief word on the Fakenham race which gave us a nice winner in Full Irish who was smashed off the boards all day. It turned into a sprint though so the form is likely to be dodgy, but Jack gave him a cracking ride. It was good to see a bit more from Buck Dancing, but the favourite was given a ride like the jockey hadn't ridden in a race for 9 years! Maybe they wanted to get the handicap mark down, but it was a poor ride on the face of it. It would be nice to think the next jumps meeting will be Cheltenham's hunter chase night, but I wouldn't be betting on that happening although it would be a bet I would love to lose. Pointing has already been called off for the season and we might well have seen our last hunter chase as well. If Downpatrick goes ahead on Sunday then I will be back with a preview for their hunter chase and of course I will continue to look at the Australian action as and when I fancy something.
  14. There a few that catch my eye for Saturday’s Australian action and it’s one of their biggest racing days of the year. Will put my tips up tomorrow. Meanwhile sky have confirmed they will be showing the William Reid tomorrow morning
  15. A week ago we were all thinking about who was going to win on the final day of Cheltenham and I was sorting out my final update for the Foxhunter preview (I will get round to reviewing that race by the way). Things have obviously moved fast since then and I am going to turn my attention to racing in Australia of which there is plenty of top class action not just this weekend, but in the upcoming weeks as well (as long as they can carry on racing behind closed doors) A year ago I was in Australia and I took in a visit to Moonee Valley for their William Reid Stakes card which is the finale to the night racing season at the track. Last year's renewal had an odds on favourite in Sunlight and she duly ran out a comfortable winner of what was a pretty weak renewal. This year's contest (off at 9.30am UK time) looks much stronger and the market is headed by the Godolphin owned Bivouac. He ran out a very impressive winner of the Newmarket at Flemington last time out where he quickened away in great style to beat Loving Gaby, Gytrash and Zoutori who all re-oppose here. That win makes him the one they all have to beat here, but he has drawn the inside barrier just as he did in the G1 Manikato Stakes over course and distance in October. That night he got no luck in running at all and if you had backed him you would have been tearing your hair out in frustration as Kerrin McEvoy had no chance of finding a run. Hugh Bowman takes the ride here and he will be fully aware that he needs to avoid a repeat. At Flemington he really pinged the lids and if that happens again here you would hope that Bowman is able to go forward and sit in behind likely front runner Pippie who is likely to come across from stall 10 and make the running. If he gets the ideal run he is likely to be hard to beat. Speaking of Pippie she landed the G1 Oakleigh Plate over 1100m at Caulfield last month and Bivouac was back in 6th, but granted luck in running Bivouac should reverse the form. That was his first run of the season and was clearly being used as a prep for the Newmarket and although Pippie has won over 1200m twice she was in desperate need for the line that day and I can't help thinking at least one horse is going to finish too strongly for her. Loving Gaby is so consistent and is almost sure to run her race, but she was probably fortunate to win the Manikato and on the Newmarket form she can't beat Bivouac. She is 2/2 at the track though. Exceedance as poor in the Newmarket finishing just 6th, but he won the Coolmore Stud at the Melbourne Cup Carinval and he beat Bivouac that day by 0.4L so if he can bounce back from the Newmarket run, which was his first run since the Coolmore win, then he has to be a player. The other one at a price who catches my eye is Vital Silver who ran a good race to finish 2nd in the Manikato. He had to come from a long way back and travel wide round the home bend so it was a good run in the circumstances. He has drawn stall 9 here which will might well mean he has to do the same here, but at least we know he runs this track well. After that he finished 2nd in the G1 Winterbottom at Ascot in Perth. He is 1st up here, but his first up record is good (2 wins and 2 places in 5 starts) so that might not be too much of a concern and he is a 20/1 shot. I do think Bivouac is the most likely winner and hopefully he breaks well and Hugh can get him in a nice handy position early so he pounce in the short straight. If Exceedance can bounce back from his 1st up run in the Newmarket then he might turn out to be the biggest danger. Loving Gaby is almost certain to run her race and it is hard to see her out of the first 4, whilst Vital Silver appeals e/w at a big price. 1. Bivouac (15/8) Paddy Power 2. Exceedance 3. Loving Gaby 4. Vital Silver The following race is the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (10am) and last year's 2nd Spanish Reef (went off favourite) has her chances, but the one I like is Princess Jenni who won the Alexandra Stakes on this card 12 months ago. It was a hell of a performance as she had to come 6 wide round the home bend and she finished off the race really strongly to win. She won her next two stats including the Schweppes Oaks at Morphetville. First up this season she ran a very eye-catching race over 1400m at Flemington 2 weeks ago. She was a long way back and then finished off the race very strongly to finish 3rd and Ben Melham wasn't overly hard on her to do so. She is 2/2 at the track and 3/3 2nd up and I think she has a really strong chance of making those 3/3 and 4/4. Princess Jenni (15/8) Hills
  16. They haven't shown any South African racing since they moved from being ATR to Sky. Not sure of the reason for that although it could be linked to picture quality as they didn't want to show anything that was none HD and as I look at Greyville pictures they look SD rather than HD.
  17. I was a bit surprised that they chose to front run on Sir Jack Yates in the circumstances, but Just A Par was always able to keep up with him and in the end fitness and stamina told as he was able to power away to victory. Who knows what racing we will see in the coming weeks, but the winner could have the 4m race on Cheltenham's hunter chase night as a possible target. The 2nd will no doubt come on for the run although I find it hard to see the Aintree Foxhunter happening. I'm not sure Ultragold really improved on his Taunton run and retirement looks the best plan for him.
  18. I will get round to reviewing the Foxhunter at some point in the next couple of days and I haven't had chance to watch the race back yet, but just to say the winner was very impressive and given the front 4 in the betting were the next 4 home there was no fluke about it. Hopefully the Carlisle race today isn't the last of the season. The 3 outsiders look to have little chance and although it is half interesting that Colin Tizzard has sent Ultragold all the way to Carlisle for this, in my view he is impossible to back after his really poor run at Taunton. Granted this is a weaker contest and I am guessing something was wrong given we haven't seen him since, but he's not for me. That leaves Sir Jack Yeats and Just A Par. I thought Just A Par was a fortunate at Doncaster as Captain Cattistock was just idling having been out in front for a long time. I think if he had another horse to race against that Just A Par wouldn't actually have got that close to him. On the plus side we know he stays well and having had two runs this season he has fitness on his side Those two things might be enough to win this, but I am happy to take a chance on Sir Jack Yeats being fit enough first time out. The slight concern is that he has never won first time out, but he ran a really good race first up last season in a much stronger heat than this as Shantou Flyer won and Mr Mercurial finished 2nd. He won a hunter chase at Kelso on heavy ground a couple of years ago so that isn't a concern. He ran a nice enough race when finishing at Aintree last year finishing 6th behind Top Wood. God knows what happened in the match at Fakenham, but it clearly wasn't his true running. He is still only 9 so he has youth on his side as well. For me he is the best horse in the race and for me a repeat of that 3rd at Kelso would be good enough to win this. Sir Jack Yeats 2pts @ 2/1 with everyone
  19. I think it is priced about right. Curzon are in decent form themselves although beating Chester and Kings Lynn are obviously superb results. Hard to know where the improved form has suddenly come from to be honest so I am happy to sit it out.
  20. You started yours whilst I was writing the previews which is why I started a new one and you could be right in saying we will only get one week of this.
  21. Must admit I feel under a bit of pressure as I can imagine these tips are going to be more popular than before given the circumstances. I imagine we might see some late call offs, but as it stands most of the 3 National League games and the Northern Premier League games are set to go ahead. I have 6 bets and hopefully I can help make people some money. Maidenhead v Stockport The home side are trying to get away from the relegation zone, whilst the away side are trying to get into the play-offs and it is the away side I like here. They are unbeaten in 5 games and their away form is very strong as they have lost just twice in their last 10 away fixtures and Maidenhead have lost 6 of their last 9 home games. They have also lost 4 on the bounce including when I opposed them last weekend against Boreham Wood. Stockport ought to be too strong for them and they ought to be clear favourites. Darlington v Farsely Celtic Darlington won their first game in 6 last Saturday when beating Telford, but they had drawn their previous 3 which were all solid performances. They have been strong at home pretty much all season as well having lost just 4 times and I think they are a better team than Farsely. Celtic had to go to Evesham to play my own side on Monday and blew a 1 goal lead and Gloucester aren't very good. Farsley's away form isn't great either having lost 4 of their last 5 on their travels. Overall it is just two wins in 10 and one of those was against a really bad Blyth side. The home side look a good price. Spennymoor v Hereford Got to take a chance on Hereford again at a big price given how much they are improving. I put them up last week to beat Farsely and they were impressive coming on the back of beating York 4-1. I also put them up on Tuesday when drawing 0-0 at Kettering, but there isn't too much wrong with that given the state of the home sides pitch. Spennymoor are a good side and deserve to be favourites, but they put in a bit of a dud performance last week against Altrincham and I think an improving Hereford are under-rated. Braintree v St Albans A couple of weeks ago Braintree caused a bit of a shock when beating Bath 2-0, but that is one of only 2 wins in their last 10 games and although St Albans are a point below their hosts that is mainly down to the fact Braintree had a good start to the season and St Albans a poor one and as things stand for me St Albans are the better side. They have lost their last 2 games 2-1 but those came against two of the most in form teams in the divison, Dartford and Chippenham. Prior to that they managed to beat 2nd place Havant which shows what sort of level they can reach and I think they can pick up 3 more points here. Chippenham v Wealdstone Given I have put up Chippenham a few times of late to great effect I am going to chance them to beat the league leaders here. For those who haven't seen my previous tips of Chippenham they have improved massively under former Gloucester manger Mike Cook which is no surprise to me given what he did at Gloucester last team to keep them up. They have only lost twice in their last 10 and are clearly a much improved side. There are signs Wealdstone are showing some nerves as they lost to Chelmsford, drew to Dartford and had to come from a goal down to beat Dulwich last week. This will be a tough test for them and I am happy to take a chance on the home side winning their 6th game in their last 7. Radcliffe Borough v Whitby Town You might think I have gone made putting up a team who haven't won since Boxing Day, have picked up just two points in that time and scored 7 goals. However I think there is good reason to back them here. They recently got Lee Flower in as manager and he has improved the side. They put in a really good performance last Saturday to get a 2-2 draw against a very good Nantwich team. Whitby are pretty good themselves to be fair, but they haven't won in 4 and they had a kind fixture list. They drew 3 and lost 1. The loss was to Stafford who hadn't won in 7 at the time. Granthem have only got 5 points in their last 10 games and they drew with them and one of their other draws was against Mickleover who have only 2 points in their last 5 games. This gives me hope that an improved Radcliffe can get a first win since Boxing Day. Stockport 1pt @ 8/5 with Bet365, BetVictor, Betway and William Hill Darlington 2pts @ 5/4 with Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor and William Hill Hereford 1pt @ 9/2 with Bet365 St Albans 1pt @ 19/10 with Bet365 Chippenham 1pt @ 11/5 with Bet365 Radcliffe 1pt @ 13/5 with BetVictor
  22. An hour after the Foxhunter we have a hunter chase at Fakenham where we have two horses at the head of the betting are making their hunter chase debuts for pro trainers. Ozzy Thomas is trained by Henry Oliver who went close to having a Cheltenham winner in the Kim Muir on Thursday. His brother is taking the ride which is interesting because he hasn't ridden in a race since 2011. From 2005 until 2011 he had 280 rides in points for 27 wins and had 15 rides in hunter chases without success. The horse had been entered for the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown last week, but with that race abandoned he is lining up here instead. He had two good hurdle runs at Cheltenham in November and Wetherby on Boxing Day when finishing 2nd twice and that for me the best recent form in the race. The Tourard Man is 14 now and is being ridden by Max Browne who is an amateur who works at Alan King's yard and I suspect he is running in hunter chases to give him experience as it isn't a sphere the trainer dabbles in all that often. He hasn't been seen since July 2018 and had finished 2nd off 143 in a good race at Cartmel on his penultimate start. He was placed in two Pertemps Hurdle Finals as well in 2015 and 2017. On back class he is the best horse in the race, but you can only guess at how much ability he has at 14 after 614 days off the track. If Shantou Flyer does win at Cheltenham it will be a bit of a form boost for Full Irish who was pulled up at the last behind him here last month. Either side of that he has run in points. First of all he looked as if he would come on for the run when 3rd at Ampton and then 8 days after Fakenham he ran out a nice winner at Charing. He jumped well and always looked the winner. It wasn't the strongest race in the world, but it was a step up on the run here and he does have the best rider in the race on top. If Buck Dancing was coming here on the back of the Alnwick win then I would be putting him up, but he has run really badly at Taunton and Musselburgh since then. They had wanted to run him at Cheltenham, but he got balloted out so comes here instead. 10/1 might look a big price if he does return to form, but I could forgive one bad run, but two is much harder to do. Ozzy Thomas might well win, but it is hard to think he is value at the current price. Who knows what The Tourard Man is going to be capable off, but I am always happy to oppose a 14yo coming off the back of such a long lay off. Even at 10/1 I find it hard to want to back Buck Dancing on the back of his last two runs, so I will take a chance on Full Irish. He was pretty useful himself under Rules before and the run here was clearly a blip based on what he did at Charing 8 days later. At 9/2 he looks the best bet in the race. Full Irish 1pt @ 9/2 with Bet365
  23. I refer you to the 2018 running of this race where a crap jockey with a dislocated shoulder managed to win the race in a battle.
  24. Radcliffe were much better on Saturday and their new manager has got new players in and they should continue to improve. It was enough for me not to want to back Buxton again before the game got called off.
  25. Yeah surprised to see County on the drift to be honest.