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Everything posted by Darran

  1. Quite how Bet365 made The Big Sting a 6/1 shot for the 1.30 at Worcester this afternoon I don't know. He's 6/8 in points the season just gone so that alone made me think he would be a fairly short priced favourite. Then when you look at the fact in his last one he stuffed Port O'Clock by 20L and that one landed an Exeter hunter chase in April and went very close to landing a handicap at Worcester a couple of weeks ago off 100. The Big Sting has a mark of 90 for this race so that form alone gives him a massive chance here. His other form is good and even the 2 2nds are very good pieces of form in the context of this race. One of the horses who beat him was Indirocco who we know ran well in a couple of hunter chases this year. He could have been found a weaker race to be fair as a few of these come here in good form and the main danger for me is probably Ballymilan who looks like there could well be more to come having won his last two. Basically though if The Big Sting shows his pointing form then he really ought to win and I still think the price is value. The Big Sting @ 7/4 with Bet365, Paddy Power, Betfair and BetVictor
  2. Riders can be a big plus in amateur races. James King for example yesterday gave the 2nd a cracking ride and you can make it pay in amateur races.
  3. A couple of winners last week including the Nap. We have action most Sunday's now between now and the end of August and there are 3 more races at Casterton in the early hours of the morning. Probably my favourite jumps track in Oz because I love the hedge fences they have their and well worth checking out the steeplechase race if you don't usually watch the tips and just look at the result. Race 1 As usual we start with the maiden hurdle and I do like the look of Hakuna Matata. She was 2nd here on the first hurdles start this prep and the winner Onset has boosted the form since as has the 3rd Dubawi Prince. A couple of weeks after that she went to Hamilton and tried to make all, but wasn't able to see it out and was beaten by Fort Charles who ran well last week. They look two really solid 2nd places in the context of this race and I think she can get a deserved hurdles success. Cappellani has certainly improved for his first hurdles start in Australia when he was behind Hakuna Matata in 5th place over course and distance. He was then 3rd at Hamilton behind Dubawi Prince and then 3rd last week behind Mighty Oasis when he was doing his best work late and was only beaten a couple of lengths. That suggests stepping back up to this trip should suit and he is certainly a danger. Gravistas ran OK at Sale and has place claims on his 3rd at Hamilton the start before. The other one to mention is good old Zedstar who has had 10 starts over jumps now for 4 2nds and 4 3rds. He was disappointing on his debut over fences at Hamilton and wasn't great on the flat at Geelong last week. He will surely win a maiden hurdle at some point, but he's clearly a frustrating horse. I think the price on Hakuna Matata is too big and she makes plenty of appeal. Hakuna Matata 2pts @ 3/1 with Paddy Power, Betfair, Coral and Ladbrokes Race 2 Tamarack was 2nd in the Australian Hurdle last time, but I'm not sure the strength of that race is that good behind the very good winner Saunter Boy. He ran over course and distance before that and was beaten 7L into 3rd place. I certainly think he's a possible winner, but I am going to look elsewhere. Cheners was 2nd over fences last time and was just beaten by Runaway. He does tend to run his race, but he has won just twice in 27 jumps starts so as much as he has place claims in a race like this I'm not sure he is going to win. Onset has done us well this season having won twice when we have been on including last time at Sale. The other win was when she beat Hakuna Matata over course and distance. I was impressed with her win last time and although she wasn't quite as good in the two runs in between those two wins she can win a race like this. She beat Yulong Rising last time, but I can't see the form being reversed although it was that one's first jumps run so he could build on it. The most likely winner for me though is Tolemac who has done very well over hurdles this prep. He was just in front of Onset at Warrnambool when 2nd and he was 2nd over course and distance when just getting caught late on. Mighty Oasis was 2nd to him at Hamilton and obviously he franked the form last week. He goes into handicaps for the first time, but he has a good chance of making it a winning one. So Tolemac is the main bet, but I will have a saver on Onset as well. Tolemac 2pts @ 7/5 with Bet365 Onset 0.5pts @ 4/1 with everyone Race 3 Elvison was so impressive when bolting up over course and distance last month that I have to be with him here. Historic was 25L back in 2nd and he reposes here having followed that run up with a win, but I can't see him reversing form if Elvison is in top form. Elvison ran on the 7 day back up in the Australian Chase, but his trainer said before the race that he was only running him there because it was a small field that wasn't very strong. He ran well enough to finish 2nd to his stablemate Britannicus and the month off will have done him good no doubt. He jumped so well over the hedge fences and that course form could well prove crucial here. Police Camp has come out which is a shame as it means Elvison is odds on now. Police Camp won a trial at Warrnambool on Tuesday and in that trial he beat Te Kahu who is going to be making his Australian debut here. In New Zealand he won 3 times over fences including over 6200m on his last start in October. Now he has won over 3500m, but when watching that trial he seemed to lack a bit of toe and even though this is 3800m I just wonder if he is going to come into his own when seeing a real test of stamina. He is with the right training team with Maher & Eustace so I certainly respect him, but I think Elvison can add to his course and distance win last month and even though he's odds on I think he still offers value at 8/11. Elvison 3pts @ 8/11 with William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes
  4. Not sure how what happened to Bagan had anything to do with the fact it was an amateur rider race. Some of the jockey's in the race are better than a fair few pros.
  5. Cartmel's opener this afternoon sees Grageelagh Girl look to right the wrong of the last hunter chase of the season. I'm sure you all remember the weight cloth coming off after the last fence and thus she had to be disqualified. She would have won anyway and I did say in the race review that it wouldn't surprise me if her trainer decided to take advantage of the handicap mark. I also mentioned I didn't think the handicapper could touch the mark given the mark of the 2nd and that is exactly what has happened. She goes back over hurdles tomorrow and she has good hurdles form. She last ran over them at Bangor in 2020 and finished a close 3rd off 108 so even on that run the mark of 102 in a lower grade makes her look well handicapped. She's clearly in very good form at the moment and I think the drop in trip will help as I was worried she wouldn't stay in the final hunter chase of the season. She was entered at Newton Abbot earlier in the week, but I suspect Fergal has chosen this race as his daughter can take the ride against fellow amateur riders again. She's been entered over fences next week so a quick follow up wouldn't be a shock either. This is a very weak contest and I can only really make a case for the two horses who won the 2 divisions of a handicap hurdle over course and distance last month. Dan Gun has only gone up 3lbs but he wasn't quite as impressive as On We Go who has been in great form for her new yard. She's gone up 9lbs, but I still think there could be more to come and she is the biggest danger for me. I will probably end up having a saver on her given I think she might drift as I suspect Grageelagh Girl will be well backed. Sometimes you see something surprising in a race like this, but I'd be a bit surprised if that happened here given the strong claims of those two. Grageelagh Girl @ 7/2 with Bet365 In the 2nd race I am also going to have a small e/w bet on Watch Law. Now the Irish horses at the head of the market might just be too good for him, but I have watched his last point run and I think he has a fair bit of ability. He jumped pretty terribly for most of the race and was still only just beaten. He clearly has an engine as they pulled a long way clear of the others. Hopefully he can jump hurdles better because if he does I think he might be capable of out running his odds at the very least. Watch Law ew @ 20/1 with Bet365 In the 3.40 I think Post No Bills is worth backing e/w. His pointing form suggests that his handicap mark is one he could well win off and he makes his chasing debut in a pretty poor race this afternoon. He put his best run yet over hurdles last time at Fakenham and I think he can improve again for going over fences. Bookies are going 4 places and I would be a bit surprised if he didn't finish in the first 4 at least. Darius Des Sources is a danger as a wind op seems to have helped him based on his last two efforts and the Perth 3rd last time was his best run in ages. The main danger though is the favourite Mah Mate Bob who ran really well here last time when 2nd in a race he won last season. He's still 11lbs below that winning mark and down into Class 5 company he surely will go close again. Post No Bills ew @ 13/2 with Bet365
  6. Frankies Fire is out again at Perth this afternoon and she has to be backed again. That Hexham race last time was run in a crawl and the jockey seemed to get caught out by that. She was staying on well at the end after getting outpaced and the time of the race was so much slower than the rest of the card. I'd be surprised given the bigger field if they didn't go a stronger pace here and this is a really weak contest. There are so many who it is hard to make any sort of case for and we know she has the potential to be well handicapped if things go her way. Young William is shorter than her in the betting and has to carry 1st8lbs more yet if this was a point he would be a massive price to beat her on these terms. I don't trust the form of his 3rd last time and I suspect Pammi will reverse form. She looks the most obvious danger as her record at Perth is very good and I don't think the way the race was run last time would have suited. That run was a very rare time where she was out of the first 3 at the track. Amazingly some bookies are going 4 places so I am happy to have a decent bet e/w on her. I know she's becoming a cliff horse, but clearly connections think she can win given they are carrying on racing her so hopefully she can get that win. Frankies Fire e/w @ 13/2 with Bet365, Skybet and Coral (4 places)
  7. Race 1 2 years ago this Constantinople was finishing 2nd to South Pacific (also gone to Australia and has done well) in the King George V Stakes and he now finds himself running in a maiden hurdle at Warrnambool. I put him up on his hurdles debut as I thought his class would be good enough and it nearly was. His jumping wasn't perfect and no doubt it will improve, but the main problem is he over raced a bit and ended up pulling himself clear of the rest of the field as they went out on their final circuit. Jumping the last he looked the winner, but he was caught within yards of the line. His had a run at Flemington when again he pulled hard but ran well to finish 3rd. He is going to have to settle better here I think because the ground is going to be testing, but he clearly is the best horse in the race. Killourney was much better on his 2nd hurdles start at Hamilton when only just being beaten by Dubawi Prince that came on a Heavy 10 so the ground wont be an issue. He's run OK on the flat since and should go well. Yulong Rising ran well enough on hurdles debut in a handicap when finishing 2nd to Onset and he can go well if building on that. The only other one to mention is Mont Agel who handles testing ground and did well in his hurdles trial. There is a slight concern about him seeing it out in this ground, but Constantinople does handle this ground and I think he can finally win another race. Constantinople 1pt @ 5/4 with Coral and Ladbrokes Race 2 Capallani was OK on debut at Casterton a month ago and built on that when a 3L 3rd at Hamilton a couple of weeks later. He had won 2 on the flat prior to those and if progressing again has a leading chance. Hunua Hank is an interesting hurdling debutant. He has had 3 hurdle trials and I liked his jumping in the last of them. He was a good 4th on the flat 18 days ago and likes a heavy track. Thurmanator was 12L 2nd to Twin Spinner at Sale a couple of weeks ago and he was in front of Dr Dependable. I suspect the winner is above average and there is certainly nothing of his quality here. Mighty Oasis looks the one to beat though having now finished 2nd on his last 3 hurdles starts. His two hurdle starts this prep have seen him beaten 0.2L both times and this does look a good opportunity for him to get his head in front. It was a Heavy 10 at Hamilton last time so the ground isn't going to be an issue and the previous 2nd was over course and distance. Mighty Oasis 1pt @ 2/1 with William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes Race 3 This looks a decent little race. Two of the maiden winners from Hamilton clash here in the shape of Dubawi Prince and Fort Charles. The latter was 4 seconds quicker and clocked a faster last 600m sectional as well which is interesting. Now the ground was downgraded from a Heavy 8 to a Heavy 10, but I suspect it was pretty testing for Fort Charles' race anyway. Fort Charles was visually more impressive as well although I think Dubawi Prince beat the better horse. El Diez also ran at Hamilton and was a good 2nd to Big Blue who was simply too good for them. Onset was 3rd and she has won since so the form is good. He took the Champion Novice over course and distance on a Heavy 10 last month. He was 6th in the Australian Hurdle in between and was in front of Out And Dreaming who was very disappointing in last. He had run very well behind Saunter Boy at Pakenham and here on his two previous starts and if he is in that form he's got a big chance. The other one to consider is Count Zero who is 2/2 over hurdles having won here and at Casterton last month. This is tougher, but he's hard to knock. Any of those could win this and it wouldn't surprise, but El Diez is the biggest priced of them and that surprises me so I will make him the bet as he looks the value. El Diez 1pt @ 9/1 with Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral Race 4 I suspect this is probably between the top 2 on the racecard. Under The Bridge was running well until falling here in May, but I suspect Once Were Lost would have beaten him and he went onto win the race. I'm rather surprised to see that he is favourite. That was a good effort from Once Were Lost and he was a solid 3rd in the Australian Chase last time. Yulong Prince hadn't looked anything special over hurdles, but he clearly loved the change to fences as he bolted up by 25L (beating Laylite) at Hamilton on his chasing debut last month. That came on a Heavy 10 and if he backs it up he's surely going to be quite hard to beat. I think at the prices both can be backed with preference for Yulong Prince. Yulong Prince 2pts @ 19/10 with Bet365 Once Were Lost 1pt @ 100/30 with Ladbrokes and Coral
  8. Maybe we have ante post threads for Cheltenham and Ascot and then individual ones for big races like the classics and the grand national where there is little ante post betting apart from the big race. Then come actual race day all tips are in the normal thread like today.
  9. I'm wondering if in future we maybe have separate threads for the big Festivals so chat can be had in advance should people wish and then have day of race runs for the other meetings. Think it would be good to get the chat going earlier as well.
  10. Had to be put down sadly according to a Tweet I have seen.
  11. Nature Strip beating the home team in exactly the fashion I thought he would. Shame the American blew the start as wasn't a fair race with him, but he beats him anyway in my view. Best horse in the world never mind best sprinter.
  12. I happened to be in Australia in January 2018 when Nature Strip first announced himself as a possible superstar so I have followed him for a long time now. He used to be all about going as fast as he could from the stalls and you wouldn't have given him a chance of staying 6f, but he is much more settled now and he can win over 5f or 6f which is crucial as Ascot's 5f is a much stiffer test then any 5f in Australia. I think he sits behind Golden Pal and then pounces once that one tires having gone hard from the start. On his best form he's the best horse in the race and if he runs up to it then he wins. The only doubt I have is that he has run below par in the past especially 1st up, but Waller knows exactly what he's doing and I suspect he has got him ready to peak here. The home team shouldn't get anywhere near him if he runs up to form.
  13. I am bringing this thread back as thought it would be interesting if any members have shares in horses at the moment. I have written previews when the horse I have a share in in Australia has run. She injured her hamstring when she last ran so is on a break at the moment. I also am involved in a syndicate with Racing To Profit who I can certainly recommend if you are looking at getting involved with a jumper over here. I am involved in a horse called Proud Mari who ran very well in a bumper at Worcester on debut last month when coming 3rd. She is leased, but they have also purchased a couple of horses. One is The Plumber who finished 2nd on his hurdles debut at Southwell this week having also finished 2nd at Market Rasen in a bumper on his first run for them. The other horse they have is one called Give Me A Boom who they still have shares in if anyone is interested. An exciting 4YO 'could be anything' chaser in the making. He's got a big frame to grow into, some size about him. Point experience and a massive run (6th of 12) in a 'winners bumper' at Fairyhouse Irish National meeting, up against 5YOs, all the big guns, horses with big price tags. He had x2 LTO winning 5YOs behind him. Trained by G1 winning Amy Murphy in Newmarket. She's very positive on him, looks like he's a touch of class and moves very well. He's having a summer at grass at the moment. The plan is for him to run at back end October/early November - a proper 'main season' horse, taking us through to end April/early May. Bumper/novice hurdles next season I suspect, into handicaps. Very much a chaser in the making. I know the guy who sourced the horse for them and he does very well with the horses he finds and he sourced The Plumber for them. There is more info including a video on the website https://racingtoprofit.co.uk/join-syndicate. Josh who runs it all is a really nice guy who I've known online for a while so like I say I highly recommend getting involved if you are looking at having a share in a horse at the moment.
  14. 3 jumps race at Sale tomorrow morning and here are my thoughts on them. Race 1 Don't think this is a very strong contest. Twin Spinner is favourite at the time of writing and he has had two hurdle runs in New Zealand the 2nd of which he finished 2nd. He's had 3 flat runs here and a couple of trials and he hasn't shown a great deal it has to be said. Like I say its not a strong race and he might be good enough, but I am happy enough to look elsewhere. 5 of these ran in the maiden hurdle contests at Hamilton last week and I imagine one of those will get their head in front. I Arize was favourite last week when I wrote my preview, but was a huge drifter and he went off $11. He ran no sort of race though and I couldn't back him here. Heroic Fighter was well beaten in 5th and I didn't see too much promise in that run. Dr Dependable has had 6 goes over hurdles now and has only placed once although the two 4ths at Casterton and Hamilton were decent enough efforts. The issue is Gravistas (ex Mark Johnson) was 3L and a place in front of him last week and I think he will uphold that form. It was just his 2nd run over hurdles after finishing 5th at Warrnambool which was a fair enough debut. I thought he travelled well into the race last week and just couldn't live with the first 2 late on. I don't think there is anything as good as either of those two in this so he has a good chance here. I also have to have a saver on Chairman's List who looks overpriced. He had two flat runs before the 4th at Hamilton and I think he will be fitter again here. He was a bit keen and just faded late on into 4th place. If he builds on that here then he has a better chance of winning than his odds suggest. Gravistas 1pt @ 16/5 with Betfair and Paddy Power Chairman's List 0.5pts @ 7/1 with Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power and William Hill Race 2 Hey Happy is favourite for this at the time of writing which is a bit surprising as he was pulled up last week at Hamilton. His jockey reported to the stewards that he was under pressure from some way out and that he may have not backed up his recent jump starts at Casterton and Sandown. He also had a slower than normal recovery. Because of that I'm surprised that they are going again with him so soon and I am happy to take him on. Onset and Cernan were 3rd and 4th in that contest, which was won easily by Big Blue. They carried the same weight that day, but here Onset gets 1kg from Cernan and he was 4.5L in front of him at Hamilton. Onset had the better form for me going into that race and she should uphold that form. That could mean she wins the race, but the unknown runner is Yulong Rising who is easily the best of these on the flat and makes his hurdles debut. He's had a couple of trials and jumps well enough and he had a run on the flat last week at Sandown which was his first race since October. No doubt that was a prep for this and the fact they have decided to go the handicap route rather than the maiden route suggests they think he can win this. I'm happy to back both him and Onset as they look the two most likely winners to me and Hey Happy is helping make the market. Yulong Rising 1pt @ 9/4 with everyone apart from Bet365 Onset 1pt @ 16/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair Race 3 Some of these ran at Hamilton last week. Flying Pierro and Cheners were 3rd and 4th in the open steeplechase behind Historic. Flying Pierro didn't jump well so if he improved on that he wouldn't be out of this, whilst Cheners was a little disappointing. Looking Around was 3rd in the 0-114 chase which was a weak affair and he was beaten 28L. Joshua Reynolds failed to finish in one of the maiden hurdles and he has certainly becoming disappointing over hurdles having started off this year with a very promising 2nd at Hamilton in April. He trialled over fences 4 days after the run last week and I was impressed with his jumping so maybe the larger obstacles will spark him back to life. Ultimately though I want to see how he gets on in a race first so I suspect the race will be between Runaway and Valac. Runaway made his steeple debut at Warrnambool last month and he was running well enough until he got hampered at the last by a faller and he ended up basically pulling up. It's hard to know where he would have finished, but probably 3rd in front of Cheners. He then ran in a BM120 Hurdle at Sandown when 3rd behind Blandford Lad and Constantinople which was a fair effort. Runaway just seems to have become a bit frustrating though and I think Valac can win this. He's never actually run on a heavy track before so that is an unknown, but if connections are happy to run him on it then I am happy to back him. This race is much weaker than the two chases he has run in. First of all he won a BM125 on his chasing debut at Pakenham and then he was running a huge race in the Brierly at Warrnambool when falling at 2 out. Again hard to know where he would have finished but he was travelling every bit as well as the winner. He had a trial last week where he finished last but it was clearly being used as a school round for him. He jumped well apart from one mistake. This looks a good race to get him back on track and I must admit I think he only has to jump round safely to collect. Valac 2.5pts @ 7/4 with William Hill
  15. Hexham used to have a hunter chase on Derby Day, but sadly that hasn't been around for a few years now. However we do have a potentially well handicapped pointer in the shape of Frankies Fire in action in the opener. Now she ran in this race last year and came last without really ever getting out of last place. Hopefully it can be the complete opposite this afternoon. She ran a few times last summer and showed very little, but she had a one off run over hurdles at Carlisle last March and she finished a good 3rd so it's not like she has never shown promise over hurdles. As I have mentioned in the previews for the 2 hunter chases that she has run in this year, she has looked a different horse this season in points. She's beaten 2 hunter chase winners and has finished 2nd twice to Senor Lombardy, who finished 5th in the Festival hunter chase and Kalabaloo who has won a hunter chase in the past and was 2nd at Cheltenham in April. Then came the 2 hunter chase runs where she finished lame in the first of them and then tried hard in the race won by Downtown Getaway, but found it too tough in the end and pulled up. I'm not surprised they are trying hurdles with her as I get the feeling she's not big enough for rules fences. Crucially she hacked up at Hexham's point to point track 10 days after the Kelso effort. That proves she can do it at a rules course and now she's just got to go and do it in a race run under rules. She does run from 3lbs out of the handicap here, but then her jockey takes 7lbs off and let's be fair on pointing form she has probably about 2st in hand so that doesn't worry me at all. Obviously there is going to be that question about her going and doing it in a handicap and she could disappoint again, but she could be so well handicapped that she has to be backed. The favourite Bird On The Wire does look like the biggest danger as he's fairly consistent and ran well over course and distance a couple of weeks ago when 3rd. Frankie Fire's stablemate West Lawn won over course and distance in March, but has run poorly in two runs since. Fraterculus is another whose fairly consistent although he's never won and wasn't great last time, but his yard's horses are still running well and he has a good jockey on top. It's hard to say anything positive about the others so it isn't a strong race and Frankies Fire has the potential to have so much in hand over the handicapper that she should be pushing for favouritism. Frankies Fire @ 6/1 with most bookies
  16. Totals for the season so far are 50.5 staked and 60.5 returned.
  17. With the maiden hurdle dividing 3 times we have 6 jumps races at Hamilton on Tuesday morning. Here are my thoughts on those races. Race 1 I Arize is favourite on his hurdles debut which is based on the fact he is the best flat horse of these. He might prove good enough, but he's not even trialled since April 8th and his last two jumps trials were both over fences. I'm happy enough to take him on. Olmeto jumped well on his last hurdles trial and he ran well on the flat last week when 3rd at Mornington so he might prove to be the best of the hurdling newcomers. I'm going to go with one of those who has already been over hurdles in the shape of Hakuna Matata. I thought she ran very well at Casterton and she made a terrible blunder at 2 out which didn't help her cause. Onset came into the race with the best form so she was beaten by the right horse and the drop down in trip will help her as well. I think she can go one place better here. Hakuna Matata 1pt @ 16/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair Race 2 This looks a bit of a match to me between Mighty Oasis and Tolemac. I thought Mighty Oasis ran really well at Warrnambool as he was a close 2nd to Count Zero who has won since. They pulled well clear of the rest so the form looks strong. Tolemac was also 2nd at Warrnambool to Rider In The Snow and then was just denied by Hey Happy at Casterton last time. Again the front two pulled well clear. I think the drop down in trip will help him. I'm just going to side with Mighty Oasis. For a start he's a bigger price, but his Warrnambool race was won in a quicker time and had a faster last 600m sectional. Given the winner has gone in since I think he has the stronger form. Mighty Oasis 1pt @ 11/4 with Coral and Ladbrokes Race 3 I thought Killourney was disappointing at Warrnambool especially as he was backed into 1/2 to win and he could only finish a 10L 4th. His flat form is bar far the best in this and he could go and win, but he's odds on again and I can't say that appeals. I thought there was a bit of promise in Dubawi Prince's 3rd on hurdles debut at Casterton a couple of weeks ago which was behind Onset and Hakuna Matata so the form could get a boost in the first race. I think he's a fair price to possibly overturn the favourite. Hopefully Joshua Reynolds wont win having backed him all 4 starts this prep, but he just seems to have gone backwards from the course and distance 2nd in April. Dubawi Prince 1pt @ 4/1 with William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Coral Race 4 There is plenty of rain in the forecast and because of that I am going to side with Roland Garros. I thought Casterton was going to ride softer a couple of weeks ago, but it didn't and he was a big disappointment. It also didn't help that he didn't plenty of work in the early stages so he had little left late on. If we get a heavy track then I think he wins and at this stage that looks likely so I will put him up again. Hey Happy is favourite and he ran OK on the 7 day back up last week, but it is only 9 days since that Sandown 4th. He has a chance but looks short enough. Big Blue ran no short of race on his come back at Warrnambool and I want to see more from him before thinking of backing him, but he certainly has the back class to win this. El Diez and Onset wouldn't be without claims either. Roland Garros 1pt @ 3/1 with Bet365, Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes Race 5 This isn't a race I like very much unless the emergancy gets a run. Zedstar is favourite and he does deserve to get his head in front considering only once in 9 hurdle starts has he finished out of the frame, but he has yet to win one. He was 3rd in the Australian Hurdle last time which was a top effort and there is every chance he could finally win in his first steeplechase start. I just don't want to take a short price about him though and he will be even shorter if the emergency doesn't get a run. A few of the others have bits and pieces of form which would give them some sort of chance, but nothing that makes me want to back them. Yulong Prince has run well enough in his last two hurdles and trialled well over fences recently so if he won it wouldn't surprise. I will be backing Under The Bridge though if he gets a run. He was running very well in the BM120 Chase at Warrnambool until falling at the 2nd last. A repeat of the effort, until the fall, might well be good enough to win this. He ran well enough back on the flat 12 days ago as well. So hopefully he gets a run otherwise it will be a no bet race. Under The Bridge 1pt @ 7/4 with Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes Race 6 Like the other steeplechase race on the card this looks trappy as well. This is a class drop for Magnanimous Man, but he was still poor in the Brierley. He could still be good enough on his New Zealand form though. Hierarchal, Coleridge and Flying Pierro don't make much appeal. I'm going to back both Historic and Cheners as I think one of the two will win. Historic tried to keep with Elvison at Casterton, but not surprisingly couldn't late on. He won 3 times last season and he looks like getting an easy lead if he wants it. Cheners won here over hurdles last month and it was a good 1st chase start in the BM120 at Warrnambool. He finished 3rd and was closer to Elvison that day than Historic was at Casterton although it was a shorter trip. I'd probably just favour Historic, but will be backing both. Historic 1pt @ 5/2 with William Hill Cheners 1pt @ 17/5 with Bet365
  18. As usual we will be seeing horses that are well handicapped based on their pointing exploits (and possibly hunter chase as well) over the summer. This can often be more profitable than the hunter chases. The first runs this afternoon at Cartmel in the 4.29. Oscar Wilde has already won off a mark off 109 when he was trained by Sue Smith, but he had lost his way which is why he ended up on today's mark of 91. He has been revitalised for a change of yard and going pointing though. He's had 3 runs this year and all of them make me think he is well ahead of his current mark. First of all he beat Takethepunishment by 5L who is a hunter chase winner and ran well when 3rd at Perth earlier in the month. He was then beaten 5L by Blazing Tom and I obviously don't need to tell you what he's done. His last start saw him just beat a horse who has won every other start he has completed this season (he missed a marker once) so that form also looks rock solid. Obviously, there is a slight concern he might underperform back under rules, but on his pointing form he's got at least a stone in hand of the handicapper. It doesn't look a strong, but there are a couple of dangers. James Moffatt trains very close to the course and not surprisingly targets the track so you have to respect Rapid Flight who he got from Nicky Henderson. He didn't show much over fences for him, but there was promise in his first start for Moffatt over hurdles at Ayr earlier in the month and no doubt that was a pipe opener for running here. It's hard to think he has as much in hand as Oscar Wilde though. Tico Times is trained by another trainer who does well here and he ran his best race for a long time when 2nd at Perth earlier this month so he could easily build on that, whilst last year's winner Mah Mate Bob won this off a mark of 101 last year and is off just 88 now. He's not run too badly the last twice so could go well again. Ultimately though I struggle to think that any horse in this race has as much in hand over the handicapper as Oscar Wilde does and if he brings his pointing form to Cartmel then I don't see how he doesn't win this. Oscar Wilde @ 9/4 with most bookies (take up to 13/8)
  19. He was struck into last night which might not have helped his cause. Wouldn't surprise me if they go handicapping with him over the summer.
  20. Was an odd ride as he never seemed to actually try on him. Possibly the trip was on the sharp side
  21. Yes I got a tiny bit of the 25s as well.
  22. Good card at Stratford tonight and the feature looks a cracking contest. Here are my thoughts on the card. 5.35 Across The Line - Ran his best race since winning at Southwell in November off 120 at Cheltenham last time on his first start for Syd Hosie. He finished 3rd behind Solomon Grey that night when not really seeing out the trip and it was in a good form race in my view with Stratagem who won at Southwell on Tuesday behind him in 4th. The drop back in trip is going to suit and if he can repeat that effort then he's a contender here. Trainers horses seem to be in good form as well. Capitaine - Passed the post in front last year only for his jockey to weigh in light with no explanation as to how it happened. I don't think the weight made any difference as he was always holding Creative Inerta and he would have won anyway. I think this is a stronger race this year, but then he did win a harder race at Leicester back in March which is the only other 2m hunter chase he can run in. Not surprisingly he didn't stay 2m4f at Kempton last time where he didn't help his cause by being very keen. He has a great chance of making up for last year's disappointment and no doubt this race has been the target. Rewritetherules - Did finish well in front of Capitaine at Kempton, but that's not a big surprise as he stays better than that one and I think the form can be reversed over this trip. He was 3rd at Cheltenham behind Envoye Special last time, but was quite well beaten in the end. Azzuri - Landed a Listed Race at Ayr over 2m back in April 2019 which was his high point. He had a couple of good place runs when jump racing returned in summer 2020, but after that he lost his way and dropped massively down the handicap and he eventually finished 2nd a couple off times just over a year ago off marks of 116 and 118. He has thrived for going pointing though winning 4 times including a couple over 3m which wouldn't be his best trip. He's been clocking good time figures and I expect him to make the running which tends to be a plus round here. The problem here though is Longhouse Sale and Capitaine also like to make the running so we could see a hot pace here and that might just set it up for a closer. Tristan Durrell takes over from the novice riders who have been riding him in points and as much as he will have to improve on what he showed under rules the last time he ran, he clearly has regained his confidence. Demain Des L'aube - A really interesting runner as he has been running in races where has hasn't been staying all season, but he's been running in really good races. He ran really well behind Latenightpass at Charm Park in March until his stamina gave out and he then travelled really well into contention at Carlisle until he again failed to see out the trip. I put him up at a massive price at Aintree where I thought he ran which great credit until fading back into 11th late on. I'm slightly concerned that this might be too sharp a test for him, but I think he has shown there is still an engine inside and this test is certainly going to be more suitable than any he has faced so far this season and he's a contender for me. Frankie Rapper - Not run since January 2019 and even his form from then wouldn't be good enough to win this. It also all came over further. Longhouse Sale - Clearly doesn't stay 3m in points and he won his only race over 2m4f at Kimble on Easter Saturday. He was only beaten a neck when 3rd off 137 at Uttoxeter last June over 2m so that run would give him a chance here. He certainly has a chance, but I prefer others. Sparkleandshine - Not shown a great deal in either hunter chase this year and not for me. Verdict - I always thought I would be backing Capitaine for this to make amends for what happened last year, but for me the make up of the race doesn't really suit him. He's unlikely to get an easy lead like he did at Leicester and this race, on paper at least, looks much stronger than last year's race. So as much as he is a possible winner I am opposing. Azzuri and Longhouse Sale should be suited to this trip back under rules and are possible winners although I'm happy to look elsewhere especially as they could help set things up for a closer along with Capitaine. I'm not sure what is going on with Syd Hosie's horses, but clearly Cheltenham sure a massive improvement from them and then he had the winner at Newton Abbot on Wednesday. I think if Across The Line repeats the 3rd from Cheltenham then he is the most likely winner as that was a cracking run and the step down in trip looks set to suit. The other one I have to back is Demain Des L'aube. I hoped he would be the sort of price he is as for me his form figures mask the ability he does have. He could have a strong pace to aim at and I am hoping that he will be capable of picking up the pieces at a big price. Across The Line 2pts @ 100/30 with everyone apart from William Hill who are 7/2 (take up to 9/4) Demain Des L'aube 1pt e/w @ 16/1 with Bet365, Paddy Power, Betfair, Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes (take up to 8/1) 6.05 Caid Du Berlais - Had a great 2nd career as a pointer/hunter chaser including winning the big one at Punchestown twice. Looked good in two hunter chase wins last year before finding a 3rd Punchestown bid too much for him. This season he has kept to pointing and he clearly still has a lot of ability even at the age of 13 having won all 3. His best win was probably at Ston Easton in March when Dandy Dan would have finished 2nd to him if he hadn't unseated at 2 out. Fumet D'oudairies - 2nd in the John Corbet Cup to Vaucelet last season where he didn't really stay and this trip looks ideal for him. This season he's 3/3 in points including beating hunter chase winner Normofthenorth in January. That means he is now 7/8 in points. He ran in the big one at Cheltenham in March and just found things happening way too quickly for him and he never threatened, but he proved his well being when winning at Kimble on Easter Saturday last time. Igor - Another one to win on Easter Saturday as he landed the Lady Dudley Cup in good style at Chaddesley Corbett. That wasn't much of a contest though this year and for me he has a little bit to find with the other two. Verdict - I think Caid Du Berlais is the most likely winner, but for me the price is short enough as Fumet D'oudairies is a good horse and will make it tough for him so its a no bet race. 6.35 Ask D'man - Clearly got to respect anything David Christie sends over and he landed this race last year with Vaucelet. He won a maiden hunter chase at Clonmel back in January over 2m4f and he jumped out to his left so going this way round looks the way to go with him, but he just outclassed them there. He then went to Naas in the race Billaway won and he stopped very quickly that day after making the running. He was then beaten a neck over 2m4f at Down Royal, before a well beaten 3rd at Tramore behind Good Bye Sam when stepping back up in trip. A month ago he won a point cosily. The big issue to me is he doesn't look like he's going to stay this far as any time he's tried over 2m4f under rules he hasn't looked like he stays. Hopefully he will help bring the pace to the race though. Blazing Tom - Had really found his form in points and after not jumping or travelling well he got going late on to win the Heart Of All England at Hexham. That suggests he will stay this trip, but this is a much harder contest and if he travels and jumps as badly as he did for most of the way at Hexham then he's really going to be on the back foot here. I'm also not sure he is good enough to win this anyway. Getting Closer - A winning machine in points as he's won 8 from 15 and is 4 from 5 this season. He does have a fair bit to find on form though as they aren't strong contests he's been winning. He ran in 2 hunter chases last season finishing a well beaten 2nd to Dubai Quest at Fakenham and then a well beaten 3rd in the Intermediate Final at Cheltenham where he looked a non-stayer so I'm not sure about the trip for him either. Go Go Geronimo - Ran a huge personal best when finishing 2nd to Latnightfumble at Cheltenham especially as he helped set a fast pace. The fact that he fought all way after doing that meant he come out with huge credit. He has to have some sort of chance here and he should at least help set the pace, but his jockey could claim 7lbs at Cheltenham and he can't here which will have a negative impact on his chances. Its On The Line - Looks a cracking but at just £8k as he's done really well for his new connections. He was 5th and 4th in his first two starts and then went straight into hunter chase company where he finished just behind Ask D'man at Tramore. He was given a bit of an educational ride and stayed on nicely to nearly get 3rd. Since then he has won a maiden hunter chase at Cork and a novice hunter chase at Tipperary 3 weeks ago. He just got up to lead late on in both and I certainly think the slow pace in the Tipperary contest didn't help as he is a horse who looks all about stamina and his pedigree backs that up. He's jumping still needs improvement , but then he's only had 5 starts so that should come. Last year in this race they went no pace, but there are 2 or 3 front runners here so hopefully it is run at a decent pace as that will help his chances and clearly stepping up in trip should bring about improvement as well. Rebel Dawn Rising - A horse I like and I think the Leicester win is a strong piece of form. He then didn't run for nearly two months when pulling up in the Intermediate Final at Cheltenham. Like Go Go Geronimo he helped set the pace, but for me he looked a non stayer. Maybe he needed the race after a bit of a break and his trainer does do well at this meeting, but I'm just not sure he's going to stay well enough to win this as much as I do think he has the ability. Latenightfumble - Gina got off her at Cheltenham and said that she could be even better than Latenightpass which is some statement. She looked like she would win easily than she did that night as she cruised into contention, but the 2nd really made her pull out all the stops. That is clearly the best form in the race and she must have a great chance of following up especially as she clearly stays well. Verdict - A fascinating John Corbet Cup. They are joint favs and to be honest I do think one of Latenightfumble or Its On The Line will win. I was hoping I might be able to back them both, but that clearly isn't possible at the prices they are so I am going to side with the Irish horse. He's clearly progressing very nicely and should really relish the step up in trip. His trainer is one of the shrewdest around and he wouldn't be sending him over if he didn't think he could win. I just wonder if that Cheltenham run might have left a mark where Latenightfumble is concerned and he's been on the go all season so in the back of my mind it could be a race too much for him and that's why I'm going with Its On The Line. If Rebel Dawn Rising stays then he would be the main danger to those two. Its On The Line 2pts @ 9/4 with Skybet, William Hill, Coral and BetVictor (take up to 15/8) 7.05 Bob And Co - It was mentioned that he was going to go to France for the big meeting at Auteuil last weekend, but instead he is bidding to go one better than he did in this race last year. He certainly comes here a fresher horse this time around as he's only been seen finishing 2nd to Cousin Pascal at Haydock and then falling at the 9th at Cheltenham. He's only been entered once since when put in the same race he won at Hexham last year so its hard to know if he had a setback or they have just decided to wait for this. There wasn't much wrong with his run in this last year and he had a really tough race at Punchestown so I do get a feeling he was a bit flat after that. Law Of Gold beat him by just 5½L, but I think he will reverse the form this time around. There was so much confidence about him going into Cheltenham that there is no reason to think that he isn't still good enough to win this. Dandy Dan - He gave the impression that he was getting better with every start in points this season as he gave his young jockey Lauren Keen-Hawkins experience. You may remember that I was wondering about her ability as it was a very soft unseat behind Caid Du Berlais at Ston Easton, but she didn't half prove me wrong at Cheltenham as I thought she gave him a fantastic ride to beat Caryto Des Brosses. There certainly wasn't any fluke about the performance either as he jumped and travelled well and really powered away from the 2nd up the hill. After the race I said that he was good enough to come here and whilst I wasn't necessarily thinking the likes of Bob And Co and Vaucelet would turn up I still think he has a fantastic chance of following up. Dieu Vivant - Just can't see how he gets involved at all as his form is a league below the best of these. Downtown Getaway - Has beaten Just Cause easily at Kelso and last week ay Huntingdon, but Just Cause would get lapped by a few of these if running in this and the rest of his form wouldn't be good enough to win either. I'd also have him as a doubtful stayer, but he does have James King on top and obviously he does come here full of confidence. Law Of Gold - A good winner of this race last year and given he also won the John Corbet Cup I did think he had the potential to be a multiple winner of this race, but on everything he has done this year I just can't back him. Maybe coming back to Stratford will perk him up, but he has looked really lazy all season and has barely travelled or jumped well. That was especially true at Cheltenham last time in the 4m race and yet he still came to the last looking like he was going to win. The fact he didn't said plenty about his attitude for me as I think he just didn't want to go past. If he travels and jumps like he has done the rest of the season then I just don't see how he is going to be able to get himself involved in the business end of the race. I have watched last year's race back and it was like watching a completely different horse. If that Law Of Gold turns up he's a player, but if the one we have seen this season turns up I just can't see how he wins this. The cheekpieces that went on at Cheltenham come off here. Le Breuil - Got a deserved hunter chase success at Huntingdon over just under 4m 3 weeks ago and that came on the back of a good 4th at Aintree in the Foxhunters' where he was shafted by the standing start and then just plugged on over a trip that would have been short enough for him. I can see him running a solid race here because he has done that all season, but I'm not sure I can see him actually winning it. Not That Fuisse - Deservedly beat Law Of Gold at Fakenham last time and that was him landing a hat-trick after beating Peacocks Secret over the same course and distance on Gold Cup day and in between just getting up to beat Stratagem at Warwick. He's had a good season and he's been beating hunter chase winners, but there is a big question mark over his stamina for me and I'm not sure he wants to go this far. If he does stay though then he could well be involved in the finish. Solomon Grey - Has got better with every start this season and was impressive in his wins at Ludlow and Cheltenham the last twice. I think the form of that Cheltenham race is strong and gives him a chance of being placed, but he's unproven over this far and I just wonder if the trip in this class of race is going to be too much for him. He might have been better off in the handicap race, but I can see why connections are rolling the dice. Vaucelet - Did well to win the John Corbet Cup last year so we know this course and distance suits although it was a funny race where they went no gallop. He was a potential Cheltenham runner though after winning his first two races of the season in good style, but he then disappointed at Down Royal on Boxing Day. They gave him a break after that and he returned a couple of months ago to land a point easily and then was especially impressive over Easter at Fairyhouse when bolting up from the useful Aloneamongmillions. He then went to Punchestown and pushed Billaway close, but made a bad mistake at the last which cost him any chance of winning the race. It's hard to be certain about who would have won if he didn't make the error, but I thought Billaway still would have won. Clearly a big player on those efforts. West Approach - Going to be outclassed in this. Verdict - It looks a strong renewal of the Stratford Foxhunters and it is easy to see why Vaucelet is favourite as he still looks to be progressing nicely and we know course and distance isn't an issue. He does look on the short side to me though and I'm going to look elsewhere. It is no surprise that Law Of Gold has been backed as the pointing experts love the horse, but whilst a return to Stratford might perk him up I just can't have him on how he's been running this year. I want Bob And Co onside because on last year's form he's arguably a better horse than Vaucelet, but clearly there is the unknown about if he is still up to that sort of ability. For me that is factored into the price though. The other one I am keen to be with is Dandy Dan who I thought ran a huge race at Cheltenham under a very good ride. We know he stays and the Cheltenham win gave him every right to target this and I think he could well be good enough to win. Bob And Co 1pt @ 9/2 with everyone apart from William Hill who are 5/1 (take up to 3/1) Dandy Dan 1.5pts e/w @ 13/2 with William Hill (Bet365 are 7/1 and take up to 5/1) 7.35 Cat Tiger - For the 2nd year running ran a cracker in the Aintree Foxhunters' when finishing 2nd to Latenightpass having been 3rd last year. That was his first hunter chase of the season as he had been running in handicaps and did win off 136 at Ascot in January. He was beaten at 8/15 at Southwell a year ago after he ran at Aintree which has to be in the back of your mind and 12-9 is obviously a huge weight to carry. With jockey's claims he is giving over a stone to all which is some task although he clearly could be up to it as we know he has won off this sort of mark in a handicap. Marracudja - Thought he ran very well on hunter chase debut at Hereford when 3rd to Wagner in January and then he won Leicester's big hunter chase at the start of March in easy style. Never got involved at Aintree where he was always out the back, but he is better than that so whilst in theory he can't beat Cat Tiger on that run this is a very different race. Tristan Durrell's 3lbs off is a plus as well. Clondaw Westie - Looked set to win this race last year until he ran down the last and gave Izzie no chance of staying in the saddle. It was a strange race as Monsieur Gibraltar and Alcala decided to set a blistering gallop for pretty much the final circuit and Izzie sat off them and was in the perfect place to pick up the pieces when those two ran out of steam. That effort came on the back of a great 4th in the Aintree Foxhunters' and a good 2nd in a strong race at Cheltenham. This year he was running another cracking race at Aintree until unseating Izzie at the Canal Turn and although he was only 5th at Cheltenham this year I still think that was a good run because I think it was a better race this year. The handicapper has actually dropped him 5lbs for that effort so he gets to run from a 5lbs lower mark this year compared to last. Peacocks Secret - Took full advantage of Zamparelli setting a strong pace over course and distance last month and being the only one to run his race as the two market leaders both disappointed. He was 15L behind Marracudja at Leicester and even on these terms shouldn't reverse the form. At Cheltenham he was 9L behind Clondaw Westie when giving him 10lbs and including jockey claims he only has to give him a lb so in theory that does give him a chance of reversing the form, but he never really got involved in that race and does need to bounce back. Zamparelli - Found things happening way too quickly for him in this race last year, but nearly took advantage of the stupid pace and Clondaw Westie's error as he finished 2nd to Keltus. Had a bit of a frustrating season this time around with 3 2nds on the bounce in a point at Larkhill and two hunter chases including the race here as mentioned above. It certainly took me by surprise that he set such a fast pace, but was essentially a sitting duck for Peacocks Secret. He then ran at Cheltenham and given he wouldn't have stayed I thought he ran a pretty good race despite ending up 55L behind Dandy Dan in 5th. He's 4lb lower than last year and his jockey is claiming 7lbs compared to 3lbs last year so you certainly couldn't rule him out. I'm Wiser Now - Not sure how the handicapper hasn't dropped him more than just 2lbs in the handicap because he has been shocking in both hunter chases he has run in this season. Won twice here last season and a return to this venue is the only glimmer of hope you can give him as you couldn't possibly fancy him on what he's done this term. Verdict - Cat Tiger could be up to this, but 12-9 is a big ask and this race has good horses in it so I'm going to take him on. Clondaw Westie is well handicapped compared to Cat Tiger based on last year's Aintree Foxhunters' and it wouldn't have been a big shock if he had got round this year that he would have been well handicapped with him again. The Cheltenham run was decent and a 5lb lower mark compared to last year means he could well make up for his wayward jump at the last. I can see why Zamparelli and Peacocks Secret have their fans, but I think Marracudja is overpriced now. He looked good at Herford and Leicester and you can always forgive a poor run over the National fences. On Leicester form he has the beating of Peacocks Secret and yet is a bigger price. Clondaw Westie 1.5pts @ 4/1 with everyone (take up to 3/1) Marracudja 0.5pt @ 11/2 with everyone apart from William Hill who are 6/1 (take up to 9/2) 8.05 Waking up to see that Fier Jaguen and Feuille De Lune have both come out is hardly ideal and obviously I have had to rewrite the preview this morning. I thought Luke Harvey's Spanish Jump was going to be a bet without the front two in the betting and so without them in the race he obviously becomes the bet. He has run 4 times this season and won his maiden and restricted very impressively on his 2nd and 4th starts. He was 2nd to a horse at Charing who went on to win 4 more times this season and his 2nd last time at Chaddesley Corbett on Easter Saturday was behind a good horse who has won 7 of his last 8 starts. Oval Street looks to be his main rival and he's had a good season winning 3 times from 5 starts, but to me they have come in weaker races so his form doesn't look as strong. Both can front run so hopefully it won't be a tactical affair and Spanish Jump does have James King on top Spanish Jump 2pts @ 11/10 with Bet365, William Hill and BetVictor (take up to 10/11) 8.40 Mystic Man - Pulled up on his debut over here at Charing in December and then had a long break before winning at Barbury over 2m3f last month. It wasn't much of a contest and he was left clear at 3 out when the horse just in front of him fell. He then weakened very quickly over 3m when pulling up last time. Suspect this test will suit. Tufton Avenue - Didn't have the pace to go with the front 4 at Aintree, but if anything this looks a weaker contest so he certainly has a chance. Churchman - Got tapped for toe when making his debut in a point bumper at Sandon over Easter, but then stayed on to finish 2nd to Good Boy. The winner and the 3rd both ran at Aintree and both were well beaten so did nothing whatsoever for the form. Patanita - Looked very impressive when winning a point bumper at Maisemore on debut. They seemed to go a solid enough pace as well so the form should be reliable. He won by a couple of lengths but pretty much did it on the bridle so was value for more than the winning margin. Presenting Miranda - Landed a point bumper on debut at Larkhill in December, but the form doesn't look that strong and the winning time was slower than the other division. Things haven't really gone right over fences since as she pulled up in heavy ground over 3m on her next run. Last month she ran twice first of all she got cannoned into by a loose horse just before the 9th fence and Alice was forced out of the saddle in a very unfortunate incident. Easter Saturday she went to Dingley and finished 2nd in a very weak maiden over 2m4f. Verdict - I have had some rotten luck in this race over the years with horses slipping up and getting hampered so I am due a result and to me if Patanita repeats his Maisemore performance then he ought to win this. It was an impressive performance and he was well fancied beforehand. Presenting Miranda and Mystic Man look the two dangers. Patanita 2pts @ 5/4 with everyone apart from Bet365 (take up to 10/11)
  23. For quite a while I thought Wrexham would win the play-offs given how good they were looking and that they were unlikely to beat Stockport and if they had the final at the Racecourse then I would probably back them even though they are odds on. I do think they can beat Notts County or Grimsby at home although it does look to be the harder side of the draw, but away from the Racecourse they look vulnerable. I was waiting to write the preview until after the FA Trophy Final today to see how they would get on at Wembley and they were OK, but no more than that. Maybe the disappointment of losing this will drive them on to make sure they get something out of the season, but on consecutive weekends they have now lost the title whilst being well beaten by Dagenham and lost the FA Trophy Final. Clearly they have the best squad and they deserve to be favourites, but they are too short for me and so I will be looking to the other half of the draw for the winners. As I mention below I think Halifax will win on Tuesday, but even if Chesterfield do get through I think Solihull can beat either of them at home and thus Solihull are the bets for me at 3/1. I wasn't sure about Ardley coming as manager at the start of the season because I thought he under performed at Notts County, but fair play to him as he has managed to finish above his old club in the table. Almost unnoticed they sneaked into 3rd place and they were only 1 point behind Wrexham at the end. If we just used the last 15 games they would have finished top of the table 1 point in front of Wrexham and Stockport. They also played both those sides over Easter away and got a deserved point at Wrexham whilst only going down to a 90th minute goal at Stockport. They have been really good in the last few games of the season and I think they have it in them to beat whoever they end up facing (likely Wrexham) at the Olympic Stadium in a couple of weeks time. Halifax v Chesterfield As mentioned above I don't have an opinion on tomorrow's game, but I certainly do in Tuesday night's match as Halifax do look a fantastic bet. They won 17 out of 22 games at the Shay during the season and took an impressive 53 points in the process. They aren't prolific in front of goal, but they find a way to win games especially at home. Chesterfield have been woeful since Paul Cook took over as manager as they have gone from title contenders to barely making the play-offs. I know injuries have played a part especially to Tshimanga, but even so Cook has looked clueless and they don't even deserve to be in the play-offs. Tshimanga has already been ruled out of playing a part in them so he can't even rescue them. The one thing I will say is when they played this fixture on Easter Monday and Halifax won 2-0 I did think Chesterfield played quite well, but that is the only game that I have seen them play well since Rowe left. It has become a bit of a free hit for Chesterfield so maybe they might perform better, but on everything we have seen Halifax look a great bet at 6/4 as they really ought to be shorter. Solihull to win promotion 1pt @ 3/1 with Bet365, Betfred and BetVictor (take up to 9/4) Halifax 3pts @ 6/4 with Bet365 (take up to 11/10)
  24. A very good Sunday last week with Onset and Elvision both winning for a decent profit and both run tomorrow morning at Sandown where we have the Australian Steeplechase and Australian Hurdle. We also have the hurdling debut of Constantinople. Race 1 We start with the Australian Steeplechase and the Wilde pair of Brittanicus and Elvison head the betting. Elvison obviously did us a great turn last week at Casterton and what a jumping performance he put in over the hedges. He never looked in any danger of getting beaten and given the small field I'm not really surprised connections have decided to run him again on the 7 day back up. His stablemate ran a hell of a race in the Brieley to just be beaten by another one from the yard in Vanguard. I have concerns about both of them though. This is a much better race than the one Elvision won last week and although he's clearly improving he was beaten by Once Were Lost at Warrnambool. I also wonder if the two of them might end up cutting each others throats up front. I guess they will try not to do that, but Elvison clearly likes front running and Brittanicus can be keen and although he hasn't always front run he did at Warrnambool. I'm also not sure Brittanicus will stay the trip so as much as either winning wouldn't surprise I do think there could be value in looking elsewhere. Bit Of Lad won this 2 years ago, but he didn't run great in the Brierly even allowing for the fact that he blew the start. Pateman told the stewards he needs a softer surface which he wont get here. Once Were Lost got the better of Elvison at Warrnambool and maybe this extra trip will help, but he carried 66kg compared to the 2nd carrying 71kg and here Elvison only has to give him 1kg so really the form ought to be reversed. Quite why Coleridge is as short as he is I don't know because he was miles behind Elvison last week. I put up Getting Leggie in the Grand Annual and I am going to put him up again here because he just shouldn't be the outsider. I thought he ran a cracking race at Warrnambool as he wasn't beaten far in 4th and I think the trip in the very testing ground 2nd up was just a bit too much for him. 1st up he was 1 place in front of Britannicus at Pakenham when they were 3rd and 4th and I think this trip will suit Getting Leggie better than Britannicus. He has never won on a heavy track so this better ground should be ideal and he's got a really solid chance for me. He's been nibbled in the betting which doesn't surprise me. Getting Leggie 1pt @ 9/1 with everyone Race 4 Constantinople doesn't need too many introductions I am sure given his high profile form for Aiden O'Brien. He went off favourite for a Caulfield Cup and was well fancied for a Melbourne Cup. That was back in 2019 where you also have to go back to for his last win which came in a Group 3 at the Curragh in May that year. His only other win was a Thurles maiden win the year before. He's been running in good races and has run some good races especially of late where he has been 2nd in the Terang Cup last month and then 3rd in the Warrnambool Cup where he overraced. I've watched his two hurdle trials and he isn't a great jumper it has to be said. He has also looked keen in them. He could well outclass his rivals here and the fact he's likely to make mistakes might not stop him, but on the other side I do wonder if he is keen again that he might not stay the trip. Runaway was behind him in 3rd in the trial last time, he's likely to make the running and they might take each other on. So can anything beat Constantinople? I thought Blandford Lad did very well in the Champion Novice at Warrnambool to finish 2nd and although he came wide the better ground was certainly on the outside so it helped the first 4 home that day. He's certainly a chance here though as he won his maiden well at Pakenham as well. I thought Hey Happy did it well at Casterton last week as he beat the other market leader and they pulled well clear of everything else. This is tougher, but he should go well. Pueblo was disappointing in the Champion Novice, but if he returns to the Pakenham maiden win form then he has claims. Onset won at a double figure price for us last week and she bolted up. As I mentioned ahead of that she was on the wrong part of the track in the Champion Novice and ran a hell of a race to finish so close. She has clearly improved, but is it enough to beat Constantinople only getting 0.5kg from him? All the other leading fancies have to give Constantinople weight as he has 66.5kg to carry whereas Runaway has 71kg, Blandford Lad 69, Hey Happy 68.5 and Pueblo 68. So as much as his jumping doesn't impress me and there are stamina doubts, I actually think he will get away with it against this field at these weights as he just has a class edge on the rest of them so I actually do think he offers a bit of value. Onset might be the one to chase him home. Constantinople 1pt @ 11/5 with Bet365 Race 5 No horse has won back-to-back Australian Hurdles' since The Shu in 95 and 96 and only 3 others have done it in the history of the race which was first run in 1892. Saunter Boy carried 66.5kg last year to win this and has to carry 71kg this time around, but I think he can do it. He's already picked up 2 decent pots this season at Pakenham and Warrnambool and although Out And Dreaming has a chance of reversing form at the weights I don't think he will although he does look the main danger to me. Saunter Boy is just so tough and really has that will to win. Saunter Boy's high rating means the whole field aren't carrying the true weights that they should which helps his chances. El Diez won the Champion Novice and had Brungle Bertie and Devon Miss in behind and I think Brungle Bertie can do the best of that trio, but Saunter Boy can make history and land back-to-back victories in this historic race. Saunter Boy 2pts @ 13/10 @ Bet365
  25. Final day of the National League season on Sunday and I have 6 bets Barnet v Bromley Barnet have been a bit disappointing for the last 2/3 months of the season after looking pretty good when Dean Brennan first took over. Even so they've looked a bit better again recently and they could win the final game of the season against a Bromley side who will have more than one eye on Wembley in a weeks time. That could give the home side the edge here. Boreham Wood v Solihull Moors Solihull are having an incredible run at the moment and they have very much gone under the radar because they were always unlikely to gain enough to be a title hope, but they sneaked into 3rd place on goal difference and they will be keen to get that advantage of finishing 3rd (it means they get a bye to the semi-finals and get a home game). Boreham Wood perked up for their games against Stockport and Wrexham and I guess they could do here, but Solihull aren't as big as those two and it's not like they will be stopping them from winning the title. I'd be stronger on this, but the result could be effected by what happens at Stockport, but essentially I think Solihull will go all out to win the game and they are just scoring so many goals right now. Chesterfield v Woking The home side were so bad against Torquay last Saturday and that's been pretty much the same story since Rowe decided to walk in naked on the physio (allegedly). Paul Cook was such a bad choice of manager and they have gone from title contenders to nearly dropping out of the play-offs since he took over. I think Woking will be up for this and on their day they can beat anyone in the league as they have proven this season. Also if Wrexham do go in front at Dagenham then I can imagine Chesterfield not being too concerned about things in this game. Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham Dagenham's defending was so bad against Solihull last week and if they defend like that then Mullin and Palmer are going to have a field day. They were so good against Stockport and Mullin's finish for the 2nd was superb. I think the long throw can be overrated, but Ben Tozer's isn't a normal long throw and it has caused chaos since he joined Wrexham. I can see Wrexham scoring from a throw again here given Dagenham's defence is not their strong point. I'm amazed Wrexham aren't shorter and unless Stockport happen to go 2 or 3 in front before Wrexham go ahead then Wrexham are going to be giving it their all so they look a great bet to me. Eastleigh v Grimsby Grimsby can only really finish 6th and even if Chesterfield do overturn the goal difference there isn't really any difference between finishing 6th or 7th. They have a longshot of overturning the goal difference with Notts County above them which would give them a home tie in the play-offs, but I don't think they will believe that to be possible so won't be too bothered about what happens here. That gives Eastleigh a chance of winning and I think they are over priced to do so. Maidenhead v Notts County County can only finish 5th (unless Grimsby happen to go goal crazy) so Maidenhead are a bet here. As we know Maidenhead like beating the top sides at home and no doubt Alan Devonshire will be out to claim another big scalp on the final day of the season. Barnet 1pt @ 2/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral (take up to 6/4) Solihull 2.5pts @ 5/4 with Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes (William Hill are 13/10 and take up to Evs) Woking 1pt @ 9/2 with Bet365, William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes (take up to 3/1) Wrexham 4pts @ 27/20 with Coral and Ladbrokes (7/5 with Bet365 and take up to Evs) Eastleigh 1pt @ 15/4 with Skybet, Ladbrokes and Coral (take up to 5/2) Maidenhead 1pt @ 9/5 with Betfred (take up to 6/4)
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