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Darran

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Everything posted by Darran

  1. Readers of my Hunter Chase tips may remember that I put Postbridge up as a bet in a Hunter Chase at Fakenham on Easter Monday which came 2 days after she bolted up in a match at Higham. She had solid place form prior to that as she was a place behind For 'N' Against at Fakenham and was beaten a neck by Chapelier at High Easter and both of those have run respectably in Hunter Chases since. I just wonder if connections decided to sit and wait for a handicap as she looks an improved horse this season from the one that was seen under rules previously. She was given a rating of 117 when starting out handicapping in 2017 over hurdles and then she lost her way in the 17/18 season when first moving to Sarah Humphrey. Due to that she comes back racing under rules off a mark of just 83 and then the jockey takes another 7lbs off her back. If she had of run well in that Fakenham Hunter Chase she would have blown her handicap mark so to me it makes sense to send her handicapping. She was entered in a lower class race at Market Rasen, but this doesn't look overly competitive for the grade. Triggywinkle is miles out of the handicap and has no chance. Expresstime and Grania O'Malley don't look in great form at the moment so I am happy to pass over them both. The two at the top of the handicap are the main dangers. The market will tell us if Shakadame has any chance given the yard she is from and if she is well backed then I would be worried as on form you couldn't fancy her at all. Irish challenger Pat's Pearl won a Beginners Chase at Downpatrick on her chasing debut. It looked an improved performance from he hurdles ones although she now has a rating of 112 compared to 95 when she was last in a handicap hurdle two starts back. On form though she does look the main danger unless the Murphy horse is punted. Postbridge does get 2st7lbs though from her and hopefully that is enough to tip things in her favour as I certainly think she is well handicapped. I think 4/1 is a fair price as like I say unless they Murphy horse is punted I only say the fav as a danger.
  2. 4.00 Fontwell I was debating last night about putting Hidden Charmer up, but what has tipped the balance is the fact he is being backed this morning so I am making him a bet. If he repeats his Ludlow win then I think he has a really good chance here. Granted he was disappointing in a point after that although I don't think he wants 3m and I would ignore his run at Cheltenham last time as he had no chance of beating the 1st or 2nd and the soft ground wouldn't have been to his liking either. I don't think he's chucked off his mark, but based on that Ludlow win I think he is capable of winning off 118. The favourite is obviously in good form, but there has to be a doubt about him staying this far. If Miles To Milan drifts then he is unlikely to be winning based on the yard he comes from, Not A Role Model went close in this last year, but is 7lbs higher and needs to come on from his seasonal return and Master Burbridge was running well enough when last seen although without looking like winning. It looks a winnable race and with the market support I am happy to back Hidden Charmer at 9/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair and 8/1 everywhere else.
  3. Nothing like backing a horse at 28/1 it starting at 9/2 and it unseats at the 2nd! To add insult to injury the same yards damut I’m out win at a double digit price earlier on the card and I didn’t really fancy it
  4. Yes some gamble on Master Sunrise. Clearly others thinking the same as me!
  5. 3.30 Bangor If you have been paying really close attention to what I have been writing in my Hunter Chase previews then you will know that I had a theory about Master Sunrise and he is straight back into handicap company at Bangor tomorrow. He showed nothing again at Warwick but Marcle Ridge set a strong pace that day and that wouldn't have helped him. As I mentioned in that preview he went well for a long way at Cheltenham and he clearly still has ability. I think they ran him again at Warwick to get the handicap mark down a bit more as he didn't really have a hope of winning that race and the handicapper duly put him down another 5lbs to a mark of 90. His win last summer was off a mark of 102. I possibly would have liked to have seen him in a 0-100 rather than a 0-110, but they are trying blinkers for the first time and that really interests me. The fact they have gone to different headgear the first time back in a handicap means they mean business. Now clearly he could decide to throw in the towel and he might well finished tailed off again, but based on the Cheltenham run he is capable of winning off this handicap mark. He is also priced up at 28/1 which means it is worth taking a chance at a big price that my theory is correct and that he is on a going day. The yard also run Old Pride who is a single figure price, but he has never really looked like he wants 3m so he doesn't really look like a likely winner to me. So nothing to go overboard about, but at a big price it is worth a go for sure.
  6. So that is it for the season. The incredible strike-rate that I had until about mid April was never going to be kept up and from when I last updated the total on April 14th there was only a very small profit although I must admit I thought it was going to be a loss so I was pleasantly surprised by that fact. The final totals are below and again they are only rough because I know people will have got different prices and some might have BOG and some might not although admittedly BOG isn't something that needs to come into play that often. As I said at the beginning of the season my Hunter Chase stuff is not just about the tips it is about educating people and trying to enhance interest in a part of the sport that a lot know very little about. I also write the previews so people can use what I say as they see fit and I know people have won money by doing different bets to what I have put up based on what I have said. It has been a really enjoyable season and that 3 month spell at the start of the season was something I have never experienced before as almost everything I put up won and when I was in Australia I didn't have a losing race. As good as Hazel Hill was at Cheltenham my performance of the season has to be Risk A Fine's win at Stratford back in April. The way he broke Arthur's Secrets heart and then ended up putting Master Baker under so much pressure he bled was some achievement given how good those two horses are. Friday's performance wasn't far behind either. Obviously Road To Rome's 4 timer deserves a mention and his win in the Walrus at Haydock was a sight to behold. It was also great to see Caid Du Berlais bounce back from his Cheltenham effort to win at Punchestown for the 2nd year running when nothing could get anywhere near him. So thank you everyone who has read, shared or liked my previews this season and I am pleased to say that my previews will be on Punters Lounge again in 2020. I will be popping up before then though as I am sure horses that have been running in points and Hunter Chases this season will be running under rules over the summer and there have been plenty of winners over the years so keep an eye out for those. 2019 stats Total Stakes 204pts Total Returns 278.09pts Total profit 74.09pts
  7. Great to see him win again and it might not even be his last run. I thought they would retire him on the spot but that didn't happen. He made his debut a couple of days before his 5th birthday and won the Punchestown Champion Hunter Chase for the 1st time when he was 5. To still be winning races 9 years later is some feat.
  8. Very annoying, but now just hope On The Fringe goes out on a win.
  9. Thank glad you like them and you certainly chose the right one to be heavily involved with. I have some sad news about Road To Rome as he was badly injured when running in a point last month and from what I was told at the time there is a doubt he will race again.
  10. Regular readers will know I rarely tip up in Irish Hunter Chases and have only put up two this season, both of which have won. Hopefully I can make it a hat-trick on what will be the final bet of the season. It would be great if On The Fringe can win this race for a 2nd year running on what surely will be his final ever race, although given I have been saying for at least 2 years that they should retire him maybe it wont be. As well as he ran last time, I don't think he will win this however as I really like Rewritetherules who is 9 years younger than On The Fringe. He didn't really look like he was up to much until he was a massive gamble to win a Down Royal Hunter Chase at the beginning of last month. He was an impressive winner that day and then 3 days later he went to Tipperary and was even more impressive. Talk after that win was that he would go to Stratford for the John Corbet Cup and he was entered at the 6 day decs, but they obviously decided to stay in Ireland and go for this instead. He looks a promising horse and his trainer has spoken very highly of him. In my view he should be favourite for this and I would be surprised if he didn't start favourite. There doesn't look to be a lot else in the race. All Hell Let Loose has been running consistently well in points this season, but keeps finishing 2nd. Flirting Lesa won the Bishopscourt Cup at the Punchestown Festival, but that is always a very weak affair. So at 5/2 hopefully we can end the season with a winner. Rewritetherules 2pts @ 5/2 with Bet365
  11. Before I get into the races themselves I have to give massive credit to Stratford who provided perfect ground. They have been known to over water for this meeting before and last year was new low on that front. Fair play to the track though for listening and watering enough to make it just on the fast side of good. 5.45 I tried to get Earth Leader beat, but he was different class to his rivals. He has thrived since the tongue-tie went on and he is improving fast. It wouldn't surprise me if Nicholls takes him back as his current mark of 117 is very attractive and given Buck Dancing is rated a 100 at the moment it is hard to see how the handicapper can stick him up too much for this. As at Fontwell Bryan Carver gave him a cracking ride sitting just off a blistering early gallop and once he took up the running he always looked the winner. I initially was a bit critical of Jessica's ride on Buck Dancing, but I was probably being a it harsh. She might well have just making sure he got his confidence back after what happened at Hexham and he jumped much better. She did leave him with too much to do, but to be fair she was trying to catch a very good horse and she got everything else beat. It was good that he finally showed his pointing form under rules. Tangoed was also held up and he ran well on his first chase start under rules. Only 6 and he can find a Hunter Chase next season based on this. It was a much better performance form Chapelier compared to Cheltenham and it gives him something to build on next season. General Arrow and Pancrace went too hard up front with the latter dropping away first and very tamely. General Arrow was headed at 3 out and finished a distant 5th. He ought to have been capable of better and probably needs an easier lead although I doubt he would have won anyway. 6.20 A surprising winner for me here as I didn't fancy Downbythestrand before the race. I saw him win a 2m4f open at Kimble on Easter Saturday and that as well as his other form didn't strike me as a Hunter Chase winner, but to be fair to him he did it well and was always holding Llancillo Lord in 2nd. I suspect it was probably a sharp enough test for the 2nd, but at least he landed some e/w money for us on the race. I can't work out if Net D'Ecosse was unlucky or not. He was left about 8L at the start and the went a blistering pace early so he would have had to work fairly hard to get himself into contention. He was in about 6th jumping the 3rd last as he got himself into contention, but he was then ridden along and looked like he would be out of the frame only for him to stay on again to just get up 3rd beaten just under 10L. The start obviously didn't help, but I just wonder if he wanted a slightly stiffer test of stamina. It was a good run though. Bletchley Castle didn't make a mistake from what I could tell this time around, but I suspect the Huntingdon effort had left a mark. I'd aim him at this race next yer though as it should suit him perfectly. Witness In Court and Red Inca both ran well enough after their Fontwell efforts. Village Vic has been retired after finishing in 8th and ran respectably on his final start. Interestingly Velvet Maker was very strong in the market and was enjoying himself out in front when he stumbled on landing at the 7th. Who knows how he would have done, but given the support I reckon he might have gone close. 6.50 On paper it looked a very weak renewal of the John Corbet Cup and so it turned out in theory as well. I didn't fancy the winner at all, but Law Of Gold was well backed and he did it well to be fair. I think the key was the fact Dale made his move with around a circuit to go and took up the running with a cracking jump at 4 out. The 2nd and 3rd both made their moves later and they weren't able to get to the winner. It was decent enough efforts from Winged Leader and Pink Eyed Pedro though and the latter does seem an improved horse this year. Kalabaloo was a disappointment and either was feeling the effects of the season or that Cheltenham race just fell into her lap. I've got an opened mind. In Arrears would have found the ground quick enough and the main bet Casey Jem didn't jump well enough. He is only 5 though so is one to keep an eye on. 7.20 Meldrum Lad had his form franked by Buck Dancing earlier in the evening and was given a cracking ride by Becky Smith who held her up and didn't panic when Seefood, Brackloon High and Cloudy Joker all kicked for home. She also saved plenty of ground sticking to the inside as the other 3 went very wide into the straight. He was an impressive winner and should be capable of adding to this next season. Virak looked like he would be out of the frame as he got outpaced, but credit to him for getting back up for 2nd. No doubt he will be back next season and he will win more at the right level. Seefood ran well but paid the price for going for home too early in the end. Interestingly he was weaker in the market compared to his stablemate. Cloudy Joker came down at the last and he didn't get high enough and as much as he was in 2nd jumping it, it also seemed a bit of a tired mistake. Still he and Brackloon High ran with credit. 7.50 As much as it was a shame Caid Du Berlais and Top Wood didn't run, we were still treated to a fantastic finish between two very good horses. Sam Waley-Cohen gave the winner a superb ride on a horse who isn't at his best round this track. People seem to want to crab him, but when he has been beaten it is either because he hasn't had his ground or its been here at Stratford where he has actually run with credit the last two years. I think he deserved a win in one of the big ones and on his day he is still one of the leading Hunter Chasers in the country. He will be 12 next year so a drop off in form is surely going to happen at some stage, but hopefully he will be back next season. Caryto Des Brosses is some racehorse. His jumping was a complete joy to watch, but although he looked like he was doing it easily enough I did think he was a little keen. Dale looked behind him leaving the back straight and I wondered if it was a worried look because he knew he didn't have a great deal left in the tank. I have seen some say it was a bad ride and he should have kicked for home sooner, but in my view he would have been beaten further as he was tired. I just wonder if the battle with Hazel Hill had left a mark because he ought to have stayed based on his Cheltenham effort. He will be 8 next season and I at this stage he remains my idea of the Foxhunter winner. He'd be some site at Aintree as well. Asockastar ran with credit again and Chosen Dream never looked like repeating last year's win. 8.20 Speaking of Aintree surely Risk A Fine will be going there next season. He was just superb here and the result was never in doubt. One of my regrets of the season was not backing him when he won over course and distance previously as I really should have done. It is great when you spot a horses potential early in the season as I did with him when I saw him win on his seasonal return and I knew he would be in for a very good season. Back at a flatter track he showed his class and hopefully he is back next season. However I just wonder if connections might consider going to Market Rasen with him for their big race next month as it would really suit him. Road To Riches did briefly threaten coming to 3 out, but as soon as he arrived he was then under pressure again. 8.50 After having the horse I put up in this last year have its chance ruined by nearly coming down round the bend into the back straight it was pretty frustrating for it to happen for the second year running. Hard to be confident about what Feodora would have have done, but she was going well at the time and given how the race panned out I reckon she might have won. Rivercourt Guy was a massive gamble, but was pulled up as was the other bet Petit Petard. I think the form of this is pretty weak as Love Around was hard to fancy despite the fact she won well. I did give a positive mention to Daranova in the preview and he ran well down in trip at 50s. Equss Gold was sent clearly down the back straight and you have to say it was a poor ride as there was no need to kick that early. The rest were miles back. So in the end after all that the preview essentially came out level on the night. It was a really enjoyable night's racing though and I think we saw some good performances as well. That brings the UK season to an end and I did think it was going to be the last tip, but there is to be one more.
  12. Will write a review of the card at some point hopefully tomorrow and round up the season.
  13. Ground on the fast side of good for me
  14. Someone who has walked the track says it is a mixture of good and good to firm so that would suggest they haven't over watered. We won't know for certain until the race on it though, but hopefully that is the case.
  15. Brave Jaq is a non runner in race 2 so I am going to add Net D'Ecosse to the bets and make the following the bets now. Bletchley Castle 1pt e/w @ 13/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power Llancillo Lord 0.75pts e/w @ 8/1 with William Hill and Betfair Net D'Ecosse 1pt @ 5/1 with Bet 365 and most others
  16. We finally get to the end of the Hunter Chase season with the big evening at Stratford. 6 Hunter Chases including the John Corbet Cup, the Stratford Foxhunter and the only handicap Hunter Chase of the season. There is also a point-to-point bumper to end the card. Now the ground they are giving as good with it set to be 22 and breezy tomorrow, but they have been well known to over water for this meeting and last year was a new low in that regards. Horses were finishing as if it was heavy winter ground which was crazy and I don't think the trainers were happy about the fact it had been so well watered for the pro card on the Saturday. Hopefully they have got it right this year and it is good ground likely to go on the quick side. 5.45 Earth Leader - A horse who has done nothing but improve since he won his maiden back in March. It is hard to win a maiden, a restricted and an intermediate back to back and he then added to that with a Hunter Chase win at Fontwell. I know the race fell apart because the 2nd and 3rd went off too fast, but I was still impressed with the way he won and he looks to have a strong chance here. An Scairp - Been kept to 2m4f and 2m5f in his 4 points and he won 3 and was a neck 2nd in the other one. His best run form wise was when he was 2nd to Abriocot De L'Oasis who won a Hunter Chase last season as he didn't beat a great deal in his wins. Capable of running well although needs to find a little to be capable of winning. Buck Dancing - Nothing wrong with his pointing form and he has even won twice since he ran poorly at Hexham in the Heart Of All England. You may remember I really fancied him for that on the back of his previous form, but after a blunder at the 5th he didn't travel after that. The winning time at Easingwold was quick on his next won and then he had a simple task at Sedgefield on Sunday. He certainly has some of the best pointing form in the race and if he can get it together back under rules he will go close. Castle Cheetah - Doesn't seem to stay 3m in points and dropped to 2m4f he won his Restricted earlier in the month. He is 11 though and although he hasn't seen much racing it will be disappointing if he proved good enough to win this. Chapelier - Had won 4 on the bounce in points this season, but struggled really badly at Cheltenham in the Intermediate Final. Hard to fancy him on the back of that and his pointing form wouldn't be as strong as some of these. Cheltenham De Vaige - Won 4 of his last 5 points although probably fortunate to win 3 starts back as the favourite slipped up before 3 out and was going well. Not sure he has achieved the level that some of these have in points. General Arrow - On a line through Legal Ok he has a few lengths to find on Earth Leader as he only beat him by 15L last time, but I think General Arrow has a good chance here. That race was over 2m4f after he had won his Restricted and Maiden over 3m. He clocked good times in the process so we know he stays 3m, but has the pace for shorter. He also front runs which is a plus round here as well. Should go close. Pancrace - Another front runner who I thought ran well at Cheltenham until he didn't see out the trip and ended up getting very tired in the ground. He has come out and one a weak race since so he looks to be over the Cheltenham efforts. On pointing form he has a bit too find, but on the back of the Cheltenham effort it wouldn't surprise me if he ran well at decent odds. Soul Kaliber - Had a good season finishing either 1st or 2nd in his last 6 starts in points. Looks solid enough, but there looks more progressive types to me. Kayjaydee - Only had 16 starts despite being 12 and was missing for 2 years until his pulled up run in March. 2nd and then a winner since which weren't bad efforts, but there are more progressive horses than him in this. Tangoed - Went under rules after winning a maiden in 2017, but after two good bumper runs he was a massive disappointment over hurdles. He was sold again and returned to pointing this season. He unseated when beaten first time out in December, but on his next start in April at Larkhill he won by 25L. He then won his Intermediate earlier this month. The question is how he will handle going back under rules and he is yet to go over fences if he takes to them though he could run well. Summary - Earth Leader, Buck Dancing, General Arrow and Pancrace are the 4 on my shortlist. Earth Leader might well win, but he shouldn't be odds on to win this. I think the other 3 are all backable prices with General Arrow being my pick of the 3. General Arrow 1.5pts e/w @ 8/1 with Betfred Buck Dancing 1pt e/w @ 12/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power Pancrace 0.5pts e/w @ 15/2 with Bet365 6.20 Net D'Ecosse - Wasn't given the most sensible ride in the world at Lingfield on his first start after wind surgery as he helped forced a strong pace in soft ground. He ended up pulling up that day and he wasn't seen until last month when he was a decent enough 2nd before hacking up at Northaw. That wasn't a strong race, but he's likely to be prominent and the drop down in trip doesn't look the worst move in the world. Tusa Eire - A staggering training performance to get him to win at Fontwell after 4 years off the track. That wasn't a strong race though and this will be tougher. Witness In Court - Battled well to win at Fontwell, but this race looks stronger to me and I just wonder this trip will be on the short side for him. Brave Jaq - Ran a hell of a race in this last year to be just collared by Robin Des People on the run in. Last season he was very keen and always set a very strong gallop. This season he has been a bit more calmer and he won well over 2m5f in March. Clearly this drop in trip won't bother him and he will be up there. Had no chance behind Risk A Fine last time and must have a good chance although the forced jockey change isn't ideal. Llancillo Lord - Won on his pointing debut at Maisemore although that race fell apart and it was a very weak contest he won at Fakenham. He was then collared late on by Greensalt at Kelso where his jockey picked up the ban that forces him to miss tonight as he eased up for 2nd. He did run well over 2m at Chepstow in November and he was 2nd over 2m to Presenting Percy in Ireland as well. I think he needs to step up a bit on what he has shown so far this season, but he has a good jockey booked and he might just improve for dropping down to this trip. Beau De Tabel - No chance Bletchley Castle - His one really bad run this season was when he pulled up behind Brave Jaq here in March, but as I pointed out last week at Huntingdon his jumping is a massive concern and one terrible mistake that night cost him the race. He won't get away with that here in this deeper race. Could be interesting if him and Brave Jaq did go hell for leather up in front although Brave Jaq sat in 2nd behind him in March. If he doesn't make a mistake then he might be capable of winning of this, but I think that is a pretty big if. Boher Call - Unlikely to be troubling the leading contenders. Bubble O'clock - Was left to a solo after 25 yards when winning his maiden and was a very easy winner of his Restricted a week later. Made all that day which I struggle to believe he will do here and this is a much stronger heat. Downbythestrand - A 19L 4th to Brave Jaq here in March and this drop in trip doesn't look like it will help him reverse the form. Mr Sawyer - 2nd in this in 2016 but a well beaten one and the P's have continued to mount up since. Now his handicap mark is down to 78 I'd be tempted to try him in a handicap again over this trip, but hard to see him winning this. O Maonlai - Had the perfect opportunity to win a race at Fontwell and blew it. He even had an easy lead that day and he just looks a horse who is going to do everything he can to get beat. Red Inca - Was 2nd behind Tusa Eire and O Maonlai at Fontwell and as I have already mentioned its hard to see that form being good enough to take this. Velvet Maker - Was a 21L 5th in this last year and didn't run well in his only other run since which was at Ludlow over hurdles in November. If he returned to his peak form he would have a right chance in this, but he just looked a bit laboured in his 3 Hunter Chase runs last season. Village Vic - His Newbury run wasn't bad although his Cheltenham effort wasn't great and its hard to think this sharp test is going to be what he needs. Summary - I think this is between Brave Jaq, Llancillo Lord and Bletchley Castle. I'm surprised that Village Vic is favourite and I struggle to believe he will start the race as the market leader. Brave Jaq for me is the main bet with savers on the other two. Brave Jaq 2pts @ 5/1 with Bet365 Bletchley Castle 0.75pts e/w @ 13/2 with Bet365 Llancillo Lord 0.5pts e/w @ 11/1 with Betfair 6.50 Casey Jem - Only had 4 starts and fell on the first of them back in December. He then won to points before winning a Cork Maiden Hunter Chase last month. He was very impressive that day and the 2nd has won a Hunter Chase since so the form looks solid enough. He still looked green on the run in as well so every chance there should be more to come. Regular readers will know I have rated the UK Hunter Chasers higher than the Irish this season, but that was at the top level and I think he has a big chance he. Changeofluck - Likes this meeting as been 3rd in the Restricted race 2 years ago and then was 3rd in this last year. I didn't think he was given the best of rides at Cheltenham as he was up with a strong pace and went very wide. If held up here it wouldn't be a huge shock if he hit the frame again, but he would be a surprise winner. Chase Me - Was well beaten at Warwick last week and hard to see how he can win this based on that effort. Law Of Gold - The last time he was beaten was by General Arrow so if that one wins the first then it will boost his form. He won his next 3 although the last one earlier this month was a match. Others have achieved more and I'm not sure he can improve enough to land this. Pink Eyed Pedro - Pulled up in this last year, but he did lead briefly fairly late on before his stamina gave out in the ground. Still not sure how he didn't win a handicap last year off 93 especially after he was impressive in winning the Dunraven Bowl last time. It certainly helped that the 2nd didn't jump well, but even so it looked a personal best. If he stays, and if they haven't over watered he might well do, then he has claims. Winged Leader - Got some decent placed form in Ireland this season including his 2nd to Rewritetherules (who was entered for this) at Down Royal last time. Last year's Stratford Foxhunter winner Chosen Dream was back in 3rd so that is decent form. He looks capable of running well to me. In Arrears - Won her 2 Hunter Chases by 22L and 23L, but she didn't really enjoy the quick ground at Exeter last time and they were both weak races. She was well beaten at Ascot and if they haven't over watered then it is hard to see her being good enough to land this. Kalabaloo - Took her form to a new level when beating Theatre Territory at Cheltenham last time and was impressive in doing so. The problem is Theatre Territory found nothing for pressure so there is a slight question mark about how much she did achieve, but she has an obvious chance. Summary - A surprisingly small field for this championship heat. For me Kalabaloo, Pink Eyed Pedro and the two Irish runners are the ones to concentrate on. I was really taken with the way Casey Jem won last time and I am just siding with him with a saver on Kalabaloo. Casey Jem 2pts @ 5/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power Kalabaloo 1pt @ 7/4 with Bet365 7.20 Seefood - Made a winning debut for the yard at Leicester in February and although it wasn't a strong renewal of that race it was still a good win. He was still traveling well within himself when unseating at Bechers at Aintree and then he had a very easy win at Easingwold. Looks to have a leading chance. Virak - Was put in his place by Hazel Hill and Caryto Des Bosses at Cheltenham last time, but prior to that was 5/5 in points and Hunter Chases this season. Did well to win at Ascot after making a really bad mistake and beat a solid yardstick in Queen Olivia. Thought he did well at Ludlow to beat Now Ben even for allowing for the fact that one bled. Has an obvious chance in this. Big Casino - Did win on his first start for over a year in April when beating Garde Ville but that was over 3m4f and this drop in trip isn't going to help and would be a surprise if good enough. Brackloon High - Doesn't always put it all in and likely to find a few too good here. Cloudy Joker - Went missing for 3 years before returning earlier this month when finishing 2nd. He won a couple of weeks ago, but he only beat Fair Exchange that day and that gives him a bit to find with the best of these. Kriss William - No chance. Meldrum Lad - Has looked really good in 3 points this year and has clocked some quick times. Was capable when he ran under rules in the past. Beat Buck Dancing a head last time and given how good he has been in points this season that is a really good effort. Gives the trainer a very strong hand along with Seefood. Patricktom Boru - Run in this race for the last years and has managed 4th, 2nd and a well beaten 3rd last year. No doubt he will go well again, but its hard to see him winning it. Ar Fheabhas Ar Fad - No chance. Summary - Looks a 3 horse race to me with Virak, Seefood and Meldrum Lad the 3 to concentrate on. I'm going to side with Seefood who comes here fresh whereas Virak has been on the go since December and had a hard race at Cheltenham. Seefood was one of my bets at Aintree and he was unlucky to depart when he did. Justin Landy has a strong hand and Meldrum Lad is worth a saver at the price. Seefood 2 pts @ 7/4 with Bet365 and most others Meldrum Lad 0.5pt @ 7/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power 7.50 Asockastar - Did me a huge turn for us at Fakenham last time when winning as the outsider of 3 and it was a dominant performance. Was a good 2nd in this last year, but it was a strange race on over watered ground and as much as I can see him running well I think they should have run him in the handicap on the card. Ballyrath - Has won 3 times in points this season, but this is a tough race to make his Hunter Chase debut n and would be a surprise winner. Caryto Des Brosses - I've not exactly hidden my thoughts on how good I think this horse is and as much as Hazel Hill didn't run to the same level he did when winning the Foxhunter, it was still a huge effort to run him so close. He looked very good when winning the Restricted race on this card last year and there should be more to come. The one concern is that he had a hard race at Cheltenham, but it was only his 3rd run of the season and he's had nearly a month to get over it. As I said in my review of Cheltenham at this stage he is my idea of the 2020 Cheltenham Foxhunter winner and he can take the Stratford one first. Chosen Dream - Won this race last year at huge odds although the trainer apparently fancied him! He didn't come into the race in great form and he hasn't exactly done an awful lot this season either. I'm always wary of horses who are proven here, but at the same time I struggle to see him winning this for a 2nd time. For 'N' Against - Ran much better than I thought he would at Fontwell, but that is a long way below what will be needed to win this. Garde Ville - Won the John Corbett last year, but surely can't land this given the form he has been in so far this season and he's had a lot of racing in the past month. Sambremont - The 2nd Irish challenger, but he's only won once this season and he certainly isn't running like the 134 horse that he is currently rated under rules. Wonderful Charm - Been 3rd in this race the last two years, both were good efforts as he found himself outpaced at a crucial stage in 2017 before he stayed on well late and then was a 9L 3rd on the over watered ground he wouldn't have enjoyed last year. Given he loves fast ground its amazing he's only got to run twice and one of those was on soft ground at Aintree which he hated. Showed he still had lots of class at Doncaster though. My concern is he doesn't handle the track which is going to hinder him, but if they haven't over watered then this is certainly a weaker race than 2017. Summary - Top Wood and Caid Du Berlais were both entered and their absence means this isn't really a renewal which has much depth to it. I would be amazed if Caryto Des Brosses or Wonderful Charm doesn't win and firm preference is for the former who I think can go onto even better things next season. Asockastar is the pick of the rest. Caryto Des Brosses 4pts @ 6/4 with Bet365 Wonderful Charm 1pt @ 11/4 with Bet365 8.20 Risk A Fine - The weather did for him at Cheltenham and I am sure in hindsight connections wish they hadn't run him in the end. In my review of that meeting I mentioned this race looked the obvious target and it is no surprise he has turned up here. His course and distance win in April was one of the performances of the season for me and he should be able to dominate this small field. Road To Riches - A superb 3rd in the Aintree Foxhunter, but the rest of his form hasn't been great. The Carlisle 2nd wasn't strong form and neither was his win their 10 days later. After Aintree he pulled up at Fairyhouse and was a well beaten 2nd to Southfield Vic last time. As much as I am not a Maxwell basher the jockey change is obviously a plus, but he just looks to have lost his form and I don't think he will be able to catch Risk A Fine. Sam Cavallaro - Won the Cheltenham 2miler for the 3rd time last time and he looked in decent heart. To be fair to him as well he has beaten two horses who have gone on to win Hunter Chases on his last two starts. Stratford doesn't suit him as well, but he was only just beaten in this race off 104 in 2017. He was then a well beaten 4th last year off 109. He is off 115 now and although he gets a lot of weight from Risk A Fine I don't think it's enough. Crazy Jack - A very well backed and a very well handicapped winner of this race last year, but he is 2lbs higher and just hasn't been in as good form this time around. No doubt this has been the target again, but I think he will do well to win it for a 2nd year. Numbercruncher - Bolted up in the 2m race on this card in 2017 and although he won a point last time he hasn't been in great form this season. That win was over 3m, but this trip stretches him in my view. Summary - Firmly in the Risk A Fine camp here and I think we can get back our losses from him at Cheltenham. I know he has a big weight, but its fully deserved for me and we know he is very good over this course and distance. I think he will make all and they wont see which way he goes. Risk A Fine 4pts @ 2/1 with Bet365 8.50 Bullsempire - Has two squiggle's next to his name in the pointing formbook and an unlikely winner. Classic Ruler - Won his bumper by 15L but the time was 12 seconds slower than the other division. Didn't look the strongest heat either, but the fact he is proven in a bumper counts for something in this race. Daranova - Has been really well backed the last twice and does seem like 2m might suit him. I suspect he won't be good enough, but he has a shrewd trainer so a bold showing wouldn't be a massive surprise. Neil The Legend - Well beaten in 2 bumpers before winning over 2m4f. Jumped poorly next time and probably didn't stay over 3m. Rivercourt Guy - Clearly wasn't staying the trip and then suddenly bolted up over 3m at Garthorpe earlier in the month. Could also be the case that the penny has finally dropped and could well go close for Caryto Des Brosses connections. The Garrison - Was stuffed by Earth Leader 2 starts back which was his first completion and then was beaten 5L last time. Would be a surprise if he was good enough. Eqqus Gold - Well backed at Barbury but winning time was 8 seconds slower than race Mount Nelly was a close 3rd in. Form doesn't look at special, but again has at least proven himself in a bumper. Courtly Love - I wonder if connections tried asking to see if they could use her real name. Anyway she looks to have plenty to find on her form so far although maybe she has a hole in her given she has the first time tongue-tie. Love Around - Is quirky and her maiden win came when she was left alone. Had 12 starts and looks exposed. Morning Smiles - Finished upsides Courtly Love last time and looks to have plenty to find. Mount Nelly - Run in both Exeter and Aintree's version of these bumpers finishing 4th and 6th. Ran well enough and connections go for the hood. My initial thinking was to oppose her, but having gone through the form this looks pretty weak and she wouldn't be out of this. Feodora - The official pointing website doesn't put the whole video up of races so I haven't seen the whole event, but from what I did see you would do well to see a worst round of jumping. She was really bad jumping out to her right and being really slow over her fences. Even then she still nearly won although it was a 3 runner race. She clearly has an engine though and did go off 1/3. Connections know the time of day with their youngsters and with no fences in the way she should be capable of showing much better. Petit Petard - Was 13th of 14 when miles behind Equus Gold on debut at Barbury and then got herself miles behind a month later before flying home to win cosily in the end. She would have been a huge price in running she was that far behind. The concern is she does that again here and she might not get away with it round this tight track, but a good jockey has been booked and the penny clearly finally dropped last time. Summary - This looks a pretty weak heat and the first up bumper winners have to be respected even though they didn't do great times and Mount Nelly has to have a chance as well. I am though going to take a chance on 3. Feodora is going to be the main pick as she clearly has an engine, comes from a good yard and will do better with no fences in the way. I know Petit Petard has a lot of ground to make up with Equus Gold on Barbury running, but I was taken with the win the next time and she should continue to improve. I know backing a horse who pulled up on his first 4 starts and then finished a well beaten 2nd means he could be exposed, but based on his win on the 6th start Rivercourt Guy looks like he could just be a slow learner. He also looked like 2m might suit and his trainer wouldn't run him for the sake of it. At a big price I will have a small play. Feodora 1pt @ 12/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power Petit Petard 0.75pts @ 9/1 with William Hill and most others Rivercourt 0.5pts @ 16/1 with Bet365
  17. So both favourites won and both races made for some interesting viewing. Let's face it Southfield Vic should not have won. Having set a decent gallop with Im All Set didn't help matters for him and if a genuine horse had have been the one closing at the finish he would have lost. However he was facing Herbert Park, a horse who is far from genuine. He came there looking every bit the winner and he just did not want to go past. He has had blinkers on the past when with David Pipe, but it is surely worth trying him in some sort of headgear again after this effort which was a shocker. Apparently the winner might go back handicapping over the summer, but it is hard to think he is well handicapped off 132. Having said that he in the right race he might be able to win one. The one final thing to note was the bizarre move for the 2nd about 10 minutes before the off where in the space of 3 minutes on Bet365 he went from 7/2 to 5/6. That move happened everywhere including Betfair and it seems that it was a bot error which caused the collapse. He ended up opening evens on track before drifting to 2/1, but it didn't help the forecast return if you didn't get a price earlier with Bet365. Carter McKay also had a battle for the lead in Munsaab, but he was able to out class his rivals. To be fair by time he jumped the last he only had to see off Munsaab as everything else had pulled up or in the case of Play The Ace miles behind. It wasn't a perfect jumping round, but he never looked like falling he was just a bit slow over a couple. He was tired at the end, but that wasn't a surprise in the conditions and although in a better race over this sort of trip he might get outstayed, he will be better than a fair few over this trip. If he goes to Sweden it will be interesting to see how he gets on. Munsaab will surely go back to James Moffett and will be running here later in the summer. It was a decent effort from him as he jumped well and just bumped into a horse he is nowhere near as good as. Hopefully the handicapper won't put him up for the run. I still think Play The Ace is worth keeping an eye on if he goes handicapping over the summer. I don't think it was a bad effort as he got close at one stage until his stamina emptied. He should go down a few more pounds after this again. Greensalt was disappointing for me as he was beaten before the trip played a part. Finally what to say about Man Of Steel. The signs had been there this season that he was quirkier than ever and boy did he show that here. Backers knew their fate early on as he was very slow at plenty of the fences and even a return to Cartmel didn't perk him up. I wonder if they might just stick to pointing with him next season as clearly he still does have going days, but he didn't enjoy the larger fences here.
  18. So do I, but its all in his head as to if he wants to try or not and this season he has had 3 moody efforts compared to 2 wins. I would say though that the 4/1 is getting towards being value, but he does look to be worse on the moody front this season compared to previous seasons. For me last night it certainly wasn't factored into the price.
  19. The Newton Abbot race revolves around if Southfield Vic is over the 2 races in 2 days a couple of weeks ago. If he is then he should be winning this. He wasn't at his best at Fontwell the day after his course and distance win, but in the end he did win very easily. I'm All Set was nearly 80L behind him here the last time so he surely won't turn that around. Mountain Cliche should be outclassed as well. Persian Snow looks a crazy price at single figures given his last 4 runs. He was poor in 3 hunter chases last season and then last month was well beaten in a 4 runner point before unseating. That leaves Herbert Park as the only possible danger to Southfield Vic. As we know he is a very hard ride and needs delivering as late as possible. He should have won at Exeter last month, but threw it away. He then beat Saffron Wells a month ago in a point. That form means he has a bit to find and he really needs the favourite to under perform if he is going to win. To me it looks a fairly solid forecast play as if they both get round it will be a big shock if they weren't 1st and 2nd. Southfield Vic to beat Herbert Park 2pts f/c The Cartmel race is a really intriguing one given the runners either have mental issues, stamina doubts or just aren't good enough. I think it is a case of if Carter McKay stays then he will be good enough to win. He didn't beat anything of note at Sedgefield, but he did it very easily in time that meant he recorded the 2nd highest Topspeed figure on the card. Given he won by 27L it suggests he still has plenty of class. He went to the sales last week, but didn't meet the reserve so is back with Chris Pimlott. He was placed in a Grade 1 hurdle last February over 2m6f in soft ground which is as far as he has gone before so stamina is a question mark, but I know connections think he will stay. Jumping fences was an issue in Ireland, but he jumped well on the whole at Sedgefield and he had back issues in Ireland which are now sorted out. There doesn't look to be a great deal of pace in the race so it might not be as much as a stamina test as it could be and given most of the others have stamina doubts as well there is every chance his class will see him home. Greensalt needed every yard of the 2m6f trip at Kelso to win, but it wasn't a great race and I've never really thought he needs this far given his best run was a 3rd in the Aintree Foxhunters'. He handles soft ground at least so that will give him a chance and there is every chance he could go close. Play The Ace has no chance of staying in my view and he stopped very quickly at Fontwell 2 weeks ago. I think this is likely to be another run to try and get his handicap mark down. Streets Of Milan is the favourites stablemate, but he shouldn't be good enough. Sposalizio was well beaten in this last year and basically had a walkover on Sunday to win his 12th point. He has been found wanting in Hunter Chases since he won the Monday race here a few years ago. Munsaab is a course and distance winner, but looked regressive last year and has had nearly a year off. That leaves us with Man Of Steel the horse who has won this for the last 3 years. He however is the horse who has the mental issues as he has proven this season. He has refused twice when well beaten and pulled up on one other start. He has also won twice although they weren't the strongest heats. Cartmel is known for its course specialists though and clearly he loves running round this unique venue. In my view though he would need a personal best if Carter McKay runs his race. He is at least certain to stay and handles any ground so if he fancies it he won't be far away. If he stays then Carter McKay should have too much class for them. Man Of Steel is the obvious danger given his course record, but at the same time it wouldn't surprise me if one day he decides he doesn't fancy doing it here either. On balance Greensalt has the better form of the two so he might be the more likely to finish 2nd. If Carter McKay does win this then the Swedish Champion Hurdle is to be his next start. Carter McKay to beat Greensalt 1.5pts f/c Carter McKay to beat Man Of Steel 0.5pts f/c Southfield Vic & Carter McKay 1pt double 1.56/1 with William Hill
  20. Got one thing right that Teeton Power would go off favourite, but she was a bit disappointing and sums up how things are going at the moment. She made a bad mistake and after that was always struggling to get involved. Not sure I'd put the run down to her not leading as they went a stupid pace up in front. For me the best ride in the race won the race as Gina held Dee Star up away from the hot pace and then just quietly crept into the race before taking it up around 3 out. I'm not sure if this means I need to upgrade the Heart form or if the race just fell into the winners lap here. It probably is a bit of both. Jodie made her move on Fateh at an earlier stage and it seemed a bit of an odd move to suddenly want to be up on the strong pace, but the horse has run well to be 2nd. Absainte sat just off the pace, but she never really looked like winning. Maybe the Cheltenham effort had left a mark. Fair Exchange was the one who mainly set the strong gallop and he barely got over the last. Stage One never got involved and was last of the 7 to finish. Mahlers Star ended up drifting back out on track to 14/1 and was another who was mainly on the speed. He unseated at 4 out, but was already being pushed along. Hard to know where he would have finished, but I'm guessing probably 4th. Not a great start to the week, but we have Newton Abbot and Cartmel to look forward to ahead of Stratford on Friday, which looks like being a cracking card judged on the entries.
  21. That nibble I mentioned about Mahlers Star has turned into a quite significant gamble and must be the biggest move of the whole season. Now no bigger than 6/1 which is quite staggering and it seems that people want to take any price about it. I won't put it in the official figures, but I have had a small cover bet on it as I find it hard to ignore the money for it.
  22. I thought Mr Mercurial was going to win as they jumped the last, but his challenge flattened out in the final 1/2f and as I feared might happen his stamina ran out. I thought he might be classy enough to overcome that, but he wasn't quite. Racing Pulse has clearly thrived since going to the Alexander yard. Nine Altars ran a hell of a race to finish 2nd and had clearly come on a lot for this seasonal debut. Shimla Dawn made the running as expected and ran another good race in this contest to finish 4th, but he doesn't stay this far. Cave Hunter was backed again for some reason, but he ended up pulling up again and is nowhere near the horse he was.
  23. So we are into the final week of Hunter Chases for 2019 and it is the first of two at Cartmel on Bank Holiday Monday. Absainte heads the betting as I type and she looked quite progressive earlier in the season winning her first 3 races on the bounce and ran some good times in the process. Bit disappointing at Witton Castle on Easter Sunday when losing at 4/7, but she was dismounted after the finish so I suspect something didn't feel quite right. I thought she ran a good race at Cheltenham until getting tired late on behind Kalabaloo and Theatre Territory and she has decent claims in this. Stage One has won twice at Peper Harow which isn't that dissimilar to Cartmel which is probably why Alan Hill is sending him here for this. He hasn't beaten a great deal though in his two wins this season and was well beaten the two times before his last win. This shorter trip will probably suit better than 3m as well although there is plenty of competition for the lead which won't help. Gina is back on Dee Star having won on him two starts back at Bitterley when losing his maiden tag. He didn't quite see it out in the Heart Of All England at Hexham earlier in the month and that suggests this trip will suit better. I just don't think that form is overly strong though and I think he will have to improve again to take this. Fair Exchange ran really well in this race last year to finish 2nd and was also 2nd in a novice chase here. His point form this season though has been very in and out and he has had 8 runs since he made his seasonal debut in March at Didmarton. The win on Easter Saturday at Sandon was a fair effort, but he's been beaten 3 times since then. Clearly this trip and track suit and his trainer certainly knows the time of day, but another who likes to make the running. Dressedforsuccess will be much bigger than the current 7/1 come race time and it was a poor maiden he won last month. Fateh was 3rd in the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow albeit along way behind the front two. This shorter trip will probably suit better though and he will likely sit in behind the fast pace. Only 6yo so certainly scope for the improvement which he does need to find. It doesn't make a great deal of sense why Al Le Gone is a much bigger price than Dee Star given there was only 2L between them at Hexham. He ran like this trip would suit better, but he is still a maiden and his prominent placing that night is another reason why I don't think the form is that strong. Mickey Miller has already been beaten by Absainte this season. Mahlers Star has been nibbled already at really big prices and I guess they are going on his placed form in 2017. He certainly looks like he doesn't stay 3m when he has pulled up in both points, one in 2018 and one a month ago. I guess he could come on for the run, but this is likely to be a strong test at the trip and he might not see it out. Bedford Forrest was 2nd in this in 2017, but is hard to fancy otherwise and Baile Liam looks to have no chance. That just leaves the main selection Teeton Power. Now she does like to make the running and the one concern is the amount of front runners in the race, but I think she is good enough to be able to see off the other pace rivals and as Tabitha showed yet again at Kelso on Sunday she is good from the front. For me she has the best form in the race. Last season she was a good 2nd at Cheltenham to Popaway when simply not lasting home and it was the same in the John Corbet Cup. This season she slipped up on her return and then just held on from Sand Blast, who granted didn't really boost the form on Tuesday, but that was basically her first run of the season. She pulled up last time, but was dismounted and I suspect not all was right with the horse. Trip and track should be ideal for her and if she can see off the other front runners I think she can make all. In my view she should be the favourite. So Teeton Power is the main bet. Behind her it's quite tight as Fair Exchange and Fateh could be capable of running big races and although I am not huge on Stage One's form he should enjoy the track. I will save on Absainte though who doesn't look like she has to lead and has looked progressive this season. Teeton Power 2pts @ 7/1 with William Hill and BetVictor Absainte 1pt @ 7/2 with William Hill and BetVictor
  24. Great to see a big field at Kelso for a decent pot and a good new initiative for Northern pointers/Hunter Chasers to aim for. It is going to be quite a short preview though because Mr Mercurial should be winning this. He looks different class to the rest and beat one of his main rivals here Black River by 15L at Perth earlier in the month. The only slight concern I have is the trip because he is better over shorter, but he should be capable of out classing the opposition here and thus I expect him to get away with it. As for the rest it is hard to see how Black River can reverse form with him. Racing Pulse has won both starts for Nick Alexander although the form is nothing special and he was getting well beaten in Irish points earlier in the season. Cave Hunter has won a match since he pulled up at Hexham, but that effort was more proof that he isn't the horse he was. Shimla Dawn ran pretty well to be 3rd in this last year, but he doesn't want to stay this far and in a big field he probably won't get the easy lead he needs either. Always Tipsy ran well enough in a handicap hurdle at Perth last month, but that was off a mark of 103 and Mr Mercurial is probably around a 30lbs better horse than that. Streets Of Milan won the Heart Of All England at Hexham last year, but has only won one point this term although the 4m trip was too far for him last time. Of the rest only Wayupinthesky is worth mentioning as he has been capable enough in the past and although not as good as he was, he might well outrun his odds. Basically though as long as he sees the trip out Mr Mercurial should outclass them here and he really ought to be an odds on shot. Mr Mercurial 2.5pts @ 11/10 with William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfred Sausalito Sunrise was very disappointing at Worcester on Friday. He got a bump from Silvergrove very early on and after that he just never went a yard after that. Not saying that the bump was the cause for him spitting the dummy out, but he wasn't a happy horse as he ended up finishing last. Diamond King won it very easily, but the race did fall into his lap somewhat and he didn't have to improve on his pointing runs in the end to win. Silvergrove's saddle apparently slipped although it was hard to tell when and it made no difference in my view. Kit Barry never looked like adding to his Fontwell win.
  25. Those who got a big price on Drumhart will be annoyed he has come out. It seems Silvergrove is the one that has come for money, but it is hard to see how he can be backed in any confidence based on his what he has done this season. That has meant though that Sausalito Sunrise has drifted to 5/4 and I think that is a price we can back him at. Usually you wouldn't want to see a horse from the yard drift, but from memory I think he drifted at Hexham and that was because of the support for the 2nd and Hunter Chases markets can be different from other race markets so I don't think the usual rules apply here. Therefore I am happy to get involved despite the drift. Sausalito Sunrise 2pts @ 5/4 with William Hill and most others