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*** Ascot Festival Competition: Well done to 1st. RUG, 2nd. Soi Bongkot & 3rd. Jediknight ***
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Everything posted by beaker1

  1. 12:10 - Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Listed Race) There is clear favourite for this mares’ novices’ hurdle as Mrs Hyde sets a good standard for the others to aim at in the Listed contest. Trained by Brian Ellison, she was a useful performer in bumpers as she finished runner-up at Listed level and has taken very well to hurdling this year. The seven-year-old has won four of her five races since being sent over hurdles in July, recording back-to-back Listed wins last month. The first of those victories came on good ground at Kempton where she got the better o
  2. 12:45 - The Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Chase (Novices' Limited Handicap Chase) (For the Fulke Walwyn Trophy) This looks to be a competitive edition of the race with the two at the top of the market looking to maintain their 100 per cent record over fences. Eritage made it a winning start over the bigger obstacles at Ludlow last month for Paul Nicholls, although he enjoyed some fortune to do so. Having had wind surgery during the summer, the six-year-old was well-backed ahead of his chase debut and he raced keenly through the race before looking held in second behind the Nigel Tw
  3. 4:05 – High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) The best bumper of the year so far and there are some serious horses in this, including the current favourite Weseekhimhere, who has already won two bumpers for Gordon Elliott over in Ireland. He was impressive in September, winning by nine lengths on soft ground, but the form of his wins is up for debate, with the third from his latter win being beaten miles on hurdling debut (poor jumping a factor there) and the second from his first win beaten almost as far in a Mares’ bumper in October. He coul
  4. 3:00 - Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Perhaps the strongest block of trends associated with this race point towards age and whilst no one age group has dominated, those aged between four and six have proved best to follow. The seven-year-old Khyber Kim is the only winner since 1991 to sit outside the desired bracket which doesn’t bode well for the cohort of older horses in this year’s line-up, the seven-year-olds Main Fact, Harambe, Oakley, Strong Glance, Benny’s Bridge and The Shunter, while those aged eight or older – Ballyandy, Tudor City, Hunters Call & Countister -
  5. 2:25 – The Shloer Chase (Grade 2) The Shloer Chase doesn’t usually attract many runners and a field of 6 go to post over the minimum distance for chasers but it looks a cracker on paper. With such great form on offer, it is very easy to make a case for every single horse in this race. Firstly, let’s mention the two who are yet to fire at Cheltenham to date and they are Riders Onthe Storm and the outsider Forest Bihan. The former has really come to life since entering the Twiston-Davies stable, completing a strong hat-trick last season. His most notable win came in the four-runner f
  6. 1:50 – Planteur At Chapel Stud Handicap Chase (Grade 3) A seriously high-class handicap chase in prospect over the extended three miles and three furlongs and the deteriorating ground conditions mixed with a likely truly run race means that we’ll need a horse that not only stays but has the class required to beat other smart stayers. Cloth Cap was a decent third behind Frodon in a similar event here last month, but needs better ground to show his best, so he’ll be of more interest once he’s back on that more solid surface, while it’s a similar story for Crievehill and Brave Eagle, e
  7. 1:15 – mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase. An interesting Novices’ chase over 3m½f that could see many of these lightly raced horses improve. With the news coming through that Robbie Power will now be riding in England for the Colin Tizzard stable full time now, he looks to be in with a big chance with The Big Breakaway. After racking up an impressive double over hurdles, the five-year-old has quickly been switched to chasing, and is tried over the 3m trip. His fourth in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle adds to his locker of form. He is very short in the market despite it being his c
  8. The first ‘big handicap’ of the season and one with a few very strong trends associated with it, starting with a nod to experience. All of the last 12 winners of this race have had at least two runs at this venue and all but one of those have had at least five chase runs. That’s a massive black mark in the column of ante-post favourite, Saint Sonnet, who would not only become the first five-year-old to win the race since Caid Du Berlais in 2014, but has only had three runs over fences in his life so far. Combine that with the abysmal record of favourites over the past decade (0/10) and this we
  9. 3:55 ?- Karndean Designflooring Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. The final race of the day is the traditional National Hunt Flat Race. One horse who immediately takes the eye is COLOURS OF MY LIFE for Alan King. At 20/1 he seems ridiculously big looking at his last run and his trainers record in the race. Alan King has won it twice in recent years and in 2018 won it with Glancing Queen for the exact same owners as COLOURS OF MY LIFE. His debut won saw him finish 5th but looking back he is much better than that. He looked to have the race sown up when travelling into first,
  10. 2:50 Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Sometimes in these big handicaps it can pay to look at the trends. One of the most striking ones in this race is the success of horses who have carried less than 11 Stone. In the last 10 years only one horse has won this race when carrying more than that weight. That horse was First Assignment for Ian Williams. He bolted up that day and was clearly much better than his handicap mark suggested, so it may very well pay to look at horses lower in the handicap who are also quite unexposed. It seems only right to start with one of the three
  11. 2:15 – Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) The first ‘big handicap’ of the season and one with a few very strong trends associated with it, starting with a nod to experience. All of the last 12 winners of this race have had at least two runs at this venue and all but one of those have had at least five chase runs. That’s a massive black mark in the column of ante-post favourite, Saint Sonnet, who would not only become the first five-year-old to win the race since Caid Du Berlais in 2014, but has only had three runs over fences in his life so far. Combine that with the abysmal r
  12. 1:40 - From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) One of the most exciting races of the whole weekend takes place over two miles and involves some of the best up and coming Novice Chasers. A field of 6 go to post and there is a fantastic depth of talent from some of the top yards. Put The Kettle On won this race last year and went on to win the ultimate prize when clinching the Arkle at Cheltenham back in March. It seems only fitting that we therefore start with the Henry De Bromhead trained runner in this race, ZARKAREVA. After moving from A Boisbrunet in the summer of last
  13. 1:05 – South West Syndicate Handicap Chase. A Class 3 3m1f handicap chase that looks wide-open with horses rating from as low as 111 and as high as 141. Bermeo arrives right down the bottom of the handicap off a measly mark of 111 and after scoring impressively over course and distance last time out, you can see why he is strong in the market. He is 7lb higher for that win however and faces much tougher rivals here but Angus Cheleda does take 7lb off his back. Other runners who get a fair bit of weight from the rest of the field include What A Moment and Young Turk, but both have bee
  14. 12:30 - JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. This race has thrown up some serious triumph hurdle contenders in recent years and it looks like this year’s renewal will be no different. A whole host of trainers had won this race over the years, with Allmankind taking home the spoils for Dan and Harry Skelton by a commanding 2 ½ lengths. Paul Nicholls also has won this race in recent years after not having a winner in the race since 2012. Hot favourite Hell Red is owned by the same owners as 2018 winner Quel Destin and has leading claims. He fairly bolted up on his first start at Chepstow, des
  15. 4:05 – Valda Energy Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. This is an interesting novices’ handicap hurdle and one with a plethora of possible winners, but looking at the history of this race in recent years, it seems we’re looking for an improving four or five-year-old with the potential to rate much higher. Edgardo Sol, Ifandbutwhynot, Quick Jack, Chesterfield, A Hare Breath and Magic Dancer are all on this race’s roll of honour, so whichever horse wins this is likely to go on to better things. The rating band to focus on is between 113 and 123 as eight of the last ten winners have been r
  16. 3:35 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) This looks to be an intriguing Novice contest on paper, but the market suggests that only two horses are in with a chance over the 2m5f trip. With a rating of 103 on the flat, you would have expected to see a bit more out of The Grand Visir over hurdles so far. The six-year-old has been poor in all three of his starts over obstacles so far, and despite being well supported in two of them, he is yet to produce anything of real note. Even though he’s surely better than his official mark of 115, he’s probably best watched for the time being,
  17. 1:50 – Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase Only nine line up here for this valuable handicap chase, but it’s certainly a case of quality over quantity with six of the field rated over 140. It’s difficult to envisage the bottom two, Azzuri and Full Glass, playing a hand here due to some pretty poor recent form for the former and the latter having his first run for Aytach Sadik after coming back over from France. Both have cases in terms of being well-handicapped in theory, but this looks a very hard assignment for a sudden return to form. Born Survivor is another who could w
  18. 1:15 - Markel Insurance Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Kicking off the exciting Cheltenham Open Meeting is a Class 3 handicap hurdle with a full 18-runner field, run over 2m5f and for horses rated 0-125 - it certianly looks tricky on paper. Where to start in such a big field? Right as the top of the market is Steal A March, from the mighty Henderson stable and he has only had the 3 runs over hurdles so far, including one win last season. His seasonal debut wasn’t terrible , so he could be dangerous off the same mark off 115, with Jack Tudor in the saddle this time r
  19. 3.00 Gowran Park – Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase – Thursday 25th January This valuable handicap chase has been won in recent years by the likes of Djakadam, On His Own and Champagne West. The strongest trend concerns a horse’s official handicap rating and the ceiling appears to be set at 145, with only one winner in the last ten years having won off a higher mark. The horse in question was the most recent winner Champagne West, who won off 154 twelve months ago, but even so, it seems best to focus on those below this mark. A cause for concern for supporters of Champagne
  20. MY Ante post Diary Part 4Champion HurdleSaturday’s International Hurdle provided one of the most thrilling finishes of the season, with the veteran My Tent Or Yours taking advantage of his 6lb weight allowance to get the better of The New One and the young pretender Melon. There was nothing between the trio at the final flight but it might have been the weight advantage that told in the closing stages with the ten-year-old pulling clear on the run to the line to win by one and a quarter lengths. What it told us with regards to the Champion Hurdle is less clear, although having finished second
  21. MY Ante post Diary Part 3 Champion Hurdle Not much to report in this sphere this week other than that we might get some Champion Hurdle clues in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday. The race was re-opened on Monday due to insufficient entries but following the entry deadline on Tuesday, there were 7 entries. I would imagine that The New One will be popular in the market as he bids to win the race for a fourth time but in terms of the Champion Hurdle, it will be interesting to see how Melon gets on should he line-up. This will be a good test of Willie Mulli
  22. RED RIVER bids to follow up his Wincanton success with victory in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown (2.30).I have had a bit of luck in this race in the past, with Messire Des Obeaux having landed the prize twelve months ago and my fancy in this year’s race looks worth his place in the field. Kim Bailey’s four-year-old ran out a ready winner on his debut just over a month ago and although the form hasn’t worked out as well as I would have liked, he was much the best on the day, winning with thirteen lengths to spare. He was doing his best work in the closing stages of the race at
  23. MY Ante post Diary Part 2 Champion Hurdle Following Faugheen’s successful return to action a couple of weeks ago, all eyes were on Buveur D’Air at Newcastle on Saturday and Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old didn’t disappoint as he ran out a ready winner of the Fighting Fifth. In truth, it wasn’t a vintage renewal of the race but he travelled smoothly throughout under Barry Geraghty before stretching clear of his rivals in the closing stages. For all that the opposition may not have been up to much, you have to be impressed with the performance of the winner, particularly ho
  24. 12.20 Newbury – Ladbrokes “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle Newbury’s Winter Carnival gets underway with this 2m maiden hurdle whose recent roll of honour includes the likes of Buveur D’Air and Puffin Billy. This year’s renewal looks an interesting one and in terms of hurdling form, the one to beat looks to be Lostintranslation who was second over course and distance three weeks ago. Colin Tizzard’s five-year-old improved on the form of his return to action at Chepstow to pull well clear of the third horse but he was no match for Nicky Henderson’s Claimantakinforgan on the d
  25. Hello and welcome to my Ante-post Diary which will be updated each Tuesday from now until the start of the Cheltenham Festival in March. I will run through the general format from week to week. In each update I plan to go through the four Championship races (Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, World Hurdle & Cheltenham Gold Cup) initially before discussing the novice divisions over hurdles and fences. Obviously as we get closer to the Festival the handicaps will also be discussed in depth as well as some of the other shoulder races and bets will be recommended where necessary Cha
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