Cheltenham 2016 Day One, Part Two


A relatively new race where the only real trends to emerge have been that if Quevega turned up, she won and you may as well just hand the winners medal and cheque to Willie Mullins!!

Willie once more has the favourite and outstanding candidate in the shape of VROUM VROUM MAG and, whilst she is playable at even money, I do like a bit more meat on my punting bones. One thing I have noticed is that despite Quevega winning at short odds, those in behind her in 2nd or 3rd have tended to be at very decent prices – anywhere from 13/2 up to 66/1.  For that reason, I’ve had a look at the w/o VVM market and come up with…


POLLY PEACHUM @ 3/1 (15/2 outright)

THE GOVANESS @ 6/1 (16/1)

FLUTE BOWL @ 14/1  e/w (66/1)


4.50: NATIONAL HUNT CHASE (amateur riders)

Not a race I want to be heavily invested in to be honest but we are looking for something that has had a top 5 finish last time out (preferably top 4 in one of last 2 starts), is aged 7 or 8 and placed in a 3m+ chase previously.  At least 3 runs over fences and a break of 17 days or more also seems ideal.


Given all that I’ve found two to get involved with but only for minor money…





Another tricky one to finish the first day, made all the more so by the rejigging of the conditions and the addition later in the week of another chase run over much the same distance.  10 from 11 winners were top 3 lto, 9/11 aged 6 or 7, 7/11 had a distance (2m4f) win to their name.

Undeterred I’ve found three at big enough prices that seem to fit the bill. I’ve taken slightly shorter odds with betfair sportsbook as they seem to be the only firm going 5 places (4 elsewhere)…

DOMESDAY BOOK @ 25/1 e/w (33/1 elsewhere)

FOURTH ACT @ 28/1 e/w (33/1 elsewhere)

AMORE ALATO @ 20/1 e/w


And that wraps up that little lot for day One. Hope you enjoyed it even if you think I’m stark raving mad and disagree with me on almost every point!! I think there must be some money to come back at some point from a few of those myself though ;-)

Have a great Festival




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Cheltenham 2016 – Day One, Part One…

The day we’ve all been waiting for (well, those of us of a horsey persuasion anyway) has arrived and it’s all very exciting.  A little worrying too if certain rumours are to be believed but more on that in a moment.

I’ve read several trends guides, stats pieces and done some serious studying as usual and come up with the following thoughts on Day One. (Note, I usually only dabble lightly on Days 2 & 3 as I find them very tricky so probably won’t be doing a write up on those!)



A race farmed by the mighty Mullins stable for the last three years and he saddles the firm favourite again in the shape of  MIN.  If you believe everything coming out of Ireland then the punters who took 66/1, 40/1, 33/1 etc since he fell out of his Mum 5 years ago are all onto a good thing.  Contrarian that I am, I don’t believe. At all.  I laid it at 7/4 in the firm belief that bigger would be available on the day (currently 5/2) if I changed my mind. I still may but it’s unlikely. I don’t think Min has beaten much to be honest and it’s all happened on soft ground over in Ireland.  This will be a much stiffer test and I’m really not convinced he’s up to it. Even Rich Ricci, the owner, thinks he’s a ridiculous price and I’d concur.

Going through all those trends and stats (all readily available so I won’t bore you to tears), I want a 5 or 6yo from the top 6 in the betting, having raced within the last 60 days and at least placed in a Graded race.

The one I thought that fit the bill antepost was TOMBSTONE and waded in each way at 16/1 & 14/1.  Now for that rumour I mentioned at the top of the piece. I’ve seen a bit of information that he’s a doubt to line up. Which is a bugger to say the least. Not only would it leave me with quite a large punting deficit to recover but I really thought it stood a cracking chance with the ground coming nicely in his favour. Hopefully the rumour is just that.

Doom and gloom out of the way, I’ve had to go back in and have another look at my (not so) shortlist to see if I can prise a decent sort from there.

Next in the market are the two from the Henderson yard in the shape of Altior & Buveur D’Air.  Of the two I’m definitely in favour of Buveur. He seems to have much more scope for improvement than his stablemate to my eye and is almost twice the price. My one reservation from a win perspective is The Chemist’s record in the race.  Regular placers but no wins from 23 runners is a worrying thing.  I have had a play each way at 15/2 but will probably go into the place only market as well.

SUPASUNDAE has been the subject of some impressive reports in the build up to this and, while I’m struggling to see him win, he is at least priced attractively at 12/1 with paddypower who are the only firm paying 4 places.  Assuming Tombstone doesn’t go, I’ve got my eye on that one.  Another it would be remiss of me not to mention is CHARBEL.  I’ve seen this one crop up in a few places from better judges than I and, again, whilst it doesn’t fit my idea of a likely winner the 22/1 on offer with PP could be generous if those judges are correct.

All of that leaves me with the following…

TOMBSTONE @ 16/1 & 14/1 e/w – antepost.

BUVEUR D’AIR @ 15/2 e/w & 7/4 (place only)

SUPASUNDAE @ 12/1 e/w – if Tombstone doesn’t run.




Not a race for much studying you’ll be pleased to read!!!

Another Mullins hotpot in the shape of Douvan and this time I really can’t argue against him. Of course, there’s no such thing as a dead cert but I do think if this one gets round with no mishaps (there haven’t been any so far in his career!) then he gets round in front.  However, I don’t want to be piling in at 2/5 so I looked for an alternative so I can at least have an interest.

I settled on the next two in the market and favoured SIZING JOHN over Vaniteux in the “without Douvan” market.  As luck would have it I did that some time ago and snaffled some 7/2 – now 15/8 after withdrawals.

SIZING JOHN @ 7/2 – without Douvan. (Now around 15/8)



The first handicap of the meeting and a few strong trends have emerged over the previous runnings.  The last 14 winners have carried less than 11-06, all 17 winners were aged 7-10yo and it’s a poor race for favourites.

Sadly, that weight stat may have scuppered the chances of another antepost fancy of mine, THE YOUNG MASTER.  Having initially been handed just 10-12, he will now have to carry 11-08 after defections. This is offset by the 3 lbs claim of Sam Waley Cohen but may also be another nail in it’s winning coffin given the fact that only one claiming jockey has finished in front from 34 attempts!!  Still, I’m pretty confident of a podium finish for that one and am on at 20/1 & 16/1 on my aforementioned antepost voucher.

I had gone in yesterday on Indian Castle at 33/1 as that one ran well in this last year but is now a non runner. No harm done as I got my money back but I have had to have yet another look.  Jonjo O’Neill has a pretty good record in this but his runner that fits most of the bills is only a 6yo which puts me off a little for win purposes. Still, stats are there to be broken and 12/1 each way (5 place firms) seems a fair enough chance to take about BEG TO DIFFER.

I’ve also had a go at the current favourite, OUT SAM.  I know, I know, I said at the top that favourites don’t do very well but this one does look progressive, the drying ground will suit and the stable seem confident of a big run.

THE YOUNG MASTER @ 20/1 & 16/1 e/w – antepost

BEG TO DIFFER @ 12/1 e/w (5 places)

OUT SAM @ 8/1 e/w (5 places)



Usually one of my highlights of the meeting but this year it has a bit of an “afterthought” feel to it with the withdrawal of antepost favourite Faugheen and subsequent supplementing of Annie Power.  

None of the Chemist’s entries (he runs 5) appeal to me, being either undercooked for a race such as this or just plain not good enough.  I’ve been a fan of The New One for the last two runnings of this (very unlucky 2 years ago) and there has been a bit of money for that this morning.  However, it seems to be “unlucky” a lot and I don’t like that in a horse carrying my money so I’ve overlooked him this time around – I think we can guess what’ll happen now but hey ho.

Now, ANNIE POWER.  Good horse? Undoubtedly. Good at Cheltenham? Maybe. This her ideal race and distance? Very much no!! On the drift early doors but I still can’t and won’t have her at 5/2 in a race against the boys over shorter than ideal.  Not for me unless I go down the placepot route and, even then, I’m dubious.

All of which leaves me with yet another antepost punt and one I’m reluctant to try and get beaten. IDENTITY THIEF was 12/1 (and bigger) some time ago and I took the plunge then. I’ve also had a bit more this morning at 15/2 and am feeling pretty confident that the going conditions will suit him as he attempts to turn the tables on Nicholls Canyon.


IDENTITY THIEF @ 12/1 e/w – antepost & 15/2 e/w.



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AW Championship Day 2015

Hello again

It’s been a long year on the sandy road to Lingfield to make it to Easter Friday’s AW Championship day.  Once again, I’ve had a look at all the races using my (I think) unique speed rating system and hopefully can replicate last year’s results by finding the winner in every race!!


Unfortunately for me, as a backer of nice priced horses that stand a good chance against shorter beasts, a lot of my final picks have ended up toward the top of the market.  That, I suppose, is the price you pay when putting up the decent prize money that’s on offer. It’s inevitable that the bigger names/stables will target these races even though (again, in my humble opinion) it kind of goes against the AW grain of offering opportunities to lesser lights.  That said, it is what it is and here’s my thoughts on the races….


1.40: 7f Class 2

An interesting affair this one and possibly the weakest event on offer all day. That said, there is some undoubted quality lining up and it could make for a decent race.

First up on my speed numbers is KHATIBA  who looks a progressive sort with AW form over this 7f of 12121. Despite having never raced at Lingfield, she looks unlikely to be out of the frame and, to my eye is probably the most likely winner here.  Of the likely challengers, I’ve struggled to get a decent handle on the French raider FRESLES and, as such, at 10/3 that one is being overlooked (possibly to my cost) as I can see no value and Frenchies haven’t the best record over here in decent AW races.  Next comes LAMAR at 4/1. Ridden by the excellent Ryan Moore this one fares much better on the figures at further for me so, despite the wide draw being less of a hindrance than it may have been for some, that one goes off the list too.  MAGGIE PINK scores very well with me but, and it’s a big but, has been performing poorly in a lesser grade than she faces today. Loves to be getting on with things at the front end but could just set things up for stronger horses at the death.  At a much bigger price than she should be, the ex Godolphin inmate HISTORY BOOK appeals as a likely each way punt.  Under the stewardship of the successful jockey/trainer combo that took this last year, we can confidently ignore her last run in a Listed race against the fellas (slowly run, muddling affair – didn’t play to her strengths) and this looks much more her cup of tea.  Seen a bit of money already, scores very nicely on my figures 14/1 looks a fairly generous each way price.




E/W POKE: HISTORY BOOK (14/1 – from 18/1)


2.10: 6f Class 2

A renewal with a couple that ran in this last year (both tipped on these pages!! ;-) ) and they came in 1st (25/1) & 3rd (10/1).  

ALBEN STAR and RIVELLINO, both come under the microscope for that reason alone but it’s difficult to have too much confidence in the latter.  Ran a nice race LTO but needed to to get into this and has, once again, copped a poor draw. Whilst he ran on nicely that day last year, I struggle to see Rivellino replicating either form.  Alben Star, meanwhile, was comprehensively beaten by PRETEND last time and although that was over 5f, I find it difficult to think he can turn that form around. Pretend was only in there to get some Lingfield experience and should prove better in a decently run 6f race such as this.  In fact, Charlie Appleby is quoted as saying “We dropped him back to five furlongs in order to give him experience at Lingfield and he was a bit green around the turn and needed a bit of manhandling. I feel stepping back up to six will put him back into his comfort zone. He goes there in very good order.”  He’s plenty short enough at 11/8 currently but does look the most likely contender.  At slightly bigger prices, Chookie Royale scored nicely on my numbers but is another who likes to go hard early doors and may find himself in a battle he can’t see out.  The one that does interest me is INTRANSIGENT for Andrew Balding. A decent sprinter on his day, his last run needs forgiving but the 6th place prior to that was more than excusable. A Listed winner late in 2014, 12/1 makes a small each way bet appealing just in case.





2.40: 1m Class 2 (only 7 runners!!)

A pretty irritating race for me as none of the runners have posted particularly good AW numbers over the distance.  Add that to the fact that it’s a small field, only paying 2 places, and my work becomes a little harder.

TEMPUS TEMPORIS has won over the mile at Chelmsford and Kempton but did nothing spectacular and looks, both to me and on breeding, as though further will benefit him.  The form horse is LEXINGTON TIMES, who nicely beat FOUR SEASONS last time out.  He doesn’t look the type to be overly progressive, however, and that last race was over 7f which, on pedigree, looks to suit much better. At 2/1 I’m happy to take that one on (again, possibly to my cost!).  That leaves me with the other Appleby runner, EMIRATES SKYCARGO, who has distance form, does look progressive and is the stable jockey’s preferred choice.  On balance, and at the prices, I’m inclined to go with Four Seasons, however, who showed up much better on the clock (albeit over shorter) than his stablemate.  A bit of an unknown quantity is the French raider GROWING GLORY.  She’s looked decent in France, last start on soft turf notwithstanding, and the trainer seems mildly bullish.  Not one I can recommend but no surprise were she to pop up with her weight allowance.

All in all, not a betting race for me but small wagers on the two Appleby horses and those two plus the French filly for placepot purposes will do.



MOST LIKELY: ?????????


3.15 1m1y Class 2

This one looks like it could be a cracking race with several arriving at the top of their game and a couple of likely improvers lurking.  On paper, it looks a straight fight between two horses but they don’t run on paper, it’s polytrack!

The two in question are SOVEREIGN DEBT and MINDUROWNBUSINESS, finished first and second in a C&D handicap in February.  Both have won nicely since and Mindurownbusiness could be one of those potential improvers.  However, Sovereign Debt has a 10lbs pull for that 3/4 length defeat and looks the most likely of the two.  BIG BAZ is another who looks progressive but he’ll have to improve to take this so, whilst a decent price (11/1), he’s overlooked.

Two others that have caught my eye are both top of my speed lists.  The Irish raider, CAPTAIN JOY is actually marginally second best to TENOR on pieces of the latter’s best form.  Tenor comes with risks attached as his recent form isn’t much to shout about. Reportedly burst a blood vessel when finishing 9th last time out but a couple of Listed wins and runs in Dubai give him a serious each way squeak if fully fit today.  On balance though, I’m going with the Captain as I very much liked his win two runs ago (good performance, excellent time) and he’s had a little pipe opener in a messy Dundalk race 28 days ago.


MOST LIKELY (for me!): CAPTAIN JOY (6/1) – each way bet to nothing

E/W POKE: TENOR (18/1) – now 16/1



3.45: 1m2f Class 2

The feature race of the day, worth a cool £124,000 to the winner.  Unfortunately for me I’m finding it next to impossible to go against the favourite. Not only that but an odds on favourite to boot!!

The horse in question is TRYSTER. He comes here with impeccable AW credentials (4/4) since trying it, won the Winter Derby, defeating two of today’s rivals and really should be confirming that form this afternoon.  If you were looking for chinks in his armour you could argue the case that, as a hold up horse, he could be a hostage to fortune but with only 7 rivals and drawn nicely in 4 with Mr Buick up top I can’t see that becoming an issue.

The two re-opposers are COMPLICIT and GRENDISAR and I’m taking the first named to reverse form with the latter.  Complicit had an interrupted prep for that Winter Derby but everything seems to have gone well in the lead up to this.  I’ll be having a nice place only bet on him and play the forecast with the fave




4.15 5f6y Class 2

Quite a tricky race to fathom – 3 yo’s only and some have shown excellent form, some look better over further and some have a few question marks against them.

Going strictly on my speed numbers, the likely favourite PORTAMENTO does look the best in this.  The 118 day layoff shouldn’t be too much of an issue as the trainer (Charlie Appleby again) nominated this race back then and said there wouldn’t be another in between.  Currently vying for the top of the market is PRIMROSE VALLEY.  She’s been pretty impressive in rattling up a four-timer but this is a step up in my opinion and being drawn widest of all in stall 10 may just scupper her chances.  The other CA horse in the race, BLUE AEGEAN, seems to run better after a longer break than the 2 weeks she’s had this time so that one goes off my list.  HARRY HURRICANE has impressed lately and with Richard Hughes aboard could go well. I’m slightly concerned that his best numbers have all come over further than today’s minimum trip.

For that reason I’ve gone slightly left field in my hunt for a bit of value and come up with one that scores very well, was arguably very unlucky the last day (saddle slipped late on) and was back from a long layoff that day.  I’m hoping that run has put APACHE STORM spot on for today and the 33/1 available could look very big come 4.16ish later.





4.45: 1m7f169y Class 2

A 2 miler (bar a few yards) to finish with and one where speed figures obviously play less of a part than in the shorter races.  Once again, unfortunately, I’m left looking at the two at the head of the market.

It does look suspiciously like a benefit race for the boys in blue with both ANGLOPHILE and HIDDEN GOLD set to fight it out for Godolphin bragging rights.  No fancy prices around (3/1 & 5/2 respectively) and I have a marginal preference for Hidden Gold given the way that one ran over 1m5f on this course and then proved a step up in trip no bother when winning nicely over just over 2m at Wolverhampton.  Getting a bit of a weight allowance is a help.  Anglophile is no mug but I just fancy the other one a little more.

Possible dangers include HURRICANE HIGGINS and JOHN REEL but, if everyone puts their best hoof forward, it should be between my two.


And that’s that for the day. Hope you enjoyed my waffling and it gives you a few pointers but more importantly, a few winners.

As always, whatever you’re on, be lucky ;-)

















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2014 Breeders’ Cup – Friday Thoughts..

Hi all

I can’t believe another year has flown past and we’re heading back to sunny California and, specifically, the tight, twisty, turf turns of Santa Anita (yes, I know there’s dirt too but that wasn’t alliterative! ;-) ).

I love the Breeders’ Cup weekend and, while I’m slightly disappointed they’ve re-relegated the Marathon back to the undercard (it was very profitable for me the last 2 years!), I can’t wait to get underway.  My views and bets for Friday are as follows….


9.25 Juvenile Turf (1 mile)

A newish race with only 7 previous renewals and one in which the Europeans have a good record, having won 5 of those.  That may, in part, be down to the prohibition of the anti bleeding drug Lasix and the Americans in their wisdom have decided it is allowed this year.

If you believe all the hype, this revolves around one horse and one horse only; HOOTENANNY.  An out and out speedster, he has an excellent record but over much shorter distances than he’ll attempt tonight.  No doubt Frankie will attempt to go gate to wire from the front but with stamina a probable issue the 7/2 on offer makes no appeal to me (in fact, I probably wouldn’t back him at twice the price!!).  The other Wesley Ward runner LUCK OF THE KITTEN makes more appeal to me at around 12/1 but, again, is an habitual front runner who may just get involved in an early, pacy battle with Hootenanny.

I’ve plumped for two horses who don’t need to be ridden up with the pace, although both could if I’ve read it all wrong and the Ward runners “take a pull”.  For the home team I’m keen on IMPERIA.  With only two career runs, he’s slightly less experienced than ideal but the second of those was a very nice win over slightly further than the mile.  He’s a definite stayer in my view and could be taking advantage of any collapse from those on the sharp end.  For the Euros, the one that caught my eye was COMMEMORATIVE.  Charles Hills’ boy looks tactically versatile, likes a decently run mile trip, has the excellent James Doyle up top and could just slot in behind the likely pacesetters from stall 4.  Assuming the track holds no fears, I think that one could go very well too.

IMPERIA & COMMEMORATIVE for me. I’ve backed both at 10/1 as e/w plays – Imperia now a best UK price of 8/1.


10.05 Dirt Mile

Another newish race (run 7 times) but, interestingly 6 of the winners were aged 3 or 4 and the one 5 year old was a pretty big surprise returning at roughly 37/1.  A top 3 finish last time out looks to be an advantage as does, somewhat surprisingly, a step back in trip (5 from the 7 winners fit both those profiles.

Another “one horse” race if you believe the betting in last year’s winner GOLDENCENTS.  He’s taking pretty much the same prep as last year into the race (stepping UP in trip didn’t stop him then) and has posted by far the best Beyer numbers in this field.  He is the most likely winner again but at a very skinny price you won’t be getting many cents back on this one.  Second up on the Beyer numbers is PANTS ON FIRE but as a 6 year old he’d be bucking the trend if he could win this.  Currently 12/1, that one makes some appeal for a place only bet.

My money, however, has gone on one who on the face of it has a lot to do to beat the favourite.  I’m happy to ignore the 2013 run in this as he never got in the race and, whilst beaten 4 lengths by Goldencents recently, that was over a furlong shorter and he was closing.  FED BIZ is stepping back from 9f and I’m hoping for a better showing this time at 11/2.

ps. There’s a Chilean raider in here (BRONZO) who is a very big 25/1 shot. I’m actually pretty upset that the Marathon is no longer one of the big races as, in trying to analyse his form, I came to the conclusion he would have been a cracking bet for that. This mile may just be too sharp so I’ve ignored him!


10.50 Juvenile Fillies Turf (1 mile)

Another race where a good showing last time out seems a pre-requisite – 6/6 were top 3.  A 3-7 week lay off also seems optimum as does form over further than the bare mile.

This actually looks quite tricky as I can find no real pace angle to work from.  Nothing really appears to want to get on with things which usually makes for a messy old affair.  I’ve therefore gone pretty route one in trying to find the likely winner and looked at the best US trial (historically) for this race.  That is the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont and the winner that day was the very impressive LADY ELI.  Officially good for 3 lengths at the end, she was going away AND easing down.  Her trainer has reported that she’s settled well in the California sunshine and seems pretty confident of a big run.  The 13/2 on offer at paddypower makes a lot of appeal from both a win and/or an each way perspective.

Another worth a mention at a likely big price on the US tote is SIVOLIERE.  A European import, she’s never run further than 7f but being by Sea The Stars with a bit of Kingmambo thrown into the breeding mix, this mile looks likely to suit. Chad Brown has taken over training duties and, despite some early worries, she seems to be working very well.  Currently a 12/1 shot over here, I have a feeling she might get overlooked come race time and will be watching the tote market closely.



11.35 Distaff (1m1f)

A race that’s historically been dominated by 3 or 4 year olds (25/30 inc. the last 15) with 4 yo’s winning 9 of the last 12. It also appears to favour those who can run at, or at least close to, the front.

Taking all the above into account it’s easy to see why we have joint favourites in the shape of UNTAPABLE and CLOSE HATCHES.  Both have posted some excellent times and Beyer numbers over 100 BUT, both are drawn out wide.  Whilst that may not hinder Untapable as much, it still looks a pretty big negative to my eye at a best price of 7/2 on either.  Untapable’s excellent form may also have to take a knock taking on some older rivals here.

The one that I’m backing also has a slight question mark against her but the way IOTAPA won a Grade 1 event over C&D by over 10 (yes, TEN!!) lengths and recording a Beyer number of 109 in the process makes her 10/1 price far too big to ignore.  The slight niggle could also, somewhat perversely, be taken as a positive.  She finished 3rd last time out but was subsequently found to have bled. Now, obviously the bleeding is a worry, but she was plugging on at the end despite it so is clearly a tryer.  I’m hoping it won’t be an issue tonight and have backed her accordingly.


If you fancy a longshot each way poke, you could do worse than have a look at the Peruvian lass VALIANT EMILIA.  Plenty of wins under her belt around the dirt of Monterrico, she wouldn’t be the first Southerner to come North and steal a prize at this meeting.  5 years old is slightly off putting but 33/1 is tempting for a few e/w pounds.


And that’s Friday done.  Saturday’s monster card may have less waffle due to time constraints but I hope it’s been entertaining if not helpful!!


Have a great meeting


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Breeders’ Cup 2013 – Friday Thoughts

Hello again dear readers

In today’s post, I’m travelling Stateside to sunny California.  Specifically, to the San Gabrial mountains area of Arcadia and, more specifically, Santa Anita racecourse.  Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world, it is, once again, hosting the racing spectacular that is The Breeders’ Cup.  Below I’ve outlined my ideas on how some of the races look along, of course, with a few pointers on where my hard earned is going…


8.45 – MARATHON 1m6f (dirt)

A notoriously difficult race to analyse having only been added to the card since the meeting moved to a 2 day affair in 2008.  Most US races are never over this far so the home breds are not suited to such a stamina test and most foreign raiders are unused to racing on the surface.  I was lucky enough to have picked the 20/1 winner of last year’s renewal in the form of Calidoscopio but am far less confident this year!!  It is probably worth noting that 3 of the 5 winning trophies so far have been taken away by the foreigners and that a good run LTO (preferably a win) has been the norm.

Because of this, I was initially drawn to the Canadian runner COMMANDER.  That one, however, ran a stinker from the front in last years race eventually finishing 9th, and has never won over further than 1m3f.  One that has distance form is another Argie, EVER RIDER, who won the same prep race as his compatriot last year.  Unlike that one though, he is a front runner and there’s a few of those in here tonight so I’m none too sure he’ll be suited to this.  Of the home team POOL PLAYER and INDIAN JONES look the most likely to be plodding on late and on their running in the muddy dirt over shorter (1m4f) it looks like IJ just has the edge.  That is reflected in their respective prices, however, and I think he looks a tad on the short side for betting purposes.  Therefore, against all sensible reasoning, I’m going for the UK raider LONDON BRIDGE.  This one is also a front runner but looks a definite stayer and, despite being solely turf raced thus far, does have some dirt form in his pedigree thanks to his sire.

I’ve had a bit of the 8/1 on offer with Ladbrokes (e/w, small stakes) and will be looking at the PMU prices this evening in the hope he’s overlooked by the US market.



Another newish race on the card with only 6 runnings to have a look at to establish an idea of the likely winner.  This one does favour the European runners thanks to the natural surface and the fact that the use of Lasix is still prohibited.  Since many of the home team are used to being “hopped up” with it, they generally struggle without it.  The Euros lead 4-2 so far and have won every renewal at Santa Anita.

The best of the US runners undoubtedly looks to be BOBBY’S KITTEN.  He has been impressive this year and his trainer is typically bullish about his chances.  Another front runner though which, while it means he’ll stay clear of any in-running trouble, could leave him exposed to a late closing rival at the business end (it’ll also be his first run without the aid of the “juice”).  That has left me with 2 European challengers in the form of GIOVANNI BOLDONI and OUTSTRIP.  Neither has run beyond 7f so far but GB looks bred to get further than this mile and Outstrip was closing when finishing 3rd in the Dewhurst last month.  Both have excellent berths in stalls 2 and 4 respectively and both have the services of seriously good jockeys.  Add in the fact that the speed ratings (taking into account the Beyer adjustments) look the best in here and I’m quietly confident one of the two will have his head in front come the finish.

Currently priced at 7/2 (Giovanni Boldoni) and 5/1 (Outstrip) my preference is marginally for the Godolphin runner but I’ll be backing both and keeping an eye out for the PMU prices again as the American money inevitably floods in for their own horses.


10.05 – DIRT MILE 1m(!)

Another newbie race and another with 6 previous runnings to have a look at. 4 from 6 of those winners have been 4yo with 1 each from the 3yo and 5yo age bracket.  Interestingly, until last year every winner had been coming off the back of a run over further than the bare 1m.  It’s also been a decent race for an outsider to be picking up the spoils.

There’s no point looking for anything other than a “home win” in this one I don’t think!  The obvious starting point, and current favourite both sides of the pond, is VERRAZANO.  He looks to me like he’ll actually get further than this but does have a huge best Beyer figure of 116 in this field so speed is clearly not an issue.  Has copped a poor draw in 10, however, and will need to use up a lot of that speed to get to the front as he likes to do.  At around 7/2 I’m happy to take this one on without being hugely surprised if he did go on and win it.  The first one I’m siding with to take him on is GOLDEN TICKET.  Another coming back from slightly further, he ran a creditable 4th behind Mucho Macho Man LTO, returning from a 2 month break.  Ran well that day before fading in the last 100 yards.  Good numbers on the Beyer system and I’ve had a nice e/w bet at the 10/1 on offer with Hills.  I think he’ll be coming past beaten horses come the “lollipop”.  At a much bigger price, I’ve taken a chance on HOLY LUTE as well.  All to prove on the face of it having never raced in company this good and never on the dirt.  According to track reports though, he’s been working on the dirt track like a monster, posting the best times two days running.  With wily Mike Smith on board the 25/1 generally available for an e/w punt could look exceedingly generous by 10.07!!



Yet another newish race and one that, on the face of it, should have suited the Europeans down to the ground(!).  Raced on turf not dirt it’s fairly surprising the first win for one of ours only came last year – in fact we’d never troubled the exacta or trifecta judge in any of the previous runnings.  That race last year could prove significant, however. It was the first time the aforementioned Lasix was outlawed and that’s the case again tonight. (Shockingly, in my opinion, that ban is due to be rescinded after this).  It is likely to be a race with several hard luck stories since a lot of these would seem to like to come late off a strong pace.  That could lead to some serious traffic problems as they try to mount a challenge.

All of that has led me to look at the European challenge first and of them all I’m favouring AL THAKHIRA.  The biggest price of the three fancied runners at 6/1 (most firms), I’d give her a cracking chance.  Unbeaten in two starts and winning both impressively, she’s bred to get this step up in trip, is well drawn in 2 and has the assistance of Ryan Moore.  CHRISELLIAM has done little wrong but does like to have some cover and Richard Hughes will have to be at his very best to weave a path here.  The Frenchie, and likely favourite, VORDA has some excellent form in the book but at 6f.  A full 2f short of this trip.  She’s undoubtedly full of speed and her trainer thinks she’ll stay but is a little more exposed than some of these and I’m not so convinced.

Of the American team, four have caught my eye in the shape of SKY PAINTER, READY TO ACT, MY CONQUESTADORY and KITTEN KABOODLE.  Of those only one has been running without the juice (Sky Painter) but is drawn badly in 13,  as are Ready to Act (11) and My Conquestadory (14).  As a result, none will be carrying the extra burden of my cash but I have gone very left field with one other.  The beast in question really shouldn’t have any chance of winning purely on form lines being a maiden from 3 attempts.  Each race has seen her improve, however, and she’ll be finishing like a train at the death (traffic permitting!).  At 40/1 with victor and 33/1 (paddy – bog), I’ve had a hopeful e/w tickle on COLONEL JOAN as well.


11.35 – DISTAFF 1m1f (dirt)

A race for the ladies over the Classic course and distance.  A recent run (within 35 days) looks to be ideal preparation for this and that run had better be a good ‘un.  It’s very rare for a winner to come here off the back of a shocker last time out.  I’d also be looking for a gal who’s got a few runs under her saddle this year.

In fairness, all that pondering only rules out one of the six going to post and that’s the 50/1 rag Street Girl.  This is the “story” race of the day with ROYAL DELTA going for the three-peat or, as we say in proper English, the hat-trick.  She’s a tough nut to crack this one and I’m loathe to go against a bit of history making but she is 5 now and that is getting on a bit to win this (the last 14 winners have been 3 or 4).  Her likely two main rivals are BEHOLDER and PRINCESS OF SYLMAR and both bring solid form to the table. Beholder has terrific course form over a 1/2 furlong shorter and was edged out over this distance by the Princess in a run at Churchill Downs earlier in the year.  She’s likely to make a very bold bid from the front tonight and for me stamina is unlikely to be an issue.  A bigger question is whether the other two are just a bit better.  Authenticity is 6 now so that’ll make life tough and I’m not sure that the last runner of the sextet, Close Hatches is quite up to the standard of the three at the head of the market.

Looks like a no bet race for me to be frank but, if I’ve had a cracking wagering night, I shall probably throw a few quid at Beholder.


I hope that’s been interesting and/or informative and I’ll be back soon with a Saturday rundown.

Whatever you like tonight, enjoy the spectacle and good luck.





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