Diary: March 1 2007

The rainy season continues and the ground in my background looks pretty untraceable.  Hopefully Taunton won’t fall victim to the monsoons tomorrow because we have a runner from our list to follow in the 3.50 there.


Nobody Tells Me was 2nd here last time when fencing errors cost him.  This race looks weaker and with better jumping he should prevail.


I need to do my homework for the Cheltenham Festival so I will leave it there for tonight.


Continue reading “Diary: March 1 2007”

Diary: February 28 2007

Tomorrow is another quiet days racing, typical pre Cheltenham stuff.  There are no runners from our list to follow.


We did have a winner today, thanks to Caribou at Leicester (5/2) who turned over a hot favourite from Paul Nicholls yard.


Plenty to look forward to over the coming weeks with the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown festivals as well as the start of the flat.


Stay tuned!


Continue reading “Diary: February 28 2007”

Diary: February 27 2007

With the Cheltenham extravaganza just a fortnight away racing midweek is understandably low key.


There is only one runner from out list to follow out tomorrow.  Caribou is yet to enter the winner’s enclosure this season but he has been running consistently enough in difficult races.  He is one of only 4 runners contesting the 2.20 at Leicester tomorrow. He won over hurdles twice last season, including once at Leicester and he handles soft ground.  He probably has a bit to find with the Paul Nicholls trained Spidam


Just looking very briefly at today’s racing, you won’t often see a horse returned at 1/20. Those were the odds on Juveigneur who won a 3 horse no contest at Plumpton today.


See you tomorrow.


Continue reading “Diary: February 27 2007”

Diary: February 26 2007

All 3 runners from our list to follow were withdrawn from the Racing Post Chase.  Henry Daly pulled our Alderburn and Billyvoddan because of the ground while Reveillez suffered a freak accident in the racecourse stable, but will be OK I understand.


My main interest then lay in the Pendil Novices Chase and the race provided a real battling finish between stable mates Natal and Good Spirit.  Natal eventually gained the upper hand in ground that would not have been ideal for him.  Good Spirit jumped really well and lost nothing in defeat.


In a pretty ordinary season for my list Blue Splash continued to “do his bit” and his win in heavy ground at Newcastle showed that he continues to go the right way.


Apart from Nickname who won at long odds on at Naas, Mark the Book was the other winner from our list this afternoon. He will almost certainly go novice chasing next season and looks the sort to do well in that sphere.


I don’t have anything to offer on Monday’s racing so I will leave it there for tonight.


Continue reading “Diary: February 26 2007”

Diary: February 24 & 25 2007

Tonight’s bulletin covers racing for both Saturday and Sunday.


It has been quite a good week for horses on our list to follow with I think 7 winners in all since last Saturday. As quite a few of the original horses listed have sustained long term injuries I have added a few new names to the list recently.  You can see the additions in the Special Features section.


Although Chepstow has been called of tomorrow as a result of waterlogging there is still plenty to look forward to with two valuable staying handicap chases heading the bill on Saturday.


The Racing Post Chase (Kempton 3.10) has attracted a decent quality field of 15.  In theory the bottom weight Lucifer Bleu is a good thing as he is about to be raised significantly by the handicapper (24 lbs in fact!)   He has won his last two races in effortless fashion and has proven form in testing conditions.  He also gets on well with his young jockey who takes 5 lbs off.  David Pipe has his team in good form and the horse clearly has claims. I doubt if he will be value though so I will look elsewhere.


There are 3 runners from our list to follow and they are all in with a shout.  Alderburn and Ballyvoddan are both trained by Henry Daly. Alderburn won over course and distance at Christmas.  He is a sound jumper and goes well fresh.  Although he has won in soft ground I feel he is best on genuine good ground.  Billyvoddan was also a winner last time out when he fairly bolted up at Ascot, wearing blinkers for the first time.  He has top weight of 11 stone 12 but this race has often been won by a horse carrying more than 11 stone so that would not necessarily put me off.   Reveillez has not really got going this season after looking pretty decent last season, winning at the Cheltenham Festival.  I rate all these horses but my fear is the going as all three seem to need good ground.  Of the 3 Alderburn is the most likely to handle softer going.


Of the remainder Limerick Boy and Puntal are potentially interesting.  Limerick Boy has a touch of class having once won a  Group 3 in Germany on the flat.  He handles soft ground OK but has sometimes been let down by his jumping.  He likes Kempton though having won there twice from 3 attampts.  Puntal is a bit of a monkey but can be a potent force when he is on a going day.  His usual jockey Timmy Murphy has elected to ride Celtic Son however. 


There is no doubt that Lucifer Bleu ought to win in theory and if you want to back him I wouldn’t want to put you off.  Alderburn has slightly the best chance of our list runners while Limerick Boy’s course form is a plus point in his favour.


The other big race in the UK is the Eider Chase at Newcastle 3.30.  There aren’t any runners from our current list to follow and to be honest I don’t have any particularly strong views. My 3 against the field would be Nil Desperandum, Teeming Rain and Silver Knight.  Nil Desperandum has run well in the last two Grand Nationals so his stamina and jumping ability is not in question.  He is by the same sire as the late great Best Mate and like many of his relations he is probably best on less testing ground.  Silver Knight on the other hand likes the mud.  He is the sort of dour galloper that seems to do well in this race.  He has won 4 times at Wetherby and that is a course that takes a bit of jumping.  Teeming Rain heads the Irish challenge.  His win over 3.5 miles at Punchestown puts him in with a shout here.  I am not convinced that heavy ground will suit Nil Desperandum so I will go for the other two as my first choices.


The 2.35 at Kempton is of particular interest to me as it features 4 from my list to follow.  I am not sure that it makes it any easier to call though, especially as Paul Nicholls has elected to run two in this.  Natal has won twice already this season and is the choice of Nicholl’s top jockey Ruby Walsh.  Natal had not done too much wrong until finishing a disappointing 4th at Ascot in mid December.  He won 5 of his 9 starts last season and his trainer has always held him in high regard.  The grey Good Spirit is a bit of an unknown quantity. A winner 3 times in France he disappointed on his first run in the UK before scoring a facile victory recently at Stratford.  He came to the UK with some smart hurdles from in France and much was expected of him.  Sam Thomas has the ride.


Yes Sir racked up 7 straight wins in the summer but has found life more difficult in the winter season thus far. He has won on all sorts of ground so the soft winter going shouldn’t be the problem.  A course like Kempton should suit his front running style but his lack of recent form would be a concern.  Dunsfold Duke is a bit of a dark horse.  His win last month in testing ground at Lingfield was impressive and he certainly jumped soundly.  He could well be on the upgrade and as he comes from a smaller stable he could start at a working man’s price given that he is up against runners from the top yards.  The underrated but very capable Leighton Aspell rides.


The other 3 runners all have claims in a very trappy little race.  Natal is probably the obvious choice if back to his best, while Dunsfold Duke might well pull off a surprise at rewarding odds.


In the 3.45 I like the look of another Nicholls runner.  Poquelin was decent on the flat in France and looked good when beating the useful Liberate over course and distance at Christmas.


Mort de Rire represents our list to follow in the 4.15.  He is another ex French horse.  He won at Leicester last season and has had two fairly uneventful runs this term so far. I think he is the type that could pop up at a nice price somewhere. At 16/1 he represents each way value as long as all 8 runners hold their ground.


The 4.45 looks a very open race.  We have two list horses in Brankley Boy and Midas Way.  Brankley Boy was pulled up on his only start this season but he won twice last season in testing ground.  His half sister Lady Rebecca won the Cleeve Hurdle 3 times so he is bred for the job.  With the stable in good form he is one for the short list.  Midas Way has been running creditably without winning. Twice a winner on the flat he also won a novice hurdle last season at Newbury. He is gaining experience over timber and the booking of Richard Johnson looks interesting.  A danger to our list runners could be the unexposed O’Maley, trained by Paul Nicholls.  If forced to choose I would go for Midas Way.


There are a couple of list runners in the 4.35 at Newcastle.  Blue Splash has done well for us winning twice and generally running consistently.  Stamina is his strong suit and he has won in heavy ground.  He is a brother to another horse on our list, Ungaru, who has 3 wins to his credit this season.  Blue Splash has obvious claims.  King of Confusion returned to the track last week after a lay off for a breathing operation but only got as far as the second fence where he unseated his pilot. I am not sure that really testing ground will suit him so Blue Splash would be my choice of the two.


Over in Ireland last season’s Aintree Grand National winner Numbersixvalverde has his first run over fences since his big win last April.  He goes in the 3.15 at Fairyhouse and while I wouldn’t rule him out this race clearly isn’t his main target for the season.


Saddler’s Brook, a point to point winner, put in a  pleasing display when 3rd at Leopardsown earlier this month. The talented Nina Carberry rides him in the 3.45 and he should go well.


On Sunday I fancy Schindler’s Hunt in the 3.10 at Naas.  He has been in fine form this season and although he has not won over this distance he was only beaten less that a length when running over this trip earlier in the season.  Patsy Hall will act in the ground and looks the danger.


In the 4.10 Nickname will be a warm order to maintain his winning run.  He goes for his fourth straight win and in his favoured soft ground he is unlikely to be beaten.


If Exeter goes ahead Mark the Book from our list to follow is entered in the 2.20.  A giant of a horse, this former Irish points winner ran well when second on his rules debut at Towcester.  Obviously an embryo chaser he may well be able to get off the mark over hurdles tomorrow.


Blue Splash has already been mentioned in the Newcastle write up above.  He is also entered in the 3.20 at Exeter on Sunday.  He would be my selection in whatever turns out to be his chosen engagement.


Glasker Mill won first time out this season beating Dancing Bay at Fontwell.  He then fell on his return to Fontwell last week.  As long as that tumble has not affected his confidence I would take him to prevail in the Exeter 4.20.


Hope you have a good weekend.


Continue reading “Diary: February 24 & 25 2007”

Diary: February 23 2007

Sorry I wasn’t able to post an update last night, IT problems I am afraid.


There were two runners from our list to follow today and both won.  Annie’s Answer was a most game winner of the mares only hurdle at Huntingdon, for trainer Jane Makin.  The testing ground played to the horse’s strong suit of stamina and she battled back having been passed 3 out.  Our other runner was the ex South African Tyson who survived a mistake at the last to win his first bout over hurdles. 


I will concentrate tonight on the runners from our list that are entered tomorrow.


Caribou won twice over hurdles in soft ground last season.  He has not run badly over fences this season and has some tough tasks in non handicap company.  He drops back to 2 miles in the 2.00 at Sandown and certainly has place claims.


Karello Bay won a mares event at Wincanton last time and goes to follow up in the 2.45 at Sandown. The stable are in fine form and she looks the one to beat.  Cathedral Rock was 3rd last time out and the 2nd has won since.  He is entitled to improve further and he could give Karello Bay something to think about.


The ex French Good Spirit got off the mark in the UK at Startford 3 weeks ago.  He jumped well that day and is highly rated by his connections.  He won 3 times in France and could just be very good indeed.  He runs in the 3.20.


Midas Way represents our list in the 3.55.  He has been running well enough without winning ands deserves to get his head in front.  This does look quite a tough race though.


Leading Contender has been a beaten favourite 36 times this season.  I think this is down to his lack of finishing speed as much as anything.  He is the form pick in the 3.30 at Warwick but his record makes me a bit wary about tipping him too strongly.


That’s all for tonight.


Continue reading “Diary: February 23 2007”

Diary February 22 2007

There are two runners from our list to follow running on Thursday.


Annie’s Answer, a dual bumper winner, has her second outing over hurdles in the 2.00 at Huntingdon.  She should come on for her hurdles debut effort when 4th at Newcastle.  Tony Dobbin takes the ride.


Our other runner is Tyson in the 3.45 at Haydock.  His form in South Africa and Dubai indicates he is one of the better flat horses to go over hurdles this season and his progress will be interesting.


See you tomorrow.


Continue reading “Diary February 22 2007”

Diary: February 21 2007

Jump racing is rather in limbo at this time of year as the racing world waits for the Cheltenham Festival that is now less than 3 weeks away.

  Hence there is not a lot to report tonight.  We had a couple of runners from the list to follow today.  King of Confusion only got as far as the second fence at Sedgefield when he unseated his rider.  Granit Jack got off the mark for Paul Nicholl’s with a facile win at Taunton, albeit at long odds on.



The only jumps meeting tomorrow is at Ludlow.  Ouninpohja would be my best bet of the day.  He won 5 times on the flat in 2005 and although not the most straightforward he has a touch of class, He has top weight in the handicap hurdle at 4.00 but could prove a class above his rivals.


See you tomorrow


Continue reading “Diary: February 21 2007”

Diary: February 20 2007

There are two runners from our list to follow in action tomorrow, one at each of the meetings.


King of Confusion has undergone a wind operation since finishing 2nd to Hard Act to Follow at Wetherby.  He ran well for a long way on that occasion and was not given a hard time when beaten. He runs in the 2.50 at Sedgefield.  He should go well although the stable form is a slight concern.  Also he would not want the ground too testing.


Our other runner is Granit Jack in the Taunton 3.40.  He has had two starts since arriving in the UK from France but has failed to see out his race both times.  He has had a good break since his last run.  He is very well regarded by connections and a much better showing will be expected tomorrow.


Bye for now.


Continue reading “Diary: February 20 2007”

Diary: February 19 2007

There were 5 winners from our list to follow on Saturday.


Apart from a Kauto Star style blunder Gungadu jumped well enough to clock his 4th success of the campaign. Ruby Walsh is as good as any jockey when it comes to staying on board when his mount makes a mistake.


Monet’s Garden returned to form after his poor showing in the King George.  Connections put the improvement down to a change in his pre race preparation.


With the benefit of hindsight Straw Bear was the obvious choice to beat Afsoun in the Kingwell Hurdle.  After all he ran Champion Hurdle favourite Detroit City close the other week and Afsoun did not have form to match that.  Wincanton on soft ground represented optimum conditions for Nick Gifford’s star.


Over in Ireland New Mill put himself back in the Cheltenham Champion Chase picture with a win over hurdles.


I was keen on the chances of Beau Michel yesterday and he obliged at rewarding odds of 8/1.  The price owed much to the fact that he was Barry Dennis’ “Bismarck” on Channel 4’s Morning Line programme.  In fairness though he was a bit lucky to collect as the likely winner Golden Bay was a faller at the penultimate flight of hurdles.


Looking forward to tomorrow there is jumps racing from Carlisle and Market Rasen.  There are no runners from our list but there are a few points of interest nonetheless (if you look hard enough for them!)


Len Lungo’s Brooklyn Breeze returns after a leg injury in the 2.45 at Carlisle.  A 10 year old now Brooklyn Breeze has been a good servant for his stable winning 7 races.  This track and distance are probably about right for him but he is likely to need the run after his lay off.  He is best on good ground.


His former stable companion Carapuce is also in the line up.  He was once runner up in the Swiss Derby (not many people know that!)  Like Brooklyn Breeze, he is a course winner.  Zeitgeist’s biggest career win was in the Old Newton Cup on the flat at Haydock when he was trained by Luca Cumani.  He is owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie these days but has not really lived up to expectations over timber.  He is unlikely to relish heavy ground.


Moyne Pleasure has had a busy career with around 75 starts (well, almost – he refused to start once on the flat).  He has won 14 times, and although a lot of these were on the all weather he has won 3 times over hurdles for his current trainer/jockey combo, with Kenny Johnson riding for his father.


Lord Mayor used to be trained on the flat by Sir Michael Stoute.  I remember Kieran Fallon swooping late on his to land a valuable handicap at Epsom a few years back. He has obviously gone down hill since then though as he was claimed for £6,000 after finishing lame in last place when favourite for 1m1f seller at Lingfield in September.  For those who are interested in such trivia his dam was a half sister to L’Affaire Monique who was a winner for Stoute and his grand dam was a half sister to a St Leger winner.  Lord Mayor runs in the 1.30 at Market Rasen.


In the bumper at 4.45 Theatrical Moment is likely to be hard to beat.


See you tomorrow.


Continue reading “Diary: February 19 2007”