Diary: December 1 & 2 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Newbury 12.30 – Helen’s Vision


Newbury 2.05 – Inglis Drever, Blazing Bailey, Special Envoy, Oscar Park & Chief Dan George


Newbury 2.40 – Denman, Abragante, Bible Lord, Character Building


Newbury 3.45 – Pevensey, European Dream & Manhattan Boy


Newcastle 12.40 – Berwick Law


Newcastle 1.15 – Shrewd Investor


Newcastle 1.50 – Tazbar


Newcastle 3.30 Blythe Knight, Katchit & Clopf


Towcesetr 12.50 – Cave Hill


Fairyhouse 12.55 – Big Zeb


Fairyhouse 2.05 – Tailor’s Hall




Newbury 12.30 – Cracking Cliché & One Gulp


Newbury 1.00 – Big Buck’s


Newbury 1.35 – The Tother One


Newbury 2.05 – Nevada Royale


Newbury 2.40 – Caribou & Bible Lord


Newbury 3.45 – Woolcombe Folly


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Newbury 1.00 – Sir Bathwick


Newbury 2.40 – Always Waining


Newcastle 12.40 – Brook no Argument


Newcastle 3.00 – King Killone




Newbury 1.35 – Brinkmanship


Newbury 3.45 – Uffa Fox


Fairyhouse 1.05 – Cork All Star & Sizing Africa


Fairyhouse 2.10 – Glencove Marina & Hide the Evidence


Russellform Ramblings


I am going to attempt to cover both Saturday and Sunday tonight so if you are sitting comfortably etc…


I suppose I should start with the race of the weekend which is of course the Hennessy at Newbury where Denman carries top weight.  There is no doubt that Denman is the class act in the field after going through his novice season unbeaten. I certainly wouldn’t rule Denman out but he does have a lot of weight and Paul Nicholls will presumably have left something to work on with him.


It is tempting to go for the veterans Sir Rembrandt and Strong Flow who are both thrown in on their best form.  This race doesn’t tend to go to that sort of animal though.  Of the more experienced types Juveigneur makes most appeal, especially if we don’t get significant rain. He clearly does not like the Grand National fences but if you ignore his runs at Aintree he has a good record in big races. He was second in this race last season, he was runner up in the “Whitbread” in 2005, he has twice been runner up at the Festival in the William Hill Trophy and he was 3rd in last season’s Welsh National.  You can’t argue that he deserves to win a decent prize!


Apart from the obvious chance of Denman and the consistent Juveigneur there are 4 that catch my eye.  Always Waining from the inform Peter Bowen yard, Bible Lord who should come on for his recent 4th but is 4 lbs out of the handicap and Abrigante and Character Building.  The latter pair look well handicapped and are worth considering.


The two Irish raider Snowy Morning who will be partnered by AP McCoy and Patsy Hall look live dangers.  The former would be particularly interesting if the ground becomes testing


The Hennessy isn’t the only big race on the Newbury card as the Long Distance Hurdle at 2.05 pitches together some of the likely contenders for hurdling honours come Cheltenham in March.


There are those that seem to want to write off the 8 year old Inglis Drever but I wouldn’t be in their camp.  He is a very tough customer, has a 100% record over hurdles at Newbury and comes from an in form stable. With Blazing Bailey a little disappointing on his reappearance and Black Jack Ketchum not sure to relish a battle Inglis Drever could well defy his critics.  At bigger prices both Special Envoy and Chief Dan George could be worth a close look.  The grey Special Envoy was an unlucky loser when falling at the final hurdle last week when absolutely cruising.  Chief Dan George took some notable scalps at the end of last season and as he comes from a small stable based up at Cartmel and will probably start at a fatterr price than he should as a result.


In the 3.15 at Newbury I like the chances of Nick William’s Majimar.  He was second on his last outing at Cheltenham and AP McCoy has been booked to ride.


In the 1.35 Saintsaire aims to win the race for the second season in succession. He has not lived up to the promise he showed earlier in his career but I would still give him a tentative selection.


The 3 runners from our list to follow all have chances in the closing hurdle at Newbury.  Manhattan Boy did not show much on his latest start but he is a horse I like and I would be inclined to stick with him each way.


There is also a top class card at Newcastle where some Champion Hurdle hopefuls clash at 3.30 in the “Fighting Fifth.” Katchit is a most likable sort, very nippy over his hurdles and with a great heart.  The Irish raider Clopf would be all the better for his recent 4th behind Jazz Messenger at Punchestown while John Quinn’s speed horse Blythe Knight is very much respected after his impressive win at Aintree at the end of last season and his subsequent improved flat form.


It is very tempting to go for Katchit but 4 year olds have not won this event for heaven knows how long and that sort of statistic always worries me.  If the ground rides good I would go with Blythe Knight.


The Newcastle 1.15 does not look a particularly strong contest and Shrewd Investor should go close.  He should strip fitter for his recent run and he gets 3 miles well.


Both Berwick Law and Tazbar impressed on their last outings and I fancy them both for their respective engagements at Newcastle.


Cave Hill was a most impressive winner of a Hereford bumper a year ago but has since been sidelined with an injury.  He is considered a very bright prospect by connections and is one to watch in the 12.50 at Towcester.


Nipping back to Newbury for a moment I am hoping that Helen’s Vision can win for my list to follow. This mare had some decent form in bumpers and is bred to make a hurdler.  The big danger looks like being the well fancied Paul Nicholls runner Pasco, the winner of a 12 furlong handicap on the flat in May at Saint-Cloud.


Moving on to Sunday we have two runners from our list to follow in the Newbury opener at 12.30, Cracking Cliché and One Gulp. I think both should run well.


Paul Nicholls sends a strong team to Newbury on Sunday. Big Buck’s, Nevada Royale and Woolcombe Folly all come with big home reputations gained in France, the point to point field and a bumper respectively. 

Nicholls saddles The Tother One in the 1.35.  As the name suggests he is a half brother to the classy chaser Thisthatandtother and won a small race on his debut over hurdles 9 days ago.


In Ireland on Sunday I like the chances of Cork All Star in the 1.05 at Fairyhouse and Lasse Viern in the closing bumper at Clonmel.


Nap of the day


Saturday – Tazbar – Newcastle 1.50


Sunday – The Tother One – Newbury 1.35


Today’s trivia


The word “Cognac” was added to the name of the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1971.


What’s in a name?


Uffa Fox was a renowned Yachtsman and boat designer.  When he died in 1972 his funeral as Cowes on the Isle of Wight was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh.


Continue reading “Diary: December 1 & 2 2007”

Diary: November 30 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Newbury 2.05 – The Sawyer


Newbury 2.35 – Air Force One, Lead On & Silverburn


Newbury 3.40 – Theatrical Moment & The Package



Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Newbury 1.00 – Chapoturgeon & Kavaloti


Musselburgh 12.50 – Prince Car


Russellform Ramblings


The Sawyer will probably be going over fences sooner rather than later but he contests a handicap hurdle at Newbury tomorrow.  He stays well and this trip should play to his strengths and he won the only other time he was ridden by tomorrow’s jockey. He might need this and it could be seen as a prep run but he would have to be in with an each way chance if fit enough.


The 2.35 at Newbury looks an interesting contest, not least because there are 3 runners from our list to follow involved.  Denman will be trying to carry top weight to victory in the Hennessey on Saturday, but his brother Silverburn defends the family honour tomorrow.  His form over hurdles is smart having finished 4th in the Ballymore Properties Hurdle at the Festival but chasing was always going to be his game. Charlie Mann rates Air Force One as a future Gold Cup contender.  He is another with Festival hurdles form as he was second to Wichita Lineman in the Brit Insurance Novice Hurdle.  Lead On has had a couple of outings over hurdles and now begins his chasing career. He has only run 6 times in his career and on his only other visit to Newbury he was only beaten a neck by Special Envoy.  He has already run well this season when only going down by a neck to the well handicapped Don’t Push It. His last start at Aintree can probably be ignored. If pushed for a selection I would have to go with Silverburn.


Theatrical Moment, a winner of 4 bumpers, has finished runner up on both his starts over hurdles this season.  He could well go one better in the 3.40 at Newbury.   The main danger is likely to come from The Package who was second on his hurdles debut at Chepstow recently.


The Paul Nicholls runner in the 1.00, Chapoturgeon, looks a nice long term chasing prospect.  This will be his first run in the UK.  Kavaloti may be the more forward of the two.  He finished 2nd on the all; weather at Kempton over 2 miles at the end of August.


Prince Car was an expensive purchase for Howard Johnson’s yard after showing good form between the flags and in a bumper at Limerick.



Nap of the day


Newbury 3.40 – Theatrical Moment


Today’s trivia


The big race on Saturday is of course the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.  The race is synonymous with the Berkshire track these days but the first ever running back in 1957 was held at Cheltenham


What’s in a name?


I have always been a bit wary about backing horses with names like Trigger for obvious reasons! All that has changed recently though as both Russian Trigger and Trigger the Light have won for our list to follow.  Both were sired by Double Trigger as was Triggerman who runs for Len Lungo in the 3.30 at Musselburgh tomorrow.


Continue reading “Diary: November 30 2007”

Diary: November 29 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Uttoxeter 1.00 – Pebrock


Uttoxeter 2.356 – Mister Potter



Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Carlisle 12.50 – La Troussardiere


Carlisle 2.25 – Numero un de Solzen


Uttoxeter 3.40 – Ricardos Chance


Russellform Ramblings


There were a couple of winners for our list to follow yesterday, notably Blue Splash for in form trainer Peter Bowen.  Blue Splash is a full brother to Ungaro and this was his 4th career win.  He looks a horse to follow and I am looking forward to seeing him back over fences.


I understand that Robert Alner continues to make progress after his serious car accident.  His stable had a good winner today in Silver Inngot at 10/1.  He was having his first run since April 2005 after suffering a series of injuries.


Turning to tomorrow’s racing Pebrock makes his hurdles debut in the 1.00 at Uttoxeter for Welsh trainer Evan Williams.  Pebrock won his only start in a Southwell bumper last season when trainer by Nigelo Twiston-Davies.


Mister Potter is bred for the job as he is related to the likes of Denman and Silverburn.  He showed form, over hurdles last season and looks the type to make a chaser.


Numero un de Solzen was a consistent chaser last season.  He won at Newcastle beating the useful Cloudy Lane.  He looks to have a fair chance in the 2.25 at Carlisle.


Ricardo’s Chance has won 3 times over hurdles but they all came on good to firm ground.


There are a couple of other interesting runners in action today.  Colisay runs in the 1.00 at Uttoxeter.  He finished 4th in the 2003 Lincoln.  He won 4 times on the flat and was ridden by a certain K Fallon on each occasion.


Barzak who runs in the 2.05 at Uttoxeter is best known as an all weather performer on the flat.  I remember him making a very good start to his flat career a few years back when he won at 11/1 on his debut at Leicester.



Nap of the day


Pebrock – Uttoxeter 1.00


Today’s trivia


In 1822 Middleham trainer James Croft saddled the first 4 home in the St Leger.


What’s in a name?


La Troussardiere is named after a stud in France.


Continue reading “Diary: November 29 2007”

Diary: November 28 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Chepstow 1.10 – Master Overseer


Chepstow 2.55 – Blue Splash


Lingfield 1.30 – Pauillac


Lingfield 3.45 – Gentle John


Russellform Ramblings


Gaspara was beaten at Kempton today which would make me a bit wary of the David Pipe stable at presents.  Blue Splash is being aimed at various targets over fences and tomorrow may be a prep race over hurdles.


Nap of the day


What A Friend –  1.10 Chepstow


Today’s trivia


What a Friend is partly owned by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson


What’s in a name?


Brown Demerera who runs in the 12.30 at Lingfield is aptly named as he is a chestnut by the sire Sugarfoot.


Continue reading “Diary: November 28 2007”

Diary: November 27 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Kempton 1.10 – Gaspara


Kempton 1.45 – Treasury Counsel & Trigger the Light



Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Kempton 12.30 – Custom Design


Sedgefield 1.35 – Serabad



Russellform Ramblings


The 1.45 at Kempton looks a hot beginner’s chase.  Trigger the Light won twice over hurdles last season, beating Ornais, who has since won over fences, at Taunton.  Treasury Counsel is another dual hurdles winner and like Trigger the Light should make a better chaser.  The ex French Vitray is a well bred newcomer form Paul Nicholls while Carnival Town has chasing experience, having finished 2nd to Money Order a couple of weeks ago at Bangor.


Nap of the day


Trigger the Light – Kempton 1.45


Today’s trivia


In 1916 The Grand National was held at Gatwick in Surrey.


What’s in a name?


The stallion Dr Fong has some interestingly named progeny to his credit.  Not least the cheekily named Fong’s Thong who was a winner in the USA before winning a couple of races over here for Brian Meehan in July 2004.


Continue reading “Diary: November 27 2007”

We Have Been Here Before

We Have Been Here Before

I think I remember this moorland,
  The tower on the tip of the tor:
I feel in the distance another existence;
  I think I have been here before.

And I think you were sitting beside me
  In a fold in the face of the fell:
For Time at its work’ll go round in a circle,
  And what is befalling, befell.

“I have been here before!”  I asserted
  In a nook on the neck of the Nile.
I once in a crisis was punished by Isis,
  And you smiled, I remember your smile. 

I had the same sense of persistence
  On the site of the seat of the Sioux;
I heard in the tepee the sound of a sleepy
  Pleistocene grunt.  It was you.

The past made a promise, before it
  Began to begone.
This limited gamut brings you again … damn it,
  How long has this got to go on?

Morris Bishop

Continue reading “We Have Been Here Before”

Diary: November 26 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Ludlow 1.20 – Commander Vic


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Ayr  1.40 – Ballyvoge



Russellform Ramblings


It was a weekend that promised much with top class racing at a number of tracks.  In the event rarely have the highs and lows of jumps racing been brought into such stark contrast.


After his defeat at the hands of Monet’s Garden the experts were divided on Kauto Star – was he just a shooting star, a one season wonder, or did getting that close to the Nicky Richard’s grey constitute a fantastic result?  There was no doubting his performance at Haydock where he once again got the better of his arch rival Exotic Dancer.  Greatness beckons perhaps for the Nicholls chaser.


Sadly for the second consecutive week the racing was marred by a fatality with the high class grey Detroit City the latest casualty.  Worse was to follow when Noel Meade’s Mac Three was killed at Navan this afternoon.


It was an up and down weekend for jockeys and punters as well.  Sam Thomas certainly experienced the highs.  Not only did he partner Kauto Star but he then made it a big race double on board Mr Pointment in the Becher Chase.   You had to feel for Bewley’s Berry who finished second in the Becher Chase for the second year and once again beaten by a Paul Nicholls runner; last season it was Eurotrek.


It wasn’t an easy weekend for some punters.  Special Envoy, one of our horses to follow was absolutely cruising when tipping up at the final obstacle in the valuable handicap hurdle at Haydock.  Had jockey Paddy Merrigan  been on the tennis court he would have been censured for “crash hat” abuse when he showed his frustration at missing out on the biggest win of his career. It’s also as well that the running rail has plenty of give in it or he would have broken his foot!


 I didn’t back the horse myself but I know a man who did at 20/1 and 25/1.  Merrigan was quick to come back though as he rode a double today, one of them coming in at 66/1.  Getting back to Special Envoy his last hurdle fall must have been especially galling as the same thing happened to him last season at Aintree.


Staying withj the disappointments it was a shame to see just 2 runners in the Peterborough Chase.  Surely a prize like that should have attracted a bigger field?


Anyway, onward and upwards.  I am making Commander Vic my nap today with slight reservations as the Pipe yard have not been in the best of form lately.  Only 2 wins from the last 38 runners is certainly not typical of that stable.  However they have had 2 winners from the last 8 so maybe the poor run is coming to an end.


Nap of the day


Commander Vic – Ludlow 1.20


Today’s trivia


In 1957 the Whitbread Gold Cup became the first commercially sponsored race.


What’s in a name?


Sonny Liston runs in the 1.40 at Ayr. The original Sonny Liston won the World Heavyweight title in 1962 knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round.  He lost the title to Cassius Clay, alter to become Mohammed Ali.  The horse is cleverly named as he is by Supreme Leader out of Going Down (get it?)


Continue reading “Diary: November 26 2007”

Diary: November 25 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Aintree 12.30 – Another Bottle & Laborec


Aintree 1.05 – Cedrus Libani


Aintree 2.15 – Altilhar


Aintree 2.50 – Bewley’s Berry


Plumpton 12.55 – Otage De Brion


Plumpton 2.05 – Teamgeist


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Aintree 2.50 – King Killone


Aintree 3.25 – Ballabriggs


Plumpton 1.30 – Dear Villez



Russellform Ramblings


Howard Johnson has his team in good form and the 12.30 at Aintree could well go to his Laborec, who was a very creditable 2nd to Crocodiles Rock last time.  The main threat is likely to come from the former decent flat handicapper Another Bottle.  Another from the Howard Johnson yard, Bewley’s Berry has shown a liking for the Aintree fences before and should go well in the Becher Chase.  King Killone has an each way chance at around 12/1.


At Plumpton the 3 horses noted from our lists to follow all look to have good chances.  At Navan my main fancies are Liskennett in the 12.55 and Merdeka in the 2.30.


Nap of the day


Navan 2.30 – Merdeka



Today’s trivia


Starting stalls were introduced in 1965.


What’s in a name?


Teamgeist is German for team spirit.


Continue reading “Diary: November 25 2007”

Diary: November 24 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Ascot 1.20 – New Little Bric & Regal Heights


Ascot 1.50 –  Afsoun & Wichita Lineman


Ascot 2.20 – Pablo du Charmil


Haydock 12.30 – Lightning Strike & Tazbar


Haydock 1.35 – Taranis & Special Envoy


Haydock 2.05 – Kauto Star, Exotic Dancer & My Way de Solzen


Haydock 2.35 – Cloudy Lane


Haydock 3.45 – Jorveybrook


Huntingdon 3.35 – Aces Four


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Ascot 1.50 – Kings Quay


Ascot  2.55 – Labelthou


Haydock 1.35 – Halcon Generlardais 

Haydock 2.35 – High Chimes


Russellform Ramblings


The 1.50 at Ascot will take some winning with two former Champion Hurdle victors in the line up.  Afsoun, who will want a brisk pace over just short of two and a half miles, may enhance his World Hurdle prospects at the expense of last year’s winner Hardy Eustace.  The other interesting runner is Wichita Lineman who goes well fresh but I will stick by Afsoun for my selection.


The big race of the day is of course the Betfair Chase at Haydock which features the first 3 home in the Gold Cup last year plus the Queen Mother Champion Chaser My Way de Solzen.  Exotic Dancer has run 17 times in the UK with 5 wins.  Four of those have come at Cheltenham where he is something of a course specialist. If this was at Cheltenham I would be a bit interested – but it isn’t.  Anyway, I don’t really see why either Exotic Dancer or Turpin Green should reverse the form with the Paul Nicholls star.  If there is any chink in the Kauto Star armoury than the one to find it out might be My Way de Solzen.  He is a horse with star quality himself and is one of the best jumpers around.


Staying at Haydock Taranis can take advantage of an attractive handicap mark to land the 1.35.  He may not be great value for money though.  In the 2.35 Cloudy Lane could be another on a good mark.


The recent rain will have helped the chances of New Little Bric in the 1.20 at Ascot.  He should go well here as should the other one from our list to follow, Regal Heights.


Jorveybrook has a big reputation at home and can give Nicky Richards a winner in the 3.45 at Haydock.


Henrietta Knight has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon down the years.  She is once again well represented by Racing Demon this year.  She has her string in good form but then so does Ferdy Murphy who saddles Aces Four.  He looked like he needed the run when going well until being pulled up on his recent reappearance.  I will give a slight preference to Aces Four, especially if the weather remains dry.


My main fancies at Gowran Park are Sophocles (12.45) and Aranleigh (1.15)


 Nap of the day


Haydock 3.35 – Jorveybrook


Today’s trivia


The first flat race ever run on the all weather was at Lingfield on 30th October 1989. The winning horse was Niklas Angel – a colt trained by Conrad Allen and ridden by Richard Quinn.


What’s in a name?


Wichita Lineman was the name of a hit single by pop/country and western star Glen Campbell in the 60s.



Continue reading “Diary: November 24 2007”

Diary: November 23 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Ascot 3.45 – Bywell Beau, Laustra Bad, European Dream & Amour Multiple


Exeter 12.30 – Seven is Lucky


Exeter 1.00 – The Empty Tin


Exeter 3.20 – The Tother One


Kelso 12.10 – I’m Delilah


Kelso 1.15 – Smart Street


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Ascot 2.00 – Blue Bajan


Russellform Ramblings


Miss Mitch and Russian Trigger provided our list to follow with a couple of successes this afternoon.  There should be more races to be won with both these.


There is some decent jumps racing tomorrow from 3 tracks as long as Kelso passes an inspection.  There is a frost expected there overnight.


Starting at Ascot in the 2.00 Andy Turnell’s Blue Bajan won 8 times on the flat and appeals as the type to make a hurdler.


The Ascot 3.45 features 4 runners from our list to follow.  Bywell Beau is a keen front running sort but may set things up for those behind him.  European Dream is another free going sort.  He has progressed on the flat in the summer winning 4 times. Armour Multiple has the look of a chaser but ran very well for a long time over hurdles last time out finishing 5th over course and distance.  That was after a long lay off and on unsuitable fast ground so he can go even better tomorrow.  David Pipe saddles Laustra Bad who was 3rd to stable companion Gaspara at the Festival last year.  There should be plenty of pace on here and I fancy Laustra Bad to pounce late under Tony McCoy.  Amour Multiple could be an each way shot.


David Pipe also has a good chance in a handicap hurdle at Exeter where he saddles Seven is Lucky in the 12.30.  He has had the 3 runs necessary to qualify for a handicap mark and could be well treated.


Paul Nicholls has a couple of promising runners at Exeter.  The Empty Tin won 4 of his 6 point to points in Ireland and was second in the other two.  He could well make a winning start over fences in the 1.00 while the Tother One who runs in the 1.30 was an impressive winner of a Chepstow bumper on his only start last season.


Up at Kelso I’m Delilah can make a winning start for Nicky Richards over hurdles.  She was a strikingly impressive bumper winner at Cheltenham last season.  One of the main dangers may be Compromiznotension, a recruit form the flat from Howard Johnson’s yard.


Lastly, Smart Street will have learned from his first run over fences when finishing 3rd at Kelso and returns to the borders track for the 1.15.



Nap of the day


Smart Street Kelso 1.15


Today’s trivia


The Tother One who runs in the 3.20 at Exeter is a half brother to high class chaser Thisthatandtother.


What’s in a name?


Devil’s Island won one race from 10 starts for Sir Mark Prescott, the sole success coming at Wolverhampton last year.  Devil’s Island or Ile du Diable, is the name of a prison on an island in the Atlantic where thousands of prisoner’s were sent from France between 1852 and 1946.  It was the scene of the novel and film Papillon.



Continue reading “Diary: November 23 2007”