Diary: January 1 2008

Horses running from our main list to follow


Cheltenham 1.00 – Ballyfoy


Cheltenham 1.35 – Lead On & Predateur


Cheltenham 2.10 – Bob Hall


Cheltenham 2.45 – Oscar Park


Cheltenham 3.20 – Gaspara, Afsoun, Wichita Lineman & Blazing Bailey


Exeter 12.40 – Lodge Lane


Exeter 2.25 – The Real Deal


Exeter 3.30 – Oslot


Catterick 1.55 – Shouyldhavehadthat


Catterick 3.35 – Starting Point


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Cheltenham 1.00 – Always Waining


Catterick 2.30 – Border Tale


Russellform Ramblings


Much has been written elsewhere about the stars of 2007, Dylan Thomas, Authorized, Kauto Star Denman etc.  I thought I would highlight one of the lesser lights that give us just as much pleasure (and sometimes profit).  The handicap chase at Haydock yesterday was aptly named the Last Fling handicap and sponsored by Blackpool Tower and Circus.  It was won in ultra game style by the grey Huka Lodge who epitomizes all that I love about jump racing.  He comes out year after year, is as tough as they come and a grey as well.  This was his 3rd win at the Lancashire track and he again confirmed his liking for a battle in the mud.







Huka Lodge is trained by Kate Walton whose stable is one of my “links.” 

The jumps season has been rather a disappointing one as far as my list to follow is concerned.  There have been few big priced winners with Niaid de Missalot the best so far (11/1) followed by Calgary Bay (9/1).  There have been some muliple winners, notably Tidal Bay who has won his 3 starts, as has his stable companion Cedrus Libani.  There have also been some big race successes from the likes of Kauto Star, Denman, L’Antartique and Twist Magic.  The end of term report must read “could do better” though so here’s hoping for an upturn in fortunes in 2008.


I will start the preview of Tuesday’s racing with the 1.00 at Cheltenham where 2 from our list to follow are in action.  Always Waining finished in mid division in the Hennessy and it is possible that the handicapper has just got his measure.  He ran well on his last visit to Cheltenham however and he does have a squeak here.  Ballyfoy, trained by Tom George is another that is possibly in the grip of the handicapper.  He did show a glimmer of promise when 4th on his last run and another positive is the booking of Timmy Murphy.  Ballyfoy certainly stays well.


There are 3 jumps meetings in the UK on New Years Day with runners from our list to follow represented at all 3.


The 1.35 looks tricky despite there only being 5 runners.  Lead On got off the mark over fences at Exeter last time and the 2nd and 3rd in that race have both won since.  Predateur is yet to win over fences but has run respectively in races won by Tidal Bay and Moon Over Miami. I am going to take a chance with Lead On.


Bob Hall is a consistent sort who goes well at Cheltenham.  He rarely runs a bad race and is likely to be suited by the conditions at Cheltenham.  He has an each way chance in the 2.10 but the indifferent form of the yard is a slight concern.


Star de Mohaison is likely to be all the rage in the 2.45 but has been off for over a year with injury and does not look value.  Oscar Park was in the process of running a big race when coming to grief at Newbury in a race won by Inglis Drever.  He is a course and distance winner and hopefully will give us a run for our money.


Afsoun has ticks in the right boxes in the 3.20 and looks the one to beat.  Blazing Bailey has disappointed so far this season but the stable are going well and I would not be surprised to see him back to something like his best.


Dual bumper winner Lodge Lane also made a successful start over hurdles at Fontwell and with his trainer in good form looks the one to be on in the 12.40 at Exeter.


The Real Deal does not seem to have taken to jumping fences but it is interesting that his trainer perseveres with him in that sphere.  He is well in at the weights potentially compared to his hurdles mark and if his jumping does improve could run well at a big price in the Exeter 2.25. Both trip and going should suit him.


Oslot makes his chasing debut for Paul Nicholls in the 3.30 at Exter.  A multiple winner on the flat in France he won twice over hurdles last season and he could well make a winning start over the larger obstacles.


Starting Point has winning form in bumpers and is with the right trainer to get the best out of him now he goes over hurdles.  As the saying goes, “he could be anything.”

 Happy New Year to all readers and best wishes for a healthy and profitable 2008.  

Nap of the day


Cheltenham 3.20 –Afsoun


Today’s trivia


The record time for the Cheltenham Gold Cup was 6 minutes 30 seconds set by Looks Like Trouble in 2000.


What’s in a name?


Snowy Day who runs in the 12.15 at Catterick maintains a winter/icy tradition as his dam was Snow White, who in turn was sired by Polar Falcon.


Continue reading “Diary: January 1 2008”

Diary: December 31 2007

Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Uttoxeter 1.00 – Oncle Bul


What’s in a name?


Toby Belch (Warwick 2.40) is quite aptly named as his dam was Peptic Lady.  He is also named after Sir Toby Belch, a character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.


Continue reading “Diary: December 31 2007”

Diary: December 30 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Haydock 1.00 – Master Overseer


Haydock 1.30 – Valentine’s Lady


Haydock 3.10 – Dictum


Taunton 2.25 – Pertinent


Taunton 2.55 – Bon Viveur


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Haydock 2.05 – Ballabriggs


Haydock 3.10 – Labelthou


Haydock 3.40 – Harry Wood


Taunton 3.30 – Opus Cafe


Nap of the day


Taunton 2.25 – Chrysander


Continue reading “Diary: December 30 2007”

Diary: December 29 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Bangor 2.15 – Super Nick


Musselburgh 12.15 – Laborec


Newbury 12.30 – Big Bucks


Newbury 1.35 – Dear Villez & Air Force One


Newbury 2.05 – Helens Vision & Theatre Girl


Newbury 2.40 – Lightning Strike


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Bangor 1.10 – Ordre De Bataille


Newbury 1.00 – Celestial Hero


Newbury 2.05 – Khyber Kim


Russellform Ramblings


Ordre De Boutaill probably needed the run when 3rd at Uttoxeter last month, but he jumped well and the form of the race looks OK.  He looks to have a sound each way chance in the 1.10 at Bangor.


Paul  Nicholls can do no wrong at the moment and Big Bucks and Celestial Hero will be expected to win for him at Newbury.


Helen’s Vision beat subsequent winner Pasco by 27 lengths over course and distance last time out and looks the one to beat in the 2.05 at Newbury.


Lightning Strike goes for the hat trick in the Newbury 2.40.  Tom Scudamore has the ride for trainer Venetia Williams.


Super Nick didn’t jump well when a beaten favourite at Wincanton but he is not short of ability and he can score in the Bangor 2.15 if he can improve on his hurdling.


Nap of the day


Helen’s Vision – Newbury 2.05



Continue reading “Diary: December 29 2007”

Diary: December 28 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Catterick 2.20 – Cedrus Libani


Leicester 1.00 – One Gulp & Cave Hill


Leopardstown 2.35 – Denman & L’Antartique


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Catterick 2.55 – Northern Quest


Russellform Ramblings


Halla San was a decent handicapper on the flat and can make a winning start over hurdles in the 1.50 at Catterick, a track where he won on the flat.


The 1.00 at Leicester looks to be between Orphelin Collinges, Cave Hill and One Gulp.  One Gulp showed abundant stamina when winning at Newbury and had useful form in bumpers.  The other two both fell last time out.  Cave Hill is a winning Pointer while Orphelin Collonges would have won at Hereford had he not crashed out at the last fence.  This is quite a trappy contest but I am going with the Longsden horse Orphelin Collonges with McCoy in the plate.


After such an impressive win in the Hennessy Denman is hard to oppose in the Lexus Chase.


Nap of the day


Leictester 1.00 – Orphelin Collonges


Continue reading “Diary: December 28 2007”

Diary: December 27 2007

Horses running from our main list to follow


Chepstow 12.20 – Mark the Book & Mister Potter

Chepstow 1.30 – Boyastara

Chepstow 2.05 – Not Left Yet

Chepstow 2.40 – Franchoek

Kempton 1.50 – Mossville

Kempton 2.25 – Vor Por Ustedes

Kempton 2.55 – Bible Lord & Caribou

Kempton 3.30 – Ouzbeck

WEtherby 1.25 – Bywell Beau

WEWtherby 3.05 – Lennon & Three Mirrors


Horses running from our “dark horses” list


Chepstow 2.05 – Halcon Generlardais

Chepstow 2.40 – Serabad & Tatenen

Kempton 12.40 – Indicible


Russellform Ramblings


Mark the Book has a tall home reputation but unfortunately his chase debut got no further than the first at Exeter.  He is out again quickly in the 12.20 at Chepstow and is preferred to Mister Potter who is yet to complete in his two chase starts.


Silver Inngot won after 951 days absence from the racecourse at Lingfield.  The longer trip in the Chepstow 12.55 should suit and I would be hopeful of a big run from him.


My 4 against the field in the Welsh National would be Preacher Boy, Gungadu, Homer Wells and Fair Question.  Gungadu seems to be most effective in small fields and I am going with Preacher Boy as my each way selection.  He was 3rd in the Hennessy last season and a repeat of that sort of form would see him in the shake up.


Franchoek has won at Chepstow on the flat and over hurdles and that should stand him in good stead in the 2.40.


The lightly raced Mossville looks reasonably handicapped in the 1.50 at Kempton and the step up to 3 miles could see further improvement in her.


Voy Por Ustedes has to give weight away all round in the 2.25 but may well be up to the task in a race he won last year.


Bible Lord was going as well as anything in the Hennessy until his stamina gave out.  The shorter trip and easier track should be in his favour in the Kempton 2.55. Caribou would have an each way chance but he must have soft ground.


Furmigadelagiusta won trice on the flat over 12 furlongs and looks the type that could do well over timber.  He makes his hurdles bow in the 2.00 at Wetherby.


Lennon blundered away a winning chance at the last fence when a beaten favourite at Kempton in October and looks to gain compensation in the 3.05 at Wetherby. He carries top weight and has to contend with a real Wetherby specialist in the shape of Mister McGoldrick  who has won 8 times at the Yorkshire venue. Another interesting runner is Kilmackilloge who won at Aintree in October and the form of that race has been franked since by the runner up.  Although it is 60 days since his last run Kilmackilloge goes well fresh and could run well at a price.


Nap of the day


Kilmackilloge – Wetherby 3.05.


Today’s trivia


During the 2006/7 season Howard Johnson saddled 54 winners from 399 runners.


What’s in a name?


In 1992, the National was run just a few days before John Major unexpectedly led the Conservative party to victory in the General Election. The winner was the aptly named Party Politics.


Continue reading “Diary: December 27 2007”



Just for a space I met her –
  Just for a day in the train!
It began when she feared it would wet her,
  That tiniest spurtle of rain:
So we tucked a great rug in the sashes,
  And carefully padded the pane;
And I sorrow in sackcloth and ashes,
  Longing to do it again!

Then it grew when she begged me to reach her
  A dressing-case under the seat;
She was “really so tiny a creature,
  That she needed a stool for her feet.!”
Which was promptly arranged to her order
  With a care that was even minute,
And a glimpse – of an open- worked border,
  And a glance – of the fairyest boot.

Then it drooped, and revived at some hovels –
  “Were they houses for men or for pigs?”
Then it shifted to muscular novels,
  With a little digreesion on prigs:
She thought “Wives and Daughters” “so jolly”;
  “Had I read it?” She knew when I had,
Like the rest, I should dote upon “Molly”;
  And “poor Mrs Gaskell – how sad!”

“Loke Browning?” “But so-so.”  His proof lay
  “Too deep for her frivolous mood,
That preferredyour mere metrical souffle
  To the stronger poetical food;
Yet at times he was good – “as a tonic”;
  Was Tennyson writing just now?
And was this new poet Byronic,
  And clever, and naughty, or how?

Then we trifled with concerts and croquet,
  Then she daintily dusted her face;
Then she sprinkled herself with “Ess Bouquet”,
  Fished out from the foregoing case;
And we chattered of Gassier and Grisi,
  And voted Aunt Sally a bore;
Discussed if the tight rope were easy,
  Or Chopin much harder than Spohr.

And oh! The odd things that she quoted,
  With the prettiest possible look,
And the price of two buns that she noted
  In the prettiest possible book;
While her talk like a musical rillet
  Flashed on with the hours that flew,
And the carriage, her smile seemed to fill it
  With just enough summer – for Two.

Till at last in her corner, peeping
  From a nest of rugs and of furs,
With the white shut eyelids sleeping
  On those dangerous looks of hers,
She seemed like a snowdrop breaking,
  Not wholly alive nor dead,
But with one blind impulse making
  To the sounds of the spring overhead;

And I watched in the lamplights’s swerving
  The shade of the down-dropped lid,
And the lip-line’s delicate curving,
  Where a slumbering smile lay hid,
Till I longed that, rather than sever,
  The train should shriek into space,
And carry us onward – for ever –
  Me and that beautiful face.

But she suddenly woke in a fidget,
  With fears she was “nearly at home”,
And talk of a certain Aunt Bridget,
  Whom I mentally wished – well at Rome;
Got out at the very next station,
  Looking back with a merry bon soir,
Adding, too, to my utter vexation,
  A surplus, unkind Au Revoir.

So left me to muse on her graces,
  To doze and to muse, till I dreamed
That we sailed through the sunniest palces
  In a glorified galley, it seemed;
But the cabin was made of a carriage,
  And the ocean was Eau-de-Cologne,
And we split on a rock labelled MARRIAGE,
  And I woke, – as cold as a stone.

And that’s how I lost her – a jewel,
  Incognita – one in a crowd,
Not prudent enough to be cruel,
  Not worldly enough to be proud.
It was just a shut lid and its lashes,
  Just a few hours in a train,
And I sorrow in sackcloth and ashes,
  Longing to see her again.

Austin Dobson

Continue reading “Incognita”