Diary: February 1 2009


I had a rather disappointing day today with a number of my list horses such as Ballydub and Osana running well without winning.

The weather may take a hand tomorrow as we do seem to be in for some arctic conditions. In the hope that we do get some racing am going to start my preview of Sunday’s racing with a look at the Musselburgh card where Knockara Beau might be worth considering in the 1.30. This useful bumper performer is yet to make an impact over hurdles but has been given a break and his jockey tomorrow has a record of 121 on him.


Although Kalahari King was beaten last time out the winner Doctor David did the form no harm this afternoon and the Ferdy Murphy 8 year old can get back to winning form in the 3.00 at the Scottish track.

There are two runners from my list to follow in action at Fontwell. Circus of Dreams in the 2.10 and Pterodactyl in the 4.10. Both have chances and it is important to note that the trainer of Pterodactyl is in particularly good form.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Alison Wilson.

Bye for now

Diary: January 31 2009


We probably need to enjoy our racing while we have the chance tomorrow as apparently there is another cold snap awaiting us next week

Copper Bleu fairly bolted up at Newbury at the end of November winning by 14 lengths. The second on that occasion, Riverside Theatre franked the form the other day so I am inclined to favour Copper Bleu tomorrow in the 1.55 at Doncaster. The newcomer Master of Arts looks the danger. Now with David Pipe he ran up a sequence of 6 wins ion the flat for Sir Mark Prescott.

Lothian Falcon is a likable type. He has only been out of the first 3 4 times in his last 16 starts. He lines up in the 2.30 at Doncaster tomorrow and although he hasn’t run for 280 days he has gone well fresh in the past. He does need a sound surface so keep an eye on the going if you fancy him. Given good ground I can see him being placed at least.


There are 4 runners from my list to follow in the 3.00. I tipped Kilmackilloge when he won at Wetherby in November partly on the basis that he goes well fresh and this was his first start of the season. He won well that day and has been given a 2 month break. He has gone up 8 lbs for his win which will obviously make life more difficult for him. He will appreciate the drying ground though. He is certainly not a forlorn hope but there are others I prefer. I’msingingtheblues looks the best of the Paul Nicholls trio. His form figures over fences read 121 and his last win when beating Calgary Bay was a good performance. He has won for his jockey tomorrow; Christian Williams and has strong claims. I’m So Lucky put in an encouraging effort when second to Planet of Sound at Newbury trying to give the winner 10 lbs and is another for the short list. Three Mirrors was 5th in the Paddy Power and arguably is best over further than tomorrow’s 2 miles. However there is likely to be a strong gallop which will bring his stamina into play. He is another that will not want the ground too soft .

These 4 all have a chance but at the odds I am inclined to go for Three Mirrors from a yard that traditionally does well in the second half of the season.

Gypsy George was runner up to Jass when they met at Ayr 3 weeks ago but now meets that rival on better terms in the 3.30. Gypsy George should be suited by this test of stamina and he is the selection.

In the 4.10 The Hollinwell and Picture This are my list runners. I am not confident enough about their chances to recommend them tomorrow though.

Turning my attention to Sandown there are some Champion Hurdle contenders lining up in the 2.05. Celestial Hero is likely to be a warm order following his second to Binocular last time. He was very enterprisingly ridden that day though and it is just possible that his finishing position flattered him a little. I am going to take a chance here and oppose him with last season’s Champion Hurdle runner up Osana. Although having his first outing of the season David Pipe is sure to have him fit to do himself justice.

katy sandown

Buck the Legend represents my lit to follow in the 2.35 but with the form of the Twiston-Davies yard not at its strongest I am going to give this one a miss.

I have a short list of 3 in the 3.10. Ballydub chased home Punchestowns earlier in the season and that horse is now one of the favourites for the World Hurdle. The fact that Ballydub was a faller last time will put some people off but if we ignore that run he would be in with an excellent chance. How’s Business struggled at the start of the season but after a breathing operation absolutely bolted up at Exeter on New Year’s Day. She could still have more to offer. At a really big price Khachaturian comes from a stable that is in red hot form and this front runner might be a bit of each way value.

At Wetherby my each way selection in the 1.15 is Breakwater House. He looks on a fair mark and the testing conditions should bring his stamina into play.

There are a couple of runners from my list to follow in the 2.30, The Whisperer and Daldini. The Whisperer has had injury problems but has plenty of talent and if he can be kept sound there should be a nice prize or two in him. He is yet to finish out of the first 3 in his career and is a leading contender here. Daldini put in a respectable effort when 3rd at Doncaster last week. He handles give in the ground and his turn may not be far away.

katy wetherby

Wild Cane Ridge has won 9 times in his career with 4 wins each in heavy and soft ground. In very testing conditions he would be a big threat in the 2.50.

Companero has won his last 5 races and has impressed me with his attitude and ability this season. He is the selection in the 3.25. Skipper’s Brig has won 5 times in his career all on heavy ground. If the ground is bottomless then he would be a big danger to the selection.

Today’s pictures are by kind permission of the artist Katy Sodeau.

That is about it for tonight.


Diary: January 30 2009


Tomorrow’s jumps action comes from Catterick and Chepstow and there are a few runners from my list to follow to talk about.

At Catterick in the 3.45 Or D’Oudairies makes his chase debut. Not a bad hurdler, rated 112, he would be in with a shout if he takes to fences. He might not want the ground too testing though.

Vodka Brook won in emphatic style at Wincanton a couple of weeks ago and if repeating that sort of form would be hard to stop in the 1.20 at Chepstow.

pulled up

Like Vodka Brook, Pistol Desbois is attained by Robert and Sally Alner. He runs in the 1.50 where he should go well if his jumping holds up.

There are 3 runners from my list to follow in the 2.25 Qlinton, Hivikos and Quail. With David Pipe having had a few winners in the last week Qlinton could be a value each way bet at around 14/1.

Moorlands Teri won on the soft at Bangor last month and looks to follow up in the 4.40. The form of that race has worked out well and she should be in the first 4.

My thanks to the artist Ruth S Harris for allowing me to use today’s picture.  See links for more examples of this artist’s work.


Diary: January 29 2009


The Philip Hobbs trained Mark the Book has always looked a chaser in the making and although he has been off the atrck for a fair while I am going to tip him to get off the mark over fences in the 4.00 at Towcester tomorrow. Formerly a decent hurdler he ran well on only his second chase start when runner up at Chepstow in December 2007.At a bigger price Sir Peter, a faller last time out, looks over priced.

lille 614

Pride of Dulcote will be long odds on to land the Wincanton 2.40 but I am going to oppose him with Bakbenscher who showed improved form when winning his last start at Newbury.

Simply Blue represents my list to follow in the 3.10. He was 2nd over course and distance last October but has been slightly disappointing in two subsequent5 runs. If at his best he would have an each way chance.


Diary: January 28 2009


From the 6 horses mentioned in last night’s preview we had 2 winners and 3 seconds.

Once again this evening I am a little pushed for time so this will be a short update. The following horses from my list to follow are entered tomorrow.

Exeter 4.05 – Big Eared Fran

Leicester 1.35 – Carrickmines

Leicester 2.45 – Nom de Guerre

Leicester 3.55 Cruising River

Newcastle 1.55 – Steady Tiger

Newcastle 3.05 – Door Boy & Classic Cut


Diary: January 27 2009


The following runners from my list to follow are entered tomorrow.

Folkestone 1.50 – King Brex and Den of Iniquity

Folkestone 2.50 – The Old Pretender

Taunton 1.30 – Qozak

Taunton 2.00 – Special Envoy

Taunton 2.30 – Joker’s Legacy

Den of Iniquity, The Old Pretender and Qozak all look to have good chances and they are the selections.


Diary: Hanuary 26 2009

Christian Williams had a good win on Saturday on Big Fella Thanks. Tomorrow Williams rides the highly promising Lodge Lane for trainer Victor Dartnall in the Kempton 2.05. Lodge Lane jumped well when accounting for Wichita Lineman at Exeter on his chase debut and I fancy him to follow up tomorrow.

Buffalo Bob was a disappointing beaten favourite on his last start at Sandown. He tackles a longer trip tomorrow in the Kempton 2.40 and that should be to his advantage. He has an each way chance.


Riverside Theatre had some smart bumper form winning twice as well as finishing 3rd to Diamond Harry at Newbury. He was a respectable 2nd to Copper Bleu on his hurdles bow and could go one better in the Kempton 1.00.

Bye for now.


Diary: January 25 2009


There are 3 runners from my list to follow in action at Ayr tomorrow but I can’t give any of them a firm vote of confidence.

Nine de Sivola and Great Approach contest the 2.05.  Great Approach has not impressed with hsi jumping this season while Nine de Sivola has been expensive to follow and was pulled upon his last start. With conditions likely to be very testing Nine de Sivola does stay all day and if running up to his best would be my preference of the pair.

downwarrenhill Sally martin

Pakineo des Pictons runs in the 4.05.  He has not found his form this season and is probably best watched for the moment.

Open de L’Isle caught my eye when running on in the closing stages at Ayr on his last start and he is my fancy for the Hexham 2.45 especially as he has won twice in heavy ground.

Today’s picture is by kind permission of the artist Sally Martin.

Diary; January 24 2009


There seems a good chance that we will get some racing over the weekend after the weather having played havoc with the fixtures for a while.

The Cheltenham card kicks off with the 12.55 where Diamond Harry seeks to extend his unbeaten record.  He has looked a horse with enormous potential and he should win this on the way to better things. He has looked slightly quirky at times and if for some reason he doesn’t  perform then Bensalem, who is also unbeaten in 4 starts could be the one to profit.

Lucinda Russell sends Quws Law down to Cheltenham to contest the 1.30.  He has done all his winning at Ayr up to now and faces quite a stiff task here.  He is effective on the ground though and if he can get into a rhythm at the head of affairs he could take some pegging back.  He would be my each way selection in this race.


The 2.05 is one of those races where you could make a case for most of them.  Stan and Reveillez would have been my main fancies on better ground but I am not sure about them acting in testing ground.  I would love to see old Mister McGoldrick win this but at 12 years of age and he is certainly no forlorn hope having posted some decent efforts this season. I am a bit stuck for a selection to be honest – perhaps Private Be who should act of the ground, has run well at Cheltenham before and is not too badly handicapped.

In the 2.35 there is no doubt that Star de Mohaison is well treated at the weights and his earlier runs this season should have put him spot on.  He comes into the race with a good chance as does Tidal Bay who has never been out of the first two in his career.  With both these there is a slight worry about the ground so I am going to side with Halcon Generlardais who is proven in the conditions.

The 3.45 is next up where Punchestowns puts his World Hurdle credentials on the line.  He has been most impressive in his last two starts but has to give weight to some smart rivals.  Pettifour has been disappointing since winning at Wetherby in November and comes from a stable struggling for form.  Blazing Bailey loves Cheltenham and there is a chance that the blinkers will sharpen him up after a couple of rather below par displays.  Big Bucks looks the main danger to the favourite based on his win over course and distance on New Years Day.  This is a step up in class but with the weight allowance he must be a serious contender.  I would still go with Punchestowns as the likely winner but I would not be keen at a very short price.


King’s Revenge, Five Dream and Matuhi all make some appeal in the 4.20 but for my selection I am going to take a chance with The Jazz Musician.He has only run twice over hurdles but looked a potentially smart performer when winning at Chepstow last March.  I understood that the plan was to send The Jazz Musician over fences this season and given his absence from the track for 10 months there is the possibility that he has had some sort of a problem.  If fully wound up for this he should go well.

At Doncaster Lightning Strike looks the one to beat in the 12.35.  This ex German flat horse was a decent hurdler and he made a winning debut over fences  at Wincanton last month.  At a bigger price Auroras Encore, a recent winner at Sedgefield, could go well, although very testing ground would be a concern.

Chomba Womba will be hard to beat in the 1.05, a race she won last season, while Character Building and Halla San are my each way suggestions for the 1.40.

There are 2 runners from my list to follow in the 2.15. Nirvana Swing and Otage de Brion. Charlie Longsden’s horses are in better form at the moment and Otage de Brion could improve on recent efforts.

Big Fella Thanks was going well when unseating last time out and should be suited by conditions in the 3.25.  If he puts in a clear round I can see him running well.  Native Coral looks a fair outsider off a low weight.  Alexanderthegreat is another for the shortlist from the in form stable of Venetia Williams.


The 2.50 is a competitive renewal and Junior and On Raglan Road clash again after finishing first and second at Sandown last time.  On Raglan Road was not suited by the slowly run race on that occasion and might well get closer and the same can be said of the 5th in that race, Grizebeck with a more positive ride.  Cape Tribulation won over hurdles at Uttoxeter recently and is a progressive sort having won a couple of bumpers and on the flat. He is the other one I like in this.  I am going to stick with Junior though who put in a fair effort when second to Diamond Harry lat time out.

If Uttoxeter goes ahead Mewstone could be interesting in the 1.15 where he should be suited by the testing ground.

Today’s pictures are by kind permission of the artist Lisa Miller.

That is all for now.      

Diary: January 23 2009


National hunt racing continues to suffer as a result of the weather and Doncaster is the only UK meeting tomorrow.

The meeting opens with a handicap hurdle with 20 runners that will take some sorting out.  Max Bygraves has been running consistently and he should go well while Solid Silver is a horse I like at a bigger price.

Nothing else really catches my eye.