Diary: February 28 2009

I wasn’t too far away with my tips last night so let’s see if we can have more of the same.

Fairoak Lad has not been at his best this season but he has crept down the weights a little and should have the ground in his favour tomorrow in the Doncaster 2.55. The stable are in good form which is another plus.

In the 3.25 both Alderburn and Noir et Vert will like the ground. Of the two I slightly prefer the latter who was a shade unlucky last time out.

In th bumper at 4.00 there is a good word for Alan King’s Lidar. Fidelis, a beaten favourite on his only previous start might be interesting at a bigger price.

I suppose West End Rocker is the likely winner of the 4.35 although I am not over keen on the race to be honest. I would be tempted to support Nom de Guerre but for the fact that he failed to get round last time.

 best mate

Beggar’s Cap really likes a sound surface with 3 of his 4 career wins having come on good to firm, quite unusual for a winter jumper. If he gets his ground he would be interesting in the 5.10.

Kelso next and I hope that Open de L’Isle will give us a run for our money in the 2.00. He has put in a couple of fair runs over hurdles since the turn of the year and is back over fences tomorrow.

In the 3.35 Cloudy Lane looks the pick at the weights. Money Trix has plenty to do based on official ratings but has always been held in high regard by his trainer and may well be better than he has shown in his few runs to date. Evens about Cloudy Lane though looks a good bet if you can get it.

Dolessthanme and Knockara Beau represent my list to follow in the 4.10. Dolessthanme is the selection. He looks over priced at around 10/1.

Down at Kempton I am going to take a chance with King Brex in the 1.45. He is still a maiden but he has been getting closer and should appreciate the better ground after his 2nd to Den of Iniquity on heavy last time out.

In the 2.20 the pair I like are Captain Americo and Missoula. Captain Americo was a nice winner at Wincanton a couple of weeks back and looked a horse on the upgrade. Missoula, a very useful stayer on the flat was a winner at Fontwell but then failed to sparkle when beaten at Kempton on Boxing Day.

rooster booster

Free World has not quite been getting home in his races but he is a bold jumping front runner and the track at Kempton should suit him. I think he will be able to get out in front and stay there in the 4.30.

At Newbury I have 3 horses in mind for the 3.10, Ouzbeck, Hold Em and Money Order. Ouzbeck will like the ground but needs to come back from an early fall last week. Hold Em has been running consistently and last week was 3rd in the arcing post chase. The drying ground will suit both of these two. Money Order is a lightly raced type and is a course winner. My concern is that the trip might just be on the short side for him. Hold Em, with Richard Johnson on board, is my selection.

My only selection at Navan is Let Yourself Go each way in the 3.15.

As the Cheltenham Festival creeps ever nearer today’s illustrations are of triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate and the grey Rooster Booster, a past winner of the Champion Hurdle.  My thanks to the artist Lisa Miller for permission to use these.

Diary: February 27 2009


One of the highlights of tomorrow’s jumps racing will be the reappearance of Gold Award in the 2.00 at Doncaster. Nicky Henderson’s 6 year old won twice in bumpers before finishing 9th to Cousin Vinny in the Cheltenham Festival bumper. He makes his hurdles debut tomorrow where the good going predicted should help his cause.

Otage de Brion’s 3 career wins have all come on ground officially described as good so conditions may also be in his favour in the 3.05.

In the 3.40 Argento Luna sets the standard with Lindeman an alternative at a likely bigger price.

In the 4.45 Overbranch has winning form at the track and came good at this time last season. An each way chance.

Master Minded - Champion Chase winner

Turning to Newbury Very Cool is well handicapped in the 3.15. He is prone to the odd blunder but if he can put in a decent round of jumping he will be hard to beat.

There are a couple of runners from my list to follow in the 3.50. Lordsbridge put in a couple of decent efforts in the autumn but has been a bit disappointing since and I will burden Pterodactyl with my selection with the stable being in good form.

My thanks to Kate Tann for the photo of one of the stars of last year’s Cheltenham Festival, Master Minded.


Diary: February 26 2009

Not surprisingly the pre Cheltenham midweek racing is pretty low key stuff with Ludlow and Taunton supplying the action on Thursday.

Starting at Ludlow with the 2.50 Raysrock is progressing slowly but surely over fences and should be up to winning soon after a series of placed efforts.


In the final race on the card, the 5.20, Eradicate is likely to be a warm order after an impressive debut win over hurdles. Formerly rated 100+ on the flat he will be hard to beat. I see that Wahoo Sam makes his hurdles bow in this race. A winner 14 times on the flat mainly over a mile it would be no big surprise if he were to win a hurdle race or two, probably on an easy track on decent ground.

At Taunton Vodka Brook seeks to follow up an easy win Wincanton. He should go close in the 2.30.

The 3.00 is an interesting looking heat. Mark the Book has always looked to have a future over fences. He was a beaten favourite last time out at Towcester but is probably worth another chance. Quickbeam has had some problems with his jumping but if he can brush up in that department he would certainly be in with a shout. Another that needs to improve his fencing is Sir Winston but he does have ability, a good jumping pedigree and certainly looks the part. He has been brought along patiently and is another I would not rule out. If pushed for a selection I would side with Mark the Book.

our vic

With the Pipe stable back to form the former Irish points winner Another Display could be interesting in the 3.30 while the Paul Nicholls runner Qozak looks the one to be on in the 4.30.

Late update – Solid Silver has a chance in the Ludlow 2.20 where he is dropped in class.

Continuing the Cheltenham Festival theme with my illustrations today I am featuring a couple of former Ryanair Chase winners, Fondmort (top) and Our Vic. Both paintings are by kind permission of the artist Lisa Miller.


Diary: February 25 2009


Not much to say about Wednesday’s racing.

At Bangor I fancy Razor Royale in the 2.20 while in the 4.50 my two against the field would be Cadoudalas and Or D’Oudairies.


At Folkestone The Old Pretender represents my list to follow in the 2.10 and has a good chance with the main danger possibly Lord Tomnoddy.

Buffalo Bob is a tentative suggestion in the 3.40 while Irememberyou and Russian Trigger should go well in the 4.10.

Carrying on the Cheltenham theme this week the picture is of Moscow Flyer by permission of the artist Karen Davies.

Diary: February 24 2009


There isn’t a lot to say about tomorrow’s racing.

There are a trio of under achievers in the 4.10 at Catterick. Chief Dan George was a useful hurdler but is yet to get off the mark over fences in 3 attempts. In fact he hasn’t won anything since getting the better of Wichita Lineman and Imperial Commander over hurdles at Aintree. That was on good ground so maybe the improving conditions will help him. Great Approach has disappointed over fences in his 2 starts but did win over hurdles at Catterick. Master Builder was a distant 3rd at Ayr last time out but has run well on sharp tracks before.

Chief Dan George looks sure to go off favourite but I am going to take a chance that Great Approach will have learned from his first couple of runs over fences and that we will see some improvement from him.

At Leicester in the 2.20 Song of Songs looks the answer. I was impressed with his 3rd at Newbury behind Planet of Sound where he travelled and jumped well.


Rightway Star, Jaunty Flight and Backbord represent my list to follow in the Leicester 3.50. Backbord isn’t the most consistent but when things drop right for him he is capable enough as he showed when winning at Fakenham in November. He was pulled up on his last start over hurdles at Southwell but is out again quickly and the stable are in good form. Jaunty Flight disappointed over a shorter trip last week but she looked good when winning at Newbury before that. Rightway Star was a winner at Haydock on good ground in November and there may have been excuses for his subsequent defeat as he was reported to have bled.

Lightning Strike is the obvious danger but he didn’t jump too fluently on his latest start and I will go with Jaunty Flight to regain winning ways.

Continuing the Cheltenham theme with my illustrations today’s picture, courtesy of the artist Jane Dunn, is of Kauto Star.

Diary: February 23 2009


Not at all a bad haul from last night’s preview with winners aplenty at both Naas and Fontwell. Kicks for Free though proved that there is no such thing as a certainty!

Tomorrow we have meetings at Hereford and Plumpton.

In the first race at Hereford, the 2.30, Alan King gives a hurdles debut to the dual bumper winner Calafacial. Those bumper wins both came on the all weather surface at Lingfield so the drying ground should be a point in his favour.

I have a feeling that Carrickmines may be quite well handicapped in the 3.00. He has form on good ground as well so could be interesting.


Rippling Ring, a winner on the flat in South Africa looked a decent hurdles prospect when 5th in the Supreme Novices at the Festival last year but has been a big disappointment on his two starts this season. He remains on the same handicap mark in the 4.00 tomorrow so will have to improve on his earlier efforts this season. He clearly has ability and may well come good but will have to overcome Carrickboy who was a most impressive winner at Market Rasen last week.

Aureate is a recent winner on the flat on the all weather at Southwell. I see that Tony McCoy has been booked to ride him in the 3.50 at Plumpton which looks significant. At least we know the horse is fit and well and will get every assistance from the saddle. Also in thus race is Temple Place who deserves a mention. Although he has a fairly ordinary wins to runs ration backing him blindly throughout his career would have reaped dividends as his wins have come at odds of 20/1, 12/1, 8/1, 50/1 and 7/1.


A word of warning about the 4.20. Chopneyev is an admirable animal and has been one of my favourites over the years. He does relish the mud however so beware of supporting him in the 4.20 if the ground dries out. Teamgeist is an interesting runner in this. He has always looked a potential chaser on appearance and should have benefitted from his chase debut at Folkestone last month.

The photograph of Hereford racecourse is courtesy of Ruth S Harris while the painting, based on a scene at Plumpton is by kind permission of the artist Katy Sodeau.

That is about it for tonight.