Diary: February 1 2010

Sandynow is a horse I like and sets the standard in the Hereford 2.35. The main danger is likely to come from Gus Macrae who is trained by Rebecca Curtis, a trainer in good form lately.

Somersby should have too many guns for his rivals in the 3.05 although he will be at very short odds. Den of Iniquity is a nice type and could be the one to make the favourite work a bit.

At Plumpton Vamizi is better than his bare form figures suggest and he could belie long odds in the 3.15. Latin America won a couple of bumpers at Fontwell last season before finishing down the field in the Champion bumper at Cheltenham. He looks an interesting runner in the 2.45.

At Punchestown Silver Birch (pictured below) should go close in the 12.55. Luska lad is my selection in the 3.00.


At Limerick Ballyburke comes from a stable bang in form and has an each way chance in the 3.40.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Sarah Aspinall.

Diary: January 30 2010

There are competitive jumps meetings at 3 venues in the UK tomorrow weather permitting.

Starting in the 1.30 at Cheltenham tomorrow I have a short list of 3 who will all be suited by plenty of give in the ground. Den of Iniquity, Ernst Blofeld and Midnight Chase all look fair value. Ernst Blofeld comes into the race in good form and will not lack for stamina. He is the selection.

Exmoor Ranger is probably going to run at Doncaster but if he does go to Cheltenham he would be my selection in the 2.05.

Inchidaly Rock is unbeaten in two starts over fences and is a course and distance winner so is one for any shortlist in the 2.35. He is taking on more experiences rivals here and it is possible that he is better going right handed. Madison Du Berlais is a class act on his day but has struggled at Cheltenham in the past. These were the two I most fancied but they have enough question marks about them for me to shy away from a bet.

The 3.10 is quite a hot race. General Miller won well at Cheltenham on his hurdles debut after winning twice in bumpers while Fiulin is an interesting recruit from the flat. Royal Charm though looks one of the best young prospects in the Paul Nicholls yard and this step up in trip should suit him. He is my selection.

The Cleeve Hurdle at 3.40 is likely to be run at a decent pace so stamina will play an important part. Bouggler is one to consider at a big price while the likes of Katchit and Tidal Bay could not be ruled out, Tidal Bay in particular given the form of the stable. Mr Thriller had looked progressive until beaten by Sentry Duty in a 3 runner race at Cheltenham and now tackles 3 miles for the first time. The Pipe team are in form and Mr Thriller is one to consider but my main fancies are the progressive pair Lie Forrit and Time for Rupert. Time for Rupert won a handicap over course and distance in December on soft ground and is lightly raced. Lie Forrit I another that steps up in class after winning in handicaps but he has proven stamina and acts on soft ground.

inglis drever

Turning to Doncaster and the 1.10 Character Building has his first run since his win in the Kim Muir Chase and his main target will probably be the Grand National. The trip here looks to be on the short side for him and he will probably need the run. Merrydown was a winner at Kelso on soft ground last seaspon. He is a nice type but hasn’t run for 276 days. The percentage call may be Clova Island who is a consistent performer and looks each way value at around 17/2.

The giant Mad Max looks the one to beat in the 1.45. His main rival will probably be another great big horse in the Howard Johnson trained Quwetwo. A real clash of the giants this and a race well worth watching. Mad Max has the benefit of a recent run which may give him the edge.

In the 2.50 The Betchworth Kid, a useful stayer on the flat, looks the one to be on.

Victor Dartnall had a winner today with Giles Cross and I fancy his Exmoor Ranger in the 3.25. Alegralil is 4 from 4 at present having won twice in bumpers and also two hurdle races. He has done everything asked of him so far and will take some stopping in the 4.00.

From the same stable as Alegralil, Alderley Rover is my only selection at Uttoxeter where he runs in the 3.00.

Today’s picture, courtesy of the artist Lisa Miller, is of 2008 Cleeve Hurdle winner Inglis Drever.

Diary: January 29 2009


We have been on quite a good run over the last 7 days with the following winners highlighted;

Qozak 2/1, Wishfull Thinking 11/8, Peddlers Cross 11/8, Medermit 11/4, Vino Griego 4/5, Roberto Goldback 5/2, Premier Sagas 4/5, Mirage Dore 9/2, Solwhit 5/6, Quiscover Fontaine 1/1, Stormy Weather 5/2, The Nightingale 11/10, Door Boy 4/9, Tara Royal 8/15, Mille Chief 2/9, Carole’s Legacy 15/8, Sona Sasta 8/1.

David Pipe has his team in fine form at present and anything he runs at the moment is worth a second look. It wouldn’t surprise me if his Good Man Jack ran much better than his recent form might suggest in the Chepstow 2.55.

Giles Cross has only completed the course once in his last 4 starts but on that occasion he was a decent second at Chepstow, a course where he won over hurdles. He is not on a bad handicap mark and he gets my vote in the Chepstow 2.20.

Jungleand looks on a fair mark in the 4.05.

Sereth won in listed company on the flat in Germany and went on to finish 3rd in the 2009 Cesarewitch. He made a winning start over hurdles before finding one too good next time out. He has solid claims in the Doncaster 1.55. In the 3.05 at the Yorkshire track newcomer Blue Nymph looks the type likely to do well over hurdles. She was only out of the first two twice in 7 starts on the level and there have been good reports about her coming out of John Quinn’s stable.

Dual bumper winner McMurrough won over hurdles at Kelso in November before finishing 7th to Diamond Harry at Haydock. Provided the ground is not too testing I would give him an each way chance in the 4.15.

newbury small

At Newbury the 2.05 should be a penalty kick for Tataniano but he will be long odds on. Aiteen Thirtythree was touted as a potential superstar before being well beaten on his debut for Paul Nicholls when he was beaten 52 lengths by Reve De Sivola. He has to be better than that and is worth another chance in the 3.15.

Tony McCoy rides The Vicar for Hen Knight in the 3.50. He won at Haydock last season and the runner up that day has since won twice.

Today’s pictures are courtesy of the artist Lisa MIller.

Diary: January 28 2010

I see that Tony McCoy has 3 outside rides at Ffos Las tomorrow. The two he rides for trainer Rebecca Curtis look quite interesting. Praxiteles (1.55) is particularly well bred and showed promise on his hurdles debut. He should go well. Black Jack Blues is a dual bumper winner and was second over hurdles on his latest start. Bred to appreciate the trip in the 2.30 he looks worth considering.

Carole’s Legacy won at Exeter last month on unsuitable soft ground and ridden by Andrew Tinkler. Although Cool Friend is weighted to reverse the form of that race I will stick with the Nicky Henderson runner on better ground and with Barry Geraghty in the plate in the 3.05.

Silks DP

In the 3.40 I am going for a couple of outsiders in Devon Native and Sona Sasta. I had hopes for Qualypso D’Allier this season but he has unseated on both his starts. It is impossible to be too confident but if he can put in a clear round he wouldn’t be far away. Rather a big if though I am afraid. He runs in the 4.10.

Alan King’s Bakbenscher takes on some decent rivals in the Warwick 2.55 but having now got the confidence boost of a win over fences he should be good enough here.

Today’s picture is by courtesy of the artist Kirsten Harris.  Follow the link below for more information on this artist.

Kirsten Harris

Diary: January 26 2010


Both tomorrow’ jumps meetings are subject to inspections so I won’t go into a lengthy preview.  I have come up with one selection at each of the meetings. 

At Leicester I will go for Pliny each way in the 1.40 and at Sedgefield I like the chances of Tara Royal in the 1.30.

Diary: January 25 2010


Well, we had some winners over the weekend but there were also a couple that “got away.” I looked at Mirage Dore at Market Rasen but the form of the stable just put me off. In the event the horse jumped really well and won with something in hand giving rookie trainer Rose Dobbin her first ever winner. Mirage Gore looks a horse to follow and I am sure that the trainer will also go from strength to strength. Incidentally the horse in owned by the trainer’s parents.

Another winner that was findable was the grey Woodlands Genpower at Towcester. His last 3 wins had all come at Towcester and were all gained in the month of January. Given also that the horse had winning form on heavy ground and was a course and distance winner and 15/2 starts to look a generous price.

Anyway, onwards and upwards – let’s have a look at the racing on offer tomorrow.

Tricky Trickster won the National Hunt Chase at the Festival last year before moving from Nigel-Twiston Davies to Paul Nicholls. He is the big hope to give Nicholls a first Grand National success but in the meantime he is being campaigned over hurdles top protect his handicap mark for Aintree. He has his first run of the season at Fontwell in the 1.05. He won’t be fully wound up but should win.

City Affair

There are only 5 runners in the 1.35 but 4 of them have a live chance. I think the two to concentrate on are Chariot Charger and The Nightingale. The former has had two runs over fences already and despite falling last time looks a good prospect. The Nightingale is well thought of by the Ditcheat team however and can win on his chase bow.

Great Endeavour could be a value bet in the 2.45. After an excellent 3rd behind Lie Forritt in a competitive Cheltenham handicap hurdle he made a winning debut over fences at Towcester. Although short on chasing experience he did win an Irish point to point and with his stable in top form he is my selection.

At Lingfield my tentative selection is Rigadine de Beauchene who may be able to be more competitive now tackling handicap company. On pedigree he may need further so we won’t give up on him if he fails here.

Newcastle selections; 1.15 Stormy Weather; 1.50 Door Boy; 3.00 Washington Irvine; 3.35 Daldini.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Trudy Redfern.

Diary: January 24 2010

I was pleased to see most of the horses mentioned in last night’s preview give us a run for our money – some of them even won! Highlight of the day for me though was seeing old timer Our Vic (pictured below) make all in the Peter Marsh Chase. He has been a super horse for the Pipe team over the years.

our vic

My best bet at Market Rasen tomorrow is Premier Sagas in the 1.40. He wasn’t far behind a useful type in Turbo Island last time and a repeat of that sort of form could be good enough.

Mirage Dore has a chance in the 2.40 but the form of the stable would eb something of a concern.

Danny Cook, who gave Our Vic such a peach of a ride is on board Good Man Jack in the 1.50 at Towcester tomorrow. A former winning Irish pointer he is favoured by a stamina test and could go well at a big price.

Glenwood Knight, 3rd today, is entered in the Towcester 3.25 which is interesting. He would have a good chance.

War Footing has put in a couple of encouraging efforts since moving to Brendan Powell’s yard and has chances in the 3.35.

My selections for the Irish meetings;

Leopardstown; 1.45 Sports Line: 2.45 Solwhit: 3.20 Quel Esprit:

Limerick; 4.00 Quiscover Fontaine.

My thanks to the artist Lisa Miller for use of the picture of Old Vic.

Diary: January 23 2010

I will start tonight’s preview with the Ascot 2.05 where Cheltenham Festival winner Whiteoak has the best form in show. She is yet to win on soft or heavy ground however so it is as always worth bearing in mind the ground conditions tomorrow. On good or good top soft I would go with Whiteoak but otherwise Easter Legend, a winner on his last visit to Ascot, looks each way value at around 10/1 as long as all 8 runners stand their ground. Ruby Walsh is an interesting jockey booking.

Walsh rides Twist Magic in the 2.40 and the Paul Nicholls runner will take all the beating based on his win at Sandown in December. He was a beaten favourite on his only previous run at Ascot, in this race 2 years ago on soft ground but he remains the most likely winner. At big odds Oh Crick could be interesting. He was progressive last year winning at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals. He needs to improve a fair bit to match the likes of Twist Magic and Well Chief but he is young enough to do do.

Tasheba was my tip in the Lanzerote Hurdle last week but in unsuitable testing ground he was pulled up. He is 20/1 tomorrow and is tempting at that price, especially if the ground dries out. Nampour won off a mark of 130 at Aintree in October and despite losing twice since is still 8 lbs higher that that winning mark which I think gives hi s a bit too much to do. Pause and Clause is an interesting runner from the Emma Lavelle yard. He was 3rd in the Coral Cup last year and although 5 lbs higher now he remains one for the shirt list. He probably wouldn’t want the ground too soft. Micheal Flips was an easy winner at Kempton last week in the race where Tasheba was pulled up. Although 10 lbs higher tomorrow I can still see him getting in the frame. My selection though has to be Qozak who has a 5 lbs penalty for an easy win at Taunton in the week.

The 3.45 went to Miss Mitch last season and I fancy her to follow up that success tomorrow. She jumps and stays well and likes the track.

I had Red Harbour and Qroktou on my list to follow at the start of the season but neither has won a race yet. They both run in the 4.20 tomorrow and I certainly wouldn’t write either of them off just yet. Red Harbour won twice in bumpers last season at Ascot and I am going to give him my tentative each way selection.


There is also a good card at Haydock where I hope Peddlar’s Cross can get us off to a good start in the opener at 1.10. He is a horse with a touch of class and having won a point to pojnt and a bumper he won in impressive style on his hurdles debut at Bangor last month.

I have been following the Sue Smith chaser Garleton this season with some success.  He runs in the 1.45 at Haydock and having winning form on heavy ground he is in with a squeak.  He probably found the 4 miles of the Borders National a bit too far for him last time and takes a drop in trip here.  The two I most fear are Mark the Book and Huka Lodge who are both real mud lovers and will relish the conditions.

The 2.20 is a race to enjoy rather that bet on. The talented Diamond Harry makes his eagerly awaited chase debut now that connections have abandoned the idea of trying for the World Hurdle. He has not always been the most consistent of jumpers over hurdles so he is certainly not home and hosed yet. He clashes once again with an old rival in Bensalem. The pair met over hurdles last season with Diamond Harry coming out on top. The Alan King runner however has the edge on experience having already run twice over fences. Knockara Beau could be a threat to the big two. He has won 3 of his 4 starts over fences and was only beaten by the highly rated Weird Al on his only defeat. I think that a solid round of jumping will see Diamond Harry take the spoils but at 11/10 he doesn’t look good value.

Punjabi is odds on to win the 2.55 and will no doubt have come on for his run when 4th at Cheltenham last month. Punjabi is the reigning champion hurdler and should win but neither Medermit nor Cape Tribulation are forlorn hopes. Medermit finished in front of Punjabi when 3rd at Cheltenham last time out and the form of his second to Go Native in the Supreme Novices at last season’s Cheltenham Festival reads well now. Cape Tribulatoon has been running well in good company and is unlikely to disgrace himself here. I think that a price of around 11/4 about Medermit could represent value in this race and he gets the nod.

With Jass out of form lately my selection in the Peter March chase is Cloudy lane. Something of a course specialist he has won 5 out of his 8 starts at Haydock.

I have had my eye on a horse called Glenwood Knight since he finished second in a Hexham bumper. The winner Lie Forritt has since gone on to much better things and Glenwood Knight himself was perhaps unlucky to lose his only other race in the stewards room when he was disqualified at Exeter after finishing first past the post. He is my selection in the 4.00 at Haydock.

Former Ascot bumper winner Vino Griego ran pretty well when 3rd in a hot contest at Sandown in December and a repeat of that sort of form would put him in with a shout in the Haydock 4.10.

My selections at Leopardstown are Sorceror in the 1.30 and Roberto Goldback in the 2.00.

Today’s picture is by kind permission of Sarah Clegg.

DIary: January 21 2010


Paul Nicholls has a strong team out at Taunton tomorrow where Express Leader (2.30) and Qozak (3.00) should both go well.  Wishfull Thinking, rerouted from Newbury’s abandoned meeting today will present a significant danger in the 2.30.