Diary: February 27 2010


Sadly Newcastle’s Eider meeting has already fallen by the wayside but hopefully Kempton will go ahead. The big betting race at Kempton is the Racing Post Chase at 3.05. Last season’s winner Nacarat lines up again and with Tony McCoy on board will no doubt have his supporters. He is 11 lbs higher in the weights than last year but comes here on the back of a 4th to Kauto Star in the King George. He did have a very hard race that day and that might be a factor against him. Madison Du Berlais was second in the King George and is a course and distance winner. In a race that has favoured those at the higher end of the weights Nacarat and Madison Du Berlais both look worth serious consideration. Philip Hobbs has a good record in the race and he saddles Private Be who has been runner up in 4 of his last 5 starts. He actually beat Nacarat back in December 2008 off level weights and now gets a load of weight from that rival. He seems to act on any ground and is interesting. Atouchbetweenacara is the other one that I quite like. He has returned to Venetia Williams’ yard after a spell with Tim Vaughan. He beat Private Be by 24 lengths at Cheltenham at the end of last season and although worse off at the weights that performance puts him in with a chance. As always this is a tough looking handicap but with the first time blinkers on I will take Madison Du Berlais to give David Pipe another big race win.


Punjabi is yet to win since his success in the Champion Hurdle. He has his Festival prep run in the 1.00 where he will be long odds on.

The 1.30 is more of a betting proposition. Numide looks quite attractively weighted while the consistent Clova Island is another I like the look of.

The 2.00 is quite an open race. Vino Griego won in heavy ground at Wincanton and given the right conditions he would be dangerous. Frascati Park on the other hand would prefer a better surface. If the ground is soft or worse I will go with Vino Griego otherwise Frascati Park is the selection.

The Nightingale will be hot favourite in the 2.30 but after only 1 chase start behind him the price looks to skinny and I would be looking to take him on with either Red Admiral or Viking Rebel. The latter is slowly coming back to form after a long absence and he gets the nod.

Mille Chief should be too good for the opposition in the 3.40.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Elizabeth Barrett.

Diary: February 25 2010

Hidden Keel gave us a winner today and I really should have had another with Chief Dan George who was certainly “findable” in the veteran’s chase at Doncaster. These races bring together plenty of old favourites and are a really nice idea. In the Doncaster race today were Trabolgan (winner of an RSA Chase and a Hessessy), Tamerinbleu (Boylesports Gold Cup), Rambling Minster (Blue Square Gold Cup and Border’s National), No Refuge (Royal and Sun Alliance Hurdle) and Pretty Star (2nd in Kim Muir). Chief Dan George was a Grade 1 winner over hurdles himself back in 2007 when he beat Wichita Lineman and Imperial Commander at Aintree.

If you have never invested in any of Marten Julian’s excellent publications I would strongly recommend that you give them a try. I will just quote you briefly from his comments on Cool Mission in the 2009/10 jumps guide. “Sure to be placed to win over hurdles.” Today Cool Mission did just that, coming in at 22/1.

Ex flat horse Lap of Honour probably needs 2 miles and good ground to be seen at his best over hurdles and may well get conditions to suit in the 3.55 at Ayr tomorrow.

katy huntingdon

Alan King has his team in good form now which might enable Mille Chief to improve on his string of seconds in the Huntingdon 2.00.

Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride You’re The Top in the 3.05 rather than the other Henderson runner which could be a tip in itself.

My only selection at Thurles is Ad Idem in the 2.35.

Today’s picture is by kind permission of the artist Katy Sodeau.

Diary: February 24 2010

Both my selections today finished second, Dansimar at 14/1 and Pennek at 9/4.

Former bumper winner Premier Sagas got off the mark over hurdles at Market Rasen last month and seems to be going the right way. At around 5/1 he looks worth a small interest in the 1.30 at Doncaster tomorrow. The other horse that interests me at the Town Moor is Hidden Keel in the 2.00 for trainer Charlie Longsden.

lille 611

At Ludlow Marchand D’Argent has dropped a few pounds in the handicap and this should enable him to be competitive in the 3.30.

Diary: February 22 2010


Most of my selections ran well on Saturday and we had  a few decent winners.

There are just a couple of horses to watch out for up at Carlisle if the meeting gets the go ahead. Premier Sagas in the 2.00 and the unraced  Rocks Rule in the bumper at 5.15.

Diary: February 20 2010

Tomorrow’s racing is very much at the mercy of the weather yet again with inspections taking place up and down the country.

Haydock stages the Blue Square Gold Cup at 3.35 which looks a competitive affair. The first six home in the Welsh National run at Christmas are all in the field and as these include a former winner of this race in Miko de Beauchene as well as last year’s runner up, Coe, this form line looks a good starting point. The Welsh National Winner, Dream Alliance has since gone up 9 lbs in the weights but he likes plenty of cut in the ground and cannot be ruled out. The runner up Silver by Nature has risen 7 lbs and is closely handicapped with Dream Alliance.

The only one of the sextet to run since Chepstow is Le Beau Bai who won over hurdles at Bangor and seems in fine form. He is 5 lbs higher in the weights. Miko de Beauchene is interesting as he has not gone up in the weights but has a 5 lbs claimer on board this time so is in effect a stone better off with Dream Alliance for an 8.75 length defeat. He is also only 1 lb higher than when winning the race 2 years ago, and 3 lbs lighter than when 3rd last season, not including the jockey’s claim. Ballyfitz was 5th at Chepstow and like the 6th horse, Coe has gone down 1 lb. Coe has a good record at Haydock where his form figures over obstacles reads 135122.

We also have both the Aintree Grand National winner Mon Mome, and the Scottish National winner, Hello Bud in the race. Hello Bud is effectively on the same mark as when winning at Ayr if you take account of his jockey’s claim. Mon Mome was 4th to Our Vic in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock last month. The extra half mile of this race should suit Mon Mome better than Our Vic I would imagine, Of the rest Snoopy Loopy has been pulled up on 4 of his last 5 starts and seems to have lost his way but L’Aventure, a former winner of the Welsh National and winner of this season’s Borders National at Kelso stays all day and should have conditions to suit.

It is an open race but I have narrowed it down to 4. Coe as he has proven form on the track, Silver By Nature who seems on the upgrade, Le Beau Bai who will love the ground and Miko de Beauchene. Silver By Nature and Coe are my two against the field.


In the Haydock 2.30 the Emma Lavelle pair of Puase and Claise and Bouggler look interesting while Wymott looks value in the 3.00 although Adams Island is respected as well.

In the 1.40 Sereth is interesting over this trip as he was a solid stayer on the flat while in the same race Den of Iniquity returns to hurdles where he is relatively unexposed.

The 4.45 is a trappy contest despite the small field. Ernst Blofeld and Little Josh are my fancies for this although as they both fell last time out stakes would have to be kept to a minimum.

Down at Ascot Finian’s Rainbow looks the likely winner of the 1.40 although his price will be short enough. I am inclined to take on the favourite in the 2.15 where Knockara Beau looks a fair price at around 3/1. Pettifour would be a big danger in this race is he could improve his jumping.

Tasheba has run two excellent races this season and two poor ones. He is my tentative offering in the 2.45 after his second over course and distance recently although he has gone up in the weights as a result.

You could drum up a case for all 6 runners in the 3.15. Planet of Sound looks like starting favourite and he should reverse the form with Albertas Run from their Ascot encounter in November. Herecomesthetruth has never been beaten over fences when completing the course and could be hard to pass if he gets his own way in front. Oh Crick was staying on when a distant third to Twist Magic in the Victor Chandler Chase and is worth considering. Old Monet’s Garden is far from out of it either. With The Sawyer and Herecomesthetruth in the field there should be a decent pace. This is a very tough one to call but Herecomesthetruth is a bold jumper and should give us a run for our money. Oh Crick is also tempting at 8/1.

My selections for the remainder of the card are Menorah (3.45) and Little Josh (4.20).

At Uttoxeter Scriptwriter should give the in form Howard Johnson a winner in the 1.50.

Wincanton looks unlikely to get the go ahead which is a shame as the 2.00 there looks a fascinating little race with Madison De Berlais seeking to give weight to 4 rivals. Gone To Lunch has been out of form of late but would come into the reckoning at his best while Officier De Reserve is a very interesting runner here with Timmy Murphy riding. In the 3.50 Punjabi and Starluck are set to clash in yet another Champion Hurdle trial at 3.50. I am not sure that either of them will really want bottomless ground. Could Qozak pull off a surprise?

I thought about Vodka Brook for the 4.25 but he has unseated in his last two runs and he is on the small side so humping a big weight in heavy ground won’t aid his cause.

I have two selections at Fairyhouse, Alaivan (2.35) and Notre Pere (3.40).

Let’s hope the weather relents and we actually get some racing.

My thanks to Sarah Clegg for today’s photo.

Review of the Flat 2009 – Part 6


Here are the next 10 of the horses that caught my eye during the 2009 turf season.

30 Kite Wood was trained by Michael Jarvis as a juvenile but purchased by Godolphin for his 3 year old career after winning the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Ascot. He looked a very live Derby candidate going into the new season but could only finish 5th in the Dante and was allowed to start a 28/1 outsider at Epson where he finished 9th.


He was dropped in class for the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket, run as a Group 3 for the first time, and won at 2/1 in a course record; albeit at a rarely run distance of 13 furlongs. After that win at HQ he won again at Group 3 level taking Newbury’s Geoffrey Freer Stakes which marked him down as a St Leger contender. He started favourite for the oldest classic at Doncaster but was beaten into second place by his stable companion Mastery, nonetheless recording his best performance as a 3 year old.

29 Palavicini, a big Giant’s Causeway colt trained by John Dunlop won two of his 8 starts running well in defeat on several other occasions. He was beaten a head by Your Old Pal in a listed race at Newmarket on his second start of the season and went one better next time out back at Newmarket beating Father Time in a listed race over 10 furlongs. His second success of the season came in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at York over 9 furlongs. He also ran well on his final outing when just over 2.5 lengths third in the Darley Stakes at Newmarket.

28 Rainbow View was hailed as a one of the outstanding 2 year old fillies of modern times after winning 4 times as a juvenile culminating in Meon Valley Stud Fillies Mile at Ascot. Further glory in the 1,000 Guineas and beyond looked a formality but things didn’t work out that way as the new season unfolded. She started odds on for the Guineas but was never going that well and finished 5th. Her trainer John Gosden attributed her disappointing performance to the quick ground but doubts had started to creep in. Sent of at 3/1 for the Oaks she was not disgraced in 4th after having to be snatched up 2 furlongs from home in a rough race. She ran well in the Coronation Stakes, finishing 3rd despite again not getting a clear run and racing on ground that was probably not ideal. She was not beaten far when 4th in the Falmouth Stakes and continued to run well without reward when chasing home Midday in Goodwood’s Nassau Stakes.

Although clearly not able to match the dizzy heights predicted for her at the start of the season I am sure no one would have begrudged her that elusive victory when she won a Group 1 at The Curragh over a mile on the easier ground that had been crying out for on earlier occasions. She ran creditably enough on her next start when runner up in a Group 1 at Woodbine in Canada and she ended her campaign finishing 5th of 8 in the Breeder’s Cup Ladies Classic on dirt at Santa Anita.

27 Pipedreamer is not quite up to Group 1 class but can be relied upon to perform consistently in good company. He ran 4 times winning once; at Group 2 level over 10 furlongs at Longchamps in October. He put up a couple of very respectable efforts in defeat, namely when just caught on the line by Tartan Bearer in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown and when 4th to Twice Over in the Champion Stakes.

26 Daraahem gets into my roll of honour by winning one of the season’s most prestigious handicaps. In fact he had the perfect record for the season winning on his only start when 7/1 in the Chester Cup ridden by Richard Hills for his father, It was a shame that injury then curtailed his season.

25 Charm School was a leading fancy for the Lincoln Handicap but could only finish 8th in a race won by his stable companion Expresso Star. Beaten on his next 3 starts his temperament was called into question by some but he stuck on well enough on only his second start on the all weather to land a decent handicap at Kempton in the September at 6/1. Not for the first time he made late progress without quite threatening the leaders when 5th in a Newbury Heritage Handicap but then finished down the field in the Cambridgeshire. He had always threatened to land a big handicap and finally managed it on the very last day of the season, fittingly back at Doncaster in the November Handicap. He weaved through the field with a strong late run under Jimmy Fortune to win at 17/2.

24 Darley Sun was one of the most impressive winners of a big handicap when running on strongly to take the Cesarewitch by 5 lengths. A progressive sort who improved steadily throughout the season with form figures of 01412121 that speak for themselves. The first win came at Nottingham off a mark of 69 when he beat Penang Princess at odds of 16/1. A second to King of Wands at Salisbury was sandwiched between handicap victories at Haydock and Ascot. He finished the season with a flourish. He only went down by a neck in the Doncaster Cup when he was just reeled in by Askar Tau and as a result he was very well backed for the Ces which he won in some style.

23 Expresso Star won the first big handicap of the season, the Lincoln at Doncaster, showing a decent turn of foot to justify favouritism. Like many winners of the race before him he was then tried in Group company without success although he was only beaten less than a length in the Group 3 Huxley Stakes at Chester’s May meeting.

22 Palace Moon earns his place in the top 30 with a couple of wins. The first in a 20 runner handicap at Doncaster by 5 lengths and the second a 10 runner listed event at Newmarket. Best at 6 furlongs he is a half brother to Sakhee’s Secret.

21 Zacinto missed the start of the season through injury but made a successful return in a listed event at Goodwood in August. Upped in class he was then runner up in both the Celebration Mile at Goodwood behind Delegator and then behind Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth ll at Ascot. He reportedly suffered a setback in October and ran as though something was amiss when a tailed off last in the Breeder’s Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

The photo of Kite Wood is courtesy of British 2 Year Old Racing.

Diary: February 19 2010

Well, we had the biggest shock result of the 21st century so far with 1/14 shot Zaynar turned over at Kelso. The winner, Quetwo, a massive individual that will be better still once he goes over fences, is a horse I have always liked and is certainly going to be one to follow next season. The defeat of Zaynar, and the news that Binocular (PICTURED BELOW)  will miss the rest of the season has led to more support for the Irish Champion Hurdle hopefuls Solwhit and Go Native. Not long to the Festival now!

Sarah Clegg - 'Binocular' - oil on paper 2008sm

We had some joy with last night’s tips with both the Clonmel selections coming in and Tara Taylor winning at Ffos Las at 11/2.

Looking for a bit of value at Sandown tomorrow Isn’t That Lucky could run well at a decent price in the 2.45. He acts on the going, the stable are in form, he is a course winner and he has just come down the weights a little bit. In the 3.55 it’s hard to oppose the unbeaten Oscar Whisky.

My only selection at Fakenham is Etoile D’Or in the 2.05.

My thanks to the artist Sarah Clegg for use of the picture of Binocular.