Diary: January 29 2011


Mostly Bob gave us a 3/1 winner (he opened at 7/2) today but otherwise I am afraid my selections were mostly well beaten. I was interested to see Whispering Death win at Doncaster. Named after the West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding he was winning for the first time over hurdles and no doubt benefitted from the fast ground as his 5 wins on the flat were primarily gained on quick going.

There are meetings at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Uttoxeter tomorrow but all 3 are due morning inspections as temperatures are set to drop sharply up and down the country.

In the 2.00 at Cheltenham The Sawyer is an interesting runner as 6 of his 8 career wins have come in January (the other two were in March) so he clearly comes to hand at this time of year. He is also a course and distance winner so the temptation to go for him at odds of 20/1 is certainly persuasive. A more conservative bet might be Wishfull Thinking who jumped well when second here earlier in the season and has more potential for improvement than many of his rivals.

Grand Crus has won both his races in impressive style this season, he is a course winner and has only once been out of the first two when ridden by Tom Scudamore. He looks one for any shortlist in the Clkeeve Hurdle at 3.35. Spirit River reverts to hurdles after twice falling over fences. He has plenty of ability as shown when winning twice at Cheltenham last season including the Coral Cup. Another to consider is Bensalem who is having his first run since finishing runner up in a Grade 1 hurdle at Punchestown last April. Restless Harry is another with a squeak but for my selection I will side with Grand Crus.


Bob’s Worth has won his last 3 starts and should go well in the 3.05 where the consistent Ohio Gold looks over priced at 40/1. Vino Griego is a horse I had high hopes for at the start of the season but he has failed to live up to expectations over fences. He last run though was his best so far and he could go well at a generous price in the 1.30.

There is a huge field for the 12.40 at Doncaster. I quite like a couple at the top of the weights. The ex French Premier Grand Cru is a winner at Deauville on the flat and at Pau over hurdles while Ballybriggan has “won” twice over hurdles although on the first occasion he was disqualified after testing positive for a banned substance. Alegralil should be too good for the opposition in the 1.15.

William’s Wishes is on a hat trick and will appreciate the ground in the 1.45 while Pepo Simo and Noble Alan are my two against the field in the 2.15.


Buck Mulligan is an improving sort that handles any ground and looks value in the 2.45.

The Sky Bet Chase at 3.20 looks pretty open. In the last 9 years only 2 winners have started at more than 9/1 and no winner has carried more than 11 stone 2. If you use those stats to narrow down the field only Wogan and Fistral Beach remain! Others to consider at bigger price are Chief Dan George although he will need to defy a mark higher that his previous highest winning rating and Door Boy who comes from the same stable as Whispering Death.

Evella pootled over the Market Rasen fences the other week to record a nice win at 14/1. That came after a dismal row of Ps in her form figures and now that she has won it may be worth sticking with her in the 1.35 at Uttoxeter. Royal Chatelier is closely related to Impek and although no superstar he might be able to win off his current low mark in the 4.20.

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

Have a good weekend.

Diary: January 28 2011


Rangitoto, the selection from last night’s preview was second beaten half a length at 4/1 in a maiden hurdle at Ffos Las. This former point to point winner should not be too long in getting off the mark over hurdles. Another ex points winner Storming Gale won the other division of the maiden hurdle and like Rangitoto is certainly one to watch.

Nicky Henderson continues in great form and his pair of Brunston (1.55) and Cavite Beta (4.15) are expected to go well at Doncaster tomorrow where Mostly Bob finished well over course and distance earlier this month and should go close in the 2.30.

Diary: January 24 2011


Wetherby is subject to a morning inspection so I won’t spend too much time on tonight’s preview.

The 2.35 looks the most interesting race despite the fact that there are only 3 runners. Glenwood Knight got off the mark over fences at the second attempt when winning at Uttoxeter on the final day of 2010. He made a couple of mistakes on that occasion but is bred for the job as he is out of a half sister to Grand National winner Papillon.


Alfie Sherrin was rated higher over hurdles. He has had one run over fences when he was 4th of 7 behind Glenwood Knight’s stable companion Wymott. The form of that race has worked out very well as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th have all won since. Alfie Sherrin has not run since 10th November but that is a positive point as he seems to perform better after a break. Over this trip I would just about favour Alfie Sherrin as Glenwood Knight may be better over a bit further.

Thanks to Mike Smith for the photo.

Diary: January 23 2011


Fleur de Vassy is a lightly raced type and seems to be improving over fences. She needs to settle in the Towcester 2.30 as conditions are likely to be testing but she is my best shot at a winner tomorrow.

In the Irish Champion Hurdle Hurricane Fly should again get the better of Solwhit.

Diary: January 22 2011

I will start tonight’s preview with a look back at the racing over the last 3 weeks while I have been taking a little break.

31 December

Glenwood Knight opened his account over fences at Uttoxeter while another horse that we have been following, Alverstone, gave emerging trainer Lawney Hill a winner at Warwick ridden by Tony McCoy. “AP” had a double on the day as he was also on board Rock Noir who won the novice chase in a small but quite select field of 3.

January 1

Nicky Henderson had the first two winners on the Cheltenham card in Bob’s Worth and Oscar Whisky. The latter horse put up a sparkling display and may be aimed at the Champion Hurdle although his next race is likely to be the Welsh equivalent.

January 2

The Charlie Longsden trained Minella Boys took the Sussex National at Plumpton where he enjoyed the testing conditions.

January 3

In form trainer Jim Goldie supplied the winner of the staying handicap hurdle at Ayr with Arctic Court at 8/1. Richie McGrath rode a well judged race creeping stealthily into the race and finding a potent finishing kick.

Spanish Treasure, a winner at the 2010 Punchestown Festival made a winning debut over hurdles at Hereford. He is well regarded by connections and there should be more to come from him.

January 4

Charlie Longsden thinks a lot of his exciting young prospect Hidden Keel who got off the mark over fences at Leicester while Frascati Park followed up his success at Ascot with a win on the same card.

January 8

I put forward 2 horses for the Welsh National at Chepstow and one of them, Synchronised came in at 5/1. At his best when the mud is flying Synchronised gave Tony McCoy his first success in the race.

Mille Chief revealed something of the ability he shows at home in the last at Sandown, doing well to carry top weight of 11st 12lb in such gruelling conditions. He is no forlorn hope for the Champion Hurdle, while at Wincanton Ballabriggs began his Grand National preparation with a comfortable success over hurdles. The versatile Buck Mulligan won the opener at Wincanton with something to spare and is one to look out for over hurdles or fences.

January 10

Sono Sasta, a horse we followed with some success last season won over fences at Taunton where he was probably something of a good thing.

January 12

Adams Island put in an efficient round of jumping to land the novice chase at Doncaster. He seems to handle any ground and is one for the notebook.

January 15

The big race of the day was of course the King George at Kempton where Kauto Star went for a 5th consecutive win in the race. On the day he ran bravely but was beaten by the new kid on the block Long Run. We may have seen the best of Kauto but that best was quite something. Binocular showed he is on track to defend his Champion Hurdle crown with a fluent success in the Christmas Hurdle. The Lanzerote Hurdle went to James de Vassy who had been 3rd in the Coral Cup last season.

At Warwick Court in Motion won the Grade 2 novice hurdle without being asked a serious question.

January 17

Evella had looked a horse to follow at the start of the season but had been pulled up on her first 3 starts until putting in a foot perfect round of jumping to win at 14/1 in the beginner’s chase at Fakenham. Chester Cup winner Mamlook also jumped well to beat his 2 rivals in the novice chase. The ground at Fakenham was very much on the testing side.

January 19

Handicap good thing Sono Sasta landed the odds at Newbury under a penalty.

January 20

Ciceron has a sprinting pedigree and stamina can sometimes be an issue for him over hurdles. The slow pace probably played to his strengths at Taunton where he won at 8/1 for trainer Venetia Williams who is enjoying a good run.

OK, turning to tomorrow’s racing Ascot looks likely to go ahead so I will start there. Nicky Henderson has his team in sparkling form and his Osric may well win the opener at 12.40. He will be short enough though and Mister Stickler may provide some value. A winner at Plumpton he then disappointed at Bangor where he had a breathing problem. Over a slightly longer trip here that should suit he may give a better account of himself.

Grandouet should give Nicky Henderson a winner in the 1.15. At a much bigger price Alverstone has an each way chance in the 1.50.

Master Minded is hard to oppose in the b2.25. He has had his off days in the past however and he is odds on so Somersby could be worth a small each way interest.

The 2.55 looks tricky. My two against the field would be Notus de la Tour and Frascati Park.

Poungach was 3rd behind Frascati Park at Ascot at Ascot so the earlier race may give a pointer to the chances of Poungach in the 4.05. Carrib’s Leap is another to consider.

In the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock (3.15) Frankie Figg, Maktu and Sa Suffitt all make some appeal. Other races at Haydock; 1.30 Glenwood Knight; 2.05 Peddler’s Cross; 2.40 Wymott; 3.50 Tiptoeaway.

Requin in the 2.50 is my only selection at Wincanton.