Diary: February 28 2011

 

Tomorrow’s racing is low grade stuff as is often the case in the weeks leading up to the Cheltenham Festival.

At Plumpton Evella goes for the hat trick in the 2.50. Alex Merriam should be able to give her another positive ride from the front as this trip is probably a little on the sharp side for her.

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In the 3.50 Restezen D’Armor represents a stable in very good form.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Katy Sodeau.

Diary: February 26 2011

 

The highlight tomorrow at Kempton is the ultra competitive Racing Post Chase which has been won over the years by the likes of Crisp, Pendil and Desert Orchid.

In the last 10 years only 2 favourites have won but the highest priced winner was 11/1 so the trends suggest that this is not a race for outsiders. Eight year olds have won 6 times in the last decade. Fistral Beach and Mostly Bob are a couple of well fancied 8 year olds this time round. Fistral Beach unseated in the race last season when favourite. He comes into the race in good form having won at Wincanton last month where he jumped and travelled well and he seemed to have benefitted from a breathing operation. Although Mostly Bob is not bred to stay, he is by Indian Ridge, he clearly does as he won over 3 miles at Doncaster last month carrying 11 stone 12. Although he won a bumper in Ireland in heavy ground his other 3 career wins have always come on good ground.

Quinz has won twice over fences this season and was 3rd at Cheltenham last time out behind the highly regarded Time for Rupert. He has won at Kempton over hurdles and he stays well. Of those at bigger prices Door Boy looks potentially well handicapped and has always appealed as a horse with a big win in him somewhere. These 4 would form my short list with Quinz the selection if pushed to narrow things down. His atriner has a good record in the race.

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Captain Chris should end his run of seconds in the 2.25 (named after the great Pendil) while Sire de Grugy looks the value in the 3.35.

Higgy’s Boy has shaped as though he needs further than 2 miles in his races this season. Upped in trip for the 4.10 he could well come in at a decent price. He would not want the ground too soft. The other one I like in this is Rollwiththepunches. He looks well handicapped and has the leading conditional rider on board taking off 3 lbs.

The main event at Newcastle is the marathon Eider Chase at 3.15. Comply or Die won this in 2008 on his way to Aintree glory. On this occasion though I favour the younger brigade in the shape of the mud loving Minella Boys and the Welsh Nation runner up Giles Cross.

There is also racing at Chepstow where Rangitoto looks good for the 1.50 and on the all weather at Lingfield where I like the look of Brave Prospector in the 3.10.

Picture courtesy of the artist Jane Dunn.

Diary: February 24 2011

 

Aikman was the one that got away today. Described in a recent interview as a horse best suited by going right handed on a galloping track he duly won at 16/1 at Huntingdon which is a right handed galloping track. Simples!

There are not many betting propositions tomorrow. Kid Cassidy (2.50) and Pepe Simo (3.25) look possible at Sandown but the odds are too short.

At Warwick Stoney’s Treasure looks the one to be on in the 4.25.

Diary: February 22 2011

 

Qozak has an obvious chance in the 2.00 at Taunton, a track where he has won all 4 of his previous starts. He will be very short though and the value may lie with Shoreacres. The mount of Tony McCoy Shoreacres has not run for over a year but goes well fresh.

Dark Lover should win the 2.30 for champion trainer Paul Nicholls. In the 2.10 at Wetherby I am hopeful of a good run from Humbie in the 2.10.

Diary; February 21 2011

 

Monday’s racing is run of the mill stuff from Carlisle and Hereford.

The going is likely to be testing at both tracks so stamina and the ability to acts on the ground will count for a lot. At Carlisle in the 2.10 Storming Gale is of interest. He won on his hurdles bow at Ffos Las over 2.5 miles and tackles a quarter of a mile further tomorrow. He won his point to point over 3 miles though. His ability to handle the ground is an unknown but he is an impressive looking individual and a chaser in the making and he may well defy a penalty here. He is in the same ownership at Peddler’s Cross.

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At Hereford recent course and distance winner Royal Chatelier goes in the 3.50 where he escapes a penalty as his win came in a conditional jockey’s race. According to his trainer soft ground will not be a problem and this progressive type must have a good chance.

Picture is by courtesy of the artist Ruth S Harris

Diary: February 19 2011

 

The Henderson and Nicholls teams go head to head in a number of races tomorrow. In the Ascot 1.50 they are represented by Master of the Hall and The Minack respectively. On form there is nothing to choose between these two exciting prospects. At the odds I marginally prefer Master of the Hall with Barry Geraghty in the saddle.

The 3.00 could turn into another Henderson v Nicholls match with the protagonists this time Riverside Theatre and Pride of Dulcote. If Riverside Theatre can reproduce the form of his second to Long Run in the King George he should have the edge.

My two against the field in the 3.35 are Like Minded and Frascati Park. The highly rated Sprinter Sacre will be hard to beat in the 4.05 but he will start at very cramped odds and it might just be worth taking him on with the well bred and unexposed Polisky.

Alan King’s West End Rocker is on a hat trick and sets the standard in the 3.20 at Haydock where a small each way saver on Le Beau Bai could pay dividends. He is well handicapped on his best form.

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I expect Court in Motion (2.10) and Bensalem (2.45) to go well while at bigger odds Merrydown is one I like in the 3.55.

It is always worth noting the rides that AP McCoy has for Paul Nicholls and the unexposed Carlicue is of interest in the Wincanton 2.35. There are only 5 runners in the 3.45 but it is a fascinating contest nonetheless. Overturn was an excellent second to Binocular in the Christmas Hurdle and Wincanton should suit his style of running. He would not want too much rain though. Ronaldo Des Mottes was runner up in the Totesport Trophy last season and returns here after a 302 day absence. I wouldn’t rule this one out but I think Mille Chief, so impressive when winning at Sandown last time is the one to be on.

Picture courtesy of Sarah Clegg

February 18 2011

 

I have been going through a decent spell lately and that continued today with a 33/1 winner in Merango Bay. Tomorrow’s racing looks difficult with a mixture of short priced favourites and nigh on impossible handicaps but we will see if we can dig out a winner or two.

Newbury stages the rescheduled Totesport Trophy where there are any number with chances. Salden Licht won at Exeter on New Year’s Day and the third that day, Hunterview has won well since, franking the form. Salden Licht has gone up 10 lbs in the rating since that win though. He is a course and distance winner and has to be on the short list. Bothy was runner up to Menorah in the Greatwood, albeit getting tons of weight. There is the suspicion that he has been aimed at this for a while. The ground (soft) should suit. Get me out of here, winner of the race last season is one that could leave his moderate form this season behind while Notus de la Tour would come into the picture on testing ground.

The 3 I like most are Rebel Dancer, Soldatino and Recession Proof. Rebel Dancer was runner up in the Gerry Fielden Hurdle over course and distance in November where he was beaten by the useful Tocca Ferro. The 5th horse that day has won since. Rebel Dancer seems to handle any ground and is on the upgrade. Soldatino comes from the all conquering Nicky Henderson stable and has very strong form having won the Triumph Hurdle last season. Recession Proof is lightly raced and has won 2 of his 3 starts over hurdles. He also has plenty of race experience from his days on the flat.

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The remainder of the Newbury card makes little appeal from a betting angle. What a Friend and French Opera should win their races as should Aiteen Thirtythree although Glenwood Knight and Tarablaze are no mugs.

At Sandown Megastar looks the likely winner of the 3.55 but the odds will be skinny.