Diary: January 1 2012



1.25 Storming Gale fell on his chase debut but is worth another chance.


12.30 Barbatos has shown a consistent level of form and should appreciate the ground.

1.05 Six decent novices line up for this Grade 2 chase. Invictus has jumped well and shown a turn of foot and I would be inclined to side with him.

2.10 Havingotascoobydo should benefit from this step up in trip and is preferred to the main danger Ghizao.

2.45 The progressive Escargo will be hard to beat here and is the selection. Arctic Court could be worth a small each way saver.

3.20 I think Oscar Whisky will be able to concede weight to his rivals.


12.40 African Broadway looks the one to beat here despite a slight doubt about his being able to handle soft ground.

1.45 Arthurian Legend was the pick of these over hurdles and can get off the mark over the larger obstacles.

2.55 Golden Chieftain commands respect after his win at Uttoxeter and Flying Award is overpriced but I like the chances of Penny Max. He is a good jumper and comes from an in form stable.

3.25 This is quite an open race but Sarika makes most appeal. Molly Round looks next best6.

Musselburgh selections;

1.15 Bourne; 2.25 Desert Cry; 3.00 Phiddipides


2.15 Tranquil Sea is a class act on his day and can bounce back to form here.

From the archives

The 2.15 at Tramore was first run in 2005 when Cloudy Bays was the winner. An added attraction for race goers that day was Beef or Salmon who paraded before the crowds fresh from his defeat of Best Mate in the Lexus Chase a few days earlier.

Diary: December 31 2011



1.30 All the Aces would seem to have the cards stacked in his favour. Group class on the flat he made a pleasing start to his career over timber when runner up to Prospect Wells over course and distance. That horse has since finished 4th in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot so the form has a solid look. There are a couple of relative dark horses to consider however. Destroyer Deployed has rock solid bumper from having followed up wins at Towcester and Fontwell with a 2nd place in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. Keep Kicking is a well bred sort that won a bumper at Sedgefield last season. He finished runner up under a penalty at Sandown on his reappearance. All the Aces is likely to be odds on and I am inclined to take a chance with Destroyer Deployed who will appreciate the soft ground.

2.05 All 5 runners come into this race with a chance. Walkon impressed me when winning at Exeter and the form of that race has worked out really well. For Non Stop was only beaten a neck by Al Ferof at Sandown and is a big danger, especially so as the longer trip here should suit him.

2.35 Rey Nacarado was runner up to Giles Cross last time and that horse has since been runner up in the Welsh National.

3.05 Fingal Bay is impossible to oppose in this.

3.40 The Tim Vaughan pair Rigidity and Ruler of all are respected as is recent Haydock winner Tenor Nivernais. The latter is the selection.

newbury small


12.10 Avenging Ace, a beaten odds on favourite on his last two starts, is given one last chance to redeem himself before I cross him off my list to follow!

12.45 Tornado Bob should win this if his jumping holds up.


1.45 Jetnova is my selection here with Kauto Relko the danger.

2.20 Dual point to point winner Glens Boy did enough when 4th at Huntingdon last time to suggest he can win a race like this.

3.20 Lambourn raider Awesome Bella has an each way chance.


12.25 Fully Funded is a tentative selection. A Grade 2 winner over hurdles on soft ground at Navan he should stay the 3 miles.

2.10 A winner on the flat in France Darroun looks an interesting hurdles prospect.

2.40 Capellanus has an each way chance.

From the archives

Cerium, a runner in the Warwick 2.20 has run twice in the Grand National. He was 5th in 2009 and 11th in 2010.

Today’s picture is courtesy of the artist Lisa Miller.

Diary: December 29 2011



12.40 Habbie Simpson has failed to complete on his 2 starts over fences and it might be best to side with Prince of Pirates making his chase bow after winning a Kempton bumper and a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham.

1.45 Lively Baron was behind Harry the Viking here earlier this month but now gets a big pull at the weights.

2.20 A Bridge To Far was 2nd to subsequent winner Laterly at Aintree and is a tough consistent sort.


12.00 Quel Elite returned from a lengthy absence to finish 2nd to Dark Glacier at Wetherby and should be all the better for that outing.

12.30 Only 3 runners but all have recorded wins over fences recently. Lie Forrit would be my selection but Bold Sir Brian looks a big threat.

1.00 Next to Nowhere is an outsider with a chance here.


12.25 Glam Gerry won here over hurdles and has done enough over fences to suggest he can be competitive in this.

12.55 This could be between Hidden Cyclone and Shot from the Hip. Both are exciting prospects but I would just slightly favour Hidden Cyclone.

1.55 Moon Dice and Unaccompanied are respected but Thousand Stars looks the one to beat.

3.35 The selection here is Wandering Aengus.


12.35 Folsom Blue was a fast finishing 2nd at Thurles and the 3rd horse has won since.

Diary: December 28 2011


The best of the racing tomorrow comes from Ireland so we will start there.


1.25 A Cheltenham Festival winner over hurdles First Lieutenant is looking to get his chase career back on track after a fall in the Drinmore. Last Instalment has won both his starts over fences while the Willie Mullins pair of Allee Garde and Raptor both come here on the back of wins. This is a tough call with the aforementioned quartet likeable sort but my slight preference is for Last Instalment.

2.35 Rubi Light and Quito de la Roque are both recent Grade 1 winners. Given the going conditions Rubi Light might be the speedier of the two and gets the selection.


12.45 Bat Masterton

1.15 Best Served Cold

2.45 Medical Card

3.20 Definite Class


1.00 Amaury de Lusignan

2.00 Black Noddy

3.00 Ackertac

Diary: December 27 2011

It proved an historic day for racing thanks to the exploits of Kauto Star at Kempton but a slightly disappointing day for yours truly on the tipping front.  Anyway, on to tomorrow’s racing.

Big race form guide

Chepstow 2.10 – Welsh Grand National

Cappa Bleu is a former winner of the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival. He has had his problems with injury but came back to form last time out winning at Haydock over 3 miles. He has an each way chance. Our Island was runner up at Haydock on his last start in heavy ground. He is a thorough stayer. Galaxy Rock is an improving chaser who has shown a liking for Chepstow. There may be doubts about him handling the ground. Giles Cross is 4 lbs higher in the weights than when he was runner up in the race last season. Formerly 3rd in a Midlands National his last two runs have seen him finish 2nd in the Eider Chase at Newcastle in very testing conditions and gain a win in the Southern National at Fontwell.

Giles Cross and Galaxy Rock are my two against the field.

Chepstow selections

12.30 Alfie Spinner

1.00Rev It Up

1.3.0 Glernwood Knight

2.45 Hollow Tree

3.15 Ambion Wood


12.55 Kie

1.25 Peddlers Cross

2.05 Whoops a Daisy

2.40 Finian’s Rainbow

Big race form guide

Paddy Power Chase – Leopardstown 3.05

Rivage D’Or was a consistent hurdler who won at Thurles (2 miles 6) in October and then finished 3rd to Bog Warrior in the Drinmore. He will appreciate the step up to 3 miles and Davy Russell takes the ride. David Pipe’s horses are running well and his Sona Sasta is a live contender. Lightly raced and progressive over fences he revels in soft ground. Smoking Aces won over 3 miles 5 at the start of the month and is another to consider as are Groody Hill, Ad Idem and Cross Appeal who occupied the first 3 places in the Troytown Chase at Navan.

My two against the field are Rivage D’Or and Sona Sasta.

Leopardstown selections

12.25 Sarabad

1.25 Big Zeb

2.30 Reizovic


12.40 Distant Memories


2.30 Sa Suffit

2.55 Trustan Times

Turf trivia

Earth Summit, winner of the 1997 Welsh Grand National became the first horse to win the English, Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals.

Diary: December 26 2011


Big race form guide

King George Vl Stakes – Kempton 3.10

There seems to be growing support for Kauto Star over the last few days – how much of this is sentiment is hard to say. Course and distance obviously suit him as he is going for a record breaking 5th win in the race and there is no doubt that Kauto at his very best would be extremely hard to beat. However he is approaching his “official” 12th birthday and age catches up with all of us (I should know!). He was spot on at Haydock but it would be some feat to match that display only 37 days later. Long Run is no certainty, his occasional jumping lapses ensure that but he must be the most likely winner. Master Minded (pictured below) is a threat if he stays. He has won his last 7 races going right handed. He has never raced over this trip before though and although Kempton is an easy 3 miles I would be inclined to avoid him.

master minded

Captain Chris is the dark horse in the field. His record at Kempton is excellent, the ground (he wouldn’t want it too soft) may be in his favour and he certainly has the talent. He looked a little unlucky when unseating at Exeter and if he stays he could go well.

Long Run has to be the selection though.


1.25 Trafalgar Road beat Loch Ba by a neck at Sandown at the start of the month and the pair are among the main fancies here. I think they will both run well again.

2.00 What a race in prospect! Grands Crus, runner up to Big Bucks in the World Hurdle is going for a hat trick over fences. Bob’s Worth, a Cheltenham Festival winner over hurdles won on his chase debut at Newbury besting Cue Card. Silviniaco Conti won a Grade 2 at Wincanton on his last start while Teaforthree was runner up at Cheltenham last month and then went on to win at Chepstow. The form of both races has worked out really well.

Grands Crus is my selection, although he is yet to win going right handed. Bobs Worth looks a big threat.

2.35 I see that the newspaper tipsters are torn between Overturn, Binocular (pictured below) and Rock on Ruby, with each horse selected by 5 of the experts.

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

Binocular is a bit in and out but he is 2 out of 3 at Kempton. The ground is likely to be in his favour but he is rather a short price given his inconsistent record. Overturn has been very busy already this season and I prefer the lightly raced Rock on Ruby. The form of his win at Cheltenham was endorsed by the 3rf horse Raya Star who won the Ladbroke last week.

3.10 See big race form guide.

3.40 Hildisvini, Panxtoa and Knight Pass are on my short list. All look interesting for different reasons. Hildisvini has dropped 5 lbs in the weights which should make him more competitive. Panxtoa is consistent and the form of his last race has worked out well. Knight Pass is a potential improver and just gets the nod.


1.30 Kindly Note runs in the colours of the Elite Racing Club. Her stable are in form and the ground is likely to suit.

Ffos Las

12.35 Realmont has been plagued by illness and injury and has been off the track since May 2009. He was top class in France though, twice running Long Run close.

2.15 Saint Luke a triple bumper winner has not lived up tom expectations this season over hurdles. He may yet come good though and is slipping down the the weights.

Christmas turf trivia

Mr Blaketon, who runs in the Ffos Las 3.55 is quite cleverly named being by Oscar out of a Supreme Leader mare. You would need to be a fan of the Heartbeat series to appreciate this one!


12.15 Chepstow winner Big Occasion should follow up here. Godsmejudge and Rich Buddy are others to consider.

1.20 Course winner General Ting will handle the ground and is on a winnable mark.

3.00 Call me a Star and Cherry Lady were first and second at Wetherby and pulled well clear of the rest of the field. I fancy Call me a Star to confirm the form.

Market Rasen

1.00 Accordingtolawrence has yet to complete over fences but he is better than that and is worth another chance.


1.20 Course and distance winner Halucha has only been raised 4 lbs for his win at Ludlow.


2.15 Swincombe Flame and Tante Sissi are my two against the field. Slight preference is for Exeter winner Swincombe Flame.

3.20 The lightly raced Rangitoto has considerable potential over fences and can win this at the expense of Trenchant.


1.45 A case can be made for a number of these. Midnight Chase travels up from the west country. He was 5th in the Gold Cup and has to be respected. Knockara Beau finished strongly to take the runners up spot at Cheltenham recently while Neptune Equester, a course and distance winner, is a thorough stayer who will benefit if the ground dries out. I like the chances of the progressive Always Right. Third in the Scottish National in April he won at Kelso on his seasonal reappearance.

Down Royal

12.30 This looks very competitive with Saddlers Storm and Viking Splash my two against the field. My slight preference would be for the latter.


12.20 Marasonnien was runner up to Ariel at Auteil in June 2010 and that horse has since joined Paul Nicholls and finished 4th in the Paddy Power Gold Cup before winner at Ascot.

12.50 This can go the way of trainer Willie Mullins and the highly rated Midnight Game.

2.20 English raider Notus de la Tour should not be underestimated but my selection has to be Bog Warrior. He beat a subsequent winner at Navan before taking the Drinmore at Fairyhouse.

3.30 There is a good word for the point to point winner Champagne Fever.


2.10 Sir Des Champs won over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival and made a winning start to his chase career at Fairyhouse.


3.30 Tornedo Force, a recent Lingfield winner and the mount of Ryan Moore is my best bet on the all weather.

My thanks to the artists Lisa Miller (Master Minded) and Sarah Clegg (Binocular) for allowing me to use their pictures.

Diary: December 22 2011



2.40 Milo Milan


12.20 The Weatherman

12.50 Charminster

1.50 Lovey Dovey

From the Christmas archives

Kicking King (pictured below) is one of a select group of horses to have won the King George and the Gold Cup in the same season.


Christmas turf trivia

On 22 December 1940 Manchester racecourse suffered a direct hit from German bombers.

Picture courtesy of the artist Sarah Aspinall.


Diary: December 21 2011


Ffos Las

1.10 Charm School and Ashbrittle are interesting recruits from the flat. Charm School was with John Gosden and although far from consistent was good enough on his day to win a November Handicap at Doncaster. He was too keen on his hurdles debut at Chepstow but he has ability and handled soft ground on the flat. Ashbrittle was a stayer on the flat rated 92 and is the sort of horse David Pipe does well with.

2.45 Horsham Lad, a multiple winner of point to points won at Carlisle before being hampered and unseating his rider last time at Newbury. He has a good record on soft ground and Paddy Brennan won on the only other occasion he has ridden him.


2.35 Time for Spring was a beaten favourite at Cheltenham last time but may be better going right handed. He probably doesn’t want very soft ground.

3.10 Florafern was runner up at Huntingdon when the only mare in the race. Back racing against her own sex she should go well.

Christmas turf trivia

Desert Orchid and Kauto Star (pictured below) are the only horses to have won the King George 4 times. Kauto Star’s victories came in consecutive years.


From the Christmas archives

In 1992 Martin Pipe saddled the first 4 home in the Welsh Grand National. The quartet in finishing order were Run for free, Riverside Boy, Minnehoma and Bonanza Boy. Run for free went on to win the Scottish National later that season while Minnehoma won the 1994 Aintree Grand National.

Picture courtesy of the artist Lisa Miller.