The Syndicate

AW Selections Nov 17 to Feb 18

| November 15, 2017

Selections will be posted here at 6:30pm Monday to Friday and 11am Monday morning. Any selections at any other time will have a text sent first.

Selections from Saturday 3rd February onwards can be found here.

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT SELECTIONS FOR 3rd FEB ONWARDS CAN BE FOUND VIA THE LINK AT THE END OF THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE

 

Selections for Friday 2nd February

2.00 Lingfield. Outer Space. 1 point win. 4 Coral/PaddyPower/Betfair Sprortsbook

6.45 Wolverhampton. Dream Magic. 1 point win. 3.25 Bet365, 3 various

8.45 Wolverhampton. Corporal Maddox. 0.375 points each-way. 26 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/SkyBet. Some yet to price

Plus a win double, 0.5 points using Outer Space and Dream Magic

SkyBet/Coral (plus 10Bet, NetBet, SportPesa but not BOG until morning) 4, 3, Bet365 3.5, 3.25, Ladbrokes 3.75, 3. Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower 4, 2.75. Some yet to price one or the other.

 

With January’s dip, some relatively new members and approaching our third birthday, I thought it’d be a good time to update the biggest ups and downs from my selections over those three years. (This was previously last updated a year ago and has been at the bottom of the User Guide.)

The biggest dips have been:

18th November 2016 to 15th February 2017, -30.936

1st June 2016 to 30th July 2016, -28.198 points

16th December 2017 to CURRENT (as of close of play 31st January 2018), -26.203

26th May 2015 to 4th June 2015, -20.04 points

28th August 2015 to 8th September 2015, -19.858 points

15th September 2017 to 29th September 2017, -18.679

8th September 2016 to 19th September 2016, -17.951

9th October 2017 to 22nd October 2017, -17.931

7th June 2017 to 1st July 2017, -17.148

 

The biggest increases have been:

4th June 2015 to 25th July 2015, +90.572

15th February 2017 to 7th June 2017, +82.819

19th September 2016 to 18th November 2016, +65.164

22nd October 2017 to 16th December 2017, +60.720

1st July 2017 to 15th September 2017, +55.391

30th July 2016 to 28th August 2016, +51.539

19th Feb 2015 to 26th May 2015, +45.692

8th Sept 2015 to 28th September 2015, +36.682

29th September 2017 to 9th October 2017, +32.225

(Those figures don’t include the 48 points profit from the Jockey Championship in 2016, staked on 6th August and received on 17th October.)

There were some comments added to this in the User Guide and I don’t think there’s a need to add much, except to add that hopefully we’ll be out of this particular dip soon enough and that what the above illustrates is that positive and negative spells are seldom far away, but with the highs far exceeding the lows, it’s weathering these periods that’s key to benefiting from the upturns.

Onto tomorrow and Outer Space won for us nicely in a Claiming Stakes last month and this is no tougher. The main threat, at least in terms of ratings and the early market, is Captain Lars. That rival has been winning at Southwell recently, but does have a good history on Polytrack too. However, he doesn’t have such a record at 7 furlongs and that must be a big question mark over his chances. His relatively recent runs at this distance have seen him weaken close to home and it’s one thing to win over a straight 5 furlong sprint and another to follow that up over an additional 2 furlongs.

Dream Magic also switches surfaces but that’s a big positive. In between struggling on Fibresand, he bolted up at Wolverhampton, winning by an eased down 8 lengths. That was a first attempt at a mile and a half, which was clearly of benefit. He tackles the same distance again, now back at Wolverhampton, and is on better terms with almost all than would be the case in a handicap. This shouldn’t take a lot of winning and anything close to his previous performance should be enough.

A bit of a long-shot to finish with. Veteran Corporal Maddox has been dropping down the weights and classes but still shows some ability. He was rated 86 under two years ago and now runs off 58- a mark he won off on turf in August. Jason Watson takes off a further 7 lbs and is very good value for his claim.

Corporal last ran in a Seller in December when 4th, under 3 lengths behind Dutiful Son who won again on his next start and half a length behind Bridge Builder who has won two handicaps since. Yet, the selection was 7 lbs and 5lbs worse off that day against those two opponents than would have been the case in a handicap. Throw in Watson’s claim tomorrow and he looks on very good terms now taking on weaker company.

Thursday 1st February

1.30 Southwell. Archie Stevens. 0.5 points each-way. 9 SkyBet/BetVictor/Bet365

2.05 Southwell. Dream Serenade. 1 point win. 3.75 Bet365/BetVictor

7.00 Kempton. Mercers. 0.75 points win. (8.5 BetBright) 7.5 WillHill, 7 Ladbrokes (plus BetFred/Totesport/Betway but not BOG until morning, and Marathon)

8.00 Kempton. Gentlemen. 0.75 points win. 12 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddPower/BetVictor

A poor day to end a miserable month for this side of the service. I’ll share any further thoughts tomorrow, but the best answer I can give is to vow to do my best to make February the best month it can possibly be and that’s exactly what I’ll endeavour to do. Let’s start the new month with these:

Favourite Something Lucky is, of course, the one to beat in the opener at Southwell. He seeks a four-timer but that’s more than reflected in the price. He beat Archie Stevens here two runs ago (finishing 1st and 3rd), sitting behind the pace and then flying clear when asked to go. However, not many win from high draws on the straight sprint here and from stall 12, Ali Rawlinson is going to have to dip inside to get cover behind the pace and then look for the gaps to appear.

The pace is most likely to come from Archie and he’s all the way across in stall 3. He’s run consistently well here this winter with the only blip coming under a different rider to normal. His normal jockey is back in place and Archie is on 13 lbs better terms with Something Lucky than when they last met. He beat Something Lucky over course and distance in December (1st and 2nd) and then was 2nd behind Pearl Acclaim who was recording the first part of a hat-trick. At 8/1 (against 5/4 for Something Lucky) he’s the one with a strong course record and looks the clear value alternative.

Dream Serenade has placed on all three runs at Southwell and has been unfortunate to come up against one or two coming into form each time who have subsequently confirmed the strength of those runs by winning again since. This looks weaker and his rival or favouritism makes a massive jump up in distance.

There are two I like in the 4.25 who are both on the edge of the price range that would make them a bet. There’s been early support elsewhere and if that continues then they could drift further. If so, there’ll be a text sent in the morning.

We keep opposing Pulsating at a short-price but not finding the right alternative. He’s a short price yet again tomorrow despite having lost all 10 handicaps he’s run in at this level. He is, of course, one of the main contenders but should be a closer price to Mercers who is looking to complete a hat-trick and the clock suggest he’s holding his form the better of the two.

Little Miss Kodi won’t be helped by the draw and Pretty Bubbles keeps running on well without getting there and both run for yards that have been very short of winners for sometime.

Seven year-old Gentlemen has moved up from 5 or 6 to 7 or 8 furlongs recently. While a mile has stretched him, he looks to be growing into 7 furlongs. His mark has dropped in the last year from 96 to 78 and that looks very workable if he can continue to find any improvement at his new distance. With nothing else showing much consistency, this is potentially very winnable and he’s certainly a contender at too big a price.

 

Wednesday 31st January

1.55 Chelmsford. Buckland Beau. 1 point win. 6.5 Bet365, 6 BetVictor (plus BetFred/Totesport/BetWay but not BOG until morning).

3.00 Chelmsford. Time To Blossom. 1 point win. 4.5 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower, 4.33 various

4.10 Chelmsford. Twizzle. 0.75 points win. 9 Bet365, 7.5 BetVictor, 7 various

6.45 Newcastle. Rockley Point. 0.75 points win. 7.5 Bet365/BetVictor (plus BetFred/Totesport but not BOG until morning).

Jack Blane ran his race, certainly stayed the trip and finished better than his market rivals but just found one better on the day who had previously shown little.

Samtu bolted up, winning by 5 lengths at 14/1. That should have been the tricky part of landing a well-priced Forecast with Senatus widely supported, backed into an odds-on price and having a Betfair SP of just 1.21 to finish in the top two. Sadly, though, he was pulled up fairly early into the race. After being attended to behind a screen for a while, he was taken away in a horse ambulance. Let’s hope he’s okay and makes a full recovery.

Very sorry to say that after writing that, Senatus sadly passed away.

I’ll leave it there for now and add notes either later tonight or early tomorrow.

Tuesday 30th January

1.40 Southwell. 0.65 points, Straight Forecast: 1st Senatus, 2nd Samtu

And 0.35 points, Straight Forecast: 1st Samtu, 2nd Senatus

(I’ll record to SP but using Bet365 is recommended because they will use current odds and BOG for calculations- current odds 9.72 and 16.04)

3.25 Southwell. 1 point win. Jack Blane. 7 Bet365, 6 Ladbrokes (plus other non-BOGs). Some yet to price.

Although Senatus is the rightful favourite here, I’d go against the order of the others in the early market. Samtu was beaten by 16 lengths last time out, running a mile and a half, but that was still a better time than clocked by Cousin Khee when he ran that distance towards the end of last year. Additionally, when comparing those two runs, Samtu was carrying 21 lbs more, and that difference is reduced to 10 tomorrow.

Similarly, Cousin Khee ran tomorrow’s distance last time out but again ran a slower time than that recorded by Samtu two runs ago despite the latter carrying 24 lbs more. Samtu has a strong course and distance record- 24132- and is now with Majorie Fife who has a profitable record at Southwell and has picked up more wins here than anywhere else in recent years. He should be second favourite and although there’s no juice in the price of the favourite, especially as he (Senatus) has a tendency to wander around when hitting the front, but we can take advantage of Samtu’s inflated price in a forecast.

Jack Blane has repeatedly caught the eye at Wolverhampton this winter, finally gaining a victory after running into trouble or narrowly missing out despite running on as well as anything. He made his Fibresand debut last week and clearly took to the surface but his runs was much like his Wolverhampton attempts and things didn’t fall his way as he was forced wider and wider. Once again he stayed on well once given daylight by which time the leader had an unassailable lead.

Most of his runs have been at 6 furlongs, but he gets an extra furlong tomorrow and there’s pace all over here which will help give him something to chase down and the extra furlong a little more time to find his way through. Phillip Makin rides for Keith Dalgleish which is always a positive when these two combine.

 

Monday 29th January

No selections for a poor and unappealing card at Wolverhampton today.

Still a bit of a mixed bag and unless Tuesday and Wednesday are very fruitful then this side of the service will start 2018 with a losing month. Not the desired beginning to the year, but after six profitable months in a row, a loss making month was going to come along sooner or later.

On the positive side, Foolad looks to be one to take forward. He was a worthy winner of the Class 2 sprint at Southwell on Tuesday. If he’s kept going he could be one to keep an eye on into the early turf season as he should glide over testing ground. Incidentally, we also had the winner of that Southwell race last year in the shape of Poyle Vinnie who then placed for us at a massive price at York. A similar plan would make sense for Foolad where the wide course should be to his liking. The Dante Festival there in May?

We’ve also had a number of selections extremely well backed, suggesting we’ve been on the right side of the value even if they haven’t then gone on to bring home the bacon. (Mailfalki 5.5 to 2.625, Call Out Loud 7 to 4, Taseekh 11 to 5.5, Desert Fox 7.5 to 3.5, among others) If we continue to be on contenders at twice the SP then the returns will follow.

Locomotion should really have won but strangely had trouble cornering. He’s better than that and will be very much of interest again. Sheila’s Fancy gave place returns but lost a shoe during the race so may be capable of more. Thourtoun Lady was another for future use. She emerged from the pack to lead inside the final furlong only to be taken late by Joyful Star with the pair over 4 lengths clear of 3rd. Both were given excellent rides by PJ McDonald and Andrew Mullen who both ride the Newcastle straight extremely well- their presence in the saddle is a big positive at that track.

The efforts of Dutiful Son and Desert Fox petered out tamely much as Makaarim’s had the previous week when all were well positioned and more was hoped for/expected. However, each had gone for a run up the inside at the Kempton cutaway. Traditionally, those coming with a charge down the outside have tended to fare best at Kempton but before Christmas that track bias seemed to have gone, with many coming through against the far rail. It would appear that trend has returned and it’s a dead bit of track. Because of this, it could be worth being wary of anything likely to sit in midfield against the rail and being forced to take the inside route, for the time being.

Saturday 27th January

2.00 Lingfield. Alfred Hutchison. 0.375 points each-way. 15 WillHill/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor

6.45 Kempton. Desert Fox. 1.5 points win. 7.5 various

There’s a £10k prize going to the trainer who saddles the horse who clocks up the most wins during the All-Weather season. The battle looks like being between Mike Murphy’s Titan Goddess and Phil McEntee’s Spare Parts. With Spare Parts still running under penalties in grades he won’t be able to enter once the handicapper has moved his mark, Murphy used Desert Fox to stop his winning run at Chelmsford last week.

It was a shrewd move and Desert Fox, who is very lightly raced, looked a cut above the field, travelling very strongly, ridden with plenty of confidence by Shane Kelly and putting the race to bed with minimal fuss and maximum style. He’s only been put up 5 lbs and there should be more to come. As he was part of a plot and been held back for that task, he remains ahead of the handicapper.

He has a lovely draw in stall 3 to track the pace and he shouldn’t be this price. We were right to oppose Pulsating last week (albeit not with the winner), who has always struggled up in class and he looks worth taking on again at another short price. If it wasn’t for the presence of Desert Fox, a small stake on Maazel at 25/1 would have been appealing and that one is worth keeping an eye on.

Alfred Hutchinson has become something of a Lingfield specialist (5 wins from 23 runs here compared to just 1 win from 37 everywhere else) and has been running better than the bare form suggests. He was coming with a strong run on his latest start when a gap closed on him and he had to be given a pull back. Despite that and despite finishing last of 7, he was only 2 lengths away and would have been closer with a clear run. The race wasn’t run to suit either and he’s likely to get a stronger pace to chase down tomorrow. He’s down in grade tomorrow and although trouble in running is far from a rarity at Lingfield, at the price that’s a risk worth taking for a horse clearly in good heart and 7 lbs beneath his last winning mark.

Friday 26th January

2.20 Lingfield. Taseekh. 0.5 points each-way. 11 Bet365, 10 BetVictor/SkyBet. Some yet to price.

2.55 Lingfield. Living Leader. 1 point win. 4 WillHill, 3.75 various. Some yet to price.

3.30 Lingfield. Krazy Paving. 0.5 points win. 17 various. Some yet to price.

8.45 Kempton. Dutiful Son. 0.75 points each-way.11 various

I’m very surprised by the price of Dutiful Son, so want to increase the stake. He won for us recently (and has done a few times in previous years) and has returned to form in the last couple of months. His mark fell from a high of 88 down to 70 due to two years with only one win and a series of poor runs.

Whatever the problem was, it’s clearly resolved as he’s bounced back to win 3 in 4 runs and running of a mark of 77 is still very well handicapped. He’s back down to 6 furlongs tomorrow- has won 6 in 13 on the All-Weather at the distance, including 4 in 8 at Kempton. He’s well drawn and Adam Kirby is booked to complete a very appealing package.

Tarseekh placed for us at Kempton at the start of the year and the reasoning for that holds again. He should get an easy lead again and he might just be able to steal a few lengths on this tighter track. Charles Bishop has continued to ride with confidence since and is in place again tomorrow. Tarseekh did little wrong last time, this is no tougher and he’s been dropped another couple of pounds. Here’s the previous reasoning:Tarseekh may also get an easy time of things out in front. His form looks inconsistent but it’s been down to running the right early pace. When his rider has got his/her fractions right then his runs have looked strong but in between those he’s gone off too slowly and too quickly on other recent starts and paid for that late on. At the price it’s worth chancing that Charles Bishop- who looks to be riding with plenty of confidence at the moment- can set a suitable pace. If he does, then on the evidence of his last run when fourth by just over a length and four runs ago when second, both in stronger races than the 0-55 he faces tomorrow, he could be hard to pass.’

Burauq was headed in the last stride for us at Kempton recently and is favourite in the 3.30 tomorrow. However, behind him in 7th at Kempton was Krazy Paving. That finishing position is a bit misleading because there was only just over 2 lengths between them. There’s a 10 lb swing between the two tomorrow in Krazy Paving’s favour and the latter had to battle to find a position from a wide draw when they last met.

Krazy is a bit inconsistent but looks to be improving with each run, much as he did last year when having to wait until his 6th run of the winter to get his head in front but then putting in a series of strong efforts. Considering the weight swing and with Luke Morris booked, the difference between Krazy’s 16/1 and Burauq’s 11/4 is clearly too big and our selection is far more of a contender than these odds suggest off just 1 lb higher than his last winning mark. There could be a real battle for the lead here, making the booking of Morris more significant and the hope is he’ll be tucked in just behind the leaders and ready to pounce.

In contrast, the 2.55 looks short of pace and that could play into the hands of Living Leader who should be able to either take them along or at least sit prominently. Morris also rides this one and the horse as a record of 3 from 11 at the track. This isn’t a very deep race and with the horse coming into form, improving with each run this winter, and Morris riding him for a third time (2nd both times previously) he looks a very strong contender.

 

Thursday 25th January

I’m looking to have a bet on the All-Weather Champion Jockey 2017/18 because the odds this morning had one rider far too highly priced, albeit only the only place I could find prices. The difficulty is that this market only appears in some places and is often taken down during racing. If enough places have odds back up (and they are still acceptable) I’ll look to send a text. This relies on bookies having the market open so I can only guess if and when this may be, but I will look again later tonight and then through tomorrow morning. The market isn’t currently on oddschecker, but if it reappears then it’ll be under Horse Racing >> Racing Specials >> Long Term. Similarly, with bookies looking for Specials and/or Long Term will be the way to go and don’t confuse it with the 2018 Flat Jockey Championship. (The reasoning is ready to go and will be on the site when a text is sent.)

1.05 Southwell. Master Of Song. 0.5 points each-way. 10 PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor

2.10 Southwell. Something Lucky. 1 point win. 3 PaddyPower (plus BetFred/Totesport but not BOG until morning), 2.875 various

2.45 Southwell. Maifalki. 1 point win. 5.5 WillHill, 5 various

5.55 Chelmsford. Cockney Boy. 0.75 points win. 7.5 Bet365, 6.5 Ladbrokes (plus BetFred/Totesport/Betway but not BOG until morning.) Some still to price.

9.00 Chelmsford. Call Out Loud. 1 point win. 7 Ladbrokes/Betfair Sportsbook/Bet365

Master Of Song runs for trainer Roy Bowring who also trains Foolaad who won for us at Southwell earlier in the week. Over the years, Bowring has had a number of serial winners at the Nottinghamshire track with the likes of Solarmaite, Sophia’s Number One, Clubland, Ace Master and Xpres Maite springing to mind.

Master Of Song could also be added to this list- his record here in the last five years shows 4 wins and 9 places from 17 runs whereas elsewhere he’s been winless and only placed twice in 24 attempts. He’s placed here in both runs since returning from a long break in mid-2017. Strangely he was asked to run 6 furlongs and then a mile and a half on his latest appearance, which is also tomorrow’s distance. With that run under his belt he should be able to strip fitter and dropping from a 0-65 into a 0-55 will make things a great deal easier.

Something Lucky was headed on the line over course and distance early in the month before just getting up at Lingfield the next day despite not getting the run of the race. He returned to Southwell and followed up in eyecatching style eight days later. Given cover by Ali Rawlinson, he cruised into the race with all others off the bridle and it was just a question of when Rawlinson would ask him to go on and take the race, which he did with minimal fuss. He’s clearly on an upward curve, is perfectly at home on Fibresand and is very much the one to beat.

Maifalki was a very commendable 4th when asked to tackle a mile and a half for the first time in November. He was only two lengths behind winner Island Brave who bolted up by 8 lengths last week off 5 lbs higher. The 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th have also won since, so that form looks extremely strong. He then placed on his Fibresand debut in a more than decent Claiming Stakes against proven Fibresand performers despite being on worse terms with almost all than would have been the case in a handicap. If building on his recently acquired experience of the distance and surface, he should be very much a contender in what appears to be a weak race for the grade.

Cockney Boy built up sizable leads in two Class 6 handicaps in the autumn before being caught close to home. With one of those a 0-65, the drop in class into tomorrow’s 0-50 is significant. The inside stall is perfect to bounce out and attempt the same tactics or to sit prominently and at this level he could well be good enough to hold on.

Like Cockney Boy, Call Out Loud runs for Mick Appleby and, unusually for the yard, has shown his best form on the All-Weather away from Southwell- 1116103, with the ‘3’ in a higher grade and headed inside the final furlong. The last time he ran at Chelmsford, last month, he was a winner in this class, over this distance and the 2nd and 3rd won next time out. The return to Polytrack is a positive, as is the return to Chelmsford which suits his prominent running style.

Wednesday 24th January

2.40 Lingfield. Sheila’s Fancy. 0.5 points each-way. 8 Ladbrokes/Bet365, 7.5 various

3.10 Lingfield. Easy Tiger. 0.75 points win. 5.5 PaddyPower, 5 various

4.15 Lingfield. Locommotion. 1 point win. 5.5 various to be recorded. (PaddyPower are offering 10(!) and Betfair Sportsbook 8. This must be a mistake. Good luck if you can get it and they honour it, but I’ll record 5.5. The 10Bet/NetBet/SportPesa group all have 6.5 but not BOG until 9am.)

7.45 Kempton. Top Beak. 1 point win. 6 Bet365, 5.5 BetVictor (plus BetFred/ToteSport/Betway but not BOG until morning. Some still to price.)

Sheila’s Fancy has only had eight career runs and has improved for being moved from a mile up to a mile and a half, then up to two miles. She was ahead of the reopposing Caracas (by 7 lengths) and Miss Dusky Diva (by 11 lengths) two runs ago yet has a bigger early price than both for tomorrow which is surprising even though those rivals are on better terms tomorrow. Her 5th place since then was more than creditable in a higher grade.

Easy Tiger is tactically versatile, able to bowl along at the front or take a tow from another front-runner and that may be important in a race with a small field tomorrow. He won over course and distance early in the month which was his first attempt at the trip and it followed a series of strong runs over shorter when often not getting much luck in the run.

Locommotion is another recent course and distance winner, just edging out Soaring Spirits. With the latter disappointing last week,plus Kirby booked on Locommotion that form looks likely to be confirmed. Although there was only a nose between the two last time, Locommotion had the touher passage to the front, having to wait and weave. The second in the market  behind Soaring Spirits has a very inexperienced rider.

Top Beak’s run at Lingfield in December is well worth a look (13th Dec). He was at the back of 15 turning for home, a good 10 lengths if not more behind the leaders, dropping out the side of the t.v. set and then he appears charging down the outside to finish 4th and only a length away.

His mark has fallen 20 lbs in a year due to a miserable turf season and he now looks well handicapped and a winner waiting to happen and Kempton, with its longer straight looks his track. He was 3rd last time out, just finding one too good who has run well in a higher grade since and losing 2nd late on to a subsequent winner.

 

Tuesday 23rd January

3.05 Southwell. Foolaad. 1 point win. 5 various

4.10 Southwell. Princess Way. 0.375 points each-way. 17 various

Foolaad took eleven attempts to register his first win in a handicap but has since won four from six and placed in two big fields in the other two. Dropping in trip would appear to have been the key and he returned last month after a seven month absence to win over course and distance. The 2nd that day has been narrowly beaten into 2nd again since, while the 3rd has won.

His time last month was the best of the season for the 5 furlong sprint at Southwell and there could be more to come given it was on the back of a break. The draw is perfect with those either side unlikely to push on.

Princess Way should also be able to bounce into a strong position with other pace rivals drawn wider. She was last at Lingfield last time out but has always struggled on the faster All-Weather tracks. However, she ran at Southwell at the end of December, winning well from the front, and then performed better than the result suggests here early in January. Drawn out in stall 13, she had to work to get out and across but couldn’t grab the lead. She was then battling on when becoming the meat in a sandwich and having to take a check. She runs an extra furlong tomorrow, as do a few others, but clearly has taken well to Fibresand and should be in position to make a stronger fist of it than her odds imply.

Monday 22nd January

6.20 Wolverhampton. Zabeel Star. 0.75 points win. 9 various

7.20 Wolverhampton. Bell Heather. 1 point win.8 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetStars/BetBright/BetVictor

Paul Hanagan has his first two rides in the UK today since November, one of which is for his boss, Richard Fahey, and the other is Bell Heather for Patrick Morris. In the last decade, twenty-nine horses, including Bell Heather, have switched from either Fahey to Morris or the other way round, which more than suggests a close connection between the two yards and Morris is therefore likely to have been aware of Hanagan’s upcoming availability.

If his approach is similar to last year, then the former Champion Jockey will be popping for just a few selective rides rather than riding throughout various cards- last year by the end of the first week of February, he’d had just 10 rides, delivering 4 winners plus 3 finishing 2nd or 3rd, and all going off at single figure prices.

Bell Heather has won twice at Wolverhampton before and a step up in trip should suit- she’s been a touch outpaced before staying on. She’s only had two runs in four months, both at Wolverhampton, and has run better than the bare form suggests- badly hampered on her return and making up ground but running out of time in her latest- and the step up in trip could see her improve further. She’s in excellent hands and the Hanagan booking implies more is expected.

Zabeel Star has only run a mile and a half on three occasions but a record of 212 bodes well. His narrow 2nd at Newcastle in December in a strong race for the grade reads well and a run to that level will see him have a decent chance here. He’s run well at Wolverhampton before and Liam Keniry returns to his saddle for the first time since their course and distance success in April. The concern is that he can be a slow starter but there’s enough in the price to take the risk and, as he tends to be held-up anyway, as long as he’s not detached he can still run his race.

Sunday 21st January.

2.55 Chelmsford. Topmeup. 1 point win. 7 various

Saturday 20th January

If there are any bets for Chelmsford on Sunday then there’ll be a text sent either Saturday night or Sunday morning.

12.20 Lingfield. Mr Bossy Boots. 1 point win. 6 various

1.25 Lingfield. Betsalottie. 1 point win. 6.5 various

There are little spells that can be flattered by having a few close finishes go in favour and other times, such as we’ve had in the last seven days, that deserve a bit more than they yield when the reverse happens.

At the weekend we had Brother Tiger and Kasbah go close, matched odds-on, on Tuesday Burauq pipped in the final stride, matched at 1.14, then three placing without winning yesterday and Jumping Jack losing in a photo today, plus Conkering Hero looking to be coming with a winning run, also matched odds-on, but then finding little in the final half furlong and going down by around a length.

A frustrating few days then, but that’s racing and it’ll happen for spells a few more times again this year, hence the need for a bank. Heart can be taken by the increase in frequency of those getting in the frame and if that remains the case then we’ll be moving forwards sooner rather than later.

Of the others in the last couple of days, Sky Marshal won with plenty in hand (a little bit of drift in the price), Show Stealer’s hopes were all but gone in the first furlong when a touch slowly away, shuffled back, racing wide into the first turn and left in an impossible position.

Yesterday, Tricky Dicky couldn’t reel in the leader who he’d beaten last time and met on better terms this time around. Luv U Whatever was a well beaten third but was given a terrible ride by apprentice Harrison Shaw who needlessly asked for an effort far too soon resulting in LUW running the last few furlongs a second and a half slower than his runs here last month despite carrying less weight. I must accept blame there- I knew he was in inexperienced hands when making the selection- but it’s also one of the difficulties of the winter season when the number of experienced riders available significantly decreases and the standard of riding drops as a consequence. Cool Breeze had the better of the favourite Pulsating but couldn’t get past the leader and winner and can’t really have any excuses despite being matched at a surprisingly low 1.04. Hisar ran respectably but no more, looking a place candidate for a long while but not managing to sustain it.

On Wednesday, after Sky Marshall, Soaring Spirits had ever chance turning for home but his effort petered out tamely and Lagenda, who was dropping back in trip, was well backed and I thought we were in business a couple of furlongs out when travelling well on the shoulder of the leader but must have had a problem because his effort quickly subsided and he was eased down, 20 lengths behind the main body.

We still have Thorntoun Lady running later and a couple of chances to bounce back tomorrow.

Mr Bossy Boots was almost a selection earlier in the week but his price collapsed before posting. He runs again tomorrow and much of what I’d typed previously (without posting) still applies: ‘Mr Bossy Boots has a record on the All-Weather (away from Southwell’s unique surface) at 7 furlongs of 11314146113009. Those last three suggest there’s been a decline in performance, especially because those were the only runs he had in the autumn, but there are a few reasons to think he may be able to bounce back.

The handicapper has dropped him 5 lbs since his last run and 11 lbs since 3 runs ago which also enables him to run at Class 4 level having been taking on significantly better horses in Class 2 and 3- his record at this level reads 1311. The other reason is that he was off the track from January to August last year and was repeatedly entered then withdrawn so may have had some problems to overcome. He’s improved through those runs since, even if that’s not reflected in finishing positions, and was towards the back of midfield on his latest run due to a wide draw. If he can be kept in closer touch tomorrow from a better draw he can be more of a threat now in lesser company.’

He ran on for third on Wednesday but looked to have something left in the tank. He runs a mile tomorrow and although that hasn’t been his most successful distance previously, it could be that as he matures he needs that extra distance. Chester Street is the main threat, but his position at the head of the market is largely based on potential shown in 2016.

Betsalottie was a selection for us in November when 2nd of 16 and narrowly being denied by the progressive Raashdy. His runs since then have been to a similar standard and he won well last time out. He looks to have settled now to a mile and a quarter (has been running from a mile to a mile and a half in the autumn). If avoiding trouble in running tomorrow, his low draw should suit his adaptability as he’s been hindered by being stuck out wide on a couple of occasions. Rock Icon is the threat if repeating his run last time out, but consistency is something he’s struggled with previously.

Friday 19th January

2.00 Lingfield. Jumping Jack. 0.75 points win. 11 Ladbrokes, 10 various

2.30 Linfield. Show Stealer. 0.75 points win. 6.5 Coral/SkyBet/BetBrigt/BetVictor

3.05 Lingfield. Conquering Hero. 1 point win. 4 various

7.45 Newcastle. Thorntoun Lady. 1 point win. 5 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower, 4.5 various

Jumping Jack’s run at Kempton last month was his first on the flat since July, having been jumping in between. Although he was 8th that day, it was a bunch finish and he was only 3 lengths away having been denied a clear run when staying on as well as anything. He’s down in class tomorrow, gets an extra couple of furlongs to tackle (his jumping spell should have helped with his stamina) and he should still have scope for improvement, being unexposed at this trip.

Show Stealer was an impressive winner here last month, ridden with plenty of confidence and picking up smoothly on the run for home to put the race to bed in a matter of strides. He’s up in class tomorrow, but that run- in which he didn’t look as if he had to fully extend- was the quickest over course and distance in a handicap this season. He’s been running 7 furlongs but looks best at 6 furlongs- has only run in 10 handicaps at 6f, winning 3 and placing in 4 others- and this will only be his 3rd run at this distance on the All-Weather.

Oisin Murphy has become the jockey Joe Tuite turns to with his best chances, riding over half of the trainer’s winners last year from around a quarter of his runs. It’s therefore noteworthy that Murphy rides Conquering Hero for Tuite tomorrow. He returned to form last time out when running 11 furlongs at Kempton which was a first middle distance run since August when he was stepped up to two miles. He just found one better at Kempton and having that run back at this distance should be beneficial. If able to get close to the level of performance when winning over course and distance at a canter in June ahead of a collection of subsequent winners then he’ll be hard to beat.

Thorntoun Lady’s mark fell by 26 in the space of a year and she now looks to be well handicapped again. Judging by the way she’s been seeing out her races, 7 furlongs at Newcastle looks ideal and her recent win has been well franked by a trio of subsequent winners behind her and she won despite not having things fall her way. Jim Goldie’s yard is in cracking form- 11 wins from last 39 runs- and PJ McDonald, who has ridden more winners at Newcastle in the last year than anybody else, is a positive jockey booking.

Thursday 18th January

Four singles and a win Trixie for tomorrow.

2.20 Southwell. Tricky Dicky. 1 point win. 3.25 various

2.55 Southwell. Luv U Whatever. 1 point win. 4.5 various

5.55 Chelmsford. Hisar. 0.5 points each-way. 10 BetBright/Bet365, 9 various

8.30 Chelmsford. Cool Breeze. 1 point win. 3.25 various

Win Trixie, 4 bets (3 doubles and a treble), each 0.25 points for a total of 1 point, using Tricky Dicky, Luv U Whatever and Cool Breeze.

SkyBet/Coral 3.25, 4.5, 3.25, Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetBright 3, 4.5, 3.25

It’s no surprise to see Pulsating and Cool Breeze as 1st and 2nd favourites for the 8.30 tomorrow night but I would have them the other way round. Pulsating has a fourth run in a fortnight and looks to have peaked. She’s picked up a series of wins that’s taken her up 19 lbs and from Class 7 to Class 5, but she’s 0 from 8 at this level.

Cool Breeze has gone up 7 lbs for winning at Kempton last time out but that was in this grade and she won with a bit in hand- reopposing 3rd favourite Pretty Bubbles was left in her wake- and there should be more to come. Three runs ago she was chasing down the leader before being hampered and two runs ago was gaining on the winner but just failed. She was then upped from 5 to 6 furlongs and got the job done impressively.

We had an increased stake on Luv U Whatever before Christmas but unfortunately he came up against Restive twice who won in style, putting in excellent times for the track. Luv needs forgiving for that and his runs stand up well against tomorrow’s favourite. (Here’s the previous reasoning: ‘Luv U Whatever is 0 from 14 on turf but has clocked up 11 wins from 46 on the All-Weather and his record at Southwell is particularly impressive- 8 wins from 15 runs, including 7 from 12 in handicaps. He was flying a couple of years ago when under the stewardship of Mick Appleby but then seemed to lose his way when with Michael Attwater.

He’s now with Majorie Fife, who does particularly well here, and having fallen from a mark of 97 all the way down to his current mark of 70, he has the sort of profile to put a series of victories together if Fife can revitalise him. This is his first run in a handicap at the track since 3rd by 3 lengths in a Class 3, 0-95 off a mark 16 lbs higher In January, which he followed by an 8 length heavily eased-down victory in a seller in March.

He looked to be coming back to form last time out when losing by just 2 lengths in a Class 2, 0-100 on Polytrack at Kempton earlier in the month. Now he’s back on his favoured surface and making the massive drop into a Class 5, 0-75, I would have him around 6/4 or 5/4, so the 11/4 or 3/1 on offer is worth lapping up.’

Tricky Dicky and Hisar are also previous selections. Tricky D won here (for us) in August and although his only two runs on Fibresand since have seen him defeated, both times he’s been narrowly beaten against rivals proven on this surface and those runs still look stronger than anything offered in opposition tomorrow. Patrick Vaughan takes off 7 lbs and Dicky can add to his course record of 1122.

Hisar was seemingly disappointing when we backed him earlier in the month, but he actually recorded a marginally better time than when winning the time before. For a sprinter, his collection of recent runs looks solid and Jason Watson (very much an apprentice to keep an eye on) looks well worth his 7 lb claim despite his relative inexperience. The race could again come down to how Spare Parts runs- won again today for a 4th time this year- but the amount of racing must takes it toll sooner or later, this 0-65 is markedly better than the 0-55’s he’s been running in and the widest draw won’t help.

I feel we have strong chances with the three in the Trixie, hence its addition.

 

Wednesday 17th January

2.50 Lingfield. Sky Marshall. 1 point win. 4 Bet365, 3.75 various

3.20 Lingfield. Soaring Spirits. 1 point win. 5 various

6.00 Newcastle. Lagenda. 1 point win (see note below). 12 Ladbrokes/WillHill, 11 various

Burauq was delivered on the finishing straight, fought off the battle of favourite Olaudah to lead close to home and looked to be holding on, matched at 1.14, only to get pipped in the final stride by the staying-on Mercers. Trotter and Makaarim both finished out of the places. At first glance they both looked slightly unlucky in the run, having been settled behind the leaders but, on second viewing, the gaps were there if they’d shown the necessary turn of foot and more was hoped for from both.

Sky Marshall has only had 6 runs in his short career and got off the mark last time out on his first attempt at a mile and a half. The form has played out well- 4th and 5th have won since, 3rd placed and 2nd runs later tonight- and a 2 lb rise looks lenient. He’s obviously very unexposed, especially at this new distance.

Spare Parts is the favourite in the 3.20 after winning three times already this year. However, he’s gone up 6lbs plus carries a 12 lb penalty and he also doesn’t have his usual rider’s 5 lb claim tomorrow, resulting in him have to lug 10st 11 lbs around Lingfield. Because of this he looks worth opposing and the most likely beneficiary is Dean Ivory’s Soaring Spirits who can take advantage of a perfect draw for a front-runner, a falling mark and running for a stable bang in form. He went very close here over course and distance last month.

Not dissimilarly, this might be the time to oppose Malaspina in the 6.00 at Newcastle after a winning spree has taken her up the weights and up in class. Lagenda has been running well at this level without managing to get his head in front when it matters- led inside the final furlong at Wolverhampton over the extended mile trip but couldn’t hold on last time out and similarly lost out in a battle for the line at Chelmsford last month. His mark has fallen and he seems to get on well with Shane Gray. He looks a very big price here considering his most recent run was a hot race with six recent winners in opposition.

Win only bet is recommended due to only 8 runners being declared and the chance of a non-runner bringing the places down to 2. If you’d rather be more cautious, backing half a point to win tonight and then tomorrow have half a point on the exchange place markets at Betfair or the like (which will keep 3 places even if there’s a non-runner) could be an option.

Tuesday 16th January

4.35 Kempton. Burauq. 0.375 points each-way. 12 PaddyPower/BetVictor, 11 Ladbrokes/WillHill

5.10 Kempton. Trotter. 0.5 points each-way. 8 WillHill/Bet365, 7.5 Ladbrokes

5.40 Kempton. Makaarim. 1 point win. 3.5 various

A bit short of both winners and drama last week with the couple of successes doing so comfortably but, up until the weekend, most losers going down without getting the pulse racing. A few frustrations through the week, this time around though. Last Monday both Shamlan and Misu Pete were allowed to go off far too hard, destroying their own chances in the process. Tigerfish drifted out to 16/1 but was 2nd, just finding one too good who has already won again since, and could be worth keeping on our side again. La Fortuna was shuffled back early on and then was stuck in traffic and is another who may be considered again in the near future. Kasbah and Brother Tiger were both narrow losers having been matched odds-on in the run. Although Qassam did become an odds-on favourite, he found absolutely nothing in the finish. Pleasingly, Outer Space has just won with something in hand and that reverses almost all of last week’s loss. It was another accomplished ride by apprentice Rossa Ryan who looks to be coming of age now and his rides can be backed with increasing confidence.

Onto tomorrow and there are a few negatives around those in the top half of the market in Kempton’s opener: the trainers of Napping and Gorgeous are in dreadful form (no flat winners for over 10 months in one case, 107 runs since last winner on the flat plus 35 over jumps for the other), while there’s the suspicion that Mercers is best at 5 furlongs and Rapid Rise at 7 furlongs, whereas this will be run over 6 furlongs.

Olaudah was 2nd over course and distance at the start of the month, only finding one too good who was winning for a third time in as many weeks, and pulled clear of the rest of the field. Burauq was the well beaten third that day and will need to improve to bridge that gap with Olaudah. However, Olaudah had the run of the race at the front of the field but will have pressure for the lead tomorrow, most probably from Monarch Maid. Additionally, there’s a 3 lb weight swing between the two in Burauq’s favour and that last run was a first after a break. If coming on for that return and with concerns elsewhere, he could outrun his large odds.

Trotter steps up to 7 furlongs for the first time having been keeping on but not quite getting there at 6 furlongs. He has a good draw to sit behind the leaders- this could be a bit of a burn-up with the likes of Baltic prince and Tavener in the line-up- and with Oisin Murphy booked to ride he won’t go down wondering.

Maraakim looked to have an extra gear to utilise when winning at Wolverhampton two starts ago, having tracked the leaders before being asked to go and win the race by Richard Kingscote. The 2nd and 3rd in that race have won since, so the form looks strong.

He was then given a Fran Berry of a ride by the man himself when bewilderingly held up in last from a good draw at Lingfield. He was given no chance of winning and was over 9 lengths behind 2 furlongs from home but picked up very impressively to close the gap to under 2 lengths at the line.

Thankfully, Richard Kingscote returns to the saddle and is sure to attain at least a semi-sensible racing position and let the horse use his pace to do the rest.

Monday 15th January

5.10 Wolverhampton. Outer Space. 1 point win. 8 PaddyPower/BetVictor, 7.5 various

(No further bets for Monday.)

Sunday 14th January 

2.25 Southwell. Brother Tiger. 1 point win. 5 various

3.25 Southwell. Meandmyshadow. 0.5 points each-way. 8.5 various

Saturday 13th January

There’s a rare Sunday All-Weather meeting at Southwell this weekend. There may or may not be bets for that- there are only four races that potentially may give a selection- but if so, then there’ll be a text sent either Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

1.25 Lingfield. Kasbah. 0.75 points win. 7 Boyles/Ladbrokes/Coral

2.35 Lingfield. Qassam. 1 point win. 2.875 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower, 2.75 SkyBet (some yet to price)

3.40 Lingfield. Stringybark Creek. 0.5 points each-way. 13 SyBEt/BetVictor (some yet to price)

Good to have a successful placepot last night but a bit of an anti-climax with the tiny reward for it. Unfortunately, a collection of popular choices went through along with ours, keeping many in the kitty. Personally, I find placepots the most fun bets that we do and from feedback they seem to be very popular so will try to include them when the opportunity arises if cards are full of handicaps and at least some at the top of the market in a few races look vulnerable (Lingfield tomorrow falls down on the second part of that). I’ll summarise this week’s other bets on Monday.

Onto tomorrow and only four runners go to post in the 2.35, two saddled by Karl Burke and two by Jamie Osborne. This should really be between the Osborne pair and despite the early odds making Cliffs Of Capri the odds-on favourite and Qassam the odds-against second favourite, I’d have these two the other way round.

I rate Qassam’s only run to date on Polytrack, when winning at Chelmsford, as a step beyond anything Cliffs has shown so far. Furthermore, Qassam is on 4 lbs better terms than would be the case in a handicap and has by far the superior jockey on board, both tactically and regarding strength in a finish. With these small field contests often being tactical affairs, that booking could be key.

Stringybark Creek struggled on Fibresand on his latest run but should be a different proposition back on Polytrack, a much faster surface. Two runs ago he won at Lingfield, making up ground late on and the step up in trip should suit, running off just a pound higher.

Kasbah has a record over course and distance of 2122, all under Jack Mitchell who rides again and all off marks around his current one. Three of those were also in a higher class. He looks to be far better on Polytrack than turf (just 1 win in 18 on turf) and his form has picked up once again since changing back to his preferred surface. Human Nature should inject enough pace into the contest and as long as he’s doesn’t have too much ground to make up and avoids hitting the Lingfield traffic then he should be a strong contender. All things considered, this price looks slightly on the generous side.

Friday 12th January

1.20 Lingfield. Passing Star. 0.375 points each-way. 15 Bet365, 13 various

2.20 Lingfield. Shyron. 0.75 points win. 9 Bet365, 8 SkyBet/BetVictor

2.50 Lingfield. Dutiful Son. 1 point win. 3.5 various

3.50 Lingfield. Look Surprised. 1 point win. 7 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower, 6.5 Bet365

7.15 Newcastle. Mansfield. 0.75 points win. 7 Boyles/PaddyPower/BetVictor

Fingers crossed for the remainder of the placepot- races 3 and 5 could be the make or break ones- and for Saint Helena later. A more normal day tomorrow and a nice range of odds, so let’s hope to get a couple. I’ll leave it there tonight- it’s been a long day!

 

Thursday 11th January (final update)

One more single for tonight and the placepot. Bets for tomorrow will be posted at 6.30 as usual.

8.00 Chelmsford. Saint Helena. 0.375 points each-way. 17 BetStars/Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetVictor/Bet365

Placepot Selections for tonight at Chelmsford. (64 lines, each 0.015 points, total 0.96 points.)

5.55 Titan Goddess AND Ross Raith Rover

6.30 Arnarson AND Espresso Freddo

7.00 Maifalki AND Graceful James

7.30 Spiritoftomintoul AND Sea’s Aria

8.00 Udogo AND Saint Helela

8.30 Spare Parts AND Mercury

Ok, time for a bit of evening entertainment and the first placepot attempt for a while. For anyone who has never made one of these before, the aim is to select horse(s) to place in the first six races of a meeting.

All the stakes go into a kitty, the tote takes a cut and the remainder is divided amongst the winning stakes. You need a horse to place in each and every race to win. The amounts won can vary enormously- often very little if favourites all place due to them normally being popular selections, but often quite big if some favourites fail and if outsiders come good.

You can make these bets at BetFred, Totesport, Bet365, Betfair Exchange, William Hill and probably quite a few other places. If you’re having trouble then drop me an email milesbets@gmail.com and I’ll talk you through it. But, if you look for Tote, look for Placepot, look for Chelmsford, then make your way across the six races then you should be okay.

You should end up with 64 lines which means 64 different combinations of all horses. Progress can be tracked at Scoop6.co.uk

Thursday 11th January (update)

A Placepot for this evening’s meeting at Chelmsford will be added at 3pm (the first race is 5.55). There may also be another selection then for the last at Chelmsford (9pm).

4.35 Newcastle Aleef. 0.75 points win. 4 various

Front-runners can be sitting ducks at Newcastle, but Aleef may be able to buck that trend. He runs the stiff 5 furlongs having been running 6 furlongs recently so should have no trouble staying on. There has been an increasing tendency for runners to migrate across to the nearside rail at Newcastle and he’s drawn to help should Franny Norton bring them across. After 10 months off the track he’s improved with each run back. His last run on Fibresand debut was perfectly decent but now on Tapeta he can build on his previous run when winning stylishly from the front.

There was going to be another selection but it became a non-runner between writing the text and it being sent.

Thursday 11th January

No selections at the moment. At about half four this afternoon I thought we might have a busy day but then the odds started to come out and everything I was interested in has been priced shorter than hoped. It’s not unlikely that there will be price movements tonight and/or in the morning and if acceptable odds come along then a text will be sent, probably late morning.

Additionally, the Chelmsford evening meeting is comprised of 7 handicaps which is very unusual and it looks like there will be a collection of 7 runner fields in at least a few of those, meaning only two places. This looks ripe for an attempt at a placepot because stakes are likely to be spread and we’d only need a couple at the head of markets to falter for it to quickly become a decent payout- more likely with only 2 places. There’s no advantage to placing these early- actually there’s a disadvantage because of the chance of a change to the number of places with non-runners- so I’ll look to have that up early afternoon ahead of the first race at 5.55pm. Again, look out for info via text or check this page prior to the opener.

Wednesday 10th January

2.15 Lingfield. Author’s Dream. 1 point win. 3.25 various

3.25 Linfield. La Fortuna. 0.5 points each-way. 9 various

4.15 Kempton. Tigerfish. 0.75 points win. 8 various

Author’s Dream is lightly raced for a 5 year-old, having had just 9 starts, but is clearly going in the right direction. He’s gradually been upped in distance until tackling runs around 2 miles in the spring. Since returning from a break he’s taken a further step forward and got off the mark in very impressive style on his latest run, winning by 11 lengths.

The handicapper has hit him and forced him up in class, but that may not be enough to stop him going in again and there’s scope for more progression. There should be enough pace for him here and Martin Harley, who rode him for the first time in that recent victory, is booked again.

La Fortuna is also a lightly raced 5 year-old, actually 11% or 12.5% more lightly raced than Author’s Dream depending on which way you look at it, having had only 8 career starts. With a sole exception, his runs have been at 6 furlongs and he’s been getting closer but not able to see it out. He drops down to 5 furlongs tomorrow, running off a mark that keeps on falling and has an extra 3 lbs taken off by Adam McNamara (who has recently moved south to switch from Richard Fahey’s to Roger Charlton’s yard). In this lowly Class 7 contest he should now be capable of being involved.

Tigerfish has been finishing strongly without being able to get there on the All-Weather tracks with shorter finishing straights and the combination of running at Kempton, with a far longer finishing straight, and dropping into another Class 7 handicap should give him a much better chance. He has a wide draw to contend with, though that may make little difference as is likely to have been held-up in any case, but if William Cox can avoid getting trapped out wide then he has the speed to be a major contender at this level. He won twice in the summer off higher marks and the last time his mark was in the forties, he bagged a Polytrack double. He’ll need things to fall for him- plenty of pace, which should be the case, and the gaps to come so this could be an all or nothing run and win only rather than each-way is preferred.

Tuesday 9th January

2.20 Southwell. Samovar. 1 point win. 7 various

Just one for tomorrow. Samovar is a 3 year-old who looks to be improving, has taken to Fibresand and looked to benefit from dropping back in trip last time out. He was pipped on the line on New Year’s Day over tomorrow’s course and distance but recorded a better time than tomorrow’s favourite Jack The Truth did when winning here last month. Moreover, Samovar takes on older horses for the first time tomorrow, receiving 16 lbs weight-for-age allowance. In total he’ll be carrying 22 lbs less than the favourite tomorrow and that could be key. Stall 1 on the round course is often more of a hindrance than a help at Southwell unless the horse can bounce out smartly, but Samovar has been a bright starter and if getting out well again could be hard to peg back.

Monday 8th January

There seems to be a problem with oddschecker this morning. Using the best odds at attheraces (or elsewhere) is therefore advised.

4.15 Wolverhampton. Misu Pete. 0.5 points each-way. 15 BetVic

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