The Syndicate

Selections 2017/18 (AW)

| 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!

Selections for 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 BetVictor/Bet365, 13 WillHill/BetBright

6.15 Wolverhampton. Cat Royale. 0.375 points each-way. 11 various

And (same race) Shamlan. 0.375 points each-way. 12 PaddyPower/SkyBet (plus BetFred/Totesport)

A bit of a slow start to the year with only 11 running for us in the first week, just the one short-priced winner (Arcanada), one place return (Tarseeh) and one non-runner (Magic Mirror). Topmeup was a little unlucky, getting squeezed for room in the run for home when otherwise very likely to place. Ice Royal was probably the pick of the rest, in contention entering the final furlong but not quite sustaining his effort and slipping back to just miss out on the places. Otherwise, the selections have generally  run respectably, but no better than that, even if the races have largely been run as expected- certainly not a week with obvious excuses or hard luck stories. The biggest disappointment was Hisar who was given every chance by Luke Morris but couldn’t repeat recent form.

Onto today and bets for two races at Wolverhampton. There are a few negatives attached to the three at the top of the market for the meeting’s opener. Dark Alliance runs for a stable that’s had just 3 winners in 193 runs since June- a considerable drop from the 25 winners they’d sent out in the previous seven months. Grey Destiny won well for us just before Christmas but needs to come late, attacking a strong pace and there’s an absence of trail-blazers in the field today so it probably won’t be run to suit. He also has a new partner today with Cam Hardie, who has been on board the last eight times Grey Destiny has won or placed, replaced by apprentice William Cox. Haraz also has a different pilot and the inexperience of his 7 lb claimer with just one career win to his name (and that back in 2015) is a concern.

Misu Pete gets the vote. Although Pete’s been struggling over further (form of 0U575), at today’s 7 furlongs he’s looked more of a threat (form of 23171522) and with Nicola Currie’s 5lb claim considered, he’s effectively just a pound higher than his last winning mark. He should be able to sit prominently with a good draw from the 7 furlong start that begins on a shoot directly into a bend and in a race likely to lack much pace that could be crucial. The Mark Usher (trainer)/Currie (jockey) combo has been going well lately with 5 wins and 2 further places from the 10 times they’ve teamed up since the beginning of November.

In the 6.15, Shamlan looks interesting now back with trainer Kevin Frost. He won here and moved up to a mark of 71 in his first spell with Frost in 2016 but then seemed to lose his way through two changes of home and had dropped to a mark of 55 when returning to Frost in November. Before that return he finished 10th, 12, 11th, 12th and 10th but bounced straight back to be a narrow second here on his first run for his new/old trainer. If Frost can get him back to his previous level- and that first run for him suggested improvement is imminent- then he’s going to be a danger in this 0-65.

In the same race, Cat Royale also looks interesting at the prices. He’s gone off hard on his last couple of runs and paid for that late on but is dropped in trip today. He gets on well wit Danny Brock (16 rides, 3 wins and 7 places together, just 1 place from 12 runs with all other jockeys) and tends to do well at Wolverhampton. If he can be up with a more moderate pace then his chances of holding on will increase and he looks more than capable of being involved as he’s another whose mark has fallen in recent times and he’s well below previous winning marks.

 

Saturday 6th January

2.20 Lingfield. Arcanada. 1 point win. 2.5 Ladbrokes/Boyles/Coral/BetVictor

3.30 Lingfield. Topmeup. 0.5 points each-way. 9 various

6.45 Kempton. Tarseekh. 0.375 points each-way. 15 various

Arcanada is a lower priced selection than normal, but justifies it against a small field. In this Conditions Stakes he is on better terms against all others than would be the case in a handicap. There are only six runners, with a couple making up the number. He’s likely to get a soft lead and had the reopposing Gabrial behind when winning a handicap here in November. The yard’s in good form, Martin Harley’s a solid jockey booking and there doesn’t appear to be a reason why he won’t run well.

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.

Topmeup was 2nd in Tarseekh’s most recent run and has since been fourth but the form from that looks strong. He was in the mix for the places and gaining ground, behind a runaway winner who has won again since, but couldn’t quite get there. He normally races fairly prominently but had been dropped to the rear from the widest draw. With a better draw tomorrow he should be able to mount his attack from a better position.

 

Friday 5th January

6.15 Kempton. Broughton’s Fancy. 0.75 points win. 4.5 Ladbrokes/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook

8.15 Kempton. Born To Finish. 0.5 points each-way. 9 various

8.45 Kempton. Magic Mirror. 1 point win. 4.5 various

Born To Finish has been consistently going close at Chelmsford but, given that he lives up to his name and comes through late in the finish, he’s far more suited to the longer straight at Kempton. On his last couple of runs he’s been held up, as per usual, before running on but not catching the winners, including our Cappananty Con. Now back at Kempton where he’s won two of his last four runs, including his last run here in November in this class, he’s a much stronger contender especially with the likes of Temeraire and Rel On Me in opposition who should inject early pace.

Magic Mirror was third for us just before Christmas, beaten by two heads but was better than that and was given a poorly judged ride and kept too far from the pace in a slowly run affair. He needs to be forgiven for that and can bounce back. (This is the previous reasoning: ‘Magic Mirror looks very capable of completing a hat-trick at Kempton tomorrow. He’s won here four times this year and his progress has only been halted by failing to match his Polytrack form on turf (now 4 wins from 8 on Polytrack, no wins and just 1 place on turf). The form looks strong- pulled clear of 2nd two runs ago who has won since and the 3rd has gone close- and the times are good for the grade, but the manner of those victories, when always in command and looking to be capable of finding a little bit more if needed, suggests he’s not finished yet.’)

Broughton’s Fancy has been going close over either 7 furlongs or the stiff 6 furlongs at Newcastle. She runs an easier 6 furlongs tomorrow for the first time since winning at Wolverhampton last year. She hasn’t quite been able to find that little bit extra in the finish but tomorrow’s trip should suit better. Recent form looks strong- 3rd two runs ago ahead of three subsequent winners- and from a good draw she should sit prominently which suits her style.

Thursday 4th January

3.45 Newcastle. Leonard Thomas. 0.75 points win. 7 Ladbrokes/WillHill/Bet365

4.35 Wolverhampton. Hisar. 1 point win. 3.5 Bet365, 3 SkyBet/BetVictor

5.35 Wolverhampton. Tis Wonderful. 0.375 points each-way. 8.5 PaddPower/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor

8.15 Chelmsford. Toy Theatre. 0.75 points win. 8 various

As mentioned yesterday, tomorrow has three All-Weather meetings which is quite unusual. From here on in, over the next fifteen weeks, the norm is one meeting on Mondays and Tuesdays, then two each day Wednesday to Saturday. On average there’s one or two bets per meeting, which is likely to give us around fifteen bets each week.

The odds above can change, so using oddschecker.com or the best odds section at attheraces.com is recommended and the list of bookmakers offering Best Odds Guaranteed the night before racing is in the user guide.

The 3.45 at Newcastle will be run over a straight mile with a stiff finish. Yet, the favourite (Rockley Point) is up in trip and didn’t really get home on his latest run. With a record of just one win from 27 starts and finishing last when he most recently ran further than 7 furlongs, there looks to be value elsewhere. Twiggy and Insha are also upped in distance after weakening over shorter last time out.

The one that appeals most is Leonard Thomas. He drops in trip, down from a mile and a half, so should have no stamina issues. That distance may have been stretching him, especially returning from a break and the return to a mile should bring out improvement. His course and distance record reads 3413 and he runs off a lower mark than when winning here 13 months ago. He had two stable changes in 2017 and if his most recent move proves to be a positive one then he’s handicapped to be dangerous in this class.

Hisar must have been frustrating for his connections in recent months, getting matched odds-on in the run three times in a row without seeing it out. He finally got his head in front on his most recent run when Luke Morris was brought in for the ride and his strong handling could have been what was needed. Morris rides again tomorrow and a rise of 4lbs may not stop a repeat. Unusually for a sprint at Wolverhampton, there aren’t too many who like to press on in the line-up and that should make it easier for Morris to sit in a prominent position, probably taking a tow off Butoolat who is handily drawn next door.

Tis Wonderful should also be able to be positioned near the pace from a good draw with others who like to be up there drawn wider out. Tis Wonderful is lightly raced but looks to be going the right way and has taken to being asked to run further. He was 2nd on his latest run, 4 lengths clear of a recent winner in third, and that followed a decent effort on his first run at a mile and a half. The two maret leaders have a similar profile, but the value looks to be the selection.

There are more distance changes in the 7 furlong handicap at 8.15 at Chelmsford. Hat-trick seeking The Eagles Nest strangely drops in distance and the question is whether he’ll find this too quick, while Upavon is tried over further. The latter has a habit of being slowly away and because of that Chelmsford may not be his course- it can be hard to make up ground here and prominent runners prevail more often than not.

However, this does look to be the ideal distance for Toy Theatre. He’s now 4 wins from 9 at 7 furlongs, plus two seconds. A line can be put through his last run because he clearly didn’t take to Southwell’s Fibresand and he’s better judged on his run before at Wolverhampton which is far more similar to Chelmsford. He was 2 lengths away in a Class 2, 0-100 Conditions Stakes, carrying the same weight as rivals rated far higher. Running in a Class 4, 0-85 tomorrow is far more achievable and Mick Appleby has booked his promising 7lb claimer to lighten the load.

 

Wednesday 3rd January

No selections. There are two meetings tomorrow and many handicaps so would normally have a few selections, but it’s proved a tricky and unappealing day to tackle. There’s a mixture of races in which a case can be made for too many and others that are not going to take a lot of winning but it’s hard to have too much confidence in anything involved and are not worth chancing at modest prices. If there are price shifts in the morning then there’ll be a text, but otherwise let’s hold back for better opportunities and with the rarity of three All-Weather meetings on Thursday, we may well have a few to cheer on in tomorrow night’s post.

Tuesday 2nd January

4.10 Newcastle. Ice Royal. 0.375 points each-way. 13 various

4.40 Newcastle. Twin Appeal. 1 point win. 4.5 Bet365/BetVictor, 4.33 various

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve long suspected that sprouts have a similar affect on Matt that spinach used to have on Popeye and yesterday certainly seemed to support that theory- a cracking start to the New Year.

Let’s hope to add to that today and in the days, weeks and months ahead. Once the inbox has been cleared and there’s been a chance to review the festive racing, I’ll give a bit more info on what to expect from me this year. Meanwhile, it’s otherwise straight back to normal and there’ll be posts at 6.30pm again, beginning tonight, each evening Monday to Friday plus a Monday morning post.

Two for today and Ice Royal looks worthy of a small stake at the prices in the straight mile. Jamie Osborne doesn’t send too many to Newcastle from his Berkshire base- Ice Royal is his only representative today- but he should be suited by the course more than he is by the tighter All-Weather tracks.

He’s been around the places for most runs since returning from a break and is capable of running further- an advantage here with its stiff finish. He doesn’t need to improve much to feature today and the straight course allowing him to get rolling can help him do that. Hat-trick seeking Dellaguista is probably the rightful favourite, but at three or four times the price, Ice Royal looks to be where the value lies.

Like many in David Barron’s care, Twin Appeal had a fruitless summer but has picked up again recently. He hinted at a return to form at Doncaster on the closing day of the turf season and has put in two strong runs at Wolverhampton since, winning his latest start in impressive style. He’s still well handicapped on his old form and with the upturn in his stable’s fortunes recently, there could be more to come.

 

Saturday 23rd December

1.45 Lingfield. Master The World. 1 point win. 3.5 SkyBet/BetVictor/Bet365

2.55 Lingfield. Elysian Fields. 0.375 points each-way. 15 Bet365, 13 various

3.30 Lingfield. Hi There Silver. 0.375 points each-way. 15 Bet365, 13 various

Merry Christmas everyone. These are probably the last from me for the year. If that changes then there’ll be a text sent, but Matt will be keeping it busy next week.

Friday 22nd December

No selections. Although there are two meetings tomorrow, it looks quite tricky and there are some smaller fields than usual. There’s nothing I’m comfortable backing at the prices at the moment, but if there are any big shifts in the morning markets it’s possible there might be something and if so there’ll be a text sent.

Thursday 21st December (Part Two)

7.15 Chelmsford. Hawatif. 0.5 points win. 11 various

And (same race) Titan Goddess. 0.5 points win. 13 various

The favourite in the 7.15, Corked, looks a strong contender but that’s more than reflected in the low price and there probably shouldn’t be such a huge gap to a couple at much bigger prices.

Titan Goddess has won three times at Chelmsford. Although the most recent success was in Selling Stakes and she now returns to handicapping, the time was quicker than Corked’s recent win here and she was carrying more weight. She also won a handicap here back in October and the 2nd and 3rd today have been subsequent winners along with two others further back.

Hawatif caught the eye at Kempton in October when making up plenty of ground from being in the last pair turning for home to finish in the places. She then ran well again behind our Favourite Royal at Lingfield, finishing closer than the finishing position may suggest. Chelmsford probably isn’t ideal for a horse of her style, but there should be plenty of pace on and in a small field, Luke Morris can be trusted to keep her within reach of the leaders. She also drops down in class to run in a 0-75 for the first time in her career.

At Southwell, Restive looks good value to complete a hat-trick. We had an increased stake on Luv U Whatever when Restive beat him two runs ago by 7 lengths and the pair then finished in the same positions a few days later when the margin was 4 lengths. Luv U Whatever is a strong yardstick on this surface and despite going up in the weights for those two victories, Restive may not have such a strong opponent to beat today.

Lean On Pete has taken the runner-up spot on both runs at Southwell in the last few months. He’s normally in the frame here and is likely to be helped by getting an easy lead today. He won on turf in a higher grade towards the end of the summer and his runs here look strong with others behind him running well since.

Thursday 21st December

Here are selections for Southwell for tomorrow. Any bets for Chelmsford plus reasoning will follow either later tonight or mid-morning tomorrow. There will be a text sent first, either way.

11.45 Southwell. Restive. 1 point win. 4.5 various

2.15 Southwell. Lean On Pete. 1 point win. (9 Bet365, a bit of an outlier so unlikely to last) 6.5 SkyBet/BetVictor (some yet to price)

Wednesday 20th December

3.25 Lingfield. My Brother Mike. 0.375 points each-way. 11 various

6.10 Kempton. Lacan. 0.75 points win. 5.5 various

7.10 Kempton. Magic Mirror. 0.75 points win. 3.25 BetVictor/WillHill/SkyBet/BetBright

Plus a Win double, 0.5 points using Lacan and Magic Mirror.

BetVictor/WillHill 5.5, 3.25, Bet365 5.5, 3, BetBright/SkyBet 5, 3.25

My Brother Mike looks a very big price considering his recent form and that he has a far more experienced jockey than many of those towards the top of the market in this Apprentice Handicap. Mike won decisively at Newcastle in October, beating Champagne Pink by 4 lengths in 2nd who has won twice since, Restive in 3rd who has clocked up a hat-trick since and Champagne Rules in 5th who has won twice since, so that form could hardly be stronger. He was then pipped on the line in late October and, upped in trip, earlier this month would have gone very close with a clear run. He’s still unexposed, especially over this new distance for him of a mile and a half

Lacan was a class act a few winters ago when trained by Marco Botti, winning several Class 2 handicaps, but has seemed to lose his way following two changes of trainer. As a consequence, his ark has fallen by 27 lbs and he now looks extremely well handicapped if able to show some of his previous ability. The green shots have started to poke through and he’s made steady and smooth progress from the rear on his last two runs and finally the signs are once again positive.

He needs a decent pace to attack and he should get that here from the likes of Bluff Crag and Dance Teacher, plus a skilled pilot and the reigning All-Weather Champ, Luke Morris, takes the booking.

Magic Mirror looks very capable of completing a hat-trick at Kempton tomorrow. He’s won here four times this year and his progress has only been halted by failing to match his Polytrack form on turf (now 4 wins from 8 on Polytrack, no wins and just 1 place on turf). The form looks strong- pulled clear of 2nd two runs ago who has won since and the 3rd has gone close- and the times are good for the grade, but the manner of those victories, when always in command and looking to be capable of finding a little bit more if needed, suggests he’s not finished yet.

Tuesday 19th December

1.00 Southwell. Red Touch. 0.75 points win. 5 BetVictor/Bet365 (plus SunBets, but not BOG until morning), 4.5 various

3.30 Southwell. Gnaad. 1 point win. 5 various

Pleasingly, the strong start to the season continues. It won’t last forever, certainly not at this rate anyway, but let’s enjoy it while it does and hope it carries on for a while yet.

At this point it might be worth having a quick look through accounts with different bookmakers and seeing where the profitable bets have been made recently. If there’s a couple that have had a particularly brutal assault then it could be wise to handle them gently for a while, perhaps using them for selections at low odds, or at least avoiding any chance of landing any further major blows with the higher odds selections for the time being.

Some nice wins over the last week or so. Charles Molson and Mutawathea had similar reasoning in that they had previously travelled well but had to mount attacks from back in the field due to high draws, but were able to kick on from more prominent positions when backed. Grey’s Destiny had a strong pace to chase down and did it well, while Bayston Hill looked to have plenty in hand when pulling comfortably clear having always raced prominently.

A few near misses in there too with A Sure Welcome and Rajar going close in 2nd and Dream Serenade, going off at an SP of 26, battling valiantly, repeatedly seeing off challenges for the lead but not quite holding on after getting matched at evens close to home and we had to settle for place returns. Mr Pocket was another 2nd, running his race tracking the leaders but just finding one with the same tactics performinging better on the day.

A few have disappointed, especially Zipedeedodah and Medici Moon, and I don’t think they had any excuses- we’ve been a little fortunate not to have had any hard luck stories for a while.

Medici Moon runs again at Southwell tomorrow and faces three rivals who beat him last week, plus Red Touch who was second behind him here last month. Clearly Medici didn’t run to that standard last week but even if bouncing back, Red Touch can reverse that form on 3 lbs better terms between the two and with Medici likely to get taken on for the lead by Mama Africa.

Red Touch took a while to get going on his latest run- his first back on Fibresand since April- but made up considerable ground after turning for home, finishing best of all to lose by just over a length. If he can settle better tomorrow that will help and he’s likely to have a strong pace to chase down which will also be beneficial. Since joining trainer Mick Appleby, his record in this class (5) on Fibresand reads 1122.

In the 5 furlong sprint that closes the card, the two who look most capable are Gnaad and Broadhaven Honey. The former has his 15th career start tomorrow. He’s failed to go close in three attempts at 6 furlongs, but has a far better record over the minimum distance. Removing his efforts as a 2 year-old and unseating his rider leaving the stalls this year, his 5 furlong form reads 23131313116. It’s a more than solid and consistent record and crucially includes a very impressive victory at Southwell on his Fibresand debut when pulling clear by 4 lengths.

His last two runs here have seen him defeated by 3 lengths each time. However, both of those runs have been in a higher class and against seasoned Fibresand specialists- in the last one, the field boasted 40 wins on this surface between them, whereas tomorrow the tally is just 6 and a third of those belong to Gnaad.

The draw often plays a big part in 5 furlong sprints at Southwell, run over a straight course, with low to middle ideal but those drawn high, towards the nearside rail, rarely prevailing unless managing to switch across. Although stall 1 for Gnaad isn’t perfect, it’s certainly preferable to stall 10 for Broadhaven Honey and the selection is backed to notch up a 5th win of the year.

Monday 18th December

No selections. Not much to go at today with only two handicaps for 3 year-olds and older at the day’s only All-Weather meeting. The first is for amateur riders and although there are two horses that offer some interest, the inexperience of their partners is too much of a concern to want to be involved. The 3.10 has A Sure Welcome as favourite and probably rightly so after going close (for us) last time out, following solid form. However, there are other threats- Hamish Mcgonagain has also been in fine form and is likely to be there or thereabouts, Big Lachie might be interesting were it not for the form of the yard (2 wins in last 167 runs) while Air Of York might be worth chancing at a price, now back down to 6 furlongs and with Luke Morris booked for the first time since winning on him here in June, on another occasion when the market principals look less appealing than today. There are others also not without hope and, as a result, it’s a contest worth avoiding.

 

Late Selection for Saturday 16th December

7.15 Wolverhampton. Rajar. 0.375 points each-way. 11 various

Saturday 16th December

4.05 Newcastle. Charles Molson. 0.5 points each-way. 9 WillHill/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook (plus SunBets/BetFred/Totesport, not BOG until morning)

4.35 Newcastle. Captain Scooby. 0.25 points each-way. 34 PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor (quite a few still to price, so well worth checking a comparison site)

6.45 Wolverhampton. Rapid Rise. 0.375 points each-way. 21 PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook (plus BetFred/Totesport, not BOG until 8am)

Captain Scooby ran at Chelmsford last night, but in his case that could be a positive. Here’s a list of the number of days between runs for his last few victories: 1, 8, 2, 22 2, 6, 28, 1. He’s an 11 year-old having his 134th run of his career, but he still has a bit of ability although he needs things to fall is way- he won’t get going until late in the race and will need something to chase down. However, Newcastle suits his style and he’s shown enough to think he’s not finished yet with Ben Sanderson’s claim taking him down to his lowest ever weight. He’s an infrequent winner these days- tomorrow will be the anniversary of his last success- but he has made a habit of going in at a big price over the years and he stands a chance tomorrow against a moderate field.

Charles Molson hasn’t had much luck in the run on either of his runs since returning from a break. On both occasions he’s found himself short of room turning for home at Lingfield, with Jim Crowley attempting darts up the inside. Both times he’s been travelling strongly and the straight at Newcastle should give him more of a chance to plot a passage and come through with a late charge.

Rapid Rise has been catching the eye with late progress from impossible positions despite not managing to trouble the leaders. I’m hoping this turns out like Zoffany Bay when fortunes were changed by starting the attack from a better position. He can be a little outpaced before picking up, but hopefully from a low draw he can be towed along and be in touch behind the leaders.

There was heart-warming story earlier this week when 82 year-old trainer Milton Bradley began his day at 5am by feeding his 25 horses before driving the van carrying four of them from Chepstow to Lingfield. By the time he turned the key in the ignition to drive home he’d saddled a 1121/1 treble. Tom Marquand rode two of those and the pair are in combination again with Rapid Rise.

Friday 15th December

No selections. Only one meeting with only three races of potential interest and a case could be made for too many in each for my liking. The early prices look sensible, a few likely protagonists have been handed disadvantageous draws and a couple of hold-up horses in the notebook would be of more interest away from Chelmsford. All in all, it seems a day to avoid. Let’s hold fire for 24 hours and Saturday is far more likely to offer up a few targets with two meetings and 10 handicaps to take aim at.

Thursday 14th December

7.15 Chelmsford. Mutawathea. 0.375 points each-way. 10 Bet365, 9 BetBright/Ladbrokes (plus Betway/BetFred/Totesport, not BOG until the morning)

7.45 Chelmsford. Mr Pocket. 0.5 points win. (8 BetFred/Totesport, not BOG until 8am) 7 SkyBet/BetBright/BetVictor/Bet365

Back to normal now with just the one meeting tomorrow and Friday, then two on Saturday. I’ll do a recap and update results for tomorrow night. Pleased to say that should be an enjoyable job.

Mutawathea is 0 from 17 on turf but has 3 wins from 11 on the All-Weather. The return to the All-Weather is no bad thing for him and his turf form was pretty decent this summer- placed in large field Class 2 handicaps at Newmarket and York- which is something he’s capable of building on.

This will be his second run of the winter season after he ran at Lingfield last month but had absolutely no luck in the run. He was drawn widest and couldn’t find a position, ending up travelling three wide in mid-division. When he did try to make progress, a gap closed on him and remained shut, costing him any chance. Still, there was enough of a hint in that run to suggest he’s in good shape and can go a lot closer from a better draw tomorrow. The Simon Crisford, formerly Godolphin’s Racing Manager, and jockey Rab Havlin partnership is one to look out for and respect in the winter months- since Crisford began training on his own in 2015 the pair have had a 20% strike-rate on the AW and a near 50% place record.

Mr Pocket might be worth a small stake in the 5 furlong sprint. The All-Weather season has grown over the last couple of years and the slower start to the season with only around 7 meetings a week before the New Year seems to be the perfect number with almost every handicap having double-figure fields. However, this is a rare exception with only 7 runners and that may aid Mr P. Selecting anything at Chelmsford that doesn’t run up with the pace is a risky choice, but without a pack to navigate the selection should find an easier route than normal as long as he’s kept in touch with the leaders.

Although at face value the form doesn’t sound too promising- 9th, 6th and 6th of 6 since coming back from a break- those have been decent races for the grade and he’s getting closer. The handicapper has viewed them differently to me and dropped him 11 lbs over those three runs and with the two market leaders for tomorrow winning last time out and going up 11 lbs and 6 lbs respectively, the gap in performances should be closing.

 

WOLVES UPDATE:

Morning All,

At around 10:30 yesterday morning, Wolverhampton cancelled their meeting for yesterday. At this point, all bets were voided or classed as non-runners and stakes returned. Then, at about 1pm, Wolves announced they’d stage the same meeting today. It seems that most bookies have simply opened a new market and voided bets remain voided, but a few have put those bets back on again at original price and stake.
I would suggest checking accounts to see whether Monday night’s bets for Tuesday have been kept or voided so that you know what you have running for you today. If it transpires that you now have Monday’s bets still open and backed the two repeat selections again on Tuesday, then you may wish to contact the bookie in question and ask for Monday’s bet(s) to be cancelled. For clarity of results, I will class Monday night’s selections as void and will only record the Wolverhampton bets posted last night.
That said, I didn’t put Ambitious Boy up as a selection on Tuesday due to the different price, so if you did have the 11/1 or 10/1 on Monday then I’d be happy to keep that (it’s now commonly 7/1 or 8/1).
Hope that helps and sorry for an inconvenience.
Best Wishes,
Miles

 

Selections for Wednesday 13th December (Part Two)

Selections for Lingfield and Kempton are underneath.

3.15 Wolverhampton. Captain Sedgewick. 0.375 points each-way. 21 Coral/Bet365, 19 various

4.25 Wolverhampton. Grey Destiny. 0.5 points each-way. 13 BetVictor/Bet365 (12 BetFred/Totesport, not BOG until 8am)

5.25 Wolverhampton. Dream Serenade. 0.375 points each-way. 17 Bet365, 15 various

Wednesday 13th December

Wolverhampton called off their meeting today- the track was deemed fit to race on but there were issues with other areas- and have decided to run the same races tomorrow. Today’s bets will have been voided and stakes returned, with new markets opened for tomorrow. There will be bets, quite possibly similar ones, but it’ll take some re-evaluating first. I’ll try and get these out later tonight but it may have to be in the morning. Either way, there’ll be a text prior to them being posted. Meawhile, there are bets here for three races at Lingfield and Kempton.

There also seems to be a problem with oddschecker tonight, so I would suggest using the ‘Best Odds’ tab at attheraces.com

2.30 Lingfield. Bayston Hill. 0.75 points win. 6 BetVictor/Bet365, 5.5 various

3.00 Lingfield. Luxford. 0.25 points each-way. 15 various

And (same race) Runaiocht. 0.25 points each-way. 21 WillHill/PaddyPower/Coral/Betfair Sportsbook

7.10 Kempton. First Flight. 0.5 points each-way. 9 BetVictor/Bet365, 8 Ladbrokes/Coral/Boyles

Tuesday 12th December

There’s a lot to go at for tomorrow, not least because Wolverhampton hosts 8 races, each of which are handicaps for 3 year-olds and older. Because of this I’m out of time to add any reasoning tonight. There were also a few considered that didn’t quite make the cut. If there are any price movements then there may be another one or two, so look out for a text late morning.

2.10 Lingfield. Shamshon. 0.75 points win. 7 Boyles/Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetVictor

3.15 Lingfield. Powerful Dream. 0.75 points win. 7 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetVictor

4.50 Wolverhampton. Ambitious Boy. 0.375 points each-way. 12 PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook, 11 Bet365/WillHill/Ladbrokes

5.20 Wolverhampton. Captain Sedgewick. 0.25 points each-way. 21 Bet365/Ladbrokes, 19 SkyBet (plus 10Bet/Betway, not BOG until morning).

5.50 Wolverhampton. Pensax Lady. 0.375 points each-way. 11 Bet365, 10 SkyBet/WillHill/Ladbrokes

6.20 Wolverhampton. Grey Destiny. 0.375 points each-way. 10 WillHill/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook

Monday 11th December

3.00 Southwell. Medici Moon. 0.75 points win. 5 various

The 3.00 at Southwell today features four recent winners at the course, plus two previous winners here, as well as Mach One who lost here by a nose last month. However, the one of those who stands out on current terms is Medici Moon.

The 3 year-old has won twice in a row over course and distance, doing it from the front both times. He’s pulled clear on the turn for home and hasn’t needed to pull out all the stops to hold on. His latest win, just under a month ago, was the fastest time from any of the other recent course and distance runners in today’s field and he had two subsequent course winners well behind. There’s scope for further improvement and the current All-Weather Champion Jockey Luke Morris rides again.

Saturday 9th December

5.45 Wolverhampton. A Sure Welcome. 0.375 points each-way. 15 SkyBet/PaddyPower (plus SunBets, not BOG until morning), 13 various

A good evening yesterday and also a particularly strange one regarding prices. First up we had Cappananty Con who was stable in the market, the same price available well into the morning and then had some afternoon support. He shot out of the stalls, was a little keen but Robert Winston took a pull and settled him behind the leader. That swift action averted wasting energy and probably won him the race as he stayed on best to win by around a length.

C Note had his price slashed around posting time on Wednesday (29 would have been recorded) but then was a massive drifter, going off with an SP of 40/1 and a Betfair SP of 110! I’m pretty sure I’ve never made a selection that has drifted that much. He ran on well for 4th, just under a length away from some decent place money and could be worth keeping on side in the near future.

Finally, we had Zoffany Bay, a 12 race maiden who had never even placed. The 20/1 was still available until just before 8 o’clock in the morning with 18/1 widely available elsewhere. Around twelve hours later he won at an SP of 5/2 (there were no non-runners). I’m very sure I’ve never had a selection that has shortened that much and, to be honest, find it utterly puzzling. Things fell his way, able to settle in behind the leader who tried to kick on several furlongs out presenting a clear passageway. The two pulled clear and Zoff stayed strongly, finishing 5 lengths clear of third. The handicapper’s sure to hit him, but it looks he could stay further.

A mixed day on Wednesday resulted in a small profit courtesy of Richard Kinscote’s persistence on Galifrey, pushing him all the way to the line to just get his nose in front. He clearly has talent but looks a bit lazy and will need a strong handler again if to be considered. Kaisan was closest of the rest, finishing 2nd but the winner had had first run and couldn’t be reeled back. He remains dangerous. The others were well beaten and the only one to have half an excuse was Favourite Royal. A non-runner changed the pace complexion and the front two were able to dictate, carrying on to finish first and second with nothing from off the pace able to get involved.

Just one again for tomorrow.

A Sure Welcome won four in a row, running 7 furlongs, towards the end of last year and beginning of this one, including twice at Wolverhampton. His form then dipped and he only had the occasional run during the summer. The closest he came to adding to his tally was when leading inside the final furlong in August before fading.

After a 10 week break, he came back and won again at Wolverhampton, but this time dropped down to 6 furlongs. He travelled sweetly, just behind the pace and was last off the bridle, cruising into the lead and holding on well.

This is tougher and there are a few others that a case could be made for. He also has the widest draw to contend with. However, there’s a collection of hold-up horses in opposition which will make his path to a decent position a bit easier and the 6 furlong course here also gives a bit of time to get out and across before hitting the first bend. Much will depend upon how well Liam Keniry can position him in the opening stages but he’s now 5 wins from 8 on the All-Weather and there could still be a bit more to come from the 3 year-old at this new distance, making him the pick at the prices.

Friday 8th December

5.45 Chelmsford. Zipedeedohdah. 0.5 points each-way. 11 BetBright/Bet365 (plus BetFred/Totesport, neiter BOG until 8am), 10 SkyBet. A couple of places are yet to price.

Just one for tomorrow…

Swendab, one of our recent winners, runs again in the opener at Chelmsford tomorrow. He’s on a hat-trick but moves up to Class 5- all of his All-Weather wins have been in Class 6 or 7- and may have to battle to get the lead and dominate from the front, which is when he’s most dangerous.

Berryessa is another with leading claims having won and lost by a length in recent weeks in sprints of a similar quality. She may also benefit from sitting just off the pace and letting the leaders beat each other up.

Those are also the tactics I’m hoping Nicola Currie adopts on Zipedeedohdah. The horse returned to the All-Weather a fortnight ago for the first time since July and was just over a length away in a decent Class 4 contest. He looked slightly rusty in the run for home and should come on for that run. He drops down into Class 5 for the first time on the All-Weather since February and has won 3 of his last 4 at this level on an artificial surface.

Thursday 7th December

6.30 Chelmsford. Cappananty Con. 0.25 points each-way. 10 various

7.00 Chelmsford. C Note. 0.25 points each-way. 34 WillHill, 29 Boyles/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor

8.30 Chelmsford. Zoffany Bay. 0.25 points each-way. 21 Bet365/WillHill (plus BetFred/Totesport/Betway, not BOG until morning)

Nothing really appeals for tomorrow at Chelmsford at short prices, but there are a trio of small darts that may be worth being thrown at some longer odds.

The 6.30 does have some decent recent form in the line-up, but mainly from hold-up horses and this isn’t a track where it’s easy to win from the back of the pack. That will favour Cappananty Con who should find it easier to sit prominently than normal.

Dean Ivory saddles two in this one, but the clear pointer is that Robert Winston partners Cappananty while apprentice Jack Duern rides Nezar, yet Nezar is the shorter of the two in the early market- expect that to be reversed by tomorrow evening.

The other positive is that Cappananty is far better on the All-Weather than turf- won or placed 7 times in 13 runs on the AW, just the one placing on turf- and placed here earlier in the year in the same grade only for the race to be declared void. Putting all of this together makes me think there’s a bit of juice in the price although moderate recent form keeps the stake on the cautious side.

The following race looks like being a cracking Class 3 handicap over a mile. With a case capable of being made for many, I can’t be having an odds-on favourite who hasn’t been seen since winning a maiden in April.

C Note is a bit of an unknown quantity but could be vastly overpriced. He’d been off the track for 11 months before returning at Lingfield last month. He was 6th of 7 that day but was repeatedly blocked for a run when looking to improve and lost a few places close to home when once again hemmed in. With that run behind him, more progress can be expected. He’s obviously had problems- this is only the 4 year-old’s 4th handicap- but he did win a Class 2 handicap off a higher mark last year and the handicapper has taken off a few pounds following his absence.

Zoffany Bay also looks worth risking at a big price with a small stake. He’s had excuses for his last two runs and drops in class. He’s been drawn in stall 13 in both of his recent outings and has consequently been dropped out the back. With leaders dominating both races, he’s been left wit a near impossible task. Although he’s finished outside of the places both times, he has made up significant ground. He has a better draw tomorrow and should be able to mount a challenge from a better position. He’s still yet to place in his 10 career runs and can play up before the start, so this is still a long shot but this is also the weakest race he’s contested and there is some ability there.

Wednesday 6th December

12.10 Lingfield. Favourite Royal. 0.5 points each-way. 10 BetVictor/Bet365, 9 BetBright/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook

2.15 Lingfield. Garth Rockett. 0.75 points win. 3.5 BetVictor/Bet365/PaddyPower

2.50 Lingfield. Passing Star. 0.5 points win. 9 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetBright/BetVictor

3.20 Lingfield. Kaisan. 0.75 points win. 6 BetVictor/Bet365 (some others still to price)

3.25 Newcastle. Gallifrey. 0.75 points win. 7 BetVictor/Bet365 (some others still to price)

6.00 Newcastle. Acrux. 0.375 points each-way. 10 BetBright/Bet365/BetVictor

Both of today’s selections were right up with the pace but probably went off too hard and paid for it later on, Miracle Garden dropping back to be a 2 length 3rd and Life of Luxury tailing off badly. I won’t be in a rush to back either again, particularly LoL given his laughably weak finishing effort- it could well be that he finds little for pressure and is therefore going to be hard to win with.

A busier day tomorrow on the only day this week to have two All-Weather meetings.

Recent winner for us Favourite Royal runs again in the 12.10 at Lingfield tomorrow. She’s only gone up 3 lbs and that may not stop her repeating, but there are two handicap debutants, Temeraire and Domitilla, who both merit respect, along with the inconsistent but progressive Ocean Temptress. It wouldn’t be a surprise if those three opponents are the leading trio and the early pace will dictate whether they’re in prime position (if steadily run).

Hopefully they’ll go off a decent clip and if so that will aid Favourite Royal’s chances. She’ll need the gaps to come once more, but given the impressive turn of foot she displayed last time, she should be a strong contender again and this is a strangely high price. Although this is technically a higher class race, all of the runners are rated beneath the ceiling of Favourite Royal’s last contest.

Garth Rockett is selected almost by a process of elimination. It’s very hard to make much of a case for anything else with almost all the field either badly out of form or returning from a break. Rockley Point is the most likely threat, but a record of 1 win in 25 career starts (and that being a maiden success) doesn’t ring too many alarm bells. Eddiebet is the likely pace-setter and if Martin Dwyer can get the selection in behind the leader we’re likely to be in business. Garth has won his last two over this distance (7 furlongs) and been in contention in the two runs in between over further but not seeing it out.

In the following race, Passing Star looks worth a small stake. He’s winless in 14 runs on turf (only placed once) but has picked up four wins on the All-Weather. He’s fallen from a mark of 103 down to 66 and runs 7 furlongs for the first time for a while. He hasn’t had a clear run in either of his last two runs so has run better than the bare form suggests. This is likely to be his first winter campaign since moving to Daniel Kubler and if able to bring out some of his previous ability he could prove to be very well handicapped currently.

Kaisan is another of our winners from the last couple of weeks. He stayed on well to win at Chelmsford, finding more in the finish than the 2nd placed Dibloam. They meet again, but surprisingly that rival has been made the early favourite with both now up in trip. The increased distance should suit Kaisan more and the jockey bookings of Simon Walker on Dibloam and Serena Brotherton on Kaisan in this Amateur Riders Handicap further supports these two being the most likely winners.

Tuesday 5th December

3.10 Wolverhampton. Miracle Garden. 0.75 points win. (4.5 BetFred/Totesport, not BOG until 8am) 4.33 various

3.40 Wolverampton. Life Of Luxury. 0.375 points each-way. 11 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/Bet365

An encouraging Fibresand debut from Silver Penny who maybe took a couple of furlongs to get used to the surface but then looked more comfortable and ran on for third and place money.

The opener at Wolverhampton tomorrow looks hard to predict with a collection on hold-up horses. Something will have to adopt different tactics to take them along and it’ll be interesting to see which apprentice is bold enough to make the running.

Our recent selection Landing Night might have been of interest in the sprint at 1.10. He gets on well with PJ McDonald who returns to the saddle and drops down in class. But, there are a few other contenders here with respectable records at Class 4 level who may improve for a run behind them and therefore the 3.75 (11/4) for Landing Night looks fair but certainly not generous enough to be a bet.

Captain Navarre looks the correct favourite in the 2 miler at 2.40. He has a not dissimilar profile to Castlelyons in that he’s a lightly raced older horse who has been off the track for much of the last two years and may be better than his current mark. However, there are also a couple of younger horses entering handicaps after maiden successes who may also have more to come and that’s enough to dissuade interest in Captain Navarre at a short price of around 3 (2/1).

Unforgiving Minute is the unsurprising favourite in the Claiming Stakes at 3.10, given that he’s won 3 out of 3 of these contests for his current trainer in the last 14 months and has a record of 7 wins from 10 when ridden by Adam Kirby. Preference though, is for Miracle Garden who has been running well in Class 4 handicaps recently and carries a stone less than the favourite.

Trainer Ian Williams is one to keep an eye on in these races with a 24% strike-rate over the last five years and he’s also one who partly shows his hand with his jockey bookings. Richard Kingscote rides (27% strike-rate for Williams and 80 wins at the track over the last 5 years) and that reduces any concerns about the wide draw. There are few who like to push on and the two most likely- Miracle Garden and Latest Quest- are the two drawn highest, so Kingscote will hope to manoeuvre into a prominent position.

All of Miracle Garden’s 5 career victories have been on the All-Weather and he drops back a furlong after weakening close to home on his last run, at Chelmsford.

Life Of Luxury was a big eye-catcher on his last run, travelling very smoothly but then not seeing out the trip at Kempton. That was tackling a mile and a half- the same distance he’s run in his last four races- but drops back by almost half a mile tomorrow. He placed over course and distance twice in July and is clearly in far better shape than his recent finishing positions suggest.

Monday 4th December

2.20 Southwell. Silver Penny. 0.375 points each-way. (11 BetFred/Totesport, both BOG, SportingBet, not BOG) 10 various.

Richard Kingscote did well to settle Castlelyons early on and kept him close enough to mount a challenge. The horse picked up well in the straight to get his nose in front when it mattered and it’s hard to think that the handicapper will be tough on him given the neck victory, meaning he could well go in again, particularly if returned to Kempton where the longer straight should suit him best.

Two of our selections from Friday run again at Southwell today. Luv U Whatever ran his race but Restive blew them away. That victor is in opposition again and a repeat, even under a penalty, looks on the cards. Bold Spirit was unlucky on Friday and second behind First Excel the time before, who won again on Friday, so looks to have a strong chance today in a weaker race but, like Restive, is priced accordingly.

The one spot of value may be in the one 5 furlong sprint with Silver Penny. A draw middle to low is normally advantageous on the straight course and although the selection makes his Fibresand debut, his form on soft turf suggests he could take to it. He’s picked up since being dropped from 6 to 5 furlongs, placing the last twice, at Windsor and Kempton. David Probert is a positive jockey booking who has a 20%+ strike-rate at Southwell and Silver Penny’s prominent running style is also normally a plus here.

Saturday 2nd December

Please note that there will be a post on Monday morning, as usual, but it is an early start at Southwell. If there is a bet for the opener (12.20) then I’ll text that earlier, otherwise the races of interest begin at 1.50.

8.45 Wolverhampton. Castlelyons. 0.75 points win. 7 Coral, 6.5 Ladbrokes/BetVictor

November finished up 13 points from this side of the service, making it the fifth successive month to be in profit between 12 and 20 points. Steady stuff.

Spirit of Belle was a non-runner today. Luv U Whatever was backed into 11/10, the sort of price I thought he should have been, but was a well beaten 2nd. Bold Spirit finished 4th, but was unlucky in the run. He was stuck behind weakening horses for quite a while on the home straight, losing momentum and having to wait for a run. Once in the clear he made ground once more, though whether he would have won is debateable, with a clear run he would have been close and will need consideration if running here again.

Luath ran a strange race, being badly outpaced and adrift for much of the way before sprouting wings and making eye-catching progress in the home straight but just running out of time, finishing 2nd by just under a length. It’s quite unusual for a horse to gain that much ground at Southwell and a step up in trip surely will follow if a suitable race can be found for him here. First Excel blasted out and didn’t look back. He was taken on for the lead with the front pair forging clear and if likely to get the lead to himself next time could well complete a quick-fire hat-trick.

Yesterday, Santafiora was a massive drifter and never looked like threatening. Better efforts, albeit the same result, on Wednesday. Kyllachy Gala ran well for 4th. He didn’t have the clearest of passages and the final battle unfolded away from him. With any further improvement he could be capable of more in the coming weeks.

Kyllukey was part of a small group that probably went off to quickly and he dropped back to 5th with the 1st and 2nd coming through from further back. He may pick up one of these low grade sprints but at the same time may be tricky to win with.

Arnarson was also fifth and two lengths away but didn’t show the finishing kick of his last run.

Just one for tomorrow’s evening meeting at Wolverhampton. Castlelyons is lightly raced for a 5 year-old, with just eight runs to his name, due to being off the track or almost two years before making a comeback in the summer. He showed promise on his third run back. Dropped towards the rear, he finished 10th of 13 but was only 4 lengths away and was staying well. Three slightly ahead of him have won since, including the reopposing Al Hamdany but on better terms and with draws reversed, Castlelyons can reverse that form.

Our selection followed up by winning at Kempton on his latest start, battling well to see off the challenge of the 2nd placed Isaac Bell with the pair clear of third.

Richard Kingscote rides again and he should be able to keep likely pace-setter Mixboy in his sights. Castlelyons has gone up 4 lbs but should now be hitting the pea of fitness and is far from fully exposed due to his stop-start career so far.

Friday 1st December

12.10 Southwell. Luv U Whatever. 1.5 points win. (4 BetFred/Totesport) 3.75 Coral/Ladbrokes/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook

12.40 Southwell. Bold Spirit. 0.75 points win. 6 SkyBet/Coral/BetVictor/Bet365

2.10 Southwell. Luath. 0.75 points win. (5.5 BetFred/Totesport) 5 PaddyPower/BetVictor/Bet365

2.45 Southwell. First Excel. 0.75 points win. 5 Ladbrokes/Bet365, 4.5 various

5.45 Chelmsford. Spirit Of Belle. 0.5 points each-way. 8 Betfair Sportsbook, 7.5 various

A far busier day tomorrow and we have the first increased stake of the winter.

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.

Bold Spirit chased home First Excel here a fortnight ago and they both look like strong runs, in good times for the track. It took the latter’s record to 2 out of 2 over course and distance and was an encouraging Fibresand debut by the former. He has a record on soft turf which often transfers onto Fibresand and he gets an extra furlong tomorrow which should suit. He does have to beat a favourite who is seeking a hat-trick, but looks a well priced alternative should that runner not take to the surface.

Spirit Of Belle also chases a hat-trick but has no questions to answer about the surface. The manner of those wins has been particularly impressive. The doubt is that they’ve both been from the front and he may face competition for the lead and he’s up in class. However, the 7 furlong course at Chelmsford gives plenty of time to find a position, coming off a chute onto the back straight and with the course favouring those that race prominently and a decent claimer taking off 3 lbs, he should be capable of mounting a big challenge.

Thursday 30th November

9.15 Newcastle. Santafiora. 0.375 points each-way. 12 Coral/Bet365, 11 Ladbrokes/BetBright

It’s a tricky card tomorrow at Newcastle. Of the races for older horses, the rightful favourites look to be in place but at prices that don’t appeal but neither do they look to be offering value elsewhere.

The one exception may be the final race. The two at the head of the market, Breathoffreshair and Kroy, have both been in good form but do look opposable, while the one at a price who may be open to improvement is Santafiora.

He’s only had eight runs and after getting off the mark on debut has struggled. However, he’s fallen 16lbs since his opening mark, been dropped in trip and tomorrow has his first run for his new trainer.

He came back off a break to finish 7th at Wolverhampton. However, he was given as bad a ride as anyone is likely to see and his finishing position can be excused because of that. He was a little slowly away and his apprentice rider was evidently going to try to get him to the front no matter what, even if that meant quickly catching and then going past the pack, doing so 5 or 6 wide on a tight bend, and then giving further encouragement once hitting the front. This ridiculous waste of energy gave him no chance of lasting home and he was headed inside the final furlong. But, in the middle of this self-destruct mission, he did show an impressive turn of foot and with a relatively recent race behind him, he’s likely to be in better shape. The far more experienced Graham Lee takes over in the saddle tomorrow.

 

Wednesday 29th November

2.20 Wolverhampton. Kyllachy Gala. 0.25 points each-way. 15 Ladbrokes/Boyles/Bet365/BetVictor

3.25 Wolverhampton. Kyllukey. 1 point win. 5.5 Bet365, 5 various

5.40 Kempton. Arnarson. 0.75 points win. 6 SkBet/WillHill/BetVictor/Bet365

One of the slight disappointments of the year has been that although we’ve had plenty place at big prices (such as Too Many Shots, Fredricka and Sea Of Green at 33/1, Dark Red and Mistrioc at 28/1, Bertiewhittle, Polar Forest, Poyle Vinnie and Absolute Blast at 25/1 and Born To Please, Top Of The Bank and Franco’s Secret at 20/1) before Saturday we’d only had Mattmu (25/1) win at 20/1 or higher. That made it particularly pleasing to be able to add Favourite Royal to this short list. She always looked to be travelling strongly just off the pace and quickened up well to lead inside the final furlong.

Warba couldn’t quite complete the day, going down by a neck. It was a decent effort but the leader was able to hold on. With the race run to suit and the handicapper likely to put him up a couple of pounds it may need a bit of imagination from his trainer to get a win out of him at present.

Back on Friday night, both Clock Chimes and Connemera Queen were disappointing- well beaten without any obvious excuses.

Three for tomorrow:

Kyllach Gala made smooth progress before fading close to home on his comeback at Kempton last month. That was his first run since May and race rustiness showed in the finish. With that behind him, improvement is likely. He showed ability last winter, initially at Lingfield when 2nd between two subsequent Class 2 winners and then when 6th at Chelmsford but not getting any luck in the run. He’s been strangely and kindly dropped 7lbs and was gelded over the summer, giving further reason to think he may be capable of ore tomorrow.

Kyllukey has been running consistently well without winning but that time does look like coming. He’s been a little stretched running 6 furlongs and not quite seeing it out, but was dropped back down to 5 furlongs last time out. He almost got there but had to battle for position from a wide draw and was forced wide off the final bend. He tackles the minimum trip again tomorrow but this time has the inside stall and will surely look to blast out and be right up the front of the battle. He’s also down in class and 9 lbs lower than his last winning mark.

Arnarson also went close last time out but that was after missing the break. He did extremely well to be involved with ground having to be made up and a passage weaved. Although he can be held-up, that’s the first time he’s been that slowly away. The switch to Kempton with a longer straight than Wolverhampton should suit his style. He’s only had two runs at 6 furlongs (also went close on his other run) and therefore could prove to be better than his current mark.

 

Tuesday 28th November

No selections. Just the one meeting tomorrow with only three handicaps. Given the unique nature of the surface at Southwell and with many having their first runs there for a while or in their whole careers, there looks to be too many variables at play. There’s Wolverhampton and Kempton on Wednesday so there should be a lot more of interest then.

Saturday 25th November

Selections for Saturday are here. There isn’t any All-Weather racing on Sunday or Monday, so there won’t be a post Monday morning and bets for Tuesday will be here at 6.30 on Monday evening as normal.

2.00 Lingfield. Favourite Royal. 0.375 points each-way. 26 Boyles/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook/BetVictor

3.10 Lingfield. Warba. 0.5 points win. 7.5 WillHill/PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook, 7 various

Ebbisham seemed to make a great deal of effort at the start last night without making any progress and was always towards the rear, finishing well beaten.

Dream Revival was third at Newcastle. Running on but treated very gently by his apprentice rider. He may have more to give in stronger hands.

Clock Chimes and Connemera Queen run later tonight (Friday).

There are two meetings tomorrow, but almost all horses of interest have a big question mark, such as a jockey yet to ride a winner, poor draws, likely lack of pace in the contest and the everyday occurrence of the price not appealing.

Favourite Royal looks a ridiculous price. She ran more than respectably last time out in a Listed race over course and distance when carrying a whooping 25 lbs more against the winner than would have been the case in a handicap. Even so, had she not been hampered at the start of the home straight she may have managed to place. From racing against horses rated as high as 107, dropping in to a Class 4, 0-85, handicap is an enormous change in ability of opposition.

She won at this level in August at Epsom and on her previous All-Weather start. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of pace to aim at with somebody challenging Lady Perignon and if that’s the case then our chances will be given a fair boost.

Warba is a 3 year-old who looks to be getting stronger. She has eight runs but only three at (tomorrow’s) 7 furlongs and has placed the last twice. She probably found herself in the lead too early last time but battled on. She should be suited by the likely lack of pace and able to attain a prominent position and if Sean Levey can hold onto her long enough, she should be challenging at the finish.

Friday 24th November

5.45 Newcastle. Dream Revival. 0.5 points win. 7.5 Bet365, 7 SkyBet, 6.5 Coral/WillHill/Betfair Sportsbook

7.45 Newcastle. Clock Chimes. 0.5 points win. 8.5 Betfair Sportsbook, 8 various

8.45 Newcastle. Connemera Queen. 0.75 points win. 7 Coral/Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower

Isaac Bell was Fran Berryed last night, stuck out wide without cover. He was well beaten in 6th and certainly no match for the winner but is capable of more if given a better racing position.

British Art bolted up in the opener at Newcastle today. Well positioned by Kevin Stott on the shoulder of the leader, he kicked on and pulled clear when asked to win the race.

Landing Night found himself stuck in traffic and having to wait for a run. He picked up once seeing daylight but the race had gone by that stage and, in any case, he may have got close but was unlikely to catch the leaders.

Ebbisham runs tonight at 8.30.

Dream Revival has been dropped in trip following a trainer change and that has brought about some improvement. His new trainer has clearly been keen to enter him in any available Class 7 handicap and because of that has been running both 6 and 7 furlongs with his best performances over the shorter distance.

He made good headway on his latest run to look a likely winner a furlong out but couldn’t quite sustain it. That was also at Newcastle, but 7 furlongs and dropping back to 6 tomorrow looks the right move. This is Class 6, but hardly any stronger than the races he’s been contesting.

Clock Chimes makes his fifth start tomorrow. He ran twice at Southwell early in the year, winning the second. He was then given a break before returning in October to place on handicap debut at this course.

His latest run was better than the bare form suggests. Drawn widest in stall 13 at Kempton, Sean Levey pushed him on to try to gain the early lead but used up a lot of energy in the process. He then slipped back a couple of places but plugged on and tried to get involved but was forced wider and wider by a hanging rival.

With a couple of races under his belt and with plenty of scope for further improvement, he looks generously priced to feature against more exposed opponents.

Connemera Queen has only had eleven runs but is already with her third trainer. She now looks to be heading the right way for John Butler and looks to have made some improvement through a series of four runs for this trainer this autumn following her latest switch and break.

She was second two runs ago behind an impressive winner and then was in with a strong say going into the final furlong last time out but, like Dream Revival, couldn’t see it through. Dropping back a furlong and down in class, she can have a say if continuing to improve.

Thursday 23rd November

1.50 Newcastle. British Art. 0.75 points win. 4.33 Bet365, 4 various

4.05 Newcastle. Landing Night 0.75 points win. 6 various

8.30 Chelmsford. Ebbisham. 0.375 points each-way. 13 various

British Art began his career as a sprinter, but has been gradually run further and got off the mark two runs ago at the 19th attempt when asked to tackle a mile and a half for the first time. He followed that up by finishing 2nd behind a winner who has won again since.

His Irish trainer only sends British Art to Newcastle tomorrow and has had 2 wins and a place from his 4 runners in the UK this year. Kevin Stott, who rode the horse to his sole victory, rides again and from a good draw he should have every chance. Given that’s he’s still unexposed over this distance there could well be scope for further improvement.

Second favourite, Four Kingdoms, is a potential treat but the inexperience of his apprentice jockey (1 win in 63 career rides) is off-putting.

Landing Night has hit top form in recent runs and the handicapper has been kind. Other than on heavy ground at Chester, he’s been 1st or 2nd in four times recently and yet is only 6 lbs worse off than the beginning on this spell with Rowan Scott’s 3 lb claim considered. He was an impressive winner over course and distance last month and followed that up by finishing 2nd at Wolverhampton. The third in that race has won since and the winner was 2nd at Kempton behind Foxy Forever by under a length when the track record was broken and ahead of Gorgeous Noora who won yesterday. This form looks the strongest and the price looks slightly on the generous side.

Ebbisham looks too big a price at Chelmsford. He made smooth progress from the rear to win at Wolverhampton last month and as that was his first run following a 3 month break and for a new trainer, there could be further improvement. It took his tally to 3 wins from 8 All-Weather handicaps and with only a 3 lb rise, he should be competitive again.

 

Wednesday 22nd November

7.40 Kempton. Isaac Bell. 0.25 points each-way. 9 PaddyPower/Betfair Sportsbook, 8.5 BetVictor, 8 SkyBet/BetBright

No joy from today- both ran reasonably rather than impressively. Kodiline ran in snatches and was a little outpaced in the middle of the race but showed a good turn of foot once hitting top gear to be a never nearer 4th, a length and a half behind the winner. An extra furlong should suit.

Desert Song tracked the pace and was in with a shout turning for home. Despite being forced a little wide on the final bend, he/we can have no complaints with others finding more in the finish.

Although a 9 year-old, Isaac Bell only made his flat debut last month. He was off the mark at the first attempt, with the 2nd placed horse winning next time out, and followed that up with an impressive run in a Class 3, 0-95. He was second that day, a length behind a well-supported winner and 3 lengths clear of a fair yardstick in 3rd. He put up a good battle and with almost all the field in a line across the track a furlong or so from home, he was not flattered by the result.

Both of those runs have been over tomorrow’s course and distance. He’s drawn wide tomorrow but there’s plenty of time to sort themselves out before the first bend and a spot in mid-div would be fine. The booking of Fran Berry is, in my eyes, a slight concern and tempers the stake but, now dropping into a Class 4, 0-85, at the prices he’s still worth a small stake.

Tuesday 21st November

1.40 Lingfield. Kodaline. 0.75 points win. 7 various (7.5 SunBets, non-BOG until the morning)

3.40 Lingfield. Desert Song. 0.75 points win. 6.5 various

Swendab bounced out well and couldn’t be caught and was another with a small drift bonus. Siege of Boston was 4th and Newstead Abbey 8th. Neither can have any excuses, they just failed to pick up sufficiently to land a blow.

Going back to Friday’s write-up for Betsalottie and Raashdy, I just want to comment on the comment about Raashdy being the most likely winner but Betsalottie being the selection. The reason for this is simply that we’re aiming to make a long-term profit and that doesn’t necessarily mean finding as many winners as possible, which is a mistake many bettors (and dare I say tipsters?) make.

To illustrate, Raashdy was priced 3.75. If making that bet 100 times he’d need to win 27 times for us to break even or 32 times to make a 20% profit from those 100 bets.

Betsalottie was priced 13. Making that bet 100 times, he’d only need to win 8 times for a profit and 10 times in 100 to surpass the 20% profit line. Regarding the place part of the each-way bet, at ¼ odds this becomes 4 (3/1), so for that part to break even he’d need to place 25 times if the race was run 100 times and 30 times to make a 20% profit.

I thought the price for Raashdy looked about right whereas Betsalottie stood a better chance than the odds implied and was therefore the selection. The key is the price, whether backing favourites or longshots or anything in between. Hope that helps clarify any confusion.

Just two for tomorrow:

Kodaline has only had eight career runs, four of which have been this year. He was probably given too high an opening mark (96) but that has now fallen by ten, meaning that instead of taking on Listed company, he’s able to run in a far more manageable Class 4 handicap for the first time.

His most recent run was a 2 length defeat at Kempton which at first glance doesn’t look especially noteworthy. However, the winner, Foxy Forever, set a new track record which puts a much different complexion on the run, especially with the track not running as fast as it has in previous years. With that run marked up and a drop in class tomorrow off a lower mark, he looks more of a contender. Adam Kirby rides and no other rider attacks the final bend at Lingfield as well as he does. If he strips fitter for that recent Kempton run then he should be going very close.

Short Work has obvious claims but has gone up in the weights for his winning spree. Favourite, Gorgeous Noora was also involved at Kempton with just a head separating her and our selection, but there’s a 3 lb swing in Kodaline’s favour and any further doubt is settled by the difference in the prices.

Desert Song is also lightly raced and put in a career best last time out in his second handicap when stepped up in trip. He only found Raashdy too good (surely there’ll be a day soon when Raashdy doesn’t somehow get involved?) but showed a good attitude. He might get an easy lead here which would be a big help and there’s plenty of scope for further improvement. If there is little competition for the lead, then the race isn’t likely to suit Bird For Life, who also looks more suited to Kempton, with What A Welcome the main danger.

Monday 20th November

2.30 Wolverhampton. Siege Of Boston. 0.375 points each-way. (12 StanJames) 11 various

3.00 Wolverhampton. Swendab. 0.5 points win. 7.5 Coral/BetStars/BetVictor/Bet365

3.30 Wolverhampton. Newstead Abbey. 0.375 points each-way. (13 BetFred/Totesport/StanJames) 12 various

A little unlucky with Cliffs Of Capri on Friday. Fearing being trapped on the rail, Dougie Costello switched him a long way right in the home straight and in doing so ceded first run to the winner. As it transpired, if he’d stayed where he was he probably would have won and anywhere other than Chelmsford, where horses tend to get rolling and can be hard to pass, may have seen a different result. He’s going to be of interest again, especially if returned to Kempton where the longer straight and cutaway will be of benefit.

Luxford ran poorly. Rab Havlin reported he hung right throughout but the vet failed to find any abnormalities. He didn’t look to be travelling at any stage and in the absence of any other obvious excuse, it could just have been one run too many after a long season.

Much like Luke Morris on Al Galayel earlier in the day, David Probert won for us on Kaisan largely due to his actions in the first furlong. Probert’s not normally an aggressive rider, but was unusually animated in the opening seconds to roust Kaisan along and into a position to stay in touch with the leaders. Once that was achieved, the horse travelled and stayed best of all to win going away. He drifted out to an SP of 11.

Place money from Betsalottie after he lost out close to the line to Raashdy. I’ll come back to this tonight to go into a bit more detail about the logic behind the selection.

Know Your Name didn’t get the lead at Wolverhampton, having to sit in 2nd and getting taken along at too brisk a pace behind the favourite. The pace collapsed and Know Your Name fell back to 6th. With the three other leaders finishing 8th, 9th and 11th, he does need a little forgiveness although I won’t be desperate to back him again for a while.

Onto today and in the 2.30, Siege Of Boston should benefit from returning to the All-Weather. He’s probably best known for being owned by a football agent who went to Chelmsford to watch him win on transfer deadline day in August while West Ham striker Sakho waited in the car park. He followed that up by winning at Kempton and now has All-Weather form of 512113 while his recent turf form reads 000430. His recent 3rd was in a blanket finish behind our recent selection Cliffs Of Capri who was clearly very well handicapped that day. Also of note in this race is Inexes who travels strongly but doesn’t look to have the change of gear needed here (may well be involved but is vulnerable to something with more of a turn of foot) and he’s likely to be of interest if and when he’s sent to Southwell.

Swendab is very quick, but can ruin his own chances when the stalls open. He’s clearly in good shape and if bouncing out well is going have a strong chance. He made all to win here from the same stall at the end of last month and did well to be under two lengths away the time before after being slowly away. With his jockey’s claim considered, he’s only 1 lb higher today. We’ll know if we’re likely to be in business after the first few seconds, but factoring in that flaw he still looks a backable price. The favourite, Broadhaven Honey has his position in the market on account of his win at Southwell last time out, but form there rarely transfers onto the quicker All-Weather courses and his form here has been poor.

Newstead Abbey returns to 6 furlongs after not being seen at his best on last two runs over further. His recent record on the All-Weather over this distance reads 1214 and he was unlucky in the ‘4’ when shuffled back at the start and then twice short of room closer to the finish. Tom Eaves has ridden him to both of those wins and rides again. He looks too big a price today, especially considering he’s 3 times the price of Invincible Ridge who is 0 from 19 over this distance.

Saturday 18th November

3.45 Lingfield. Betsalottie. 0.375 points each-way. 13 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetVictor

9.15 Wolverhampton. Know Your Name. 0.25 points each-way. 17 SkyBet/WillHill/Bet365

Off to a winning start with a strong run from Al Galayel but Luke Morris must take a lot of credit for an excellent ride. On the tight All-Weather tracks the first furlong or so is often as, if not more, important than the last and Morris used all of his experience to keep Al Galayel away from any jostling and into a position at the front of affairs, in prime position to kick on, whereas in lesser hands he may well have had to be attacking from further back in mid-division. There was a tiny drift at SP and bigger prices were available during the day before the price came back in. Hopefully we can add to that tonight

Onto tomorrow and I had a shortlist of Raashdy, Betsalottie and Hong Kong Joe of interest for the 3.45 at Lingfield. Raashdy won for us last time and completed a hat-trick. The step up in trip (remains at that distance) looked to be a positive and that was probably the strongest run of this winning spell and hopefully will be franked by the 2nd placed Kasian later tonight. He looks the likeliest winner again, but the key to a long-term profit is not just picking winners but picking contenders at the right price and early odds of 3.75 (11/4) look about right rather than offering value- I would have only been tempted at 4.5 (7/2) or above as he’s crept up in the weights and regular rider Luke Morris doesn’t ride this time.

Hong Kong Joe put in an encouraging effort back from a break last time out and appears better on Polytrack than turf. However, he is a 7 year-old maiden (22 runs) and, again, 15 (14/1) looks about right when 20/1+ may have been worth a small nibble.

The one who looks overpriced is Betsalottie. He was nearly a selection earlier in the year when moved up in distance which looked like being a positive move. Strangely, he was then ridden from the front before being dropped back to a mile again. Pushed back up to 11 furlongs last time out paid off, with normal tactics resumed, when winning at Windsor. Returning to Polytrack is no bad thing and I’d expected 7/1 or 8/1, so the 12/1 available tonight looks to be the value call.

Know Your Name, running in the 9.15,  has weakened badly in his last two runs, but has paid for going off too quickly. However, he’s likely to have an easy lead here and the start of the extended mile at Wolverhampton goes directly into a bend which can give the leader a chance to steal a few lengths. He’s won at the track three times and each of those have been off higher marks. His latest win here was in July and he’s capable of more than he’s shown recently. If Tom Eaves can get the fractions right then he can outrun these odds.

Friday 17th November

2.00 Lingfield. Al Galayel. 0.75 points win. 4.5 Bet365, 4.33 SkyBet/BetVictor

7.15 Chelmsford. Cliffs Of Capri. 0.75 points win. 3.25 Bet365, 3 various

7.45 Chelmsford. Luxford. 0.5 points win. 8 Betfair Sportsbook/PaddyPower/BetVictor

8.45 Chelmsford. Kaisan. 0.375 points each-way. 8 Coral/SkyBet/Bet365

Back to business, then. Further to the thoughts in today’s email, I’d just add that fields at this time of year often feature horses returning from long breaks or having their first runs for a while on an artificial surface following runs on turf, others being given one last run after a long season, plus 3 year-olds that have little previous All-Weather experience. Because of this, there can be a few surprises and stakes will be on the cautious side for the time being.

We start off with a couple of 3 year-olds who have already taken to synthetic surfaces and have plenty of scope for further improvement. Al Galayel made all the running to win at Newcastle on his latest run- his 3rd career run and 1st since being gelded- where few manage to win from the front. That was only a maiden, but was in a decent time and he picked up nicely when asked for an effort, pulling clear of 2nd– who won next time out by 3 lengths- who, in turn, pulled clear of 3rd and the rest of the field. Tomorrow’s draw isn’t ideal, but there are few that like to push on here and in the hands of the reigning All-Weather Champ, Luke Morris, he should still be able to get out and across to occupy a prominent position, if not making the running.

Cliffs Of Capri also won last time out on 3rd career start. However, that was on handicap debut and after 11 months off the track. He was a 3 lengths, eased-down winner against a collection of horses with recent form. He’s gone up 8 lbs for that, but on that evidence his opening mark was unduly low and that may not be enough to stop him going in again. He cruised into the race and, once the cutaway came, he moved up a gear and breezed to the front. From stall 1 he should be well positioned tracking the pace to kick on again in the final straight.

Luxford has progressed well this year, winning twice at Brighton and then over tomorrow’s course and distance two runs ago, last month, against a field of 15 and ahead of 3 subsequent winners. He travelled strongly at Lingfield last time but found himself stuck in a pocket against the rail then blocked when coming with a run. Off the same mark, he should put in another good account and should be in the mix if getting a little more fortune in the run.

Kaisan looks to have improved for returning to the All-Weather recently. He caught the eye when behind our hat-trick completing Raashdy on his last run, finishing best of all but running out of time. In a typically terrible Class 7 handicap and up in trip, he should be capable of running on and getting involved at the business end.

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