Saturday 10 December 2016

12.40 Cheltenham – Ryman Novices’ Chase

SIZING TENNESSEE in the betting without Different Gravey market is a fair price at Cheltenham (12.40). I was a big fan of this horse when with Willie Mullins, but he’s obviously had plenty problems since he was switched to Henry De Bromhead’s yard. He now resides in Great Britain with the Colin Tizzard team.

The eight-year-old is getting his act together, though and appearing on the racetrack more regularly. His run behind O O Seven here the last day was a good effort and he jumped nicely for the most part. That form is solid.

He’s a big gross, stuffy horse and I’d expect him to improve for that effort.

I’m also a fan of Baron Alco, but he has to concede 5lb to the selection and I feel his chase form is slightly below the level of the Tizzard horse. Nicky Henderson’s Whisper is a multiple Grade 1 winner over hurdles and must be respected, but this trip may be a touch sharp for him and he’s beatable at this time of year, historically, he’s been at his peak in spring. .

Advice

2pts win Sizing Tennessee @3/1 (Bet Victor, Ladbrokes, William Hill)

 

Friday 4 November 2016

The two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships start this evening at Santa Anita, California. Races will take place on turf and on an American dirt surface. European horses should be favoured on the green stuff while the American horses will be streets ahead on dirt.

While European horses should be looked at significantly on turf, the Santa Anita grass track is a course that many Euro horses will never have experienced anything like. It’s a very sharp and speed orientated layout while the firm ground it will be run on, will probably be the fastest surface any Euro horse has ever encountered.

There is an ignorance among Euro racing fans about American racing on turf, some feel there is a divine right for the foreign raiders to come out on top, but while favoured, given the unique test American turf racing offers, wins here are always earned.

21:25 Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

We kick off the meeting with a highly competitive juvenile contest on grass, run over a mile. Three Euro horses have been entered, but the Aidan O’Brien pair of Intelligence Cross and Lancaster Bomber look our strongest chances.

The three American horses to respect include Big Score, Made You Look and Oscar Performance. Canadian-based trainer Mark Casse also saddles the useful Keep Quiet.

The shortest horse in the betting from the ‘home team’ is Oscar Performance (6/1) who has looked good in his last two starts clocking up two wide margin victories. There is no doubting his class, but whether he’ll get an easy lead today like he has done previously remains to be seen.

The presence of Lancaster Bomber and a number of other horses in the field should see plenty competition for the lead and in a race where closers have a good record, the aforementioned pair may set this up for the others.

With Oscar Performance and Good Samaritan having wider than ideal draws BIG SCORE and Intelligence Cross look to hold sound chances. The former has course and distance form on the back of a brilliant 3 ¼ lengths win here last time out. He still looked green that day and if improves on that smooth-travelling, strong-staying win, he’ll be in the mix.

INTELLIGENCE CROSS is a horse I have plenty of time for. He’s compete with plenty of merit in some of the top Euro juvenile races this season. Three of those runs have come at unsuitability undulating tracks. Santa Anita’s bowling green surface will really suit and while he has to prove he’ll stay a mile; he has at least shaped like 7f would be no problem.

At the prices, these two are worth dutching.

Advice

1pt win Big Score @10/1 (Betfair, William Hill)

1pt win Intelligence Cross @5/1 (Ladbrokes, StanJames, William Hill)

22:05 Santa Anita – Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

DORTMUND comes here a much fresher horse than his nearest market rival – depending were you look – Gun Runner. Hs other main competitor is last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy, but he’s a horse that has plagued by setbacks since that victory while the rest of this field don’t look in the selection’s league.

Bob Baffert’s horse has only had three runs this season where he has been beaten in all starts by one of the world’s best horses in California Chrome. There is nothing like that in this field and if on his ‘A’ game, he wins.

Advice

3pts win Dortmund @evs (Sky Bet), @10/11 (bet365, William Hill)

22:50 Santa Anita – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Another hugely competitive turf event with plenty of Euro interests. The Christophe Ferland-trained Cavale Doree will represent France. Three Irish trained runners look set to line up, all handled by an O’Brien. Aidan O’Brien will be represented by Hydrangea and Roly Poly while his son Joseph – now a newly functioning rival trainer – sends Intricately.

All three Emerald Isle runners are prominent in the market and are deserving of respect, but the top Euro chance looks to be Hydrangea. Roly Poly is a quality War Front juvenile, but with a poor draw in 13 and stamina to prove over a mile, I’m happy to take her on.

Connections of Intricately have voiced concerns for her on the track, it may be tighter than ideal. All her best form has also come on ground with significant cut in it so despite having a useful draw I’d look elsewhere.

I’m also willingly to take on the race-favourite Spain Burg despite her perfect drawn in 4 and Frankie Dettori up. A former Euro-based filly but now trained in America, of those ‘Euro challengers’ to the front of the market, hers form is the weakest.

The Mark Casse-trained La Coronel is one of the ‘home team’ high on my list, but her draw in 14 looks a nightmare. She would’ve been fancied to go close if drawn in the first six stalls. Her stablemate Victory To Victory has a plum box in three and comes here as a Grade 1 winner. The Exchange Rate is a strong stayer over a mile and is probably one to include in exotics.

I couldn’t put anyone off Hydrangea, I actually think she looks the most solid option of all the Euro horses in. It’s just these type of races often won by closers and the daughter of Galileo could set it up for the late chargers.

The well-bred American filly NEW MONEY HONEY represents top American trainer Chad Brown, a man who has a fine record on grass tracks. The daughter of Medaglia d´Oro made a lovely debut behind a classy winner (La Coronel) on debut, but a lack of experience cost her getting closer to a horse that already had two runs.

She was a good winner last time out and with a better draw than La Coronel, who beat her on debut, and more experience under her belt, she could go close.

I’m also going to suggest a bet on CAVALE DOREE who I fancied for a Group 1 at Chantilly last time, but came unstuck having been too keen off slow early fractions. She impressed on the start beforehand over 7f and if getting a strong pace to run at here, the daughter of Sunday Silence may cause a small shock.

At the prices, I’ll go dutching again.

Advice

1pt win Cavale Doree @16/1 (William Hill), @14/1 (general)

1pt win New Money Honey @12/1 (Ladbrokes, StanJames, William Hill)

23:35 Santa Anita – Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Don’t know too much about the dirt racing and nothing stood out here at a price. Happy to sit back and watch these top-class fillies duel it out.

Advice

Tea and biscuits

Saturday 18 June 2016 – Royal Ascot

Hopefully a shrewder approach to the final day of Royal Ascot, four suggested bets.

Enjoy!

2.30 Royal Ascot – Chesham Stakes

MAGILLEN impressed me when going down by a nose on debut behind a well-backed juvenile at Leicester. He moved through the race like a nice horse, he travelled sweetly and in the end maybe did well to get so close to winning – coming clear of the 4th – given he raced away from the main pace.

He steps up in trip today which is an unknown. There is plenty of speed on the dam’s side of his pedigree, but his sire Lope De Vega is a decent stamina influence. Frankie Dettori takes the ride for Charlie Hills whose horse should improve for his sole run.

ISOMER is another horse worth supporting at a big price. He made a highly encouraging debut at Newbury despite being slow into stride, racing keenly and showing signs of greeness.

He travelled superbly well, but was just overhauled close home. His pedigree suggests the step up to seven furlongs today will be no problem and with Jamie Spencer in the saddle – a man who rides this straight course at Ascot well – he has each-way claims.

Advice

1pt each-way Isomer @20/1 (Betfair 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4), 22/1 (general)

1pt each-way Magillen @20/1 (Betfair 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4), 20/1 (general)

3.40 Royal Ascot – Hardwicke Stakes 

There seems to be a quiet confidence about BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE coming into this year’s Hardwicke Stakes and in the betting without the race-favourite Exosphere market she rates as a better value bet.

The daughter of New Approach was part of a decent three-year-old fillies crop last year, but due to an interrupted campaign couldn’t show her true worth.  She still ran to a decent level however, winning a Listed race at Windsor and also finishing a sound 3rd in a Group 1 at Ascot on Champions Day.

This season, in winning at York last time out, she surprised me at how well she handled the quick ground over a trip (10f) I thought would be too sharp for her. I think she is an improved horse this season and now she steps back up to 12f on softer terrain there may be even more to come.

Advice

2pts win Beautiful Romance ‘betting without Exosphere’  @11/2 (Paddy Power), 5/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes, Sky Bet, William Hill)

4.20 Royal Ascot – Diamond Jubilee Stakes 

I honestly couldn’t put anyone off backing the progressive pair of Magical Memory or The Tin Man – it will come as no surprise to see one of those win, but TWILIGHT SON is going to get the nod in a cracking looking race.

Henry Candy’s sprinting star was one of the most progressive horses in training last season. Having won a handicap off 82 at the start of the season he eventually won the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup where he had Magical Memory behind.

He then finished second to the brilliant Muhaarar on Champions Day at Ascot despite him having the worst of the draws. This particular day he had The Tin Man behind.

His comeback run this season behind Magical Memory on first glance looked disappointing, but on ground that was probably a touch quick for him, from an awful draw where there was no pace while carrying a penalty on his seasonal debut, it was a highly satisfactory start.

On slower ground and on 5lb better terms, I can see him getting much closer to Magical Memory especially with the selection proving he goes well at Ascot whereas Charlie Hills’s runner has his first try at the track.

I just fancy Twilight Son over the The Tin Man because James Fanshawe’s horse has changed running style. Having raced prominently in the past connections now use hold-up tactics and horses like that are always in the lap of the pace gods. Twilight Son is a prominent racer and it sounds like he will have some kind of headstart on him in a race that may not be run at a strong gallop.

Last year’s American winner Undrafted is back to defend his crown, but in a stronger race on slower ground he looks to have more on his plate. Frankie Dettori not riding him is also a negative.

Advice

1pt win Twilight Son @4/1 (general)

Saturday 14 May 2016

Group 1 action at Newbury today where the Lockinge Stakes is due to be run. It doesn’t look a good event from a purists point of view, though. On the betting front, there was nothing at a price I liked today, but have had four bets. Hopefully they can all go close.

3.35 – Betfair Cash Out King Charles II Stakes

There’s only 5 horses going to post for this Listed race and there is every chance the short-priced 11/8 favourite will run away with it, given his progressive-looking profile. Thikriyaat is the horse in question, but I just wonder will the drying ground over 7 furlongs play to his strengths?

SCRUTINEER may be able to pounce on the back of a lovely seasonal debut run here 31 days ago. Mick Channon’s horse was beaten by a nice type in the Free Handicap, but probably shaped a bit better than the bare form, despite it still looking solid.

With a run under his belt, he should see out today’s race better. He’s a straight-forward-looking colt and the likelihood of him sitting in front of the favourite, may mean he steals an early march and just hangs on.

Race Day must not be given an easy lead by the aforementioned pair. He’s a useful sort and respected.

Advice

1.5pts win Scrutineer @11/4 (Bet Victor, bet365, Coral)

2.5pts win Scrutineer @6/5 ‘betting without Thikriyaat’ (Bet Victor), @11/10 (Coral, Ladbrokes, William Hill)

4.10 – Betfair Price Rush Sprint Trophy

He’s not drawn around a whole lot of pace, but I’m still hoping VENTUROS can win despite that small concern. A two-time winner as a juvenile, always looking the type to improve with time, there is a fair chance this son of Raven’s Pass progresses again this season.

He made a lovely start to the campaign at Newmarket 14 days ago when he was probably too fresh and well. His trainer’s horses usually improve for a run and with the edge taken off him, he can hopefully go close in what looks a winnable race.

Advice

1.5pts win Venturos @4/1 (bet365, Coral, Paddy Power)

5.35 – Planteur Handicap

ARTHENUS is a horse I have an awful lot of time for, but whether he can concede 12lb to Mustaaqeem is something I’m not sure of. However, betting without favourite markets are alternatives I like to use in such cases and I’m more than happy to take one point less in said market here.

James Fanshawe has his team in good early season order and I’m hoping the yard form continues with this 100-rated handicapper. The son of Dutch Art was most progressive last season and there is every chance he’ll continue the upward curve this year.

He made a lovely comeback at Newmarket last time out where his early track position didn’t suit off what was an ordinary pace. He also had an unlucky passage through, but shaped with plenty of promise.

A return to a stiffer galloping track is sure to suit here today as is the return to slightly softer ground. He could have a couple pounds in hand despite him sitting near the top of the handicap.

Advice

3pts win Arthenus @3/1 ‘betting without Mustaaqeem’ (Bet Victor, Coral, William Hill)

 

 

 

Sunday 13 March 2016

4.35 Navan –  Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Novice Handicap Chase Final 

I’m really struggling to see why DEFINITE SOLDIER is a 20/1 shot in this race. Maybe it’s due to his trainer Philip Rothwell being out of form and the ground at Navan probably being too soft to show his best with the trip also a question mark, but even so, 20/1 is certainly too big a price and I’m willing to back him at those odds in what is a truly uninspiring and open contest for great prize money.

A horse with a useful pedigree, he fell in his only point-to-point start when still in contention before running over hurdles for trainer Peter Crook. The son of Definte Article has since switched to Philip Rothwell’s, he did so last November, but not before winning a maiden hurdle at the stamina-demanding track of Hexam on decent ground over three miles.

The seven-year-old has now had four starts for Rothwell, two over hurdles and two over fences, and it was on his first chase start he really caught the eye. Last time out at Clonmel, he ran a fine race to finish fourth, not far behind a useful horse.

For such a low-grade novice, he jumped well in the main and shaped as if chasing would really improve him.

He now goes into a handicap chase for the first time off a workable mark. His jockey, Andrew Ring, takes a further 5lb off which will help with him going the longer trip in testing ground.

He may not stay as he is exhuberant and the ground may be too soft to allow him to show his best, but at 20/1 he’s certainly worth an each-way bet in an open race. Hopefully all eight declared horses run for full place terms.

Advice

1pt each-way Definite Soldier @20/1 (Bet Victor, bet365, Ladbrokes, Sky Bet)

 

A New Start

First off, sorry I haven’t being posting on here in a while. I didn’t want to be putting up bets for the sake of it. Punting is a tough game and I sometimes fall out of love with it because the study is quite laborious. Trying to thrive at work, having a social life and trying not to get any fatter takes up time!

From the New Year on, however, I’ll try and get posting regular again. Hopefully it can go alright – the blog has been in profit since we started and I’d like to think my knowledge since the first day I started has improved in what is a constantly changing game.

I’ll tot-up my results ending the year 2015 and start afresh.

If anyone is actually reading, thanks,

Declan

Sunday 13 September 2015

2.35 Curragh – Moyglare ´´Jewels´´ Blandford Stakes

If Tapestry bounces back to her best form she will take plenty of beating here, but this is her first start in 343 days after an injury interrupted campaign and given Aidan O’Brien’s soft approach, she made not be ready to do herself justice.

I’ve got this between Ribbons and Bocca Baciata, two horses who will enjoy underfoot conditions. Jessica Harrington’s filly BOCCA BACIATA comes here in better form, however and she will get the nod.

The daughter of Big Bad Bob has been in fine form this season, running against some of Ireland’s top three-year-old fillies. She disappointed at Ascot, but the ground was certainly quicker than she’d have wanted. The more rain today, the better her chance.

The only worry is there appears to be a lack of pace in today’s race, but with Aidan O’Brien running three horses, there is a chance we at least get a fair gallop to run at. The Ballydoyle team may well try and tee it up for Tapestry which will plays into our hands.

Advice

1.5pts win BOCCA BACIATA @3/1 (bet365, Boylesports, Paddy Power, Sky Bet)

3.05 Curragh – Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes

A decent renewal of the Flying Five, at least on a competitive front, with 12 runners biding for glory. There is plenty of pace on today so you’ll need a horse in form and who has the ability to travel sweetly.

Step forward LINE OF REASON who was a winner everywhere bar the line at Beverley last time out when he probably got to the front too soon. Today’s race sets up nicely for him to get a longer lead and if good enough, which I think he is, he can run well. The weight turnaround with Maarek there means I can’t understand why he is a longer price back on this less demanding track.

His trainer Paul Midgely has had his sprinters in good order this year and is no stranger to success on these shores with raiders. Indeed, Line Of Reason is a course winner here at the Curragh while his other effort saw a third place finish here.

He is improving and with Sole Power having a penalty and plenty out of form or not good enough he can at least hit the frame.

Advice

1pt each-way LINE OF REASON @10/1 (BetFred, Ladbrokes, StanJames)

4.50 Curragh – Palmerstown House Estate Irish St. Leger

The 11 pounds ORDER OF ST GEORGE receives from his elders in today’s Irish St Leger is a pretty big weight concession over this sort of trip and with him strongly to the fore in official ratings, trained by a master and appearing to be improving, he is taken to win the final Classic of the season.

Aidan O’Brien’s son of Galileo was no great shakes as a juvenile, but since being stepped up in trip he has really found his niche. His debut second this season in the At The Races Curragh Cup put him, and indeed his stablemate, Bondi Beach firmly on my radar.

Why? Because the way the pair left a good horse in Forgotten Rules for dead late in that race was a sign of their class.

Two easy victories have since followed meaning he has had the perfect prep coming in and Aidan O’Brien may well complete a fantastic Leger double.

Advice

2pts win ORDER OF ST GEORGE @11/4 (Paddy Power), 5/2 (general)

Saturday 13 September 2014

Not great prices for the blog today, but confident all horses have a lot going for them and can go close. Maybe a day for a yankee.

3.15 Doncaster – OLBG Park Stakes

The pace looks fair in this race meaning all horses should get a fair crack of the whip and the best horse should win. That looks to be ALJAMAAHEER and he now steps–up to what is probably his ideal trip of seven furlongs.

Connections have tried sprinting with him this year and while he hasn’t been totally found out by it he has never looked a natural. Roger Varian’s inmate has acquitted himself well in Group 1 contests throughout his career, from six furlongs to a mile, but seven has always looked like it may prove to be his best trip.

He gets that today in Group 2 company and will race on his favoured fast ground. He should go pretty close if on song.

Advice

2pts win ALJAMAAHEER @15/8 (general)

3.50 Doncaster – Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes

This year’s St Leger looks an open and competitive race, but I’m full sure KINGSTON HILL is the best horse running. His second in the Derby looks a top effort now with Australia performing like an exceptional horse.

That run can be upgraded given plenty use was made of him from a poor draw early. The son of Mastercraftsman also chased a strong pace before looking a touched outpaced and then staying on strongly. He finished clear of the third, Romsdal, and it goes down as an excellent effort.

Questions have rightly been raised about his pedigree and him seeing out the trip, but there is stamina in Mastercraftsman’s pedigree and there is encouragement on the distaff side. More importantly he shaped at Epsom like it wouldn’t be a problem. We’ll soon find out, but nothing in this field matched his form or class on what we’ve seen.

Advice

3pts win KINGSTON HILL @100/30 (bet365, StanJames)

5.15 Leopardstown – KPMG Enterprise Stakes

I’m going to suggest a small each-way play here ELLEVAL who has first time blinkers applied. David Marnane’s horses haven’t been going too well this year, but there are signs of life again and if today’s headgear can add a spark he may be able to outrun his price of 25/1.

At York last time out he put in his best run of the year and it just might be he is coming back into some form. He’s a useful horse on his day and in an open looking race with question marks about the favourite I’m willing to play.

Advice

1pt each-way ELLEVAL @25/1 (general)

 

5.45 Leopardstown – Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes

RIZEENA looks to have a lot in her favour here and with Ryan Moore on board we are sure to get a good run. Clive Brittain’s stable star was a nice winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot where she had Tapestry back in sixth.

The Ballydoyle filly has since gone on to frank the form, but over 12 furlongs and with her dropping back down to a mile today she looks worth taking on. Tapestry’s wide draw is not a help either and with Rizeena drawn perfectly she may be able to steal an early march on her nearest market rival and hang on late.

Advice

1pt win RIZEENA @5/2 (William Hill), 9/4 (general)

6.15 Leopardstown – Clipper Boomerang Mile

This all looks to be about MUSTAJEEB who can hopefully take this race before going on to eventually compete in Group 1 events. Dermot Weld’s charge impressed me with his win in the Jersey Stakes, where he carried a penalty, and destroyed his field.

He gets his favoured fast ground and a return to a mile won’t inconvenience him. He also has course and distance form and with the Weld team continuing in good form it looks as if he will take some stopping.

Advice

3pts win MUSTAJEEB @2/1 (Paddy Power), 15/8 (Betfred)

Tuesday 3 June 2014

2.55 Ripon – Follow @RiponRaces On Twitter Handicap

This now 11 runner field should ensure there is a nice bit of pace on and that may play into the hands of ALDRETH. His three runs this campaign have been of a decent standard, for the grade, and in this company he may be able to run well.

His run two starts back behind  a progressive horse of Richard Fahey’s is the effort that makes him of interest, now back over a more suitable trip on ground which should suit him a lot better than last time out.

He’s a horse that appears to travel well (he did two runs back) and if getting a nice pace to run at he can go close in the hands of the under-rated Graham Gibbons. The son of Champs Elysees looks a big horse so I’m hoping he is still improving.

First time cheek-pieces are added too and he ranks the top of this field in terms of speed figures. Some of those ahead of him in the betting are having their first starts on grass and/or having their first runs of the year and looks value in comparison to those.

Advice

1pt each-way ALDRETH @7/1 (William Hill)

Sunday 18 May 2014

5.10 Ripon – Barry Taylor Memorial Handicap

I’m hoping the drop to five furlongs won’t inconvenience ADAM’S ALE too much at Ripon today. He doesn’t look an out and out five furlong sprinter, but he seems to have a number of crucial elements in his favour, to warrant a bet.

First of all Paul Midgley’s inmate seems to be in decent form and his three runs this campaign have all improved. This is encouraging given he’s been competitive off higher marks in the past and he now looks to be running into form again.

Adam Ale’s prominent style of racing is very much suited to Ripon’s speed test, too, and with him drawing stall seven of 12, not too far away from the favoured stands rail, he looks ready for an early attack. Ideally we’d like to have been drawn even closer to the rail, but it’s encouraging two of the five horses inside him can be slow away, meaning his stall looks that bit better. It’s also a positive that the five-year-old looks to be in better form than the remaining three competitors inside him.

Furthermore, the son of Ishiguru’s course form at Ripon, without winning, is also a positive to take given it’s a course that can find out the most experienced of sprinters. The one potential negative is the drop back in trip, but hopefully with him being in form and Paul Mulrennan’s aggressive style he can overcome that.

Advice

1.5pts each-way ADAM’S ALE @9/2 (general)