Archive for the ‘ Horse Racing ’ Category

24 Feb
2017

Loosen The ‘Perc’ Strings At Fairyhouse

Quite apart from his obvious form chance, Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy might need to go up a couple of pounds to be assured of his place in next month’s Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival (his sole entry), so a bold show looks likely in Saturday’s At The Races Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse. (2.55pm).

Testing ground, a drop in trip, plus the addition of a first time tongue tie all provide encouragement to back him, mindful of the fact his brilliant trainer used this race as a launch pad for Mall Dini’s win in last year’s Pertemps.

Bear in mind, Presenting Percy won a Ballinrobe bumper on Heavy last year, and also received a strong collateral form boost on Thursday, with the win of Sutton Manor at Thurles a boost to his recent fourth at Punchestown.

Elsewhere, on to keep on eye on at Newcastle could be Sue Smith’s Special Wells (4.30pm).

He’ll love the testing conditions on Eider day, and has a decent chance of completing a hat-trick after wins at Uttoxeter and Wetherby.

Balyboley keeps the weights down but would surely prefer better ground, and if that turns out to be the favourite’s Achilles heel then Special Wells looks well placed to take advantage.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.55 Fairyhouse- At The Races Handicap Hurdle – 6 Presenting Percy (win) @ 5/2 (bet365, Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

4.30 Newcastle – Betfred “The Home Of Goals Galore” Handicap Chase – 3 Special Wells (win) @ 4/1 (BetVictor or Skybet)

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Posted 19 hours, 31 minutes ago

17 Feb
2017

Niver-niver Land

Ascot, Gowran Park, Haydock Park and Wincanton provide the meat in Saturday’s jump racing sandwich, one which despite the proximity of the Cheltenham Festival looks likely to contain more than a few pointers to next month’s festivities.

I especially like the look of the card at Wincanton, but before concentrating on that it might be worth putting your faith in the in-form Venetia Williams stable to strike at Ascot (2.25pm).

Williams, on a decent run which has yielded 4 winners from 23 runners in the past fortnight (17%), sits on the 25 winner mark for the campaign, and at the likely odds has a handy opportunity of adding to that with hardy stable favourite, Tenor Nivernais.

Rarely out of the places, this in-form 10-year-old likes it at Ascot, finishing 4th,1st and 3rd in his three previous visits.

He usually contests valuable big field handicaps, often finishing in the places, but this smaller field against some more exposed types looks like it could be just his cup of tea.

Clearly the two young bucks towards the bottom of the weights, Go Conquer and Chef D’Oeuvre are a danger, but they both have to prove they can mix it at this level against these more experienced horses, and at 8/1 it could well be the turn of Tenor Nivernais.

Meanwhile, in the West Country it could well be the scene of yet another winner for red-hot Neil Mulholland, as the Northern Irishman saddles Bishops Court at Wincanton (2.15pm).

Barry Geraghty takes over in the saddle on an animal who brought up his hat-trick over course and distance last time out.

A further four pound rise is unlikely to anchor him, and he looks much the most convincing option in a winnable looking contest.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.15 Wincanton – Betway Hcap Chase – 2 Bishops Court (win) @ 15/8 (BetVictor, Paddy or Skybet)

2.25 Ascot – Keltbray Swinley Chase (Ltd Hcap) – 2 Tenor Nivernais (win) @ 8/1 (bet365, BetVictor, Boyle, Hills or Stan James)

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Posted 1 week ago

27 Jan
2017

Aso The Way To Go At Cheltenham

The loss of Ascot last Saturday was a gigantic nuisance on the day, but if every cloud has a silver lining then the resultant bonus is a nine race card at Cheltenham seven days later, featuring the likes of Un De Sceaux and Thistlecrack, as well as a star-studded support cast.

One race that really catches my eye is the 2m 5f handicap chase at 1.10pm, the latest in a string of valuable races at this track at around the same distance, continuing the theme struck by the November and December Gold Cups, plus the valuable race won by Shantou Flyer on New Year’s Day.

Up seven pounds, Shantou Flyer is back for more under top weight, but the one I see running a massive race is the Venetia Williams-inmate, Aso.

He loves it here, having finished down the pecking order in the Arkle last March as a 66/1 outsider, before returning to bag place money in the aforementioned feature races pre-Christmas.

He’s done better since, winning at Chepstow last time out, and really seems to be getting his act together under conditional pilot, Charlie Deutsch.

A fast run big field barging match seems exactly Aso’s cup of tea, and in a 13-horse race in which he’ll be kept company by stablemate Tenor Nivernais, he holds a mighty chance of at least being in the three.

He looks fairly priced at 8/1 with bet365.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bet at Cheltenham:

1.10 – Hugo’s Restaurant Barbados Trophy Handicap Chase – 5 Aso (each way) @ 8/1 (bet365)

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Posted 4 weeks, 1 day ago

18 Jan
2017

No Win No Fille

Following a double at Ayr on Tuesday Welsh trainer Evan Williams has his string in great nick at present, and he looks to have a terrific chance to add to his season tally at Ludlow on Thursday, with his Robin Des Champs mare, Fille Des Champs, appearing to be a major danger in the hands of Adam Wedge.

She lines up in the mares’ handicap hurdle at 3.00pm, full of confidence after a breakthrough win in just her second ever handicap, a success achieved at Ffos Las last month.

Stepping up in trip that day to two and a half miles on testing ground, she just got better and better the further she went, and this extra half mile on an easy track like Ludlow should be more than okay.

She gets weight from all six rivals and can capitalise.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bet at Ludlow:

Racing UK Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – 7 Fille Des Champs (win) @ 11/4 (BetVictor)

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Posted 1 month, 1 week ago

31 Dec
2016

In With The New At Newbury

A pair of exciting looking five-year-olds can hopefully help pay the day’s expenses by featuring heavily at Newbury this afternoon, lead by the Dan Skelton-trained Robin Roe in the feature Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle (1.50pm).

Very highly thought of at home in Ireland, where the son of Robin Des Champs won his point-to-point at Boulta, he struck on debut for the Skeltons in a Warwick bumper in the spring, and then reappeared in October with an eye catching maiden hurdle success at Aintree.

It’s significant that the win over timber came at the expense of an exciting looking sort in No Comment, who has since gone in at Market Raspberry and Plumpton.

Clearly this is a huge test in Grade 1 company, but Robin Roe nonetheless looks tempting at 2/1 with BetVictor.

A little later on, the Rebecca Curtis-trained Geordie Des Champs dips his toe into handicap company for the first time (3.00pm), having run up a sequence in a bumper and three novice hurdles.

Barry Geraghty is town to ride him, and his mark of 129 certainly doesn’t look overbearing despite the biggish field.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Newbury:

1.50 – Challow Novices’ Hurdle – 8 Robin Roe (win) @ 2/1 (BetVictor)

3.00 – Betfred Wishing You A Happy New Year Handicap Hurdle – 10 Geordie Des Champs (win) @ 10/3 (BetVictor, Paddy or Skybet)

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Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

29 Dec
2016

Island Destination

Smal fields are the order of the day for the fourth and final chapter of Leopardstown’s big Christmas Festival, where Coney Island can hopefully leave his footprint on the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.55pm).

Up in trip after winning the Drinmore at Fairyhouse, Coney Island has the look of a serious staying chaser.

Owner JP McManus had two winners here yesterday, Bleu Et Rouge and Thirsty Work, and can add another to his tally with a horse who is only 10/1 for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bet:

1.55 Leopardstown – Neville Hotels Novice Chase – 5 Coney Island (win)

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Posted 1 month, 4 weeks ago

28 Dec
2016

Keep A Lid On It At Leopardstown

A stunning 11 winner haul has come the way of Willie Mullins the last two days, including Grade 1 prizes for Min, Douvan and Saturnas, but for once the powerhouse might have to settle for second best in today’s feature, the Grade 1 Lexus Chase (3.00pm, RTE2).

Mullins saddles market leader Djakadam, twice runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and fit from a win at Punchestown, but this could be the day a horse formerly in his care comes back to haunt him…

Now racing for Henry De Bromhead, Valseur Lido may very well have what it takes to repeat his first time out win for his new stable, achieved in Grade 1 company at Down Royal last month, by winning the Lexus.

Unsurprisingly he’s the choice of Bryan Cooper, who could’ve opted for any of the five horses lining up in the distinctive maroon colours of Gigginstown.

The way he went about his business last time out marked him out as a Gold Cup hope, though he’ll need to be to take care of Djakadam and co.

Valseur Lido is the recommendation at 5/2, a price available with any of Betfred, Boyles, Coral, Hills or Paddy.

Elsewhere on the card, an intriguing runner in the Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier run at 12.50pm is Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy, for whom the step up in distance to three miles can unlock further improvement.

On a hat-trick following wins at Galway and Punchestown, he steps up dramatically in trip here, representing a small but deadly operation in Craughwell, close to Galway in the west of Ireland.

It’s a tip in itself that Davy Russell chooses him over Sea Light, while Kelly had a big win at Limerick yesterday when he struck with Lizzies Champ.

Don’t be surprised if he follows suit with Presenting Percy.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Leopardstown:

12.50 – Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) – 6 Presenting Percy (each way) @ 11/2 (Betfred, Coral, Paddy or Skybet)

3.00 – Lexus Chase – 12 Valseur Lido (win) @ 5/2 (Betfred, Boyles, Coral, Hills or Paddy)

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Posted 1 month, 4 weeks ago

27 Dec
2016

Something Special At Kempton On Tuesday

The likes of bet365, Betway, Betfred, Boylesports, Ladbrokes and Skybet offering even money about Special Tiara for Kempton’s two mile Desert Orchid Chase (2.20pm) had the look of a late Christmas present overnight, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed with Henry De Bromhead’s charge now generally 10/11 or shorter.

The winner of this race in 2014 and also a dual Grade 1 scorer elsewhere on his CV, Special Tiara has course, track, trip, ground and the weights on his side today, as he bids for a repeat of two years ago.

Principal rival, Sire De Grugy, is a star in his own right, yet he’s rated a pound inferior and has to try and concede 10lbs.

Need any more persuading? Racing is rarely so simply that everything proceeds as smoothly as you hope it will, but even so Special Tiara looks a clear selection to turn these advantageous circumstances into a win today.

Meanwhile, across the pond it’s day two of the big Christmas meeting here at Leopardstown, with the Foxrock venue gearing up for the arrival of Douvan, who is around 1/6 to lead them on a merry dance in the 2m 1f Grade 1 at 1.20pm.

The seven-time Grade 1 winner is 4/7 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in three months time, and should be a treat for anyone shrugging off their hangover and braving the cold.

Looking for one or two to try and make the day pay?

Special Tiara’s stablemate, Avenir D’Une Vie, certainly looks in interesting at 100/30 in the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at 1.55pm.

Bryan Cooper selects him above the very highly-regarded Peace News, as well as two other Gigginstown runners in the field of eight, and you’d have to say he did look ever so smart on his first run for his new stable at Fairyhouse.

Next up, the two mile handicap hurdle (2.30pm) is about as tricky as you can ever find, even by Irish racing standards, but bone horse for whom I have a real soft spot is John Murphy’s four-year-old, Swamp Fox.

A winner at Galway on the Flat back in the summer and subsequently this in the Irish Cesarewitch, he looked the business when winning over hurdles at Listowel and is fit form a solid third, also over timber, at Naas.

The mount of David Mullins, Swamp Fox is 16/1 each way with loads of firms including Betfred, Coral and Paddy.

Lastly, there’s a monster field of 28 for the three mile Paddy Power Handicap Chase, perhaps not such a surprise when you factor in the mention of €104,500 to the winner!

It’s more than eye-catching to see Ruby Walsh wasting down to just above ten stone to ride The Crafty Butcher on his second outing for Willie Mullins, especially in a race where four of the last five winners went off 7/1 or shorter.

That said, any bookie worth their salt will be paying five places each way, indeed Paddy and Skybet are paying six.

With that in mind, both firms go 33/1 about last year’s third, Folsom Blue, about whom trainer Mouse Morris said yesterday: “Folsom Blue would love a bit of rain but has only got 10st 4lbs and Bryan Cooper has picked so I think he could go really well.”

He looks an each way play for small stakes, as does the Willie Mullins inmate Sabremont, a 20/1 shot who was going really nicely when brought down in the Troytown at Navan.

Good luck!

Today’s best bets:

1.55 – Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle – 1 Avenir D’Une Vie (win) @ 100/30 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Boylesports or Ladbrokes)

2.20 Kempton – Desert Orchid Chase – 4 Special Tiara (win) @ 10/11 (Hills, Ladbrokes or Skybet)

2.30 Leopardstown – Paddy Power “You Beauty” Handicap Hurdle – 8 Swamp Fox (each way) @ 16/1 (Betfred, Coral or Paddy)

3.00 Leopardstown – Paddy Power Handicap Chase – 13 Sabremont (each way) @ 20/1 (Skybet or Paddy Power – BOTH SIX PLACES)

3.00 Leopardstown – Paddy Power Handicap Chase – 22 Folsom Blue (each way) @ 33/1 (Skybet or Paddy Power – BOTH SIX PLACES)

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Posted 2 months ago

24 Dec
2016

The Ghost Of Christmas…(Boxing Day Tips)

Ace up-and-coming trainer, Neil Mulholland, already finds himself on 67 National Hunt winners for the season, including three in bumpers, and the Northern Irishman is looking to make it a very merry Christmas by sending a team of 12 into battle on Boxing Day, with runners spread across a total of five meetings!

Two of his Christmas crackers make it into my festive Yankee, a bet spearheaded by unbeaten Solighoster at Huntingdon (3.40pm).

A chestnut by Loup Solitaire, he won his sole point in Ireland and then did the business in a canter at Newcastle on his rules debut, giving promising amateur, James King, an armchair ride.

King, son of much-loved journo Andrew, unsurprisingly retains the mount for Solighoster’s second bumper, and though the pair are up against contenders from top stables such as Henderson and Pauling, this horse is one to take a long look at.

Huntingdon will suit him and he looks much more appetising than turkey sandwiches ever could, on offer at 5/1 with either Paddy Power or the Betfair Sportsbook.

Also miles away from the razzmatazz of Kempton Park, Mulholland looks to notch a third win on the bounce with the tough and gutsy Mrs Burbidge, who arrives in the opener at Fontwell (12.05pm) on the back of wins at Southwell and Uttoxeter.

The in-form mare, a daughter of Pasternak, has the benefit of the excellent Ciaran Gethings, a member of Philip Hobbs’s extensive team’, in this conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle, and she is a clear pick in a decidedly winnable looking event.

Elsewhere, on a day where there are a total of 11 meetings spread around Britain and Ireland, one who could go very well at big odds is the Donald McCain-trainer The Pierre Lark, who lines up for the first time in a handicap, taking his chance in the 0-100 novices’ handicap Hurdle at Market Raspberry (2.55pm).

Ridden by a promising talent in the shape of Harry Stock, a conditional claiming seven pounds who is operating at a 20% strike-rate (6 winners) over hurdles in the early stages of his career, The Pierre Lark has gained some great experience in straight novices, and might now be able to use that prior knowledge to good use in a weak race.

He looks generously priced at 16/1 each way with either Coral or Paddy.

Lastly, a slightly more high profile clash than those mentioned above is Cue Card against Thistlecrack in Kempton Park’s 32 Red King George VI Chase (3.15pm), a clash to make jumping fans drool…

Not that it really matters who wins as long as both superstars come back safe and hopefully with reputations enhanced, but on the premise that Josses Hill may take on Thistlecrack for the lead and force him into a blunder or two, I’m backing the miles more experienced campaigner, the wily, the brilliant Cue Card, to pounce late on and win it again.

Good luck!

Monday’s best bets:

12.05 Fontwell – Rathbourne Ltd Of Bath Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – 4 Mrs Burbidge (win) @ 7/4 (Paddy Power or Skybet)

2.55 Market Rasen – Rand Farm Park Holiday Kids Club Novices’ Handicap Hurdle – 3 The Pierre Lark (each way) @ 16/1 (Paddy Power)

3.15 Kempton Park – 32 Red King George VI Chase – 1 Cue Card (win) @ 5/4 (Ladbrokes)

3.40 Huntingdon – Keep Calm And Carry On Intermediate Open NH Flat Race – 1 Solighoster (win) @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 2 months ago

16 Dec
2016

Tuck Into A Pre-Christmas Fry Up At Ascot

It’s destination Ascot for a cracking day’s racing on Saturday, one which could be especially enjoyable for Dorset trainer Harry Fry, who sends some serious firepower to the Berkshire venue…

A former assistant to Paul Nicholls, Fry is now a renowned handler in his own right, and he may well have the answer to the first of four live races from the venue on Channel 4, with his Overtown Express appearing to be a big player in the 2m 3f BGC Partners Handicap Chase (1.50pm).

A lightly-raced eight-year-old, he is formerly a Point-to-Point winner who has the scope to be useful over fences, and progress can be expected after a pipe opener behind Top Notch (runs in the 1.15) at Plumpton.

Overtown Express won twice over hurdles earlier in the year, and might be on a nice opening mark for his first handicap (132) over the bigger obstacles.

In the hands of Noel Fehily he looks tempting at 8/1, a price available with aNy of bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Hills.

Some 35 minutes later Fry will be hoping everything goes to plan for a horse who has been a sensational improver since joining his stable, Uknowwhatimeanharry.

Six from six for the Fry team, his star stayer takes his biggest test yet, lining up under Barry Geraghty in the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle (2.25pm).

Brilliant at Newbury when beating the reopposing Ballyoptic at the Hennessy meeting, the Albert Bartlett winner still seems to be getting better and better, and he appears worth every pound of his lofty rating of 165.

Perhaps the 6/4 with Paddy Power or Betway is cramped, but even so it’s going to take a colossal performance to topple him.

Also at Ascot, Fry brings last year’s dead-heat winner, Jolly’s Cracked It, back for a repeat assault on the concluding handicap hurdle, a hugely valuable contest formerly staged as the Ladbroke, now run as the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle (3.35pm).

In a race where Tony Martin runs three it appears a colossal ask for the Fry runner after a year’s absence, though the same can’t be said of the horse he shared the honours with in 2015, Sternrubin.

A total of 10 pounds higher than when taking this a year ago, I wouldn’t be too put off by his racing weight, given that he’s ultra tough and very reliable, saving his best form for Ascot with form figures of 211.

This type of race holds no fears for him, and with Philip Hobbs hammering in the winners (9 in last 2 weeks) Sternrubin looks a decent proposition in the hands of the Champion jockey, Richard Johnson.

The pair are 16/1 each way with any of bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Ascot:

1.50 – BGC Partners Handicap Chase – 9 Overtown Express (each way) @ 8/1 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Hills)

2.25 – JLT Long Walk Hurdle – 7 Uknowwhatimeanharry (win) @ 6/4 (Betway or Paddy Power)

3.35 – Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle – 9 Sternrubin (each way) @ 16/1 (bet365, BetVictor or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 2 months, 1 week ago