Posts Tagged ‘ wednesday ’

21 Aug
2013

It’s No Secret Course Form Is An Asset On The Knavesmire…

It may only be day one of a fab four but a big crowd is guaranteed at York this afternoon, with the headline clash of the generations between Al Kazeem and Toronado a certainty to swell the gate and get the Knavesmire turnstiles clicking merrily.

As well as plenty of punters the Channel 4 cameras will also be in attendance for the duration of what is always a great meeting to attend, and my own occasionally silver conveyance will be speeding across the Pennines and up the A1 as soon as I’ve clicked send on today’s suggestions for a wager.

We’ll get to the main course in a second, but the majority of my business will be taken care of good and early, with a field of 19 remaining at the time of writing for starters in the opening Symphony Group Stakes sprint handicap at 1.55pm.

Irrespective of the track I love to back a horse who’s performed there with credit in the past, but this especially applies to the Knavesmire, where proven ability to act on the track is a valuable addition to the armoury.

A five and a half furlong sprint handicap will always have something of a lottery aspect to it, but on this occasion my ticket will bear the name of a horse who won this very race two years ago, is in top form, scored here two runs ago off four pounds lower, and last year ran in four Group 1’s!

Jane Chapple-Hyam has her team in reasonable nick (winner and a second last week), and at 20/1 each way with either Bet Victor or Ladbrokes I’m struggling to find much to complain about with her grey gelding Secret Asset.

Drawn highest of all in 20 might not be perfect, but it’s worth remembering that stall numbers 13, 11, 15 and 16 filled places 1-2-4-5 when he won here in July.

What’s more, course form figures of 8, 1, 1 suggest a real affinity for the track, and though he has to bounce back from a no show in Scandinavia 10 days ago, that clearly wasn’t his true running and can safely be ignored.

Secret Asset has a real chance of repeating his 2011 success in this race (off 95 compared to 100 today), and is surely worth an interest at 20/1.

As for the big race, the 1m 2f Group 1 Juddmonte International rolls around at 3.40pm, and despite just the six runners it really does look worth the admission fee alone.

Al Kazeem chases a fourth straight Group 1 and looks to become the first horse to win the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Eclipse and Juddmonte International in the same season.

Two years his junior, Toronado is the rising force and arrives full of confidence after beating Dawn Approach over a mile in the Sussex Stakes.

Irish Derby winner Trading Leather proved he could hack it against the older horses when second in the King George, while another three year old Hillstar showed up well in the same race and was an emphatic winner of the King Edward VII at the Royal Meeting.

Authoritative Queen Anne winner Declaration Of War has had a busy summer, and since Ascot has found Al Kazeem too strong over today’s trip at Sandown, and Toronado too quick over a mile at Glorious Goodwood.

That leaves him with plenty to do, and despite reservations that a little more give in the ground would see him in an even better light, I expect this to go the way of hards as nails Al Kazeem.

He’s the specialist at the ten furlong trip, plus arrives here having been freshened up with precision by a very deliberate 46 day break.

His trainer’s patience after interrupted three and four year old campaigns is really blooming, and a further instalment beckons.

To my mind whatever beats him will win, and if you disagree with the selection then be sure to bet with Ladbrokes, who are offering a bold money back on any loser in the race if Al Kazeem wins.

It’s only up to £25, but even so it’s about as close to a genuine no lose wager as you can get – watch your selection beaten by Al Kazeem and get your stake back, watch your selection upset the favourite and collect.

Of course they might both be chinned by one of the others, but Al Kazeem is pure quality and out to get him in a big way the Magic Sign are taking quite a chance on a high turnover terrestrial tv race!

Al Kazeem is 13/8 with Ladbrokes.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at York:

1.55 – Symphony Group Stakes (Handicap) – 3 Secret Asset (each way) @ 20/1 (Bet Victor or Ladbrokes)

3.40 – Juddmonte International Stakes – 1 Al Kazeem (win) @ 13/8 (Ladbrokes)

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Posted 4 years, 1 month ago

31 Jul
2013

Another Perfect Plate Day Approaches…

People’s spending habits might still be under pressure, and the economy enduring what could best be described as a squeeze, but try telling that to anyone present here in the seven day long bubble which is Galway…

As we roll into the first of the two big days of the week, with this afternoon’s tote.com Galway Plate the €200,000 highlight live on RTE1 at 5.30pm, we can reflect on two superb opening chapters at Ballybrit, with punters off to a flyer on Monday and the crowd up, before a riotous Tuesday which saw the crowd rise by more than 4,000 on 12 months ago.

The figure of 18,248 was markedly up on the 14,058 who clicked their way through the turnstiles on the equivalent day in 2012, though Galway being what it is there were probably another few hundred who got distracted by the mayhem on Shop St and have delayed their trip to the sports until today.

The increase in spectators also lead to a healthy rise in turnover in the betting ring: the bookies enjoyed a sharp spike in business compared to a year before, with €1.25m changing hands as opposed to €970,297.

Plenty of punters shouted home the winner of the feature Topaz Mile at 6.45pm, with young Colin Keane powering clear on the each way gamble Brendan Bracken for trainer Ger Lyons (fuelled by featuring in the Racing Post Pricewise column).

Keane then explained his delight at riding a winner at Galway, a change of fortune after crashing his car last week!

Though, as my betting ring colleague Brian Gleeson was quick to remark: “he’ll be able to afford the panel beater now!”

Hopefully those same winning punters have saved a few quid to play with this afternoon, as there are plenty of options split between two really tremendous cards at Galway and Goodwood.

The latest ‘duel on the Downs’ will be the clear highlight of a mouthwatering second day at Goodwood, and for all that Toronado and Dawn Approach look to be separated by the width of a cigarette paper, the Sussex Stakes (3.05pm) can confirm St James’s Palace Stakes form.

Don’t be in any way surprised if Declaration Of War plays a big part too, but aside from his Derby aberration Dawn Approach is unbeaten in nine starts, and is chiselled from pretty stern stuff.

Elsewhere at Goodwood, if you’re fancy playing on something altogether more speculative then you could do a lot worse than backing Brian Meehan’s Testudo at 14/1 in the Gordon Stakes (2.30pm).

I am absolutely convinced this grey son of Duke Of Marmalade remains capable of much better on just his fourth start, and given his entries in both the Voltigeur and St Leger you’d have to think his shrewd trainer agrees.

It’s a shame there aren’t a dead eight runners for each way purposes, but even so he doesn’t deserve to be dismissed as a 14/1 shot.

Here in Galway there’ll be a monster crowd for Plate day, but at the time of writing everyone is holding their breath to see if overnight favourite Carlingford Lough even gets into the big race (5.30pm, live on RTE1)!

He’s first reserve and needs something to be withdrawn to take his place in the line up, though owner JP McManus has four runners in the race proper, and you’d have to suspect they’ll shoehorn him in one way or another.

If they do Carlingford Lough will hold a huge shout off a mark of 133, but either way it’s a cracking renewal with plenty of feasible options for punters.

One I really like is Punchestown Festival winner Klepht for Tom Mullins and Robbie Power.

He signed off his novice campaign with a flourish, and has only run once on the Flat since then to protect his mark of 144.

He’ll be held up and try and creep through beaten horses, but don’t be surprised to see him finishing fast and late.

You could certainly do worse than have a look at the 14’s available each way with Coral.

Also at Galway, Dermot Weld should be having a winner on the card with Lucky Kitten in the 60-95 mile handicap at 6.40pm.

He’s got precious little to beat in a small field, yet is available at 5/2 with BetVictor.

I can also pass on a very good word for Usuel Smurfer in the three mile handicap hurdle at 4.10pm.

A winner at Downpatrick and not out of the frame in three starts over timber, he looks worth following in an open contest, especially as a number of bookmakers including Betfred and Coral will accommodate you at 10/1 each way.

Finally, a mighty thank you to all those who packed out McHugh’s in Galway last night for our Injured Jockeys Fund race night, featuring myself, Paddy Power, Shark Hanlon, Marietta Doran and Niall McCullagh.

We haven’t had time to count a vast amount of change and notes currently filling four buckets, but every cent will be going to a very, very important cause, so well played and thumbs up if you made the effort.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets:

2.30 Goodwood – Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes – 7 Testudo (win) @ 14/1 (bet365, BetVictor, Ladbrokes or William Hill)

3.05 Goodwood – Qipco Sussex Stakes – 5 Dawn Approach (win) @ 11/10 (bet365 or Paddy Power)

4.10 Galway – 40,000 Euros Tote Jackpot Guarantee Handicap Hurdle – 5 Usuel Smurfer (each way) @ 10/1 (Betfred or Coral)

5.30 Galway – thetote.com Galway Plate (Handicap) – 6 Klepht (each way) @ 14/1 (Coral)

6.40 Galway – Bet Online At thetote.com Handicap – 3 Lucky Kitten (win) @ 5/2 (BetVictor)

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Posted 4 years, 1 month ago

19 Jun
2013

Special K To Call The Tune In Prince Of Wales’s Rematch

Bookmakers definitely had the upper hand on a tricky opening day for punters at the Royal meeting on Tuesday afternoon, with reverses for well backed jollies Animal Kingdom and Shea Shea the notable results for the layers, on what was also a great day for the Irish as they bagged the first four winners on the card.

Huge credit must go to Jim Bolger for throwing Dawn Approach back into the fray so soon after his Derby disaster, and a hard fought St James’s Palace Stakes win will surely have been one of his most satisfying.

Elsewhere, the pace displayed by Aidan O’Brien’s unconsidered third string War Command as he put the Coventry Stakes to bed was stunning, giving O’Brien a seventh win in the race, and earning quotes as short as 5/1 for next season’s 2,000 Guineas in the process.

Breathless stuff, but there are still four days to go and this afternoon’s big race looks set to be another cracker, with a field of 11 declared for the 1m 2f Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at 3.45pm (live on Ch4).

On the strength of his smart form when trained in France by Andre Fabre Pricewise has nominated Saint Baudolino as the value angle in a competitive race, but having witnessed first hand his destruction of Camelot in last month’s Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, it’ll be a good one who beats Al Kazeem if he turns up in the same form as he was that day.

Roger Charlton’s five year old son of of Dubawi has bloomed since his injury blighted earlier days – just one run as a four year old saw him bolt up in the Jockey Club Stakes, but this season he’s fit and very much on song:

A seasonal debut at Sandown in April yielded a victory in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes, before a first foray into Group 1 company resulted in an authoritative win against Camelot.

As for four time Group 1 winner Camelot he just doesn’t look the same horse as 12 months ago, and perhaps a combination of gruelling ground in the Irish Derby and the severe colic that required major surgery last Autumn have left a permanent mark.

It’s great to see him back, but at the time of writing bookmakers have just half a point between them in the market, and that doesn’t seem to represent the here and now.

Al Kazeem is the rising force, and can confirm Curragh form.

But will that be enough?

We already know Saint Baudolino could do some damage if Tom Segal has his way, but there’s also John Gosden’s top notch filly The Fugue, who was far too strong for her rivals in the Nassau at Glorious Goodwood, but takes on the boys for the first time.

Today’s 10 furlongs is her trip, but she’s been off the track for a long time and I wonder if she might find one or two too strong this afternoon as she bids to become the first filly since Ouija Board to win this race.

However, rather than Camelot, The Fugue or Saint Baudelino the one I fancy for the forecast is the sole French-trained contender in the field Maxios.

Trained in Chantilly by Englishman Jonathan Pease, this is another horse who’s really come to hand at the age of five, kicking off his season with a win in Longchamp’s Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt in April.

That was followed by a solid second to Pastorius in the Prix Ganay, before he netted his first Group 1 when beating Planteur to take the the Prix d’Ispahan.

Regular pilot Stephane Pasquier rides, and he’s the very same man who steered home Manduro to complete the last Prix d’Ispahan/Prince Of Wales’s Stakes double back in 2007.

Pease is an infrequent visitor to UK tracks, but surely isn’t tilting at windmills with this talented horse.

Al Kazeem is my idea of the most likely winner of the race, but Maxios can chase him home, and the reverse can provide a bit of insurance if he gets his head in front.

Later in the day it wouldn’t be Royal Ascot without having a crack at trying to solve the 30-runner Royal Hunt Cup (4.25pm).

Only four favourites have struck in this in the last 50 years and no filly has won for 10 years, so I probably wouldn’t be rushing to back Andrew Balding’s Stirring Ballad at around 9/1 in such a minefield of a contest.

Plenty of punters favour the chances of a repeat for last year’s winner Prince Of Johanne off an identical mark, but you’d have to trawl all the way back to 1947 and 1948 and Master Vote to find the last horse to win it two years on the bounce.

Drawn in stall four one I really like the look of is the returning Trade Commissioner for John Gosden.

This will only be his ninth run, and he does seem to thrive at this time of year, having won at Salisbury and Sandown inside 12 days at around this point on the calendar in 2012.

Group races weren’t quite his cup of tea later in the season, but if he returns in similar form to this time last year after a long break then he could well be a live danger to emerge from the lower section of the draw.

I’ll also be backing one drawn higher, and carrying my cash will be one of the William Haggas runners Fury.

He’s jumping from gate 22, and is another who’d be a major player if rediscovering old form.

His early season handicap form in 2012 was fantastic, with form figures of 3231 culminating in a win off 104 in the Hambleton at York.

The handicapper now has him racing off a mark four pounds lower than that from which he won on the Knavesmire, while first time blinkers could help, and it’s interesting to see Joseph O’Brien (successful on Declaration Of War yesterday) takes the mount.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Royal Ascot:

3.45 – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – 2 Al Kazeem (win) @ 5/2 (Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power or William Hill)

3.45 – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – 2 Al Kazeem & 4 Maxios (reverse forecast)

4.25 – Royal Hunt Cup (H’cap) – 6 Trade Commissioner (each way) @ 14/1 (Betfred or BetVictor – both pay 5 places)

4.25 – Royal Hunt Cup (H’cap) – 10 Fury (each way) @ 16/1 (BetVictor or Paddy Power)

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Posted 4 years, 3 months ago

01 May
2013

Warming Up For Wednesday At Sunny Southwell‏

We might be only three days shy of the first Classic of 2013, but the new National Hunt season is also up and running, and they go with an eight race card at Southwell this afternoon where the following selections may well pay their way…

Dr Richard Newland is among the finest in the land at placing his string to good effect, and he looks to have found an ideal opening for Callhimwhatyouwant to follow up Friday’s Plumpton win in the two mile 0-100 chase at 2.10pm.

Better ground was key to that success, and it’s unlikely a seven pound penalty will thwart a repeat bid if he turns up in the same mood.

This lad is three pounds well in under a penalty and ineligible to run in 0-100’s after today, and should take all the beating against a modest bunch.

Next up, Keith Reveley appears to have a found a decent opening for Kings Grey to return to winning ways at 3.10pm, stepping back up in trip but dropping in class with a horse who was a creditable fourth in a hot race at Aintree’s Grand National meeting last time out.

Tough and consistent, this looks right up his street.

This could be a wild miscalculation, but at 3.10pm you’d have to wonder if this is going to be the day Billing finds his form – on his handicap debut!

Jonjo O’Neill’s Milan gelding has show nothing at all in three starts to date, beaten 89, 109 and 56 lengths respectively in three outings over hurdles – enough to qualify him for a lowly mark of just 67.

It could be that he’s a) utterly useless, or b) a late maturing type, but it’s unlikely Trevor Hemmings would persevere with a total no hoper, or that Jonjo O’Neill would be happy training a horse of that calibre, so perhaps this is the day we see the first glimmer of form.

Billing is actually two pounds wrong at the foot of the weights, but this is far easier than the novices he’s been contesting, plus this is a step up in trip on better ground.

With that in mind, i’ll take a risk with him, especially as his stable have a great record in these races.

Finally, a double could be on the cards for Jonjo, with another handicap debutant Tackler a strong possibility to do some damage in the conditional jockeys’ event at 3.45pm.

Better ground should see this son of Presenting in far better light, the step up trip to an extended three miles should be ideal (stamina on dam’s side), plus the cheekpieces go on.

All reasons to suggest some improvement could be just around the corner.

Punchestown it is not, but the relatively modest standard of racing will hopefully ensure it’s not too tough to find a winner or two.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Southwell:

2.10 – BetVictor.com Handicap Chase – 2 Callhimwhatyouwant (win) @ 11/8 (Betfred)

2.40 – BetVictor CL Red Card Refund Handicap Chase – 1 Kings Grey (win) @ 7/4 (bet365 or Betfred)

3.10 – BetVictor Handicap Hurdle – 10 Billing (win) @ 9/2 (William Hill)

3.45 – BetVictor Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Handicap Hurdle – 5 Tackler (win) @ 4/1 (William Hill)

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Posted 4 years, 4 months ago

12 Mar
2013

Cheltenham Festival 2013 – Wednesday’s Tips

Three winners on day one of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival saw our tipster, Tom Lee, get off to a great start. Here are his picks for Wednesday.

 Race Tom’s Selection  Betting
1.30 –  John Oaksey National Hunt Chase No.15 Tofino Bay (each way) @ 10/1 (Bet Victor)
2.05 – Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle No.5 Rule The World (each way) @ 6/1 (Bet365, Bet Victor, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)
2.40 RSA Chase No.11 Unioniste (win) @ 7/2 (Paddy Power or Coral)
3.20 – Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase No.5 Sprinter Sacre (win) @ 3/10 (Paddy Power)
4.00 – Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) No.28 Buck Magic (each way) @ 28/1 (Coral)
4.40 – Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle No.3 Ruacana (each way) @ 20/1 (Bet365, Betfred, Paddy Power or William Hill)
5.15 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper No.7 Golantilla (each way) @ 9/1 (Paddy Power)

Previews and odds for every race in addition to live Cheltenham news, results and latest free bets and bookmakers offers can be found at http://cheltenham-festival.betting-directory.com/

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Posted 4 years, 6 months ago

05 Feb
2013

‘Knock’ On Course To Defend 100% Carlisle Record

If Carlisle can beat an 8am inspection then we’ve got two cracking midweek National Hunt fixtures to enjoy on Wednesday afternoon, with Ludlow also primed to stage a seven race card.

The likes of New Year’s Eve at Ludlow (25/1 for both the Supreme Novices’ and the Neptune) and Vulcanite at Carlisle are probably the headline names, but perhaps the race of the day comes later in the day at the Cumbria track, with a field of 10 due to go to post for an intriguing looking 3m 1f Pertemps Qualifier at 4.05pm.

Hat-trick chasing Jonjo O’Neill inmate Shutthefrontdoor tops the overnight market at around 5/2 on his handicap debut (rated 135), while equally in-form fellow handicap debutant Green Flag is put in next best at 3/1.

Both command huge respect, as do the likes of Corrin Wood and Kent Street, but perhaps the solution rests with the old man of the field – 10 year old Knockara Beau.

Northumberland trainer George Charlton’s pride and joy is unbeaten at Carlisle, with two wins from two visits, including in this very race in 2011.

Promisingly that was off a 3lbs higher mark (148), and saw him lug top weight in bottomless ground.

This year’s performances would strongly suggest he is far from a back number despite being two years older – in 2011 he came into the race off the back of a second to Grands Crus in Cheltenham’s Cleeve Hurdle, this time around he arrives fresh from a fourth in the Cleeve behind the likes or Reve De Sivola and Oscar Whisky.

He won over fences at Kelso in November to prove he still has the fire in his belly, and nowadays has Paddy Brennan as partner.

In light of his penchant for Carlisle’s undulating right-handed circuit, the 11/2 available each way with either Ladbrokes or William Hill looks the way to go in a hot contest, with Knockara Beau dropping in class to a handicap from Grade 2 company.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bet:

4.05 Carlisle – Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) – 2 Knockara Beau (each way) @ 11/2 (Ladbrokes or William Hill)

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Posted 4 years, 7 months ago

12 Sep
2012

Day One At Donny To Provide A Scarborough Surprise

The listed Scarborough Stakes over the minimum five furlongs (3.05pm) is the feature event on a fairly low key start to the four day St Leger meeting at Doncaster on Wednesday afternoon, but the big race might put us in with a squeak of capitalising on a well priced upset with a field of 13 declared to go to post.

Former Nunthorpe winner Sole Power is the bookmakers’ overnight favourite after a string of solid and consistent efforts at the top level – this drop in class might be exactly what he needs to get back Edward Lynam’s star on the winning trail, but the 7/4 being offered by the firms isn’t too exciting about a horse who doesn’t win very often.

Last season’s Portland Handicap winner Nocturnal Affair (where he beat the re-opposing Confessional) would have to be a big danger with his proven affinity for Doncaster, but anyone taking the 7’s about David Marnane’s charge should consider he’s finished behind Sole Power on three occasions this year.

Kingsgate Native has been off the track since the 2011 Haydock Sprint Cup but would be a threat if he could find a glimmer of his old form at this level – lest we forget he too is a former Nunthorpe winner, albeit way back in 2007.

One of the three year olds in the field Valbcheck is also worth a look on just his fourth racecourse appearance – Jeremy Noseda’s Acclamation colt won both his first two outings at sprint trips, and has the benefit of the brilliant William Buick in the saddle.

It’s also worth noting that Acclamation himself won both his starts at Doncaster, and his son might have a chance at 7/1.

However, at far bigger prices there’s another Irish-trained runner who’s a pure five furlong speed horse, returning to the track after a break, who’ll love the ground and who deserves to be followed at a whopping 22/1 each way with Bet Victor.

Willie McCreery’s Roicead was skilfully trained by Brendan Duke last summer, winning handicaps at Tipperary and Cork (both 5f), before a very good Group 3 third behind Amour Propre and Sole Power at the Curragh.

You can make clear excuses for his only start this time around, it was his first time out for a new trainer, and more importantly was on Heavy ground at Cork.

His 2011 handicap form is intriguing – his Cork handicap win was off a mark of 98, beating none other than the subsequent Portland winner Nocturnal Affair (beat him 2 lengths but was receiving 2lbs & here they’re clash at level weights).

Nocturnal Affair is no bigger than 7/1 at the time of writing, Roicead is 22/1. Too big!

What’s more Roicead now has his ground, and shaped last summer like he was a Group winner waiting to happen.

If his new trainer can get the same tune out of him as Brendan Duke then there’s no doubting there’s a good prize to be won, and in an open race this might be the day.

He’s worth a look each way.

Of the shorties on the card the one I’m most looking forward to seeing is Roger Varian’s Ribaat in the six furlong Conditions race at 2.30pm.

You couldn’t fail to like the way he struck on his racecourse debut at Haydock in August, quickening up to score impressively in a race where the form has since been franked with second horse Seven Of Clubs going on to score at Redcar.

What’s more Varian has this Invincible Spirit colt entered in both the Dewhurst and the Middle Park, a sure sign of the esteem with which he is held.

Hopefully his 100% record can remain intact – Paddy Power go 6/4.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Doncaster:

2.30 – Napoleons Casinos & Restaurants Conditions Stakes – 2 Ribaat (win) @ 6/4 (Paddy Power)

3.05 – Scarborough Stakes – 8 Roicead (each way) @ 22/1 (Bet Victor)

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Posted 5 years ago

22 Aug
2012

Teenage Dream Unlikely To Meet A Premature Ending On The Knavesmire

Unlucky for some….the great horse Frankel goes for win number 13 on the bounce at York this afternoon, and though back in 1990 in Tokyo Buster Douglas provided one of the greatest sporting shocks of all time, when beating Mike Tyson as he attempted to defend his World Heavyweight crown in a bout that had the appearance of little more than a penalty kick, it’s perhaps even more unlikely that the apple of Sir Henry Cecil’s eye will meet his demise on the Knavesmire.

Granted it’s a first step up in trip beyond a mile in the £725,000 Juddmonte International, and there are a trio of Ballydoyle horses to try & inject a dose of tactical mayhem, but such is this horses’s superiority it’s hard to envisage anything other than a routine win, with bet365 the biggest price in the village at the time of writing with their quote of 2/13.

That’s not to say he’s running against trees – indeed the 124-rated St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Coronation Cup would grace any contest, but equally it’s impossible to predict it won’t be more of the same from a horse who’s proving to be manna from heaven for racing’s increasingly active PR machine.

To put St Nicholas Abbey’s task into perspective from a different angle we’ll use the Timeform figures: he’s yet to top a mark of 130 for any of his 15 career starts to date, whereas Frankel has only dipped below that waterline once in the last two seasons!

Clearly the one possible achilles heel his rivals will be hoping to exploit is any stamina weakness: St Nicholas Abbey is a proven stayer over a mile and a half, whereas Frankel has to prove he has his trademark burst of acceleration over a mile and a quarter for the first time, on a day when the pacemakers will be going faster than ever, but knowing him he’ll mow them down and forge clear.

Yes, provided nothing is amiss you can look forward to a true spectacle if you’re heading in the direction of York later today as a crowd of 25,000 reputedly are, or if not put your feet up and enjoy the Channel 4 Racing coverage, with the big one live at 3.40pm.

Many great horses have graced the International in years gone by, not least track record holder Sea The Stars who struck in 2009.

More of the same would do very nicely from a horse who has returned at odds on in his last 12 wins!

However, we’re not going to get any richer speculating about the fate of a 2/13 shot, so for a bet on the card I’ve chosen to have a look at the Group 2 Great Voltigeur at 3.05pm, a race which often throws up a likely St Leger type, although whatever wins this will clearly have a certain Camelot blocking their path at Doncaster next month.

On paper there’s barely anything to separate the six runners, with just nine pounds between them on official ratings.

Epsom Derby second Main Sequence looks sure to go off the market leader at around 2/1, and rightly so given his exciting profile and lack of luck in-running when fourth last time out in the Grand Prix de Paris, with the form of that race having since been boosted.

Yet this isn’t just about the Derby runner up, as in a small but select field lurk Royal Ascot King Edward VII Stakes 1-2-3, the Gordon Stakes 1-2, plus another Royal Ascot winner now running in the royal blue silks of Godolphin.

All six are unsurprisingly in the Leger, but the one I’m backing to cause a bit of an upset is the lowest rated animal among the sextet, and I’ve a strong suspicion John Gosden’s runner Thought Worthy might be overpriced at 8/1 with a number of the bookmakers.

Admittedly he was only third to Thomas Chippendale and Noble Mission at Royal Ascot, but not much separated them that day, he’s been freshened up since, and a return to more prominent racing tactics might get them on the stretch this afternoon.

Thought Worthy was fourth in the Derby, and prior to that had made every inch of the running when beating Noble Mission at Newmarket in May.

The figures would have him struggling here, but lest we forget Thomas Chippendale was rated 96 when seeing off horses on marks of 106, 110 and 115 at Royal Ascot.

John Gosden won this race five years ago with Thought Worthy’s full brother Lucarno, before the same horse went on to taste Leger glory less than four weeks later.

In a very tight race the exciting and overlooked Thought Worthy looks to be each way value at 8/1 to complete the first half of that illustrious double this afternoon.

Elsewhere on the card the other Group race is the Acomb Stakes, but four of the five have been really impressive and could all win, so though Steeler is the value at 5/1 it looks like on to watch and enjoy.

Had the rain arrived hurdler Countrywide Flame would’ve been of serious interest in the stayers handicap at 4.15pm, but I’ll put my eggs in one basket on day one of the Ebor meeting and rely on Thought Worthy, the outsider of six in the Voltigeur.

Good luck!

3.05 – Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes – 6 Thought Worthy (each way) @ 8/1 (Bet365, Bet Victor, Coral Paddy Power)

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Posted 5 years, 1 month ago

01 Aug
2012

Right About ‘Now’ In The Galway Plate??

Who says race preview nights are dull?

It’s probably not a view shared by the 200 or so revellers who turned up at Bodkins Bar in Galway last night in support of the Injured Jockeys Fund, to see RTE’s Tracy Piggott, legendary trainer Shark Hanlon, Paul ‘Caveman’ Binfield of Paddy Power, local celebrity John ‘The Carver’ Kelly (so called for his knack of carving up bookmakers) and myself dissect the big races at the great summer knees up/meeting over the next couple of days.

In short, it made London Riots look like an OAP’s coffee morning.

The IJF will be getting a rather nice cash injection in the near future thanks to some very generous donations, and the beleagured Binfield may soon be visiting his local job centre after being harangued into quadrupling the size of the charity bets available to the panel.

In the unlikely event they all hit the target Paddy Power may well be bankrupted, but hats off to the Dublin firm for getting behind the event and putting their hand in their pocket in very generous fashion.

You can run a big race early in the week in this town, especially when the Shark is in clanking good form and suggests it might be a good idea to have a couple of drinks.

On the plus side sleep is considered optional as opposed to necessary in Galway, plus the Shark was persuaded to give us his best chance of the week: Betting Directory readers would do well to keep on the right side of Mart Lane when he makes his handicap debut at Galway on Saturday afternoon.

Looking ahead to this afternoon and one horse for whom the ground will matter not a jot after yesterday’s rain is Edward O’Grady’s seven year old Muroto gelding Out Now, a tough and consistent sort who can be considered a shade unlucky not have snared on of these major prizes already this season.

It’s a race with a somewhat unusual complexion in that former Grade 1 Guinness Gold Cup and Betfred Bowl winner Follow The Plan tops the field off a mark of 160, compressing the weights for everything else.

That could open the door for plenty of these, with market leader Blackstairmountain generally a 6/1 chance for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

Mullins won the race with Blazing Tempo a year ago, and today’s contender will be popular with punters to follow suit after winning the Grade 1 Novice Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas time.

He warmed up with a win on the Flat, but I just wonder if the preferred hold-up tactics and lack of experience might count against him?

Similar concerns apply to Dermot Weld’s principle hope Daffern Seal – this is his first handicap and only his sixth run ever, and though the King of Galway can work magic like few others at Ballybrit, I wouldn’t be charging in to back the creature at no bigger than 9/1 – especially when he’ll be overbet having been made the Pricewise selection.

Wise Old Owl was second in the race a year ago but hasn’t set foot on a racecourse since, while Carlito Brigante has only two starts over fences to his name.

What of the top weight Follow The Plan?

On the positive side he’s a dual top level winner running in a handicap, but if you’re wanting to back him bear in mind that in the last 20 years only three horse have carried more weight than he’ll shoulder this afternoon to victory in this race.

What’s more he was beaten in a handicap at Gowran Park in March off 150, so on what grounds should he win a more competitive race off a 10lb higher mark?

With that in mind this looks set up for a grandstand performance from Out Now, a strong stayer who should be ideally suited by the nature of the track given how well he operates at the likes of Clonmel.

He goes well fresh, and the hustle bustle of a big field handicap suits him down to the ground.

A second to Ted Walsh’s oustanding Seabass at Leopardstown in January provided plenty of evidence to that effect, a run which preceded a gallant second to Lion Na Bearnai in the Irish Grand National at Fairhouse at Easter time.

He was travelling like the winner for a long time there, only to be outstayed by the eventual winner.

This sizeable drop back in trip to 2m 6f this afternoon should be just the tonic to go one better in the hands of Barry Geraghty – the 8/1 with any of Betfred, Coral, Sky Bet or William Hill is just the ticket, though Sky Bet are paying the extra place each way 1-2-3-4-5.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bet:

5.25 Galway – www.thetote.com Galway Plate Handicap Chase – 10 Out Now (each way) @ 8/1 (Sky Bet)

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Posted 5 years, 1 month ago

15 Feb
2012

All Points ‘South’ For A Wednesday Wager

The Cheltenham Festival it isn’t, but we’re still grateful for a dose of frost-free racing at Southwell on Wednesday afternoon, and Welsh trainer David Evans could well have the solution to the Novices’ Handicap Chase (2.20pm) up his sleeve with nine-year-old gelding Esteem likely to run a big race at the Nottinghamshire track.

He won one of these off a 10lb lower mark at Ludlow in January, and might well have followed up at Leicester five days later but for a somewhat peculiar unseating incident three out.

The handicapper obviously likes what he saw as he now has him on 83, but in this company (0-95) it’s a mark from which he’s entitled to be ultra-competitive in his current vein of form.

Win bet.

On the same card Jonjo O’Neill’s It’s A Gimme can successfully concede weight all round in the two and a half mile Novices’ Hurdle at 3.50pm.

He already has a mark of 142 after three excellent runs over timber, not least his Newbury win against the likes of Tolworth second Colour Squadron and Mono Man.

This step up in trip can eke out further improvement in a warm race. Win bet.

Good luck!

Wednesday’s best bets at Southwell:

2.20 – No Risk With Betangel Practice Mode Novices’ Handicap Chase – 6 Esteem (win) @ 7/2 with Victor Chandler or Bet365

3.50 – Betdaqangel Free Betdaq Software Novices’ Hurdle – 1 It’s A Gimme (win) @ 7/4 with Stan James

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Posted 5 years, 7 months ago