Posts Tagged ‘ doncaster ’

29 Dec
2015

Taylor Made For A Grey Day

A pair of Grade 1’s in the shape of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.55pm) and the Ryanair Hurdle (2.30pm) usher in the fourth and final day here at Leopardstown, with the track set to be hit by some fairly rough weather for the denouement of its great Christmas fixture, the best of which you’ll see live with us on RTE2.

Both feature just four runners, with Drinmore winner No More Heroes a best price 2/5 to extend his winning sequence over fences to three in the former, while a little later it’s Nichols Canyon, the only horse to have beaten runaway Christmas Hurdle winner Faugheen, who is no bigger than 1/2 to claim his sixth Grade 1 prize.

That means opportunities are probably limited, especially with the ground riding Heavy, so we’ll look further afield for the day’s sole recommendation, to Doncaster and their two mile Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (1.10pm).

Six go to post for this, featuring some promising types such as Donald McCain’s Katachenko, who won a messy race at Wetherby on Charlie Hall Chase day, but couldn’t follow up off a pound higher next time out – he’ll have to pull out more having gone up another four pounds here.

Charlie Longsdon’s Long Lunch travelled beautifully through his race at Sandown last time out, just fading late on, suggesting today’s drop back in trip could be a huge asset, while former Imperial Cup hero Baltimore Rock can surely play a hand if fit and ready to roll on his first try over fences, reappearing as he does after a 262-day absence.

However, perhaps the one with the least question marks is Brian Ellison’s runner, The Grey Taylor.

He has the assistance of jockey Richard Johnson, as the Herefordshire man blazes a trail towards a double century of winners for the season, currently motoring along on 167.

The Grey Taylor was a very useful hurdler, winning two of five starts, and going off at 5/1 for Kemtpon’s prestigious Dovecote Novice’s Hurdle back in February.

It’s over fences though that he has the potential to be even better, a school of thought encouraged by October’s pillar to post win over the larger obstacles at Carlisle.

Confidence is high after that, and Ellison has his string in great nick, firing in five winners from his last 17 runners.

Good luck!

Tuesday’s best bet:

1.10 Doncaster – betdaq.com Novices’ Ltd Handicap Chase – 2 The Grey Taylor (win) @ 9/4 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

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Posted 2 years, 10 months ago

24 Oct
2014

Park And Ride On Racing Post Trophy Day

Bullish comments from trainer Andrew Balding have done little to dampen the enthusiasm felt by many punters about this weekend’s red hot favourite for Doncaster’s Group 1 Racing Post Trophy – Elm Park.

Live with us on Channel 4 Racing at 3.50pm, it’s a thumping five years on the bounce this race has gone the way of the market leader, with the punter-friendly group including 13/8 poke St Nicholas Abbey in 2009, 2/1 Casamento in 2010, 10/11 chance Camelot in 2011, Kingsbarns at 15/8 in 2012, and finally 7/2 shot Kingston Hill just 12 months ago.

Some of that group went on to achieve worldwide acclaim, fame and fortune of course, with ‘St Nick’ going on to win a staggering three Coronation Cups, a Breeders’ Cup Turf and a Sheema Classic among an eventual prize money haul of just under five million pounds, Camelot kept his part of the bargain by bagging both an Epsom and an Irish Derby, while this year Kingston Hill has stepped up to run a mighty race in defeat in the Derby, before taking the St Leger and managing a gallant fourth in the Arc.

So what of this year’s jolly?

Official ratings make Elm Park very much the one to beat, putting him at least nine pounds clear of his seven rivals on the figures, positioned as he is on a mark of 111.

That of course doesn’t factor in the untapped potential lurking among his rivals, with Aidan O’Brien (going for win number eight in the race) putting the bookies in a spin by relying not on the previously suggested pair of Royal Navy Ship and Giovanni Canaletto, but instead on the once-raced High Chaparral colt Jacobean, alongside the twice-tried son of Galileo, Aloft.

Neither of his representatives has yet displayed Elm Park’s undoubted star quality though, with Balding’s star pupil on a four timer after wins at Newbury (Soft), Salisbury (Good) and Newmarket (Good to Firm).

Four weeks ago the Kingsclere trainer was standing next to me in the Newmarket betting ring taking a heavy drag on a Silk Cut gasper, as the horses made their way to the start for the Group 2 Royal Lodge.

Nods were exchanged and words to the effect of ‘I think you’ll win this Andrew’ were met with a totally honest riposte ‘I hope you’re right, I’m very worried about the ground’…

The record books now tell us he needn’t have been – Elm Park fell out of the starting stalls and then took his time getting to terms with the idiosyncracies of Newmarket’s famous dip, but when the penny dropped he left the rest standing, allaying any fears about his ability to operate on a range of going.

Based on that compelling evidence everything else will have to improve to trouble him, and Sir Mark Prescott’s Celestial Path could be completely snookered if further rain turns the ground Soft.

I was at Haydock Park on Betfred Sprint Cup day when Celestial Path ran away with a listed race, but although that was visually dazzling he has to take a fair jump in class to compete here, while Elm Park has already proven he can keep climbing the ladder, progressing fluently from maiden, to listed, to Group company.

Four more winners in the past fortnight prove Balding’s team remain in good heart, and there looks to be a strong chance both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes could be trimming their top price quotes of 33/1 about Elm Park for the 2015 Investec Derby come 4pm on Saturday.

Four times since the year 2000 the Racing Post Trophy winner has gone on to Epsom glory, and though the price isn’t flashy Elm Park looks rock solid at 7/4 to complete his own first half of that illustrious double.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bet at Doncaster:

3.50 – Racing Post Trophy – 4 Elm Park (win) @ 7/4 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power or William Hill)

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Posted 4 years ago

13 Sep
2014

Got To Be ‘Zeen’ To Be Believed

The biggest weekend of Flat racing ever staged in Ireland.

It’s a bold claim, but an entirely justified one as the far-sighted decision to concertina Champion Stakes Day and the St Leger into one two day jamboree finally comes to fruition in a much awaited blitz, featuring no less than five Group 1’s, and prize money to make the very best sit up and take notice.

‘Don’t ‘cha just love it when a plan comes together?’ is hopefully a line the executive from HRI, Leopardstown and the Curragh will be borrowing from Hannibal Smith after a triumphant Champions Weekend, and the stage is set for it to kick off in style.

Live with us on RTE2 this afternoon the coverage kicks off at 5.00pm, and we’re bringing you four of the best from Leopardstown as the ever-popular Foxrock track prepares to welcome a massive crowd.

It’s a day not short on talking points, with Aidan O’Brien only 3/1 to win both the Group 1’s on the card, with Yorkshire Oaks winner Tapestry his big hope in the Matron Stakes at 5.45pm, before the outstanding three-year-old middle distance colt of 2014, a certain Australia, sprinkles his stardust in the Irish Champion Stakes at 6.50pm.

Not shy on a bit of publicity Paddy Power have already paid out antepost bets on 1/3 shot Australia, in a move the firm claimed had set them back somewhere in the region of €75,000.

Regrettably Paddy himself rebutted my suggestion the offer might be backdated when I phoned him yesterday morning, but you can’t blame a man for trying!

The live action kicks off at 5.15pm with the 1m 2f Group 3 KPMG Enterprise Stakes, which features a horse who prior to racing this day a year ago was already 10/1 favourite for the 2014 Investec Derby.

That was the price with bookies BetVictor about Free Eagle, who had halved Dermot Weld’s son of High Chaparral from an opening quote of 20’s following constant support after he’d routed Orchestra in his debut maiden win over a mile at Leopardstown.

Of course that was before the 2/5 shot had been eaten for breakfast and dispatched by a startling six lengths by none other than Australia on this card 365 days ago, when the pair locked horns in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial Stakes.

That reverse doesn’t look so shabby given Australia’s subsequent multiple Group 1-winning exploits, but Free Eagle hasn’t seen the track since, missing for a total of 371 days.

That his trainer keeps the faith with a horse he has entered in Ascot’s Group 1 Champion Stakes looks significant, but perhaps the 11/10 best price at the time of writing is just too skinny to recommend an investment.

He’s up against another returning stablemate in the shape of Rock Critic (off for even longer – 381 days), top-rated Group 3 Royal Whip hero Hall Of Mirrors for Aidan O’Brien, plus Desmond Stakes runner-up Brendan Bracken for Ger Lyons.

These things can come back to bite you on the backside, but if I was a bookmaker heading to Leopardstown this afternoon the one horse I’d be looking to lay is Brendan Bracken, based firmly on his record in races beyond a mile.

Four times he’s been to the well, producing results of 6th, 4th, 6th, and 12th of 12.

That doesn’t look too promising to me for anyone considering backing him.

Next up is the Group 1 Mile €300,000 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes, where we look set for a real treat.

The big two where the betting markets are concerned are old rivals Tapestry for Aidan O’Brien, taking on Clive Brittain’s Rizeena for a fourth time.

They are joined by a terrific supporting cast, constructed of Willie McCreery’s Prix Maurice de Gheest third Fiesolana, talented French trainer Henri-Alex Pantall’s recent Clarefontaine and Düsseldorf winner Kenhope, Falmouth fourth Purr Along, as well as Dermot Weld’s Flying jib.

It’s great to see a French trainer supporting this meeting – Pantall is the same man who won the 2007 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) with West Wind – and more than knows the time of day.

Don’t forget hat-trick seeker Kenhope went off 5/2 favourite for this race 12 months ago but came up short, managing only fourth.

She’s on a roll at present having won her last two with ease, but this is a big jump back up in class, and as such it looks as though it’ll be slugged out by the heavyweights Tapestry and Rizeena.

Although it’s a home game two things concern me about Tapestry:

She was unlucky not to win the Irish Oaks but very much made up for it at York when beating the mighty Taghrooda, but those two outstanding pieces of form are over a mile and a half.

Dropping back to a mile her form is nowhere near as good!

Stonewall last in the 2000 Guineas, and only 6th in the Coronation Stakes doesn’t fill me with enthusiasm, and that’s before you look at her head-to-head record against Rizeena.

It’s 3-0 to Rizeena, and there’s no hard luck story involved:

1 Sept 2013 – Moyglare Stud Stakes (7f) 1st Rizeena, 2nd Tapestry

4 May 2014 – QIPCO 1000 Guineas (1m) 7th Rizeena, 17th Tapestry

20 June 2014 – Coronation Stakes (1m) 1st Rizeena, 6th Tapestry

If that’s not enough we know well Rizeena isn’t fazed by travelling overseas, trip and ground are perfect, and she arrives here off the back of a very solid effort against the colts in the Jacques Le Marois.

Back against her own sex I’m struggling to see why William Hill make her half a point bigger than Tapestry at 5/2.

Elsewhere on the card the Group 2 Clipper Boomerang Mile is a brilliant race and looks very tough to call, but there will be shockwaves if Australia is felled in the big one.

Back home it is of course St Leger day at Doncaster, and in the big one I’ve had a few quid each way on Andrew Balding topically named Scotland.

He’s got work to do to reverse placings on this year’s form with a number of today’s rivals, but equally you can argue he’s crying out for this longer trip based on his powerful finishes at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood, and if there’s a surprise in store then at 20/1 it might be him.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

3.50 Doncaster – Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes – 11 Scotland (each way) @ 20/1 (Betfred, BetVictor or Paddy Power)

5.45 Leopardstown – Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes – 8 Rizeena (win) @ 5/2 (William Hill)

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Posted 4 years, 2 months ago

25 Oct
2013

The Racing Post Trophy – You Can Stick A Pin In It!

It’s a three-pronged attack for the Channel 4 Racing cameras on Saturday afternoon, with mixed Flat and Jumps action from Aintree, Doncaster and Newbury providing a little bit of something for everyone.

Yours truly be stationed in the betting jungle at Town Moor in Doncaster, with the feature Group 1 Racing Post Trophy the highlight of an enticing seven race card.

Three times in four seasons the prize has gone to Aidan O’Brien and his team, courtesy of St Nicholas Abbey in 2009, Camelot in 2011 and Kingsbarns 12 months ago.

Unsurprisingly he provides three of the 11 declarations, with Buonarroti, Century and Johann Strauss flying the flag for Ballydoyle.

Century looks the number one pick, given he’s ridden by Joseph O’Brien and shed his maiden tag in the same race won by the stable’s subsequent Irish Guineas winner Magician.

What’s more, he’s got a similar profile to last year’s winner Kingsbarns, who took this a fortnight after winning a maiden.

For those reasons Century will have plenty of admirers as his bids to give his trainer win number eight in the race since 1997, but the level of opposition is predictably tough.

Soft ground lies in wait, a situation that prompted Richard Hannon to prefer Chief Barker to Toormore at the 48 hour declaration stage.

Chief Barker is unbeaten in three starts, and is thought to relish Soft ground, though his win in the listed Betfred TV Stakes last time out came on Good to Soft.

Johnny Murtagh is enjoying a dream start to combining training with riding, notably with Royal Diamond at Ascot last weekend, and relies on Beresford Stakes third Altruistic.

Sir Michael Stoute fields Snow Sky, but the Nayef colt has a mountain to climb on ratings, despite hacking up by 11 lengths at Salisbury on Heavy ground last time out.

More convincing are the chances of the Mark Johnston-trained Somewhat, a tough and street wise son of Dynaformer who won the Washington Singer at Newbury in August, before stepping up to a mile for the first time when narrowly worn down by the classy Berkshire in the Group 2 Royal Lodge at Newmarket.

He’ll have his fans, as will Roger Varian’s unbeaten Kingston Hill.

If anything, he’s maybe shading favouritism at the time of writing in a tight betting heat, but it’s not hard to see why when you weigh up his debut win over seven furlongs at Newbury (Soft ground), before a business-like transition to a mile as he took the Group 3 Autumn Stakes with a fair bit up his sleeve.

Surprisingly Kingston Hill doesn’t hold a Derby entry at this stage, but one who does is the Godolphin horse Pinzolo.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, this fella is generally 16/1 for Epsom next June after making a real stir in two racecourse appearances to date.

Firstly he had stablemate Sudden Wonder in his pocket on debut at Newmarket in August, defying greenness to stride out the length and a half winner over the mile trip.

Interestingly, that was the very same race won by a certain Frankel three years previously – big boots to fill!

Since then Pinzolo built on his debut, running on very strongly late on to bag the Haynes, Hanson and Clark at Newbury, with Soft ground bringing out the best in him.

That display prompted connections to supplement him for this end of season Group 1, a decision which may well pay handsome dividends.

Sudden Wonder boosted the Newmarket form by winning on Wednesday, and trainer Charlie Appleby has been open in his praise for Pinzolo: “you don’t come across horses like him very often!”

The track should suit him, the ground won’t be an issue, and we know for certain he’ll stay every inch.

For those reasons, the 9/2 available with either Paddy Power or William Hill looks well worth a try.

Doncaster is all very well, but it’s that time of the year when the scarves and gloves come out of hibernation for the National Hunt enthusiasts…

Sound familiar?

Feeling fruity?

I know I am, and if you’ll pardon the link then console yourself with a few quid on Gary Moore’s Fruity O’Rooney in the Betfred Mobile Sports Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Aintree (2.30pm).

Now eligible to run in veterans’ chases (only open to horses aged 10+), this guy has never run at Liverpool before, but has posted a string of good efforts at the likes of Ascot, Cheltenham, Doncaster and Kempton in the last couple of years, notably a second in the JLT Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012.

He signed off the 2012/13 season with a win at Fontwell, and recently benefitted from a pipe opener when down the field over an insufficient 2m 2f at the same track 22 days ago.

He shrewd trainer got him dropped a couple of pounds to a mark of 138 after that, which when combined with son Josh’s three pound claim takes him back below his last winning mark.

Fruity O’Rooney is a 3/1 chance with either Betfred or William Hill.

The big race at Aintree (live on C4) is the Betfred Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase, a contest in which it’s not hard to envisage a huge display from Alan King’s Walkon.

A 204 day absence from the track should be no hindrance given that he made waves when second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on his first outing of the season a year ago.

Without winning he held his form too, signing off with a fine second in the Topham at Aintree in April.

Aged eight, this could be the season it all comes together for Walkon over fences, and he can kick off with a win in the Old Roan.

The 5/1 with the race sponsors is the place to shop.

Finally, a quick look at the weekend football:

West Bromwich Albion travel to Anfield to play Liverpool unbeaten in five league games.

The Baggies boast the best defensive record outside the top six, and did the double over the scousers last season, winning 2-0 at Anfield in February.

They’ve only conceded six league goals all season, and look massive at 7/1 with any of bet365, Betfred or Paddy Power.

Elsewhere, Arsenal look set to fill their boots against rudderless Crystal Palace, and could be wort following giving up a two goal start on the handicap, with quotes around 5/2 for the free scoring Gunners to win by three or more.

Lastly, making hay at the top of League One, backing Leyton Orient has been a bit like paying a visit to the cash machine for punters this season, with the London side winning 10 out of 12 to date.

Hopefully they’ll bury Rotherham at Brisbane Road, with BetVictor prepared to offer us a generous 21/20 about that eventuality.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.30 Aintree – Betfred Mobile Sports Veterans’ Handicap Chase – 2 Fruity O’Rooney (win) @ 3/1 (Betfred or William Hill)

3.05 Aintree – Betfred Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase (Ltd Handicap) – 4 Walkon (win) @ 5/1 (Betfred)

3.50 Doncaster – Racing Post Trophy – 8 Pinzolo (win) @ 9/2 (Paddy Power or William Hill)

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Posted 5 years ago

13 Sep
2013

Night ‘Wachman’ To Determine Shape Of Leger Market

A 5.30am walk of the track will determine whether or not County Tipperary trainer David Wachman allows Galileo Rock to board a 7am flight for England, with Sunday’s Irish St Leger at the Curragh the back-up plan if overnight rain renders the ground too testing for his trainer to permit him to take his chance in Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger on Town Moor.

Normally the only people up at that time of day are Morning Line presenters, Clive Brittain, farmers, milkmen and Lord Culcheth on his weekly walk of shame, but this is a Saturday with a difference, with connections of one of the arch protagonists for the final Classic of the season watching the weather like never before.

It adds further intrigue to what promises to be a superb renewal, with the big race live on Channel 4 at 3.50pm.

If Galileo Rock does get the green light then a final field of 11 are due to line up for the Doncaster Classic, and he’d certainly have his fans after headline efforts saw him bag third in the Epsom Derby and second in the Irish equivalent.

Most bookmakers make Newmarket handler John Gosden’s Excess Knowledge their clear favourite, as the master trainer bids to enhance a fine record in the race – three wins in the last six years!

Perhaps it’s that stat that has lead the bookies to make his horse market leader, and his runner was probably unlucky not to win the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, beaten a neck by the re-opposing Godolphin horse Cap O’Rushes after William Buick had dropped his reins and then encountered traffic problems.

What was disappointing was how Cap O’Rushes then let the form down in the Great Voltiguer, finishing behind Leger rivals Foundry and Secret Number.

For their part Godolpin are three-handed, and Dante winner and Derby runner-up Libertarian appears to be their number one contender for rookie trainer Charlie Appleby.

If you forgive him his disappointing effort in the Irish Derby then he looks a massive danger here, up in trip on ground that should be fine, with his stable going well.

I might kick myself for not supporting him, but Aidan O’Brien (a three-time winner of the race with Milan, Brian Boru and Scorpion) has two strings to his bow, in the shape of Queen’s Vase hero Leading Light alongside dark horse Foundry.

Leading Light is a lazy sort who needs plenty of encouragement, but he’s unbeaten this season, has stamina to burn, and clearly goes on any ground imagineable.

He makes stacks of appeal, but the longer I look at the race the more I’m drawn, like an admittedly fairly docile moth to a flame, to the chances of stablemate and dark horse Foundry.

Granted Joseph O’Brien rides Leading Light, but in fairness he hasn’t ridden Foundry in either of his starts to date.

It’s not hard to feel a degree of sympathy for the excellent and highly professional Seamie Heffernan – twice he’s ridden Foundry with aplomb, but on the big day the ride goes to Ryan Moore.

Foundry might lack experience on the track, but he won his maiden on Soft ground with a ridiculous amount in hand, and then blossomed to run a blinder on just his second outing when second to one time Derby favourite Telescope in the Great Voltigeur.

He had the re-opposing Secret Number and Cap O’Rushes in rear that day, in a key trial for the Leger.

By Galileo, he looks certain to stay the extra distance, and it has to be a tip in itself that O’Brien was content to scale the heights of the Voltigeur on start number two, and is happy to aim even higher now.

The 11/2 with any of bet365, Betfred, Coral or William Hill looks appealing.

Elsewhere on a stellar supporting card Our Jonathan looks too good to miss at 14/1 each way with Paddy Power (who are paying 5 places on the races) for the Portland Handicap (2.40pm).

Now with David Simcock, the six-year-old races off his lowest mark (97) since striking at Chester in May of 2011.

This is just his second start for Simcock, but it’s worth remembering he has favoured cut in the ground – the vital ingredient in his Ayr Gold Cup win of 2011, while he also ran a cracker over course and distance in the Cammidge in March.

If the switch to new surroundings can sweeten him up then he could well take advantage of a drop in the weights.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Doncaster:

2.40 – Ladbrokes Portland Handicap – 18 Our Jonathan (each way) @ 14/1 (Paddy Power) (NB 5 places each way)

3.50 – Ladbrokes St Leger – 3 Foundry (win) @ 11/2 (bet365, Betfred, Coral or William Hill)

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Posted 5 years, 2 months ago

12 Sep
2013

High Five The Order Of The Day At Doncaster

The Group 2 Speedy Services Doncaster Cup is the main course on a seven race card at Town Moor on Friday afternoon, with a field of eight due to line up for the lucrative 2m 2f staying prize.

Live on Channel 4 at 2.40pm, the big race has been won by some much-loved horses down the years, not least the 2003 renewal that went to the great Persian Punch in the hands of Martin Dwyer.

A ten-year-old at the time, the game as a pebble public favourite Persian Punch came under severe pressure three furlongs from home – when it looked like his stamina might be about to fail him on the big stage, and the chasing pack reel him in – prompting my Channel 4 colleague Simon Holt to utter the words: “he’s getting lonely out there, but he’s not alone, he’s got plenty of friends here”….

The rest is history.

A primeval roar erupted from the bowels of the rusting old grandstand, willing him, summoning him, lifting him home.

The old boy duly dug deep to stride away from his pursuers by a handsome seven lengths, prompting the assembled masses in the stands to celebrate wildly, reacting as if they’d just seen Doncaster Rovers beat Barcelona with a last minute winner in the Champions League final.

Great stuff.

Ten years on the 2013 renewal might not contain cult figures like him, but nonetheless it is chock full with quality and could well be a thriller.

It’d be dangerous to dismiss 2012 Ascot Gold Cup winner Colour Vision, despite the fact Godolphin’s grey hasn’t visited the winners’ enclosure since his big day in Berkshire, while last year’s Doncaster Cup winner Times Up is the choice of the bookies to repeat the trick.

Now with Ed Dunlop, he hinted at a return to form when third in the Lonsdale at York last time after a couple of quiet efforts earlier in the season.

David Lanigan’s Biographer merits respect back up in trip on ground he will surely enjoy, but at 5/2 with a scattering of firms there doesn’t look to be too much wrong with number five on the card High Jinx.

Trained by the rampantly in-form James Fanshawe, this fella was beaten just a quarter of a length by Times Up in this race a year ago, after which he ran with huge credit when second (sent off favourite) for the Group 1 Prix Du Cadran at Longchamp.

Just one spin this season saw him finish fourth at Sandown, but a horse who goes well fresh, wears a first time tongue tie, ran a blinder in this last year and will love the cut in the ground demands attention, especially with his stable back among the winners.

Man of the moment James Doyle rides, and the pair can be followed at 5/2 with any of bet365, BetVictor or Paddy Power.

Earlier in the day the first part of a double could be on the cards for Fanshawe, with his recent course and distance winner Shwaiman the pick in the Mallard (2.10pm).

He bolted up off a 12lb lower mark in August in the style of a horse to follow, relishing the long flat straight.

This is a jump in class, plus it remains to be seen if Hayley Turner will be fit to take the mount after her fall on Thursday, but getting plenty of weight from all his six rivals he could be hard to stop.

The ground is unlikely to be an issue, and the 11/4 available with any of bet365, BetVictor, Coral, Paddy Power or William Hill looks accurate.

Good luck!

Friday’s best bets at Doncaster:

2.10 – Ladbrokes Mallard Stakes (Handicap) – 8 Shwaiman (win) @ 11/4 (bet365, BetVictor, Coral, Paddy Power or William Hill)

2.40 – Speedy Services Doncaster Cup – 5 High Jinx (win) @ 5/2 (bet365, BetVictor or Paddy Power)

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Posted 5 years, 2 months ago

12 Apr
2013

Saturday’s Racing Tips from Doncaster and Kempton

Tom’s having a lie down in a darkened room following all the excitement of Cheltenham and Aintree, but in his absence we once again call upon the services of his Channel 4 Racing colleague Nick Lightfoot who takes the reigns for this Saturday’s tips…

After all the build-up, Cheltenham and Aintree didn’t disappoint, with fantastic exhibitions  from Sprinter Sacre and co thrilling the racing world. But even though Channel 4 racing will still broadcast National Hunt racing from Ayr and Sandown in the coming weeks, it’s clear that we need to don the ‘flat caps’ as the first classics of the season draw closer.

We’re double-handed this afternoon on 4, based at Kempton Park [where the car park resembles a lake] and bringing in the best of the action at Doncaster.

Richard Hannon’s Chandlery is something of a forgotten horse in the listed mile at Doncaster. The last time we saw him in racing action was a victory at Glorious Goodwood in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes, but that was in July 2011 and it remains to be seen whether the horse retains the ability shown two years ago.

With that in mind, it could pay to back known form, and Highland Knight aside, few have stronger claims than Gabrial. Richard Fahey’s 4yo posted one of the most impressive handicap performances of the whole season last year when romping to victory in the Silver Bowl at Haydock in May. That day he was talked of as a real Group-class horse and two valiant efforts in Group 1 company subsequently did little damage to his reputation. His turn of foot is a potent weapon and might well make him the one to beat.

Later in the card, the 20-runner 6f handicap looks a tricky early season puzzle to solve. Jack Dexter is clearly the pick on form. His recent defeat of last season’s Ayr Gold Cup winner, Captain Ramius, over the course and distance was a real eye-catcher. He quickened very stylishly and won with a bit in hand, but today faces a tougher task off of a 7lb higher mark. A value alternative could be Our Jonathan, who was only a length and a half behind Jack Dexter that day. His mark hasn’t altered, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that he won the Ayr Gold Cup off the same mark two seasons ago. Races early on in the season are usually the best time to catch him, and his recent yard switch to Tim Pitt’s looks to have worked the oracle having left behind his dip in form at the end of last season.

Solar Deity’s relentless improvement is unlikely to come to a halt in Kempton’s 3.50.  The step-up in trip to a mile should suit perfectly and Marco Botti’s charge has already defeated the likes of George Guru and Atlantis Crossing, who re-oppose today. With very little recent winning form on offer it should pay to side with Solar Deity, even at short odds.

Good luck everyone, have a great day of punting.

Nick

Saturday’s Best Bets
2.20pm – Doncaster – Gabrial [win] @ 4/1 (Betfred, Bet Victor, Ladbrokes)
3.30pm – Doncaster – Our Jonathan [each way] @ 14/1 (Skybet, Betfred, Bet Victor)
3.50pm – Kempton – Solar Deity [win] @ 15/8 (Coral)
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Posted 5 years, 7 months ago

29 Dec
2012

‘Bak’ For More On Heavy Ground

What a race and what a spectacle! I’m still reeling from the conclusion to Friday’s Lexus Chase at Leopardstown….simply stunning.

The ability and timing of Ruby Walsh to coax a winning effort from the oh so quirky Tidal Bay was a joy to watch, and that from a horse who turns 12 in three days time!

If you haven’t seen it it’ll be a couple of minutes of your life well spent doing precisely that, and the in-running figures neatly explain the excitement and drama of what unfolded out on the Foxrock track: the winner traded as high as 94/1 during the latter stages, Flemenstar looked to have it sewn up with a magnificent round of jumping and was as short as 1/12, First Lieutenant came there powerfully with what appeared to be a winning hand and was matched at 1/5, and even Sir Des Champs was done at even money.

Amazing scenes, and that on a day where in the Grade 2 Christmas Hurdle previous races Zaidpour was 2/5 and winner Monksland could’ve been snaffled at 80/1, and in the Grade 1 Novice Chase eventual second Aupcharlie hit 1/100 for more than £8,000.

Bananas!

Perhaps things will be easier to predict this afternoon, but a couple of decent openings for a wager arrive at Newbury, where the ground will be a real test.

One horse that’ll suit more than any other is Alan King’s Bakbenscher, who did this column a big favour by sluicing through the mud to score at Haydock Park last Saturday.

He re-appears with a six pound penalty in the 2m 5f Handicap Hurdle at 3.15pm (live on C4), putting him officially a pound well in after the handicapper saw fit raise him seven when the revised handicap list was printed on Christmas day.

This is a significantly stronger race than last week, with the likes of the unexposed Salubrious and bang in-form African Gold among a long list of dangers, but Bakbenscher has never been beaten on ground officially termed as Heavy, with his record standing at four wins from four attempts.

What’s more, the presence of Any Given Day topping the weights off 155 mean that three of today’s field have to race from out of the handicap, and also Bakbenscher benefits from an attractive racing weight of 10.6.

Wayne Hutchinson keeps the ride, and the pair will be a real handful.

Back him at 9/2 with any of Bet365, BetVictor, Paddy Power or William Hill.

On a card chock full of quality I also thought Paul Nicholls’s Bury Parade looked worth following in the two and a quarter miles Novices’ Chase at 1.35pm.

He has only recently joined the Ditcheat operation for £100,000, but prior to that was a novice hurdler of real promise for Borders trainer Robert Bewley, including a Hexham win on Heavy ground.

His chase debut saw him jump really well at Carlisle to see off a very good horse in Super Duty, who has since franked the form by finishing second in a hot race at Haydock, and then winning with any amount in hand at Cheltenham.

If Nicholls can carry on that upward curve then he’ll go a long way over the larger obstacles.

The 11/4 available with any of Bet365, BetVictor, Blue Square, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes looks okay.

At Donny, have a look at Jennie Candlish’s runner Barafundle in the three mile 0-145 Handicap Hurdle at Doncaster at 2.25pm.

He didn’t take up his engagement last weekend, but could be well handicapped on a mark of 133 judging by his form of a couple of years back.

There’s money around for him this morning, and he could be the solution to an open contest at 100/30 with any of Paddy Power, Stan James or Coral.

Lastly, revellers will be flocking from all corners of the globe for an end of an era Channel 4 Racing closing party at a venue in Newbury tonight.

The new regime kicks in on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham with IMG at the helm and a new look production, so the changing of the guard calls for a healthy knees up to celebrate what’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of under the Highflyer Productions umbrella.

Some truly fantastic people are part of that programme, doing technically skilled jobs you’d never imagine existed unless you saw the inner workings of the show, dedicated troops who week in week out are up in all weathers at 5.45am to prepare Morning Line studios and the like.

It might be a long drive to Haydock tomorrow.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

1.35 Newbury – Betfred “The Bonus King” Novices’ Chase – 1 Bury Parade (win) @ 11/4 (Bet365, BetVictor, Blue Square, Paddy Power or Ladbrokes)

2.25 Doncaster – Bet At Bluesq.com Handicap Hurdle – 3 Barafundle (win) @ 100/30 (Paddy Power, Stan James or Coral)

3.15 Newbury – Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Hurdle – 3 Bakbenscher (win) @ 9/2 (Bet365, BetVictor, Paddy Power or William Hill)

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Posted 5 years, 10 months ago

26 Oct
2012

Outsider In The Green Corner Can Deliver Knockout Trophy Blow

If Chepstow a fortnight ago signalled both a changing of the guard and of the seasons, then Aintree on Saturday afternoon positively provides a National Hunt racing assault on the senses, with the Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase the jewel in the crown on a quality seven race card, live on Channel 4 at 3.30pm.

For Jumps fanatics it’s good news all the way from now until April, but for the time being it’s a shared stage as the Flat season which has provided fireworks throughout tries to eek out perhaps just a couple more…

Indeed the television cameras still have time to let the Flat have one or two last hurrahs, so rather than Aintree, Chepstow or Stratford, we’re situated in the picturesque town of Doncaster for three live races including the feature Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at 3.05pm.

The name on most tongues where the valuable end of season two year old clash is concerned is Aidan O’Brien’s supplementary entry Kingsbarns, a once raced son of Galileo who was added to the field at a cost of £17,500 earlier in the week.

In the bookmakers’ lists in Tuesday’s papers he was freely available at 6/1 antepost, but a supposed wave of support has seen that price collapse to no bigger than 2/1 at the time of writing.

I read a press release from Coral saying they’d also slashed him from 14’s to 10’s for the 2013 Derby, and as Aidan O’Brien (successful with Camelot 12 months ago) chases a seventh win in the race, he clearly has to be respected.

The ground won’t be a problem, but 2/1 is skinny about a horse who in all honesty looked to beat very little on debut, albeit in taking fashion when powering clear at Navan.

The money must have come from somewhere, but Timeform figures say he has a mountain to climb.

He looks to have an abundance of stamina, but this will take a giant step forward to win this on just his second start (though 6 winners in 29 years had had just the one start prior to winning this).

Ireland have had this race in safe keeping for the last three years, and Jim Bolger’s Trading Leather is also sure to have his admirers at around 11/4.

He already has a Newmarket Group race to his name, but as a son of the fast ground loving Teofilo you have to wonder if he might be vulnerable to something that prefers to get a toe in on going officially termed as Soft.

Mark Johnston’s Steeler is as tough as his name suggests and has to be a danger to all under Kieren Fallon, who tipped him strongly in his midweek newspaper column.

He’s a strong stayer, has plenty of experience (five starts) and took the Group 2 Royal Lodge on his last outing.

As with Trading Leather the ground is again likely to be the key question for him, although Fallon was quick to point out it might actually be a help rather than a hindrance.

It’s fascinating to see Richard Hannon endorsing a suggestion to supplement his runner Van Der Neer, though I expect owner Saeed Manana can just about afford it!

This horse is unbeaten in two minor races at Yarmouth and Leicester, but they must believe he’s an awful lot better than the bare form of that pair of victories…

To me it just re-enforces the open nature of the contest, and that trainers believe a huge prize – £122,494 to the winner – is there for the taking.

With that in mind I’m going to put forward an outsider from the slightly more unfashionable yard of County Tyrone trainer Andrew Oliver, in the shape of hat-trick chasing Hurricane Run colt First Cornerstone.

To see this horse’s green and red colours carried to victory would represent a clear career highlight for Oliver, who has enjoyed a fine season.

The 12/1 available with Paddy Power seems a cracking price in a seven horse race where a couple of the principles may not act on the surface.

To coin a phrase which drives certain Racing Post journalists to apoplexy, this horse ‘has done nothing wrong’ and clearly thrives in testing conditions.

He was a satisfactory third on his racecourse debut at Down Royal, before causing a shock when popping up as an unconsidered 33/1 shot at Tipperary next time out.

This son of strong staying Arc and King George winner Hurricane Run then left that form far behind and further upset the applecart when taking the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh, with Heavy ground proving no barrier whatsoever.

That win means he looks in no way out of place in this company, and represents decent value to cause a shock.

Over at Aintree my own family run 151-rated Hector’s Choice in the Old Roan Chase, and though this is fiercely competitive he is more than worth his place in the field.

Track, trip and ground all suit for this electric jumper, and while this isn’t a tip I definitely don’t think he’ll be in any way disgraced.

One I will nominate though comes prior to the big race, with Henry Daly’s Wessex King worth a look in the two and a half mile 0-135 handicap chase at 2.55pm.

A mark of 130 and with it a big weight won’t make things easy, but he likes a small field, and the presence of the brilliant Richard Johnson can help organise him and iron out the creases in his jumping that have cost him so dearly in the past.

Wessex King signed off last season with a decent win at Ludlow under Johnson, form that was franked when second placed Cootehill beat a good horse next time up.

The 9/2 with Betfred or Skybet looks okay.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.55 Aintree – Betfred The Bonus King Handicap Chase – 2 Wessex King (win) @ 9/2 (Betfred or Skybet)

3.05 Doncaster – Racing Post Trophy – 2 First Cornerstone (win) @ 12/1 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 6 years ago

15 Sep
2012

A ‘Lot’ To Like, Including A 50/1 Long Shot, On A Genuine Super Saturday

The golden summer of sport continues…

Olympics, Paralympics, Euro 2012, Frankel, Wimbledon and stacks of great racing, you name it we’ve been treated to it over the last three months or so, and to cap it for racing fans now a chance to see Ballydoyle’s brilliant and undefeated Montjeu colt Camelot secure the first triple crown achieved for a whopping 42 years.

You must’ve just returned from an extremely long holiday if you haven’t already read numerous accounts of the great Nijinsky’s feats back in 1970, but Town Moor will be alive on Saturday afternoon as Camelot treads the boards in a bid to emulate him.

He’s already dazzled us this summer, netting the Guineas first time up, before a romp in the Epsom Derby, coupled with a more workmanlike despatch of Born To Sea on testing ground in the Irish equivalent.

Lester Piggott says he’ll “destroy” them, Timeform have labelled him “a certainty”, and the general consensus is that this step into the unknown, a quarter of a mile further up in trip to the 1m 6f 132y of the Ladbrokes St Leger, the final Classic of the campaign, will all be taken in his stride, like the great horse that he is.

Indeed it’s hard to envisage him being beaten, but equally a fast run race against horses with guaranteed stamina in the bank poses a new challenge, even for one who looks such a natural and does everything with such ease.

It’d be a pretty unpleasant feeling to witness the petrol light flickering on empty if he were to be caught out by the trip, though huge credit must go to his connections for taking that chance and going for it, proving that even billionaires are sportsmen when the occasion demands it…

With that in mind I’ll be cheering on Camelot heartily, but where a wager is concerned the way forward has to be to take advantage of a very punter friendly each way market, one which offers some seriously good horses at each way prices you’d only normally dream of!

The likes of Main Sequence, Michaelangelo, Guarantee (has won over 1m 6f already) and Thomas Chippendale all bear close scrutiny, but at 12/1 with the sponsors I’ve got to be with Great Voltigeur winner Thought Worthy.

John Gosden runs him alongside top notch stablemate Michaelangelo and pacemaker Dartford, but the fact William Buick remains loyal when offered the choice between two of his in-form stable’s big guns swings it.

Thought Worthy was fourth to Camelot at Epsom (Main Sequence second), and third behind Thomas Chippendale in a tight finish at Royal Ascot, but he came good under an inspired Buick at York, dictating from the front and catching his rivals dosing.

Yes this is his first try beyond a mile and a half, but he sees his races out strongly, and crucially is a brother to 2007 St Leger winner Lucarno.

The ideal result would be for him to finish second to Camelot in a thriller, a mighty shot in the arm for the sport and a nice each way draw for us at 3/1 a place (Ladbrokes go 1/4 odds 1-2-3), though of course I’d take the full payout too!

Either way, if he gives his running he’ll be a strong place contender, and 3/1 to make the frame is none too shabby even if Camelot turns it into a procession.

Also at Donny, just 40 minutes prior to the main event, the big betting handicap of the day is the 22-runner Portland in which Welsh sprint wizard Ron Harris is responsible for the favourite Prodigality.

A career high mark of 90, a big field, and much the toughest opposition he has faced mean this’ll be some test for the improving four year old (who’s no bigger than 11/2 at the time of writing).

With that in mind perhaps it can pay to shop around for a bit of value, and at a humongous 50/1 surely I can’t be the only one who thinks his talented and experienced stablemate Secret Witness has a squeak each way?

Harris is still in the middle of a really productive spell, enjoying two more winners in the last seven days, and even if bookmakers have dismissed his second string I don’t think for one second he has.

This horse does appear weighted up to his best, but that’s because he’s run some crackers this summer, with a win and a pair of seconds at York the highlights.

He takes his racing really well, doesn’t have a care in the world about being intimidated in a big field, and has run some of the best races of his career at Doncaster.

Indeed his form figures at Town Moor read: 2, 2, 11, 1, 10, 15, 2, 7 – three seconds and a win from seven runs.

Ground and draw don’t appear to be an issue, and I’ll be having a small interest each way at 50’s (Paddy Power are offering 5 places each way at 40/1).

Later on the card Strong Suit can make up for lost time in a season that hasn’t really got going for him, with a win in the seven furlong Group 2 Park Stakes (4.15pm) in the offing if he can re-produce last autumn’s form.

I back this horse every time he runs, and for better or worse I’m not about to stop now – 5/2 with Sportingbet is the best price in the village.

The re-opposing Lethal Force got first run on him at Newbury four weeks ago, but with a more aggressive ride he can make amends here.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

3.00 Doncaster – Ladbrokes Portland Handicap – 2 Secret Witness (each way) @ 50/1 (bet365 & Bet Victor)

3.40 Doncaster – Ladbrokes St Leger – 8 Thought Worthy (each way) @ 12/1 (Ladbrokes)

4.15 Doncaster – Park Stakes – 6 Strong Suit (win) @ 5/2 (Sportingbet)

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Posted 6 years, 2 months ago

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