All posts by Florian Christoph

Saturday Selections: January, 11th 2019

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12.15 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Agent Of Fortune looks to have a solid chance following up with another victory here, however he’s close to his very best rated and has to deal with a wider than ideal draw.

My ideal of a value chance is Subliminal. He comes with clear risks attached given he’s not the easiest to win. Connections try new headgear – remains to be seen whether that has any positive impact.

On the positive side: there is in my mind clear evidence that Subliminal is better than his current 57 handicap mark if he puts it all together. His last three starts all at Lingfield are perfect illustrations for this. He’s been running into trouble multiple times, not helping himself when usually leaving the stalls a tick slowly.

I feel a fair case can be made that when 3rd in November over this course and distance that he came with a winning run down the stretch if not for being a clear run denied on the inside rail. His latest 10/10 finish behind Agent Of Fortune can be upgraded also due to the fact of the suicidal pace Subliminal set and still got as far as he did actually.

A smaller field, a decent draw and no other horse in this field seemingly well handicapped, this is the chance for Subliminal to shine. He’s ran to 60 and 62 topspeeds in 2019 on the All-Weather, so clearly any visual evidence is backed up by the numbers that he is a better horse than what his win record portrays.

Selection:
10pts win – Subliminal @ 7/1 MB

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1.30 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap Chase, 2m4½f

Dipping my toe into unusual territory at this time of the year. But I feel Paul Nicholls’ Sao is supremely well handicapped and should be hard to beat here – if the handbrake is off.

This lightly raced 6-year-old hasn’t won in Britain yet, although showed promise a few times already and looks ready for an interesting campaign. Evidence of his latest run prove a couple of things: Sao wintered well and doesn’t appear to have any breathing issues.

That last race here at Kempton over 2.5f shorter back in November was his first after a summer break and he travelled and jumped well throughout. However he also was hampered by fallers and lose horses twice in the middle of the race, seeing him trailing the field.

Sao made up nice ground and after a pretty light ride by Harry Cobden finished strongly and seemingly with plenty in the tank after jumping the last.

A 123 handicap mark appears certainly low given potential improvement rather likely to come from this half-brother of Frodon. The additional furlongs are unlikely to bother Sao, however he appeared plenty keen the last time over shorter. So there is a light risk as well as the ground which may not quite be soft enough.

Nonetheless Sao appears an outstanding chance in this field in my book if he puts everything together and gets a clear run.

Selection:
10pts win – Sao @ 9/2 MB

Thursday Selections: January, 9th 2020

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

12.45 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

The favourite Double Martini has to be respected for the step up in trip that looks sure to suit, a fair handicap mark and a top jockey booking. I feel the potential improvement is already reflected in the price, though.

There isn’t too much else to fear in this race, which enhances the chances of Double Martini having found an ideal opportunity. Although 7-year-old gelding Destroyer drops down to class 6 with another couple of pounds off his rating and appears certainly well-handicapped if finding some form again.

It’s his second run after a break, so he should strip fitter for the latest – arguably poor – showing over this course and distance last month.

Only four runs back though in September he still finished a fine third only a lengths down at Pontefract of a 67 handicap mark, also matching a 67 topspeed rating, suggesting there is life and enough class to be competitive in a low-grade handicap such as this.

True, Destroyer is without victory on the All-Weather but his career best speed rating was achieved at Kempton (79). He also acts on tapeta as proven when a 1¼ lengths beaten 4th over a mile here in November 2018 of a 13lb higher mark than today.

He may well have enough of racing, as he’s not getting any younger, and his last three efforts are concerning. If back in the same mood at Pontefract, though, he’d have a massive chance.

*Edit: Non-runner!*

Selection:
10pts win – Destroyer @ 15/2 MB

My Betting Review 2019

2019 is over! It’s been a year that has flown by like Paco Boy thundering past his rivals in the 2010 Lockinge Stakes! The last twelve months were intense. Certainly on the betting front: a real roller-coaster year!

As in 2017 as well as 2018 I like to do a detailed review of my betting year: overall results, what worked, what didn’t work, plus key lessons for the new year.

2019 in numbers:
  • 635pts Profit
  • 20.09% ROI
  • 336 bets
  • 45 winners
  • 13.39% Strike Rate

Overall it was a good year once more – the third profitable one in a row, with 9/12 months in green.

2019 was also about an ever increasing difficulty in “getting on”. My accounts with any high-street bookmaker are limited to cents now. Liquidity on exchanges for the low grade races I am usually interested in isn’t always a given either.

Nonetheless, compared to to other years I placed more bets than ever before, however, for lower profit and lower ROI than in 2017 and 2018. Which is perfectly fine – 20% ROI is plenty and any profitable year is a good year after all.

In reflection I have to be critical of myself as well because there were days when I simply gave in to my urge to have the bet because I somewhat fancied the horse without having all boxes ticked on my “checklist”. Something to address: no bet, no problem – my mantra, which I want to follow even more rigidly in 2020.

It was also a year where I missed out on some big scores. Some massive prices denied on the line – in fact my selections hit the post a whopping 80 times!

The Good:

Turf delivers the goods: A 385pts profit! I was losing in this sphere last year so I am delighted to see my slightly revised focus on how to approach the turf paying off. UK only posted 485pts (without class 6 Handicaps, a massive 615pts!).

Highlight was clearly the 1000 Guineas victory of Hermosa at 16/1. The majority of winners came in the lower grades though, class 4 and 5 Handicaps – which really is no surprise as it’s always been my happy hunting ground. Windsor and Brighton turned out to be the most lucrative tracks.

1m & 2 furlongs: The mile and a quarter trip is a clear standout profit wise: 465pts+ profit, 9 of 26 successful bets – British racing provided all winners (of 20 bets, +515pts).

Jump racing: 275pts profit, thanks to another decent Cheltenham Festival, including 22/1 selection Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup. City Island (11/1) landing the Ballymore was another fine winner during the Festival week.

Lately the French Diesel D’Allier’s success in a Cross-Country Chase at the Cotswolds venue helped boosting a profitable 2019.

I wanted to be much more selective here, as the last years taught me my knowledge and understand of the day to day world of jump racing is simply not good enough to make it pay in the long run. The bigger races, though, have always yielded a fair return as more data – and reliable data – is freely available that helps me to make quality calls on races.

The Bad:

The All-Weather: My bread and butter. A 15pts loss! To compare: 605pts profit in 2018. Something went badly wrong here. I don’t think my selections were poor. A lot of big prices hit the post. However I know that in autumn in particular I lost focus a bit and made selections there were not quite up to the high quality I would expect of myself.

Class 6 Sprinting: A total disaster. Regardless of the surface, a 200pts loss is a clear sign for what to avoid moving forward. Across the board from 5 furlongs to 7 furlongs, in the lowest grade I struggled badly. It’s such an issue in higher classes, though. Apart from the minimum trip, specifically on turf. These are trends manifested from years before as well.

25 losers in a row: Not a single winner in October – tough autumn. It’s those long losing runs that test your mentality as a punter. However it also shows how tight the margins are: if Delphinia would have got up in the super tight finish on British Champions Day it all would have looked a little bit different – a 25/1 shot denied on the line.

2020 Outlook:

Hopefully another successful year. Potentially even more selective, with less bets and more quality, that’s the aim. Combining several different data points with my own form analysis will remain the method of choice in identifying potentially well handicapped horses, likely in lower grades.

If I can’t answer the question “Is the horse well handicapped” with a resounding YES I’ll revert back to “no bet, no problem”.

Avoiding class 6 races on turf altogether. Be properly diligent in my assessment on anything below class 5 on the All-Weather before placing a bet while swerving sprint races on the sand.

The odd group races will still keep me entertained. Speed ratings tend to hold up well in those competitions therefore they remain of interest in the right circumstances. I also enjoy writing more complete and in -depth previews of the big Group 1 races.

Become even more selective on Irish racing. Don’t get sucked into the excitement of the bigger meetings. I always struggled to make it pay.

Complete Betting Record

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Sunday Selections: January, 5th 2029

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2.30 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

This is a highly competitive event, despite the small field. This could be called a minefield from a betting perspective – certainly a race to take plenty of interest in for future races.

Nonetheless there is value on offer because the current favourite is too short in the betting.

Al Suil Eile posted a fibe course debut confirmed by an excellent top speed rating. The drop to 6f may suit. However he has to show it first given the raise in his handicap mark doesn’t make him an obviously well-handicapped horse.

Our Charlie Brown is one for the tracker. Once back over 7 furlongs he’ll be of high interest I reckon thanks to a falling handicap mark. In the past he ran much faster than his current mark suggest on turf the unique 7 furlong distance and shown positive signs on the All-Weather too. Today won’t be his day, though.

It boils down to a battle between Liamba and Global Melody. Both meet again three weeks after Liamba got the better of the two over this course and distance. Liamba ran to topspeed 70 that day but his mark has only been raised by two pounds He is of obvious interest and will surely go close again.

However Global Melody is a much bigger price – slightly drifting, which is a negative (has an engagement early next week, keep an eye on him) – bigger than it should be, given it was a close call the other day and a 2lb turnaround and better circumstances in-running can change the scenario.

Global Melody didn’t get into the best of positions following the start that day, had to eat fibresand for the first four furlongs and also didn’t get a clear run entering the home straight. His tendency to hang to his right doesn’t help either, yet he finished strongly (posted fast split for final furlong), resulting in 2nd place and a 67 topspeed rating.

He ran to TS 64 over CD weeks earlier and looked like the winner in his next race over 7 furlongs on the fibresand only to throw it away hanging badly in the final furlong. There is a little concern after his latest lackluster showing at Wolverhampton. Though, hopefully only an off day and he returns to form on the fibresand today.

Selection:
10pts win – Global Melody @ 8/1 MB

Wednesday Selections: January, 1st 2020

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3.40 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Only two that appeal: Zapper Cass has potentially more to offer on this surface and has backed up twice in 2019 that he is capable of running fast enough to win off his now lowered handicap mark. Recent form isn’t on his side, though, and he is short enough in the market.

Warrior’s Valley is fine alternative. He also has shown a few times that he is potentially faster than his current rating suggests, having equaled or exceeded a 67 topspeed rating on three occasions in 2019.

He enjoys the minimum trip on the fibresand having run his best races over this CD in the past. A 67 handicap mark gives him a fair shout as the gelding also seems to hit form after a decent effort at Lingfield when last seen.

The draw could be lower in an ideal world, but I hope he jumps as well as he usually does, gets to the front and draws the field to his tail where he’s then tough to catch once in front.

Selection:
10pts win – Warrior’s Valley @ 6/1 MB

Tuesday Selections: December, 31th 2019

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Last day of 2019! This year flew by – it’s been intense on many fronts, including the betting. A profitable year once more, the third successive one. Complete and transparent update on that another day, though.

Here’s hoping to finish the year with a bang: one or two winners at Lingfield please!

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12.00 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Roundabout Magic appears to be a fair favourite but is hard to trust particularly at a short price. He needs to have everything falling right hence I oppose him, even though is sure to go close, particularly if getting a clear run.

Two other interesting ones are rivals Roundabout Magic seemingly beat last time out: the filly Starchant is still searching for a maiden victory but has ran to speed ratings in the past that suggest she can win a race like this and clearly didn’t get the best of runs last time. However blinkers didn’t help alleviate her starting issues the last time so I oppose here.

It will not come as a surprise to readers of this blog that the only other viable alternative for me in this field can be Fareeq. I was on him the last time as well but he lost his chance at the start as well.

It’s a gamble to put faith in the 5-year-old to get it right this time, however the way he finished that latest race proved that my notion of him potentially being well handicapped isn’t necessarily wrong.

Despite encountering plenty of trouble in the home straight he finished the last two furlongs fastest – faster even than Roundabout Magic. He’s a pound lower today, so all that’s been said the last time is still valid – certainly his breathing seems fine judged by that effort, the 3rd start since the wind OP:

“As a course and distance winner earlier this year off 2lb higher than his revised 56 [now 55] handicap mark he makes plenty of appeal, given he also ran to a topspeed rating of 62 that day. He ran a close 3rd at Wolverhampton in August off 6lb higher than today also.”

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 8/1 MB

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1.05 Lingfield: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

As much as this looks a trappy affair as much it’s rather obvious that most in this field appear to be in the grip of the handicapper now. Favourite Kuwaiti Currency needs a significant career best, which looks not impossible given he is 3-year-old and was a May foal, but 17 starts to his name and recent performances don’t suggest he’s close to get there.

Another Touch looks rock solid and will run his race with confidence after a recent success. However he is certainly not well handicapped with little secrets for the handicapper.

Same can be said about the rest here as well, but I can make a strong case for Mr Scaramanga to be significantly overpriced in this race – granted the handbrake is off.

The 5-year-old should enjoy the drop in trip to a mile after two efforts over 10 furlongs in his last two starts. All his best career performances came over the mile trip and more significantly over this course and distance in fact.

The gelding ran to 99, 97 and 91 topspeed ratings over this CD in the past and also won of his current 87 handicap rating here back in January this year. He’s got a good draw to play with and should be primed after his two recent runs coming off a break to go close in a winnable contest.

Selection:
10pts win – Mr Scaramanga @ 7/1 MB

Thursday Selections: December 26th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Merry Christmas to all readers of this site! Hope you are having a wonderful time surrounded by family and friends.

I am in the middle of my very own winter “break”, with overseas travel as well as spending Christmas at home in Germany. A busy year, an even busier few weeks…. but now it’s certainly time to sit back and relax for a few days at the very least.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but have a quick look at what’s going on in the world of racing. I have no real interest in the jump races today – not from a betting perspective at least. Thankfully the Tapeta track at Wolverhampton is open for business….

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4.25 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f 

Favourite Renardeau looks to be too high in the mark now after his two victories on the bounce. A better case can be made for Dream Magic who was so impressive over course and distance when last seen, who also matched his revised handicap mark on topspeed that day.

However it was clearly a career best and you have to wonder if that one run should overshadow the evidence of a gelding who has been seen 30 times before and only once ran to anything remotely close to that level of form before. He can go close again, and one can argue at 7/1 is a fair price to find out, but I am more inclined to give the runner-up of aforementioned Wolverhampton contest a big chance here today.

Bottom weight Fayetta is still a maiden after 19 starts and was well beaten in second place at Wolverhampton behind Dream Magic. On the other hand there is a significant turnaround in the weights today, in favour of the filly. She ran at Southwell in the meantime, didn’t follow on from the good form shown at Wolverhampton, though.

Possibly down to the fibresand, now back on Tapeta will be more suitable. On this surface she has achieved topspeed ratings of 61 and 67 this year over the 12 furlong trip. So now down to a 61 official rating the case can be made for Fayetta having a prime chance taking advantage of a slipping mark.

Selection:
10pts win – Fayetta @ 10/1 MB