Category Archives: Betting

Tuesday Selections: December 12th 2017

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Actually I had mushrooms for dinner…. Anyway – despite breaking slowly (again), Mach One had – as hoped – way too much in hand at Southwell this afternoon. He drew clear eventually when asked for full effort and justified market support.

Second selection Very First Blade ran a blinder in the last race on the card. He was a massive 40/1 before the off but finished much better, despite never travelling. A fine third in the end.

No winner, but it proved once again the golden highway for the low drawn horses over 5f at Southwell does exist, as explored in my recent Myth or Fact article.

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3.15 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

Arriving from back-to-back-wins is Entertaining Ben here; thanks to a good draw he has every chance to go close once more.

I fancy one who finished a good deal behind the last two times, though: Roundabout Magic.

Not seen to bet effect in his recent starts having to deal with wide draws, the three year old was also incredibly keen and that in combination meant he was finished before it really mattered.

As a consequence he drops to a very tasty mark: tasty because in February and March he went back-to-back off a similar- and even 4lb higher mark in similar type races.

His keenness can be an issue, however the colt has been allotted a pretty decent draw this time. So a combination of draw and falling mark should see him being competitive.

Selection:
10pts win – Roundabout Magic @ 10/1 Bet365

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6.20 Wolverhamtpon: Class 5 Handicap, 7f

Mansfield couldn’t have been unluckier the other day when conceding first run, having to turn widest and being in front just behind the line…. off the same mark here he has an obvious chance to get his head in front.

He is finally down to a realistic mark after racing in tougher competition of much higher ratings for most of 2017, which was based on one excellent performance in a class 3 Nursery back in 2015.

This lad has obviously talent and is likely a bit better than what his current OR of 65 says – so with a clear run he should be hard to beat in this.

Selection:
10pts win – Mansfield @ 11/8 William Hill

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6.20 Wolverhampton: Class 4 Handicap, 7f

Despite stepping up in grade this is not a tougher race, in fact at this course and distance Mr. Christopher has an excellent chance to run a big race.

He’s 3lb higher for a recent superb runner-up effort at Southwell and it remains to be see if this career best he has yet to achieve is beyond him.

However with conditions bound to suit to perfection – the wide draw must not be a concern over this CD as the stats prove – he is sure to go close as this most recent form looks strong and therefore the additional 3lb might actually underestimate what he is capable of right now in his third race after a break.

Selection: 
10pts win – Mr. Christopher @ 10/3 William Hill

Monday Selections: December 11th 2017

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Before I go into detail what’s on the menu tomorrow – big shout out to the star that Sizing John is. On a day as bleak and freezing as it gets here in Ireland, the reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup champion lit up a fire at Punchestown this afternoon.

A re-match between Djakadam and Sizing John is was meant to be; the odds moved only one way: defeat for the Willie Mullins charge was out of question while sizing John was likely to need the run. Incredibly, he was available at 2/1 before the off!

In the end it looked the other way around. Sizing John, in hands of Robbie Power, appeared sharp and won as he pleased, whereas Djakadam, who won the John Durkan the last two years, seemingly needed the run this time round….

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3.00 Southwell: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

Mach One has notably improved since being gelded and switching stable during the summer. Going handicapping since then too, he won a Chelmsford handicap in November – form that looks rock solid, and subsequently ran an almighty race here at Southwell over a mile.

Widest draw, he was slowly away, but pushed forward to make up ground quickly and be up with the pace before the first turn. He travelled strongly into the straight and went to the front briefly, just be worn down by a closer from off the pace in the dying strides.

Taking all that into account that went against him, it is fair to say Mach One was the best horse in the race that day, with a clean break would have won probably quite easily, so a 4lb rise on the mark is potentially lenient. Even more so as that was only his second start on fibresand – often horses improve for their second outing here.

The third has franked the form subsequently, so the run and ratings should be legit. Only slight concern, if you will, is the fact Mach One moves up in class and has to fight off a better bunch of horses than the other day. For reasons mentioned and general improvement not unlikely I do not think this is a problem.

Selection:
10pts win – Mach One @ 11/2 Bet365

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3.30 Southwell: Class 6 handicap, 5f

Very First Blade hasn’t won for a very long time and gets into this race only on a long handicap. Regardless, a return to 5f at Southwell from a perfect draw and a low weight might see him finding back some form.

He still finished in January of a higher mark an agonizingly close second over CD and subsequently ran some okayish races. His return in October after small break was really poor, and he had another break since then. Maybe he’s just gone, but deserves another chance.

Eye-shields back on, decent 3lb claimer in the saddle with conditions he loves so much. Any return to form shown not too long ago will see him go close.

Selection: 
10pts win – Very First Blade @ 33/1 William Hill

Saturday Selections: 2017 November Handicap

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2.40 Doncaster: Gillies Fillies’ Stakes (Listed), 1m 2f

The favourite, albeit most likely with the best form in the book, looks a reasonably short price compared to Time Chaser, currently trading as the second fav.

Both fillies remain lightly raced with potential upside, however I feel Time Chaser has more upside and is a better price at the same time.

She is a full-sister to the very smart Time Test, so taking that as an indicator, there is a good chance Time Chaser might still do a bit better than her current official rating of 91 suggests.

She won three on the bounce from debuting in April until stepping up into a class 2 Handicap in September at Haydock, after producing two fine performances to win at Sandown, over a mile and ten furlongs on fast to soft ground respectively.

Beaten in third a long way the last time in heavy conditions, I feel there are valid excused for this slightly disappointing showing. Time Chaser certainly did not receive an overly smart ride that day.

She probably did a bit too much right after the start and also in the middle part of the race, while racing wide without cover all the way. That is a deadly combination in heavy conditions. The impressive winner, in comparison, was tucked away at the end of the field until he made his winning move.

A decent draw and champion jockey Jim Crowley on board may help to see her ridden a bit more intelligently. It’s soft ground again. She probably likes it a bit better but has proven to act on it.

A step up to listed level seems fair judged on what she has done so far. She is not out of her depth here.

Selection:
10pts win – Time Chaser @ 7/2 Bet365

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3.15 Doncaster: November Handicap, 1m 4f

A full 23 runner strong field. It couldn’t be any more competitive. Nonetheless I feel bottom weight Al Destoor is a bit overpriced. True, he’s never won over 12f and his pedigree does not necessarily says he should, but he’s still been placed twice in three tries over the trip and has shown excellent form in softish conditions over trips up to 1m 2.5f.

Al Destoor also is an incredibly consistent animal. He rarely runs a bad race. So given the trip is not totally out of his reach, he loves the ground conditions and has a feather weight on his back, I think it is not out of this world to see him going close.

The 7 year old didn’t have a too hard season either and looked still in fine shape when runner-up at Chester back in September. The aid of excellent Franny Norton in the saddle is a bonus.

Selection:
10pts win – Al Destoor @ 25/1 Skybet

Friday Selections – 10th November 2017

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6.45 Newcastle: Class 4 Fillies’ Handicap, 6f

A race very much for the taking and favourite Cashla Bay should be very hard to beat from a perfect draw. That is if she can regain form shown previously to a abysmal performance in her last start, when finishing down the field.

However all other three life time starts were quite excellent efforts in the context of the race and how the form has worked out in the long term.

Cashla Bay achieved a time speed rating of 81 on her debut back in October last year, which suggested she is potentially smart, and with natural improvement surely better than her current rating of 80.

A tongue strap is fitted for the first time. That might be the key to unlock improvement. Certainly one thing is for sure: there is no excuse today.

Selection:
10pts win – Cashla Bay @ 9/4 Bet365

Tuesday Selections – 6th November 2017

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1.10 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Novices Stakes, 5f

After three highly promising runs, with the debut a clear stand-out, Miltia is clearly the one to beat. 5f on tapeta looks ideal with a perfect draw in a race that appears to be very much winnable.

Militia’s sire Equiano has a superb record with juveniles over CD therefore the switch to the All-Weather looks more like a positive than a negative.

Selection:
10pts win – Militia @ 9/4 Bet365

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4.45 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

This looks a race where one of the younger, lightly raced three year olds really should land a blow. Mio Ragazzo looks the pick of the lot, if this doesn’t come too soon and he can overcome a wide draw.

However I rather go with experience in this race. From the bottom end of the weights, nine year old Pick A Little looks primed for a big run. He comes here off a nice win at Brighton, yet can race off 2lb lower on the All-Weather, than he did on turf the last time.

Pick A Little is equally as good a horse on the sand as on grass, in fact his win record on the All-Weather is slightly better.

A mile on AW has never led to success, though. However he gets it well enough as seen at Brighton in desperate conditions three weeks ago.

It looks significant that Richard Kingscote takes the ride. He’s sat three times on Pick A Little and steered the gelding to success on each occasion.

Drawn in eight should still be okay and he should have not too many problems settling in a nice position not too far off the pace.

Selection:
10pts win – Pick A Little @ 17/2 VC

2017 Breeders’ Cup – Selections

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The juggernaut that is the Breeders Cup is nearly upon us! In fact it’s only a couple of hours away. The pinnacle of the US racing season also brings down 2017 for many  of the European equine superstars too.

Del Mar it is this year –  a change from Santa Anita for once, though with that we do stay in California. Racing starts on Friday with ten races on the card. Historically I haven’t done overly well from a pure betting point of view, though I immensely enjoy watching the event on NBC. The TV coverage is all class.

I keep my bets to a minimum this time. Three selections – that is all!

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Friday 9.25: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1m

Without the shadow of the doubt Aiden O’Brien’s Happily is the form horse in the field. She won two major Group 1’s on the bounce, including the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere when beating the boys.

Granted, she had a long season with six starts and coming here at the end of the year isn’t easy – if she reproduces anything close to her recent form, she is hard to beat, though. On paper that is.

Question marks are over her pace in the early stages of the race. She has got a perfect draw but will Happily be able to utilize it? Ryan Moore will want to have her settling close to the speed in an ideal world.

She appeared a bit outpaced early on in France the other day, and had trouble catching up with the leaders in the home straight. She grinded it out, more than anything. Fast ground at Del Mar will be not forgiving, if she does not gets quickly out of the blocks.

That says, on pedigree the ground should suit. She’s got more experience now and you would think that Ran Moore, given the clear disadvantage settling off the pace, will be a bit more vigorous pushing her forward, if needed.

Happily should not lack stamina, so once moving, she will keep moving for as long as it’s needed.

There is juice in the price in my mind. I expected her to be good deal shorter, given the opposition in the field is not as good as what she faced in her last two starts.

Selection:
10pts win – Happily @ 4/1 PP

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Saturday 11.37: Breeders’ Cup Turf, 1m 4f

One last hooray for Highland Reel. He’ll go to stud after this – a race he won last year. Or shall we say stole? He got away under a perfect ride by Jamie Heffernan that day.

The globetrotter had another productive season in 2017. Winner of the Coronation- and Prince of Wales’s Stakes. When he gets his preferred conditions Highland Reel is clearly tough to beat.

I feel that’ll be the day here. Trip is perfect, fast ground is what he loves, a perfect draw will enable him to be up with the pace, if not even attempting to make all. The tight, turning track poses no problem to him either.

Main threat is obviously the superb Ulysses. Though the trip is probably slightly on the far side for him and the track configuration may not play to his strengths either.

Best chance for the home team is multiple grade 1 winner Beach Patrol. A wide draw isn’t ideal as Highland Reel, once in front, is unlikely to stop.

Selection:
10pts win – Highland Reel @ 9/4 Bet365

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Sunday 00.25: Breeders’ Cup Classic, 1m 2f

It’s already past midnight when they’re off in the Classic! The question many ask: can Arrogate find back to his best? Since his return from Dubai in two subsequent starts he never looked the same horse that was crowned best in the world in 2016.

Can Gun Runner outgun him? Well, he’s been bloody impressive in his last three wins and deserves the favourite tag. However he never won over the 10f trip and was comprehensively outstayed by Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup.

The answer must lie somewhere else: West Coast? Maybe. Won two Grade 1’s on the bounce. Landed the Travers. Not much wrong with that. He stays the trip, has the right form in the book and is an interesting price.

You can, if you want, knock the form, though. None of those beaten behind him would be fancied to go close in Classic at all. In fact, Travers runner-up Gunnevera is considered a 50/1 shot!

Improving Collected won the Pacific Classic, beat Arrogate that day. So he stays the trip and is still a progressive sort. The wide draw is a concern but he should be thereabouts.

Aiden O’Brien tries his luck once more. He throws Churchill into the ring. It’s unlikely the dual Guineas winner will enjoy this test on dirt I suspect, but I can see why “the lads” do it.

If he runs well if will enhance his commercial value as a stallion. If he doesn’t perform it won’t devalue anything he did the last two seasons.

The seemingly second string is War Decree. A much more interesting case, I feel. From a pedigree perspective he is bred to act on dirt and is a half-brother to Declaration Of War who came quite close to win the BCC some years ago.

Nonetheless the immense test this race is may still come as a shock to the system. Until he runs we don’t know whether he really acts on the dirt or not. It’s more likely he won’t. However I love a couple of facts if it comes to War Decree:

He’s still lightly raced and had a significantly lighter season than most in the field. He demolished a fair field in a Dundalk Group 3 when last season, travelling like a really good horse. Of course he meets different class and a different surface here – still War Decree looks in tip top form.

Taking it all in, he’s no 50/1 chance in a Breeders’ Cup Classic field that is wide open in my mind. With the places paying at 1/4 odds, this looks a tremendous bet.

Selection:
10pts win e/w – War Decree @ 50/1 Bet365

Wednesday Selection: 18th October 2017

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A nice winner with Mutafarrid (6/1) got the week rolling on Monday, although the other two selections on the day ran stinkers. Well, it would have been too nice, I guess. There was not much to like on Tuesday, but thankfully the next day is just around the corner…

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2.20 Lingfield: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 5f 

The two fillies at the head of the market set a fair standard, however their form is nothing to shout about and while experience counts for quite a bit in these races I side with a completely unknown quantity.

It looks significant that Silvestre De Sousa is on board of newcomer Baileys Excel. That is because the colt is quite well bred and his sire does incredibly well at this track over this trip, particularly with two year olds.

Now the jockey booking is even more so significant as this yard’s record in these type of races with young horses isn’t good. However the record for SDS on Dwyer inmates, particularly 2yo’s is excellent.

From a good draw where the door is wide open for an upset, Baileys Excel might be the one who is good enough on debut to win this.

Selection:
10pts win – Baileys Excel @ 10/1 Bet365