Tag Archives: Flat Racing

Sunday Selections: April, 1st 2018

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Hawkbill (11/1) makes the day! A superb front-running ride by William Buick, who rode his jockey colleagues to sleep, saw Hawkbill striding home nearly gate to wire.

As much brilliance as it was from Buick, as surprising it was that some of the finest jockey talent around, did let him get his own way up front so easily. I take it, as one turf closer to home things didn’t quite go to plan as hoped.

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2.05 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 7f

Despite still chasing this elusive maiden win after 22 starts I do feel Iconic Figure may have found a golden opportunity here in race. He clearly enjoys the Southwell fibresand given the way how well he usually travelles and that he has achieved some of his best career performances here.

He was second and third respectively in his most recent starts earlier this months. Coming off a small break he finished a good runner-up over CD, chasing home Poppy May – who’s here today as well off 3lb higher – who got first run, which was decisive.

Only two days later Iconic Figure reappeared, dropping to 6f. From those up with the pace he was pretty much the only one finishing the race, ending up in third eventually – bar the eventual winner, who, however, seemed to have tons in hand that day.

The slightly longer trip should suit better. A perfect draw and coming here in fine form with a good 5lb claimer in the saddle, Iconic Figure could get finally this first iconic career victory on the board.

Selection:
10pts win – Iconic Figure @ 8/1 VC

Saturday Selections: March, 31st 2018

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Good Friday washed out – both selections non-runners thanks to the severe ground conditions at Bath yesterday. Let’s see if today – on Dubai World Cup day (one fancy for the Sheema Classic) – things go more to plan.

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3.00 Musselburgh: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Some of the lesser exposed individuals are interesting, particularly Paco Boy son Fake News. The one I fancy, though, is hardy sort Indomeneo, who has seen plenty of racing as a juvenile.

He is vulnerable to an improver, and will have to overcome a wide draw. However, he has proven himself over this sort of trip and ground last year. He looked good winning two on the bounce at Ripon and Redcar, and he already ran to a TSR of 82 – so of his current mark off 84 he looks a rock solid option.

I like the fact that he is usually up with the pace. Something that is of massive advantage at Musselbourgh particularly in these type of conditions today, I feel. He will need to be sharp at the start, on the other hand – as drawn in 10 is not an easy task.

Selection:
10pts win – Indomeneo @ 7/1 VC

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4.45 Musselburgh: Class 5 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Question marks all over, so I go with one who’s proven to enjoy the ground and might not have shown his best over this sort of trip in these conditions yet: Richard Fahey’s Geoff Potts has a poor win record, however, looked an improved horse last season, particularly with cut in the ground.

He was very consisted in the second half of last season, winning a 6f Handicap on soft ground and going close enough in a handful of races subsequently. A good piece of form over the minimum trip is missing, however only twice in Handicaps did he have the chance and was very much unfancied those times.

With more rain to come, this should turn into a grind and that will suit those who act on this type of ground and stay a bit further. Geoff Potts fits the bill.

Selection:
10pts win – Geoff Potts @ 9/1 Matchbook

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8.45 Chelmsford: Class 6 Handicap, 6 furlongs

Money is already pouring in, yet top weight Fareeq looks still a tasty price. He’s a tricky sort who can make a mess of things at the start and can hang violently in the finish, however judged on his two last CD runs here at Chelmsford he should be bang there when it matters.

He won here in January in fine style, running to a time speed rating of 61 and finished subsequently a good runner-up off a revised mark, when things did not go his way as he missed the break from a widish draw and travelled always wide mostly off the bridle.

Pretty much the same story at Kempton the last time, now back at Chelmsford, a kinder draw and a mark of 60 should give him a big chance with a good 5lb claimer in the saddle.

Selection:
10pts win – Fareeq @ 12/1 VC

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5.10 Meydan: Sheeema Classic, 1m 4f

The Japanese Rey De Oro and Arc runner-up Cloth Of Stars head the market, and probably rightly so. However, at given prices, I do fee Hawkbill is the forgotten horse and way too big.

He had a fine comeback run here at Meydan earlier this months. Overcoming a wide draw and travelling wide throughout, he grinded it out eventually. This is much tougher today, obviously, but that was as good a reappearance as you could expect and shows Hawkbill is still close to his best form.

William Buick is in the saddle of the five times Group winner, including the 2016 Coral Eclipse. I hope he will have Hawkbill close enough to the pace. Stall seven is wide enough but Hawkbill has the pace to get across quickly.

He is not the best horse in the race, but if he gets an ideal run, he could be hard to pass, given race fitness is ensured.

Selection:
10pts win – Hawkbill @ 11/1 PP

Good Friday Selections: March 30th, 2018

Newmarket July Course

4.00 Bath: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Favourite Tony Curtis looks rock solid. He certainly is up to his current rating and may not mind the ground conditions. However he isn’t well handicapped by any means, and this deep going with a first run of the season in combination is a tough assignment. I pass at given prices.

More interesting is Sir Roderic. He tumbled down the weights to a tremendously dangerous mark. He was able to be placed in hot races off 90 and 93 last season and has winning form on deep ground as encountered here at Bath today.

The question mark is obviously his breathing. He had a wind op, as that seemed the issue last year when he didn’t finish his races and subsequently fell dramatically in the ratings.

He reappeared at Doncaster in the Spring Mile last week. He dropped out tamely from 3f out and was eventually a long way beaten. But so were the majority of the field. Hence, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt today, the second run since he got his wind done.

If the OP had a positive effect, then today he should shine with conditions totally to his liking and a mark a full 9lb lower than his last winning one.

Selection:
10pts win – Sir Roderic @ 5/1 Skybet

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5.05 Bath: Class 4 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Tough going at Bath so this will likely be a slow motion finish despite racing over the minimum trip. You never quite know how horses act until they tried this deep, so siding with September Issue is a little gamble.

That says he won over course and distance in September on good to soft outstaying a fine rival who went on to perform quite well subsequently – this looks excellent form and on pedigree it looks not unlikely that softer will be a big issue for him.

September Issue needs a career best today. On the other hand, judged on TS and RPR’s he has ever chance to still find a little bit more; he also ran well off marks around his current 79 in the past. So with right conditions he should be thereabouts for sure.

De Sousa is booked for the ride, which seems a bonus. The draw doesn’t concern me, it’s more a ground question, which hopefully September Issue answers in the best possible way.

Selection:
10pts win – September Issue @ 7/2 VC

Saturday Selections: The Flat is Back!

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Ended Cheltenham week last week with a bang: Emigrated ran out a readily winner at 16/1 at Wolverhampton! That was on the All-Weather, the surface so familiar to readers of this blog…. BUT I have to tell you: the flat is back! Well and truly – the holy turf, the smell of flush green grass in the air – it’s Lincoln Day!

Let’s not get carried away, though. It’s an incredibly difficult day betting wise at Doncaster. Huge- and ultra-competitive fields, soft ground and often little recent form in the book of those fancied in the market.

It also will take still some time until the flat moves into full swing. Hence the brown colour of Fibresand, Tapeta and Poly will continue to dominate for another while…. at least this blog. For a change, not today, though.

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2.25 Doncaster: Class 2 Handicap, 1 mile

Those at the head of the market should dominate naturally… yet in a big field that isn’t always the case eventually. However, the Spring Mile this year seems to have a bias toward favouring the high drawn numbers, as this is where most of the pace lies.

That means, bar the jolly Taqdeer, the likes of What’s The Story, Original Choice and Kynren should be thereabouts. However, I quite fancy a little flutter on long-shot Apex King.

There is little in his form to suggest that he will go close. His comeback at Chelmsford was dire. He’re hoping he simply needed that run. Last season was a massive disappointment, on the other hand. Apex King looked so promising during his juvenile campaign.

Nonetheless, he remains lightly raced. Only eight starts to date, he ran only three times last year, and he was a late April foal, so maybe he simply outran expectations as a two year old and needed last season to catch-up.

Another holiday under his belt, now fitted with blinkers for the first time – something that can have a significantly positive impact on sons of Kodiac – he remains of interest. Particularly on ground that can suit. He won on good to soft already, and his full-sister Miss Ellany managed the same.

Likely to be race fit, trip and ground potentially a good combination, with the potential improvement for blinkers fitted and a near perfect draw, gives Apex King at least a real chance to outrun his massive price tag.

Selection:
10pts win – Apex King @ 33/1 VC

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3.35 Doncaster: Class 2 Lincoln Handicap, 1 mile

The race that gives the traditional start of the flat season its name – as ever an incredibly tricky puzzle to solve. I don’t dare to say I have the answer to it. However, I dare to say to have a value bet. Rather unoriginal, yet with proven track record: Gabrial.

The now nine-year old won this very race in 2015 and twelve months ago was only one lengths beaten in fourth off 4lb higher than today. His only other start at Doncaster, also over a mile, was a Listed success over a mile. Fair to say Gabrial loves it to thunder down the Doncaster straight.

He tried his luck on the All-Weather over the winter. He ran well enough in a couple of races, though his form tailed off a little bit when last seen. I wouldn’t worry too much – he proved to be nearly as good as ever when placed twice behind Arcanada at Lingfield.

Two win off 104 as a nine-year old, despite his proven record and potentially fair mark, judged on last year’s run, is still a big ask. Nonetheless, with conditions sure to suit, as soft ground does not hold any fears for Gabrial, he should run his race. Whether that is enough to win remains to be seen. At the given price he’s certainly one I’m rather siding with than not.

Selection:
10pts win: Gabrial @ 31/1 Matchbook

Betting Review 2017

608.70 points profit. 31.62% ROI. 2017.

It’s been some betting year. A year of hard work. A year of change. Change and work that paid off. A handsome reward, for hours and hours put in day and night.

It was needed. A disastrous end to 2015, and the worst betting year in long memory that was 2016, left me without a choice but to change  my approach to the game. Change it radically, if I wanted to continue to be part of it.

To make this game pay can sometimes feel easy. A big winner in the feature on Saturday. Happy days! Oh so easy. Not.

The difficulty is felt only if you keep track of what you’re doing over a long enough period of time. When you see the numbers turning either green or red. Profitable betting long term isn’t easy. It’s bloody difficult.

That’s why it’s key question to answer for every punter with the aim of extracting tangible gains from betting: how can I find a scalable model that can be trusted on a day to day basis that helps me to stay focused, selective and takes emotions out of the equation?

2017 was the year of change for me personally on that front. What worked in the past, didn’t work any longer. The game changes. And if you don’t change with the game you lose.

The Numbers Game – 2017 in Detail:

•  Bets: 211
•  Winners: 37
•  Profit/Loss: +608.70pts
•  Strike Rate: 17.54%
•  ROI: 31.62%

No surprise, the majority of my bets came on the flat. 168 bets, for 32 winners. The average odds was in and around 10/1; the winning odds on average roughly 7/1. Only 36 of all bets came on the British All-Weather, resulting in 8 winners and a very healthy ROI.

The jumps game isn’t mine on a day to day basis. 43 bets, mostly at the Cheltenham Festival, produced a small profit from five winners, thanks to some big price winners.

My selections tend to do poorly in graded and better races in general. On the other hand, selections in the lower end of the handicap spectrum have been hugely successful. In fact 17 winning selections in class 4 or lower class handicaps amounting for nearly half of all winning bets in 2017, however for only a bit more than a third of all selections.

Highlights were quite clearly Tiger Roll’s Cheltenham succes in the National Hunt Cup – a 20/1 winner, the biggest of the year.

Even more so celebrated however, was Rekindling’s Melbourne Cup triumph. Because I shouted it from the roof the night before. I rarely do that, but was sure this lad would go well.

Also because the Melbourne Cup is my favourite race of the racing calendar. I didn’t find the winner in it ever before. It was a great betting- and personally emotional win.


Focus for 2018:

It’s easy. More All-Weather. It’s my strong point. Quite clearly.

More selectiveness if it comes to the better racing. Yes, it would be nice to have a bet in the big Group 1 at Ascot… but not for the sake of “just having one”.

Less jump racing. I am not too good at it. So let’s keep it to minimum and watch out for real quality selections.

Reduce number of “shorties”. Selections <=2/1 are simply not as profitable and I made some pretty bad selections in 2017.

Target unexposed three year old’s versus exposed older horses in Spring.

Monday Selections – 16th October 2017

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2.40 Yarmouth: Class 5 Nursery, 7f

Owen Burrows’ Mutafarrid appears to be potentially well handicap on his nursery debut. The Dark Angel colt ran well in his last two races in maiden company – in his second career start he used allot of energy from a wide draw to be up with the pace, yet he finished a good fourth in a hot race that worked out well.

Last time at Wolverhampton he missed the break, got bumped into right after and never settled over too sharp 6f. Still he finished with credit in fifth and this athletic type should enjoy the simpler experience that is 7f at Yarmouth.

Judged on collateral form the opening mark of 69 is more than fair and he should be a bit better than that, I reckon.

Selection:
10pts win – Mutafarrid @ 5/1 Bet365

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2.50 Musselburgh: Class 2 Handicap, 7f

Big Tour is a progressive three year old colt with few miles on the clock. He won the last two in good fashion, though looked really home over 7f with a good pace on softish ground at Yarmouth last month.

He appears to be progressive and can easily have more to offer. A 6lb hike is reasonable but may not be enough to stop him.

The slight concern is the wide draw for a horse that likes to be close to the speed at a course where your chances rise and fall with track position. At the price I’m siding with him, nonetheless.

Selection:
10pts win – Big Tour @ 7/2 Skybet

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4.10 Yarmouth: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

Very weak contest and that opens the door for a surprise package. That could be handicap debutante My Name Is Jeff. He didn’t show an awful lot in three maiden starts, as you would expect. However he bumped into some decent horses along the way too.

This is way easier and ground and trip could suit perfectly. The dam was a sprinter but there is a bit stamina down the lines plus sire Mount Nelson has a fine track record over this trip with his offspring.

A lowly opening mark gives My Name Is Jeff a fair chance to improve dramatically from anything he has shown to date.

Selection: 
10pts win – My Name Is Jeff @ 12/1 Bet365

Sunday Preview: Naas

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La Coronel did the job in the QE II – wire to wire as they say over there. 6/1 – finally a winner again!

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On the menu today, Naas! For the first time since moving to the county Kildare town I have the chance to go racing as a local! Really looking forward to it. Always enjoyed coming here in the past, but of course it’s even sweeter if you just have to walk to this beautiful track, instead of slogging through Dublin’s traffic.

Selections for Naas, 15th October 2017:

1.20: Lost Treasure @ 9/2 Bet365

Superbly bred as expected bred from this yard and might have advantage over most here as an early January foal.

1.50: Cheering @ 9/1 Ladbrokes

From family of derby winner Pour Moi, so trip is short enough. However could easily be good enough on debut in an open field.

2.25: Zeb City @ 12/1 Bet365

Bottom weight who looked progressive in maidens. Now handicapping off fair mark with top jockey in the saddle could see him go close.

3.00: Cocohulababy @ 14/1 Bet365

Excellent run on second start in hot Leopardstown maiden when turning widest but finishing well. Put experience to good use at Dundalk last time and won well. More to come.

3.35: Pocketfullofdreams @ 16/1 Ladbrokes

Well exposed and does not strike as a likely winner. However if the better fancied horses fail to strike, he could be there to pick up the pieces given ground and trip should be fine and he has some fine form in the book from earlier the season, which gives him a chance.

4.10: Remembered Joy @ 22/1 Skybet

Still a maiden after five career starts, however goes handicapping for the first time now and that might make a difference. A lowly opening mark gives her a chance over trip and ground possibly to suit. It is a poor race that does not take allot to win.

4.45: Giorni Felice @ 13/2 Bet365

Nicely off the mark at Roscommon, overcoming all sorts of trouble. He may have looked impressive because he beat poor opposition and therefore an opening mark off 80 is stiff. However there is not allot in the race to fear here and conditions should suit.

5.20: Jet Streaming @ 8/1 Bet365

Superb win at Galway when overcoming near impossible circumstances. Cried out for a trip and not disgraced when five lengths beaten in a big Curragh Handicap subsequently and when fifth in a Group 3 at Newmarket when last seen. This is easier – she remains with potential.