Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another cartoon character...

I'm acutely aware the graphical content on this blog over the last nine months or so has been severely restricted. This has much to do with my lack of artistic / photographic skills. In an attempt to address this shortcoming, I asked my colleague, Paul Smith, to create a piece of original artwork which I could publish. The results of his labours are shown above. The T shirts will be available for purchase when one of my Gold Cup tips obliges; don't hold your breath - that could be anytime in the next ten years.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cheltenham selections

An interesting card at Cheltenham tomorrow, particularly with the Festival less than seven weeks away.

The opening novice hurdle looks a hot affair with Wichita Lineman from the Jonjo O'Neill stable likely to be well fancied. Following his victory at Newbury last time, I read a report that suggested he may be better on a flat track and I note he hasn't won at Cheltenham. That being the case, I think he's worth opposing with Tidal Bay. Zilcash, although only a four year old, is getting a big weight allowance from Wichita Lineman on official handicap ratings and may be worth an each way interest at 10/1 or bigger.

Unbeaten Black Jack Ketchum runs in the 2.10 and is the star horse on show. He's never run on ground as heavy as he'll encounter tomorrow which may make him vulnerable. The value will be in opposing him. Inglis Drever and Flight Leader look to have the best chances of springing a surprise; there's not a lot to choose between them but the fact Colin Tizzard's stable (which I certainly respect) hasn't sent out a winner for three weeks means the vote goes to Inglis Drever.

If Our Vic is on song he'll have a good chance in the 2.45. A colleague of mine has taken 12/1 about him ante post for the Gold Cup. It goes without saying that if he wins, he'll be shorter than that after this race; on the other hand... If I had to have an ante post bet at this stage, Nickname at 10/1 for the Champion Chase makes more appeal.

Regular readers will know that Katchit has served us well this winter and I'm not about to desert him now; he's the selection in the 3.20. It looks a race full of promising horses; the one I fear most is David Pipe's Pauillac.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The right price

Two weeks ago last Monday the phone rang out of the blue. I picked up the receiver to hear a young lady with a rather seductive voice asking to speak to me. That's unusual, I thought, for a Monday.

The aforementioned young lady proceeded to tell me that my bid in The Times Christmas Charity Auction for a day at the races with Alan Lee, The Times' racing correspondent, had won. Naturally I was flabbergasted.

Regular readers may remember my entry just before Christmas entitled 'What price a day at the races?' Well, I now know the answer; it's a little bit more than my wife is totally comfortable with.

I'm scheduled to be at Newbury on Saturday February 10th in the company of Alan Lee. I shall be taking copious notes from which in due course you, dear readers, will be able to profit.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Notes from Towcester

Glinton put up an excellent performance to carry top weight to victory in the first. The Racing Post's 'In running' column suggested Glinton relished a fight more than odds on shot Warne's Way and so it proved. The winner's better jump at the last sealed the issue.

Milton Des Bieffes completed his hat trick with victory in the second. Yvanovitch was booked to win this until landing steeply and unseating his rider at the second last. We'd bet Yvanovitch at 28/1 on course and could see the best part of £150 coming our way until that moment. To be fair, the horse put himself right, but that threw the balance of decent seven pound claimer David Cullinane. That's racing.

High jinks in the next when Woodview threw Jason Maguire in front of the stands on the way to post. The horse proceeded to gallop loose for approximately four furlongs before eventually being caught and remounted. In the race itself, he was the only threat to eventual winner Fisherman Jack. After jumping the last, Woodview lost his action completely which appeared to hand a simple victory to Fisherman Jack, only for that horse to bump into the running rail on the run in and nearly unseat his rider. Woodview would have gone close had he not broken loose in the preliminaries.

The three mile novice hurdle was a tactical affair with the race only really starting in earnest off the home turn. Jason Maguire on What A Scientist stole a march by getting first run on Richard Johnson and Evelith Forrest; that proved to be the decisive move. It's not that often you see traffic problems in a three mile novice hurdle with six runners but Richard Johnson managed to find a fair bit of trouble in getting his run together.

The sun was low in the sky by the time the beginners' chase was due off; this resulted in the fences in the home straight being omitted. Runners had to weave their way in and out of the hurdles course to avoid the fences. Esprit Saint looked a couple of lengths to the good inside the final furlong but Jamie Moore took Quirino onto the running rail and got him up to win by a head in the dying strides.

The final race with 18 runners had the look of a bookmakers' benefit; in the event it was anything but with favourite Tanzanite Dawn claiming a smooth victory at 9/4.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tomorrow at Towcester

I had intended to give you all a 10/1 winner at Ascot this Saturday but the weather intervened... Still, I have a place in a car going to Towcester tomorrow so, as a replacement for a 10/1 winner at Ascot, here's a few short priced disappointments for this meeting instead.

The 2.10 looks a poor race full of inconsistent sorts with only Milton Des Bieffes making any appeal and he's the selection. The Weekender touts top weight Yvanovitch as having an each way chance; if eight go to post he is of interest at 10/1 or more.

I saw Trading Up win impressively over course and distance in a similar race on similar ground in November; as the opposition is modest, he's taken to repeat the trick in the 2.40. The likely SP of 3/1 could be value.

I'll be looking to get Evelith Forrest beaten in the 3.10. Tom George's What A Scientist has the best chance of doing so but Coorbawn Vic may also be worth a small interest at a big price after showing improved form in his last race at Haydock.

The 3.40 looks a match between Quirino and Esprit Saint; I prefer the latter.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

John Smith's require rookie jockeys

John Smith's are on the lookout for 'no nonsense novices' to ride in an amateurs' charity horse race at the 2007 Grand National meeting in April.

Apparently full training will be given. Further details and an application form are available at http://www.johnsmiths.co.uk/promos/peoplesrace/index.htm

I've considered this one carefully; the thought of having to put up four and a half stone overweight means that on this occasion I will not be submitting an application.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gambling leads to ill health

Yesterday evening punters at a branch of Ladbrokes in Stratford Road, Birmingham, complained of suffering from sore throats and running eyes; one individual collapsed on the floor.

Ladbrokes staff, quite naturally, thought another odds on favourite had failed to oblige. On this occasion a faulty fire extinguisher proved to be the cause. Police sealed off the area and emergency services dealt with people on the pavement outside the shop. Rumours that on coming round one backer asked a medic what had won the 5.10 at Wolverhampton were apparently wide of the mark.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Warwick favourites

Six favourites from seven races won at Warwick last weekend. I wasn't on course on Saturday but I've attended a few National Hunt meetings there over the years; a few of us call it 'the favourites' course'.

As a general rule of thumb, when I go racing I'm looking for some value, a vulnerable favourite and something which has a realistic chance of turning over that vulnerable favourite. This approach has failed miserably at Warwick. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why I don't go there so much now, coupled with the fact that it's a treck from paddock to betting ring and the big hill in the middle of the track hinders viewing!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Warwick Classic Chase

Provided the course passes an early morning inspection, the totesport.com Classic Chase will be run tomorrow over 3 miles 5 furlongs on heavy ground at Warwick. Ten miles down the road in Coventry, the weather has been dry all day with a fairly strong wind blowing; there looks a better than even money chance the meeting will go ahead.

Two years ago I watched from the stands as Baron Windrush beat my selection D'argent in this race on similar ground. I'm banking on D'argent gaining compensation this time round.

Den Of Iniquity is fancied to take the concluding bumper.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Monkey business

I have been asked to make it clear that the current advertising campaign which features Johnny Vegas and the return of 'Monkey' is for the PG Tips tea brand and not this blog.

Still, it's good to see Monkey back again; he's been absent from our screens too long. Somebody has suggested CBBC's Nev is a Monkey lookalike - I'm not so sure.

If you haven't caught the advertisement yet, here's the link:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sandown's Tolworth Hurdle

A good start to the new year for some punters with 125/1 shot Tioga Gold going in at Southwell on Tuesday and a 100/1 winner at Lingfield on Thursday. Not such a good start to the year for the Betfair customer who laid Tioga Gold in running at 1,000/1 to the sum of £40.

The big race at Sandown tomorrow is the Tolworth Hurdle; only seven go to post but it looks a fascinating renewal of a race where the market has proved a decent guide over the years.

Charlie Mann's My Turn Now is the Racing Post's top rated horse but there will be many who feel Paul Nicholls' Silverburn has the scope for improvement. On a line through Tagula Blue there wouldn't be much between the two horses and at the tissue prices available today My Turn Now, who will handle the ground and is a course and distance winner, looks the value.

Paul Webber's De Soto wears a tongue strap which is off putting with the ground riding soft / heavy; clearly though this horse is a class performer held in high regard http://www.paulwebberracing.com/News.htm

Perce Rock comes over from Ireland, looks unexposed and, with McCoy on board, is respected, as is Astarador. A trappy race in which I'm going to side with Irish raider Perce Rock.

I take Pauillac to win the the 1.00 race while Preacher Boy's third in the Hennessy looks good form to take into the 3.45.