Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Is there anything to be gained backing ante post at this stage ?

Jim Mcgrath said on last Saturday's morning line that there was no point backing ante post on some races at Cheltenham as you just dont know what is going to run until the final declarations are provided 48 hours before.

Tom Segal, in today's Weekender, who is a lover of ante post bets, puts up David Pipe's Ballynagour as a good thing in whatever race he runs in but Ballynagour currently has a choice of 4 possible races - The Byrne Group Plate (best price 6/1), The Grand Annual (16/1), The Coral Cup (16/1) or The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle (16/1).
Okay if we get lucky and choose the right race we may get a few points extra but equally if we choose the wrong option then it's a point lost before we start.
When we make these ante post bets it is surely in the hope that the selections will win rather than place and when the festival is finally here nothing will have changed we will still be wanting that horse to win but more importantly we will then know exactly which race Ballynagour is in and we will also know exactly who the opposition is.
There's no point speculating, or backing everything in sight everytime someone says they know something, why not sit tight and wait until the night before and then get stuck in. The chances are the bookies will want to attract bets and will push the prices out again.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Lingfield - York Glory !

Some big jumps races taking place today here and in Ireland with trials for many of the leading contenders that will shake up the ante post markets in both the Gold Cup and Grand National.

However, although I will have an eye on Wyck Hill's performance at Kempton, I am looking at Lingfield today as there are a few sprint races on there.

A horse that was on my horses to follow list last season was York Glory and he didnt perform with much glory during the summer months, but having encountered the All Weather he has shown improved form.

On his course and distance form in November when he beat Swiss Cross by half a length, having travelled well, he has a big chance of dominating the race from the front under stable jockey Philip Makin with there being no other obvious runner to take him on for the lead. In that race he recorded a winning time of 1m 9.93s which is as good a time as we have seen here all season. The second, who was in form at the time, has since gone out of form having run a further 8 times.

Of course this is a Listed race and the competition is no push over and the favourite Farmleigh House also has very good all weather form and has travelled over from Ireland for this. He holds the course record for 6f at Dundalk but when he won here last time he ony recorded a time of 1m 10.13s when winning by a neck with Piscean running on well in third. Piscean also beat York Glory at Wolverhampton last time over 6f but the selection seemed to idle in front up the straight and Piscean had a clear run up the stands side with only 3 other runners in the field.

Piscean will love the pace today and will be flying late as is his want but he has never won over 6f here and if York Glory sets a similar pace to his win in November he could be difficult to pass - 11/4 Paddy Power, Bet Victor and Stan James - plus you could also put York Glory, Farmleigh House and Piscean in a tricast.

Good Luck

Monday, 18 February 2013

Cappa Bleu shows he's ready !

Cappa Bleu put up a good performance at Ascot on Saturday to show that he is ready to try and better his fourth place in last years Grand National. He had previously run second to Across The Bay at Carlisle in November and he also won over the weekend at Haydock in the Rendlesham Hurdle.

Evan Williams said about Cappa Bleu: "I'm very happy with the way he ran and we're delighted with him. He travelled quite beautifully, but we've probably blown up at the wrong stage of the race - fitness has probably caught him out between four from home and turning in - and then he's got his second breath.
"I'm delighted with the way he knuckled down after the second last and over the last, he ran to the line which was lovely to see."
"He will improve massively for that run, as I hope everybody can see. It was a three-mile race and we're running a four-and-a-half miler.
"He will come on and hopefully that will put him spot on for the Grand National. It's highly unlikely he'll go off our place again, I imagine we'll go straight there (to Aintree) but I wouldn't like to say that's set in stone."

Across The Bay however is not certain to run in the National even though connections are only down the road from the course in Lydiate being owned by The Scotch Piper Syndicate, named after the Lydiate pub.
The famous inn is the oldest pub in the historic Lancashire county boundaries and is frequented by the trio who comprise Across The Bay’s syndicate.
Co-owner Anthony Coyne told the Liverpool Echo after Saturdays race “It was a fantastic performance. He had his wind op straight after the Welsh National. He looked really good in the Welsh National all the way down the back straight second time around but Jason said he started gurgling and he might have pulled him up. But he felt the horse kept wanting to run, kept wanting to finish his race. So he nursed him and he still finished seventh. But Donald said he was working well at home, but we couldn’t be certain until he got out on the racecourse how he was going to perform after his wind op. But he kept on giving more every time he was challenged.
“We will leave it to Donald but hopefully we will head to Aintree.”

Haydock’s Betfred Grand National Trial featured just two with entries in the Aintree showpiece – the Rebecca Curtis-trained Teaforthree and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Viking Blond – although at 76th on the list the latter may struggle to make the cut for the big one.
The former showed up well for a long way before tiring in the testing conditions to eventually come 10th of the 11 finishers. Viking Blond was fifth.

As for news on Quito De La Roque Colm Murphy has said :
"At this moment I don't know if his next race will be the Gold Cup or the Grand National, for which he has got a very workable 11st 5lb. I will discuss this with his owners before any decisions are made, but he appears to be every bit as good as ever."

It's anyones guess were Grand National entry Katenko will run next as he has not been declared for Saturdays big race at Kempton, ducking a rematch against his last conqueror Wyck Hill.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Grand National Thoughts

Well the big race is fast approaching and it will be interesting to see what difference the start being moved makes, probably more than the jumps being watered down I would imagine as there is potential for a number of fallers at the first if someone doesnt get a grip.
Lets hope the jockeys, who after all set the pace of the race, think before they set off. This is their livelyhood aftre all and they dont need a load of own goals in the press which will only serve as another nail in the coffin for all in the National Hunt game.

Looking at the field for this years race there were three 12 year olds at the top of the handicap before Tidal Bay came out and of those left you wouldnt be confident that either Albertas Run, Imperial Commander, Quito De La Roque or What A Friend will run which could mean that the weights would be raised by 6lb which would then bring 20+ horses to 11 stone or over which the last 4 winners have carried.

One sire who has had a big influence in the race of late is Old Vic as his record below shows :
2012 - Sunnyhillboy 2nd (btn a nose) (142)
2011 - Dont Push It 3rd (160)
2010 - Dont Push It 1st, (154) and Black Apalachi 2nd (153)
2009 - Comply Or Die 2nd (154)
2008 - Comply Or Die 1st (139)

This year there are only two by Old Vic in the entries for the race, last years second Sunnyhillboy (152) and the Becher Chase second Join Together (150), but the latter has to cope with the statistic that no 8yo has won in the last 10 years from 61 runners.

There were three or four races yesterday that will have a bearing on the race and I will review those later on in the week.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Win Number 23 !

Black Caviar stretched her unbeaten sequence to 23 at Flemington this morning and The Australian Sport summed it up as follows.

In the Black Caviar Lightning, named in her honour and which she won for the third successsive year - the only horse to do so since the race's inception in 1955 - the world-renowned sprinter cruised to victory oover stable mates Moment Of Change and Golden Archer before 27,046 fans on-course.
Another set of numbers, 55.42, gained significance. Black Caviar ran the 1000 metres in 55.42 seconds and broke the track record that has belonged to Special for the past 25 years.
In hot conditions and in effortless fashion, Black Caviar ran 800-600m in 10.37 seconds, 600-400m in 10.21 seconds, 400-200m in 10.17 seconds and 200m-winnning post iin 11.05 seconds.

“Shit. It's good to have her back,” Moody said with a tear in his eye.
“I said to my girls that it was the first time I'd been nervous in a long time. I suppose it was the seven-month break.
“We thought it was over, but to comeback, do that and run a record. Crikey, I'm lost for words.
“I'm just so proud of her.”
Before the race, while not comparing him to Black Caviar, Moody told Moment Of Change's owners that he was the heir apparent to the title of “the stable's best horse.”
Black Caviar won officially by 2-1/2 lengths but was four in front when she began to throttle down under jockey Luke Nolen, who was mindful of keeping her going to the line in a fashion that left nobody to to question whether he “dropped his hands” as was the case in her last stand win in the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot last June.
When Black Caviar ran the wind had swung around to the south so was coming into her left flank at right angles, not a tail wind according to the racecurse weather station
Moody paid tribute to the owners for sharing Black Caviar with the people. The owner group had on entourage of 170 people in the Skyline Restaurant, made up of family and close friends to witness a success they wondered if they would ever savour after the mare was injured in the Diamond Jubiilee Stakes at Royal Ascoot last June - not to mention being stung by a swarm of bees while in quarantine.
Moody will discuss Black Caviar's racing future in the next couple of days, but this afternoon he just wanted to enjoy it.
It was the first time jockey and his wife Alicia had brought their children Dane and Kailey to cheer the horse known arounnd the stable as “Nelly” on.
Nolen said Black Caviar felt the heat, but when he gave her a squeeze and shook the reins she ran through the line.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Anyone for Caviar ?

BLACK CAVIAR may race for at least another year, and trainer Peter Moody predicts the six-year-old's unbeaten string of wins could stretch to 30.
Moody has said that Black Caviar is in the best shape of her career and probably only now has reached her full physical maturity.
Looking ahead to this weekends Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington Moody told "She's done super and I'll be disappointed if she gets beat.You saw her at Caulfield, I don't think she has presented any better than that for a long time.
At the end of her last preparation she was cranky, swishing her tail and getting her head on the side. It was the Black Caviar of old (at Caulfield) back to win 17 or 18 and gave me a real positive to go back to the races with her.''

She is set to be joined by stablemates Moment Of Change and Golden Archer with a $1 million TAB bonus is on offer to the winner if they can go on and land the Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate and then the Lexus Newmarket Handicap.

Moody, however, doesn't expect them to trouble his stable star.
''I'm not kidding myself thinking they can trouble their stablemate but I expect them to run very well and be competitive,'' he added.

It will certainly be a race to tune into to savour the best flat racehorse on the planet at the moment.

Handicappers reaction to Super Saturday

The Handicapper today revealed his finding on his blog page as follows :

12th February 2012 - SUPER SATURDAYNewbury’s card billed as Super Saturday certainly lived up to its name. My Tent Or Yours stamped himself as one of the very best novices of recent years as he blew the feature Betfair Hurdle apart, and the also-progressive Silviniaco Conti completed his unbeaten Gold Cup preparation with another solid display. Throw the Irish Hennessy into the mix and it was a weekend full of Cheltenham clues. Here’s what our team made of it all.

I was impressed with Silviniaco Conti at Newbury on Saturday in the Betfair Denman Chase, writes Phil Smith.

In the last year his performances have been 144, 156, 168, 172, and on Saturday I have him running to 175. The chances are that he will have to improve again to win this year’s Gold Cup as Bobs Worth is moving in a similar direction - he has run to 148, 160 and 171 on his last three outings. Don’t forget Long Run either as after a 163 blip in last year’s Gold Cup he has recovered with efforts of 168 and 172 this season.

What I liked about Silviniaco Conti was his staying power because Saturday’s race was run at a fierce pace. The ex-French Mail De Bievre set a scorching gallop until his stamina gave way and the time was just under sixteen seconds faster than that of Unioniste in the novice chase later on the card. That equates to more than 60 lengths on the prevailing soft ground.

Compare that to Sir Des Champs (who I had running to 171) whose Leopardstown win was only around four seconds faster than the hunter chase later on in the day won by Salsify. Admittedly Salsify won last year’s Foxhunter at Cheltenham but his rating is only 137.

At Warwick Godsmejudge continues to progress as a novice. His performances have been 92, 128, 134 and now 139. As novices go he is pretty experienced and streetwise as on his previous run he had finished second in the Betfred Classic at Warwick against older staying handicappers, finishing just in front of this year’s Hunt Ball, Pete The Feat.

Meanwhile another noteworthy performance came from Ruben Cotter who ran to 139 on his chasing debut at Doncaster, beating a solid performer in Vintage Star (137).
The loss of Darlan last Monday was a tragedy for all involved with the horse, writes David Dickinson.

It was a tragedy for all true Jump Racing fans as well. Few of us are in a position to miss seeing his head peering out of his box every morning but the loss of untapped potential is something that always touches a nerve. Names like Golden Cygnet and Killiney are still mentioned with both admiration and sadness. Just what would they have achieved? Now we sadly add Darlan’s name to that list.

Racing didn’t take long to answer back though. Running off a mark of 149, Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle didn’t look a straightforward task for the handicap debutant My Tent Or Yours, representing Darlan’s connections. Not only did he win, he did so with so much authority that there are now single figure Champion Hurdle quotes for the novice. He would need to be supplemented to go down that route.

There are holes that can be picked in Saturday’s race. There was no obvious front runner so the steady pace saw the field stacked up tightly to the home turn. Leaving the rail behind on the run to three out, the pace appeared to be quickened markedly by those at the head of affairs and those racing off it were left at a sizeable disadvantage. That said it would be hard to fault the manner of My Tent Or Yours’ success.

As a race, it was surprisingly easy to rate. The winner was running in his first handicap, the second was having his first run over the trip, the third was unbeaten and the fourth had only been beaten once in five hurdle starts, recording very much a career best on his most recent one. Fifth home was the admirable Ladbroke runner-up Petit Robin, who I have used as my marker horse. True, his Ascot conqueror Cause of Causes ran no race on Saturday but the Ladbroke form had already been franked by Double Ross and the aforementioned Cause of Causes, who beat Midnight Game at Naas in January.

Using Petit Robin as the marker, Dark Lover goes up 2lb to 150, Swing Bowler is up 4lb to 138, Cotton Mill is up 5lb to 150 and My Tent Or Yours goes up 13lb to 162 - I called the five-length margin 8lb to reflect his having more in hand. If this rating is confirmed at the end of the season he will be the highest rated 2m novice hurdler during my tenure. The last novice hurdler with a higher rating was Iris’s Gift, who earned a mark of 167 when beaten narrowly by Baracouda in the 2003 Stayers’ Hurdle.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Come on, hand it over !

The 3.35 at Doncaster tomorrow sees the progressive Handtheprizeover return to the track after pulling up last time out and be reunited with Killan Moore.
That Kempton race was said to have come to soon, according to his trainer Ben Case, and the selection may be able to get back on the winning trail here over 3 miles on soft which should pose no problems for him with his latest win being over the same course, distance and going when winning with something in hand.
If you can get 14/1 with Bet365 then you will have done well as that is an attractive ew price.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Ooh you are awful, but I like you !

A great catch phrase of well known comic Dick Emery in the seventies points us to this weeks selection Tanerko Emery in the 2.05 at Ffos Las the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle (Limited Handicap) over 2m 4f.

Tanerko Emery goes from strength-to-strength and revels in heavy ground. In the ownership of Ffos Las supremo Dai Walters, he's on the up and takes a step up in class here.
David Pipe says in todays RP column :
"He's no Oscar Whiskey but it's a handicap now and he's done nothing wrong this season winning 3 times. He's clearly improving, won't mind the ground and should be suited by the step up in trip. This has been the plan since his last run as it was an obvious race for him and were at the right end of the handicap"

The favourite is Oscara Dara who has to concede a stone and 5lbs to the improving Pipe horse.