2017 Winners and Results
Below is a list of our winners in this calendar year so far. We also have many E/W bets but only the winners are included below.
MATTMU 25/1 Paddy Power and Sky Bet (5 Places) – 0.5 POINTS E/W
2:25 Arqana July Stakes
CARDSHARP is a huge price at 12/1. He did nothing wrong at Royal Ascot in finishing 3rd in the Norfolk Stakes behind Sioux Nation and Santry. He even run on the wrong side of the course and still finished like a train. This step up in trip should bring out further improvement as he was running on fast on his last start. CARDSHARP just seems a horse who is going in the right direction and although his recent form has been over 5f his breeding suggests he needs further. I have seen worse 12/1 shots around. E/W. WON 8/1
ASHPAN SAM looks a great bet at 10/1 especially at Epsom where he has won twice in the past. He looks handicapped to win and is now rated 83 by the handicapper. This is his lowest handicap mark in 4 years. He meets quite few of these on much better terms at the weights and I have seen worse 10/1 shots. E/W. WON 8/1
Only a 4 horse race but surely TITI MAKFI is a great bet at 5/2. The Mark Johnston trained horse is unbeaten this year and is improving fast. He has a tough race against a good horse in White Chocolate but for me TITI MAKFI has been just as impressive. He travels through his races easily enough and is going in the right direction. WIN. WON 7/4
Royal Ascot Lucky 15
3:40 Kings Stand Stakes – Tuesday – LADY AURELIA – 3/1
4:20 St James’s Palace Stakes – Tuesday – BARNEY ROY – 9/4
3:40 Commonwealth Cup – Friday – CARAVAGGIO – EVENS
4:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes – Saturday – LIMATO – 9/2
0.20 POINTS LUCKY 15 – TOTAL = 3.0 POINTS
3 from 4 selections won returning over 10 points profit
3:40 Hardwicke Stakes
The Queen’s horse Dartmouth is a strong favourite here at 7/4 but this is a tough race. At that price I am happy to take him on with IDAHO at 6/1. He was the winner of the Voltigeur Stakes at York last year after finishing 4th the Epsom Derby. For some people his only run of this season would be a concern as IDAHO could only manage 6th of 10 behind Highland Reel. It is not a concern for me as I think it was a prep run for this race. They were just running him to get him spot on for this. IDAHO was also sent off 5/6 for last years St Leger. He is a proper Group 1 horse in my opinion running in a Group 2 here. He is only a 4 year old so has the ability to progress and I can see further improvement coming this year now he is fully developed. The ground will be perfect and don’t think he will be out of the first 3. E/W. WON 9/2
3:05 King Edward Stakes
Once again the bookies are not giving PERMIAN any respect. They have Crystal Ocean in at 5/2 favourite and PERMIAN AT 7/1. PERMIAN has already beaten Crystal Ocean so I don’t think there should be much between them in market. PERMIAN disappointed in the Derby but I can forgive that run as it was a strange race. The return to a flatter track will be appreciated and I think we will see the same horse who won the Dante Stakes in May. I think the price of 7/1 is fantastic if you can forgive his run in the derby. E/W. WON 7/1
3:40 Commonwealth Cup
My NAP of the festival was Lady Aurelia yesterday but my BANKER of the festival is CARAVAGGIO. I think this horse should be around the 4/6 mark so I am happy to play at evens. You may even get a price push to 5/4 the morning of the race. CARAVAGGIO is simply a machine and is reported at home to be the fastest horse they have ever trained breaking all sorts of records. CARAVAGGIO is unbeaten in 5 starts and won at Royal Ascot last season. He returned at Naas last month and was as impressive as ever. Considering it was the horses first start since August last year to win in the style he did showed us he still retains all his ability. I think we could see the course record go tomorrow as this is going to be run at a very fast pace. CARAVAGGIO is going to get my only 3 POINT bet of the festival. WIN. WON 10/11
4:20 Gold Cup
Order Of St George is the odds on favourite here and you have to respect him on last years win. He does sometimes put in an odd performance and he showed this last year when getting beat by Wicklow Brave the Curragh. I think he is there to be shot at and one of the vulnerable odds on shots of the week. I think he is more effective with cut in the ground and this very fast ground could play into the hands of BIG ORANGE at 8/1.
This will be his first attempt beyond 2 miles but I don’t think he will have any problems staying. BIG ORANGE needs fast ground to be seen at his best and is actually unbeaten on ground described as Good To Firm. His last start was a month ago when winning at Sandown. It was a nice prep run for this race. He is a very tough horse and is hard to get past, I think he has all the attributes needed to win this gruelling race. For me everything is perfect for him, he has one question mark about the trip but if anything I think he could appreciate the step up in trip. E/W. WON 5/1
All about QEMAH in this race for me. I respect Laugh Aloud but she will need to improve again. QEMAH has been trained to the minute for this race. She had her first start of the season at Lingfield in May and she wasn’t fit that day. She came home 2nd but wasn’t fully tuned. It is has been all about one race for her. QEMAH was a winner at Royal Ascot last season when winning the Group 1 Coronation Stakes. She had horses like Nemoralia and Alice Springs in behind her and she won with ease. She clearly likes it around here and with this being a Group 2 she is down in class compared to last year. I think she should be favourite and at 3/1 I am happy to get involved. WIN. WON 5/2
3:40 King’s Stand Stakes
My NAP of Royal Ascot LADY AURELIA. She is going to take some beating and to top it all off she gets weight off the whole field. She was exceptional at last years Royal Ascot winning by 7 lengths. She went from the front and showed speed I have never seen from a horse. Her next 2 starts were over 6f which were against her and now back to 5f you will see a devastating performance. LADY AURELIA made her first start as a 3 year old at Keeneland in April and won as she liked. She had training on the course at Ascot last week with Wesley Wards other horses and Ryan Moore was glowing with her. Frankie Vettori takes the ride in the race but Ryan Moore would do anything to ride her. I am really confident she will go close in this race and just can’t wait to see her run. WIN. WON 7/2
4:20 St James’s Palace Stakes
When Churchill and BARNEY ROY clashed in the 2000 Guineas I was all over Churchill. This time around I am firmly in the BARNEY ROY camp. He finished 2nd in the 2000 Guineas going down by 1 length but lacked experience and even stumbled coming into the dip at Newmarket. Considering he was inexperienced and stumbled it was a fair effort to only get beat by 1 length. A flat track like Ascot will be just what BARNEY ROY needs. He will relish the course in my opinion. He has not been seen since the 2000 guineas and I think that decision by trainer Richard Hannon will pay dividends here. He has slowly let him mature and recover from his last race and will be spot on for the task ahead. Where I think we have seen the best of Churchill, BARNEY ROY is a horse who has so much improvement WIN. WON 5/2
GEORGE BOWEN will surely go close in this race. He is now down to his lowest handicap mark in over 2 years and if he is going to get back to winning ways, then this is the race. His last start came at Epsom where he ran a fair race to finish 3rd of 16 in a more competitive race than todays. GEORGE BOWEN stays on the same handicap mark of 86 and with this probably being the easiest race he has run in for some time, I would be surprised if he is not involved in the finish. I actually make him around the 3/1 mark so we are ahead of the traders at 4/1. WIN. WON 2/1
The queens horse MERLIN looks very well treated on a handicap mark of 79 on his handicap debut. He was gelded back in February and has thrived in 2 starts so far this season. His last start was a win in a maiden at Nottingham where he won easily. I this son of Oasis Dream is going to take all the beating. WIN. WON 4/1
MUTHMIR won this race in 2015 and I think he has a great chance of following that up again. This is probably a weaker race than the one he won in 2015 and although he is not as good as he once was, he won’t need to be either. On his day he is very good and he has benefitted from 2 runs this season. MUTHMIR will come here a fit a horse and I am happy to get involved at 5/1. WIN. WON 9/2
SOVEREIGN DEBT is a lovely price at 13/2. I think he should be fighting for favouritism following his last 2 successes at Lingfield and Sandown. His last win came in the Group 2 Bet 365 Mile and it was a very good performance. SOVEREIGN DEBT looks better than he has ever looked and although he has to carry a penalty, I think he will be hard to beat. This race is a Group 3 and so he is coming down in class. He run in this race last year and was sent off 4/1 yet he is a better horse this year and is a bigger price. I also think last years race was better than this year. You only got to look at the 2nd Decorated Knight last year, he went and won a Group 1 at the Curragh last weekend. I have watched last years race back and unusually SOVEREIGN DEBT sat at the back of the field. He was travelling as good as anything but on two occasions the gaps closed on him and he was forced to come wide. The ship had already sailed by this point and he plugged on to take 4th. I imagine he will be ridden up with the pace this time around and he will have no traffic problems. After David Nicholls retired from training SOVEREIGN DEBT was sent to Ruth Carr who he has run 3 times for. His form reads 311 for Ruth Carr and it looks like she has found improvement in the horse at the ripe old age of 8. I am confident this horse will be involved at the finish. E/W. WON 4/1
I was seriously impressed with how DE BRUYNE HORSE stretched away from the field on his last start at Ripon last week. It was a massive improvement on his debut where he was very green and came home 5th of 6 to Way Of Wisdom over 5f. DE BRUYNE HORSE turned the tables on Way Of Wisdom at Ripon and not only turned the tables but annihilated him by 7 lengths. The 3rd was a further 5 lengths back so the gap between 1st and 3rd was 12 lengths. This is a horse who is clearly improving fast and the step up to 6f last time was clearly what the horse needed. We also have champion jockey Ryan Moore on board which will only help the horse improve further.
DE BRUYNE horse is going to very hard to beat and I think he should be closer to odds on. I am happy to play at 6/4 and confident we get the day off to a good start. WIN. WON 13/8
Before the prices were released this was a watching race for me as I wanted to see how short MORI would open up. To my surprise she has opened up 5/2 and the other Abdullah horse Icespire is the favourite. Both horses are by Frankel but in my opinion you would have to say MORI breeding is better as the Dam is multiple Group 1 winner Midday. Put it this way a Frankel and Midday progeny has the ability to be a very special horse and I think MORI could turn out to be very good and keep improving with every run. She made her debut a month ago where she disappointed but it was on her last start where she got off the winning mark. Ideally you probably would have wanted to see more from a horse bred as good as this but to me she looks the type who will just keep improving. I am confident she can get the better of the favourite. WON 15/8
I have gone through the field in fine detail and I keep coming back to the same horse in HAWKBILL. Across The Stars is the favourite but has not run for 276 days. Midterm is overrated in my opinion, Dreamboat is a nearly horse and Chemical Charge I just haven’t got a strong opinion. That leaves HAWKBILL who stands out a mile particularly on the soft ground at 4/1. He has a recent run when finishing a fair 5th in Group 1 in France just 18 days ago. He was only beaten 3 lengths to a very good horse in Cloth Of Stars. That run would’ve put him spot on for this test. You just through his form and it is Group 1 after Group 1, running against the likes of Postponed, Almanzor and beating the likes of The Gurkha when winning the Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown last July. It was a great performance to beat The Gurkha and it was on soft ground. HAWKBILL also won the Tercentenary Stakes on soft ground at Royal Ascot. He has run once over todays distance of 1m 4f when a decent 3rd over in Germany. A season on I think this is his trip, this is his ground and as far as I am concerned, this is the winner. WIN. WON 3/1
My NAP of the Dante meeting. First of all I already eliminated 70% of field based on the soft ground so the ground has done more than half the job for me. My nap of the Dante Fesitval is MAIN DESIRE who is a very good bet at 7/2. Because I have already taken out 70% of the field I make her a 6/4 chance against the other 30% I have left in it. I was really impressed with her win last time out when winning at Nottingham. She won as easy as you like and had so much left in the tank. She is by High Chaparral so the ground will be no problem whatsoever and I think this horse is going to turn into a very smart horse. WIN. WON 4/1
All eyes will be on Cracksman here but for me the value surely lies with PERMIAN at a huge 14/1. Why on earth is he that price when he was only beating by the shortest of heads against Cracksman last time out. Ok Cracksman is going to improve but so will Permian. In fact PERMIAN has already had another run since the pair met at Epsom at the end of April. PERMIAN went to Newmarket 10 days after and absolutely bolted up by 4 lengths. In my opinion that run would’ve improved him ever further and I see no reason why he won’t give Cracksman another run for his money. I have watched the replay numerous times when the pair met at Epsom and PERMIAN was travelling better that Cracksman the whole way around but just got touched off on the line. Cracksman 5/2 and Permian 14/1 makes no sense at all when the pair can’t really be split. Huge value available here as long as the ground is not a problem. I don’t imagine it will be as he is by Teofilo who’s horses generally handle cut in the ground. E/W. WON 10/1
I always go through the David O’Meara runners to see if I can spot anything particularly at York as he is normally up to something. The horse who stands out is a horse called AL QAHWA who recently came over from Ireland from Mick Halfords yard. You may recall at the start of the season David O’Meara winning the Lincoln with Bravery. Bravery was having his first run for David O’Meara from Aiden O’Brien and dropped him in trip which brought out improvement. He is doing the same with AL QAHWA here who was running over 1m on his last 2 starts in Ireland last season. He is now back down to 6f and making his handicap debut. He is only a 4 year old who was gelded at the end of last season and for David O’Meara to bring a 4 year old to this race to have his handicap, debut they must fancy him. His form last season was half decent behind some horses who are now rated 105+. This makes the mark of 94 look workable especially with improvement to come from 3 – 4 year old. Shelly Birkett takes the ride and she will be claiming a further 3lb. AL QAHWA will carry a lovely weight of 8st 10lb. E/W. WON 25/1
I can’t have DEAUVILLE (13/8) beat here and I think he should be closer to odds on. He put in a terrific performance to go down by a length last time out. The winner that day was Ulysees who is highly rated and DEAUVILLE got within a length. He had another of todays runners Royal Artillery back in 4th that day, and finished 4 lengths in front of him. This is a very good horse who looks to have improved this season as a 4 year old and will be very hard to beat. The track should also suit his style of racing. WIN. WON 6/4
The draw is so important in these sprints at Chester and I have gone with 2 horses who are drawn in stall 1 and 3.
First up we have EL ASTRONAUTE at 9/2 who comes from Stall 1. His form at Chester reads 212 with his last run at Chester being at this meeting last year. That day he chased home the decent Kachy. Everytime he has run at Chester he has broke well and been prominent and from the plum draw should have no problem in doing so again. EL ASTRONAUTE comes here on the back of a win at Newmarket last month so we know he will line up a fit horse. He has everything in his favour and I expect a big run. WIN. WON 2/1
I really fancy the chances of SOMEHOW here and I am happy with the 11/4 available. I actually think she should be a bit shorter around the 9/4 mark. She is a classy horse who was a 3 time winner last season over trips ranging from 1m 1f – 1m 4f. SOMEHOW does get further but I think she showed her better form over todays trip of 1m 1f last season. She also backed this up with a win at Gowran Park only last week over the same trip. She has had 2 starts this season and will come into this race a very fit horse. She takes all the beating and will go very very close. WIN. WON 13/8
I am sick to death of hearing this week that CHURCHILL ”may not have trained on”. First of all these so called ‘experts’ need to stop clinging on to the fact Air Force Blue didn’t train on last year. Do a bit of research, the breeding could not be any different. Air Force Blue is by War Front who does well with 2 year olds and CHURCHILL is by Galileo who horses 90% of the time will improve from 2 – 3. Next up go back 10 years and see all the Aiden O’Brien horses who have trained on and won this very race. I will list them, Gleneagles, Camelot, Henrythenavigator, George Washington, Footstepsinthesand even Austrailia who placed. These were all ‘talking horses’ who delivered in this race. Nearly all his horses train on, especially the classy types like CHURCHILL. Sorry for the rant but I am fed up of hearing it this week. People trying to make excuses of why they can’t have the horse instead of just saying he has done nothing wrong but the is not for me.
Well I tell you something the price is certainly for me at 11/8 as I think he should be 4/7 and a similar price to what Frankel was when he won the race. My reasoning? Both horses coming into this race were experienced. Both horses won the Dewhurst at this very track.
In a guineas horse, course form is a huge clue and we know CHURCHILL relished the dip. Newmarket suits a well balanced horse and the course will catch half of these inexperienced types out. You also need a horse who stays that bit further and CHURCHILL certainly does that. He has only ever run over 7f and is crying out for a step up in trip. He remains unbeaten and that includes wins in 4 Groups races, 2 of which were Group 1s.
I am not writing off the other horses as they could improve but what is the point in taking 7/2 about Barney Roy who needs to improve massively on what he has done so far. He could improve but you are guessing. You might aswell take the 11/8 about CHURCHILL who is literally bullet proof and should be 4/7 as I said.
The field has it all to do here and I think CHURCHILL is going to turn out to be something special. WIN. WON 6/4
BLUE POINT should win this with ease. He is easily the best horse in the race in my opinion and should turn out to be a smashing 3 year old. He was very good as a 2 year old but still had lots of maturing to do. With a winter behind him he literally has the world at his feet. BLUE POINT won the Gimcrack Stakes at York last season and then finished 3rd to Churchill in the Dewhurst at Newmarket over 7 furlongs. He is back down to 6 furlongs for this race and I think that is his trip after showing all his form over the trip last season. As long as he has trained on as I expect he has, he should bolt up. WON 7/4
WOODLAND OPERA (6/1) will no doubt have been lined up for this race by Jessica Harrington ever since winning at the Punchestown Festival last year. The key to this horse is the ground, he simply needs good ground to be seen at his best. All season he has been running on ground described as soft or heavy and this will be the first time he has encountered better ground all season. Although he dislikes the ground WOODLAND OPERA did come away a winner at Fairyhouse at the start of the month which would’ve put him spot on for today. We have Robbie Power on board who can simply do no wrong at the moment and this horse has to go close. WON 11/4
The bet for me here is DON’T TOUCH IT. Mark Walsh takes the ride and this horse will surely be involved. He was a winner 3 starts ago at Thurles and has finished 2nd on his last two outings behind Great Field and Hurricane Ben. Hurricane Ben is also a runner here today but DON’T TOUCH IT is 8lb better off at the weights today. I think that is what will be the difference and he will be hard to beat. WIN. WON 4/1
UNOWHATIMEANHARRY is a lovely price at 5/1 in my eyes. This horse was everyones banker at Cheltenham and was sent off evens for the World Hurdle. One loss don’t make you a bad horse. He has been electric all season and is still a very good horse. He has to reverse the placings with Nichols Canyon at Cheltenham but I think he is moe than capable of doing so. I don’t think UNOWHATIMEANHARRY was quite right at the festival and the 6 weeks break is enough to put him right for todays race. Overpriced at 5/1. E/W. WON 5/1
We were on HENRYVILLE last time out in the Topham Chase at Aintree. He came home 8th that day but run in to all sorts of traffic that day while trying to come from the back. Again the smaller field will play to his strengths and the ground will be perfect for him. He is on a handicap mark of 140 which I think is very winnable off. It was only this time last year he was rated 148 and finishing 4th to Zabana in a Grade 1 Chase in Punchestown. He has run well at Cheltenham in the past and the price of 9/1 looks decent value. E/W. WON 7/1
AUGUSTA KATE is simply overpriced at 8/1. I respect the favourite Let’s Dance and she will be very hard to beat but no way should she be 8/11 and AUGUSTA KATE 8/1. The bookies are simply dismissing our selection which is silly if you ask me. AUGUSTA KATE has been running against the boys this year so now against her own sex she should find things a bit easier. She was giving Death Duty a run for his money before falling at the last hurdle and then run a sound enough race at the Cheltenham Festival finishing 6th of 15. A step down in trip will be appreciated and 8/1 screams value. WON 8/1
3:05 Newton Abbot
FOX APPEAL is a decent bet and is overpriced at 6/1 in my opinion. This is based on a horse called Orbasa who ran in the same race as FOX APPEAL back in January. Both horses were sent off 4/1 joint favourite. FOX APPEAL fell when still in with a chance in that race while Orbasa came 2nd. Orbasa then disappointed on his next start and I see no reason why he should be 5/2 and FOX APPEAL 13/2. This is a step down in class for our selection and I believe he is overpriced. E/W. WON 3/1
SOVEREIGN DEBT was 2nd in this race last year and sent off 11/4. He is 7/1 this year and I think he is decent value. Now trained by Ruth Carr this horse is very consistent. On the all weather he has only finished outside the first 3 on 1 occasion. His form at Lingfield reads well even if he hasn’t won. It reads 2322 and I think a win could be on the cards. He comes here in form after finishing 3rd to Absolute Blast which is decent considering that horse finished 3rd in the Winter Derby. E/W. WON 8/1
2:25 Betway Mersey Novices Hurdle
Here it is my NAP of Aintree in the form of FINIANS OSCAR. I love this horse and I was all over him for the Cheltenham Festival. He was pulled out the Saturday before with a small setback and I was gutted as I was so confident he would win. Nothing has changed my mind I think this horse will go on and be something special especially when jumping a fence next season. He has done nothing wrong since joining Colin Tizzard and is unbeaten in 3 starts. He won the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle over 2 miles and is was always a step up in trip which was going to bring the best out of the horse. Alan Potts paid big money for this horse at £250k and I am as confident as they come especially with Tizzard horses running well. He had 1 winner with Pingshou today for the same owner. WIN. WON 3/1 (3 POINT WIN MAX BET)
3:25 Betway Aintree Hurdle
Buveur D’Air is going to be very hard to beat and I think he will win but I am happy to bet in the WITHOUT Buveur D’Air market. The horse to be on is MY TENT OR YOURS who finished 2nd to the favourite at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle.
MY TENT OR YOURS did the same last year when 2nd to Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle and then went for this race and finished 2nd to Annie Power again. At 7/2 he is a great bet to finish 2nd and even if he did upset the favourite and wins we still get a win but we are covering ourselves by betting without. MY TENT OR YOURS is a really good horse but often finds one horse too good in the shape of Annie Power or Buveur D’Air. He is simply a place machine or should I say a 2nd placed machine. The list of races where he has come 2nd is long. He has finished 2nd in the Supreme Novice Hurdle, finished 2nd in 3 Champion Hurdles and 2nd in this last year. At Cheltenham he showed he is as good as ever with a very game display.
The key to MY TENT OR YOURS is the ground, the quicker the better. The ground is described as good tomorrow which will bring out the best in him. I am confident this horse will be staying on to at least finish 2nd and could give the favourite a lot to think about. I want to play it safe though as profit is what we are after. WIN. CAME 2nd – 7/2 WINNER
DELL ARCA is lurking dangerously low in the handicap on a mark of 135 and I simply can’t ignore him on that mark and available at odds of 16/1. This horse is a very good horse on his day but also frustrating. If he puts together he is a world beater but he rarely does but saying that he has been high in the handicap and his new mark could be all the difference. We also have claimer David Noonan claiming 3lb so he actually runs off a mark of 132. Hs last run came at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished down the field but todays race is not half as hot but he is still available at huge odds of 16/1. As stated previously they are simply to big to ignore. E/W. WON 11/1
I am going to side with MR CLARKSON at the prices at 9/2 as he has already beaten todays favourite Crackdeloust the last time they met. I know the favourite has a huge pull at the weights but at the same time I think MR CLARKSON will be a much better horse on todays better ground. He is by Jeremy who was a flat horse trained my Sir Michael Stoute. All his decent form was on a sounder surface. MR CLARKSON has had 5 starts for David Pipe all of which have been on softer ground. I am interested to see the improvement to come now having his first start on ground described as good under rules. MR CLARKSON was also a decent 2nd to Finians Oscar in a point to point and that horse is unbeaten for Colin Tizzard and was purchased by Alan Potts for £250k. At 9/2 I am happy to bet MR CLARKSON. WIN. WON 6/1
I think REIGNING SUPREME has the raw ability to win this especially now running on better ground for the first time. He was an impressive winner on his debut and was then sent off evens for his 2nd start. He disappointed that day but it was on Heavy Ground. REIGNING SUPREME is the son of Presenting who’s horses always need better ground to be seen at their best. He gets the ground today and he should not be far away at odds of 9/4, WIN. WON 7/4
March 17th – Cheltenham Day 4
TRIUMPH – Some gamble going on Charlie Parcs who is down from 10/1 at the start of the into 7/2. I can see further money coming for him but for me I am happy to take him on with DEFI DE SEUIL who I have been banging on about all season. I rate this horse highly and he is all class. I have said all week Cheltenham form is everything and DEFI DE SEUIL is a horse who has been to Cheltenham 3 times this season and won 3 times. What more do you want when you are looking for the winner of the Triumph. Literally in all 5 starts this season he has been impressive and you could argue that he should be shorter in the betting. I am going into this race fairly confident as I believe he could potentially be a Champion Hurdle contender next season. WIN. WON 9/4
COUNTY HURDLE – My 2nd selection is ARCTIC FIRE who is absolutely huge at 25/1. He has been to the Cheltenham Festival twice in 2014 and 2015 finishing 2nd both times. One was in this very race 3 years ago and the other was when he was an excellent 2nd to Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle in 2015. This is a proper Grade 1 horse who is a force to be reckoned with on his day. The horse has not been seen at a course since January 2016 so has been off for over a year. For some people this is a concern but we go back to my write up on Tuesday in the Mares Hurdle. I stated then that Willie Mullins is a master at getting horse back from an injury and they are always 100%. Limini was used as the example that day and my point was the reason Limini beat Apples Jade was the fact the horse was 100% because if she wasn’t then further damage was on the cards. Now I am using the same scenario but this time it is to my benefits with ARCTIC FIRE. At the end of the day this horse finished 2nd to Faugheen in a Champion Hurdle and was good enough to run in that race this year. The fact Willie Mullins is happy to let the horse contest a handicap and isn’t bothered about using a claimer. He is happy for jockey Paul Townend to ride the horse carrying top weight who has a good relationship with the horse. The key to ARCTIC FIRE is the ground, the better the ground the better he will run. The ground will be pretty quick tomorrow and he is also a very slick jumper. A smashing bet at 25/1. E/W. WON 25/1
March 16th – Cheltenham Day 3
PERTEMPS – PRESENTING PERCY is a horse I have had my eye on of this race since winning at firehouse a couple of weeks ago. Everything seemed to click for him and he has so much improvement in him. I honestly think this horse could potentially be very good and the booking of Davy Russell is a huge bonus. The way he won his race at Fairyhouse puts him in pole position and I would be surprised if he didn’t make the frame. E/W. WON 10/1
RYANAIR – Willie Mullins will be doing everything he can to make sure Michael O’Leary doesn’t win this race after the falling out they had over the summer and all the Ryanair horse were moved to different yards. Michael O’Leary has never won the race he sponsors and he is chomping at the bit to do so. Unfortunately he doesn’t own a horse as good UN DES SCEAUX who I think will be going off as short as 6/4 on the day. He is all class and although the ground is slightly against him he has no Sprinter Sacre in front of him this season. You cant knock him really, he won the Arkle in 2015 sent off 4/6 fav and was then 2nd to Sprinter Sacre when sent off 4/6 again. This year he has won both his starts at Sandown and at Cheltenham and done it easily enough. His Cheltenham form now reads 121 so it is not like he dislikes the course. He is 5/2 for this race this year and I think he should be shorter. He is head and shoulders above these and ultimately has done nothing wrong this season. WIN. WON 11/4
MARES NOVICE HURDLE – LETS DANCE is a novice who simply is not a novice in reality as this is her 2nd season. She has been amazing all season and has not put a foot wrong. Willie Mullins won this race last year with Limini and I think this is an easy winner yet again. I could go on all day aboutwhy this one will win but the reality is the horse is simply to good for the rest. WIN. WON 13/8
March 14th – Cheltenham Day 1
ULTIMA – This all comes down to previous festival form and the fact UN TEMPS POUR TOUT won this race last year he surely has another great chance. When winning this last year he carried 11st 7lb and he won with a bit in hand. He was rated 148 last year and is now rated 155. I think on his day he is more than capable of winning on that mark regardless of being top weight. The ground is exactly the same as it was last year and Tom Scudamore will try and ride him the same way. The same trainer and owner were keen to run Champers On Ice in this race but are obviously happy to go in the race with UN TEMPS POUR TOUT. He started the season with an impressive win over hurdles at Aintree. He was then sent off 10/1 for the Hennessy Gold Cup rated 158. He is down 3lb from that and that was the last time we seen him over fences. He has run twice over hurdles since where he was beaten by Unowhatimeanharry on both occasions. He run 2 decent races in ground which was probably a bit soft for him. Now back to spring ground it should give him a spring in his step. E/W. WON 16/1
MARES HURDLE – All eyes will be on the front two in the market Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag but at 5/1 APPLES JADE is seriously forgotten about. You only got to go back to last year when she annihilated a good field at Aintree by 41 lengths. She then went and backed that run up at Punchestown when destroying a good horse in Let’s Dance who is a short priced favourite for this years Mares Novice Hurdle. In October she changed trainers and is now trained by Gordon Elliott. People have to remember Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have different training methods and APPLES JADE has simply been brought along quietly all season with one thing in mind which is todays Mares Hurdle. APPLES JADE has already beaten Vroum Vroum Mag this season yet is twice the price. She was beaten last time out by todays favourite Limini at Punchestown but for me Gordon Elliott would’ve left a bit of work left in APPLES JADE so she didn’t peak to soon before the festival. I would say she was about 85% fit that day when beaten by Limini. Limini was coming back from an injury so she would’ve been a fitter as Willie Mullins would not chance it if she wasn’t fit. If Limini went into that race 85% with the problems she has had it is far easier to get injured especially coming back from injury. It is the same with humans, if you pulled a hamstring you wouldn’t play football if it was only 85% better as their is a greater chance of repeating the injury. Horses are even more delicate. The bottom line is you have to read between the lines and not always believe what your eyes see. You have to try and outthink and play smart by knowing how different trainers will train their horses. Mares are also completely different to geldings, they run better at certain times of the year and I fully believe APPLES JADE is that type of horse. She comes alive in the spring. Why do you think we only seen Quevega having her first start of the season at the Cheltenham Festival it is because she simply come alive at that time of year and it also backs up my theory that Willie Mullins is a master at getting his horses ready first time up which is why Limini was the fitter horse when she beat APPLES JADE last time out. I am not saying neither Limini or Vroum Vroum Mag can’t win as they are both smashing mares but when it comes down to value not in a million years would I let APPLES JADE go off at 5/1 as that price is ridiculous. WIN. WON 5/1
MINELLA AWARDS (9/1) was trained Nicky Henderson last season but moved to Harry Fry in October. When trained by Henderson last year he had some decent form behind Champers On Ice. Obviously had his problems as he was not seen after February. Since switching yards he has had 1 run which was back in January and he finished a decent 2nd to No Comment.
He will come on loads for that run and I think he is a horse who has plenty of improvement left. MINELLA AWARDS is rated 128 by the handicapper and I think the horse could be a bit better than that. E/W. WON 8/1
The form of the favourite Diable De Sivola has worked out well. He finished 2nd to Defi De Seuil at Cheltenham in November but I am happy to take him on at 15/8 as I am not convinced with his 2 previous runs where he failed to win 2 class 4 races. I think we will see improvement from the Nicky Henderson horse SOLDIER IN ACTION. He made his debut over hurdles in a Class 1 at Musselburgh 3 weeks ago and was sent off 5/2 so was fancied. He is entitled to improve for that run and should start getting the hang of things. This horse was rated 105 on the flat so is a very good horse with lots of class. He has won at Doncaster on the flat and to me looks a better horse going right handed which he will go today. WIN. WON EVENS
I believe TOMMY SILVER is a winner waiting to happen on a handicap mark of 134 at 9/2. Today Stan Sheppard also takes a further 5lb off his back so basically running off a mark of 129. He was rated 139 on his first start of the season so is 10lb lower if you include the claim from the jockey. TOMMY SILVER has always been highly praised by connections and looked a horse going places last season. He finished midfield in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle and then 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown back last April. He has been slightly disappointing this season but that reflects in his price and he is down the handicap. TOMMY SILVER has not been seen since end of November so Paul Nicholls has had a nice break to do what he needs to do with the horse. WIN. WON 7/2
I have narrowed the race down to 2 horses using my own knowledge and experience. Lets look at them in more detail.
COURSE FORM: 2 runs at the course 2 wins.
TRAINER FORM: Willie Mullins is 11 from 36 a 30.5% win strike rate. A further 8 of the 36 have been placed a 22.2% strike rate. Combined 52.7% strike rate.
JOCKEY FORM: Patrick Mullins is 1 win from his last 5 rides a 20% win strike rate. 2 of those 5 have been placed which is a 40% place strike rate. Combined 60% strike rate.
DISTANCE: 2m 4f
HANDICAP RATING: non handicap race
GROUND PREFERENCE: Soft
OTHER COMMENTS TO BE NOTED: Finished 3rd in last years Cheltenham Bumper and then won the Aintree Bumper. A good horse on his day and this step up in trip will be appreciated.
COURSE FORM: 1 run 1 win at the course.
TRAINER FORM:Willie Mullins is 11 from 36 a 30.5% win strike rate. A further 8 of the 36 have been placed a 22.2% strike rate. Combined 52.7% strike rate.
JOCKEY FORM: Ruby Walsh is 8 winners from 21 rides a 38% win strike rate. A further 5 of the 21 have been placed a 23.8% strike rate. Combined 61.8% strike rate.
DISTANCE: 2 miles
HANDICAP RATING: non handicap race
GROUND PREFERENCE: Good To Soft
OTHER COMMENTS TO BE NOTED: Very classy horse who is highly respected
Now lets open up the betting:
Its a no brainer really at the prices. As much as I respect Saturnas, BACARDYS at a huge 16/1 is way overpriced. This horse finished 3rd in last years Cheltenham Bumper and then won the Aintree Bumper. His form lines with todays Betfair Hurdle winner Ballyandy are too strong to ignore. The step up in trip will be appreciated and the fact Patrick Mullins is back on board is a positive as he won on him at Aintree. WON at 12/1
I expected BALLYANDY to be favourite and I had him around the 9/2 mark. I wouldn’t say we have got the value as it is an even playing field with the bookies but I just cant have him beat. He is a classy horse who was favourite for the supreme and neptune novice hurdle at the start of the season. The handicapper rates him a 135 horseand surely that is very lenient. He has not done anything wrong this season in my eyes. Twice beaten by Moon Racer who is very classy and also Messire Des Obeaux who is also all class. I will be very surprised if BALLYANDY doesn’t go close. The 2nd favourite looks dangerous but I think he needs another year. He has not won with the conviction you would expect against lesser opposition with is a concern. Songlight travelled like a really good horse in the great wood hurdle and could be involved but you would think he is going to bump into a horse with a touch more class. WON 3/1
A decent looking race but LETS DANCE gets my vote here. I make her a 6/4 chance so the 15/8 on offer looks tasty. She is an experienced horse over hurdles as this is now her 2nd season as a novice but has won both her starts this season, in easy fashion. She looks a much better horse this season as you would expect and I think she will take some beating. Since she has stepped up in trip this season she looks a different horse and I know Willie Mullins really rates the horse. WIN. WON 8/11
A two horse race on paper between Charli Parcs and DEFI DE SEUIL (5/4). I am siding with the latter who has been good to us this season and I still think he has plenty of improvement left in him. I respect Charli Parcs after he won at Kempton but this is a whole new ball game on an undulating course like Cheltenham and a step up in class. DEFI DE SEUIL has been to Cheltenham twice this season and won both races impressively. He is more experienced than Charli Parcs which I think will be the difference and in my opinion it will be horses for courses. DEFI DE SEUIL has had 5 starts and remains unbeaten and won in good fashion at Chepstow on his last start in the Grade 1 Future Champions Juvenile Hurdle. I have been saying all season I think DEFI DE SEUIL is special and he will again show us tomorrow. WIN. WON 1/5 (R4 Applied)
3:00 Gowran Park
CHAMPAGNE WEST looked very good on his last start at Tramore when defeating another of todays runners in Roi Des Francs by an easy 12 lengths. He won with a bit in hand that day and I think the rise in the handicap by 2lb was quite lenient. He could’ve been raised a bit more with how impressively he won. Another horse who needs cut in the ground which he will get today. He moved from Philip Hobbs to Henry De Bormhead over the summer and from what I have seen so far De Bromhead has got improvement out of the horse. I have always thought he would be a better horse over further so this step up in trip will be no problem – 12/1 is a fine price. E/W. WON 7/1
I think it will be easy work for SISTER SYBOL. The market gives us 6/4 but in my head we are looking odds on so I’ll snap that up all day long. She has had 2 starts over hurdles with one win and one 2nd to her name and I believe she will be far to good for these. Tom O’Brien takes the ride and he is a jockey I rate highly. WIN. WON 11/8
A TOI PHIL is the one to beat here especially now he is down the handicap to a mark of 143, 6/1 is a great bet. That man Jack Kennedy is on board and he is the best jockey around at the moment. You wouldn’t think he was 17 as he rides like a jockey with so much experience. A TOI PHIL has had 4 starts over fences and was a winner on his first 2 starts even winning a Grade 2 on his 2nd start.
He disappointed on his 3rd start over fences which was a Grade 1 won by Coney Island. On his final start he travelled well throughout but it was again a very tough Grade 1. Now A TOI PHIL is back down in class and Jack Kennedy rides off just 10st 13lb he is sure to go close. WIN. WON 7/2
2:40 Market Rasen
The return to Soft Ground will surely play to THREE MUSKETEERS strength as he is by Flemensfirth who’s horses normally prefer cut in the ground. This horse has been disappointing this season as on both starts he went off favourite and failed to get involved. He is actually a frustrating horse as he does have the talent but I am sticking with the fact he didn’t like the good ground on his last start. He did finish a good 4th in JLT Chase at last years Cheltenham Festival and yes that was on good ground but I just think that is a testament to a horse who has a real talent when fully fit. This is not the strongest line up and although I do fear the favourite Kilcrea Vale he lacks the experience that THREE MUSKETEERS has. It is about time our selection delivered and I am confident tomorrow will be the day. WIN. WON 7/2
MR CLARKSON will take some beating here in my opinion and I actually make him a 6/4 chance so at 9/4 I am happy to play. This David Pipe trained horse has form lines with Finians Oscar who won the Tolworth Hurdle so impressively 2 weeks ago. MR CLARKSON finished 2nd in a Point To Point to him and then joined the Pipe yard. He made his debut at this track 2 weeks ago and won by a short head. It was a decent performance as 1st and 2nd pulled 20 lengths clear of 3rd. As he is a former point to point horse you would imagine he comes into his own now he is jumping a hurdle and I find it very hard to see him being beaten. WON 15/8
Not normally my kind of bet but O O SEVEN should be 4/7 here so I am happy to take the 5/4. As we always say value doesn’t just mean picking a 20/1 shot. It means being ahead of the traders and I have no doubt we are ahead of them here.
This is a poor field and O O SEVEN should win in a canter against this lot. He has to carry top weight but that shouldn’t be a problem. He was an impressive winner on his debut over fences at Cheltenham in November and ran a sound enough race on his last start when 3rd to Present Man at Doncaster last month. O O SEVEN should get back to winning ways here. WIN. WON 5/6 – 1.5 POINTS WIN
GRANDIOSO is simply overpriced at a huge 14/1 as I make him a 15/2 chance. He has plenty of experience Hunter Chasing and rarely runs a bad race. He used to be trained by Paul Nicholls and at his best was rated a 147 horse over fences. That was 3 years ago and we know his best days are behind but it does show he is a fair horse capable of getting involved here. GRANDIOSO was a winner on his last 2 starts last season and is actually 3 wins from his last 4 starts. I am confident he will run a big race and happy with the price available. E/W. PLACED 2nd at 28/1
ZAMDY MAN gets 6lb off the favourite Gino Trail and I think this will be difference between the pair. Even off level weights if the prices were still the same I would be in the ZAMDY MAN camp, so with the weight advantage, I believe he will take some beating. He finished 2nd on his last start at Ludlow to Kilcrea Vale but that was his first start of the season. ZAMDY MAN will come on a lot for the run and at 9/4 looks a solid bet as I make him 7/4 in my tissue. This is a horse once rated 156 over hurdles and although this race is over fences it shows he has that touch of class. WIN. WON 15/8
I am very surprised GARDE LA VICTOIRE is not shorter in the betting. The 2/1 on offer looks huge in my opinion and should be around the 5/4 mark. Yes he has to carry top weight but you are talking about a proper Grade 1/2 horse here and this race is a Class 2. His form over fences reads 111FF2 and although his jumping may be a concern at the railway fences he does like it around Sandown after winning a hurdles race at the track back in 2015. I am confident this horse will be too good and the fences which come up think and fast will actually help him concentrate and jump better. WIN. WON 2/1 – 1.5 POINTS WIN
I have been following FINIANS OSCAR since Alan Potts paid £250k for the horse, after he won a point to point back in October. He beat a horse called Mr Clarkson that day and that horse has come out and won for David Pipe last week. FINIANS OSCAR made his debut under rules just before Chrsitmas and could not have been more impressive. He travelled well through the race and showed a good turn of foot to win by 7 lengths. What caught my eye was the way he had the field finishing 10 lengths apart as the race was actually run at a slow pace and only when he pushed the button, did he go clear in a matter of strides. He is down in trip today but I don’t think that will be a problem as he has too many gears and a cracking turn of foot, which will be suited to this better ground. He is also from a very good family which is the same as Finians Rainbow and looks a proper National Hunt horse. Trained by the man who can do no wrong at the moment Colin Tizzard you know this horse will run a huge race. I think the Cheltenham Fesitval looms and he is one to keep an eye on as I believe he is a horse going places. WIN. WON 11/10 – 1.5 POINTS WIN
This is a two horse race between Nesterenko and CHARMIX but I am siding with the latter because of his experience over fences. CHARMIX has had 2 starts over fences and although he has not won he has jumped reasonably well both times. Over hurdles CHARMIX (15/8) was easily the best horse and should have enough in the locker to confirm that over fences at the 3rd time of asking. WIN. WON 5/4
How interesting is COGRY now back over hurdles for the first time for nearly 3 years. He was not a bad horse over fences but simply didn’t jump well and I think now back hover hurdles he can regain some confidence.He is rated 128 by the handicapper which is 6lb lower than his chasing mark. William Twiston Davies takes the ride and will carry just 10st 10lb. A big run is on the cards as this is a very shrewd entry by trainer Nigel Twiston Davies and 12/1 is a great price. E/W. WON 9/2