Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Day Selection

Wish In A Well rewarded each way support for us at Warwick on New Year's Eve but in truth I was disappointed he couldn't finish closer. he jumped and travelled like the best horse in the race but just couldn't go with the front two. He is still a young horse though and he might just need more time before he shows his very best.

Tomorrow sees some seriously good action on both sides of the Irish Sea with quality cards at Fairyhouse and Cheltenham. One horse I am dying to see is Seeyouatmidnight for Sandy Thomson who goes in the Dipper Chase, a grade 2 contest at 1.10. The trip of 2m4f might be a bit sharp for the striking son of Midnight Legend and he is also stepping up in class. However conditions will be right up his street with the current ground described as heavy and hopefully that will bring his stamina into play. It would be great to see a smaller Northern yard win a graded race at jumps hq.

The horse I am putting up goes at Exeter for a trainer that regular readers of the blog will be very familiar with by now. Only Gorgeous went close for us over course and distance back in October off a mark of 100. The ground was good to firm that day and it is going to be very different here. It is currently described as heavy and that is a bit of an unknown with this 7yo son of Vertical Speed.

However, there is real hope that he will not only handle, but will actually relish the ground conditions at Exeter tomorrow. His sire, Vertical Speed, has had 59 runners on heavy ground. 10 have won and 21 have been placed which adds up to a 53% strike rate of his progeny hitting the frame on heavy. It gets better on the dam side of his pedigree as his dams only win came in a point to point on soft. Her dam is a half sister to Maid For Dancing who loved a slog, as did a couple of other siblings. Interestingly his full brother Mentor won a 19f maiden hurdle on yielding at Cork back in August and he is trained by Aidan O'Brien and owned by JP McManus.

Only Gorgeous proved he handled the track with his run here last time and the handicapper has generously dropped him 3lb to 103 after a moderate run when stepped up in trip at Taunton last time. The Gardener's love to have winners at Exeter and it would be no surprise to see a much improved performance with Lucy on board taking off a handy 3lb. He looks a big price at 18/1 and presumably the bookies reckon he won't handle the ground. As I have illustrated above there is a decent chance he will and at those sort of odds he looks well worth chancing each way.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Wish Could Finally Deliver At Warwick

Master Rajeem failed to run to his best at Doncaster and he trailed in a well beaten fifth. It  was a very disappointing effort. The handicapper will have to drop him another few pounds for that run and he is one to look out for when dropped back into class 4 company.

Tomorrow there are meetings scheduled on both sides of the Irish Sea and Punchestown hosts it's ususal New Year's Eve fixture. However, the horse I am interested goes in the class 4 handicap chase at 3.10 in Warwick and the forecast heavy ground should be right up the selection's street.

Wish In A Well is a horse I have been keeping an eye on for quite a while, the main reason being his pedigree. This 6yo son of Gamut is related to a host of winners,and the best of them include In Compliance and One Cool Cookie, two seriously classy chasers. Both of them are heavy ground winners and that is the current ground description at Warwick.

However, as his mark of 90 illustrates, Wish In A Well has yet to show he has even half the ability of his two half brothers, although he has shown definite promise on a couple of occasions and his best efforts have come on soft ground. He started off in handicaps off a rating of 113 and he is now rated 23lb lower at 90. He was sent off 7/2 fav for his last start off a mark of 93, his first run of the season, at Leicester (20f good) so he must have been showing plenty at home.

He should strip a lot fitter for that run and it should also be remembered that he has time on his side as he is still (just about!) a 6yo. He travelled well enough last time before blowing up in the closing stages and with his pedigree strongly suggesting that heavy ground will suit he is definitely worth a few quid each way at odds of 14/1.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Rajeem Could Reign For King At Doncaster

My Murphy ran a stinker in the Paddy Power for the blog on Sunday, pulled up having jumped poorly throughout. He is usually raced prominently in his races to get a clear sight of the fences so the writing was on the wall from a long way out unfortunately. I still believe he has a good race in him and he could be one to keep onside for the Irish Grand National in the Spring, especially if the handicapper relents and drops him a few pounds.

There is more action at Leopardstown for the final day of their Xmas festival and in the Grade 1 Novice Chase only four go to post, with three of them owned by Gigginstown. Rule The World, trained by Mouse Morris and ridden by Davy Russell, should not be discounted here and looks a big price at 20/1 back up in trip. He has run some big races with little luck and is due a change of fortune.

However, the horse I really like the look of goes at Doncaster tomorrow and Master Rajeem looks to have a right shout off bottom weight in the concluding handicap chase at 3.25. This 6yo son of Street Cry is a former dual bumper winner who looked like he was returning to form last time after two poor runs since returning from his summer break.

He absolutely hosed up in a class 4 handicap chase at Sedgefield (26.5 soft) last January off a mark of 113 and he subsequently ran a couple of very decent races off his revised mark in class 3 company, including an 8l 2nd to Sir Mangan off 125 when conceding 8lb (Sir Mangan went on to win off 124 later in the year).

He ran a couple of shockers at Sedgefield (19.5f good to soft) and at Lingfield (23.5 heavy) in November, but every cloud has a silver lining and the handicapper relented and dropped him 8lbs, back down to 115. He showed definite signs of life last time here over 26f on good to soft, proving he handles the track and running a nice race in 3rd beaten 14l.

The handicapper has dropped him another pound to 114, just a pound higher than the mark he won so impressively off at Sedgefield. Neil King has 2 horses in the race and stable jockey Trevor Whelan has opted to ride his other one, Keltic Rhythm. Richie McLernon has been booked for Master Rajeem, and he was placed on his only other ride for King. Whelan didn't ride when Master Rajeem won at Sedgefield either so I am not overly concerned about the jockey booking. The ground is ideal, he gets the trip, handles the track and he is starting to look well treated again. At 20/1 Master Rajeem looks well worth supporting each way in an open looking race.


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Sunday's Selection

A decent day for the blog on Saturday with both C'est Notre Gris and Court Jester just about hanging on for place money. Marey ran a shocker and was pulled up a long way from home. It was a chancy selection and at huge prices they can run like that sometimes. Onwards and upwards for tomorrow!

We are back at Kempton and Leopardstown on Sunday with more high class action in store. Sprinter Sacre will be out to prove he is really back to his best, though I am looking forward to seeing how Duke Of Medina gets on in the opener at Kempton as he was hugely impressive in winning his last start at Market Rasen. This is a big step up in class but any rain that falls will be in his favour and he could run well at a price if it is soft or worse.

However, the most valuable race of the day, and also probably the most competitive, is the Paddy Power chase at Leopardstown where a bumper field of 28 go to post in the hope of capturing the 100k+ first prize. In such a big field there are a number of horses that a case can be made for, but the one I like is the Liam Burke trained My Murphy, who has run some very good races in valuable big field handicaps during the past year and he made a more than encouraging return to action over an inadequate 20f at Navan last time, staying on pleasingly late in the day.

He ran in this race last year, off a mark of 141, and he eventually finished a well beaten 9th. However, he started off his season in the Troytown last year and he had a very tough race over 3m in a bog at Navan. That must have left a mark on this son of Presenting who still ran well for a long way. Hopefully his much gentler return to action this season will allow him to put in a much better finishing effort this time around.

He was unfortunate to bump into Djakadam in the Thyestes at Gowran back in January on his next start and off 139 he was well beaten by the Mullins horse, but he was almost 20l in front of Goonyella in 3rd and Gallant Oscar in 4th, two very useful yardsticks. Burke also runs Sumos Novios, who is a lovely stamp of a horse no doubt, but he has to prove he belongs at this level and I believe that My Murphy has already proved he has a race of this standing in him. Hopefully that day is today and at 20/1 he looks well worthy of an each way interest.


Friday, 25 December 2015

St Stephens' Day Selections

It is a bumper day of action, as usual, on the 26th of December with any amount of meetings and plenty of high class action to whet the appetite of racing fans on both sides of the Irish Sea. The King Gerorge is the highlight of the day at Kepmton and Don Cossack is the one they all have to beat. He is 9/4 which could look a big price if he produces his best on the day.

However, as regular readers will be well aware of I am not in the business of tipping up 9/4 favourites and thankfully there are a couple of much bigger priced horses that have caught my eye. I like the look of four horses at Down Royal, Huntingdon Wetherby and Leopardstown. You can read my thoughts and find out my selections below.


There is a quality card of action at Down Royal tomorrow and it is a meeting that Northern based trainers usually do well at. Court Jester is a 9yo son of Pushkin who has been lightly raced for his age. His trainer Mr Wilson is based but a stones throw from the track and this gelding has run well at this meeting in this race for the past three years.

He won it back in 2012 off 88, was 3rd in 2013 off 86 and was 3rd again last year off 97. He is back down to a mark of 89, Jody McGarvey overlooks Shabras Bertolini to take the ride (has rode Court Jester for both wins), and with track, trip and ground to suit he looks an absolutely massive price at 33/1 off a mark of 89. He looks well worth a small interest each way.



There is another handicapper that has caught my eye at Leopardstown. C'est Notre Gris goes in the 1.50 and this 5yo son of Verglas looks primed for a big run with his stable hitting form and Jane Mangan taking off a handy 3lb. This handsome grey gelding was rated as high as 92 on the flat and he has had only 9 runs over timber, hitting the frame on 5 of those.

He made a very satisfying return from a break last time at Punchestown over 2m off 110, staying on well in the closing stages and shaping as if a couple of extra furlongs would be ideal. He steps up to 18f here and with the handicapper dropping him to 108 and Mangan taking off another 3lb he could be set for a big run. He looks well worthy of an each way interest at 20/1.



There is no shortage of decent action across the water and there is a horse going in the opener at Wetherby that appeals for a number of reasons. Kalastar goes in the 12.35 and the first thing that caught my eye was the jockey booking. Hamilton is booked and takes off a handy 7lb. That doesn't look significant at first glance,  but Alison Hamilton, who Kalastar's jockey is 5/27 for, has a runner, What A Night, and David Noonan has been booked for the hat trick attempt.

It seems to me that Kalastar's jockey would have had the pick of the two (he has ridden What A Night before) and he has plumped for the Katie Scott horse. He was sent off 6/4 fav for his last run and finished a well beaten 2nd but that was his first run back after a break and he will be a lot fitter tomorrow. He has been dropped 2lb to 93. Hamilton keeps the faith and if he handles the soft ground (his pedigree says he will) he looks to have a right chance at 10/1 and he is a confident each way selection.



Of all my selections for Boxing day this is probably the most chancy one and that fact is reflected in this mare's price. Marey is 66/1 for the concluding bumper for Mrs Hugo and Irish jockey Robbie Dunne takes the ride. This 6yo mare is a daughter of the very useful national hunt sire Fruits Of Love, who is more than capable of producing bumper winners, but where it gets really interesting is when one delves into the dam side of his pedigree.

He is out of a dam called Mill Thyme, who was one of four siblings that all managed to win at least twice over hurdles. What sparked my interest is the fact that her half sister, Mill Emerald, has produced a couple of useful types, including Railway Zira who won a bumper on debut, as did her half brother Sir Vinski. Now there are a lot of dangers in this heat and stakes should be kept to a minimum. However, at her current odds of 66/1 surely she is worth a tiny interest each way in the hope that she is cut from the same cloth as Sir Vinski and Railway Zira.


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Murray's Mare Worth Another Chance At Thurles

Rayvin Black ran a very flat race earlier on and it was a disappointing effort. He couldn't dominate the way he likes and the writing was on the wall a long way out. The handicapper should at least drop him a couple of pounds for that effort and he is not one to lose complete faith in yet.

Regular readers will be familiar with Princess Lir, who ran a cracker for the blog last time at Thurles when second to a Mullins hotpot that could turn out to be anything. She was available to back at 11/1 that day but she is a fair bit shorter for this contest.

She looks to have another short priced Mullins' horse to beat here. She gets over a stone in weight from Haymount though, and that could help swing the balance in her favour. She is nicely bred, out of Presenting and a half sister to the useful Master Neo and there is plenty of national hunt black type form on the dam side of her pedigree.

She is proven over course and distance, will relish the ground and Andrew Lynch keeps the faith. At 7/1 she looks a super each way bet and it is difficult to see her finishing out of the first three. Hopefully the weight makes all the difference and she can get a deserved win.

Across the water there is some low grade jumps action at Fakenham and the Sue Gardner yard has a couple of very interesting runners. They landed a lovely touch in a listed bumper at Ascot on Friday with the very useful looking Couer Blimey and I like her chances with Storm Alert in particular tomorrow. He ran an absolute cracker last time out behind Monbeg Gold and off the same mark of 95 he must have an excellent shout of a place at least at 13/2 if he takes to the  track with his yard flying.

                                            12.50 FAKENHAM-STORM ALERT 13/2 E/W

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Saturday's Selection

Midnight Destiny was tardy at the start yesterday and that eventually cost her a place. She was bang there at the finish and it was a pity she didn't get a better start as I think she would have gone a lot closer with a decent start.

Reve De Sivola is the big story of the day as he tries to make history with a 4th win in the Long Walk Hurdle. It would be great to see the old boy do the business again but he won't have it easy with Saphir Du Rheu and Deputy Dan in opposition. It is a tough looking day for punters with most of the best horses waiting for the better prize money on offer over the Christmas period. However, there is one horse that I believe looks overpriced and he goes in the Ladbrokes Hurdle at 3.35.

Rayvin Black has been an admirably consistent performer for Oliver Sherwood and this 6yo son of Halling showed he belongs at this level with a superb effort behind Ebony Express in the Imperial Cup at Sandown last Spring. He was 2nd that day off a mark of 131 and when you add in the fact the ground was good to soft he deserves even more credit for that effort.

He returned to action this season with a decent effort in a listed hurdle when 10Lbehind The New One in receipt of 8lbs at Kempton on good ground. He followed that run with another admirable effort when conceding 8lb to Winner Massagot, who is among the market leaders for today's heat.
That effort came off a mark of 134 and the handicapper reacted by raising him 6lb to today's mark of 140. He is 3lb better off with the winner who was raised 12lb and on softer ground there is hope that he can turn the tables on that rival.

This 6yo son of Halling absolutely loves to get his toe in,and the conditions at Ascot will be right up his street. The verdict yesterday was that the ground was dead/gluey/hard work and that will be music to Oliver Sherwood's ears. This fella relishes a soft surface and has only failed to reach the frame on one occasion when it has been testing, and that was over 19.5f, a trip that stretches him. Now he has a couple of lengths to find with Winner Massagot but the weight difference should help in that regard. How Rayvin Black is 33/1 while the King horse is just 13/2 is beyond me and at that price he looks worthy of a little each way interest in what looks a wide open race.


Friday, 18 December 2015

Destiny Could Await Shaw's Filly At Wolves

Nancy's Trix was outclassed at Ludlow for us earlier this week. She showed up well for quite a long way but when the race hotted up she just couldn't stay with the leaders, and trailed in 6th, beaten 18l. She is one to keep an eye on when sent handicapping, because she is certainly not devoid of ability and should be capable of winning a small race.

The national hunt action has been uninspiring this week as the majority of the best horses, from both big and small yards, have been put away for the festive period when the prize money is actually worth winning. King Kayf looks overpriced at 8/1 in the opener at Ascot and the form of his bumper 2nd at Newbury on heavy has worked out very well. He made a satisfactory reappearance when 2nd at Leicester and back on a softer surface he could go close.

However, at an even bigger price I like the look of a filly at Wolverhampton later on for the in form Derek Shaw yard. Midnight Destiny goes in the 6.40 and comes here on the back of a tame effort at Southwell last time when returning from a few weeks off. If she strips fitter for that effort she should have a right chance here off 51.

She is a 16 race maiden, which doesn't exactly inspire confidence. However, she has had only 4 runs on an artificial surface and she has hit the frame on 3 of those. She is of definite interest on her only run over course and distance back in June, when she was beaten just over a length off a mark of 50. That was also a class 6 contest and the winner went on to win again off 6lb higher. She pulled very hard early on too, which makes the fact she got so close to the winner even more impressive.

Tony Hamilton is booked for the first time so a big run must be expected given that she has been mostly claimer ridden in the past. She has a good draw in stall 3 so hopefully something gives her a lead and Hamilton can get her settled early on and save a bit for the finish. There is no doubt that she has the ability to win a race, she just needs to put it all together on the day. At 16/1 she looks worthy of a small interest each way in the hope the return to Wolves and the booking of Hamilton works the oracle.


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Don't Miss A Trick With Nancy At Ludlow

Going Concern went desperately close for the blog on Saturday and he likely traded very short in running given the way he travelled throughout the race. He flattered to deceive though, and once push came to shove he just didn't have enough left in the tank to go by the very gutsy winner. The handicapper will likely take a dim view of that excellent effort and another hike in the weights beckons.

The fare this week looks typically low on quality, though there are a couple of decent pots on offer at Ludlow tomorrow. The horse I am interested in goes in the novice hurdle at 3.10, and Nancy's Trix looks sure to be suited by the step up in trip and return to soft ground at Ludlow.

This 6yo daughter of Presenting has a lovely national hunt pedigree and her half brother Drumlister won his fair share of races for Arthur Moore back in the day. He was a point to point winner on soft and won on good ground under rules at trips ranging from 19f-22f. Her Old Vic dam is a half sister to listed and grade 3 winner Splendour, while their dam is a half sister to grade 1 hurdle winner Atone.

She is undoubtedly bred to be useful, and the manner of her point to point victory at The Pigeons suggests she has plenty of ability. The 2nd and 3rd home that day have both won points since, and she seemed to relish the soft underfoot conditions and the 24f trip, coasting home in dominant fashion 15l clear of the runner up.

She has had two starts under rules, both on good ground, and neither effort has been totally devoid of promise. She was sent off at just 7/1 in her only bumper run and faded into midfield after trying to make all. Her hurdle debut was a slightly better effort when she was upped to 19f at Doncaster, getting outpaced before staying on late for a well beaten 4th. That effort suggests the extra couple of furlongs will be a massive help.

She steps up to 21f tomorrow at Ludlow and she will be having her first rules run on soft ground. Now it is a very tricky looking race and a lot of the bigger yards are represented. The King horse in particular looks sure to be suited by the step up in trip too but she bombed out on her previous run on soft. The Skelton horse is also a short price but she has also yet to prove herself in testing conditions.

Her trainer, David Loder, isn't exactly a household name but he has trained a couple of winners from not many runners so he is capable of  readying one. Useful claimer Ciaran Gethings also takes off a handy 5lb and at her current odds of 33/1 she looks well worth chancing each way for small stakes in the hope that the soft ground and step up in trip work the oracle.


Friday, 11 December 2015

Saturday's Selection

First of all, it was a decent effort from Buckled earlier to finish 3rd at Doncaster. He raced lazily at times and still looks to be learning the job somewhat. He seemed to tire in the closing stages and it will be interesting to see what trip Sandy Thomson tries with him next.

The run up to Christmas is a strange period in the racing calendar. The prize money at the weekends is decent but all the best horses have been put away for the big meetings over the Christmas. That being said there are a couple of half decent handicaps at Cheltenham tomorrow and I like one horse in particular at decent odds.

The 1.15 sees 13 go to post in a 2m class 3 chase with a nice prize of 18k for the winner. The one I like from an each way perspective is the Evan Williams trained Going Concern, who shaped very nicely on his last run here over course and distance. That was his second run of the season after a less than inspiring effort here back in October and he was raised a pound for finishing 3rd off a mark of 128. I think he will strip even fitter today and he could be set for a big run.

He has been raised back up to a career high mark of 129 after that last effort but this 8yo son of Overbury looks to be still on the improve and I think that mark is well within his reach. He travelled well the last day here when the ground was good but he just couldn't go the necessary pace to reel in the leaders. The softer forecast ground tomorrow should help slow the others down and this fella has already won on heavy ground so he won't mind it at all.

He is 3 from 9 over fences, will love the ground and proved he handled the Cheltenham hill last time. At his current odds of 14/1 he is a confident each way selection who will hopefully be placed at the very least.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

Buckled The Bet At Doncaster

An awful effort from Our Brian earlier who was obviously just out for a trot judging by the wide course he took, and he didn't look too happy on the ground either. What a performance by Min though. It was hard not to be impressed and the way he jumped the last suggested there was a lot more in the tank. Hopefully some of you took the hint about Doctor Look Here who hosed up at 9/2 at Taunton. It is not my policy to put up short priced selections but I will mention the ones I fancy in my articles so make sure to pay close attention!

One of my favourite trainers had a nice winner today with Oscar Lateen and he is in superb form at the moment. Sandy Thomson is as shrewd an operator as they come and when I checked the prices for Friday I was gobsmacked to see Buckled priced up at 12/1 in the 1.20 at Doncaster.

This 5yo son of Midnight Legend has been brought along ever so slowly and showed bits and pieces of promise in his bumper runs. His failure to settle in his races has been holding him back as he has pulled very hard on occasion. However, last time out over 16.5f on soft ground at Newcastle he finally consented to race more evenly.He was held up out the back and given way too much to do, but he settled beautifully and stayed on very nicely when push came to shove in the closing stages into a never nearer 5th.

The manner of that run suggests that the step up to 2m3f should suit him well and Steven Fox, who rode last time, takes off a handy 7lb. His initial mark of 104 looks more than fair and he could well turn out to be a lot better than that now he has learned to settle. His dam is a half sister to the listed placed over hurdles Blaeberry who won over trips ranging from 16f to 24f. Good to soft ground should be ideal on pedigree but he probably wouldn't want to see too much rain. If Fox can repeat the rick and get him to settle again he could run a big race on his handicap debut at odds of 12/1.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Brennan's Brian Looks A Big Price At Punchestown

A disappointing run by Tuesday's selection Rose Red, though it wasn't devoid of promise and I still believe there is a small race somewhere to be won with her. Thursday sees plenty of action on both sides of the Irish Sea and across the water Doctor Look Here should be there or thereabouts for the Gardners at Taunton. He is short enough in the betting though and I have my eye on a much bigger priced selection at Punchestown.

The 2m2f maiden hurdle at 2.25 is a foregone conclusion according to the bookies, and the Ricci/Mullins hotpot Min is a warm order at a best price of 4/7 at the time of writing. Chances are that this horse is a cut above his rivals here, but after a year off the track he is not one to be getting carried away with, especially in such a big field. The 2nd favourite, owned by Gigginstown, also has a long absence to overcome, even if he was impressive in winning his point.

However, at a much bigger price Our Brian looks a very interesting runner. He was campaigned only on quick ground in points, and he returned from a break in October to break his maiden at Tinahely in good style. He made his hurdling debut at Wexford over 16f a couple of weeks later, his first run on easy ground, and after getting outpaced he stayed on eyecatchingly in the last couple of furlongs to grab an unlikely looking 3rd. JJ Slevin rode that day and comes back across from England, where he is now based with the Twiston Davies' yard, to get the leg up on Our Brian again today. He also rode for his point to point win and he is a stylish pilot with lots of potential. He takes off a handy 7lb.

Now the worry with Our Brian is undoubtedly the soft ground, and by the time they line up for this race it is likely to be heavy. However, he didn't mind a slight ease last time at Wexford, and his sire Brian Boru's progeny generally relish a slog. He has an 11% strike rate on heavy and a 10% strike rate on soft, compared to just 6% on good to firm. If his influence wins out over the dam then Our Brian could be set to run a big race at very big odds for John Paul Brennan. Stakes should be kept low due to doubts about the ground, but at 33/1 he is surely worth chancing each way in the hope that he builds on the definite promise he showed last time.


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Rose Could Finally Bloom At Uttoxeter

Tomorrow's action is nothing to get overly excited about and it is the usual early week fare that I try to avoid. However, there is a horse that has caught my eye at Uttoxeter tomorrow and this 17 race maiden could be set for a big run. Rose Red, an 8yo mare by Weld, has gone close on a couple of occasions in her career and has shown that she definitely has the ability to win a race.

She went desperately close on quick ground over 2m here back in July, going down by a nose off a mark of 80 with jockey Jake Hodson taking off 5lb. She has been campaigned mostly on fast ground, which is understandable, as her half siblings were best on a decent surface and both won races for Rob Summers, who bred this mare himself.

However, she has had a few runs on an easy surface, and there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about her chances over 20f on soft ground. She had 4 runs in bumpers, all on soft, and she ran cracking races in the last two of them at Warwick, staying on very nicely and shaping as though an extra half mile would be ideal.

Her last run on heavy ground, at Sedgefield back in January 2014 over 17f off a mark of 86 (Best taking off another 3lb) was another encouraging effort. She was well beaten by the winner but stayed on very nicely again for 2nd, with a subsequent heavy ground winner (W Six Times) behind her in 3rd. She was a well backed 13/2 shot that day, which suggests that connections had an inkling that conditions were going to suit.

She races off a mark of 82 tomorrow, and her burden will be eased further by the claim of Charlie Hammond, who takes off another handy 7lb. Now often a young and inexperienced claimer on board would be a worry, but this young lad has ridden a 10/11 shot to victory for the good Dr Newland and if he is good enough for the Doc when the money is down, he is good enough for me. Rose Red will be effectively off a mark of just 75 and she is more than capable of scoring off that rating. If the step up in trip on soft ground suits she could definitely be in the shake up in what looks a very weak race. At odds of 20/1 she is worthy of a small and speculative each way punt.


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Sandy Could Be Set For A Big Day At Kelso

What a run that was earlier from Highland Lodge. He did it the hard way from out in front and all the credit has to go to Jimmy Moffatt. It was a brilliant training performance to get this fella back to his best and he lead them on a merry dance throughout. His jumping was a joy to behold and he gave Henry Brooke a scintillating spin around Aintree. Hopefully you got on at 25/1 last night and earned a few quid to go into the Christmas slush fund.

There is some decent action on Sunday too, and one of my 'tricky trainers' could be set to have a red letter day at Kelso. Seeyouatmidnight has his second chase start and with his comeback run behind him he should strip a lot fitter. He gets 10lb from Silsol who beat him last time off level weights, and back up in trip he should be be able to reverse that form en route to bigger days in the Spring. Old boy Neptune Equester also has every chance in the 4 miler that he won last year, though it won't be easy off a 10lb higher mark.

The one I like though goes in the lucky last, a 2m6.5f handicap hurdle. Kilquiggan is having his 5th handicap start and he could be set to make an impact off his reduced mark of 93. This son of Vinnie Roe was sent off a well backed 4/1 on his handicap debut off 100, which would indicate he must have being showing a fair bit at home. That run came over 3m on good ground and it was a poor effort. He was well beaten in 5th but there was some encouragement to be gleaned from his next run here over 26f.

The ground was heavy that day and Kilquiggan ran a much better race to finish 2nd to Snuker, looking the likely winner a couple of furlongs out until he faded in the closing stages. The way he travelled and finished off his race that day would suggest that the drop back to today's trip will be ideal.

He made his seasonal reappearance on good ground over 3m at Ayr back in October and was never sighted. He would have needed that run though and hopefully it has blown the cobwebs away.  The handicapper has dropped him to 93 and Steven Fox, who is a very capable claimer, takes off another 7lb. Off an effective mark of 86 with the ground and track in his favour Kilquiggan looks worthy of supporting each way at odds of 12/1.


Friday, 4 December 2015

Saturday's Selections

A gallant effort from Nail 'M today and at one stage I thought he was going to reel in the eventual winner. He stays all day and there will definitely be races to be won with him over extreme trips on bad ground. The quality rises up another notch tomorrow with top class action at Sandown and Aintree while there are some interesting sorts due to go to post at Navan too.

I like the look of Storm Alert at Chepstow in the 2.00, and he would be a fittingly named winner given the weather at the moment. He returned to something like his best last time out at Exeter when he bumped into handicap blot Monbeg Gold, who looks a very useful type. Storm Alert ran a gallant race and though he finished up being well beaten in 2nd he was almost 30L ahead of the 3rd horse home. That run came over 2m7f on soft ground and this fella loves to get his toe in.

He runs from a few pounds out of the handicap tomorrow but Lucy Gardner offsets some of the weight with her 3lb claim. However, his last win came off 110 so even though he is wrong at the weights in this race he is theoretically still well treated on his best form. He ran a good race on his first visit to Chepstow back in September on ground that was plenty quick for him, and that bodes well for his chance here. At 16/1 he looks well worth a small interest each way.

Aintree sees the return to action of Jer's Girl, who hacked up for the blog (adv 12/1 here) on her hurdling debut at Limerick. She steps up in class in the opener, a listed heat, but with Dicky Johnson booked it would be no surprise to see her get some black type. She is short in the betting though, and I am not in the business of tipping up 2/1 shots!

One horse that could run well at a price tomorrow is Highland Lodge, who has his first run for new trainer James Moffatt in the Beecher Chase at 1.40. He was rated as high as 143 over fences back in 2013 and his mark has slipped down to 125 after a poor season last year. He is another one that has to run from out of the handicap but there is no doubting that he has the ability to figure here off a feather weight.

He showed he can handle the Grand National fences when he got round in 8th in this race last year off a mark of 132, fading late on the good to soft ground. It will be properly soft for this years renewal and it would be no surprise if he has been trained with another crack at this race in mind. At odds of 25/1 it is worth chancing that Moffatt has sweetened this fella up. If he returns to anything like his best he is a potentially very well treated horse.

                                              1.40 AINTREE HIGHLAND LODGE 25/1 E/W

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Exeter Slog In The Mud Could Suit Nail 'M

This week has been a slow week on the racing front and the quality of the fare on offer hasn't been the best. Thankfully things are looking up tomorrow and there are some decent sorts in action at Sandown and Exeter. The horse that has caught my eye is Nail 'M, a 7yo son of Milan who showed last season that he is well suited by a slog. He goes in the 30.5F Marathon Chase at 1.40 at Exeter and the return to the forecast soft ground should suit this fella well.

He won back in March of 2014 over 26.5F at Sedgefield in a class 4 handicap chase off a mark of 110 and ran well on ground that was plenty quick enough over course and distance the following April of 2014 off 114. He was absent for over a year after that effort and made a pleasing return to action last month over 23.5f on heavy ground at Chepstow off 109.

He will surely strip much fitter after that encouraging effort and Nail 'M remains unexposed on bad ground over marathon trips. It wasn't stamina that beat him when he tried this trip previously here as he stayed on pleasingly into 4th place on good ground.

It is no surprise to see connections returning here again and they will be delighted that this time the ground is in his favour. It should slow the opposition down enough to allow him to get involved, and if he can minimise the jumping errors he must have a real chance of getting involved at the business end. At his current odds of 14/1 he looks worthy of a small interest each way back up in trip on ground he loves.