Odds And Sods From The Weekend

Good morning all,

I'm only just starting to catch up with the weekend's racing after working on course for most of it, although I did squeeze a little visit to Stratford in on Sunday and there's a couple to be keeping an eye out for in the near future from that.

I realise Punchestown is on this week but I have to say it's not my bag and becomes less and less so with each year. Guessing which one of the Gigginstown/Mullins runners is the one to be with is not my idea of a fun time, and in the main I'll be giving it a swerve. On saying that, the Sporting Life have given me two of their cards to write up later in the week so if there's anything of interest from those I'll let you know.

May do a bit of Brighton tonight – it's the usual mix of low-grade handicaps but there's a 2-y-o race in the middle of it, so maybe I'll learn something! Continue Reading

Willie Mullins Punchestown Micro Angle + Pontefract Selection

Morning all,

It’s pens and notebooks at the ready, as it’s that time of the year when the flat turf season starts to crank into top-gear.

Last week saw the three-day Craven Meeting at Newmarket and the Greenham meeting at Newbury on Friday and Saturday. Both meetings contain Guineas classic trials such as the Craven and Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket and the Greenham and Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury.

The jumps season ends with a bang this week with the Punchestown Festival, Perth’s three-day April meeting and the curtain finally comes down on the UK jumps season at Sandown on Saturday with the Bet365 Gold Cup the highlight of what has become an excellent card.

From then on, it’s the flat all the way with the first Classics of the season at Newmarket on the first weekend in May.

A slight change to the content in this week’s Monday column. With Punchestown starting on Tuesday I thought I would share with you a Willie Mullins micro angle for the meeting. Also starting from this week, up to the end of the flat season, I will be sharing with you a couple of eyecatchers from the previous weeks racing.

Punchestown Festival: Willie Mullins Micro Angle

The end of the 2017-18 Irish jumps season is almost upon us with the annual end of season five-day Punchestown Festival which begins on Tuesday.

With the Irish Champion Trainers title still up for grabs we can expect both Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins to throw plenty of darts at the meeting.

This meeting is one where Willie Mullins has traditionally done well at. Since 2013 he has had 59 winners from 306 runners 19% +15.16 A/E 1 126 placed 41%. We can improve that win strike rate by adding a couple of filters:

Race Type: Hurdles
Horses Age: 4 & 5-year-olds only
Best in Three Runs: 1st

17 winners from 50 runners 34% +34.24 A/E 1.46 27 placed 54% (profit to BSP +55.24)

Those qualifiers that had their last start at the Cheltenham Festival have produced the following set of results:

9 winners from 17 runners 53% +38.67 A/E 1.86 13 placed 76% (profit to BSP +56.38)

I have to confess that trainer micro angles, like the one above, play a big part in my betting at this particular festival.

Two For the Notebook:


Van Beethoven – Aiden O’Brien – I am not one for having two many juveniles in my tracker at this stage of the season but I was taken with the racecourse debut of this son of sire Scat Daddy. Slowly away he made steady headway from the rear between the final two furlongs and stayed on well to take 3rd beaten just 2 ¾ length by the winner.

The colt had looked well in the paddock but there should be plenty of improvement to come from him. Given his pedigree he will be better suited to good or quicker ground than the good-to-soft going he faced here and he should stay further than 5f with more experience. Looks like the 6f Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot could be an ideal early season target for him although he will probably have another race beforehand.

Scat Daddy’s progeny go particularly well at Ascot – 8 winners from 16 runners 50% +40.46 A/E 2.74 11 placed 67% (profit to BSP +67.59).

Echo Cove – Jane Chapple-Hyam – The three-year-old had run well when 4th of 7 at Newmarket on his final start of his juvenile season. Making his handicap debut here of a mark of 74. Held up the colt didn’t get the best of passages a furlong out but still ran on to finish 4th beaten less than 4 lengths by the winner.

He was nibbled at in the betting which suggests connections think he starts of life in handicaps off a winnable mark. The form of the race is usually reliable and I think a fair few winners will come out of it.

Monday Racing and Selection:

On Monday we have jumps meetings cards at Newton Abbot, Hexham and Sedgefield and turf flat cards at Pontefract, Windsor and across the Irish Sea at Navan. I am off to Pontefract today and that’s where my Monday selections runs. Last week’s Monday selection Alcatraz finished third to enable a small profit for those going each way as advised.


3:40 – Becky The Thatcher – A useful hurdler who won a Wetherby handicap hurdle off a mark of 122 back in November. Stays well enough over hurdles to think she will stay this 2m 5f ½ f trip. Granted she's 0 wins from 15 runs on the level but the mare has now dropped back to a mark of just 51 which looks workable based on her exploits over hurdles and she also races in the first time cheekpieces today.

The 5-year-old’s trainer Micky Hammond won this last year and indeed has won four of the last ten renewals of the race. The 12/1 available with Ladbrokes looks fair each way value to this particular pundit.

Becky The Thatcher – 12/1 (each way)

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable Aintree Festival.

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Saturday Preview

Good morning all,

As ever on a Saturday here's the video preview for Ayr and Newbury on what looks a most difficult day's racing.

Best of luck throughout the weekend – if you need any steers for Stratford tomorrow then I'll be doing the Sporting Life comments later on today. Some interesting ones there too! Continue Reading

Two For The Future

Good morning all,

Quick post today with a couple from Cheltenham that are for your long-term trackers. The sort to put in and forget about until next year when they'll start to really bloom.

Been an enjoyable couple of days at Cheltenham and been nice to finally have some sunshine on my back. Hoping it continues through the weekend – Southwell, Nottingham, Stratford and Pontefract my next four stop-offs. Busy time of it coming up! Continue Reading

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