Author Archives: John Burke

Potter looks one to follow…

Well I have just come back from a few days in the North East staying at Lumley Castle in Durham and including an Elizabethan Banquet which I must say was thoroughly enjoyable and of course, it was also an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the great English countryside. I can’t say I am totally recharged but it’s a starting point especially after what my partner and I have been through in the past few months. Anyway, that’s the Trip Advisor review although I do recommend Lumley Castle Hotel if you're ever staying up in the North East.

Newmarket Look Back

I have to say though it’s always nice to return to a few winners; particularly Laurens landing the Bet365 Fillies Mile on Friday for Victor Value subscribers too. She now has to be considered a strong contender for next years first fillies classic but as connections said before the race, the best of this filly may not be seen before she races over middle distances. So the Oaks rather than 1000 Guineas maybe her best chance of Classic glory although no doubt she will probably take in the Newmarket Classic.

Aiden O’Brien got within one of equalling Bobby Frankel Group/Grade 1 winning record when winning the Dewhurst at Newmarket with U S Navy Flag. Whether the colt will train on a three-year-old and win a 2000 Guineas who knows, he has looked a more mature colt than most of his rivals in his last couple of races but that said his full sister Roly Poly proved me wrong by grabbing plenty of Group 1 wins this season. Whatever U S Navy Flag’s fate next year one thing that will happen is that Aiden O’Brien will surely equal the Bobby Frankel record and probably beat it in the coming weeks.

Withhold landed a bit of a punt in winning the Cesarewitch backed in from 12/1 to 5/1 favourite in doing so. It was an old-fashioned coup by trainer Roger Charlton which harked back to the days of his old boss at Beckhampton, Jeremy Tree who was a master at preparing a horse for a big race. The four-year-old was only having the second start for the trainer since moving from Charlie Hills earlier this year. But on the form book his chance was there for all to see as he had beaten London Prize, the runner-up here, and was 8lb better in with his old rival.

One For The Tracker:

Those of you that have been following my weekly tracker horses were rewarded on Saturday as Grand Inquisitor won at York at odds of 5/1.

Many of the winter jumps horses are starting to come out to play now, in particularly Saturday and Sunday at Chepstow. There will be plenty of future winners coming out of this meeting and this week’s tracker horse does come from Chepstow.

Potters Legend trained by Lucy Wadham made a pleasing seasonal reappearance even though the 7-year-old only finished 7th in the 3m handicap chase. He was sent off at odds of just 5/1 but looked plenty ring-rusty in the early part of the race before staying on well when the race was all over. The gelding had finished an excellent 4th in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival. He should prove to be competitive in handicap chases over 3m 1+ this winter.

Today’s Racing

All turf action on the flat today and the weather certainly in the South and East of England is set to be summer-like with sunshine and temperatures of 21c. So the forecaster says.

The highlights of Monday’s racing action is a Class 2 handicap at Musselburgh over 7f, plus an interesting fillies Listed Race over 1m 6f at Yarmouth. But I am off to Windsor for today’s selections.


Trainer Ed Walker has a good record at the course with his runners in handicaps. Since 2014 he has had 12 winners from 36 runners 33% +19 A/E 1.79 23 placed 64%. He saddles two runners here today:

4:00 – Miss Liguria – Ran too badly to be true when last on her handicap debut at Kempton but has been given a short break which indicates something was amiss that day. Prior to that she had showed real promise in maiden races at Kempton and Chester to suggest she can win a race. This will probably be the quickest ground she has raced on since her racecourse debut back in April.

4:30 – Abiento – Was a convincing winner over C&D two starts back but ran well below that form when 3rd at Goodwood 19 days ago. Whether his poor run was down to the soft ground, won on good to soft as a juvenile, the course or the fact that he was held up that day I am not sure. If it was the latter, then hopefully we will see the gelding raced more prominently today.

The trainer has his horses in winning form. The only slight niggle with both is his record with runners going off at odds of 7/1 & bigger for which he is 0 wins from 12 runners 5 placed 42%.

Monday Selection

4:30 – Abiento

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All that Glitters is Gold..

Good morning all,

We may be watching the dying embers of the flat season but there is still some top flat action remaining up next is Future Champion’s Weekend at Newmarket including the historic Cesarewitch Handicap and of course the following week we have Qipco Champion’s Day at Ascot. For National Hunt fans next weekend also see’s the first big weekend of jumps racing at Chepstow.

I have to confess although I have had made a profit for the last five weeks it's been a very tough period and I can't really wait for the Jumps season to kick in.

Roly win takes O’Brien closer to world record

Last weekend was fairly low key but there was good racing at both Ascot and Newmarket. The feature race at Newmarket was the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes over a mile. Before the race, there was no standout horse in the field and to be fair even after it there wasn’t one either. Still, I shouldn’t take anything away from the winner Roly Poly who I doubted would do particularly well as a three-year-old but she has proved me wrong with this being her third Group 1 win. Her win was a testament once again to the training methods of Aiden O’Brien to get her to run as well as she has done this season. Roly Poly’s win gave the trainer his 23rd Group 1 win of the year which means he is now within 2 wins of Bobby Frankel’s all-time record and he must have a real chance now of equalling if not beating before the end of the year.

At Ascot jockey Vincent Cheminaud came in for a fair few brickbats after his ride on the 4/7 favourite Waldgeist in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes. In a modestly run race the colt was not in a good position in the rear of the field and he also made his effort on widest of all in the straight. In the circumstances, I thought he did well to finish as close as he did, indeed he was almost head-to-head with the eventual winner in final 100yds but for some reason, he didn’t seem to want to go past and was beaten a neck into second at the line. This was his first run for 98 days and I think he will come on for the run. If you got your fingers burnt on him on Saturday you might get your money back before the end of the season with a better ride.

One For The Tracker:

Lord Glitters was having his first run for trainer David O’Meara. A winner of his last two races in spring when trained in France was purchased for 270k Euros in the summer. The four-year-old went some way to repaying that large purchase price when a strong finishing, ½ length second in the Totescoop6 Challenge Cup. His best form in France seemed came with plenty of juice in the ground and he stayed 1m 2f so the 7f here would have been plenty short enough. He will surely be back for the Balmoral Handicap back here over a mile on Champion’s Day. Given how well he handled the surface and the extra furlong of the race he will take plenty of beating there. Whatever his fate in that race I am sure he will do well for connections in 2018.

Monday Racing:

Plenty of fairly low-grade action today with meetings at Pontefract, Salisbury, Windsor and now Musselburgh on turf as well as an additional twilight card at Kempton.

Trainer Jamie Osborne had a winner on Saturday at Wolverhampton and also saw his Raising Sand run a really good race to finish 4th in the Totescoop6 Handicap at Ascot. He has his horses running well at present. His record in handicaps in the two week period (14 days) either side of today’s date since 2014 is also a respectable 8 winners from 46 runners 17% +19.25 A/E 1.41 (profit to Betfair SP +31.15 14 placed 30%. If we look solely at his older horse’s 4-year-old’s + in handicaps, he has had 5 winners from 13 runners 38% +26.5 A/E 3.18 (profit to Betfair SP +32.54) 7 placed 53%. He runs Born To Finish in the 8:25 at Kempton. Whatever that horse's fate today it will also be worth noting the trainers recent Laytown winner Monteverdi who has a possible entry at Kempton on Wednesday.

Monday Selection

8:25 – Born To Finish – The four-year-old is now 2lb his last winning mark (Feb 2017) and ran arguably his best race since joining the trainer when beaten ½ length into 3rd at Wolverhampton 16 days ago. A winner over C&D for his previous trainer Jeremy Gask he must have a great chance of adding to his four all weather wins in this class 5 handicap

Born To Finish – 5/1

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George can get Lucky at Stratford…

Enable cruises to Arc triumph

Enable did it again, as she won her 5th Group 1 on the spin when taking the Arc in a fairly decisive style yesterday. Given she has been on the go since April then this was a really tremendous training performance and another win for the fillies as she became the 7th winner for the fairer sex in last 10 years. The first three home were drawn in the first three stalls so a low draw did indeed turn out to be advantageous on this occasion.

They didn’t go that quick in the early stages of the race and Enable was a little keen but Frankie always had her in a good position and when he asked her for her effort two furlongs from home, she never looked like getting caught. Ulysses looked her only real danger between the final two furlongs and he ran another good race to finish 3rd. He was given a good positive ride but on this sort of ground just isn’t as effective at 1m 4f as he is 1m 2f. He was run out of second by Cloth of Stars just before the line although that colt was never a danger to the winner.Continue Reading

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Fred’s done with racing sponsorship….

Good morning all,

With the cancellation of Ayr’s Western Meeting and with it no Ayr Gold Cup, last weekend’s racing was a pretty uninspiring. So instead of focusing on the weekend’s best performances, I will briefly look at three of big stories in last weeks racing press.

Ayr Gold Cup PR fiasco…

Unexpected rain on Thursday led to the abandonment of the first day of Ayr’s Western meeting due to waterlogging on part of the course. The racecourse then said that it was very hopeful that racing would take place on Friday & Saturday. By the evening, Friday’s card had been abandoned and on Friday morning Saturday’s card also suffered the same fate. All in all, it was a bit of a communications disaster for the racecourse and managed to annoy jockeys, trainers, and punters in equal measure.

It’s looking increasingly likely that meeting was never going to take place if substantial rain fell in the lead-up to the fixture, so in effect, Ayr was probably ‘winging’ it and hoping for the best, which for them didn’t happen. The question that arises is why wasn’t the meeting just abandoned on Thursday? Well the BHA will now investigate the waterlogging issue but it won’t affect the PR disaster the track managed to bring on itself.

Cracksmen the wait is over…

The will he, won’t he run in the Arc saga is now over, as Cracksmen will not be running in Europe’s top middle distance race. It’s a shame for horse racing that the colt won’t be taking his place at Chantilly next Sunday but at the end of the day, the owner pays the bills. Sadly the main reason being given is that Chantilly isn’t the right track for him and Longchamp is much better. I am not sure I buy this one, as there isn’t a huge difference between the two tracks is there? This time next year we will find out whether connections took the right decision to miss this year’s race but for the moment the sport is very much the loser.

Fred’s done with racing sponsorship…

The Racing Post’s Tom Kerr who is one of the best racing journalists, last week broke the story that Betfred would be ending all its horse racing sponsorship and close all bar two of its racecourse shops in the middle of next year. Betfred sponsored 1 in 10 of all races run in the UK in 2016, not just big races like the Ebor Handicap but also plenty of the mediocre Monday fare on offer.

I haven’t got time to discuss Fred Done’s running of the Tote or all the benefits that it brought to his company, as that would an article on its own. Let’s just say the relationship between Betfred and British horse racing hasn’t been the smoothest since they took over the running of the Tote in 2011.

Racing won’t find it easy to find new sponsors and some industry experts have suggested that the sport could lose as much as £6 million a year in lost income.

One For The Tracker:

Dave gave us a few interesting horses to add to the trackers from racing at Yarmouth last week. Big thank you to David, as it saves me the job.

In the same vain I am going to add another juvenile from Saturday that will hopefully provide us with a nice payday or two next year.

Baritone, trained by Sir Michael Stoute made an encouraging racecourse debut when finishing 5th of 15 in the 7f Newbury maiden won by Emaraaty. The son of first-year sire Camelot is a half-brother to Stargazer and the ill-fated Stravagante, both trained by Sir Michael Stoute for owner Michael Tabor. He may well be able to win a mile maiden before the year is out but he looks a typical handicap project in the making for the stable and we should see the best of him as a three-year-old when racing over 1m 2f +.

Monday Selections:

Best not to dwell too long on last week’s selection although the one positive was we got the value as the David Barron trained Red Star Dancer was sent off the 3/1 favourite for his race at Carlisle. Sadly he ran more like a 33/1 shot. Sadly at the time of writing this Hamilton has been abandoned so I am off to Leicester for today’s selection and another David Barron trained runner that interests me.


3:40 – Venturous – The four-year-old has yet to win in seven starts since moving to David Barron at the start of the season. The gelding lost any chance he had when missing the start but he made eye-catching headway in the middle of the race and had put himself into contention a furlong out before his effort not surprisingly flattened out inside the final furlong. He eventually finished 6th of 15 but still managed to get within less than 3 lengths of the winner. Given he lost many lengths at the start of the race it was a really good effort in the circumstances. He looks to have dropped down to a competitive mark and given he seemed to handle soft ground at Doncaster, he should be fine on the forecast going. His trainer has his horses in great form having had 5 winners from 13 runners 38% + 11.73 in the past 14 days and he has also done well with his runners at the course having had – 6 winners from 22 runners 27% +7.10 13 placed 59% in the past 5 years.

Venturous – 7/2 or better

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