Author Archives: John Burke

Beckett Filly Worth Following At Leicester…

Good morning all,

Plenty of top class racing action last week with the three day York Dane Festival which was a bit of a punting nightmare for me personally due to the rain that fell in midweek.  Those of you have been following my “One For the Tracker” feature in this column were rewarded with a 12/1 winner on Wednesday with the win of Master Carpenter but sadly that was the only highlight of York for me.

This is what I wrote about the horse after his run in the Lincoln Handicap.

“Master Carpenter trained by Rod Millman didn’t have a great 2016 and hasn’t won a race since landing valuable John Smiths Cup at York over 1m 2f back in the Summer of 2015. He was set some stiff tasks in listed and group company last season but starts this one off a 5lb lower mark than his York win. The 6 year old wasn’t helped by his draw on the stands side with most of the action being middle to low. He ran better than his 12th placing suggests though as he was only beaten 4 lengths at the finish and was noted staying on nicely enough at the finish despite his high draw. He is back down to a winning mark and I think there are races in him, especially when he steps back up in trip”.

Galileo Gold Gets Lockinge Ribbing

The Richard Fahey trained Ribchester put up a cracking performance to win the Lockinge Stakes. The choice of a pacemaker which seemed a good idea for the four year old who can have problems settling in his races, hit trouble at the start as Toscanini was very slowly away. Still Plan B worked as he settled nicely out in front and made all for an excellent win. If he continues to settle he will be worth trying at 1m 2f sometime this season. Until then he is now clearly the best older miler in training and has probably improved from three to four. Royal Ascot now looks firmly on the agenda for the colt.

Last years 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold has to prove he has trained on and he was also much too keen in the early stages of the race. In his defence the Hugo Palmer trained horses haven’t been in flying form of late so when the stable is in better form we could see a better performance by the horse but he has some serious questions to answer for now. The Aiden O’Brien filly Somehow was well backed before the race but was up to this grade against the colts and Aclaim probably found a mile on soft ground just a bit too far.

One For The Tracker:

This week’s horse for your trackers is more a horse for a particular race, that race being next months Ascot Gold Cup.

Simple Verse, the 2015 St Leger heroine was campaigned in the early part of last season over 1m 4f but her best two runs of last season came when winning the 1m 6 ½ f Park Hill Stakes back at Doncaster and then she ran just as well when staying on to take 3rd in the 2m Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot. The five year old made her seasonal reappearance in the Yorkshire Cup and almost made it a winning one and was just caught in the shadow of the post by Dartmouth.

Ground versatile the mare is very effective on ground quicker than she faced last week – 4 wins from 6 runs 6 places on good or good to firm going and she is also 4 wins from 7 runs 6 places when racing 31 to 60 days since her last start. The Gold Cup looks her next target and after the race her trainer Ralph Beckett said “I’ve no doubt she’ll stay”. The Aiden O’Brien trained Order of St George is the ante post favourite for next months big staying prize but underestimate Simple Verse who could still make up into a top class stayer. I have had a nibble at her ante post for the Gold Cup and for those who are interested in joining me she can still be backed at 14/1 with William Hill and Stan James which looks excellent each way value to me!

Stat Corner:


Trainer Ralph Beckett does well in three year old handicaps at Leicester being – 5 winners from 24 runners 21% +13.38 A/E 1.15 10 places 42% but if we just focus in on his handicap debutants at the course he is – 4 winners from 10 runners 40% +14.38 A/E 2.02 6 places 60%. He runs one such runner today in the filly Subatomic who won her final start as a two year old here last October on good to soft going. The extra furlong should suit and she handles cut in the ground. Plenty in her favour although she isn’t much of a price.

8:05 – Subatomic – 3/1 or better

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

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Check In With Hotel At Towcester….

Aiden O’Brien Dominates Chester Derby Trials

The Epsom Derby & Oaks trials are coming thick and fast. Last week we had Chester, on Saturday we had the Lingfield and later this week we have the Dante and Musidora at York’s May Festival. The first meeting of the year at York is a sure sign that summer isn’t far away and I shall be heading over on Thursday.

I decided to keep a close eye on the Derby Trials, the first of which was the Chester Vase on Thursday. Aiden O’Brien clearly wasn’t sure about which was his best runner as he saddled four of the eight strong field but he ended up having the 123.

The winner was Venice Beach who was sent off the 5/2 favourite and on jockey bookings looked the number one of the Ballydoyle contingent. He got a great ride from Ryan Moore who had the colt in the ideal position and once took up the running a furlong out never looked like being caught although his stablemate Wings of Eagles was finishing well from off the pace.

The runner up didn’t handle the twists and turns of Chester and will be better suited by a galloping track and could well be a St Leger contender later in the season.

The winner is improving nicely and is now 2 wins from 2 runs in 2017. Whether he has the gears to win a Derby I am not so sure and he could also turn out to be more of a St Leger horse. I am sure he will take his chance at Epsom and I think he can go well as he clearly stays 1m 4f and is effective on quick ground. He will need to improve plenty over the next few weeks but there is every chance he will do so as his half sister Danedream, who won an Arc and a King George, improved with racing. Given his pedigree he is a horse I like a lot and he could develop into a top class stayer down the line.

On the Friday Aiden O’Brien just saddled the one horse in the Dee Stakes the highly regarded Cliffs of Moher, who was sent off favourite at odds of 4/5 and proved too strong for his rivals at the finish. He looked like he needed all of the 1m 2f trip and should improve for a step up to a 1m 4f. This was only the colt’s third career start and he was making his seasonal reappearance, so he was entitled to come on for this run. The Derby looks his likely next race and although he will need to improve to win a race like that, there is every chance he will with step up in trip.

The Ballydoyle Maestro looked likely to take his third colts Classic Trial of the week with the highly touted Sir John Lavery running in Saturday’s Lingfield Derby Trial. Sadly there was to be no treble as the colt was a real disappointment and finished a well beaten 6th. Surely this wasn’t his true running and something must have been amiss with the horse. He won’t be going to the Derby now but he isn’t one to give up on just yet although he does have some questions to answer.

Switching codes I have to give a quick mention for the Evan Williams trained John Constable who got his head in front in a valuable handicap hurdle when destroying what looked a decent quality field when winning the Swinton Hurdle. It was also a pleasing result for me as I had a good bet on the horse and had advised it to my subscribers at a tasty 8/1 in the morning!

One For The Tracker:

This week’s horse for your notebooks is the Dennis Coakley trained Hors De Combat. The six year old seemed to lose his way when with previous trainer James Fanshawe but the stable switch seems to have had the required effect on the gelding who has returned to something like his best on his four starts for his new trainer. He ran well in two starts in Meydan and was a good 2nd in a valuable Bath Handicap last month. Dropped back to 7f in the Victoria Cup he seemed to be travelling nicely but didn’t get a run inside the final furlong when making his effort, in the circumstance he did well to get within 3 ¾ lengths of the impressive winner Fastnet Tempest. His 9th placing can be marked up as he would have got much closer to the winner with a clear run. On a losing run that dates back 3 years but he is back down to mark from which he can win when all the cards fall right. A return back to a mile for the Hunt Cup at the Royal meeting looks the way to go for me.

Stat Corner:

Trainer Henry Oliver is very much a trainer to follow at Towcester in handicap races. Since the start of 2014 he is 8 winners from 14 runners 57% +28.93 A/E 2.56 11 places 79% +37.18 with his runners in handicaps at the course on going no worse than good to soft. He saddles Burrenbridge Hotel who is a qualifier from this angle. The selection is making his handicap hurdle debut today and the trainer is 3 winners from 4 runners 75% +14.38 4 placed 100% +20.33

Monday Selection


5:30 – Burrenbridge Hotel – 5/1 @ Coral & Ladbrokes

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

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Hobbs No Likey For Stratford….

Well that’s the first two English Classics out of the way only three more to go and the flat season has only been going for 5 weeks. Its Chester’s three day May Festival this week and its likely we will see some potential Derby horses on display. A shorter than normal article this week due to being very busy over the weekend.

O’Brien Runners Dominate First English Classics

I was at Christening and a wedding party over the weekend so I only got a chance to watch the replays of the two classics on Sunday evening. On paper the 2000 Guineas looked a really hot race but sadly a few of the main protagonists didn’t get the best of runs when needed so the result has a bit of unsatisfactory look about it. That’s not taking anything away from the winner Churchill who get a good run and did what he had to do in a very professional manner. The race wasn’t run at strong gallop which didn’t suit the runner up Barney Roy who didn’t handle the dip very well or the 3rd home Al Wukair who was to far back in a steadily run race. Churchill was the well backed 6/4 favourite and now will presumably head for the Derby and the serious possibility of landing the 2000 Guineas/Derby double for the Coolmore boys.Continue Reading

Brian Meehan To Enhance Excellent Bath Record…

Morning all,

It’s hard to believe it’s only a few weeks since we were looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival and suddenly it’s the first two classics of the British flat season this coming weekend. Maybe it’s old age catching on but time just seems to go so fast these days.

For me and those of you that joined my service last month it’s been an amazing April from a profits perspective not far short of 100pts, thanks for the many great emails but, as we know, your only as good as your last month in the punting world.

The curtain came down on the 2016-17 National Hunt season at Sandown on Saturday and it was great to see Many Clouds being crowned Jumps Horse of the Year. I think he would have gone close to winning a Gold Cup this year never mind a another National. He will live long in the memory.

A new star of the jumping game Altior ended his first season over fences with a comprehensive win over Special Tiara in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase on Saturday. He thrilled the crowd with a brilliant round of jumping as he stalked the eventual runner up until going clear after the second last. I think he is better than Sprinter Sacre and I really hope the showdown with Douvan takes place next season. That will be some horse!

On the subject of great races I can’t let last weeks Punchestown Gold Cup go unmentioned.

The race of the jumps season for me without a shadow of a doubt and what a thrilling finish racegoers and those watching on TV were treated too. Coneygree the 2015 Gold Cup winner had led the field at a good gallop and was still bang in contention coming to two out, with Sizing John and Djakadam breathing down his neck, but a slight mistake there may well have cost him the race. That mistake allowed Djakadam to take a slight advantage coming to the last but he wasn’t as fluent there as his jockey would have liked and he was just overhauled in the shadow of the post by this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup with Coneygree less than 2 lengths behind back in third.

You have to feel for the runner up who once again just missed out on a big price. If he was mine I would be targeting next seasons King George a race and track than should really suit him. The winner needed all his reserves of stamina to win here and hopefully he will get more recognition now than I feel he got after winning at Cheltenham. Coneygree bounced right back to his best and is a credit to his connections and if he can be kept sound will be a major contender at next years Gold Cup. There is plenty for racegoers to look forward to in the top class staying races next year.

One For The Tracker:

Atty Persse – I’m not normally a fan of putting last time out winners in my tracker but with this three year old I am happy to make an exception. The son of Frankel was sold to Godolphin after winning at Sandown on his only run as a juvenile and they look to have bought a horse that could go to the top this year. Backed like he was unbeatable before this mile handicap at Sandown he made a heavy weather of winning the Esher Cup but is far better than the short head win suggests. I thought his lack experience showed during the race and despite not getting the best of passages still managed to get up on the line. The mile trip was far too short for the son of Frankel, by a mare who was a listed winner at 1m 2f, and when he steps up to 1m 2f we should see him improve a lot more. Chester looks to be on the agenda for the three year old who could even get 1m 4f this year. Trainer Roger Charlton will be quietly confident that he has a top class colt on his hands and this one is worth following this season.

Stat Corner:

What do I look for in a key stat selection? I like to see a trainer who has a good record at a track both in terms of strike rate and profitability.

Being a Bank Holiday there is a fair bit of racing both sides of the Irish Sea

Let’s start by looking at Saeed Bin Suroor’s at Windsor. In the past 3 years he is 12 winners from 30 runners 40% +9.59 18 A/E 1.52 placed 60% and he is 5 winners from 12 runners 42% +5.25 A/E 1.71 7 places 58% with runners in handicaps and he is 6 winners from 19 runners 32% +0.60 with all his runners in the past 14 days. He saddles Team Meeting in the 5:30 at Windsor and is one I will be interested in.

Meanwhile at Bath trainer Brian Meehan has an excellent strike rate with his runners at that course.

Since 2014 he is 13 winners from 35 runners 37% +68.98 A/E 2.07 18 places 52% with his runners here. If we look at his runners aged 3+ he is 9 winners from 21 runners 43% +58.23 A/E 2.65 12 places 57% and he is 7 winners from 16 runners 44% +27.5 A/E 2.8 10 placed 62% with his runners in handicaps. He saddles two runners here today Mutawakked in the 2:50 and Ivegotthepower in the 5:40.

Monday Selection


2:50 – Mutawakked – 5/1

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

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