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Kirby To Pounce Late On Lingfield Stayer!

Morning all,

How was it for you? There were winners and losers at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Some punters won, others lost. The most notable winners were the Doncaster woman who placed a £3 straight line and took home £96,266.10 from Friday’s placepot and also the five-strong syndicate from Sutton Coldfield which also celebrated a £64,177.40 windfall. Stuff of dreams, no doubt, and shows how good a fun bet the Placepot can be.

As for myself it was poor festival punting wise I am not hiding away from it, but that’s horse race betting for you. In fact, if it wasn’t for Coo Star Sivola or my ante post bet on Mister Whitaker in the Close Brother Handicap Chase on Day 1, it would have been significantly worse for my betting bank.

Most of my ante-post vouchers were based on there being a good ground festival and of course it was heavy going for most of the four days. Still there are plenty more spring festivals to come including Aintree and Punchestown to get those Cheltenham losses back.

Well the flat turf season starts on Saturday at Doncaster with the two-day Lincoln meeting and if the track is anything is like my garden it will be covered in plenty of snow. At least the “Mini Beast from the East” won’t be around for long. With temperatures set to rise from Tuesday to reach the balmy highs of 10c by the end of the week.

If your planning to go in heavy betting wise at Doncaster I would advise a certain amount of caution as there will be plenty of yards who will have been held up by the recent spells of freezing weather. April can be a tough month for punters and until we get some spring like weather I suspect it’s going to be even harder this year.

Some Cheltenham Musings and One for the Tracker

It would take too long to document all the highlights from last week’s festival but the two-riding performances of the week for me came from Harriet Tucker defying a dislocated shoulder to win the Foxhunters Chase on Pacha Du Polder and Richard Johnson’s almost perfect front running ride to win the Gold Cup on Native River.

The Foxhunters win by Harriet Tucker was one of four races one by a woman jockey at the meeting and showed once again that when they get the ammunition they're as good as the men. Meanwhile the Richard Johnson ride was one of the Champion Jockey's best rides. He got the fractions perfectly right and left just enough for Native River to hold off the looming presence of Might Bite on the run in. It was a tough Festival for Johnson who didn’t get many chances to excel. As he showed on Native River there is still no better jockey than he when it comes to giving a chaser a strong forceful ride from the front.

Given the going was hardly spring like there were plenty of horses that can be added to your trackers as they would have preferred a sounder surface but the stand out for me was Chesterfield.

The Seamus Mullins trained 8-year-old had won a ‘jumpers bumper’ at Kempton on his prep for the Festival. Despite the soft ground he ran a fine race when finishing a five length 4th in the County Hurdle. His best runs on RPR’s came on good and good to soft ground last April at Aintree and Ayr. The last of those wins came in the Scottish Champion Hurdle off a 3lb higher mark than he races off at present. I am sure both races will be on his agenda again and he will be racing off a very winnable mark if he gets a sounder surface than he faced here.

Monday Racing and Selection

A snow-covered Limerick which couldn’t race on Sunday faces a morning inspection. Which leaves only Down Royal’s rescheduled Saturday card and Lingfield’s all-weather card for punters to get stuck into.


3:25 – Ardamir looked a future winner when staying on into 5th in a 1m 4f handicap here back in December. The 6-year-old has finished 3rd on his last three starts, including over C&D, and although he’s not the easiest to win with he’s on a competitive looking mark if all the cards fall right. Looks like he needs a good pace to chase and probably has to be produced on the line to win. Looks worthy of some each-way support today.

Ardamir – 9/1 @ William Hill & Ladbrokes

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

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 – Click Here

Ask The Weatherman on Monday

Morning all,

Did the Sandown Steward Bottle It?

I wasn’t going to take a look back at the weekends action this week with the Cheltenham Festival starting tomorrow but events at Sandown mean I am compelled to look at the outcome of Saturday’s Matchbook Imperial Cup.

The clearly talented if quirky Mr Antolini won the Imperial Cup to give trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies another win in the race. The horse is a rather hard ride as he showed when he hung badly to his right after the last and then squeezed up the eventual runner up Call Me Lord just before the line. A steward enquiry then ensured as too see if the interference that the runner up suffered had affected the outcome of the race. The fact that the winner won by a neck meant that the placings remained unaltered.

But should the race result have been changed? In my opinion it should have. It was a shocking decision by the stewards who clearly ‘bottled' a decision on a big day. Meanwhile at Hereford in a not too dissimilar situation a horse was thrown out by the local stewards there.

There is too much flexibility in Britain for the stewards which leads to inconsistency. The French have this one right as there is no ambiguity, you hamper an opponent as Mr Antolini did and you lose the race. If he had won by a head or short-head does anyone think he would have kept the race?

Was Mr Antolini the best horse in the race? We can argue about that but did he interfere and hinder the chance of the runner-up? For me he did and he should have been placed second.

That’s my Monday rant over let’s get back to the good stuff. At last all the waiting is over and the tapes are about to rise on the year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival: The Final Countdown

Here's my three Cheltenham Tips:

1. Make sure you use a separate betting bank to your normal day to day one.

2. Set aside a certain amount of money for each of the four days and don't be tempted to play anymore.

3. At these big Festivals it’s all about finding winners, so in the big handicaps in particular look to have three or even four onside.

Personally, I have 25pts per day betting bank. Looking at the Tuesday card It's unlikely that I will use it all up so anything left over is carried over to the next day and so on.

Day One Early Thoughts

As I write this article the 48-hour decs are out for Day 1 so let’s have a quick look. The going looks set to be soft, possibly heavy in places. Which I don’t think anyone expected back in the autumn.

1:30 – Sky Bet Supreme – I am not sure if I will be having a bet in the race yet but I want to take on Getabird here. Paloma Blue puts the Samcro form to the test here. He was third at Leopardstown to the Ballymore favourite. If he settles better than he did in the last race he could run into the places and the 6-year-old is certainly going the right way.

Just three places and four lengths behind that day was the Mags Mullins trained Debuchet. The 5-year-old has only had two starts over hurdles and remains a maiden but it’s interesting to see connections are giving at go. He is another who looks to be getting better with experience and he could well outrun his big odds at 50/1. It’s worth remembering he was second here in last year’s Champion Bumper so we do know he handles the Festival atmosphere. Trainer is 1 win from 2 runners +13 2 placed 100% with her runners at the Festival who had their last run at Leopardstown.

2:10 – Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase – Well only five are set to go to post for the race but I am on Saint Calvados each way at 33/1 for the race and with soft ground in his favour I think he can really give Footpad a race.

2:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – The first of the days two handicaps. My three for the shortlist at his stage are the potentially well-handicapped Coo Star Sivola who likes the track. Beware The Bear needs to jump better than he has done so far this season but if he does he is capable of further progress. Vintage Clouds is a difficult horse to get a handle on as to what his best trip is but his stamina will come into play and a mark of 141 looks more than workable.

3:30 – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy – To be honest this a race I definitely won’t be having a bet in. I am not saying Buveur D ‘Air is unbeatable but I just haven’t a clue who would be the one to cause one of the biggest shocks of the Festival by beating him.

4:10 – OLGB Mares' Hurdle – Another race I won’t be having a bet in or trying to take on the hot favourite Apples’s Jade.

4:50 – National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase – The 4-mile chase which looks like it will be a real stamina test this year on the rain softened ground. Not a race that I have looked at in much detail. Trainer Philip Hobbs has had a poor season but maybe the spring festivals will bring him some joy.

He saddles the J P McManus owned No Comment who lacks the experience of plenty in the field as this will only be his second start over fences. A potential improver at the marathon trip. The 7-year-old will be ridden by top Irish amateur Derek O’Connor who won this race in 2011 and 2016. The owner has a good record in non-handicap chases at the festival with runners sent off at odds 9/1 and under – 5 winners from 14 runners 36% +18.63 8 placed 57%. Odds of 6/1 look a shade short for me but he looks a big player.

5:30 – Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase – As expected a maximum field of 20 are declared to go to post for the concluding card on Day 1. Plenty in with a chance. I backed Coo Star Sivola ante post for this but he now goes for the earlier handicap. I also backed Mister Whitaker at 20s after his course win here at the last meeting and he looks to be on a handy mark and has to be high on the shortlist.

The likes of Rocklander, De Plotting Shed, Testify and Kolandra all look capable of going well. Barney Diwan is 311 over fences in small field races and to be honest he hasn’t really beaten much in them either. The potential is there for the 8-year-old to rate higher than his present mark of 143 though and he was second here last year in the Pertemps Final over 3m so handles the Festival well enough.

Monday Selection:


3:40 – Ask The Weatherman – Looked set for a good season when winning at Exeter on his seasonal reappearance back in November. He’s pulled up on his last two starts in the Welsh Grand National and last time at Kempton when never travelling from an early stage. Get the first-time visor in a bid to revive him and if it does he can go well from just 4lb higher than for that last win. Trainer Jack Barber is 1 win from 2 runners in the past 14 days and is 2 wins from 5 runners 40% +11.83 with his runners at Taunton.

Ask The Weatherman – 10/1 @ Bet365 & BetVictor

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

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 – Click Here

David Pipe Cheltenham Festival Angle

Morning all,

Haggas Horse Makes Rapid Headway

Not much to report on from the weekend’s racing action. The only highlight was the performance of Headway in winning the 7f Listed Race. The 3-year-old was second at Royal Ascot and finished third in the Gimcrack on his final start of last season. Backed into 11/10 favourite his backers must have been thinking that his winning chance had gone 2f from home when he looked to have too much to do.

The colt produced a tremendous change of gear when his jockey asked him for his effort and he overhauled the eventual runner-up in the shadow of the post. He needs quick ground on turf to be at his best according to connections and the way he covered the ground confirmed those thoughts.

I doubt he is up to Classic level but he certainly deserves to take his chance in one of the trials. Given his owners a race at Royal Ascot will no doubt be on his agenda especially as he should get the quick ground he needs there. If he doesn’t get a mile the Jersey Stakes could be a good race for the horse.

One Week To Go

Well this time next week we’ll be just a day from the start of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. Not sure about you but I can’t wait and the recent freezing weather and lack of jumps action has only wetted the appetite even more.

The chance that the Festival will be run on soft ground looks more and more likely and if the forecasters are right then the track could see another 15mm of rain before the start of the meeting. If you’re like me you have ante-post bets at the meeting based on having goodish ground you will be a shade concerned. But that’s the perils of ante-post betting and you have to take it on the chin. Given Cheltenham dries quickly a couple of sunny mild days would probably see it being genuinely good-to-soft on Tuesday.

Cheltenham Festival: The Handicap Angles

Last week I looked at backing favourites at the Cheltenham Festival as promised last week I am going to have a look at a couple of interesting handicap angles.

1. David Pipe – Handicap Chases

David Pipe’s runners in handicap chases at the Festival are always worth a second look. In the past 10 years his record in such races is – 8 winners from 76 runners 11% +5.83 A/E 1.53 19 placed 25%. But if you focus in on his runners that last raced 30 to 120 days prior to the Festival and were ridden by Tom Scudamore and Jamie Codd you have the following set of results:

7 winners from 16 runners 44% +46.83 A/E 4.83 9 placed 56% (Each way punters would have gained +60.16 and betting to BSP would have seen a profit of +56.25)

2. Paul Nicholls – Handicap Hurdles

Paul Nicholls has had ten handicap winners at the festival in the past 10 years.

Chases – 2 winners from 65 runners 3% -27 7 placed 11% A/E 0.38
Hurdles – 8 winners from 78 runners 10% +35.5 A/E 1.53 23 placed 29%

Whilst he can get handicap chase winners at the meeting you have to sort out the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and it’s better to concentrate on his runners in handicap hurdles. All 8 winners have shared the following:

Age: 4 to 6-year-old
Official Rating: 141 or less

8 winners from 43 runners 19% +70.5 A/E 2.58 19 placed 44% (profit to BSP +90.7 each way betting all runners +127.38)

Drilling down further you could look at those runners that finished 1st or were having their first start for him:

6 winners from 15 runners 40% +60.5 A/E 4.11 8 placed 53% (profit to BSP +72.66 – each way +88.88)

Next week’s Monday column will just look at Cheltenham and will also include a Willie Mullins Festival angle.

Monday Racing & Selection

There’s a chance we could see the return of jumps racing today with Southwell and Lingfield both set to host meetings. The former looks the more likely at this stage. There is also a “Jumpers Bumper” card on the all-weather at Kempton and a Monday evening flat card at Wolverhampton.


5:00 Tarrona looks to have a better chance than his odds suggest. The 9-year-old hasn’t been the easiest to keep sound as this will only be his 12th career start. No shows on either of his two starts this season but he’s on a competitive mark based on his best form last season at around this time of year when twice a runner up at Hereford.

A reproduction of either of those would give him a big chance here but a reproduction of his two runs this season give the top-weight zero chance. If the 8 declared runners stand their ground then an each way bet looks the way to go if you can get 16/1 or 20/1.


If Southwell doesn’t survive the weather keep an eye on one in the Class 2 handicap at Wolverhampton.

7:45 – Diodorus – The four-year-old trained by Karen McLintock is having his third start for the trainer since switching from Aiden O’Brien stable. Ran well enough when finishing 4th on his stable/handicap debut at Newcastle after a 134-day break. He ran just as well when 4th , here over 1m 2f, three weeks ago, when he wouldn’t have been suited by the moderate gallop on his first start since a gelding operation.

He was second in a Listed race as a juvenile and won a Dundalk maiden on his final start for his previous trainer. On the latter occasion it was battling attitude and stamina that won him a moderate race.

The step up to 1m 4f will suit him and if the first time cheekpieces do the trick he can outrun his likely big odds. I am sure his trainer will be able to win races this year with this son of Galileo. Will it be today?

Monday Selection


5:00 – Tarrona -20/1 @ BetVictor & Bet365

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable week’s betting.

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 – Click Here


Good morning all,

Little to talk about today, but as luck would have it it was my turn to do a card for the Sporting Life today, which means I’ve got stuck into the Newcastle card. Hopefully it’ll still go ahead despite the threat of yet more snow on the way later.

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