by John Burke

January 20, 2021

Good morning all,

I have to say Charlie Deutsch is riding with great confidence. That was exemplified by his winning ride on yesterday’s selection Don Herbager at Exeter.

Don Herbager is just an old-fashioned plodder and Deutsch didn’t panic when his mount seemed to lose his place at the 10th.  Instead, he just allowed the horse to find his feet and stay on resolutely for the win.

The weather outside is frightful and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better before the weekend.  Haydock’s Saturday card which is due to be covered by ITV and features four Grade 2 races, including the Peter Marsh Chase is in doubt. The ground is already heavy and more rain is forecast. In addition, colder weather is being forecast for later in the week and possibly snow. It’s hard to see the meeting going ahead which is a big shame.

Hopes are good for Ascot. The going there is currently soft but they are expecting up to an inch of rain in the next few days so the ground is likely to be heavy come race day. ITV are also covering one race from Taunton, part of an eight-race programme, so would assume they will cover more races from the Somerset track in the likely event of Haydock not racing.

Inside today’s main piece I’m looking ahead to Saturday’s Ascot card. Plus, I look at today’s action from Newbury but first a few words on Charles Byrnes.

Charles Byrnes gets six-month ban

Trainer Charles Byrnes has been suspended for six months after Viking Hoard was found to have tested positive for a sedative after being pulled up at Tramore in October 2018. The referrals committee judging the case found that an unknown third party had ‘nobbled' the horse, who was also laid to lose almost €35,000 by a mystery punter on Betfair.

Byrnes is a trainer who likes to line up one for a gamble and when they are in the know the money isn't usually left behind.

Now I haven’t had a chance to look at the full judgement of the Viking Hoard case. However, on the face of it looks like Byrnes has got away lightly with just a six-month ban.

The case seems to have raised more questions than answers and isn't painting Irish racing in a good light.

Weekend thoughts – Part 1

Clarence House Chase – Ascot

The weekend’s feature race is Ascot’s Grade 1 Clarence House Chase. As of yesterday, the race became more interesting with the news that recent King George VI runner-up Waiting Patiently will take his place in the line-up.

Tingle Creek winner Politologue heads the ante post betting for this race and is the one to beat. I can see him going out from the front and play catch me if you can.

Last years winner Defi Du Seuil must bounce back from two underwhelming runs in the Champion Chase and in the Shloer Chase on his seasonal reappearance.

Course and distance winner First Flow steps out of handicap company for the first time in his hat trick bid.

Fanion D'Estruval, trained by Venetia Williams who was still going well when falling three out in the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase last time, could get into the places.

Unlike Defi Du Seuil, Waiting Patiently has proven his well-being. He also finished within a length of Defi in last seasons Tingle Creek and has an extra furlong to race here.

Now he might be a better horse over 2m 4f but the soft ground will bring his stamina into play. He’s won here in the past, although that success came over 2m 4f.

Waiting Patiently deserves to a win another Grade 1 and looks set to give Politologue most to do.

I will look ahead to more of the weekend’s racing in tomorrow’s column.

Wednesday racing

A decent seven race card at Newbury this afternoon and the two handicap chases interest me most.


1:25 – An interesting 2m½f novices handicap chase. Funambule Sivola bounced back to form after a disappointing run at Sandown when winning over C&D 22-days ago. He’s only been raised 6lb for that success and remains on a competitive mark.

Birchdale was sent off 30/100 favourite for his chase debut at Catterick but unseated his rider. He’s been given a 66-day break since that mishap and is on a good mark based on his novice hurdle form from two seasons back.

Harambe make’s his chase debut here. The 8-year-old is another competitively weighted on his good handicap hurdle form and trainer Alan King has his horses in good form.

Dostal Phil in the same ownership as Birchdale is another making his debut over the larger obstacles. He goes well on testing ground and could be open to improvement for going chasing.

3:35 – A big field of fourteen go to post for this 3m handicap chase.

Ouro Branco returned from 637-day layoff last season to win two of his three starts over fences last season. He continued in the same good from when winning at Wincanton on his seasonal reappearance. He’s been hiked up 12lb for that success which looks fair enough. Especially as the second and third have since gone onto win. He’s goes well on testing ground but of more concern would be the step up in trip to 2m 7 ½ f.

No stamina concerns for top weight Fagan who was a useful novice chaser when with Gordon Elliott. The 11-year-old shaped better on his first start over fences, since joining Alex Hales, when 3rd of 9 at Ludlow last month. Today’s more galloping track will suit and he's on a competitive looking mark.

Wednesday selection:


3:35 – Fagan – 8/1 @ Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook (paying 4 places 1/5 odds) (Sky Bet are paying 5 places)

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Good luck with your Wednesday bets.


John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here –

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

John Burke

John Burke is a long term tipster at the Victor Value service, a contributor to On Course Profits and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt. If you want all of John's selections every weekend and his horses to follow – Click Here

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