Tag Archives: age allowance

Nick Hardman Free Tips

A bright Friday morning brings with it the joy of six tips from the excellent Nick Hardman of the Betting School Insiders Club

We have some decent racing today with the meetings at Doncaster and Huntingdon standing out by some way. I have gone through the cards and picked out some horses with strong chances as well as picking out a couple of bigger priced each-way runners.

John Ferguson is 4-11 with his hurdlers at Doncaster in non-handicap races in the last 3 years for a level stakes profit of £9.29. He runs Buckwheat in the novice hurdle race at 1.05pm and champ AP McCoy is booked to ride.

Nicky Henderson’s Days Of Heaven rates a big danger after showing much improved form in a first time hood when scoring at Ludlow (hood fitted again here). With that in mind there are options for the forecast with these two likely to be a lot better than the rest.

Steel Summit’s winning sequence must come to an end at some point but the manner of his latest victory and the fact he is 10lbs well-in at the weights make him one of the strongest bets on the card in the 2.50pm.

Nicky Henderson has a good chance of taking the final race on the Doncaster card with Clondaw Banker in the maiden hurdle. His second behind Jolly’s Cracked it at Ascot back in November is smart form and he ran that same rival to within a length next time out. A reproduction of either of those efforts should be enough to win this.

It’s not often a horse with form figures 8696 would interest me but you should always put those figures into the context of the race the horse is running in.

In this case the race is a novice handicap hurdle and a quick look at the rest of the runners reveal they too have form figures that look like the numbers round from Countdown.

The horse in question is Haleo and he runs in the 1.40pm today at Doncaster.

What drew my eye to him originally is that he is rated 97 in a race where the top rated horses are rated 99.

However, he gets a hefty 13lbs weight-for-age allowance from those two horses.

He ran well for a long way on his last start before fading two from home to finish 6th, beaten 10 lengths in total. He is the 20/1 outsider of the field here but I think that allowance will see him finish closer than market expectations.

Over at Huntingdon we have a similar scenario in the 4.05pm handicap hurdle that closes the card. Cyclop is joint-top rated with Harry Hunt on an official rating of 120.

However, the 4yo Cyclop gets 11lbs from his 8yo rival. Also in his favour is the booking of Sam Twiston-Davies and he also has a C&D win to his name. Up 6lbs for that latest win he might still have a bit of improvement in him.

The best race on the Huntingdon card is the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier and top rated Aubusson is sure to prove popular dropping back into a handicap.

His latest effort saw him finish 3rd in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle. Prior to that, he won the Grade 3 Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock to earn his current rating of 153.

He has to give 11lbs away here although Lizzie Kelly’s claim will off-set 7lbs of that.

However, this is a hot race with David Pipe’s Knight Of Noir also holding strong claims along with Dolatulo and Zeroshadesofgrey.

But the one really interesting runner is Ely Brown. He defied an absence of 198 days to win a Pertemps Qualifier at Ascot in 2012 off a mark of 125 and went on to finish 6th in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham festival.

He defied an absence of 206 days to win the same Qualifier again in 2013 off a mark of 135 before being sent novice chasing where he won a Grade 2 on his second start.

He has not been seen in almost a year but it is interesting he goes back over hurdles and is racing here off a mark of 139.

Charlie Deutsch takes off 5lbs so that puts Ely Brown 1lb below his last winning hurdles mark.

He has won first time out in the last 2 seasons. This would be some training feat were he to take this and it will be interesting to see how he goes.

The negatives are that he is returning from injury (as opposed to a seasonal break) and word is he is being aimed at a tilt at the Grand National so this may just be a pipe-opener.

That said you often see Grand National horses running at the Cheltenham festival in the Pertemps Final.

My interest is perked just enough to have a little each-way @12/1.

Doncaster 1.05pm Buckwheat tweet this tip
Doncaster 1.40pm Haleo @20/1 (e/w) tweet this tip
Doncaster 2.50pm Steel Summit @6/4 tweet this tip
Doncaster 3.50pm Clondaw Banker tweet this tip
Huntingdon 3.05pm Ely Brown @12/1 (e/w) tweet this tip
Huntingdon 4.05pm Cyclop @9/2 tweet this tip

Cheltenham Day Two

Well I thoroughly enjoyed yesterdays racing but walked away a bit poorer.

Paddy Power refunded all my Arkle Chase bets so no loss there.

Of the others I had some good runs for my money but no profit other than my biggest bet on deservedly short priced Quevega.

Cheltenham Day Two

Today I will be backing Sizing Europe (3.20). The even money is gone now, but this horse is a class above the opposition here.

As yesterday we have been allowed to give you Mark Foley's assessment of the first race of the day.


A typical winner of this race is a 7 or 8yo, who has had at least three races over fences and finished in the first 4 LTO. Last year’s winner was the first outright winning favourite of the race since 1992.
Since the race structure was altered five of the last 9 winners carried 11-6 or 11-7 and all but one of the last ten winners carried between 11-6 and 11-11.

The market also appears to have stabilised in recent years, with the biggest priced winner in the last 4 years being 14/1 shot Poker De Sivola. Being a race for amateur riders it’s important to have a decent jock on your side and the last 3 winning jocks have all been top class amateurs. (Derek O’Connor, Katie Walsh and Sam Waley Cohen.)
The younger runners get an age allowance, but generally it isn’t considered enough for them to win although Tricky Trickster did baulk the trend 3 years ago; the only 6 yo in the race is Four Commanders.

Blenheim Brook
Lively Baron
Universal Soldier

All four of the runners shortlisted are running off 11-6, but Teafrothree would be giving the other four shortlisted runners at least 8 lbs if this was a handicap and he also has the benefit of arguably the best rider in the race.

JT McNamara won this race on the Jonjo O’Neill trained Rith Dubh. His record at Cheltenham is a superb 12 wins from 49 races, although most of the wins have come on the Cross country course.

Teaforthree held an RSA entry and was keeping company with Grand Crus no less in a grade 1 chase over Christmas. The stable appear to have made a wise choice taking in this race rather than the RSA and if his rating of 146 is realistic, which it appears to be then TeaforThree looks to hold a good chance of taking this.

That rating was achieved at Chepstow in a Novice chase in November and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th home that day have all come out and franked the form since. He returned to Chepstow in February and won again, but races off the same mark again today.

He looks progressive and the form line with Join Together who is 3rd favourite for the RSA gives him a good chance in this lesser race.

Paul Nicholls has a poor record in this race – only 1 of the 14 runners he has previously entered in the race has even made the frame, but Harry the Viking is the early favourite for this race.

History tells us that winners of this race need a good deal of experience to deal with the hustle and bustle of a big field and it must be a concern that he has only had 5 career races and two over fences. He does look progressive and his form is impressive, but he has been put up 8lb for winning by a head LTO at Doncaster.

Lively baron was 8 lengths behind that day and a disappointing favourite but followed up with a 16 lengths win at Warwick last month. At the revised weights today Lively Baron shouldn’t be far behind Harry the Viking and the 33/1 looks too big, especially when you consider how well the McCain runners performed yesterday.

Irish based trainers have a poor record in the race, but Gordon Elliot broke the trend last year and Soll is very unexposed coming from point to points and has a decent jockey in Katie Walsh. He has never raced on ground this firm, but looked most impressive in winning LTO

Selection: Teaforthree 6/1 with Hills
Danger: Soll
EW Danger: Lively Baron

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Today’s Selection Sponsored by Betting Insiders Club

Cotton Mill 2.05 Cheltenham 1pt WIN @ 10`1 general

Very good flat pedigree and looks a class act. By not being trained by one of the top stables he seems to have been overpriced by the bookies.

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