Cheltenham….Gold Cup day

Final furlong….so tough in soft ground….Gold Cup challenge today


Thanks to Warren Greatrex and Missed Approach for a winner for me, and for GB, on an Irish-dominated day yesterday. The Ryanair may have been Cue Card’s last race….he certainly didn’t seem to go on the ground. If so, thanks to Cue Card, Paddy Brennan and Colin Tizzard for great fun and a fantastic racing career….9 Grade 1s….in such style!

Today sees a very open running of the Gold Cup. Might Bite is a class act but staying up the hill is a problem. Our Duke and Native River look to have the stamina but I’ll hedge my bets with the progressive ROAD TO RESPECT and the tough-as-bleep DEFINITLY RED, trained by the canny Brian Ellison, with one eye on the Grand National to come.

Tips are….

Triumph Hurdle….REDICEAN….good odds, big chance
County Hurdle….CHESTERFIELD….good form, may like conditions
Albert Bartlett Hurdle….CHEF DES OBEAUX….good 2nd favourite, Noel aboard for Nicky
THE GOLD CUP….DEFINITLY RED….a tough renewal today, ROAD TO RESPECT strong
Foxhunter Chase….FOXROCK….crazy race, good chance for Katie Walsh
Conditional Jockeys Hurdle….MELROSE BOY….open, a chance for Harry Fry and Keiron Edgar
Grand Annual Chase….DRESDEN….punt of the day, on great form, likes soft going

Good luck!

Post races comment

No luck betting-wise but the Festival ended with a classic Gold Cup duel between Might Bite and Native River, the going favouring the latter who prevailed up the hill. A tremendous ride from Richard Johnson who, alongside Nico De Boinville on Might Bite, put the rest of the field to the sword with superb judgement of pace. Might Bite showed his class today but was outstayed on soft ground.

Finally, a sad end to the day in the Grand Annual in which three horses, Some Plan, North Hill Harvey and Dresden, were fatally injured. Condolences to all connections. BUT am I right to be disturbed by how the race was ridden, with a crowded field of 20+, in the early stages? The BHA is to investigate….let us hope this is a genuine review, with strong advice to jockeys being paramount in my view.


Cheltenham Day 3

AP after winning the Ryanair on Uxizandre in 2015….a great ride


Well, after only making money on Midnight Tour, a brilliant 66-1 2nd for me on Day 1, today sees the marvellous Cue Card taking on Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair, and The New One having a belated attempt over 3 miles in the Stayers Hurdle (Why change the race name? World Hurdle so much better).

This jumps season I seem to be betting with heart rather than head, a costly strategy, but love seeing my favourite jumpers, though excessively stressful. Here are some tips….

JLT Novices Chase….FINIAN’S OSCAR….talented but lacks consistent jumping technique
Pertemps Final….FORZA MILAN….in good form for Jonjo O’Neil
Ryanair Chase….CUE CARD….ran so well against Waiting Patiently and has big chance though going may favour Un De Sceaux….not a two horse race
Stayers Hurdle….YANWORTH….very competitive race with potential star Sam Spinner deserved favourite….Yanworth and The New One have the experience
Stable Plate Chase….TRAFFIC FLUIDE….an absolute lottery, with Guitar Pete also good odds and Movewiththetimes strong for Paul Nicholls
Mares Novice Hurdle….MARIA’S BENEFIT….highly progressive
Kim Muir Challenge Cup….MISSED APPROACH….able and probably aimed at this for a long time by Warren Greatrex

Good luck!

Cheltenham….Day 2

Buveur D’Air and Barry Geraghty take the Champion Hurdle on Day 1….two in a row

Well, I had a great afternoon at Cheltenham….the racing was brilliant with so many close finishes. Annoyingly, betting to win, my five 2nd places and one 3rd meant I lost money. Yes, I know each way makes sense in these races but blah blah blah!

Tips for Day 2 are….

Ballymore Novices Hurdle….SAMCRO….a cert surely, Black Op each way
RSA Chase….BLACK CORTON….on a superb run for Bryony Frost
Coral Cup….MAX DYNAMITE….tough to call but well weighted with a chance
Champion Chase….ALTIOR….the one to beat, even with ground against, Special Tiara may get a place at big odds
Cross Country Chase….THE LAST SAMURI….good chance with the weights this year
Fred Winter Hurdle….ACT OF VALOUR….tough call but open race
Champion Bumper….RHINESTONE….looks well prepared by Joseph O’Brien

Good luck!

Cheltenham….hurray!….Day 1 


Hello…well, with any luck I shall make it down to Champion Hurdle day and hear, live for the first time, the roar from the stands at 1.30, as race one gets underway.
Day 1 is a dangerous day for bookies, with four of the seven races, having short-priced favourites, ripe for the picking for those punters who like accumulators. Yes, that includes me, although we all remember the great Annie Power coming to grief in the Mares Hurdle at the last to save the bookies an estimated 50 million.

So, my first tip for Cheltenham is indeed the no-brainer four horse accumulator, giving overall odds of around 12-1, consisting of GETABIRD, FOOTPAD, BUVEUR D’AIR AND APPLE’S JADE, with perhaps Getabird being the weak link if you prefer a treble. Personally, my insurance accumulator is BUVEUR D’AIR, APPLE’S JADE coupled with ALTIOR and SAMCRO ON Day 2. Surely there’s money in there somewhere!

Nevertheless, I’ve backed another seven horses for Day 1 to try to pick the winner of the other three dodgy races and hedge against the big four favourites with potential winners at good prices. So, here are my dodgier picks for the seven races on Day 1….

Supreme Hurdle….SLATE HOUSE….potential earlier in the season for Colin Tizzard
Arkle Chase….BRAIN POWER….poor last two starts but Nicky Henderson should have him right for this
Ultima Handicap….GOLD PRESENT….top weight but best in race so….
Champion Hurdle….ELGIN….tough as bleep, very progressive, big price, supplemented
Mares Hurdle….MIDNIGHT TOUR….very overpriced, each way
NH Amateur Riders….MS PARFOIS….has impressed at times this season….potential
Novices Handicap Chase….ROCKLANDER….well weighted, has good form

Good luck to all, but, above all, enjoy the spectacle!

Ascot Chase….CUE CARD and old favourites day


For me, today is all about Cue Card trying to win his third Ascot Chase and tenth Grade 1, having won over 1.3 million. I’ll be a nervous wreck watching, chiefly because such a great horse deserves a great retirement. Paddy Brennan back on board….get round safe!
In the same race is the talented youngster Waiting Patiently, now trained by Ruth Jefferson up here in the North after the untimely loss of her dad, Malcolm, so highly regarded by race fans. My money goes on both horses!

I’m having quite a few bets today….but no brain necessary….I’m, above all, a fan of the great horses who I’ve followed for years….they deserve my loyalty and owe me nothing, for the sheer pleasure of watching them. So, without putting my thoughtful tipster’s hat on, my money today goes on….

At Ascot….
Black Corton
Tenor Nivernais
Le Patriote
Court Minstrel
Waiting Patiently

At Haydock….
Splash Of Ginge

Sometimes it does’nt pay to overthink racing.
Or does it?

Good luck!

Post races comment

What a fabulous Ascot Chase with Cue Card a close 2nd to Waiting Patiently! At 12 years old, to run and jump with such zest, Cue Card is a legend of the sport, a credit to Colin Tizzard and jockey Paddy Brennan who clearly loved the ride. What awaits Waiting Patiently at Cheltenham? Great to have a northern star! Well done the Jeffersons.

Nice to have two other winners; Le Patriote finally came good and Black Corton, ridden by Bryony Frost, continues to impress on the road to Cheltenham.

Newbury….Denman Chase….Game Spirit Chase….Altior!

Above….Denman, winner of one of the great Gold Cups of recent times….try watching it!


Newbury hosts two Grade 2 chases today, featuring the long awaited return of Native River and Saphir Du Rheu, both who ran extremely well in the Gold Cup last year, in the great Denman’s race, and two mile top chaser Altior in the Game Spirit, back after a wind op and, hopefully, almost ready to take on Min again at Cheltenham….potentially a superstar?

It’s a big test for all three after such a long lay off. Both races should be regarded as prep races here, though valuable in their own right. ALTIOR should have enough in reserve to see off the progressive in-form Politologue, but the Denman Chase may go to CLOUDY DREAM, race fit and running very well of late.

A huge prize is available to the winner of the Betfair Hurdle, a problematic Grade 3 handicap for punters. Take your pick! NIETZSCHE looks a good each bet at huge odds but my money goes on KALASHNIKOV who steps into handicap company with a touch of potential class.

Good luck!

Racing week….and Cheltenham


First, a mention of my visit to Catterick on Wednesday. The weather turned halfway there and it was windy, and rained….but, what a great afternoon’s racing. Thank you jockeys! A dead heat in one race, three horses crossing the line within a neck in another, the sight of top weighted white horse Snowed In giving it a go from the front (narrowly 4th), and Sakhee’s City, at 8-1, winning after a brilliant ride, making sure I took home more money than I started with. On top of that, a great lunch and chat in the stands with a lady who travels across the Pennines to be at Catterick as a paid up member. Thanks Catterick!

Second, well done to Michael O’Leary upping the Ryanair prize at the Festival and calling for a Grade 1 two and a half mile hurdle at Cheltenham. Long overdue! The gap between the Champion Hurdle and the Stayers Hurdle needs bridging for the top class hurdlers who lose a little speed but gain stamina as they age….yes, the hurdling equivalent to the Ryanair Chase. And yes, The New One springs to mind immediately.

And finally, some tips for today….

1.50….H’Cap Chase….2m4f….Grade 3….SHANTOU FLYER….big chance, in good form
2.25….Cotswold Chase….3m1f….Grade 2….BRISTOL DE MAI….should come back today if fully fit, PERFECT CANDIDATE could get a place at very big odds
3.35….Cleeve Hurdle….3m….Grade 2….FINIAN’S OSCAR….back hurdling, huge potential, COURT MINSTREL a huge price trying this new trip….an each way chance

3.15….Skybet Chase….3m….Listed….FLYING ANGEL….a Grade 1 novice, big chance with STD aboard

Good luck!

Un De Sceaux and The New One….tips for fun

THE NEW ONE….a million plus!


Ascot and Haydock see two well loved horses today. Both are 10 year olds and both have won a million pounds in prize money. Un De Sceaux is a top Cheltenham Festival winner for Willie Mullins, winning the Ryanair last year….a supreme jumper and multiple Grade 1 winner. The New One has had a fantastic career as the top hurdler this side of the Irish Sea. The former is odds on today and should surely win, whereas the latter has a real battle on his hands, as ever, but should prevail even though preparing for the longer Stayers Hurdle in March. Both are a pleasure to watch and follow!

Tips today are….

2.25….Handicap Hurdle….Grade 3….AIR HORSE ONE….top weight but tempting odds each way
3.00….Handicap Chase….Class 2….GUITAR PETE….big chance
3.35….Clarence House Chase….Grade 1….UN DE SCEAUX….but KYLEMORE LOUGH, a Grade 1 winner excellent each way odds for 2nd place

2.40….Champion Hurdle Trial….Grade 2….THE NEW ONE….Ch’Tibello a real danger
3.15….Peter Marsh Chase….Grade 2….TINTERN THEATRE….favourite’s chance but outsider CAROLE’S DESTRIER tempting each way odds

Good luck.

Catterick….North Yorks Grand National


Tomorrow is Catterick’s biggest jumps meeting of the year, featuring a highly competitive Class 3 North Yorkshire Grand National worth 16 grand to the winner. Sue Smith is going for three in a row but I take ITSTIMEFORAPINT, off the same mark and terms as last year (ish) to go better than his 3rd place. The other Class 3 race includes the rather classy DRESDEN at good odds. For a crazy bet, how about ALLLMYOWN, a point to point -er, at around 100-1 for a good eachway punt?

Tips are….

3.10….DANCEINTOTHELIGHT….such a favourite in these parts!
3.45….HARTSIDE or SNOWED IN….both went well 10 days ago here

Good luck.
I hope for good weather and that I make it there in time for the steak pie!

Welsh Grand National….and Veterans Chase


Two terrific races for punters today….the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, perhaps a stayers’ mudfest today, and the Veterans Chase at Sandown, full of old favourites to pick. Such a fun idea, giving us all the chance to see horses we’ve followed for years battle it out against each other. Always brings a smile!

So, why the photo of a Mark 3 Triumph Spitfire? Back in the eighties I camped on Chepstow racecourse with my girlfriend and Spitfire. She had a dodgy clutch (the Spitfire that is) and I had to be relayed 200 miles home to North Yorkshire by the AA. Ah, what a car!

Anyway, a couple of tips….

Chepstow….Welsh Grand National….BISHOPS ROAD….able sort for Kerry Lee who should go well in the conditions

Sandown….DOUBLE ROSS….has ability, needs to recapture his best; expect THEATRICAL STAR to go well again….each way bets

Good luck….these races need it!

As for the Tolworth Hurdle? WESTERN RYDER but too short surely, SUMMERVILLE BOY has a decent chance at good odds.
And the Future Champions Hurdle? WE HAVE A DREAM but also too short.