Tapeta tapeta….and the Curragh

SAXON WARRIOR….real deal or not?


For some reason tapeta tapeta reminds me of the Simpsons but, actually, tapeta is the All Weather surface at Newcastle where the Northumberland Plate and Vase, and a rather good Group 3 sprint, take place today. Meanwhile, at the Curragh, we have the Irish Derby, with Saxon Warrior seeking redemption after his 4th place at Epsom. I suspect he’ll show his class today. We need a star colt. Dee Ex Bee will be a tough nut to crack though.

Here are a few tips….in particular there are some great old favourite sprinters on show. For me they provide some of the greatest excitement in racing.


Rockingham Handicap….5f….CASPIAN PRINCE or DUKE OF FIRENZE….each way, both classy sprinters, Caspian top weight rated 114 whereas Duke back down to potentially winning mark

Creekside Dash….6f….GORDON LORD BYRON or INTELLIGENCE CROSS….each way, Gordon great performer at the Curragh

Irish Derby….Group 1….SAXON WARRIOR….assuming that the Epsom track didn’t suit


Chipchase Stakes….Group 3….KIMBERELLA….top weight but tough competitor

Northumberland Vase….EUCHEN GLEN….well weighted, needs luck here

Northumberland Plate….AMAZING RED….progressive, good form, well handicapped….SIR CHAUVELIN….expect to go well for Jim Goldie like Euchen Glen

Good luck!


Carlisle Bell….so close!

CARLISLE BELL….try Googling….

Above is the Carlisle Bell, certainly the oldest trophy in racing, dated 1599 (the ‘gold’ bauble in the foreground), a decoration for a lady’s attire possibly, or for a horse. It’s a bit like a ‘Christmas decoration bell’. The two inscribed bells were race prizes back in Elizabethan times and are precious to the history of flat racing. I took the photo today at Carlisle racecourse where I went for a great hot sunny day’s racing featuring Carlisle’s most prestigious race, the Carlisle Bell Handicap over a mile with a very stiff 3f uphill finish. I had a bet on Tracy Waggott’s RASELASAD, ridden by Barry McHugh, at 50-1, a crazy price for an able horse. Barry shot out the gate and legged it, leading by 3 lengths at the turn into the uphill straight. No-one could get near him. Until the last 100 yards! When he was passed by a single horse to lose by less than a length. Bleep! So near yet so far, but what a great race for horse, jockey and trainer. As for me? I lost money today but somehow it didn’t matter on such a great afternoon’s racing for such a historic prize.

DENMAN….one of the greats

Today is a sad day for me. When I go to Cheltenham I go wearing my Denman scarf, the green and white colours worn by Sam Thomas when winning the 2008 Gold Cup by seven lengths ahead of Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges, one of the great performances at Cheltenham. Subsequently, Denman had a heart problem but came back to win the Hennessy, at top weight, for a second time, a truly astounding handicap performance harping back to the days of the peerless Arkle. Denman finished second in three subsequent Gold Cups. His passing at the age of 18 comes far too soon. He was such a marvellous jumper at speed, eating up the ground. A special horse!

Condolences to Paul Nicholls, everyone in the yard, and owner Paul Barber.

Above all, thanks to Denman for the joy and the tears and fantastic memories. I salute you!

Keep right on….


A couple of milestones today….

WordPress congratulate me today on my 5th Aniversary of blogging….short stories, poems, comedic satire and, regarding the sport that I love, blogging about racing and trying to beat the bookies with my tips. It was my daughter who got me to blog, recognizing that when I packed in work I could be overly lazy. She was concerned what I might write but seems OK with my blogs most of the time.

It was also my daughter who, in order to keep me fit, bought me a pedometer for Christmas 2013 and told me to go for walks. This I have done, including bits of Hadrian’s Wall, Roseberry Topping, the shores of Ullswater and Pen y Ghent. Alongside my betting spreadsheets I have my pukkha walks spreadsheets clocking up my mileage. Coincidentally, on this very day I have reached another milestone, 1000 miles walked. Two million plus steps of fun.

Enough of humility. Today is a good day!

Thanks to all for reading.

Oaks, Derby, so much more at Epsom

Padraig Beggy flies home on WINGS OF EAGLES for shock win in 2017


Today sees 130-rated Cracksman take on a good small field in the Coronation Cup over the Derby course of 1m4f. He should see off his rivals if anywhere near his best although Hawkbill can be a tough nut to crack. I’ll double up Cracksman with Saxon Warrior in the Derby tomorrow. Though a strong favourite he could be vulnerable to an improver having never tried the mile and a half, especially at Epsom where not all act on the downhill camber of Tattenham Corner and also because of his poor number 1 draw. His draw, and the rain, have evened up the Derby to an extent. Perhaps Young Rascal? Tomorrow also sees the Epsom Dash, a loony toon downhill sprint over 5f, ideal for Caspian Prince who has such speed that 5f is pretty well his upper limit. It’s a great race to watch and includes Duke Of Firenze who also goes very well over the trip there. Finally, we also have the Oaks today, the fillies Classic over a mile and a half. Wild Illusion is the Godolphin favourite but didn’t overly impress in the 1000 Guineas. To me, Magic Wand looks a cast iron each way bet.

Enjoy the two Classics, but Epsom offers so much more. Such a unique quirky track!

Good luck.



Mile Handicap….HIGH ACCLAIM….each way

Coronation Cup….Group 1….CRACKSMAN….of course but!

1m2f Handicap….BANDITRY….progressive, good each way odds

THE OAKS….Group 1….MAGIC WAND….around 5-1, expect to be better than his Chester win


Princess Elizabeth Stakes….Group 3….DANCE DIVA….but very competitive

Diomed Stakes….Group 3….BRETON ROCK….class on his day, expect another big run from GABRIAL

The Dash….CASPIAN PRINCE….speedy, DUKE OF FIRENZE high in weights but track suits

THE DERBY….Group 1….SAXON WARRIOR….if he gets his run, and the trip, but conditions could favour a progressive like YOUNG RASCAL or DEE EX BEE…check the odds

Zetland Gold Cup….Redcar


I go back to the year dot with the Zetland Gold Cup, a 0-100+ Handicap over 1m2f, at a perfectly flat seaside track. Many visits as a kid with my Mum, up and down the escalator (still there), the first one I ever saw in my life. For those that Google, I go back to the days of Cash And Courage and great jockeys like Joe Sime and Eddie Hide, and the top Middleham trainer, Sam Hall. Yes, old!

Last year, Briardale, currently 25-1, breezed along, demolishing a good field. Can’t do it again surely!

Here are my tips for today. Looks like hot weather which means that Redcar, with North Sea winds, will almost be warm, hopefully.





4.10….ZETLAND GOLD CUP….BIG COUNTRY….ran in the Lincoln….or SIR CHAUVELIN….Jim Goldie trains or BRIARDALE….tough call!


5.20….MIDNIGHT WARRIOR….enjoys Redcar, big odds, first time out

Good luck.

Nanton Bets


Nanton had a great career, enjoyed his racing at York, and won the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar (I’m hoping to go on Monday).

He now resides at New Beginnings….I buy him hay from time to time.

I’m sure he would approve of today’s tips below.

Goodwood and Haydock double….MIRAGE DANCER and BATTAASH….both short odds but classy, the latter could be the star over 5f this year

Haydock Sandy Lane….JAMES GARFIELD….hopefully progressive this year, each way

York Sprint Handicap….DUKE OF FIRENZE….high rating, top weight but loves the Knavesmire, alternative classy GOLDREAM at big each way odds

Good luck.

Lockinge Stakes….Limato


Today sees another leg of the British Champions Series, this time over a mile, the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Favourite horse LIMATO, who has been 2nd in the Nunthorpe at 5f, has won the July Cup over 6f, and has won the Prix De Foret over 7f, now tackles a mile again for trainer Henry Candy and owner Paul Jacobs, both of whom seem to love testing skippy speedster out, anywhere, as long as the going is fast. Some achievement if this comes off! But Limato clearly has the class to do this, with his optimum trip probably 7f. He takes on some up and coming horses such as Addeybb and Rhododendron who steps down in trip. An interesting puzzle. My only bet of the day will, of course, go on skippy.


York Dante Festival….Yorkshire Cup….Stradivarius


A very successful Dante day yesterday with an 11-1 and 8-1 winner, three in all for the blog. Coronet and Roaring Lion very impressive! Game on for the Derby for John Gosden?

Today sees Stradivarius a short-priced favourite for the Yorkshire Cup for stayers, a Group 2 race in the British Champions Series. Nice to see the stayers getting the recognition they deserve with the million pound bonus for the horse who can take the prestige ‘two mile races’ over the season. Willie Mullins is obviously interested! He sends over Max Dynamite and Wicklow Brave. An excellent test for Stradivarius, a horse with big potential.

Tips for today are….

Fillies Stakes….5f….Listed….NO LIPPY….impressive start to her career

Michael Seely Memorial….1m….Listed….THREADING….obvious chance on last season’s form but needs to improve again

Yorkshire Cup….1m6f….Group 2….STRADIVARIUS….Leger form strong

Equinity Techno H’cap….1m2f….MASTER CARPENTER….took this last year, good each way odds

TV racing for me today after two great days at York!

York Day 2….The Dante


The top Derby trial takes place at York, the Group 2 Dante Stakes, named, of course, after the last Northern trained horse to win the Derby, back in 1945, ridden by Billy Nevett….I have a great photo of my Mum at Ripon with Billy!

I had a minor loss on Musidora day, saved in part by an excellent 3rd from Danzeno and Frankie Dettori.

Tips are….

Jack Berry H’cap….6f….POYLE VINNIE….usual suspects, Line Of Reason feared, Pipers Note a big price

Middleton Stakes….1m2f….Group 2….CORONET…..classy trier but short trip, Chain Of Daisies strong

Dante Stakes….1m2f….Group 2….WELLS FARRH GO….looks highly progressive

Hambleton H’cap….1m….LARCHMONT LAD….open race, try a pin

Westow Stakes….5f….Listed….MAIN DESIRE….first race of season, lots of promise last year

Maiden Stakes….6f….I AM A DREAMER….the only runner with a run but needs to progress….2 year olds!

Good luck.