Monday, 22 February 2010

Saturday's Big Race Preview: 15:05 Racing Post Chase Kempton

Hello again my friends. Let's take a look forward to what will, weather permitting, be this Saturday’s big handicap chase.

There are some strong trends in existence which I found on the excellent website , an invaluable resource for big race trends. Monday’s forfeits are in and we are left with a 16 string field to mitigate or obliterate.

Based on the trends from the past 10 years you are looking for a horse which is...

· Aged 6 to 8, (8 year olds in particular have won five of the last ten runnings)

· Carrying 10-12+ (9/10 recent winners, 4 being top weight)

· Officially rated 143 or higher

· Won last time out (9/10 recent winners)

· Run in 2 to 4 chases this season

· Won or placed in a listed or graded chase

· Won over 2M 5F+

· Course winner

· Trained by Philip Hobbs or Paul Nicholls

· Priced 10/1 or below (10/10 recent winners)

In the light of the fairly emphatic looking starting price trend we’ll have a look at those horses who have lithely limboed their way under the 10/1 bar

Nacarat – Ante-post favourite for the race, Nacarat certainly didn’t have a horse of the quality of Madison Du Berlais to beat when taking last year’s renewal by 9 lengths from Possol but is clearly not a million miles away in terms of class after finshing fourth in the King George over C&D at Christmas. Will like the going and must surely come very close again.

Fistral Beach – A serial silver medallist before finally scoring over 2miles 4 and a half furlongs on the Kempton turf last time out. Trained by Paul Nicholls, he will have the incomparable Ruby Walsh on board. Strikingly he will be in receipt of over two stone (out of the weights at the moment) from Madison Du Berlais so could be a threat though forging out over a 3 mile trip for the first time on the likely soft ground could be a tough assignment. Best watched at the price, though some might say you should wait to hear Paul Nicholls’ feelings in Saturday’s Racing Post, then send your money in the opposite direction!

Kilcrea Castle - Another who has yet to prove he can see out the trip, though affirmative noises have come from trainer Emma Lavelle on the subject. He has been the subject of a large gamble already in to 13/2 from 16/1, finished close behind the Sawyer and Miss Mitch in his first race in England recently and is one of the three in Saturday's race (along with Razor Royale and Kilcrea Castle) who fall under the strong trend for 8 year old winners. Fancied to have a strong chance.

Possol - A doubt for the race due to the expected soft ground, Possol has been at his most effective this season and recieves plenty of weight from Nacarat, his conqueror in last year's running. Definite claims should the going improve but one to hold fire on until the day.

Madison Du Berlais -The class horse in the race, he has the form edge around Kempton over Nacarat and therefore Possol. His performance last time at Cheltenham can be tippexed as the horse has shown that he just doesn’t get on with the stamina test at the Cotswolds track, running consistently below his best there. The record top weights hold in the last ten runnings of this race soothes some of the worries over whether he can give away so many lbs. He seems an each way steal at the 10s which are currently available.

Miss Mitch - Has recently beaten other contenders like Kilcrea Castle and will one lb better off with him here though one win in 9 on soft ground seems to suggest that she may find it tough come saturday.


Nacarat and Madison du Berlais stand out in terms of ratings and weighiproven ability in high class races and as that seems to have been a consistent winning profile for this race they are preferred with a heavy heart to Kilcrea Castle who may get a little side bet on the day.

Looking at our short list its a no-brainer for me value-wise and I'll back MADISON DU BERLAIS each way at double the price of Nacarat.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Saturday's Globe Trotting Football Accumulators brought to you by Sun Tzu

I've been having a look at the football this Saturday and there seem to be a plethora of likely bets on Saturday which I might attack in the kind of intricately tactical web of doubles, trebles and accumulators that Sun Tzu (author of the go to book for philosophical footballers such as Aston Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker) might have used to obliterate the bookmaking syndicates of ancient China.

The masterful Zulte Waregem squad are hoping to "a real fucking number" on SK Roselare on the 20th according to dashingly named striker Teddy Chevalier.

I’m sure there are plenty more diamonds to be found in the Dutch, Greek, Cypriot and Turkish rough on Sunday too! Let me know what you think of them, any you feel I’ve missed etc. Also what do you think of the chances of the big 2 in Spain this weekend?

You can find all these and more on Betfair.


Nurnberg v B Munich*


Wolves v Chelsea* (this one seems quite dodgy, especially in light of Chelsea’s CL 2nd round match next week)

Nottingham Forest* v Middlesbrough
Newcastle* v Preston
Cardiff* v Barnsley

Swindon* v Carlisle
Norwich* v Southampton
Colchester* v Oldham

Rochdale* v Dag and Red

Possible value upsets

Arsenal v Sunderland*
Celtic v Dundee*


FK Austria Wien* v SK Austria Karnten


Zulte-Waregem* v Roeselare


Inter* v Sampdoria

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

From the frontline...betting shop wisdom # 2: AP McCoy’s "Shangri-Las"

The man they have come to know simply as ‘Champ’ can be a divisive figure among followers of jumps racing . Known for banging home more winners than any other jockey, AP McCoy has become something of an exalted figure in the sport, with few famous faces keen to do anything besides pay lip-service to his undoubtedly immense will to win.

There are however those among the punting fraternity who would regard AP as a 'grinder' who while most certainly a highly skilled horseman, does not have the cultured approach of Ruby Walsh. This may be something to do with the fact that his reputation is not one born out of profitability. It has been a decade after all, since he finished a season in the black when backed in each race to a one pound stake.

AP is undoubtedly a grinder, picking up wins at ‘lowly’ tracks up and down the roads of this sceptre isle but for the punter these victories in nothing races can keep you in Courvoisier till you’re old and grey if you know the tracks where he truly excels. South Wales’ new and highly thought of Ffos Las track is fast beginning to prove a Shangri-la for the ‘Champ’ and punters alike.

An overall record of 14 wins from 34 rides (41%) at the track yields a lovely + £18.54 strike rate but it’s when you narrow it down to his ‘Chase’ rides at the track that the real statistical truffle is unearthed.

From the 12 Chases he has contested at the Carmarthenshire course AP has been victorious on no fewer than 8 occasions delivering a 67% strike rate which would leave you £20.88 in profit if you’d staked a pound on each of the races. It may be early days for Ffos Las but in AP McCoy, its clear we have already found our preferred pilot.

Grind out some nice dough backing A.P McCoy in Chases at Ffos Las

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Towards Cheltenham - The Champion Hurdle Picture

As January draws to a close it seems as good time as any to assess the chances of the key runners in what is often my favourite championship race at the festival, The Champion Hurdle.

With the January jumping calendar ravaged by snow and frost opportunities to see the principals add substance to their claims have been thin on the ground, trainers playing roulette with the fixture list in search of prep runs for their charges. Add to that the fact that the worth of last year’s Champion Hurdle form seems to be getting knocked about and one is left with a race that is very difficult to fathom.

The weekend of the 29th of January saw races traditionally regarded as fair trials for Cheltenham’s Tuesday showpiece go ahead at Haydock and Leopardstown and served to offer form lines (some comprehensive, some more tenuous) which unite many of the horses at the business end of the ante-post markets for the race yielding for two horses who have particularly bold claims.

After an unspectacular fourth of four in Saturday’s Haydock race that also featured Medermit and Punjabi, a yardstick of sorts has finally arrived in the steady shape of Cape Tribulation, who’s form is intertwined with the runners we’ll be looking at. Over an up and down career he seems to have fared best over distances of 2 miles 4 furlongs and upwards. Hopefully observing how the leading contenders for Champion Hurdle glory fared against him this season will allow us to gain a better handle on where they all stand in the pecking order.

Binocular – The Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle at the end of November saw several Champion Hurdle prospects line up. Binocular made a poor showing when finishing 5th, 7 lengths behind Go Native and 1 and a half adrift of Solwhit. He got a lot closer to that day’s victor when the two re-opposed in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, going down by only a length and a quarter.

Go Native –. He had already had a warm-up run before his Fighting Fifth success and beat a woefully under par Binocular and a Solwhit who was in need of his first run of the season. He beat Cape Tribulation (4th) by 6 and quarter lengths in the Christmas Hurdle in Kempton’s Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle over the 2 mile Champion Hurdle trip.

Zaynar – Not remotely pushed when recording an unspectacular win from Cape Tribulation by 6 Lengths in a longer 2 mile 4 furlong race at Cheltenham in December. It seems that Nicky Henderson is keeping him firmly away from the other leading lights between now and the festival so we are left with Cape Tribulation as the only link to the other players. CT trailed the winner by the same distance in both his race race with Zaynar (2m4f) and Go Native (2m).

Punjabi – Came home 2 lengths in front of Cape Tribulation when himself a 4 length 2nd to Medermit in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock on Saturday.

Celestial Halo – Finished 3 Lengths up on Medermit in the Boylesports International that was won by Khyber Kim in December. He had no answer when under pressure beaten 9 lengths into fourth by Solwhit at Leopardstown over the weekend though the heavy ground may have also been partially to blame.

Solwhit – Clearly needed the run when beaten 3 and a half lengths by Go Native in The Fighting Fifth and responded by recording 2 victories in Ireland since then. His victory in Leopardstown at the weekend left Celestial Halo trailing in his wake on the heavy ground, some 9 lengths behind.

Khyber Kim – Has beaten Medermit into 3rd twice over Champion Hurdle course and distance this season. In the second of those races he came from last to first in a taking manner passing Celestial Halo on his way to the line.

Medermit – Another solid form yardstick, Medermit announced himself in the Champion Hurdle Picture on Saturday beating reigning champ Punjabi by 4 lengths on Saturday. He has been a not too distant third twice behind Khyber Kim over Cheltenham C and D.

The Verdict

Confusion reigns! Cape Tribulation has taught us precious little, though to me it seems that as yardstick he shows Zaynar in a better light due to racing against him at what seems more like his ideal distance of 2 miles 4 furlongs. If sharing Paul Nicholls’ view we rule out Celestial Halo’s recent bad run in Ireland as a blip, then I keep coming back to to one horse... Nigel Twiston Davies’s massively improved Khyber Kym.

Having two wins at Cheltenham over the Champion Hurdle Trip already under his belt beating last year’s runner up and twice beating Medermit who has himself beaten the current champion in reasonable fitness I feel he has the pick of the form.

Zaynar and particularly Solwhit are two others who have sound claims but each has an unknown undermining them.

Q.Will Solwhit transfer his Irish form to England, and more particularly Cheltenham’s singular test of stamina?

Q. Does Zaynar have the turn of foot to withstand on-rushing hold-up types such as Khyber Kym and Go Native
over the final furlong of 2 mile trip which just might not be his optimum trip?

I reckon the form has worked out very well for Khyber Kym, so I will back him out Polish Ecstasy’s biscuit budget and sit back to dream of another madcap, last to first burst to Cheltenham glory.