Pace Wins The Race: 29/01/15


Well I must admit a slightly disappointing day. I was hoping for two winners but at least I managed to register one. Luv U Forever was far too big at 10/3 last night/this morning and eventually returned at 6/4. That was as good as it got. The two selections from Wincanton were disappointing and didnt even give us a finish for our money. Maybe the ground was too heavy for both of them, who knows. Anyway a 1.33 point profit on the day which is nothing to shout home about but hopefully I can kick start from here! 


Well a poor day again in a race I shouldnt have played in. On reflection this is not because of the type of race it was (if you like backing in chases I dont think I should close of Novice Handicap Chases just for the sake of it) but rather because there were just too many unknowns given the number of horses open to improvement. I was right to think 14/1 was too big for the selection but we got no run for our money, so apologies. I need to update the results but I dont want to look at them as they may cloud my judgement 🙂 We are still playing with profit, just about, and I am very confident of having a winning day tomorrow..

I am going for 3 horses who I think have outstanding chances…

2.1o Wincanton 

Minella Definitely 1 point win 10/3 

This horse will win, its as simple as that 🙂 I couldn’t believe his price. He won a very competitive race last time out fairly well. He tried to lead, got shuffled back due to the amount of pace, but then ran a cracker. On the whole he jumped superbly and although he appears tricky at times he kept on finding for his jockey. He outstayed them in a race which was run on Soft (officially Gd-Soft but going changed to soft after race). The slight unknown is how heavy this ground will be but he has as much chance of handling it as any of these. He is at the top of his game and going the right way. Given this much smaller field and less competition for the lead I expect him to make all and I dont think they will catch him. The trainer has said the key to him is gaps between his races and his record when returning between 30-60 days is now 3/6. I see no reason why we will not get a good run for our money.

It is another novice handicap chase but one where I feel much more comfortable. Gores Island is in decent enough form but is now only 1/11 in chases, is on a career high mark, is new to the track, and is 7lb higher than for his neck victory at Lingfield. This is a stronger race and he needs to prove his class as a chaser. He is generally consistent though and will run his race. The jockey is only 2/26 at the course. Jumps Road is now 0/7 in chases and while he has been running ok I will stick to my principles – i will always be more comfortable siding with those that have proven winning chase form. Crookstown has been off for 60 days and his best form has been on firmer ground. He fell last time and was poor the time before that. He will come good at some point over fences and has won one but I am happy to take him on. Softsong clearly has some talent although is only 1/13 in his career. This is his second chase start but ran in an ordinary race last time out. His one win was on gd-soft and while open to improvement he is another I am comfortable leaving alone.

All in all Minella Definitely has the best chase form on offer, is in the form of his life, is proven over CD and will surely take all the beating. The majority of these have it to prove over fences and 10/3 looks rather generous to me. If he is to fail It wont be a case of ‘i shouldnt have played in this race’..given everything I have looked I am very confident in the selection. He has gone up 10lb but I dont think that will stop him. The weight on his back is only up by 6lb and I cant see this stopping him.


3.00 Southwell 

Luv U Whatever 1 point win 10/3 

I just couldnt believe this price. Often they say something that looks too good to be true usually is but i am not sure what i have missed here. He won a c2 handicap last time out over course and distance. He didnt get an easy lead and was sent for home a long way out. I remember watching the race and I thought he must have gone too early. However the horse kept digging and finding to grind them all into the ground. I think he will get an easier time on the front tomorrow and should run his race again. Yes he is up 6lb but he still looks to be improving. And yes he carries 10-2, as opposed to 8-9 last time out. That is my one concern. Having looked in my HRB account horses carrying more than 10st in handicaps at Southwell have a decent enough record and his ability should see him go close. Now he could be weighed down and he only ran 9 days ago. But all of the above, combined with his opposition, made him a bet for me…

Firstly  he has comfortably beaten both The Lock Master and Royal Marskell at  the track before. If the selection runs his race I see no reason why they should overturn this form. Astra Hall comes off a break of 102 days, is making his debut at the track and for the trainer. I am happy to take him on. Jacobs Son is 0/14 in class 4. Now, if his stable mate underperforms he could end that hoodoo but so far he has always struggled in this grade. Deep Resolve is the interesting horse but on the flat has yet to win beyond 7f. He has been running over hurdles but as a previous course winner has to be respected. He is only 4 and I would rate him as the main danger. However, he does need to prove it over CD (was poor on his last try at C5) and I couldnt back him because of that.


3.40 Wincanton 

Blue Buttons 1 point win 9/2 

This horse was 11/2 with SkyBet and I couldnt believe it. However she has since been trimmed into 9/2 but that is still a decent price. Another inform horse who won well over CD last time out. Connections were surprised how she handled the heavy ground and I see no reason why there wont be a repeat performance. I liked her attitude. She looked like she wanted to win and not be passed. She should get an easy lead again and it will be a case of catch me if you can. I dont think they will. Now, Paul Nicholls Racing is sponsoring this race which is interesting however both of his are worth taking on. Blue Buttons beat Earthmoves last time out and I see no reason for the form to be reversed. Yes there is a 5lb pull (i dont pay much attention to such things) and he has gained more experience with that run but I will read the form at face value. He will have to step up again to beat Blue Buttons. Harristown is interesting but the trainer is only 1/23 here and he keeps placing at the moment. The step up will help but it will need to. Shammick Boy is 10 now and doesnt have a great record when off the track for this long. He is in form though and could go well. Rothman is another Nicholls youngster who will improve at some point but I am content to take him on with what he has done so far. River Deep is in awful form and may prefer better ground. I couldnt back him at the moment. Dubawi Island is in poor form and the step up isnt sure to help on breeding. The selection beat Union Saint comfortably last time and again no reason for that to be overturned. Sidbury Hill makes his handicap debut and will need to step up. He will have to improve by 12lbs if Blue Buttons runs her race and I cant see that at the moment. This looks a hot race in which to make your handicap debut.



So, all in all 3 very confident selections. I will be quite despondent if they all under-perform. While 3 winners would be asking for too much I am hopeful we will have a good day 🙂 . I am that confident in the selections I have personally parted with 2 points on each, however for the purposes of the blog they will be recorded at 1 point bets.

Good Luck!


Post Comments

Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

8 responses

  1. Hey Josh,

    As I shared with you separately, a losing run takes a level of tenacity to continue with the art.

    I brace myself with a simple aptitude, check how you feel before the race, then while placing the bet accept that if it doesn’t work out, that is cool, if it works, that is also cool. Whatever happens I am cool! This is where the staking plans matters, in my case, I figured that the stakes must not exceed what I spend on a packet of 20 (actually it’s 19 in the new branding) Rothmans. Both activities can be bad for health in the long run! But accepting the potential outcome before it materialises; always means that when I place my bets in the local Paddy Bank (my euphemism), I have a demeanour unapralleled to other punters; they always think I am winning LOL!!!

    Well see what happens barring any meetings being abandoned with the weather!


  2. We too are with you Josh. Even top batsmen have been out ducks for a period of time but they pick up and regain their rhythm as it is with my Sri Lankan team now. Anyway form is temporary but class is permanent. So I am sue you will regain the winning streak soon. Best wishes from your Sri Lankan follower.

  3. Good luck Josh… and the confidence in your selection is infectious….. On a poor run myself at the moment but things turn round and today it can be your day.

    If anyone wants to look at Meydan here are my thoughts and are few for you to look at:


    2:45 – Giftorm – Fredrik Reuterskiold – As a reminder this is what I wrote in my notebook:

    “Scandinavian horses have done well at the Carnival and this Swedish trained five year old ran really well on his Meydan debut when finishing 4th to the useful Faulkner, being beaten just 2 ½ lengths at the finish. He has really good dirt pedigree and has winning form in Sweden over further than the 7f of this race. He looks capable of going close in a similar class handicap. Given his connections he could also be overpriced in the betting with UK bookmakers”

    Interesting that his trainer steps up the selection up to 1m 1f 110yds, he has only run once over further than today trip when well beaten in the Swedish Derby. Stamina has to be proven and I was hoping he would be a bigger price than he is but he sill rates a bet in race that doesn’t look the strongest and with a few ahead of him in the betting with questions to answer about the surface suitability. I wouldn’t want to take much less than 7/1 though.

    1pt win – Giftorm – 7/1 @ William Hill (BOG)

    3:20 – Ahtoug – I backed the seven year old on his return three weeks ago. He was very disappointing that day and could never really get into the race. Subsequently his trainer has said the horse has been slow to come to hand. If that’s the case then he looks worth another chance to show that he retains the ability that saw him run well in major sprints at last years Carnival including winning over C&D. he started 3/1 for that race so the 6/1 available looks worth chancing.

    1pt win – Ahtoug – 6/1 @ William Hill (BOG)

    4:30 – Slipper Orchid – Michael Halford – A Group 2 race for fillies and mares over a mile. Not a race I would have looked if one of my eye catchers hadn’t been running in it. This is what I wrote after her last run:

    “Her trainer has a good record here at the Spring Carnival and the six year old mare ran a race full of promise on her Meydan debut. I noted her finishing strongly from well back in the field in this decent handicap to finish a 1 ¼ length fifth at the finish. At her best on good ground or with a bit of ease, she is capable of running well in these sorts of races over 7f/1m. This was her first race since October so I would like to think she would come on a bit for the run although it should be said she has won on her seasonal reappearance in the past years.”

    The selection steps up to Group 2 company today so has to prove that she is capable of winning at this level but to be honest I doubt we will see a poorer Group 2 all year than this, so she must have a chance. The 4/1 available with William Hill (BOG) isn’t great but looks just about acceptable!

    1pt win – Slipper Orchid – 4/1 @ William Hill (BOG)

    5:05 – United Color ran poorly on his seasonal reappearance at Jebel ali in December. He ran poorly so maybe he needed the run more than could have been expected. The six year old stepped up on that run two weeks ago when finishing third here on the dirt over 6f in listed company. A four time winner over 6f he tries an extra furlong here back in handicap company and he looks worth a go over it on the evidence of his last run. I did like the way he strode out on the surface as his pedigree suggest he would and he looks like he can win on the dirt.

    1pt win – United Color – 13/2 @ William Hill (BOG)

    6:15 – In race where Hunter’s Light, Pilote and Haafaguinea are strong contenders. I am going for another of my recent eye catchers in Elleval from the David Marnane yard. The selection was beaten 4 lengths. in a slowly run race, by Haafaguinea last time out and strictly at the weights has a bit find with that horse. Here is what I wrote about Elleval after his last run:

    “Has won here in the past two seasons and this was an eye-catching performance from him to finish 4th here. Not suited by the slow pace after being held up in the rear. Never nearer than at the finish, he will be suited by a stronger gallop. He looks on a decent handicap mark and will go close in one of these handicaps in the coming weeks”

    If he get a more even gallop I think he can reverse form with his rival the only problem is there doesn’t looks to be a lot of pace in the race. Which brings me to the most interesting runner in the field, from the Irish based stable of Takashi Kodama, in ex Italian filly Scighera. The four year old hasn’t been seen since finishing second in the Italian Oaks last May so there has to be a question mark as to how fit she is after such a long break but she did win on her seasonal reappearance last year so that offers some encouragement. The filly looks the pace angle and the form over her Italian Oaks looks decent, the winner that day went on to run well at Royal Ascot and won another Italian Group 1 last October. The 16/1 available with William Hill looks worth a punt.

    0.5pts win – Elleval – 8/1 @ SkyBet (BOG) and 0.5pts win – Scighera – 16/1 @ William Hill (BOG)

    Staked – 5pts

  4. Morning alll
    I have Minella definitely clearly top on my ratings with a substantial difference to the second top rated who out of interest is Jumps road so i may have a small cover.
    Blue Buttons is the same story huge gap to second top rated who is Earthmoves, i will not be opting for a saver in this race.
    Luv u Whatever is again top rated however the gap is no where near as impressive as our other two M.D and B.B

  5. As much as I enjoy your race analysis I think it would be wise to reflect on some of your statements. E.g. “this horse will win its as simple as that”. Some people will have a gambling problem and put on way more than they should when they read such a bold prediction.
    N.B. I am not criticising and enjoy your blog. I have found punting and following others a great learning tool and a well balanced analysis usually gets proven right. As yours often are, including the other two today.

    1. Taken on board Jim and a very valid point. It sounds fine when I am saying it, as I know the tone in my voice! But I take your point, on paper , reading it in black and white that isnt perhaps the best thing to say. I wont repeat such comments in future.

      I dont mind criticism as long as it is well intended and constructive, as yours is.

  6. Yah, I too have had a losing run…. It brings in despair. That is why I went on about my staking…. Beyond that betting to get even is always a bad and very dangerous cycle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *