Weekly Diary: 01/02 – 07/02/16 (COMPLETE)

A mix of all sorts today. A quick mention of my new novel approach to helping fund the blog and keep me fed, watered and housed 🙂 – Well, to keep the blog in its current state and help me improve it further I should say! (and how you can get a copy of my Cheltenham Stats Pack for free) 

There is the usual look back on the week’s results plus a few eye catchers. I have also had a look at the Donald McCain/Henry Brooke Partnership. 



I am of course talking about my new ‘Donations’ approach to the blog. I don’t know if many others do this but I am hoping it is a decent model moving forwards that will allow all of you to engage with the blog in a way that suits you – and what,if anything, you donate will depend very much on that engagement. 

Why Donations? 

Well, as you know I have been floating the idea of a monthly subscription model to help keep the blog going. This was for one main reason really…

I could not afford to keep the blog at its current level of activity without it making me any money. That is the blunt truth.

As I would hope is apparent, the blog and associated activity (research/free reports etc) takes up an awful lot of time. Now, that is not a complaint because I really enjoy it – hence why I spend so much time on it! But, if it failed to make me an income of sorts I would have to cut back. And well, I really don’t want to do that. If anything I want to make it even better. 

Linked to that of course is the fact that I think the ‘product’ is worth X amount per month. I am confident that those of you who have followed me/the blog for any amount of time would agree with that. Certainly that was indicated in my recent survey (which I am still to analyse and share – I will!) 

Now, once I decided to put the idea of subscriptions on the back-burner I tried to think of something I could introduce now. And hence the ‘Donations Club’ as I will term it, was born. 

Quite simply this relies on you all being honest with how you engage with the blog and the value/benefit (financial or not) that you place/derive from that engagement. If everyone is honest enough – from the 50p punters, to the £50 punters, to all those in between, and those that may just like reading the blog and/or using some of the systems research etc – then I would hope to consign any thoughts of subscriptions to the bin. But, time will tell. 

So far it would appear you are all an honest, engaged and generous bunch! 🙂 Those of you who are new to these pages obviously will want to take longer to come to a judgement – fair enough. 

How can you donate? 

Well, on each daily post there are some donation links that you can use on an ad hoc basis, when you please. This may be after you have backed a winner or made some money. Or come the end of the month when you look back and tot up how much you have made. (there will be months when we all lose mind!) Or you may start using a particular piece of research or think I am mad for giving away a particular report for free – and think that is is worth £7 or something for example. 

The choice is yours. The power is in your hands. And that is very exciting. It means that no on is excluded from the blog and that you are all free to engage with it in a way that suits you and at a time and date that suits you. 

Monthly Donations….

NEW… A handful of you have requested some monthly donations options. You are happy to make a more long term commitment and most of you have said that it will save you having to remember to donate every month! That sounded like a good idea to me and as such you can find these donation links below. 

*** Anyone who signs up to one of the links below will receive my Cheltenham Stats Guide for free. (worth £17+ VAT  -out Thursday hopefully) You will also be added into an email list that I will use to send you other exclusive reports from time to time, that I would normally charge for etc. That is just a thank you for anyone who makes that donations commitment. I know most of you will probably prefer to chip in on an an hoc basis, and that is brilliant, but the options are there if you wish.*** 






I would expect moving forward there will be a wide mix of types of donations, from those on an ad hoc basis to the monthly options above. 

All donations are greatly appreciated and I will never be able to thank you enough. 

This donations approach is on trial, until the end of June. Hopefully it will just continue beyond that and there will never need to be a reason to consider other options! And of course, I need to maintain the quality and the profitability of the blog! 



01/02 – 07/02/16


Big Race Previews: 2 bets / 1 win / 1 w|p +6.5 points 

‘Other’ : 5 bets / 1 win / 2 w|p / +1.5 points 

Total: 7 bets / 2 wins / 3 w|p / +8 points 

2016 to date: 40 bets / 12 wins / 17 w|p / +96.5 points (to advised prices/stakes. Also recorded to BFSP, published monthly)


Week Total: 18 bets / 1 win / -15 points 

Monthly Trainers: 1/8, -5 points 

Jumps Handicappers: 0/6, 0 places, -6 points 

Other: 0/4, 0 places, -4 points 

2016 Total: 64 bets / 10 wins / -7 points 


Portfolio Total 2016 to date: 104 bets / 22 wins / +89.5 points 



Donald McCain / Henry Brooke

One of you emailed in asking me to look at this combo and a couple of you have mentioned them on the blog in recent weeks. I am always happy to dive into such research requests – time allowing and if it is something I am interested in (trainer behaviour etc is usually a yes!)

Anyway, there is some important context to these two. Clearly he used to be a ‘young’ jockey making his name. He is still young but he doesn’t have a claim anymore. I would guess McCain used him to take weight off in the early days and of course he was still learning his trade.

Now, there is a different context. Firstly Jason Maguire has been out injured and it is hard to know what ones he would have ridden. Of course there have been massive changes at the yard with their biggest owner removing all of their horses. I don’t know if Maguire was tied to the Rooney’s or he was McCain’s stable jockey – or a mixture of both. Likewise when he returns I don’t know if the Rooney’s will retain him. They have spread their horses around a lot of trainers now and most of those have their favoured jockeys/stable jocks. Ie the ones they have with Hobbs – not sure why you wouldn’t want Dickie Johnson on if he was available!

So, we shall see what happens there in the future.

For now, there is a valid angle for these two…

  • McCain trained/Henry Brooke riding
  • Handicap Chases
  • Class 4
  • Any odds
  Bets Wins Win% P/L(SP) Places Place% ROI(SP) P/L(BF) ROI(BF) P/L(Plc) MxOdd A/E
ALL 44 12 27.27 32.21 16 36.36 73.2 36.08 81.99 -3.77 17.00 1.45
2016 3 2 66.67 13 2 66.67 433.33 13.35 444.83 2.2 12.00 4.17
2015 10 4 40 7 6 60 70 8.85 88.49 2.81 13.00 1.94
2014 9 1 11.11 -4.67 2 22.22 -51.89 -4.44 -49.31 -2.01 13.00 0.6
2013 10 2 20 4 2 20 40 6.07 60.7 -5.01 17.00 1
2012 7 2 28.57 15 2 28.57 214.29 14.21 202.99 -0.62 15.00 1.75
2011 5 1 20 -2.12 2 40 -42.4 -1.96 -39.15 -1.15 9.00 1.11

Odds: they have only had one qualifier above 14/1 to date, so that is one to keep an eye on. Their record with all handicap chases over 14/1 is: 1/20, 3 places + 3 sp

These winners come from a pool of 8 horses to date.

Now, this isnt a behaviour angle in the sense that McCain looks at a C4 handicap chase, expects his horse to go well and then enlists the services of Brooke. I don’t think that is the ‘way in’ – unlike some trainers who have ‘job jockeys’ when they are expecting a big run. 

This is possible of course, but it is not a line of thinking for these two that I want to get too hung up on. Maybe I have that wrong.

I suspect a couple of things – and this is educated guess work – I should think Brooke rides out a fair bit for McCain. As such I should think he builds up a relationship with certain horses. This helps when they hit the racetrack. Also, McCain is not blessed with loads of quality now, so doing best in C4 makes some sense.

Having said that, his record is much better than all the other jocks with the same system rules (no odds cap). Combined, all the other jockeys since 2011 are: 18/200, 51 places, 9% win strike rate,  -120 SP, AE 0.44. Maguire is 9/96, 23 places within that.

In that context Brooke’s figures look decent enough. It looks like McCain is pretty good at putting Brooke on the right ones at this level.  

In c3 chases he is 6/37, 15 places, 16% SR, +21 (1 big priced winner) AE 1.21. You may think they are valid and worth following also. They are 0/19, 2 places in C1 and C2. 0/5, 1 place in C5 to date.

TRACK – none of the stats are really big enough to justify excluding any. They are 0/5, 1 place at Uttoxeter for info but I wouldn’t leave one of theirs there on that basis!


Having looked through the winners…7 of them he was riding for the first time under the system rules – so first time in a C4 handicap chase. The other he was riding for the second time. Cloudy Joker he won on 1st time up and then the second time, when he rode him in a C4 recently – those rides were 3 years apart. Another one he won on for the 2nd time as well as the first.

COURT OF LAW qualifies today in the 2.30, taking on a short priced micro system bet. This will be the second time he has rode him in a C4 handicap chase I believe.  Interesting at 9/2.

This may suggest that he does know the horses well from riding out maybe, and they these ones therefore simply respond to him best. That may be a valid line of thinking. Who knows?

So, those are the stats for that one. Do with it as you please. I WILL NOT be posting these selections on the blog so do track them yourself. Albeit if they are teaming up in a C4 3m+ chase I am looking at they will clearly get a mention!

There is not another angle that I can really find but I wouldn’t put you off digging further if you are a Horse Race Base user, or other system building software.  I have looked a fair bit and nothing else really stands out.

Things may change depending on what happens with Maguire, but for now this is an angle which suggests these chasers are worth a second glance.



(in general 3m+ chasers) 

Stable…a quick mention of that man, Jonjo O’Neill – the 2015/16 jumps sleeping giant. Is he about to awaken? He had 11 runners this week, one winner, a close second and a few others that ran well. Rather than having a virus or something he has just been quiet by his own choice. He says not many of his go on heavy going and he has been saving them. All of his runners will be watched closely now on I suspect but it will be interesting to see how they do in the coming days and weeks. I suspect none of us want to be getting to the end of Cheltenham week having not backed one of his in a handicap that has won well at a double figure price! I know this is his usual modus operandi but he has been particularly quiet I think. That means he could have plenty of fresh and well handicapped horses. Time will tell.  

Le Reve – I do usually mention those that won for us during the week, esp if they won well. He traveled oh so well in first time blinkers and on the whole jumped superbly. He must go right handed and still has some room in is mark when getting his favoured conditions. That was ‘only’ his 18th chase as well, could be more to come. Versatile ground wise with a slight question as to heavy. C2 could be his ceiling, we shall see. 0/9, 3 places above this in handicaps so far, but I wouldnt put it past him winning one at Sandown. The trainer’s association with Harry Skelton is one to watch also – now 2/3, 3 places. 

Pete The Feat – this old boy was also worth taking out of the race. He ran much better and for much further than I thought he might. He is dangerous when getting and easy lead and while well into the veteran stage, this performance indicated that he still has plenty of life left in him. In handicap chases 26.5f appears to be as far as he wants. All wins at c3 or below. That was the first time he has ran well in Feb or March also, usually an autumn horse. Versatile ground wise, if he can get an easy lead and boss a smallish field he could be returning to the winners enclosure. A veteran’s chase maybe as he is vulnerable to most other horses who may be progressive. 

Sonny The One – the other winner for us during the week. He nearly got caught late as he tired and had been in front for a long time. He was chased by some useful enough yardsticks albeit it wasnt the strongest of races. He is still young and immature, especially mentally and I can only think he will get better with experience. He jumped ok in the main and at  this lowly enough level will win more races. He clearly wants a trip and while heavy was fine not too many really enjoy that surface and he has some ok placed form on good. He is very unexposed at this trip. One to note for team Tizzard. 


That is all for this week, I am about to dive back into some Cheltenham Stats. My guide should be ready by Thursday all being well. 

Thanks for reading. And a special thanks to all of you who have donated this past week or who will in the future! 🙂 



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

8 Responses

  1. Hi Josh, I saw Jason Maguire being interviewed the other day as the Rooney’s representative, or racing manager, can’t remember which. Makes one think he may have been instrumental in the moving of the horses.

    1. Hi Hugh, very interesting. I suspect he may be retained by them in that case. I thought McCain and Maguire were close, friends as well as colleagues, and he owes him plenty career wise. I would be surprised if he was the main architect of moving them, but maybe they fell out etc, who knows! In that case, the Brooke angle should be fine – and in truth the stats are decent for when maguire would have been riding.

  2. At the end of this article you mention Colin Tizzard. Is there anything worth looking for in handicap chases when Brendan Powell JR is riding?

    1. Maybe, I will add it to the list – he rides all of the ones that a certain owner has – the Golden Chieftan Colours. Paddy Brennan now rides a few and I suspect Powell rides as many of the others as he can. What with Joe Tizzard retiring last year it makes the jockey situation more interesting. Now sure if Powell riding would be a way in for a bet as such, but dare say some interesting angles to look at.

  3. Jock trainer angle hurdle + chases L tredawell and H J Evans. Not so well known trainer but seems to put Liam up when having ago. A nice winner today i see + at a track from a small sample they do well at. Has had a couple at double fig prices but chi score is ok on hrb

    1. Yep, another for me to have a dive into! yet to look at the Chi stuff or work out its value/application, esp with human behavior angles. I always check that one or two big prices dont skew figure, and always want mine to have robust stats at 12/1 or shorter etc.

    1. Cheers Kenneth, yep just seen that come through. Very much appreciated! I will try my best to do just that!

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