Members Report: 24/02/16 (COMPLETE)

AN Action Packed WEEKLY DIARY Post is now complete. Results re-cap/trainer in focus: Nicky Richards (inc video) /areas for me to improve/eye-catchers. Read/watch it all at the link below…




3.30 Donny

Reaping The Reward – 2 points win – 5/1 – UP – traveled well enough, but nothing there when asked to close – maybe last race leaving its mark or poor stable form rubbing off on him. Maybe 1 point more than sensible given those doubts, but no problem with selection and if he was 8/1 last night he definitely would have been a bet. Saint Are was here to win,clearly fit enough, and becomes the first horse in top 2  weights to win this. He was also weak in the market,taking a walk also. Got him wrong. He just had a bit too much class for the closers. Moving on. 

*WH money back free bet if second in this race, up to £25

TRENDS: I had a quick flick through as this race is in the HorseRaceBase catalog. There have only been 7 renewals so I havent gone ‘all out’ through the checklist but a few stats caught the eye..

  • The Top 2 weights are now 0/15, 2 places / 11-9+ (before jock claims) 0/15, 2 places
  • Official Rating 138 of higher: 0/16, 2 places
  • 7/7 ran 16-60 days ago – albeit not too many have had longer breaks and enough have placed not to get too hung up on that

So, that is useful and rating/weight wise makes me wary of the top 4, which includes Night In Milan. 

Reaping The Reward…

Let’s start with the selection. He ran a cracker LTO when we backed him and entered the notebook. The way Soll won there (we also backed him!) tells you everything you need to know about how tough that race was in conditions – as has the fact that he didn’t look to be over that race LTO at Kelso. He ran a fine race in third and wasn’t knocked about, a massive gap to the rest. 

His old friend Aachen finished ahead of him that day. He also finished ahead of him in this race last year, just – in a fine tussle to the line. I dont think there is any harm in that, even more so considering how Aachen has ran at times in recent months. On his penultimate start he chased home, and was out-stayed by Sego Success. Nigh In Milan was way behind him that day, in what was a decent field with the likes of ‘Straidi’ (we backed him to victory last Monday) and Generous Ransom to name but a few in behind. That was a decent field. He was also returning after 297 days in that – it looked to tell jumping the last because he looked likely to get close….

That does get onto the two slight niggles, which given his price I was happy to overlook,and were not quite enough to refrain from ‘unloading’ with 2 points. 1- the last 3 races he has bumped into stronger stayers – I am putting it down to class – they were decent animals he has bumped into and it must be some of the best recent chase form in this field. The other is his style – he is a hold up horse, in part because I do think he needs to be delivered late (but, I dont think its a resolution thing given how he won at Muss over 2m4f-gutsy) but in this race last year he arguably hit the front too soon. This is only his 13th chase though, despite being 12, and may still be learning! There is a danger something on the front end (a Night In Milan maybe) gets away and he cant quite reel them in. But, on every race so far he has shown decent tactical speed, often able to move up onto the tail of the leaders effortlessly before the home straight. Of course, given he will be out the back he will need luck in running – a hostage to fortune if anything comes down in front of him. (these Veterans should be standing up at least!) 

The trainer form is also a niggle. Not the track form – albeit 1/29 in last 5 years isnt great – that would concern me if the horse hadnt run belters here the last twice- that makes that stat irrelevant for me. Her ‘One For Arthur’ ran well at Carlisle a couple of days ago – outstayed maybe up the hill – or finishing weakly due to a problem – its a concern, but again 5s, in the context of this race allowed me to overlook it a bit. 

So, if he runs his race – and the break will hopefully mean he is over the last day (and he has run well after similar breaks – no excuse there) he should be right in there pitching jumping the last. We should get a run for our money hopefully. I just feel that this is his race. There is more to come from him over this trip and this race is weaker than his last 3 for me. No Aachen in here, no Sego Success, no Soll or the muddy Sandown Hill. Hopefully we are ‘reaping the rewards’ Ahem. (awful!)

The Rest…

Well Godsmejudge is just too short at 3s for me. I would be delighted to cheer him home if ours isn’t in contention but I am comfortable taking him on at that price. I am sure he does need further – well we know how far he stays being a Scottish National winner – and that run LTO, while showing some life, was laboured – and if you take out the winner (who could have won by miles more, and followed up NTO – we backed him twice also!) it wasn’t a great race. He wasn’t exactly closing at the end, rather just plodding. Maybe they are building him up and we will see even more here. Reaping the Reward may come second to him, making an ‘interest’ forecast bet a possibility for those of you who are more adventurous! 

Nigh In Milan has been thumped by the selection and his chase form has been in and out. He is now well handicapped and we know he likes it here, on a sound surface. He should run his race, and hopefully provide the pace to aim at, but the selection has more scope and is a bigger price. I would not be shocked if he won, but again, I am not sure if any of his placed/winning chase form matches that of the selection’s recent runs. All of the stables last 9 runners have finished unplaced also. 

French Opera has stamina to prove and isnt getting any younger, even in the context of this race! Saint Are could well win, but historically has a big weight to overcome in this race – is this also a prep for the big one. The weights are out so he could be gunning for glory as it wont affect his mark if he wins. But, with the GN the aim, I dont know why they would bottom him here – a nice solid 3rd/4th will probably do them! I could have that wrong of course. In handicap chase terms he is now 0/8, 2 places OR 141+. 

BenBens won a weak race at Aintree that hasn’t worked out very well, and has  a bit to prove now, also falling down on the trends we have. Grandads Horse isnt in much form and is now 0/7, 0 places in months of Jan-April – he usually peaks in the latter half of the year. And I cant have the other three, they all have stamina questions to overcome and there are stronger stayers in here. Sonofaahun is doing something different – a massive step up in trip – but he is flat bred and has been outstayed over 2m4f – he is no Bishops Road, and I would be surprised he if outstayed something here – but, stranger things have happened! 

So, Saint Are and Night In Milan may take them along, hopefully setting a decent pace. I would like them to ride RTR closer to the pace but he normally gets in a good position by the time they turn in here. Like I say, if he is over that last run, I expect him to go very very very close indeed! 



2.40 Ludlow




Feb Trainer 

3.30 Donny – Reaping The Reward/Shotavodka (both any odds) 

4.15 Lud – Lava Lamp (10/1<) 

Jumps Handicappers

3.40 Lud – Sir Pitt (14/1<) 

4.15 Lud – Mighty Leader (14/1<) 



7.40 Kempton – Mighty Zip – 16/1 – the trainer/jockey combo has to catch the eye here – 5/11 since 2009 at track, 4/8 in handicaps here. Considering Ryan’s overall figures are 13/95 in last 5 years, the booking of Spencer is even more eye-catching. This is only his 10th career start on the AW and maybe you can make excuses for the last two runs. Any  GEEGEEZ GOLD users will see how competitive this looks when using the brilliant Instant Expert Tab – but, them are the stats as they say. 




IMPORTANT: Well, I say important. Just to say I will be asking some friends to help promote my Cheltenham Guide in the coming days/weeks – mainly, to be blunt, to help me grow my readership/email list, while making said friends some commission from the guide etc. 

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In fairness, I think all of you who wish to sign up to one of those options have done so already – but, that is the state of play. Post Cheltenham there will be other guides sent to the ‘Donations Club’ members as and when, either complimentary (that I would otherwise charge for) or exclusively for them.

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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

36 responses

  1. I’d be worried about Grandads Horse as this his easiest task since he won over CD in 12/14. The improving ground will suit and he’s on a lower rating than when he won. Whilst I accept he has never shown his form now, he had had a different prep. here and a nice break would ready him for this, if a target, as seems possible. 10/1 is worthy of the risk.

    1. Yep,can see why at price you would be interested. Given his last two wins were on soft I just though his last run was a bit too poor. Albeit you can always forgive one run. His c2 win wasn’t the strongest and I know he has been highly tried since but would have still liked to see more. Also think Noel would have had the choice here of him or Godsmejudge. Positives though…ticks plenty of profile boxes,is well handicapped, handles track. Am convinced if RTR runs his race he will take plenty of beating,but if he doesn’t,maybe this is the one to pick up pieces. Good luck. Your target theory could be valid.

      1. He wasn’t expected to act on soft by the trainer, prior to those wins, as he was always seen as a good ground horse.
        I take your point about Fehilly and accept he may know best.

        1. Yep,ground is maybe a positive but I can’t have it as the reason why he may bounce into form,I could have that wrong of course. The jockey booking is just a factor,and never one to base a final decision on, esp in context of his price. If he is going to bounce back he has enough in his favour,on paper. Just not sure as to his well being and I think RTR is a better horse,if running their races. We shall see!

          1. Unlucky there Chris, Nigh In Milan fall may have cost you as possible he would have kept coming back at SA every now and then, softening him up in the process. Good bet at 10s and ran better than I thought he would.

      1. Yep, another valid point – and possible you could excuse poor runs based on poor yard form. Still think he isnt as good as a few in here, if they run their races, but maybe we will see an improved showing from the Grandad.

  2. Josh, I enjoyed your piece on Nicky Richards and look forward to it in action.

    If Ludlow is on good luck with the 2.40. The Tizzard’s are on good form and NTD has a solid runner. At 14/1 Venetia and Charlie Deutsch and Drumshambo look a bit of value on some form.

    1. Thanks Martin,glad you enjoyed it…don’t know where the time goes after I hit record sometimes! Yep will have a good look at that if it’s ion,must admit at initial glance the VW horse looked interesting.

      1. Hopefully Ludlow will be on, have been there many times and once sun comes up should be OK, one note of caution though having ben there many times after frost, the track is on very sandy soil and one the frost comes out it can make the ground like pudding, so the Going stick may say Good to Soft or Soft but in reality it is very tough to get through. On that basis would be very concerned about the stamina of Drumshambo to see out the trip and same could apply to Vendredi Trois, which imho brings top weight Ultimatum Du Roy + Muckle Roe in to equation….fingers crossed it is on though, as I love my trips to Ludlow..and a very good card for midweek with loads of runners and competitive races – makes a change!

        1. Good knowledge/info Ian, thanks for that- will keep that in mind if it does pass, 60/40 apparently. The hales horse at the top did catch the eye as well at prices, but havent looked in any depth at all yet.

  3. No offence Josh but I cant be doing yours & here’s why

    RTR – todays OR 134

    18Feb15 Don 24GS C2HcCh 18K 10-7 2/8 (¾L Aachen 10-2) t 14/1 Craig Nichol 129 108 139 OR/TS/rpr

    here’s Baileys Concerto OR today 128

    24Jan15 Don 24GS C1HcChL 42K 10-6 2/14 (3½L If In Doubt 10-11) 25/1 Brian Hughes 134 124 143

    Using rpr’s your has 5 in hand 139-134 – BC has 15 143-128

    So me doing BC EW & he #cdg & had tongue strap first time & the trainer jock stats for RTR are pretty poor too should never be so short in odds imho – gotta dash for a tweet

    1. I never take offence!! I welcome polite and reasoned disagreement!

      I havent even looked at that pounds/weight stuff to be honest- in relation to RTR – not something I pay any attention to at all if I think a horse has improvement to come and is ‘unexposed’ – this being RTRs 13th chase start – and the last three races/horses he has chased home have been of decent quality. Take point about TTJ form, but really this is only one of a handful of horses of their’s to have run well here – I wont be using rating or trainer track form as an excuse – form of yard more of a concern but they will have to come into form at some point! He may also be better for good ground. Anyway, can see why you may think 5s is short – all a matter of opinion!

      From your comment it is clear we look at racing/horses in a slightly different way! 🙂

      Can see why you may like to back BC EW – And your handicap point in relation to him being an exposed runner etc is clearly valid- I am not convinced he stays this trip fully and there are stronger stayers in here – that thinking makes me somewhat ignore any ratings element – but, i suppose if you viewed fact he ‘bumped into one’ in If In Doubt, then maybe he wont be too far away. His recent form isnt the best either, but maybe a ground thing. Anyway – he is 16s, so can see why you have made a case. I think he will need a couple in here to falter for him to win – which is more than possible given some of the questions about others. Good Luck.

  4. I like Mighty Zip, trainer is taking it on a 236 mile round trip.

    Trainer/Jockey Comdo here reads 11 runs 5 winners

  5. Best to be aware, as far as I can see the Hills money back offer only applies to bets placed on a mobile. I believe there are ways round this, but they’re beyond me.

    1. Oh so it does the cheeky little buggers – that is not mentioned when hovering over offer button withing OddsChecker – it is clear in Ts&Cs though – well, no damage done, they were top price at the time in any case!

    1. Yep – maybe bet 1 point more than I should have, but no issue with bet, and even more of one at that price – if that last night – fact he drifted made me uneasy – but then winner drifted and market not always right. He did travel well, just found nothing – a bit like One For Arthur – maybe they have got issues, all not well in any case. Will get my money back on him somewhere! Brave performance from winner, that weight – but more that rating – veteran’s chases are funny things but that was still impressive. 2nd and 3rd worth taking out of that.

      1. I’ve been a big fan of Saint Are since watching him in a Novice Chase at the Open Meeting at Cheltenham in Nov 2011 when he was trained by Tim Vaughan, he did not win that day but looked a promising horse. Took ages to fulfil potential and to this day he still owes me a few quid but over the years I have learnt he is basically a good ground spring horse, as evidenced at Aintree a couple of times.

        Backed him in GN last year and don’t feel he ever got the credit deserved showing unexpected stamina. I didn’t back him today was convinced it was a prep for the GN, some prep eh!!!!!!!!!!!!! – lets hope they dont go to Chletenham, keep him fresh and on anything Good to Soft or better would be a cracking each way bet in the GN again, Tom George seems to have found improvement Vaughan could not – not gutted I didn’t back him today as never really considered it…just mildly miffed!

  6. Just couldn’t let a Tom George chaser ridden by Paddy go unbacked,was great value in end too,was obviously primed for this race as well

    1. Indeed – always easier to say they have been primed after they have won though! 🙂 George admitted he would come on for it as well and he did indeed end up drifting to a good price. Lovely performance from him.

  7. Thought REAPING THE REWARD was given a very poor ride from Peter Buchanan not one for critising jockeys to much but find him a very poor rider
    the 12 year was held up of the pace and not given much of a chance
    sure they will be another day for this horse.

    1. Yes and no – that is how that horse is always ridden – Dickie rode him same way at Sandown – suggesting that those are the instructions. And I knew that is how he would be ridden – he did try to move him closer, but I think when asked just not much there.

  8. You could be right Josh watched the replay over again there will be another day for him
    just wish they would keep him a bit closer to the pace

    1. Yep agree with both points there – never work out why you want a horse right out the back – so hard to close over fences, esp if pace increases. But, clearly there are sometimes decent reasons – buzzy/like to settle for example. Although, cant think of many positives, need a lot to go right. Would have been more frustrating if he had lost by 1l say – then we could maybe blame the ride! He was so well beat i wont blame jockey this time!

  9. Talking of how RPR was ridden, and many others, has anyone ever done any analysis of how much ground you give away by being 4 horses wide going round a 180 degree turn? i hate to see it on one i have backed especially on fastish ground. One of the reasons i like your blog is alot of tips seem to be front runners and hence more likely to be on the rail. Surely in most cases the ground is the same on the rail as it is 4-5 horse widths wide. We only ever hear about how important being near the rail is at Chester, but it is still a 180 degree turn. Must be some clever people out there who could work out exactly how much ground is given away using pi or something?

    1. Its a good point and I am sure there is some research somewhere. In general I like horses near the front and to be handy, for a variety of reasons, and I try and keep the hold up bets down to a minimum. I was encouraged by him as in previous runs, inc here, when there wasnt necessarily a strong pace, he had moved into contention with ‘ease’.
      In terms of racing wide – it can be ground, horse may not like being crowded, jockey wants to give him a good sight of his fences, etc etc. I dont think that cost him today – finishing effort too poor for that to be the excuse – but there are times when being that wide, around bends multiple times, must make some difference over jumps.

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