Members Report: 16/04/16 (COMPLETE)

UPDATE: A disappointing day. And I feel a bit sick. Vincente did that well and is one of those I didn’t want to win – He went into the notebook after Cheltenham – he traveled really well in the 4 miler for a long way and thoughts after the race were   a) he either didn’t stay or b) having come here after a 90 day break he wasn’t A1 and something else was planned.  I got ‘the story’ right in my own mind- I asked myself this morning whether this been the plan all along, knowing that he needed to win a big pot for championship etc. That doesn’t help now though. I was put off as I thought he needed genuinely good ground to be at his best and his jumping had been scrappy at times (although was fine LTO,but on good) -and fact he had only one in small fields put me off a bit – (influenced by that field size LTO stat also) I don’t know what the ground was but I don’t think there was much soft in it – anyway, he can join the pile of those Cheltenham handicappers that were very close to being backed. I didn’t enjoy watching the finish to that. Frustrating. That happens, but it doesn’t feel very good when it does. That’s the worst Saturday I have had in a while. I need a drink. 



First up, I have another video for you. I know how you much you enjoy them 🙂 

In this one you get to see/hear me use my new ‘stats guide’ to go through the card at Thirsk and highlight what could be a few horses of interest. You get that, plus what I hope is my usual entertaining, informative and rambling style! The time will fly by! 🙂 

So, make a cup of tea, grab your note pad and get stuck in…




3.35 Ayr 

Upsilion Bleu – 1 point win – UP

Write up for Daily Punt. Will try and post link if/when I get it. 


4.10 Ayr

Berea Boru – 1 point EW – 22/1- UP

Milborough – 1 point EW – 40/1 UP


Well what a mighty fine puzzle this is proving to be. The ground adds in another level of complexity – always annoying for me at least when it isn’t an ‘extreme’ – apparently it is good to soft, good in places – and on that basis, on going alone, in the context of a horses odds you probably can’t discount too many – albeit there are a few mudlarks on paper who may find this happening too quickly. 

Berea Boru – I have used aspects of the stats/profile as a guide,albeit there are not too many in which to get hung up on. I did find that the ‘field size stat’ jumped off the page and slapped me around the chops. Those that ran in a race with 17+ runners last time is atrocious – there is logic there – it suggests that horses were running in competitive races that A) they may have been primed for, and this is a mere jolly up to Scotland, B) they were hard races and may have taken plenty out of those that ran in them. That would be my main thinking on that stat. Now, it will get broken at some point, and probably today knowing my luck, but it is interesting. The number of placed horses suggests there is something there. 

Anyway, to this horse. Well he really hasn’t done anything wrong and back in the day they threw him into a G2 novice hurdle. Not sure why, maybe they thought he was a nice horse. He has won three on the spin now and deserves to line up here. He is clearly in the form of his life and as yet hasn’t been hammered by the handicapper. He will need to improve again, and all hope rests on the trip doing just that – his sire has had a few that like a good slog -a few winners at around 3m4f and a few places at around 4m+. This could be just what he want – it could not. He should race up in the front third if able to lay up and the cheekpieces are enlisted I suspect to get him concentrating at his fences more – he has jumped fine enough but could be better. He has been winning in heavy but this ground should be fine – yet to prove he can’t handle it over fences. Peter Bowen has won this race before so know what it takes and his string continue in decent enough form. The negatives? Well I couldn’t say this has been the target, unless they think they have plenty up their sleeve and are unready to unleash over a trip like this. Those recent runs, in the mud, may also catch up with him at some point. They will take their toll eventually and maybe today he hoists up the white flag of surrender and pleads for a rest.

BUT, given everything – in form, young, progressive,could improve for the trip (may not), connections etc – I had to have a go at 20/1. He has a fairly low weight on his back and if it is clear early that he is travelling comfortably in a decent position, and is in a jumping rhythm, we may have some fun. 

Milborough – well he should not be 40/1 – that is just a stupid price, it really is. I wish I had had these ‘that is a silly price eyes’ on when I was looking at Maggio at Aintree. Out of all the horses in this race, I think this could well be the only one who has been targeted at this race. Everything screams that this has been the plan – he has a lower handicap mark then when running in this last year – that is no coincidence – this season he returned over hurdles, he then ran appallingly. He then had a 91 day break – interesting – and ran OK in the Eider – but his mark was dropped again. Last time out he miraculously bounced back to form and ran his best race all season. Trained by a Scott, and I am assuming probably owned by Scotts – they look sure to get a good run for their money here IF, and this is a big IF – he stands up…

As it is his jumping that is the only question, which is clearly built into his lofty odds. He stays. He is an Eider winner – no issues on that. He has a touch of ‘staying class’ and he is still young/lightly raced – this is only his 15th chase start after-all.In this race last year he unseated. He has fallen before in his career. But, when he puts it altogether he is decent. His jumping may be a ground thing – possibly more errors when decent ground and he goes a pace that leads to errors. This should be soft enough for him to be in his comfort zone. Also, he is entitled to be getting better – and his last three runs have seemed fine to me, jumping wise, esp LTO. So, if he stands up, I think we should get a right good spin here. We may be holding our breath at every fence but as I said, he is 40/1. 

Of the rest…well I don’t wish to be here until Sunday. I could go through them all and if one of those above doesn’t win I will say why I wasn’t on the winner, tomorrow. For all those that ran at Cheltenham this looks like an afterthought for me and most/all of them had hard enough races. Those that ran in the Irish GN also had hard enough races, as did the couple who ran at Uttoxeter. Those that ran over those long distance chases, in the mud, to my eye don’t quite look like out and out stayers. But then, I thought that about the Grand National winner so take that with a pinch of salt! (or a bag full) Many others have more severe jumping questions than Milborough, have class to prove and may not look like stayers. I am comfortable ruling out the others – and of course a few in the context of price – The top 3/4 look short enough. Who is backing Heathfield at 10s?? I assume he has been ‘pricewised’ or something. Well done if you got a bigger price – I can see his case, but I dont have that bigger price. 

I should mention Highland Lodge who provided us with our biggest win of the season to date – he will be second behind Milborough in about 8 hours time (in terms of being our biggest priced winner this season!) – I am not sure he will stay this trip – he didn’t stay 3m5f in Welsh National when in the best form Lavelle ever had him in – traveled sweetly to 4 our or so before fading – I also don’t like the break. I know he was aimed at the National but they really should have got a run into him. He and Seeyouatmidnight may try and take them on, and there are a few pace pushers. 

It will be frenetic, and all I ask is that they both jump well and complete – if so, we may have some fun this afternoon. And, in anycase, James Reveley will have covered the bets come 3.45 🙂

Good Luck. 




‘Bridgey’ provided us and him with a welcome 7/1 winner. The micros are slowly starting to pick up again after an up and down first third of the year. Alan King’s still to run as I write. 

Jumps Handicappers

5.05 Bangor: Global Dream (12/1<) 


K Lee Chasers (12/1<) : 3.35 Ayr: Grey Gold 

Sat TJC (any odds): 3.00 Ayr: John Constable 



I have mentioned a few of interest in the video. (not in terms of form/suitability for race conditions etc, but interesting stats as a starting point) In the main looking at Swinbank/Curtis combos in handicaps and a few of ‘family’ Easterby runners and R C Guests, for different reasons. I wont repeat them all here.

There is a handicap chase at Bangor, 3.55 – I won’t tip in it as I have ran out of ‘analysing energy – having had a quick glance,at 4/1 Wood Yer looks decent – all about whether he is over his last run – he would have been A1 there after a break and I am not sure if NTDs ‘bounce’ – would need to look at the stats. But, he may not be too far away. The other two recent winners won races that fell apart for me. 



That is all for today. POST COMPLETE (09.27)




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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

47 Responses

  1. watched racing at Ayr with a more than passing interest on weather as it was due to rain this afternoon b4 a dry night and dry day tomorrow according to BBC forecasts, didn’t see any rain, or reference to it and at no point did following vehicles in races have wipers on, going looked soft at worst, so unless something happens in interim looks like being soft with a bit of good to soft in places.

    1. cheers Ian, I was working on basis of that description so good to hear. Although given it isn’t an ‘extreme’ hard to rule out anything just on going alone I think, albeit some want it firmer and some want it a lot softer.

  2. Smashing vid josh, i m in as of this morning, you must be gutted missing the match, listen to the last 5 minutes of radio 5 commentary on iplayer ian dennis has lost his voice the stuff of which dreams are made

  3. I ended up sticking with both Royale Knight and Heathfield in the Scottish National. Have also thrown a couple of quid on Folsom Blue just in case.

    1. Looking at the profile I have – 10’9” or less; won 3M+; top 6 LTO; NTD; Age 8+; not FAV ; not grand national runner – Tour Des Champs fits at 33/1. So I am on.

      Re the rest of the card, In the 1.50 I like the Nicholls/Bowen combo via Vivaldi Collonges. In the 2.25 Bristol De Mai ran a good race at Cheltenham and will win this if able to repeat that run here. In the 4,45 Gordon Elliott combines with Barry G via Eshtiall and is 11/2 now.

    1. Morning Andy.
      With all due respect, that is the type of stat that, while interesting, is absolutely useless. It tells me nothing – and certainly doesnt tell me whether or not he is any good at the track.
      No one should be making a betting decision based on that stat alone.
      I don’t know how many rides were in handicaps, how many were on horses priced 12/1 or shorter, ior 6/1 or shorter – how many were in maiden races whereby horse was never there to win, ridden for a mark? How many had no chance because of race conditions, or had no chance because of how the pace/draw turned out? How many were for trainers that have a poor record at the track etc etc etc.

      Now, HRB tells me that in the last 730 days, in handicaps, he is 4/23, 8 places. He is a fine rider, who clearly knows how to ride a horse at the track. End of story. In the last 360 days that figure is 0/10,2 places.

      No issues with him whatsoever, and when with Swinbank here in last three seasons they have done well. Just a question now of whether the horse suits race conditions etc etc.

      Stats can be dangerous, and in my opinion that is one of those useless ones. Is that from the racing post? some punters will probably read that and not back his rides, on that basis alone. Illogical.

      1. I hope you are right I have both Final Venture and Coiste Bodhar in a small unit Lucky 63, I am hoping he has jocked off the wrong one in the 4.10 though, as Aramist has a very nice first time out profile for the Swinbank yard and Curtis picks his other entry…

        1. Yep, they may all fall out the back of the tv, but it won’t be because he doesn’t know how to ride here, that is my main point there! Yea I have a few nibbles, we shall see. Fingers crossed. Ground looks to be very testing.

      2. I tend to agree with u I only posted it as it came into my inbox pretty much as I was listening to ur video. Maybe I should have added that if u follow all the junk that comes from the RP you’d be a lot worse off!!

  4. I cannot believe that the BHA have switched the Newbury Card to bloody Chelmsford, are they trying to kill off Turf Racing.

    Why not wait a few days and reschedule Newbury for midweek, alternatively why not seek a turf track to take the Card in the same time-frame, you can’t switch it to the AW at 24 hours notice and then blame “lack of preparation time”….a lower level decent Flat track could have/would have loved the income and exposure, instead it goes to the worst of the worst of the worst….Chelmsford…..complete and utter joke!

    1. I agree Ian but I think given the races are televised I can slightly symphasize with them. I wouldn’t know the ins and outs but I suspect they couldn’t replace them with anything else. Would have thought that if it was a Tuesday card they would have re-scheduled

      1. always respect your views Nick but C4 have previously shown C6 AW racing on a Saturday when NH fixtures called off by tapping in to ATR/RUK schedules, could have shown racing from Thirsk or Bangor as a plan b….it is not so much the switch that riles me as the switch to AW; BHA seem obsessed with AW, yet purists and hard core racing fans hate it and as a “trial” it is totally useless….Pontefract; Brighton; Catterick;Epsom; Beverley all stage turf racing in next few days, could have allocated specific races there or look to reschedule for Newbury in midweek…

        1. I don’t disagree with you mate and certainly would prefer it re-scheduled. Was just trying to think of the reason but you’re right.

        2. I agree that it is a really poor decision by the BHA.
          The Spring Cup is, along with the LIncoln, the top early-season turf handicap with a big field on a straight track. It is now being run round a turn in a field containing seven horses. A joke!

          Mind you, none of those turf tracks you mention bear much of a resemblance to Newbury either. Epsom and Brighton in particular could hardly be more different.

          1. I wonder how the Newbury set will fit in at Chelmsford. Jellied Eels instead of Caviar! Should be interesting.

        3. ‘Purists and Hard Core Racing Fans’ may hate the AW but its a goldmine for punting, small fields, the same horses running against each other over and over again, a small pool of trainers who farm the handicaps..I love it! Having said that, it is utterly ridiculous to switch a prestigious turf meeting to Chelmsford, the Greenham isn’t going to be a ‘trial’ for anything, although I might check out the breeding to see if any of them have a bit of a dirt pedigree.

  5. Have just watched your video. Would it be quicker to find a trainers runners by going to the trainers page and clicking on ‘Entries’. This can be done on the Racing Post site.

    1. Yea you could do – especially if you wanted to just track a handful of trainers. Personally I prefer this approach as ensures I don’t miss anything – does only take 5 mins for a card – but each to their own, that is just how I do it – suspect others will find ways for them.

  6. Agree with Ian. The Newbury ‘Spring Cup’ has been one of my favourite races since I was a kid. (a long time ago). To see it with 7 runners on the all-weather round Chelmsford makes me feel sick. Would have been better just to abandon than run at Chelmsford. The Guineas trials will mean nothing.

    1. As a punter I don’t agree at all. Massive opportunity for us if you have a handle on Chelmsford. A number of fancied horses will not be bred for that surface which is definitely not the same as at Kempton or Lingfield despite it being Polytrack. I really fancied Victory Bond in the first which is now a non runner unfortunately – sire record at the track 9 wins from 39 runs. Unlike me, he hasn’t eaten up! Gosdens entry Taqdeer is by Fast Company who is 0/3/21 here so was looking a poor price had VB run.

    1. really brassed off with Nick Pullen – sets up a paid service £20 a month, sends out those 2 to subscribers and then an hour later sends them out to non sub ex Juicy Plums list as “Newbury” is off….feel ripped off by paying £20……other paid service I use speculateaccumulate – whose fee is equivalent to £1 a week put up A Good Skin and Milansbar.

      1. Ian, Does he tip other horses just exclusive for members? Given his past record I would say that fee is probably reasonable, but you would know more…? (I say that as I may be doing a promo for them in next few weeks for free list again, and no doubt they will push the paid service – your thoughts welcome…)

        1. Don’t get me wrong I love JP and NP service, when it was free it was simple, you got the mail on a Friday afternoon and accepting the usual lulls given his contrarian approach, the results were very good.

          Then he sets up Against The Crowd and it is managed for him – the website is OK but often hard to access and there is very little definition between his paid for tips and his free tips. If you pay £20 a month not a lot based on quality of his tips over past 2 years BUT all too frequently ; like this weekend the main and only raced covered for the subscription service is then covered an hour later by the free service (no longer called Juicy Plums now called Against the Crowd + Plus); the paid for service called Against The Crowd…

          I have a hunch he used to do it himself and now farms it out

          My only concern for you personally is that the people who send the tips out – oxonpress are relentless marketeers, granted they must have lists in the tens of thousands but their bad/mal practices could impact on you, without you being aware…I will email you privately tomorrow with more info.

          As for ATC it has not done as well in last 3 years as the equivalent service that I pay a pound a week for (52 a year) which I have referred to you a few times, and maybe Nick P would be better doing things himself as opposed to farming it out…

          1. Thanks Ian…yep I never have a problem sending people to quality free stuff – and the list for what was JP is worth a read for me – and when it comes to paid services I obviously want the risk to be low/minimal for anyone trying it (money back guarantees,or monthly subs where damage isnt too great if you dont like it etc)
            To an extent that is the business but I try and be selective as to what other stuff I send to my list – I don’t send much of other peoples. I still need to grow my email list and the readership of this blog also – and I wouldn’t mind selling more guides etc – and for that I need the help of others – i just have to pick the right partners to ensure what I send to my list ticks those boxes above etc

  7. Setting off for Ayr shortly. I’m not sure how the weather is there, but the sun is shining in Glasgow.

    Does anyone have any fancies for the rest of the card? I like the favourites (Vivaldi + Bristol de Mai) in the first two races.

  8. Just tried to get £5 e/w on Milborough at 40/1 with Betfair Sportsbook. Maximum I was allowed was £1.25 and having placed the bet, they put up a big green sign saying Boom!!

    1. Ah good old Betfair Sports book! Ms price not moving so win bet on BFSP may be an option at this stage, although plenty of time for it to drop to 25s or so.

      1. 40/1 still about in places now.

        Josh, why don’t you like Tour Des Champs in the big race. NTD, nice weight etc, 33/1?

        1. Hi Martin,well very few horses I could put anyone off in here and he may be one – I thought he may have got to stage of ‘proving’ that this level is a tad beyond him – now 0/9, 2 places above C2 level over fences. The ground is an unknown – he wants it soft/heavy to run up to his best – apparently it is ‘tacky/holding’ – which is a mine field – some will handle it, many wont and you wont know until they run on it – could end up favouring a slogger.
          The plumpton race was poor – not great level – but he couldn’t be more impressive. Horses that ran at Newbury LTO could do better in this (albeit not much logic there, both being flat LH tracks) The big field was a slight concern also as was his two PUs in the Welsh National – in what should have been ideal conditions, and he has ran well at track in other races.(ie poor long distance,good race form in the mud) So, all of that lot combined were the reasons for him! I may have that wrong and he is 33s – which always allows many factors to be overlooked. I think he ticks the main stats profile points I looked at, as did a few.

        2. I had a good look at TDC too as he meets most of the trends, but he is 0 from 9 in C1 chases and could only manage a 16L 4th in this race 3 years ago off 2lb lower.

          I’m surprised no one has mentioned Goodtoknow after the season Kerry Lee has had. Won his first go at a staying trip LTO and goes well with cut in the ground. He looks worth a poke at 40/1.

          1. Hi Mike, agree about TDS. Yep I couldn’t put anyone off a Kerry Lee horse – I do wonder if he has the class for this but these trips can bring out any amount of improvement and he may well do just that. I also wanted to see a bit more big field chase form – but then I suppose I could level that accusation at my Bowen runner. I don’t rate the form of that last race very highly either – we shall see – they can do no wrong in these types of races really.

          2. I think that the distance and the style of this race may suit TDC plus his weight and the NTD factor? I always fear Kerry Lee on a Saturday but she is out of form. Happy to be proved wrong on both.

    1. Heathfield is trained by Tony Martin for JP too. A yard and owner with a fearsome reputation for plotting horses at big handicaps. Returned to form over hurdles last time.Having said that, Barry Geraghty doesn;t ride Heathfield (can Barry do 10-7 though?).

      1. Yep, weight no issue for BG – did 10-4 on same horse on his last chase start I believe. He is interesting but is now very opposable on price alone. A silly price now. Looks sure to stay well based on that Punchestown form – albeit that wasnt the strongest of races I dont think. We shall see, clearly expected to do well – albeit Irish yet to win this I believe, well not in last 19 runnings – not many runners though. (0/20,3 places)

        1. No Irish winner since 1849! What a stat.

          Why do you think that WP Mullins has a poor record in handicap chases in this country?

          1. Blimey – that is a stat and a half – albeit the Irish had similar stats in the Chelt race that Empire of Dirt hacked up in. in general, I suspect many aim horses at Chelts/Aintree and Irish National – this is a mere afterthought – and maybe the journey of travel is arduous!

            Mullins – well Patrick said something interesting – they don’t buy or trainer horses for handicaps on the whole – they want graded animals first and foremost so running them in handicaps is very much an afterthought – I wouldn’t say they are plotters as such – albeit the way his horse won the last at Aintree looked like a plot – but that is an example of a possible graded horses winning a handicap I suspect. He may also use races to test form to judge those he is sending to Cheltenham. I suspect outside of the two big festivals he isnt planning or targetting – just running them, sometimes as an afterthought, sometimes because they are failed graded animals. And our handicap chase division is clearly strong – possibly stronger than in Ireland.

  9. Thanks for the write up Josh.

    I’m surprised however that you think Goodtoknow/Masters Hill’s last race doesnt represent good form. They both beat Benvolio who subsequently won that pretty strong Newbury race.

    Anyway, both Goodtoknow and Masters Hill tempt me into having a bit on them. Masters Hill looks like he’ll be benefitted by the trip, has James Reveley riding but then again sometimes jumps slowly. Cheekpieces on both perhaps a stats negative too, but maybe that logic is unfounded

    Im surprised Midnight Prayer hasn’t been mentioned. Ground-versatile and a proper slogger. Maybe he’s had too hard a season, but trends-wise and form-wise seems a solid pick for the price. Was going like a train at the festival until one bad error

    1. Yep, is an open race – I mean in terms of the field size, the class, the fact they were close together – Masters Hill doesnt jump well enough for me – and that would be a real concern in this big field, surrounded by horses. But, they are both clearly in form and something in here is likely to make me look silly! Benvolio – while he franked it in terms of winning next time, on reflection that race fell apart and was full of disappointing types this season – we shall see, maybe that is the formline!
      Midnight Prayer – yep long hard season and was a bit below form LTO- admittedly that error didnt help – but, you know he stays and if this turns into a proper slog he may not be far away. Doesn’t look like a plan though.

  10. milansabar and midnight prayer get my few quid for the ones who would annoy me if they won without my money on them

    1. I don’t think so Pab. I feel bad for the connections of Royale Knight given I think he has ran absolutely cracking races on not quite ideal ground in both last years National and this years Scottish National and would have likely won one or the other with a little bit more rain and the time he would have been racing off a low weight on soft ground he couldn’t get in but o guess that’s all part of the game

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