WEEKLY DIARY: All Change At Racing To Profit

WEEKLY DIARY: Week Beginning 24th July


Various things to discuss this week including changes to this blog, some thoughts on a couple of jockeys/rides (some good, some not) and a few other bits and pieces…


All Change at Racing to Profit

Well, that may be an exaggeration but when you wake up and head to the blog on Saturday morning you will find a new design/lay-out to enjoy. (all being well). With any luck you like what you find. It is nothing ground-breaking but should make navigating the various posts a bit easier and the new design has allowed me to add some new features, including an exclusive Members Area. But, more on that in the days/weeks ahead. This design will no doubt develop further in time but for now it is much better than what I have at present. As always any feedback you have will be gratefully received. It is your blog as well.  


Henry Brooke – Cartmel Specialist

I don’t think I am stating anything ground breaking here but Henry Brooke doesn’t half ride Cartmel well. Anything he is on is worth a second look.

I was reminded of this again when watching his brilliant ride on Morning With Ivan on the 18th of this month. I thought he may lead but Henry soon judged that he wouldn’t live with those making the running (or he just wasn’t quick enough!) and that they may be going too quick. He manoeuvred his mount in good time, keeping out of trouble, hitting the front up the straight and staying there. Tactically, it looked as close to perfection as you will get for a horse held up off the pace around there. 

This ride was in stark contrast to that on the 6/5 fav who came a closing second. Poor old Mr Campbell (Blair?) can’t be blamed given his inexperience but he arguably held Marcus Antonius too far off the pace and when he decided to close he tried to do it up the inside-hitting trouble, and losing a few lengths in the process. He will learn a lot from that ride, and he could do worse than watching how Henry rides the track.

I thought it was a perfect example of where track experience can be crucial.

Back to Henry…he is now 18/108, 33 places…+40 SP with all rides at the track…

  • Handicap Hurdles (inc Novice Hncp): 9/44, 15 places…+10 SP
  • Handicap Chases: 5/34, 11 places…+11 SP
  • Novice Hurdle: 2/13, 3 places…+26 SP
  • Beginners Chase: 1/5, 1 place… -2 SP
  • Maiden Hurdle: 0/8, 2 places
  • Other non handicap hurdles: 0/3, 0 places

Those going off 10/1 or shorter: 16/62, 30 places…+30 SP.. AE 1.37

He has ridden winners for 11 different trainers also.

So, a jockey to keep an eye on at the track. You rarely get a poor ride from him around there. Talking of poor rides…


In the dock…Martin Harley

I won’t bang on about his ride on Pivotman much more but the charge sheet reads… ‘failing to attain the best possible position for your mount’- my verdict is Guilty. (no trial or jury needed, a President Erdogan style judgement)

While I’m not quite in the mood of purging Mr Harley from the sport I really do think he could have tried a bit harder here.

I was rather proud of the investigative skills used to unearth this lively 16/1 shot. The way he ran/tanked through the race suggested my assertions were correct but it ended up being a losing bet.

Having let the dust settle and watched it again, maybe the best way to look at it is the ride on the winner. My selection and the winner were upsides each other at the 3f pole. Their approach from then on was rather different. The winner’s jockey started riding him so much earlier than Harley did on Pivotman – conscious that you don’t have long to get a horse up to speed up this straight. I feel he could have been more active, sooner. He did struggle to get out but had waited too long to try for me. Maybe I am being too harsh and he could have done with a stronger gallop and 1.5f further- lacking a change of gears. But given the way he travelled it did feel like a case of what might have been.

I suppose if I was a more ‘active’ punter, betting on 5+ horses a day regularly say, I would see that kind of thing more often. It happens and is part of the game. It was a poor ride for many reasons, but there we go. Case closed. (of course Harley came out in the next race and won) 


Is the game bent?

When a jockey is that motionless for so long it begs you to ask certain questions.

Non-racing folk, when they find out you bet on horses, often ask whether the game is bent/dodgy/impossible etc. Or speak with a level of authority ‘I don’t bet, it’s bent’. 

To be honest I never really think about it. Clearly there will be skulduggery going on every now and then. After all, it involves human beings and whether it is sport, politics, or finance, there will always be people willing to cheat to gain an advantage – or in the case of Russia, whole governments. 

But, I get no benefit from thinking about it. My simplistic view is that I can find enough winners to both enjoy the sport and make it pay over time. That is all I need. The puzzle is solvable every now and again. 

I will leave such official judgements to the authorities. I never get angry with perceived ‘strange’ or poor rides, and I didn’t after Harley’s. It is usually just a feeling of disappointment. 


YOU are running out of time

I logged into my Geegeez Gold Account the other day and Matt had written a new message which caught my eye. I will just repeat this below…


From Tuesday 2nd August, the Gold Trial and monthly subscriptions will change…

Currently, geegeez.co.uk offers a 7 day trial for £1, then £24 per month for Gold

From 2nd August this will become a 30 day trial for £1, then £30 per month for Gold

Users who have already trialed Gold previously will no longer be eligible for a further trial after this date, but can still take a 7 day trial any time before 1st August.

There is no impact for existing Gold Subscribers, whose current rate is locked for the lifetime of the sub

So, really, now is the time to take a trial. I would get in quick and lock in your £24 per month fees…

I could bang on about it some more, but really if you take a trial the GEEGEEZ GOLD  Package really does sell itself. If you are serious about making money from racing, and finding your own winners, you really should give it a go. 

More than 20 readers of this blog have joined Gold since I first spoke about it. On the whole I believe it is the best racing decision most have ever made, and they love it. (their words, as posted in comments etc)

I am conscious that many of you don’t wish to pay that much, which is fair enough. You can also become a free registered user which gets you free access to various parts of ‘geegeez gold’ every day of the week. There is no excuse for not becoming one of those, and it really will help your punting.

Anyway, you can find out more…


 …and either sign up for a trial or become  a free registered user. A no brainer, surely?


Lydia Hislop…Star of the RUK Show

Lydia is just superb on RUK and it has become increasingly obvious to me how much she is respected by racing professionals. Her post race interviews are superb, highlighted on Day 1 of Glorious Goodwood. She just seems to have a knack of getting the best out of her interviewees and they are always engaging and informative. Ryan Moore seems happy to have long chats post-race, which says it all for me. 

There are a few on RUK who make my ears bleed but not her. A superb racing broadcaster. 


That is all for this week’s ‘Diary’

Did anything catch your eye this week, anything that really irked you or something that is worthy of praise? Do leave a comment…



Post Comments

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

16 Responses

  1. Totally agree with your comments re Lydia Hislop, nothing to add to that. I also like James Willoughby, granted he is not everyone’s ‘cuppa tea’ but he looks at races in a different way and gives some insights that the other pundits can only dream about it. In fact most of the pundits are like chocolate fireguard,s offering little in the way of insight to punters. Although a honorable mention to Steve Mellish, and he and Lydia have a good chemistry together.

    The Henry Brooke at Cartmel angle is an interesting on and it might be worth investigating his record at Sedgefield too.

  2. Is racing bent ? I’ve co-owned four horses, I’ve got to know a few trainers quite well and in over 50 years of low level involvement in the sport I’ve not seen much to concern me, but I’m not naïve, I know it doesn’t run on rails either. There’s an old Lester Piggot story, probably apocryphal, which sums it up perfectly for me. He was asked to ride a 2yo on it’s debut for a big Newmarket yard. They were aiming for one of the Royal Ascot 2yo races and he was asked to give it a ‘gentle introduction’. Lester of course knew exactly what was required, he settled it in midfield, gave it just enough of a ride to keep the stewards off his back, and finished on the heels of the leaders. Connections were happy, and they asked him if he thought he could beat those that finished in front of him at Ascot. “Oh yes”, he said, “I can beat those that finished in front of me, but I don’t know about those that finished behind”.

    1. Super Keith, I do enjoy a good story like that. Made me smile. I tend to come down on your side of the fence with this one. In any case, it all adds to the intrigue and debate.

  3. one that caught my eye this week was BURTONWOOD RAN 3.20 BEVERLEY TUESDAY something was amiss early on with the jockey then lost his irons 1f out finished fast managed 3rd could be of interest next time

    1. Cheers Antony, I will have a watch of that. Do add it to your tracker and post a comment when next running, as I will no doubt miss him otehrwise!

  4. I dont know how widespread it is but there are definitely certain trainers who know how to play the game well. I personally dont think the jockeys are to blame since they are just following orders. I guess they could refuse but its not as if a trainer wont just get someone else. Personally I just think its part of the puzzle of figuring things out just last other trainer tendancies. The other way of looking at it is particularly on the flat, there is a very fine line between a good and bad ride. Harley rode them all to sleep in the last at Chester on Saturday and did a hell of a job getting his ride out from stall 11 today at Goodwood but sometimes you’re having an off day. Bit like my month at the moment.

    1. Yep I tend to agree Nick- there is a difference between the ‘art of handicapping’ and being ‘bent’ I think – the former is def part of the puzzle, and at times crosses over to the latter. Maybe Harley was just asleep at the wheel on this occasion!

  5. Lydia is outstanding as is Tom O’Ryan, they share one problem that afflicts some of us though when it comes to BB/C4 and it seems ITV – they are not born with silver spoons in their mouth nor toffs. Lydia has the same affliction as me a West Midlands accent, so we are all regarded as being like Benny off Crossroads. Tom, does not look the part. A shame as both are head and shoulders above some of the “clothes horses” employed over the years, and head and shoulders above the likes of Prasad; Luck and the worst of the worst Cunningham.

    With regard to “bent racing”; whilst Harley’s ride was a shocker, in his particular case, an aberration, had the original jockey scheduled to ride been on board, Mr Gibbons done that, then it would not imho have been an aberration but the norm.

    The last time I was at the races with a Trainer he simply said to me “I’m running this in a 60-75, it has no chance but I need to get it down to below 60 as it cant win above 58” – you takes your money and you decide for yourself, bent or brutally honest….may be the bent one is the handicapper?

    1. Good stuff Ian.. as regards to your last point, and I suppose echoing some of Nicks comments… ‘playing the handicapping’ game is part of the game and I suppose a fine line between that and stopping a horse… that view of that trainer is perfectly fair- we have the tools etc to see that the horse can’t win in a 60-75,and that all of its wins have been on OR X or below. I have no problem with that. The same as those trainers who target horses to win handicaps on their first go in handicaps. That is part of the puzzle for me. I suppose of more concern, and the aspect I tend to think about much as it is beyond my control- is when that OR58 horse is running in prime conditions, all set to go and for whatever reason in that given race, doesn’t run as you think it might- possibly receiving a perceived ‘odd ride’.

      But, a complex topic and one where opinions will differ greatly I suspect. Sill, as I said, the puzzle is solvable enough to make it bloody good fun and with any luck profitable over time.

  6. Re Henry Brooke. He rides nearly all the horses for Ken Slack who is one of shrewdest trainers in the business.
    His record at Cartmel is good but Sedgefield is terrific. When the money is down there are very few losers.

  7. Praise for you this week, Josh. I live in France so can’t bet on UK racing, but I love following your research. So, Miss L Harrison at Perth: 4 on the trot, including a 33/1 shot yesterday. Brilliant!

    1. Ah good stuff Jack..yep as Tommo called in winner after winner for Harrison at Perth I went diving in my summer jumps stats – bugger!! I rather wish I had just followed some of hers blind! Interesting if she targets this meeting next year also. Sadly I didn’t have a penny on any of those but I hope some did! Really poor racing there at that meeting this week and what with the rain also, ‘form’ somewhat went out the window with some!

  8. Hmm, is racing bent? I’d like to say no but having just watched Mr A J Fox bail out on Delegate in the 16:05 at Galway when he was nowhere near a hurdle it does make you think.

  9. Hi Josh.What annoys me most about horse racing is when you fancy a horse and you know it has a good chance of winning just before the race you find it has taken a huge walk in the market and then you find that the jockey never puts the horse in the race.That to me makes me wonder if it is all above board.I also agree that Lydia Hislop is a brilliant racing presenter.The person I can’t stand is Graham Cunningham

    1. Hi Roy- yep things like that do make you wonder. Always important to see a horse on way down as well , or before stalls. I have seen that happen only then to notice the horse all sweaty and playing up say. But, agree, can be nothing to the eye and a horse you thought had everything right drifts, and as you say never runs a race or looks likely to. A hard game at times, but at least not impossible. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often, well not that I have noticed personally for me.

      Yep many presenters like Marmite. I like Matt Chapman for example, I think he is superb. But equally just as many can’t stand him either!

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