Members Daily Post: 01/02/20 (complete)

Best of blog x2, Main tips x3, Section 2 (complete), test zone , Sat bi race pointers

1. My Tips

2.Qualifiers Against TTP Stats Packs

3.Micro System Test Zone

4.General messages/updates/new reports etc


1.My Tips

Daily Chase Tips Main (2019: 24/165, 49p +16.8 ) Jumps Festival Tips (2018:+143; 2019: 6/99,27p, -45.8,)

Daily Chase Tips: Main (2020: 2/25,5p, -12.8)

(handicap chases, 2m7f+, C4+)

3.15 Muss

#1 – LITTLE BRUCE – 1 point win – 9/2 (WH/BetfS/PP/BV) UP/4th – ran ok, no excuse for me, was a race for the 5s< shots and picked the wrong one – how Bob has won that i’m not sure, but he’s a character, jumped well mostly and welcome winner for the yard who’d been quiet. I can never get Heskin right, fair play to him, cracking ride. That opens up options for him.

3.35 Sand

#2 – MR MALARKY – 1 point win – 9/1 (gen)NR

#3 – DEISE ABA – 1 point win – 8/1 (gen) WON 7.2/1 (10p R4) >7/1 – a welcome winner, work to do – travelled very well, only danger to having something to cheer over last was the fences, could be a nice horse in the making.



Best of The Blog? (test: 1/14, 6p; -5.5)

(a reminder that this is a test, whereby I use all horses listed on the daily post – which hit my trainer|jockey|eye-catcher|big race trends etc, as a ‘way in’) 

1.15 Sand – Delire Destruval – 1 point win – 4/1 (gen) UP 11/4 

3.23 Weth – Antunes – 1 point win – 4/1 (gen) UP



2.Qualifiers Against TTP Stats Packs



2.05 –

L’Inganno Felice (HcH) 50/1 UP

For Three (HcH) w2 14 33/1 UP

2.40 – Monsieur Co (HcCh) G1 16/1 S1 S2A UP

3.52 –

Honourary Gift (HcH) w2 14  I3  16/1 S2A 

Cedar Hill (HcH) w2 10/1 UP



3.00 – Echiquier (HcH,m age) G3 16/1 S1 S2A UP

3.35 – Cloudy Glen (m dist) w2 G1 15/2 2nd 



1.38 – Niven (all Hc’s) I3 G3 5/1 

3.23 –

Antunes (m TJC) w2 ES+ H3 G3 4/1 S3A#  UP

Zig Zag (all Hc’s) 8/1 UP



TTP Chase Micros 2019/20

1.15 Sand – Diakali (any odds) G3 16/1 Refused 

2.40 Muss – Monsieur Co (any odds) G1 16/1 UP


Please Read: All information regarding the members club and how to engage in the content, what all the red symbols mean etc. Inc contact info, research articles and much more can be found HERE>>>



3.Micro System Test Zone

Monthly Trainers

Sue Smith 

1.15 Sand – Joke Dancer (any odds)  5/1 UP

Paul Nicholls (research in micro monday) (any odds, 8/1< best) 

2.40 Muss – Greaneteen H3  15/8  WON 15/8>6/4 

3.52 Muss – Bathsheba Bay H3 3/1 WON 3/1>6/1 


Chase Angles 2019/20 


2.40 Muss  – Monsieur Co (11/1<) G1 16/1 UP

3.35 Sand – Dragon DEstruval (10/1<)  H1 I3 7/1 UP


Jockey Angles 2019/20

3.35 Sand – As De Mee I3 9/1 UP


Chase Eye-Catchers 2019/20 

(from Tracker Tuesday posts/track 3 runs max/stop at winner/starting points) 

1.15 Sand – Delire Destruval (2nd run) H3 I3 G1 4/1 UP

1.31 Muss – Minella For Me (2nd run) 11/2 UP


4.General messages/updates/new reports etc

February Guest Tipster: Info/Intro HERE>>>

(Monthly Guest Tips will be posted in the comments below for now – Rory tips at lunchtime, so a comment from me will be posted anytime between 11.30-12.45 – his prices seem to hold firm) 


Saturday Big Race Trends Pointers (from Trends Thursday post)

3.00 Sandown

The two stats/trends don’t help much, so straight to trainer records

Trainers (to have won race/with runners)

  • Ask Dillon
  • Big Shark H3
  • Dan Mcgrue
  • Echiquier

3.35 Sandown

again, not much help on the stats/trends front…

Trainers (to have won race/with runners)

  • Classic Ben (won race last year)
  • Cloudy Glen
  • Deise Aba
  • As De Mee


Write ups

3.15 Muss – Little Bruce –

I thought he was entitled to be a point or two shorter in this race given he ticks every box really – he’s in form, races prominently, jumps well, stays very well and is still open to progress over marathon trips. This was the original season target I think but Kirby saw the decs at Catt and thought that race was worth taking in en route. He won that comfortably enough to my eyes and the trainer didn’t think he had a hard race. That’s always a danger coming into a race like this but he just looks solid. I suspect he will try and make all but can slot in if something wishes to go past him. He carried a big weight LTO so that shouldn’t be a problem. If he runs his race I should get an exciting run for my money, which would be a welcome change from some of my more recent efforts.

Of the rest…

There isn’t really one that would annoy me – my ‘danger’ horses having a decent record it seems- I suppose Arthurs Gift may be that horse at 7s, but he does have to prove he stays and i’ve niggles about that now, and Jordon Nailor over fences is ok, but the odd niggle again. He has shaped as if he will be a dour stayer and maybe this better ground/lesser race will do the trick – I can see the case, but he can be held up a bit and did have a hard race in the Welsh. Enough questions inc strength of his form not to annoy me that much.

I could ‘happily’ watch Chic Name (8lb above highest winning mark when accounting for claims I think/strength of form Q/1st CP) win at 4s, I thought Little Bruce had much more going for him but I could be wrong. He does stay well, just whether something with more in hand/more progressive in conditions. He looked about right, as did Bob Mahler to me – he did us a favour at Chelt last back end, and we are approaching the time of year he can come to life – he has stamina to prove, but has shaped as if worth a go, the yard are in iffy (in and out) form, and he’s never won RH from a few goes- there was a chase at Kempton where he went out to his left at most fences. That concerns me, in the context he’s 5s, as does Heskin- I think the horse needs knowing and may appreciate a stronger ride- i could be wrong on all those points, but 5s didn’t seem big enough given the niggles I had.

Wonderful Charm is 12 and if he proves his stamina and takes this then so bet it, i’ll just live with it and doff my cap to connections and the horse. He’s a superb record fresh but clearly isn’t getting any younger, can be held up and has to prove he stays. I think Paul Kealy tipped him up in the Weekender at 12s which I suppose is looking good now, but I couldn’t have him at 6s – for all that he has an interesting profile and a touch of class, which he may have retained.

The rest I could leave- if Little Bruce runs his race I think he will beat/out-stay Sumkindofking/Brian Boranha again as per LTO. I think he had BB beaten when he UR at last. The weight swing won’t make a difference imo. Caroles can beat me now aged 12 and i’m not sure this track will suit, but he stays well enough at his best. I don’t think he will be done for stamina and should appreciate this better ground. It would be typical for one of the two 12YOs to beat me given recent troubles but they are not the right age range long term in these races, as I try to keep reminding myself. If one of the other two wins i’ll be cracking open the whisky even earlier than previous Saturdays.

To Sandown…

Can Mister Malarky return to form, that is the question. At 9s I was happy to take a punt as for me he’s the best chase form in this line up – I don’t think anything else in here is chasing Topofthegame / Santini / Delta Work home in an RSA, beaten 18l by horses that have proved to have 20+ lb in hand/proper G1 beasts. MM is just a handicapper I think but that run, his G2 win, and that honourable 2nd at Aintree under Junior were all fine efforts – his Hennessy run wasn’t too bad, that race isn’t working out as yet but mos of those in front to have run have had excuses I think. Conditions are fine and he stays well – it just hasn’t really clicked yet this season- the PU LTO is a concern- just 21 days after Newbury there is a chance it came too soon – he was never really going and at least didn’t have a hard race-  he may be ponderous/out of rhythm early in this, game over- but hopefully the 40+ days has done him good – Junior rode him aggressively at Aintree and I wouldn’t mind him trying to spark life into him by racing up there again. He will win a handicap one day from around this mark when getting back to form, and at 9s I was happy to roll the dice that it could be today.

Deise Aba – Hobbs has won this race twice (2/15,7p) and it looks like a race he targets – his yard are back in flying form and Tom knows the horse well after LTOs win – that was a confidence booster at Catterick and this will be a sterner test but he’s the least exposed chaser in this race, with a point win and hurdles form which has worked out well- those Chepstow  races (1st/4th) have produced 22 subsequent winners between them. This one went into my notebook after his Aintree effort – i left him alone at Ascot given I wanted to see more before having a go, but he ran well there – that was ‘hot form’ the three in front all unexposed also, and they’ve all won since, inc the winner Pym who looks a ‘nice type’ in the making. Not sure if i’m on a full house for racing cliche bingo just yet. Given his profile he looked well worth a go at 8s to my eyes.

Of the rest…

Again not really an ‘annoying’ winner in this at the prices/profiles – maybe Cap Du Nord at 16s – he’s a LTO winner from the in-from/impressive C Williams operation and they know how to train staying chasers – but this is a much deeper race, there’s a stamina question and ground question. He shows up well on various ratings though which caught my eye – but I decided against him – just a bit too much to prove, even at those odds. But if he storms up the hill, that would be annoying.

The rest I couldn’t have at prices – Classic Ben didn’t look overpriced, only 1lb above winning this last year but he hasn’t done too much since and LTO looked laboured, long before stamina was an issue – his jumping was scrappy also – maybe this has been the seasons plan and they’ve been getting his mark down while running into fitness – but at 4s in a chase like this I want them to be a progressive LTO winner, which he isn’t. Solid chance, but not for me today.

Cloudy Glen has a mind of his own it seems, has stamina to prove and his chase form doesn’t amount to much as yet, not for a race like this in my view. At 15/2 I could leave but it’s Venetia and a muddy hill to climb. It’s best assuming they may well stay until proven otherwise but it is a big Q for him – he’d have been fit at Exeter in November I think, and he didn’t get home. Questions at the price.

Diable De Sivola has been nibbled at – 0/10,6p over fences, he has ability but finds it hard to put it all together. He shapes as if he could relish this trip but again has that to prove – all hope seemingly rests on the 1st visor – that may transform him, maybe it has at home, hence the confidence – but you’re just guessing a bit too much I think-  he looks more interesting than Cloudy Glen though and if it all clicks he could be dangerous.

Le Rocher is 10, 2nd run after an absence, stamina to prove (there’s hope he may get it) and he’s usually held up – 9s couldn’t tempt me in. All his best chase form is in small fields also but he is is an interesting one I suppose. The yard are in form.

The rest I didn’t think much to. I don’t like the strength of Dragon Destruvals form and if i’ve got him wrong so be it – he needs more than his win LTO in this race and a question from this mark now. The rest have even more questions to my eyes. As De Me may struggle to get home in these conditions I think/pace of race.

Pace wise… a bit of an unknown with my two – junior may be aggressive, I hope he doesn’t hold him up cold, and Tom may be happy to track the pace, although with that positive experience LTO maybe he will be more aggressive also. Crievehill may take them along before he falls in a hole at the pond fence in this ground/mark, Ami will be up there for a time, maybe Cloudy also- Classic Ben tracking. So, maybe enough pace, but you don’t want to be out the back over this CD, and if either of mine are and they were here to run their race, the connections are idiots.


Best of blog test…

Delire – think I tipped him LTO in this test also when just chinned – agony. I’ll give him one more go, that winner is a nice type (full house!) and the front two were miles clear- he has course form, races prominently and likes to get on with it. Dolos has a question from this mark although it could be more about who runs their race, and I can leave First Flow on his first chase around here with Chester up. Not for me at 6/4 but he’s clearly a smart horse.

Antunes – maybe a risky one at 4s but IF he’s here to run his race he could decimate this rather exposed looking bunch. Something went amiss LTO although in a much deeper race. He has a good record fresh – it may be the time to catch him – his form is solid enough and he’s untapped potential over this trip – he does have to prove he stays but shapes as if it could be the reason for improvement from this mark. If he doesn’t run his race it looks open enough with a few exposed legs being nibbled at.

Everything crossed that I have something to cheer this afternoon.

I’ll be enjoying Leopardstown for what it is (quality jumps racing in its own right) but with an eye on the Festival – I think this meeting has produced 10 Festival winners since it started, or was that just last year – anyway, some of the clashes are mouthwatering. If you’re playing in them, GL


Post Comments

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

25 Responses

  1. Guest Tipster… Feb 1st is first official day of the Guest Tipster idea , starting with Racing Consultants/Rory Delargy (with their permission of course!) Info above in section 4 – I’m going to ponder where to post them, I may just post in the comments as I did on Friday’s post, so as not to clog up the main post above which in truth gets busy enough, esp on Sats – on desktop to the right hand side you can see who’s posted recent comments etc so can look for my name – Rory’s sends the email out between 11.30-12.30 usually, and I can post 15 mins after that to allow their subscribers to get on – having monitored for a few days he’s very fair on price, and given time of day, they seem to be available.

  2. i dont seem to have ever got a bet in over the water when trying to pull apart their Hcp races
    So just a bit of fun lining up a shorties treble
    Dont know enough to have a bet in the 12.50
    Would pick A Plus Tard in the 1.25, aware of Chacun pour soi improving after first run out but he’d have to quite a bit so at the prices
    Notebook in the 2pm- beat Fakir soundly. Like Melon but tries taking at least one fence with him
    And in the 3.10 they’ll do well to give Honeysuckle that much weight, bit of a toss up with Sharja tho iv just gone for Honeysuckle, Sharja seems a bit inconsistent and you wouldn’t be too sure exactly how soft the ground will be
    Be typical in this race for my Supreme pick from last season Aramon to run a big race at 40/1. Thought he looked speedy last year but never got better ground well that was my excuse anyways
    22/1 treble

    1. It’s been mild and breezy the last 3 days here (proximity to Leop). There’s been rain overnight last couple of nights but nothing significant enough to change the going. It will be the better side of G/S tomorrow bordering on good I reckon.

    1. Supasundae going well after pu
      Quamino is best choice for me at 2:35
      3.45 is very hard so Eglantine Du Seuil 33/1
      i like Melon and Mni

    2. I did have a look through last night and the only one that stood out was MIN 1-25, of the rest a few biggies look to have a fair ew chance 2-35. Goulane Chosen
      3-10. Petit Mouchoir
      3-45. Mister Blue Sky

  3. quickly running out of time so this is just my list of horses to look at :
    2-25. Laurina, Midnight Shadow
    3-00. Ask Ben, Agrapart
    3-35. About half the field
    2-05. Sir Chauvelin
    2-40. Ardera Cross, Monsieur Co, Double W’s
    3-52. Royal Cosmic
    1-38. King’s Odyssey, Niven
    3-25. Secrete Stream, Mercian Prince

    Leopardstown in post above

    1-10. Reflektor
    2-55. Master Of The World
    4-05. Amanto

    1. just 2 winners from that lot and a few places but i did get Secrete Stream @ 28-1 so a small profit on the day.

  4. 14:00 Leopardstown
    MELON 1pt win 13/2 gen
    15:45 Leopardstown
    TIGER TAP TAP 9/1 gen 1pt win
    SCHEU TIME 20/1 gen 1pt win
    15:00 Sandown
    GOLAN FORTUNE 8/1 gen 1pt win
    BIG SHARK 8/1 gen 1pt win
    15:35 Sandown
    DEISE ABA 8/1 gen 1pt win
    CLASSIC BEN 5/1 gen 1pt win

    write ups to follow later, but for the moment get the prices, put yer feet up and watch a great afternoons racing on ITV and RTE and the racing channels…

    1. MELON
      He does clout the odd fence, but, for me looks value at 13/2 here against the others in the race, the fact Paul Townend has chosen this one over the others is in my opinion the horse must be in fine fettle and being aimed at the Arkle chase is also a statement of intent. Has the c and d also.
      even though Mr Townend has favoured Buildmeupbuttercup, this one for me is the value of the Mullins entourage, will be up with the pace and should show a liking for the track, this will be run at a furious pace and it will suit this one down to the ground.
      if you take out the amount of horses all the top 3 trainers have in this you are then left with a handful, out of all of those and they are here to win it also, Scheu time is value at 22/1, will also love the tow along into the race and will be there at the business end.
      has finished second here before and will relish the time off he has had, would put him in as favourite myself, as he has had that break I believe he will strip fitter than some of the other market leaders here.
      Open to loads of progress and looks the one to beat here, if he progresses as I feel he should that 8/1 will look huge, should be just off the pace and will strike late up the straight, hopefully in a duel with Golan F…
      Don`t normally like picking favourites, but, after looking again and again at this race, you can`t look anywhere else apart form at CB, he has done everything prior this race to set him up for a repeat and how many times have chasers done this time and again, trainers and horses are creatures of habit! 5/1 was value, think that ship has sailed…with everyone and their mother tipping this one.
      Mr Hobbs has won this twice and like i said above trainers are creatures of habit also, he comes into the race as a bit of an unknown and his owner does like to have a stab at these type of races on a Saturday and he comes here double handed, just hope we have the right one here. Value at 8/1.

      Hope all horses and jockeys come back safe and sound and good luck with whatever you select today.

      1. well done, that was a joy to watch, was just whether he jumped – moved through that so well, superb ride. Trevor got a nice stayer in the making there. Cloudy a mad bugger, dropped himself out, CD rushed up to get interested, that effort would have took plenty but he’s still clearly well handicapped when puts mind to it – if Chelt comes up soft, maybe something like the Stable Plate could be of interest. Think VW may have won that before, as has Trevor if my memory is any good, a few years back. Could have been another chase mind.

  5. TIP TOP
    1.31 Musselburgh Valadom 9/2

    1.31Musselburgh Valadom 9/2
    4.45 Kempton Zarkavon 5/1
    6.15 Kempton Starlight Romance 11/4
    8.15 Kempton Cape Hideaway 5/1

    Back later

  6. AW T/T

    12.35 L Phuket Power…T Dascombe Hcp…2/1
    1.10 L Reflector…T Dascombe Hcp…7/1

    Jan figures to follow.


  7. Hi josh sorry missed your comment yesterday so thought I would reply here. Enjoy doing the historical fact so no problem from my end, it’s great to see which old favourites have won what race. Sorry about the link – didn’t check it. The reason for the name of the race came from the jockey club website, so I reckon that will be true. Keep up the good work on the blog – we all have faith in you on here. Did AMelia R ew last night so a good start for Rory

    1. good stuff Harry – glad you enjoy researching/scribbling as if nothing else I enjoy reading and watching the old races. Have repeated your comment below if anyone missed it. Yep decent start for Rory – so close to a big priced winner. We shall see how he goes over the month.
      Hi Josh – “Harry’s Historical Fact of the week”. I have chosen the Scilly Isles Chase this week
      The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase, which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run at Sandown Park over a distance of around two miles and four furlongs and during its running there are 17 fences to be jumped. The race is for novice chasers. Prior to 1988 the distance of the race was 2 miles

      It would be easy to confuse the title of the race as being named after the islands off the Cornish coast containing England’s most southerly point. Instead, the race is probably the only sporting event named after a roundabout, namely one situated between the nearby towns of Esher and Kingston. Perhaps fittingly given Sandown Park’s own quirks such as the Railway and Pond fences, the Scilly Isles is a double roundabout that is notoriously tricky to navigate.

      The race was first run in 1964 and won by Buona Notte trained by Bob Turnell who trained the winner 3 times, 1967 (Bowgeeno) and 1980 (Beacon Light) being the others

      In 1970 a six-year-old named Royal Relief returned the winner. Two years later he was a Champion Chaser and another two years afterwards, he repeated the trick. Until the feats of Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre, he was the last horse to regain the Champion Chase

      Nicky Henderson is the trainer with the most victories in the race than anyone else (an incredible six). First of those was First Bout, scoring under Steve Smith Eccles in 1987 the year before a half mile was added to the distance. Banjo became the youngest winner when driven to success by Adrian Maguire in 1995. The nineties provided a number of fan favourites as both the hardy Young Hustler and flashy grey Senor El Betrutti took the trophy. Paul Nicholls had great success in the late noughties as he claimed four successive victories between 2006 & 2009
      The greatest winner of the race can surely only go to one horse. Best Mate, then a green and inexperienced first-season chaser, took the 2001 running. In the proceeding three years, he would win every Cheltenham Gold Cup, the first to win three since Arkle and ensuring racing immortality for himself and trainer Henrietta Knight.

      Best Mate is this weeks choice for the re-run. Simon Holt says “it’s a good horse this,” he wasn’t wrong Enjoy!!

  8. I like Ask Ben each way in the 3.00 SP.
    Palladium, 12.40 SP, has to win today to go to the festival.
    Greaneteen, 2.40 Musselburgh, should win for Nicholls over the border.

    Maybe more later.


    1.10 Lingfield Barrington 5/1
    2.20 Lingfield Uptopian Lad 5/2
    6.15 Kempton Bedtime Bella 6/1

    2.20 Lingfield Uptopian Lad 5/2
    3.00 Sandown Big Shark 15/2
    7.15 Kempton Crimson King 9/2
    7.45 Kempton Double Legend 3/1

    1.31 Musselburgh Valadom 9/2
    2.20 Lingfield Uptopian Lad 5/2

  10. Guest Tips…. a busy day for The Racing Consultants below to use/ignore as you please- Rory’s write ups are informative, if nothing else. Plenty of good nuggets to ponder. >>>>


    1:38 Weth – 1pt win Winter Escape @ 8/1 (general)
    2:35 Leop – 1pt e/w Quamino @ 12/1 (Bet365, Unibet, Coral – ¼ odds)
    3:00 Sand – 1pt e/w Ask Ben @ 11/2 (general – take ¼ odds)
    3:10 Leop – 1pt e/w Petit Mouchoir @ 12/1 (general)
    3:35 Sand – 1pt e/w Classic Ben @ 4/1 (SkyBet,Betfair, Paddy Power – 4 places)

    Total staked 9pts



    1:50 Betway Contenders Hurdle (Listed) 1m 7f 216y

    The Contenders Hurdle is more often than not a Nicky Henderson benefit, and while Call Me Lord is not quite as stellar a headline act as previous winners See You Then, Binocular and Buveur D’Air, Call Me Lord is ideally suited to the contours of the Esher track and the prevailing heavy ground.

    On the figures, the son of Slickly doesn’t have masses in hand, but his form is unimpeachable, whereas it’s possible that the likes of Eldorado Allen and Quel Destin are a trifle flattered by their best efforts. Certainly, I would give much greater credit to the selection for finishing third in the Imperial Cup off a mark of 160 than by Eldorado Allen’s recent C&D second off 145, and despite the concession of weight, I expect class to tell.

    2:25 Betway Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 10y

    The presence of Laurina is a bit of a bonus for racegoers at Sandown, as she was also entered up at the Dublin Racing Festival, but while she’s not the easiest to weigh up after an abject performance at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day, she had valid excuses there, and that run is almost certainly best forgotten. She had too much speed for the classy Minella Indo on her return/chase debut at Gowran in November, and she will appreciate the return to testing ground here.

    Of her opponents, I think that both Midnight Shadow and Grand Sancy could struggle with the trip on testing ground. The former won the Dipper at Cheltenham last time, but was leaden legged in the last hundred yards, and needs a sharper test at this trip, while Grand Sancy is even more suspect in regards to stamina having looked best at a fairly east two miles so far.

    Itchy Feet has potential, but is taking a big step up compared to Leicester, and the biggest danger is surely Good Boy Bobby, who will probably lead, and is a sound jumper who stays well. He will make the race, and pose some questions, but I expect Laurina’s inherent class to win out assuming her trainer has her back to her best.

    3:00 Betway Heroes Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 7f 98y

    One of my favourite betting systems, if it be called such, is to follow the fortunes f lightly-raced novices who are unplaced in the Albert Bartlett (Spa) Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and that method has thrown up winners of at least a dozen subsequent races at the March meeting, including seven Grade 1s. Native River and Paisley Park were both beaten 53 lengths in the novice event, and time has shown that an absolute drubbing is no barrier to future success, with other big-race winners to emerge from similar beatings including Welsh National winner Elegant Escape, Hennessy winner Carruthers, and last year’s Bet365 Gold Cup hero Talkischeap.

    One who fits the bill here is the promising Ask Ben, who was a 26-length tenth in the Albert Bartlett last March and has caught the eye in a huge way on both starts this season. He was fourth in a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Haydock in November which has a history of throwing up high class performers, with Paisley Park and Sam Spinner the winners in preceding seasons. He shaped like the best horse at the weights there, but pressed on too soon, and was swamped by finishers after a last-flight error.

    Ask Ben was again better than the result when second to Goodbye Dancer at Cheltenham in December, getting shuffled back at a crucial stage and unable to obtain a clear run more than once before staying on bet to be beaten 1¾ lengths by the winner, to whom he was conceding 12lb. That form would have been franked handsomely, only for Goodbye Dance to fall at the last back at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day when in the process of following up. On a line through that horse, Ask Ben looks very well treated having gone up only 2lb. He is yet to show all he can muster in handicaps, is open to abnormal improvement, and appears to be an outstanding bet to win this valuable handicap provided he handles underfoot conditions.

    3:35 Betway Masters Handicap Chase 3m 37y

    Classic Ben was laid out for this race last year by the ultra-capable Stuart Edmunds, landing something of a gamble facing soft ground for the first time over fences. He’s not scored again, but has run to a solid level on all starts, and the patter of his form again suggests that this race has been his target for some time. He meets the 2019 runner-up, Ami Desbois, on 9lb better terms despite beating him a neck, and he had subsequent big-race winners Kimberlite Candy (now rated 150) and Give Me A Copper (147) in third and fourth, so it is a triumph of planning that Edmunds has last year’s winner – only a seven-year-old after all – back for a repeat bid and rated just 1lb higher that he was 12 months ago.

    Stuart Edmunds deserves a standing ovation for manipulating his charge’s mark so well, and the amazing thing is that Classic Ben has not finished down the field in half a dozen chases to get to where he is, but has made the frame on all three starts, but beaten far enough for the assessor to deem him worthy of a small drop. There are “shrewd” trainers who could learn a thing or six from Edmunds, and Classic Ben is a confident selection to get back to winning ways under conditions which he has already shown to be ideal.


    1:38 William Hill Betting Tv Handicap Chase 2m 3f 85y

    Winter Escape is making his debut for the quietly impressive Ben Haslam, and while a move to this yard was deemed a negative for J P McManus runners in seasons gone by, Haslam has shown that he is more than capable of rekindling lost sparks at his base in picturesque Middleham, and he has his team in good order, both Flat and jumps this winter.

    Winter Escape was revitalised by a move to Aidan Howard last season, winning several times over fences, and taking the scalp of A Plus Tard at Punchestown. He was highly tried in the spring, and has run two decent races in valuable and competitive handicaps this winter. In both the Troytown at Navan and in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown he has travelled as if back to his best, but the simple fact is that he does not stay three miles, and he has flattened out late on both those runs. To my eyes, he is crying out for a return to shorter, and he looks to have a really decent chance in this contest, particularly if he responds positively to the fitting of a hood.

    It’s hardly a controversial statement, but the quality of racing at the Dublin Racing Festival is superb, and it constitutes a top-class festival of racing, rather than a dress rehearsal for Cheltenham next month, as so many good races through the winter tend to be characterised. This could be a huge day for Bryan Cooper, something of a forgotten man these days, but young enough to turn things around, and he has excellent claims in the opener with Latest Exhibition. It’s his mount in a later handicap which is of particular interest to me, though.

    The Matheson Handicap Chase (2:35) is a tempting betting heat, with the eye immediately drawn to Snugsborough Hall, who improved by bundles in the spring, and would probably have won his last four over fences but for being carried out at Fairyhouse in April. His handicap mark has taken a hit since, but that’s as it should be and he warmed up for this with an eyecatching run over hurdles at Cork early in the month. He deserves to be favourite, and could arguably be a couple of points shorter. He almost gets my pick, but if you rate his Fairyhouse run when he was taken out by Mind’s Eye, then you have to be interested in Quamino, who was runner-up in that contest, and while he would have been behind Liam Cusack’s gelding there, he was conceding him 11lb on the day, and now a whopping 18lb better off.

    Quamino won this race last year last year as a six-year-old and is just 5lb higher, which seems very fair, and while he’s shown patchy form since, he’s had excuses. Although he handles heavy ground as a hurdler, Quamino is considered by his trainer to need a sounder surface over fences, and that is borne out in his record. He’s also shown his best form around this trip, and when considering his form away from deep ground and at around this trip over fences, he has a record of U212. He shaped well for a long way in the Paddy Power Chase here at Christmas, travelling well and jumping soundly before being hampered by the fall of Cabaret Queen, and it was clear that his stamina gave out from the home turn. The return to this trip on what should be perfect ground for the time of year gives him a big chance of getting back to his very best.

    Min is the one who should be favourite in the Dublin Chase at 1:25, and it’s the notion that Paul Townend knows best that sees the admittedly exciting Chacun Pour Soi edging the market. Track form trumps potential more often than not, and the bottom line is that however good you thought Chacun Pour Soi looked at Punchestown, Min has run to a higher level at least half a dozen times, and he’s also looking for his third consecutive win in this contest. I could understand if he was looking on the downgrade, but a workmanlike win in the John Durkan Chase is not exactly evidence of regression, and he can keep the younger generation at bay.

    The PCI Irish Champion Hurdle (3:10) is being talked up as a match between Honeysuckle and Sharjah, but there is only one bet I could contemplate at the prices, and that is an each-way punt on Petit Mouchoir, the 2017 winner of this race. Henry de Bromhead’’s charge has been found just wanting at the highest level since that success, but after losing his way briefly when his chase career got derailed, he’s been back to his best this season, and a reproduction of his runs in the Morgiana or the Matheson Hurdle over this C&D would put him in the picture.

    Unlike a lot of such bets, he’s actually reasonably priced in the win market, especially if you view stablemate Honeysuckle as having something to prove back in trip and away from her beloved Fairyhouse, as I do. Sharjah is the one to beat, in my opinion, but he’s now short enough having been 2/1 after declarations. Supasundae is a fair price, but he’s never been at his best after a break (0-6 over hurdles after 6 or more weeks off), and is likely to come on for this belated reappearance.



  11. Four I like today:

    Minella For Me Musselburgh 13:31 1pt e/w
    Broughtons Admiral Sandown 15:00 1pt e/w
    Sumkindofking Musselburgh 15:15 1pt e/w
    Special Acceptance Sandown 16:10 1pt e/w

  12. Josh
    Pleased for you a 7/1 winner and a good profit on the day, and not a double figure bet out of the two, take a step back and only go for the Holy Grail when a 33/1 or 50/1 jumps off the page, strongly believe you will make a good profit over a year with up to 10/1 to 14/1 bets ond the odd biggie.

    1. Thanks Colin – yep I know I need to be doing better at that end and need to be throwing fewer darts at biggies – i’ll continue to do that, esp for big Nationals/Festivals etc – the historic record would indicate i’d be mad not to- but it’s a balance, and a mix- you have to take it on a race by race basis – maybe when I go for two also, it’s a case of ensuring one at top end, and a biggie – although such set rules never good- but after Worthy Farm won I think that was the final kick up the backside required to not be so dismissive of what i’d prev call ‘shorties’!

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