8007/1 Treble That Got Away…

Khajaaly at Kempton

Khajaaly at Kempton

Doh! As Homer Simpson so succinctly put it, dear reader, I rather cocked it up over the weekend. It all started when the Geegeez geegee, Khajaaly, ran for the first time in 73 days, in an innocuous enough event at Wolverhampton...

To remind you, we bought Khajaaly in early Summer, and had high hopes for him. Alas, in his first three runs he seemed to be alarmingly regressive. Hindsight, being the wonderful thing that it is, clearly shows that poor old Khajaaly was feeling the effects of a hard season having had six races this year prior to our acquisition.

Three subsequent runs made nine in total and one knackered beastie. Step forward Julia 'The Judge' Feilden. Training horses is a game I will never know more than scraps about, and I am always happy to leave my affairs in the hands of people better qualified than me.

So, when Julia suggested some time off, I immediately agreed. Firstly, as I say, she knows infinitely more than me about the nuances and foibles of nags, and secondly, to be frank, I was at my wit's end in terms of what the hell to do with him!

Seventy-three days later and Khajaaly was ready to roll again. Julia, John and the team were all making positive noises about how he was looking, much fresher apparently. They said he was working well and, when I spoke to Julia on Friday morning, she said something she very rarely says.

Julia said to me, "I think he'll win today". In all the time I've known her (ten years), I can remember her saying that maybe four times. Once was when Spruce was backed off the boards (16's into 5/2) on UK debut and was beaten a fast diminishing head, prior to running up a sequence of four straight wins. Once was when Love's Design won a seller by FIVE lengths, and once was last Friday.

I told the members and backed him accordingly. All morning he'd been 10/1 and 12/1 with the bookies so I thought 18/1 on Betfair was great value. When he went 28/1 on Betfair I went in again. When he went out to 46 (!!) on Betfair I couldn't justify any further depth to my wager, so I let it ride.

He opened up 33/1 on course, before some of the Geegeez Racing Club members punted him into 25/1. To render an even longer story ever so slightly shorter, he cruised through the race and - though only winning by an official margin of half a length - he bolted up. The jockey had no need to resort to more than hand urging.

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When I spoke to Julia afterwards, using what very little remained of my voice, I must have sounded like Barry White with laryngitis. I was hoarse from yelling at our horse!

Anyway, Julia told me that Khajaaly had been working as well as Spirit of Sharjah, another horse in her yard, rated 97. Given that Khajaaly was rated 60, I wondered if this meant Spirit was no good or Khajaaly was flying. As luck would have it, I was able to find out on Saturday, when Spirit of Sharjah ran in a very competitive Class 2 handicap at Lingfield.

He had an ugly 'car park' draw in 13 of the 14 runners, and I had a very small bet just out of interest. He cruised through the race in the same way that Khajaaly had done around 24 hours earlier and, although only winning by a short head, he too was value for more as the jockey only got serious in the last 100 yards after Spirit had trouble getting a clear run. He returned 10/1.

So, Spirit of Sharjah will now be rated 100 or so.... and our boy Khajaaly has been working alongside him! And he's going to be rated 65 or so! Of course, life is never as simple as first appearances suggest, so our ostensible handicap snip may well end up getting rolled over. But I have to say, in 0-65 company, I'd REALLY fancy him to double up. 🙂

[STOP PRESS: I've just heard that Khajaaly went up four pounds to a rating of 64. His next run is currently mooted to be Wolverhampton on 11th December, but that may change.]

As if that wasn't enough, Julia had one more - extremely unlikely - ace up her sleeve. Rated just 48 on the flat, and having her third run over hurdles, Baggsy had recorded eighth and tenth places in her previous two attempts at distance and obstacles. But one thing this daughter of Statue of Liberty adores is soft ground.

She'd run by far her best recent race on the soft at Yarmouth and it had come up soft again at a notoriously testing track, Towcester. This was a selling hurdle, and to call it moderate is to overstate the quality of beast on display. Baggsy opened up 40/1 and was backed into 28's at the off. I had two quid win and place, much more in token hope than any kind of expectation.

As the race progressed, Mattie Bachelor kept her out the back. For the first mile, it was hard to tell whether this was the jockey's choice or a necessity for the horse! But they went off too quickly for the grade and ground, and they came back. Oh boy, did they come back.

Baggsy never threatened to win until the last furlong but she still had five in front of her. Five yards from the line, she was still second, four yards from the line, she had prevailed. Amazing, and hope now springs eternal that in bad ground juvenile selling hurdles, perhaps over slightly further than two miles, Baggsy might actually win again!

Undoubtedly it was a red letter weekend for Julia, John and the team at Harraton Stables and, whilst I managed to back all three - to wildly disparate stakes - the 8,007/1 treble alluded me (and, I'm guessing, every other punter in the country)!

Onwards, and upwards!


On a completely separate subject, my sincere thanks go out to all of the 36 people who applied for my 'apprentice' position. In actual fact, it's more of a 'right hand man' role than an apprentice.

I'm not being flippant when I say the quality of the applications surprised me. I'd expected to have a couple of standout emails, from no more than a handful of missives in total

Wrong! It's fair to say that around two-thirds of the applicants would have been able to help me, and picking amongst them was tough and required an objective head.

Eventually, I managed to whittle down to five super candidates: three currently run websites that you may very well frequent; one ran a football forum for five years; and the fifth was a senior IT manager before a recent lifestyle / career change freed up much of his time.

I spoke with all five yesterday, and that did little to make my task easier! Today, I'm ruminating and will be in touch with the quintet tomorrow. It's been really inspiring to learn that so many people want to be involved in a more hands on capacity in the Geegeez community and, without sounding like too much of a 'happy clapper', I'm humbled yet again by what a fantastic mob you are. THANK YOU!


I'll be back later in the week with an ante-post view on the Gold Cup. Without spoiling the surprise too much, I'll say this. The last horse older than ten to win the Gold Cup was... What A Myth in 1969.Ten year olds do okay, but you have to go back to the Cool's, Dawn and Ground in the nineties to find the last winning horse with a double digit age.

Given that Denman and Kauto Star are both to be eleven on January 1st, and that Imperial Commander (currently sidelined with a minor injury) will be ten, and that the fourth favourite, Big Buck's is an odds on shot for the World Hurdle (and can't jump fences anyway), I make the race absolutely wide open!

Whether I can find the winner is a moot point for sure, but taking out the first four in the betting will certainly assist in the quest for value!!

More on Friday.



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11 replies
  1. Matt
    Matt says:

    I lost a lot of money on this race, and knew i had seen the horse somewhere before, and now i know!!
    i dont feel as bad now that i know it was your horse…but still gutted about losing the money 🙁
    well done to you, and bad luck to me!
    Matt M

  2. david w
    david w says:

    Hi Matt

    I, too, backed ’em all separately, but Khajaaly’s win paid for nice b’day pressie for the missus. SoS’s win was the last leg of a 4 winner lucky 15 and Baggsy was only noticed late Sunday morning and backed with a cheeky £10 e/w!!! Very nice for Julia etc and for me!! oh, and I also backed Spurs to win 2-3 just before half time at 3 figure odds (not something a West Ham fan should ever admit to, but hey, moneys money!)


  3. Alan
    Alan says:

    The word you wanted when the treble got away from you is eluded. Alluded means referred to.

  4. Craig
    Craig says:

    Well done Matt and everyone in the Geegeez syndicate and of course Julia Feilden. I’m not in the syndicate, but did have a bet in the race on a horse whose name I forget. Anyway, when the winner turned out to be a horse called Khajaaly, I had a feeling I’d heard (or read) that name somehwhere before! Lo and behold, checked out the ownership on the RP website and saw it was Geegeez.co.uk.

    Despite losing my bet and not being on your horse I was pleased as punch to see that things had finally come good for the syndicate. I have only just found out reading the blog that Baggsy won too…… You wait two years for a win to come along then two (or three) come along together!

    Excellent stuff and thoroughly deserved. I hope they land a few more races for you soon.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks guys – very nice of you to be gracious when realising who won the race. Hopefully we’ll all be on next time, with the same result!

      Re alluded / eluded, absolutely correct Alan. Well spotted, but alas no prize this time. 😉

      David, beer is on you next time I see you!


  5. Arthur
    Arthur says:

    Well done, Sir! And well done Julia – keep her sweet Matt, she sounds worth her weight in gold.

  6. chas
    chas says:

    well done matt never noticed it was running till i seen the result at night glad u made some money out of the horse will look out for it every in future

  7. Ian synnott
    Ian synnott says:

    Hi Matt… speaking of “bets that got away”… I was in the bookies earlier today, and was only there as my brother wanted to do a bet and I followed him in. And on a whim I decided to do a placepot at Sedgefield.. 1 line, 1 Euro (I’m Irish).. And when i checked the results later that evening, not only did I discover that I had won the placepot, but all 6 horses had won their respective races!!! A 298/1 accumalator. Not nearly as big as your treble but quite a achievement to pick out all 6 winners on the card I think :)… something I’m sure will never happen again!!!


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Great work Ian! Nice little return for catching the placepot in any case, considering you were only there because your brother wanted to bet! 🙂

  8. nick vint
    nick vint says:

    great feeling watching khajaaly win, pass my thanks onto julia and her team

    only downside my ladbrokes account was shut down!!!! small price to pay

    look forward to its next running

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      That’s no downside at all Nick. It’s the fruit of all those winning plays you’ve had, hopefully topped off tidily with a healthy investment in Khajaaly. Well done mate, and I’ll see you soon.


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