I'm back, dear reader, after a few days out of the loop while I helped my Winning Trainers 2.0 subscribers get up to speed with everything inside the members' area there. WT2.0 is now sold out, and I'll now be dividing my time between those subscribers and you, my dear old geegeez readership.
So, what's new? Good weekend? I've had a cracking time, despite the workload. I managed to get out to a stable on Friday for the first of the promised stable tours for WT2.0 members. That was fantastic.
And yesterday, I was a guest of Tony Stafford, representing Raymond Tooth, as the guvnor's Freeport dead-heated in the 5.00 at Windsor. It was my first trip to the track - bizarrely, given it's only about an hour away - and I have to say that, whilst finding winners there has always been tough for me, it's a gorgeous course on a sunny day.
Tonight, I'm off to 'Leafy' Lingfield, where the old goat, Khajaaly, runs. He's owned by a syndicate I set up and runs in the colours of geegeez.co.uk (red, white and blue, natch!)
Alas, although he's showing plenty at home and the trainer's very pleased with him, it remains to be seen whether he decides he wants to do it on the track tonight. He's become a bit wise these days, but Adam Beschizza will keep him honest, and we'll see how it goes. He wouldn't want the ground softer than good, ideally.
Then, on Thursday, I'll be back at Lingfield to watch Vastly, in which I own a share, attempt to show he's a better horse on all weather than on turf, which I suspect. He's got top weight there, but he's a massive horse - hence the name - and I wouldn't be worried about that. With luck, he'll make the frame.
It's Epsom and the Oaks on Friday. I'll be working out of the press room, as I pull together a full preview of Derby Day for geegeez readers. And, of course, I'll also be covering Oaks day in full on here.
Saturday I'm in two minds as to whether to go to the Derby. It's. Just. So. Busy.
And finally, after a few days off, I may well be heading to Worcester (or possibly Ffos Las) where we hope to run Priceless Art, the second geegeez.co.uk syndicate horse. We've had to be very patient with him as he's had plenty of problems. But, touch wood, we feel like we're getting there now, and we're excited to see this one run as he has a decent level of form already in the book.
Phew! That's a lot of racing coming up and I can't wait. 🙂
To today, and after a few days off, the placepot picks are back. The back story here is that I'd signed a deal with Mal Boyle - our excellent stats man - to provide placepot coverage in a similar vein to that which he does on sportinglife.com. But a combination of his existing workload and my demanding nature (I know, it's hard to believe!) meant that didn't work out as we'd have liked: it was always a trial run for us.
That left me holding the placepot baby and, whilst I love love love the bet, I don't always have the time to dedicate to the six races that comprise the 'pot. So, I'm sorry for the short hiatus, but I'm now back and raring to go. It's my intention to widen these placepot previews out to incorporate a meeting preview so, even if you're not interested in the placepot, you might still find a horse you want to back as a consequence of reading. Make sense? Good!
OK, Newton Abbot today, as I'm dodging both Leicester and Redcar. You can see all of today's racing on the racecards here. I'm clearly biased but I think these are about the zippiest race cards on the internet. See what you think: Today's Racing.
Leg 1: 2.20 - We start with a maiden hurdle and talk about how are the mighty fallen... Honour System won a Meydan handicap on the flat off 102 (!) last January and was third in another off 105. A year off, and he's run three moderate races in hurdle company, a sure indication that he's not the horse he was. Whilst this wouldn't take a lot of winning, he's hardly a reliable proposition despite that latent talent.
Looking Hopeful is a seven-year-old novice and could be a 'bleeder' (bursts blood vessels when running, which stops horses very quickly). Certainly his finishing efforts have been very tame recently. Not for me.
Emma Lavelle's horses aren't really in much form either, so second favourite, Staigue Fort, is hardly robust in here. He is probably the pick of the top trio, though, and has been fairly consistent.
Greenaway's Eye and Anglingforcharlie have one run between them, and it wouldn't take a machine to win this race. Both could get competitive. And Macarthur, the highest officially rated of these on 110, would have needed the run last time and could improve.
A - 11 (Staigue Fort)
B - 5 (Macarthur), 13 (Anglingforcharlie), 15 (Greenaway's Eye)
Leg 2: 2.50 - If we're still going, it does get slightly easier. I really like American Spin here, for Luke Dace. A high class hurdler, he's a mile clear of these on ratings. Although he wouldn't want it too soft - not sure how much rain is in the southwest today - he stays well and has more class than this lot put together. I've backed him.
A - 1 (American Spin)
Leg 3: 3.20 - This is a terrible novice hurdle, and it's inconceivable that if Qoubilai finishes the race, he won't be in the frame. He might get beaten by Neston Grace, who has a likeable attitude, but he might not. Not a betting race, except to bank on the favourite.
A - 3 (Qoubilai)
Leg 4: 3.50 - A fair handicap, including an old friend of mine. Anquetta leads the field with top weight and bids to follow up a win at Worcester last time. He loves decent ground and should get that here. This is also a drop in class, and that man Waley-Cohen takes off five pounds. Obvious chance.
The favourite though is Fiftyonefiftyone, on a hat-trick after two Class 4 wins. He's never won higher than Class 4 even though he's had eleven tries. I'd be surprised if he broke his duck today.
Two who will love the class, ground and trip are Mister Matt and my old mate, Takeroc. The former - well named, isn't he? 😉 - won round here in Class 2 last summer, beating Shooters Wood in a driving finish. He might get a nice tow into the race behind Unforgettable and Fiftyonefiftyone, and could go very well. He's a big price at 12/1
Takeroc is probably regressive these days, having been a good egg in his time. He's another who will probably stalk the pace and, if he's still good enough, pounce late. There are very few horses I follow religiously, but he's one, so I'll be backing him today! (Small stakes only)
Mibleu is old and has an inexperienced amateur on today. No thanks, though I'm worried that he's been so well backed. And anyone who backs a Robin Dickin horse at the moment gets what they deserve. He hasn't had a winner since Noah was a boy. A couple have placed recently and maybe the corner is near, but it's certainly not been turned yet.
A - 1 (Anquetta), 2 (Mister Matt)
B - 5 (Takeroc), 7 (Fiftyonefiftyone)
Leg 5: 4.20 - This looks like a very competitive handicap hurdle, but Lord of the Dunes has been punted half to death. He's a best priced 7/4 as I write, and while he's obviously placepot 'A' material, he's far from a banker.
There are three other last time out winners here, and all require closer inspection. Nothing Is Forever is a course and distance winner that loves fast ground. He's won off 95 and has 92 here, so is capable of winning.
Party Palace is also a course and distance winner, and has won off a similar mark. 11/1 is a decent each way proposition, I think, with the decent Giles Hawkins nicking three pounds off his back.
Titch Strider was winning his first race in nineteen starts last time, and this drop in trip isn't obviously what he needs. He's overlooked.
Tamarillo Grove wouldn't be fantastically well handicapped but he does like it here, and is taking a drop in class. Conditions will suit well enough. And Kayfrou may not be a completely forlorn hope either.
A - 3 (Lord Of The Dunes), 12 (Party Palace)
B - 1 (Tamarillo Grove), 10 (Nothing Is Forever)
Leg 6: 4.50 - A lady amateurs' selling handicap hurdle. Gulp. Jockey ability and market support could be crucial here. The best riders in the field are Gina Andrews and Lucy Gardner, the former riding the favourite, Sovereign Spirit; the latter riding a 20/1 poke, Jigsaw Financial.
The money has come for Dune Shine, with the same connections as the favourite - hmm - and Millie O'Brien.
Sovereign Spirit seems versatile as to ground, and has the best form in the race. He's an A banker. I'll top up with some B's, just in case.
Jewellery is having only his second start for Kevin Bishop, having been moved from Victor Dartnall's yard, and he'll surely run better than the last time out 'P'. I can't ignore the money for either Dune Shine or Millie O'Brien and they go on B too. Jigsaw Financial actually wasn't beaten that far, in the context of a race like this, and the pilot indicates that there may be scope for hope.
A - 4 (Sovereign Spirit)
B - 1 (Dune Shine), 3 (Jewellery), 10 (Jigsaw Financial), 11 (Millie O'Brien)
Just A's - 1 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 1 = 4 bets
All picks - 4 x 1 x 1 x 4 x 4 x 5 = 320 bets
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