Leicester Preview, Tips, Placepot: 10th September 2013

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Leicester Preview and Tips

Leicester Preview and Tips

Wrong wrong wrong with my lay of Saskia's Dream yesterday, but a couple of decent winners later on the card, and a slice of a small placepot as well. It's ever so slightly better fare today, and we'll head to Leicester's seven race card for the preview, starting at 2.20.

2.20 Leicester: With just a millimetre of overnight rain at the track, the going remains good to firm, good in places. Mark Johnston has run six horses in this race since 2006, and has claimed three golds, two silvers, and a fifth place with that sextet. Thus, Sherston is of immediate interest. This well bred son of Shamardal got away well before being outpaced around Chester's tight turns, and will be much better suited to Leicester's wider expanses and straight seven furlong course.

Sir Michael Stoute has won this twice himself, and he's got the unraced Freemason. Interestingly, I think, his previous two runners were both having their second starts, and Stoute does tend to require hands and heels rides for his first time outers. Of course, Freemason could be good enough and forward enough to win without 'encouragement', but it's tough to wager one in such a context.

The other I'll be taking in my two-pronged placepot attack is Raise Your Gaze, from the Clive Cox yard. He's run twice so is a bit more exposed than some, but was only beaten a neck in a race from which the third and fifth have already come out and won since. The only other two subsequent runners, the seventh and twelfth (last) placed horses, have both placed too, so the form looks rock solid. 3/1 looks fair enough.

A - 11 (Raise Your Gaze), 12 (Sherston)

2.50 Leicester: One non-runner means seven (of course!) go in this Class 3 seven furlong handicap. Talented Kid is the short-priced favourite, and he's a horse with an interesting history already. Just the one run on the flat yielded an easy three length win in a mile maiden but, prior to that, he'd had three tries in National Hunt Flat races over two miles! Given that his damsire barely stayed seven furlongs, that was interesting, but so is the fact that he's now on his third trainer: Mark Johnston taking over from John Ferguson who had himself taken over from Saeed bin Suroor.

Perhaps this is his trip, and now is his time, in which case he'll be very hard to beat. And, with the absence of an eighth runner, each way appeal is muted in opposition. However, one which could step up is Albaqaa, who has form at this grade and will love the trip. He might also get his own way in front.

Mezzotint is coming back to favoured conditions: the only time he ran on today's going at this trip in Class 3, he won. He'll need to break better but if he does, he's a chance.

Tatlisu, despite the booking of Ryan Moore, has been found wanting in this grade, and has only won a Class 5 claimer at this distance. Looks opposable.

A - 4 (Talented Kid)
B - 1 (Mezzotint), 5 (Albaqaa)

3.20 Leicester: A big field two year old seller, with a clear top-rated runner that is bang out of form. Lovely!

Plenty of these have no chance, so it's actually a marginally more compelling betting proposition than it first appears. Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider, named after a group of artists from the Neue Künstlervereinigung München in Munich, Germany - just so you know) is the 79 clear top, and he won his maiden at Yarmouth over five furlongs on debut.

Since then, he's finished last twice in big field classy races, the Windsor Castle Stakes, and the Weatherbys Super Sprint. He takes a monumental drop in class here, but still leaves reservations about his ability to win. He's also stepping up two furlongs in distance. The ground is fine, and he has run far better than anything else here, but he might not do so again. Still, his odds of 7/2 factor that in, and he'd win pulling the proverbial cart if at his best.

More reliable, if less talented, options are Autopilot and Princess Tamay. Autopilot has run well in a couple of maidens, and that's more than most of these could do. He's run fast too, and though the trip is a slight worry, he's got a lot in his favour.

Princess Tamay is having her eighth career start already, and she's been beaten far enough in this grade to overlook her reluctantly here.

Rags with a squeak include Sukari Gold and Secret Ocean in what is a race best left alone.

A - 1 (Der Blaue Reiter), 3 (Autopilot)
B - 8 (Secret Ocean), 15 (Sukari Gold)

3.50 Leicester: Livia's Dream and Nautilus should take them along at a fair pace here and, though she's three times the price, the former has plenty of profile positives for a race of this nature. The latter won by fifteen lengths two starts back, but has been whacked by the 'capper as a consequence, and wasn't good enough to take advantage of a run prior to reassessment, when beaten at odds on. He's no value at the price, despite being a likely win contender.

Discay has won twice in Class 5 but been beaten twice in this Class 4 in his last five starts, and he may again threaten the frame without passing the post in pole position. Hassle steps up in trip after looking a bit one paced over a quarter mile shorter last time. The race may not be run to suit though, which means any additional stamina he has could be offset by his lack of tactical speed. In other words, he's looked slow and a grinder.

A - 1 (Livia's Dream), 4 (Nautilus)

4.20 Leicester: Thirteen maiden fillies go to post here, which will be unlucky for some - most probably me, as I can't stand these races. My Painter is the favourite, at 7/4, and she's run twice finishing fourth and third in decent maidens. She was beaten as the 5/4 jolly last time, though that was around Chester's hairpin, which may not have suited. She's worth another chance here.

The next three in the market are all unraced, and from top stables: Dorset Cream from Lady Cecil; Surcingle from Sir Michael Stoute; and, Chortle from Charlie Appleby. As mentioned, I tend to veer away from Stoute newcomers, but I like debutantes from the Cecil and Appleby (nee al Zarooni) yards, as they usually know their job already.

I'll take the beautifully bred Chortle (daddy Dubawi, mummy had Hunter's Light and thrice-winning Frenchie, Linda Radlett) of the trio.

A - 1 (Chortle), 9 (My Painter)

4.50 Leicester: They should abolish Class 3 Conditions races. They just always seem to produce small fields for very decent prize money. In this example there is £12,000 to be shared between five entries. That said, at least this is a competitive little heat, with five good quality horses taking part. There's not a lot between them, which means finding a winner may be tough.

Noble Storm may get the run of the race, and a soft lead. If he does, he's going to be hard to pass. Of the others, I quite like Monsieur Joe, who has been racing in Pattern Class in France for his last five starts, and not beaten far. This is a fair step down the quality ladder, and he's trained by Mr Sprinter, Robert Cowell (Jwala, Kingsgate Native, Prohibit, Spirit Quartz, etc).

Humidor is quick too, while Rocky Ground has more scope to improve than the rest, but will need to as he's got six pounds to find with Joe on official ratings (though he does get a weight for age allowance).

A - 1 (Monsieur Joe), 3 (Noble Storm)
B - 2 (Humidor), 4 (Rocky Ground)

5.20 Leicester: An apprentice handicap to close the card, and one in which I have a vested interest. I own 10% of Vastly, a well bred son of Mizzen Mast who is closely related to both Putney Bridge and Await The Dawn. He's been better on the all weather so far, but has had his knackers removed since last he graced the track. He might just need the run, but we're looking forward to the winter, if not this afternoon. Hopeful today, but not expectant.

If he's to be beaten, then the most likely one is Rosselli, for whom a little bit of rain would be perfect. Stag Hill's trainer, Bernard Llewellyn, does well at this time of year, so it wouldn't surprise me if that one ran well. But I'm invested in Vastly and will be cheering that one! Keep him on the right side, whatever he does today.

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Leicester placepot picks

Leicester placepot picks

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Brighton Preview, Tips, Placepot: 9th September 2013

Brighton preview and tips

Brighton preview and tips

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It's a typically quiet Monday of racing, but there are a few interesting angles at Brighton, which is where we're headed for today's preview, tips and placepot perm. We start with a fillies' handicap at 2.30.

2.30 Brighton

Two non-runners at time of writing, brings us down to just five, so each-way/placepot punters beware: one more absentee and we're win only. The favourite here is a horse called Saskia's Dream, and she's run 26 times on turf, during the course of which she's managed a single solitary win, and a further single solitary second place. Moreover, her recent form on ground on the soft side of good is... lamentable. She'll also likely have to pass them all to win, given her hold up run style and propensity to miss the break. Any horse can win any race, but she is palpably terrible value at 11/8.

Against her in what is, granted, a weak race, I think Commandingpresence represents a bit of value. Sure, she's a bit in and out, but she has won five times, and been second or third on another twelve occasions from her 47 turf starts. And she won as recently as four starts back too. At 17/2, she's of very mild interest.

The second choice is Above The Stars, a mare who has won or placed on eleven occasions, but just two of those were over a trip as 'far' as six furlongs. They were a win in a Class 6 handicap on good to firm, and a place in a seller last time on good. This is little better than a seller but she's a poor price all the same, despite three course wins, all at the minimum.

Interakt is another of keen interest, as she is fine on any ground. She has stacks of course form, including three wins, one of which was on soft and one over six furlongs; and she's taking a drop in class on most of her recent runs which were either in Class 4 or in Class 5 at premier tracks.

Take The Lead has the most scope to improve after just six runs, but she's been awful in two starts this year after winning on her final juvenile race in soft ground. It's possible she could rediscover enough ability to take this, but she's really given no indication whatsoever so far in 2013.

I'm tempted to lay Saskia's Dream here, and I think Commandingpresence and Interakt may be value against her.

In the placepot, I'm going deep in search of a result, but will insure with the market fancies on B.

A - 2 (Commandingpresence), 4 (Interakt)
B - 1 (Above The Stars), 6 (Saskia's Dream)

3.00 Brighton: An interesting little maiden, where nothing stands out for a bet. Juan Alonso vies for favouritism with Our Channel, and the former is rated 75 after three runs. That would normally be enough to win a race such as this at a track such as this. But today there are some dark'uns in opposition, notably Our Channel, a once raced son of English Channel. The sire hasn't had too many runners in UK, but his race record in the States made him a tip top turfer, so much so that he actually won the Breeders Cup Turf on a miserable rain-lashed day at Monmouth Park back in 2007. I was there, cursing his victory over Euros, Red Rocks and especially Dylan Thomas, in whom I had invested too much.

Anyway, Juan Alonso is likely to get out well, and unless he gets bogged down, he ought to hang on for a place at least. No selection, and Juan is the h-one (h'won) for me in the 'pot.

A - 2 (Juan Alonso)

3.30 Brighton: Seven runners after an early defection, so another curse for each way ticklers and placepot plunderers alike. Uganda Glory is a solid looking jolly, having proven stamina and run well with a bit of cut in the ground. Orla's Rainbow has track and trip form but I'd not be sure about the ground for that one.

Frederick Alfred on the other hand is a player, especially with Kieren Fallon booked. His last run is best ignored, as he failed to handle the turn and was eased right down after. Prior to that, he was beaten two lengths in a better race than this over this sort of trip. That was on the Kempton poly, and the sodden turf is taken on trust, though with some fat in the price to justify such a leap of faith.

And Special Report has been running consistently well, and will probably do so again, without necessarily winning.

A - 1 (Uganda Glory)
B - 5 (Frederick Alfred), 6 (Special Report)

4.00 Brighton: Six runners this time and a wide open race over a mile and a quarter. Mizyen looks like the one to take them along, like so many James Tate runners, and he could prove hard to catch. Indeed, despite having proven a little frustrating to win with so far, his consistency makes him a strong placepot player.

Jewelled almost certainly wants quicker ground and is overlooked as a consequence, but Hunting Rights comes into it back down in class.

Red Shuttle is consistent, despite failing to win in eleven starts and failing to run on ground softer than good since his debut. He is therefore unexposed in the conditions and, in a race where many have black marks against them, his consistency and small chance of better form on deeper ground puts him on the map. Brown Pete has finished behind Mizyen and Jewelled in recent runs here, but both were on much quicker ground and this fellow does at least have proven form on slower than good.

Arlecchino, meanwhile, drops in class and gets an eye-catching jockey switch to Richard Hughes. He ran well on one of two slow turf starts and should be involved again today for savvy connections.

A - 4 (Hunting Rights), 5 (Mizyen), 6 (Arlecchino)

4.30 Brighton: Despite ten being declared, this race has lost three of its entry, meaning we're again in two place territory. New Falcon is another on what might be a good day for James Tate, and she should be up with the early gallop. She's unraced on ground softer than good, but as a daughter of New Approach, shouldn't have an issue with it. In fact, this might be spot on.

One at a price against her is Perfect Pastime, a horse who has been running better than his finishing positions suggest recently. Moreover, those runs have been on all weather tracks in the main, and this reversion to soggy grass is in his favour. He ran well on his only previous run at the track when outpaced over five furlongs before staying on to be a never nearer third of eight. He looks a reasonable place bet (three places on Betfair still).

A - 4 (New Falcon)
B - 7 (Perfect Pastime)

5.00 Brighton: Just the one non-runner so far here, from a field of ten, meaning we still have three places to go at in this mile basement grade handicap. Pour La Victoire has run well enough of softish ground, and has run just plain well here in recent starts. He looks a strong placepot banker in the last, with the 'lay the place' option open assuming at least eight run.

But I wouldn't be that tempted to back him to win. Instead, I'm looking for an each way punt, and the one which I'm most attracted to (in a sort of last orders in the nightclub beer goggles kind of way!) is Polish Rider. He's had less chances than most, and the mile looks optimal. Ground is taken on trust to some degree, but if he can't get competitive off 46 for the Hannon yard, I'd imagine his days are numbered there.

But crikey, this is a shocking race.

A - 3 (Pour La Victoire)

5.30 Brighton: The 'lucky last' is a dozen runner mile apprentice handicap: lucky for who?! Katmai River and Saint Irene are the ones with going form, and both have been backed as a consequence. But Cape Crossing won on soft last time, and with just seven runs to his name is definitely more progressive than the aforementioned pair of old lags. He's a similar price and has the talented Oisin Murphy steering. I'd say he's become a bit of value thanks to the support for Katmai and Irene. The fact that Murphy may be able to control the pace is also a positive.

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Brighton placepot picks

Brighton placepot picks

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Haydock Preview, Tips, Placepot Saturday 7th September 2013



I thought I'd bring the Race Analysis Reports in again today, so you can see for yourself what might have a chance!

You can sort all columns by R (Runs),  W (Wins) or P (Places) depending on the radio button selection in the top left of each grid, and %.

That will help you see which horse has the best record for each element, and how they fare in the other areas.

Make sense? I hope so. 🙂

2.05 Haydock (Placepot Leg 1)

Selection: Racy e/w 11/1 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 2, 6, 11 / B - 1, 12


2.40 Haydock (Placepot Leg 2)

Selection: Montiridge Evens BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 5


3.15 Haydock (Placepot Leg 3)

Selection: Gassin Gulf e/w 20/1 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 1, 4, 13 / B - 2, 8


3.50 Haydock (Placepot Leg 4)

Selection: Gordon Lord Byron 9/2 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 1, 8


4.25 Haydock (Placepot Leg 5)

Selection: None

Placepot A - 3 / B - 1, 2, 6


5.00 Haydock (Placepot Leg 6)

Selection: Riverboat Springs 5/1 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 1, 3


5.30 Haydock

Selection: Lemon Pearl 11/2 BOG Paddy Power


Placepot Perms

A only - 3 x 1 x 3 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 36 bets

All - 5 x 1 x 5 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 400 bets

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Haydock placepot picks

Haydock placepot picks

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Haydock Preview / Tips / Placepot, Friday 6th September

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Geegeez Placepot

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The second day of Haydock's three day Sprint Cup fixture, and at last we have some decent sized fields in which to wager. Of course, every silver lining has a cloud and, in this case, it's a literal one, with rain threatening to ease the ground... but how much is a cause of some speculation. I'm working on the basis that the current good to firm will be goodish this afternoon and certainly no worse than good to soft.

2.00 - Leg 1: All fourteen are currently still engaged in the opening five furlong handicap, and the pace looks to be with the high numbers, with old boy, Moorhouse Lad, likely to blast away. Not far behind him should be the likes of Senator Bong and Diman Waters, and close by these I expect Rusty Rocket, Whitecrest, and Triple Dream to be in the vanguard.

Rusty Rocket has top weight today, and his record in this grade is strong: five wins and two places from thirteen starts. Importantly today, he goes on any ground from good through to soft. His record over five furlongs in Class 4 handicaps reads 1137013. The 0 was on good to firm so any easing is clearly needed, and I think he'll get it. The 10/1 looks cracking each way value.

Others to consider are Senator Bong, Imperial Legend and Mayoman, but I think Rusty Rocket is a fair bet.

A - 1 (Rusty Rocket), 12 (Senator Bong)
B - 2 (Mayoman), 5 (Imperial Legend)

2.30 - Leg 2: Merletta is a standout form pick here, and I think she really should be in the first two. The only conceivable form book danger is Coral Mist, who ran with real promise on her sole start, that on good to soft. But Merletta was fourth in a Group 2, beaten just a couple of lengths by Lucky Kristale, and that looks extremely strong in the context of a race like this.

A - 4 (Merletta)

3.00 - Leg  3: A six furlong sprint handicap now, and Bop It looks interesting. David O'Meara's charge has conditions in his favour and the only negative from my perspective is that, as a hold up sort, he will need luck in running. 9/2 doesn't really offer too much scope in that regard so, while he's a solid placepot choice, I wouldn't want to win wager him, and am happy to let him beat me if the splits do open up.

Lionheart is interesting for Luca Cumani and Ryan Moore, but he might just be poorly named, as his win and placed form has come in small fields. I'm not sure he'll enjoy the dozen runners here and he's tentatively overlooked, despite the likelihood of a prominent racing position.

Klynch is the one to catch my eye. Another for whom a slight easing is a positive, this old boy has twelve wins to his name, most of them on good or softer, and nine of them at today's six furlong trip, including one here at Haydock. He's down to a mark of 83 now, having won off 87 back in May. This is his first run back in Class 4 since, with the six intervening races having been at Class 2 or 3, and he's sure to appreciate the ease in grade.

Beau Mistral could get an easy lead, but I'm not at all sure he'll be happy about any softening under hoof. And top weight Al Khan is not without hope. Mon Brav's form in Class 4 six furlong handicaps this year reads 3132, and that's placepot material.

A - 3 (Klynch), 6 (Mon Brav), 7 (Bop It)
B - 1 (Al Khan), 12 (Beau Mistral)

3.30 - Leg 4: The second division of the same handicap, so it's Class 4 and six poles again. Ruth Carr, who saddles Klynch in the first division, could double up here courtesy of Hadaj, a typically hardened sprinter from the stable. His form at today's grade and trip reads 2723621. That was on all types of going, and the 6 and 7 were recorded at Kempton and Goodwood, both of which are forgivable due to track constitution. He has the early speed to lead or be prominent, and he ought to give us a run.

Ashpan Sam has been most consistent this term, and Angelito and Light From Mars are proven in today's context.

A - 1 (Ashpan Sam), 5 (Hadaj)
B - 3 (Light From Mars), 7 (Angelito)

4.00 - Leg 5: This this ten furlong Class 3 handicap looks absolutely wide open, and pace could be key. Love Marmalade is quite a big price, considering he has plenty of form at the trip and was a winner in this class last time. Moreover, he looks likely to lead, and with the only known danger on the front being non-runner, Croquembouche, he should get his own way.

Gworn heads the market, and this son of Aussie Rules is stepping up in trip beyond a mile for the first time. He's a hold up horse generally, and he's not really bred to see this out - mum was an unraced daughter of Mark Of Esteem, also a miler - so 5/1 is short in my book, and I'm looking elsewhere.

Anomaly looks much stronger. From the in form Charlie Appleby yard, and a prominent racer who was good enough to be fourth in a strong Royal Ascot handicap two runs back, Anomaly will stay further than this and respond to being able to make a print in the turf.

Mujazif and Double Discount are other dangers in a super-competitive handicap.

A - 3 (Anomaly), 12 (Love Marmalade)
B - 7 (Mujazif), 8 (Double Discount)

4.30 - Leg 6: We have yet another competitive sprint handicap - seven furlongs this time - to finish the placepot, and two at the bottom of the handicap look likely lads. Green Howard is a five time winner at this trip, though never in such elevated grade. However, he was placed twice in Class 3 7f handicaps last summer.

Ready has won at this level, as recently as five weeks ago, and over this trip. He'll prefer it quick, but can handle decent ground just fine. Slightly unfortunately (ahem), the amateur rider on board that day rode him so far clear - seven lengths! - that he got whacked with an eleven pound penalty. That has made life much tougher, but he's still in here on a low weight, and might be able to get in the mix.

However, both have it to do to catch Big Johnny D. David Barron's lad is on the hat-trick here and is probably the lone pace angle too at a track/trip where early leaders do very well. Another that has been wolloped by the 'capper for that double score, he nevertheless comes here fresh and well and as a possible major improver.

He's my second placepot banker, mindful that I can place lay him on Betfair to cover expenses.

A - 3 (Big Johnny D)

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Haydock tips and placepot picks

Haydock tips and placepot picks

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Lingfield Preview / Placepot, 4th September 2013

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A nice win bet on Finn Class, but the placepot was sunk late on. We'll have another crack at the same venue this afternoon, with a similar mixed card, starting at 2.20

2.20 - Leg 1: Travis Bickle has the coveted rail draw, but if he traps like he did last time, he'll struggle to take advantage of it. On the bright side, he ran on well over five and will be better over this six. On the down side, he could find himself in a pocket, and he may not handle turf as well as he did the polytrack.

Outback Traveller ran better than many Noseda horses do on his debut, and he's nicely stalled in nine; while Almargo wouldn't have to be a world beater to win this, and plenty of Charlie Appleby's nags have been ready first time.

A - 1 (Almargo), 9 (Outback Traveller)

2.50 - Leg 2: It's 5/1 the field stuff in this big field nursery, with improvement expected from some stepping out of maiden company for the first time. However, Dovil's Duel has already run in, and won, a big field handicap, and conditions are in his favour. He's a pretty reliable 'pot horse.

Of the maiden mob, Connaught Water has the rail, and the speed to use it, but he's been beaten far enough in all three runs to date. Queen Of The Tarts is small but nippy, and she's dropping in class after two decent runs in handicaps already. Desert Colours was behind Dovil's Duel last time, but is much better drawn here, one off the rail and may take some pegging back if he can bag that 'golden highway'.

Jersey Cream may appreciate the drop back in trip, and Captain Ryan can't be discounted on his first stab at six poles. This is, as you'll have gathered, very open, Dovil's Duel aside.

A - 1 (Dovil's Duel)
B - 4 (Captain Ryan), 6 (Jersey Cream), 7 (Queen Of The Tarts), 9 (Desert Colours)

3.20 - Leg  3: Radiator is luke warm in the betting (sorry!), and she cannot be singled here. A much more reliable place proposition is Zawiyah, the second favourite, who was green on debut and ran much more professionally last time. This extra eighth will be to her advantage, and she could win. She certainly ought to make the frame, and I've had a small bet at 9/4 BOG for her to win.

A - 9 (Zawiyah)

3.50 - Leg 4: A desperate race. The top two in the betting are most likely, but not highly likely. The next two include a 51-rated horse, and the unraced beast makes more appeal than that in a maiden. Two on A and two on B, and let's have a bomb please. Next!

A - 5 (Tingle Tangle), 7 (Poitin)
B - 3 (Pastoral Dancer), 4 (Another Name)

4.20 - Leg 5: We're back on the sand for what looks a match between Bert The Alert and Conducting, both of which have course and distance form. Elusive Band ran all right over this trip at Chepstow last time, and is weighted to get involved. But I think it's a match and I'm staking accordingly.

A - 1 (Conducting), 2 (Bert The Alert)

4.50 - Leg 6: Al Jamal has been very well backed, and she's won two of her three starts, both at a mile. But the one run beyond that distance, when she didn't settle, she didn't get home. There might have been another reason that day, but she's very short - around 6/4 - here, and they're hardly likely to go a fast gallop today either. She's included in the 'pot but she might make a bet elsewhere with value against her.

Tribal Path ran easily his best race on this track, when running away with a maiden. Either side of that he'd been well beaten on turf, and the return to poly might work the oracle for him. Autun has looked a tough horse with which to win, but he's consistent and has proven poly form from Kempton. And High Time Too has been in the first three in all six of his all weather runs, a repeat of which would put him bang there.

Neither Stresa nor Tinghir can be confidently ruled out in what is a real head scratcher. The only thing I'm sure of is that Al Jamal is too short, whether she wins or not. Perhaps Tribal Path is worth a chance back on the all weather at around 11/2.

A - 3 (Al Jamal), 7 (Tribal Path)
B - 1 (Autun), 5 (High Time Too)

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Lingfield Preview / Placepot Picks

Lingfield Preview / Placepot Picks

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Lingfield Preview/Placepot Picks, 3rd September 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

I don't normally curse our luck, but we were on the receiving end of a shocker in the opener yesterday. Here's what the Racing Post said about it,

"Paul Mulrennan had a nightmare aboard favourite Les Gar Gan, the pair sitting in behind the leaders with nowhere to go for much of the last 3f. She'd still have won had she been switchedout sooner, but it was left too late and she then had the door slammed in her face when squeezed up by the front pair late on."

Erm, exactly. Anyway, there was a £139.20 trifecta from three horses in race two, a £14.14 straight forecast in race three, and a £13.48 forecase in race five.

It's a competitive card at 'Leafy' Lingfield today, starting at 4.45pm, but some interesting enough betting options and of course a placepot opportunity too.

4.45 - Leg 1: A seven runner nursery to get us going, and only one that can be easily ruled out. Finn Class has a lot going for him: he's dropping back to seven furlongs, a trip at which he's two from two, after not quite seeing out the mile in higher class. Indeed, he's also dropping in grade from those two Class 4 wins, to Class 5 here. He's also won on today's going and, with Thomas Brown's three pound claim, I think he's a sound bet.

There are plenty of improvers, perhaps most notably the dual all weather scorer, Cape Factor. Both her wins were here, though not on the turf; and both were in today's grade, the latter over this trip. She's not won either race by far at all making it difficult for the handicapper to properly assess her level, and if she takes to the turf, she ought to again go close.

It's highly likely that there's more to come from something like Queenie's Home or Pyjama Day, but the two picks have already shown a liking for some or all of these conditions, and are capable of improvement themselves.

A - 3 (Finn Class), 5 (Cape Factor)

5.15 - Leg 2: Another eight runner race reduced to seven by a non-runner, so just two places to go at. Good news if we get through; bad news if we're third! Pucon has a lot of positives in his profile. Drawn one from the rail, though with the fast starting Royal Bajan on his inside, he's well berthed; stays this trip and further; has won in the grade twice and is just a pound higher than his best winning mark.

Inside him, Royal Bajan is a fast starter as mentioned, and will try to make all. But he's racing off his highest turf rating ever and didn't have anything in hand last time. I suspect he'll get run out of it late, hopefully by Pucon.

If not Pucon, then I'm pressing up Million Faces. The trip, grade, ground and field size are all spot on for her, and she should come on plenty for her seasonal debut where she looked to run out of gas having travelled well. She ought also to appreciate what will probably be a very fast gallop despite the smallish field, and can finish best.

Excellent Aim has done his winning in Class 6 and looks too high in the weights for now, and Somoud is a more compelling outsider.

A - 2 (Million Faces), 6 (Pucon)
B - 5 (Somoud)

5.50 - Leg  3: And yet another eight-down-to-seven runner race, this time over six furlongs. It's a very good handicap, and the top two left in the weights both look interesting. Clear Spring is top weight, and he won the Great St Wilfrid consolation race, itself a Class 2 event, two starts back. He then ran third in another Class 2 distance handicap off his revised rating just a pound lower than today. He's carried big weights to victory and has a beautifully progressive career profile. He may just not be done with winning yet.

La Fortunata has been given a chance by the handicapper, only raised three pounds despite winning and finishing second in her last two starts. Still, it might be enough to tilt my wagering elsewhere.

Piscean is an old boy with a chance. He has never convinced at seven-eighths so it was little surprise to see him beaten over that trip last time, and before that he missed the break in the Stewards' Cup consolation race at Goodwood. Prior to that, he'd run some nice races under today's conditions and, if getting away on terms, could run into the frame.

Spin Artist is unbeaten in his two starts to date, and could make that three here, despite the step up in class and rating. He progressed from first to second run, and obviously can do so from second to third. He's feared, as is Zero Money, a horse which has finished 21 in today's distance, going and class combined.

It's a wide open race and I'm taking plenty and hoping for a good result.

A - 1 (Clear Spring), 6 (Spin Artist)
B - 4 (Zero Money), 8 (Piscean)

6.20 - Leg 4: Twelve declared and currently all go for this mile juvenile maiden on the all weather. That trip takes some getting for the babies, so breeding is a compelling factor. Interestingly, nine of the top ten stallions for juvenile distance performers are US-bred, so there definitely seems to be something in that.

Solent Lad is one of only two US-bred's in the field, and he's by English Channel, a winning machine that won the Breeders Cup Turf amongst many other Grade 1 contests on the lawn. This fellow will come on a bundle for his debut and for the extra furlong and is a decent placepot type, and perhaps a fair each way bet in a race where stamina isn't granted everywhere.

Elysian Prince has been nicely backed for smart connections, and the trainer does well with staying juveniles. Let's be honest, this is a dreadful race, and any one of the newcomers could easily prove better than those to have run thus far. In that context, Ican'tknow has been the best backed by some margin.

A - 2 (Elysian Prince), 5 (Solent Lad)
B - 3 (Ican'tknow)

6.50 - Leg 5: The three-year-olds are still in receipt of seven pounds over this mile and a quarter trip against their elders, and a number look to have the scope to exploit that, most notably Drahem.

She comes from the shrewd James Fanshawe yard, and has been very well backed - indeed, along with Plenum, they've captured almost the entire market. With just four runs under her girths, and as a daughter of Teofilo, this extra quarter mile should be well within her range on her first try off the turf.

Plenum is a more obvious candidate, having been second in a course, distance and grade handicap last time. But he's yet to win and Drahem has more scope to be better off two runs less so far. I'm banking on the Fanshawe runner, with a place lay option depending on how things are shaping up.

A - 11 (Drahem)

7.20 - Leg 6: We conclude with a fourth handicap where the declared runners have now contracted to seven, and it really is a nightmare for each way punters. Favourite is Candoluminescence, a fairly slow filly owned by The Queen. But then, this is a race for fairly slow horses: a mile and a half Class 5 handicap. She's done little more than plug on in two starts at around this trip, and she's bred to be better than she's shown. She doesn't look very good.

Those with snippets of better form are Prospera and Sweet Martoni. The former is trained by the marvellous 'Raiff' Beckett, and has been good enough to win twice, once on Kempton's all weather track over this distance. She'd previously run two limp races here though, and that does temper enthusiasm somewhat.

Sweet Martoni ran into a typically well-handicapped Sir Mark Prescott horse last time she raced here, that one going on to land a hat-trick, and she took a big step up in grade at Goodwood on her most recent run. Back on favoured terms, she's a nice price - around 5/1 - and might be the best punt in a mediocre contest.

Rock God has taken his time to get things right, but he's definitely going the right way, and could be the key danger to the selection. This son of Shirocco is bred for a trip and, after running in Class 4 handicaps in two of his last three runs, he almost scored last time out when dropped to this level. He'd previously run a sound enough race at Wolverhampton giving hope that this artificial surface may suit (though there's not necessarily a correlation between the two tracks).

A - 4 (Sweet Martoni), 6 (Rock God)

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Lingfield preview/placepot picks

Lingfield preview/placepot picks

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Hamilton Placepot Picks, 2nd September 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

Finally, mercifully, we leapt off the cold list on Saturday with some Newton Abbot goodness. Not a fat payout, but a payout nevertheless, and welcome just the same.

It's up to Scotland today, and Hamilton's pretty decent card... for a Monday! Time is massively against me, so brevity is the watchword in today's offering.

2.10 - Leg 1: Les Gar Gan ran the best race of any of these last time at York. She consequently has most weight to carry, but she won in soft with nine stone on her back, so she should be ok here.

A - 1 (Les Gar Gan)

2.45 - Leg 2: Ted's Brother is the solid one here, while Red Charmer may get loose on the lead. Nighster is totally unexposed.

A - 3 (Ted's Brother), 5 (Nightster)
B - 7 (Red Charmer)

3.20 - Leg  3: Taxiformissbyron went well last week and has similar conditions today. Minot Street showed improved form last time on his first run on a sound surface. The Johnston horse, Mudaawem, has yet to show any alacrity for turf racing and may be taken on for the lead by Dutch Gal.

A - 8 (Taxiformissbyron), 9 (Minot Street)

3.55 - Leg 4: Mahican has the benefit of experience in this three horse race. If the 'pot looks tidy, lay him on the exchange. Otherwise, let it ride...

A - 3 (Mahican)

4.30 - Leg 5: Down to six runners and this is a tight little handicap. King Of Paradise and Aneedh have about the best form in the grade, and form the A bracket. On B, I'm with Lindenhurst and Aryizad, the possible improvers.

A - 2 (King Of Paradise), 4 (Aneedh)
B - 3 (Aryizad), 7 (Lindenhurst)

5.05 - Leg 6: Gran Canaria Queen stands out and is in form. She has to be on the tickets. The Nifty Fox and Beckermet might be twenty years young between them, but they've got plenty of recent form to get them into the shake up here. And Alexanderkollontai and Chester Aristocrat have taken serious market support.

A - 2 (The Nifty Fox), 5 (Gran Canaria Queen), 10 (Beckermet)
B - 1 (Chester Aristocrat), 14 (Alexanderkollontai)

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Hamilton placepot picks

Hamilton placepot picks

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Newton Abbot Placepot Picks, 31st August 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

It's a deplorable run I'm on currently, and I'll be glad to see the back of August truth be told. Bring on the jumpers, and some bigger fields. Before that though, bring on the jumpers and Newton Abbot's small fields!

2.10 - Leg 1: A short favourite here is Walter White, but he looks dodgy to me. I'll have him on my team, of course, but not alone. Backing him up are the better flat horses, Complexity and Studfarmer, both making their hurdling bows.

A - 1 (Walter White)
B - 2 (Complexity), 4 (Studfarmer)

2.45 - Leg 2: No Woman No Cry is not the most straightforward, and he's let me down a few times. But he looks the percentage play. Jayandbee has ugly form figures, but carries top weight for a reason - that's a good combination for placepot players and he makes up the other half of my 'hopeful but not expectant' A ticket.

A - 1 (Jayandbee), 5 (No Woman No Cry)

3.20 - Leg  3: Anton Dolin and Osorios Trial are the most reliable propositions, but I also reckon Edgeworth is a very big price as the outsider of the field, and he's getting a piece of it here too. Vimiero represents the flying Jonjo yard and is hard to ignore. Wide coverage, and looking for a result.

A - 2 (Anton Dolin), 4 (Osorios Trial)
B - 1 (Vimiero), 6 (Edgeworth)

3.55 - Leg 4: Kian's Delight is favoured here, but he'll struggle to get his own way on the front in what might be a fast run race. My early fancy, The Disengager, is also likely to have to sit off the searing early sizzle, and that might compromise his chance. Bobowen looks the one, back on faster ground after an abortive mission to Galway's sodden planes for the Plate.

Jonjo's Twirling Magnet may also get involved, unexposed and in form as he is.

A - 1 (The Disengager), 3 (Twirling Magnet), 5 (Bobowen)

4.30 - Leg 5: Southway Queen traveled beautifully into a similar race last week and got done up by a marvelous Maurice Linehan ride on Dreamsoftheatre. This looks a similar contest, and I think she'll go close again.

Thornton Alice and Little Eaglet are other contenders in an open race.

A - 4 (Southway Queen)
B - 3 (Thornton Alice), 5 (Little Eaglet)

5.05 - Leg 6: Wester Ross looks a good bet here and is my late banker. He's won off a higher mark last year, in higher class, loves this sort of ground and comes here in fine form. He's carried big weights before and I'm hopeful of a big run.

A - 1 (Wester Ross)

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Newton Abbot placepot picks

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Chester Placepot Picks, 30th August 2013

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When you're down, you're down, and we got kicked yesterday as well. Another first leg blowout, this time the 20/1 outsider of four. That set up a whopping £4,906 dividend, won by just 7.45 units. Nice.

Chester this afternoon...

2.00 - Leg 1: A mile maiden for juveniles kicks us off, and it's a long way for such young horses. Bow Creek has the benefit of both ability and experience. Yenhaab is bred for this, and runs for strong connections. The betting suggests he'll be forward enough to run well on his debut.

A - 2 (Bow Creek), 9 (Yenhaab)

2.30 - Leg 2: Maiden fillies next, and a strong Newmarket presence, headed by lasses from the Gosden, Cecil and Cumani stables. Johnny G's Snow Powder may be the pick of them, having run a close third over this trip last time out at Newbury. Lower down the lists, top Chester pilot Franny Norton partners Evermore, and looks set to bounce out and control things from the front aboard a filly stepping up to a trip for which she's bred.

A - 10 (Snow Powder)
B - 6 (Evermore)

3.00 - Leg  3: The Confessor is a confirmed front runner drawn one in this seven furlong handicap. The other habitual pace pressers are mainly drawn much wider, and this chap could get his own way today, with both trainer and jockey in good form at present. Chosen Character is interesting, though might just still be a bit high in the weights, while Laffan looks set to bounce back and may be winning soon.

King Of Eden too is falling back to a winnable mark, but he'll need plenty to go right to win from a pocket, which is where he might well find himself (drawn low, hold up type). Verse Of Love on the other hand should get a lovely tow into the business end from The Confessor, and has stamina to make it count. He's also below his best winning mark again now.

A - 3 (The Confessor), 13 (Verse Of Love)
B - 1 (Chosen Character), 6 (Laffan), 9 (King Of Eden)

3.35 - Leg 4: This is wide open. Ningara ticks a lot of boxes, but may not have the scope of some of his rivals. Nonetheless, he's been there and done it, so is included. Topamichi is consistent, won over course and distance last time, and is seeking a hat-trick here: he may not be done with yet. And Yarroom has been running well in better races, and may not be long in getting his head in front.

A - 1 (Yarroom), 6 (Ningara), 9 (Topamichi)

4.05 - Leg 5: Non-runners in the last two legs have made them both seven runner affairs, and therefore we have just two places to fire at. Nevertheless, DBS Premier Yearling Stakes third, Nezar, is a long way clear on the evidence of that huge run, and ought to be in the first two. He's due to go up just over a stone in the ratings and is 15 pounds 'well in' today.

A - 4 (Nezar)

4.40 - Leg 6: A two mile handicap, and one in which the sole 3yo, Statutory, carries bottom weight despite being the highest rated horse in the field. Yes, it's the weight for age allowance again. Nobody, with the possible exception of Johnny G, exploits the WFA scale better than Mark Johnston, Statutory's trainer; and this chap ought to run a screamer with Chester Franny again booked to steer.

Of his elders, Kashgar ran too badly to be true last time and, if you overlook that, he comes here on a four-timer. He's a course and distance winner, and will be fine on the ground. His trainer, Bernard Llewellyn, normally does well at this time of year too. He's a big price at around 14/1.

Zenafire is bred to be a miler, and yet has been more impressive the further he's gone. He won by three lengths over a mile and three quarters, and deserves a crack at this extra quarter mile. Softsong is dropping enormously in grade, and is an under the radar placepot type that has been backed.

A - 8 (Statutory)
B - 2 (Softsong), 6 (Zenafire), 7 (Kashgar)

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Fontwell Placepot Picks, 29th August 2013

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Another five out of six day yesterday, with the dreaded early bath to boot. For those who follow the advice from a back or lay perspective, you'd have done well overall. For those who, like me, do the placepots, this is a sticky spell.

Fontwell today, though in truth there's very little to get excited about. It really does seem to be a case of quantity of races over quality just now.

I'm playing C's today, which means if we use a 'C' line, all other 'C' lines are eliminated. So do take care if following the ticket builder method.

2.30 - Leg 1: Four runner races are the order of the first half of the card and that means win only for placepot purposes. Money Money Money is the favourite on his debit over hurdles, with McCoy riding for Jim Best. He's a habitual hold up horse, and that's not ideal around here. As such, it wouldn't surprise me to see a change of tactics this afternoon. He's been backed so he'll be fit and well for this belated (seven years old, 24 flat starts) hurdling bow.

Against him is proven form from the mares, Hopstrings and Shantou Breeze. Hopstrings is unexposed and steadily improving, while Shantou Breeze has track form but looks a bit of a plodder.

After a couple of difficult days, I'm playing safe with Money Money Money and Hopstrings on A. And I'll play Shantou Breeze on C.

A - 1 (Hopstrings), 3 (Money Money Money)
C - 4 (Shantou Breeze)

3.00 - Leg 2: A second four horse race, and this one is, in essence, a two horse race between Man Of Leisure and Cinevator. If the former stands up, he wins. If he doesn't, the latter wins, assuming of course that he stands up. There was a bit of hesitancy in the Man Of Leisure camp when I discussed him yesterday, and they were saying that for a horse that has been hurdling for so long, it's quite hard to get them to respect the bigger obstacles.

Cinevator is having his first chase start, so jumping talent is taken on trust. As such, I'm hurling in Kayfrou on C.

A - 1 (Cinevator), 3 (Man Of Leisure)
C - 2 (Kayfrou)

3.30 - Leg  3: And the last in the trio of quartets, if you seen what I mean. This time it's a novices' handicap hurdle, and the pace looks likely to come from Doctor Ric and/or Franklino, but they could well set things up for the more exciting Bold Raider. Dropped back in trip, and with McCoy again at the tiller, he should prove hard to beat. But, it is quite a stiff finish here and, if the petrol is running out, any of the other three could win.

It's a really trappy race, and I'm taking all of them, three on A, and Thomas Bell on C.

A - 1 (Franklino), 2 (Bold Raider), 3 (Doctor Ric)
C - 4 (Thomas Bell)

4.00 - Leg 4: At last, a massive six runners, and two places to shoot at. Unhelpfully, there's been money for all six to some degree or another. Helpfully, the favourite is on a hat-trick and is super fit having run (and won) twice in the last nine days. If he's not knackered, he's got an obvious chance. A slight concern is that both those wins have been when leading and today there are a few who like to get on with things from tape rise.

Still, this is a drop back in trip and so he'll get home all right. A.

Try Catch Me is one of those that likes to force it, and he has a very good record around here. Fast ground and this trip is ideal too. A. Morestead has won here twice, including in May this year over course, distance, class and going, and he's only two pounds higher now. A.

A - 1 (Alderbrook Lad), 2 (Try Catch Me), 3 (Morestead)

4.30 - Leg 5: It's dodgy banker time, and the 'lucky' horse is Beyond in this six runner handicap hurdle. A decent flat handicapper, he likes to lead and looks to have a solid chance of that in an otherwise pace-deprived heat. If he doesn't lead, he probably won't win, but this is a lot easier than the last two races he contested, and the ground's rattling fast: just how he likes it.

It might be worth a place lay if things are going well.

A - 1 (Beyond)

5.00 - Leg 6: An interesting little race to finish, and it'll take them quite a long time to navigate these three and a quarter miles. Maid Of Silk runs here with a penalty after a win last Wednesday, and she's going to be played late: not always the best strategy here, as mentioned. But she is the form pick, and gets A status on that basis. Not sole A status however.

She's joined by Orion Star and Sea Cadet, both of which stay longer than the proverbial mother-in-law and have back form to win.

A - 1 (Maid Of Silk), 6 (Sea Cadet), 7 (Orion Star)

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Fontwell placepot picks

Fontwell placepot picks

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Worcester Placepot Picks, 28th August 2013

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I'm as out of form as a big amorphous blob that's been dismissed from his class (note to self, 'out of form' similes are tricky), and things don't get much easier today. Priceless Art, one of the geegeez geegees, runs at Worcester this afternoon and I'm headed there to see him. So that's where the placepot will be focused too. We start at 2.20...

2.20 - Leg 1: Only five runners, but all of them have some sort of chance, as betting of 4/1 the outsider in places attests. Papradon is likely to have this run to suit: he should lead and that's not a bad tactic at this track. But his record at this lofty Class 3 level is 92, with the 2 achieved on the much tighter Stratford track. He's unlikely to get away this time, in my view.

Whistling Senator represents McCoy and Jonjo, but is another for whom the class may be a ceiling. Indeed, in 21 prior runs, he's never raced at this level before. True, he comes here on the hat-trick, but wins in soft Class 5 and Class 4 affairs are no comparison to some talented oppo today.

Victor Leudorum looks like the one to me. If he doesn't get outpaced (possible), he has conditions perfectly in his favour, with a course and distance win, five wins on this going, and two in this grade. As a last time out winner too, he's hard to overlook.

Forever My Friend is easily the best backed horse in the race, but he's going to have stay further than any of his five wins here, and against better class horses than any of those wins (all achieved in Classes 4, 5 and 6). I don't think he's the obvious play in here today.

That leaves Highway Code. This young fellow is stepping up in trip beyond two and a half miles for the first time and, whilst there might be a stamina doubt, he's plodded on in recent starts like he wants this sort of trip. His third to Finger Onthe Pulse is about the best piece of recent form in the race, and I give him a strong chance. I'm taking him and Victor against the other trio, and that might be an early bath scenario the way things have been going; but I'm struggling to justify including the class risers against established form at this level.

A - 1 (Victor Leudorum), 3 (Highway Code)

2.50 - Leg 2: The class act here is The Cockney Mackem and, despite a few question marks about his attitude recently, he looks a sound A bet. Specifically, he's been placed in eight of his nine runs in this grade; ditto at this two mile (ish) trip. Although he is hard to win with (no wins from his eight chase starts, for instance), he has been placed second on five of those runs and third on two more.

I don't really like banking in seven runner races, still less in novice chases, but he does look a sound conveyance (only one tumble in those eight chase starts), and he's classy: he was second in the 2012 Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival. That is a Grade 3 race, and he followed that up with a Grade 2 third place. Because he's not won, he retains his novice status, and he can show his class here.

A - 6 (The Cockney Mackem)

3.20 - Leg  3: A curious enough spot for a bumper is race three, but it's something of a speciality here at Worcester, so we'll have to lump it. Luckily for us, we have solid course and distance winner, Anger Management, to keep us on the straight and narrow. I'd expect him to at least be placed, despite the winners' penalty.

Cole Harden won his only start, though that was on heavy ground at Sedgefield. How this son of Westerner will fare on much quicker turf remains to be seen, but he's unbeaten and his dad's kids have gone well enough on faster. Snapchat has two places to his name, both on slightly sharper tracks than this, and it's possible the more testing circuit here will play to his staying power. He could easily run into the frame, and has been nibbled in the betting to do so.

The rest probably have a lot to do, though both Western Way and Multiview looked extremely green behind Anger Management last time before staying on into third and fourth. It's possible the other three in the race were dogs, but both this pair are capable of better, for sure.

A - 1 (Anger Management)
B - 5 (Snapchat)

3.50 - Leg 4: Ah, the good stuff. A selling handicap hurdle! Again, this revolves around a single horse, and that's Pindar. Consistent in this lowly grade, and a winner at the track last time, he's very short to repeat the dose. Basically, he likes to lead, which he was able to do last time. Today, there are two other horses - Bahira and Argaum - who also want to go on, meaning he might well be compromised. Moreover, he'd been beaten 22 lengths-plus on his two prior hurdle starts, and on the one before that he was ten lengths behind the re-opposing On The Feather. He's rated 77 and I don't think he's any value at all here. I'm limping him into B, but I'll take A's against him.

Argaum has been placed in eleven of his 25 hurdle starts, winning three. That's a much more solid level of consistency than most here can boast, and though he too could be compromised by an early pace battle, he at least has both consistency and price on his side. A.

On The Feather has form to beat the favourite, and has gone well for inexperienced riders. Conditions look ideal, and he ought to be in the mix. And the one which might benefit most from a cut-throat pace scrap is Chilbury Hill, a ten year old with plenty of win and place form at this level, on this ground, in this grade.

A - 1 (On The Feather), 5 (Argaum)
B - 2 (Chilbury Hill), 10 (Pindar)

4.20 - Leg 5: And so to Priceless Art's race. Wayward Glance is the strong favourite, and he should make the frame. He's got form at the track, trip and grade, and is in reasonable form. With three places to go at here, he's hard to leave out.

Priceless Art himself is 112111 in Class 5, but he's just not been reliable lately. I will (obviously) be backing him today but am leaving him out of my placepot perm.

Wayward Glance is a banker here, and may be a place lay if the 'pot looks like paying a few quid (unlikely, in truth).

A - 1 (Wayward Glance)

4.55 - Leg 6: Just five go here, and always the chance of a non-runner making it win only. On that basis, I'll go a bit deeper than normal, in case of the aforementioned late absentee.

Letsby Avenue is a fairly strong jolly, and might bid to make all. He's got form at similar trips and ground, and this slightly longer route might eke out a bit more improvement. In any case, he's on the hat-trick, so comes here in top form.

Of the rest, Red Not Blue looks to have optimal conditions - twice a winner here in small fields - and AP McCoy gets on again for the first time since winning two races on him this time last year.

Ogee and So Fine are less obvious contenders and will comprise a rare C ticket, with options to lay various outcomes or back exactas, should we have used a B already (a situation which kills any C lines straight away).

A - 2 (Red Not Blue), 3 (Letsby Avenue)
C - 1 (Ogee), 5 (So Fine)

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Worcester placepot picks

Worcester placepot picks

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Southwell Placepot Picks, 27th August 2013

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After some moderate attempts at York and a short break, placepots are back, at Southwell this evening, some moderate racing!

4.40 - Leg 1: A 0-55 sprint handicap gets us moving, and they come no worse than this, I assure you! Market moves are material in such contests, and those for money are Exkaliber, Beach Rhythm, and especially Heart Beat Song. Exkaliber has never run at this specialist track before, but his sire, Exceed And Excel, is profitable to follow blind at the track, and has a 40% place strike rate. That's enough to make A for this market fancy.

Beach Rhythm ran fourth on his only try at this course, which was also at this grade but a furlong further. Dropping back in trip is clearly expected to bring about some improvement, and he was only beaten four and a half lengths on that sole prior Southwell start. Heart Beat Song has had less tries than most, but is surely bred for a fair bit further. He ought to be staying on, but the bird might well have flown (perhaps a more appropriate analogy would be that the slow boat to China may have set sail) by then.

Depden is slow, but he did run third on his only start here, and he tends to finish closer to the winner than many of these have. He gets in on the act here as well. Kwanto drops in trip and grade and is from respected local connections, but he's looked seriously moderate to date. Sarah Berry probably won't act on the surface (cue a win for Sarah Berry), and Lord Buffhead has failed to place in eight runs at the track.

Code Six at a bigger price looks interesting.

A - 5 (Exkaliber), 11 (Depden)
B - 4 (Code Six), 8 (Beach Rhythm)

5.10 - Leg 2: Nine go in this juvenile handicap, and some of them are woeful. Voladina ran a much more promising race last time and, if she doesn't get completely outpaced early, she might run into a place through the sand storm kick back. On the pace is the best place to be though, and By The Light looks most likely to lead. With Action Franny Norton in the saddle, he has realistic prospects of lasting out.

A - 2 (By The Light), 8 (Voladina)

5.45 - Leg  3: It's a Class 6 maiden next, as the quality continues to plumb the depths. Black Vale has at least run well here, and is the safest option in a race where Zal Zilhom may be favourite. Donny Rover has run respectably in higher class the last twice, and is very experienced. I'll take those two against Zal.

A - 2 (Black Vale), 3 (Donny Rover)

6.15 - Leg 4: A better maiden, with three of the five runners, rated about 70. Whoop! Akeed Dubawi and China Creek are inseparable in the betting, with the latter rated five pounds higher and in receipt of five pounds too. That makes her ten pounds 'well in' and, on that basis, she should finish in front. She's also dropping back in trip to the distance at which she ran by far her best race, and I think she's worthy of banker status. Gulp.

A - 3 (China Creek)

6.45 - Leg 5: A much more competitive event, and Slip Of The Tongue bids for a fourth straight win, and a second over course and distance. But he's not even favourite which attests to the depth of the race. That honour currently falls to Wadaa, a soft ground winner last time out from the hot James Tate yard. He should appreciate this extra furlong, and ought to handle the track on his first try at anything other than turf (soft ground horses tend to do fine here).

That pair are the two highest rated in the race and, because they're three year olds, they are in receipt of a chunk of weight (twelve pounds to be precise) from the rest.

Proud Times has a course record of 141 and that includes a course and distance win, and a win in Class 3. As such, 14/1 looks generous and he makes the B ticket. That support ticket is completed by Northside Prince, for Alan Swinbank, who won this two years ago and has a fine record at the track. Three runs at Southwell have resulted in three second places, two of them by narrow margins, and a repeat would be good enough for our purposes today.

A - 6 (Slip Of The Tongue), 7 (Wadaa)
B - 1 (Northside Prince), 8 (Proud Times)

7.15 - Leg 6: We finish with the toughest race of the night, a big field seven furlong handicap. It pays to be on the speed here, and Poetic Belle and Sudden Wish are most likely to fill that role. Poetic Belle ran the worst race of her career here on her sole try two starts back and it would take a braver man than me to go with her at 33/1 this time. She might be worth a small e/w bet as her overall profile is good and, if she can get an easy lead, could run well. But not on these tickets.

Sudden Wish has a much obvious chance, and price, but she is drawn in stall 14 (Poetic Belle in 12), and it might be hard to tack across to lead from there.

Queen Flush is drawn in 5, and is stepped up two furlongs, racing over a trip beyond five furlongs for the first time in eleven previous career starts. There's an obvious stamina doubt there, especially if asked to lead against other pace pressers, so she's overlooked.

The presence of a John Butler horse doesn't help. These are always short prices early in the day, because the gamble is feared, and often drift alarmingly on course when it becomes apparent that today is not the day. I couldn't recommend Lilly White on that basis, though she is bred for the job and ran all right last time.

Coach Montana might be worth a try. Jane Chapple-Hyam's lad has been running well, is drawn one, has a prominent racing style and has won at Wolverhampton (never raced here). He ought to get in the shake up at some point. Nonaynever won here last time but his overall form and reliability is lamentable, and he's opposed.

Viennese Verse is much more interesting, having been in the thick of it until a furlong out over a furlong further last time, and his trainer, Henry Candy, is both a shrewdie and in good form.

I'm looking for a result here, and will take a chance of a late blowout.

A - 1 (Sudden Wish), 3 (Viennese Verse), 8 (Coach Montana)

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Southwell placepot picks

Southwell placepot picks

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York Placepot Picks, 24th August 2013

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Another five out of six day yesterday, and another day where I was left scratching my head at the race which let us down. I couldn't have had the first two at all...

Lots of rain means lots of non-runners today, and a change of going to soft, which might become heavy soon enough. Perfect conditions for crafting a contrarian placepot wager!

2.05 - Leg 1: We start with the Listed Rose Of York Stakes over seven furlongs. Four absentees so far bring us down to six runners, and two places. Sirius Prospect is the one that will appreciate the rain the most: he won in this grade over six soft furlongs back in 2011, and has plenty of placed form on soggy to back that up. He'd been in the doldrums somewhat before a win on his penultimate start, and had a horror draw in the Betfred Mile last time. Dropped back in trip and on ground he enjoys, he's a big chance today.

On B, I'll risk the Fahey pair, Switcher and Fort Bastion. Both have form with give, and both are capable of more than they've shown lately.

Current favourite, Rex Imperator, is a very nice horse but he surely doesn't want it this slow, and if he goes off jolly could take a fair amount of non-runner cash out of the pool with him.

A - 6 (Sirius Prospect)
B - 2 (Fort Bastion), 9 (Switcher)

2.40 - Leg 2: The Melrose Stakes, and I know Tony will be gutted that St Leger aspirant, Great Hall, is a non-runner because of the ground. He's joined by four other defectors, leaving a field of eleven and three places. The trio with winning form on the ground are Mister Impatience, Dashing Star and Divergence. Mister Impatience is clear pick on form of the trio, but has plenty of weight to lug as a consequence. He'd previously won two soft ground races by a combined fifteen lengths (!), and is an obvious A play.

Havana Cooler ran second on debut at a huge price on soft ground and, by Hurricane Run, should be fine on this sort of loose terrain. He's progressive and has Ryan Moore steering for the first time.

A - 2 (Mister Impatience), 7 (Havana Cooler)

3.15 - Leg  3: Seven run in the Group 2 Gimcrack, a race that is always hard to solve and more so this year with a number of unknowns on deep ground. The one known commodity on the surface, and with Group race form is Parbold. Saayerr's trainer, Willie Haggas, was less than confident on The Morning Line this morning about the ground for his horse, who is the Richmond Stakes winner.

Wilshire Boulevard represents Ballydoyle and he ought to go in the ground, though it's a bit of a punt. Likewise Astaire, for whom this is a step up (no pun intended), though he has taken solid support.

My Catch won a nice little Group 3 in France last time, and could lead here; and I don't think Justice Day is out of it either. Very tricky, and I'm spreading out and looking for a result.

A - 6 (Parbold)
B - 2 (Astaire), 4 (Justice Day), 5 (My Catch), 7 (Wilshere Boulevard)

3.50 - Leg 4: The Ebor. But a gettable one, with a glut of non-runners. Number Theory and Opinion will both enjoy the ground, and have touches of class. Irish raider, Ted Veale, will love the ground and the trip, and is in form. He could win if not knackered from a run just three days ago.

Oriental Fox is a stout German bred, by Lomitas, and was third in a Listed event at Baden Baden earlier in his career on soft. He's been running well and if you forgive his Goodwood run, he's been very consistent. Genzy drops down in class and is quite attractively weighted over a trip he should love. He has won on soft before, and makes B.

A - 4 (Opinion), 16 (Ted Veale)
B - 2 (Number Theory), 8 (Oriental Fox), 10 (Genzy)

4.25 - Leg 5: The favourite, Outer Space, is a non-runner now, so two places between six remaining contenders. No soft ground form on show, but Mecca's Angel did win at Southwell - a deep testing track - and by twelve lengths to boot. The down side is that that win was in Class 6, and today she's in a Class 1 Listed race. That's a fair old leap in class!

The ground is a question mark with all of the rest, and Excel's Beauty arguably sets the form standard on her second to Wind Fire in a Newbury Listed race. That one ran third in the Group 2 Lowther, having previously chased home No Nay Never at Royal Ascot. A.

On the basis of cluelessness, I'd love to add the other two non-rags to B, but we've got to take a chance somewhere!

A - 7 (Excel's Beauty), 8 (Mecca's Angel)

5.00 - Leg 6: And so to leg six, a ten furlong handicap where eleven remain standing at time of writing. The soft ground horses are Charles Camoin and Spirit Of The Law, and both are within spitting distance of their last winning handicap marks. Sennockian Star is very high in the weights now, but has been so consistent that it's impossible to rule out another placed effort. And Forgotten Hero is one that could just go well at a big price, especially with Spencer at the wheel.

A - 3 (Charles Camoin), 9 (Spirit Of The Law)
B - 6 (Sennockian Star), 10 (Forgotten Hero), 12 (Hi There)

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York Ebor placepot picks

York Ebor placepot picks

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York Placepot Picks, 23rd August 2013

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We about broke even yesterday, with the pot paying very little (£47.60), alas. Es Que Love was a big blow, with Dettori dropping his hands and getting passed for fourth place by a horse with loads of placepot money on it (Frog Hollow). That meant instead of having double lines in a good result, we had single lines in a bad result. Thanks Frankie.

To day three on the Knavesmire, and perhaps it's our turn today... then again, with two seven runner fields and four huge fields, maybe not!

1.55 - Leg 1: Sixteen declared for this, and already a non-runner bringing us down to three places, of course. This is one handicap that has generally gone the way of Newmarket rather than Yorkshire, and they again have a strong hand with Winterlude and Gospel Choir heading the betting. Both have solid chances, with a single knock against each: Winterlude is stepping up a quarter mile and may not stay, while Gospel Choir hasn't run for a year (but won first time up last term).

They make the A ticket, as does Kiama Bay, who was second in this two years ago and for whom the heavy overnight rain will have been a blessing. In a brave-ish opening, I'm taking that trio against the field.

A - 1 (Gospel Choir), 11 (Kiama Bay), 13 (Winterlude)

2.30 - Leg 2: Simenon is the favourite, but the ground might just have gone against him, as he loves it quick, according to his trainer. He was only fifth in this last year, having won twice at Royal Ascot. Times Up won this last year, and the ground has come for him. He didn't stay in the Ascot Gold Cup but connections are quite bullish about their chance today. He ought to go well.

Ahzeemah has been in the first two in his last nine starts (!), and that sequence includes the Dubai Gold Cup and the Goodwood Cup (second in both). He seems to always run his race, and Silvestre de Sousa gets on fine with him. I'm not sure the give in the ground is ideal, but he ought to be thereabouts. Stablemate Colour Vision does like it soft, and he won the Ascot Gold Cup as recently as last year, so 9/1 looks a bit of value.

Glen's Diamond is respected, given he can go from the front, and also his course record of 201. On the downside, the 2 and 1 were both in the Yorkshire Cup (a mile and six), and the 0 was in this last year. The ground is probably against Caucus and Askar Tau now.

A - 1 (Ahzeemah), 7 (Times Up)
B - 4 (Colour Vision), 6 (Simenon)

3.05 - Leg  3: The give in the ground could be the key to Pavlosk, a very nice filly in the making. Although she has as much as ten pounds to find with these on official ratings, she has the most scope and the step up in trip should help her show more, as should the sodden turf. In a seven runner race, I'm risking her as a banker, and will take my medicine if she's out of the first two. You might want to take a different course, and that's up to you!

A - 7 (Pavlosk)

3.40 - Leg 4: And so to the Nunthorpe, a cracking Group 1 five furlong sprint. The ground might have gone against Sole Power, and possible Shea Shea too. They're both riskier propositions on the soft side of good at least. It might also be on the slow side for some or all of Swiss Spirit, Tickled Pink, and Kingsgate Native.

Those who should act on it include the progressive pair, Slade Power and Moviesta; and Spirit Quartz, who ran a blinder to be second in this last year. Jwala has an outside squeak if you can forgive her run last time, when she completely fluffed the start.

A - 6 (Shea Shea), 7 (Slade Power)
B - 9 (Spirit Quartz), 14 (Moviesta)

4.20 - Leg 5: Derbyshire has been very heavily backed for the trainer with the best York Ebor meeting juvenile record, Kevin Ryan. Red Galileo is the most obvious form contender and shouldn't be too troubled by the deeper ground. They'll do.

A - 3 (Derbyshire), 6 (Red Galileo)

4.55 - Leg 6: A super-tough final race, a three year old mile handicap. I'm taking plenty of bullets, mindful that it might be a case of closing the stable door after the placepot has bolted...

Hey Dude and Equity Risk look the best of the Yorkshire brigade, while Newmarket could go well with King George River. Others to consider include Tamayuz Star, Secret Art and Irish raider Machete Mark.

A - 2 (Hay Dude), 9 (Machete Mark), 14 (Secret Art)
B - 1 (King George River), 4 (Tamayuz Star), 11 (Equity Risk)

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York Placepot Picks

York Placepot Picks

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York Placepot Picks, 22nd August 2013

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Dang. It was a juicy pot at York yesterday, and I could have easily taken Trading Leather on B for a sniff of it. Woulda coulda shoulda. Didn't. Day two then beckons, and this post is a little earlier than usual, so check for non-runners and price collapses.

These picks are based on my Day Two York Preview here, and this is a very tight perm meaning a higher than usual risk of crashing and burning...

1.55 - Leg 1: Loads with chances in a valuable sales race. I'm taking solid form on A, and potential on B.

A - 4 (Thunder Strike), 13 (Nezar)
B - 10 (Green Door), 18 (Xanthos), 20 (Tobougg Happy)

2.30 - Leg 2: Wind Fire is a fairly solid option if you can forgive one bad run, and I'll take her and Lucky Kristale against all-comers.

A - 1 (Lucky Kristale), 9 (Wind Fire)

3.05 - Leg  3: Wentworth as an A banker, and Es Que Love and Hot Bed on B. It's a streamlined route through a trappy race, and carries a fair bit of risk, for sure.

A - 8 (Wentworth)
B - 4 (Es Que Love), 7 (Hot Bed)

3.40 - Leg 4: Venus De Milo. Please.

A - 8 (Venus De Milo)

4.20 - Leg 5: I'm focusing on Say and Songbird here, the former a proven stick, the latter one of a pair of extremely progressive fillies and preferred to the other, Our Obsession.

A - 5 (Songbird), 12 (Say)

4.55 - Leg 6: Likely to go to the in form fillies or former winners, I'm taking Ghasabah and Shesastar on A, and Dutch Rose and Elle Woods on B.

A - 13 (Shesastar), 15 (Ghasabah)
B - 3 (Dutch Rose), 9 (Elle Woods)

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York Day Two placepot

York Day Two placepot

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