Read all sorts of commentaries and tips across a range of racing disciplines on the most popular horse racing blog in Britain, from staff and guest writers.

Duo climb out of the red…

...and claim the top two spots in the Geegeez System Trials Roundup to 21/02/2017, as I'll now explain.

Last week's roundup (which is here) showed just two services (National Hunt Supremo &  JTs Racing) in the red, but both made healthy profits this week to get themselves into profitability. National Hunt Supremo turned an overall loss of £16.96 in 27 days' action into a profit of £53.04 by adding £70.00 in just two betting days, courtesy of 3 winning bets from their four selections. More details on how they did this can be found here in Iain's review.

However, top spot this week went to  JTs Racing, whose weekly profit of £82.25 turned a 30-day loss of £18.45 into an overall surplus of £63.80 after a second successive week of profit. Purely coincidentally, Iain is also reviewing this one (we do have other reviewers - honest!) and his review shows 9 winners from 25 (36% SR) were the reason for the £82.25 (+32.9% ROI) profit this week.

Aside from these two, three other services made £91.14 and four lost £244.14, as you'll see below in our "league table", meaning that anyone who'd backed everything in the review portfolio would have been out of pocket to the tune of 75 pence!

And here is that updated "league table"...

System Profit Service Days Trial days Weekly P/L Full Review
Max Racing Partnership £225.56 (at day 47) 47 -£14.00 Click Here
DG Tips £217.46 (at day 27) 27 £53.08 Click Here
The Snout £169.82 (at day 30) 30 £12.65 Click Here
 JTs Racing £63.80 (at day 37) 37 £82.25 Click Here
National Hunt Supremo £53.04 (at day 29) 29 £70.00 Click Here
Target Tips £25.41 (at day 2) 2 £25.41 Click Here
Sports World £19.95 (at day 60) 60 -£24.00 Click Here
Systematic Racing -£75.00 (at day 4) 4 -£75.00 Click Here
PJ's Racing Bets -£106.28 (at day 30) 30 -£131.14 Click Here

As usual, clicking the name of a service takes you straight to their home page, whilst there are links to every review above.

As you can see, we do, once again, have two services in the red, but last week's strugglers who became this week's top earners have been replaced by newcomer Systematic Racing who has plenty of time to make up an opening loss of £75.00 and PJ's Racing Bets who hopefully just had a week to forget : we all have them!

The end of Master Racing Tipster's trial last week has meant that there's an open battle to be top dog with three very profitable services vying for the No.1 position, it'll be interesting to see how that plays out over the next couple of weeks, after which I'll hopefully be able to bring you a glowing report about Max Racing Partnership.

That sadly isn't the case about the departing Sports World who took an absolute age to get to 60 betting days and our reviewer Ray found little in the way of positive things to write, click here if you'd like to read his thoughts on this one!

And that's me done for another week here, but if you need any info on any of our featured services or if there's something you want us to cover, just let me know. You know where I am!

Chris

Trending Towards Cheltenham

Trends can be a dirty word at this time of year. Cheltenham is peak ten-year-patterns season and believers will be trotting out lines about five-year-olds and the Champion Hurdle as the sample size boys argue back with doubts about the statistical significance of such numbers, writes Tony Keenan. I’d tend towards the latter group more than the former, allowing that these amateur ‘statisticians’ do stumble upon the odd interesting angle.

The patterns I’m interested in here however are more general ones about the Irish national hunt season and given we’ve had 1,154 races run in the 2016/17 campaign (as of Monday February 2oth) that seems a fair sample size. There has been some strange stuff going on this season, at least when compared with the ones that went before, and it is worth considering how these might impact events at Cheltenham in three weeks.

 

Willie Mullins – The Nightmare Season

"Nightmare" might be a little strong when comparing the Mullins campaign to most other yards in the country but that’s not really the point; for years now, the only real comparison for Mullins has been himself. Using those standards, 2016/17 has been disappointing even allowing that the reasons for the disimprovement are mainly obvious: the loss of the Gigginstown horses and a run of injury misfortune that the yard had previously avoided.

No yard can sustain those sorts of losses and hope to compete at or near the same level as previously. This though is not fully reflected in the ante-post markets for the Festival where Mullins is a top price of 8/13 to be the leading trainer at the meeting as well as having the first or second favourite in 13 of the 28 races at present. Cards on the table time: I think this is crazy and punters adopting the Mullins strategy to the meeting – where you find the short-priced Closutton horse and back it – seem destined to lose this year.

Let’s consider the type of horse Mullins tends to win with at the meeting by price, going back as far as the 2010 Festival:

Starting Price Wins Runs Strikerate Places Place Strikerate Actual/Expected
3/1 or shorter 21 34 61.2% 30 88.2% 1.41
10/3 or longer 12 242 5.0% 56 23.1% 0.62

 

That Mullins wins with short-priced horses is up there with "dog bites man" in terms of newsworthiness but the ruthless efficiency with which his bankers run well is striking; only 4 of the 34 horses priced 3/1 or shorter in this period failed to hit the frame. Basically, Mullins wins with the horses the formbook flags up and – in the main – a lot of his bigger priced runners are overbet due to his reputation.

It’s been a broadly similar story on the home front this season too. Of the 147 winners he’s had in 2016/17, only two were returned at 11/2 or bigger. His ability as a target trainer was in full evidence this Christmas when he had 22 winners across the two Irish meetings at Leopardstown and Limerick but again their SP returns were striking; the biggest price was 9/2, the next two were 3/1 and 7/4 with 13 of them sent off at odds-on.

The problem for Mullins going into Cheltenham is he simply doesn’t have that many of this type of horse. There is no Faugheen, Annie Power, Vautour or Min, all of whom would likely have been short prices for their respective targets and his number of sub-3/1 runners is likely to be well down on the eight there have been in each of the past two Festivals. As things stands, Mullins looks to have four such types this year – Douvan, Vroum Vroum Mag (if she runs in the Mares), Yorkhill (again, if he runs in the JLT) and Airlie Beach – with the slight possibility that Melon, Un De Sceaux and Carter McKay could shorter further.

The shortage of bankers also has negative knock-on effects for the overall Mullins challenge. There was a time when Mullins could redirect some of his second-tier types into handicaps instead of running them in graded races as he already had a strong fancy for the latter race – an example would be Arctic Fire running in the 2014 County Hurdle when the trainer won the same year’s Supreme with Vautour – but that may not be the case in 2017. Something like Royal Caviar might have gone to the Grand Annual if Min had been fit for the Arkle but he will now likely go to the novice race; the replacement level talent simply isn’t there now.

Perhaps Mullins will surprise us all with another big Festival but the evidence of this season and comparison points with seasons past suggest otherwise. The trainer’s winners line for the meeting is set at 5.5 currently (it was 7.5 in 2016) and while the under is a chalky 4/6, it should win. The 8/13 about him being top trainer is tight too – the top trainer at this year’s meeting could easily win with just four or five winners – while a knock-on effect is Ruby Walsh’s price of 8/11 for top jockey being under the odds, too, as he is unlikely to ride for anyone else at the meeting.

 

The Henry and Noel Show

Gordon Elliott has understandably garnered the bulk of the attention in this season’s narrative but one shouldn’t forget the rise of Henry de Bromhead and the resurgence of Noel Meade. Both yards have made life difficult for Mullins though their strong campaigns have come in different ways. De Bromhead is having a career season when compared with his 5-year numbers:

 

Henry de Bromhead Last Five Seasons

Season Wins Runners Strikerate Level Stakes A/E
2016/17 62 355 17.5% -38.41 0.96
2015/16 48 296 16.2% -49.25 0.92
2014/15 49 325 15.1% -68.75 0.88
2013/14 48 315 15.2% -98.77 0.89
2012/13 32 220 14.6% -87.02 0.75

 

The basic winners/runners figures stand out here; with his numbers having levelled off in the three previous seasons, they have sky-rocketed in 2016/17 to such a point that before the end of February he has already left his previous best behind. An improved strikerate shouldn’t be forgotten though and it would have been hard to foresee this at the end of the summer when Alan Potts removed the remainder of his horses from the yard. It is the increased support of Gigginstown that has brought this improvement about: where de Bromhead was a minor part of that operation prior to the current season, he has essentially become their second trainer after Gordon Elliott with a long distance back to the third.

As I write, Gigginstown have supplied 19 winners and 82 runners for de Bromhead but the trainer has certainly played his part too, improving a number of horses that came from other yards. Sub Lieutenant has risen 18lbs in the ratings, Petit Mouchoir 15lbs and Valseur Lido 6lbs while he has also drawn improvement from Roger Brookhouse horses like Champagne West (12lbs), Stellar Notion (12lbs) and Some Plan (hard to judge as has switched from chasing but has won thrice including the Irish Arkle).

It should be pointed out that similar has happened with some of the Potts horses leaving de Bromhead, Viconte Du Noyer looking a different horse for Colin Tizzard and Sizing John developing into a Gold Cup contender for Jessica Harrington. Potts has been a whipping boy for his perceived disloyalty to de Bromhead but it’s hard to argue that the split hasn’t worked out for both of them and looking at these results perhaps the whole trainer loyalty angle is overdone.

Where de Bromhead has thrived with horses he has acquired from other yards, Meade has worked well with what he already had in his stable; he did get some Gigginstown switchers but by and large they have been disappointing.

 

Noel Meade Last Five Seasons

Season Wins Runners Strikerate Level Stakes A/E
2016/17 48 288 16.7% -59.07 0.92
2015/16 30 220 13.6% -81.54 0.91
2014/15 50 344 14.5% -112.98 0.83
2013/14 45 367 12.3% -143.71 0.73
2012/13 47 344 13.7% -135.68 0.71

 

Meade seems certain to have his best season in the last five and it will likely be his best since 2008/9 when he had 62 winners from 486 runners. Like de Bromhead, he has had a much improved strikerate this season and his big successes – Coral Hurdle winner Ice Cold Soul and Flogas Novice Chase victor Disko – were with Gigginstown horses that were already in the yard. His other class horse has been Snow Falcon and like the aforementioned pair he’s a horse that had suffered injury problems in the past; Meade has been excellent this year in keeping his stock sound which has been an issue in seasons past.

Both trainers will be very hopeful of Festival winners and they could hardly be going into the meeting in better order. Petit Mouchoir is the obvious de Bromhead fancy for the Champion Hurdle having won the two key Irish trials (albeit from the same horses in underwhelming renewals) while Champagne West is an outsider with a chance in the Gold Cup after putting up a big figure in the Thyestes. Meade’s Cheltenham woes have been well-covered at this stage but he has two live chances in the novice chases with Disko and the strong-staying A Genie In Abottle.

 

Handicap Kings

Gordon Elliott has been the story of the Irish handicap scene this winter, his series of wins in valuable chases unparalleled in my memory, and not surprisingly comes in at the top of the table of handicap winners in 2016/17:

 

Trainer Wins Runners Strikerate Level Stakes Places Place SR% A/E
G. Elliott 28 305 9.2% -48.75 86 28.2% 0.75
T. Mullins 14 62 22.6% +27.38 34 54.8% 1.46
J. Hanlon 12 101 11.9% +31.50 32 31.7% 1.21
W. Mullins 11 66 16.7% -17.61 23 34.9% 1.16
C. Byrnes 10 52 19.2% -13.12 18 34.6% 1.09
J. Ryan 9 87 10.3% -30.34 21 42.5% 0.89
E. McNamara 9 41 22.0% +49.50 14 34.2% 2.15

 

It’s difficult to know if this is a positive or negative for Elliott’s chances of having handicap winners at Cheltenham: on one hand his horses are going into the meeting in good form but on the other they could find themselves too high in the weights. Chief BHA handicapper, Phil Smith, has tended not to treat the Elliott runners as well as some of those from other Irish yards but the trainer has still managed four Festival handicap winners since 2011 including two last year. One thing we can be sure of is that he will be mob-handed in these races; already this season in Ireland, he has had 305 handicap runners, with Denis Hogan next in with 117 followed by John Hanlon's 101.

Hanlon, aka, "The Shark", has had a quietly strong season in 2016/17 (which is about the only thing that is quiet about him) but his horses simply don’t have high enough marks to get into the Festival races. Tom Mullins’s runners do, however, and he’s been having a brilliant time across the board in terms of winners, strikerate, places and place strikerate. It’s not as if he doesn’t have some pedigree at Cheltenham either, with two handicap winners from eight runners: Alderwood in both cases as he took the County Hurdle and Grand Annual in successive years.

Mullins’s chief patron is of course one John P McManus, not averse to having a Cheltenham winner, and he looks to have three possible runners in Scoir Mear, Oscar Knight and That’s A Wrap. The last two are particularly interesting, Oscar Knight one that looks well-treated if getting his jumping together while That’s A Wrap is a horse that could thrive in a strongly-run race.

- Tony Keenan

Monday Musings: Being AP

AP McCoy aboard his 4000th winner, Mountain Tunes

AP McCoy aboard his 4000th winner, Mountain Tunes

Funnily enough, I never really fancied seeing “Being AP”, the documentary film about the period leading up to the 2015 retirement of Sir Anthony McCoy, which had its limited cinema opening and DVD release later that year, but was screened late last night on BBC2, writes Tony Stafford.

It was rather inconveniently placed if you were caught up with the competing snooker final on Eurosport which ended halfway through the McCoy film, but I compromised and saw the bulk of what proved compelling watching.

We knew for many years all about the almost manic drive which characterised 20 consecutive jump jockey championships, but saw here first-hand his total unwillingness to allow such trifles as injury to prevent it happening for the final time.

The domestic trappings of success and his high-level income as J P McManus’ retained jockey were evident as he forced himself through the various periods of rehabilitation onto yet another 200-plus seasonal tally.

This was the season (2014-15) of his fastest ever first 50 winners, designed, as he graphically says: “to sicken everyone else” and make them see the inevitability of the eventual outcome.

But McCoy admits to a glass half-empty mentality. Dave Roberts, his equally-driven agent, who slipped out of the shadows for a rare public appearance throughout the piece, tells him that it will be impossible for anyone to match his 4,000 winners.

“To get 2,000”, says Roberts, “Someone will need to get 100 winners for 20 years.” McCoy has doubled that, yet his slant on that is “yes, I have had more winners than anyone else, but more losers and more falls.” Always, for Sir Anthony, it has been a case of fearing not becoming champion. In this final season, the early dominance led to hopes of a first-ever 300-winner campaign, but when injury ruled that out, the eventual decision was to announce imminent retirement on reaching 200, as he did on Mr Mole on February 7 2015 at Newbury.

Roberts was on hand to escort him back to the paddock, presumably to make sure he would stick by the planned announcement, and sure enough, as Rishi Persad moved in, microphone pushed into the rider’s face for the first interview, remarking on “yet another 200”, AP said: “That’s the last one, I’m retiring at the end of the season”.

For once the press corps was stunned. It was a big enough event – Betfair Hurdle Day – for the bulk of the media to be on hand, and the news was self-perpetuating, with wife Chanelle later fielding umpteen messages from friends as the couple drove home.

Clearly, Lady McCoy has had a serious challenge to compete with her husband’s riding and admitted selfishness – you have to be selfish as a sportsman, he maintains - but she has come through as an equally strong character.

Many of the nicest images are the way in which she supported him as he rode in races. “Come on Honey” was the usual exhortation from the missus as she watched races like the last Grand National on fourth-placed Shutthefrontdoor. On the day he received his 20th championship title at Sandown, she had both their children with her. In the midst of great emotion all around, the lasting image for me was her ginger-haired infant son Archie oblivious to it all in his mother’s arms, nonchalantly munching endless soft sweets.

Naturally JP McManus and Jonjo O’Neill were equal participants in this unique story and I expect they both approved of the outcome of what could have ended up an embarrassing sequence of wins and self-satisfaction. Sir Anthony McCoy’s character meant that could never be the case, and indeed the fact he was so worried about what retirement would mean for him also proves he does have some human frailties.

There were plenty of JP stars around over the weekend, with Yanworth not exactly stressing his almost-favourite status for the Champion Hurdle with a narrow win in Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle, but eight years ago Punjabi failed to win that race before beating Celestial Halo and McCoy on Binocular at Cheltenham.

Maybe more worrying for the owner was Jezki’s odds-on defeat by Tombstone at Gowran Park, the latter horse overturning previous form between the pair. Still, Forthefonofit, Dream Berry and Sutton Place, the last-named in a Grade 2 at Navan, kept the green and yellow colours to the fore. Maybe Jezki should try the three miles of the Sun Bets Stayers’ (ex-World) Hurdle, worth a highly acceptable £170,000 to the winner this year.

At nine, Jezki still retains most of his ability, but until Saturday, Zarkandar, another probable for the Stayers’ race, was looking an habitual non-winner, having gone almost four years since his last triumph in the UK. Paul Nicholls’ 10-year-old did win a French Grade 1, easily beating the talented if enigmatic Gemix at Auteuil more than two years ago, but his Haydock win on Saturday offers hope for one more big Festival effort. Winner of the 2011 Triumph Hurdle, Zarkandar appeared at the fixture for the next four years but was absent in 2016.

It must be hard for a smaller trainer to eschew running a decent horse at Cheltenham, but Tom Symonds, 32 today, who escorted Punjabi back to the winner’s enclosure in 2009 when joint assistant trainer at Nicky Henderson’s with Ben Pauling, will not be sending Don Bersy there.

The French-bred, another notable find for Claude Charlet and his France-based ally Joffret Huet, made it three wins in a row for Tom when collecting the Victor Ludorum at Haydock, giving 8lb to the runner-up.

“We didn’t enter him for the Triuimph, and he won’t go to the Fred Winter. We might look at Liverpool,” said Symonds, as ever under the radar. This observer hopes he will break into the next level and owners Sir Peter and Lady Gibbins, who also own the smart pair Hollywoodien and Kaki de la Pree, can help him with that ambition.

On a weekend of some successful and some less-so old-timers, the best performance by far was Cue Card’s 16th win in 35 career starts in the £85,000 to the winner Betfair Ascot Chase. The 2010 Cheltenham Bumper winner and Ryanair Chase victor four years later, it’s hard to see why he shouldn’t go close in a race he might have won a year ago bar a late fall. I trust Michael O’Leary is not too fussed that after his Kempton King George defeat by Thistlecrack, handicapper Phil Smith chose to drop Cue Card  from 176 to 170 before Saturday’s tour de force!

SotD Update, 13th to 18th February 2017

Two winners and two runners-up from just 5 runners meant that we almost had a fantastic week here at SotD (I say we, because it's not just me doing this!), but with two 3/1 successes, a 3pt profit on the week is still excellent.

The sharper-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I did my usual half-term disappearing trick, taking a couple of days off, covered again by Steve whose two selections were a non-runner and a 3/1 winner, meaning that his last three picks for SotD have all been winners!

Steve is proving to be an excellent addition to the Geegeez team and is a more than capable replacement for me when I'm not here, so please afford him the patience you've had to show me in the past when things haven't been quite as good as they are now!

And now turning towards the last week of the month, were currently 16.5pts up for February, so you "worst case scenario" types (like myself!) can rest assured that we'll be at least 8.5pts in profit by month end, after our winner on the 15th ensured another profitable month. I will, of course, be striving to add at least another couple of winners, but it will be a good month come what may.

Selections & Results : 13/02/17 to 18/02/17

13/02 : Haraka (adv 7/2 BOG) : 4th at 9/4
14/02 : Casual Cavalier (adv 3/1 BOG) : 2nd at 11/8
15/02 : Peaceful Passage (adv 3/1 BOG) : WON at 11/8
16/02 : Spanish Fleet (adv 10/3 BOG) : 2nd at 10/3
17/02 : Twenty Eight Guns (adv 11/4 BOG) : non-runner
18/02 : The Worlds End (adv 3/1 BOG) : WON at 11/4

13/02/17 to 18/02/17 :
2 winning bets from 5 = 40.00% SR
P/L: +3.00pts

February 2017:
6 winners from 14 = 42.86% SR
P/L: +16.50pts
ROI = +117.86%

2017 so far:
16 winners from 40 = 40.00% SR
P/L: +46.00pts
ROI = +115.00%

Overall:
456 winners from 1631 = 27.96% S.R
P/L: +418.73pts
ROI: +25.67%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

Click here for more details.

Stat of the Day, 20th February 2017

Saturday's Result :

3.50 Haydock : The Worlds End @ 3/1 BOG WON at 11/4 Mid-division, went 3rd before 6 out, led 3 out, kept on well from last to win comfortably by 9 lengths.

Monday's pick goes in the...

2.30 Carlisle

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Theatre Act 5/1 BOG

Why?

Today's pick is trained by Chris Grant and is due to be ridden by Brian Hughes and both have done well here at Carlisle in the past. Chris' horses were 4/11 (36.4% SR) for 61.7pts (+560.8% ROI) here last year and although the profit/loss figure is clearly skewed by a big-priced winner, the numbers still look good, as they include the following...

  • at Class 4 : 4/10 (40%) for 62.7pts (+627%)
  • over hurdles : 4/8 (50%) for 64.7pts (+808.6%)
  • at 2m1f : 3/6 (50%) for 59.6pts (+993.4%)
  • at 11/10 to 6/1 odds : 3/3 (100%) for 10.56pts (+355.3%)
  • on Good to Soft : 2/3 (66.6%) for 58.2pts (+1939.5%)
  • and ridden by Brian Hughes : 2/3 (66.6%) for 8.5pts (+283.3%)

Once again, the big-priced winner caveat applies to the above.

Today's jockey, Brian Hughes is enjoying another of those purple patches he seems to have on a regualr basis, winning 7 of his 25 rides last week and he too had a great year at Carlisle in 2016, winning 14 of 44 (31.8% SR) for 30.2pts (+68.6% ROI) and aside from his 2 winners from 3 rides for Chris Grant, those 44 runners could be broken down as follows...

  • at odds of 6/1 and shorter : 12/27 (44.4%) for 22.9pts (+84.7%)
  • in handicaps : 7/24 (29.2%) for 24.2pts (+100.9%)
  • at Class 4 : 9/22 (40.9%) for 25.4pts (+115.5%)
  • over hurdles : 5/17 (29.4%) for 6.95pts (+40.9%)
  • on Good to Soft : 5/16 (31.25%) for 20.3pts (+126.9%)
  • and at 2m/2m1f : 6/14 (42.9%) for 7.2pts (+51.4%)

As for the horse, Theatre Act, she has finished 11551 in her last five outings winning on her last two visits here at Carlisle and also winning at Sedgefield LTO 22 days ago. She looks well suited to the task ahead, as her hurdles record includes...

  • 3 wins from 8 in fields of 10-12 runners, 3/6 under Brian Hughes, 3/5 in cheekpieces,
  • 2/5 after 18-23 days rest, 2/3 at Carlisle, 1/2 over course and distance, 1/2 on good to soft.

And, in addition to all the above data...Since the start of 2012, class 3 to 5 handicap hurdlers with CD next to their name on the racecard and were also winners (anywhere) LTO 11 to 30 days ago are 93/373 (24.9% SR) for 201.8pts (+54.1% ROI), from which...

  • those running 16-25 days since last seen are 47/173 (27.2%) for 134.5pts (+77.7%)
  • those running on good to soft are 18/65 (27.7%) for 68.4pts (+105.2%)
  • and those running on good to soft 16-25 days since last seen are 10/33 (30.3%) for 59.4pts (+180%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Theatre Act @ 5/1 BOG which was available with both Bet365 and BetVictor at 9.55pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.30 Carlisle

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

A Magnificent Seven…

...sets of profitable results were achieved by our triallists over the last week, as seen in the Geegeez System Trials Roundup to 14/02/2017, with just one loss-maker preventing a clean sweep.

After a shaky start, The Snout took third place last week with a profit of £65.20 and have followed that up by being this week's star tipster with an excellent profit of some £239.89 and this now puts them in a very strong position as they approach the halfway point of their review : details of which are right here.

Honourable mentions must also go to our weekly runner-up, the consistently profitable Master Racing Tipster who added yet another £95.00 to their bottom line in the closing four days of their trial. A final result of +£632,13 in two months is excellent and I'll touch back on this one shortly, but for now : here's their full review.

This week's top three is completed by a service who doesn't tip every day, but the National Hunt Supremo has had one of its busier/better weeks and since my last update this service has managed to wipe out 77% of previous losses by making £56.75 in the past 7 days. As ever, every bet is here in our review.

Another four services combined for a total profit of £167.18 and with only PJ's Racing Bets making a loss of £56.75, it has to be considered a pretty good week for the review panel. Unfortunately for PJ's Racing Bets , this deficit eroded away almost 70% of the total profit accrued in the previous fortnight, so they're almost back to square one...

...as can be seen here on our overall leaderboard.

System Profit Service Days Trial days Weekly P/L Full Review
Master Racing Tipster £632.13 (at day 60) 60 £95.00 Click Here
Max Racing Partnership £239.56 (at day 44) 44 £35.88 Click Here
DG Tips £164.38 (at day 22) 22 £51.13 Click Here
The Snout £157.17 (at day 25) 25 £239.89 Click Here
Sports World £43.95 (at day 58) 58 £39.78 Click Here
PJ's Racing Bets £24.86 (at day 23) 23 -£56.75 Click Here
National Hunt Supremo -£16.96 (at day 27) 27 £57.50 Click Here
 JTs Racing -£18.45 (at day 30) 30 £40.39 Click Here

As usual, clicking the name of a service takes you straight to their home page, whilst there are links to every review above.

As I mentioned earlier, this was the end of the road for the review of Master Racing Tipster and it was a service that our reviewer Barry Gill was only too happy to approve. I've kept my eye on this one for some time now and I'm also happy to give it my seal of approval and here's why...

  • 94 selections in 60 betting days = approx. 11 bets per week which isn't too difficult to manage
  • mainly 1pt level stakes (116pts wagered in the trial =  average bet size of 1.23pts)
  • 30 winners at a strike rate of 31.91%
  • Profits of £632.13 are a 54.49% return on all stakes invested.

Master Racing Tipster has clearly passed the geegeez test and a full summary of their performance is right here. It's a service we're happy to approve and if you want to get involved with this one, the quickest way is via this link!

A subscription to the service is currently priced at £59.95 per month or £154.95 per quarter ( a saving of almost £25 over the quarter) or a substantially discounted life membership is available for £559.95 (ie less than 10 months' subs).

All payments are, unfortunately subject to VAT, but the MRT subscriptions are handled by Clickbank, who offer a no quibble 60-day money back guarantee.

And like all Betting Gods products we review here, you can try the service for one month for just £1.00 plus VAT via this link.

If you need any info on any of our featured services or if there's something you want us to cover, just let me know. You know where I am!

Chris

Monday Musings: All Change at the Top Table

Last Good Friday I made my first visit to the Lambourn Open Day, not in the usual way of the racehorse and horseracing enthusiast, but specifically to catch up with the estimable Corky Brown at Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows stables, writes Tony Stafford.

From the centre of the village the cars formed an orderly crocodile, mostly set on the same venue, with recently revitalised Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Sprinter Sacre the object of everyone’s adulation.

I remember writing that weekend how amazed I was that the old, maybe not so old, horse had spent most of that morning standing dutifully still as repeated waves of admirers took selfies with the four-legged superstar, probably filching the odd hair from his mane.

Nicky said, as he and Corky looked on a shade anxiously, that you couldn’t do that with any other horse. I cannot recall whether the question of retirement had yet been addressed, but soon after, his exclusive role as paddock adornment for major races – as at Newbury on Saturday – was established.

A mutual friend, Sir Rupert Mackeson, proprietor of Marlborough Bookshop among more colourful achievements in a long sometimes military life, had arranged the connection with Corky, who had at least informally agreed to become the subject of a book, written by yours truly.

That it did not come about was almost entirely due to the, as Sir Rupert called it, “Pot Boiler” published by the Racing Post on Sprinter Sacre’s career. The heroic champion chaser was a big part of the latter years of Corky’s long career with Fred Winter and then Henderson, and I thought it would have made a competing one about Corky Brown difficult in the limited specialist marketplace.

That said, on Good Friday the auguries were good: Hendo seemingly approving the concept and also understandably not dissenting from my opinion that Altior must be the one to beat in the following year’s Champion Hurdle. In the old days I would have steamed in with a proper ante-post bet, but those days for me are long gone.

So in a way it was something of a relief when a chasing career was decided for Altior, who, although seven lengths too good at the Festival for the otherwise flawless Min in his time with Willie Mullins, the trainer presumably still had in the back of his mind, the frustration of his inability to match the Irishman in recent seasons.

Since Binocular (2010) followed Punjabi as successive Champion Hurdle winners, Henderson has watched Mullins win four times with Hurricane Fly (2011 and 2013), and Faugheen and Annie Power, a late sub for her predecessor, in the last two runnings.

With both seemingly still at the top of their powers, Henderson must have been aware that Mullins would probably compile a team of top horses purely to stop Altior, but that worry would not have been so obvious if the gelding were to be switched to fences.

Three initial chase wins confirmed that the acceleration that took him unbeaten through his initial hurdling campaign was intact over fences. On Saturday in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury he annihilated admittedly a small field, but three classy and more experienced opponents with a display that suggested he might have similar ability as Sprinter Sacre at his peak.

The Arkle must be at his mercy and, with stablemate Buveur D’Air now switched from his supremely-promising novice chase programme to the suddenly talent-denuded Champion Hurdle, all must be serene in the Seven Barrows firmament.

Buveur D’Air and Altior have already met twice despite being in the same stable. Two years ago, on the Betfair Hurdle undercard, they filled second and third places behind Barters Hill, trained by former Henderson assistant Ben Pauling, in the Listed bumper. Barters Hill, winning for the third time in the midst of a seven-race romp only halted behind Unowhatimeanharry in last season’s Albert Bartlett, made all that day. Altior, hot favourite stayed on for third without matching the first two.

Altior gained his revenge in the Supreme Novice Hurdle, with Buveur D’Air third behind Min in a race full of talent, much of it from the Mullins stable and several of them running unexpectedly poorly.

Min’s defection from the Arkle at the same time as Faugheen’s reported injury early last week, soon after Annie Power’s own problems were reported, would have made Altior a short-priced favourite had he gone the hurdling route. Instead he’s 1-3 for the Arkle, while Buveur D’Air after a classy display against sub-standard Sandown opposition switched back to hurdling, may well collect the big one for the JP McManus ownership powerhouse.

Chances abound for Seven Barrows in many of the other feature races and if you want to see them detailed fully, Peter Thomas had a marathon write up in yesterday’s supplement of the paper of his recent trip to the gallops and stable last week, complete with news of a deer attack on one of the horses.

The Barters Hill bumper of two years ago was prophetically described immediately afterwards by Pauling as probably a top-class affair and while lacking in the same depth, last year’s renewal was won by nine lengths by subsequent Cheltenham bumper hero and Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle winner Ballyandy.

Saturday’s bumper there could well be in the ballpark of its 2015 version as this time it was Henderson to the fore with French import Daphne Du Clos, taking advantage of the hefty combined filly (5lb) and four-year-old allowance (10lb) from her elders, along with a 4lb extra penalty for previous Listed winner, Western Ryder.

It is rare, even in relatively uncompetitive bumper events in this country, for a horse to come to the front under a double handful as Daphne Du Clos did at the two-furlong pole. Sean Bowen, having his first (and almost certainly not his last) ride for the stable in his fourth season as a jockey, waited until Western Ryder came alongside and then pushed his mount, a daughter of Spanish Moon, clear in the last furlong. She will probably go either to Sandown or Aintree rather than the Festival bumper, and the style of her win was totally in keeping with the feeling of goodwill emanating from her handler these days.

It seems the Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci disappointments are beginning almost to match the excessive good fortune and success of recent seasons, and a quick snapshot of recent racing in Ireland confirms the downswing. Mullins has sent out 33 runners in the past two weeks, 14 starting favourite, and has won with eight of them. Admittedly, with six in the Grade 1 novice hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday, the average had to drop, but it was one of the outsiders Bacardys that won with hot favourite Saturnas tailed off last.

Bacardys was third in last year’s Champion Bumper at Cheltenham behind Ballyandy and no doubt will be pointed at one of the staying novice hurdles next month by which time his trainer will hope for the fortunes to have turned.

Stat of the Day, 13th February 2017

Saturday's Result :

4.10 Newbury : Vieux Lille @ 10/3 BOG 4th at 3/1 Tracked leader, lost place and behind from 7th, struggling 10th, blundered 4 out, plugged on to take modest 4th after 2 out, no chance with leaders.

Monday's pick goes in the...

2.50 Wolverhampton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Haraka @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

This 3yr old filly was a runner-up at a higher grade (C4) last time out and now drops down to Class 5 for her Tapeta debut for trainer Ralph Beckett, whose runners were 2 from 2 last week.

More long-term, his record on the Tapeta here at Wolverhampton stands at 19 winners from 81 (23.5% SR) for profits of 28.2pts at a decent ROI of 34.8%, with the following at play today...

  • those priced at 6/5 to 7/1 are 14/54 (25.9%) for 8.36pts (+15.5%)
  • at Class 5 : 13/48 (27.1%) for 40.6pts (+84.5%)
  • females are 6/33 (18.2%) for 26.2pts (+79.3%)
  • those ridden by Richard Kingscote are 4/8 (50%) for 3.37pts (+42.2%)
  • and those racing over 9.5f here are 3/8 (37.5%) for 3.07pts (+38.3%)

She's also of interest, for being by Fastnet Rock, who offspring are 25/102 (24.5% SR) for 100.8pts (+98.9% ROI) on Tapeta since the start of 2015, including...

  • those who didn't run on Tapeta LTO : 20/74 (27%) for 101.5pts (+137.2%)
  • here at Wolverhampton : 15/70 (21.4%) for 65.3pts (+93.3%)
  • at Class 5 : 14/65 (21.5%) for 62.4pts (+96%)
  • in handicaps : 15/64 (23.4%) for 48pts (+75%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Haraka @ 7/2 BOG which was available in half a dozen places at 8.20pm on Sunday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.50 Wolverhampton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

SotD Update, 6th to 11th February 2017

When a non-runner was my personal best result of a week reading 54N54, you know it has been a bit of a struggle! I did allude to the fact last week that we may be due a correction period after such a terrific run in December/January, traditionally difficult months for "tipsters".

Thankfully, the non-runner allied to a winner at 3/1 on Monday when Steve thankfully covered for me, meant that despite the poor form, we only lost 1pt on the week, meaning February still looks strong and we still need just one more winner to guarantee profit for the month!

Selections & Results : 06/02/17 to 11/02/17

06/02 : Nimr (adv 2/1 BOG) : WON at 3/1
07/02 : Eastern Dragon (adv 9/4 BOG) : 5th at 3/1
08/02 : Alfie Spinner (adv 4/1 BOG) : 4th at 9/2
09/02 : Babouska (adv 7/2 BOG) : non-runner
10/02 : Vyta du Roc (adv 5/2 BOG) : 5th at 15/8
11/02 : Vieux Lille (adv 10/3 BOG) : 4th at 3/1

06/02/17 to 11/02/17 :
1 winning bet from 5 = 20.00% SR
P/L: -1.00pts

February 2017:
4 winners from 9 = 44.44% SR
P/L: +13.50pts
ROI = +150.00%

2017 so far:
14 winners from 35 = 40.00% SR
P/L: +43.00pts
ROI = +122.86%

Overall:
454 winners from 1626 = 27.92% S.R
P/L: +415.73pts
ROI: +25.57%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take your £1, 30-day trial right now?

Click here for more details.

Sat TV Trends: 11th Feb 2017

Plenty more Cheltenham Festival clues on offer this weekend with decent cards at Newbury and Warwick – as always we've got all the ITV LIVE races covered for you......

 


 

 

 

NEWBURY Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RUK)

 

1.50 - Betfair Acca Edge Handicap Hurdle Cl2 3m52y ITV

12/12 – Had won no more than 3 times over hurdles before
10/12 – Had run within the last 9 weeks
9/12 – Had won over at least 2 ½ miles (hurdles) before
8/12 – Aged 7 or younger
8/12 – Carried 10-13 or more
8/12 – Winning distance – 3 ½ lengths or less
8/12 – Unplaced last time out
7/12 – Carried 11-1 or more
6/12 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
5/12 – Aged 7 years-old
5/12 – Had run over hurdles at Newbury before (no winners)
5/12 – Winners that went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
3/12 – French bred
2/12 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/12 - Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
2/12 – Raced at Haydock last time out
2/12 – Won last time out
2/12 – Winning favourites


2.25 - Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 3m ITV

11/13 – Had won at least 4 times over fences (UK) before
11/13 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
11/13 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
10/13 – Placed favourites
10/13 – Rated 150+
9/13 – Aged 8 or younger
9/13 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
8/13 – Winners that went onto race in that season’s Gold Cup (3 winners)
8/13 – Raced at either Cheltenham (4) or Kempton (4) last time out
7/13 – Had won over fences at Newbury before
6/13 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
5/13 – Winning distance – ¾ length or less
5/13 – Winning favourites
5/13 – Won last time out
5/13 – French bred
4/13 – Irish bred
3/13 – Returned a double-figure price
3/13 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
3/13 – Winners that went onto win the Gold Cup (Coneygree, Denman & Kauto Star)
2/13 – Ridden by Richard Johnson
2/13 – Won by the Pipe stable

Note: 2009 running was staged at Kempton


3.00 – Betfair Exchange Chase (Registered as The Game Spirit Chase) (Grade 2) Cl1 2m92y ITV

12/12 – Priced 5/1 or shorter in the betting
11/12 – Placed favourites
11/12 – Aged 8 or younger
11/12 – Winners went onto run in that season’s Champion Chase (2 winners)
10/12 – Raced within the last 8 weeks
9/12 – Winning distance – 5 lengths or more
9/12 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
9/12 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
6/12 – French bred
6/12 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
6/12 – Won last time out
6/12 – Had raced at Newbury (fences) before (4 winners)
6/12 – Winning favourites
4/12 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
4/12 – Ran at Sandown last time out
2/12 – Ridden by Barry Geraghty
2/12 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
2/12 – Winners that went onto win that season’s Champion Chase
1/12 – Winners that went onto win that season’s Arkle Chase


3.35 – Betfair Hurdle (Handicap) (Grade 3) Cl1 2m110y ITV

14/14 – Carried 11-7 or less in weight
13/14 – Aged 7 or younger
12/14 – Won between 2-4 times over hurdles in the UK/IRE before
11/14 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or less
12/14 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
12/14 – Rated 130 or higher
12/14 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
11/14 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
11/14 – Aged either 5 or 6 years-old
10/14 – Came from the first 7 in the betting
10/14 – Carried 10-9 or less in weight
9/14 – Placed favourites
8/14 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
7/14 – Irish bred
7/14 – Won last time out
6/14 – Came from the top 5 in the betting
6/14 – Aged 5 years-old (including 6 of last 9)
4/14 – Winning favourites
3/14 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
3/14 – Trained by Nicky Henderson (has won the race 5 times in all)
3/14 – Trained by Gary Moore
2/14  - Raced at Leopardstown last time out
2/14 - Owned by JP McManus
1/14 – Went onto win the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival that season (Spirit Leader 2003)
19 of the last 20 winners have been aged 7 or younger
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 14.5/1


WARWICK Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RUK)

 

2.05 - olbg.com Mares´ Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 2m5f ITV

Just three previous running
Willie Mullins has won 2 of the last 3 runnings
2 of the last 3 runnings went to the favourite
2 of the last 3 winners carried 11-5
Trainer Nicky Henderson has a 24% strike-rate with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Paul Nicholls has a 23% strike-rate with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Paul Cowley has a 33% strike-rate with his hurdlers at the track

2.40 – 7bets4free.com Kingmaker Novices´ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 2m ITV

7 previous runnings
7/7 – Aged 7 or younger
7/7 – Raced in the last 8 weeks
6/7 – Won over 2m fences before
5/7 – Had won no more than twice (fences) in the UK
5/7 – Rated between 137-147
5/7 – Returned 5/2 or shorter in the betting
4/7 – Aged 5 or 7 years-old
4/7 – Won last time out
3/7 – Unplaced favs
3/7 – Winning favourites
Trainer Paul Nicholls has a 33% strike-rate with his chasers at the track
2009 renewal was at Sandown

 

Trainers Quotes

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Harry Cobden’s Blog: 10th February 2017

Hello again, nearly the middle of February and Betfair weekend at Newbury, doesn't time fly?

Since I last blogged, I've ridden a couple more winners, the most recent being the most significant. Diego Du Charmil's victory in the Scottish County Hurdle was my 75th overall, which means I can no longer claim a conditional's allowance. It took me 23 months and 377 rides, and I'm told that's a strike rate of 19.9%, which is pretty good I guess!

Of course, I have to be thankful to many people, most importantly all the owners who have continued to support me, and also especially Paul Nicholls, Anthony Honeyball, Michael Blake, Ron Hodges and Colin Tizzard, all of whom have had enough faith to leg me up on their stable charges. Thank you!

Back to Diego du Charmil, the Fred Winter winner at last year's Festivaal, and it was a really nice performance in a good race. He loves top of the ground but has gone up to 149 now, which might just anchor him for a while. Still, it would be no surprise to see him make another trip north, to Ayr for Scottish Champion Hurdle in April.

A couple of weeks earlier - has it really been that long? - Virak ran well in defeat in the Peter Marsh Chase on very soft ground at Haydock. He's been dropped another five pounds to 147, which is almost a stone lower than when he ran second in the same race last year, and he must be getting well handicapped now. Soft ground and three miles plus is what he needs.

Anthony Honeyball's Cresswell Breeze is a tough little mare that I rode to finish second in a Listed Chase towards the end of January. She was beaten far enough by Desert Queen, a very smart horse on her day, but nicely clear of some decent mares in behind. This was probably a career best effort for her, and she is entered at Catterick for a Grand National trial on Monday.

At a lower level, Madame Lafite was surely going to win when brought down by the only horse in front of her two out. Johnny Portman's five year old is an ex-flat racer who was having her first start in a handicap: she's a nice genuine mare who will win races if her confidence is not affected by this spill.

Ibis du Rheu is another Festival handicap winner I steered since I last wrote. He won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' race, and ran a big race here when third in a quality Cheltenham novices' handicap chase. The race is normally a good pointer to the Festival handicaps, and my lad got hampered at a crucial stage.

I wasn't overly hard on him once his chance had gone but he ran on well. He'll have Festival targets off this same mark, 146, so with slightly better ground likely, he goes with a fighting chance just seven pounds higher than last year's win at the big meeting.

One who was perhaps a little disappointing on Trials Day is Old Guard. He showed a little bit in midfield behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle, but was beaten 18 lengths by the line. He could conceivably be one for something like the Coral Cup on better ground, though 150 is high enough in the weights. He has to prove he's the same horse that won the Greatwood and International Hurdles in the early part of last season.

I'm developing a soft spot for doughty stayer, Royal Salute. Since picking up the ride two starts back, which has coincided with the horse going up in trip and tackling softer groun, he's won both times. He ran possibly his best race yet when comfortably winning a Plumpton marathon on heavy. He's been nudged up five to 119, which seems fair enough, and he could still be progressing when faced with stamina-sapping conditions. His trainer has half an eye on the Eider Chase, over four miles at Newcastle! Sadly, he's unlikely to make the cut.

At the top level of race riding, where I aspire to be, it's about getting your head down, working hard, and making as few mistakes as possible. But we're all human, and I have to admit that my ride on Sweeping Beauty was not my finest hour. I got trapped wide and far enough back, but she was game enough to run on into third on the Lingfield all weather track. She was a touch better than the bare finishing position, and sold cheaply for just £12,000 at last week's Tattersall's mixed sale, which should turn out to be an absolute bargain.

 

FUTURE ENTRIES

Looking forward, today I ride Bears Rails for Colin Tizzard. He stayed on well over an extended three miles last time and I'd be more worried about the eight pound hike in the handicap than the half mile step up in trip. Also, I can't claim the three I had when he won last time now, so he's effectively up eleven, but on the positive side, he's still a relatively lightly raced seven year old so may have more to offer. I'll probably be front rank, but there are a few others who can race handily, so we'll play it by ear. I'd be no more than hopeful in what will be a gruelling race.

 

Looking to the weekend and I have been jocked up on a couple of nice horses at Warwick tomorrow. I still don't know if they'll run yet, so we'll have to see. Frodon is a smart horse but whether the two miles of the Kingmaker is enough of a test for him I'm not sure. Half an hour later, Vibrato Valtat may attempt to defy top weight in a handicap chase. He's two from two at Warwick, including when winning the 2015 Kingmaker, but has yet to prevail over this half mile longer trip despite running well in defeat on a number of occasions.

On Monday, I'm down to ride Dragoon Guard for one of the geegeez.co.uk syndicates. He's been a hard horse to win with, but I understand he's had a wind operation since his last run. He shouldn't mind any ease in the ground - he has a quite pronounced knee action - so if his wind is reasonably sound he'll hopefully be in the mix.

SEASONAL SCORES

I'm up to 43 winners now for the season. Jamie Bargary and Dave Noonan are both on 29, and there are roughly 11 weeks left of the season. My first - and only real - target is to try to win the conditional jockeys' title, but I'd really love to get the seven winners I need for 50 in my first full season riding. I'm just about on track, but things change fast in this game so I'll keep kicking!

Until next time...

- Harry 

Trainer Snippets and the Top Bar Icons

This video is by way of introducing a couple of very useful elements: one is a tactic for getting rapid lowdown on all runners in a race, the other is more strategic...

Have a watch and see what you think.

If you would like to register a free account, click here

If you want to know what else is housed inside Geegeez Gold, click here

And if you're ready to become a Gold subscriber, click here

 

Matt

No Monkey Business from DG Tips…

...if you'll excuse the play on words, but this almost familiarly named service was the standout performer in the Geegeez System Trials Roundup to 07/02/2017, despite it being a pretty good week all round.

In fact, of the eight services currently under the spotlight, six made a combined profit of £411.84, one broke even and just the one made a loss. That was Sports World and to be honest, they're already doomed as far as getting a positive review goes. The full facts and figures are here in the review, but just a glance at our league table below will tell its own story!

And now we'll switch focus back to the week's successes, where The Snout took third place with a profit of £65.20 (details here), starting the process of clawing themselves back from a poor week last time around, whilst this week's top two earners were last week's two worst performers!

JTs Racing received the wooden spoon 7 days ago after a weekly loss of some £136.67, but managed to recoup £94.50 of that deficit with a good start to the new month, our review shows how they did that, but just like last week they weren't quite as good as DG Tips.

DG Tips avoided that wooden spoon by just £9.67 last week and they outperformed JTs Racing by £37.75 this week on their way to an excellent return of £132.25, which more than covered the previous week's losses. It does seem a bit of a rollercoaster ride with this one, so I'm not fully sold on it just yet, but if you want a full breakdown of the selections, our review is right here.

And here's the latest "league table"...

System Profit Service Days Trial days Weekly P/L Full Review
Master Racing Tipster £537.13 (at day 56) 56 £40.30 Click Here
Max Racing Partnership £203.68 (at day 38) 38 £0.00 Click Here
DG Tips £113.25 (at day 17) 17 £132.25 Click Here
PJ's Racing Bets £81.61 (at day 16) 16 £61.38 Click Here
Sports World £4.17 (at day 55) 55 -£42.27 Click Here
 JTs Racing -£58.84 (at day 23) 23 £94.50 Click Here
National Hunt Supremo -£74.46 (at day 23) 23 £18.21 Click Here
The Snout -£82.72 (at day 17) 17 £65.20 Click Here

As usual, clicking the name of a service takes you straight to their home page, whilst there are links to every review above.

With another steady, if unspectacular week under their belts (+£40.30), Master Racing Tipster edges closer to both completion of its review (which is right here) and also gaining the Geegeez seal of approval. It is highly likely that this time next week, I'm going to be advising you to take a subscription with them, so if you wanted to get in early, here's my brief take on Master Racing Tipster...

Like all Betting Gods products we review here, it's an affordably priced product with an introductory offer and all payments are covered by a no-quibble, 60-day money-back guarantee, so if our 60 day review isn't long enough for you, you could paper trade for another 2 months risk-free.

If you wanted to get in on the action now, either click the Master Racing Tipster name anywhere on this page or this link will take you directly to their homepage, where you've a choice of subscription options...

  • Monthly at £59.95 per month
  • Quarterly at £154.95 per quarter (saving almost £25)
  • or a substantially discounted life membership is available for £559.95 (ie less than 10 months' subs)

You can, however try the service for one month for just £1.00 plus VAT via this link.

If you need any info on any of our featured services or if there's something you want us to cover, just let me know. You know where I am!

Chris

Irish Angle: The Value of Handicaps

When writing about the Mullins/Elliott title race last time, something that stood out was the importance of high-value handicaps in the outcome of the trainers’ championship, writes Tony Keenan. Those races seemed worthy of a study all of their own, not least because I love them myself; give me a classy handicap with a host of runners over a small-field graded race any day of the week. That said, these races invariably being sponsored by bookmakers probably isn’t the best sign; Ladbrokes back an inordinate number of valuable handicaps in Ireland like the Troytown, and Boyle has the Irish National while big Leopardstown events are named after Paddy Power and Coral.

Even so, there are some angles that can be exploited, not least trainers. Below are the trainer figures for Irish national hunt handicaps which were worth more than £20,000 to the winner (I used the Horse Race Base database which works off pounds sterling), including only those who had more than 30 runners, since the 2010/11 season:

 

Trainer Wins Runners Win % Place % Level Stakes A/E
W. Mullins 22 310 7.1% 27.4% -139.37 0.74
G. Elliott 17 249 6.8% 12.3% -73.50 0.79
T .Martin 11 154 7.2% 27.5% -78.77 0.69
N. Meade 9 195 4.6% 18.0% -95.50 0.53
T. Mullins 7 80 8.8% 28.8% +8.75 1.10
E. Harty 7 49 14.3% 30.6% +19.5 1.26
A. Moore 6 87 6.9% 23.0% -37.00 0.70
M. Morris 5 89 5.6% 18.9% -47.50 0.79
T. O’Brien 4 30 13.3% 36.7% +7.00 1.75
J. Harrington 4 83 4.8% 25.3% -30.00 0.57

 

It’s the usual suspects at the top with Mullins, Elliott and Martin filling out the podium positions, while both Dessie Hughes and Colm Murphy were in the list too but I stripped it down to those training currently.

Tom Mullins and Eddie Harty are the surprises; Harty does well across the board and his patient style of campaigning his horses clearly pays off. Minella Foru won last season’s Paddy Power for the trainer in the manner of one that could go in again – it was his first start over three miles – and there was some promise in his return at Naas last month.

Of the major trainers, Henry De Bromhead comes out badly, his numbers reading 3 winners from 81 runners with an actual over expected of 0.43, the lowest in the top 20 trainers. He did however improve his record with Champagne West winning the Thyestes, and Stellar Notion went close to winning the Leopardstown Chase in the same week.

Another angle worth considering here is the record of trainers in both hurdle and chase races; I’ve gone a bit deeper with the chases as there are more of them.

 

Valuable Handicap Hurdles

Trainer Wins Runners Win % Place % Level Stakes A/E
W. Mullins 11 140 7.9% 27.9% -53.50 0.83
G. Elliott 6 91 6.6% 23.1% -20.00 0.73
E. Harty 4 25 12.5% 28.0% +12.50 1.44
N. Meade 4 65 6.2% 15.4% -12.50 0.67
T. Martin 4 78 5.1% 28.2% -58.37 0.46

 

 

Valuable Handicap Chases

Trainer Wins Runners Win % Place % Level Stakes A/E
G. Elliott 11 158 7.0% 20.3% -53.50 0.83
W. Mullins 11 170 6.5% 27.1% -85.87 0.66
T. Martin 7 75 9.3% 26.7% -20.40 0.95
A. Moore 6 71 8.5% 28.2% -21.00 0.83
N. Meade 5 130 3.9% 19.2% -83.00 0.46
T. O’Brien 4 24 16.7% 28.9% +13.00 2.11
T. Mullins 4 45 8.9% 28.9% +6.00 1.08
T. Walsh 4 20 20.0% 45.0% +6.50 1.61
M. Morris 4 83 4.8% 15.7% -49.00 0.67
J. Ryan 3 28 10.7% 39.3% -12.00 1.41

 

Harty comes out well in the hurdle table but the real notables are with the chasers where Terence O’Brien is a revelation, so much so that his excellent record takes him into the top ten overall. It’s not as if his four winners were all with the same horse; Ballyadam Approach won two but there were also wins for She’s Got Grit and Farrells Fancy. Ted Walsh, when taking time out from media duties and telling his kids how to ride, does really well from very few runners while John Ryan sneaks in at the bottom. He’s a trainer that likes to run his horses plenty but to good effect – note his excellent place strikerate – and Kylecrue looks one that can win another good handicap judging on recent efforts; he has earned over €200,000 already.

While all the races covered here are valuable, this does not mean they are as competitive as each other. Part of this may simply be to do with the shape of the calendar; in the 2016/17 season, there are 44 national hunt handicaps in Ireland worth more than €50,000 with the breakdown being 29 to 15 in favour of chases. Trip also plays a big part in this. The glamour races over hurdles are invariably over the minimum distance while over fences they are mainly for stayers; it seems we, or at least the racing authorities, want our hurdlers to run fast and our chasers to run, if not slow, then at least long. Few remember the winners of the Proudstown Handicap Hurdle (2m7f, Navan, November) or the Kinsale Handicap Chase (2m1f, Cork, October) but they will recall winners of the Galway Hurdle or Thyestes Chase.

Consider the breakdown of races by distance below per this season’s calendar; I’ve divided them into four categories: speed (16-18f), intermediate (19f-22f), stamina (23f-26f) and extreme (27f plus). There are no extreme distance hurdles in Ireland though I do wonder what they would look like. Sadly, given many people’s general disdain for the division, I doubt there would be much interest. I’ve also included the average field size for each type of race going back to the 2010/11 season.

 

Distance 50k plus races 100k plus races Average field size
Hurdles      
Speed 8 4 16.8
Intermediate 4 1 18.9
Stamina 3 0 18.3
Chases      
Speed 6 1 11.6
Intermediate 10 4 15.0
Stamina 9 7 17.6
Extreme 4 1 20.0

 

With the hurdle races, the field sizes are pretty consistent across all trips with the two mile races having the lowest average of the three; this may be a product of there being more opportunities in these types of races while there are also many options in the UK too. The speed races over fences come off as the poor relation by a long way and it has consistently been the weakest division of Irish handicap chases; I’m surprised an enterprising trainer hasn’t bought a few half-decent UK handicappers to run them in these races. As the chasers go up in trip, the field sizes (and the prizemoney) get bigger though the maximum field Irish National every season plays a big part in these numbers.

Given all this prizemoney that is available, one would think that these competitive races would produce horses that were up to competing in graded races. On the whole, this has not been the case with most of the big handicap winners experiencing their career zenith on the day of victory. Of the 92 winners of the top Irish jumps handicaps since 2010/11, only 16 went on to prove bona-fide graded class by my reckoning. They did include Gold Cup placers like Djakadam and On His Own but perhaps the most interesting thing was the quality of the Galway handicaps with Overturn, Rebel Fitz, Carlingford Lough, Missunited, Road To Riches, Quick Jack and Clondaw Warrior all emerging from the Plate and Hurdle recently. Not bad for a summer jumps meeting!

- Tony Keenan

Monday Musing: Dream Season

As we get within a month or so of Cheltenham, the familiar forces are gathering, writes Tony Stafford. Over here the Nicholls and Henderson pulses quicken as expeditionary representatives travel far and wide to put down markers. In Ireland, the 1-14 shots that are Douvan and the rest toddle around to collect the odd €20k prize without breaking sweat on the way to Festival glory next month.

We’ve seen most of it before, so when something totally out of kilter with the norm confronts our vision, it is all the more enjoyable.

In Ireland, jumping especially is mostly about the Mullinses and the Walshes, leavened with increasing vigour by Gordon Elliott. All of the above were typically among the winners at Punchestown yesterday.

The scale of Willie Mullins’ and Elliott’s stable power must constantly frustrate would-be challengers for the major prizes, so when one of the lesser lights beats them at their own game, the satisfaction must be all the greater.

That sort of pleasure was clearly evident in the body language between rider Katy Walsh and trainer Ross O’Sullivan after Ruby’s sister made all with an enterprising and powerful ride aboard Baie Des Iles in the three and a half mile Grand National Trial. I would go so far as to say I reckon it was one of the best front-running rides I’ve ever seen in a long-distance chase, given depth of opposition and testing ground conditions.

The historical fact is that O’Sullivan, who happens to be Katy’s husband, was winning his third race of the season. His French-bred six-year-old mare is already building up a decent record, this being a second Irish victory following a Punchestown three-miler last season before a good second behind Bonny Kate in this event a year ago.

Ruby Walsh rode her that time, but yesterday was required for Sambremont, trained by Willie. That gelding stayed on late to pass Bonny Kate for second close home, but for almost the entire trip, Baie Des Iles, jumping boldly and accurately, led a nice few lengths clear of her old rival, with the remainder of the 15 runners, all geldings, miles behind.

Ross O’Sullivan’s best score to date has been four, two seasons ago. In seven campaigns over jumps (latest first) his scores are 3, 3, 4, 0, 3, 0 and 0. On the Flat it’s 2, 2, 0, 1, 0. Both last year’s Flat wins came with the veteran Doonard Prince, who collected consecutive autumn sprints at their local track, the Curragh, in fields of 27 and 23!

This though was at the other end of the stamina spectrum and considering Baie Des Iles’ relative youth, the fact she stays so well explains the trainer’s relish for a challenge for Newcastle’s four-mile Eider Chase next month. She’s already been sixth to Rogue Trader in the Irish Grand National and fifth behind Gold Cup candidate Native River in the Welsh Grand National, in each case as the only five-year-old in either race.

Yesterday’s win will have earned the daughter of Barastraight – unfashionable in France where he stands - a hike towards the 150 mark, but seemingly the prospect of soft ground on the tough Newcastle track offers the potential of perfect components for Baie Des Iles and her determined ally in the saddle.

I often get a reminder of the Eider Chase and two or three other now otherwise fading memories of an old former Daily Telegraph colleague, especially when, as on Friday, I see Grand National-winning jockey Graham Thorner at the sales, where he has become a bit of an ace in picking up unexposed hitherto under-achievers from the big yards.

He regularly turns £2k ugly ducklings into nice jumping prospects, but there’s always time for a reminder, as on Friday, of the day at Kempton when he rode a winner for Noel Blunt’s father-in-law. My Mate won by 25 lengths and the next day, recounting the tale, Blunty added proudly that of course he had given the jockey, who’d become a bit of a pal to him and his wife, a present. “Yes,” said Noel, “I gave him two quid!” I don’t think Thorner ever declared it to the tax people.

Noel eventually went on to the Sporting Life as chief sub-editor and there enjoyed cult status with such headlines as “Scaling the Eider” and “The Hanging Baskets of Babylon” actually appearing in the paper. Even before he so helpfully engineered my recruitment to the DT when a racing desk member died suddenly, the funniest of all was the Kruggerand episode when John Oaksey mentioned the gold South African coins in his Sunday article. Scratching of heads all round, until Noel had a brainwave. “Ask Tony <I was doing minor sports results on the next desk>. “He knows Latin!” Still miss you mate.

This is the time of year that my week quickens with young horses getting going on the gallops and mares preparing to foal. Ray Tooth has one on the board already from Lawyers Choice who has a nice big colt by Garswood, whose foals made up to £75k despite his modest initial stud fee of around £6,000 (£4,000 this year).

Garswood, of course, is a Group 1 winning son of Dutch Art, who produced two nice winners from Lawyers Choice – Dutch Art Dealer and Dutch Law, the latter who did so well for us last year. Their brother, Highway Robber, is the likely favourite for a race at Newcastle tomorrow.

His trainer, Wilf Storey, won with Table Manners on the same track on Saturday night, so she became the third dual winner for her dam, Nine Red, who is about to produce to consistent Yorkshire-based sire, Monsieur Bond.

As Tattersalls’ newly expanded two-day sale showed, demand for British and Irish bloodstock remains high, and Ray’s policy of producing his own horses rather than pay what’s needed at auction with so much high-powered overseas investment has to be our way forward.

To that end, I got to see a nicely-made son of Equiano out of flying filly Catfish, who we still maintain might have carried the accolade “the world’s fastest racehorse” had her saddle not slipped at the start of her Vodafone Dash attempt at Epsom a few years back. She finished third behind the John Best-trained Stone of Folca in the fastest electronically timed five furlongs, so, mated with a fast stallion, could well produce a decent juvenile. Chris Wall likes what he’s seen of him so far.

In all there are eight juveniles (seven home-bred) going into training and no doubt I’ll be boring you with all the minor excitements as their training regimes proceed. After all, Flat racing on turf returns next month. What happened to the winter? We didn’t get one, just daily Festival updates from November onwards.