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Stat of the Day: 17/01/13

Stat of the Day: 17/01/13

Stat of the Day, 17th January 2013

SotD's 'binary January' continued yesterday, as Laura Mongan took her own personal binary record in that particular race to 01010: two wins and three last placed horses, as First Avenue was unsuited by the slow pace and never got involved.

Today, with a change of chair and frost in the air, I'm swerving the turf in case it's cancelled and heading for the beach at Dunstall Park, and the...

7.00 Wolverhampton

A very trappy Class 4 handicap is not ideal, but there's really very little to go at today, so go at it we shall.

The horse for this course is Michael Easterby's Desert Vision, a 47 race veteran. He's run fifteen of those 47 races here, and won five of them. Indeed, his full course record is a supremely consistent 562811212131332. Thus, in his last eleven races here, he's not been out of the frame. And he's won three of his seven starts at this trip.

This afternoon's contest sees him race two grades below the level in which he was third - beaten less than two lengths - on his penultimate start. True, he was a disappointing second when sent off as an odds-on chance in a claimer last time, but he looks sure to run his race again this evening.

Pace in the race could come from the SotD stalwart, Dubawi Island or perhaps Spifer or Copperwood, with Desert Vision's own prominent run style matched by his middle draw. Graham Gibbons knows his way round Dunstall Park better than most, with a 19% win and 38% place strike rate.

After a win or nowhere sort of month so far, Desert Vision is the type to be there or thereabouts almost inevitably, so each way is the only way to play. 6/1 was the best available as I wrote this at 11pm last night, so make sure you click the link below to find the pick of the odds when you read SotD...

Click here for the latest betting on the 7.00 Wolverhampton



Compiling a Tissue

Compiling a Tissue

To make your betting profitable, it is essential to make sure you get the best value from your selections. Compiling your own tissue is the way to ensure that the odds you take represent enough value to be successful in the long run. Backing 2/1 horses at 4/1 is the way forward where possible, of course! But by not knowing the "true" price of a horse, you may well end up doing the exact opposite.

This week, Tony Keenan takes us through how he would approach the compilation of a tissue for a race in...

...The Punting Confessional – Wednesday, January 16th 2013

Back in the comments section of this diary in January 2nd, a reader Ger asked that I write something on compiling my own tissue and that’s the spur for this piece. As a contrarian I’ve never been great at doing exactly what I’m told so I’ve decided to take a race from scratch and look at how I played it, from analysis stage through pace and tissues to striking a bet.

The race in question is the 8.50 from Dundalk on Friday January 4th, a ten-furlong handicap for horses aged four and up with the top-weight racing off 89.

The first notable about this race is that it’s an older horse handicap; these are my bread-and-butter races and I know I’m not alone in such things, Dave Nevison having commented similarly in one of his books. With horses like this, inside information becomes much less relevant as their form is in the book as they have had a number of runs and this provides the pure form student with an edge.

I will have an intimate knowledge of the horses involved, having watched most if not all of their recent starts on replay, and will know what to expect. Also, this is a classic example of the middle-of-the-road racing I prefer; the horses are good enough to be reliable as opposed to the bottom feeders yet not well enough known by the betting public to have the value squeezed out of their prices. Finally, the race was at Dundalk, a track whose virtues I have extolled in the past.

My notes from the race are below. Initially I cut-and-paste the entire race-card from Horse Racing Ireland’s race administration site after which I add my own notes, pace comments, tissue prices and shortlist. It’s handy to save these files on your computer as you can look back and check them again.

(8:50)  4E Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk H'cap
€6,900.00  ( 1m 2f 150y - 4yo+ )[MAX 14]    

  1  2 King's Trail (JPN) (89) (TKodama) - RCoakley(7) ................ 10,00 – no recent form – NO – prominent – 20/1

  2  7 Salam Alaykum (82) (JFEgan) - JFEgan .....  9,07 – is likely one that is ahead of his mark still, the Placere form worked out; interesting in a race like this – tracks pace/prominent over this trip – 9/2

  4 Denny Crane (GB) (81) (ELynam) - SFoley(V) .....................  9,06 – isn’t in form nor well-treated – NO – held up – 12/1

  4  1 Shake The Bucket (79) (NMadden) - LPDempsey(7) .............  9,04 – obvious chance with affinity for course – tracks pace – 9/2

Your first 30 days for just £1

  5  6 Alghanem (76) (MPhelan) - DEMullins(3).....  9,01 – rising out of bottom grade to take on decent types; one to be against in this good company as also a dodge – ? – chases pace – 8/1

  6  3 Prince Of Fashion (76) (JGeoghegan) - PJSmullen(T) ...............  9,01 – met trouble last time and drop to this trip won’t be a problem; player and does go well for Smullen – mid-div – 9/2

  7  5 Shukhov (76) (GMLyons) - GFCarroll ...........  8,13 – would be one to take on having gotten a rise in the weights, taking a long time to win beforehand; last time out winner likely to be overbet – chases pace – 8/1

  9 Hurricane In Dubai (73) (DMarnane) - FLynch .........................  8,10 – stable switch – NO – new connections; hard to call – 20/1

  8 Silverlord (FR) (69) (GElliott) - .(T) ...............  8,08 – dog –  NO – chases pace – 16/1


PACE: King’s Trail may go on with Salam Alaykhum a possibility but it’s unlikely to be break-neck.

SHORTLIST: This looks between Salam Alaykhum, Shake The Bucket and Prince Of Fashion; the first-named most likely to be overpriced.  
First to explain each note; after all the factual stuff about weight, trainer and such like I add my own comments. They tend to be quite short here as I’m dealing with horses I know well and after that I put a NO if I think they have no chance, a question mark if I have doubts or leave it blank if I give them a chance. Next I put in the pace comment which is an amalgam of their run styles over their last three to five starts with a mix of intuition if I expect something different today; perhaps there is a dramatic change in distance or headgear being applied.

Having done each horse in sequence, I’ll look their pace comments to see how the race is likely to be run and only then will I do the tissues; they come after the pace as the I want to factor that into my figures, pace being an underrated aspect that can provide an edge. I price up the race to 100% and for a small field like this it only takes a matter of minutes and if I’m out on my first set of figures, I’ll adjust them until they’re right. Only then will I put together the shortlist which is more of list of overpriced horses than likely winners.

Now the really interesting part comes as you compare your prices to others in the public domain and those offered by the bookmakers.
Here, in three columns are the relevant prices, the first is my tissue, the second the best morning odds and the third the final starting price:

King’s Trail                          20/1         16/1         18/1

Salam Alaykhum                9/2          8/1           9/2

Denny Crane                       12/1          9/1           7/1

Shake The Bucket              9/2          4/1           10/3

Alghanem                            8/1           3/1           4/1

Prince Of Fashion              9/2          11/2          5/1

Shukhov                               8/1           7/1           7/1

Hurricane In Dubai            Non-runner

Silverlord                              16/1         14/1         14/1
It’s pretty obvious the horse(s) I’d want to back looking at those prices but one also needs to know why they, and others, are the wrong prices. Let’s start with Alghanem who is the key horse in the race in many respects as he’s a bad favourite. A bad favourite is the best thing a punter can have as it makes it a betting race. Alghanem was a bad favourite for a few reasons; he was just one from sixteen before this race, having shown head carriage and weak-finishing tendencies in the past, and he was also coming out of the bottom grade of handicaps having copped a 12lbs rise from 63 to 75 for his sole win.

He was facing a seismic jump in class, going from racing against horses rated in the 50s and low-60s to taking on a handicap where the top weight was rated 87, essentially skipping a couple of grades, something few horses can do and much less, ones with dodgy temperaments. Not only that he had a really interesting betting profile and by this I mean how he tends to move in the market. He had landed a colossal on December 7th, backed from 8/1 in the morning to 9/4 on course, and I suspect the layers were still nursing their wounds from this and priced him up far too cautiously which meant other horses were value.

Shukhov was another I wanted to be against as he simply won in his turn last time in a weak race having been a long-standing maiden beforehand and was going to find this tougher upped in the weights; disappointingly however, he was not put in short in the morning even though he was a last time out winner which may have been to do with his trainer Ger Lyons. Despite being the preeminent handler at the track, his horses are not often punted.

The trio to note were Shake The Bucket, Prince Of Fashion and Salam Alaykhum. Shake The Bucket was just a fair price in the morning as his chance was there for all to see, an in-form course specialist. He often drifts in the market pre-race so may have been of interest at that point but I felt a slow pace would be against him as this trip was his minimum and he is often dropped in. Prince Of Fashion was a touch overpriced at 11/2 though not hugely but Salam Alaykhum was the rick and the reason was simple: out of sight, out of mind.

He hadn’t run since October 5th but looked a well-treated horse, his form with Placere from the summer having worked out particularly well and he had been a well-backed favourite in the Ladies Derby at the Curragh on ground he wouldn’t have liked. That wouldn’t always be the best guide as such market moves can be false but I felt it was true in his case and he was certainly overpriced, indeed the opposite of the recency-biased thinking that had Alghanem in favourite.

In the end I backed Salam Alaykhum at an average of 8/1 and Prince Of Fashion at an average of just over 5/1 to split stakes. The former was a great bet as the market told, supporting him into 9/2 at the off. I hoped he would go on at the trip as he had done in the past with no real pace pressure likely. The latter was a poor bet as I got suckered into backing him in the morning when there appeared to be some support from him and I punted at just over my tissue price which isn’t a good move; you really need more of an edge.

I saw the market shift for him and panicked which was a mistake and I also should have remembered that he’s not really the horse to back at a short price; he wins a low percentage of his starts and is inconsistent and is mainly one to take a chance on at bigger prices.

In the end, the pace scuppered the race for as neither King’s Trail nor Salam Alaykhum went on and it was run at a crawl with Shake The Bucket making all and winning with a bit in hand; he got a soft lead. It was a surprise to see him do such as he’d never raced on the pace before. I made one good bet in the race with Salam Alaykhum and he shaped like one ahead of his mark, held up in rear and the only one to make any ground up in the closing stages, ultimately finishing fourth of eight in the manner of one that can win soon. Prince Of Fashion was a poor bet and ran like one.

In this race, I got it wrong in terms of the result but not with Salam Alaykhum at the prices; he was definitely a bet. Not every race will throw up overpriced horses like him but tissue prices are certainly a big help in finding his like.

Stat of the Day: 16/01/13

Stat of the Day: 16/01/13

Stat of the Day, 16th January 2013

Shirazz wasn't disgraced yesterday on debut, but she did only finish in mid-division as the market suggested she would. She was a little off the pace early doors and had no kick towards the end. Her next run should give a better indication of her future promise.

We're going to stay on the All-Weather today and head South to the banks of the Thames (-ish!) for a two-mile Class 4 Handicap, aka the...

6.15 Kempton

This race is generally a competitive affair, but trainer Laura Mongan has managed to saddle the winner here in both 2010 and 2012 and bids for her third success in four years.

Her entry in today's contest was last year's winner, First Avenue who won this race in 2012 off a mark some 9lbs heavier than today. He has been going well over hurdles lately and enters today on good heart/form, making the top three in five of his last nine races since winning here last January.

The horse's task should be helped today by the booking of in-form claimer Robert Tart, who in addition to bringing his 7lb claim to the table also possesses good profit figures from his races. He has a 32pt level stakes profit for the season and an 52.5pts profit overall on the A/W.

First Avenue won't have it all his own way today, but any repetition of either the form from last year's race or the way he ran recently at Sandown (an unlucky fall at the last denied what looked a victory) should put him there or thereabouts.

At 10.45am, the prices on offer varied from 4/1 to 6/1 and I feel he has a very good chance today, so it's a 1pt win bet on First Avenue at 6/1 BOG with BetVictor. You can, of course, always check the odds on offer elsewhere by taking the opportunity to...

Click here for the latest betting on the 6.15 Kempton


Stat of the Day: 15/01/13

Stat of the Day: 15/01/13

Stat of the Day, 15th January 2013

No play yesterday as Club House was declared a non-runner. This horse seems interesting, so I'll be looking for him next time out. A tricky day today with very heavy ground at both the NH meetings (Ffos Las & Lingfield). I had an E/W bet in mind on Rosoff in the 2.00 Lingfield, but doubts over the quality of the track (still covered as I wrote this!) have sent me scurrying back to the All-Weather again!

There is, of course an A/W Junior Bumper at Lingfield, but Dunstall Park is the main focus of any All-Weather action today, so that's where we're going. Our race is a twelve-runner, Class 5 Maiden over a mile and a half, the...

3.25 Wolverhampton

A Class 5 Maiden on a Tuesday afternoon on the Wolverhampton polytrack won't be everyone's first choice as a betting medium, but I believe we've an angle that could well prove profitable, as Jeremy Noseda's record in maiden events here has been exceptional in recent years.

In fact, in the last five years, Jeremy has sent 38 horses out to compete in these maiden events at the Dunstall Park track and sixteen of them have returned as winners with a further ten runners making the frame. His win strike rate of  42.1% has generated 24pts profit at level stakes (=89.5% POI), whilst E/W backers have enjoyed a profitable return of 29.6pts, courtesy of the 68.4% place strike rate. This place strike rate, whilst impressive over a five-year period has actually improved to a staggering 76.2% in the last two years, whilst Jeremy has maintained his 42% win ratio.

No prizes for guessing that Mr Noseda has just one runner today, in the form of Shirazz.

Shirazz is an interesting newcomer and makes her belated debut at the age of four. Whilst her dam wasn't rated as anything special, her breeding tends to suggest that this middle distance type of trip will be her forté. She's a half-sister to the 5yr old Peachez who has scored 3 wins and 4 places from 8 races at today's trip and also won twice (plus a place) here at Wolverhampton, so our selection is expected to take to the surface quite readily.

Apprentice Amy Scott (5lb claimer) takes the ride today and she has also ridden Peachez to good effect in the past (3 wins and 6 further places from 13).

All this is, of course, pure conjecture, as nobody really knows which way this one will go on debut, but the breeding ( also related to several USA winners) and the trainers' stats tend to suggest we'll at least get a decent run for our money and that an E/W bet wouldn't be an unreasonable thing to suggest.

At 10.15am, the markets were showing her at anything between 7/1 BOG and 12/1 (non-BOG). So, my play today is a 0.5pt E/W bet on Shirazz at 11/1 BOG with BetVictor. You can, of course, always check the odds on offer elsewhere by taking the opportunity to...


Click here for the latest betting on the 3.25 Wolverhampton



122 Winners Already For Willie Mullins

Did you know Willie Mullins has already fired in 122 winners this season? He’s one of seven trainers on Andy Newton’s hot-list this week....... Read more

Placepot Picks

Placepot Picks

Well, last week's first attempt at a Monday placepot was the most bizarre double-edged sword you could wish for. Whilst the basic perm returned a small profit, the more advanced approach 'won' the placepot, but did not return invested stakes. In other words, it made a loss.

That tells only half the story, however, because the 36 line basic perm claimed all six winners (and four seconds as well!), meaning it would have won the tote jackpot, which was in play at Wolverhampton that day. The jackpot paid £1,823.80, a 50/1 winner for anyone who was brave (reckless?) enough to stake £36 on the jackpot.

But, even more incredible, the six horse accumulator, at odds of 13/8, 7/4, 5/1, 5/4, 6/1 and 4/1 paid £3,410.86, which is 94/1 on your £36 investment!

Hmm. Well, whilst we almost certainly won't trouble to jackpot judge again any time soon, we can definitely aspire to a winning return on the placepot. And I'll be tilting at those particular windmills down at Plumpton. Soft ground, small fields, and Monday racing make for the possibility of a tidy return for the shrewd punter. So let's see if we can't gain temporary admission to the 'shrewd punter's club' for the afternoon...

Race one is off at 1.10, and do make sure you check for non-runners between now and then. Note also that I'll be using A's and B's for the advanced perm, details of which are here, and a ticket builder tool to construct the wager, which you can use for free here.

Race 1: 1.10

Valdez had looked extremely promising prior to his Cheltenham flop last time. It's possible that heavy ground was too soggy for him or, more likely, he was simply outclassed by better horses. Either way, this represents a return to slightly firmer going (but still soft!) and a good bit easier class. Alan King is the top man at the track with a 39% win rate in the last five years, and Valdez is my 'bar a fall' banker to kick us off.

A - 1

Race 2: 1.40

Assuming we haven't succumbed to the dreaded early bath, courtesy of an unplaced odds on jolly, it's a seven runner handicap chase for us. These are the type of races - with quite competitive fields and only two places to go at - which can do some damage to the placepot pools, and I'll be going deep enough in the hope of picking up some pieces.

I'm playing A's and B's here, as follows:

The favourite, Goring Two, has been well backed, and loves this sort of trip/ground. The old boy's prominent racing style is suited here too, and he's an A player, though I'm ultimately hoping he's out of the frame. Owner Occupier has slipped to a winning mark again, has also been backed and, whilst he might want it a bit quicker, he does have soft ground form. A.

On B, I'm siding with Pindar and Brannoc. The former will probably bid to make all, and he could go close to succeeding in that attempt. The latter is interesting: from the shrewd Tony Newcombe stable, he's very lightly raced and showed marked improvement last time out on his first run since April last year. If he improves on that, he'll be thereabouts in a weak enough contest.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Lajidaal has had plenty of chances and never won off higher than 87. He's 95 here and expected to plod on without, hopefully, bothering the first two places.

A - 2, 4 B - 5, 6

Race 3: 2.10

Race three, and we move into the first of two four-runner - and therefore win only - placepot races. Quartz de Monceau made all to win last time out, but had previously been beaten out of sight by Beware Chalk Pit on this sort of ground. His only previous win was when defeating Hobb's Dream, who also re-opposes today.

Red Anchor hasn't shown any indication that he might have a future as a race horse, and a very small insurance win bet might suffice 'just in case' he decides to bugger up our placepot aspirations. Actually, I think I'll include him on C, because he is first time in a handicap and up against mostly professional losers, despite a couple of last time winning efforts.

Beware Chalk Pit is the most likely winner and has A to himself. B for Quartz and Hobb's, and C for Anchor. (If C wins, that means all five other legs must be A horses).

A - 1 B - 3, 4 C - 2

Race 4: 2.40

The second four-runner contest and this one, a mares' novices hurdle, looks more straightforward. Essentially, Too Generous has shown a much higher level of form to date. She does have a good bit more weight to carry here, and not all mares can carry weight, and there are a couple of interesting types in opposition despite the short field. In all probability though, she'll win.

I'm tempted to add Hernello, on her first run for Charlie Longsdon (though I suspect she's a future handicap project), and  Richard Rowe's Grace And Fortune who had excuses before running a smasher last time at huge odds. They'll make C if funds allow.

A - 2 C - 3, 4

Race 5: 3.10

A trappy affair indeed. Six runners in a handicap chase, and all six have finished first or second in one or both of their last two starts.

No No Bingo will try to make all, and has much in his favour, except that this represents a step up in class, officially at least. He's A material from a box-ticking perspective, but there is a requirement for more than a single line here. The perennial best man (six second places in his last seven starts), Midnight Sail, ought to go close again and he's on A too.

B tickets are employed here, with the fairly handicapped Simply Wings and the ultra-consistent Delgany Gunner joining the party there.

If still going here, insurance can be bought by making a reverse exact / forecast on the remaining two runners.

A - 2, 5 B - 3, 6

Race 6: 3.40

A competitive handicap hurdle, with three places to aim at here, and the binary horse - Award Winner - may be under-rated. He's won three of his last six, on deep ground and over a trip, and has Tony McCoy shovelling on the coals again today aboard this nine-time winner. 8/1 looks pretty big to me, and he's A stuff.

Tidal Dance is unexposed, and is looking to add a gold to two silvers and two bronzes in four career starts thus far. As favourite, he must be on A. And I'm chucking in the well-backed Virginia Ash as well, also on A.

A - 2, 4, 6

Let's hope this mob returns a few bob. 🙂

Basic Version, A's only

1 x 2 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 3 = 12 bets

Basic Version, A's and B's

1 x 4 x 3 x 1 x 4 x 3 = 144 bets

Advanced Version, using ticket builder

Monday Placepot: Plumpton

Monday Placepot: Plumpton

SotD Update: 14/01/13

SotD Update: 14/01/13

Stat of the Day Update: 07/01/13 to 13/01/13

The last seven days have proved to be somewhat frustrating. It kicked off with a non-runner and we then followed up with five horses that all failed to run to anywhere like we expected them to or anywhere near what they were capable of. In fact. we never even got close to a place, but as we maintain, SotD is a long-term project and it was left to the old-timer Kames Park to rescue our week with an excellent win on Sunday.

This win ensured an admittedly small profit for the week, but it has put us in a better shape than we feared at one point and gives us renewed vigour for the coming week.

Selections & Results: 07/01/13 to 13/01/13

07/01: 3.20 Wolverhampton: Tyrur Ted (advised 14/1 E/W BOG) : non-runner
08/01: 1.55 Chepstow: Laflammedeglorie (advised at 100/30 BOG) : pulled up at 5/2
09/01: 3.25 Doncastr: Vosges (advised 7/1 E/W BOG) : unplaced at 9/1
10/01: 6.45 Kempton: Red Somerset (advised 9/1 E/W BOG) : unplaced at 14/1
11/01: 7.30 Wolverhampton: Icy Quiet (advised 9/2 BOG) : unplaced at 4/1
12/01: 1.15 Warwick: George Nympton (advised 4/1 BOG) : unplaced at 5/1
13/01: 4.00 Wolverhampton: Kames Park (advised 6/1 BOG) : won at 11/4 (BOG paid 5.4/1 after R4)

07/01 to 12/01:
1 winning bets from 6
P/L: +0.40pts

4 winners from 12 = 33.33% S.R
P/L: +6.40pts
POI = +53.33%

120 winners from 389 = 30.85% S.R
P/L: +122.03pts
POI: +31.37%
plus a 12pt profit from 1 forecast => +134.03pts from a 390pt outlay = +34.37% POI

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.

Stat of the Day: 14/01/13

Stat of the Day: 14/01/13

Stat of the Day, 14th January 2013

We finally dragged ourselves off the cold list yesterday as Jimmy Quinn rode an almost perfect race on the back of the old stager Kames Park yesterday. He sat and waited and held the horse up until there just enough of a gap in the final furlong and once he hit the front, he wasn't going to be caught. He actually seemed to still have something in reserve. We had 10% shaved off our advised 6/1 price, but even at 5.4/1, we were paid out at almost double the 11/4 SP. (The old value chestnut again!)

At the time of writing this, there were doubts over Plumpton's meeting and I fancy a change away from Wolverhampton, so we're off to not-so-leafy Lingfield today to look at another horse in a purple patch after a previous lengthy losing run. The race in question is a one-mile Class 5 A/W handicap and seven runners are set to go to post for the...

3.30 Lingfield

In the last twelve months, Lingfield's polytrack has been kind to Robert Mills' horses and there have been a few appearing here. In fact, Robert has saddled up no less than 31 runners at Lingfiled in the last twelve months to very good effect. Far too many runners for me to give you one of my long form lines, but the results are impressive. Ten winners in that time represents a strike rate of 32.26%, which is not only excellent, it also helps generate profits of some 18.6pts at SP: a welcome profit on stakes of almost 60%.

E/W backers, whilst more cautious in their approach, have nevertheless also been rewarded by backing Mr Mills's horses here: 19 successful bets from the 31 is a 61.3% strike rate for a decent wedge of profit: some 27pts (43.5% POI).

It's hardly going to come as a shock to our regulars to hear that Robert only has the one runner today: the in-form Club House.

Club House embarked on an inauspicious flat campaign last May and had six outings on turf in total, failing to trouble the judges in returning figures of 544765. He had his first A/W run on 25th June and was a losing odds on favourite that day. In fact he had five runs on A/W tracks from 25th June to 8th December in mainly Class 5 events (1 race at Class 4) and he pretty much went the same way as his turf form: 23547 in total.

This sequence took his career stats to 0 wins and just 2 places from 11 runs, but there was little / no consistency in the booking of races for him. The 11 races had been contested at Classes 2 (once), 4 (5 times) and 5 (5 times) and at a staggeringly wide array of distances from 5f (1), 6f (4), 7f (2), 1m (2), 1m1f (1) and 1m2f (1).

Then a month ago today (14/12/12), he was entered in a Class 6 race over a mile (today's Course and Distance) and he returned as a 6/4 winner to break his duck. he was 4th of 9 runners here at Lingfield on New Year's Eve (Class 5: 7 furlongs), before landing back to back Class 4 Handicaps here this month: the latest was another course and distance win last Saturday.

So after a pretty nondescript start to his career, he comes here today as a triple course winner: twice over course & distance and his record here at Lingfield in the last month is 141 for +12.5opts, so he's in a rich vein of form.

He is, of course penalised 6lbs for that latest win, but he is dropping back down in class today and carries a 7lb claimer to boot. All that considered, he still stands a great chance of scoring a 12-day hat-trick, but we'll not be getting anywhere near Saturday's winning odds of 7/1. I'd have thought 2/1 would be nearer the mark.

As it stands, there's does still seem to be a little value in the price on offer, so my play today is a 1pt win bet on Club House at 11/4 BOG with Bet365. You can, of course, always check the odds on offer elsewhere by taking the opportunity to...


Click here for the latest betting on the 3.30 Lingfield


Stat of the Day: 13/01/13

Stat of the Day: 13/01/13

Stat of the Day, 13th January 2013

I don't seem to be getting much joy at present. George Nympton (like many of my recent picks) seemed to be travelling really well to a point. He was well placed tracking the leaders before a bad mistake on landing after the seventh fence. In all honesty, you have to take your hat off to Noel Fehily for managing to even stay on board, never mind getting the horse home. The race was gone in an instant and although Noel managed to get his mount travelling again, he was never going to even get close.

We're going to make the short journey back to Dunstall Park today for another of those Class 6 Handicaps over a mile and a half (plus 50yds!), as twelve are set to contest the ...

4.00 Wolverhampton

I gave some serious consideration to backing Royal Holiday at 7/1 in the 2.00 race, because the horse is in good form and the jockey Daniel Tudhope is 4/8 at Wolverhampton this season, but I've decided to go with a multiple course and distance winner who is also going really well at present.

It's another of those old warriors for SotD today, in the form of Kames Park, an eleven year old seemingly enjoying a new lease of life, despite having well over 100 races under his belt.

Kames Park beat both Daring Damsel and Layla's Boy (who re-oppose today) over course and distance nine days ago and he was a narrow second at long odds in a much better race here on Friday, also over course and distance. That race was a Class 3 contest and he drops back to Class 6 today, after going down by just a neck at 25/1, yet was still finishing strongly, despite running from 6lbs out of the handicap on that occasion. He turns out again today on his proper mark, which is just 4lbs higher than his previous victory over C & D, which incidentally was his 5th win at Wolverhampton (4 over today's trip)

Jimmy Quinn takes the ride again on Kames Park today, as he has done on those last two outings and this will be the thirteenth time they've been partnered together, having achieved 4 wins and 4 further places from the previous 12 outings. Backing this partnership has been profitable to the tune of some 35pts to date with the 58.3% place strike rate being of benefit to E/W backers who have made just shy of 50pts from those 12 races.

Any repeat of his form from the last couple of outings should be enough to take this one and I fully expect another bold run from him. There's possibly enough in the price for a safety-first E/W bet, but fortune favours the brave, so they say and I think we'll be rewarded for our faith by taking a 1pt win bet on Kames Park at 6/1 BOG with Bet365. You can, of course, always check the odds on offer elsewhere by taking the opportunity to...

Click here for the latest betting on the 4.00 Wolverhampton

Stat of the Day: 12/01/13

Stat of the Day: 12/01/13

Stat of the Day, 12th January 2013

Another blank yesterday in what is becoming an all-too-familiar tale of woe. Icy Quiet seemed to be going well and led the field until headed inside the final quarter-mile. As she steeled herself for a final effort, she was penned in and hampered, but my own honest appraisal is that she'd already lost the race once she was passed by. She could well have finished nearer to the money than she did, but a loss is a loss: we're not in the excuses game here at Geegeez.

SotD makes a short one hour journey South East today to take on a Class 3 Handicap Chase over two miles on soft ground as eight runners contest the...

1.15 Warwick

The couple of years have been good times for Nick Williams' horses here at Warwick. He has saddled up eight times here in that period and his record reads 12311221, a 50% win strike rate has rewarded his followers with a healthy 15pts profit, whilst the more cautious E/W punter has managed to get paid out on each of the eight races. Their personal gain is a very impressive 24.3pts.

Today, Nick has just the one runner at the track and that is George Nympton, who competes in this chase contest. Mr Williams' chasers have also had their fair share of success at this track in recent times with all five finishing in the first two home in a sequence that reads 11221.

Two of those chase victories have been achieved by today's selection George Nympton, a horse that has won both his two previous starts over C&D and Noel Fehily who was on board for both victories, is in the saddle again. Mr Fehily, himself, is no slouch around the chase course here at Warwick either. His previous nine attempts over the last two years have yielded four winners and two further place finishes, so he's no stranger to the winners' enclosure.

Those two C&D victories are George Nympton's only victories to date in a fairly short, but blossoming chasing career after an admittedly indifferent attempt at hurdling. He has won here on both good and soft ground and has made the frame elsewhere on three out of five previous races on soft ground, so the going shouldn't be a concern.

His last race in December represented his best efforts to date and whilst he still needs to continue his progression with today's step up, he stands a very good chance on familiar territory.

Having looked at the card, I anticipated our selection to be around the 100/30 mark, so I;m happy to declare today's play as a 1pt win bet at 4/1 BOG with Paddy Power. BetFred and BetVictor are also offering 4/1, so for your preferred bookmaker, please...

Click here for the latest betting on the 1.15 Warwick


Kempton stages the Lanzarote Hurdle

The Lanzarote Hurdle, from Kempton, and the Betfred Classic Chase, at Warwick, are this Saturday’s main events – Andy Newton’s covered all the LIVE C4 races for you....... Read more

Stat of the Day: 11/01/13

Stat of the Day: 11/01/13

Stat of the Day, 11th January 2013

Red Somerset was a clunker yesterday, I'm afraid. Friendless in the on-course market and slow away from the stalls. The veteran never got involved in the race until it was far too late and even then when staying on at the death only passed one rival.

We're staying on the A/W today, but we're heading North to the West Midlands for Dunstall Park's last race of the evening. We've currently got ten runners set to battle it out over a mile and a half (plus 50 yards, of course!) for the...

7.30 Wolverhampton

Of all the trainers with runners at Wolverhampton tonight, David O'Meara possesses the best strike rate in the last two years. In this time he has saddled up 13 winners from 41 (31.7%) and has returned a 17pt profit at level stakes = 41.5%.

In fact, he has been represented here at Wolverhampton thirteen times in 2013 already, recording nine wins and three places, such is the current form of the yard.

David has two runners at the track this evening and whilst Art History has a decent chance of a place in the 6.30 race (6/1 at present), our focus is on the quick re-appearance of Icy Quiet an hour later.

Icy Quiet ran really well when finishing a close third to the re-opposing Easydoesit over this course and distance on Monday and is now well weighted to reverse that defeat. This bay mare was only beaten by a length and a quarter on Monday and now tackles her conqueror 6lbs better off, so a repeat of that run should be enough today.

I expect her to attract some decent market support as the day goes on, so the advice is a 1pt win bet on Icy Quiet at the current (8.45am) best price of 9/2 BOG with Bet Victor, as she's already as low as 10/3 in places, but for further information, please......

Click here for the latest betting on the 7.30 Wolverhampton


Can The Giant Bolster go one better in the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Can The Giant Bolster go one better?

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2013 Preview, Trends and Tips

It's just nine weeks until the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be the highlight of the final day of this year's Cheltenham Festival, and most of the major players have already run their 'serious' trials.

Yes, a number of them will run again between now and the Gold Cup itself, but they'll generally not be having hard races so close to the main event. So, with the form of the key trials safely in the book, what clues can we glean and - for those of us who struggle to resist the allure of the ante post market - where should we invest our folding?

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2013 Trends

There are some strong trends, underpinned by strong logic, for the Gold Cup. And, if you like a nag which doesn't pass muster here, you might want to re-evaluate your wagering strategy. Then again, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, so you may not...!

In any case, here are the material facts and figures:

- Age: Old horses don't win the Gold Cup. In fact, the last horse older than ten to win was What A Myth in 1969. Tidal Bay is twelve now and, whilst his Lexus win is solid, there are reasons to believe he'll not finish in front of all of the beasts he bested there at Cheltenham. At the other end of the spectrum, although Long Run won as a six-year-old in 2011, you'd have to go back to Mill House in 1963 to find the previous horse of that age to prevail.

In essence, we need a horse aged seven to ten, and probably only seven to nine year olds need apply.

- Official Rating: In the last fifteen years, four horses have won without a rating (from 67 to try). The remaining eleven winners were rated at least 166. This counts against the likes of The Giant Bolster, Kauto Stone, What A Friend, Grands Crus and Hunt Ball amongst plenty of others.

- Days since a run: Of those same fifteen winners,  all had run between one and three months ago, with no fewer than ten Gold Cup winners having had between two and three months off the track. So, don't fear a layoff of 60 to 90 days.

- Odds rank: Twelve of the last fifteen Cheltenham Gold Cup winners came from the first three in the betting. So this probably isn't a race in which to get carried away with a long shot. Saying that, the other three winners were 16/1, 25/1, and 20/1 (but none was in the last dozen years).

- Last time out: Nine of the last fifteen Gold Cup winners also won on their prior start. Another three were second or third. One fell (Mr Mulligan), one pulled up (Cool Dawn), and one was fifth (Imperial Commander). All three of those unplaced last time out had been first or second at a previous Cheltenham Festival. Unsurprisingly, we'd be looking for a podium finisher last time, or a horse with proven Festival form.

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So, on trends, I want a seven to ten year old, which has raced within the last three months, but not within a month of the main event; and probably in the top few in the market (though I'm interested in horse who have competed well at previous Festivals as likely outsiders)

Those which tick all boxes are Bobs Worth, the current favourite (assuming he has a run between now and mid-February, which he is scheduled to do); Sir Des Champs, the current second favourite; and Long Run, the current third favourite.

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2013 Form Preview

This is a race which often revolves around the top of the market, and I believe that it will again this year. Specifically, and apologies for the spoiler, I feel it's between Bobs Worth and Sir Des Champs, and I find it hard to envisage any other horse winning.

Bobs Worth won the RSA Chase last year in grand style and, in one run since, beat up a good field in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. The second horse there, Tidal Bay, was spotting the winner six pounds and only went down by three and a half lengths. But, for me, the winner was value for more than the official margin. First Lieutenant was another five lengths back in third that day, and the minor medallists went on to frank the form next time out.

Indeed, they finished first and second in the Lexus Chase, a race which is growing to pre-eminence in Gold Cup trial terms, and one in which the previous ante-post second favourite, Flemenstar, was 'outed' as a probably non-stayer.

Whilst one swallow may not make a summer - and one rapid emptying not make a stamina doubt - the evidence does suggest that the extra quarter mile on tougher terrain and in a likely faster-paced contest will undo Flemenstar, should he show up. For the record, he cruised and then emptied in the Lexus, eventually claiming bronze.

A short head back in fourth - beaten three-quarters of a length in total - was Sir Des Champs. This normally reliable fencer had bungled and blundered his way around Leopardstown in most uncharacteristic fashion, and yet was still staying on best of all. Assuming his jumping improves, this run screamed Gold Cup. At least, my eardrums were left ringing to that tune.

As for failing to register a 1-2-3 finish on his last start before Cheltenham, firstly, he may run again yet; secondly, he was denied that only by a fag paper verdict; and, thirdly, he won the Jewson at the Festival last year (and the Martin Pipe hurdle the year before), emphasising his taste for Cleeve Hill and its assorted impediments.

Let's get back to Tidal Bay. After all, he came out best in the Hennessy on strict pounds-for-lengths; and he won the Lexus from talked up horses; so, surely, we ought to take him very seriously for the Gold Cup.

Well, yes and no. Yes, that form puts him bang there. And yes, he does seem to be in rude health. But he's twelve. And I can't help but feel that it would be a damning indictment on the 'new generation' if he prevailed. Allied to my moral argument (which, clearly, is no way to wager) is a perception that things have to fall absolutely spot on - as they did in the Lexus - for TB to grab gold.

That Lexus - incredible race that it was - saw Flemenstar go from swaggering hero to stumbling zero in half a furlong. It also saw that other questionable stayer, First Lieutenant, battle on bravely but run out of puff. And it witnessed Sir Des Champs' jockey mightily relieved it wasn't a show jumping round.

In a nutshell, two stopped in front of him, and one rallied manfully after a woeful round of jumping and just fail to get up. No, I can't have Tidal Bay: the sort of horse who will send you skint and break your heart in equal measure, as your love and wagers are (generally) unrequited.

And what of Long Run? Well, this much maligned (often by me) horse has done next to nothing wrong. His jockey does ok - and it's his old man's horse, so who are we to question riding arrangements - but Long Run does tend to clout one or two (or three). Despite that, he has a Gold Cup and the most recent renewal of the King George to his name, as well as a third place in last season's Gold Cup - when beaten just three lengths.

So why don't I like his chance? Well, I do respect his chance. And he has form to go close. And I think he'll probably be a shorter price on the day. But. But... that pilot. Sam Waley-Cohen. Not for me. Not one iota.

And, of the top order in the market, what about Silviniaco Conti? He's surely a flatterer and has it all to prove to my eye. He's beaten up small fields on flat tracks, and was beaten the only time he came to Cheltenham (and outside the Festival at that). Yes, he beat Long Run, but he had match fitness on his side that day. I very much doubt he'll beat him in mid-March on Gold Cup Friday.

Of the outsiders with Cheltenham Festival form, First Lieutenant won the Neptune in 2011, and was second to Bobs Worth in last year's RSA Chase. On better ground, he's respected as a place chance again. The Giant Bolster proved a lot of doubters wrong with his gritty display in last year's Gold Cup, beating Long Run and finding the galvanised Synchronised only a couple of lengths too good. He's worthy of a second look at 25's, especially if the ground starts to dry up. He'll have hated this deep winter turf.

And then there's Hunt Ball. He's got to prove he stays this far, and that he's good enough. But he ran a nice second on bad ground in the Kempton running of the Peterborough Chase over Christmas and, on better ground, he'll probably run better than a 33/1 shot.

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2013 Tips

So there you have it. Plenty of horses with ostensible chances, but a two horse race for me. Quite simply, I feel that if Bobs Worth doesn't win the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup, then Sir Des Champs will.

Long Run is respected, as is to a lesser degree Tidal Bay. Silvianiaco Conti is, I believe, the sheep in wolf's clothing: a toothless pretender in the context of this sort of a race. (And I hope I'm right because that sort of statement can make a person look really very silly indeed!)

Outsiders worth a second glance - and expected to improve on their seasonal showings to date on better ground - are The Giant Bolster and Hunt Ball.

Selection: Bobs Worth 3/1 general
Next Best: Sir Des Champs 5/1 general
Outsider: The Giant Bolster 25/1 general

Who are your fancies for the Gold Cup, and why? Leave a comment and let us know.

Stat of the Day: 10/1/13

Stat of the Day: 10/1/13

Stat of the Day, 10th January 2013

It was a rare day yesterday, as it's not often that James Ewart leaves Doncaster empty-handed. Unfortunately for him and us, of course, that's exactly what happened! Neither Civil Unrest (PU) nor our pick Vosges (5th) even made the frame. Vosges led for much of his race, but weakened badly approaching the penultimate fence and eventually finished 22 lengths away from the places and a further 4.5 lengths off the eventual winner.

We'll leave the sodden turf alone today and head down South to Sunbury for an evening spin on the Polytrack, where we've a model of consistency waiting for us in a Class 4, one-mile handicap where seven runners are set to tackle the...

6.45 Kempton

Our pick today is purely down to the consistency of the horse allied to a relatively new flourishing partnership with his jockey.

Today's race is for horses aged four and above and our selection Red Somerset is the grandaddy of the pack at the ripe old age of 10, but he appears to have found a new lease of life in the last year. Prior to 2012, he'd had a reasonable but unspectacular A/W career, gaining 8 wins from 42 contests (19%), but generating a loss at SP of over 5pts, whilst his A/W place strike rate was just over 40% courtesy of 17 placed finished from those 42 races.

However, on January 18th 2012, Kieran O'Neill rode him for the very first time, finishing 3rd over course and distance. That was Red Somerset's first run of the year and he eventually ran ten times in total during 2012. Kieran O'Neill retained the ride after that first outing and together their record in those 10 outings last year read 3211121122. They never failed to make the first three home last year and will look to extend that sequence in their first run of 2013.

5 wins from 10 last year rewarded Red Somerset's followers with a profit of 9.94pts, whilst E/W backers managed to collect after every race to the overall tune of 19.47pts.Of those ten outings together, two took place here at Kempton resulting in a 2nd place and a 3rd place finish, taking Red Somersets record to three wins and five further places from fourteen outings over course & distance, where E/W backers have made a very useful 18pts.

Red Somerset is, of course trained by Mike Murphy who despite not having the best record at Kempton with his other horses, did train the winner of this very race in 2012 as Sunset Kitty took the honours.

It's an open-looking contest today, so the safe bet is an E/W play and I've taken 13.0 for the win and 5.0 for a place on betfair, but I realise there might not be enough liquidity there to count as an official advice, so the SotD bet today is 0.5pts E/W on Red Somerset at 9/1 BOG with Boylesports (William Hill have the same price on offer). I wouldn't be at all surprised if this price doesn't constrict by a couple of points during the day, so to keep an eye on the other firms' prices, you really should...

Click here for the latest betting on the 6.45 Kempton


Opportunities & Threats

Opportunities & Threats

Tony Keenan has taken us all the way through race analysis to bet formation, followed by an explanation on how to review your year as a whole. Last week, Tony gave us a review of his own personal performance in 2012 and he closes this chapter by taking a look back at the opportunities and threats that he was presented with last year in...

...The Punting Confessional – January 9th 2013

Let’s conclude this short series on analysing a punting year by looking at the opportunities and threats that arose in the last twelve months for me.

Opportunities: Chances for development take many forms in betting; for someone who struggles to get on, something as small as the arrival of a new betting shop in the locality with fresh staff who don’t know you could be an opportunity.

On a larger scale, the arrival of the all-weather track at Dundalk in 2007 was a boon to me though it took a few years for me to grasp it; the course offers just the grade of racing I like betting on, wild market fluctuations (particularly on the exchanges), consistent ground conditions, draw biases and pedigree angles. Best of all, some seem prejudiced against it – perhaps due to the perception from the UK that all-weather is muck or at least monotonous – which has led to it being largely under-analysed and resulting in overpriced horses.

Opportunity also refers to planning for the next year and I could write a full article on this itself. The backbone of my form study in the past two years has been doing video reviews of almost every flat meeting run in Ireland during that period and some of the results have been published on a sister site to this one.

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While profitable in terms of throwing up future winners, the time cost of doing these is huge and I am not quite sure I can afford it in 2013. There is no replacement for doing one’s own video analysis as it is exclusive by nature and I still intend to do as many as I can but already I am going to raise the white flag in terms of doing every meeting.

To compensate for this I am seriously considering using Timeform is some shape or form to plug the gap and it may not be the perfect solution there are only so many hours in the day.

Pace is another area that I want to develop my knowledge. While it wouldn’t be the determining factor it is in dirt racing in the US, pace is an important component of racing in these islands and crucially it is underrated by the market.

The absence of sectional times is central to this as it becomes a subjective issue with no data to analyse; in this regard, backwardness is a plus for punters. Pace is perhaps a better tool for post-race analysis rather than pre-race prediction as tactics often change but it is noticeable how often Hugh Taylor puts up eye-catchers based solely on pace and there is an edge to be had here.

In terms of improving in this area, I want to do some reading on the subject, particularly the somewhat arcane ‘Modern Pace Handicapping’ by Tom Brohamer, a literary Everest I have stalled on the foothills in the past. In other areas, I’m interested in reading ‘Fooled by Randomness’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and ‘Risk Intelligence’ by Dylan Evans.

Part of me wants to get into the area of speed figures but with the exception of Dundalk where there are no rail movements, I am very dubious about the accuracy or otherwise of race distances in Ireland which would render such calculations difficult. I recall a letter from Naas racecourse manager Tom Ryan to the Irish Field last June in which he talked about rail movements at the track and I suspect that is the norm at Irish venues.

This is by no means to get a dig into Ryan as he is one of the better track managers (though the competition is hardly stiff), merely support for the belief that compiling speed figures on Irish racing would be difficult. Instead, I’d like to work on pedigrees and find those sires whose progeny have strong predilections for particular surfaces or distances.

Some of these are well-known – such as Captain Rios on soft ground – but there are certainly less obvious ones that are underestimated by the market.

Threats: The main threat for any even moderately successful punter is no more than the obvious, getting on. These days the clampers at the big bookmakers are out in force at even the whiff of a winning punter and while actual account closures may not be all that common, restrictions to buttons and phone-calls to the trading department are constant.

There are ways and means of getting around this (and if anyone wants to reveal more, don’t be afraid to comment on the bottom of this post!) but one also has to deal with it psychologically; there are times when you see a price that you just cannot take and it’s important not to get frustrated by this and go on tilt.

Restrictions are the job of the modern bookmaker and it’s best to look for solutions not problems as you would drive yourself mad at the unfairness of it; some sort of equanimity, difficult though it may be, seems the best approach.

Coping with the boredom and grind of day-to-day punting is another challenge. Sometimes the slog of the summer is difficult with meetings almost every day and you can be threading water in terms of making a profit for a long period; as I’ve said before, touches tend to come sporadically not regularly.

You have to tell yourself that every piece of form study, though not always valuable, has the potential to be so, one just doesn’t know it beforehand, akin to a prospector looking for gold. There are times when I struggle with the boredom angle but it can be good to think that I’ll deal with it when it becomes unbearable which it probably never will, it’s more the thought of it than anything.

My ideal punting scenario would probably be somewhere between the meetings mania of the summer and fallow lands of the winter with about three meetings per week. The reality of course is that you can’t have your cake and eat and you have to go with the calendar. You may tell yourself that you can’t miss out a meeting but you must do that sometimes in order to have a break.