November Racing Highlights

Menorah makes his chasing debut at Exeter today

Menorah makes his chasing debut at Exeter today

And so starts another month. But November marks not just another month, but also a change of season. As the clocks go back, so the horses get older, and bigger, and stronger, and run further, and generally jump more things.

Yes, it's National Hunt time again. 

Some of the bigger stables are starting to roll out their heavy artillery, with a view to blowing off the cobwebs and an eye to fatter, more prestigious pots down the track.

This afternoon's Haldon Gold Cup reflects that seasonal debutant feel with a cracking renewal, both in depth and in quality. Six of the seven runners are rated 148 or higher over fences, and collectively they've won seven Grade 1 or 2 chases.

Younger progressive horses tend to hold slight sway in this, which brings in the top three in the weights, Captain Chris, Ghizao and Medermit, all of whom are seven-year-olds.

Thirteen of the last fourteen winners either finished in the first three last time, or pulled up (generally at one of the Festival meetings the previous Spring).

And twelve of those fourteen had been off the track for at least four months. Alas, that does little to whittle the field size.

However, the record of the top weights (five from sixteen) is quite impressive and points to Captain Chris' obvious chance.

Ultimately there's very little on form or trends between the trio highlighted above and, with all three stables in fine form too, it'd be a brave man who piled in to any one of them. For smaller money, and as the biggest of the three prices and a horse who goes well fresh, Medermit is a token selection.

But this is a race to watch and savour first.


Bringing down the curtain on what has been a fantastic flat season of racing is this weekend's Breeders Cup from Churchill Downs, Kentucky. Now I know it's not everyone's caramel latte, but me, I love it. The main reason I'm such a fan, aside from frequently getting the chance to head over there and cheer Euro's, is because it offers the kind of payoff opportunities that we normally only associate with the likes of the Cheltenham Festival.

There are some serious bucks to be made in both the 'horizontals' (exacta, trifecta, superfecta) and 'verticals' (Pick 3, 4, 5, 6).

If you've no idea what I'm talking about, basically most people in the US bet 'exotics', or multi-horse bets. In plain English, they rarely bet to win, or each way (known as win, place and show). Nope, they want the juicy returns associated with picking the first two (or three or four) home in the right order; or the winners of three (or four or five or six) consecutive races.

The pools of money bet are huge, and the depth of competition in the races virtually guarantees long priced horses appearing somewhere in the sequences.

It all adds up to a) a lot of fun, and b) a potential bumper payout!

I shall be all guns blazing both nights (Friday and Saturday) and am working out my strategies after last night's post position draws. Later this week, I'll be bringing you some more thoughts on the Breeders Cup, and my 'Bisogno Bulletin' readers will get the full skinny on what I'm thinking across all races.

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More on that to follow. But for now, just to say I've today published the November edition of the Bisogno Bulletin, and you can sign up for it if you want to, here: the Bisogno Bulletin. (It also includes some jumps and AW trainers to follow this month, an update on the whip rules, and a sneak preview of a piece of software I'm currently testing which is nearly ready for release).


Once the Breeders Cup races have been won and lost, and with them multiple wagering fortunes, it's back to the serious business of jumps racing, and the first big Cheltenham meeting of the season, the Open, which runs from 11th to 13th November.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the Saturday feature, and this is well supported by a Grade 2 juvenile novice hurdle; another Grade 3 handicap chase; as well as a Listed handicap hurdle and a usually informative novice chase.

It's always packed with pointers for the 'homecoming' in March, and geegeez will have its eyes peeled for clues throughout.

The following weekend, 18th to 20th November, sees more high class action from both sides of the Irish Sea, as Ascot host the Coral Hurdle amongst others, and Punchestown get their star-studded season into full swing.

Yes, oh yes, the jumps season is upon us!


Now if you're into jumps racing, and you live in or near to London, you might be interested in joining me and plenty of other like-minded racing fans at the London Racing Club National Hunt preview night.

Chaired by Andrew Barr of Racing UK and Racing Post, the panel also includes William Hill's spokesperson, Kate Miller; jump jockey Leighton Aspell; and, ATR pundit, Matthew Taylor.

There's a fully licensed bar downstairs (naturally!), and it promises to be a fascinating evening. It's a fiver for non-members, free for members, and if you'd like to come along more regularly you can join on the night.

So that's next Tuesday, 8th November, at the Kensington Forum (Holiday Inn) Hotel, just behind Gloucester Road tube station. I'll be there, so do say hello if you'd like to. Should be a cracking night!


Just time for a quick reminder that the TrainerTrackStats season kicks off this afternoon, with a couple of decent chances for an early score at Exeter.

As well as the trainer goodness, Gavin is also giving away an excellent all weather jockeys' report, plus he'll be sending further goodies in future days, as follows:







If you've not joined up yet, and might be interested, you can read all about it here: TrainerTrackStats 2011/12 plus special guests.


Finally, with the first day of November comes the coronation of the October Manager of the Month in our Fantasy Football competition. And in what proved to be a hum-dinger of a cliff-hanger of a climax to the monthly prize, Neil Brookes' 62 Saddlers (presumably a Walsall fan of a certain vintage?) monster haul of 87 points in the final week fell short by just a single unit.

Neil's October monthly total of 246 was one shy of the 247 scored by... not sure. Team name is lucky? and the manager name is Maybe MaybeNot. If that's you, well done, do get in touch to sort your prize, as ever generously provided by our friends at (Note, you'll need to prove it's you! 😉

In the overall competition, Maybe MaybeNot's performance takes him / her up to 4th place, still a good 42 behind runaway leader, Bob Gates, and his Lukaura United tally of 614.

To put that in context, it's good enough for position #703 out of the 2,594,916 total entrants!

At a respectable distance of 24 points back is Paul Scott's Real Salfordians, on 590 points, and still in the top 4,000 globally.

Excellent work chaps.

Elsewhere, yours truly's September rally has faltered and I've slumped out of the top 100, and into 106th position with a paltry 450 points.

Still, it could be worse. Propping up everyone else in 223rd place is Mark Robinson's Cleveland Marks. In fairness to Mark, he didn't start until week 4 and won't be bottom for long. The same cannot be said of John Lennox's We Are United who, frankly, must try harder... a bit like their Old Trafford counterparts, maybe?

That's all for today. Like I say, I'll be back later in the week (Thursday, most likely) with some more thoughts on the Breeders Cup for those who are interested in such things. And of course, don't forget to look out for 'Well I Declare' tomorrow (big winners again last week crowned by a 161/1 treble for Keith Dalgleish at Wolves).


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3 replies
  1. Francis
    Francis says:

    Today, November 1st is All Saint’s Day. What the * has this to do with betting,I can hear a few people say! I moved over to Ireland a good number of years ago when my Father retired,after he died I decided to get a Greyhound or two to cheer up my Mum(she enjoyed an odd visit to the Dogs,not for betting but for the craic). I live close to a great beach(Strand it’s called here) and I used to gallop the Dog on it, I saw this pup in Limerick and I had to get her.
    She was a really genuine bitch and used to trap well, but “Course the Hare”,that is go out at the first bend,in at the second so she would likely find trouble in early part of the race. First ever race (Galway) from trap 5 she finished 5th! in a first round of a good 64 dog stake. Next run she ran a fantastic race from 2 and narrowly beaten by a Dog having his first race. I saw him and he was only a pup and I was impressed with his pace and trackcraft,so I tried to buy him for 500 punts, I was politely told no sale. Afterwards despite an injury he beat both English &Irish Derby winners and 40 grand was offer(not by me!) for him.
    Anyway my Dog ran a few more races and got to mini stake final(got baulked),then she was in another race drawn in T2 and I felt that she had great chance to win. The guy that used to drive us also used to take ladies to Bingo and he told them they should go to the Dogs,and that I told him I thought mine was going to win the next night,he added he never said that before.
    The next night down to Galway,arrived after over 2 hours to find fog and the card postponed till the friday!!!!ughh. Friday came,money on, she went out at the first bend past T3(78lbsDog) and cut inside T1(80lbs Dog) and took the lead and pulled away to win easily at 5/2. After a long drive and a few stops “to give the Dog a drink of water”, the driver when we got to his house told usto stay as he was v.tired and could’nt face another hour of driving. Next day on the way home he stopped at the local Church and handed a couple of the bingo ladies their winnings as they came out from All Souls Day Mass(2 november)!!!!!
    One piece of advice on Greyhounds, a few sale agents from UK, used to take a mark just before the first bend and time the dogs to there, that way they knew the pace ability of the dogs.
    A Dog that leads at the first bend is in with a big shout,as those behind can “crowd” and an early paced Greyhound is thought to be a good gambling Dog.
    best wishes.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Great story Francis, and good insight into trialing dogs. I know that a number of readers are interested in dog racing, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy this too.

      For the rest, I hope a couple of you backed Medermit (though he was perhaps fortunate as Captain Chris looked like the winner until horlicksing the last).


  2. Francis
    Francis says:

    Well done with Medermit, yes Captain Chris was unfortunate, but he was beaten in a couple of races leading up to Cheltenham. A long time ago I learned that Horses tend to fall when they are unfit or short of peak fitness. Another old maxim was to follow winning form up until Christmas but nowadays Trainers tend to have their horses fitter earlier. I don’t follow “Systems” but one that used to do ok years ago was Handicap Hurdles Two and a half miles or more, A winner carrying a penalty provided a Distance winner.
    Yes, Greyhounds is great “craic”, it’s gone upmarket in the last few years here, a lot of characters are still there.
    I never patronised tipsters or bought systems, but got a few e mails and Videos about Win Dominator, and a video from a so called old time professional Ted London. Nearly all those things are cons/scams and this gave me a bit of a laugh.
    Anyway best wishes, always enjoy your writings.

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