Will this precipitation ever desist, dear reader, or is this the beginning of a very sad and soggy end, where only Noah, Mrs Noah, and two each of every animal on the planet survive? At least if that is to be the case, Noah and his good lady will be able to enjoy a match bet wager on the two horses, once the surf returns to turf...

The ongoing abandonments of the majority of turf racing means it's a great time to be a fan of all weather action, and indeed there was a time when I was just that. Alas, that was about eight years ago, when I used quite rudimentary speed figures, inspired by the brilliant Nick Mordin book, Mordin on Time.

These days, however, I'm more of a turf snob, preferring my action on the grass to the beach. But the fundamental tenets of Mordinian (is that a word?!) speed figures abide. That is, a slow horse cannot win in a fast run race, and in a slow run race, the quickest horse will not necessarily win.

As obvious as this sounds, it's overlooked by a majority of punters. We remain predominantly a nation of form students, working on the relative abilities of horses A and B, rather than their absolute credentials.

What I mean is that every horse has a level of ability and some personal attributes. Its level of ability is generally gauged as relative to that of its peers. But some horses are talented but ungenuine: they will always find a horse to beat them, whether they race in a seller or a Group race. If your memory serves you, think of Needle Gun, Welton Arsenal and - more recently - Geordieland and my personal favourite, Munsef (dog!).

My point, if indeed there is one, is that you should look to the speed horses in truly run races, and swerve horses who perenially finish second and third: they will bleed you dry, and in the most painful of 'coulda shoulda woulda' ways.

Both speed and genuineness will rarely be recorded in a collateral form analysis of a race.

Enough already.


Today sees jumping action at Doncaster, and flat racing at Lingfield and Wolverhampton.

In the 1.55 Donc, The Panama Kid has a chance. He took a tumble earlier in the week, and is clearly none the worse for that, hence his participation here.

Over at Leafy, the opening claimer looks a grand opportunity for Mutamared to notch the four-timer, though he'll not be much of a price to do so.

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Imperial Skylight looks one to be against in the 1.10, and Thoughtsofstardom looks value in the 2.50 race (where the favourite has a car park draw to overcome).

Finally, and somewhat more speculatively, Cold Turkey bids to overcome a holiday of eleven months and lug top weight against some talented rivals. But he's top weight for a reason, and 50/1 is big enough for me to tickle it each way.


Tomorrow sees Cheltenham prey for decent weather, so that their meeting will go ahead.

Assuming it does, this is my take on the trends for two of the bigger races:

Letheby & Christopher Chase (aka Cotswold Chase)

- 7 of the last 10 winners were previous course winners: scratch Snoopy Loopy, Nozic, and my mate Halcon Genelardais (though I hope he runs well for my Gold Cup wager!)

- 8 of the last 10 winners were rate 160+ by the handicapper: say goodnight to Ollie Magern, Joe Lively and Roll Along.

On the basis of these two stats alone, we are down to just two runners: Star De Mohaison and Tidal Bay.

If Tidal jumps well, he has a great chance. If he jumps like he did last time, he'll find it tough.

Star De Mohaison has had a troubled career, but is a hugely capable animal.

I'll split my stake across the two, although Star may not want it quite this soft. Trophy Steeplechase

- 8 of the last 10 winners (and all of the last eight) were aged 8 or 9: arrivaderci to nine of the fourteen runners (careless?!)

- 8 of the last 10 winners lugged 10-09 or less (the other two were 11-10+): going up to 10-10 leaves Moon Over Miami, Akilak, Bring Me Sunshine and The Sawyer

- 7 of the last 9 winners finished placed last time out: au revoir to Bring Me Sunshine.

Thus the shortlist is Moon Over Miami, Akilak, and The Sawyer. I will reluctantly pass over Moon Over Miami, in favour of Dorset trainer Bob Buckler's The Sawyer, and Akilak.

Here's hoping for a drier weekend....


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