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Some thoughts for Chester’s May meeting

Chester's May meeting is an early season highlight, offering socialites, more serious racegoers and the occasional Derby aspirant the chance to peacock around the Roodee. The famous bullring circuit, just nine furlongs in circumference, is fiendishly tight and there is a commensurate bias to those who are agile - and fast - enough to slide around the inside banister.

geegeez.co.uk has more information on Chester racecourse here. But what can we say specifically about the May meeting at Chester?

Chester May Meeting: Trainers

Using geegeez.co.uk's new Query Tool (QT) enables us to look at recent trainer form for a specific event like this. To do so, select the month of May, and Chester in the course area:

Specifying Chester's May meeting in geegeez's Query Tool

Specifying Chester's May meeting in geegeez's Query Tool

 

By placing a check in the circle to the left of the 'TRAINER' parameter and clicking 'Generate Report' again, we can see trainer performance for the Chester May meeting. I've sorted by number of wins in the image below.

Outstanding training performances by Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden at Chester in recent years

Outstanding training performances by Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden at Chester in recent years

 

The performance of Messrs. O'Brien and Gosden is spectacular, the former recording a 43.5% win strike rate, the latter a 63% in the frame record. And that from approximately five runners each per year.

 

Handicap trainers

But what of the handicaps only? There are some super competitive heats over the three days and, at that slightly lower level, different training names come to the fore. Let's add HANDICAP to our list of filters, and do the same 'Group by Trainer' report:

Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop have excellent records, and Sir Michael Stoute has been very unlucky in Chester May handicaps

Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop have excellent records, and Sir Michael Stoute has been very unlucky in Chester May handicaps

 

It is easy to see that Ed Dunlop and, from a larger sample, Andrew Balding have fared really well in Chester May meeting handicaps. But it is also worth noting Sir Michael Stoute: his two from fifteen record is unremarkable, until we note that more than half of them have hit the board. It would be no surprise to see Sir Michael's fortunes change this week.

What about the top races?

Selecting Class 1 (i.e. Listed or Group) races only confirms the stranglehold that Team Ballydoyle has on the big races at Chester's May meeting.

Aidan O'Brien has a mighty record in Class 1 events at Chester's May meeting

Aidan O'Brien has a mighty record in Class 1 events at Chester's May meeting

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Aidan O'Brien has won 16 of the 40 Pattern races run at Chester in May since 2009. That's 40% of them, from just 34 runners. His performance is incredible and looks set to continue this week with a typically strong hand of three-year-olds and older horses.

 

Chester May Meeting: Draw

As alluded to in my introduction, the draw at Chester has a huge bearing on how races are run, especially over sprint distances. Using geegeez.co.uk's Draw Analyser tool, we can see just how relevant a good draw generally is, especially when the going is on the quick side. The forecast is largely dry for the week and the current going description is good, good to firm in places.

Five furlong handicaps

Let's plug that into our Draw Analyser, along with a selection of handicap races only and 10+ runners; and we'll initially look at five to five and a half furlong races.

Low is heavily favoured at the shortest trips; and high is heavily UNfavoured

Low is heavily favoured at the shortest trips; and high is heavily UNfavoured

 

I wanted to include the constituent draw table so that you could see the strong linearity in the place percentages of finishers by stall position. That stall 1 has made the frame in two-thirds of all five and five-and-a-half furlong sprints in big fields on quick ground since 2009 is telling. No wonder so many absentees emerge from the car park post positions.

 

Six and seven furlong handicaps

So far so obvious, perhaps, though it is always interesting to note the concrete evidence data provides to support or resist a general perception. But what of longer sprint trips? What of six- and seven furlong handicaps? A quick change to the distance ranges and we have our answer:

Still an inside draw bias, but it is less pronounced over 6 and 7furlongs at Chester

Still an inside draw bias, but it is less pronounced over 6 and 7furlongs at Chester

 

As you can see, there is still a bias towards those drawn low but it is not nearly as pronounced as over the shortest distances. Indeed, middle drawn horses have fared pretty much as well as those on the inside, but it is still the case that a high draw is a very difficult condition to overcome.

Notice at the bottom the Heat Map. This is a simple chart that attempts to overlay the historical draw positions against a horse's run style. The arrow formation top right in the chart implies a bias towards early speed and an inside to middle draw.

Conversely, note the relatively poor performance of those drawn high, regardless of run style; and it also looks difficult to overcome a low draw if you're a hold up sort racing at six or seven furlongs in a double digit field.

None of the sample sizes used here are particularly big, so keep in mind that the above is indicative rather than assertive. But it confirms what is often said: it is very difficult to overcome a wide draw in a big field on fast ground at Chester.

 

Chester May Meeting: Jockeys

Can a jockey make a difference at Chester? Most riders are, to a large extent, hostages to the fortunes of their trainers and horses; but at the more unconventional courses, can it be an advantage to have an experienced pilot in one's corner?

Although the answer is probably yes, there is a degree of cause and effect in that if a jockey gets a reputation as being skilled over a certain circuit he is more likely to pick up the plum rides. The flip side is that, if a jockey is retained by a particular stable, he will be susceptible to the form of that yard.

Regardless, here is QT on Chester May meeting jockey performance, in handicaps only.

The top handicap jockeys at Chester's May meeting since 2009

The top handicap jockeys at Chester's May meeting since 2009

 

Some interesting gen comes to light here. First, that example of positive discrimination: Francis Norton is widely held as the 'go to guy' for Chester, and he certainly does ride the track very well as can be seen from his seven handicap winners at this meeting since 2009. But they've come from 64 rides, an 11% clip, and just 0.85 on the A/E scale.

Compare that with Jamie Spencer, supposedly a hold up rider on a speed-favouring track. His nine winners have come from just 48 rides at an A/E of 1.54. Not only that but he can back up a 19% win rate with a 44% place rate. Jamie Spencer, in fact, is one of the best judges of pace in the weighing room, from the back or the front of the field. He gets it wrong sometimes - that's an occupational hazard - but I'd never be put off a bet at any track with Spencer in the plate (and yes, I have changed my position on this in recent years!)

Lower down, Steve Donohoe is an interesting name. His three handicap winners from 20 rides is fine - good even - but nine podium finishes is a very solid effort. He could be worth keeping onside.

 

Chester May meeting: Summary

We're all set for three excellent days of racing on the Roodee. With a little luck we'll come out in front by noting the above. In some ways, there is nothing new in trumpeting the form of Aidan O'Brien in Class 1 races at the meeting, nor in flagging that inside draws have the best of it in bigger field sprints on fast ground.

But such awareness can become the cornerstone of a betting strategy for the week. If playing placepots or intra-race bets like exactas and trifectas, knowing that Jamie Spencer is a high strike rate handicap jockey, or that Andrew Balding and Ed Dunlop should always be in mind in Chester handicaps, or even that Aidan's horse probably will win the Derby trial, will help frame decisions about when to go narrow and when to go deep.

Good luck with your Chester May meeting wagers - it should be a terrific three days!

Matt

p.s. if you'd like more race-by-race statistical lowdown, check out these Chester TV Trends: Wednesday

 

Stat of the Day, 27th October 2014

Stat of the Day, 27th October 2014

A storm and a late night power cut mean we're running late today, but here goes...

Tokyo Javilex was pulled up on Saturday, having been sent off at 6/1, half a point longer than what I'd actually thought was a good price to take at 11/2.

All of which pretty much summed up a desperate week for SotD, with Tuesday's 9/1 runner-up the sole highlight of the week and even that horse managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As October comes towards a close, normal service will hopefully be resumed today in the...

1.00 Leicester:

Where Ed Dunlop gives a handicap debut to Machiavellian Storm...

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Ed doesn't seem to send too many runners here to Leicester for some reason, but I'm sure it's not because his horses don't run well here.

Over the last four seasons, his handicappers have won 6 of 16 races (37.5% SR) for level stakes profits of 22.6pts (+141.3% ROI) with those running in the 3/1 to 9/1 bracket winning 5 of 9 (55.6% SR) for 26.8pts (+298.1% ROI) profit.

He now switches Machiavellian Storm back to the turf after acquiring an opening mark of 60 from three unplaced efforts in maidens (debut at Yarmouth and two runs at Kempton). She showed signs of promise last time out at Kempton, catching the eye with a good second half to her 7f race 12 days ago after being outpaced early on.

It is expected that the softer ground will help her here today, as she's by Dark Angel, whose 2 yr old offspring have a decent record on soft (or worse!) ground, winning 16 of 108 (13%) for 16.6pts profit (+15.4% ROI) and a record of 11/71 (15.5% SR) for 27pts (+38% ROI) running at Class 4 or lower.

As I mentioned at the top of the piece, today is Machiavellian Storm's handicap debut and in the last three seasons, 13 of Ed Dunlop's 57 handicap debutants have been winners. This 22.8% strike rate has generated 51pts profit (+89.5% ROI) to level stakes, with those running at Class 4 or lower winning 12 of 42 (28.6% SR) for 55.1pts at an ROI of 131.1%)

Ed's handicap debutants running over a trip of a mile and shorter are 8/30 (26.7% SR) for 48pts (+160% ROI) profit and if you wanted a little micros-system to take away from this today, you could do worse than to note that...

Ed Dunlop's handicap debutants running over 6 to 12 furlongs at Class 4 or lower  are 9/19 (47.4% SR) for 35.7pts (+188% ROI) when sent off below 10/1.

She did show signs that there'll be more to come in handicap company and I think she'll handle the softer ground better than some of her rivals and in a race that seems to lack quality, she could be the answer at a reasonable price.

Today's advice is a 1pt win bet on Machiavellian Storm at 9/2 BOG. This price is very widely available, so for your preferred bookie...

...click here for the latest betting on the 1.00 Leicester

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REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

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Stat of the Day, 28th August 2014

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 28th August 2014

It's A Yes From Me failed to display the X-Factor (I can almost hear your groans!) at Kempton on Wednesday evening, despite being well backed into 4/1 favouritism from our advised 8/1 odds.

So, value was on our side, but the result wasn't. In truth, even a placed finish never really looked on the cards and any effort we got was shortlived, culminating in a defeat by six lengths and four lengths shy of a consolation payout.

I'm still scratching about for a bit of form but I think we've a decent chance of a winner in Thursday's...

4.05 Ffos Las:

Courtesy of a 1pt 5/1 BOG win bet on Ed Dunlop's in-form 3 yr old Taqneen in this Class 4 3yo+ handicap over a mile on soft ground.

Since the start of the 2011 campaign, Ed Dunlop's record in these open age handicaps is decent enough, as testified by his 31 winners from 192 runners. This 16.2% strike rate has generated 54.4pts at an ROI of 28.3% to date and those running on soft ground have won 10 of 30 (33.3%) for excellent profits of 41.6pts, or 138.7% of stakes invested. His record in 3yo+ handicaps at Ffos Las in that period is 3 wins from 6 for 18.8pts (+313.4% ROI)!

Today he gives a handicap debut to Taqneen and 15.7% of his flat handicappers have won on debut since 2008. The 24 winners from 153 debuts have produced 51.3pts profit at level stakes for an ROI of 33.5% and from those figures, his 3 yr olds have won 18 of 110 races (16.4% SR) for 43pts (+39.1% ROI) profit.

All Ed's focus is on Taqneen today, as this is his only runner of the day and he tends to do well with single entrants. Since the start of the 2011 season, if his only runner of the day has been sent out to contest a handicap race, he has had a winner on 16 of 76 ocasions, as trike rate of 21.1% and profits of 54.4pts or 71.1% of all stakes invested.

As for the horse himself, he comes here after a great run of form in his debut season after being unraced as a 2yr old. He was 4th of 5th on debut at Newcastle back in April, where it seemed to be the trip rather than the soft ground that found him out, as he went down by 9 lengths over 1m2f.

Since then he has contested four maidens all at today's 1 mile trip and has a record of 2221. He was narrowly beaten (Nk, 1l, 0.5l) in three Class 5 races before stepping to today's Class 4 level to win by 3.5 lengths on soft ground.

The ground will be similarly soft for him here today and he gets to run off the same mark of 79 as last time out, further aided by a 6lb weight for age allowance, which should make him even more competitively weighted. He's has almost four weeks rest after that maiden win and as he's still unexposed may still some improvement to come.

Taqneen looks a little overpriced to me at 5/1 BOG with BetVictor and he is as low as 7/2 in some places, but I'm on at 5's and I hope you will be too. If BetVictor's price has changed by the time you read this, I suggest that you...

...click here for the latest betting on the 4.05 Ffos Las

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

just click here for more details.

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard.

Stat of the Day, 22nd August 2014

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 22nd August 2014

The good news from yesterday was that, once again, we smashed the SP on our chosen runner, taking 4/1 BOG about a 15/8 favourite and in the long run, that will prove to be profitable.

In the short-term, however, that wasn't the case, as Lysino was beaten by two lengths into third place. He was held up towards the rear of the field for much of the contest, but steadily made ground in the final half mile or so until it got to the point a furlong from home where he had every chance of going on to win.

He had a couple of lengths to make up, but had no extra injection of pace when needed and couldn't close the gap.

It has been a frustrating week so far, but these are the fine margins that we deal with on a daily basis and I'm hoping for a little more in today's...

6.15 Goodwood:

And an 11/4 BOG bet on Ed Dunlop's 2 yr old filly Arethusa who makes only her third start after racing twice last month, securing a runner-up finish on her debut and a comfortable win a big field at Newmarket last time out. That was five weeks ago and she had What A Party 3.25 lengths behind her in third place that day, with that horse going on to win both of his two subsequent races (one maiden and one handicap/nursery).

After her maiden win, this is Arethusa's handicap bow in a Class 4 Nursery...

Ed Dunlop has a good record with handicap debutants and since the start of the 2008 flat season he has saddled up 23 winners from his 151 debutants for a strike rate of 15.2% and resultant level stakes profits of 49.3pts, which equates to 32.6% of stakes.

He hasn't fared too well in better quality handicaps, but at Class 3 and lower, the record is very impressive with 22 wins from 131 (16.8% SR) for 58.3pts (+44.5% ROI) profit.

She's stepping up a class today, too...

Ed also has a good record with his handicappers stepping up in class, especially if there's some money about for them. As in the same 2008-14 timeframe, his handicappers running up a class and at odds of 7/1 or shorter have won 22 of 94 races at a rate of 23.4% and the 21.8pts profit generated is worth 23.1% of stakes.

Incidentally, from an admittedly small sample size: 19 horses have satisfied both criteria to date with 10 (52.6%) of them making the frame. Four of the nineteen (21.1% SR) were winners, generating 11.2pts profit at an ROI of almost 59%.

Arethusa seems to have been treated on the lenient side with an opening mark of 76, which looks very workable in a field of runners where she's the only one to have previously won at the trip. I'd expect her to shorten as the day goes on, so I'm happy to take the 11/4 BOG on offer from BetVictor.

Not all the firms had priced this up at close to 1am, so for their prices, I suggest that you...

...click here for the latest betting on the 6.15 Goodwood

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

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REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard.

Newmarket Trainer Stats 12th October 2013

Rowley MileAs we gear up towards the excellent Newmarket card this Saturday, Andy Newton gives you three yards that do well at the track, plus three that you might want to avoid..... Read more

Stat of the Day, 25th August 2013

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 25th August 2013

Four winners from six for Mickael Barzalona at Newmarket highlighted how strong he is at that venue and he has certainly helped my profit/loss figures this summer. He also helped SotD to a 4.5pts return yesterday as he cajoled Ghazi to a win on debut. The horse had to be firmly ridden from a long way out, such was the greenness of his running, but finally with less than two furlongs to go, the penny seemed to drop and he straightened up for home.

The official winning distance was a mere half-length, but in truth it was all quite cosy in the end. He's sure to be asked to go further in time and may well be one to watch as he progresses. There's no Barzalona/Newmarket combinations today, I'm afraid, but I do have an interesting entry in the highly competitive...

5.00 Goodwood

Three year old horses running in open age handicaps receive a weight for age allowance and this allowance becomes far more noticeable in races of a mile and a half or further. As with any angle in racing, some trainers are more adept at exploiting this allowance and whilst Mark Johnston is the master of this, fellow trainer Ed Dunlop is no slouch either.

In the past three seasons Ed has had six winners (and four others placed) from just seventeen such entrants with this 35.3% strike rate generating level stakes profits of 15.7pts, a return of 92.4% of stakes.

This is also the time of year when Ed's horses are usually at their peak with his record in handicap races in the months of July & August over the past three seasons reading as 26 winners from 118 runners priced at 12/1 or under. This gives a very healthy 22% strike rate and profits of 34.1 pts or 28.9% of stakes. It should also be noted that 41% of those runners made the frame, making these two months very profitable for the yard.

Today, Mr Dunlop employs the talents of Frankie Dettori to ride the 3 yr old filly Bantam, a horse developing into a really consistent sort who was 5th of 15 on debut at Newbury back in May, but has made the first two home in each of her five subsequent outings on turf since (22121) despite being asked to run on ground conditions varying from Good to Firm right through to Heavy!

Both of her wins to date were over today's kind of trip (1m 3.5f at Windsor and 1m 4f at Salisbury last time out) and she showed a good turn of pace to win her latest contest. She is making steady progress, having risen from a mark of 75 to today's 84 in the space of her last three runs. She ran well enough off 80 last time out and today's extra 4lbs is more than negated by that 10lb (in real terms) weight for age allowance as above, meaning she's effectively competing off 74, despite having won off 75 & 80.

The booking of Frankie Dettori today is interesting too. He may not be the rider he used to be, but he's still one of the best around. His deployment here today, allied to the trainer's record in handicaps at this time of year, as well as the weight allowance makes the 9/1 BOG on offer look really attractive. The prudent call is, of course, to hedge our bets. Therefore today's play is a 0.5pts E/W bet on Bantam at 9/1 BOG with BetVictor. This price is also currently available at Betfred and William Hill.

I wrote this at midnight and prices are subject to change, so I'd strongly recommend that you...

Click here for the latest betting on the 5.00 Goodwood

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Trainer Stats: 23rd April 2012

MJWith the new flat season hotting up Andy Newton’s got six trainers that have got their horses in tip-top order...... Read more

Trainer Stats: 28th Nov 2012

'Phil' Your Boots With Hobbs' Horses

The weather might be causing havoc around the country this week but Andy Newton’s still got seven trainers to look out for..... Read more

Trainer Stats: 26th Sept 2012

Anything Willie Mullins Runs Should Be Respected

Andy Newton has six in-form trainers to look out for this week...... Read more

Trainer Stats: 30th Aug 2012

More clues on which yards are in flying form at present as Andy Newton gives you his weekly 'hot trainers' list..... Read more

Monday Mish Mash 20th August 2012

Reckless Abandon wins again

Reckless Abandon wins again

It was a terrific weekend for British racing, albeit not in Britain; and it promises to be a terrific week for British racing here on home shores too.

Also today, I've the opening position from this year's Geegeez Fantasy Football League, and a word on what I was up to at the weekend...

Let's start with the racing action just passed, and wonderful performances from old friends and new, women and children first.

The child in this context is Clive Cox's unbeaten juvenile, Reckless Abandon, who did us a turn at Ascot when winning the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes and has since added two fat Gallic pots to his treasure chest, in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin and, last weekend, the Group 1 Prix Morny. He's a funny bugger is Reckless Abandon.

You may recall him winning at Ascot (and indeed on debut at Doncaster) despite jinking late and in pronounced manner. Well, he did that again at Maison-Lafitte when winning the Papin but, in his stiffest test thus far, he ran straight down the rail to his left and led from trap to line. In behind were a couple of O'Brien beasts, and the Hannon hoss he'd seen off in the Papin (Sir Prancealot), who was beaten about the same again.

Given that Reckless led from the start, and placed horses all came from off the pace, it's difficult to get a robust handle on the merit of the form. What isn't in question is that a) the winner is very good and progressive; b) the second may have more scope for improvement, especially - with an eye to the Guineas - at a mile; and, c) the French, whose first home was only sixth behind British and Irish runners, may not have too much depth in their juvenile rank this term.

When a horse shows as much natural speed as Reckless Abandon does, it's quite difficult to see him lasting out a mile, even next year. He's bred for seven furlongs most likely, but I'd be tempted to have a dig at one of  the late season all age sprints - perhaps the Abbaye itself, over a flying five - as he's clearly very fast and would get a ton of weight (ok, not a ton, but the best part of a stone).

Cox had a good'un a couple of years ago in Xtension (sold to race in Hong Kong and subsequently worth a million in prizes, to quote Iggy Pop) and, whilst that one had a bit more stamina, this one could achieve more on this isle than Xtension's domestic PB of third in the Dewhurst and fourth in the 2000 Guineas.

[Incidentally, Cox is a stable in cracking form just now, as evidenced not only by Reckless Abandon's win, but also by that of 25/1 team mate, Lethal Force in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes at Newbury].

Onwards, to a superb race mare now in her fourth season of racing. Snow Fairy is the timeless chick, and she came back as hot as ever in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, where she saw off Izzi Top et al by three-quarters of a length and more. It was a decent enough renewal with Galikova (won last year's Group 1 Prix Vermeille) and Giofra (winner of the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes last time) in behind.

Snow Fairy, who has now won six Group 1 races, three of them in Asia at the end of the year, will surely be heading to the Orient once more, and those juicy prizes. She's amassed pushing four million in prize money, and will topple that landmark four million figure if she stays fit.

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She's a real flag bearer for Ed Dunlop who, alongside Sir Henry, is developing a reputation as one of the best trainers of fillies and mares in the world. (Think Ouija Board, Lailani, and all the way back to Ta Rib in the 1996 French 1000 Guineas).

Concluding the 'women and children first' section, and jumping back to Saturday night UK time, Arlington's Beverley D Stakes, a Grade 1 for fillies and mares, was won by David Simcock's I'm A Dreamer, ridden by Hayley Turner. While there's little doubt she got the run of the race, she does have form in North America, after a silver medal last term in the EP Taylor, a Grade 1 in Woodbine, Canada.

The winner of this race gets an entry to the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf, and that's a logical place for I'm A Dreamer to target. On the same Arlington card was the American St Leger, won by Marco Botti's Italian 'hand-me-down', Jakkalberry. I backed this horse last time at Ascot in the Hardwicke, in which I thought he was nailed on for a place, but he only finished fifth behind Sea Moon there.

This day, he fair bolted up, beating the best of the US squad by more than two lengths, with more than another six back the third placed horse, Johnny G's Zuider Zee. Whilst a tilt at the BC Marathon would appear to offer a penalty kick scenario, connections are plotting a more precarious course to Antipodean waters, and the Melbourne Cup, run in the same week as the Breeders Cup.

Adding a third European victory on the night in Arlington, and a second Grade 1 (the American St Leger is an ungraded conditions race currently), was Alain de Royer-Dupre's Bayrir, who bagged the Secretariat Stakes. Bayrir was having only his fifth career start, all of them as a three year old, and the obviously progressive son of Medicean is now working towards a crack at the Breeders Cup Turf, probably via a break and a prep run on Arc weekend.

Although Bayrir may not be bred for a true run mile and a half, the BC Turf is very rarely truly run (due to tight turns making it difficult to attain and maintain peak speed, and also the lack of true twelve furlong horses in US), so he's every chance of stalking and pouncing there.

And, rounding out the British interest in the global racing at the weekend, 'Filthy' Luca Cumani just failed to make it a Grade 1 clean sweep for Europe at Arlington Park, when his Afsare went down narrowly in the Arlington Million.

Basically, the race was stolen from the front by the lone pace, Little Mike, who got out, was unhassled and stayed out. Afsare finished best, and perhaps if Fallon had made more use of him he might have won. But this was still a decent effort in difficult race conditions.

********

This week is all about York and, after something of a summer holiday for top class turf action in UK, the Ebor meeting brings it back with a bang.

Four days of tip top racing kick off with Wednesday's Juddmonte International, and a certain wonder beast. Yes, Frankel will finally step up to ten furlongs here at the thirteenth time of asking.

Given the way he finishes his races; and his level of talent and improved temperament; and the fact that he's a son of crack middle distance horse, Galileo; in my view, he's an absolute shoo in to be at least almost as good at ten as eight furlongs. And, whilst you would have to have a lot of sevens to be piling in to buy some ones (Frankel is a best priced 1/7 currently), 14% tax free has its attraction when sat next to bank interest rates for savers...

I'll be offering thoughts on the racing throughout the week, starting with a piece tomorrow on what to look out for at the track, in terms of course constitution, draw, trainers and so on; and then it's previews, tips and trends for the rest of the week. So do stay tuned for that!

********

Now then, there's a fair chance it didn't escape your attention that this weekend saw the start of the Premier League football season. Naturally enough, therefore, it also saw the commencement of our very own Fantasy Football League.

And I'm pleased to report we had a new record number of entries, as 248 of us will battle it out for kudos aplenty and prizes a few. 🙂

Nothing to report in terms of progress at this stage, as it truly is a marathon not a sprint, but keep your dial at geegeez fm for occasional updates on the movers and shakers.

********

 And finally, how was your weekend? What did you get up to? Enjoying the sunshine? Taking in some sport?

Me? I was in a very hot classroom for two days of ante natal training. This baby thing was blissfully ethereal, distant even, despite the impending due date, until the weekend past.

Now, I know in graphic detail the extremes that poor Mrs Matt will endure to ensure the legacy of Geegeez is well taken care of! Actually, as well as being mildly terrifying, it was interesting and I certainly learned a heck of a lot. Being able to recall important factoids in the heat of the moment is, of course, another matter entirely.

For now, then, I'll bury my head back in the sand - or the form book at least - as I get to grips with York's fiendish punting puzzles. (Plenty) more as the week rolls on.

Matt

Sat TV Trends: 18th Aug 2012

We’ve got all the trends you need ahead of the LIVE C4 action from Newbury, Newmarket and Ripon this Saturday... Read more

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5 Recent Winners For Ralph Beckett

Andy Newton continues with his weekly look at the trainers that have their strings in good form.......... Read more

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Are The Dunlop Horses About To Hit Form?

This week Andy Newton’s got seven in-form flat handlers to keep a look out for. Read more

Sat TV Trends: 12th May 2012

Lingfield Switch To The AW On Sat

More trends and stats as Andy Newton looks at the LIVE C4 races this Saturday. Read more