A National winner at Fairyhouse?

A National winner at Fairyhouse?

The National Hunt jamboree that is Cheltenham Festival 2013 draws ever closer, dear reader, and - at time of writing, there are just fifteen days and a few hours before tapes rise on the first of 27 championship events.

Excitement is bubbling up nicely, and in today's post I'll be covering a range of subjects, plenty of them related to Chelters' big Fezza (as I heard it referred to this morning!). So, in no particular order, I've got some thoughts on the weekend racing with Cheltenham/Aintree in mind; a Monday placepot; news of a special bonus offer later in the week; a quick tipping competition update; and, a Monday placepot!

Let's go to it...

We'll start with the weekend racing action just passed. Dan Kelly will have a more analytical take later in the week on some of the key events, but until then, here are my rather less scientific notes.

Friday saw the third favourite for the Arkle have his final prep race for Cheltenham in a three runner Sandown event. That he was beaten was unfortunate. That he was stuffed out of sight means he's surely a fair price to even make the Arkle field now. I'd already warned against backing a horse with nine chase starts under his belt for the Arkle, on the basis that there's very little improvement to garner from such a beast, and Fago ran like a horse which has seen too much action recently.

Indeed, he's had six races since mid-September, and four of them in very high class company. Allied to the fact he was returning to the track after just thirteen days - and a very hard race - and it's not altogether surprising he flopped. Nice horse, but not an Arkle winner.

Onwards to Saturday, and an interesting card at Kempton, though with surprisingly few Festival clues on offer, in my view. I was lucky enough to be in attendance, and as a guest of Tony 'Irish Big Race Trends' Mac in a hospitality suite (nice fellow, that Tony Mac!). Pie crust scoffed, it was to the action, and despite three Grade 2's and the feature Grade 3 Racing Plus Chase, there was just a smallish handful of horses to note.

In the opener, Triangular gave up the outside to no horse and, having been outpaced, stayed on well to be a never nearer thirteen length fifth. A stiffer track and slightly longer trip will see him in the winner's enclosure again, but he won't be going to the Festival. The third horse, Milarrow, looks the other to take from here. He had tried to make all before getting badly outpaced when the tempo quickened - dropping back like he'd be pulled up - but then rallying robustly to be less than nine lengths back in third. He's entered in a similar contest on Wednesday - as is Saturday's winner, Midnight Sail - but I'd want to see Milarrow over three miles now.

Irish Saint did well enough to win the Adonis - normally a strong Triumph Hurdle trial - from Vasco du Ronceray. Off what looked a dawdling pace (both the Dovecote and the bumper later on the card were a second or so quicker), Irish Saint found himself a few lengths from the leaders, but showed good acceleration to get to them, and then good tenacity to outscrap Vasco in the final furlong.

While I'd mark Irish Saint up on the bare form here, he was well enough tonked - albeit under a different, pace-setting ride - last time at Cheltenham, by Vasco's stable mate, Rolling Star. Indeed, it's fair to believe that both Nicholls (Far West) and Hendo (Rolling Star) have better options than they ran here.

Grandioso further polished the Denizen of Ditcheat's stellar record in the Pendil Novices' Chase. His form string in the contest now reads 112111311 since 2006. Crikey. Despite that, none of those managed to trouble the judge at the Festival, and it's unlikely that either Grandioso or Molotof, his closest pursuer here, will be wager material in two weeks time.

The Dovecote was next, a Grade 2 hurdle for all age novices, and it's a race that is hard to get a handle on. The winner, Forgotten Voice, was emphatic in victory. The second, Brick Red, probably ran close (ish) to his mark of 146. If we say he ran to 140, then Forgotten Voice - value for twice his five length margin - probably ran to around 150. That would put him in the shake up for the Supreme... if he was entered there.

In fact, he's in the County Hurdle only and, off a mark of 138 plus a penalty - and with stable mate Petit Robin likely to keep the Voice's weight down - he might be one of the more interesting contenders.

Certainly a stronger pace would help him settle (although he seemed to have overcome that problem on Saturday), and the way he travels - allied to his obvious class, being rated 113 on the flat - offers hope. He's a general 14/1 shot for the County, though Stan James were impressed, showing just 8/1 about his prospects.

The big race was a first big race success for a trainer I've been banging on about since he took out a license in his own right, Harry Fry. Lest you didn't know, he trained Rock On Ruby to win the Champion Hurdle last year. Whilst that was from Paul Nicholls' former satellite yard in Seaborough, Dorset - a training facility now managed by Fry - there is no doubt that the young Harry was directing Ruby's regime.

Opening Batsman was a well-weighted novice here, and he'll now be a less well-weighted novice. He's in four different handicaps at the Festival and, on that basis alone, I'd need a better steer from connections before taking close to single figure prices about his chances there. Progressive horse, but not a Cheltenham proposition until plans are known, if at all.

Meanwhile, over at Fairyhouse, the Bobbyjo Chase - a strong Grand National trial, in which all runners were entered for the Aintree showpiece - was won by in good style by the extremely progressive Roi du Mee from odds-on jolly and National second favourite, Prince de Beauchene. It's very hard to crab a horse which has won eleven of 32 career starts, and five of seven this term.

In truth, I'm not even remotely sold on the stamina of either of that pair for the Grand National, and I suspect that they simple outpaced the likes of Oscar Time, who was allowed to coast home some way back. From this field, if any are of interest to me at current prices, it is the fourth horse, Rare Bob, who is currently 80/1 (non-runner free bet) with BetVictor (same price Stan James, all in run or not).

He has bags of Aintree form, is clearly being trained specifically for the National (two runs this season, a handicap hurdle and the Bobbyjo), and he's trained by super shrewd Dessie Hughes. Whether he's good enough is another question, but he has a pretty sound profile for the race, and 80/1 each way is tempting: certainly more so than 10/1 Prince de Beauchene or 25/1 Roi du Mee (both French bred which is still a negative overall, for me).


Onwards, and now that some of the bookmakers are going non-runner no bet, it's time to start flagging the best priced horses with those bookies, as it clearly makes sense to bet with them if you fancy one that's top-priced with them. Victor is non-runner no bet; and bet365 is the same and also Best Odds Guaranteed. Unfortunately, the latter's BOG concession means they're offering pretty tight odds in most cases, though with a few exceptions.

The below is a list of top ten market contenders in each Championship race where one or both of BetVictor or bet365 are top (or joint top) price.


Supreme Novices Hurdle: Pique Sous 20/1 with both bet365 / BetVictor

Arkle Chase: Overturn 11/4 bet365

Champion Hurdle: Zarkandar 5/1 bet365; Cinders And Ashes 14/1 bet365; Countrywide Flame bet365 / BetVictor

Neptune Novices Hurdle: Un Atout 20/1 BetVictor

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RSA Chase: Super Duty, Sire Collonges both 25/1 BetVictor

Queen Mother Champion Chase: Sprinter Sacre 1/4 (!), Sanctuaire 20/1, Somersby 33/1 all BetVictor

Jewson Novices Chase: Module 10/1 BetVictor, Argocat 16/1 BetVictor, Third Intention 16/1 bet365 / BetVictor

Ryanair Chase: For Non Stop 20/1 bet365

World Hurdle: Solwhit 12/1, Get Me Out Of Here 16/1 BetVictor

Triumph Hurdle: Diakali 20/1 BetVictor

Gold Cup: Bobs Worth 3/1 bet365, Captain Chris 20/1 bet365 / BetVictor, Katenko 25/1 BetVictor

Foxhunters: Chapoturgeon 5/1 BetVictor, Cottage Oak 10/1 bet365, Bold Addition 16/1 bet365, Dante's Storm, Goonyella both 20/1 BetVictor

Like I say, if you fancy any of the above, it'd be foolish to bet anywhere else, especially where bet365 are top price. In those cases, you'll get money back if the horse doesn't run, and bigger odds if the horse is sent off at... well, bigger odds!


A quick update on the tipping competition, as we start the second of its two weeks. Currently, Ian Friend has a healthy lead, thanks to four winners last week, including 12/1 and 20/1 scorers. He's on a superb 36.5 which means, even with a completely blank week, he'll have 26.5 at the end of the comp. So, if you want to catch him, you've lots of time but you need to start getting some nice priced winners!

Remember, too, that we have a prize for the top-priced tip in the competition which currently stands at 20/1, and is held by... Ian Friend! That's only on countback though, as both he and S Dhillon had the 20/1 scorer, plus a 12/1 scorer. Ian has a third winning pick at 13/2, but if S Dhillon finds an unanswered 7/1 or better winner, he'll leapfrog into the lead.

Of course, if any of you find a 22/1 or bigger winner, you'll overtake the pair of them! So, get tipping. Here's the link to the competition.


My sincere thanks to the 474 of you who have completed the Geegeez Survey. It's your feedback that makes Geegeez what you tell me you'd like it to be. I always share the survey results, and this year will be no different. So, do please take five minutes (or perhaps ten) to complete the survey, and I'll have an update on it later this week or early next.

And thanks a lot in advance. 😀


Couple more things: two things happening later this week, and a Monday placepot.

First, on Wednesday, I'll be back at Kempton for something I've not been involved with since 30th July 2001. That was the last time I had a share in a horse which was unraced, making its debut. The horse was called Tern Intern, and he was not very good. In fact, he was terrible. The highest rating he ever had was 54, when he was first handicapped, and he regressed down to a mark of 30...!

Well, on Wednesday, I'll have hope renewed that Vastly, the new nag, offers a glimmer (or perhaps a shaft) of light and hope for the future. The portents are fair: he was trained by none other than Sir Henry Cecil until the end of last year when, due to Vastly's size (yes, he's well enough named) it had not been possible to get him to the track.

Now, for Sir Henry to persist until the end of a horse's third year, without a run, implies the perception of at least some ability. Add to this the fact that Vastly's half-brother is none other than Await The Dawn, a winner of his most recent Meydan start plus five other races, and £285,074 in career prize money, and we are quite hopeful that our boy can at least win a race (or perhaps two) in due course.

Their mum, Valentine Band, also bred Putney Bridge, a Listed winner who is a full brother to Vastly; and Spruce, which Julia trained to win four races on the spin back in 2010.

So yes, we're very hopeful that he might be nice.

On Thursday, I'll have a special bonus offer for you. I can't say too much at this point, but suffice it to say that I've been tracking this little system since May last year, and it's a corker. Stay tuned for my bonus message on Thursday. 🙂


And finally, how about a bit of a bet on this dreary cold Monday? Let's try to plunder the Plumpton placepot. Now, as time has moved on, and I've work to do, we're going to take a few chances today. As a result, there's a fair prospect of a losing attempt, but better that than 'get' the placepot up but return less than we staked!

So, here goes:

Leg 1: Leviathan has two decent pieces of hurdles form, and won't mind the slight firmer footing. In a race with lots of runners but few with chances, he's a banker to kick us off.

A: 7

Leg 2: It's bar a fall for Violin Davis and, whilst this is a novices' chase, she's looked assured in three runs over fences to date, and she's a banker too.

A: 1

Leg 3: This looks tricky. Sir Fredlot is a big price but has a course and distance win to his name just four starts back, and has a number of other boxes with ticks in them. He'll go on A, despite his price. Tornado In Milan and Manshoor have both been well supported this morning and go on A, the latter with course/distance form too.

I'll bolster A with some B action, in the form of Right Stuff for local in-form trainer, Gary Moore, and Nemo Spirit. Engai, for David Bridgwater, sneaks in on that sole reason.

A: 2, 4, 6
B: 1, 7, 8

Leg 4: Jupiter Rex has the best form and the best jockey. But he's not been a fan of this quicker ground historically, and he's only had a short break (five days) since his last win. And this left-handed, slightly tighter circuit may not be ideal either. He's still the one to beat, and is the sole A runner.

But I'm firming up with a couple of B's too, in the shape of big-priced pair, Digger Gets Lucky and Sole Agent. Both have conditions to suit and could make the frame here, especially if Jupiter Rex under-performs.

A: 5
B: 2, 3

Leg 5: Absolute Shambles started his career here 39 runs ago and looks to have a chance today, despite being 12/1. His form here is 4515214, and the quicker the ground the better. All seven of his wins have been on good to soft through to good to firm, so he could bounce back this afternoon. He gets a call on B.

Favourite Stop The Show looks opposable, despite AP McCoy taking the ride. He's twelve now and has only made the first two in four of his 26 chase starts, and only won once. True, this race is awful, but he's just a very slow horse, and I doubt he'll win and he could well be out of the frame.

Red Anchor is a lot less exposed and won last time. That's more than enough to make A here.

Lawney Hill is a trainer I admire, and her Champion Versions drops in class today. He's a contender on that basis, and joins the A crew.

And thrice-winning hurdler, Acosta, gets the B call up, due to being well backed this morning.

A: 2, 5
B: 1, 8

Leg 6: Wily Susan Gardner does well enough round here, and she steps handicap débutante, Southway Queen, up half a mile this afternoon. Obviously expected to improve for that, judged on plenty of cash around for her today, she's an A sort. McCoy gets back on Old Dreams here, having won and been placed on her on his two previous rides, and she's an A type too.

Lady From Geneva ran well on her handicap bow last time, and she completes the trio on A, and the placepot perm.

A: 3, 5, 11

A's only: 1 x 1 x 3 x 1 x 2 x 3 = 18 bets

A's and B's:  1 x 1 x 6 x 3 x 4 x 3 = 216 bets

ABX Perm:

Monday Placepot at Plumpton

Monday Placepot at Plumpton


And that's it for a marathon Monday musing. Hopefully you've found something of interest in the above, and do let me know your thoughts on any points mentioned there, or indeed on anything racing/betting related!

p.s. Particularly, is the best odds breakdown on the big non-runner no bet races useful? Leave a comment and let me know.

Placepot Picks

Placepot Picks

It's off to Catterick for the placepot today, and with a four runner and a seven runner race, things might get interesting. Let's hope so. It kicks off at 14.05...


A novice hurdle which is ostensibly a four horse race, despite ten going to post. Nice and simple, we'll side with Abbey Storm, who should stay this far, and looks a nice prospect.

A - 2


Trappy. Just how I like it. Trend Is My Friend gets to handicaps pretty quickly, and makes A. Amok won on good to soft and also makes A. Alba King doesn't have any evidence of enjoying soft ground and is overlooked. A couple of rags on B, starting with Zazamix, for whom conditions are optimal if he can put a bad run and a tumble over fences behind him on this reversion to hurdles. Molaise Lad ought to be staying on at the end here and might pass enough to make the frame for B tickets.

A - 2, 4
B - 5, 6


Four novice chasers in a handicap a reliable punting proposition does not make. It is sensible to cover all four, but in the interests of expediency I will cover only three and may save on the other one if something good happens in the 2.40 race.

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I'm going to take a big chance and swerve Dannancey's Hill, who looks a very one paced fellow. This does seems a bit easier than his most recent race, but still he seems to find one too good at the end. When you're win only, that's no good.

A - 1, 2
B - 4


Competitive stuff, and plenty with some sort of chance. Optimally suited are Fairy Nuff and Amir Pasha and they will represent the primary hopes. Supporting them on B is the trio of Mount Hope, Knight Valliant, and Silas Mariner.

Both Glencree and Charlie Crab could outrun their odds but are not sensible placepot plays.

A - 4, 13
B - 2, 3, 9


A cracking race. Lease Lend looks to have everything in his favour and is super-consistent. I'm going to bank on him here. If the placepot is shaping up nicely enough, I may look to lay him for a place on Betfair to cover my stakes.

A - 1


An unbeaten favourite and a very well supported unraced second favourite... that's A sorted with Legacy Gold and Delta Forty respectively. In a race where a lot is taken on trust, it's worth adding some ballast on B in the hope of a surprise result. As such, Dancing Lamb and Falcon's Present join the placepot party.

A - 1, 2
B - 3, 8

Basic Version, A’s only

1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 16 bets

Basic Version, A’s and B’s

1 x 4 x 3 x 5 x 1 x 4 = 240 bets

Advanced Version, using ticket builder

This is using 20p base stakes (x4 for all As, and x2 for 5A1B combo's), but could be done for as little as 5p stakes in the betting shops.

Monday Placepot from Catterick

Monday Placepot from Catterick

Good luck!

Placepot Picks

Placepot Picks

Well, this series has started quite interestingly. In our first two attempts at the placepot, we managed to find all six winners in week one at Wolverhampton, and notch the placepot again in week two at Plumpton. Alas, on both occasions, the placepot dividend was less than perfect and my desire to publish a 'winning' combination led to more permutations than ideal, I suspect.

So, with a couple of weeks experience behind us, and after a week of quiet reflection last Monday, we'll take a bit more of a risk this week in search of a bit more reward, and slim the pemutation down to a more manageable number of lines.

Again, it's Wolverhampton that we go at, as I'm not much of a fan of Kempton's all weather circuit (read, I can't seem to find winners there!).

Leg 1 - 1.40
The first of two low grade amateur rider sprint handicaps, and that sets the tone for what could be a trappy afternoon's fare here at Dunstall Park.

This race is made more interesting by the prospect of the short-priced favourite, Hab Reeh, being a non-stayer at this six furlong distance. Whilst Hab Reeh did win a six furlong race, that was a maiden handicap on fast ground, and races don't get much worse than maiden handicaps!

In his Wolves 6f spins, he's been outpaced when trying to lead. I'm not sure if they'll send him to the front here but, if they do, I think he'll be out of the frame. However, with a couple of fancied horses now non-runners, he still has to make the ticket. He's ridden by Serena Brotherton who is one of very few jockeys that are trustworthy at this level.

I'll support him on my main ticket with the consistent Miserere Mei who, along with Hab Reeh, has the best jockey in Simon Walker. He finds winning tough, but is usually thereabouts and it would be a surprise to see him out of the top four or five again here.

Prigsnov Dancer is interesting at a price, and makes the B ticket, as does Glennten, who has run well on both starts over course and distance (including one win).

A - 1, 8
B - 2, 12

Leg 2 - 2.10
The second division of the same handicap, and we're faced with the same conundrum. Lord Buffhead, the joint favourite, looks like he much prefers five furlongs to six and, with a full field of bad pace judges charging from trap to line, he might get run off his hooves. All four of his wins have been at five furlongs, and his sole decent run over this course and distance was in a short seven runner field when he was still beaten nearly five lengths. Not for me.

Against him, I like the look of the other joint jolly in the early exchanges, Artful Lady, and also Whiskey Junction.

Artful Lady has only had two runs here and finished second, beaten a head in a seven furlong race, and then won over this trip four starts back. The pistes at Kempton and Lingfield are a bit quicker than here, and it might be that she's far better suited by the deeper dirt in the Midlands.

Whiskey Junction doesn't have an ideal draw for his like to lead style, but if the latest Carson off the production line can get him to the front, he'll take some catching. He's been in the first three in 26 of his 68 career starts, and four of his last eight. This won't take too much winning, and at least six furlongs is his trip.

A - 2, 6

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Leg 3 - 2.40
It doesn't get easier, with a non-runner here making this a seven runner contest, and therefore we only have two places to shoot at, with four horses trading at 5/1 or shorter.

Luckily, there are three which look complete no-hopers, so we can at least narrow it down to the short odds quartet. Of those, the most likely winner is Hiddon Coin, David O'Meara's all weather improver. Having his first start on the sand last time over track and trip, he readily pulled clear of the re-opposing and consistent, Windforpower. That one is quirky enough however, and has needed the considerable riding skills of champion all weather rider, Luke Morris, to get him home in his two recent wins.

Today, Joe Fanning takes over and, whilst he's a very good jockey, he doesn't know this fellow... and this fellow takes some knowing. He's capable of making the frame, but not a reliable proposition so to do. Windforpower's form is tied in closely with that of Marmot Bay, a horse which might be a tad less capable than the first named, but is a good bit more reliable.

In truth, I don't really like either of them in the context of this race, and I prefer Bill Turner's Hillbilly Boy. Bill has saddled two horses in this contest in the last four years, and both of them won. Now, that might be coincidence, as I doubt it's a race people look to when planning campaigns (!), but he at least knows what's required to win it.

Hillbilly Boy was a well beaten fifth of five on his last start, but that was his first trip to the track for six months and he's sure to have needed it. More match fit today, and dropped in grade, the Boy is the highest rated horse in the race and fully ten pounds clear of the third highest rated. As such, he gets a space on the B ticket billing, with Hiddon Coin on A.

A - 1
B - 2

Leg 4 - 3.10
A seven runner maiden, featuring exposed form versus newcomers from respected stables, makes this fiendish. On the face of it, Bouyrin has the best form in the book, and is most likely to reproduce it here. He gets tentatively scribbled onto A.

The favourite is Mark Johnston's well bred but unraced Henry The Aviator, unsurprisingly a son of Henrythenavigator. Henry cost 130,000 guineas in April last year, and that's an almighty whack of cash in the context of a race like this. If he's anything close to matching his price tag with his ability, he should win and win well. A.

It would be far from a shock if Willie Haggas' Botteen was good enough to trouble the judge first time up in this race, but I've got two bullets to fire here and I've fired them at Bouyrin and Henry.

A - 3, 7

Leg 5 - 3.40
In my personal placepot perms, I normally go with what I call 'one brave race'. This is a race in which I 'bank' on one horse making the frame for me. And today, that race will be leg five, a ten runner seven furlong handicap, and that horse will be Bussa, a highly consistent type.

Bussa has been in the first four in his last seven starts, and he acts perfectly well on this track, as he showed when just beaten a head last time over course and distance.

With the overnight favourite, Jack My Boy, pulled out (he had a car park draw), and the second favourite, Restless Bay, also having a poor draw to overcome - they start the seven furlong races here on the crown of a bend - it looks set fair for Bussa to hit the board once more, assuming the exertions of his run on Friday haven't left their mark.

Of the rest, Needwood Ridge is better than a 25/1 shot, but I'm siding with Bussa as a banker.

A - 8

Leg 6 - 4.10
Just when you thought it couldn't get any trickier, the 'lucky last' is a four runner, win only contest. With all four closely rated - and certainly closely weighted against their ratings - and all of them wearing headgear, three of them for the first time, it's anybody's guess what will happen here!

None of them have won over this trip, and only Amelia Hull has won at all..! I'm covering all of them: Amelia Hull and  Mick Dundee on A, and Handsome Stranger and Silk Scarf on B.

This means that I'm guaranteed to win a share of the pool if I get to the sixth leg with one B line or less used that in getting there. Consequently, I'll be able to insure my position in leg 5 by laying Bussa for a place, if the dividend looks worth winning.

If that last paragraph made no sense to you, don't worry. I'll explain it another day. (I did actually spend an hour and a half recording a 'how I research the placepot' video last night, only to find when I came to edit it that I'd not picked up the sound..!!!).

A - 2, 4
B - 3, 6

So, here's how the placepot looks today:

Basic Version, A’s only

2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 16 bets

Basic Version, A’s and B’s

4 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 4 = 128 bets

Advanced Version, using ticket builder

This is using a 20p base stake, but you could do it for as low as 5p's. Note the weighting on tickets 1-4. Ticket 1, all A's, has a 4x weighting. In other words, I have staked this to four times my base stake of 20p (i.e. 80p per line). Ticket 2-4 have a 2x weighting and are therefore 40p per line.

Wolverhampton placepot perm

Wolverhampton placepot perm

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.

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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