Posts

Mud-lovers rejoice as Soggy Cheltenham Festival anticipated

We’ve come to expect good to soft ground on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. But this year’s meeting looks sure to prove an exception, with recent heavy showers leaving the ground soft, heavy in places, as of last night.

At this time of the year conditions can change dramatically in a short space of time, but we look set for soft ground at best as the ‘Cheltenham Roar’ reverberates around Prestbury Park. With more rain forecast, it seems inevitable that testing conditions will prevail throughout this year’s Festival. Such news clearly has a bearing on the contenders we are likely to follow. I’ve looked at the opening day of the meeting and can nominate several runners that have a greater chance under these unfamiliar Festival conditions.

First Flow suddenly looks even more appealing in Tuesday’s opener, though punters have quickly cottoned on. Following a stunning success in the Haydock Supreme Trial, trainer Kim Bailey announced that the horse would skip Cheltenham, with the ground likely to prove unsuitable. However, the rain has brought about a rethink and this mud-lover will now take his chance. He was relentless at Haydock, maintaining a strong gallop during the second part of the race, before stretching clear of a useful looking field. The Cheltenham Hill should suit, and he looks a decent each-way prospect.

Similar can be said for Summerville Boy, who also takes in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He was last seen beating Kalashnikov in a testing ground Tolworth at Sandown. Amy Murphy’s Betfair Hurdle winner was unable to land a blow that day. It’s a slight concern that prior to that impressive performance he’d twice been beaten at Cheltenham, though it’s thought that the horse needs a strong end to end gallop. The style of the race, and of course the conditions, should prove ideal on Tuesday. The Tom George-trained six-year-old is currently third best in the betting at 10s.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Only five go to post in the Arkle Chase with five-year-old Saint Calvados now all the rage with the punters. Harry Whittington’s French recruit has proved something of a beast in testing ground, winning his three chase starts by a combined distance of 40 lengths. Quicker ground was a complete unknown, but the team will no longer need to worry. He’ll be bounding along from the front, looking to run the opposition into the Cheltenham turf. He had a decent chance prior to all this rain, but now looks certain to go very close.

A competitive field of 18 go to post in the Ultima Handicap Chase, and there’s a pair that I fancy even more since the heavens opened. Vintage Clouds has run consistently well throughout the winter, especially when finishing fourth in the Welsh National. He was running a huge race in this 12 months ago, before coming down at the second last. A year older and with the ground more in his favour, I fancy this son of Cloudings will go close. He’s on an attractive handicap mark of 141 and is currently available at 14/1.

I am also hopeful of a huge run from Peter Bowen’s eight-year-old Minella Daddy. This son of Flemensfirth is out of an Old Vic mare, and was last seen running a blinder at Ascot. He’s had a year off the track through injury, but his last run shows that he retains plenty of ability. It’s likely that he’ll improve further for that run and may still be on a lenient mark at 139. Sean Bowen has become something of a young master in this type of staying handicap, and at 20s I have a good feeling about this fella.

I’m a big fan of De Plotting Shed in the opening day Close Bothers Novices’ Chase, especially as Festival favourite Davy Russell will be onboard. But, one that catches the eye in these testing conditions is Le Rocher for the Nick Williams yard. The horse isn’t the biggest and is prone to serious jumping errors, but he loves the mud. If Tom Scudamore can pick his way cautiously through the pack I fancy this fella will be charging up the famous hill. He’s currently 25/1, which seems fair enough to me.

Stat of the Day, 7th March 2018

Tuesday's Result :

2.20 Lingfield : Something Lucky @ 2/1 BOG WON at 11/8 Restless in stalls, dwelt tracked leader, joined leader over 1f out, pushed along to lead narrowly inside final furlong, ran on to win by a head.

Next up is Wednesday's...

3.40 Fontwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Cabernet D'Alene @ 3/1 BOG

A Class 3, 2m3.5f handicap hurdle on good to soft ground worth £6,238 to the winner...

Why?

This 6 yr old gelding is 4 from 9 over hurdles over the last 12 months, handles pretty much any sort of ground and although now trying 2m3.5f for the first time, is 2 from 3 at 2m3f over the last years including a win by 11 lengths last time out (7 weeks ago) on heavy ground, so stamina won't be the issue here.

He's trained by Nick Williams (under-rated in my opinion), who is having the time of it with his handicap hurdlers of late with 13 winners from 72 (18.1% SR) generating profits of 80.2pts (+111.4% ROI) since the start of 2017 with the following of relevance today...

  • 4-6 yr olds are 11/55 (20%) for 91.26pts (+165.9%)
  • those last seen 16-90 days ago are 12/53 (22.6%) for 90.3pts (+170.4%)
  • over trips of 2m to 2m4f : 8/33 (24.2%) for 83.4pts (+252.7%)
  • and on good to soft ground : 5/15 (33.3%) for 79.4pts (+529.1%)

Now, Lizzie Kelly & Chester Williams are Nick's usual go-to jockeys in these races, but today's deputy Sam Twiston-Davies is (a) no mug, (b) 1 from 1 of those 72 runners above, (c) in great form : 5 wins and 4 places from 16 rides over the last two weeks and (d) very adept around this track, winning 25 of 94 (26.6% SR) here at Fontwell since 2012.

And lastly (for now!), this horse was sired by Day Flight, whose offspring are 20/81 (24.7% SR) for 29.8pts (+36.8% ROI) since the start of 2015...

...but for now, it's just...a 1pt win bet on Cabernet D'Alene @ 3/1 BOG which was available from Bet365, Betway & Skybet at 5.30pm on Tuesday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.40 Fontwell

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Stat of the Day, 17th January 2018

Tuesday's Result :

2.15 Ayr : Finaghy Ayr @ 5/2 BOG non-runner Meeting abandoned = waterlogged track....

Next up is Wednesday's...

1.00 Market Rasen :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

One of Us @ 7/2 BOG

A Class 4, 4yo+ Handicap Hurdle over 2m7f on Soft ground worth £5,198 to the winner...

Why?

A 6 yr old gelding who won LTO by 2 lengths over 3 miles at Ascot 25 days ago under today's jockey Lizzie Kelly.

Over the last 5 years, when Lizzie has ridden a Nick Williams trained 4 to 9 yr old make handicap hurdler on Good to Soft or softer ground over trips of 2m to 3m1f, she has been victorious on 20 of 76 occasions (26.3% SR) for 151.9pts profit at an ROI of 199.9% and these 76 runners include...

  • from September to February : 20/65 (30.8%) for 162.9pts (+250.7%)
  • on Soft ground : 11/37 (29.7%) for 68.9pts (+186.3%)
  • at Class 4 : 11/27 (40.7%) for 83.6pts (+309.5%)

AND...from September to February at Class 4 on Soft ground : 5/10 (50% SR) for 13.59pts (+135.9% ROI) with each of the last four all winning!

Plus in that same 5 year time frame in UK handicap hurdle contests on ground rated good or softer, horses who had won a Novice hurdle LTO 11 to 90 days earlier "doubled up" 160 times from 880 (18.2% SR) efforts, generating 154.1pts profit at an ROI of 17.5%, including...

  • on soft ground : 40/221 (18.1%) for 45.1pts (+20.4%)
  • in January : 16/72 (22.2%) for 14.5pts (+20.2%)
  • and here at Market Rasen : 13/53 (24.5%) for 43.7pts (+82.4%)

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on One of Us @ 7/2 BOG which was widely available at 5.50pm on Tuesday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 1.00 Market Rasen

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

The Lanzarote Hurdle – Nicky to nick-it from Nicholls

Kempton’s Lanzarote Hurdle was established in 1978 and originally run over two miles. In 2007 the race was extended to its current trip of 2m5f.

In the 10 renewals since the change in trip, just three winners have carried more than 11 stone to victory. Paul Nicholls and Nick Williams have landed three apiece in that period, with Modus winning for team Ditcheat 12 months ago.

Six-year-olds have been dominant in recent times, with the race tending to favour a progressive type with few hurdling miles on the clock. Three of the past 10 winners had only run three times over hurdles, prior to landing this valuable event. Despite the race usually attracting a fair-sized field, shocks have proved rare. Of the past nine renewals, Micheal Flips at 9/1 was the biggest price winner.

Nicky Henderson is responsible for the front two in the betting for tomorrow’s renewal. Diese Des Bieffes is only a five-year-old, and has had just three outings over hurdles. He was runner-up to classy novice If The Cap Fits last time at Kempton. Outpaced during that two-mile contest, he stayed on strongly in the home straight, and it would be a surprise if this extended trip didn’t prove ideal. He’s by popular French stallion Martaline, responsible for classy types including Dynaste, Disko and Agrapart. Leading juvenile hurdler We Have A Dream is also among his progeny. Henderson’s youngster is set to carry 11-2, though 5lb claimer Mitchell Bastyan appears booked for the ride. This fella looks to have a huge chance.

William Henry will carry top-weight and is challenging his stablemate at the top of the market. He came down on chase debut and has reverted to hurdles. A classy novice last term, he was runner-up to Wholestone at Cheltenham last January, with Poetic Rhythm five-lengths back in third. The strength of that form has been well advertised this winter, and of those at the top of the handicap, he looks the class act.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Bags Groove joins him at the top of the pile. Harry Fry’s seven-year-old won a Pertemps Qualifier at Kempton in November, but is raised 5lbs for that effort. This looks more competitive, and I’m far from sure that he has enough improvement left to win off this latest mark.

Paul Nicholls has enjoyed plenty of success in the race, and has another leading contender in Topofthegame. The six-year-old is lightly raced, with just four starts under rules, and is another reverting to hurdles after falling on his only chase outing. He was some way behind William Henry in the race at Cheltenham, though was a huge raw baby at the time. There’s every chance that he can turn that form on its head, especially as he gets 6lb from that rival. He’s by Flemensfirth, and as such should have no problem with conditions. He should go close.

Nick Williams has a couple lurking at the bottom end of the handicap. With such an outstanding record in the race, the Devon trainer cannot be dismissed. Dentley De Mee looks the one to keep an eye on. The five-year-old has had just three outings over hurdles, and though he’ll need to improve plenty to be competitive here, there’s every chance that he could do exactly that. He gets the best part of a stone or more from the leading protagonists, and it would be no surprise to see him sneak into a place.

Owner JP McManus captured last year’s event, and has one of the favourites this time in the Alan King-trained River Frost. He was fifth in a strong renewal of the Silver Trophy at Chepstow in October, and that form certainly gives him a chance here. He too is lumbered with top-weight, and will be ably assisted by Barry Geraghty; twice a winner of this race in the last five years. This six-year-old is clearly a player, but I’m not convinced he’s quite good enough.

Siding with Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson is often a sensible decision, and I think the pair have this race between them. I’m just favouring Diese Des Bieffes over Topofthegame, though I fancy it’ll be close.

Best of luck to those having a punt.

The Stayers’ Hurdle – Fry’s Favourite Vulnerable To Irish Speedsters

He’s proved peerless over the winter, and is understandably a short-priced favourite, but is Unowhatimeanharry vulnerable to a speedier type when he lines up for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next Thursday?

He took the Albert Bartlett a year ago, and is four from four at the course. He’s spent the season sweeping-up the usual trials, and has looked impressive in winning the Long Distance, the Long Walk and the Cleeve. Previous staying stars such as Baracouda, Inglis Drever and the mighty Big Bucks, often travelled a similar path towards Cheltenham glory, as did Thistlecrack during his dominant campaign over a hurdles a year ago.

The Irish have a shocking record in the Stayers’, with Solwhit the sole winner this century. And with Harry Fry’s nine-year-old having accounted for all the British contenders during his dominant spell, he starts to have the look of a ‘Festival Banker’. If you add to this the strong record of favourites, and that only Cole Harden has won at double-figure odds in the last 10 years, then we are amassing a pretty strong case for Unowhatimeanharry landing his ninth straight victory.

The intriguing aspect of this year’s race is the likely assault of speedier Irish contenders, similar in type to 2013 winner Solwhit.

Vroum Vroum Mag now looks unlikely to head here, instead going for the Mares’ Hurdle. Nevertheless, Willie Mullins could have both Nichols Canyon and Shaneshill challenging for this, with both possessing plenty of natural speed. The former was third in the Neptune of 2015 and filled the same spot in last year’s Champion Hurdle. He won at Aintree over 2m4f in 2015 and then demolished Alpha Des Obeaux over the same trip at Punchestown. It was a little surprising that he was then dropped in trip last year, though he ran well in smart company. Whether he’ll get the three miles is questionable, but on good ground at two and a half he’s looked impressive.

Shaneshill has become a Festival stalwart, having finished runner-up in his three visits. He chased home Douvan in the Supreme of 2015, proving that he has plenty of speed, and last year came within half a length of winning the RSA Chase. Cheltenham in March clearly sparks this son of King’s Theatre, and he won his prep at Gowran over the trip. He’s a horse I like, and is probably better trusted to get the trip than Nichols Canyon.

Your first 30 days for just £1

The other Irish contender of interest is the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki. He returned from injury to win at Navan over two-miles, but was beaten by Tombstone last time at Gowran. Connections are yet to commit to this, and the open nature of this year’s Champion Hurdle is probably tempting, especially on better ground. If he heads here, he has to be a serious contender, though the year off the track is a nagging concern.

The 2015 winner Cole Harden is fancied by many to go close, especially after his promising performance in the Cleeve on unsuitable soft ground. He came off second best to Unowhatimeanharry that day, in receipt of 8lbs, so he has his work cut out to reverse placings, even on a sounder surface. Warren Greatrex had sent him over fences at the start of the season, but a mediocre performance at Wetherby brought about a change in direction. I think he’s held by the favourite, though he could run into a place.

Ballyoptic is another that appears to be well-held by the favourite. He was running a huge race at Ascot in December when coming down at the last, but was disappointing at Cheltenham in the Cleeve. I fancy he’ll make a better staying chaser, and he’s not for me.

Of those at a bigger price, there are two that catch my eye as each-way propositions. Lil Rockerfeller can’t beat Unowhatimeanharry on all-known form, but at 25/1 looks a fair bet to run into a place. He missed his intended prep at Fontwell, but that could prove a blessing, having looked a little jaded when finishing fourth in the Relkeel on New Year’s Day.

The horse that won that day is Agrapart, trained by Nick Williams. He was behind Zarkandar last time at Haydock, but was giving the winner 8lbs, and I fancy that 40/1 for the Stayers’ is wildly underestimating his chance of hitting the frame. He wasn’t stopping at Haydock last time, and I’m sure he’ll run far better than his odds suggest.

Everything points to the favourite in this, and often a punter can be guilty of trying too hard to find a chink in the armour of something that appears bulletproof. Unowhatimeanharry ticks every trend box and is rightly a short-priced favourite. Nevertheless, you occasionally need to go with a ‘gut feeling’, and this is one of those occasions. I think Shaneshill will have the gears to ‘out-kick’ the favourite from the last. And I take Agrapart at the prices to creep into the frame for each-way backers.

As always, best of luck to those having a punt.

Stat of the Day, 24th February 2017

Thursday's Result :

8.00 Wolverhampton : Amazement @ 3/1 BOG WON at 5/2 Tracked leader, ridden over 1f out, led inside final furlong, kept on well to win by 2.25 lengths

Friday's pick goes in the...

2.30 Warwick

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Night of Sin 11/4 BOG

Why?

A 4 yr old gelding making his 4th career start, having won last time out in this grade, on similarly soft ground under today's jockey (Lizzie Kelly) over a trip just 100yds further at Bangor. That won was his first crack at going left handed like he will today and even from just three previous runs we now know that Class/trip/going/direction and jockey are all fine, but that's not why I've picked him!

Yes, they all contribute, but what first caught my eye was the fact that he's a Nick Williams youngster running a juvenile, but why should that be of note?

Here's why... Nick Williams / October to April / 2009-17 / 4 to 7 yrs old / 0-10 previous runs for the yard = 92/521 (17.7% SR) for 159.7pts (+30.7% ROI) and that angle alone is worth a point of my money.

But I realise that not everyone wants to place over 60 bets every 6 months on just one angle, so we can break those 521 runners down in a whole host of proftable ways and here are some that apply today...

  • in Juvenile races : 86/480 (17.9%) for 169.2pts (+35.2%)
  • over hurdles : 57/336 (17%) for 95.2pts (+28.3%)
  • in non-handicaps : 52/287 (18.1%) for 86pts (+30%)
  • from December to February inclusive : 55/250 (22%) for 158.3pts (+63.3%)
  • on Soft/Heavy ground : 52/234 (22.2%) for 125.5pts (+53.6%)
  • after a break of 26-60 days : 42/208 (20.2%) for 89.5pts (+43%)
  • at Class 4 : 45/201 (22.4%) for 112.1pts (+55.8%)
  • over trips om 2m/2m0.5f : 29/174 (16.7%) for 96.5pts (+55.5%)
  • those ridden by Nick's daughter, Lizzie Kelly are 23/107 (21.5%) for 128.5pts (+120.1%)
  • LTO winners are 22/93 (23.7%) for 22.3pts (+24%)
  • and here at Warwick : 5/18 (27.8%) for 21.7pts (+120.3%)

Hopefully you'll find something in the above that appeals to you, but I certainly think...

...it justifies...a 1pt win bet on Night of Sin @ 11/4 BOG which was available with Betbright, Paddy Poer & SkyBet at 5.15pm on Thursday, but DO take the 3/1 BOG on offer with Bet365 if you can! To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.30 Warwick

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

Stat of the Day, 19th October 2016

Tuesday's Result :

8.10 Kempton : Cryptic @ 5/2 BOG 3rd at 11/4 (Tracked leaders, outpaced 2f out, soon ridden, ran on inside final furlong, 3rd and held towards finish)

Wednesday's pick goes in the...

4.05 Worcester :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Delores Delightful at 15/2 BOG

Why?

This 6 yr old mare has finished 331452 this year since adopting the tongue tie and with previous wins at both 2m6f and 3m, today's 2m7f shouldn't be beyond her capabilities. She also has winning form under today's jockey Lizzie Kelly.

Trainer Nick Williams' hurdlers are 76/488 (15.6% SR) for 79.4 pts (+16.3% ROI) since the start of 2008 and since 2013, they are 36/255 (14.1% SR) for 46pts (+18.1% ROI), of which...

  • Lizzie Kelly is 17 from 97 (17.5%) for 71pts (+73.2%)
  • those racing over 2m4f to 3m1f are 14/96 (14.6%) for 33.5pts (+34.9%)
  • and Lizzie Kelly is 7/39 (18%) for 49.3pts (+126.5%) over ttrips of 2m4f to 3m1f.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the breeding and this mare is by Saint des Saints, whose offspring are 92/487 (18.9% SR) for 280.8pts (+57.7% ROI) since the start of 2011, with the following of relevance today...

  • hurdlers : 50/270 (18.5%) for 294.8pts (+109.2%)
  • handicaps : 36/236 (15.3%) for 140.7pts (+59.6%)
  • handicap hurdlers : 22/140 (15.7%) for 157.6pts (+112.6%)
  • over 2m4.5f to 3m0.5f : 36/135 (26.7%) for 59.9pts (+44.4%)
  • at Class 3  : 14/90 (15.6%) for 49.6pts (+55.1%)
  • and those coming back from a break of 180-240 days are 10/29 (34.5%) for 16.2pts (+55.9%)

...highlighting...a 1pt win bet on Delores Delightful at 15/2 BOG, from BetVictor and/or Paddy Power, who led the way at 6.05pm on Tuesday night with some 7/1 BOG available elsewhere. To see your preferred bookies' odds, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 4.05 Worcester.

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

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard...

Bailey’s Ace Looks Each-Way Shout

The main event at Kempton on Saturday is the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle.

The listed handicap is run over 2m 5f and was won last year in sensational fashion by Nick Williams’ talented gelding Tea For Two. In what appeared to be a competitive renewal, the then six-year-old romped to a 10 length victory. A year earlier the race went to Paul Nicholls with one of his most talented inmates Saphir Du Rheu.

Nicholls has taken two of the last seven renewals, though Nick Williams is very much the most successful trainer in recent times with three wins from the last five. However, he won’t be adding to that tally on Saturday as he has no entries in this year's event. Nicholls on the other hand is likely to be represented by the well-fancied Ibis Du Rheu. The five-year-old ran a promising second at the Hennessy meeting in November, just failing to overhaul Royal Guardsman over a slightly shorter trip. Chances are that the step up in distance will suit, though he has to improve plenty to take this far more competitive affair.

Harry Fry and Philip Hobbs shared honours in the last major handicap when Jolly’s Cracked It and Sternrubin hit the line together in The Ladbroke at Ascot. Sadly Fry’s imposing gelding will miss the remainder of the season due to a tendon injury.

Nevertheless, the Dorset trainer will be hopeful that he can add another prestigious handicap with Unowhatimeanharry currently favourite for Saturday’s showpiece. He won an Albert Bartlett trial at Cheltenham in December, though that was over three miles. He had been successful prior to that at two and half, and heavy ground holds no fears. The horse is undefeated since joining Fry in the summer.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Yala Enki is another that should enjoy ground conditions. Venetia Williams is often the ‘go to’ trainer when the mud is flying, and this French import has already impressed this winter when cruising to victory at Exeter in November. He was then a little too keen at Haydock in the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle, though he battled on for fifth having looked likely to fade out of sight turning for home. He has a lovely race weight, and looks a serious player.

This race often goes to unexposed types rather than seasoned handicappers, and Nicky Henderson’s Bivouac certainly fits that description. The five-year-old has only run seven times over hurdles and has a far superior record running right-handed. He won at the track last December and was successful at Huntingdon last time out when having the fast improving Lil Rockerfeller in behind. The ground should be ideal, and it’s no surprise to see him towards the head of the betting.

Dr Richard Newland is always to be respected in these competitive handicaps and he has an interesting contender in the lightly raced Westren Warrior. He’s another who will enjoy the testing conditions; having won an ordinary novice hurdle by miles last time at Lingfield in heavy ground. He’d chased home recent Cheltenham winner Singlefarmpayment prior to that, and clearly that form now looks pretty strong.

Gary Moore can do no wrong this winter, and he has recent course and distance winner Baron Alco entered here. He looks to be improving at a rate of knots and has a tasty pedigree being a son of Dom Alco out of a Network mare. He’ll need to step up again, but looks to have the potential to do exactly that.

Finally a mention for Kim Bailey’s eight-year-old Un Ace. He’s a hugely talented horse who is back over hurdles having had a productive time over fences. Though French bred, he is probably slightly better suited by a sounder surface. However, he has a fair looking race weight and the trip is perfect. He’s run right-handed only twice before and won both times. He looks a decent each-way proposition.

It’s another hugely competitive handicap to get excited about and finding the winner as ever will prove one hell of a task.

Williams Welcomes A Brighter Spell

Williams Chasing Winners

Williams Chasing Winners

Victories for Tea For Two and Aubusson have sparked life into a hitherto lacklustre campaign for Nick Williams.

The Devon handler has now crept to six winners from 51 starts at a strike rate of 10%. Last season gleaned just 13 wins from 113 runs compared to the previous five winters which saw the Williams yard hit virtually twice that figure on each occasion. In the 2009/10 campaign total prize money touched half a million, whilst last year it dropped below £300,000 and so far this winter sits at less than £80,000.

Added to this, during the summer the stable lost one of its exciting youngsters, when Fox Norton moved to Neil Mulholland’s yard. To rub salt into the wounds, the five-year-old has taken to fences, like a duck to water and is already two from three over the larger obstacles.

It sounds like an almighty tale of woe, but to be fair to Williams and his team, fortunes can quickly turn in his favour. The yard only has around 25 horses in training, a manageable quantity for Culverhill Farm. It therefore follows that should the trainer nurture a star or two, the slightly disappointing stats can very quickly look a whole lot healthier.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Reve De Sivola has certainly been one such star over the past half dozen years. He may be fast approaching ‘senior citizen’ status, but on the evidence of his run at Auteuil last month, he looks to retain plenty of ability. In just over a week’s time he makes his regular pilgrimage to Ascot to contest the Long Walk Hurdle. It’s a race that he has dominated in recent years, with three consecutive victories. There’s every chance that he can make it four on the bounce, especially if the ground rides testing.

Last Friday at Exeter Tea For Two made his much anticipated switch to fences. A classy hurdler, he always looked to have the stature that suggested chasing would be more his game. Nevertheless, few could have anticipated such a stunning debut. He travelled through the race with ease and was wonderfully slick over his obstacles. He recorded a thumping 10 length success despite being eased right down in the latter stages. Paul Nicholls’ Calipto was back in third and the Philip Hobbs trained Golden Doyen out of sight in fourth. It was a truly cracking performance.

Though Aubusson’s win at Uttoxeter yesterday was somewhat less impressive, it was still a dominant performance. He’s another huge beast who appears to need testing conditions to be at his best. In time you could certainly see him becoming a Welsh National type. However, I’d be surprised if he progresses as quickly as Tea For Two, and he looks more of a long term project.

On Saturday the yard also celebrated a stunning win for the four-year-old novice hurdler Agrapart. The son of Martaline is yet another who coped best with testing ground conditions. He trounced the opposition by 20 lengths with Lizzie Kelly on board barely moving a muscle. Heavy ground form can be misleading at times, but he undoubtedly looks a tasty prospect.

It’s fair to say that Williams and his team are stirring from their recent slumber. The outlook for the Devon handler suddenly looks a whole lot brighter.

Stat of the Day, 11th November 2015

Stat of the Day, 11th November 2015

Tuesday's Result :

3.20 Sedgefield : Aniknam @ 100/30 BOG : 2nd at 5/4 (Towards rear, headway before 5th to go in touch, ridden before last, every chance run-in, kept on and held near finish, beaten by three quarters of a length.) Smashed SP, but couldn't catch the winner!

Wednesday's selection runs in the...

3.00 Bangor :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

After Eight Sivola @ 3/1 BOG

Why?

This 5yr old gelding comes here on a hat-trickafter a win at Wincanton on April Fool's Day and then another success last time out, but some 6 months later by 4.5 lengths at Fontwell in a Class 2 race over 2m3f, 39 days ago under today's jockey Lizzie Kelly.

He's 1 from 1 at today's trip, 2 from 4 with today's rider, 2 from 3 (311) running 30 to 70 days after his last run, 2 from 2 wearing the hood and has won on soft ground in the past.

Lizzie Kelly has 11 wins from 45 rides (24.4% SR) in hurdle races for Nick Williams generating level stakes profits of 73.7pts at an ROI of 163.8%, of which the team are 9/25 (36% SR) for 81.1pts (+324.5% ROI) at trips of 2m3f to 2m5f, they are 5/16 (31.25% SR) for 29.9pts (+186.6% ROI) on soft ground and...

Lizzie Kelly / Nick Williams / Hurdles / 2m3f to 2m5f / Good to Soft or worse = 7/15 (46.7% SR) for 77.1pts (+513.9% ROI)

And at this point, I'm convinced it's a decent bet.

However, one micro I follow alerted me to another way into this race and the criteria are as follows... Male handicap hurdlers aged 4 to 8, rated (OR) 81 to 130 carrying 9-13 to 10-13, 3 to 60 days after a win in a hcp hurdle last time out.

Such horses are 173/841 (20.6% SR) for 132pts (+15.7% ROI) profit from blind unfiltered backing! Four simple filters you could apply are as follows...

  1. those who won by four lengths or more LTO are 74/311 (23.8% SR) for 80.25pts (+25.8% ROI)
  2. 5yr olds are 43/185 (23.2% SR) for 17.6pts (+9.5% ROI)
  3. Class 2 runners are 23/117 (19.7% SR) for 23.1pts (+19.7% ROI)
  4. runners here at Bangor are 6/13 (46.2% SR) for 4.2pts (+32.3% ROI)

The more keen-eyed amongst you might recall this horse being a winnr for us on SotD on that last run 39 days ago (Arc weekend), but that was from a different set of stat and the reappearance of After Eight Sivola as a pick is purely coincidental.

And my recommended bet?

A 1pt win bet on After Eight Sivola at 3/1 BOG with either of 10BET, Bet365, BetVictor, Boylesports, Paddy Power and / or Seanie Mac!  I'm using 10Bet today because they'll refund a defeat as a runner-up by a head or less, but to see what your preferred bookie is offering...

...click here for the betting on the 3.00 Bangor

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, 9th October 2015

Stat of the Day, 9th October 2015

The Dukkerer was very disappointing at Chelmsford on Thursday evening, it has to be said. I really thought we'd bought ourselves a real chance at a decent price, but I was wrong on both counts!

The market didn't like the horse's chances and she was eventually sent off at 7/1, a full point longer than advised and then ran a strange sort of race, travelling wide before a short unsustained effort before making a hasty retreat to the back of the pack.

In the end, she was last home of 11 and beaten by the thick end of 10 lengths and having looked weary in the closing stages of a 10 furlong, perhaps she now needs a rest after 33 races in 26 months.

Back to the jumps we go on Friday, for the...

4.05 Newton Abbot :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

And a 5/1 BOG bet with the Betfair Sportsbook on Amour D'Or, a 4yr old filly making her handicap debut in a Class 4 hurdle over 2m 5.5f on what will be just her 8th run to date. She was last seen in the UK finishing second at Worcester almost 16 weeks ago, but has been over to France for one race, where she won over hurdles by 10 lengths at Lion D'Angers eight weeks ago.

She is trained by Nick Williams and as I pointed out last Saturday, he does very well with horses running in what I term the "winter season" ie October to April, aged 4 to 7 with less than 10 runs under their belt and since 2009, such horses have won 80 of 410 (19.5% SR) races for level stakes profits of 180.3pts at an ROI of 44%, including, of course, Saturday's excellent 6/1 winner.

I'm not ashamed to use the same headline stat twice inside a week, especially when it's as solid as this one, but this is a different race and will have some other angles to explore. I'd be backing this horse today anyway, regardless of it being the SotD horse, purely on the above figures, but with the actual race in mind, I've got no less than a dozen profitable criteria that this selection meets!

So, in descending order of sample size derived from the 410 runners above, let's go!

  1. Hurdlers are 46/248 (18.6% SR) for 94.5pts (+38.1% ROI)
  2. In 4yo+ races, they are 48/237 (20.3% SR) for 132.2pts (+55.8% ROI)
  3. Handicappers are 36/188 (19.2% SR) for 79.4pts (+42.2% ROI)
  4. Those running after a break of 4 to 16 weeks are 38/180 (21.12% SR) for 81.1pts (+45.1% ROI)
  5. At trips of 2m3f to 2m6f : 34/152 (22.4% SR) for 85.1pts (+56% ROI)
  6. At Class 4 : 38/142 (26.8% SR) for 136.5pts (+96.2% ROI)
  7. 4 yr olds are 20/128 (15.6% SR)for 61.7pts (+48.2% ROI)
  8. LTO winners are 22/84 (26.2% SR) for 31.8pts (+37.9% ROI)
  9. Female runners are 10/47 (21.3% SR) for 36.5pts (+77.6% ROI)
  10. Handicap debutants are 10/43 (23.3% SR) for 36.5pts (+84.9% ROI)
  11. Those ridden by Lizzie Kelly are 14/39 (35.9% SR) for 119.4pts (+306.3% ROI)
  12. In female only races, they are 7/32 (21.9% SR) for 35.5pts (+110.8% ROI)

I could probably go on (and on and on etc), but I think there's probably about enough numbers there. The figures are solid and aren't reliant upon each other ie you could take any of the above strands and it would be viable as a micro in its own right, but I'll leave you with another of my "composites"...

Nick Williams / Class 2 to 4 / 4yo+ hurdles / Oct-Apr / 2009-15 / Aged 4 to 6 / less than 10 runs for Nick / Top4 finish LTO 11 to 60 days ago are 14/42 (33.33% SR) for 69.7pts (+165.9% ROI) with females winning 6 of 12 (50% SR) for 30.9pts at an ROI of 257.4%

The 5/1 BOG  from Betfair's Sportsbook is currently the standout price for Amour D'Or with all other firms offering 9/2 BOG. You can see if that's still the case, when you...

...click here for the betting on the 4.05 Newton Abbot

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, 3rd October 2015

Stat of the Day, 3rd October 2015

No complaints from me about yesterday's pick, Purple n Gold. I thought he acquitted himself well in what promised to be a competitive contest. As it was, it turned out to be a two horse race!

He led until just before the last, from which point he was headed and outpaced to the tune of eight lengths by Workbench who was impressive late on, it has to be said.

Second at 7/2 was no disgrace there and the fact that we beat the rest of the field of 25 lengths or more says it was a decent run.

Same venue today for a second crack at this course via Saturday's

3.20 Fontwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

We're a little later than usual with Saturday's selection, I'm afraid. As many of you will know, Matt and I are in Paris for Arc weekend and I spent most of Friday afternoon/evening travelling, hence the delay!

Today's race is a Class 2, 4yo+ handicap hurdle over 2m3f on good ground, where the selection is Nick Williams' 5yr old gelding After Eight Sivola, who was a winner last time out and looked to have plenty in hand, albeit six months ago at Wincanton, and is a 5/1 BOG shot to follow up.

Nick Williams' NH record in the "winter season" (ie Oct-Apr) since the start of 2009 with horses aged 4 to 7 who've made 10 or less starts for him is 79 winners from 409 runners (19.3% SR) for 173.9pts (+42.5% ROI). This is a nice little microsystem I use and it only generates around 65 to 70 bets a year.

65 to 70 might still be too many, so with time in  mind and today's contest as a guideline, here's how the 409 runners are broken down...

  • 2m to 2m4f : 54/283 (19.1% SR) for 157.1pts (55.5% ROI)
  • hurdlers : 45/247 (18.2% SR) for 87.9pts (+35.6% ROI)
  • handicaps : 35/187 (18.7% SR) for 72.7pts (+38.9% ROI)
  • 5yr olds : 32/156 (20.5% SR) for 79.8pts (+51.2% ROI)
  • Nick's only runner at the track : 33/147 (22.5% SR) for 161pts (+109.6% ROI)
  • his only runner of the day : 24/115 (20.9% SR) for 82.5pts (+71.8% ROI)
  • won LTO : 21/83 (25.3% SR) for 25.2pts (+30.3% ROI)
  • Class 2 : 11/59 (18.6% SR) for 26.5pts (+44.8% ROI)
  • at Fontwell : 3/7 (42.9% SR) for 8.2pts (+117.3% ROI)

Of course, all the above fit After Eight Sivola's entry today and Paddy Power offer the best price in town at 5/1 BOG (Ladbrokes too, but non-BOG until 9.00am), whilst 9/2 BOG is widely available, so I suggest that you...

...click here for the betting on the 3.20 Fontwell

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.

Sunday Supplement: Hats off to Lizzie…

Lizzie Kelly notched another big race win aboard Tea For Two

Lizzie Kelly notched another big race win

Sunday supplement

By Tony Stafford

A few weeks ago, this column was given over to the exploits of the young amateur (sic) Lizzie Kelly (she’d already become a conditional) after Aubusson’s amazing win in a valuable handicap hurdle at Haydock. Jane Williams’ daughter continued her rise to fame and almost certainly fortune with another big win for her stepfather Nick’s West Country stable at Kempton yesterday when Tea for Two romped away with the Lanzarote stable.

Nepotism comes to mind and I’m sure it will have been advanced in some jealous quarters to explain just how this family partnership has been allowed to develop. But before a more sanguine approach to her prospects is considered, I’d like to offer just a tiny statistical piece of evidence that maybe even the Williamses might not be aware of.

In the past 14 days, Nick Williams’ stable has had three winners from 13 runners. Lizzie has ridden all three of the winners from only four rides for the stable, with just an unseated, late in a Leicester race after her mount had already cried enough, spoiling the perfect score.

Not for Nick the use of average jockeys, however. Six different riders were employed on the remaining nine runners, and three started favourite. As indicated earlier, none of them, despite the employment of Richard Johnson, Sam Twiston-Davies, Daryl Jacob, A P McCoy, Wayne Hutchinson and Noel Fehily, could get their heads in front.

Each of that sextet of star jockeys, though, was on the winner’s rostrum at their chosen Saturday meeting: Johnson, Jacob and Twiston-Davies winning at Warwick, Hutchinson and Fehily at Kempton and the perennial champ A P up at Wetherby. Only Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh, of the top boys, have missed out on a Nick Williams ride in the last fortnight. They too were on winners, at Kempton and Punchestown respectively.

It’s been a pretty clumsy way to point out yet again that the Lizzie Kelly stats are remarkable, just as is her confidence in grabbing hold of the initiative in valuable, highly-competitive handicaps. She has impressively allowed her mounts to take advantage of that mouth-watering 7lb allowance that I’m sure that as a conditional, thus professional, she cannot wait to lose.

For the Williamses, the enormity of Tea for Two’s performance off 134 on his fourth hurdles start (three wins) after four educational bumper efforts, will have implications. Jumps handicappers respond for the most part pretty aggressively at wide-margin victories, especially in big races, and I expect around 20lb to be the probable hike in Tea for Two’s rating.

The Racing Post suggestion of the Coral Cup might look a little silly at first sight, but the 2014 winner Whisper won it off 153, having started that season in the 130’s. The difference is that he’d already gone through his novices for Nicky Henderson the previous season and by the time of his last-gasp defeat of Cheltenham regular Get Me Out of Here in the Coral, he’d run nine times over jumps.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Memorably, he also followed that by beating At Fishers Cross in the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle at Aintree. Looking at the rapidity of Tea for Two’s as well as his rider’s progress, maybe it’s not such a silly idea, especially as she will again be able to claim her allowance in the Festival handicap.

The glorious uncertainty of horse racing was never better exemplified than by the result of a novice hurdle race up at Catterick on Thursday when my boss Ray Tooth was aiming to follow up with his recent course winner Notnowsam.

His name proved prophetic as he struggled to get into the race in which the John Ferguson-trained Buckwheat ran out an impressive winner after late money forced him into favouritism, displacing French import Konig Dax from that distinction.

That five-year-old had been bought for Euro 160,000 after winning a hurdle race at Saint-Malo, by the seaside in Brittany, down the coast from Deauville. He’d also won a Flat race at the same course for connections, before an unplaced effort first time over hurdles in the Paris region.

He was up with the pace under Jason Maguire, unlike “Sam” who was sluggish compared to his previous run, but faded badly in the straight. By the line he was even 60 lengths behind us in last place, having almost been pulled up. I hope there’s an explanation and that his owners and trainer will eventually see a future more in keeping with his past.

And his past was certainly highly promising. In that Saint-Malo race he finished five lengths adrift of Douvan, a son of the obscure stallion Walk in the Park, who stands the 2015 covering season in France at a fee of only Euro 1,500.

Walk in the Park, owned by Michael Tabor and trained in France by John Hammond, won a single race, as a two-year-old over a mile at Saint-Cloud. A son of Montjeu, who also raced for Tabor and Hammond, he had his finest hour, albeit in defeat, when runner-up to fellow Montjeu product Motivator in the 2005 Derby.

Obviously frustrated as his form after that gradually tailed off, Hammond even gave him a single start in a Listed hurdle race at Auteuil, to no avail, but there’s clearly no reason why those strong genetic influences should not produce a decent horse or two, given the chance.

Douvan, probably at a disadvantage against the prominently-ridden winner on that debut, stayed on for a five-length second place. Within three weeks (almost nine years to the day of his sire’s finest hour) he was winning another little race, the Prix Karly Flight at Compiegne by two and a half lengths from a horse whose form, before and since and there was plenty of it, didn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Then came the move that transformed his career. He was sourced into the Willie Mullins stable and Ricci ownership. His first run for them brought a wide-margin victory over subsequent easy Grade 1 novice winner Sizing John at Gowran Park and he followed up fluently at Punchestown on Saturday. Those two wins have him at the forefront of Cheltenham Festival betting and on the same likely path to glory as Faugheen.

Meanwhile, for the benefit of one regular reader who switches off at the mention of football, Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew made winning starts respectively at West Brom and Crystal Palace. Beating Spurs will have made Pardew not only a hero at the club with a supermarket behind the stand, but also among Arsenal fans who may finally forgive him for some touchline clashes in the past with M. Wenger.

Today the last-named gentleman has won the battle with Chelmsford City for my attention, as I prefer to stay home and watch the Gunners against Stoke, while dipping in and out of the action from the former Great Leighs, just about the quickest trip I have to any racecourse.

Meanwhile Tottenham are facing the ultimate season from hell (again) as they and the remarkable Harry Kane try to get fourth place in the table once more. Already in the League Cup semi-final (two-legged) and facing a Third round FA Cup replay, they remain in the Europa Cup with a few more matches at least to come, and the matter of 17 more League games to negotiate.

How they’d love to be Manchester United, who have to think about only the League and FA Cup in which to date they’ve played Yeovil and now face Cambridge City. What a manager that Louis van Gaal is!

Sunday Supplement: A Day for the Smaller Yards

Tony Stafford's Sunday Supplement

Tony Stafford

Sunday supplement

By Tony Stafford

The rain pouring down woke me at 5 a.m. It wasn’t ideal, what with a trip to Newmarket for a 9 a.m. schooling session for my boss Ray Tooth’s new jumper Notnowsam planned for the Links. At least, with the December sales starting tomorrow, the Tatt’s sales pavilion will be open for breakfast so Mr Quinlan can reward my devotion to duty with some sustenance.

I’ll need it after watching the latest Emirates horror show, Kieren Gibbs following his injudicious foul which brought Swansea back into the game just before the latest international break, with the double whammy of injuring his own goalie and scoring a brilliant own goal while on the deck so that even Man U could beat them.

Luckily, there are other things to think about than saying goodbye to Chelsea. It seems that recent buy Notnowsam has an affinity for jumping – he’s big enough – and that quality was at the forefront of the two most impressive performances of the past couple of days.

Coincidentally, both came at Haydock and in brush hurdle races. Regarded as mini chase obstacles, they seem to have much more going for them than conventional English-style hurdles. You only have to look at the roll call of winners of the Betfair-sponsored handicap on the undercard of their big Chase every November to appreciate that.

The first running over these still rarely-used jumps was in 2007 when the Francois Doumen-trained Millenium Royal unsurprisingly took advantage of equipment knowledge by defying 11st12lb to collect the £62k first prize.

According To Pete earned a similar sum under Graham Lee (is he still about?) the following year before the first Nick Williams winner Diamond Harry in 2009. The baton passed to David Pipe for Grands Crus and yesterday’s highly-promising Betfair Chase third Dynaste before Trustan Times got Tim Easterby on the honour roll in 2012.

Your first 30 days for just £1

It was Pipe and Tom Scudamore again last year with Gevrey Chambertin, and David again provided a big challenge with Greatwood Hurdle winner Katkeau turning out again trying to keep ahead of Cesarewitch hero Big Easy, and also Vieux Lion Riouge out to reverse October Chepstow form with Aubusson, when they were second and third to Dan Skelton’s smart winner Shalford.

Add to the mix a quiet Tony Martin stayer who was back jumping from a layoff and a fortunate stewards’ room verdict which landed a Catterick Flat-race gamble after Graham Lee had just failed to get him over the line in front.

So, as ever, a tough field, which produced what beforehand might have seemed an unlikely outcome, but one which I actually fancied happening. How could a 20-year-old amateur female rider, with the massive racecourse experience of around 40 rides (admittedly nine wins), beat just for one, Richard Johnson, fresh from his seven wins at the Open meeting?

But that’s just what Lizzie Kelly, daughter of owner Jane Williams and trainer Nick, achieved. Setting off in the middle of a front three, she never allowed her five-year-old to take a backward step, and with him produced an immaculate round of jumping.

This victory in a race whose winner’s value had dropped from the original £62,000 to £45,000, was still worth the equivalent of three-quarters of the total nine previous wins she’d achieved, which included a valuable and important one at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. That day Aubusson got the better of A P McCoy, her acknowledged hero “since the age of 10” when she started riding the family’s horses around their “mud-patch in Devon”.

Lizzie, as befits an academic who was encouraged to complete her studies before concentrating fully on her love for race-riding, has a different attitude to the commentators who reckon the way best to promote racing is to instigate a single million-pound event. In a Daily Telegraph feature article the day after the career-forming (sort of) win over McCoy, she expressed a different opinion, suggesting it is important for racing to spend the money on attracting young people to the sport.

In the article it was revealed she is a frequent visitor to Willie Mullins’ stable in Ireland. The skills learned there, presumably with Ruby Walsh looking on, have not been wasted and the way she drove Aubusson, in just his sixth race and from a mark of 141, 6lb higher than seven-time career winner Big Easy, clear to win emphatically, promises much for horse and rider alike.

My other star winner of the weekend came in Friday’s novice hurdle over two and a half miles. Here, the Paul Nicholls-trained Vago Collonges, Grade 2 placed last season, started odds on to benefit from the 6lb penalty of Maximiser, a six-year-old trained by Simon West.

As the race neared, confidence in the favourite seemed to weaken as money came for the big Northern-trained grey, already a giant-killer having beaten a Donald McCain odds-on shot by 36 lengths at Carlisle.

The key that day had been his accurate hurdling, and this was again the theme, as he was sent straight into the lead by Joe Colliver. Once there, all that was needed was a consistent pace, allowing his mount to find his relentless stride. If in the end the victory margin was less extreme, 11 lengths was still quite good enough to suggest that here is a potential Cheltenham candidate, probably in the three-mile novice next March.

Maximiser, who also won an Irish point-to-point before his switch to Yorkshire, has only a single defeat on his card. That came on debut in a bumper in Ireland when he was eighth to Faugheen, who brightened up a solid if short of horses Ascot card, and gave a fleeting glimpse over here of Walsh, who rewarded his fans with a flawless treble.

Those two big-race winners reinforced the appeal of jumping and jumping people and showed once again that it is not only the big names that can win the big prizes. Lower down there are many capable people who can step forward when they get the right material. So now it’s over to you Noel and Jack Quinlan at Wetherby on Wednesday!

Stat of the Day, 12th January 2013

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