Posts

Stat of the Day, 5th April 2019

Thursday's pick was...

1.55 Southwell : Dolly Dupree @ 4/1 BOG 5th at 9/2 (Held up in rear, headway over 1f out, never on terms)

Friday's pick runs in the...

4.40 Aintree :

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?

Champ 11/4 BOG

...in the 13-runner, Grade 1, Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m1f on Good to Soft/Soft worth £56130 to the winner...

Why?...

This 7 yr old gelding has never been out of the first two home so far, winning 5 of 8 starts including...

  • 4/6 over hurdles, 4/5 going left handed & 4/5 as favourite
  • 4/6 on Good to Soft/Soft, 2/4 in Novice Hurdles
  • 3/3 carrying 11-04 to 11-06, 2/3 within 14-28 days of his last run
  • 2/3 under Barry Geraghty and 1/2 at Grade 1.

His trainer, Nicky Henderson, is 29/132 (22% SR) for 82.5pts (+62.5% ROI) over hurdles here at Aintree since 2012, from which...

  • those running at the National meeting are 17/91 (18.7%) for 50.7pts (+55.7%)
  • those racing after a break of 21-75 days : 20/90 (22.2%) for 62.5pts (+69.4%)
  • on Good to Soft / Soft ground : 16/72 (22.2%) for 17.6pts (+24.4%)
  • in non-handicaps : 18/67 (26.9%) for 13.4pts (+19.9%)
  • those who ran at the Cheltenham Festival LTO are 13/55 (23.6%) for 56.8pts (+103.3%)
  • and those sent off at odds of 6/4 to 7/1 are 21/53 (39.6%) for 57pts (+107.5%)

And more generally...Since 2010, horses finishing in the first three home at the Cheltenham Festival who are then sent straight to the Aintree National Meeting have won 63 of 262 (24.1% SR) for 172.7pts (+65.9% ROI) and these include of relevance today...

  • non-hcps : 53/179 (29.6%) for 72.8pts (+40.7%)
  • at Grade 1 : 41/150 (27.3%) for 57.7pts (+38.5%)
  • hurdlers are 34/121 (28.1%) for 109pts (+90.1%)
  • at trips of 3m and beyond : 22/105 (21%) for 56.2pts (+53.5%)
  • and those trained by Nicky Henderson are 19/46 (41.3%) for 17.4pts (+37.9%)

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Champ 11/4 BOG which was widely available at 9.40pm on Thursday. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 4.40 Aintree

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!

P.P.S. I'm out of the country for most of April, but SotD will still be here every day, albeit in slightly different circumstances, click here for the end of March update which explains the plan in fuller detail!

Stat of the Day, 30th November 2018

Thursday's Pick was...

5.00 Kempton : Livvy's Dream @ 4/1 BOG 7th at 2/1 (Held up towards rear, effort over 1f out, never looked liked getting on terms) - seemed a strange ride to me.

Friday's pick runs in the...

12.45 Newbury :

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?

Kupatana @ 11/4 BOG  

...in a 7-runner, Class 3, Novices Limited Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m½f on Good To Soft ground worth £12762 to the winner...

Why?

Here we have a 5yr old mare who was a winner over 3 miles in her sole point to point run ahead of two wins and a place from four efforts over hurdles. She then had the thick end of 6 months (178 days to be precise) off the track, before returning to action 18 days ago at Kempton.

That Kempton race was her first crack at the larger obstacles and she landed a 2m2½f Novices Handicap Chase by a comfortable 5 lengths despite giving plenty of weight away to her rivals. There's more to come from this one and I like her chances at a track where her yard have done well of late.

In fact, Nicky Henderson's horses are 14 from 47 (29.8% SR) for 24.4pts (+52% ROI) here at Newbury over the last 12 months and in respect of today's pick, those 47 runners are...

  • 13/43 (30.2%) for 24.4pts (+56.7%) on Good to Soft / Soft
  • 12/30 (40%) for 38.7pts (+129%) when sent off in the Evens to 7/1 range
  • 10/30 (33.3%) for 33pts (+110%) in the November-January first half of the NH season
  • 9/26 (34.6%) for 10.2pts (+39.3%) over this 16.5f Newbury trip
  • 11/21 (52.4%) for 35.3pts (+167.9%) with today's jockey, Nico de Boinville, in the saddle
  • 7/17 (41.2%) for 14.5pts (+85.4%) from his 5 yr olds
  • and 3 from 10 (30%) for 2.84pts (+28.4%) at Class 3

...whilst Nico de Boinville has 4 wins and a place from 5 rides over this trip at Evens to 7/1 on Good to Soft/Soft in November to January, producing 14.89pts profit at an ROI of some 297.9%.

Also of note here today, Nicky Henderson's handicap chasers who were winners of a handicap chase LTO 16 to 25 days earlier are 5 from 7 (71.4% SR) for 23.09pts (+329.9% ROI) since the start of 2013.

And more generally, since the start of 2014, UK Class 1 to 4 handicap chasers who have rested for less than three weeks after winning a handicap chase LTO are 118/408 (28.9% SR) for 80.7pts (+19.8% ROI), from which those who won a novice handicap chase LTO are 103/342 (30.1%) for 70.7pts (+20.7%)...

...giving us... a 1pt win bet on Kupatana @ 11/4 BOG, as offered by Bet365, 10Bet, Coral, Ladbrokes & SportPesa at 5.25pm on Thursday evening. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 12.45 Newbury

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, 20th April 2018

Thursday's Runner was...

9.15 Newcastle : Lord Murphy @ 4/1 BOG 9th at 3/1 (Mid-division, headway over 2f out, soon chasing leaders, weakened final furlong)

We now continue with Friday's...

3.15 Ayr :

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?

Darius des Bois @ 3/1 BOG

A 11-runner, Class 3,  3m0.5f Handcap Hurdle (4yo+) on good to soft ground worth £10007 to the winner...

Why?

An unusual pick for me, in so much that it comes from one of the "big" yards whose runners are generally avoided by me as they're overbet and as a result tend to lack "value" (whoops, there's the contentious v word again!). However, I think that 3/1 BOG looks too big here for this one, hence my readiness to back it : time will, of course, be the judge.

For the record, we've got a 5 yr old gelding making just his 5th appearance and he comes here off the back of a win on handicap debut over this trip on soft ground at Newbury last time out four weeks ago. He hit the front from a fair way out, saw off his rivals and stayed strongly to score by five lengths. Extra weight/class make this a tougher ask, but the way he stayed on added to better ground here should mean he's competitive at worst.

The third placed horse that day (5.75 lengths back) has since been beaten by just a length at Fontwell a fortnight ago, whilst the 8th placed horse (26.75 lengths behind our pick!) was a winner on that same Fontwell card.

And now to the "big gun" and it's no less than Nicky Henderson, who always has winners, but isn't generally profitable to follow for reasons highlighted earlier, but he is 11 from 62 (17.7% SR) for 27pts (+43.6% ROI) in UK handicap hurdle contests since 2011 with horses who were handicap hurdle winners LTO 6 to 30 days earlier, from which...

  • those with 5 or fewer handicap runs : 8/44 (18.2%) for 28.6pts (+65.1%)
  • those with fewer than 10 career starts : 7/38 (18.4%) for 18.2pts (+47.9%)
  • those stepping up a class : 4/20 (20%) for 23.3pts (+116.5%)
  • 5 yr olds are 4/18 (22.2%) for 17.3pts (+95.9%)
  • in April : 3/16 (18.75%) for 15.8pts (+98.7%)
  • and those racing beyond 2m5f are 4/14 (28.6%) for 22.7pts (+162.1%)

So, that was me set for the bet, as they say and then I glanced across the card and saw no sign of Nico de Boinville, so I scurried back to the records with the thought that Noel Fehily doesn't ride many for Hendo and I was right, but pleasantly surprised to read that the pair are actually 23 from 70 (32.9% SR) for 20.2pts (+28.9% ROI) together, backed blindly! This, of course, is excellent news and even more so when you see that of those 70 runners...

  • hurdlers are 16/49 (32.7%) for 27.9pts (+57%)
  • those priced at 4/1 and shorter are 21/38 (55.3%) for 17.6pts (+46.3%)
  • favourites are 14/23 (60.9%) for 5.16pts (+22.4%)
  • hurdlers priced at 4/1 and shorter are 14/25 (56%) for 17.27pts (+69.1%)
  • favourites priced at 4/1 and shorter are 14/22 (63.6%) for 6.16pts (+28%)
  • and hurdle favourites priced at 4/1 and shorter are 7/12 (58.3%) for 2.84pts at an ROI of 23.7%

Unusually more wordy than numerical (I'm not sure numbery is a word) today, but...

...all pointing to...a 1pt win bet on Darius des Bois @ 3/1 BOG which was available from Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes & Totesport at 5.40pm on Thursday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Ayr

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, 13th April 2018

Thursday's Runner was...

4.30 Taunton : Dicosimo @ 9/4 BOG 4th at 7/2 (Led until 7th, lost 2nd before 3 out, soon weakened)

And now to Friday's...

2.50 Aintree :

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?

Terrefort @ 7/2 BOG

A 10-runner, Grade 1,  3m1f novice chase (5yo+) on good to soft ground worth £56130 to the winner...

Why?

This five year old gelding is making only his fourth start today and finishing 112 in his previous three outings, all over fences at 2.5 miles on soft ground. He was beaten by seven lengths last out, when a runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival 29 days ago. He looked a little one paced last time, so a step up in trip allied to an easing of the ground should help get him back to winning ways and continue his yard's excellent start to this year's National meeting.

That excellent start was 3 winners and 2 placers from 7 runners on Day 1 and trainer Nicky Henderson will be keen to add to a tally here at Aintree of 38 winners from 199 (19.1% SR) producing 80.9pts (+40.6% ROI) profit since the start of 2012, with Festival runners winning 23 of 144 (16%) for 51.7pts (+35.9%). I should add that this data doesn't include the results from Day 1 : Thursday.

More generally, since the start of 2010, horses running 11-60 days after a top 3 finish at the Cheltenham Festival last time out are 133/520 (25.6% SR) for 162.6pts (+31.3% ROI), from which...

  • those running in April are 117/473 (24.7%) for 172.3pts (+36.4%)
  • those last seen 16-45 days earlier are 107/440 (24.3%) for 167.6pts (+38.1%)
  • Grade 1 runers are 78/290 (26.9%) for 34.2pts (+11.8%)
  • here at Aintree : 58/236 (24.6%) for 173.2pts (+73.4%)
  • those beaten by more than 4 lengths LTO are 32/166 (19.3%) for 89.8pts (+54.1%)
  • at trips of 2m6f to 3m4.5f : 38/153 (24.8%) for 47.5pts (+31.1%)
  • on Good to Soft ground : 26/127 (20.5%) for 20.6pts (+16.2%)
  • those stepping up in trip by 2 to 5 furlongs are 37/121 (30.6%) for 78.1pts (+64.5%)
  • and those trained by Mr Henderson are 22/59 (37.3%) for 12.5pts (+21.2%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Terrefort @ 7/2 BOG which was available from Betfair, Boylesports, Paddy Power and Blacktype (although the latter are non-BOG) at 5.35pm on Thursday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.50 Aintree

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, 21st February 2018

Tuesday's Result :

4.40 Wetherby : Lunar Flow @ 4/1 BOG 5th at 9/4 Led to 2nd, led again before 5th, headed 5th, weakened after 5 out...

Next up is Wednesday's...

5.10 Ludlow :

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?

War Creation @ 9/4 BOG

A Class 4, 2m5.5f handicap hurdle on soft ground worth £5,263 to the winner and a shorter priced pick than I'm usually comfortable with...

Why?

Because it's pretty poor stuff out there and most of those that I like from stats angle are even shorter!

But the reasons why this one ticked some boxes begin with the excellent start she has made to her racing career, making the fame in four of six starts, picking up three wins along the way. Amongst those races so far, she is...

  • 3 from 4 in fields of 4-9 runners
  • 2 from 3 going right handed
  • 1 from 1 here at Ludlow
  • 1 from 1 on soft ground
  • 1 from 1 under today's jockey Ned Curtis

In fact, Ned was on board last time out, when she won at Haydock by six lengths 53 days ago over 2m3f on heavy ground at this grade, so stamina hopefully won't be her undoing.

That LTO win also qualifies her for one of my LTO winner micro-systems, whose rules/criteria seem more complicated in print than they are in practice, but here goes...

Class 2 to 5 handicap hurdle races over 3 miles or shorter / horses aged 5 to 11 yrs old / won a hcp hurdle LTO by 4 lengths or more and are now running under the following conditions : same class or up one grade from LTO / off a mark (OR) equal or up to 14lbs higher than LTO and at a trip ranging from 4.5f shorter to 3.5f longer than LTO.

Since the start of 2013, we've had 987 qualifiers fitting the above criteria, so it's a decent sample size that has yielded 303 winners (30.7% SR) for profits of 341.7pts at an ROI of 34.6% and include of relevance today...

  • same class as LTO : 194/565 (34.3%) for 194.72pts (+34.5%)
  • won by 5 to 10 lengths LTO : 139/451 (30.8%) for 193.17pts (+42.8%)
  • at Class 4 : 138/439 (31.4%) for 118.75pts (+27.1%)
  • 6 yr olds are 81/277 (29.2%) for 55.5pts (+20.1%)
  • on Soft ground : 73/246 (29.7%) for 74.76pts (+30.4%)
  • in Feb/March : 60/207 (29%) for 93.45pts (+45.1%)
  • up in trip by 1.5f to 3.5f : 59/187 (31.6%) for 90pts (+48.1%)
  • and here at Ludlow : 12/28 (42.9%) for 10.77pts (+38.5%)

I think most people are aware of trainer Nicky Henderson's decent record here at Ludlow in the last few years (his hurdlers are 21 from 64 here since 2013), so I'm not going to bore you with those details, but I'm going to end with a quick note (or two!) about War Creation's father, Scorpion, whose offspring are 13 from 75 (17.3% SR) for 134.75pts (+179.7% ROI) in handicap jumps races on soft ground or worse since the start of 2017.

Those figures don't actually include Tuesday's results where one of his three progeny running went and won at 10/1 (Hoo Bally Diva at Taunton), but do contain the following...

  • over trips of 2m to 2m5.5f : 12/51 (23.5%) for 154.91pts (+303.8%)
  • on soft ground : 7/50 (14%) for 121.15pts (+242.3%)
  • over hurdles : 6/47 (12.8%) for 114.24pts (+243.1%)

AND...in soft ground handicap hurdles over 2m to 2m5.5f : 4/21 (19.1% SR) for 128.18pts (+610.4% ROI)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on War Creation @ 9/4 BOG which was available from Bet365, SkyBet and a couple of minor payers at 5.45pm onTuesday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 5.10 Ludlow

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!

Monday Musings: On Trainers…

How much bad luck can a man have? In the case of Ruby Walsh, at 38, surely at a stage when yet another serious injury, this time a broken leg, might potentially be career threatening, apparently any amount, writes Tony Stafford. Reassuringly, his surgeon seems to think that Ruby will be fit in time for the Cheltenham Festival.

Having waited almost two years for the return from injury of the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, Faugheen, Walsh suffered his broken leg the day before that one’s planned reappearance at Punchestown. Faugheen had been absent since his 15-length January 2016 romp over Willie Mullins stablemates Arctic Fire and Nicholls Canyon in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Faugheen returned in the Morgiana Hurdle, the same race in which he suffered his sole defeat, narrowly, by Nicholls Canyon. It might only have been a four-runner affair yesterday, but Paul Townend on his first ride on the brilliant jumper, set him off in front and he beat Jezki, his 2014 predecessor as Champion Hurdle victor, by 16 lengths. Swamp Fox, assuredly a handicapper, but one good enough to win the Naas November handicap on the Flat this month, was 37 lengths back in third.

Walsh has had more than his share both of injuries and spills. His injury at Leopardstown came on the last of four rides after an 11-day absence due to a hand injury. He rode one short-priced winner for his boss, but had three falls, the last and most costly on Let’s Dance in a Listed mares’ hurdle for which she started odds-on.

Now, as in all good long-range dilemmas, the attention will switch to another Champion Hurdler, the reigning champ Buveur d’Air, who, like Faugheen, has a single jumping defeat on his curriculum vitae. He is set to return in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday week.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old also suffered his only loss to a stable-mate and in a championship race, the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham when only third to Altior. After two novice chase wins, Henderson, with one of the intuitive decisions that mark him out as an outstanding handler, decided to send him back to hurdling.

That decision was presumably prompted by the fact that he had already moved Altior to chasing when, for many, he had been the more obvious Champion Hurdle contender for the stable. Then again, Altior would not have to worry about the likes of Faugheen – at the time still on target to regain his crown – if he went over fences.

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Both decisions proved far-sighted and until Arkle winner Altior recently suffered one of the all-too-frequent wind problems that seem to assail top jumpers, few would have looked past him for the Queen Mother Champion Chase next March.

I can understand the trainer’s irritation that when he finally released the news last week, having taken a couple of veterinary opinions and consulted owner Patricia Pugh, unnamed (but only just, according to the trainer) members of the media criticised what they saw as his handling of the issue.

Nicky Henderson grew up and learned his trade under Fred Winter in the age of the great stables where journalists cowered and gratefully sought out trifles while lauding their achievements.

Social media has ended that climate, not just in racing, but in all walks of life and where once there was deference from the media, now there’s intrusion, with the general belief it is justified. The BHA and its attitude to trainers and what is perceived as their duty to keep the betting public informed has played its part in that process.

One BHA decision that has caused general derision was when Raul da Silva was given a ban for throwing a handful of Chelmsford’s Polytrack surface sand onto the hind quarters of his mount, Sandkissed, to encourage her into the stalls before a race last week.

Considering all the horses running round each of the all-weather surfaces are expected to cope with copious amounts of said surfaces being thrown up into their eyes every time they run, such pernickety officialdom seems out of proportion. For me, it is merely another instance of present-day political correctness.

Anyone who has seen horses going to a sale showing their displeasure at coming off a lorry down a ramp will realise stable staff can have an unenviably dangerous job. The same goes for stalls handlers and when a jockey shows a little invention to ease what could become a bigger problem on the day, such an extreme reaction is embarrassing.

The sad death last week of Alan Potts, the surviving half of the Ann and Alan Potts ownership team who battled with the big battalions with such success over the past few seasons, will not apparently stop the success of the green, yellow and red colours.

There were two wins at Cheltenham over the weekend, via the impressive pair Finian’s Oscar and Fox Norton and I hope the story I heard about Alan Potts is true. It seems shortly before he died, so the story goes, he made provision for all the training fees in the future careers of his family’s horses to be secured. No doubt Colin Tizzard, who trains both winners and, among others, Jessica Harrington, trainer of Gold Cup hero Sizing John, will know whether that is true or just a racing urban myth.

I’m not sure if the Potts’s had any horses with Dan Skelton, but Mrs Richard Kelvin Hughes certainly does and her North Hill Harvey, owned in partnership with Mrs Widdowson, impressively won the Arkle Trial at Cheltenham yesterday, to put the trainer onto 99 for the season.

Skelton may still be trailing the likes of Henderson, Mullins and Gordon Elliott with potential big-race contenders, but the efficiency with which he churns out the winners is a reminder of the halcyon days of Martin Pipe. Only Joseph O’Brien, Melbourne Cup and umpteen victories over jumps just in the past month, among youthful trainers, is keeping pace with Skelton’s rapid rate of progress.

I managed to sneak into the owners’ room at Cheltenham on Friday courtesy of Alan Spence whose On the Blind Side was an impressive winner of his second hurdle race when stepping into Grade 2 novice class. I had a brief chat there with Anthony Honeyball, his wife Rachael and their 18-month-old son who I can report enjoys eating cream, some of it not going onto his face.

Two days later the trainer had a treble at Fontwell in which the most significant for the future was the victory of Jukebox Jive, a 97-rated Flat-racer, in the juvenile hurdle, beating the Kelvin-Hughes home-bred Lisp. Success was hardly a surprise first-time-out for Ron Huggins’ also home-bred son of Jukebox Jury, whose former owner Alan Spence will tell you is a much-underrated stallion – evidence his Dominating, winner of six races for Mark Johnston this year.

It was also Johnston who handled Huggins’ best-known and much-loved stayer Double Trigger and it would hardly be a shock were Jukebox Jive to take high rank as a staying hurdler who could double as a potential Cesarewitch winner next year. I’d love him to do that.

- Tony Stafford

Monday Musings: Seasons and Champions – Changing The Guard

Why doesn’t Paul Nicholls run more horses in Flat races? I am less than indebted to the Racing Post’s new-style trainer statistics which do not seem to allow me to investigate the multiple jumps’ trainer’s Flat performances before the 2013 season, writes Tony Stafford. [Should have used Geegeez' Query Tool - Ed.]

In that latter period, when in common with the previous ten jumps campaigns he has maintained £2m earnings and more every term, his 14 Flat runners (one unplaced in 2017) have not brought a single win. Despite these numbers, I’m sure he’d win plenty if he bothered.

A busy final end to this jumps marathon will probably mean he concedes the jumps title to Nicky Henderson even if a discrepancy of £170,000 to his rival is not impossible with Sandown’s Saturday riches to play for. Hendo, though, has the sublime Altior to head up a similarly strong raid on Esher.

By contrast with Nicholls, who recorded another notable achievement when Vicente collected a second consecutive Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday, beating 29 opponents one week after his first-fence exit at Aintree, Henderson targets some prime Flat races each summer. Royal Ascot is a favourite while the Cesarewitch is another on his radar every autumn.

Henderson has enough in hand to ignore most of the minor midweek meetings in the UK, save Perth, where he might stretch the lead as Nicholls will be staying nearer home. His own location, though, will be in his favourite spring destination as house guest with Jessie Harrington.

Never before has Mrs Harrington been able to welcome her great friend from such a position of professional strength. For all of her big-race wins, spectacularly so in the case of her multi-champion two-mile chaser Moscow Flyer, Jessie has never experienced the like of the last month or so.

Her three Cheltenham Festival wins last month were headed up by Sizing John’s emphatic Gold Cup triumph and momentum has continued unabated under both codes. Our Duke, a novice with a big weight, dominated the betting before the 28-runner Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday and also the race, winning almost unchallenged after leading some way from home. He will clearly be a serious rival to Sizing John in all next season’s major staying chases.

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That victory came just a couple of days after a Flat hat-trick at Cork, two of the winners being owned by her daughter and assistant trainer/amateur rider, Kate. As if Jessica Harrington hadn’t already proved her versatility over many years with her handling of Group-race Flat fillies especially, and more recently, done a great job with smart 2010 juvenile Pathfork.

That Niarchos-owned colt went unbeaten through his three-race campaign, all at The Curragh, culminating in a narrow defeat of Casamento and favourite Zoffany in the Group 1 National Stakes. His only other run in Europe was the following spring when an 8-1 chance, joint second-favourite with Roderic O’Connor for the 2,000 Guineas when he finished seventh of 13 behind the inimitable Frankel.

Yesterday Jessie moved another step forward. Her three-year-old Sepoy colt, Khukri, making his seasonal debut and only his fourth career start, contested the Listed sprint and easily reversed debut juvenile form with Aidan O’Brien’s Intelligence Cross, who beat him first time up.

Then in the Group 3 Coolmore Vintage Crop Stakes over a mile and threequarters she again had the edge on Ballydoyle when her new recruit Torcedor, a five-year-old previously with the now retired David Wachman, made it two out of two for her in beating Order of St George, last year’s Gold Cup winner at Ascot.

She must be relishing the chance to challenge that champion at the Royal meeting, and no doubt will hope at least to share the headlines on home soil this week with her lifelong friend and sometime rival.

It was wonderful in Easter week to have an unbroken series of high class Flat-racing days at Newmarket, with the restored to three-day Craven meeting, and two high-class varied cards at Newbury.

Somehow between the ever-growing imitation of Hong Kong if not quite Manhattan, Newbury’s new facilities are gradually emerging. It’s hard to work out where to park or even whether to take the little bridge over the railway; the new roundabout from the Thatcham Road or go through the town, they seem to be getting there.

John Gosden clearly found his way and in a week of almost unbroken success, his powerful yard sent out 11 winners over the two major fixtures. One that got away was the second division of the maiden, won by 100-1 shot Duke of Bronte, a gelded son of Mount Nelson, trained by highly-capable and versatile Rod Millman. The Royal colours were carried into second place here by Musical Terms, half an hour after Call to Mind, also trained by William Haggas, gave the Queen a belated (by a day) 91st birthday winner.

Her pleasure when having a home-bred winner, as always, was clear for all to see, as was the understated way she arrived driven by Racing Manager John Warren with only minimal evident security. Coming down in the lift with a camera-brandishing photographer, I learned on Friday from him that his local newspaper: “always know where she’ll be this weekend, so we don’t really even bother to check whether she’s coming”. Imagine that informality in any other country.

Late April brings a quickening tempo for many owners of Flat racehorses and the Raymond Tooth string is no different. The consistent Stanhope is ready for his first run since being gelded in Yarmouth’s finale tomorrow and Micky Quinn hopes he can follow half a dozen placed efforts with a first success.

Yesterday Hughie Morrison had his Owners’ Day and I stood in for the boss as what seemed like possibly the trainer’s best-ever team of horses was paraded in front of a big attendance. Sod’s Law (half-brother to last year’s star Dutch Law, but bigger than his sibling) and the giant French Kiss, got generally positive reaction from the crowd and guarded optimism from their trainer.

French Kiss is from the first crop of Ray’s smart 2011 juvenile French Fifteen, who after winning the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud, was sold and then finished a close second to Camelot in the 2,000 Guineas. Outside his box, there’s a sign suggesting “this horse bites”, but it was his neighbour Sod’s Law that grabbed hold of my jacket. “Don’t you remember me from Kinsale Stud?” I asked, to which he seemed to reply: “Sure.” Sod’s Law indeed.

Great racing continues this week. For those with long memories, Epsom’s Spring meeting, once a three-day affair, is a disappointment, but even though it’s now just the Wednesday, the races get beefed up a little each year. It’s always enjoyable to be there, while two days at Sandown at the end of the week, with the jumps finale on Saturday, promise plenty of excitement.

My own Friday will be a little more prosaic, chauffeuring Mrs S to Sheffield, not to see the snooker, but for her date in the British Adult Skating Championships (Bronze) for which there are 31 runners, even more than the Scottish National. Sadly, I’ll be on dog minding duty so cannot stay up there to see it. When she recently went to Estonia and won, that was on the Internet, but this time I’ll have to wait for less immediate communication.

Stat of the Day, 4th March 2017

Friday's Result :

3.50 Newbury : Beggars Cross @ 7/2 BOG fell at 7/2 Slightly hampered 1st, chased leaders, pushed along and weakened before 13th, soon behind, tailed off when fell last

Saturday's pick goes in the...

2.40 Newbury...

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?

Bloody Mary10/3 BOG

Why?

A 6 yr old French mare who won won 5 Flat races on the bounce in France before winning on her hurdling debut at Auteuil over 2m 2f on very soft ground, before then switching to Nicky Henderson's yard here in the UK.

She then won on her UK debut in a Class 4, heavy ground contest over today's trip of 2m 0.5f, beating Banyu by 2.25 lengths and Banyu has since won 2 from 2 at this grade.

Bloody Mary's only run since that win came at last year's Cheltenham festival, where she was far from disgraced in finishing 3rd of 16 in the Grade 2 Mares Hurdle, 7 lengths behind Limini, and she now drops down to Class 3 for her handicap debut, suggesting she's the one to beat, provided a 352-day absence hasn't made her rusty!

Nicky Henderson's runners priced at 5/1 and shorter here at Newbury are 36 from 80 (45% SR) for profits of 32.3pts (+40.4% ROI) since the start of 2013 and with this contest firmly in mind, those 80 runners are...

  • 35/73 (48%) for 32.6pts (+44.6%) with less than 15 career runs under their belts
  • 26/55 (47.3%) for 21.4pts (+38.8%) in hurdle contests
  • 25/43 (58.1%) for 27.5pts (+63.9%) over this 2m 0.5f trip
  • 16/37 (43.2%) for 16.7pts (+45.2%) on soft ground
  • 16/30 (53.3%) for 15.4pts (+51.2%) from those finishing 2nd, 3rd or 4th LTO
  • 12/26 (46.2%) for 19.6pts (+75.3%) at Class 3
  • 10/26 (38.5%) for 6.7pts (+25.8%) from those returning from a break longer than 60 days.

All of which is quite compelling, but then throw in Nicky Henderson's record with handicap debutants and it starts to get really interesting (to me, anyway!).

Backing Nicky's handicap debutants blindly since the start of 2011 would have given you 42 winners from 212 (19.8% SR) and a £20 bet on each of them would have netted you a cool £2100 (105pts) at an excellent ROI of 49.5% from "set and forget" betting.

If you wanted to filter those 212 runners down based on today's conditions, you'd find that...

  • hurdlers are 36/178 (20.2%) for 112.2pts (+63%)
  • horses bred/born outside of the UK are 33/166 (19.9%) for 99.5pts (+59.9%)
  • over trips of 2m/2m 0.5f : 17/67 (25.4%) for 75.4pts (+112.6%)
  • 6 yr olds are 13/65 (20%) for 55.3pts (+85.1%)
  • at Class 3 : 15/62 (24.2%) for 27pts (+43.6%)
  • females are 8/37 (21.6%) for 66.6pts (+180.1%)
  • here at Newbury : 7/28 (25%) for 15.4pts (+54.8%)
  • and those ridden by today's jockey, Nico de Boinville, are 5/16 (31.25%) for 22.5pts (+140.8%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Bloody Mary 10/3 BOG which was offered by Bet365 & Stan James at 9.10pm on Friday, but to see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 2.40 Newbury

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 returns quoted are to Betfair SP, as (i) I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you and (ii) although inferior to the BOG odds we secure, BFSP is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns quoted.

Sat TV Trends: 4th March 2017

We’ve had better LIVE Saturday ITV race days, but with the Cheltenham Festival on the horizon then it’s no surprise – Newbury and Doncaster provide the LIVE ITV action this week, and, as always, we’ve got all the races covered from a trends and stats angle.

 

NEWBURY HORSE RACING TRENDS (ITV/RUK)

 

1.30 – William Hill ‘High 5’ Supporting Greatwood Veterans´ Handicap Hurdle Cl3 2m5f ITV

Just 2 previous runnings
Trainer Neil Mulholland has a 36% record with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Nicky Henderson has a 26% record with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Gary Moore is just 3 from 50 (6%) with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Philip Hobbs has a 20% strike-rate & +£104 level stakes profit with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Roger Teal won the race 12 months ago


2.05 - Betway Supporting Greatwood, Veterans´ Handicap Chase (Qualifier) (Leg 3 of Veterans´ Chase Series) Cl2 3m2f110y ITV

8 previous runnings
8/8 – Returned 9/1 or shorter
7/8 – Aged 10 years-old
6/8 – Won over at least 3m (chase)
5/8 – Finished in the top 4 in their last race
4/8 – Carried 11-4 or more in weight
4/8 – Favourites unplaced
2/8 – Won their last race
1/8 – Favourites
Trainer David Pipe won the race in 2015 & 2016


2.40 – William Hill ‘High 5’ Supporting Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Cl3 2m110y ITV

14/14 – Won over this 2m trip (hurdles)
13/14 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
12/14 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
11/14 – Aged 6 or younger
11/14 – Won between 1-3 times over hurdles
11/14 – Carried 10-10 or more in weight
10/14 – Favourites unplaced
9/14 – Winning distance – 2 1/4 lengths or more
7/14 – Ran at Newbury before
7/14 – Irish bred
6/14 – Rated 120 or less
6/14 – From the top three in the betting
4/14 – Won their last race
2/14 – Went onto finish in the first two in the County Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)
2/14 – Winning Favourites (1 joint)
2/14 – Trained by Gary Moore
Gala Ball won the race 12 months ago


3.15 – William Hill ‘High 5’ Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 2m4f ITV

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13/14 – Carried 11-5 or less in weight
13/14 – Won by a horse aged 8 or younger
12/14 – Had run within the last 5 weeks
12/14 – Had won between 1-4 times over fences previously
11/14 – Placed in the top 5 last time out
11/14 – Raced at Newbury (hurdles or fences) previously
11/14 – Won over this trip previously
10/14 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
10/14 – Officially rated 139 or higher
9/14 – Favourites placed
8/14 – Won by the Paul Nicholls stable
8/14 – Winners that came from the top 3 in the market
7/14 – Won by a French-bred horse
6/14 – Won by a horse aged 8 years-old
5/14 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
5/14 – Favourites  to win (1 joint)
5/14 – Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
2/14 – Won by the Pipe yard
2/14 – Ridden by Nick Scholfield
1/14– Won their last race
Note: The 2006 renewal was a dead-heat


DONCASTER HORSE RACING TRENDS ITV/RUK)


1.50 - BetBright Casino Handicap Hurdle Cl2 3m96y ITV

Only 5 previous runnings
5/5 – Priced 9/2 or shorter in the betting
5/5 – Aged 9 or younger
4/5 – Carried 10-13 or more in weight
2/5 – Aged 9 years-old
2/5 – Favourites
Trainer Nicky Henderson won the race for the past 2 years
Trainer Paul Nicholls won the race in 2013
Trainer Nicky Henderson has a 42% (27 from 64) record with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Ben Pauling has a 28% strike-rate (5 form 18) with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Donald McCain is just 2 from 46 (4%) with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Peter Bowen is 0 from 28 with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Tim Vaughan is 0 from 22 with his hurdlers at the track

2.25 - Betbright Handicap Chase Cl2 2m90y ITV

Six previous runnings
6/6 – Priced 15/2 or shorter
5/6 – Aged between 6-8 years-old
4/6 – Carried 11-1 or less in weight
3/6 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out
2/6 – Raced at Musselburgh last time out
2/6 – Trained by Brian Ellison
1/6 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
Trainer Paul Nicholls has a 26% record with his chasers at the track
Pauline Robson is 2 from 4 (50%) with her chasers at the track
Trainer Venetia Williams is only 2 from 26 (8%) with her chasers at the track


3.00 – BetBright Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 3m96y ITV

Four previous running
4/4 – Aged 5 or 6 years-old
4/4 – Returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
3/4 - Won by the favourite (1 co-fav)
Trainer Oliver Sherwood won the race 12 months ago
Trainer Alan King has a 23% record with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer Donald McCain is just 2 from 46 (4%) with his hurdlers at the track
Trainer David Pipe is just 1 from 21 (5%) with his hurdlers at the track


3.35 – BetBright Grimthorpe Chase (A Handicap Chase) Cl2 3m2f ITV

13/13 – Aged 8 or older
12/13 – Won over at least 3m (fences) before
11/13 – Won no more than 4 times over fences
10/13 – Ran within the last 7 weeks
10/13 – Carried 10-12 or less in weight
9/13 – Aged 9 or older
9/13 – Rated 131 or less
9/13 – From the top 3 in the betting
9/13 – Priced 11/2 or shorter in the betting
8/13 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
7/13 – Raced over fences at Doncaster before (3 winners)
6/13 – Won their last race
5/13 – Irish bred
3/13 – Went onto run in that season’s Grand National (no winners) – Last year’s winner - The Last Samuri – went onto be 2nd in the National 12 months ago
2/13 – Favourites

 

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Monday Musings: All Change at the Top Table

Last Good Friday I made my first visit to the Lambourn Open Day, not in the usual way of the racehorse and horseracing enthusiast, but specifically to catch up with the estimable Corky Brown at Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows stables, writes Tony Stafford.

From the centre of the village the cars formed an orderly crocodile, mostly set on the same venue, with recently revitalised Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Sprinter Sacre the object of everyone’s adulation.

I remember writing that weekend how amazed I was that the old, maybe not so old, horse had spent most of that morning standing dutifully still as repeated waves of admirers took selfies with the four-legged superstar, probably filching the odd hair from his mane.

Nicky said, as he and Corky looked on a shade anxiously, that you couldn’t do that with any other horse. I cannot recall whether the question of retirement had yet been addressed, but soon after, his exclusive role as paddock adornment for major races – as at Newbury on Saturday – was established.

A mutual friend, Sir Rupert Mackeson, proprietor of Marlborough Bookshop among more colourful achievements in a long sometimes military life, had arranged the connection with Corky, who had at least informally agreed to become the subject of a book, written by yours truly.

That it did not come about was almost entirely due to the, as Sir Rupert called it, “Pot Boiler” published by the Racing Post on Sprinter Sacre’s career. The heroic champion chaser was a big part of the latter years of Corky’s long career with Fred Winter and then Henderson, and I thought it would have made a competing one about Corky Brown difficult in the limited specialist marketplace.

That said, on Good Friday the auguries were good: Hendo seemingly approving the concept and also understandably not dissenting from my opinion that Altior must be the one to beat in the following year’s Champion Hurdle. In the old days I would have steamed in with a proper ante-post bet, but those days for me are long gone.

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So in a way it was something of a relief when a chasing career was decided for Altior, who, although seven lengths too good at the Festival for the otherwise flawless Min in his time with Willie Mullins, the trainer presumably still had in the back of his mind, the frustration of his inability to match the Irishman in recent seasons.

Since Binocular (2010) followed Punjabi as successive Champion Hurdle winners, Henderson has watched Mullins win four times with Hurricane Fly (2011 and 2013), and Faugheen and Annie Power, a late sub for her predecessor, in the last two runnings.

With both seemingly still at the top of their powers, Henderson must have been aware that Mullins would probably compile a team of top horses purely to stop Altior, but that worry would not have been so obvious if the gelding were to be switched to fences.

Three initial chase wins confirmed that the acceleration that took him unbeaten through his initial hurdling campaign was intact over fences. On Saturday in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury he annihilated admittedly a small field, but three classy and more experienced opponents with a display that suggested he might have similar ability as Sprinter Sacre at his peak.

The Arkle must be at his mercy and, with stablemate Buveur D’Air now switched from his supremely-promising novice chase programme to the suddenly talent-denuded Champion Hurdle, all must be serene in the Seven Barrows firmament.

Buveur D’Air and Altior have already met twice despite being in the same stable. Two years ago, on the Betfair Hurdle undercard, they filled second and third places behind Barters Hill, trained by former Henderson assistant Ben Pauling, in the Listed bumper. Barters Hill, winning for the third time in the midst of a seven-race romp only halted behind Unowhatimeanharry in last season’s Albert Bartlett, made all that day. Altior, hot favourite stayed on for third without matching the first two.

Altior gained his revenge in the Supreme Novice Hurdle, with Buveur D’Air third behind Min in a race full of talent, much of it from the Mullins stable and several of them running unexpectedly poorly.

Min’s defection from the Arkle at the same time as Faugheen’s reported injury early last week, soon after Annie Power’s own problems were reported, would have made Altior a short-priced favourite had he gone the hurdling route. Instead he’s 1-3 for the Arkle, while Buveur D’Air after a classy display against sub-standard Sandown opposition switched back to hurdling, may well collect the big one for the JP McManus ownership powerhouse.

Chances abound for Seven Barrows in many of the other feature races and if you want to see them detailed fully, Peter Thomas had a marathon write up in yesterday’s supplement of the paper of his recent trip to the gallops and stable last week, complete with news of a deer attack on one of the horses.

The Barters Hill bumper of two years ago was prophetically described immediately afterwards by Pauling as probably a top-class affair and while lacking in the same depth, last year’s renewal was won by nine lengths by subsequent Cheltenham bumper hero and Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle winner Ballyandy.

Saturday’s bumper there could well be in the ballpark of its 2015 version as this time it was Henderson to the fore with French import Daphne Du Clos, taking advantage of the hefty combined filly (5lb) and four-year-old allowance (10lb) from her elders, along with a 4lb extra penalty for previous Listed winner, Western Ryder.

It is rare, even in relatively uncompetitive bumper events in this country, for a horse to come to the front under a double handful as Daphne Du Clos did at the two-furlong pole. Sean Bowen, having his first (and almost certainly not his last) ride for the stable in his fourth season as a jockey, waited until Western Ryder came alongside and then pushed his mount, a daughter of Spanish Moon, clear in the last furlong. She will probably go either to Sandown or Aintree rather than the Festival bumper, and the style of her win was totally in keeping with the feeling of goodwill emanating from her handler these days.

It seems the Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci disappointments are beginning almost to match the excessive good fortune and success of recent seasons, and a quick snapshot of recent racing in Ireland confirms the downswing. Mullins has sent out 33 runners in the past two weeks, 14 starting favourite, and has won with eight of them. Admittedly, with six in the Grade 1 novice hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday, the average had to drop, but it was one of the outsiders Bacardys that won with hot favourite Saturnas tailed off last.

Bacardys was third in last year’s Champion Bumper at Cheltenham behind Ballyandy and no doubt will be pointed at one of the staying novice hurdles next month by which time his trainer will hope for the fortunes to have turned.

Stat of the Day, 10th February 2017

Thursday's Result :

6.25 Chelmsford : Babouska @ 7/2 BOG non-runner

Friday's pick goes in the...

3.10 Kempton :

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?

Vyta du Roc @ 5/2 BOG

Why?

I'm expecting Vyta Du Roc to bounce back to form now he's dropped in class, especially with the Nicky Henderson stable in such great recent form, having saddled up an astonishing 12 winners from 26 (46.2% SR) in the last 14 days alone!

When chasing Thistlecrack home at Aintree in 2015 Grand National Meeting, he was rated at 150 over hurdles and then went on to beat a couple of decent 150+ chasers La Mercurey & Minella Rocca) at Ascot last year. He's been a touch disppointing of late and now finds himself almost a stone lighter in the ratings at 139.

He's not been at his best recently, but he has been running at a higher grade in larger fields than he's happier with. A quick look at his record shows he's actually 6 from 11 in fields of less than 14 runners and he's also 6 from 11 when priced below 6/1.

On top of those stats, he 3/5 on soft ground (which at least some of the track will be!), 2 from 6 under Daryl Jacob, 2 from 2 going right handed and won his only previous Class 3 outing.

So, we have a yard in form running a horse who looks well suited by conditions, the final piece of the jigsaw is to see how the yard fares at the venue in general and since the start of 2012, Nicky Henderson's runners here at Kempton are 73/249 (29.3% SR) for 102.5pts (+41.2% ROI) and these excellent figures also contain the following of relevance / interest to me today...

  • those with no more than 15 previous runs  : 67/204 (32.8%) for 118.2pts (+57.9%)
  • 5-8 yr olds are 60/194 (30.9%) for 106.2pts (+54.7%)
  • those last seen 11-45 days back are 33/110 (30%) for 82.7pts (+75.2%)
  • handicappers are 19/85 (22.4%) for 65.9pts (+77.5%)
  • chasers are 22/69 (31.9%) for 12.9pts (+18.7%)
  • on soft ground  :18/67 (26.9%) for 13.5pts (+20.2%)
  • on Good to Soft : 16/56 (28.6%) for 34.5pts (+61.5%)
  • and at Class 3 : 15/50 (30%) for 21.6pts (+43.2%)

...which suggested to me...a 1pt win bet on Vyta du Roc @ 5/2 BOG which was available with 10Bet, 188Bet, NetBet and Ladbrokes at 5.45pm on Thursday. To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 3.10 Kempton

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

Monday Musing: On Passing Kempton…

 

You’d better hurry. If you want to go to Kempton Park before the bulldozers move in as planned in 2021, there are only around 300 chances, writes Tony Stafford. If it’s jumping you want to see rather than all-weather, floodlit or otherwise, it’s somewhere around 45 meetings, based on the present fixture list.

It’s a funny thing about Kempton. While it’s going along in an untroubled, unspectacular manner, almost nobody loves it, but the minute its future is threatened, the over-my-dead-body brigade sharpen their metaphorical pencils.

Unless there are feet of snow or temperatures at around minus 5 Centigrade, meetings are rarely even threatened to be abandoned on the turf track, while during the now almost 11 years of its life as a Polytrack Flat circuit, it has become the venue for decent younger horses on the way up the ladder even if nobody is there to see them. Decent telly and bookmaker fodder nonetheless.

Now, though, the one-time Kempton Manor, first enclosed in the 13th Century and a racecourse since the 1870’s , is to be sold (the OMDB brigade notwithstanding) for housing. The overall 210-acre site is expected to realise around £100 million and initial plans are for 3,000 homes to be built.

Kempton’s owners, Jockey Club Racecourses, want to build, as replacement, an all-weather track at Newmarket as part of a £500 million group future investment. Unsurprisingly, the plans have brought extremes of opinion, with the OMDBs the more vociferous so far.

Anyone reading these notes will be aware that one of my main obsessions is with time. For instance, it has always intrigued me that if I project back the 87 years of age of my great-grandmother (who died when I was 11) before her birth in 1870, we’d get to 1783!

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I first went to Kempton, on the old Hackney-based Fallowfield & Britten coach, picking up at Clapton Pond. The firm were actually taken over by George Ewer (Grey-Green Coaches) in 1952, but kept the old livery for a while. We certainly were regulars at the Easter meeting by the late 1950’s and the main recollection is crawling along in a great crocodile of coaches beside the retaining wall that goes all the way from the old Jubilee start 10 furlongs from home.

Another memory of those days is viewing from the stand at the top of the straight, a full three furlongs out and watching them flash by, then shaking my head when the end result was nothing like the order when they passed us.

That fixture featured both the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas Trials, and one name that has stuck is that of the 1964 1,000 Trial winner, Gwen (maybe Jack Jarvis and Lord Rosebery), who beat subsequent 1,000 Guineas heroine, Pourparler, to my great delight. Winding back the near 60 years from my first visit there – we went to Newmarket in 1952! – you get to 1900. To think that 70 years from now it’ll be 2087.

It seems strange enough that there are two courses as close together as Kempton and Sandown Park, which is likely to be the main beneficiary of any Kempton closure as the expectation is for the King George VI Chase to be transferred there.

When you drive the seven miles from Kempton to Sandown, you pass within a short walk of another well-known track, the now defunct Hurst Park, which closed in 1962. Hurst Park was built on part of the old Hampton Court Racecourse (closed in the 1880’s) plus some extra land and staged the Victoria Cup, now at Ascot. I believe I saw the last running of that race, and for many years always told whoever would listen that I backed the winner, King of Saba. I did back it, but I found out recently it finished second.

The differences in the make-up of the two tracks – Kempton is Pancake flat, Sandown tight around the bends but stiff uphill at the finish – bother some observers who believe that the King George’s traditional nature will be lost.

A major bug-bear for me over the years has been the insistence, even among leading trainers, especially Nicky Henderson, Kempton’s major spokesperson, that Kempton is a notably sharp course. Non-stayers rarely win three-mile races there as they are usually truly-run, while the King George itself, with a high-class field and winter going is always a true stamina test.

I’ve had a lot of luck at Kempton, most notably with a horse called Tangognat. He lined up for his second start under Rod Simpson’s care for the three-year-old maiden on Easter Monday April 8 1985 after finishing third on debut in a Leicester claimer.

Starting 20-1 in a field of 10, he swept to the front two furlongs out and won by 20 lengths from Fire of Life, later winner of the Italian St Leger for Ian Balding. Four days later we went back to the track for a conditions race and won by 15 lengths, each time loving the rare (for Kempton) heavy going. After two flops on faster ground, he went on to win a couple of nice juvenile hurdles around Cheltenham before fast ground in the Triumph effectively ended his career.

In more recent times, Kempton has been a good winning venue for Ray Tooth’s horses, Fair Trade winning both over hurdles and in a jumpers’ bumper, in which now abandoned category, Cousin Khee was also successful. I can still picture Skeleton’s rocketing home, passing almost the entire field in the last furlong under Silvestre De Sousa while an always fond memory is of Lawyers Choice.

The late Pat Eddery trained this filly to win twice, at 16’s at Wolverhampton and then at 25-1 at Kempton in my first year on the Tooth team. She has since proved a diamond as dam of both Dutch Art Dealer and Dutch Law, the latter sold for 150k last autumn after a four-year-old campaign when he won £80,000 for his owner-breeder.

Dutch Art Dealer, now six, raced for the Paul Cole stable until changing hands for an almost unbelievable 3,000gns last backend. He had his first run for new trainer Ivan Furtado at Newcastle recently and bolted up off 80 and I reckon that even though 6lb higher, he can follow up back at Kempton tomorrow night.

I think of Chelmsford and Newmarket almost as my local tracks, but it is 45 miles to the old Essex Showground and 60 to HQ. Kempton, if I go the direct (thus traffic-strangling) route through Central London, is barely 20 miles away, and that was always the balancing factor as I strove to get there each night meeting a few years back when I was lucky enough to host the evening entertainment in the Panoramic Restaurant.

Kempton featured some talented performers in those days, along with excellent food and one of the regular and most admired singers had been a contemporary of Kate Winslet’s at stage school. She recalled the future star of Titanic was just “OK at singing and dancing, and a little better at acting”. Not much different from attitudes in racing among trainers and their relative abilities.

Those evenings were a highlight in my later incarnation. From those days, so many of the Kempton personnel have gone on to bigger and better things in Jockey Club Racecourses, notably Paul Fisher, who signed me up, and Amy Starkey, now the boss at Newmarket. Good luck to them. I’m sure they’ll shed a collective tear, like me, if and when their alma mater goes.

Stat of the Day, 14th January 2017

Friday's Result :

2.30 Lingfield : Speed Freak @ 7/2 BOG 2nd at 3/1 Tracked leader, pushed along 2f out, ridden to lead entering final furlong, soon joined, headed final strides

Saturday's pick goes in the...

12.55 Kempton

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?

Ericht @ 7/2 BOG

Why?

He comes here boasting excellent credentials for the task ahead, having won 3 of his 6 runs here at Kempton, as well having 6 wins on Good to Soft / Soft ground, 5 wins under Barry Geraghty, 5 wins going right handed and 4 wins at 2m4f/2m5f.

On top of all that, he has the benefit of being trained by Nicky Henderson, who has certainly started the new year in fine style, with 11 winners from 27 (40.7%), whilst here at Kempton he is 129/437 (29.5% SR) for 167.8pts (+38.4% ROI) since 2008.

That's consistent long-term profit year on year and in respect of today's race, those 437 runners are...

  • males : 116/388 (29.9%) for 138.6pts (+35.7%)
  • during the December to April months : 102/343 (29.7%) for 188.2pts (+54.9%)
  • ridden by Barry Geraghty : 70/202 (34.7%) for 53.5pts (+26.5%)
  • in handicaps : 30/158 (19%) for 128.3pts (+81.2%)
  • in chases : 44/131 (33.6%) for 39.1pts (+29.9%)
  • on good to soft : 35/112 (31.3%) for 50.2pts (+44.9%)
  • and at Class 3 : 26/95 (27.4%) for 96.2pts (+101.3%)

AND...Barry Geraghty riding a male runner in the December - April period = 29/80 (36.25% SR) for 44.7pts (+55.9% ROI)

...hence...a 1pt win bet on Ericht @ 7/2 BOG which was offered by Bet365 and at least 9 others at 7.30pm on Friday, so we should all be able to get on! To see what your preferred bookie is offering, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 12.55 Kempton

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, 14th December 2016

Tuesday's Result :

12.30 Southwell : Boots And Spurs @ 5/1 BOG 5th at 7/2 Held up, headway over 2f out, soon chasing leaders, weakened over 1f out.

Wednesday's pick goes in the...

1.30 Newbury...

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?

Beware The Bear @ 3/1 BOG

Why?

This 6 yr old gelding couldn't be in better form, having won each of his last three outings. The latest win was on his chase debut at Ascot 25 days ago at the grade under today's jockey over today's 3m trip, where he defied an absence of 185 days to beat Singlefarmpayment relatively comfortably by almost 3 lengths : the form of that race has since been franked by the runner-up subsequently winning at a higher grade next time out.

Trainer Nicky Henderson is 24 from 88 (27.3% SR) in the past month and over the last week, his chasers are 3 from 10.

Here at Newbury, the market generally has his runners sussed out and since the start of 2013, those sent off at 5/1 and shorter are 31 from 72 (43.1% SR) for 26.4pts (+36.7% ROI) profit : not bad a tall for the sharp end of affairs!. Those 72 runners also include...

  • 30 winners from 63 (47.6%) 3 to 6 yr olds for profits of 28.7pts (+45.5%)
  • males are 29/61 (47.5%) for 33.84pts (+55.5%)
  • at Class 3 : 11/23 (47.8%) for 18.86pts (+82%)
  • those who last ran 16-30 days ago are 11/19 (57.9%) for 8.46pts (+44.5%)
  • and at 2m5f to 3m : 8/18 (44.4%) for 14.42pts (+80.1%)

In addition to the above, male Class 3 chasers aged 6-9 yrs old who won a handicap chase LTO 11-150 days ago by 2 to 10 lengths are 152/735 (20.7% SR) for 161.3pts (+21.9% ROI) since 2008, of which...

  • handicappers are 146/701 (20.8%) for 170.3pts (+24.3%)
  • those last seen 11-25 days ago are 95/373 (25.5%) for 186.2pts (+49.9%)
  • 6 yr olds are 34/140 (24.3%) for 43.3pts (+31%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Beware The Bear at 3/1 BOG with Bet365 who led the way at 6.20pm on Tuesday with plenty of more than acceptable 11/4 available elsewhere. To see your preferred bookies' odds, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 1.30 Newbury

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

Monday Musings: The High Price of Jumping

Sprinter Sacre has been retired due to a tendon injuryYesterday afternoon, as usual I had no idea which direction this article would be taking, writes Tony Stafford. Switching between channels, it was by chance that I caught Nicky Henderson’s emotional interview with Lydia Hislop on Racing UK in which he revealed that Sprinter Sacre had sustained a tendon injury and had been retired forthwith.

So after a career of 18 wins from 24 starts, more than £1.1 million in prizemoney and a string of improbably authoritative performances, the 10-year-old’s future appearances would be limited to ceremonial parading at racecourses, beginning yesterday.

How awful then was it that just an hour later, Simonsig, his contemporary and for a couple of years, potentially the nearest to him in ability at Seven Barrows, should be dead. His immediate predecessor in the parade for the Shloer Chase, Simonsig got only as far as the third fence where he fell and broke a leg.

There is far too often in jumping the reality of “the king is dead, long live the king”. Unfortunately in many cases, his reign may be of limited duration. Anyone watching the Shloer Chase would have been impressed by the winning effort of Fox Norton, trained by Colin Tizzard. The West Country farmer is the jumps trainer of the moment, with his influx of horses owned by Ann and Alan Potts, as well as recent acquisitions like Fox Norton, a big-money buy out of the Neil Mulholland string.

But having suggested the Tingle Creek Chase as the obvious initial target, Tizzard later revealed his new star had a cut on a leg, but “right on the tendon”, something which will exercise the trainer’s thoughts before any more concrete plans can be laid.

The Potts family’s decision to switch so many horses from Ireland, principally from Henry de Bromhead, and mostly to Tizzard, continues the actions of a number of major owners. Much publicised moves by the even bigger strings of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, away from Willie Mullins and generally to Gordon Elliott and a year or so previously, Paul and Clare Rooney from Donald McCain had to produce an effect.

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McCain struggled for a while to recover, not least because the amount of investment needed to upgrade his facilities had been considerable. He seems in better form now and started 2016 with more than 100 named horses in his string. Even Mullins, shorn of 60 Gigginstown animals, many among the better ones in his stable, is demonstrably playing catch up with Elliott, who had an amazing 18 runners on the one Naas card yesterday.

Such overwhelming numerical domination can be counter-productive, such as Elliott’s having five of the seven runners in the main race, the Lismullen Hurdle while Mullins had a single candidate, Shaneshill, the favourite. De Plotting Shed did best of the Elliott quintet in second, caught late by Noel Meade’s Snow Falcon, while Shaneshill plodded on for third.

As with the two Henderson stars, injury always threatens jumpers, often the best of them, as with the recent news that Vautour had been found with a broken leg after being turned out in his paddock after exercising.

One of the best of the Rich Ricci horses over the past three seasons, Vautour had struck a chord with Ruby Walsh who regards him as one of the best he’s ridden. Unlike Mullins, Gigginstown House do not seem to hold any argument with Walsh, who in the absence of the injured pair Bryan Cooper and Jack Kennedy, has been employed selectively, especially on former Mullins inmates.

Another high-profile horse to suffer at least temporary injury over the Cheltenham Open meeting was the Ben Pauling-trained Barters Hill, pulled up after leading to the seventh fence of his chase debut. The six-year-old was unbeaten in seven races (four bumpers, three hurdles) until fading into fourth behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle last March.

Pauling, a former Nicky Henderson assistant, had a good third season with 26 wins, after nine and then 20, and another nine so far this term suggests the upward trend will continue. He is one of the many trainers to have secured some of the Rooney horses, but will need the likes of Barters Hill to return to help continue the upward trend.

For a while on Sunday, it looked as though Pauling’s A Hare Breath, who landed a spectacular gamble at last year’s Open meeting, was going to do the same again in the Greatwood Hurdle, but he had a little difficulty in getting a run as four came to the last with equal chances.

In the end it was the Skeltons’ North Hill Harvey, confirming once again that Dan can lay one out for a valuable Cheltenham handicap hurdle, who showed the best battling qualities. Skelton’s skyward mobility is even more obvious than Pauling’s, figures of 27, 73 and last season 104 seemingly vulnerable again as he already has 43 on the board this time round.

The most obvious requirement, apart from talent, human and equine, is numbers and as with McCain in his busiest phase, Lodge Hill, near Alcester has been a place of constant renewal. That said, if recent (and indeed historical) results are anything to go by, nobody is going to threaten Paul Nicholls’ supremacy. He won four races yesterday, 12 in the past fortnight and with 69 wins at 32% this term, is running at the best-ever percentage of his amazingly consistent career.

Nicholls is probably the best among leading trainers at bringing horses back successfully after an absence and Aerial at Fontwell made light of a 17-month absence to win the 15-runner Southern National.

Smaller stables are less able, or indeed willing to go the jumping route. One trainer I’ve known for many years, made his living 25 years or so ago principally with jumpers, but now is almost pathologically against running horses over obstacles.

One horse he has at the moment, won a hurdle race for his previous trainer, but despite this, he prefers to keep him to low-grade Flat races, especially now that he has Newcastle all-weather on the doorstep. “I’ve lost so many good horses over the years, some killed outright, but almost all of them get knocked to bits just running over jumps”, he says. “I won’t do it anymore.”

Thankfully, Sprinter Sacre will not be asked to make another wonderful comeback, but sadly Simonsig and his owner Ronnie Bartlett no longer have that option to consider.