A Tuesday Placepot…

It's been a while since we've troubled the placepot pools, and I do especially like these unpredictable weather days for such wagering shenanigans. The going at Nottingham tonight is currently good to soft, but the forecast suggests rain this afternoon and plenty of rain during racing this evening.

As such, I'm going to take a walk on the wild side... or at least a chance on the soft side... and anticipate absentees. It all starts at 5.25 with a nursery handicap for...

Leg #1

Six furlongs and staggered weights for the juvies here, and it's a pretty tough beginning. Thumper ran his best race (of four) over six sodden furlongs, and so he could improve on what we've seen to date. He's also had a little rest since his last run during which time he may have improved physically.

Secret Spirit can be forgiven her last run, where she was well beaten after getting bumped at the start over an inadequate five in the Super Sprint. Back to six and with a bit of cut, she looks to have a sound chance.

The form of Felix Leiter's Yarmouth win has been franked with both the third and sixth that day winning next time out, from just three runners out of the race. Felix should handle cut fine and, though top weight is not an easy challenge to overcome, he has only had two starts to could progress more than many in the field.

And Alpha Spirit's four defeats have ALL worked out well, with at least 17% of subsequent runners winning from each, and 37%+ placing. If he handles the ground, he might find this easier.

A: 1, 2
B: 5, 8

Leg #2

Ah, the precarious five runner event. The maker of many a placepot. One of the six declared has already absented, and one more would make for win only for placepot purposes. We are not assisted by the fact it's a novice stakes, where getting a sensible handle on the form is tough. Even more so given that the two top rated on official figures have produced their best work on firm surfaces.

Indeed, of the quintet, only the 40/1 poke Red Connect has run on softer than good, and he was a fair second.

Although using a lot of bullets early, I'm taking four again here, and siding with the market. Enlace and George Dryden on A, and Al Gomry and Prize Exhibit on B. If it does cut to four or less, and Red Connect is still a runner, I'll probably have a tiny saver, just in case...

A: 3, 4
B: 1, 6

Leg #3

A seventeen runner six furlong handicap, with four out already. That's more like it. Ahem. Here's the 'Instant Expert' for the race (click to open full size in new tab)...

6.25 Nottingham crystallized into a single view...

6.25 Nottingham crystallized into a single view...

Your first 30 days for just £1

Indian Affair hasn't had too many turf runs on the soft side of good, but when he has he's normally fared quite well. He's ten pounds lower than his last winning mark, and could run well tonight.

Borough Boy, Masked Dance, and Queen Hermione are all favoured to some degree by conditions, though the last named has been very in and out. There's been money for The Strig, but this lad has never even placed beyond five furlongs on turf, in seventeen attempts.

Kiss From A Rose has had less chances than most of these and faces soft for the first time. She might like it. She might not.

A: 1, 4, 7
B: 6, 11

Leg #4

We've fired a lot of shrapnel in the first half, and things don't get easier now, as we stare down the barrel of a 'dead eight' staying handicap with the three-year-olds getting lumps of weight from some able elders. In fact, as I write, Missed Call has come out, leaving seven, and only two places. This 'pot could be juicy (or it could be anti-climactic!)

Dino Mite was beaten out of site (sic) when only a 12/1 shot in a soft ground Sandown maiden, but he followed that up with an eighteen (!) length romp in a Southwell all weather maiden last time. The second and fourth (beaten 38 lengths) both won next time, but whether he's as effective on turf is unknown.

Zipp looks more interesting from the in form Raiff Beckett stable, and this soft ground hound should step forward from an 'ok' seasonal bow. Mark Johnston's three year olds are always to be respected in contests such as this, and Late Shipment was a non-runner as Stat of the Day on Saturday. A runner up earlier in the season on soft ground, he's been  bit hit and miss since, but if he has a 'hit' day, he'll go close.

It's entirely feasible that neither of my selected pair will be first or second, but we cannot continue nominating the entire herd!

A: 4, 6

Leg #5

This is a good class five furlong conditions race, with some Listed level animals in the line up. All eleven stand at time of writing, though do check as late as you can (a comment which holds for all races, of course) on the weather.

Free Zone is by far the most interesting. Form figures of 00-000 are uninviting for an 8/1 chance on the face of it, but this fella loves five on the soft side of good. He's been competitive at Group 3 level and won a Class 2 handicap over five on good to soft last back end. That makes him an A player in this Class 3 event, despite the recent ovoid form string. Small fields also seem to help him.

Another of sprint king Robert Cowell's four entries is Graphic Guest, a lass who has placed on four of her five races over the minimum, the exception being the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. Soft suits best, and she too can run well.

The other joint jolly with Graphic Guest is a third Cowell runner, Speed Hawk. He's never raced on ground this soft, and is not bred for the job either. He could run well but there are enough reasons to side with reliable form elsewhere.

A: 4, 11

Leg #6

If we're still going by now, we could be in a good place on what looks a very tricky card. Naturally, it doesn't always pan out that way, but faint heart never won fair maiden, as they say.

The closer has been blighted by non-runners already, and the declared ten are down to seven, and just two places. Should this number dwindle further, we have an interesting insurance option, which I'll mention in a moment.

Backstage Gossip is interesting, and won her only race on soft. She's been running on the sand since and this return to turf could spark a return to winning ways. Oscars Journey likes it here, having won (on soft) and been fourth (good to soft) in his two visits.

Meanwhile, Oil Strike is a far shorter price than he deserves to be on recent - in fact, on almost all - form, but connections are hugely respected. He's added, just in case.

The remaining four (or less if non-runners arrive) can be permed in exactas to cover stakes if it looks like the payout will justify the effort. Check the running on totals here.

A: 5, 7, 8


That gives the following permutations:

A's only: 2 x 2 x 3 x 2 x 2 x 3 = 144 lines

A's and B's: 4 x 4 x 5 x 2 x 2 x 3 = 960 lines (!)

Ticket builder looks like this:

Nottingham placepot

Nottingham placepot


Haydock Preview, Tips, Placepot Saturday 7th September 2013



I thought I'd bring the Race Analysis Reports in again today, so you can see for yourself what might have a chance!

You can sort all columns by R (Runs),  W (Wins) or P (Places) depending on the radio button selection in the top left of each grid, and %.

That will help you see which horse has the best record for each element, and how they fare in the other areas.

Make sense? I hope so. 🙂

2.05 Haydock (Placepot Leg 1)

Selection: Racy e/w 11/1 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 2, 6, 11 / B - 1, 12


2.40 Haydock (Placepot Leg 2)

Selection: Montiridge Evens BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 5


3.15 Haydock (Placepot Leg 3)

Selection: Gassin Gulf e/w 20/1 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 1, 4, 13 / B - 2, 8


3.50 Haydock (Placepot Leg 4)

Selection: Gordon Lord Byron 9/2 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 1, 8


4.25 Haydock (Placepot Leg 5)

Selection: None

Placepot A - 3 / B - 1, 2, 6


5.00 Haydock (Placepot Leg 6)

Selection: Riverboat Springs 5/1 BOG BetVictor

Placepot A - 1, 3


5.30 Haydock

Selection: Lemon Pearl 11/2 BOG Paddy Power


Placepot Perms

A only - 3 x 1 x 3 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 36 bets

All - 5 x 1 x 5 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 400 bets

Ticket Builder

Haydock placepot picks

Haydock placepot picks

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Hamilton Placepot Picks, 2nd September 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

Finally, mercifully, we leapt off the cold list on Saturday with some Newton Abbot goodness. Not a fat payout, but a payout nevertheless, and welcome just the same.

It's up to Scotland today, and Hamilton's pretty decent card... for a Monday! Time is massively against me, so brevity is the watchword in today's offering.

2.10 - Leg 1: Les Gar Gan ran the best race of any of these last time at York. She consequently has most weight to carry, but she won in soft with nine stone on her back, so she should be ok here.

A - 1 (Les Gar Gan)

2.45 - Leg 2: Ted's Brother is the solid one here, while Red Charmer may get loose on the lead. Nighster is totally unexposed.

A - 3 (Ted's Brother), 5 (Nightster)
B - 7 (Red Charmer)

3.20 - Leg  3: Taxiformissbyron went well last week and has similar conditions today. Minot Street showed improved form last time on his first run on a sound surface. The Johnston horse, Mudaawem, has yet to show any alacrity for turf racing and may be taken on for the lead by Dutch Gal.

A - 8 (Taxiformissbyron), 9 (Minot Street)

3.55 - Leg 4: Mahican has the benefit of experience in this three horse race. If the 'pot looks tidy, lay him on the exchange. Otherwise, let it ride...

A - 3 (Mahican)

4.30 - Leg 5: Down to six runners and this is a tight little handicap. King Of Paradise and Aneedh have about the best form in the grade, and form the A bracket. On B, I'm with Lindenhurst and Aryizad, the possible improvers.

A - 2 (King Of Paradise), 4 (Aneedh)
B - 3 (Aryizad), 7 (Lindenhurst)

5.05 - Leg 6: Gran Canaria Queen stands out and is in form. She has to be on the tickets. The Nifty Fox and Beckermet might be twenty years young between them, but they've got plenty of recent form to get them into the shake up here. And Alexanderkollontai and Chester Aristocrat have taken serious market support.

A - 2 (The Nifty Fox), 5 (Gran Canaria Queen), 10 (Beckermet)
B - 1 (Chester Aristocrat), 14 (Alexanderkollontai)

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Just A's - 1 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 3 = 24 bets

All picks - 1 x 3 x 2 x 1 x 4 x 5 = 120 bets

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Hamilton placepot picks

Hamilton placepot picks

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Worcester Placepot Picks, 28th August 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

I'm as out of form as a big amorphous blob that's been dismissed from his class (note to self, 'out of form' similes are tricky), and things don't get much easier today. Priceless Art, one of the geegeez geegees, runs at Worcester this afternoon and I'm headed there to see him. So that's where the placepot will be focused too. We start at 2.20...

2.20 - Leg 1: Only five runners, but all of them have some sort of chance, as betting of 4/1 the outsider in places attests. Papradon is likely to have this run to suit: he should lead and that's not a bad tactic at this track. But his record at this lofty Class 3 level is 92, with the 2 achieved on the much tighter Stratford track. He's unlikely to get away this time, in my view.

Whistling Senator represents McCoy and Jonjo, but is another for whom the class may be a ceiling. Indeed, in 21 prior runs, he's never raced at this level before. True, he comes here on the hat-trick, but wins in soft Class 5 and Class 4 affairs are no comparison to some talented oppo today.

Victor Leudorum looks like the one to me. If he doesn't get outpaced (possible), he has conditions perfectly in his favour, with a course and distance win, five wins on this going, and two in this grade. As a last time out winner too, he's hard to overlook.

Forever My Friend is easily the best backed horse in the race, but he's going to have stay further than any of his five wins here, and against better class horses than any of those wins (all achieved in Classes 4, 5 and 6). I don't think he's the obvious play in here today.

That leaves Highway Code. This young fellow is stepping up in trip beyond two and a half miles for the first time and, whilst there might be a stamina doubt, he's plodded on in recent starts like he wants this sort of trip. His third to Finger Onthe Pulse is about the best piece of recent form in the race, and I give him a strong chance. I'm taking him and Victor against the other trio, and that might be an early bath scenario the way things have been going; but I'm struggling to justify including the class risers against established form at this level.

A - 1 (Victor Leudorum), 3 (Highway Code)

2.50 - Leg 2: The class act here is The Cockney Mackem and, despite a few question marks about his attitude recently, he looks a sound A bet. Specifically, he's been placed in eight of his nine runs in this grade; ditto at this two mile (ish) trip. Although he is hard to win with (no wins from his eight chase starts, for instance), he has been placed second on five of those runs and third on two more.

I don't really like banking in seven runner races, still less in novice chases, but he does look a sound conveyance (only one tumble in those eight chase starts), and he's classy: he was second in the 2012 Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival. That is a Grade 3 race, and he followed that up with a Grade 2 third place. Because he's not won, he retains his novice status, and he can show his class here.

A - 6 (The Cockney Mackem)

3.20 - Leg  3: A curious enough spot for a bumper is race three, but it's something of a speciality here at Worcester, so we'll have to lump it. Luckily for us, we have solid course and distance winner, Anger Management, to keep us on the straight and narrow. I'd expect him to at least be placed, despite the winners' penalty.

Cole Harden won his only start, though that was on heavy ground at Sedgefield. How this son of Westerner will fare on much quicker turf remains to be seen, but he's unbeaten and his dad's kids have gone well enough on faster. Snapchat has two places to his name, both on slightly sharper tracks than this, and it's possible the more testing circuit here will play to his staying power. He could easily run into the frame, and has been nibbled in the betting to do so.

The rest probably have a lot to do, though both Western Way and Multiview looked extremely green behind Anger Management last time before staying on into third and fourth. It's possible the other three in the race were dogs, but both this pair are capable of better, for sure.

A - 1 (Anger Management)
B - 5 (Snapchat)

3.50 - Leg 4: Ah, the good stuff. A selling handicap hurdle! Again, this revolves around a single horse, and that's Pindar. Consistent in this lowly grade, and a winner at the track last time, he's very short to repeat the dose. Basically, he likes to lead, which he was able to do last time. Today, there are two other horses - Bahira and Argaum - who also want to go on, meaning he might well be compromised. Moreover, he'd been beaten 22 lengths-plus on his two prior hurdle starts, and on the one before that he was ten lengths behind the re-opposing On The Feather. He's rated 77 and I don't think he's any value at all here. I'm limping him into B, but I'll take A's against him.

Argaum has been placed in eleven of his 25 hurdle starts, winning three. That's a much more solid level of consistency than most here can boast, and though he too could be compromised by an early pace battle, he at least has both consistency and price on his side. A.

On The Feather has form to beat the favourite, and has gone well for inexperienced riders. Conditions look ideal, and he ought to be in the mix. And the one which might benefit most from a cut-throat pace scrap is Chilbury Hill, a ten year old with plenty of win and place form at this level, on this ground, in this grade.

A - 1 (On The Feather), 5 (Argaum)
B - 2 (Chilbury Hill), 10 (Pindar)

4.20 - Leg 5: And so to Priceless Art's race. Wayward Glance is the strong favourite, and he should make the frame. He's got form at the track, trip and grade, and is in reasonable form. With three places to go at here, he's hard to leave out.

Priceless Art himself is 112111 in Class 5, but he's just not been reliable lately. I will (obviously) be backing him today but am leaving him out of my placepot perm.

Wayward Glance is a banker here, and may be a place lay if the 'pot looks like paying a few quid (unlikely, in truth).

A - 1 (Wayward Glance)

4.55 - Leg 6: Just five go here, and always the chance of a non-runner making it win only. On that basis, I'll go a bit deeper than normal, in case of the aforementioned late absentee.

Letsby Avenue is a fairly strong jolly, and might bid to make all. He's got form at similar trips and ground, and this slightly longer route might eke out a bit more improvement. In any case, he's on the hat-trick, so comes here in top form.

Of the rest, Red Not Blue looks to have optimal conditions - twice a winner here in small fields - and AP McCoy gets on again for the first time since winning two races on him this time last year.

Ogee and So Fine are less obvious contenders and will comprise a rare C ticket, with options to lay various outcomes or back exactas, should we have used a B already (a situation which kills any C lines straight away).

A - 2 (Red Not Blue), 3 (Letsby Avenue)
C - 1 (Ogee), 5 (So Fine)

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Just A's - 2 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 1 x 2 = 8 bets

All picks - 2 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 1 x 4 = 64 bets

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Worcester placepot picks

Worcester placepot picks

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York Placepot Picks, 21st August 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

Wow, that was a toughie. 10/1 and 25/1 filling out the places and, in truth, my next pick was only good enough for third, so I'd definitely not have had that one, alas. Onwards, to the first big pot of the week on the Knavesmire. These picks are based on my Day One York Preview here.

1.55 - Leg 1: Eighteen of the twenty are still standing as I write, and we should get four places here. It's a dangerous approach but I'm putting all bar one of my eggs in the high draw basket here. On A, I'm keen on Above Standard, Lady Gibraltar and Bogart; whilst on B, last year's winner, the big priced Tax Free, and Goldream, a more obvious choice.

A - 9 (Bogart), 19 (Above Standard), 20 (Lady Gibraltar)
B - 14 (Tax Free), 16 (Goldream)

2.30 - Leg 2: The Grey Gatsby should run well and is A banker material, while I like the look of Il Paparazzi's form for B.

A - 4 (The Grey Gatsby)
B - 3 (Il Paparazzi)

3.05 - Leg  3: Despite being dubious about the merit of Telescope's form to date, the trainer is respected immensely, and the horse gets A status on that basis. He's joined by Secret Number.

A - 4 (Secret Number), 6 (Telescope)

3.40 - Leg 4: A tough race to predict, and a great race to watch. The percentage play is to bank on Al Kazeem, and hope there's some pace in the race, perhaps provided by Trading Leather. So that's what I'll do.

A - 1 (Al Kazeem)

4.20 - Leg 5: This is the hardest race of the day for me. Broxbourne is a filly in form, and she was unlucky last time. And Wyborne looks the type to improve today. Willie Wag Tail has been well supported, and will be the third part of my A triumvirate.

I'm taking B's here too, in the shape of Suraj, Eagle Rock, Martin Chuzzlewit and Crackentorp. Phew.

A -10 (Broxbourne), 11 (Willie Wag Tail), 14 (Wyborne)
B - 2 (Suraj), 8 (Crackentorp), 12 (Martin Chuzzlewit), 13 (Eagle Rock)

4.55 - Leg 6: There just remains the small matter of a fifteen runner nursery handicap to close this thing out. Two absentees have already reduced the available place pool from four to three berths, so we need to be on our mettle. I'm a big fan of Jazz (the horse, not the musical genre), and I think he might have won at Goodwood last time with a soupçon more luck.

I also like Tiger Twenty Two and Tanseeb.

On B, I'll have the unexposed ones: Ventura Quest, Les Gar Gan, and Blurred Vision.

A - 4 (Tanseeb), 6 (Tiger Twenty Two), 7 (Jazz)
B - 11 (Ventura Quest), 13 (Blurred Vision), 17 (Les Gar Gan)

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Place your toteplacepot bets with totepool directly, using the link below:
Just A's - 3 x 1 x 2 x 1 x 3 x 3 = 54 bets

All picks - 5 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 7 x 6 = 840 bets

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York Placepot Picks

York Placepot Picks

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Leicester Placepot Picks, 20th August 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

Back on the winning trail yesterday at Worcester, though in truth nominating the first four winners at cumulative odds of 2,816/1 deserved better than the paltry return we received. It was a profit, but barely.

Just horrific fare on offer at the beaches - Yarmouth and Brighton - today, so we'll wait for tonight and have a crack at some bigger fields at Leicester.

5.00 - Leg 1: Maiden fillies over the minimum kick us off, and the market ought to be about right here, with Shilla and Kanz likely contenders. Shilla ran a nice race behind a decent yardstick in Autumn Sunrise, and having been smartly away there, the drop back in distance should be all right. Kanz was beaten a length and a half by Autumn Sunrise on her penultimate start, and wouldn't have as much improvement as Shilla who has had just the one run.

Of the pair, Shilla looks the more likely to go on, and gets a tentative banker nomination. Those of a nervous disposition can lay the place at around 1.25 but just keep an eye on the non-runner situation, as two would leave such a tactic exposed.

A - 9 (Shilla)

5.30 - Leg 2: Ah yes, you little beauty! A sixteen runner Class 6 nursery, already reduced to fifteen and therefore three places. Oxlip, a winner last time, was beaten in a seller a couple of starts back and surely is under-priced as favourite here, especially given that she had the run of the race last time in a five runner affair. This is much different from that.

Mister Mayday - form 677 - has been well backed, and a reasonable case can be made for him. He's been racing in two classes higher in Newbury maidens, and not being disgraced despite having been held up in the manner of a borderline non-trier. But of course, I didn't say that. He'll be ready to rumble here and these are a lot softer (and a softer lot) than the Newbury good'uns he's faced to date. Top weight and a mark of 65 is justified.

Dovil's Duel was second in a Class 5 nursery last time, and is the most experienced in the field, having started out in the Brocklesby, the opening two year old race of the season. He'll appreciate the drop in class and could run well.

Desert Colours has been beaten far enough in three runs to date and I'd think others might have more scope than him. Rockie Road is interesting for one simple reason: he's got no form whatsoever and yet has been heavily wagered! A precautionary B placement for him. Krackerjill on the other hand does have a form claim. Not beaten far on any of her three runs, she's looked like this trip with a level break could see her win, and today might be the day.

Almost Famous is well enough bred but has shown nothing in three seven furlong starts, the last two over Epsom's undulating quirks. It could be that a furlong less and a flatter track bring about a good amount of improvement and, indeed, it will need to. Chance Of Romance drops back in trip after failing to stay in her last two runs.

I'll take two from the top and four from anywhere else, please, Carole.

A - 1 (Mister Mayday), 3 (Dovil's Duel)
B - 6 (Chance Of Romance), 7 (Almost Famous), 9 (Krackerjill), 12 (Rockie Road)

6.00 - Leg  3: Gravitational drops in class and could win, as could the four-timer-seeking Jubilee Dancer, who rises in class. The other four can be permed in exactas if we get a decent result on the preceding race, to cover stakes.

A - 1 (Gravitational), 3 (Jubilee Dancer)

6.30 - Leg 4: A funny race this. A couple of rags with back class chances are Hot Spice and Flying Applause, and they'll form the B side. On A, Young Jay steps up in trip for his handicap debut for Mark Johnston, a trick he loves to perform; and Forget Me Not Lane has obviously been showing a lot more at home and may be back to his best.

Don Padeja, the jolly, is tough to weigh up. He showed nothing on his sole turf start, and has looked a better horse on all weather. While it's too early to write him off as a turfer, he's too short to make A on what he's done, for me.

A - 1 (Forget Me Not Lane), 11 (Young Jay)
B - 3 (Hot Spice), 5 (Flying Applause), 8 (Don Padeja)

7.00 - Leg 5: Some historically decent nags in here but little in the way of recent form. Albaqaa might be the most solid option, and has verdicts over a few of these; while Alakhan drops a quarter mile to a much more appropriate trip and should give his running this time. I'll take my chances with this pair against the field.

A -4 (Albaqaa), 6 (Alakahan)

7.30 - Leg 6: And if we're still rolling, it's a big field seven furlong handicap to finish. Incredibly, as I write, all sixteen stand, but expect at least one non-runner and therefore just three places to play with. Alluring Star looks a solid favourite, off near top weight, and easily makes A in her bid to make all. Shamrocked joins her as a consistent type that often runs well in big fields on fast ground.

Boy The Bell goes well for inexperienced riders, and has both won here and won for today's inexperienced pilot. And Whistable Native ticks a few boxes and is back to a workable mark.

A - 3 (Alluring Star), 4 (Shamrocked)
B - 6 (Whitstable Native), 7 (Boy The Bell)

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Just A's - 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32 bets

All picks - 1 x 6 x 2 x 5 x 2 x 4 = 480 bets

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Leicester placepot

Leicester placepot

Readers can use the ticket builder at to create their own part perms.

Place your toteplacepot bets with totepool directly, using the link below:

Worcester Placepot Picks, 19th August 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

Running late and uninspired, we head off to Worcester.

1.45 - Leg 1: A handicap chase over two and a half miles to start us off, and there's a warm favourite in Spice Hill, a horse who is a professional loser. Eleven rules starts have yielded no wins and, even in a dreadful race, he's hard to be bullish about.

Mac Beattie has been well backed and wouldn't have to do anything special to get involved today, while Crack At Dawn could go well for today's amateur. He's generally amateur-ridden and has course and distance form. This is Nigel Twiston-Davies' time of year, so Brousse En Feux could be of minor interest too in a shocking opener.

A - 5 (Spice Hill), 7 (Mac Beattie)
B - 2 (Brousse En Feux), 3 (Crack At Dawn)

2.15 - Leg 2: Featherintheattic looks reasonably strong in another weak race. Quarton has had less tries than most of these and has a bit of back class.

A - 2 (Featherintheattic), 5 (Quarton)

2.45 - Leg  3: A better handicap chase this time, and one in which Palace Jester may try to make all. Alas the balance of his form gives him a fair bit to do even if getting his own way on the front. More likely candidates are Lawney Hill's Brough Academy and Jonjo's Full Of Joy. The former was quietly fancied when second over course and distance last time, and the latter comes from in form connections too.

Arenalin Flight has normally been found out at this level, but conditions aside from class are all ideal, so he's given a chance on B, along with Special Account.

A - 2 (Full Of Joy), 6 (Brough Academy)
B - 1 (Special Account), 5 (Adrenalin Flight)

3.15 - Leg 4: An interesting little mares' bumper, and Fountains Blossom catches the eye. Favourite Miss Sassypants is a once raced winner, beating second favourite, Dorkas, there. The weight differential between the two is the same here and it's hard to see how the form can be reversed.

A - 1 (Miss Sassypants), 8 (Fountains Blossom)

3.45 - Leg 5: According To Sarah is a strong favourite here on her racecourse debut. In race where all of them are either having their first run or have been worse than moderate so far, she's a banker.

A -2 (According To Sarah)

4.15 - Leg 6: This race revolves around last time out winner, Orthodox Lad. That was a dreadful race but he did it nicely and has to be included. I'll pair him up with Up To The Mark, who looks set to lead and ran a good second in a novice hurdle over half a mile further last time.

A - 5 (Up To The Mark), 6 (Orthodox Lad)

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Worcester placepot picks

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Salisbury Placepot Picks, 15th August 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

I spread out yesterday looking for a result or two, and it simply didn't happen. The upshot was that we got the 'pot but lost money, a regular issue and one which we just have to stomach. Looking around today, it's scrappy stuff, and I think we'll stay at Salisbury, though with a tighter perm the priority.

1.50 - Leg 1: The first of two seven furlong maiden divisions, and the clear starting point is debut second Starlight Serenade. She gets weight all round here due to the race conditions, and that second place finish, over six furlongs here, is close to the pick of the form. On the down side, the time of that race wasn't too hot and they might go fast here. Plus, she's been off for two months, and Beckett's horses are normally pretty forward first time out too. She's very short in the market meaning she'll take plenty of placepot ticket hopes, and I'm going to take a second A with her and try to get her beaten.

Crystal Nymph is a Hannon newcomer that has seen market support this morning, and is expected to know its job here. They'll do.

A - 4 (Crystal Nymph), 12 (Starlight Serenade)

2.20 - Leg 2: Division two of the seven furlong maiden. Warrendale looked in need of further when green and running on over six furlongs on her debut, and she's a solid favourite here. I'm against Jersey Brown (favoured by the draw at Goodwood last time), and Ninety Minutes (beaten far enough in a similar race on debut), and instead favour Bright Cecily, who was only three and a half lengths behind the winner despite finishing ninth. That was in a fair Ascot maiden, and this looks winnable for her.

A - 2 (Bright Cecily), 10 (Warrendale)

2.50 - Leg  3: Another maiden, this time for older horses, and Paradise Watch looks a place certainty. He's been second and third in his two runs to date, and the form of both is working out well. There are a couple who could improve enough to win, but the pick really ought to make the frame at least.

A - 6 (Paradise Watch)

3.25 - Leg 4: At last, a handicap, and a seven runner fillies' affair at that. Chances. Java Rose has been well backed but I prefer the 3yo's in middle distance handicaps at this time of year, as they're generally well favoured by weight for age concessions, and have more improvement to come.

With that in mind, Shalwa and Bantam, who fought out the finish at Windsor a few weeks back, look most interesting. Java Rose is included on B, along with Pivotal Silence, who gets support from the saddle from Richard Hughes for the first time today.

A - 4 (Bantam), 5 (Shalwa)
B - 3 (Java Rose), 7 (Pivotal Silence)

3.55 - Leg 5: A fascinating Group 3, despite just the six runners. Afsare is quirky for sure, but he is effective at a mile despite racing generally over further in his career, and he's officially rated a few pounds higher than these. Snowboarder has been progressive this season, and was a bit unlucky not to be closer to Montiridge last time. That's solid Group 3 form, and gives his a chance with conditions optimal for him here.

Fulbright has form to win this too, and may be sent on, either as a pacemaker for Snowboarder or in his own right. He's a dogged ex-Johnston performer and either way, I think he could hang tough for quite a way down the lane. He's won at Listed and Group 2 level, and was placed in three mile Group 2/3 races in Meydan in the Spring. He was disappointing last time, but that was his comeback run and I'd expect him to be sharper now.

Andrew Balding runs Highland Knight, a horse I can never get right. The trainer is bidding for a third straight win in the race, with a third different animal, and Highland Knight is certainly capable of mixing it if putting best hoof forward.

Professor has a bit to prove with regards the trip and indeed whether he's quite good enough, while Boom And Bust probably isn't up to this, despite a fine run last time (best drawn and got a soft lead).

A - 1 (Afsare), 6 (Snowboarder)
B - 3 (Fulbright), 4 (Highland Knight)

4.30 - Leg 6: There's every chance that the big-priced Dawn Catcher will take them along here, and she could take some pegging back. Ignore her last run where she got by far the worst of a speed duel, posted wide throughout. It's also possible she didn't enjoy the all weather surface and, back on turf, she's very interesting after a break.

My Own Way Home is an obvious contender. On a four-timer here, she's been in the places on her last eight starts. Can she make it nine? Quite possibly.

Amber Heights has been well backed but her form profile implies she's better on the all weather (just one turf win, no places, from twelve runs). Although the trainer is respected, I'll overlook her today. Likewise, Commandingpresence, who has an excellent history but is trying to win off a career high mark at the age of seven and on her 84th start.

Jonny Portman loves a winner here (won this race in 2010), and he runs Tregereth, a fourteen race maiden, but one that has been placed second or third on seven of twelve turf starts! Three-quarters of a mile is her trip, and she's now down to a mark of just 56, on ground that should suit. Renoir's Lady has never won off higher than 50 and she looks to need to drop a pound or two further from her current 54.

A - 2 (My Own Way Home), 4 (Dawn Catcher), 9 (Tregereth)

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Salisbury placepot picks

Salisbury placepot picks

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Salisbury Placepot Picks, 14th August 2013

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A big pot yesterday and one which we missed, alas. There were some good pointers amidst the previews though, including a nod to 66/1 Cheyenne Red (2nd) and a banker selection of Toto Skyllachy (4/1 winner). It's Salisbury this afternoon for us...

2.20 - Leg 1: Captain Bob sets the form standard but has been quite weak in the market today, and the drop back in trip doesn't look ideal either. As such, it's probably worth looking elsewhere. Likely candidates are Richard Hannon's certain improver, Decimus Maximus, and the unraced Illegal Action who, mercifully, doesn't have Harry Bentley (usual stable jockey) on board. Major Jack takes a big drop in class from his Class 2 debut over course and distance, and ought to be a lot more clued up this time.

A - 4 (Decimus Maximus), 9 (Major Jack)
B - 2 (Captain Bob), 8 (Illegal Action)

2.50 - Leg 2: A nursery over a mile, with all runners stepping up in trip. The favourite, Truth Or Dare, may be very tough to beat and is an A selection. But I want to add a bit more support in what might be a more competitive tussle than first meets the eye. Mawzoona is the one bred to appreciate the step up - by Authorized - while Street Force has been very highly tried and drops in grade markedly here. Brownsville is a big distance mover for Mark Johnston, which raises a metaphorical eyebrow here.

A - 2 (Truth Or Dare)
B - 1 (Street Force), 5 (Brownsville), 6 (Mawzoona)

3.20 - Leg  3: Russian Realm gets in here very lightly and looks the one. Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, a man whose only two runners in the eight year history of the race both won, this lad ran a noble third in that white hot maiden won by Remote (all of the eight subsequent runners from the top ten there have won since!).

I think he'll probably win, though the price has gone to that end. He's a banker here though.

A - 8 (Russian Realm)

3.55 - Leg 4: Bana Wu, Bana Wu, Bana Wu, I love you. Yes, I am a member of the Bana Wu fan club, and this filly has plenty of them at Andrew Balding's stable including the trainer's wife! She (Bana Wu, not the trainer's wife) ran a blinder at Royal Ascot from a nightmare draw in the Listed Wolferton Handicap and, with a plum draw here for last year's winning trainer, she looks to have a lot in her favour. A.

Rock Choir is the jolly and she's a progressive 3yo. Three-year-olds have finished first and/or second in all of the last ten renewals, and have actually placed 40% of their runners since 1997. The top-rated is the Hannon-Hughes' Light Up My Light. She clearly didn't give her running last time, but was a good second in Listed class before that. Today she's up in trip and is bred to make a go of that. Hippy Hippy Shake might be a more reliable proposition though, as a Listed winner over this trip last time.

In what looks a trappy enough contest, I'll take a few.

A - 2 (Bana Wu), 9 (Rock Choir)
B - 1 (Hippy Hippy Shake), 7 (Light Up My Life)

4.30 - Leg 5: A non-runner makes it seven going to post, and therefore only two places. There might be a fair bit of pace on here, with all of Danehill Dante, Lisa's Legacy, and Ingot Of Gold liking to get on with things. That being the case, it could pay to side with something held up close ish to them, and that might be Red Shuttle. It's pretty tough to gauge who is best in here, in truth, and I'm again loading up.

On B, I'll have Danehill Dante, Superciliary, both at big prices; and on A, I'll risk Ingot Of Gold along with Red Shuttle and the first time handicapper, Silk Route.

A - 2 (Red Shuttle), 6 (Ingot Of Gold), 7 (Silk Route)
B - 3 (Danehill Dante), 5 (Superciliary)

5.00 - Leg 6: The finale is an apprentice handicap where whips are carried but not used. Whitstable Native has been heavily backed and has strong seven furlong decent ground form, as well as the services of the capable Nora Looby. Ivor's Princess represents the Millman father/son team, and will again get support from the saddle that some of these won't. He's dropped to a very tempting mark and the money suggests far more is expected today after some horror efforts in recent runs (different trips).

Annes Rocket will need some pace in order to pass tiring nags, but she might get it with both Perfect Mission and Pink Mischief pace-pushing protagonists. If we get through this, the pot should be worth having, so fingers crossed.

A - 2 (Annes Rocket), 3 (Ivor's Princess), 5 (Whitstable Native)

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Salisbury placepot picks

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Carlisle Placepot Picks, 13th August 2013

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So it was a winning placepot yesterday if you follow A's only, the 24 units returning 2 x £23.40 (or your share thereof). Ticket builder players like me were left with a loss, despite collecting on two tickets, such is the way when so many fancied runners hit the board.

The greatest asset of the placepot in my opinion is that you can be so wrong - as I was yesterday with both Baytown Kestrel and Excellent Jem - and yet still catch a winning wager. 🙂

To today, and a trip up to Carlisle, where the first race looks a bit more open than the betting might suggest...

2.15 - Leg 1: It's a two year old maiden, where the favourite, Omaha Gold, is shorter than 2/1 and a has a '2' for her sole run to date. She's sure to take plenty of placepot support after a 3/4 length defeat at Beverley on debut, but she was smartly away there and had the best draw in one on that notoriously biased sprint track. She again has a fair draw, but she'll be overbet on the 'pot.

Against her are a number with chances. Blue Bounty drops back to six furlongs after seemingly not staying over Chester's seven last time. He was also drawn quite wide there and used a lot of energy early to get across. All things considered that was a good run and probably an improvement on a debut second behind subsequent Listed winner, Miracle of Medinah. He's a danger here.

Beltor has been running well enough at massive prices, and has also been screaming for this step up in trip, being a son of Derby winner, Authorized. He too can run well. Nowinaminute is another that could take more money in the market than she ought to, given that '3' next to her name. That was in a Class 6 claimer and she seemed sharp enough for her debut.

Newcomer Lexington Abbey has been well supported and is of more interest than Nowinaminute and Omaha Gold. And one at a price that could run all right is Neuf Des Coeurs. Very slowly away on debut, she ran on pretty well in a fair Windsor maiden. The extra furlong and the benefit of experience could see her outrun 16/1 odds if she breaks more alertly.

A - 1 (Beltor), 4 (Lexington Abbey)
B - 2 (Blue Bounty), 8 (Neuf Des Coeurs)

2.45 - Leg 2: A big field handicap with a lop-sided book headed up by Natures Law, clear-cut winner of a maiden on her second start last time. That was 103 days ago however, and she's likely to have had an issue or two since then to justify the layoff. In such a bad race, she has to make the ticket, and I'll chance her alone on A with some support on B. That support will come from old stagers, Captain Royale and China Excels and younger buck, Blue Shoes.

Cheyenne Red may run better than a 66/1 shot. And he may not...

A - 8 (Natures Law)
B - 4 (Captain Royale), 5 (Blue Shoes), 7 (China Excels)

3.15 - Leg  3: We've discharged a fair amount of firepower already with two lots of B's in the opening two legs, so it's belt-tightening time. A seven runner nursery isn't an obvious place to embark on such a placepot diet, but with a hat-trick-seeking Prescott horse in the mix we might just get away with it.

Threetimesalady has won twice for Rosie Jessop and is bidding to make it three times for the lady here. The drop back in trip ought not to be too much of a hindrance, and she's obviously progressing. I'll lob in Soul Instinct - very well backed already - to give us a second shout.

A - 1 (Threetimesalady), 3 (Soul Instinct)

3.45 - Leg 4: A messy claimer, and one where Toto Skyllachy has a very good chance to get back on the winning trail. He's got a proper jockey back on board today, and has been running competitively in much higher grade this season (including at Royal Ascot!), and he's the best part of a stone and more 'well in' with these. I'm banking on him. Gulp.

A - 2 (Toto Skyllachy)

4.15 - Leg 5: Save The Bees is fit and in winning form, going for a triple here. The ground might be quick enough but he's hard to overlook, so I won't. Euston Square gets a stone from that one and has been peppering the target of late without getting his head out front. He's decent placepot fodder today.

Wyldfire is relatively lightly raced and has been consistent at around today's trip, to which he drops back this afternoon. There have been bits of cash for him and it's easy enough to see why. The very lightly raced Obboorr also has claims with his mildly progressive profile.

A - 3 (Save The Bees), 9 (Euston Square)
B - 4 (Obboorr), 7 (Wyldfire)

4.45 - Leg 6: We close with a messy old thing, where most of them could beat most of the rest of them. True Pleasure and Dance For Georgie are the obvious ones, and I won't be looking too far beyond the obvious here.

Berlusca looks a bit poor, Secret Empress doesn't necessarily want this step up in trip, and Birdy Boy seems (a good bit) better on all weather. Moral Issue is bang out of form, and Cheers Buddy has been off a long time. So too has Indian Giver, though he at least ticks a few forms boxes and is a massive price.

Yep, let's stick with the obvious.

A - 2 (Dance For Georgie), 4 (True Pleasure)

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Carlisle Placepot Picks

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Wolverhampton Placepot Picks, 12th August 2013

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Monday is never a striking day to rejoin placepot battle lines, and it may again be the case today. No matter, for where there are races, there are upset prospects, and we'll have some fun trying to spot the pretenders amongst the contenders. Enough with the pre-ramble, and on to Dunstall Park for a 2.15 start...

2.15 - Leg 1: This looks like a thoroughly uncompetitive opener and, while Trinity River has had a three tries now, and though none of them have been on the all weather, she still seems by far the most likely prospect. In a race where none of the four newcomers have taken support, Oakley Dancer may not be completely bereft of place prospects at 40/1 BOG, but it's Trinity River banker to get us going.

Those of a nervous disposition can place lay at around 1.08 to cover any accidents here.

A - 10 (Trinity River)

2.45 - Leg 2: This is much more like it. A seven runner claimer with a distinctly shaky look to the top end of the market. Highest rated, and short priced favourite, is Baytown Kestrel. But this 400 Guineas purchase looks a dodge to me. She ran a monstrous race first time up when winning at 50/1, and was unsurprisingly outclassed in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. Since then, she's finished second twice - the first time in a seller - and then fourth of seven last time.

As well as being eminently beatable, she is also rated six pounds higher on all weather than turf, which seems harsh on the balance of her form. What really puzzles me though is that firstly she was entered in a seller, and now she's in a claimer. That implies connections don't think she's that much cop, or may be regressive/an early season filly. That suspicion is further aroused by the notion that she can be claimed here for £12,000. This is the most weight she's carried and I wouldn't be sure she'd be up to lugging it either.

Basically, I think Baytown Kestrel is opposable at 6/4, and I'll be doing just that. But with what? Well, I'm taking two against her on A: Black Treacle and Limegrove. The former is trained by Wolves master, Keith Dalgleish, and has taken a bit of time to find his stride, both literally and metaphorically. But a win the last day after a slow start hinted at a fair bit more in the tank, and he might go well on the surface change too.

One that definitely will go fine on the surface is Limegrove, a fill that missed the kick here on her debut and still stayed on to be third of eight at 25/1. David Evans is a master of the self-handicapping art of claimers, and she'll be positioned perfectly in the weights. Her all weather form reads 312 and she ought again to be thereabouts.

Marilyn Marquessa was behind Limegrove on the latter's debut, and she doesn't look to have progressed at all. She's a very short price here, and a tempting place lay. Her rock bottom weight gives her a theoretical chance, but it's far more likely to do with the fact that she's extremely moderate.

Bill Turner has had a poor season by his standards, and his Lovely Lily might go better dropped back in trip here. She was sharp enough first time over six furlongs, and wasn't beaten that far at the death. She might get third, but it's hard to see either or both of Limegrove and Black Treacle not getting placed.

A - 1 (Black Treacle), 4 (Limegrove)

3.15 - Leg  3: Another odds on favourite in the form of Simple Magic, for Johhny G. He sends a fair number of his lesser nags here and, while 25% of them win, only 16% of his two-year-old maidens have done so since 2003. In the last two years, just one of eleven has won. Obviously, Simple Magic has a form chance on her turf performances, but she needs escorting with some B ballast.

Elite Freedom has run competitively in both her starts to date and, whilst not really improving last time, she can't be written off yet. B. And both Alquimia and Exceed Areeda ought to improve a bit on what they did on their sole starts so far, though Alquimia might want further rather than shorter and could be a handicap plot in a couple of runs time...

A - 11 (Simple Magic)
B - 1 (Alquimia), 3 (Elite Freedom), 5 (Exceed Areeda)

3.45 - Leg 4: It's fillies' handicap time, over seven furlongs. The draw favours inner berths though this short field of seven may not be too much of an issue for wider drawn lasses. Just two places to go at, and the track form of Amethyst Dawn and Miss Avonbridge looks something to side with.

Amethyst Dawn has won two and placed on a further three of her six starts here, and seven furlongs looks optimal for her. There's a bit of pace on, with Silkelly and Miss Avonbridge likely to push forward from the start, and that will suit Amethyst's stalking style. Of course, if there's little pace on early then Miss Avonbridge could be best placed to take advantage of a dawdle, being a front runner drawn 3. She is one from one here, having broken her maiden over course and distance back in November last year. She's been extremely consistent except when probably hating the track at Southwell last time, and looks fairly priced around 5/1.

The favourite is Clear Pearl, a lady who has been performing very well at Yarmouth. I just don't trust Yarmouth form so, while she might be good enough to get in amongst it here, I'm inclined to look elsewhere (perhaps foolishly). Summer Dream did well from a poor draw over course and distance last time, and that was against the boys too. Battling the girls here, and drawn better in 2, she'll be a challenger today, I think.

A - 2 (Amethyst Dawn), 6 (Miss Avonbridge)
B - 5 (Summer Dream)

4.15 - Leg 5: Another seven furlong handicap and a bigger field. The favourite, Angel Cake, is drawn nine, and will need some luck from there. She's also got a lot of weight to carry here with her penalty. Nevertheless, she was an easy winner last week over course and distance and cannot be left out of calculations.

Glenridding is a standing dish here, and is most dangerous when allowed to lead. He's drawn one today, and there's not much other pace in the race, meaning he could get just the set up he likes. A place player, without doubt.

There's been money for Excellent Jem and, whilst he's yet to see this course, he has had twelve winless races so far. True, he's placed on two of his three all weather attempts, but both were at Kempton, and there's a big enough doubt about translating that form to ignore him here, particularly at the price.

Time To Begin is much more interesting, stepping back to the distance of his best run - a close second at Dundalk - and he looks quite appealing for smart connections.

A - 1 (Angel Cake), 3 (Glenridding), 6 (Time To Begin)

4.45 - Leg 6: And so to the lucky last, a surprisingly decent Class 4 handicap over a mile and half a furlong. Mount Tiger won well here over course and distance on his penultimate start, but never got involved back on turf last time where he may have pulled his chance away. Drawn wide enough, he's short enough, but has definite place chances all the same. Included.

Classic Colori has plenty of weight in this, but his Wolves form is the winningmost: three wins from seven starts. It should be noted that two of those wins were in sellers and the third in a claimer, so top weight in a Class 4 handicap might be asking a lot. Then again, given a second and a win earlier this season in this grade, it might not. As you can tell, he's a hard horse to weigh up. He has lugged plenty of lead on numerous occasions to win, so on that basis he makes the ticket.

Invisible Hunter is really interesting in here. He's been campaigned in higher class to date, and had form with some good animals last term. Things really haven't panned out for him this year so far, but this first try at Wolverhampton, a first time visor, and a drop in grade might help. The young lad, Ahmad al Subousi has one win and four places from his eight public rides here to date, and I reckon his mount could run well this afternoon.

Ocean Tempest is a consistent stick and is certainly worth including too in what is a fascinating closing placepot leg.

A - 2 (Ocean Tempest), 7 (Mount Tiger)
B - 1 (Classic Colori), 3 (Invisible Hunter)

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Wolverhampton placepot picks

Wolverhampton placepot picks

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Leicester Placepot Picks, 24th July 2013

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"I'm going to take a punt that it's softer than that. If I'm right about that, we can also expect a few non-runners to throw spanners in the works."

And so it was that the soft ground caused two non-runners in the previously nine horse second race. Banker selection, Junior Jack, finished third with only two places paying. One non-runner and that would have been fine. As it happened, I thought the placepot should have paid a good bit more as the results weren't all that easy to get, in my opinion. Anyway, it was no good, and we roll on.

Today, I'll be brutally honest: if I wasn't writing this piece, I wouldn't be even remotely tempted to open my wallet for a shocking day's racing, where quantity simply overpowers quality. As it is, I'm going to take a look at Leicester. The Leicester of five evils, you might say.

5.40 - Leg 1: We start with a handicap for novice amateur riders, whatever that is. I think it means they're inexperienced even in the context of amateur riders. So, essentially, we kick off in a tombola. I'm looking for a horse with the usual form credentials, but also one that has gone well for an inexperienced rider, if possible.

Unsurprisingly, there's been money for nothing - so far - and perhaps even more depressingly, the original seventeen runners in this handicap are now down to fifteen and, therefore, only three places. On the bright side, if we get through, a lot of others likely won't!

The best jockey here is probably Mr J Harding (three wins, two more places, from ten rides. He's also riding tonight for the hugely in form Paul Cole stable, and those two pointers are more than sufficient for A status. And he's joined by Boy The Bell, an ideal horse for such a race: he's won six times in his career for six different jockeys, four of them apprentices!

I'm also going to try a trio of longer priced speculatives in what could end up being a 'pot-defining heat. Rio Cobolo has been placed in three of his four runs at this track and his jockey was second in a similar novice amateur race yesterday, albeit riding the favourite. Adiator has only had four starts and has been nibbled at in the betting. He's the likely jolly here and makes B on little more than those two points.

And King Of Wing has only won one race. That was over seven furlongs seventeen starts ago. Today he races over the trip for the first time since! In a race where we're clutching at straws, he could go close.

A - 1 (Stormbound), 9 (Boy The Bell)
B - 2 (Adiator), 5 (Rio Cobolo), 7 (King Of Wing)

6.10 - Leg 2: Sedenoo is the obvious one, running under a penalty for a recent success. Tempting as it is to bank on him, there are better bankers later, so I'll spread out in the hope - possible, for sure - that he fails to run to that level again, with just two places up for grabs here. So there's definitely space for fellow last time out winner, Deepest Blue; and Dumbarton Rock, who finished four the last time he raced over similar conditions. From that race, the first, second, third, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth have all won since. The seventh horse hasn't run since!

A - 1 (Sedenoo)
B - 3 (Deepest Blue), 4 (Dumbarton Rock)

6.40 - Leg  3: A seller, and a moderate one even by that grade's usual standard. Mandy The Nag is rated 68, though her three turf runs probably amount to a stone below that level. It's tempting to leave her out completely but instead I'll take another with her. Reconsider Baby has a fair chance on her best form, including a staying on third in a better race than this over a furlong short. She ought to go very close in a weak race.

Nordikhab is part-owned by a geegeez reader, and the feeling with him is that he's not trained on. They're not too hopeful.

A - 1 (Mandy The Nag), 6 (Reconsider Baby)

7.15 - Leg 4: Mankini should win this, especially now that Nave is a non-runner. However, all three have some sort of chance, so Kittens and Almagest are included on B, in case tactics and/or ability undo the jolly.

A - 3 (Mankini)
B - 1 (Almagest), 4 (Kittens)

7.45 - Leg 5: Port Alfred. Banker.

A - 1 (Port Alfred)

8.20 - Leg 6: And we close with a competitive little handicap. Azrael looked to have a decent chance, if not getting caught in a burn up on the front, but he's a non-runner.

Illustrious Prince may have won well last time, but he's hardly unexposed and this step up in class will see him face a much sterner test. He's too short for me, even for the placepot. Skytrain actually won a higher class (3) handicap last time, and steps down in grade here. He'll bid to make all, and has a very taking winning attitude (five wins in fourteen starts).

Broctune Papa Gio is interesting, and his form on good to soft or quicker over seven furlongs reads 23121. He'll sit in behind the pace and will be well placed to strike in what may be optimal conditions. I'll also include the well backed Creek Falcon.

A - 3 (Creek Falcon), 6 (Skytrain), 9 (Broctune Papa Gio)

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Leicester placepot picks

Leicester placepot picks

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Southwell Placepot Picks, 23rd July 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

I've got to be honest. That was a plain stupid idea yesterday. True, there was little choice in the meetings, and sometimes I'd rather put up nothing. But there are winners to be had everywhere every day, and I just didn't find enough of them yesterday. Onwards.

I actually quite like the look of the Southwell jumps card this afternoon, so that's where we're headed. The going was officially good, but there's been a lot of rain in the area, and I'm going to take a punt that it's softer than that. If I'm right about that, we can also expect a few non-runners to throw spanners in the works.

2.15 - Leg 1: The races are competitive here today, exemplified by this seven runner (two places only) handicap chase. There looks to be every chance of a muddling pace, which means there's a fair chance of a funny result. As a consequence, I'm casting my net in the hope of hauling in a whopper... if you see what I mean.

Suburban Bay has perhaps the most compelling profile for the race, with form on both good and softer, track and trip form, and a preference for small fields. This is his time of year, as a win in June 2011 and a second to a well handicapped rival in July last year attest; and he' snow within two pounds of his last winning mark.

Pyjama Game has paid the price for winning twice in succession by charging up the handicap. He's perhaps got more improvement to come and, in favourable conditions, he could go close at a price. Beckhani might not want it too soft, but his form demands a place on the ticket all the same.

And finally, Green Bank, from the Longsdon yard, could go close. Sunglasses and Sparkling Tara do not inspire confidence with their jumping, and are excluded on that basis.

A - 1 (Suburban Bay), 5 (Beckhani)
B - 2 (Green Bank), 6 (Pyjama Game)

2.45 - Leg 2: Junior Jack looks to have everything in his favour here. He's won on good and soft, drops in class, wants this trip, and is in form. The fact that he's likely to sit close to the pace is a bonus to on this pace-favouring course. He's been well backed, and I can see why. I think he'll win. It's dangerous but I'm affording him banker status against moderate/selling opposition.

A - 1 (Junior Jack)

3.15 - Leg  3: Back in ladies only company, As I Am looks very hard to keep out of the frame, especially with the return to twenty furlongs. A second banker in a row. Gulp.

A - 1 (As I Am)

3.45 - Leg 4: As long as it's not too soft, Cockney Trucker has a chance to bounce back with this drop in class. He's a horse that places a lot more than he wins, but that's of no consequence to us as we don't get bonus points for first! Faultless Feelings is interesting, as the ground won't trouble him. He's likely to be stronger this season, and seems to go best fresh. Those are my A's and I'm taking three on B too, in the shapes of Red Not Blue, Ogee and Ixora. Phew.

A - 3 (Cockney Trucker), 6 (Faultless Feelings)
B - 1 (Red Not Blue), 2 (Ogee), 5 (Ixora)

4.15 - Leg 5: Belle De Fontenay and Dantari are weighted to dead heat here, and there may well be little between them. In what could turn out to be a 'flake off', with four dodgy front-runners potentially mixing it on the pace, outsider Rocky Rebel cannot be entirely discounted. He'll be outpaced early but he has the form to stick on past some of these.

It's a bugger of a race to predict in truth, and I'll take four of the five to assure my passage (barring non-runners and a win for Callhimwhatyouwant!)

A - 2 (Belle De Fontenay), 4 (Dantari)
B - 1 (Screaming Brave), 5 (Rocky Rebel)

4.45 - Leg 6: Cut The Cards is an obvious pick. He doesn't want the ground to go too soft, but aside from that, he looks sure to progress again, and has won on this track and in this grade. Taking an insurance policy on B is a reasonable strategy, as is laying CTC for a place. But beware the possible threat of a non-runner scuppering that tactic by reducing the field to seven and two places for 'pot purposes (while you'd still have to place lay the first three places).

A 'B' selection is the better option, methinks. Hi Tide is starting to run back into a bit of form and he's ten pounds lower than his last win, which was here. And Kings Destiny was a very high class flat horse who could pulverise these if transferring that level of ability (albeit back in 2010) to this affair.

A - 1 (Cut The Cards)
B - 4 (Kings Destiny), 8 (Hi Tide)

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Southwell placepot picks

Southwell placepot picks

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Ayr Placepot Picks, 21st July 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

The dreaded early bath on Saturday, softened by a place lay to cover stakes, but no fun there. Sunday is a day off for me each week, so we're back and recharged today, where I'm going to do something a bit daft, and play at Ayr.

Why daft? Well, mainly because four of the races are win only, and the other two only offer two places. Yes, poor Ayr has just 25 runners covering the six placepot races, at an average of 4.16 per race. Oh dear.

So, this could go very right or very wrong. My strategy is twofold:

1. Eliminate one horse in each of the win only races (and back it in a single later on if it's worth it)

2. Use pace as a core consideration, because it's easier to steal a race from the front when there's only two rivals behind!

With that in mind, here goes nothing...

2.00 - Leg 1: Three runners here in a seven furlong juvenile maiden. There is a Mark Johnston-trained and Joe Fanning-ridden favourite here, and he's odds on to win. I should think he's also odds on to lead. Fanning is an absolute master from the front, and I expect him to zip off, then slow it up, then quicken from the three pole, knowing that his horse will be very fit.

Against him is the sorcerer's apprentice in Keith Dalgleish, himself former stable jockey to Mark Johnston. But his horse is unraced and unfancied, whereas the third entry, Richard Fahey's Longton is vying for market leadership. Longton was ready on debut over this track and trip, but could only finish last of three there.

Stars Over The Sea is by... you guessed it... Sea The Stars, and his last run needs to be completely ignored as he reared in the stalls and completely missed the break. I think he'll probably win and am tempted to go banker... but I won't!

A - 3 (Longton), 4 (Stars Over The Sea)

2.30 - Leg 2: The worry here is that 'obvious' horse, West Leake Hare, normally likes a good gallop to run at. He won't get that here, with no obvious front runner. I suspect Silverware will take them along, and he's definitely got a better chance than 28/1 (Stan James). Hassled on the lead in two of his three recent turf starts, you can forget those. The run where he got a softer lead - last time - he ran a lot better than seventh of eight implies, and this drop back in trip could be ideal. I've backed him for a cheeky tenner at that price and he'll go on B here.

If there is a challenger for the lead it might well be another Johnston/Fanning runner in Strictly Ballroom. Lightly raced and a weak looking finisher, this might be one of the easier chances she gets. That said, she might prefer cut in the ground.

It's hard to leave West Leake Hare out, because he's the clear form horse currently, and Beckermet has a very good placed record in short fields.

I think the money for Chookie Avon is misplaced, but I might be wrong (again)!

A - 1 (West Leake Hare), 6 (Beckermet)
B - 2 (Barney McGrew), 4 (Silverware)

3.05 - Leg  3: Forrest Flyer is certain to get his way here, and could go trap to line under Graham Lee. Jockey bookings suggest he's first choice with a seven pound claimer riding class-rising Grand Diamond - the favourite here, surprisingly. Schmooze isn't out of it either.

This is tough, but I quite like FF for GL.

A - 1 (Forrest Flyer)
B - 4 (Grand Diamond), 2 (Schmooze)

3.40 - Leg 4: A wide open sprint handicap where pace is less of an issue because they'll probably just go at it from the start. I quite like Midnight Dynamo, though not enough for banker status. With him, I'll take Fitz Flyer with him. This chap has been running in better races and, while I'm not at all sure a small field is ideal for him, he has a class edge over these.

Bronze Beau has a decent record in small fields and is included too. If this goes win only, insure your position by backing those not covered!

A - 1 (Fitz Flyer), 3 (Midnight Dynamo), 4 (Bronze Beau)

4.15 - Leg 5: Win only here again, and this is a horrid little contest. Someone's Darling gets the weight, but she might not be able to make it count against more experienced rivals that could also get first run. Dancheur is the key in that context, and she - along with Sunny Side Up - make the ticket. Gulp.

A - 2 (Dancheur), 3 (Sunny Side Up)

4.45 - Leg 6: If we've managed to swerve and chicane ourselves this far, we'll have done well, and it might be a nice looking divvy that we're playing for. That being the case, we should probably back all of them. But I'm only going in with the two at the top of the market. This is simply because the dividend can be calculated by this point, and I can back the outsider, Bold Prediction, to 'green up'.

[To green up, follow these instructions:

Go to
Choose Ayr from the dropdown and placepot on the right hand side. Then multiply the total pool by 0.73 to get the net pool.
Add the number of units on most backed runner to 'fav' units. That's your worst case result.
Now divide that number by the net pool, and round down to the nearest 10p. That's the dividend to £1.
Work out how much of it you'll have in that scenario (say, 40p), and what that equates to as a return.
Then back the uncovered horse to return a profit whatever happens.]

A - 1 (Aeronwyn Bryn), 2 (Party Royal)

Just A's - 2 x 2 x 1 x 3 x 2 x 2 = 48 bets

All picks - 2 x 4 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 = 288 bets

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Ayr placepot picks

Ayr placepot picks

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Newbury Placepot Picks, 19th July 2013

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Geegeez Placepot

Geegeez Placepot

Back in the winning groove yesterday at Brighton, and a nice little dividend all things considered, too. I'm having a dig at the super-trappy Newbury placepot today. A new strategy for the first two races, both big field juvenile maidens...

1.50 - Leg 1: They're mostly unraced or once raced. They're babies. This is usually a high class race (Listed or better winners, Ektihaam and Montiridge, have prevailed in the last three years). So I'm going to use the market as a guide. Captain Bob is the market leader, well backed, and he is clearly expected to be wiser here after missing the kick at Windsor over six furlongs last time. He got the idea late on there, and a level break and this extra furlong should combine to positive effect.

It's a deeply risky strategy but, in a race where the favourite has a pretty good place record, I'm banking on the jolly, as I need the bullets later. Gulp.

A - 4 (Captain Bob)

2.20 - Leg 2: This time it's an even bigger field of unraced and once raced young ladies. Crikey. The favourite, Autumn Sunrise, ran a blinder over seven on debut, and drops back a furlong here, having been outstayed a smidgen there. A ticket banker.

As well as Richard Hannon, trainer of Autumn Sunrise, Mick Channon also has a good record in this, winning it in 2005 and 2011, and saddling the fourth last year. She's included, alongside the Johnny G debutante, Terhaab, and the brilliantly named Mendacious Harpy, who was green as malachite on her first run and should be a lot straighter here (not hard).

A - 2 (Autumn Sunrise)
B - 7 (Isabella Baird), 11 (Mendacious Harpy), 18 (Terhaab)

2.50 - Leg  3: If we're still rolling, good job! Because next up is a seven runner fillies handicap for three year olds only. Oh. Dear. Regular readers will know of my 'affection' for such races. Still, at least they offer a prospect of chaos, which is what we love on placepot tickets!

Pace is key in small field handicaps, and the fact that Wall Of Sound may get an uncontested lead as well as having strong form credentials makes her an instant A pick. Perfect Haven also likes to go on, and she's a Ralph Beckett filly, so will have been both well conditioned and well placed for this. She completes the A side.

On B will be Rock Choir, the form pick but one that needs plenty of early dash to show her best, I suspect; Sharqawiyah, a prominent Cumani 'capper stepping up in trip; and Invincible Cara, distance winner on this sort of ground.

A - 3 (Wall Of Sound), 4 (Perfect Haven)
B - 1 (Sharqawiyah), 2 (Rock Choir), 5 (Invincible Cara)

3.25 - Leg 4: The odds on favourite could win this, but I don't make Thunder Strike a banker. He's been a strong performer since early season, but there are others in here with prospects, most notably Survived, sixth in the Queen Mary. She's getting eight pounds from the favourite, and might appreciate this extra furlong.

A - 1 (Thunder Strike), 5 (Survived)

4.00 - Leg 5: A poor handicap for the track, but a very open one nevertheless. This has all the makings of a pace collapse, which could be bad news for Swendab (geddit? Use a mirror if you need to!), and also Crimson Queen and Trinityelitedotcom (and perhaps Pal Of The Cat too!)

If it does come to pass that there's a four way go for the early advantage, something could well swoop through from the back, and that might be Triple Dream or Black Cadillac. The former is running into form and might hang most tightly to the shirt-tails of the trail blazers; while the latter has been well backed by wily connections and may well come on for this second run off a break.

I'll risk something from the pace as well, and the pair most likely to hang tough from that brigade consists of Swendab and Crimson Queen. I'd back neither, but I can't afford to watch them place as market fancies either.

A - 2 (Triple Dream), 3 (Black Cadillac)
B - 1 (Crimson Queen), 5 (Swendab)

4.35 - Leg 6: Lord Of The Shadows has dropped a long way in the handicap and his only try at this trip ended in a close second place. He might win today. Icebuster has been running really creditably from this trip up to a quarter mile further, and in this grade and a grade higher, always on fast ground. He's the best each way bet, and a danger back in distance this afternoon.

Gabrial The Great has had plenty of chances in similar races and, while he might make the frame again, there are more robust options in my view. Jack's Revenge is really interesting. After running a couple of blinders in huge field handicaps at shorter trips, he stretches out to a distance at which he's a triple winner, albeit in lower grade. Definite chance.

And those three will do for me.

A - 1 (Jack's Revenge), 5 (Icebuster), 7 (Lord Of The Shadows)

Just A's - 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 = 24 bets

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Newbury Placepot

Newbury Placepot

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