Placepot Picks: York, 17th May 2013


Poor showing yesterday, with going changing considerably and lots of non-runners. But, more importantly, some moderate picking from yours truly.

Onwards, though the same venue. With 48 hour declarations having been made before the deluge, expect more non-runners, and look for soft ground horses where possible.

Before I start, a quick reminder, if you haven't seen this already, check out my best free content video ever.

It's here.

Leg 1: 1.45 - Already three non-runners for this - I think - first black type contest for two-year-olds in Britain. Soft ground will be a new experience for many, so regression from some and progression from others can be expected. We also need a filly which gets further than a quick five.

The one which has shown most on a surface softer than good is Beldale Memory. She made all in a big field to win at Bath, on good to soft, and the second and fourth have both won their only starts since. She's the most reliable prospect in a field of imponderables. She's my solo A pick, and I've backed her to win as well.

Best level of form on a sound surface has been shown by Quatuor, trained by last year's winning trainer, Tom Dascombe. I'm going to take her on for two reasons: firstly, with three runs to her name, she's less progression than many; and secondly, she ran just nine days ago and that was her third start in five weeks: she might be knackered!

Hoku is entitled to improve for the run for his up-and-coming trainer, and she was beaten by a match fit Quatuor and Kidmenot, both winners since, on debut. She might run well, though the ground is a bit of a worry. B for her.

Champagne Babe's sire, Captain Rio, has both the best sire stats for soft ground in the race, and the best sire stats for two year olds in the race. So his daughter joins the party on B.

A - 2 (Beldale Memory)
B - 5 (Champagne Babe), 8 (Hoku)

Leg 2: 2.15 - I was impressed with Sir John Hawkwood at Chester last week. He seemed to win in spite of the track and was never going better than at the end, so this longer trip will suit. A son of Sir Percy, and a five length soft ground winner on his debut, the ground won't be an issue, and it's a bold shout maybe, but he's my banker.

A - 1 (Sir John Hawkwood)

Leg 3: 2.45 -I'm opposing most of the four-year-olds here, who wouldn't be as physically mature as their older rivals over this demanding trip/class. The exception is the well-raced, class-dropping Top Trip, another French raider after Dalkala's romp yesterday. Cavalryman's form on soft ground is a worry, but the level of his best form is the best here (Dubai Gold Cup winner last time) and he make A... just. [Stop press: it seems I wasn't the only one with that view, as he's now a non-runner].

Joshua Tree, a win and two places from three soft ground runs, completes my A line up.

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A - 1 (Joshua Tree), 8 (Top Trip)

Leg 4: 3.15 - I really like the bottom one here, Senafe, at around 10/1. She's going to need to improve to win this, but that's likely with the benefit of a run (second to subsequent French Guineas fourth, Zurigha) and the return to a softer surface (won on heavy). She's A material.

Newbury maidens take some winning, so Sir Michael Stoute's Pavlosk cannot be ignored, especially as there was some juice in the ground that day.

Rae Guest, whose stable are in bouncing form at the moment, runs How's Life. This lass has won both her starts to date, and has taken support in the market. She is taking a whopping step in class, from a Class 5 handicap to a Listed race, but her trainer doesn't tilt at windmills too often, so he clearly rates her. I'll risk her on B, along with another wily Newmarket trainer, Alan Jarvis, who runs Annie's Fortune.

She's dropping in class, from the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and is having her first run of the year. That she's been well backed suggests that she's improved over the winter and she's ready to play today. That's enough for me from respected connections.

A - 8 (Pavlosk), 10 (Senafe)

B - 2 (Annie's Fortune), 6 (How's Life)

Leg 5: 3.50 - Nineteen still engaged in what is a ferocious five furlong sprint handicap for three year olds. The one thing that stands out here is the performance of Yorkshire trainers, who have won four of the last five, three of them going to an Easterby (Mick 2, Tim 1).

Bachoftheque, a 25/1 shot that has won on soft, gets a B nod for Tim Easterby, then, and a small win bet as well.

I'm going mob-handed with Northern-trained horses across A and B: Secret Look (soft ground winner), My Name Is Rio (Captain Rio-bred), Lady Ibrox (needs it soggy), Vincentti (softer the better, drops from Group 3 for shrewd trainer), Lastchancelucas (two out of two over five furlongs, winner on heavy) and Chasing Dreams (best form in deep ground).

I'll chuck in the soft-loving favourite, Dutch Masterpiece as well. Phew!

A - 1 (Dutch Masterpiece), 4 (Secret Look), 18 (My Name Is Rio)
B - 6 (Lady Ibrox), 9 (Lastchancelucas), 11 (Vincentti), 12 (Bachoftheque), 20 (Chasing Dreams)

Leg 6: 4.25 - A big field handicap generally won by an unexposed four or five year old. The Newmarket trainers have held sway here too, so I immediately like the look of Sir Michael's Rye House. Stoute has won this twice in the last ten years, and his stable is in great heart.

Surprisingly, perhaps, despite its competitive feel, nine of the last ten winners were priced 8/1 or shorter. Take Two has a winning attitude and is progressing well this term. He also goes in the mud, and he's my second bullet here.

A - 2 (Rye House), 11 (Take Two)

That leaves us with perms looking like this:

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

All picks - 3 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 8 x 2 = 384 bets

Ticket builder optimized perm - see below.

York Placepot

York 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:

Placepot Picks: York, 16th May 2013


A nice payout yesterday, with five winners and a second nominated. The 'pot paid £305.20, and followers of the 'big perm' would have returned £244.16 for £57.60 staked, whereas followers of the ticket builder multi-bet perm returned £183.12 for £81.60 staked.

I'm conscious that those stakes are too high for many, so will be trying to cut down a bit down, with the obvious likelihood of a diminished chance of actually getting the blighter up!

Let's go...

Leg 1: 1.45 - Sixteen five furlong dashers in a handicap means four places... currently. One more non-runner and we're down to three. Work on that basis.

Judge N'Jury's record in the race is 541 in the last three years, and he's going to try hard again. Dungannon loves five fast furlongs and should get them today, and the money for Ponty Acclaim is interesting. Jamaican Bolt has beaten most of these, and should go well again.

This could be an early bath, but we've got to trim the perm today. I think Last Bid might go better than his 33/1 odds imply, but he'll not make the placepot ticket.

A - 6 (Judge N' Jury), 8 (Jamaican Bolt), 9 (Ponty Acclaim), 10 (Dungannon)

Leg 2: 2.15 - Alain de Royer-Dupre doesn't bring his Frenchies over for the scenery. Seven of his ten fillies to start at 4/1 or shorter in a Group 1 or 2 in UK have been placed, and I'll take 70% odds here with a probable UK bias in the pool against his Dalkala. Banker or bunker...

A - 1 (Dalkala)

Leg 3: 2.45 -The Dante, a strong Derby trial. Six of the eight runners are priced at 8/1 or shorter, which says much about its competitiveness. Indian Chief is a horse I've speculatively backed for the Derby at 28/1 and 25/1, and he'll make my A ticket given how O'Brien has been monopolizing the Derby trials to date.

But this is a deeper contest than any of the other trials, and I want two to support him. Ghurair might not have liked the firm ground last time - his wins have been on soft - and this slightly easier surface could see him in better light. He's a taking sort and the highest rated officially.

Trading Leather, stablemate to Derby favourite, Dawn Approach, has taken plenty of cash this morning and he'll get on B too.

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A - 4 (Indian Chief)
B - 2 (Ghurair), 7 (Trading Leather)

Leg 4: 3.15 - Listed handicaps don't get much trickier than this. Two For Two is progressive and should again be in the mix, but there are plenty to take him on with. Navajo Chief loves it here but might be shy of this grade. Four year olds - progressive and off lower marks - have dominated this race over the years, which brings in Fort Bastion and Sound Hearts, both on seasonal debut.

Set The Trend and Brae Hill are others with chances in a very open race indeed.

A - 1 (Fort Bastion), 8 (Two For Two)
B - 2 (Set The Trend), 10 (Sounds Hearts), 11 (Brae Hill)

Leg 5: 3.50 - Two of my placepot nemeses from last year - Morawij and Mary's Daughter - line up here. And I've got reservations about the favourite a) on the ground, b) over the trip, and c) having trained on. All in all, this is a mess.

Polski Max is progressive, being on a four-timer here, and will love any juice in the ground as well as the trip. He's an A player. Morawij's best run may have been in the Norfolk on good to soft, when fourth to Reckless Abandon, and he's A stuff too.

On B, I need Mary's Daughter, who likes it juicy and at the minimum trip. And I think Fire Eyes might be best fresh, and could go well.

I'm looking for a placepot result here, and if the top three in the betting oblige it will essentially be a lean day.

A - 1 (Morawij), 5 (Polski Max)
B - 3 (Fire Eyes), 7 (Mary's Daughter)

Leg 6: 4.50 - And we close with an impossible maiden. There's a shortish unraced horse, Parbold, at the top of the market so he's in. Also, last year's winning trainer bids to double up with unraced Dream And Search. And Tanseeb ran well above expectations when second on debut and should improve for the extra furlong here.

A - 3 (Dream And Search)
B - 7 (Parbold), 10 (Tanseeb)

That leaves us with perms looking like this:

Just A's - 4 x 1 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 1 = 16 bets

All picks - 4 x 1 x 3 x 5 x 4 x 3 = 720 bets (!)

Ticket builder optimized perm - see below.

York Placepot

York 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:

Placepot Picks: York, 15th May 2013


It's a frustrating time at the moment, with the rain changing the ground from good to firm into good to soft, and a lot of my chosen horses being inconvenienced as a consequence.

Today, we'll head for the big placepot pool at York, where it's likely to be on the soft side of good (having been good to firm last night, before 16mm of rain intervened).

Leg 1: 1.45 - Four year olds have dominated here in recent years, as have the big Newmarket stables, so John Gosden's (winner last year) Lahaag is of immediate interest. He's stepping up in trip today, but seems bred for it.

Softish ground and ten furlongs might be optimal for Sir Henry's First Mohican, too, but he's got a high enough handicap mark here and I'll let him beat me if he can. Clayton looks weighted to run well, and is improving. She's an A pick.

Prompter is really eye-catching. Ryan Moore riding for Jonjo O'Neill on a horse formerly rated 106 on the flat. Off just 94 today, and fit from jumps, he looks a fair bet in here. A again.

A - 2 (Lahaag), 3 (Clayton), 4 (Prompter)

Leg 2: 2.15 - It doesn't get any easier, with fifteen set to sprint down the straight course over six furlongs. The three non-runners already from the eighteen declared means we'll be looking at three places, so we'll need some luck.

Louis The Pious and the appropriately named York Glory look worthy market leaders, and they're my A picks. I'll back them up with some B ballast, in the shape of the progressive Nocturn, and Ayr Silver Cup winner, Mass Rally.

A - 2 (Louis The Pious), 6 (York Glory)
B - 4 (Mass Rally), 11 (Nocturn)

Leg 3: 2.45 -The Musidora, an Oaks trial. Liber Nauticus looks a smashing filly, and I reckon she'll win this readily. She's second favourite for the Oaks and could be vying for favouritism with a big win here. She's up against a Class 5 Wolverhampton maiden winner (though she herself only won a Class 5 maiden, at Goodwood) in Woodland Aria, and so the chief danger may be Indigo Lady, who was third in a muddling French Group 3, behind the very good Peace Burg.

Liber Nauticus is a banker here though.

A - 4 (Liber Nauticus)

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Leg 4: 3.15 - An excellent big field Group 2 sprint, and the race of the day from a punting perspective. Mince is stepping up in class, and I'm going to try to get her beaten, though she remains a lovely prospect. Gordon Lord Byron returns to optimal conditions, and he was a highly progressive sprinter himself last term. He's the highest rated of these, and will be fine over a rain-softened six furlongs.

So too will fellow Irish raider, Maarek, who was good enough to win the QIPCO Sprint on British Champions Day last October. He makes up my A pairing.

On B, I can't desert dual Group 1 six furlong winner, Society Rock. He's the class act in the field, and if returning close to his best will go close to winning. And finally, Jack Dexter's form with the words soft or heavy in the going description is 2111111. On quicker ground, he's 537400. I'll take a chance that it's at least good to soft out there, and include JD.

For those looking for a throwaway punt at a massive price, Bogart was fourth in this last year and loves six furlongs and good to soft. He's a 66/1 poke!

This is a Group 1 race in all but name. Cracking contest.

A - 1 (Gordon Lord Byron), 3 (Maarek)
B - 2 (Society Rock), 7 (Jack Dexter)

Leg 5: 3.50 - It gets no easier, and we'll have to intersperse flat and National Hunt form here. Cockney Sparrow is a deserved jolly, given his brilliant trainer and top class hurdling form. Recent winning trainers, James Fanshawe and Marcus Tregoning, run Novirak and Opera Box, and both are respected, as is Guising, who is on a hat-trick.

On C, Cousin Khee is open to improvement for Raymond Tooth (and of course, our Sunday correspondent, Tony Stafford); and Pintrada is interesting, especially with Jamie Spencer booked to ride.

A - 2 (Sirvino), 4 (Guising), 8 (Novirak), 12 (Cockney Sparrow)
C - 11 (Cousin Khee), 16 (Pintrada)

Leg 6: 4.50 - And we close with a trappy seven runner 2yo novice race. Steventon Star stands out at the top of the market but, with all seven having won at least one of their one or two starts, he won't have it all his own way. There's been strong support in the betting for both Extortionist and Peniaphobia, and I'm going to include the former.

A - 1 (Extortionist), 4 (Steventon Star)

That leaves us with perms looking like this:

Just A's - 3 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2 = 96 bets

All picks - 3 x 4 x 1 x 4 x 6 x 2 = 576 bets (!)

Ticket builder optimized perm - see below.

York Placepot

York 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:

A York Placepot Permutation…

It's Friday, dear reader, and the racing ramps up in quality terms between now and tomorrow evening, so why don't we do something a little different and have a dig at the placepot?

For those who don't know - where have you been?! - the placepot is a fantastic bet where it's possible to win a lot while staking a little. It is also possible to lose a little while staking a lot; and to lose the lot irrespective of your stakes. But hey, that's the game!

So, in the interests of Houdini-esque escapology (or simply Houdini-esquapology, perhaps?), let's take on the toughest card of the day, at York. Not only that, but the ground has changed to heavy, and there are stacks of non-runners. Perfect placepot territory. 🙂

I've written extensively on placepotting before - here's a key piece - and the first thing I do is look at the 'shape' of the meeting. What I mean by that is, what type of races are there (handicaps, maidens, claimers); how many runners (important from a number of places available perspective); and, where are the hotpot favourites.

Here's today's six race card from York:


York Placepot races

Nurseries are handicaps, so we have three handicaps, two maidens and a conditions stakes. That's a fairly typical make up.

We can also see that there will be the following number of places to play for in each respective race: 3,2,3,3,4,3

But... the ground is heavy and there could be more non-runners. So I especially note races where there are five or eight runners, as a single withdrawal would move these from two and three places to win only and two places respectively.

That makes the second, fourth and last legs potentially trappy/lucrative. See, I told you it was a bugger of a card today!

Next, let's have a quick look at the forecast odds, to see if there are any well backed or very short priced favourites. Without going through all the screens here - - the answer is not really. There is a fairly strong favourite in the last leg, and this is something I often play up to. More on that in a moment.

Now then, 99%+ of placepot punters bet the wrong way. I appreciate that's a bold statement so let me explain. The prevailing approach is to either a) do a straight line (i.e. one selection per race), or b) perm more than one selection per race on the same ticket.

Adopting strategy a) is fun and keeps the investment right down, but it also severely limits your chances of winning a decent amount, as your fellow players will have much broader coverage through the races.

Taking strategy b) implies that you have the same level of confidence in all of your picks on the bet, as they all have equal weighting. Given that you might have an odds on shot and a 16/1 on the same ticket, you are very unlikely to have the same confidence behind both/all picks.

So, the way I structure a placepot is by perming across a number of different tickets. This allows me to weight the bet differently depending on how many of my stronger/weaker fancies are on each ticket. I use A, B and occasionally C selections, where A's are my strong fancies, B's are my fair chances, and C's are my dark horse outsiders.

I then use a tool I had developed - which is here - to combine any 5 races with A picks with one race with B picks; any four races with A picks with any two races with B picks; and any five races with A picks with any one race with C picks. And, of course, all races with A picks.

I hope this will make sense as I go through the bet now. I'm going to start back to front, by 'singling' or banking on the favourite in the last leg. That's Gabrial The Thug, who is around the 9/4 mark. The reason for this will be revealed shortly.

Now going back up to the top of the card, and the opening race, an extremely difficult Class 2 thirteen runner juvenile handicap (or nursery), to be run over a heavy six furlongs.

I feel strongly that I'll need a number of picks to get through this race, and these will be spread across my A and B boxes. The problem with a race like this is that looking only for heavy ground horses won't be enough, as plenty of these will not even have run on ground that soft, so we cannot know that they won't act well on it.

That said, we should start with what we DO know, and that is that Bachotheque and Bond Club have both won their only starts on heavy. That alone gives them prominence in my selection process, and the fact that both have won at the trip is a positive too. Bachotheque is 7/2 favourite; Bond Club a 12/1 shot. They'll go on A and B respectively.

This is a Class 2 race, and Bond Club only won a Class 5 maiden last time. That might be a better race than the grade, but only time will tell on that, so that's why he's on B.

Others to have run well in soft ground and decent class include Effie B, who may be over-priced at 20/1, and Bircham, who should relish a return to softer ground. Both go on B.

The A side of things is looking a little thin, and I'm going to add Rod Millman's Shahdaroba there. He was 11th in the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, over a heavy five furlongs, but was beaten less than four lengths that day. This will be his second try on deep ground and, with an extra furlong (he was staying on at Newbury), he might go close.

Polski Max will also enjoy the ground and he completes the A ticket.

4 weeks' free access to Geegeez Gold

So that's 5, 7 and 8 on A; and 6, 9, and 14 on B. Lots of fancied runners don't make my bet, so there's a fair enough chance of an 'early bath' today...

Leg 2 is the five runner conditions stakes. Indeed, since I started writing there has been a further withdrawal, making this a win only contest. Excellent news from a placepot perspective... assuming I can find the winner without going four deep!

The truth of it is that this is really hard to fathom. Expense Claim will probably take them along, and could get an easy lead. His soft ground form and overall form level, however, is probably not quite enough to stay out in front. Prince Siegfried was second in a heavy ground Group 1 as a 2yo, far and away the best form in this race. But that was back in 2008, and a replication of anything like that would be enough here. I doubt he's capable of achieving it, though.

Mijhaar has very good soft ground form, but can pull hard. If he can settle today, he's the most likely winner for me. Beaten Up has never raced on softer than good and there must be a serious doubt about his ability to handle it.

A will thus consist of Price Siegfried and Mijhaar, and B will house Beaten Up. Depending on how the first race goes (i.e. if the placepot cuts up due to outsiders placing), I may back Expense Claim to win, to cover 50% of my placepot stake.

It doesn't get any easier, and the third leg is now a thirteen runner one mile Class 2 handicap.

Osteopathic Remedy and Suits Me are confirmed mudlarks, and both merit consideration on that basis alone. Osteo has the better recent form, but goes on the B ticket, despite running off two pounds higher than his career best winning rating. Conditions are ideal for him.

Able Master is stretching out to a mile for only the second time in his career, and he might be ready for that now. His recent form is good and he has the beating of a number of these. A. The unpronounceable Bancnuanaheireann joins them as does Vainglory, a type of placepot horse I like. The reason I like him is because he has no obvious form (looking at his recent finishing positions) but is fancied in the market, and his staying on style ought to see him pass plenty of these in the last quarter mile.

Credit Swap loves it soft, comes from a gambling yard (Michael Wigham) and has been backed today. He makes A too.

The 3.40 is a bit of a nightmare race, and one in which I'm going to have to be bold. They bet 3/1 the field in a maiden of just eight runners. This is a potentially carnage situation, and I'll need to use the market for guidance here, in the absence of much form.

Shrimpton has had plenty of chances, albeit generally against better horses, and is reluctantly overlooked. Bluegrass Blues has taken bits of support and is by a sire whose progeny do all right in deep ground sprints. Again, reluctantly overlooked.

Anderton has more experience than Bluegrass Blues but has yet to race on soft. However, he didn't improve from his first run to his second and that's a negative, notwithstanding that he may not have enjoyed the firm ground (sire's progeny do tend to handle firm).

This is a race in which I'm going to do something I rarely do, and enter 'unnamed favourite' on A. Quite simply, I'll be guided by the late market, and hope they're right. It's the placepot equivalent of 'Ask The Audience'!

I'll add Ann Duffield's Rangooned to the A ticket too. This lass ran on Tuesday, and ran promisingly. It's often a positive to be racing soon after a prior start on the flat, and she might have got herself fit enough to trouble the leaders here.

And that tentative fourth leg position brings us to the penultimate 'pot conundrum, an eighteen runner ten furlong handicap. Awkward...

In what could well be an attritional affair, I want trip and ground form over anything else. Those with ten furlong deep ground form are Deepsand, Doc's Legacy, Natural Bloom and Ingleby Angel. That quartet will do for me, in a race that could be over-thought.

And that just leaves me with my banker, Gabrial The Thug, in the last. If I'm still alive after the fifth leg, I will be looking to lay this horse for a place and guarantee myself a return.

For example, suppose the placepot is looking likely to pay £1000 for £1, and I have 60p running on, I stand to win £600 (less stakes). If Gabrial The Thug is 1.56 to lay on Betfair (as it is currently), then I will lay it to win around £350. The cost of laying will be around £200 which added to my stake leaves me in a position to guarantee a profit whether GTT is placed or not.

If we get this far, I'll explain in an addendum to this post what I did, and how it worked out.

Here's how the tickets I'm playing today look. (Click the image to view full size).

I do appreciate that this bet cost isn't for everyone, and in truth, I wouldn't normally stake so much, but I do feel that today's York placepot will pay a few quid and, therefore, is worth chasing.

It's the approach which is the main thing I wanted to share, and I hope you've found some value in that.

York placepot perm

York placepot perm


In other news, it's been a great week on the tipping front here at geegeez. Chris has been in fine form on Stat of the Day duty, and has found nice winners at 6/1, and 7/2, and placers at 8/1 and 12/1. Yesterday's pick was backed from 16/1 into 9/2 favourite! The fact that it 'only' finished fourth and therefore just out of the frame shouldn't detract from the value which is what SotD is all about.

You can follow SotD here, or by following me on twitter @mattbisogno. If following me on twitter, you'll also get to hear me ranting and raving about all sorts. (What joy!)

Oh yes, and for those who followed my Arc preview last weekend, there was the small matter of me nominating the winner of the Arc, Solemia, which was available at 85 on Betfair. I know this, because those are the odds at which I backed her!

She returned 41/1, and I think a few of you backed her with bookies at odds ranging from 40/1 to 66/1. Great stuff. 😀

If you backed a winner thanks to geegeez this week, do leave a comment below. I'd love to know how many of us are winning from the bookies in what is traditionally the hardest part of the season, as we change over from flat to jumps.

And, of course, if you've any placepot related questions, do ask away on those too. I'll be happy to help if I can.

Have a great weekend, and good luck at York this afternoon, and Newmarket tomorrow if you're playing.