Let’s Tork York…

It's York's Ebor meeting this week, and talk will inevitably focus on the form of Aidan O'Brien and Mark Johnston, among many other things. But with what general info should punters at York arm themselves? This article, revised since first publication for the Dante meeting, should help.

York Racecourse Configuration

The track at York features a six furlong straight down which races up to that distance are run. There is a dogleg start from a chute for seven furlong races, and a pretty tight bend into the home straight for races longer than that. There is more information on our York course info page.


York Draw Information

So what impact, if any, does the shape of the racetrack - and indeed drainage - have on draw positions? The weather is set fair for the week and the going is currently good to firm, good in places - the clerk has stated that he will water to ensure broadly that ground. Using's Draw Analyzer tool, offers the following insights:

Five furlong draw at York

Looking only at bigger field fast ground handicaps, we can see that there is a slight bias towards lower drawn horses. It is important, however, to check for an even spread of pace across the track: if high numbers have the early dash, that could well be enough to overcome any implied bias in the data.

A slight bias to low numbers in 5f York handicaps

A slight bias to low numbers in 5f York handicaps


Six furlong draw at York

At the longest range on the straight course, the higher numbers have seemed to have the best of it; but that's counter-intuitive when compared with five furlongs. Looking at the place data reveals a more even distribution and it may simply be that the place to be is where the pace is. I'd certainly be wary of calling a high draw bias based on the five- and six-furlong data herein.

Six furlong draw data for big field fast ground handicaps at York

Six furlong draw data for big field fast ground handicaps at York


Seven furlong draw at York

On the dogleg, there is an advantage to be drawn middle to high. Looking at the constitution of the track, that makes perfect sense as such runners have less distance to travel around the dogleg. Again, though, it won't make the difference between a horse winning and losing, it's just a mild negative for those drawn low.

The effect of the draw in seven furlong big field fast ground handicaps at York

The effect of the draw in seven furlong big field fast ground handicaps at York


1m/ 1m1f draw at York

The mile and nine furlong trips take in that sharp bend quite soon after the start of races, which can make life challenging for those trapped out wide. As a jockey, do you use up petrol trying to get handy, or take back and ride for luck? This is borne out in the data, which shows those on the outside winning far less often - and placing less often - than those drawn inside (low).

Although typically we should be a little wary of ostensible draw inferences at longer race distances, the shape of the racecourse helps to explain this particular - genuine - bias.

Draw impact at a mile or nine furlongs in big field fast ground York handicaps

Draw impact at a mile or nine furlongs in big field fast ground York handicaps


Draw at longer trips at York

We then get into the middle distance realms where, generally speaking, we would not expect to see a draw bias. And that is the case: although low is ostensibly unfavoured, there is very little in it in place terms. That said, it is probably not ideal to be drawn low, as the jockey has to choose between being at the head of the peloton and not benefitting from drafting behind other horses, getting subsumed within the pack as wider-drawn horses congregate around. The former is ineffiicent, the latter requires luck as well as judgment.


York Pace Information

So that's draw, but what of pace? Are particular run styles favoured on the Knavesmire?

As with most courses, the front is the place to be in sprint handicaps: front runners at York in big field fast ground 5f handicaps win more than two-and-a-quarter times as often as random, and are profitable to back blindly. Of course, the problem there is that we don't know which horse will lead until the race is underway. However, we can project that fairly accurately based on historical run styles. Naturally, Geegeez Gold will inform you of what you need to know with a couple of mouse clicks.

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At six furlongs, the advantage to trailblazers is less pronounced but still present. Specifically, they win at an Impact Value of 1.86, a strike rate of 10%, and a modest SP profit. But you might go a long time between drinks with that overall hit ratio.

Those at the front still win most often at seven furlongs in big field fast ground handicaps, but they are not profitable to back blindly and nor will a strike rate of one-in-nine keep you from insanity!

It's worth adding that hold up horses at both six and seven furlongs fare better than those racing either prominently or in mid-division in general run style terms.

Over a mile, slipping the field is tricky - just three of 33 front runners in the studied context managed to achieve it - but it remains better than 8%, 4% and 5% respectively for prominent, midfield and held up runners. Here, those looking to come from off the pace are the most inconvenienced, perhaps because of the impact of that sharp bend.

There are no nine furlong races at York's Dante meeting, and at ten furlongs there is no discernible pace bias. But at a mile and a half, it pays to be played late: those which led or raced prominently in big field fast ground twelve-furlong handicaps are a collective 7-222 (3% strike rate) for a starting price loss of £161.50 (73% of stakes!). Compare that to midfield or hold up racers, and their 8% strike rate and 1.31 impact value.


Top York Handicap Trainers in August (Ebor meeting)

You may well have seen lists of trainers to follow elsewhere, and fair play to the publishers. Here I want to look at trainer performance overall, and by race type.

York Ebor Meeting: Overall Trainers, 25+ runners, 2013-2017

There are some interest headlines here. First, if Mark Johnston still needs a winner to get to his 'most winners trained' landmark, it may happen at a place other than York: his record of four winners from 101 runners on the Knavesmire in August is extremely moderate. The 23% place rate suggests there may be some variance in there but even allowing for that Johnston normally hits the frame at around 35%.

Next, Aidan O'Brien. Tony Keenan has established chapter and verse on the Ballydoyle Ebor efforts in this excellent post, and it can be seen from the below that York's meeting is not a hugely successful one for the Coolmore head handler: five wins from 45 runners, 0.72 A/E.

Richard Fahey, Brian Ellison, and Richard Hannon are others about whom to be apprehensive in the general context, though further digging below may shine a more favourable light on some sections of their entry.

On a more positive front, William Haggas, famously a Yorkshireman exiled in Newmarket, relishes the opportunity to plunder pots at his home racetrack; and he does so regularly. His 12 winners in the last five years is almost double the next best haul, with Haggas even managing to chisel out a profit and a positive A/E for followers.

To a lesser degree, and on greater volume, both Kevin Ryan and David O'Meara can be expected to challenge more than once during Ebor week. Their seven winners apiece from 80-odd runners each, as well as their 25% place strike rates (20 placers each) are very similar.

And it's been a good meeting for Godolphin, both Charlie and Saeed recording positive punting figures from ten shared victories. Look out for the blue boys again this week.

York Ebor Meeting: Overall Trainer performance, 25+ runners, 2013-2017

York Ebor Meeting: Overall Trainer performance, 25+ runners, 2013-2017

York Ebor Meeting: Handicap Trainers, 15+ runners, 2013-2017

Specifically in handicaps, there is little of value to be gleaned from this table, except perhaps that the place records of David Barron, Richard Fahey and notably William Haggas - whose overall record is so strong - suggest that caution is advised.

Ebor meeting handicaps are notoriously difficult to win and, as such, Kevin Ryan's four victories, supplemented by a 31% place strike rate, mean his 'cap runners are generally worth a second squint.

Trainer performance: York Ebor meeting, handicaps only, 2013-2017, 15+ runners

Trainer performance: York Ebor meeting, handicaps only, 2013-2017, 15+ runners


York Ebor Meeting: Pattern (Listed or better) Race Trainer performance, 10+ runners, 2013-2017

In the good races at the Ebor meeting, we see from where a clutch of Haggas's winners have emerged: six from 26 in Pattern races is an excellent haul, and with 50% of his Pattern runners making the frame for a decent each-way profit, this is a headline takeaway.

Charlie Appleby, too, has fared very well in this subset of races, albeit on a smaller sample to date.

On the downside, Mark Johnston's one from 20 is poor, but 25% placing is less so. I'd still rather be against them, but wouldn't blanket discount. Aidan O'Brien has an overall win rate in UK Pattern races of 18.24% (1st August 2013 to present), which makes his 12.2% Ebor meeting hit rate unsatisfactory. Allied to concerns about the health of some of the team, they have to be swerved just now, notwithstanding that some will probably win: it is simply that the market has yet to account for the negative factors surrounding the yard at this time. [Of course, that could change].

York Ebor Meeting: Pattern (Listed or better) Race Trainer performance, 10+ runners, 2013-2017

York Ebor Meeting: Pattern (Listed or better) Race Trainer performance, 10+ runners, 2013-2017


York Ebor Meeting: Class 2 or lower Non-Handicap Trainer performance, selected, 2013-2017

Here we are essentially talking about maiden and/or novice races, and we can see that Haggas again sits top of the tree. Richard Hannon's otherwise poor record at the meeting is solid if not bankable in this race type. Luca Cumani's two from two came in 2014/15 with 25/1 White Lake and 12/1 Beautiful Morning. It may be asking a lot for lightning to strike thrice but any entries should be noted.

Local lads Ryan and Fahey look to be largely entertaining owners at their marquee home fixture and their entries can be pretty much overlooked in this context.

York Ebor Meeting: Class 2 or lower Non-Handicap Trainer performance, selected, 2013-2017

York Ebor Meeting: Class 2 or lower Non-Handicap Trainer performance, selected, 2013-2017


Ebor Trainer Summary

The main trainer takeaways for me are:

- Beware Johnston and Fahey, who will hurl a huge amount of clay onto the Ebor meeting wheel, most of which will spin off

- William Haggas is da man, but not in handicaps

- David O'Meara and Kevin Ryan must be kept onside in Ebor handicaps, though it is unlikely to be as simple as blindly supporting them

- Godolphin trainers ought to go well

- Aidan O'Brien is on the 'handle with care' list and his runners may make for better prices elsewhere as current issues are not seemingly factored into APOB entry odds


York Big Race Trends

Andy Newton, our big race trends guy, has pored over the data and come up with some pointers for the bigger races. You can find his work here:

York Wednesday Trends

York Thursday Trends

York Friday Trends

York Saturday Trends


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We now offer two-day and week-long passes, which you can take out at the times that suit you. A two day pass costs just £6 or you can access Gold for a week for £12. Both options are available from your My Geegeez page when you're logged in as a free user.


Catterick Racecourse – Small but beautifully formed

During a short break in the Yorkshire Dales, Me and Mrs K jumped at the opportunity of a trip to Catterick Races yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Their first recorded meeting was back in 1783, but it was a further 30 years before a permanent racecourse was created. The first stand was erected 1906 and in 1923 Catterick’s Racecourse Company was formed to aid the further development for punters, owners and trainers. Today much of the original framework is evident, though ongoing modernisation and improvement is clear to see.

People can be pretty ‘snooty’ when it comes to racecourses. There’s no doubting that the likes of Ascot, York and Cheltenham are all wonderful venues, with facilities in keeping with the quantity of racegoers they attract. Meetings are often prestigious in nature, with valuable races attracting the best horses, trained by the leading handlers.

But racing isn’t all about significant events and festivals. Racing is a hugely diverse business, and needs to cater for those at all points along its hierarchy. Catterick, like so many other smaller tracks, serve the rank and file within this wonderful thoroughbred industry. The entertainment gained, and rewards gleaned are no less thrilling for those involved, or indeed for the paying public, who quite clearly enjoyed every aspect yesterday.

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Catterick has plenty in its favour. A dual-code racetrack, meetings take place throughout the calendar, indeed people can visit the North Yorkshire track every month of the year. Its size is also one of its strengths. The punters journey from parade ring, to on-course bookies, and on again to trackside action could not be easier. All aspects are just a stones-throw apart, and the ease with which a visitor can access all areas is probably taken for granted.

The set-up reminded me somewhat of Carlisle, though viewing the action is easier due to the nature of the course. Yes, there are undulations, but slight, and the tightness of Catterick ensures that the horses can be spotted throughout the contest.

There’s also an abundance of value-for-money refreshment outlets, whether it be of the three-course variety in the Winning Streak Restaurant, overlooking both the racecourse and the parade ring, or a tasty meal or snack in the Furlongs Café positioned alongside the parade ring. And there’s further options undercover in the Champions Bar and the Gods Solution Bar, both with views of the racecourse. Catterick make the race-day experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, without the huge hit on the wallet.

Another bonus of racing at Catterick is the locality. It’s easy enough to get to, sat alongside the A1, but also perched on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Richmond is within spitting distance, and is a smashing place to visit. Exit the A1 a short distance to the South and you find yourself heading West towards Leyburn and the wonderful Wensleydale area. Horse Racing Shangri-La can be found at the small market town of Middleham.

Thoroughbreds stream through the streets during the early hours, heading towards the gallops on nearby moors, sent on their way by more than a dozen local trainers.

Basing yourself at Middleham is the sensible option for any racing fan heading to Yorkshire. Not only do you have an abundance of local racing yards, but the area is home to numerous racecourses with meetings throughout the year. Catterick, Ripon, Thirsk, York, Sedgefield and Wetherby, are just a few sited along the A1.

And for those of us fortunate enough to head to Catterick yesterday, we were on hand to witness a small piece of history being made. Solo Saxophone became the first of the Frankel progeny to jump a hurdle. For much of the race his performance was less than thrilling, and at one point he traded at 99/1 on Betfair. However, turning for home he suddenly sprouted wings, storming past the opposition for a four-length success. The Skelton’s are going to have fun with this one.

There’s no doubting that Middleham is a delight, and I’m pleased to be able to confirm that though not quite as aesthetically pleasing, Catterick is also a treat, and well worth a visit.

Saturday Big Race Preview: 26th July 2014

Ascot King George Preview 2014

Ascot King George Preview 2014

A big weekend of racing precedes a big week of racing, as Ascot's King George day comes just 72 hours before Glorious Goodwood's gates open. There are eight races live on Channel 4, and I've taken a look at four of the most interesting from a betting perspective below, starting in the...

2.55 York

A ten furlong Group 2 is the first event to come under scrutiny, and with no rain forecast it looks set to be played out on a fast racing surface.

Danadana is a pretty good place to start. Luca Cumani's Dubawi colt has won five of his sixteen career starts, all over this mile and a quarter range, all on good or faster, and one on this track. Indeed, his form under those conditions (10 furlongs, good or quicker) reads 1211911. The 9 was in an 19 runner handicap at Glorious Goodwood.

As if that wasn't enough in Danadana's favour, he looks likely to be able to make his own running here, with no obvious pace contention; and he has the considerable support of wonder boy, Andrea Atzeni, in the saddle. He's rated just a pound below the pick of these, on 113 and, while the trainer has expressed a slight reservation about his absence of 79 days, Danadana has won both times he's faced a sound surface after a break of 60 days or more.

In short, I think he's a solid bet at 5/1.

Against him are a number of credible challengers, notably the Godolphin pair of Long John and Windhoek. The former is having only his second start in Britain, via Australia and Dubai, and was staying on over a mile last time. That far from makes him certain to stay an extra 25% though, and all his best form is up to a mile (stuffed the only two times he's run at ten furlongs).

The latter is a ten furlong fast ground horse, and comes here in good heart. But he's never won above Listed grade, so this is two rungs up a steep ladder. In beating a field last time all bar one of which were rated 106 or below, he achieved little more than he should, and he looks under-priced.

All three of Secret Gesture's wins have been against her own sex, and she looks to have a bit to find with some robust fellows; while Sheikhzayedroad is also stepping up two rungs on the class ladder and has been found out on previous attempts at this level. He may need a bit more pace to run at too.

I reckon 'Filthy' Luca can claim his second win in this race since 2010, courtesy of Danadana at 5/1 (general).

3.15 Ascot

The state of the turf is a bit more of a guessing game at Ascot, and I'm plumping for good to soft, possibly good in places. In short, I think these seven furlongs will take a good bit of getting, and I don't think it will pay to be too far off the pace.

There are 29 of them engaged, prior to the inevitable absentee reshuffle, but we'll be playing for at least four places and most firms are going five. The first question to answer - or the second after the ground guessing game - is where is the pace berthed?

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This looks fairly cut and dried according to the geegeez pace map for the race - it's stacked middle to high - and I'd imagine the winner will also emerge from that mob, towed along by the current of prominent racers.

Those suited by seven furlongs (a bit of a specialist trip), big fields, good or good to soft ground, and Class 2 are Watchable, Majestic Moon, Pacific Heights, Dance And Dance, and Racy. All of that quintet are double figure prices, and I couldn't put you off any of them, especially as all bar Racy are drawn in the pace zone.

The one I like most in a very trappy scrap is David O'Meara's young improver, Watchable. The Channel 4 boys just love banging on about O'Meara, and I reckon they'll have reason to shove a mike under the ginger wizard's nose once more. The case for Watchable is predicated on promise: in just five runs to date, he's only been out of the first three once - and that was on heavy ground.

Last time out he was third of 28 in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, a ferocious handicap over this course and distance. Danny Tudhope is replaced for the first time by Richard Hughes, and all the signs are that this young lad could add a heritage handicap to his palmarès before July is out.

At bigger prices, and far longer in the tooth than young master Watchable, are the likes of Pacific Heights. This five year old is fairly unfussed by ground - he's won on soft, good to soft, and good to firm - and he's a seven furlong nag that gets the mile well enough. He's run over further the last twice, and ran respectably on both occasions, in no less than the Royal Hunt Cup and the John Smith's Cup.

That form brings him into contention back over a more viable distance and from a plum draw in 18. He'll hopefully be gunned half a pace closer to the driver's cab than normal, and 66/1 is absolutely massive.

Majestic Moon is another for whom seven on the soft side of good is optimal, though I have a slight niggle about whether he's quite up to this. He may very well lead, and that looks to be a tough assignment with anywhere up to 28 rivals chasing his tail.

Dance And Dance is one of those expensive types to follow: always running on when the game's gone. He'll be doing likewise here, but the drop back in trip hardly looks the answer for a latecomer such as he. Indeed a look at his seven furlong form is instructive: "strong run to take 2nd but no chance with easy winner"; "ran on well, not reach leaders"; "stayed on one pace"; etc. It might be his day this day, but he's a heartbreaker, this lad, plain and simple.

It's Watchable from the top of the market (11/1 PP) and Pacific Heights (66/1 888sport, Coral) at monster odds, both each way five places, for me.

3.30 York

The Skybet Dash is a six furlong Class 2 handicap, and some dear old friends reunite for another shemozzle. Muthmir is favourite, at about 5/1, and he has claims. Making his belated seasonal debut at the end of last month, Muthmir was just a neck shy of winning a class and distance handicap, and while an elevation of six pounds is not lenient, it is not especially harsh either.

He'll be fitter this time, and is the one to beat, albeit hardly a bargain in a competitive field of seasoned pros.

Against him, there may be value in the price of the three-year-old, See The Sun. His ten career starts to date have yielded three wins, including on good to firm, and over six furlongs (twice). His most recent triumph was here in a field of twenty over this trip and in this grade. Just seven pounds higher than for that victory, and with a highly respectable run the last day on Newmarket's sodden July course, he's tempting at 20/1.

At bigger prices, I'm vaguely drawn to the prospects of Rene Mathis. This is his trip and class and, though it might be quick enough for him, he has made the frame three times on good to firm. 22/1 makes him worth a chance.

Not a race I'll be getting stuck into but See The Sun (20/1 SkyBet, Coral) and Rene Mathis (22/1 BetVictor) are interesting alternatives to Muthmir (11/2 BetVictor, PP, Lads).

3.50 Ascot

The King George is the feature event of the weekend, a mile and a half Group 1 for three year olds and up. The likely going will not be ideal for some, but if it is on the soft side of good, most should stand their ground. At least, I hope they do.

Telescope is the market leader, and Sir Michael Stoute's four year old has begun to point more firmly to the quality that has long been associated with him. His seven length demolition of Hillstar in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot was impressive; and the soft ground he encountered in both defeats to Noble Mission earlier in the season are excusable.

I think he's a smart horse, and I love the way Sir Michael brings them along with age. He has a fine chance to win, but he does finish second in a lot of races, and 5/2 is a bit short in such a decent line up.

Oaks winner Taghrouda gets the weight and sex allowances, and she's a progressive filly for sure. There was no fluke about that Epsom romp, and good ground will be perfect for her. I doubt a bit more juice than good will be a concern either, so she's a shortlist contender with the prospect of a fair bit more to come. But fillies don't have a fantastic record in the race, with just Danedream claiming the spoils this century. Of course, they're numerically under-represented and it's far from a terminal knock.

Gosden has Eagle Top in here too - as well as Romsdal - and this son of Pivotal, out of an In The Wings mare, has a rating of 118 after just three runs. Given his breeding, he should handle soft ground dancing the can can, but the fact he's yet to race on softer than good still leaves a bit of a question mark, especially when one considers how impressive he was when romping away with the Group 2 King Edward VII at Royal Ascot on good to firm.

Still, he is rated six pounds inferior to the top rated older horse and, because of his age, he gets a weight pull of almost a stone. Despite the four year olds historically having the upper hand against their juniors, I like this boyo. He travelled liked an absolute machine at Ascot last time, and with so much more to come he can surely usurp his elders.

Magician is stepping back up to a mile and a half for the first time since given plenty to do in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Prior to that, he'd won the Breeders' Cup Turf over the trip, mugging Johnny G's The Fugue in the process. Fast ground is optimal for him, and I'd not be certain that he'll be as effective with a spot more squeeze in the lawn. There are no worries about the distance though, and he's a dual Group 1 winner already.

Trading Leather was second to Novellist in this race last year, but that was on his preferred good to firm. He does act on slower, but he's not best suited by it, and I think this may be one of the rare occasions when Jim Bolger's ultra-consistent son of Teofilo fails to make the frame.

Likewise, Mukhadram will not be allowed the rope he was gifted in the Eclipse, and anyway he is very far from certain to appreciate this first try at twelve furlongs. Not for me, not in this deep field.

Romsdal is more interesting given his guaranteed stamina and ground agnosticism. After just four runs, he's the third of Gosden's musketeers to have vast scope to demonstrate more than is currently in the good book, but perhaps that bronze behind Australia in the Derby doesn't read quite so well as Taghrooda's Oaks win. It reads better at this stage than Eagle Top's Royal Ascot victory, but it's hard to crab the winner of that: he was in a different constituency to his rivals, and has course and distance form nailed down.

Let's hope they all stand their ground, because if they do - despite the early defection of Flintshire - it looks a fizzer of a King George. Telescope is respected but short enough on the basis of his more exposed look. That's not to say he can't improve - many Stoutey's do at four - but he surely doesn't have the untapped potential of Taghrooda or Eagle Top.

At the prices, Eagle Top is the one for me. Course and distance form, a perceived liking for a spot of give, and any amount of talent yet to be revealed make 9/2 attractive, relatively at least. Most of these can win this, but if any is over-priced (and I'm not sure they currently are), then it's probably Eagle Top.

Sat TV Trends: 12th Oct 2013


Aaim To Prosper Winning in 2012

Excellent cards at Newmarket and York this week and as usual Andy Newton’s got all the key TV Trends for the LIVE C4 races..... Read more

BDH Sky Bet Dash Review: Fahey 4yo still to show his full hand…

Fahey runner just needs dealt a good draw...

BDH Sky Bet Dash Review: Fahey 4yo still to show his full hand...

A quiet enough weekend for us, with only Redvers pitching into battle for us (more on him in a moment). There were, however, a couple of races of interest for me as I look to increase the BDH squad in search of more under the radar profits. Before I give you the newest member of the squad let's first deal with Saturday's warrior...

Saturday’s BDH runners: Redvers

Ahh, Redvers... Redvers, Redvers, Redvers... what to do with Redvers...

First up was he drawn on the wrong side? After review of the race I would say no. Although the field split into 2 distinct groups I don't think any side had a huge advantage over the other, the way the field finished would back that up.

Did he meet trouble in-running? Personally I would say yes and it was just as he was hitting full stride. Hughes got the gaps alright, the horse started clicking through the gears alright, but at a vital moment 3rd placed finisher Loving Spirit decided to shift and park himself directly in Redvers lane (watch the replay, it's quite noticeable). The effect of this was that Hughes had to take a pull (albeit a small pull) and then restart his mounts forward momentum and challenge all over again...except there was no time to restart his forward momentum and challenge. There wasn't much in it but in a race of spit second actions and decisions it was probably enough. In fact I'm sure Hughes eased up a touch once he new his chance was gone (which is fair be fair!).

So does Redvers stay in the BDH squad? For now, yes he does. The 'problem' with Redvers is that his running style is always likely to cause him potential traffic issues, he comes from out the back and he comes late, that in itself brings potential traffic jams. Ideally his 5 length defeat will be enough to drop him a pound or 2 from the nice Mr Handicapper, although that may be a bit of wishful thinking from myself!

For now Redvers stays in the BDH troop.

Now time to add another warrior to our squad...

BDH Review…

Race in focus: 3.30 York (27-07-2013): Sky Bet Dash – 6f, Class 2 Handicap (20 ran)

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How the race played out…

Sky Bet Dash

Pace wise this race played out a bit on the strange side, especially with the front-running BOGART depositing his jockey on the turf (saddle slipped) at the 2 furlong pole. It seemed that the field formed a bit of a fragmented large group for most of the race although on closer inspection it was the middle to high numbers that had formed the sturdier group, with the low numbers having their own mini battle in a sub group just off the bulk of the field. BOGART was the main front runner of the pack and until his saddle incident he was the one that was pulling most of the field along. From the low numbers it was PRODIGALITY & FAST SHOT that attempted to stamp their authority on the contest although they never quite got the lead they wanted. The pace map tells us that it was those from middle to high that dominated the finish, even though they actually ended up drifting across the track in the final furlong and ending up fighting the finish out in the lanes of the low numbers. Regardless of this it still suggests there was an advantage following the BOGART side of the field (middle to high) rather than the PRODIGALITY/FAST SHOT side of the field (low).

It was a wee bit of a pace muddle in truth but we can still take positives and negatives from the outcome.

The end result…

Winner TROPICS sat in the middle of the pack and made his winning move in the final couple of furlongs. He has been progressing well this term and was probably still handily handicapped for this contest but I have a small suspicion that the next weight rise will be the one that anchor's him; he probably didn't have all that much in hand at the finish. Second placed SUMMERINTHECITY put in a fine shift and should be on a mark he can win, or at least get close, from; a bit of juice in the ground won't go amiss for him. KHUBALA did well to finish 3rd as he met trouble in-running at a vital time. There is every suggestion he is still on the up and would remain of some sort of interest. Fourth placed PRODIGALITY found himself a bit isolated and is probably better with cover, he is possibly just at the top of his handicap ceiling as well, with that in mind this was a solid run. TAROOQ was hampered slightly 2f out but I don't think he would have necessarily finished much closer than he did. He is clearly much better on the A/W than the turf (8 A/W wins compared to 1 turf win) but he is a massive 20lbs lower on turf than A/W and one feels there has to be a turf race in him off that mark somewhere. Things really didn't go to plan for 6th placed BACCARAT. He missed the break and was on the back hoof for most of the first 3 or 4 furlongs. Paul Hanagan did manage to coax him back into the contest but he was then hampered by the tumbling Amy Ryan (Bogart's jockey) and despite finishing like a train his mishaps pretty much cost him any better than 6th place. Despite everything it was still a noteworthy run and fully suggested there is still more than enough to come from his current mark.

BDH(s) to follow…

BACCARAT (6th) (R Fahey)

Quite simply things did not pan out for this improving 4yo. Stall 5 wasn't a great draw, as the pace map tells us, and the fact he missed the break just made it all the more difficult for him. Despite Hanagan working him back into the race he didn't really have that much to hook onto the back of so the fast finishing effort deserves marking up a touch, in my opinion anyway. The interference he suffered also put a rather big, Amy Ryan shaped, spanner in the works and in the end a 3.5L defeat was a pretty good result.

From a handicapping viewpoint there really does look like there is plenty more still to come from his mark of 94 and I can't believe for one minute that this is his limit. At a rough estimation we are probably looking at a 100 rated horse, at least.

It's hard to assess if it was the missed break or the generous early pace that left him floundering out the back (probably 75% break - 25% 6f pace) but I do feel a step back up to 7 furlong would not go amiss, there is plenty enough stamina there and he does already have form over the longer trip.

This would be the 2nd race in a row that he has been dealt a poor hand by the draw dealers, admittedly it was worse in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and I really feel he is a potent weapon waiting to strike from a handy draw. With only 7 career starts to his name there still looks plenty more to come this son of Dutch Art.

Conditions – I'm looking for 7 furlongs as an ideal but 6 furlongs would be perfectly adequate. He seems to cope well with the Good & Good to Firm ground so hopefully it stays dry for a bit longer.

He is stacking up some decent form lines, is in form and his mark looks well within his range, he is an improving 4yo I'm very happy to add to our squad.

Baccarat now enters my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool and I will post on the Blog when he is due to run next.

For plenty more from myself (and your chance to download some FREE guides) please visit me over at

Ben Aitken (BDH)

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It's the Temple Stakes at Haydock!

A huge day this Saturday with the C4 cameras heading to Haydock, Goodwood and York, plus they are taking in the Irish 2,000 Guineas over at the Curragh too. Read more

York Trainer Stats

M Johnston

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Well I Declare: 13th October

Well, I Declare! 13th October

Well, I Declare! 13th October

It's the busiest day of the week with racing at Chepstow, Hexham, Newmarket and York and it's not the easiest of days to find any winners.
Thankfully Mal Boyle has prepared some notes to guide us through..

...SATURDAY 13/10:


General stats: Colin Tizzard secured a 9/2 double on last year’s card.

Juvenile hurdle scheduled for 1.55: Paul Nicholls (potentially represented by Sametegal and Far West on this occasion) has saddled three of the last seven winners.  Alan King (only option at the time of writing was Secret Edge) has won the race twice in the last six years by two of his best juvenile hurdlers during the period, namely Katchit and Franchoek.  Alan’s only possible runner was Handazen earlier in the week.

Class 2 handicap hurdle due to be contested at 3.40: Hinterland was the only runner entered by Paul Nicholls at the five-day stage, the trainer having saddled four winners of this event during the last decade.  Six renewals had slipped by without a successful market leader being returned before last year’s 13/8 market leader obliged.

Class 3 handicap hurdle scheduled for 4.10: The last nine winners have carried weights of 11-3 or less whilst six contests have slipped by without a winning favourite being recorded.  Evan Williams and Philip Hobbs have both won two renewals during the last five years.

Three mile Class 2 handicap chase scheduled for 4.45: The last eight winners have carried 10-10 or less to victory, during which time six eight-year-olds have gained the spoils.

Bumper event scheduled for 5.20: Four-year-olds have won five of the last seven renewals during which time, both Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs have saddled two winners.



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General stats: John Quinn’s ratio is 7/19 at Hexham, whilst Sue Smith saddled a 13/2 double at the corresponding fixture twelve months ago. 

Class 4 novice hurdle event for mares scheduled for 2.45: Four of the last five winners have scored at odds of 85/40 or less, stats which include two successful market leaders.  Four-year-olds have won five of the last eight contests.

Class 4 handicap chase over two and a half miles due to be contested at 3.20: Six-year-olds have won three of the last four contests, whilst five renewals have slipped past with a successful market leader being recorded.

Maiden hurdle scheduled for 4.30: Five of the six winners to date scored at 4/1 or less, statistics which include three successful favourites.  The other winner was returned at 66/1!

Bumper event scheduled for 5.35: Last year’s winning 85/40 favourite was the first market leader to score in the seven-year history of the scheduled finale.



General stats: It does not seem possible four years has passed since Nicky Henderson last won the Cesarewitch, three of the trainer’s last seven runners having won here on the Rowley Mile.  Nicky’s only entry earlier in the week was Sentry Duty who has finished sixth in this event in each of the last two years.  Kieren Fallon was booked to ride some time ago. 

Group 2 Challenge Stakes scheduled for 1.50: Three-year-olds have won four of the last five contests.

Group 1 ‘Middle Park’ scheduled for 2.20: Aidan O’Brien was responsible for four of the twelve five-day declarations, with the trainer having saddled two of the last eight winners of this event.  Aidan won this race with a 25/1 chance last year en route to securing a 93/1 double on the card.

Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes scheduled for 2.55: Three favourites have won during the last six years, during which time Jim Bolger (Dawn Approach and Leitir Mor are Jim‘s potential runners this time around) has claimed four victories.  Aidan O’Brien made seven of the fifteen declarations earlier in the week.

‘Cesarewitch’ scheduled for 3.35: Eight of the last ten winners were sent off at a maximum price of 16/1 which suggests that this marathon event is not as much of a lottery as most believe it to be.  Two successful favourites (both returned at 9/2) were recorded during the study period.  Five of the last six winners have carried a maximum burden of 9-1.

Group 2 ‘Rockfel’ scheduled for 4.05: To put the favourite stats of the ’Cesarewitch’ in perspective with its average of thirty odd runners, only the same number of market leaders have won this two-year-old event during the same period.   Aidan O’Brien held two options earlier in the week in a race that Aidan has won twice in the last five years.

Group 3 Autumn Stakes scheduled for 4.40: Favourites have won four of the last eight renewals, though the other contests were won by horses returned at 33/1-20/1-9/1-8/1.  Montiridge was Richard Hannon’s only potential runner on Monday, the trainer having saddled two of the last nine winners.

Group 3 Darley Stakes scheduled for 5.15: Only one clear favourite has obliged during the last decade, with two of the last four winners having been sent off at 50/1 and 25/1.



General stats: William Haggas boasts a 25% strike rate at York, backing the stats up with an LSP reading of thirty-three points. 

Class 3 five furlong handicap scheduled for 2.05: Four favourites have prevailed via nine renewals during the last decade which is a fine record in such a competitive event.  Four-year-olds have won four of the last eight contests.

Listed ‘Rockingham Stakes’ scheduled for 3.10: Nine of the last ten renewals have been secured by horses scoring at odds of 15/2 or less, stats which include three successful favourites.

Class 2 mixed vintage six furlong handicap scheduled for 3.45: Richard Fahey has saddled silver and bronze medals since securing the previous two renewals.  Two of the last three favourites have won at odds of 13/2 and 6/1.

2YO seven furlong maiden event scheduled for 4.20: Mark Johnston saddled the first two winners at odds of 8/1 & 6/1 before missing last year‘s event.  Mark held two options earlier in the week.

Eighteen furlong handicap scheduled for 4.55: Three and four-year-olds have dominated the contest to date with junior raiders leading 3-2 via six contests.  Mark Tompkins has saddled two of the last four winners and the trainer only had Astromagick potentially representing the stable at the time of writing.  The four-year-old was made 3/1 favourite for this event last year when finishing sixth of twelve.

Sat TV Trends: 13th Oct 2012

It's Cesarewitch Day at HQ!

Excellent cards at Newmarket and York this week and as usual we’ve got all the key TV Trends for the LIVE C4 races..... Read more

Well I Declare: 12th October

Well, I Declare! 12th October

Well, I Declare! 12th October

Friday's action is set to come from Bath, Carlisle, Newton Abbot (abandoned after we went to press!), York and Wolverhampton.

As ever, Mal Boyle's got the inside line for everything happening on...

...FRIDAY 12/10:


General stats: Richard Ford and John Mackie offer identical 40% strike rates via 2/5 winners at Bath thus far.



General stats: Tim Walford had two horses entered up in the Honeypot Lane Novice Hurdle event earlier in the week, the trainer having saddled three of his twelve runners at the venue to winning effect in recent times. 

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Class 4 seventeen furlong novice hurdle event scheduled for 3.55: Four-year-olds have won four of the last five renewals whist five favourites have prevailed during the last eleven years.  Ten of the last eleven winners have been returned at 7/2 or less.

Three mile handicap chase scheduled for 3.20: Four renewals have slipped by since a successful market leader was recorded following success of the first two market leaders.

Class 3 two-mile handicap chase scheduled for 4.30: Nine of the last ten winners have carried 11-7 or less to victory.

Bumper event scheduled for 5.30: Donald McCain held four options at the time of writing in a race he has secured twice in the last five years.  Four and five-year-olds have won the last nine renewals (‘juniors’ lead 6-3), though just two favourites have won during the study period, a poor ratio in terms of bumper contests.


Newton Abbot:

General stats: Donald McCain is a rare visitor to these parts but his 4/7 ratio is impressive given his two potential runners on Friday. 



General stats: Mark Johnston remains on the ninety-nine winner Mark at Wolverhampton during the last five years but it can only be  matter of time this week before three figures is reached.



General stats: John Dunlop and York racecourse went together like strawberries and cream for so many years and it would be wonderful if the trainer could sign off at the Knavesmire in style this weekend. 

Nursery event scheduled for 2.00: Just one favourite has prevailed via the last nine contests. The last four winners have carried 8-12 or less.

Conditions event scheduled for 2.30: Three-year-olds have won three of the last four renewals.  Three of the five market leaders have finished in the frame, statistics which include one winner.

Class 2 mixed vintage handicap scheduled for 3.05: Seed Bin Suroor held five options at the time of writing in a race he has won twice in the last four years, without a representative in one of the ‘missing’ contests.

Class 4 2YO event scheduled for 4.50: Four favourites have won via six renewals thus far, though the other two market leaders finished out with the washing from a toteplacepot perspective.


Stat of the Day, 12th October 2012

Stat of the Day 12/10

Stat of the Day 12/10

Stat of the Day, 12th October 2012

Hmmm, now wasn't yesterday interesting?
When I initially looked at the card, I thought our selection Burj Alzain would have been around a 9/1 shot and couldn't believe we were offered 16/1 from BetVictor. It was only later in the day that I had another close look at the race and the contenders, when it came apparent that we were really looking at a 5/1 horse and that the eventual SP of 9/2 was about right.

I hold my hands up here and admit that I misread the make-up of the race, but not as badly as BetVictor's compiler. Once the other bookmakers formed their markets, the price soon tumbled and for most of the day 6/1 was the best you were getting. Fortunately for me, it was an error that worked in my favour as we got some serious value on the horse, we were basically getting 4/1 for a top three finish on a horse that was 9/2 just to win.

We're at pains sometimes here at geegeez to stress the importance of getting value and despite not getting paid out yesterday, we will make profits by backing horses at much higher odds than they should be.

As for the race itself, Burj Alzain seemed to be buffeted quite a bit on leaving the stalls, struggled to get into stride and dwelt early on. As the race progressed, he seemed to get a little squashed in mid-field before making a late run for the line. At the time, I thought we'd grabbed 3rd place in a tight finish, as did the racing UK commentator, but unfortunately we missed out by a nose, finishing 4th in a race where the first six finishers were only covered by just a length and a half: a handicappers' dream (especially when the front pair were a stone apart in the weights, but only a neck apart in distance!)

Anyway, enough about yesterday, let's try to get back to winning ways with a trip to the Yorkshire mud. Our SotD race today is a one-mile, Class 2 Handicap on heavy ground. Initially we had 16 runners, but a couple pulled out around 0930 this morning, including well-fancied Jo'burg. This not only affected prices, but it also means only 3 places paid now in the...

3.05 York

This 3.05 race is a competitive-looking handicap, but I feel that the overnight rain (34mm overnight) that has moved the predicted going to Heavy will work in our favour with today's selection.

I've decided to go with the mud-loving, seasoned campaigner Osteopathic Remedy, mainly due to the treacherous conditions around today.

This horse absolutely loves it when the going gets tough and the mud is flying around. he comes in to this race in really good form, having won two of his last three starts, all over today's one-mile distance and all three with some cut in the ground. His latest outing was three weeks ago when he won at Ayr on heavy ground in what was his 4th contest on heavy ground in the last two years. The four runs on heavy have yielded two wins and he's 2/2 on heavy over a mile.

His overall record at this distance is quite impressive too: 10 wins from 39 races producing a level stakes profit of 69 pts, whilst his record in this Class of race is 6 wins from 31 for a profit of 35pts. And since May 2010 he has competed 12 times at this level of race over a mile, resulting in 5 wins (+45.5pts at level stakes) and 2 further places (+62pts at E/W).

That win at Ayr three weeks ago was the first time Osteopathic Remedy had been ridden by 7lb-claimer Connor Nichol and the apprentice gets the leg up again today in a bid to repeat the feat. In testing conditions, those seven pounds could make all the difference in what could well be another tight encounter. The one possible negative today is the poor draw, but a wider draw might keep him out of trouble and possibly on some fresher ground than the beaten furrow.

The tightness of this race is reflected in the current best price of 10/1 BOG on offer at bet365, Betfred and Paddy Power, but he is already as low as 8/1 in places. The double-digit odds available lend themselves readily to an each-way bet, so the play today is 0.5pts E/W on Osteopathic Remedy at 10/1 BOG, but you can and should always...

Click here for all the latest odds for the 3.05 York.