It's been a funny old week, dear reader, with little to tempt me into a bet... with one notable exception, as you'll soon understand. Today, I've got a round up of the week, plus news of something I've been working on for some considerable period of time, and a spot of Thursday Fun.
Jump racing has made a welcome return this week, although it's still blighted by the weather, with some of the higher profile meetings (at Newbury yesterday, and Chepstow tomorrow) abandoned. There was also the small matter of an incredible SIX odds-on shots getting beaten in the three Irish meetings on Sunday / Monday. (See this article for a full Irish round-up, including trainers to follow).
And this is definitely something to look out for over the next few days. In a nutshell, a lot of trainers have been unable to train due to the weather affecting their facilities (though hopefully not their faculties). Thus, a horse with the best form may not be fit enough to justify that level of past performance.
In addition, we have the annual 'prep race' season now, where top horses are running at around 80-85% fitness, as their main objective is Cheltenham in March. A degree of caution is advised...
Two horses I was especially interested in this week were Baggsy and Obvious. The reason? They're the Geegeez Racing Club horses, and they both raced since Saturday.
Baggsy ran a pleasing 4th of seven in a Lingfield maiden, and - that being her third maiden run - now has a handicap mark. She has been allotted 52 as a rating, which might prove to be a very winnable figure. Her next intended race, at this stage, is a maiden handicap at Southwell in early February. It's for three year olds only, and is likely to feature a number of moderate plodders.
There's always the question of whether horses act around the idiosyncratic and uniquely challenging (in UK track terms, at least) Nottinghamshire course, but we'll be looking forward with high hopes.
Obvious, meanwhile, contested a weak race at Kempton last night. She'd had an upsetting previous trip to the racecourse - at Southwell, funnily enough - where nothing went right for her, and she ran accordingly.
So it was that last night, we wondered whether her mind would quite be on the game. Fitted with cheekpieces for the first time, she bounced out of the gate, as she tends to do, and held a prime spot in about third or fourth place. As they turned into the straight, Amir Quinn made his move and - briefly - Obvious put her pretty head in front. Alas, by the furlong pole, she was running on vapours and it is now clear to us that no further than seven furlongs is her trip.
She eventually finished eighth, beaten just five lengths, in a race where the slow pace would have also counted against her. This was definitely an improvement on her previous run and, whilst clearly no stakes runner, we remain hopeful of finding a little race for her.
As longer suffering readers will know, I also have a twelfth share in a hurdler called Night Orbit. He was ok on the flat, but really seems to have found his metier over obstacles. In fact, he might be a ready made candidate for the 2014 Grand National 😉 Ok, so that is probably as preposterous as it sounds, but he travels handy, stays all day, jumps well, and battles.
Last time out he was pitched in at the deep end, and ran a highly respectable fourth to Champion Hurdle favourite, Zaynar, albeit extremely flattered to finish within twenty lengths of that A-lister.
Anyway, on Monday, Olly (as he's affectionately known) will pop down to lovely Fontwell, and I will follow him, where he'll contest a Class 3 handicap hurdle. He's rated 130, having gone up six pounds for that run behind Zaynar, and our great hope is that he gets a run in the Pertemps Handicap Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March. A rating of 128 was enough to get in last year and, indeed the winner, Kayf Aramis, whose owner is I believe related to a Geegeez reader, won off 129.
So, as long as we run OK on Monday, we'll be looking forward to a tilt at that Cleeve Hill windmill!
Now then, if you'll permit me, I'd like to tell you about a couple of the other projects I've been working on in recent months. As some of you are already aware, I've added a sister site to Geegeez, primarily focused on the Irish racing scene, over at Horse-Racing.ie. As I say, although it's primarily about Irish racing, there's plenty there for fans of racing systems and fans of UK racing too.
For instance, this week alone, there are ongoing reviews of two betting systems: Profit Rocket and Fancy Fillies. Moreover, there's a revised look at the Champion Hurdle from a guest columnist (and I'm pleased to say that the findings are not dissimilar to my own preview back in early December here on Geegeez).
There's going to be a heck of a lot going on over in the that space in the coming months, so I'd encourage you to take a look if you haven't already, and maybe sign up to get the once weekly 'digest' updates from the site. Again, the link is http://horse-racing.ie
Another thing I've been working on since September last year, and - to be honest - had pretty much given up on achieving, was a very cool joint venture partnership.
As you'll remember, in October last year, I launched (and almost immediately sold out) Horse Racing Experts, a website and manual and DVD combination that aimed to help subscribers become better at researching their own racing systems.
One of the key research tools I used to demonstrate racing systems research, and indeed the very tool I used for researching TrainerTrackStats, Laying System, and TrainerFlatStats (amongst others), was a fantastic bit of kit called Racing Systems Builder (or RSB for short). This software had been on the market for around fifteen years, so it was with staggeringly ironic timing that it's owners, Racedata Modelling, chose that very moment to withdraw RSB from sale.
You may or may not know that RSB was sold as two separate programs - one for the flat and one for National Hunt. And you may or may not know that each retailed for Â£349, meaning if you wanted both (and who wouldn't?!), it'd cost you a cup of tea shy of seven hundred quid!
Well, depending on whether there's sufficient interest or not, I've got agreement to offer you BOTH of these fantastic tools for around HALF the price of ONE of them (apologies for repeated capitalisation - I'm very excited about this!)
So, I've added a new poll top right of this page, and I'd be very grateful if you'd take two seconds to answer the single question there. Depending on the answers I receive, I'll record some videos showing you why this tool is so cool, and what it can do for you.
So please take a second to let me know if this interests you or not. No sweat if it doesn't, great if it does. Just let me know. The question is at the top right of this page. Thanks!
Finally, its been a while since we've had a Thursday Fun, and I always like to dig into the British comedy archives for something long lost and once treasured. Today, it's the turn of 'Til Death Us Do Part'. This is one of those shows that has 'dated' over time, which is to say the BBC would never commission such a programme now, despite the main character being a fantastic caricatured insight into society at that time.
Step forward Mr Alf Garnett...
p.s. Please answer the question top right. It will take, literally, five seconds. (Thanks)