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The Grand National - runner by runner

A brief summary of every runner in the 2021 Grand National, including the arguments for and against each of them. 1.Bristol De Mai Multiple Grade 1 winner, all at Haydock, stepping up to the National fences and trip for the first time. Should have the stamina but topweight in the National is a massive ask. WHY HE CAN WIN Class gets you a long way. WHY HE CAN'T WIN The last horse to carry this weight or more to victory was Red Rum in 1974 (although Many Clouds carried 11st9 in 2015). 2.Chris's Dream Good Irish chaser who has never lived up to the hype in Britain, flopping on all four occasions.  WHY HE CAN WIN At his only run in a big handicap, he won the Troytown at Navan in 2019. WHY HE CAN'T WIN Jumped terribly at Cheltenham, seems like he is here to fulfill an owner's dream rather than have a genuine chance. 3.Yala Enki Seems to save his best for very soft ground. Reliable jumper, very experienced WHY HE CAN WIN Paul Nicholls is on fire this week and in an era where
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Aintree Friday preview

Around the mark on opening day but nothing really to show for it. The Place 6 ticket was looking nice until Sod's Law deemed that the only leg we had one out went down. Paid a whopping £804.62 for those who collected. Pertemps Hurdle Day two kicks off with a devilishly hard hurdle with a swathe of chances. Whatsupwithyou ran fourth in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham behind some handy types and gets his chance to go even better here with useful claimer Kevin Brogan aboard. Topweight Wilde About Oscar has won four from five over hurdles, his only blemish being in the Challow behind the high class Bravemansgame. Edwardstone keeps running honest races high in the handicap, (third in the Betfair Hurdle, fifth in the Coral Cup) and will be in this for a long way.  Nightboattoclyro completes the quartet, he won a trio of handicaps in the winter on left-handed tracks and returns to favoured conditions at a price. Watch out for Monte Cristo who was staying on well in the Coral Cup before bein

Aintree Day 1 Preview

Another major racing festival unfortunately robbed of the crowds and the atmosphere, but soon enough we'll be over this, or at least a bit more relaxed. Fingers crossed the racing can focus on the very best of jumping and runners & riders all get home safely. Onto the tips! Manifesto Novices' Chase A very competitive little race to kick off the Aintree Festival, with even the roughie Phoenix Way having some hope (bled last time when he faced Eldorado Allen and Hitman). Starting with Cheltenham form, Eldorado Allen ran second to Shishkin in the Arkle while Fusil Raffles took silver against Chantry House in the Marsh after Envoi Allen fell early. The Shunter was the handicap snip at the bottom of the weights in the Paddy Power Plate but goes up to Grade 1 company here and will run in the colours of JP McManus who bought him on Wednesday. Umbrigado won the Greatwood just before the Festival while Hitman is the most lightly raced runner with seemingly plenty of scope ahead of h

Cheltenham Day 4 previews

Friday, Day 4, I hope you're in front so far because it doesn't get much easier. There were a couple of decent exactas, even a boxed trifecta, in my picks from yesterday if you bet that way. (No I didn't. GRRR) A better day for Placepot/Colossus Place 6 dividends, paying £810 and £932 respectively, although to be fair to the Tote, there were pushing the shot to nothing bets in 'night before' insurance yesterday, so there'd have been a higher than normal proportion of selections other than Envoi Allen in the first leg. That insurance offer covers the final day as well. Unsurprisingly, the respective Jackpot/Win 6 pools rolled over again, so if you can unlock this card, you deserve a big reward! Zanahiyr and Elimay will be the shorties of the day. Triumph Hurdle The best of the juvenile crop open the card and on face value, four are genuine chances, the other four are here for the day out... although that doesn't work for 2021, and it's probably a bit hars

Cheltenham Day 3 previews

Success again in landing the Place 6 but the outlay far outweighed the return as favourites only missed the frame in the two big handicaps. Much tougher card tomorrow but how full are the accounts of those who want to land it? The Tote Jackpot and Colossus Win 6 pools also rolled over to Thursday. For those who prefer the Tote option - they've got Placepot Insurance this week if you place your bets before midnight the day before. Lose in the first race, and they'll refund you up to £10. Marsh Novices' Chase Day three begins with another favourite's benefit, this time the mighty Envoi Allen. The star 7yo is undefeated in 12 starts, 11 under Rules and the Point-to-Point win which earned him a £400k price tag in 2018. This will be his third visit to the Festival, he won the Bumper in 2019 and the Ballymore last year. In three chase starts, they haven't gotten near him and that's unlikely to change this time. The challengers are a fairly even lot, Fusil Raffles has

Cheltenham Day 2 previews

The end of the day was better than the start on Day 1, landing Galvin in the last and including Jeff Kidder in my Colossus Place 6 ticket (but not backing him straight out, grrrr). Not that the Place 6 paid much when all the favourites won or placed in each race. Two years ago the Placepot paid £91k on opening day when just one fav was placed in the six races, today it paid £5.80! Bookies were saved with Concertista being touched off in the Mares' race but unfortunately not by one of mine. And so we go again! Ballymore Novices' Hurdle One of the most anticipated contests of the week with three big guns taking their place and some decent depth behind them, even in a seven-horse field. Everyone connected with the Paul Nicholls stable has been comparing Bravemansgame to superstars like Denman after his dominant win in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December. The Irish hype has been nailed to Bob Olinger who has remarkably similar form to the Supreme favourite, Appreciate It, in

Cheltenham 2021 Day 1 previews

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Disappointingly small field. This is the race which sets off the roar. This year there'll be no roar and quite a limited level of excitement. Appreciate It is the dominant favourite and probably wins. He's beaten all the Irish brigade at least once, the only hole I can pick in him is I don't think he sprinted up the hill in the Bumper last year, when he was beaten by Ferny Hollow. Clutching at straws probably but I won't be getting involved much on this. The form behind Metier hasn't been great but when you're winning comfortably, that's their problem. METIER, Appreciate It, Irascible. Arkle Novices' Chase A real shame to see Energumene come out of this on Friday, every racing fan was looking forward to a great battle with Shishkin, now it's very hard to see last year's Supreme winner getting beaten. Allmankind will set a cracking pace and Shishkin will just stalk him until the final couple of fences. Captain Guinness

Cheltenham Day 1 - Boodles Juvenile Hcp preview

Cheltenham 2021 - no fans, no owners and unfortunately small fields in many races as the 'social' runners aren't bothering to turn up and get beaten 100L. At least the handicap races are holding up but outside of them, don't be expecting too many shock results. Hated by many, I've always been a fan of the juvenile races, particularly this race, a handicap hurdle for 4yos. Why I hear you ask? It's all about predicting the scope for improvement, which horses have already shot their load and overperformed to get here and those who are bound for bigger and better things. The Triumph covers the best of the crop, the Boodles (Fred Winter as it is officially registered) appeals to those just below the top rung covering a good spread in the weights. ------------ Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (registered as the Fred Winter) Grade 3, 4yo only, 2m87yds £60,000 Tuesday 1615 GMT, 0315 AEST Expected Going - Soft 1. Nassalam - impressive Gary Moore 4yo who triggered memori

The Not a G1 Australian Cup preview

Been a bit quiet on the blog for a while, a bit more restrained as I get older or more likely, less bothered to write something of length when short, sharp bursts on Twitter are more convenient. But the autumn carnivals in Australia have flushed me out.  Traditionally, the spring spotlight belongs to Melbourne and the autumn to Sydney. But those 'gentleman's rules' no longer exist as states are now only rewarded for their own racing, not the racing wagers placed within their state - a major change to the state of play which came about when the likes of Betfair and Sportsbet challenged the state laws which banned advertising from wagering operators other than the formerly state-owned TABs. The leading racing administrator in the country (and yes it pains me to say this), Peter V'Landys, the emperor of Racing NSW, quickly realised this and maximised NSW racing feature race opportunities to generate more turnover on NSW racing. Ambush attacks on the Victorian spring by cre