Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2012

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Preview

It's just a four-horse field in today's feature but it is full of class. James Jack, @materialista27, assesses the field.
Rabobank Punchestown Champion Hurdle
The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 race, open to horses aged four years or older. It is run over a distance of about 2 miles (3,219 metres), and there are nine hurdles to be jumped. The race was established in 1999 and previous winners are the who's who of Irish hurdle racing including Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Brave Inca and current two-time defending champion Hurricane Fly. Willie Mullins has saddled three winners in the past, so it's not a surprise to see he's responsible for three of the four runners in this year's renewal. The prize fund for the race is €160,000 of which €96,000 goes to the winner. All horses carry eleven stone twelve.Hurricane Fly
Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins
As previously mentioned 2010 and 2011 winner, but he stunk at Cheltenham. Given the injury concerns at the start of the…

Punchestown Bumper preview

It might be extremely wet at Punchestown this week but that doesn't stop the winners flowing. @jimgilch is back with his look at Friday's Bumper. 

Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Fillies Scheme Premier Bumper (4-6yo) Winner Euros 29,400; 24 runners 2m1f Heavy.SPRING HARVEST?A 24 runner bumper won't be many punters' first port of call, however I think this valuable fillies (and mares) bumper offers one strong bet. The now chewed up ground will be desperate, even without further rain, and the winner will have to stay further than the 17 furlongs of the race.I need to start with the bang in form Willie Mullins team. Everything the stable runs merits respect and his Champagne Fever followed up a courageous performance when winning the Cheltenham bumper with this week's equally game success in the winners bumper here. And he unleashed a previous points winner here in the shape of Flash of Genius, who is certainly one to follow, in another bumper.It hardly needs …

when the rain buckets down....lay the field

Have only been dabbling on the lay the fields today, doing some races and missing others through no other reason than time available, and wouldn't you know it, I've missed THREE 1.01s getting beaten (two at Wolverhampton, one at Perth). Best I could manage on a race I got involved in was getting a 1.05 beaten.... however my 'jackpot' line was set at 1.04! Still in profit, just no sign of that big result. So while I was setting up for the big cross-country slog at Punchestown, one of the 1.01s gets rolled at Wolverhampton - missed it because the race times were all out of whack on Betfair and didn't look elsewhere to check.

But then the 4m slog in the bottomless bog at Punchestown came good. Only had two matched at 1.34, just the winner at 1.03, but several on the higher bands. If you've no idea what all this means, I suggest you click on the link to the right which covers the lay the field strategy.

When the ground suddenly changes severely (against recent …

Doncaster Day preview

It's Sydney's big day of racing this Saturday, but they've had plenty of rain (>150mm in 48 hours midweek). The fields remain strong and most horses in Sydney have some sort of wet track form anyway. The guys from @Priomha share their homework with you below. If you need a formguide, this is the place to look - Racenet.
---------------------------------------------

It would not be a Sydney Autumn Carnival without wet weather playing a huge role. And so it is this weekend. Sydney has been receiving torrential rain this week and whilst the sun is shining at the moment we can be assured of a significantly rain affected surface. In spite of the surface there are winners and value to be found and that is the job at hand. We will preview the three Group 1 features.

Race 5 - ATC Oaks, 2400m (1416 AEST/0516 BST)
This is the autumn staying feature for the 3yo fillies and the renewal this year has pulled together a bunch of ordinary combatants, bar #1 Streama. Streama is cle…

Grand National preview 2012

Someone had to step up to the podium to take on the biggest and possibly the hardest race of the year. Adam Ward is that man....

Grand National preview 2012

The greatest steeple chase in the world, but from a betting perspective The Grand National is one of the hardest races. All the hours of form study and opinions can go straight out of window, from a simple mistake or interference from another runner. My thoughts on the race is that you’ve done well if your horse finishes!

1.SYNCHRONISED - This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. He is an out and out stayer, who is lightly raced for a 9 year-old. Although his jumping technique leaves a lot to be desired, he has never fallen over fences. Although statistically his weight is against him, he has carried a big weight before. The ground will also be to his liking. The only negative, is the effect the Gold Cup might have left on him, however connections report his fresh.

2.BALLABRIGGS - Last year’s Grand National winner, he has only had…

the grand finale, the John Smith's Champion Bumper

OK, so it's not officially called the Champion Bumper but the proper title is too darn long as you'll see below... Making his debut previewing on the blog is Jim, @jimgilch.

5.35: John Smith´s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race Grade 2 (CLASS 1) (4-6yo) 20 runners 2m1f Good.

A different Tent

My original post selected a non-runner! Here is my new offering

Given that six of the last seven renewals of this race have been won by horses priced at 14/1 or bigger, this is traditionally no easy puzzle to unravel. For the purposes of the preview I am assuming the ground to be mainly good to soft, but not dead.

Unlike a lot of bumpers, I would expect the pace angle here to be a strong one. Both of the McCain horses, Howaboutnow and Ifyousayso made all on their last starts, so an element of team tactics could come into play. It's surprising given improving ground conditions that Jason Maguire prefers the former, which looks more of a soft ground performer. Both would…

Maghull Novices Chase

It's turned out to be a small field, but we could just be seeing a superstar in action. Time will tell. James Jack, @materialista27, previews the race.

The Maghull Novices' Chase is a Grade 1 Chase which is open to horses aged five years old and up. It is run at over two miles and there are twelve fences to be jumped. The event was established in 1954, and it has been known by various titles. It is currently named after Maghull, a town located to the north of Aintree. For a period the race was classed at Grade 2 level, and it was promoted to Grade 1 status in 1995. Previous winners include Flagship Uberalles, Well Chief, Twist Magic and Finian's Rainbow. Paul Nicholls has won the race five times and Ruby Walsh has ridden three winners in the event. The prize fund is £100,000 of which £56,270 goes to the winner. Due to the fact that the race is synonymous with the two mile novice division, traditionally runner from the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham usually line up. When I pi…

Aintree Hurdle preview

Small But Perfectly Formed
Tom Essex (@cynically_me)

John Smith's Aintree Hurdle

Racing has never been shy of shooting itself in the foot and small fields - which fly in the face of those campaigning for greater and/or minimum prize money - do little to generate either emotional or financial interest. Indeed, they often make for largely unspectacular viewing, but this year's Aintree Hurdle can be forgiven its diminutive, six-runner status.

As the adage goes, it's small but perfectly formed.

Contenders
Six may become five rather sooner than expected, with Michael Scudamore's Saphir River due to contest a Listed handicap hurdle on Friday. An early mistake put paid to his chances in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last time, but pre-Festival murmuring suggested he was held in some regard by his Herefordshire-based trainer. Despite graded-race form in France, a top class renewal of this contest is almost certainly beyond him at this stage; but a less competitive event may wel…

ATC Sires Produce - 2yo Grp 1, 1400m

It's not just Aintree that has the top notch racing at the moment, there's a brilliant card of racing at the home of racing in Sydney today/tonight depending on which hemisphere you're in. The Australian Derby is the feature of the all black-type meeting, but the juvenile feature is the Sires' Produce Stakes, featuring the undefeated half-brother to Black Caviar. Brendan from Priomha assesses the field succinctly.


The second leg of the two year old triple crown will see the Golden Slipper winner (1st leg) Pierro take on Black Caviar's half brother All Too Hard. If the spruik about having a famous older sister was not already enough, the younger sister topped the Inglis yearling sales this week, fetching $2.6m. The expectations are high.

It looks a match race between the two as given the exposed form, they are too classy for the rest in the field of seven.

The hype around the lineage of All Too Hard has been reflected in the opening price of $1.60. Amazingl…

Topham Chase preview

More from aspiring sports journalist Calum Madell, who has his own website, TheYoungRacegoer and can be followed on Twitter @calummadell.

The Topham Chase looks as tough as usual. The handicapper seems really stretched in this with bottom weight coming from 10lb out of the handicap but that hasn't stopped a number of past winners coming from absolutely anywhere in the handicap.

I've not known a race like this where you can almost split the field in two, possibly even three of classy horses rated from 153 to 138, horses from 130 to 127 and the rest that are out of the handicap. Usually you can discount the ones out of the handicap but in a race like this where a number have run well from out of the handicap, you really can't.

I will in terms of previewing, split the races into the three categories. You have 10 horses at the high end of the weights, led by TARTAK who when I saw the original entries stuck out like a sore thumb to me. He had a wind operation in the summe…

4:50 2m4f Handicap Hurdle preview

Dan Kelly, @muffinmannhc, again with this listed, non-terrestrial TV, race.


This handicap hurdle has a solid feel to it with novices and confirmed 2m 4f specialist coming head to head and here's my three against the field.

Bourne was beat at the 2nd hurdle in the Martin Pipe Condititonals race. Hampered and shunted into the wing of that hurdle, Brooke never looked happy with his position throughout the race and as such I am happy to forgive that run. Either way, you can only be impressed by his win at Ascot, and even off this higher mark the return to this flat track is going to play into his hands. The front two in the market have to prove themselves in a hustle 'n' bustle handicap, Bourne passed that test with flying colours.

Of the bigger priced runners, two catch my eye. Firstly Arthurian Legend seems to have crept into this race under the radar. He won the Silver Trophy Handicap at Chepstow smoothly off 125 and comes here only 8lbs higher after runs which sugg…

Tangle Teaser Top Novices' Hurdle, Grade II

Another of our previously successful guest bloggers return, Dan Kelly,@muffinmannhc. He was on fire during Cheltenham tipping Son of Flicka and Sir des Champs.

Tangle Teaser Top Novices' Hurdle, Grade II

I'm yet to be sold on the Supreme Hurdle form, and simply with Darlan and Prospect Wells taking such a chunk out of the market I have to look elsewhere.

Vulcanite has the talent, but it's difficult to pinpoint when he'll actually decide to show it. Captain Conan is the selection of Barry Geraghty but I can't seriously give him a chance, gifted the Tolworth and found out in mediocre company twice since, he is overlooked too. Right Step is a quirky sort, soured to end of his flat season and even though he won on his first start over timber, but that form leaves you with more questions than answers. However two runners have shown enough for me to think they will outrun their prices.

Oscara Dara was formerly with Alan Fleming and he looked a bumper horse of great p…

Melling Chase preview

James Jack landed Krypton Factor in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai at his latest appearance on my blog. What is in store for him at Aintree? Follow him @Materialista27

Melling Chase

The Melling is a steeplechase for five year olds and up and is run over two and a half miles at Aintree. The runners, mostly from the fields of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham festival will tackle sixteen fences. It was first run in 1991 and is a Grade 1 with a total purse of £175,000. Voy Por Ustedes, Moscow Flyer and Viking Flagship have all won the race twice in the past. All horses carry eleven stone ten pounds.

1. Albertas Run
AP McCoy for Jonjo O'Neill
Aintree seems to be his track, second in the race last year, won it in 2010 and after a good tune-up at Cheltenham, all would seem right for another tilt at this. The extra week between the festival and this meeting is a good thing for most horses, but I don't think it really affects Albertas Run. He&#…

the sectional angle for Aintree today

Racing authorities in Britain don't make easy for punters who want to rely on facts such as accurate distances and sectional timing. If you want to do it, you have to do it the hard way, but it can certainly provide the rewards for doing the 'hard yards'. And it's not just for flat racing either. Sectional timing devotee Steve Lines, @sjlone1, takes a look at today's action at Aintree.

National Hunt Sectionals

Remember when you started jogging…….. and how you sprinted the last 20 yards to the front door. Yes you were exhausted…. but a sit down with a beer – the pain was still a couple of hours away. Gradually the sprint distance got farther and farther from the front door; mainly because you knew your own energy reserves - and if you misjudged it – you were nearly home. Never did you risk a faster pace at the start of the run with the possibility of having to walk later; or try and match speed with the old, grey haired, skinny guy in the micro shorts! You used your…

Liverpool Hurdle preview

The Festival of the Fake Tan bottle, also known as Aintree, kicks off tomorrow. Making his debut on my blog is aspiring sports journalist Calum Madell, who has his own website, TheYoungRacegoer and can be followed on Twitter @calummadell.

The Liverpool Hurdle.

Big Bucks looks an absolute certainty in this to take his record to 17 UK hurdle wins from 17 starts and also to land this race for the fourth time in succesion. Unlike last year where he had the prospect of Grand Crus to overcome, there is little to challenge him this year. Obviously anybody can tip a 1/4 shot and I won't be putting him up as a selection. I do like these races as betting proposition, mainly through straight forecasts, betting without the favourite and place markets, which regularly has a bit of value in them.

The question is who do you back to win without the machine that is Big Bucks? Smad Place is the bookie's favourite to do just that however i'm not convinced he is the one. He is one of the lea…

Is Betfair's time up in Australia?

Breaking news from Racing Victoria Limited (RVL), the premier racing body in Australia.

In light of the recent Federal Court ruling in favour of Racing NSW and the right to charge a turnover fee for offering wagering on their racing, RVL has swiftly elected to switch from their fee model based on gross profits (possibly from the start of the new racing season on August 1). This is in stark contrast to their previous statements saying that the difference in figures wasn't a great deal, it was far better to have the corporate betting houses on side to encourage innovation and sponsorship investment etc. As mentioned in the previous post re Racing NSW - the model doesn't make that much difference to corporate bookmakers, it's a bit more than the current system but they can live with it. However, it does completely screw Betfair and the exchange model. Recently appointed Betfair Australia CEO Giles Thompson was quoted as saying the 1.5% fee in NSW made racing in that state s…

Betfair vs Racing NSW verdict

The dust is now beginning to settle on the Racing NSW victory in the Federal Court case against Sportsbet and Betfair over racefields fees. The betting firms won the original case, claiming collusion between Racing NSW and TABCorp in the type of rights fees paid and how it was determined. Racing NSW head honcho Peter V'Landys, amid plenty of criticism and abuse for frivolously wasting money on legal costs, including from yours truly, refused to take the decision lying down and appealed. Many moons later, Racing NSW won that appeal, prompting the betting firms to take the case to another level with a further appeal. Forgive me for not getting the exact details of which court is which etc, but it really doesn't matter now.That Racing NSW won the final appeal decision doesn't surprise me. After all, they had won a previous verdict so it wasn't a shock. What did leave me just a little perplexed was the unanimous judgment from a panel of seven.Despite my background working …

Aintree Festival previews

Aintree is upon us again and after the success of Cheltenham and Dubai World Cup night, it's time to let the bloggers and aspiring writers back onto the site to share their expertise.

First up it's Jon da Silva, also known as @CreamOnTop, covering the Betfair, no, the Totesport, no, it's the um... BetFred Bowl!

The ethos here is that of a Field Size fetishist still getting over Carruthers Hennessy.

Skeptical that with so little in the trainer's title whether every horse is being run because it's a perfect opportunity or more in hope than judgement. It would be difficult to overstate the interests or moral hazard of the UK's top trainers nor their treatment as sacred cows by media and BHA. Sadly the cash machine lay of Denman or Kauto is not on this year and Henderson's main ones are not necessarily out of place but I'd want more than my usual value room.

Aintree so far it sounds like drying soft ground that could be anything. Aintree goes from bein…

hope for investors in the Centaur scandal?

In a breaking story, it has been reported that directors of the failed sports investment fund Centaur have had their assets frozen in order to repay investors. It is believed that managing director Keith Sobey skipped town trying to avoid prosecution however he either naively thought Ireland was a safe enough place to hide or had a lingering feeling of guilt and sat waiting for that knock on the door.

Sobey, the name behind Centaur (read the original story here), is believed to own four houses, worth more in total than the missing £1.6m. His willingness to sell them to repay investors is likely to keep the matter out of the courts, and at least one other director, Andrew Cork, will apparently follow suit.

All this adds weight to anecdotal evidence that the collapse of the fund came down to mismanagement rather than fraudulent deeds. As costs grew (why would you set up a training academy in central London?), margins evaporated and keeping the business afloat went through money like a…