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Showing posts from November, 2012

Newbury preview - Sportingbet Handicap Chase

Closing out the day's racing at Newbury, and the Scoop6 which has rolled to a total prize pool around £1.25 million, is a tricky handicap chase. Best call in an expert with so much money on the line - Matt Bisogno, @mattbisogno , from GeeGeez has kindly shared his wisdom on this one. Read more on his website... ------------------------ 3.40 SPORTINGBET HANDICAP CHASE (FOR THE JIM JOEL MEMORIAL TROPHY) (CLASS 2) And the lucky last is upon us. As trappy as you’d expect, there are fifteen scheduled to start, adding further salt to what may be punters’ weeping wounds as there will be but three places on which to recoup invested funds. We’re racing over the extended two miles this time and it’s going to be soft underfoot. Recent history has a score card of Nicholls 3, Hendo 2, Venetia 2. Although ‘The Chemist’ swerves the race this time, the Denizen of Ditcheat and Lady Venetia are represented by Ulck du Lin and Renard respectively. Both are of immediate interest. The former is dr

Newbury preview - Fulke Walwyn Trophy Novices' Handicap Chase

The Newbury support card isn't too bad either. Blog regular, Jack Milner, @jjmsports , takes a look at the Novices' Handicap Chase at 1325. ---------------- Some decent novices turn out the sixteen runner handicap chase, and plenty of unexposed types. Rolling Aces , Godsmejudge and Seven Woods all will be popular in the betting due to their generally attractive profile and running for ‘sexy’ connections, but they will be likely to go off too short for my liking as such. That takes out the Henderson, Nicholls and King runners. Patsy Finnegan looks Alan King’s second string, and I wouldn’t be able to have it, and with the Tizzard, Twiston-Davies and O’ Neill stables not in their best form, I wouldn’t be looking at Merry King, Handy Andy or Listen Boy . Gores Island and Amirico are likely to be outsiders who will be lacking a bit of fitness, whereas as last time out winners Benheir and Master Neo will be pretty sharp, but accordingly will be poorly handicapped due to t

Hennessy Gold Cup Preview

One of the finest races of the National Hunt season takes place tomorrow, and it's not at Cheltenham or Aintree. I love the Hennessy because it's a handicap , and a top class one at that. Where chasing stars give weight to lesser rivals and prove their merit. None of this namby-pamby always running at level weights when classes above all their rivals, champions like (two-time winner) Denman saying 'You know what? I'll give you weight and I will still beat you!'. That to me proves a champion, taking on all challengers on different terms, none of this soft 'only on my patch, only at level weights, only if I feel like it' stuff that, for me, is the reason why Frankel can never be rated the best Flat horse of all-time. Outstanding horse but flat-track bully. Connections with less imagination than a council administrator of the 50s. The Flat season has plenty of decent handicaps but not the really top-class one capable of drawing serious Group horses. Too much o

Time for another industry update!

It's a couple of weeks old now but Bwin chief Manfred Teufelberger was detained for questioning in Belgium recently , whilst speaking at a conference. The validity of Belgian gaming legislation is disputed by most leading firms as being in conflict with EU legislation. Questioning is said to have related to Teufelberger's comments that some business from Belgium was still likely to be occurring on bwin as blocking is rarely 100% effective. Breon Corcoran has had plenty on his plate at Betfair since he joined, with having to pull the company out of Germany (exchange only, £6m annual profit) due to the imposition of a flat 5% tax on stakes a few weeks ago, soon followed by withdrawal from Greece, removing a further £7m of profit from this year's financial report. Add to that, a new American CFO has been brought in, replacing Stephen Morana, one of the few Betfair members of staff to have reached 10 years of service (very few from the good old days left!). Corcoran also took

Japan Cup preview

Unfortunately I haven't had the time to draft a thorough preview for the race, so hear are some quick thoughts: Internationals have a terrible record in this race in recent years - just four placings (including two wins) in the past decade, from 53 starters. That doesn't look like changing today, the visitors coming from the Melbourne Cup could not be classed as genuine weight-for-age horses and Solemia got lucky on a wet track in the Arc. I'd be surprised if any of them run a place. Mount Athos might be the exception, he's still on the way up in his career, but does switch from handicaps to level weights. Now onto the locals, in betting order - read this guide from the JRA for more details. Orfevre is a superstar, but one with flaws, as seen this year in the Hanshin Dai Shoten when he pulled up, then chased the field again and just fall short, then hit the front, be home for all money (traded 1.01 on Betfair) in the Arc de Triomphe, only to wobble and hit the rail

Betfair Chase + Handicap Hurdle preview

The winter tipsters are out in full force this weekend, I nearly forgot I'd locked in TheYoungRacegoer Calum Madell, @calummadell , for some previews. Does he agree the other guest tipsters? ---------------- The Betfair Chase Cannington Brook A Mudlark who has made steady progress over the years in this discipline, with both victories coming over this course and distance on similar ground. Both though came in much lesser contests than this. Last three runs have all been in good races where he was beaten convincingly both times. Started the season with a good pipe opener at Ascot when getting into contention until getting hampered badly three out. Conditions are ideal but his rating of 145 is nearly three stone below the top rated in the field. Long Run 2011 Gold Cup winner who slightly went off the boil last season despite some good efforts. Outdone by the great Kauto Star last year after coming off the bridle early but got closer to that rival in the King George. However

Saturday National Hunt action

Plenty more jumps racing this weekend in the UK, and stepping up to the podium is Jack Milner, @jjmsports , to cover other highlights of Saturday's programming. ------------- Proper racing tomorrow, competitive action, some big fields, and more importantly; National Hunt racing that is tougher than a steak cooked by Milner senior. Seriously good; tuck in. I’ll keep Ascot brief, as it looks like “The Nicky Henderson Memorial afternoon”, with two of his heavy artillery already deployed so relatively early in the season, and are both multiple Grade 1 winners dropping down in class. Oscar Whiskey runs over the trip he loves, two and a half miles. Unfortunately, there are few of these races at the top level, bar Aintree, so he has to make do running against lesser rivals. That being said, he is still massive at around the even money mark, and should have beaten eventual Champion Hurdle second Overturn here last year bar a mishap at the last. Banker. Finian's Rainbow is a horse I

Betfair Chase preview

I remember the fun times of working at Betfair and taking the promo trailer to Haydock for the first Grade 1 chase of the season. Always bloody freezing and forever plagued with connectivity problems. Glad those days are over! Anyway, there are far better judges of National Hunt racing than myself, so regular contributor Jon da Silva, @creamontop , returns with a profound look at the Betfair Chase. -------------- The Long Run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the Long Run we are all dead. John Maynard Keynes The Betfair is the UK National Hunt season's first Grade 1 chase and the first unveiling of the Gold Cup contenders, We're set the usual conundrum of will the returning [near] champ be as good? Will the best-freshes still be or will their ailments over take them like Diamond Harry the other week. Will the Novices step up and challenge what looks a weak bunch? Cannington Brook Some cognoscenti have been putting this one up. Albeit when three places were av

Railway Stakes preview

The richest race of Super Saturday is the $1m Railway Stakes which always draws a classy field. Stepping out for the first time on the blog is Nick O'Bryen, @NOBryen , with his outlook on the race. ------------------- The jewel of the Ascot carnival will be run on Saturday with a stellar field (bar a couple) assembled for the Railway Stakes over the metric mile. We have the local hopes Luckygray, Playing God, Maschino and Ranger up against the eastern state horses Fat Al and Yosei then we throw in the classy Kiwi galloper, Wall Street. Defending champion Luckygray will run favourite but after being shouldered with 58kgs and then drawing barrier 12 he will need a lot of things to go his way. Playing God had a good run second up before his failure in the Emirates at Flemington but comes back home and with 57kg he shouldn’t be overlooked. The ever frustrating Fat Al ’s chances will depend on how much money bookies Robbie and Tom Waterhouse are liable to pay out should it win.

Winterbottom Stakes preview

It's Super Saturday in Perth this weekend, a moniker every sport seems to grab hold of at some stage, but in this case it is well deserved. Two Group 1s, a G2 and two Listed Races on the Ascot programme, a difficult feat to achieve when the money and pattern committee focus seems to always be on Melbourne and Sydney. After his brilliant debut success on the Emirates Stakes during the Flemington carnival, Tom Stewart, @tstewcav26 , returns to cover the feature sprint of the day. Don't be surprised if the winner of this race heads to Royal Ascot next year, it's happened before.... And if you'd like to watch some of the lead-in races, track gallops and the local racing network's video preview, check out Perth Racing on Youtube. ---------------- 2012 Winterbottom Stakes The Winterbottom Stakes is a Group 1 race held under weight-for-age conditions, for horses aged three years old and upwards. Held at Ascot Racecourse in Perth, this 1200m event has been the platfor

Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase preview

The Paddy Power Open meeting is underway at Cheltenham and regular contributor Jon da Silva, @creamontop , runs the magnifying glass over one of Saturday's features... ---------------- HENRIETTA KNIGHT HANDICAP CHASE Nearly 3.5 miles of Cheltenham. Ground easy side. I recall what I think was the first running of this and Royal Athlete bolting up under 12 stone. Maybe they should have called this race after his trainer Jenny Pitman. A woman who according to Charlie Brooks practically invented the the concept of Bullshit which despite its widespread and growing nature she does not get much credit for. Top weight is Carruthers who having made us pattern matchers wince by nearly winning this last year and then handling a big field in the Hennessy has run 2 poor uns since then and topped them off with a refusal to race. Only a pound higher than Newbury win last year but beaten 14 in this last year. Likely to need it/find one too good/gone at the game. TeaforThree [T43] the top

Zipping Classic preview

Spring is nearly over in Melbourne, the Flemington carnival has been and gone so now we move onto Sandown (one of two remaining Australian metropolitan tracks named after racecourses in England in case you were wondering - Ascot in Perth is the other one). Tasked with the preview is Kieran Fitzgerald, @kjob85 , who will be attending Saturday's meeting as a prize winner from Sunday's #auspubquiz, courtesy of Melbourne Racing Club, @MRCTrackNews . Thanks again to the club for putting up the prizes. ------------------ As the final metropolitan meeting of the Spring Racing Carnival, Sandown Guineas Day offers a chance for a more relaxed meeting, providing a change of pace after the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The meet takes place in a more casual setting, while providing fans with some great racing. This includes the Sandown Cup raced over two miles (3200m) including racing up a big hill, and two Group 2 races, both featuring horses having their last chance at glory before the carniv

Queen Elizabeth Stakes preview

The staying feature on the final day of the carnival is a rather handy one, with several horses who were a bit stiff to miss out on a Cup run. Take a look below at some of the previous winners too. Holding the magnifying glass to assess the form is @CJAAAAY07 from ThisWeeksPunt . After getting the Wakeful spot on last week, let's hope his run continues.... --------------- The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the last staying contest of the Flemington carnival run at Group 3 level under handicap conditions. Over the 2600 metre course this race has become a target race in recent years for those horses which are balloted out of the Melbourne Cup with an additional $100,000 put on for the winner if they are unable to get a run in cup the Tuesday prior. The honour roll of the race is a real mix bag with the star horses Might and Power (1998) and Makybe Diva (2002) previously winning this race at short odds however the occasional blowout result has been known to occur like Ironstein (201

Patinack Stakes preview

What a great sprint race we have here, and at weight-for-age too. It's pretty short odds this will be last running of the race under this sponsorship too given Nathna Tinkler's financial troubles at the moment. Often the most competitive sprints are in handicaps because there's a star in the mix, this time there are many top class sprinters, and no Black Caviar or Hay List, so the form needs to be analysed thoroughly. Once again, the very talented Michael Courts, @mtcourts , takes the reins. ---------------- The four-day Flemington carnival closes with Emirates Stakes Day, a day headlined by two Group 1 races: the eponymous race over a mile, and the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) down the straight. The great mare Black Caviar has won the two previous renewals of the latter race, but with her absent this year it looms as a competitive betting proposition with some of Australia’s top sprinters engaged. In saddlecloth order, here is a runner-by-runner preview of the Patin

Final race of the carnival

Let's hope we're all still in the quaddie or Big 6 by the last race. Typically, it's not the easiest of races, so we need a decent analysis. Here to preview it is another newcomer, Simon Baird - @sbaird80 ----------------- Race 9 - Emirates Airline Handicap 1. Launay – Quality Snowden runner that hasn’t produced his best this campaign after a promising first up run. Finished two and half of lengths off the smart Callanish last start and is continuing to carry his share of weight courtesy of previous consistent performances. Lack of faith from jockey (see Chasse) a concern but wins if he produces his best. 2. Instinction – Talented entire on his day but probably concentrating on his manhood more than racing at times. Has been frustrating this time in but Mick Price has remained confident he is on the right track and that is a good sign. Goes well at Flemington recording a win and place here in four runs and has won twice at the distance. Include. 3. Utah Saints –

Matriarch Stakes Preview

The final day of the Flemington carnival is a cracker and this mares' race has an exceptionally talented favourite... but is it that simple for this leg of the quaddie? Dissecting the race in detail is Rick Williams from Champion Picks . Follow him on Twitter via @Rick_WilliamsCP Pacemap ***Please note map is 'pre settling' positions Map notes Kasane took a sit handy to the speed on Cup day and with the step out to 2000m we expect that they will look to cross early and get a sit handy which looks the place to be. Khandallah should work over to lead them up without hassle as there is little speed inside of her. The rest just look like they will all fall into place. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Runner notes (short) Strong chance Some chance No chance 1 SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ) - Came off of a hot speed at MV to beat good field. At WFA. 2000 record great. Unders 2 INVEST - 2000m G1 winner. Excellent last week

Emirates Stakes Preview

The VRC Spring Carnival at Flemington concludes on Saturday with the headline event being $1m Emirates Stakes over the metric mile. In theory it's a handicap, but without the emergencies (17-20), there is only 3.5kg between top and bottomweights. It's a top class race that I look forward to every year, and I wish Racing Victoria would make this an early nominations race, so we can excited about this one for weeks in advance too - the betting could be very interesting. Anyhow, writing the preview for this feature race is a debutant, Tom Stewart. I reckon this is an admirable contribution on debut, it's a tough race to pick as you'll see by the odds comparison (scroll down to R6) . You can follow on Twitter @tstewcav26 ----------------- 2012 Emirates Stakes - Group 1 (1600m) 1 Fat Al - Coming off a month freshen up and a tough win in the Epsom,this gelding out of Al Maher looks perfectly placed. Despite the topweight he has drawn well and Tommy Berry has a good

Oaks Day preview

Day three of the Flemington Carnival - note that in Australia, we prefer to give people a day to refresh, do the form, say hi to the missus etc before heading back to the track. Helps maintain the track surface too. Michael Courts, @mtcourts , is the man for the preview of some of the key races on the programme. -------------------- It may used to have been traditionally known as Ladies’ Day, but these days Oaks Day is now widely known as “Blokes Day” as – especially this year – punters are left to pick up the pieces after a Melbourne Cup day that left the bookies cashed-up. I’ll be trackside attempting to do just that, so here’s a look at three races that catch my eye. Race 5 – The Greys race, 1400m One of the more quaint traditions of Australian racing is the all-greys race, always programmed the race before the big one on Oaks Day every year. The greys race is always a competitive betting proposition, and this year is no different: my advice for the middle two days of the Melbo