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Showing posts from March, 2017

Doncaster Mile preview

This is a fabulous race with so many chances and a 6kg spread in the weights. Can make a case for plenty of these, I really hope by Race 9 the track is fair and every horse gets its chance. If that's the case, the betting could be wide open. Read on for my preview.


The Star Doncaster Mile
Group 1, AU$3,000,000, 1600m
Randwick 1710 local, 0710 BST

1. Hauraki - Epsom winner in the spring carrying a kilo less. Came from last at the 400 to nail victory on the line without caller Darren Flindell even noticing until the final stride.

Won the Tramway on a Heavy 8 in September, not so great in the George Ryder a fortnight ago in the bottomless Heavy 10 at Rosehill, but they were all left splashing in puddles by the mighty Winx.

Very honest, drawn 16 but don't be afraid of that. He'll come in two if the last two emergencies don't run, plus after eight races on a wet Randwick track, being wide is more likely to be a plus than a minus. Seven of the last…

TJ Smith Stakes preview

Huge day of racing at Royal Randwick, it's the opening day of The Championships. But yet again, Sydney's autumn weather reduces it to a mud slog. Best get researching wet track sires then...

Making his debut on the blog is astute Sydney form student Brad Thompson, @bradthompson83. Welcome aboard!


Darley TJ Smith Stakes
Group 1, AU$2,500,000, 1200m
Randwick Saturday 1630 local, 0630 BST


A TRIO of emerging colts will be out to challenge the proven top-line sprinters in the $2.5 million Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Russian Revolution, Astern and Derryn will be attempting to make it six wins from a three-year-old in this race since it was first run in 1997.

But they will have to deny star sprinter Chautauqua as the grey flash sets out to win the race for the third successive year.

Track conditions are likely to play a significant part in the hopes of many favoured runners.

It appears to be a race void of any …

The Grand National - narrowing down the field

Merely nine days away from the race that captures everyone's attention in Britain - the Randox Grand National. Going runner-by-runner through the forty starters is hard work for anyone, so Stephen Boardman has started his homework early...


by Stephen Boardman, @ste_b85

With a couple of weeks to go until the race that has many a once-a-year punter scratching their heads, I thought I'd give them a helping hand with a run down of some statistics that could point the way to the winner this year.

Having looked through the last ten winners, and using my own ideas of what I believe you need to be a National winner, I've come up with seven key points to focus on:

A top 2 finish in a chase of 3m 2f+
The ability to perform well in a chase where emphasis is on stamina seems an obvious prerequisite for a Grand National winner. Even with the reduced distance these days, it's still the longest race in the calendar and if y…

Harry Fry stable feature

Harry Fry Stable Feature
by Harry Allwood, @H_Allwood1
Originally published (with a few photos) on his blog on 25/3.

Cast your mind back to March 2012 and it was Rock on Ruby's name on the Champion Hurdle trophy, a victory that undoubtedly put Harry Fry on the map. Although he was trained in Paul Nicholls's name at the time, it was Harry who did the majority of the work at the satellite yard he operated for Nicholls. Rock on Ruby still resides at Harry's yard and is enjoying his retirement. His regular rider is now Harry's young daughter Ruby!

In October 2012 Harry gained his National Hunt licence to venture out on his own, a decision influenced by the success of Rock on Ruby. He has been backed by former employer Richard Barber and the rest as they say is history as Harry's training career has been a huge success ever since. Increasing on previous number of wins and prize money won each season, Harry currently has 75 horses in training and has also recently gained…

First Irish 2yo race of the season, Naas Mar 26

For something different, I thought I'd try to keep up with this season's 2yo crop with reviews of each race. So let's kick it off with the opening juvenile race in Ireland...

Naas (IRE) 26 Mar 2017
Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden
5f, 1m3.7s
(slow by 5.9s on RP standards)
Soft to Heavy (Soft in places)

The first juvenile race on the Irish calendar and as an unheralded maiden at Naas, you wouldn't expect much out of it. But roll back just five years (when it was run at The Curragh) and it was the debut of four-time Group 1 winner Dawn Approach.

Last year's impressive winner at 25/1 Mister Trader went on to run second to Caravaggio at his next start before failing as favourite in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot. We await his reappearance as a 3yo.

The 2015 winner State of Emergency ran three times as a juvenile and hasn't been seen since. Jim Bolger's winner in 2013, Saburo, never started again, at least in this part of the world (can't tell from…

Dubai Sheema Classic preview

Ah, the turf. Some international competition. Actually, this is no more international than the the DWC and a smaller field to boot, so that turf v dirt rant doesn't stand up here. Decent field to run around for six million bucks...

Setting his sights on the prize is international racing aficionado and racecalling prodigy, Luke Humphreys, @worldracingluke.


Dubai Sheema Classic
G1 12f Turf
Meydan, 2005 local, 1605 BST


1 Earnshaw (40/1): Finished second to Ectot in G1 Criterium International in 2013. Yet to win in this country for trainer and is trying longer trip here. But finds a few that are a couple of lengths better than him. Savaged line in G1 Jebel Hatta last time and should enjoy going further but as I say is not up to G1 level against horses like this.

2 Jack Hobbs (4/1): Only making start no.10 here would you believe. Second in G1 Derby to Golden Horn in June 2015 and then won the I…

Dubai World Cup preview

Cheltenham's over and it's almost time for the flat season in the northern hemisphere. But first, there's time for the opulence and extravagance of Dubai. World Cup night is something special, but it's a genuine shame that the big pot of cash goes to a race on a surface that America races on and few other nations take seriously. But, they have drawn the world's best horse on that surface and some pretty handy ones to run for the minor prizes.

Casting a fine eye over the field is international racing aficionado and racecalling prodigy, Luke Humphreys, @worldracingluke.


Dubai World Cup
G1 2000m Dirt
Meydan, 2045 local, 1645 BST


1 Apollo Kentucky (66/1): One of the many Japanese raiders and continues to get better. Winner of eight from 19 and is a two times LR winner and also winner of a G3. Finished fifth in the G1 Champions Cup, Japan’s premier dirt race two back, bef…

Blamey Stakes preview

It's almost time for the Flat season in Europe and it's right in the heat of the action on the sunny side of the equator. While it's raining cats, dogs and hamsters in Sydney for the Golden Slipper, it'll be gorgeous weather yet again in the world's most liveable city.

Taking on the Blamey Stakes is astute Australian form analyst, Callum Gogerly, @_gogs10.


Incognitus Blamey Stakes
Group 2, AU$200,000, 1600m
Flemington Saturday, 1505 local, 0405 GMT

Conditions: The state of the Flemington track has been hotly debated over the past two meetings. Clearly, the inside has been the place to be and it hasn’t made for the most attractive racing. To his credit, track manager Mick Goodie has come out and stated that he underestimated the effect of mowing at slightly different lengths. He has said that the track should race more evenly this week, the rail coming out to the 3m mark should certainly aid things. A little rain around on Thursday, but t…

Cheltenham Gold Cup preview

And finally, it's the heavyweight battle of the year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Has it lost anything in the absence of Thistlecrack? Maybe the absolute star quality but what we have now is a proper contest.

Taking on the challenge is sharp cookie and regular contributor, Dave Stephens, @davestevos. You can read more of his work on his blog.


Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup
Grade 1, £575,000, about 3m2.5f
Cheltenham Friday 1530 local, 0230 AEDT

After three tremendous days of action with no shortage of thrills, spills and bellyaches, the big day has finally arrived. The one that every owner, trainer and jockey wants to win is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and this year’s race looks a particularly open renewal.

Ever since Thistlecrack fell by the wayside it has been Native River and Cue Card battling it out for favouritism, but the likes of Sizing John, Djakadam and Outlander won’t go down without a fight. Only one horse priced up at bigger than 8/1 has score…

Ryanair Chase preview

We've survived to day three of the Festival, that's got to be a winner surely? A mixed bag for punters and bookies alike so far. A couple of winners yesterday pulled me back to almost square, but annoying close to big collects. Mind you, I also had Might Bite, so it works both ways!

Thursday is traditionally the stretch day, the extra day they threw in a bit over a decade ago which seems a little weaker than others. One of the features is the oft-maligned Ryanair Chase, partly for being a mid-distance race which dilutes the traditional championship races, and for being sponsored by the Marmite airline, Ryanair.

Taking another swing at a feature race preview is Cian Ryan, @cianryan92.


Ryanair Chase
Grade 1, £250,000, about 2m5f New Course
Cheltenham Thursday 1450 local, 0150 AEDT

The Ryanair Chase gets written off by many racing fans as it doesn’t tend to attract the same quality of horse as the Gold Cup. This year’s renewal is no exception wit…

Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle preview

Late in the day, and after pictures disappear from ITV, it's one of my favourite races of the week, the 4yo handicap hurdle. For fans of racing without obstacles, think of a 2yo or early 3yo handicap - so much intrigue with so many lightly-raced horses and often, a stack of winning chances. And thus, without anyone else stepping up to take this race, I've had a crack at it.


Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Grade 3, £80,000, about 2m1/2f
Cheltenham Wednesday 1650 local, 0350 AEDT

1. Divin Bere - unplaced in eight starts on the flat, but looks a completely different horse over hurdles. A win and two narrow seconds as a 3yo hurdler in France, he came to the Henderson yard via Paul Nicholls (there must be a story there?) and won on his British debut at Huntingdon. The also-rans haven't looked much so far but the runner-up Master Blueyes is one of the leading hopes in the Triumph on Friday, having won twice since, including the G2 Adonis by 11 l…

RSA Novices' Chase preview

The big conundrum of day two - should Might Bite be a raging favourite by way of his domination of the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day until tripping at the last fence, or should he be the lay of the day because his jumping can't be trusted? If you can find a bookie with faller insurance, there's got to be an angle to attack this race.

That's my bit of editorial, but taking control for the preview, it's regular contributor, the shrewd Chris Day, @chrisday100.


RSA Novices' Chase
Grade 1, £175,000, about 3m1/2f
Cheltenham Wednesday 1410, 0110 AEDT

The second race on the second day of Cheltenham, the RSA Chase, gives us the first real opportunity to pit the form of this year's leading novice chasers on each side of the Irish Sea against each other.

Favourite is Might Bite from the stable of Nicky Henderson, who had a superb start to the meeting yesterday. His chance here lies on a piece of form where he fa…

Neptune Novices Hurdle preview

And back again we go! This is where it gets difficult, at least from my angle. Backing up day after day, with only 24hr decs for most races, makes it bloody hard to do the form properly. This race is the main competition to the Supreme Novices' - with Melon going down yesterday, has Harry Fry made the right decision with Neon Wolf? We'll know just after 1.30...

Saddling up for the preview is recent addition to the blog Alex Peperell, @al_peps. Start the day right with this great analysis...


Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle
Grade 1, £125,000, about 2m5f
Cheltenham Wednesday 1330 GMT 0030 AEDT

To kick off the second day of the greatest show on turf we have the 2m5f Neptune Novices’ Hurdle. This looks like it could be a very competitive race with some potential superstars embedded within the declarations. It’s a shame Finian’s Oscar has picked up an injury and misses this contest, but he is one to look forward to next season.

Neon Wolf hea…

Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase preview

Day One of the Festival comes to an end with a nasty handicap chase, you'd want to be in front by this stage...

Keeping it brief and rolling a few dice, because you'll be seven pints in by this stage, is Stephen Conchar, @wickyman. Welcome aboard!


Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase
Listed, £70,000, about 2m4.5f
Cheltenham Tuesday 1730 local, 0430 AEDT

The last race on day one of the greatest show on earth is the Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase, a new race by festival standards. It's a race that has evolved from the Cathcart Chase and is a 0/140 handicap with six previous runnings, normally won by one of the higher rated fancied horses. This year's field isn't great by Cheltenham standards but gives a chance for smaller trainers and larger stable's second strings to get a bit of glory. At the moment there are 20 runners and the place terms are 1/4 odds the first four, but on the day I am sure plenty of books will be offering …

Supreme Novices' Hurdle preview

It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight...

Or as they'd always say on Celebrity Deathmatch, "Let's get it on!"

It's here, it's here, the Festival is finally here! Taking on the challenge of the opening race of the Festival, the one which often seems to make or break it for bookies (and some ill-disciplined punters), is blog debutant, Cian Ryan, @cianryan92. Welcome aboard Cian!


Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Grade 1, £125,000, 2m87y
Cheltenham Tuesday 1330 local, 0030 AEDT

At 1:30pm, the famous Cheltenham roar signals the start of The Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle and brings to an end the long wait for the festival. Run over 2m 1/2f at a good gallop, the cream usually rises to the top having produced classy previous winners in Vautour, Douvan and Altior. Willie Mullins has dominated the race in recent years with three of the last four wi…