God only goes…

spyglassGetting close to becoming a cliff horse for me and I can make no watertight form case for him, just that I’m convinced he’s improved. 9/2 should be taken as it won’t last.

Should arguably have won the Old Roan but for running into the back of the blundering Royal Regatta who beat him next time when GO must have been trading very short before stopping to nothing. Trainer then said he’d been close to withdrawing him that day because of the ground.

There should be no ground complaints tomorrow, so he’s given another chance. Sandown hill should suit his finishing effort to a T over this trip. Sandown is also his last chance saloon!

Charbel fine value at 33s in The Arkle

jockey_club_logoCharbel is superb antepost value at 33/1 for The Arkle chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He’s due to face Altior on Saturday and that one beat him easily in the Supreme, where Charbel finished 5th. But Charbel looks to me a more natural jumper of fences than Altior and I’ve backed him in the Henry VIII on Saturday.

The form of Charbel’s debut win has been strengthened by Top Notch who was 3rd to him at Uttoxeter and has won his next two. Runner-up Le Prezien won a Grade 2 next time out.

I think 33s (William Hill) is way too big. His trainer says the JLT might also come into the picture so I’ve had a saver at 75 on Betfair for that, but he looks a two-miler. I still hold to the belief that Altior’s jumping might let him down and he’ll be rerouted to the Champion Hurdle. If you want a related-contingency bet that is without penalty, you can bet Altior at 33s and Charbel at 25s in a double with Paddy Power.

The usual warning applies: antepost betting is hazardous. Much can happen between now and raceday (though that works both ways), and if your horse doesn’t run, your stake is lost.  Bet for fun and beware of tipsters who promise the earth,

Good luck


You back Ubak EW at 14/1

spyglassThere’s a nice race at Newbury tomorrow, won last year by the mighty Thistlecrack.  There are no superstars in it this year, but there seems to be a nice each way bet in the shape of Ubak.

The last time he ran at a a trip this long in the UK  he won a decent race at Aintree (he had a poor run over this trip in France, but quite a few horses are upset by international travel). He has mixed chasing and hurdling but began this campaign with a nice run over hurdles (back at Aintree) where he conceded 10lbs and upwards to all rivals. The forecast soft ground should suit him and he looks excellent EW value at 14/1 – about half a dozen online bookies currently offer that price.

Good luck.


God’s Own with Skybet

spyglassDodging Bullets is well treated here and is being touted. He might start favourite which will add extra value for the likely winner – God’s Own

God’s Own looked an improver at the back end of last season and confirmed that – to me at least – in the Old Roan where a touch of bad luck at the 3rd last (he ran into the back of the blundering Royal Regatta) just as he was building momentum. Arguably that cost him the race.

He should make amends today unless the Tizzards have pulled off another miracle with Third Intention and can get him to win back-to-back races for the first time in his career.

Dodging Bullets has never been this far. His 2 runs over 20f saw him thoroughly trounced each time, although he might well enjoy going right-handed here.

I don’t like Vibrato Valtat much. He’s another with a flattish jumping style, which could catch him out.

Skybet offer money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd in this race – 2.05 Ascot.  I strongly recommend taking up that offer with God’s Own.

Good luck



binocularsSeeyouatmidnight has been declared to run on Saturday in the Betfair Chase. He’s 7/1 at the time of writing and well worth an each way bet.

But the best value lies in his Cheltenham Gold Cup odds of 50/1 (Betfred and Stan James – who have an awful site for finding ante-post bets: it’s under OUTRIGHTS).

SYAM is classy and versatile. He hammered Bristol de Mai last time over 20 furlongs at Carlisle and also finished last season with a 3rd in the Scottish Grand National over 32 furlongs. He’s had just 7 chases and could be improving fast if his Carlisle win is taken fully on merit (I just have a slight doubt that Bristol De Mai ran his race; he never looked comfortable that day, but that could be simply because SYAM never allowed him to. The winner should have the benefit of the doubt until there is more evidence.)

His big festival price will have a fair bit to do with him being trained by a man unknown much beyond the Scottish Borders where he trains fewer than 20 jumpers – Sandy Thomson. Sandy seems determined to campaign the horse seriously as a stayer, although his Carlisle win suggests he could run a big race in the Ryanair.

Anyway, 50/1 should look great value after Saturday, even though Thistlecrack is a beast from another planet and should win the Gold Cup. It would nice to have a backup at a long price in the shape of Seeyouatmidnight. Let’s hope he does not live up to his name.

Good luck


40/1 plot in the Greatwood?

It’s always a joy when you think you’ve spotted a plot horse. Often, the joy lasts only until shortly after the off, but anyway, here we go.

A horse called Song Light runs in Sunday’s Greatwood Hurdle, the 2.30 at Cheltenham.

On the face of it he has little to recommend him. He’s near the foot of the handicap with 10.3 and, at a glance, has not run for 330 days. His form figures read: 5/375. His trainer, Seamus Mullins is not well known, nor is his young jockey, the 5lb claimer Kevin Jones.

Last time he ran at Cheltenham was two years ago in a Novices Handicap hurdle, where he finished third. Here’s his form comment:

Took time to settle, but really caught the eye out wide nearing the home turn and probably would have given the winner a little more to think about had he launched his challenge earlier. Still improving, there must be an opening for him soon.

He won next time out and has not won again since. But he’s competed in some decent races. In May 2015 he ran 3rd in The Swinton – should have been 2nd had his rider not put up 2lbs overweight (he was beaten a neck for 2nd).

He ran next on the Gerry Fielden at Newbury and was disappointing, always in rear last of 7 behind Sternrubin, who’s fancied for Saturday.

He ran much better next time in The Ladbroke when 5th of 21 to the dead.heaters Sternrubin and Jolly’s Cracked It. Since then – 330 days, he has not been seen…on a jumps track. Two weeks ago he was 3rd of 11 in a Nottingham handicap on the flat, beaten just under two lengths. Here’s his form comment:

Song Light was backed at big odds and stayed on late along the inside, albeit proving no match for the front pair.

His run before that was after that long layoff when he was down the field in an all-weather race.

Song Light has talent and he’s only 6. He seems not to have had the best of luck and it looks like he thrives in a big field off a hot pace: he should get both on Sunday. The going will not trouble him. His young claiming jockey knows him very well and, on paper, he is far ftom what he seems.

He looks great value to me at 40/1, though going by his form figures, you’d want to bet him each way. Half a dozen bookies offer that price – have a look at Oddschecker.

Good luck.


Don Poli at 84/1…in theory

riskDon Poli has his first run for Gordon Elliott tomorrow. He’s in the JN wine Chase at Down Royal (2.35) and I’ve backed him at 5/1.  On recent form he’ll struggle, but I’m hoping they change tactics. Branded a thorough stayer, he’s usually switched off in the hope he can come late and pick up the pieces.

But the horse has some speed in him too. He won the Martin Pipe at the 2014 Festival over 20 furlongs having been, according to his jockey, ‘flat out for the first mile and a half’. And perhaps that’s what Don Poli needs. He’s a lazy big sod and if he was a human and he worked for you, you wouldn’t be saying at the start of his shift, ‘Hey, Don, just take it easy. Have a nap in your chair, have some coffee and cake. When there’s two minutes left of your shift we’ll roust you out with a whip and you can get everything done then.’

No, you’d keep on top of big Don all day to get him doing what he needs to. If Barry Geraghty does that tomorrow, we might see a different horse (and we might not, but I think it’s worth a try). If my theory is correct, then 85 on Betfair for the King George will look a very big price indeed. If I’m wrong, well…it’s up to you if you think the price merits the risk. I’ve taken some.

Here’s hoping

Good luck



Thistlecrack for the Betfair?

spyglassPoor old Cue Card just got tired today in the Charlie Hall but battled on as usual with his lion heart. Write him off at your peril.

Trainer Tizzard says he’ll still go for the Betfair Chase, but I wonder if he’ll be tempted to run Thistlecrack too.  If Coneygree turns up it will likely be his first run for a year (though he goes well fresh). Djakadam might run, but I doubt Tizz would be afraid of him. It’s probably too early in the season for Vautour and Don Cossack is highly unlikely to be there given his injury. His trainer has said he will not be seen on track this year.

I think it’s worth a small bet at 20/1 that Thistlecrack will take his chance in what is likely to be a small field, which would offset his inexperience over fences.

Good luck




Oscar Rock worth backing at 28/1

binocularsI had a fruitless season following Oscar Rock last year. After his Chase win at Market Rasen I thought he’d go on to better things and bet accordingly, but he disappointed and failed to win another race.  Still, I think he has talent and won’t desert him yet, especially at 28/1 (Paddy Power) back over  hurdles.

He runs at Wetherby in the 2.45, The West Yorkshire Hurdle. It’s normally a reasonably classy affair with one or two World Hurdle aspirants. It doesn’t look that strong this season and he’s worth taking a chance with. Oscar Rock has won on 3 out of 4 seasonal debuts. This is the time of year to catch him. Shame there is not just one extra runner to help each way backers with a third place.

Good luck


Back Silvergrove at 80/1 for the Grand National

national_jumpersSilvergrove was moved to Ben Pauling’s yard last season and should have been 3 from 3 going into the Cheltenham Festival. On his debut for Pauling he unshipped his rider when leading on the run in after the saddle separated from its tree.  He went on to win at Newbury and Kempton then headed to Cheltenham  for the Kim Muir. In that race he disputed the lead throughout, jumping superbly (his trainer says he’s the best jumper he has handled), but paid for being in the van by fading late to finish 3rd of 22 carrying 11.5

Pauling (better know for training Barters Hill) must get him a higher handicap mark to guarantee a run in the National and the trainer says he will attempt to do that in the Becher Chase over the National fences in December. If successful there, Pauling says he will not be seen again until the weights are published.

Silvergrove will be 9 come National day. He has the pace to be up there early and avoid trouble, though will probably need to be ridden more conservatively than in the Kim Muir. His jumping is sound, he is improving (he’s improved, officially, by 23 lbs since joining Pauling) and he’d be too big a price at 40/1 never mind 80/1 – Bet 365.

Good luck, and remember that ante-post betting can be a hazardous pursuit!