Month: March 2017

Lucky 15 Friday March 31st

Friday 6.30pm 

Hope you all enjoyed the latest blog “Kevin Blake says you shouldn’t do it” and Part II “You can’t win anything with kids” is on the way.

They are certainly not short of runners at Doncaster for the start of the Flat season but I’ll stick with the Jumps until April 18th at least. Two excellent cards on Sunday, at Fairyhouse and especially Ascot.

However obviously had to have a go at the Lincoln handicap. Favourite Yuften is too short at 9/2 from stall 14 and what I know of Town Moor you want to be either lowest five (1-5) stalls or highest five (18-22) and as the pace looks to be on the low side I’ve gone with Ryan Moore, Richard Hannon and Oh This Is Us as a hold up horse from stall two at 14/1 one star* each way at 14/1 with SkyBet 1,2,3,4,5,6  one fifth odds with a one star* win on Dolphin Vista at 14/1 as Fahey seems bullish on his chances, been gelded, possible improvement and Hanagan rides Dolphin Vista in preference to the other four Musley bank inmates and a one star* win on Bravery at 14/1 who races on the other side, drawn 20, for O’Meara and Tudhope, is ex-Coolmore, a son of Galileo and I’m reminded of Mondialiste! All Best Odds Guaranteed of course!

Right let’s have a look at those tasty Sunday jumping cards.

 

Sundays Lucky 15

No prices available yet. I will update Sunday morning 11am.

Ascot 2.00                               TALES OF THE TWEED                       

Ascot 2.30                               GREGARIOUS 

Ascot 3.05                               BROTHER TEDD                     

Ascot 4.15                               NO DUFFER                            

and hopefully this is why

Ascot 2.00                               TALES OF THE TWEED            I’ve been waiting for him to reappear since before Christmas as he has shaped well so far and has always been well thought of. He drops back a couple of furlongs here as well as dropping a grade. Trainer Nicky Henderson remains bullish on his stanjames blog. “Tales Of The Tweed made his hurdles debut over course and distance and has been running well. I think this is a nice race for him at this time of the year and I can see him going close.”

Ascot 2.30                               GREGARIOUS 4yo handicap hurdles aren’t the best betting mediums but I think Gregarious could be well in at the weights at a reasonable price not being from a “sexy” yard. Leighton Aspell has got the fractions spot on in his last two races making every yard on Lucy Wadham’s grey and the victory in a C3 handicap at Sandown has been franked by the second Deauville Crystal who bolted up at Newbury this week. Only put up 3lbs gets to race off just 10st 9lbs here. Three of the top four in the weights were well beaten in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival just a fortnight ago and this is a big ask so soon.

Ascot 3.05                               BROTHER TED Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson are currently running hot and they had been hopeful for Brother Tedd in the Close Brothers novice handicap chase on day one of the Cheltenham Festival but he just missed the cut and that may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. He’s best going right handed, will enjoy the good ground and as an OR155 rated hurdler has every chance in this competitive C3 novice chase. His second here to Different Gravy makes him a serious player. Richard Johnson Betway blog “There’s a decent card at Ascot on Sunday and the one I’m most looking forward to is Brother Tedd in the novices’ chase. He hasn’t won over fences yet, but has run some decent races and likes it around Ascot. We thought he had a good chance at Cheltenham, so it’s a shame he was balloted out of the novices’ handicap.”

Ascot 4.15                               NO DUFFER Its back to one of my favourite pairings of Adrian Heskin and Tom George with No Duffer having his second go in a Veterans Chase having been run down by Just a Par over two furlongs further at Newbury. He’ll love the Good ground and Ascot will be fine as he a tendency at times to jump right. Many of the opposition seem to be suffering from past tough campaigns although the danger could be last time winner and Good ground lover Al Alfa who steps up in trip for that pesky Hobbs/Johnson combo. Richard Johnson Betway blog “Al Alfa has been a great servant and has his first start of the campaign in the veterans’ chase.

He’s in good order at home and will definitely appreciate the surface. He’s one that likes the sun on his back.”

 

Fridays Lucky 15

Not great! Two non-runners for reasons various, one pulled up lame and a sixth!

Wetherby 2.20                       QUIDS IN                                 Non Runner   (3/1 Lads 11/4 general) 

Reason for non participation? Travel! Missed a bus?      

Wetherby 3.20                       SWOOP TO CONQUER           PU 11/1           (6/1 general)

BHA Stewards “The Veterinary Officer reported that SWOOP TO CONQUER (IRE), which pulled up, trained by Nicky Henderson, finished lame on its left fore.”

Fontwell 4.10                         LAND LEAGUE                        Non Runner    (7/2 PP +WH and going fast!)       

Reason for non participation? Going (changed since declaration)

Wetherby 4.20                       OUR DELBOY                          6th 10/1           (6/1 WH 5/1 general 4/1PP?)  

Drifted like a barge but ran OK, beaten about five lengths. May be worth putting in the tracker. 

 

Friday 31 March 2017 Irish Independent Johnny Ward March 31 2017 2:30 AM

Apple’s Jade, second-favourite to Buveur D’Air for the Aintree Hurdle on Thursday, will not run. A brilliant winner in Cheltenham’s Mares’ Hurdle over Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini in a stirring contest, she is to stay at home, with Supasundae now potentially Ireland’s major hope in the Grade One. “Everything is fine with Apple’s Jade but she’s being kept for Ireland later in the season,” Gigginstown’s Eddie O’Leary told the Irish Independent. This race appears at the mercy of Buveur D’Air, a most impressive winner of the Champion Hurdle, though there is a chance that JP McManus will run Jezki in the race too. We’ll see,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry, “but the plan is for Buveur D’Air to run. Jezki is in the three-mile Liverpool Hurdle but there’s a good chance he’ll go in the Aintree Hurdle. More than likely Yanworth will run in the Liverpool Hurdle.”

Gigginstown’s plans for the week are not set in stone, but O’Leary intimated that the operation may run some of its top chasers, and more than may have been expected in the Randox Health Grand National. His brother, Michael, pulled out his better horses from the big race tomorrow week due to a disagreement with senior British handicapper Phil Smith. The O’Leary brothers are still calling for Smith to publish his Irish ratings weekly. Eddie said: “We may run Thunder And Roses, Rogue Angel, Wounded Warrior, Measure Of My Dreams and Roi Des Francs in the National. We’re looking to run Empire Of Dirt And Outlander in the Aintree Bowl, though they’ve it to prove after Cheltenham.” O’Leary added that they would likely run some novices at Aintree, while promising bumper horses Samcro (Fairyhouse) and Poli Roi (Champion Bumper at Punchestown) are likely to be seen again this season.

Meanwhile, connections of The Crafty Butcher, which may run in the Topham at Aintree, have reacted with bemusement after he was hiked up 6lb in Britain after what appeared to be a moderate run at Wexford. The Paddy Power runner-up at Christmas at Leopardstown is owned by rugby stars Ian Madigan and Dominic Ryan, Patrick Mullins and also Paul Byrne, who said: “It’s a curious one, as the 5lb rise he got for Leopardstown kept him out of the Kim Muir. How do you get just a 5lb rise for being second in one of the biggest handicaps of the year, yet 6lb for finishing third in a veterans’ race at Wexford in which the second horse raced from out of the handicap?”

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Kevin Blake said don’t do it!

Friday March 30th 2.15pm

The Cheltenham festival may have come and gone for this season but there is plenty to look forward for all students of the National Hunt game. On both sides of the Irish Sea there are head to head contests to be Champion trainer and I don’t believe any of the four protagonists if they say “it’s just a bit of fun” as these guys win big races as a matter of routine but being Champion Trainer is important for them personally, their staff, their owners and all connected to the yard. Not much mileage in the advertising logo “Second best trainer 2017”!

So in the UK it’s Nicholls v Henderson with the big guns going for Aintree, Ayr and finally Sandown on the last day of the season. Personally I think the canny Team Ditcheat will just shade it as Paul Nicholls “wants” it whilst Nicky Henderson would “like” it to be Seven Barrows although I often under-estimate Henderson’s competitive streak!

Now the Irish contest is something different altogether. Willie Mullins v Gordon Elliott. So many sub plots and an undercurrent that could turn personal very quickly especially if a Mr M. O’Leary gets time on a microphone! It is the Irish contest I wish to concentrate on as I think there is some money to be made.

Let’s start off with some bold statements.

Victory in their respective home Grand Nationals will seal the deal.

Just about certainly for Nicky Henderson if he breaks his duck in the race but he has just one runner in Cocktails at Dawn who is an upwards of 66/1 to do so. Definitely for Paul Nicholls and he has two live chances in the classy Saphir du Rheu (best priced 20/1) and last year’s Scottish National winner Vicente (solid 25/1). Failure of either to do so and I will be looking closely at the Ayr Scottish National three day programme, especially at who Nicky Henderson sends there.

If Willie Mullins wins at Fairyhouse I think it would be game over and he could be represented by Alechi Inois, Pleasant Company, Bachasson or Bellshill and maybe Haymount or Arbre de Vie. It would seem the first two are going to Aintree which for Alechi Inois is fine but from Willie Mullins point of view I would have thought he wanted Pleasant Company at Fairyhouse. He’s a bridle horse, he’s best going right handed, he needs some cut in the ground and he won last time out over 3m 1f at Fairyhouse. I can only presume Malcolm Denmark fancies a shot at Aintree for a piece of history and twice the money! That would leave the novices for the Irish National and he has mentioned Bellshill as “one for the race” but he may need him at Punchestown for the €100K 3m novice chase?

Gordon Elliott could saddle half the field courtesy of his Gigginstown battalions but even if he did win the Irish Grand National I am not convinced the Trainers championship would be over.

Willie Mullins is going to blow Gordon Elliott out of the water at Punchestown.

Now this is the part that “Kevin Blake said don’t do it!” You have got to get inside Willie Mullins head.

Before you start looking at the horses it is important to look at the Punchestown Festival race programme.

There are a total of 38 races including 12 Grade 1 contests. Four @ €250K, eight @ €100K plus two €100K bumpers and three €100K handicaps.

There are no intermediate trip Championship chases, the 2m 4f race is a handicap, the same for the novices which makes Yorkhill a wild card with both he and Un de Sceaux supposedly dropping back in trip!

There is no mares novice hurdle which means Closutton’s strong team in this division, Let’s Dance, Augusta Kate, Airlie Beach etc., could be taking on the geldings.

There are seven bumper races, two of which are €100K events and the Mare’s only event is worth just €50K which means the Cheltenham 1-2 of Fayonagh and Debuchet may go to Aintree for the valuable Grade 2 contest there. That makes this division wide open, Samcro and Poli Roi for Elliott and Getabird and Ballyward for Mullins, if he can get them fit, neither of which would surprise me. Indeed I expect both yards to pull some serious rabbits out of the hat when it comes to the bumpers.

So let’s look at the four big money Grade 1 races to start off with using current UK handicap marks to see where we stand.

Tuesday 5.30 Boylesports 2m Champion chase. No Douvan, out for the season. No Special Tiara, the Cheltenham winner, he’s going to Sandown to take on Altior! Gods Own OR165 will probably attempt to repeat the Aintree/Punchestown double of last season but surely WM will have him covered with Un de Sceaux OR171 on recent Tingle Creek form and all back runs. Indeed the only horse to beat Un de Sceaux over fences at two miles when he’s stood up is the mighty Sprinter Sacre!

Wednesday 5.30 Coral 3m 1f Punchestown Gold Cup chase. Jessica Harringtons Gold Cup winner Sizing John OR168 rightly dominates the market here. WM has Djakadam OR165 who will try to show that his mistake at Cheltenham’s second last cost him the race. Just like the Cheltenham version Djakadam has been runner up in the last two editions of this race. Gordon Elliott will be relying on two second season chasers in the shape of C&D Lexus chase winner Outlander OR168 and Empire of Dirt OR166 who will both have to take a giant step forward from their Cheltenham runs! Eddie O’Leary surprisingly suggests they may both go to Aintree for the Bowl. Looks a tasty race and if Coneygree OR166 or a Colin Tizzard inmate lined up that would add further spice.

Thursday 5.30 Ladbrokes 3m Champion Staying hurdle. WM would seem to be in the box seat here with his Cheltenham winner, Nicholls Canyon OR168 and strong back up in Shaneshill OR157 and Clondaw Warrior OR155. Snow Falcon would appear to be the biggest Irish danger but surely it will be any UK raiders to fear most. Lil Rockefeller OR168 was only beaten ¾ length at Cheltenham and with Aintree looking to be quick ground is a likely runner in Ireland. His last run was seven pounds better than anything before, can he repeat the dose? Cheltenham’s third was the financially calamitous Unowhatimeanharry OR166 who had been taking the division by storm up to that last run and if there was any real juice in the ground surely JP and Harry Fry would be tempted. Indeed the BHA handicapper put on his official blog, “With Aintree, Fairyhouse and Punchestown still to come, the picture could change again and Unowhatimeanharry is probably worth another chance to enhance his reputation. While only marginally below his pre-race rating of 167 here, he simply did not pick up in the usual manner after travelling into the race as well as any. Connections suggested the faster ground may have been a factor but he still looked a horse that was improving before the Festival and he has probably not flattened out just yet.”

Will Warren Greatrex send last year’s Punchestown winner, One Track Mind OR158, and what shape is he in? You are not going to win this year’s renewal off OR147!

There is of course another fly in the ointment in the shape of Pertemps Final handicap winner Presenting Percy OR159 who is improving at a rate of knots.

WM may need to fire all his arrows here and if Limini is looking 100% for the Mares that could include rabbit number one, Vroum Vroum Mag OR152.

Friday 5.30 BetDaq 2m Champion hurdle. Here’s rabbit number two. The $64 million dollar question is “Will we finally see the reappearance of Annie Power”? Willie Mullins March 28 2017, 08:56 Annie Power could run at Punchestown. We step up work in the next couple of weeks. Min is just OK, Annie is in better order.”  So Annie Power is OR166 (plus 7lbs mare allowance), Willie also has Arctic Fire OR162, Footpad OR157 and Wicklow Brave OR155 (however looks destined for a Flat campaign) not to mention the other two mares with their 7lb allowances Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag both on OR152. The Elliott team should include Petit Mouchoir OR160 and possibly his best mare, Apples Jade OR154. Nicky Henderson is considering travelling over Brain Power OR162 after Cheltenham’s disappointment. If Annie Power misses the race it is wide open, if she turns up she is ten pounds plus well in!

 

I fully expect Un de Sceaux, Djakadam, Nicholls Canyon and yes, Annie Power, to turn up at Punchestown fit and ready to run the race of their life. The only one I would back now is Un de Sceaux and 4/5 is not my kind of price but I could see him going off south of 1/3 on the day.

Going to post this now and we’ll look at the novices and the handicaps in Part 2 “You can’t win anything with kids”.

Lucky 15 Thursday March 30th

Thursday 6.30pm Wetherby and Fontwell on Friday, neither really sets the pulse racing but we will give it a go. Just seen this on twitter “BHA Press Office‏ @BHAPressOffice  4.55pm @betonsportstips We would agree that in recent years this has been one of the lower quality Fridays in the calendar.”

Saturday and Sunday sees Doncaster kick off the 2017 Flat season then it’s just Leicester on Friday until it really begins on Monday April 11th. Unsatisfactory but that’s the way it is. Excellent NH card at Ascot on Sunday, where by the way they have already watered (!?), so the Lucky 15 I put up tomorrow night, Friday, will be for the Berkshire track on Sunday.

Deep in research for a blog on the Champion trainer title contests both sides of the Irish Sea with hopefully some serious Punchestown pointers in Part 1, Aintree in Part 2 and Ayr in Part 3!

Fridays Lucky 15

Wetherby 2.20                       QUIDS IN                                 3/1 Lads 11/4 general       

Wetherby 3.20                       SWOOP TO CONQUER           6/1 general

Fontwell 4.10                         LAND LEAGUE                        7/2 PP +WH and going fast!       

Wetherby 4.20                       OUR DELBOY                          6/1 WH 5/1 general 4/1PP?                              

 and hopefully this is why

Wetherby 2.20                       QUIDS IN Lets kick off with the Oliver Greenall 4yo who has already won this season at Uttoxeter and form behind Long Call at Hereford and Dinsdale at Newbury looks strong in the context of this C4 novice hurdle for conditional jockeys. Market rivals Kings Tempest and Soldier of Fortune both look beatable. For the former it’s his seventh try over hurdles in thirty months (?) and although he has been highly tried at times is still to get his head in front. For the latter the concession of seven pounds may be too much although it was Jamie Hamilton who won on him previously. Keep an eye on Skywards Reward, currently a 33/1 shot for Micky Hammond but he is a son of Dubawi and ex-Godolphin via Bloomfields picked up for just £12K!

Wetherby 3.20                       SWOOP TO CONQUER Sent off at just 4/1 to win the C3 Challenger qualifier at Doncaster over 3m+ was caught out by the ground. BHA Stewards “The representative of Nicky Henderson, the trainer of SWOOP TO CONQUER (IRE), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was unsuited by the Good to Soft, Soft in places going, which in their opinion was riding dead, and would prefer a quicker surface.” Will have to hope there is bit more life in the ground here as the drop in grade and trip make this look a suitable target as trainer Nicky Henderson spreads his net to capture this seasons Champion trainers title.

Fontwell 4.10                         LAND LEAGUE Hailing from the Stuart Edmunds yard, they had a 40/1 winner at the Cheltenham festival, Land League makes his handicap debut here and his Irish PtP suggests he will appreciate stepping up in trip and should be a better horse on this Spring ground. Two of his three hurdle runs to date were solid enough finishing placed to Azzuri and to Solighoster. That could be enough to win a C4 on the Sussex track off an opening mark of OR110.

Wetherby 4.20                       OUR DELBOY It has to be one of the handicap debutantes for me which gives a shortlist of three. Suggestion for Philip Kirby would be the bravest shout. He won his bumper at Southwell on debut and this son of Dansili has improved his position on each of his tree attempts at hurdling but just isn’t getting any closer distance-wise to being a winner. Focaccia (It’s a bread not a dodgy illness!) for the Skeltons who hasn’t been seen since mid-November would probably be the sexy shout but this 6yo son of Milan is fairly high in the weights for what he has achieved! So we’ll plump for the inform pairing of Donald McCain and Will Kennedy with Our Delboy. He’s definitely improving and his Racing Post Ratings suggest he has been keeping decent company. OR107 seems a workable opening mark for the grey son of Multiplex.

 

Thursdays Lucky 15

Last night I wrote “Wouldn’t blame you if you went half stake each way. Personally it’s first or nowhere!” Makes not a fig of difference if they run like they did!

Warwick 3.25                         CYCLOP                                               4th 9/2                         (10/1 general)

Being a Paul Kealy (Racing Post) selection saw the price halve. Gallops fine but just down by his jumping, not willing to have a real cut at the fences. The day he gets a soft lead he’ll hack up.       

Taunton 3.35                          RED TORNADO                                   3rd 16/1           (7/1 general)

Ridiculous price but outran his SP. Held up early on inside. Progress down back straight. Reached for second last but kept on. Not a lot of him but game as a pebble.

Warwick 4.00                         SAINT JOHN HENRY                           PU 10/1           (12/1 general

Held up in midfield. That was my cunning plan out of the window! Raced on the inside on what seemed the worst of the ground. Soon labouring, tailed off, pulled up. Ground may have been worse than the stated “Soft”.  

Warwick 4.35                         PUPPET WARRIOR                             3rd 9/4             (7/2 general)

Ran into at least one! Reinforces my opinion of Nick Gifford and If I had known the SP’s I would have put up the sexy Skelton horse! (After timing forbidden-Ed)  

 

By the way the winner, Whiskey in the Jar, is getting some rave reviews on Twitter.

“BetVictor Racing‏ @BetVictorRacing  28m28 minutes ago @WarwickRaces Winning British debut for @DSkeltonRacing and @harryskelton89 – looks a smart one.”

“Callum Connochie‏ @Connochie7  Get him in your notebooks lads. WHISKEY IN THE JAR. Very impressive. Similar type to Robin Roe. Remember the name.”

Talking of smart horses Karalee, much touted Rich Ricci/Mullins mare made a facile winning return after 690 days off the track as irishracing.com reported “The daughter of Martaline made an impressive Irish debut at Killarney back in 2015, and this performance was equally pleasing on the eye. The 1/2 favourite, the only runner on the card for champion trainer Willie Mullins, made most of the running and was in command from two out. Ruby Walsh had his only anxious moment when she pecked slightly at the last before coming home an effortless 15 lengths clear of Goulane Davina. Polar Present was a further seven lengths away in third. Walsh said, “She tanked along. She won on much better ground at Killarney, so you would hope she will be fine on much better ground than that. She’s not that big but can jump and should be good over a fence as well.”

Lucky 15 Wednesday March 29th

Wednesday 6.00pm Competitive cards at Taunton and Warwick for us UK NH fans plus a grade 3 novice chase and a rated novice hurdle at Limerick. That’s more like it! When looking for winners surely the two biggest factors will be going and days off.

Aintree meeting only a week away and hopefully between now and Sunday a few more trainers might give us their running plans.

Just appeared on Twitter. 5:05PM, MAR 29 2017 Robbie Power’s Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning ride on Sizing John has earned him a new job as retained rider to Alan and Ann Potts, and he will be on board Finian’s Oscar and Fox Norton at Aintree next week. First reply was “Give it a year”!?

Thursdays Lucky 15

Wouldn’t blame you if you went half stake each way. Personally it’s first or nowhere!

Warwick 3.25                         CYCLOP                                               10/1 general       

Taunton 3.35                          RED TORNADO                                   7/1 general

Warwick 4.00                         SAINT JOHN HENRY                           12/1 general       

Warwick 4.35                         PUPPET WARRIOR                             7/2 general       

                            

 and hopefully this is why

 

Warwick 3.25                         CYCLOP Plenty of horses here that have been hitting the bar without winning in busy winter campaigns. So I’m going for youth on the grounds he may still have some improvement to come. He is only two pounds higher than his last win which was here at Warwick over this trip and hopefully the drying ground will help him get home. Nothing wrong with his last run when second to Court Frontier. Amazed he’s the outsider of the seven!

Taunton 3.35                          RED TORNADO Dan Skelton has got his yard buzzing after a disappointing Festival, indeed I thought Red Tornado might sneak in to one of the handicaps at the Festival. He won four on the bounce last spring/summer including the Listed Summer hurdle at Market Rasen and may have gone over the top when he went off 3/1F in the Listed hurdle at the same track in September. Given a break since, he had a spin on the AW three weeks ago to take the fizziness out of him and blow away a few cobwebs and he should be ready to go on his favoured Good ground. Bridget Andrews who has won on him before and she claims a useful 3lbs.

Warwick 4.00                         SAINT JOHN HENRY Simply the hardest race across the two NH cards so you just have to give it a go, 9/2 the field! The favourite is a lightly raced improver trained by Kim Bailey but has to defy an 8lb rise here. Saint John Henry disappointed in a hot Pertemps qualifier over C&D but his two previous two visits to the course over this trip had seen a narrow second and a victory. The aim will to be to make every post a winning one and I will trust the experienced Tom Scudamore to get his fractions right and give David Pipe two winners in two days.

Warwick 4.35                         PUPPET WARRIOR Three seconds in three goes but every time I think he has “run into one”! Certainly the case with If The Cap Fits, probably with Carlos de Fruitier and maybe with Larry! Young Mr Gifford isn’t my favourite trainer but I think Tom Scudamore can get this one home.

The obvious danger is the once raced in Ireland Whiskey in the Jar but how long has he been with the Skeltons? Long enough to get him straight? The owner, Mrs Barbara Hester, is an interesting lady, she also owns Robin Roe and Knockgraffon. She also has a colourful personal CV. She is the ex-wife of RBS head Stephen Hester and got their £8.6million Holland Park mansion as part of the divorce settlement. She is a Master of Foxhounds in Warwickshire. Doubt if she buys cheap.

“I wanna tell you a story”

Tuesday March 28th 6.15pm

This is very definitely the race that got away. Nothing I enjoy more than identifying novice hurdlers who are given an opening handicap mark that grossly under-estimates their ability. I was sure I had found one in The Storyteller trained by Gordon Elliott. Caught my eye on hurdling debut when I was watching the much touted Monbeg Notorious and The Storyteller was running all over him but came down at the second last. The Storyteller then ran a strong second to a Graded bound Monalee before hacking up at Down Royal. In the post-race interview Elliott said the owners “liked a runner at Cheltenham”. The Martin Pipe seemed the obvious target if he could get a mark of OR145 or less.

Elliott then pulled a masterstroke. He entered twelve horses for the handicaps for the Trials meeting at Cheltenham at the end of January. That dozen included the likes of Tombstone, Diamond King, Squouateur, Runfordave and The Storyteller. The BHA handicapper gave The Storyteller OR138 and I piled in at 25/1. No way could that mark go up by 7lb+ for a horse standing in his box. Elliott didn’t run any of the twelve at that Cheltenham trials meeting. He was fishing. With an English mark in the bag he had six weeks to work his magic and knew what he was aiming at.

As it happens, with The Storyteller’s form being continually franked the Irish handicapper did raise The Storyteller 4lbs to OR142 but when the Cheltenham weights came out the British handicapper had just followed suit. By now The Storyteller was as short as 5/1 favourite and the bullish trainer was putting him up as his charity bet at every Cheltenham preview he attended. Donagh Myler had a steering job!

The last Saturday morning before the Festival Racing Post headline “Well-fancied The Storyteller ruled out of Martin Pipe” was a dagger to the heart. “”Unfortunately The Storyteller pulled a muscle while exercising this morning and will not make it to the festival.” Of all the horses he galloped that morning, why him? No problem for the owners, disappointment yes, but they had Runfordave ready and waiting to come off the bench and he ran a great race to finish third. His mark has risen two pounds from OR140 to OR142. Now the bit that really rubs salt in the wound. Gordon Elliott DID win the race with the Gigginstown horse, Champagne Classic, that owner Michael Leary later described as “one of his duds”. How many of you noticed it was backed from an opening show of 20/1 to an SP of 12/1? Some dud!

Sorry but the Storyteller would have had those two and all the rest for breakfast!

However the cat is out of the bag and if The Storyteller is fit enough for Punchestown I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in the Grade 1 Novice hurdle on the Friday. He is still off OR142 which makes the Saturday handicap over the same trip an option. The Storyteller will make one hell of a novice chaser!

Talking of which, despite the owners opinion you have to take Champagne Classic seriously over fences as this son of Stowaway follows in the hoofprints of a couple of serious horses who have won this race for Gigginstown, namely Don Poli and Sir Des Champs!

So what else was in the 2017 version of:-

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Cheltenham 2017 2m 4f 0-145 New Course

Not a lot to report during the race. The winner, Champagne Classic, kept in very simple, out of trouble three wide throughout, never missed a beat at his hurdles, took it up running to the last, led by two lengths and maintained the margin to the line.

Verni was second and this lightly raced 8yo did well with to compete with so many young improvers. Phillip Hobbs sent him here after winning a ‘seniors’ hurdle at Taunton and there may be more to come at Aintree, Ayr, Perth? Mark up 4lbs to a still workable OR139.

Elliott had the third Runfordave who many think will now step up to three miles. If the trainer thinks he can snaffle a race with him at Fairyhouse or Punchestown or anywhere else in Ireland I can’t see him coming to Aintree.

Runfordave Runfordave’s revised BHA rating will not be published until he’s entered in another British handicap but it looks pretty obvious the assessor has rated the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle around Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old, who finished a very solid third under Donagh Meyler. Runner-up Verni has been bumped up 4lb to 139, fourth Coo Star Sivola up 2lb to 140 and fifth Thomas Campbell is also up to 139 from 137. This has a rich history of producing quality future chasers and while Runfordave could certainly be the next one to enhance the trend, he’s also of significant interest for the more immediate future. He won so well on heavy ground at Clonmel in February and stamina looked his forte again at the Festival as he boxed on bravely on ground probably slightly quicker than he cares for. He already looks to be crying out for three miles and a move up in trip is expected to bring about further progression. The opening event on Grand National day itself, a race Gordon Elliott ran three in last spring, looks tailor-made. (Matt Brocklebank sportinglife.com March 23 2017)

The fourth horse Coo Star Sivola looked the benchmark horse. The 5yo certainly acts well here in this part of Gloucestershire and this was a solid performance as he set many of the fractions. If they decide to keep him hurdling next season he could have a profitable time in any C2 handicap here from 2m-2m4f, from the Greatwood to the Coral Cup/County before he goes novice chasing as a 6yo.

If there was any horse who could have had a bit more luck it was the fifth, Thomas Campbell, who had to switch running to the last but the front two had flown. Spring ground brings out the best of this horse and I would expect him to be an Aintree player in whichever race his trainer, Nicky Henderson, chooses.

Thomas Campbell He didn’t have much cover early on in the Martin Pipe, racing on the outside of the eventual winner, and he appeared to over-race slightly, before losing his position going into the back straight. From that point on it was a really encouraging effort and none were finishing quite as well as he up the hill. This was his first go in a handicap and the experience looked like it might do him the power of good as he still looked inexperienced when first asked to go about his business. Being nudged up a couple of pounds won’t do his chances of getting in the better races any harm and on this basis he’s potentially still a step or two ahead of the assessor from 139. Ben Aitken

Henderson had another in this race, Rather Be, who was shorter in the market but was unfortunately put out of the race early on when Gibralfaro fell. Health permitting he would also be of interest next time.

Stanjamesblog Fri, 03/24/2017 @jackh1092 What are the plans with RATHER BE after his early fall in the Martin Pipe? He never comes out of his races that well and was quite sore after Cheltenham but he’s back on track now and we’ll look at where to go with him next. I really fancied his chances at the Festival so it was disappointing what happened. He will run again this season with a bit of luck.

Others to note were No Comment, who made up his ground too quickly from two out and didn’t get up the hill and Battleford who was too far back in a slow run race but that will put him spot on for Punchestown. Another Mullins title chasing foot soldier!

A race full of exciting prospects but not the Story I wanted to Tell!!

Lucky 15 Tuesday March 28th

Tuesday 6.00pm No Lucky 15 tonight with Wednesdays cards being three AW meetings and a Sedgefield meeting that doesn’t inspire me at all! Got about as far as Helmsley Lad in the four runner novice hurdle at 4.45 to make use of the 7lbs he receives, maybe, possibly. Then I gave up!

Let’s see if I can finish off a post-Cheltenham blog and get it on-line tonight.

Tuesdays Lucky 15

Hexham 3.30                          RYEDALE RACER                                 4th 9/2             (5/1 general)   

Travelled OK but nothing in the home straight and one would have to assume now needs some help from the handicapper.   

Hexham 4.00                          HATTONS HILL                                    1st 11/4F          (7/2 general)

Hope I was positive enough last night to persuade you to back this one on his own. Outstayed a one paced Gibbstown, who had been on the bridle running to the last, on Hexham’s taxing run in.

Southwell 2.40                       AZERT DE COUER                               PU 9/2 (6/1 C 11/2 L 9/2 WH, 4/1 PP !! )

Prominent to 5th, weakened. BHA Stewards Reports “The Veterinary Officer reported that AZERT DE COEUR (FR), which pulled up, trained by Venetia Williams, bled from the nose.” Oh dear.

Southwell 3.40                       FIFTY BOB                                           5th 11/2           (7/2 general)  

Not helped by leader jumping right, pushed into contention throughout second circuit, mistake two out, weakened.     

 

FESTIVAL NEWS

Small Aintree team for trainer Willie Mullins March 28 2017, 08:56

Willie Mullins has no plans to descend upon Aintree next week with an army of horses. The County Carlow handler was last season well represented at the three-day meeting as he was embroiled with Paul Nicholls in a fascinating clash for the British trainers’ title. But Mullins told the Irish Independent: “I normally don’t have a big team at Aintree. “Last year we were (going for the trainers’ title) but this year we are reverting to normal. We’ll run a couple in the National, Pleasant Company and Alelchi Inois. We could have a bumper horse and possibly something in the Aintree Hurdle. Footpad is maybe more Punchestown-bound. For Nichols Canyon, we are looking at Punchestown and the race in America (Calvin Houghland Iroquois) in May, in which he ran last year. I imagine the juveniles will be kept for Punchestown.”

Mullins reports his six Cheltenham Festival winners to have recovered well from their exertions, and issued a positive bulletin on Annie Power, who missed the big meeting due to injury. He said: “They have come out of the Festival very well. Also Annie Power could run at Punchestown. We step up work in the next couple of weeks. Min is just OK, Annie is in better order.”

Mullins believes Yorkhill did enough in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival to make him a worthy contender for next season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. The seven-year-old is unbeaten in three tries over fences and is already as low as 6/1 about winning the Gold Cup next March. His trainer said: “Yorkhill is settling and he is jumping. That he can jump around Cheltenham and that his pedigree is a real old-fashioned chasing, one would tell me the progression would be the Gold Cup on that performance. He’s learning and maturing. This time next year he could be that (Gold Cup) direction.”

 

Racing Post Graham Dench 9:19AM, MAR 28 2017

Harry Fry will bypass Aintree with both Neon Wolf and American and wait instead for Punchestown at the end of April, where their participation will hinge upon there being enough give underfoot. Fry endured a frustrating Cheltenham, when Neon Wolf was beaten a head by Willoughby Court in the Neptune after an awkward jump at the last, Unowhatimeanharry was only third when odds-on for the Stayers’ Hurdle, Air Horse One was a close fourth in the County Hurdle, and American missed the RSA Chase owing to quickening ground.

Unknowhatimeanharry‘s possible participation in the 3m Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree on Grand National day has yet to be confirmed by owner JP McManus’s racing manager Frank Berry, but Fry said neither Neon Wolf nor American, who bolted up at Uttoxeter on testing ground the day after the festival finished, would run at the meeting.

Fry, who said there are no plans for Air Horse One, confirmed: “Neon Wolf will be entered in the two-and-a-half mile novice hurdle (Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle) at Punchestown, and if he runs again it will be there, but it’s the last week in April and it will be ground dependent. American will have an entry there in the three-mile novice chase [Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Steeplechase] but he needs genuinely soft ground and might wait until the autumn.”

Lucky 15 Friday March 27th

Monday 5.30pm Miserable punting weekend!

Away from my little world, Arrogate was massively impressive, Willie Mullins is really starting to rock with Open Eagle looking impressive as he gears up to blow Gordon Elliott out of the water at Punchestown! Ears pricked up when he suggested Bellshill could be the one for the Irish National! Had a little Ante Post dabble.

If my twitter time line today is anything to go by, the revamped Racing Post website has a little way to go! Call me a cynic but no surprise if it works perfectly if you want to place a bet from your phone but anyone who uses it as a research vehicle is struggling although I expect if you pay for Members Club it may be a tad better!

Keep your stakes low this week as the ground is drying out everywhere, Good to Firm in places at Plumpton today. Winter ground form out of the window and looks like low weights in handicaps!

Just seen this on twitter “Tom Scudamore‏ @tommyscu  5pm Monday “Happy retirement to shotavodka, gevrey chambertain, soll and red Sherlock. Had some great days on them all and all will get a loving home.” The Pipe’s need to do some serious shopping. Not much I can see in the Pond House pipeline!

Tuesdays Lucky 15

Hexham 3.30                          RYEDALE RACER                                 5/1 general       

Hexham 4.00                          HATTONS HILL                                    7/2 general

Southwell 2.40                       AZERT DE COUER                               6/1 C 11/2 L 9/2 WH, 4/1 PP !! 

Southwell 3.40                       FIFTY BOB                                           7/2 general       

and hopefully this is why

 Hexham 3.30                          RYEDALE RACER So I’ll now totally contradict myself here as it’s drying everywhere but Hexham and I’ll go for a top weight! Trained by Malcolm Jefferson and ridden by Brian Hughes, both of whom have been regular visitors to the winner’s enclosure this winter, Ryedale Racer has won on Heavy ground and on this course and this second attempt in handicap company is considerably easier than the first and simply put I think he is the best horse in the race!

Hexham 4.00                          HATTONS HILL One of the youngest in the field and may just have to repeat his novice chase win over course and distance just twelve days ago to collect here. He holds two on that form, The Bishops improved recent form was over hurdles and he is back chasing here, Gibbstown seems to have forgotten how to win. The ground may catch out Cleve Cottage as he tries to defy his 7lb rating rise.

Southwell 2.40                       AZERT DE COUER Venetia Williams has her string on song and the worthy 3lb claimer Charlie Deutsch can steer the selection to victory in this tight handicap, just seven pounds top to bottom. Drying ground should help this grade dropper get home.

Southwell 3.40                       FIFTY BOB Kim Bailey is well over his late 2016 blues and firing in the winners again with his trusted accomplice and Festival winning jockey David Bass. Fifty Bob could have won last time when blundering at the last and unseating his rider and can put matters straight here. Lightly raced, the extra half mile should be very much in his favour, no issue with ground or the grade.

 Saturdays Lucky 15

One winner in two days is pitiful and that had a 25p in the £ Rule 4! Getting the price every time so it’s not as though they are unbacked or unfancied just unplaced! More homework for me!!

Newbury 1.50                        VIEUX LILLE                             PU 4/1F           (6/1 general) 

BHA Stewards Reports “Richard Johnson, the rider of VIEUX LILLE (IRE), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding lost its action in the back straight.”      

Newbury 3.35                        HYGROVE PERCY                    6th 8/1             (11/1 general 9/1 PP)

Led early, weakened three out.       

Newbury 4.10                        SIR ANTHONY BROWNE        1st 8/11F          (7/4 general) 

Made hard work of it but still doesn’t look the finished article. More improvement to come?

Bangor 4.35                            THREE WAYS                          8th 7/2F           (13/2 Ladbrokes 6/1 general)

Drifted to 8/1 in the morning then smashed on course. Prominent early, lost place after jumping slowly at second flight, shuffled to rear and never overtook another horse. Desperate.      

Lucky 15 Friday March 24th

Friday 6.30pm Looking forward to the weekend racing from Scotland to Dubai, the start of the Irish turf Flat season and please a couple of winners on the Lucky 15!!

Amused to see what I suggested we discuss in last night’s blog was a major article on the subject, Mullins v Elliott, in today’s Racing Post. Glad they took the hint.

Saturdays Lucky 15

Newbury 1.50                        VIEUX LILLE                             6/1 general       

Newbury 3.35                        HYGROVE PERCY                    11/1 general 9/1 PP       

Newbury 4.10                        SIR ANTHONY BROWNE        7/4 general 

Bangor 4.35                            THREE WAYS                          13/2 Ladbrokes 6/1 general       

and hopefully this is why

Newbury 1.50                        VIEUX LILLE Ever since Vieux Lille was a running on second albeit at a respectable distance to Yala Enki in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock I’ve had him down to win a decent 3m+ staying chase. Good to Soft on fresh ground should be ideal and the Hobbs yard are flying post Cheltenham, four winners and five seconds, and a trade mark creepy, creepy ride from Richard Johnson should do the trick.

Newbury 3.35                        HYGROVE PERCY Keeps cropping up in form lines as I looked back at Cheltenham. Could easily have won five out of the last six but twice he got the final flight wrong. Has a racing weight and the peerless Noel Fehily in the saddle. The trainer seems fairly bullish.  Neil Mulholland blog http://www.jumpsracing.co.uk “We were pleased with Hygrove Percy on his re-appearance last time out and he wouldn’t have to improve much to be in the mix at Newbury on Saturday in the juvenile handicap hurdle.

Newbury 4.10                        SIR ANTHONY BROWNE Disappointing to be beaten last time at Fontwell, probably didn’t see out the extra 3f but steps back to two miles here on a galloping track on better ground. At the start of the season Sir Anthony Browne was expected to be a leading novice at Barbury Castle but not everything has gone to plan and this is an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways.

Bangor 4.35                            THREE WAYS Possibly the best horse in Jamie Snowdens yard but he just missed the cut in the Pertemps eight days ago so he should be as fit as a butchers dog and he goes to Bangor for a C3 instead of Kelso for C2. Ms Page Fuller, who rode him to victory last time, takes off 7lb giving him a racing weight. From his blog it is implied that he had a chance at the Festival and his owner, Mr David Brownlow (Made his money through the Huntswood Recruitment Agency then “In 2013 David founded Havisham Group, an investment and trading group that invests in both new and established business in the UK and overseas” and according to his website is “Philanthropist, mentor, friend”. He is apparently on the Rich List.) forked out £190K for this son of Flemensfirth and Jamie Snowden won’t have too many of those in his yard! Three Ways stayed on well to win at Doncaster last time and can take this en route to a successful chasing career.

Jamie Snowden News on Website “Having been placed in a Grade 2 at Chepstow and a Class 2 novice at Cheltenham earlier this season, I was delighted to get Three Ways into the winners enclosure in a competitive handicap at Doncaster last week. Page Fuller took 7lbs off top weight and gave him a terrific ride as he stayed on genuinely to the line when the second horse came to him. They pulled a mile clear of the 3rd horse home, who in turn was a mile clear of the remainder – so it was a decent performance. He will now go to the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.”

 

Across the cards there are a few others worth considering. Considering what I’ve said about Vieuyx Lille a solid run would be expected from Yala Enki in the televised 3.15 at Kelso. At Newbury it’s notebooks at the ready for the valuable bumper at 4.45 with plenty of lightly raced types from big yards. Meanwhile over in Ireland there is a reappearance from a horse that’s been in my tracker for372 days, Open Eagle, a wide margin November handicap winner before sent hurdling with Willie Mullins. It’s a watching brief as I’m sure he’s being prepped for Punchestown. However Ruby Walsh does ride so maybe he’s a trier? “I’d rather be starting him off over a shorter trip but the conditions of the race suit him and we’re hoping for a good performance

Talking of Irishmen and horses off a long break, Aiden O’Brien saddles Kingfisher in Meydan after 508 days off! Ryan Moore rides looking to make amends for the nightmare he had in the Ascot Gold Cup. Would be some training feat. Meanwhile back at Thurles at 3.55 there is a Listed novice chase with the likes of Great Field and Diamond King taking apart.

The Irish turf Flat season starts at Naas on Sunday. Paul Hanagan rides four for Richard Fahey. That’s all I’m saying! Fahey is in Dubai on Saturday hoping to see Ribchester and William Buick pocket a cool £2.8million for winning the Dubai Turf. Nice work if you can get it.

 Fridays Lucky 15

Doesn’t get much worse! No tea tonight, sitting on the naughty step, must do better!!

Newbury 2.30                        MIDNIGHT MONTY                PU 9/1             (8/1 general) 

I can only apologise, that was awful!  BHA Stewards Report “Nico de Boinville, the rider of MIDNIGHT MONTY, which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was never travelling.”   

Newbury 3.05                        SCOOBY                                              PU 7/1             (8/1 general)   

Opened on course at 11’s and backed in to 7’s. didn’t even make two out!   BHA Stewards Report “Kielan Woods, the rider of SCOOBY (IRE), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was hampered by the faller.”

Newbury 3.40                        VINNIE RED                            PU 7/4F           (10/3 Lads + BetFred)

Has an engine but jumping went to pot again and pulled up top of home straight. BHA Stewards Report “Paddy Brennan, the rider of VINNIE RED (IRE), the beaten favourite which was pulled up, reported that the gelding jumped poorly. The gelding’s trainer, Fergal O’Brien, added that VINNIE RED (IRE) had a breathing problem.” Back to the drawing board and probably a wind op?

Newbury 4.10                        I’M A GAME CHANGER          4th 13/8F         (7/4 Lads + BetFred) 

Every chance from two out but well beaten. Looks a chaser in the making.      

Lucky 15 Thursday March 23rd

Thursday 6.30pm Looking forward to seeing Kelso on terrestrial television on Saturday as part of the ITV coverage and keep it quiet but I might have two for the weekend. More news as soon as I’ve seen them declared tomorrow.

Willie Mullins is going to clean up at the Punchestown Festival at the end of April.

Gordon Elliott will saddle half the runners in the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday.

Willie Mullins is 5/2 to be champion trainer in Ireland.

Discuss!!

Fridays Lucky 15

Newbury 2.30                        MIDNIGHT MONTY                8/1 general       

Newbury 3.05                        SCOOBY                                              8/1 general       

Newbury 3.40                        VINNIE RED                            10/3 Lads + BetFred 

Newbury 4.10                         I’M A GAME CHANGER          7/4 Lads + BetFred       

and hopefully this is why

Newbury 2.30                        MIDNIGHT MONTY Plenty of disappointing types in here plus a possible improver in Global Dream who was beaten at Fakenham but has won twice at Leicester and is now up in trip and grade. The selection was with Keith Reveley and this home bred son of Midnight Legend is the first horse the owners have had with Tom Lacey. Twelve months ago he comfortably won a novice chase at Doncaster and with Newbury a similar flat, left handed galloping course I am hoping the new trainer will have him spot on for his first run in ten months to impress connections.

Newbury 3.05                        SCOOBY Love the trainer and jockey, Messrs McPherson and Woods, and if the hood works again this 6yo will enjoy the trip and the ground and could easily defy the 8lb rise he got for comfortably winning at Taunton last time.

Newbury 3.40                        VINNIE RED Disappointing last time here at Newbury, only third when well backed. I think this horse will leave his current mark of OR130 well behind in time and two reasons for sticking with him here. Firstly the prospect of better ground, it was “gluey” last time and secondly the application of a first time tongue tie. Big fan of the top weight Wild West Wind but I think Vinnie Red may have a bit too much speed for him. Keep an eye on Sykes because if he ever put in a clear round he has some serious back form.

Newbury 4.10                         I’M A GAME CHANGER Massively impressed with his last victory when he easily saw off the 4yo dino Velvet at Ludlow that I have to stick with him here. Hopefully Noel Fehily will set a strong pace on the top weight, Optimus Prime, and I think that target and this galloping track will see The Game Changer improve further. Wouldn’t want a sprint.

 

Thursdays Lucky 15

Two pigs, an almost and a very good winner returned at an excellent price and no non-runners! £9.25 back for our £15.

Chepstow 3.15                       BIG MEADOW                        3rd 5/6F           (6/4 WH 11/8 general) 

This horse is a fine specimen and led by six lengths at the second last but once again emptied drastically before the final flight. Avoid until news of a wind op!     

Cork 3.30                                GURTEEN                                6th 10/3           (7/2 WH 10/3 general)

I can only apologise. This horse didn’t lift a hoof! Two scenario’s, One is that he has an issue structurally or mentally or Two they are playing around and getting that handicap mark ready for Punchestown!

Ludlow 5.15                            MIDTECH VALENTINE                        2nd 3/1             (10/3 PP + WH 3/1 general)

Two errors in the last three flights didn’t help her try to win this race for the second year. Move on. Take note of the winner, Secret Door, who will now go to Haydock on Easter Saturday for the Mares final, a race she was third in last year. Fry is once again “a man with a plan”.

Ludlow 5.45                            WHATSWRONGWITHYOU                 1st 11/4           (9/4 general)    

Seems the hood did the trick. Sat out the back but swept past in the straight and won well. Nicky Henderson has some useful novices and bumpers and this could be one of the better ones. Definite tracker material.  

Lucky 15 Wednesday March 22nd  

Wednesday 6.00pm Pity it’s Heavy ground at Cork as Max Dynamite no less had an entry. Punchestown bound? Ludlow surely deserves to be better supported for the prize money they put up and having Chepstow on when only 60 miles away looks like another BHA planning rick!

 Thursdays Lucky 15

Chepstow 3.15                       BIG MEADOW                        6/4 WH 11/8 general       

Cork 3.30                                GURTEEN                                7/2 WH 10/3 general 

Ludlow 5.15                            MIDTECH VALENTINE                        10/3 PP + WH 3/1 general 

Ludlow 5.45                            WHATSWRONGWITHYOU                 9/4 general       

and hopefully this is why

 Chepstow 3.15                       BIG MEADOW This is last chance for this gelding to produce a run worthy of his early form! He beat Reigning Supreme when winning his Irish PtP, he beat Geordie des Champs when winning his bumper! Yet In six starts his SP has never been more than 7/2 and he’s been a beaten favourite three times. However he gets in this C4 0-120 handicap with OR120 and just short of three miles on Soft ground at a galloping Chepstow should be ideal. Champion jockey Richard Johnson has the ride.

Cork 3.30                                GURTEEN Another horse with some brilliant back form, second to Min, beat De Plotting Shed, third to Anibale Fly in a novice chase but they have brought him back hurdling. Top rated here, I think he is good value to beat the Mullins odds on favourite who could easily ‘bounce’.

Ludlow 5.15                            MIDTECH VALENTINE            Another favourite to be taken on here in the shape of Harry Fry’s Secret Door who hasn’t been seen for over a year and has form of 32223. The selection won two races before Christmas, wasn’t good enough for C2, didn’t take to chasing and is back in trip here only 3lbs higher than her last winning mark. Ian Williams and Tom O’Brien are a potent force and the mare should go close.

Ludlow 5.45                            WHATSWRONGWITHYOU Nicky Henderson hasn’t had this horse long but it was in his name as owner,Seven Barrows Ltd, even when running in Ireland. Showed enough on debut at Kempton,7/4 favourite, to play a part here and hopefully the first time hood will help him settle. The Seven Barrows novices and bumper horses are in fine fettle.

 

Wednesdays Lucky 15

With this changeable weather non-runners are a nuisance! Rather depends if you got on last night, if so (7/1) £17 back, if on at SP only £10 for our £15 outlay.

Haydock 3.10                         GROVE SILVER                        3rd 9/2             (7/2 general)  

Never got to the front. Faded in home straight. Uncompetitive 3rd.    

Haydock 3.40                         FUTURE GILDED                                  Non runner    (8/1 PP + BetFred)

Warwick 3.50                          THE MODEL COUNTY             1st 7/2 JF         (9/1 PP 7/1 general) 

Made every yard and galloped them into the ground. Gambled on 9/1 to 7/2!      

Warwick 4.20                         LADY BEAUFORT                    3rd 12/1           (13/2 Coral + WH 6/1 general)

Déjà vu! Never got involved. Faded in home straight. Uncompetitive 3rd. Friendless in the market!