Friday, 30 October 2015

Saturday Sizzlers !



Well a decent ew punt on Fago yesterday nearly came off big time but he made an error at the last and as I thought Sam Twiston Davies wasn't too hard on him up the straight allowing him to creep into it. He was jumping fantastically up to his error and the stable now surely have something to build on and hopefully he can live up to his reputation.

Onto tomorrow and with limited time available I am just covering the Dan Skelton runners at Ascot.

Dan Skelton

Ascot
12.40 - Bekkinsfrth is a big strong horse who will progress and improve as and when he steps up to chasing over 3m. The stable are hopeful that he can pick up a couple of hurdles along the way and they won this race two years ago. It was a fair effort on his first run back aftre 6 months and that should have blown away any cobwebs. The extra distance will be of benefit as will the stiff Ascot track.

1.10 - Ch'Tibello's novice status runs out on 1st November so they just scrape into this one. He put in a decent performance on the flat in France for this stable before winning his only Hurdle at Compeigne over 2m 1f on heavy. He jumps well and is not short of speed. He was beaten by the 135 rated Francis Of Assisi last time out in a 3 runner bumper going down by a neck. He faces another John Ferguson horse here rated 132 so it will be interesting to see how he gets on with him but there are other strong contenders from the Henderson and McCaire camps which make this a tough assignment.

2.15 - Bellenos returns in blinkers that he wore for his last two races last season after he had a wind op. Described as a frustrating sort by his trainer having failed to get his head in front since April 2014. He appears to like Ascot, he has never fallen and he starts his campaign 6lb lower than his last winning mark. The stable think he is capable of winning a decent chase and if he can get his act together it could be soon although this race looks competitive.

2.50 - Closest Friend trotted up at Market Rasen winning by 17 lengths and as a result he has been given a fair mark of 127. He beat Jethro there but he finished last of 6 on his next start. Going right handed suits him hence the Ascot entry and he is a good jumper. There was no rush to get him out under a penalty and he comes into this bang on 10 stone but there are some decent sorts to overcome as in all races at Ascot but he must have place prospects at the very least.

3.25 - What A Warrior won his first two starts last season including this race on his second run back beating Black Thunder off a mark of 135. He resumes on a mark of 140 and this race has been the plan to get his season off on a good footing and he is spot on to do so according to his trainer. He needs good ground to show his best and he gets that here so he must have an excellent chance of following up last years win and improving his rating again.

Wetherby
2.30 - Stephanie Frances

Paul Nicholls runners

Ascot
1.10 - Chartbreaker
1.45 - Anatol
2.15 - Ulck Du Lin
3.25 - Virak

Wetherby
3.05 - Sam Winner
3.40 - Mon Successeur

Down Royal
2.10 - Ptit Zig
2.40 - Rocky Creek

I will have a look at the betting and the morning news before putting up any wagers.

I've been slightly busy this am hence the late post.

Nicholls doesn't sound overly confident about any of his horses winning today - more of a waiting game.

Of the Skelto runners there are some decent prices and he has been placing his horses well so I am inclined to back Bellenos, Closest Friend and What A Warrior all 1 point ew.

Good Luck!!

Fantastic Friday



Yesterday the weather went against us at Stratford as the going changed to Soft and the times suggested it was bordering on heavy.

In the first race Dan Skelton's only runner What A Good Night was 4 lengths clear when he fell at the last. His jumping has been a bit suspect in the past but this would have been his best performance to date had he stayed up.

Today there are a few runners for the stables as follows:

Dan Skelton

Wetherby - Good to Soft
2.15 - Pumped Up Kicks was a Listed winner in a mares novice chase at Cheltenham last spring and she also ran well in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen despite the going being a little faster than she cares for. She prefers good so if it rains any more I would be wary about her winning chances but the stable think that she is capable of picking up a nice race and she has reportedly done well this autumn. A very good jumper she may have a spring target in something like the Topham at Aintree. She has a rating of 132c and the distance although a little short of her best should be fine and she has a decent chance of winning..

Uttoxeter - Good to Soft, Good in places on the hurdles course

1.50 - Madame Trigger contested 3 bumpers and 2 novice hurdles last season and she resumes here in a 2m 6f Class 5 maiden hurdle. She is a lover of soft ground so any rain will be appreciated. She obviously stays well as she ran them ragged at Towcester over 2m on good to soft last season. She is open to further improvement granted the right conditions.

2.25 - Arthamint won a maiden bumper at Ludlow last December but then never progressed from there in 3 runs. He returned at Ludlow a few weeks ago where he finished 6th after pulling hard. He is said to be more of a chasing prospect but the stable will look to try and win a hurdle. He has had a breathing operation and if he has improved for his run he should have a favourites chance in what looks a weak race.


Paul Nicholls

Wetherby
1.05 - Red Hanrahan was purchased at the Cheltenham April Sales for 150,000 having won his second Irish point at Durrow on heavy going impressively having fallen on his debut. He is a scopey gelding by what promises to be a top national hunt sire and he seems to possess plenty of stamina. Whether his price tag is justified remains to be seen. The stables two runners yesterday looked as though they needed the run and this may not be a sufficient test of stamina for him in any event.

2.15 - Fago pulled up on his only appearance last season when he was top weight in a Chepstow handicap. An injury has prevented him from returning to the track since then. First time out in 2013 he was the stables entry in the Haldon Gold Cup and he was campaigned at Graded level so they obviously think he has the ability. He returns here in a Listed handicap chase over 2m 3f and once again he is top weight although his rating has dropped 3lbs to 145. He is still only 7 but I'm not sure after his injury problem he will be pushed too hard in this and he may be one to watch with an eye to the future, but he has ew prospects.

Bets
2.15 Wetherby - Fago - 0.50 points ew at 8/1 - 2nd
1.50 Uttoxeter - Madame Trigger - 0.50 points ew at 8/1 - 5th

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Midweek Stratford and Sedgefield



There looked like being a few more runners for Dan Skelton at the 5 day stage but they have been whittled to just the one at Stratford. Paul Nicholls will be wanting to keep the good run going and he sends out a couple of high class individuals.

Dan Skelton
Stratford
1.40 - What A Good Night would have won three on the trot last season but for falling when well clear at Southwell. His dam was an unraced half sister to 2003 Hennessy winner Strong Flow(OR140). What A Good Night sounds a bit of a character that needs strong handling but  he is an improving sort. He's 9lb higher than his last winning mark but he's only on 116 so there is scope for progress when he steps up in distance.

Paul Nicholls
Stratford
3.10 - Hawkhurst won his only point to point at Boulta by 12 lengths when readily quickening away. He was purchased by J P McManus for 200,000 at Brightwells. He is a full brother to the useful Grade 1 winner Muirhead and he starts the season here in a 2m 6f Class 5 maiden hurdle.

4.10 - Mr Mix had just the one run in France at Auteuil when third beaten 9 lengths in the 3yo Listed Prix Finot hurdle over 2m 2f on going described as very soft. Should be capable of a bold show and can follow in the footsteps of Irish Saint(1st), Ptit Zig(9th) and Saphir Du Rheu(3rd)who also ran in the Prix Finot. One of Paul Nicholls five to follow for the season he has been given plenty of time to mature and develop as he's had a few temperamental issues. He starts here in a Class 3 NH Novices Hurdle over 2m and he could develop into a useful sort.

Bets:
Hawkhurst - 13/8 Totesport and Betfred
Mr Mix - 5/2 Ladbrokes

1 point win double 

You may wish to wait a while longer and see if antone prices them up at higher odds.

The Ups and Downs of the Handicapper !



Last weeks racing produced a number of runners from the stables that we are following and below is a list of the handicappers findings starting with Sunday 18th October.

Dan Skelton
Swansea Mile +2 = 137h
Work In Progress +3 = 124h
Workbench +4 = 141c Finished 2nd between two horses with ratings of 147c
Fou Et Sage -4 = 143h
Le Bacardy -1 = 141h
A handicap performance worthy of note was Stephanie Frances (138c) who was beaten 2 lengths by The New One (162c) which was a great effort and she remains on the same mark.

Paul Nicholls.
San Benedeto -1 = 130h
Abidjan +5 = 135h
Old Guard +8 = 145h
A handicap performance worthy of note was Calipto(not yet rated) who was unextended to win a beginners chase at Fontwell in impressive fashion beating Wadswick Court (131c).

I will publish a further post about 5.30pm today with regards to the several runners entered for the stables tomorrow.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bangor On Dee Tuesday



With the weekend out of the way we can concentrate on Bangor on Tuesday for the stables we are following.
I didn't go to Aintree at the weekend as I didn't  think it was value for money. The entrance fee was £25 for all areas which I thought was a bit steep considering it was a pretty ordinary card.

Dan Skelton continues in fine form and his record over the last 14 days reads 124B1428U2216716. He has just the 1 runner tomorrow.

3.00 - Two Taffs - Won a bumper at Market Rasen on his only start for the stable last March and he returns here in a Class 4 Novices Hurdle over 2m 145y. Chasing is said to be his game, although his dam was an unraced sister to the high class staying hurdler Teaatral, so he may have trouble with the quality flat horse like Great Hall on good going on his first start back. The trip wont be a problem and he did show some speed when winning his bumper so he definitely has place claims, although your unlikely to get an ew price.

Paul Nicholls string seems to be getting near to full throttle as he had a few decent winners over the weekend. The last 7 days has signalled a big improvement and his form figures are as follows 11112301612P111. He has just the 1 runner at Bangor tomorrow.

2.30 - Nexius - Joined the stable from Keith Dalgleish for whom he was a progressive hurdler, went up 22lb, for winning twice at Musselburgh and Haydock. He is a novice over fences and starts here in a Class 4 over 2m 4f  72y up against Hendersons Theinval to whom he was 22 lengths behind when conceding 3lbs at Aintree when Theinval won a Grade 3 hurdle in April - so unless Nexius is a lot better over the bigger obstacles then he may have his work cut out to win.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Saturday Runners !



A great day for the blog today with the nap Mister Miyagi winning well at 7/2 (advised at 9/1) and Old Guard 8/1 bringing in our ew "stable" double !

In addition I told you to watch out for Weather Babe in the 3.55 who finished 2nd at 25/1 after being headed with 75 yards to go. 

Last but not least, another one to watch closely, Drumlee Sunset finished 2nd to Mister Miyagi with the exacta paying £9.50 to a £1 stake.

All in all a great days racing for the blog.

Tomorrow's runners for the stables we are following are as follows:

Cheltenham

Dan Skelton
2.10 - Workbench - the stable are hopeful of picking a nice prizes with Workbench as he will contest the good races at a low weight. His last two wins have come at Fontwell in the same race and he has never won in a field of more than 7 runners. He likes decent ground which he will get here but he is now on 137 which is the highest mark he has ever run off and he was 5th at this meeting last season off 132 so this mightn't be his day.

2.45 - Fou Et Sage - First run for the stable having been a top class 4yo horse in France. The stable have planned to come to this meeting for a while and they believe they have a horse to go to war with. He has a lot of speed and although this is a tough test to start with the stable continues in fine form.

4.30 - Long House Hall - Unbeaten in three races for the stable since arriving from Ireland. He has been impressive in his wins and the form has also been franked. He is another that the stable have planned to bring here and they see him going on to the Rising Stars Novices Chase at Wincanton all being well after this. He is another with plenty of speed that jumps well and he should go very close.

Paul Nicholls
2.45 - Qualando - Won the Fred Winter Hurdle at the festival. He is said to be a chaser in the making but is sticking to hurdles for now and this is a tough assignment to start the season with.

4.30 - Art Mauresque - Had smart Juvenile form in France before joining this stable. Ran 4 times winning 3 - albeit against small fields. His chase rating is now 144. He usually wears a tongue tie, jumps really well and is suited by better ground. He finished 3rd to Irish Cavalier at Newton Abbot on his first run back after 5 months

I'll have a look overnight and see if there is anything to tempt us to bet and if there is I will post in red on this page in the morning.

I don't fancy either of the Paul Nicholls runners today but I do like the look of Dan Skelton's Fou Et Sage and Long House Hall who both look like running well. Fou Et Sage will appreciate any rain at the track and he is likely to get that which may turn the going on the softish side.

Bets
2.45 - Fou Et Sage - 0.50 points ew @ 7/1 generally
4.30 - Long House Hall - 1 point win @ 11/4

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Calm before the Storm !



I didn't think there were any betting opportunities today on the stables runners - hence no advised bets.
Tomorrow isn't looking much better either but there is hope on the horizon with Cheltenham and Aintree.
I am disappointed in Paul Nicholls in only entering 1 runner at Aintree and yet he has entered 21 at Cheltenham. I know Cheltenham probably has the better races over the weekend, but it's not the be all and end all !

Looking back at the ups and downs of the handicapper last week and Dan Skelton has been given a few chances with the following being dropped a few pounds :

The Western Force (-4)
The Shropshire Lad (-5)
Verano (-5)
Walk On Al (-4)
Rock Of Leon (-1)

Up however are:
Upepito (+2)
Notnowsam (+2)
Superb Story (+9)
Open Hearted (+3)
Istimraar (+3)
Adrakhan (+6)

Just the one runner tomorrow for Dan Skelton in Bilzic in a national hunt flat race. He is a half brother to a winning French Hurdler/Chaser. Finished a tired third in a Soft ground bumper at Kempton on his only start last season but he could be capable of stepping up on that and it will all be down to price as to whether there is a bet or not.

I hope to be at Aintree on Sunday so I'm looking forward to that and I will post another blog tomorrow.



Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Midweek at Fontwell and Worcester



The going is Good at both Fontwell and Worcester tomorrow and both trainers are represented albeit Dan Skelton runs just one. 
Mr Mix and Calipto were both entered for the Chepstow meetings the other weekend but were not declared so you would hope they would be forward enough to do themselves justice and all three of Nicholls runners look progressive. He had two winners today albeit they were long odds on.

Paul Nicholls

Fontwell

2.25 - Mr Mix is a half brother to the useful French Grade 1 winner Royale Flag. He had just the one run in France at Auteuil when third beaten 9 lengths in the 3yo Listed Prix Finot hurdle over 2m 2f on going described as very soft. Could be a really interesting Novice Hurdler this season - he's said to go really nicely and jump well. Should be capable of a bold show and can follow in the footsteps of Irish Saint(1st), Ptit Zig(9th) and Saphir Du Rheu(3rd)who also ran in the Prix Finot. He is one of Paul Nicholls five to follow for the season even though he is unraced for the stable having had a few issues. 
He is up against a decent sort in Alan King's Board Of Trade who won both of his bumpers last season with the form being franked and he is also open to improvement.  
General Glinger is probably weighted out of it this time.

3.00 - Calipto finished second on his only start at Auteuil in France. He started fav for the Triumph Hurdle in 2014 where he was unlucky second. He ran 4 times last season but failed to win - although he finished 4th, beaten 13 lengths, in the Betfair Hurdle off a mark of 143 (started as fav) after a breathing operation and when wearing a first time hood. His hurdle mark has dropped to 139 so possible he may go up that route at some stage as his trainer thought he was a fair bit better than a 143 rated horse. A horse with scope he likes decent ground, jumps well and the distance shouldn't be a problem. He has a touch of class and the hood is on again to aid his cause. If the stable have hopes of anything further down the line then you would hope he would be up to winning this.

Worcester

5.35 - Alcala. A bumper winner in France he was fourth of eight on his debut in this country in the Grade 2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle in 2014 behind Activial(OR153), Commisioned(OR154) and stablemate Solar Impulse, He ran just the once last season in a Novice Hurdle and finished 6th of seventeen having choked. He was given a breathing operation thereafter but didn't reaapear. He returns here in a Maiden and is said to have strengthened up having been given plenty of time. He looks to be favourably handicapped on 126h so he may progress down the handicap route at some stage as the plan was to start in a novice handicap hurdle at Cheltenham's Paddy Power meeting. If he is forward enough this race should be well within his capabilities.

Dan Skelton

Fontwell

5.15 - Late Night Lily-Ran just the once last season in a Class 5 bumper finishing 4th. The ground was said to be softer than she cares for there and having shown a good attitude at home she resumes in this mares bumper before going novice hurdling. She is up against a smart sort from Alan Kings stable in Miss Crick who he thought was about the best of his bumper mares last season and was thought good enough to go to Aintree but by then was over the top.

At the current prices there's nothing that grabs me bet wise so I will have a look again in the morning.


Monday, 19 October 2015

Tuesday at Exeter



The Good to Firm going at Exeter has resulted in a number of those entered missing their respective engagements and Paul Nicholls has just the two runners The Eaglehaslanded and Abidjan and the latter will almost certainly be odds on.

2.10 - The Eaglehaslanded is a Novice until 1st November and the trainer is seeking to capitalise on that here in this Amateur riders Novice Hurdle over 2m 7f 25y. The Eaglehaslanded has won a point to point, a bumper(at this track) and a novice hurdle to date so he is versatile and the stable expect him to improve as the season goes on and I'm inclined to see how he runs here first.

3.10 - Abidjan should have little trouble in winning this but will be at too short a price to get involved.

Hopefully on Wednesday there will be some better prospects at Fontwell and Worcester so I will post a blog about those at 5.00pm tomorrow.

Good Luck !

That Monday Morning Feeling !



Well although I didn't put up a selection on Saturday I steered you towards two winners in Adrakhan at 9/4 and Work In Progress 8/11F both trained by Dan Skelton. When I updated the blog on Saturday the latter was at least available at 7/4 so it gets us back in a positive state of mind.

I'm not sure Paul Nicholls is in a positive state of mind at the moment as since Abidjan and Simon Squirrel won his results have been 273B2PP84115476124P3. The three winners were each a little bit fortunate in that the main rivals fell in two of the contests and in the other there was a dubious reverse in placings by the Stewards. Nicholls will be hoping his fortunes take an upturn as we approach November as he now says the plan has always been to have them ready for then and he has plenty entered up this week at Exeter and Cheltenham.

I would imagine the mood is a bit different over in Warwickshire where Dan Skelton form figures read 4F343370434127215122135P221. That's five wins and six seconds from 16 runners since 14th October so he is really moving into top gear. He set himself a target of 50 winners last season and picked up 73 and this season the stable have ambitions to train a 100 winners. They only have ten runners entered up to this Friday at Cheltenham, several of which we haven't seen so far this season so it will be interesting to see how they get on.

Neither stable has any runners today and I will post a further blog later on when I know which horses have been declared for tomorrow.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Saturday Once Again !



It was a good days racing on Friday for the stables we are following with both recording wins. However I'm not sure the Paul Nicholls team are as forward as they would like to be despite a lot of their horses coming back into training on 1st July. Maybe this is reflected in the fact that he only has 1 runner on Saturday and the same on Sunday.

MARKET RASEN

Dan Skelton

2.05 Adrakhan - Was given a light campaign last season running just three times. His best run came when he was 2nd in a Class 4 3yo Juvenile Hurdle at Warwick over 2m on Soft when he was beaten by Chatez who went on to win the Doncaster Spring Mile on the flat in March beating Buckstay.
Adrakhan progressed on his first two runs and the soft going put paid to his run at Musselburgh and he can be forgiven that. He starts on a mark of 112h and his first race is a Class 4 Maiden Hurdle in which he should be capable of putting up a good show, if he is straight enough, as he should appreciate the good going.

3.15 Pain Au Chocolat - Ran five times over Hurdles last season for Alan King progressing into Grade 1 class and a rating of 140h. He was purchased at the Doncaster May Sales and the plan is for him to utilise his 4yo allowance and run at the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham in the Grade 2 Novice Chase on 15th November. 
If he can recapture his form from the beginning of last season he will make up into an exciting Novice Chaser and you would hope, given the stables ambitions, he should win this without much fuss if he is forward enough in his work.

STRATFORD

Paul Nicholls

2.55 Ceasar Milan - Could be well handicapped, according to his trainer, on the basis of his run when 2nd behind Whisper at Exeter on New Years Day whom he beat three and a quarter lengths when conceding 3lbs. Whisper is now rated 167h as he went on to win the Stayers Hurdle at the Grand Natioonal meeting at Aintree. The plan for Ceasar Milan, who is rated 138c is to possibly go for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham - he was meant to go there in March for the festival but a schooling fall led to him not running. You would hope that he will arrive here pretty near to his "A" game and if he does then he should win.

Dan Skelton

3.30 Rock Of Leon - Ran three times over the jumps last season winning first time out at Fontwell when scraping home after idling having looked set to win by further. He was tried in a Grade 2 next time out at Haydock but he wasn't up to it. The stable think there is definitely more to come and he's pitched straight into a handicap hurdle off 124h and it's just a case of whether he's forward enough on his first start as he will need to be to beat race fit rivals.

5.15 The Shropshire Lad - Probably not one of the stables leading lights but Bridget Andrews certainly is and she should get a good run from The Shropshire Lad who wears blinkers for the first time.

I will be taking a break from posting a blog for Sunday's racing to lick my wounds - however I will have a look in the morning to see if there are any betting opportunities on the above, and if so, I will post them in red here. I will be back on Monday as usual.

No bets today. I was considering Adrakhan but I've changed my mind - Caesar Milan will probably need the run according to Nicholls.
There are some stable entries tomorrow and the best chance would appear to lie with Work In Progress 5.30 Kempton.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Friday at Wincanton and Fakenham



The bets are not going too good at the moment but hopefully things will change as we progress, however we have managed to "dodge" a few.

Paul Nicholls comes back on the scene today following his slightly disappointing Chepstow meeting, however with another week nearly gone by the horses will be getting that bit straighter at Ditcheat. He sends two runners to his local track at Wincanton tomorrow and his three runners are as follows:

WINCANTON

3.00 Polisky - Ran five times over fences last season winning once first time out here in a Class 3 Novice Handicap Chase where he faced just two opponents and it goes without saying that he is not one of the stable stars as the Hunter Chase option is already being considered for him. A fun horse, as well as being a bit of a character, (wears two forms of headgear) he has slipped back down to a more realistic rating of 122c which on a "going" day could be lenient. The ground should be more or less perfect and it's going to be all about Sam Twiston Davies producing him at the right time to win at a track where his form reads 12F1. He has Tangolan and Forever My Friend to give him a lead. 2nd 7/4

3.35 Full Blast - Purchased after finishing 3rd in a hurdle on heavy going at Enghien as a 3yo. It was thought that he would make a decent recruit to the hurdling ranks of the stable but last season proved to be disappointing as he was running too free in his races. He had a breathing operation in December and is still eligible for Novice Hurdles. However he starts in a handicap hurdle here which may be significant as the horse that finished one place in front of him at Enghien was The Saint James who is now rated 144 after finishing 3rd in the Fred Winter off 136 and 2nd at Aintree, beaten half a length, off 138. Full Blast runs off just 115 here so potentially he could be thrown in however on his return at Newton Abbot in September, where he was second, he was up to his old tricks despite wearing a hood and tongue strap which are employed again today. If he has learnt to settle a bit better following his return he could be well up to winning this. 4th 8/1

FAKENHAM

2.50 Katgary - He has always been highly tried by the stable at Grade 1 tracks(finished 2nd in the Fred Winter in 2014) and after losing his way last season (8066) he eventually came good in a Class 3 Handicap Hurdle at Newbury over 2m 4f 180y on Good to Soft in first time cheekpieces where he was prominent throughout. Having had the one disappointing run over fences as a Novice he returns to that sphere here and being only a 5yo he has time on his side. Although he may need the run to put him right this is an opportunity to start the season with a win on going he should like and the excellent Nick Schofield is in the saddle. 1st 9/4
His main opponent would appear to be Nicky Hendersons Hammersly Lake who was sixth in the Coral Cup behind Nicholls Aux Ptits Soins and was Barry Geraghty's choice of six declared for the race by the stable. On his last run he was second beaten just a neck in the Class 1 Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen and given that he has a 9lb superior hurdle rating than Katgary he could be hard to beat.

Dan Skelton

FAKENHAM


3.25 Charlie's Oscar - Bought at the Doncaster Sales in 2013 he is a full brother to Wilde Blue Yonder trained by Alan King who finished 5th in the 2014 Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Well fancied for both of his bumpers in the spring he was slightly disappointing on both starts. The stable are confident that he can put that form behind him over two and a half miles with a bit of cut in the ground. If he does have the ability of his brother then this is a realistic starting point. 5th 14/1

4.00 Open Hearted - Formerly with Nicky Henderson, for whom he won 6-14, Open Hearted has now made the switch to this stable after being purchased cheaply at the Doncaster Spring Sale. He has since had just the one run 15 days ago in a Class 3 Handicap Chase at Bangor over 2m 4f 72y on Good where he finished a one paced 2nd after running in snatches - wearing a tongue tie for the first time.
He steps up in distance to 3m today which, being a big chasing type and from the family of Spanish Steps, shouldn't be a problem. The trainer is 1-7 over the last 5 seasons in chases here and with some of his horses looking like they have needed a run to put them right Open Hearted has a real chance of winning in this small field. 1st 9/2
Of the others Wisentraum's form at this track is 121 and he is only 3lb higher than when beating Fruity O'Rooney six lengths here last October and these are his ideal conditions so it won't be easy for Open Hearted and Wisentraum makes more appeal at 5/1 bet365 and Coral.

4.35 Istimraar - A former Godolphin inmate Istimraar was purchased by Philip Kirby at the 2014 January Sales for 27,000 and for whom he was 1-11 over hurdles. He has run just once for this stable in a Class 2 Handicap Hurdle over 2m 3f on Good where he finished 5th of 9 after running too freely and keen. A regular wearer of cheekpieces when with Philip Kirby they remain off here and being on a handicap mark of 117 he has room for improvement now the fizz has been taken out of him and with just the 5 opponents he must have a chance of getting off the mark. 2nd 13/8F

5.10 Ch'Tibello - Put in a decent performance on the flat in France for this stable before winning his only Hurdle at Compeigne over 2m 1f on heavy by 4 lengths in a time of 4 mins 20.10s. He remains a Novice until 1st November and he should be well up to winning one of these as he's not short of speed and jumps well - but up against a race fit rival in Francis Of Assisi (OR135) he may need this run here to put him right and 11 entries have run scared already!

Bets

1 point win - Full Blast 5/1 Ladbrokes and William Hill
1 point win - Wisentraum 5/1 bet365 and Coral
0.50 point ew - Charlies Oscar 10/1 bet365 and Ladbrokes
0.50 point ew treble

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Midweek Wetherby and Worcester



Dan Skelton had eight horses entered up at the 5 day stage for tomorrow's two meetings. He said at the weekend that he would be disappointed if the stable didn't get a winner-albeit he was looking for the word soft in the going description at the time of his comments.

The horses he is putting his hopes in tomorrow are as follows :

Wetherby - Good to Soft(Good in Places)

3.50 Upepito - A new one for the stable who ran six times last for Venetia Williams winning once at Warwick in a Class 3 Handicap Chase over 2m off a mark of 124. It was though that he didn't finish his races and has been operated on his wind this summer. He is considered to be an ideal type to go two and a half miles and is on a workable mark of 126 and starts the season here in the Class 3 Bobby Renton Handicap Chase. There is a chance that he may need this run to put him right although none of the field look to be in any current form. 2nd 3/1

4.25 Walk On Al - It was thought that anything Walk On Al did over hurdles was a bonus as he is more of a chaser but he could only finish 3rd and 5th on his only two starts last season before picking up an injury. He resumes his career here in a Class 3 Handicap hurdle and is probably best watched for now and I'm not sure he should be the fav albeit 4/1 (Ladbrokes). 0

4.55 Notnowsam - Joined the yard earlier in the year from Noel Quinlan and was quickly off the mark at Warwick - being well placed to win a Class 4 Novice Handicap Chase over 2m on Good to Soft. He jumped well that day and won in a respectable time. Having only run 10 races under rules he is open to improvement and he resumes on a mark of 122c in a Class 3 Handicap Chase over 1m 7f 36y and there is every chance he could make a winning start. 2nd 11/4

5.25 Superb Story - Won well in a Juvenile Hurdle on his first start for Charlie Mann in January having run previously for Jonathan Pease in France. He is a new recruit to this stable and he should be capable of further improvement in this his second season. Dan Skelton has commented that he will be aimed at some of the better handicaps over 2m or more during the season. He starts here on a mark of 120h in a Class 3 2m Handicap Hurdle against some improving horses such as Endless Credit but if he is to get into the better handicaps he has to start winning. 1st 4/1JF

Worcester - Good

Girly Girl - Won an Irish point to point in February and had her first start for this stable on 1st April at Towcester in a Class 6 Bumper in which she was second to Nicky Hendersons Coole Charmer. She was then a disappointing 4th in a Mares Bumper at Cheltenham. She resumes in another Class 6 Mares Bumper with the very capable Bridget Andrews riding and you would hope Girly Girl can put her racing experience to good use. 1st 11/8F


Plenty to watch out for tomorrow and of the five stable runners I am inclined to take a chance on Notnowsam in the 4.55 Wetherby in the hope that he is sufficiently forward to do himself justice.

1 point win Notnowsam @ 11/4 Totesport, Betfred, Paddy Power, Coral.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Tuesday at Huntingdon



There are two runners on Tuesday for the stables that I am following on this blog and they are Verano and Baratineur for Dan Skelton.

VERANO - Joined stable from Charlie Mann and this is his first start for Skelton. He won at Uttoxeter over Hurdles earlier this year over 2m on soft going off a rating of 113h following a wind operation. This is his second start over fences and in dropping in grade he carries top weight. He has always looked a chaser  in the making and his first effort over the larger obstacles was respectable. 
Not sure however if this is his best trip and the going may be on the fast side too, so the current best odds of 2/1 don't look tempting. 3rd 7/4

BARATINEUR - A dual bumper winner in France on soft and heavy going. He is said to have a shown a lot of speed and ability at home and it will be interesting to see how he gets on here in this Maiden Hurdle. He is up against several unraced opponents and two previous bumper winners in Ballineur(watch your bets with similar sounding name) for Nicky Henderson and Alyasan from the Seamus Durack stable. The latter is a half brother to Alavain, who finished 3rd in the Triumph Hurdle in 2010 and 6th in the County Hurdle in 2011(OR 144). 
Alaysan won both his bumpers at Stratford, the second was under a 7lb penalty. A hood is applied here to help him settle better and he could be value at the early odds of 3/1.

I think the most you could hope for for Baratineur would be a place and at the likely prohibitive odds(9/2 generally) it's not worth a bet. 4th 9/2

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Chepstow Jumps Festival Day Two



It wasn't a great day for Team Nicholls at Chepstow on Saturday with all his runners, bar As De Mee, running below expectations - however we shouldn't give up hope as he had 21 consecutive winning Saturday's last season from 01/11/14 to 21/03/15.

On the other hand Dan Skelton's horses all ran with credit and the may well all improve for their runs.

Day Two of the Chepstow Festival

Today's list of Stable runners :
2.15 Adrien Du Pont - Nicholls
2.45 It's A Close Call - Nicholls
3.20 Abidjan - Nicholls
3.55 Howlongisafoot - Nicholls
        Wilton Milan - Skelton
4.30 Emerging Talent - Nicholls
5.00 N/A
5.30 Bitzic - Skelton
        Rouge Devils - Nicholls

Paul Nicholls 

Adrien Du Pont - Won his only start over hurdles at Enghien in April. Looks to be one to keep on the right side of and is said to jump well. One of Paul Nicholls five to follow. After Stewards Enquiry 1st 4/9F

It's A Close Call - Graduated from point to points. Ran in three Novice Hurdles winning twice at Wincanton and Taunton. Trainer thinks he could be a horse to have a lot of fun with. He is said to love better ground and jumps well and he has few miles on the clock so is open to improvement. 1st 5/2

Abidjan - Joined the stable after winning a 1m 4f bumper in the French provinces. Big and backward, he was given plenty of time to mature and grow before he ran with promise on his stable debut in a 3 runner bumper in November 2014. Ran 4 times last season culminating in an impressive win at Newton Abbot in a Class 5 Maiden Hurdle 18.5f Good. Won at Exeter on Thursday in a Novice and Paul Nicholls said he could run here if the ground continued to dry out. He is rated 123h and has a 7lb penalty to carry here but he beat 122 rated at Chepstow by an easy 11 lengths so has every chance of following up provided he has recovered sufficiently. NR

Howlongisafoot - Ran seven times last season winning twice at Taunton and Plumpton off marks of 125 and 130 in small fields. Said to be suited by an easy three miles or stiff two and a half as well as decent ground he should be capable of progressing further having reportedly had a good summer. 5th

Emerging Talent - Joined stable after winning a Naas Bumper in March 2014. Ran 4 times in competitive Grade 2 and Listed Novice Hurdles - finishing second on three occasions and fell on the other. Has plenty of pace and travels well and is well up to winning this. 4th

Dan Skelton

Wilton Milan - ran eight times for Paul Nicholls last season winning just the once at Newbury in a Class 3 Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase over 2m 2f 64y on going described as Soft. That was off a mark of 123. He is currently rated 130 and the trainer is prepared to run him from 2lb out of the handicap here. 3rd 13/2

Bilzic - Half brother to a winning French Hurdler/Chaser. Finished a tired third in a Soft ground bumper at Kempton on his only start last season but could be capable of stepping up on that. NR

Bets

None today save if Abidjan goes 2/1 or more and then 1 point win.
Bilzic probably has the best chance of the Skelton two but I'm not confident about his chances to have him as a bet.