These are the write ups of 2020’s winners so far. We have also had many E/W bets landed, but we are just including the write ups of the winners, so you know exactly what to expect if you sign up.
JETZ 7/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
JETZ has to go close here. He is a horse who is rated 143 over fences and as long as he transfers that to hurdles he will take all the beating. He had his 1st start over hurdles in 2 years, last time out. He finished 2nd to Charli Parcs, beaten 4 lengths but pulled 22 lengths clear of Mengli Khan, who is s decent horse. He was with Charli Parcs all the way before the winner quickened inside the last 1/2 furlong. That horse would be a short price if he lined up in this race so in comparison, the 7/2 looks decent value. Robbie Power takes the ride for trainer Jessica Harrington. The trip should not be a problem as he has form over the distances early in his career. He has also run well in graded races at Navan, earlier in his career. WIN.
ZERO TEN 7/2 with Bet 365, 10/3 with William Hill – 1 PT WIN
With a clear round of jumpng, I am confident ZERO TEN can win this. He was 2nd to Cashback on his penultimate start and that horse has since gone on prove he is a Grade 1 horse. He was a winner on his first start over fences and has looked a sound jumper, despite falling on his last start. I still don’t think we have seen the best of ZERO TEN and he has so much more improvement to come. I have watched replays of all of these horses and a lot of them are to slowly over the fences over this trip. ZERO TEN is brave a fast so bar a mistake has to go close. WIN.
4:10 Brown Advisory Plate
SIMPLY THE BETTS 4/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral – 1.25 POINTS WIN
A little bit annoyed with myself for not putting SIMPLY THE BETTS up before Imperial Aura won the other day, as I quoted in the write up, Simply The Betts form was the reason why I put Imperial Aura up. The price has since crashed and although it is shorter than I wanted, I can’t not put him up given he was my handicap bet of the week. He is rated 149 and I still feel he is ahead of the handicapper. I honestly think he is good enough to run in the Marsh Novice Chase and not disgrace himself. I think that of the horse then I have to think he is good enough to win this weaker handicap. He seemed to love Cheltenham and the hill when winning here on Cheltenham Festival Trials Day and as mentioned above, he beat Imperial Aura who went and won the Close Brother Novice Chase on Tuesday. Both of them pulled well clear of 3rd and 4th that day and he has to go close here. He is going to be ridden prominently so should remain out of trouble and it will take a really well handicapped horse to beat him. WIN.
1:30 Marsh Novice Chase
SAMCRO 4/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
SAMCRO has been a horse who has been so frustrating but like Faugheen will love the drying ground. This horse had the world at his feet after winning the Ballymore Novice Hurdle back in 2018. He has had his share of problems since and often scoped dirty but if they can get him back to best or even close to best, he would have his say in this race, no doubt about it. He comes into this festival after having a wind operation in January and I think that may just sort the problem out. The feedback I have received is he is working very well and despite finishing 2nd to Faugheen over Christmas, he again scoped dirty after the race. If he was not well that day but still only got beat by 10 lengths, a horse who is fit and well could easily turn that form around. He was travelling very well on his penultimate start when falling in a race won by Fakir D’Ourdairies. Had he not fallen and won that race, you would be looking a horse who would possibly be favourite today.
I really think Gordon Elliott may have worked his magic with the horse and we will see the real SAMCRO. WIN.
5:30 Champion Bumper
FERNY HOLLOW 12/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W
Appreciate It is a red hot favourite following his last 2 wins. To be fair he has looked impressive but Patrick Mullins, although a decent jockey, is not as good as some of these professional jockeys. I was not impressed by how far he set off the pace with Carefully Selected and has shown me he lacks concentration at crucial times.
The same could be said about Paul Townend after his ride on Benie but in fairness, he probably wasn’t expecting Robbie Power to come off rail, who if he stayed on the rail with Stormy Ireland, we could possibly be saying it was bold move and great ride. Those are the fine margins so I will give him another chance on FERNY HOLLOW who was purchased for £300k by Cheveley Park Stud, following a 15 length win in a point to point. Envoi Allen won this for the same owners last year and they have another great chance this season. They are going to go a good clip in this race and it will help FERNY HOLLOW settle. The horse disappointed on his first two starts but was a different horse for the hood which was fitted last time out, when he won on the bridle by 4 lengths. I think this horse has much more improvement to come and under a Paul Townend ride he can give the favourite something to think about. E/W.
2:10 RSA Chase
CHAMP 7/2 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN
This is a race which I have been going over in my head for months and months. Like anyone, the preparation of CHAMP is hardly ideal, but it comes back to the same thing, Class.
I have watched every race back many times and generally he is a good jumper but has had a tendency to lose concentration, which has resulted in him falling on his last start, at Cheltenham.
Looking at it from my point of view, if I lacked concentration when jumping a wall but got away with it, I probably wouldn’t take notice until I fell and smacked my head. Would I fall when jumping a wall again? Definitely not you would give it your full concentration. I think his fall had to happen for him to finally respect what was in front of him. He has smacked his head once, he won’t want to do it again. It really could be the making of him.
If he had won at Cheltenham, where he was pretty much certain to, you would be looking at a horse who was 7/4 here. He is not he is drifting and 7/2 is looking very appealing.
This horse has the potential to be a a gold cup horse nxt year, obviously if he sorts his jumping out.
3 miles could really be the making of him as when he won the Sefton Novice Hurdle at Aintree, last season, it was a horse of all class.
Minella Indo is obviously a worry but for me he potentially wants further than this, a real slogger who will not have the gears to go with CHAMP if they are neck and coming to the last.
4:50 Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase
IMPERIAL AURA 11/2 with Ladbrokes and Coral – 1 POINT WIN
IMPERIAL AURA was 2nd to Simply The Betts (strong fancy of mine in the Brown Advisory Plate). I have tried to get IMPERIAL AURA beat but sometimes you got to admit defeat and actually think why? If I strongly fancy a horse who IMPERIAL AURA was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths, he has to have a great chance in this race. He is a massively improving type who started this season with a run over hurdles, finishing 3rd of 16 in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow. He then debuted over fences at Fakenham in a weak beginners chase and was the only horse to finish, even so nothing was beating him that day. His last two runs have come at Cheltenham. One when 2nd to Pym over 3m 1f. He came there travelling strongly that day but did not quite see out the trip. It was a pleasing effort and showed he is clearly talented and has a big future over fences. He was back down in trip on his next start on Trials day, and came home 2nd to Simply The Betts. It was another very good run as the pair pulled 11 lengths clear of the 3rd and 17 and 20 lengths clear of 4th and 5th. He has gone up the handicap once again to a mark of 143 but I still think he has some more improvement left in him. Could it be Kim Bailey’s 2nd winner of the day? WIN.
3:30 Unibet Champion Hurdle
EPATANTE 3/1 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN
EPATANTE is a horse who I have always loved ever since I seen her make her debut at Kempton in November 2018. She hacked up on the bridle and then went to Exeter and done the same thing. She went to last years Cheltenham Festival as a hot favourite and run no race whatsoever. I can’t believe she run her race and I can’t agree that it is because she don’t like Cheltenham, not after only one start. One thing I do know is she was mega keen last year which was her undoing and was not as fluent over a hurdle as you would have liked. This season in two starts she has matured a lot and is not as keen and is very fast and fluent over her hurdles. She really has a proper Champion Hurdle style of jumping a hurdle in the same mould as Istabraq and Buveur D’Air. I just think this season she knows what the game is all about and is well past her novice days, where ultimately she was just learning her trade. She has had two starts this season and absolutely bolted up in both races. She won on her first start of the season at Newbury, albeit a handicap she travelled supremely well and jumped very well to win by 6 lengths. She then went to Kempton for the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle and won with such ease, beating some good horses like Ballyandy and Silver Streak (both line up here). In terms of time for the race, EPATANTE was faster than both Buveur D’Air and My Tent Or Yours when they won the Christmas Hurdle, on the same soft ground. Both horses were at the peak of their careers also whereas EPATANTE still has so much more improvement to come. She was also only 5 seconds slower than when Faugheen won the race and that was on good to soft. The form of that race and the time figures, certainly back up that she could be top drawer. Now you add into the equation her 7lb mares allowance which is huge and I fail to see how she does not get involved. I would go as far as to say, if she carried 11st 10lb like the rest, I would still make her a 7/2 chance, the fact that she carries 11st 3lb, make me think she could be shorter. The pace of the race will help her settle and travel nicely into the race. As long as she jumps as slick as she has all season, I expect her to be their at the bottom of the hill. With her turn of speed which is electric and her weight advantage, I can see her flying up the hill and putting the race to bed in a matter of strides. If she does that, will this then be called a weak Champion Hurdle?? WIN.
2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase
THE CONDITIONAL 15/2 Paddy Power, Betway, Sky Bet, Betfair – 0.5 POINTS E/W (6 places, 1/5 odds)
THE CONDITIONAL is down the bottom of the handicap with Brendan Powell carrying 10st 6lb. He is actually a jockey who has won this race with Golden Chieftain in the past which is always nice to have on your side. He is rated 139 by the handicapper and given he is still a novice, I think he could still be a good few pounds ahead of the handicapper. He wants soft ground which he is going to get and since joining David Bridgewater, is much improved horse this season. He was a winner at Cheltenham back in October, beating West Approach and Cogry that day off a mark of 131. He then went to Newbury for the Ladbrokes Trophy and came home 2nd to De Rasher Counter, off a mark of 137. He made a mistake at the last fence that day and you never know, if he pinged it could have gone on and won. Regardless it was a great effort and cracking piece of form in the bag. On his next start he was sent to Warwick for a competitive handicap over 3m 5f. It was a race won by Kimberlite Candy with Captain Chaos back in 2nd (since gone on and won elsewhere). I thought THE CONDITIONAL travelled very well throughout the race and until 4 out, was travelling better than anything else. He just got tired and ultimately didn’t stay the trip in testing ground, coming home 4th. Now back down in trip to 3m 1f and down the handicap to a mark of 139, he should run his race. As with Vinndication, with 6 places on offer it is hard to see him out of the frame.
THE CON MAN 5/2 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN
I am quietly confident THE CON MAN can win this now back in a small field. He was an impressive winner at Kelso two starts back and was then sent to Ascot, for a very competitive handicap at Ascot, won by Nordano. He was sent off favourite and for a while travelled really well. He came home 5th of 15 and it was a good effort, which if repeated would surely win this. He is on the same mark as last time on 135 and I think given how progressive he is and with age on his side, he could be a tad better than 135. Brian Hughes is in the lead for the jockeys title and with Richard Johnson trying to hunt him, he is all out to get the winners. When riding horses like this he has to take full adavantage. WIN.
NIVEN 11/4 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN
NIVEN has been given every opportunity to get his head in front in this race as he steps down in class. Hi handicap mark is now down to 122, which is as low as it has even been. We have to go back a number of starts to find some top class form, like when 2nd to Delta Work over fences, back in 2018, but it shows us that he does have some ability. He has been running consistently well ever since in Class 2s and 3s and now today, steps down to Class 4 company. He was 2nd and 3rd a couple of starts back off a mark of 124 and that against Katpoli, who was 2nd in a competitive handicap on the weekend and, Beau Bay who has gone on to run well in better races. Both pieces of form have been boosted. He was sent off favourite for decent handicap last time out and although he didn’t get involved, I can forgive him that run, especially now he is down to Class 4 company. Tommy Dawson takes the ride and he is a jockey I have a lot of time for. WIN.
PROTEK DES FLOS 7/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W
PROTEK DES FLOS has run twice this season and ran well on both starts. He was 3rd at Newcastle back in December and then 3rd at Wetherby next time out, a month ago. He is down the handicap 2lb and is a horse who won’t mind the ground. In fact he is 3 from 3 on heavy ground. E/W.
CAPTAIN CHAOS 9/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN
CAPTAIN CHAOS was an excellent 2nd last time out in a grade 3 at Warwick, beaten by Kimberlite Candy. He nearly slipped the field from the front and finished in front of some decent horses. The bottomless ground will help as the trip last time out was 3m 5f and todays trip is 3m 2f, but will be run like a 3m 5f race. He remains on the same mark of 134 as last time out. WIN.
DOWNTOWN GETAWAY 4/1 generally – 1 POINT WIN
We were on DOWNTOWN GETAWAY last time out when he was a monster gamble from 5/1 down to 15/8 fav. He was eventually pulled up but I have no doubt that was not the real DOWNTOWN GETAWAY. He was given a bad ride by Nico De Boinville that day as he went wide all the way around before emptying. He was rode like defeat was out of the question and with such confidence from Nico, that he wasn’t concerned about the ground he was giving away. It told in the end as he was quickly pulled up. He quickly went for a wind operation just one week later so I would say his wind was also playing up. If it has done the trick like it does so many times with these horses, his mark of 131 could look tiny. He beat a decent Grade 2 horse in Champagne Well last season and then went on to contest the Grade 1 Sefton Novice Hurdle at Aintree, which tells you how highly they regard him. On last seasons form alone he could be at least 10lb well in. I expect Nico would have learned from his last race mistakes and have him in a better race position this time around. WIN.15th February
FAUGHEEN 13/8 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN
My NAP of the day and I will be very surprised if he is beat here. I think Battleoverdoyen does not have the gears to go with Faugheen here and should be running over 3 miles. FAUGHEEN will not mind the drying ground and comes here 2 from 2 over fences. He was very impressive last time out when beating Samcro and after winning this, will go to the Cheltenham Festival as the favourite for JLT Chase. To see this horse doing what he is at his age is amazing and if he was to go and win tomorrow and at the Cheltenham Festival, the roof would go off. WIN.
HONEYSUCKLE 11/8 generally – 2 POINT WIN
I am extremely confident HONEYSUCKLE can win this race especially getting 7lb off the boys. She is a horse who remains unbeaten in 6 starts over hurdles and if she wins this, she has to go to the Champion Hurdle. She was so impressive when winning a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse in December and didn’t come off the bridle. I don’t think the step back in trip will be a problem, if anything the faster they go, the better she will travel. Sharjah remains the danger but for me will have to be a very good horse to give away 7lb, to what could a superstar mare. I will happily raise the stake given my confidence in the horse.
VIRAK 7/4 Bet 365, 6/4 elsewhere – 2 POINT WIN
I simply can’t have VIRAK being beat here. I actually make him around the evens mark so the 7/4 if you can get on, looks too big, with only 6 runners. He is not getting any younger at 11 but that is mainly the case with these hunter chases, these days. He comes here in very good form, given he won his last point to point at Larkhill, beating a decent horse in Southfield Theatre. This is a horse who was rated 152 only two years ago, tells you he used to be extremely talented. He clearly still has the will to win and this is a nice race to set him up for a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival Hunter Chase. Put it this way, I would be shocked if he was to lose this with a clear round and something will have to be a miss or he makes a big mistake.
SIMPLY THE BETTS 6/1 with PP, Betfair and Betway (4 places, 1/5 odds) – 0.75 POINTS E/W
I still feel SIMPLY THE BETTS is fairly well handicapped on a mark of 140. He was a winner on his first two starts of the season at Chepstow and Newcastle, in very good style. He was then up in trip to 2m 4f at Kempton on Boxing Day, coming home 2nd. That effort was better than it looks on paper as he jumped severely out to the left throughout, losing many lengths at each fence. He still came home strongly and was only beaten 9 lengths in the end. I don’t think you will ever see the horse run on a right handed course again as he clearly needs to go left handed. I think a track like Cheltenham will be right up his street as he seems a horse who would love undulations. Chepstow is a similar course to Cheltenham and he went around there in good style to beat a horse called Espoir De Guye. That horse has gone on to win his last two starts and is now rated 144, yet SIMPLY THE BETTS destroyed him. Our selection is only a 7 year old and still a novice. He clearly has ability and with a clear round of jumping, he can go close. I think the faster they go the better he will jump and given how he stayed on at the end of his last race, the Cheltenham hill should be appreciated. E/W.
15:00 Gowran Park – TOTAL RECALL 16/1 – 0.75 POINTS E/W, (1/5 odds)
Willie Mullins loves this race and has won it 4 out of the last 10 years. He has the two market leaders in Acapella Bourgeois and Chef Des Obeaux but for me TOTAL RECALL, which is another horse he trains, is way overpriced. This horse had a lovely prep run over hurdles at the start of December which would have put him spot on for this race. Danny Mullins took the ride that day so it has obviously been the plan that he would partner him in this race. This is a horse who won the Muster National and followed up with a win in the Ladbrokes Trophy back in 2017, off a mark of 147. He is only 2lb higher in the handicap today on a mark off 149 which looks very workable. Remember this is a horse who may well have placed in the 2017 Gold Cup, but for falling at the 3rd last fence. He has crept down the handicap since and on this mark I think he has a big race in him, as for his age he is relatively lightly raced. With 6 places on offer and I am quietly confident, I am also happy to raise the stake slightly. I still feel SIMPLY THE BETTS is fairly well handicapped on a mark of 140. He was a winner on his first two starts of the season at Chepstow and Newcastle, in very good style. He was then up in trip to 2m 4f at Kempton on Boxing Day, coming home 2nd. That effort was better than it looks on paper as he jumped severely out to the left throughout, losing many lengths at each fence. He still came home strongly and was only beaten 9 lengths in the end. I don’t think you will ever see the horse run on a right handed course again as he clearly needs to go left handed. I think a track like Cheltenham will be right up his street as he seems a horse who would love undulations. Chepstow is a similar course to Cheltenham and he went around there in good style to beat a horse called Espoir De Guye. That horse has gone on to win his last two starts and is now rated 144, yet SIMPLY THE BETTS destroyed him. Our selection is only a 7 year old and still a novice. He clearly has ability and with a clear round of jumping, he can go close. I think the faster they go the better he will jump and given how he stayed on at the end of his last race, the Cheltenham hill should be appreciated. E/W.
13:20 Catterick – SHOW PROMISE 15/2 – 0.5 POINTS E/W
SHOW PROMISE is making his debut over hurdles after three 2nd’s in bumpers. Trainer Philip Kirby horses are always good jumpers giving off the vibe that he does plenty of schooling with his horses and I imagine they have been schooling SHOW PROMISE for some time. We are taking a chance giving we don’t know how he will jump but it is a chance worth taking, given he has been 2nd 3 times in bumpers and is 15/2. On all 3 runs he was beaten by a 1 length or less so showed signs of a decent horse. The hurdles may actually improve SHOW PROMISE as they do so many Philip Kirby horses. Thomas Dowson takes the ride and he is a jockey, I have paid a lot of attention to this season and one I feel is under-rated. Overpriced. E/W.
13:50 Ayr – GLINGER FLAME 2/1 – 1 POINT WIN
Todays favourite Dali Mail and GLINGER FLAME both made their debut over fences at Newcastle in December. Dali Mail came out on top that day but had 3lb in hand over GLINGER FLAME. Today Dali Mail carries 5lb more, so GLINGER FLAME meets that horse on 8lb better terms. He will need to improve his jumping but that is to be expected given he has only had one start over fences. He is a horse who also knows how to win, given he won 3 races on the bounce last season, over hurdles. With everything, there is every chance that form will be turned around today.
14:10 Doncaster – THE BIG BITE 9/2 – 1 POINT WIN
All eyes with be on Caribean Boy who was purchased by Simon Munir for £180k in May 2018. He was sent to nicky Henderson but has yet to run a race, being off the track for 632 days. His last run came in France so although he has potential, he may need the run, particularly in this soft ground.
I am happy to take him on with The Big Bite who was a decent novice earning himself a rating of 140. He has had one run over fences and although he was well behind, it was a decent run against the likes of Master Tommytucker and Thomas Darby. This race looks a lot easier on paper and he is entitled to improve. He is a horse who has always looked a chaser and he has a nice opportunity to get his head in front tomorrow. WIN.
14:05 Kempton – FRODON 2/1 – 1.5 POINT WIN
I am surprised FRODON is as big as 2/1 if I am being honest. He is the highest rated horse in the race with a handicap mark of 168. His nearest rival on the rating is Top Notch who is rated 161. FRODON according to the handicapper is a 7lb better horse, yet Top Notch is 4/5 and FRODON 2/1, off level weights. Top Notch did win this race last year and seemed to like Kempton. He beat Black Corton that day by 5 lengths but Frodon is a much better horse than Black Corton.
As usual I expect Bryony Frost to use the horses stamina and run these rivals into the ground from the front, making the others make mistakes with his outstanding jumping.
I am happy to put a line through the form of his last race as it was against the likes of Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mai. I am also happy to do the same with his penultimate run as they removed loads of fences, which done the horse no favours whatsoever at Aintree.
FRODON has run well at Kempton in the past and I expect him to go close in this. For me it is a 2 horse race between our selection and Top Notch, yet the bookies are giving me 2/1 in what I believe is a 2 horse race.
15:35 Warwick – SILVER SHEEN 10/1 – 0.5 POINTS E/W
SILVER SHEEN also travels over from Ireland and is trained by the excellent Jessica Harrington. Knowing what I know about her she would in no way be wasting a journey over here if she wasn’t all out to get SILVER SHEEN qualified in March, which of course means he has to win this race, in order to do so, given his current mark is 131. Robbie Power takes the ride and he has rode the horse on his last two starts which were both wins at Thursles and Wexford. He is only a 6 year old but has progressed lovely on his last two starts and last time out won by 6 lengths. He beat a horse called Royal Thief who boosted his form by winnings at Thurles today. I think he has to be involved given how progressive he is and this trip will bring out even more improvement. E/W.
13:45 Ludlow – DOLPHIN SQUARE 9/4 – 1.5 POINT WIN
DOLPHIN SQUARE is owned by the same connections as For Langy and he is going to take all the beating in my opinion. He has won 3 of his last 6 starts and is going in the right direction. He was a winner of his penultimate start before being stepped to 3 miles for a very competitive handicap hurdle at Cheltenham last time out. He finished 4th of 18 that day and maybe under a better jockey than David Maxwell, would have won. David Maxwell takes the ride today and although I don’t think he is a bad jockey, there are better jockeys around. Nevertheless I still think DOLPHIN SQUARE will have to much in hand for the rest and expect him to go off around the 7/4 mark. WIN.
12:45 Sandown – SILVER FOREVER 7/4 – 1.5 POINT WIN
My long term subscribers will know that I have a soft spot for SILVER FOREVER who has won twice for us all season. She is a very slick jumper who takes lengths out of other novices at her hurdles. She was a winner on her debut at Chepstow over 2m 3f and this was followed up with a win at Newbury over 2m, which is a trip to short for her really. She then went back to Newbury over the same trip and finished 3rd to a smart horse in Floressa. She has always looked like a horse who needs a trip and now up to 2m 4f, I am sure you will see the best of her. She is going to be a smashing chaser next season but for now she is more than capable of picking up decent prizes like this, with her jumping beng her asset. WIN.
14:25 Sandown – FIDDLERONTHEROOF 9/4 – 1.5 POINT WIN
I think FIDDLEROFTHEROOF is going to turn out to be a very smart horse. She made her debut for new trainer Colin Tizzard at Chepstow in October, coming home 2nd to Thyme Hill, who is a very good horse. He then stepped back in trip to 2 miles at Wincanton and came home 2nd to Edwardstone. Although connections were disappointed, Edwarsdtsone did come out and win his next start which give the form a boost. FIDDLERONTHEROOF final start was at this course last month where everything seemed to click. It was an impressive win and he looked a horse with a serious engine. This is now his 4th start over hurdles so has plenty of experience for a novice. It will take a good one to beat and I am quietly confident. WIN.
14:40 Cheltenham – PORTRUSH TED 11/4 – 1.5 POINTS WIN
PORTRUSH TED looks well handicapped on a mark of 131. He was a good winner of a Grade 2 bumper at Aintree back in 2018. He beat horses like Kateson (now rated 137), Harambe (now rated 144), Al Dancer (now rated 151), Pym (now rated 137) and Mister Fisher (now rated 144). As you can see it was a very hot bumper and POTRUSH TED didn’t just beat them, he annihilated the field. He then made his debut over hurdles at Perth last August and won by 17 lengths. He has not been seen since but the mark of 131 looks lenient. He may well need the run but I can’t see why they would travel all the way from Lambourn (Berkshire) to Ayr (Scotland) if he wasn’t ready to win with. If he needed the run he could have stayed local. I think this horse is in a different league to these and the 11/4 looks a decent price. WIN.