Harzand Looks The Early Arc Value


The first weekend in October is often greeted with mixed emotions from fans of flat racing. A magnificent two days often lay in prosper just across the Channel, though of course, it also draws a curtain over the flat season itself.

The Prix de l’Arc de Triumph, or the Arc as it is more commonly referred to, is the late-season centre-piece for many, often bringing together Derby winners from across Europe, as well as plenty of Asian interest.

The Asian angle this year looked set to arrive with A Shin Hikari after his blistering success at Chantilly earlier in the season, yet a bid looks unlikely after his trainer suggested 12f would be a step too far and he has also subsequently flopped at Ascot.

So, at the time of writing, Classic winners and an exciting older horse currently take their place towards the head of the market in what looks an extremely open renewal.

Postponed swerved a crack at the Arc last year, after a late trainer switch, yet after success in Dubai and more recently Epsom he looks a major player this season.

Minding was an ultra-impressive Oaks winner, who quashed any stamina doubts as she managed to negate her way out of trouble to stay on strongly down the Epsom camber to mow down her rivals with minimum fuss. She ranks as an interesting entrant, as does French Oaks winner, La Cressonnierre.

French Derby winner Almanzor has been slightly supported since his Chantilly win, while Jack Hobbs and Zawraq hold major question marks given their absences.

So, arguably the strongest form on offer to date, is the Epsom Derby form.

Harzand ran out a game winner that day, despite splitting a plate earlier in the day, and the sustained market support proved telling as he repelled all challengers down the straight.

He is bred for a trip, meaning conditions at Chantilly should be ideal. Of course, a potential crack at the St Leger may beckon given his stamina, yet it looks as though that is factored into his price as the current 10/1 on offer for the Arc looks too big. He surely doesn’t start near that, if he goes?

Golden Horn landed the Derby last year en route to Arc success and the manner in which Harzand has continued his upward curve means he must be respected for the rest of the season.

He was given an educational ride on his only start as a two-year-old, keeping on nicely down the straight without ever getting involved in the finish. Since then, he hasn’t been beaten.

A wide-margin maiden success was followed up with a battling victory over subsequent Derby third Idaho in the Ballysax Stakes. The pair pulled clear of the field and this was a similar story at Epsom, only with the highly-rated US Army Ranger splitting the pair.

US Army Ranger had every chance to win that day but he couldn’t find the extra gear to pass the gutsy Harzand and this could well be the case at Chantilly, should the ground turn up in it’s usual soft(ish) state.

Harzand will relish the trip (and probably further in time) while any cut in the ground is a bonus. We’ll possibly be relying on the weather to ensure Dermot Weld decides to send him to Chantilly instead of Doncaster (what a choice) but if that is the case, the 10/1 could be large.

It looks as though the Irish Derby may be the next port of call for Harzand and if he can put in an authoritative performance at the Curragh, then expect him to shorten up for October’s main event.

He ticks plenty of boxes and looks as though he will have even more to offer in time. The Aga Khan hasn’t tasted Arc success since his star filly Zarkava won the race back in 2008, so he’ll love the chance to head into it with a live chance yet again.

The 10/1 for Harzand seems more than fair and come October, he could well be a whole lot shorter.

Selection: Harzand to win the Arc @ 10/1 (Various)

York Ebor Meeting – Day One Preview

York’s Ebor meeting tops the flat racing calendar for many, with fantastic racing often accompanied by glorious sunshine on the Knavesmire.

It has been my personal favourite UK flat meeting ever since I was fortunate enough to witness incredible Epsom Derby winner, Authorized, taking on future Arc winner, Dylan Thomas, back in 2007. That day changed my views on racing forever, and since then I have been very fortunate with my luck at the Yorkshire track.

This year looks set to be no different and the opening day provides the opportunity to see some fantastic horses, with Derby winner Australia rightfully taking centre stage. He is the best horse in the race, but with Joseph O’Brien pushing himself to unnatural limits to make the 8st 12 to ride him, there would have to be question marks about his physical fitness in a finish, should the horse need to pull out something extra. He should get the better of the field comfortably if carrying on his progression, but there has to be doubts about taking long-odds on.


The day starts with the Symphony Group Handicap, a typically tough race that will set you up for the day/meeting if you can find the winner. There is plenty of each-way value, and the selection lies with See the Sun. He landed a valuable prize at York back in June and travelled like the winner last time out, when controlling the race from the front before fading late on behind the talented Muthmir. A shorter trip is set to suit Tim Easterby’s charge, and stall 20 is a plum box to get out and dictate. The three-year-old is nicely weighted and on an upward curve, so the current 11/1 represents clear value and he can hopefully kick-start the meeting in the best possible way.

Next up is the Acomb Stakes, which looks a fantastic opportunity to highlight Jamaica’s potential Classic claims for next year. He is currently second-favourite for the Group Three Acomb, behind the highly rated Basateen, but the manner of Jamaica’s victory as-well as the sheer market support that came for him at Galway, suggest he has the potential to be a special animal. He is going to want further rather soon, as his staying-on display last time out suggested, but he still possesses enough speed at the moment to get the better of the field tomorrow. The 3/1 is more than fair, and this looks like has to potential to be a real starting point for a big career should the vibes from Coolmore be anything to go by.

Kingston Hill is expected to take all the beating back in his optimum conditions in the Great Voltigeur Stakes, yet he will face stiff competition from a tough field. Sir Michael Stoute’s, Snow Sky, looked the least likely winner heading down to post at Glorious Goodwood, dripping with sweat and acting up in the preliminaries. This, combined with the three-year-old failing to settle during the early exchanges, meant that many thought he had already put paid to his chances. However thanks to a masterful James Doyle ride, he managed to prevail by a head, and continue his upward curve. He possesses plenty of ability, and 1m4f looks to be his optimum trip, with the ground posing no issues. If he behaves before the race, and settles earlier he will pose a massive threat to the favourite and at 8/1, he looks a fair bet. He is a risky proposition, but his talent is worth taking a punt on, and if the favourite does fail to act, Snow Sky looks the likeliest to benefit.

Eagle Rock is an interesting contender in the penultimate race of the day, with the Tom Tate trained six-year-old currently a fantastic each-way proposition at 20/1. He saves his best runs for the Knavesmire, running consistently in big handicaps, including a course and distance success. It is a very open race as the prices suggest, but he is one of very few that absolutely love big fields and the course, and one of only two in the race who have course-distance success (Itlaaq the other), which swings things in his massively favour at a surprising price. J P Sullivan has never finished out of the first three when on-board the horse and with him in the saddle tomorrow, hopefully he can piece together another solid run and return each-way money at the very least.



1:55, York: See the Sun @ 11/1

2:30, York: Jamaica @ 3/1

3:05, York: Snow Sky @ 8/1

4:20, York: Eagle Rock @ 20/1





Punchestown Festival – Day One

Arguably there is only festival in the world that comes close to matching the Cheltenham Festival for it’s raucous atmosphere, and that is the Punchestown Festival. Fortunately for us, it is that time of year once again and the countdown is nearing it’s end, as action gets underway on Tuesday afternoon.

After a record-break 2013 festival, Willie Mullins will be hoping to go close to matching his 13 winner figure, and his best chance of doing that on day one looks set to be with Faugheen.

The high-class gelding managed to keep his unbeaten record in tact despite noticeable jumping errors in the Neptune at Cheltenham, and came away from the week as one for the notebook. He showed his massive engine when powering away from the field by four-and-a-half lengths, and he is going to be extremely hard to beat on Tuesday afternoon.

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He looks a magnificent prospect for the future, and should he win impressively his price will shorten for next year’s Cheltenham Festival, as in 2013, this race was won by this year’s Champion Hurdle winner Jezki.

He is bidding for back-to-back Grade One glory, and already has course form, having beaten Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up Josses Hill by a mammoth 22-lengths on his debut at the track last year. This form has been franked plenty of times, and he should take all the beating back in Ireland.

His 4/5 price seems very fair, and he is more than likely to go off around the 4/7 mark, with the Irish punters backing Mullins from the very start. However, it is another one of his runners that could go very close to matching Faugheen, in the shape of Wicklow Brave. We need to forgive his last run where he went out like a light, but earlier on in his career he had threatened to be a high-class hurdler, before fading away in his last two runs. He is an interesting contender, and should definitely be considered to make the placings at 14/1.

The Boylesports.com Champion Chase looks a very hot race, with Hidden Cyclone topping the market at 4/1. He has finished in the placings on his last six starts, including a valiant second behind Dynaste in the Ryanair Chase on his last visit to the track. He should go extremely close, but just seems to lack the required quality to get a win at the top level, consistently falling just short.

This means, we should side with Module, with Tom George’s runner bypassing Aintree when well-fancied, to have a crack at the Punchestown feature. He has been in great form this season, landing the Game Spirit Chase in tremendous fashion, before finishing a fair third behind the highly-rated Sire De Grugy at Cheltenham, in the Champion Chase.

A repeat of that run should see him go extremely close, and the decision to pull him out of his engagement on the day, at Aintree, suggests he holds high hopes of a big effort here at Punchestown. The in-form Barry Geraghty takes over from Paddy Brennan, and his mount should go extremely well in the flat track in Ireland, with the current 5/1 looking more than fair.

The final Grade One of the day could well make it a double for connections of Faugheen, with Djakadam looking set to hold a real chance.

He was travelling extremely well in the JLT Novices’ Chase, before coming down four from home, and he will be out to atone for that error on Tuesday. It is significant that Ruby has opted for Djakadam over RSA Chase favourite Ballycasey, as he must be performing with some vigor at home.


The five-year-old receives nine pounds off his rivals, and this could be the difference between him and favourite Morning Assembly who comes into the race off a respectable third in the RSA. He is a high-class chaser in his own right, and is the worthy favourite if we’re going on form in the book. However Djakadam looks open to vast improvement, and the master handler Mullins should go extremely close to notching another winner, should his mount be none-the-worse for his Cheltenham fall.

The last selection of day one, is The Game Changer for Gigginstown Stud, whose runners have been in fine form of late.

The five-year-old was traveling extremely well before being hampered two out, behind the highly-rated Josses Hill in a Grade Two at Aintree. He ended up finishing well down the field after failing to recover from the mishap, but you can guarantee if he had managed to get a clear run, the result would have been a lot different and he would not be 16/1 for Tuesday’s handicap hurdle.

Davy Russell takes over the reigns, and should the gelding manage to settle early on, he will be able to mount a real challenge in what looks a very open race. The trip and ground look no bother to him, and with a clear run this time around, he should go very close at an attractive price.


Win Patent: 42.2/1

4:20 Punch: Faugheen  @ 4/5 (Boylesports) 

5:30 Punch: Module @ 5/1 (Various)

6:40 Punch: Djakadam @ 3/1 (Boylesports)


E.W Singles & Double: 254/1

4.20 Punch: Wicklow Brave @ 14/1 (Betfred)

6:05 Punch: The Game Changer @ 16/1 (Bet365)

Cheltenham Festival – Day Four Preview

For the second time this week, we return with two good priced places out of three, but still no winner.

Friday looks a good day to end the festival in style, and there is plenty of value flying around.

The Triumph Hurdle looks a typically competitive curtain raiser, and the vote in this goes to the highly rated Calipto. Paul Nicholls hasn’t been in the greatest form, but has talked very highly of his four-year-old who remains unbeaten in Britain, winning twice since coming over from Ireland.

He oozed class when winning at Newbury both times, beating the highly-rated Activial (subsequent Adonis winner), in the process. He looks a likely improver, and should take all the beating according to trainer Paul Nicholls, who seemed rather bullish when describing his geldings chances in the opener.

A nifty hurdler who travels like a dream, should appreciate the stiff finish, and the ground should hold no worries. It is a very open race, but his current price strikes value, especially when there are firms offering money back for second and third placed finishers.

Daryl Jacob was extremely emotive when finishing a nose second behind Fingal Bay on Thursday, and this looks the ideal opportunity to land a big prize to ease the pain of missed chances so far. He will have his fair share of supporters, and the current 9/2 shouldn’t last too long.

Elsewhere on the card, Fingal Bay’s team of Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson team up with the interesting Cheltenian who landed the Champion Bumper back in 2011.

He is lightly races over hurdles, having only had four runs, but he showed he still possesses plenty of ability when finishing a close fourth in the Betfair Hurdle last time out. The form of the race has worked out well with Dell’ Arca and Smashing finishing right in the mix in the Coral Cup.

The eight-year-old is running off a very generous mark of 137 and should go extremely well on his preferred better ground. The 10/1 looks a cracking each-way bet taking all things to account, and he will more than likely go off a single figure price.

Another interesting runner in the Martin Pipe is Don Poli. Willie Mullins five-year-old has improved with each run, which culminated in a smashing victory in a Grade Three at Clonmel.

The trip looks a tad on the sharp side on Friday, but his ability to maintain a solid gallop may be deadly if Fogarty decides to take him from the front.  He looks a likely improver, will be staying on best of all and the vibes from the stable have all been positive, with a big run expected.

He is currently 12/1, which looks a solid each-way bet given the form Mullins has been in so far this week.

The final selection of the day, and meeting looks to be the best of the bunch. Ned Buntline has been a talking horse from the Noel Meade stable from day one.

The six-year-old has solid form in the bag, including finishing a very close runner-up in his maiden behind none other than the Champion Hurdle hero, Jezki.

He has never finished outside of the first three, and has a bold jumping style which looks suited to the obstacles at Cheltenham. He is ridden by his perfect match in the ultra-calm Paul Carberry who has a sixth sense when it comes to producing his mounts at the perfect time.

JP McManus has had a fantastic week so far, and Ned Buntline could round it off in the perfect manner. He is on an extremely generous mark, and if he can replicate his best form, he should go extremely close. The 10/1 with Boylesports will not last long, and he is sure to be one of the biggest gambles of the day, especially if JP’s go well earlier in the day.


Triumph Hurdle: Calipto @ 9/2 (Boylesports or 4/1 with Paddy Power, money back if second or third)

Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle: Cheltenian @ 10/1(Bet365)

Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle: Don Poli @ 14/1 (32Red)

Grand Annual: Ned Buntline @ 10/1 (Boylesports)

Cheltenham Festival – Day Three Preview

It has come to the point in the week, where punters are either chasing losses, or attempting to play up their winners and make it a really good week.

The focal point of the day is undoubtedly the World Hurdle and the clash between the proven Big Buck’s who is aiming for his fifth World Hurdle, and the Irish heroine Annie Power who has swept all before her this season.

Annie Power is a worthy favourite after swerving the Champion Hurdle and potential clash with Quevega in the Mares Hurdle, to take up her entry here, but she will not have it her own way. She exudes class, and the vibes in Ireland are all extremely positive, so you can guarentee she will be a very warm favourite (potentially around the Evens mark, once the Irish support arrives), and this offers very little value.

Big Buck’s returned to the track after 420 days off, to put in a stellar performance when looking the likely winner everywhere apart from the line in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January. He will come on for the run, and if he has retained his level of form from previous years, he surely has to go close and 3/1 seems very fair.

However the value lies with the JP McManus pair, who will be hoping to continue JP’s run of good fortune, after his 1-2 in the Champion Hurdle.

More of That has ran out an impressive winner on his last three starts, and with Jonjo having his bunch in great form, he should run well at 10/1. However preference is for At Fishers Cross, who Tony McCoy has opted for, after having the choice of the pair.

Rebecca Curtis trains At Fishers Cross, and she is in fantastic form, having already trained a winner at the Festival this week (O’Faolain’s Boy). The seven-year-old bounded away to land the Albert Bartlett at last year’s meeting, to announce himself as a serious staying hurdler. He confirmed the promise when landing a Grade One at Aintree in impressive fashion, on similar ground that he will encounter on Thursday.

He started the season a short-price for the race, but he has progressively drifted (8/1 now) after jumping worries and two poor performances led many to believe he wouldn’t turn up for the race. Yet, a very positive run when returning to somewhere near his best form, finishing second (ahead of Big Buck’s in third), at Cheltenham in January. The ground will be no worries, and he’s returning to a track where he has ran four times, winning three of those, and finishing second in one. All things point to a big run, and the in-form duo of Curtis and McManus could be celebrating once more.

Elsewhere, there are two other decent-priced runners that are of interest. The first is Wonderful Charm in the JLT Novices’ Chase. He has performed well all season, taking to fences like the proverbial duck to water. A strong traveling speed, bold jumping style and the fact he arrives fresh are three very big positives for Paul Nicholls’ runner.

His only defeat over fences came at the hands of Oscar Whiskey (who re-appears tomorrow), but he was giving away eight pounds to the winner, and only went down by half-a-length. He acts well around Cheltenham, and should be able to reverse the form.

His biggest challenger looks to be Felix Yonger, who was second in the Irish Arkle last time out. He looks a big danger, but is prone to throwing in a dodgy jump from time-to-time, and it may pay to stay with the stronger jumper, in Wonderful Charm, currently an 11/2 chance.

The final selection of the day comes in the lucky last, another McManus owned gelding, in the shape of Cause of Causes, who seems to thrive in big fields. He has finished second in his last two starts, and has been laid out for the Cheltenham Festival, having been entered in a whole host of races. The fact he takes this engagement, is telling and although he faces still opposition, especially in the shape of the well-fancied Indian Castle, he should be able to throw down a big challenge.

The six-year-old looks to have a big future, and has a positive jockey booking in the shape of Nina Carberry, whose experience around Cheltenham, may pay dividends. The former Ladbroke winner is extremely consistent, a solid jumper, and you are sure to be guaranteed a solid run for your money, at a very tempting 7/1.


JLT Novices’ Chase: Wonderful Charm @ 11/2

World Hurdle: At Fishers Cross @ 8/1

Kim Muir Challenge Cup: Cause of Causes @ 7/1

E.W Patent @ 467/1

Cheltenham Festival – Day Two Preview

Following the roller-coaster opening day of the festival, we can expect more of the same as we approach day two. It was a case of ‘close but no cigar’ for us, as we had two decent priced places, but no winner. Hopefully that will change on Wednesday.

Ligeonniere’s a Champion:

Fast and frenetic was the theme of Tuesday’s racing, and that trend looks set to continue, with the two mile Queen Mother Champion Chase headlining the card.

The race is sadly missing arguably the greatest chaser of the last decade, as last year’s winner Sprinter Sacre misses the chance to retain his crown following a heart problem, as his trainer Nicky Henderson feels the eight-year-old wasn’t 100% in the build-up to Cheltenham.

However, there is still a stellar cast, headed by the horse that just keeps on improving, Sire De Grugy. Gary Moore’s charge has had a fantastic season so far, winning four out of his five starts, including two group one’s. Yet, he is seemingly less effective going left-handed (which of course, Cheltenham is), and this is a major worry to any punters steaming in at around 2/1. He is officially the best horse in the race, but there are too many question marks to be taking such a short-price.

So, elsewhere there is plenty of value in the race, and the horse that really takes the fancy is Arvika Ligeonniere from the Willie Mullins stable, who is currently trading around the 7/1 mark.

The nine-year-old is a consistent sort, that has been plying his trade at the top level for many years, and comes into the race in good nick, having comprehensively trounced the useful Toner D’oudaries at Punchestown, in what will serve as a solid prep.

He disappointed in last year’s Arkle, when failing to show any signs of his usual form, as Ruby Walsh was forced to pull him up before two out. However, he has came back stronger than ever, and looks real each-way in a rather condensed field.

Captain Conan is going to be a real danger, but it tends to pay to stick with the Walsh and Mullins combination, so Arvika Ligeonniere looks the selection at 7/1.

Tough for Lough:

Elsewhere on the card, there is yet another strong Irish chance as a big field lines up for the RSA.

carlingford lough

Arvika Ligeonniere’s connections, are seen in force, with the warm favourite Ballycasey, however it may pay to side with Galway Plate winner, Carlingford Lough.

The eight-year-old has been on the boil all-season, and has put together a string of big performances in both handicap and graded company. He warrants his place near the head of the market on the back of a comfortable success in the Group One, Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown, and then travelling nicely before falling at the last, in a race won by Ballycasey last month.

John Kiely’s gelding looks to have a real chance with his mix of stamina and sharp jumping, in what looks to be an extremely open race. It often pays to side with consistency, and Carlingford Lough is as consistent as they come. Couple that with the added bonus of Tony McCoy in the saddle, and this makes a very attractive 10/1 shot.

Go go Golantilla:

The last selection of the day falls in the bumper, and goes the way of Golantilla. Tony Martin’s six-year-old was third in last year’s race behind the highly rated Briar Hill, and it was thought then that he would go on to have a big year.

Yet, he has only been seen once on a racecourse since, when finishing a distant second at Naas last month. He traveled beautifully through the race, but failed to see it out, staying on one pace towards the death on soft ground. He will certainly have come on for the run, and the vibes from the stable are seemingly positive, which makes the fact he was pushed out from 8/1 to 14/1 following his last run, a slight overreaction.

Tony Martin always has his horses in top nick entering the festival, and the fact that the patience has been shown to have another crack at the bumper as opposed to go over hurdles speaks volumes, and he looks a cracking each-way bet at 14/1 to end the second day.


Champion Chase: Arvika Ligeonniere @ 17/2 (BetBright)

RSA: Carlingford Lough @ 9/1 (Coral)  

Champion Bumper: Golantilla @ 14/1 (Various)

E.W patent @ 1169/1

Cheltenham Festival – Day One Preview

The home of National Hunt racing takes centre stage next week, as all eyes turn to the biggest jumps meeting in the world, the Cheltenham Festival.

Be Brave with Wicklow:

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle always acts as a very apt curtain-raiser, and this year is no different with an array of talent lining up to try and get their names on the winners board at the very first attempt.

Irving represents the best chance of a winner for the home side in the opener, as Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old heads in to the race as a warm favourite following two comfortable Grade Two victories. He looks a solid prospect for the future, but there has to be doubts over his stamina and at 2/1 he is no value at all.

The Willie Mullins pair of Vautour and Wicklow Brave are next in the market, and look the biggest dangers to Irving. Vautour landed the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last time out, beating The Tullow Tank, after dictating the pace from the off.

Ruby Walsh has opted to ride Vautour after feeling he will stay the best of the pair, and will be more suited by conditions. He isn’t likely to get his own way at the front like he did last time out, but Mullins has been very bullish about his chances and he is sure to have many backers at the current 3/1.

However, Wicklow Brave looks like the real deal, and although Walsh has opted to ride the stables supposed first-string, at 7/1, he looks to be tremendous value. He is a very strong traveler which is key in these types of races, and although there are doubts about his jumping (valid after a shaky round last time out), the faster the pace, the better he will jump.

He has a sensational turn of foot, and used effectively this could be the difference, as Vautour is going to be ridden prominently and keep the race at a solid tempo, settling up a late swoop for Wicklow Brave.

Patrick Mullins has been talking very highly of the horse recently, and there are plenty of trends which suggest he is the horse to get on.

The last nine Supreme Novices’ winners have gone off at 5/1 or bigger, and ten of the last eleven winners of the race have been aged five or six (Wicklow Brave is five). The last ten winners had won at least 50% of their hurdles starts (WB is 100%), and as Wicklow Brave shares the same sire as 2012 winner Cinders and Ashes, there is plenty of positivity going into the festival.

The likely firm ground at Prestbury Park should bring out the best in five-year-old, and with Paddy Power offering money back if your horse finishes second, third or fourth, Wicklow Brave surely has to be a solid bet at 7/1.

Time for Trifolium:

The Racing Post Arkle is a race of the highest quality and this year’s renewal has the potential to add another magnificent name to the illustrious list of previous winners.

Champagne Fever heads the market after winning at the festival for the previous two years (Bumper & Supreme Novices’), and he is currently trading at 3/1 to make it a third successful year.

His performance at Leopardstown in December has added an element of doubt into the minds of the backers, as the lackluster display was the first real sign of weakness from the grey.

He didn’t go one yard, and was beaten fair and square by defy logic with Trifolium (who is also Cheltenham bound), ahead of him in second.

Trifolium was the one to take out of the race, as Davy Russell traveled very strongly on the seven-year-old, and looked to be traveling best of all coming to the last where he failed to pick up Defy Logic.

Since then, he has came out and landed the Irish Arkle in tremendous fashion, showing his tremendous jumping and high cruising speed to full effect. He has the best form to offer going into the race, and the 11/2 on offer looks a lot more value than the 3/1 for Champagne Fever.

My Tent or Yours?

The Champion Hurdle is one of the most anticipated races of the entire year, and this year’s renewal is set to be a cracker. Hurricane Fly who has won two of the last three Champion Hurdle’s is back to try and retain his crown, but faces stiff opposition as the young pretenders enter the scene.

tony mccoy la

Hurricane Fly is uber consistent, and loves Cheltenham. He has had a solid build-up, and Ruby Walsh seems very keen on the ten-year-old’s chances, and he should prove very hard to beat.

However The New One is wrestling for favouritism with The Fly, with the pair inseparable at 11/4. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ six-year-old burst onto the scene when landing the Neptune at last year’s festival, in impressive style.

The manner in which he bounded up the hill suggests he will thrive once more, come Tuesday afternoon and he is sure to have a legion of supporters screaming his name over the last.

Yet, My Tent or Yours beat The New One at Kempton, albeit on a flatter track, and looks sure to come on for the run. He is a very strong traveler and looked the likely winner when failing to get past Champagne Fever in last year’s Supreme Novice’, and Tony McCoy will now know how to produce My Tent or Yours, albeit against higher opposition.

He has all the characteristics to suggest he is going to make a bold bid for the big race, and McCoy has highlighted him as his best chance of a winner for the festival. The speed horse has overcame a late injury scare, and if McCoy manages to settle him early on in the race, the late burst of speed he possesses may tip the scales in his favour, meaning the 9/2 on offer, is surely worth a dabble.


Supreme Novice’ Hurdle: Wicklow Brave @ 7/1 (Various)

Arkle: Trifolium @ 11/2 (Boylesports)

Champion Hurdle: My Tent or Yours @ 5/1 (Winner)

E.W Patent @ 263/1 (William Hill)

The Grand National – Ante-Post Preview

In a little over two months time, the nation will unite for the one day a year where horse-racing takes centre stage.

The Grand National never fails to draw a mass worldwide crowd, and betting shops fill up with the ‘one race a year punters’ who love to have their pennies on a mount in the Aintree spectacular.

With 40 runners likely to line-up, it is always incredibly difficult to select the winner, as so much can happen across the four and a half mile venture, with 30 obstacles to negotiate.

However, at this time there are plenty of value bets to get stuck into, and hopefully you will be able to watch the price drop and drop until the day of the big race, which makes it all the sweeter.

Obviously we have less to work with at this stage, such-as we don’t know the official weight, whether they will get to the race in top shape etc, but this is all reflected in the price.

Feeling Bleu;

Unfortunately, my biggest fancy for the race would have been the consistent Cappa Bleu who has gone close in the previous two years, however he has been ruled out of the big race after picking up a knock. Trainer Evan Williams has stated a bid for the 2015 Grand National to be on the cards, but unfortunately he will miss what looked set to be a great opportunity.

Tea for me;

However, Wales will still be very well represented in the race, with last year’s third placed finisher Teaforthree lining up again for another crack at the big race.

He looks ideally suited to the stamina test at Aintree, and proved his capabilities in handling the track when putting in an inch perfect round of jumping, before staying on at one pace towards the end of the race.

The fact he has never fallen on a racecourse is a major plus, as the Aintree fences, although having been amended over the last few years, still take no prisoners. There are no stamina doubts for the 10-y-o, and his added touch of class may well prove extremely hard to peg back.

A sold run in the Welsh National in December will have acted as a perfect blowout, and the performance was enough to show he has retained his ability, and he should well be able to outrun his current 25/1 odds.

Time to Walkon;

Alan King is yet to win the Aintree feature, however he knows what it takes to win a big race, having landed last year’s Scottish National with Godsmejudge who is currently 33/1 for the English equivalent.

However the Barbury Castles handler is double handed in this year’s race, and it’s his other intended runner, Walkon, which is of more interest.


The 9-y-o grey excels in big field races, and looks the ideal candidate to attack the obstacles at Aintree. His last visit to the Grand National meeting was a semi-successful effort, finishing runner-up in the Topham Chase, over the National course last year. This effort is enough to instill effort in the punters who know the gelding can handle the unique Aintree obstacles, and if he has retained any of his previous class he should be able to mount a serious challenge.

He disappointed on his last visit to Merseyside, unseating when favourite for the Old Roan chase in October. He makes his re-appearance on Saturday in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham, and a good run there could see his price shorten severely. The 66/1 currently on offer looks very generous, and if he manages to line-up safe and sound come April, there is no way he will be the same price.


Teaforthree @ 25/1 (Various)

Walkon @ 66/1 (Various)

Cheltenham Festival – Ante-Post Lucky 15

With the National Hunt season beginning to gather momentum, now seems as good a time as any to get stuck into a juicy Lucky-15, so we can (hopefully) watch the prices fall in the build-up to the festival come March.

Gold Cup; Sir Des Champs (7/1)

Willie Mullins always seems to hit top form around March, as he descends on Prestbury with a flurry of top-class thoroughbreds.

However the Gold Cup is the one prize that has constantly eluded him. He has often played down the inevitable achievement, and he bids to break the voodoo in 2014 with last year’s runner-up, Sir Des Champs.

The 7-y-o has ran three times at Cheltenham, winning twice and finishing behind Bobs Worth in last year’s big race. He is extremely consistent and has never ran a bad race, thus far in his career.

Mullins will be hoping for enough improvement to help him give Bobs Worth a good battle coming up the hill in four months time. Regular rider Davy Russell was missing from last year’s Gold Cup due to an injury he had picked up earlier in the week. AP McCoy was an able deputy, but he always seems to find more for Russell, and the 7/1 on offer looks far too big for such a consistent sort, with there a slim chance of any real surprise packages over the course of the season.

RSA Chase; Wonderful Charm (16/1)

Wonderful Charm has always been held in high regard by the Paul Nicholls’ stable and he has shown nothing but class since stepping up to the bigger obstacles.

He made a big impression when coming over from France, landing the Grade Two Persian Punch, Novices’ Hurdle by a comfortable six-lengths, before falling short in the World Hurdle.

He was well-fancied on his chasing bow, and Daryl Jacob oozed confidence as his mount jumped expertly, pulling away from a short but select field. He made it two from two with a beautiful round of jumping and a marvellous attitude at Wincanton, which has seemingly cemented his target as the RSA come March.

The current 16/1 looks massive considering the scope for improvement the gelding has, and the fact he’s performing with such credit with Nicholls’ stable not in particularly great form.

If he carries on his firm upward curve, his jumping will put him bang in contention at Prestbury Park and the 16/1 won’t last too long, and he may well go off single figures come March.

cheltenham racecourse

Arkle; Grandouet (14/1)

Nicky Henderson’s high-class hurdler is looking to make a seamless transition to bigger obstacles after proving his class over hurdles over the past few years.

His sketchy jumping has plagued his career so far, and he failed to complete the round on his chasing bow, unseating at the last fence after being keen early on.

However, when the pace picked up he became a lot more fluent and he was massively in need of the run, so I wouldn’t worry too much about his performance at Sandown.

He is a very strong traveller who comes alive at Cheltenham, never being out of the first three when completing the course. Bookmakers have overreacted with his price-drift and he should still be single figures, with only Champagne Fever (who we are still yet to see over fences), shorter in the betting.

The pace is sure to be electric at the festival and this will allow him to get into a rhythm, which will sort out his jumping woes. He is sure to have a light campaign to ensure he gets to the race in top condition and his price should be a lot shorter on the day, providing he turns up unharmed.

World Hurdle; At Fishers Cross (4/1)

The shortest price of the lucky-15 looks set to be many peoples idea of a ‘banker’ outside of the obvious choice of Sprinter Sacre.

The 6-y-o looked like a horse to follow when beating (the new Champion Hurdle favourite) The New One in a Grade Two at Cheltenham in January, before going on to land the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in brilliant style.

He signed off the season with a commanding performance in a Grade One at Aintree, seeing it out best of all to win by a comfortable eight lengths.

He shot straight to the head of the 2014 World Hurdle market, alongside Big Bucks. Big Bucks is without doubt a superstar, but there has too be question marks about how much of his ability he will retain and how fresh he will be on the day.

Solwhit is undoubtedly a class-act but he isn’t getting any younger, and outside of this there isn’t really anyone that could get near At Fishers Cross if the ground comes up soft. Although the 4/1 isn’t the biggest price to be throwing into an ante-post bet, given the circumstances that may occur throughout the season, he looks good enough to boost the odds of the roll-up significantly.


Lucky 15; 0.5 points e.w 

Gold Cup; Sir Des Champs – 7/1

RSA; Wonderful Charm – 16/1

Arkle; Grandouet – 14/1

World Hurdle; At Fishers Cross – 4/1


0.25 e.w roll-up @ 10199/1







York Ebor Festival – Day Three Advice

A sensational day two of the Ebor festival, with none of our selections losing! (albeit two non-runners..)

Day three looks arguably the most competitive day of the week, and there are two selections which look worthy of having significant financial interest rested on their hooves.

The first comes in the feature race of the day, the Nunthorpe Stakes. Favourite Shea Shea looks as solid as they come, coming off the back of two fine efforts on these shores.

Mike de Kock’s charge plied his trade to great effect in South Africa and Meydan, before embarking on a campaign in Britain, starting with two fine efforts, a close second at Royal Ascot, and fourth in the July Cup when ridden from too far off the pace.

He is 5 from 7 at five furlongs, and back at his optimum trip he will take all the beating. Frankie Dettori takes over from Cristophe Soumillon in the saddle, and the flashy Italian looks set to reinvigorate the colt back to Group One success and finally deliver Mike de Kock the big race he deserves on these shores.

The 4/1 looks too big to ignore, and it would be surprise to see the colt go off around the 5/2, 11/4 mark come Friday afternoon.

The other selection on the penultimate day of the Ebor festival is another resting on the shoulders of Mr Dettori, with Ebn Arab in the final race on the card.

Charlie Hills’ colt looked set to be embarking on a big career when running away with a maiden on the Knavesmire last year.

He was sent off second favourite for both the Acomb and the Somerville Tattersall stakes, slightly disappointing in both before landing a conditions stakes at Doncaster at the first time of asking this term.

He was outclassed at Doncaster behind a potential superstar Montiridge, so there is no disgrace in that, and although his last run when sent off 50/1 in the Britannia Stakes, was rather flat, he still comes into the race with plenty of scope for improvement.

This race looks set to take a lot less ability to go close, and if he has maintained his 2yo ability, or even improved slightly, he has the opportunity to make a mockery of his mark and 25/1 looks far too big to ignore.


2 points win: Shea Shea @ 4/1 (Betfair)

1 point e.w: Ebn Arab @ 25/1 (Betvictor)