Sunday, 9 April 2017

End of season report - 2016-17


Whilst TVB never has been, and never will be, just a tipping service, the tips do provide a good indicator of how a season has gone – and the suggestion from their results, is that this season was a bit of struggle !

Across the 5 months of the main season (Nov 1st – Mar 31st) a total of 161 tips were issued with 44.125pts staked.

If you had managed to secure the best price in the tips email, then you would have achieved a modest profit of 2.6pts (6% ROI).

I only quote prices from the main bookmakers – and I issue at times when they should be prepared to take a bet – but despite that, I doubt everyone will have been able to achieve that figure.

That said, in addition to the tips in the main season, the pre-season was profitable, as has been the post season (Aintree !).
The ante-post selections in the forum also generated a profit – as did (maybe most importantly) the Top Picks.
Only 5 of them were issued during the season – but 4 won, yielding a profit of 5.7pts at SP (8pts at early prices) to a level stake.

Between them, I would hope that the various components ensured that anyone who did follow the tips, made some kind of profit.

Ofcourse, that profit is unlikely to have been anywhere near as big as in the 4 previous seasons – which begs the question, what went wrong…?!

Tipping issues

I’ve spent quite a long time analysing the tips and have come to the conclusion that there are 2 simple reasons, why things didn’t go as well as normal, this season.

Firstly, luck.

I know this could sound like an excuse (!) – but it’s not, it’s just a statement of fact.
161 tips, is not very many – particularly when the average price tends to be double figures.
Simply, you are bound to get variation in luck across such a relatively small sample – and when each winning tip accounts for around 3pts, that can make a big difference.

The method I use to assess how ‘lucky’ the tips have been, is to check how many touched 2.1 in running on Betfair.
When a horse reached 2 on BF, the in running players have decided that it is as likely to win, as it is to lose.

These guys are very good judges - they have to be – so its fair to assume that half of the horses that trade at 2 in running, should go on to win.
In fact, more than half should win, as they need a percentage in order to make a profit from what they do – which is why I choose 2.1 as the true ‘50:50’ point…

Across the season, 37 tips traded at 2.1 or less (34 at 2 or less) – but only 15 of them went on to win…

The suggestion is that the tips were 3 or 4 winners short of what you would expect with average ‘luck’.
That resonates with me.
You will always have some near misses – but Lil Rockerfeller, Flintham and Tea for Two not placing, were 3 in particular, which could/should have gone the other way.

If those 3 had delivered, then there would have been an additional 8pts on the P&L and the season would have felt very different.

The second issue has been the mid week racing…

Looking back through the end of season reports for the past couple of seasons, this is something which has been building.

I was very aware of it – and even took the step of splitting the service into 2 parts this season – via the Big race tips and Daily tips.
With hindsight, what I should have done, is jettison the Daily tips completely.

It’s impossible to define Big race tips precisely – but generally, they are tips in class 1 or class 2 races.
There is the odd class 3 race which could be considered a ‘Big race’ – if it were run at a major meeting on a Saturday, for example: whilst there is the odd class 2 race which wouldn’t be considered a Big race – generally those run mid week, at the smaller tracks.

Looking at the performance of the ‘Big race’ tips against the ‘Daily tips’ reveals a significant difference.

During the season, 113 tips were issued in big races (Class 1 and 2), with 29.88pts staked.
They made a profit, at best advised price, of 6.5pts (ROI of 22%).
They even made a small profit at BSP.

These numbers are far more in line with the numbers for the total service in previous seasons (particularly if you allow for the lack of ‘luck’).

By contrast, there were 48 Daily tips issued during the season, with 14.25pts staked.
But they made a 3.9pt loss, at best prices

Across the entire season, there were only 3 winning Daily tips: Court Frontier; Casse Tete and Westerner Point.
Furthermore, Casse Tete was a border line ‘Big race’ tip (he ran in a class 3 handicap at the main meeting on a Saturday); whilst I had to guess that Westerner Point was running in the equivalent of a class 3 race, in Ireland.
In short, the only definite winning Daily tip of the season, was Court Frontier – and if I’d not got in before the price crash, I wouldn’t have tipped him !

And therein lies the problem with the Daily tips.
The prices of the vast majority of the potential Daily tips go, before they can actually be tipped…

The bookmakers have been very clever by issuing prices early the evening before.
That tempts in people who can see ricks in the early prices – but anyone who bets with them at that point, risks losing their account.

It’s an impossible situation: the over-priced horses will be backed – and their prices will shorten. Therefore, by the morning, when the bookmakers are prepared to take some bets, their prices will be much more accurate – and then they will put a 20% margin on top !

Simply, the chances on finding a ‘value’ selection in a mid week race, based on information available in the public domain – and being able to back it in the morning, are very small indeed…

The other issue with the mid week races, is that often, conventional form study won’t reveal the most likely winner.
In such races, connections will frequently decide whether today is the day that they will look to exploit a favourable handicap mark – but unless you are privy to that intent, then you can only guess (or look for signs in the late betting market).

In summary, the odds are just too heavily stacked against your average bettor, for them to be able to operate profitably in small races, betting early in the morning.
If you are able to bet on first shows – or close to the off – then it is possible, but neither of those are realistic options, when you are tipping…

Tips Analysis

With such a big difference between the performance of the 2 groups (Big race tips and Daily tips), it’s difficult to draw many general conclusions.
However, I’m also disinclined to analyse the results of the groups separately, as that doesn’t seem appropriate (as they were all TVB tips).

The one thing it is worth high lighting however, is the performance of well backed tips (as this is something which I’ve pointed out in the past).

This season, 6 horses halved in price, from the advised price to BSP – and whilst only one of them won, that doesn’t tell the full story.

The winner was Court Frontier – who was also the biggest steamer of the entire season !
However, of the other 5: Morello Royal fell: Audacious Plan ran well to finish third: Flintham was nailed in the shadow of the post: and Ganbei won on his next outing.
McKenzies Friend was the final one of the half dozen  – and he’s not yet run again, so is probably worth looking out for !

Neither As de Mee nor Fayonagh quite managed to half in price, prior to winning – but they weren’t far off, suggesting once again, that well backed tips, are worth following, even at the BSP.

Conversely, of the 62 tips that had a bigger BSP than advised price – only 3 won.
I’ve no idea why Baie des Iles drifted: whilst Casse Tete and Rock the World were the other 2.
In fairness, Lil Rockerfeller also drifted and if he had won, the numbers would have looked very different.

That said, to an extent, the Cheltenham festival has its own betting rules, so he and Rock the World, should possibly be excluded from analysis.

TVB Forum

The TVB forum was introduced last season – and its usage has evolved significantly this season.

That has been mainly due to the system generated ‘tips’, which a handful of the guys have posted on there.
Neil and Matt were involved initially – but latterly it has been Chris and Francis who have driven things forward…

In addition to the system bets, the forum also continued to be used for the occasional betting related matter. Also, Steve very kindly took to posting the Pricewise selections and grids, most Friday evenings (which helps when the prices on those race revert in the morning). Donnie periodically posted his stable views – and ofcourse, Dave ran another successful Naps competition.

I used to it store ante-post selections and thoughts – and also for the weekly eye catchers…

In truth, I’m not sure how useful the eye catchers have been (I’ve not received any feedback on them).
However, over the course of the season, there were 27 individual horses, who were identified as eye catchers and who recorded a win in their next 3 races.

Backing all of the eye catchers blindly, would have resulted in a significant loss – but that is to be expected, as many subsequently ran in unsuitable races.

Just focusing on those running in appropriate races, would have seen much better results.
That would be particularly true, if you were able to back them early – as invariably the eye catchers were well backed in the early markets (linking back to horses being backed early in mid week markets).

Conclusions and next season

In a lot of respects, I think the 2016-17 season can be viewed positively.

The processes and procedures that I use, worked well: with the write-up driving things on a daily basis – ably backed up by the forum.

There were non of the prices crashes, experienced in previous seasons – and generally, I would hope that people were able to get on the tips (assuming they had appropriate accounts).

However, the Daily tips were a big cloud.

Issuing them was difficult – and the ones I did issue, simply didn’t perform well enough.
I suspect that was often caused by me not being able to tips the horses I actually wanted to tip – but that’s not really an acceptable excuse.

I tried for a month, at the end of the season, to see if I might be able to tip late in the day, via the ‘Fair bets’.
However, I don’t really feel that was sufficiently successful to warrant continuing with, next season.

To operate successfully in the mid week races, I suspect you need to either bet very early – or very late – and neither of those lend themselves to tipping… 

So where does that leave things for next season…?

I see no need to change anything, with regard to the Big race tips.
Not only were they profitable over the course of the season – but the other profitable aspects of the service (pre-season, post season, ante-post and Top Picks), all focused on Big races.

The issue is therefore what to do on a Daily basis…
I have a number of options in this area – and I intend to create a post on the forum, to canvass opinions…

The Daily tips will stop – but what about the write-up on mid week days ? Does this have sufficient value to warrant producing, if there won’t be any tips..?
Another option would be for me to offer brief early opinions, in the forum – and maybe revisit at lunchtime, on race days.
Or alternatively, I could just skip the mid week completely, and focus solely on the weekends/festivals…

I have a relatively open mind on the best path forward, so really need a few of you guys to let me know your preference.

Anyway, I think that just about covers all of the main points.

It’s been a season which I have mixed views on – as I suspect do many of you.
That said, the main issue seems pretty clear, and that will be addressed.

One thing I really must thank you all for, is your support – either explicitly, or implicitly - throughout the season.
There is no denying that there were some tough days – particularly during December – but it says much for the quality of my subscriber base, that there was barely a dissenting voice (and plenty of supporting ones !).
I consider myself lucky to have built up such a group of loyal and knowledgeable subscribers. I suspect there are few – if any – services with a stronger following (and I’m honestly not just saying that !).

As I’ve mentioned previously, I will continue to post thoughts on the forum, on an ad-hoc basis (when suitable races appear – and as time permits).
Likewise, I know that Chris and Francis are committed to running a few systems through the summer – and also recording the results of their experiment with Nina/Alice !

In short, if you are bored, then tune in to the forum !

Otherwise, I’ll be back in touch in the autumn, with details of my plans for the 2017-18 season (hopefully inspired by some of your input !).

Best wishes for an enjoyable summer – and thanks again for the ongoing support.


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Review of the day

The final day of the TVB season, quite literally had everything !

A winner - an unbelievable loser – some very good performances - and a number of grave disappointments !!

The winner was Fountains Windfall, who took apart the opening race on the card – and at least ensured that there was minimal pressure on the rest of the days tips.

Which as it turned out, was just as well !

That said, Benetar ran a massive race in the following contest, totally justifying my initial view of him.
He only managed to finish fourth – but I’m sure that with slightly softer ground, he would have gone very close.
He’s going to be a big player in novice chases next season…

Next up, was arguably the most dramatic race of the day (which is saying something, on Grand National day !).

I’ve bemoaned the poor luck of the tips all season – and so I couldn’t believe it, when Forest Bihan was effectively presented with the race by Politologues stumble, after jumping the final fence.

In fairness, Foest Bihan wasn’t completely beaten at the time – but it did look like Politologue was getting the better of the argument.
His fall, left Forest Bihan a couple of lengths clear, with just a furlong to run.

But somehow, he managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
His trainer suggested it was an attitude problem – but I think he didn’t want to spoil the luck run of TVB tips !
He traded at 1.06 in running – which I think just about beats Flinthams in running low – though I could be wrong !

The next 2 races were both disappointing, so far as the tips were concerned.

As you doubtless picked up, I was pretty keen on Knock House - though I couldn’t understand why he was such a big price.
My hope was that he would be backed late – but the money never materialised.
I suspect that someone knew he wasn’t back to his best – and he duly put in a laboured performance.

Different Graveys’ effort was even more lamentable.
In fairness, that was always a possibility – as he has been out of form.
I hoped the cheek pieces might have perked him up this afternoon – but they didn’t and he was pulled up not long after half way…

And so on to the big race of the day – and what an anti-climax !

Vicente down at the very first fence; The Young Master down at the chair; Thunder and Roses baulked and unseating after jumping Valentines.
Bishops Road seemed to hate the place – and neither Drop out Joe nor Wounded Warrior ever really featured.

I’ve no idea how many hours I spent studying the race, but I may as well have just got out a pin !

I did say that the race was getting harder to solve !

The finale on the card was won by Chesterfield – who was one of the horses I thought would be involved.
He was getting the better of John Constable, when that one fell at the last.

At least that contest was a little more predictable – even if it wasn’t profitable !

So that really is it for 6 months – no more emails bombarding your inbox on a daily basis – I’m sure you’ll all miss me !

That said, I will continue to offer a few thoughts in the forum – at least for the remainder of this month - if you want to wean yourself off things more gradually.

In addition, Chris and Francis will doubtless be posting selections/results from their various systems bets (it is possible to set up the forum to automatically email you posts, if you don’t want to have to keep looking at it, directly).

Finally, just a reminder that I intend to get an end of season report out, sometime during the next week.
Make sure you study it carefully, I’m sure it will be a compelling read !


Daily write-up - Apr 8th (Aintree day 3)

Day 3 of the Aintree Grand National meeting.

Grand National day !

…and also the final, final day of the 2016-17 TVB season !!

It’s been a long old season – Troika Steppes winning at Cheltenham in the pre-season, feels like a life-time ago !

I’ll cover the season in detail in the end of year report which I’ll aim to issue some time next week.

For now, there’s an excellent days racing to deal with – one which has yielded more tips than any other day this season.

Always best to go out with a bang, I reckon Winking smile

For the last time for a good few months: here are my thoughts on the days races…


1:45 A nice 22 runner handicap to start the day !
That said, I don’t think it is quite as competitive as the field size suggests.
There are a few that can be eliminated on account of the ground: a long season – or because they are poorly handicapped.
My short list consists of Briary Queen, The Tourad Man, No Comment, Fountains Windfall, Joe Farrell, Forthefunofit and No Hassle Hoff.
The Tourad Man and Forthefunofit are far more exposed than the other 5 – so they are the first to go.
It’s difficult to know how well handicapped Briary Queen is, as she has been running in mares races. She may also have a preference for softer ground than she will get today.
As a consequence, she is next to depart…
It’s very hard to choose between the remaining 4, but I feel that there is little margin in a best price of 10/1 about No Comment – so he goes next.
That leaves Fountains Windfall, Joe Farrell and No Hassle Hoff.
Fountains Windfall is a progressive novice who has been getting his act together over the past couple of months.
A creditable third in a very tough handicap at Sandown has been followed by 2 bloodless wins in novice events.
He’s not easy to get handle on – but he seems to be improving and todays trip and ground should suit him well.
He looks a fair price at 12/1.
Joe Farrell is another who looks to be improving.
I tipped him last time at Ascot, when he just lost out to Forthefunofit.
He is 6lb better off with that rival today – and has the greater scope for improvement, particularly on decent ground.
Again, 16/1 looks a very fair price.
I can’t see much margin in a price of 5/1 about No Hassle Hoff – but I do think he is the most likely winner.
His form with The Worlds End and Constantine Boy was franked in no uncertain manner yesterday – and simply, he looks handicapped to win off a mark of 134.
What I decided to do, was stake Fountains Windfall and Joe Farrell, so that there will be a decent win, if either comes home first – and just cover the stakes on them with a win bet on No Hassle Hoff.
I feel happier doing that, than tipping the bigger priced ones each way.
Hopefully the strategy will pay off !

2:25 This looks a stronger novice event than those run on the first 2 days of the meeting – but I still want to take a chance on Benatar…
My original plan was to side with Le Breuil, as he comfortably beat Benatar last time at Newbury – and there is no obvious reason why the form should be reversed.
However, he is a 7/1 shot – whilst Benatar is 50/1.
Also, I can’t figure out why Gary Moore would be taking on the winner again, unless he felt that Benatar had a chance of reversing the form…
The final thing that put me off Le Breuil is that he likes to front run – and I suspect he won’t be in for an easy time, if he tries to do that today.
In contrast, a strong pace will probably suit Benatar…
In fairness, it’s not just Le Breuil that Benatar has to beat today – he has 11 other rivals, who have all got some kind of a chance.
Finians Oscar sets the standard – though his form doesn’t now look quite as strong as it did a couple of months ago.
Brio Conti was massively impressive last time – but that was in a handicap off a mark of 134 – and he will find todays contest much tougher.
Messire des Obeaux arguably sets the form standard – but he looks vulnerable from a win perspective…
Captain Forex is of definite interest – and if Benatar weren’t in the race, I would probably have gravitated to him.
That said, his form is of a very similar level to Benatars - and he is a quarter of the price…
This is definitely a speculative, value based play – but I think you all know how impressed I was with Benatar on his debut and at a huge price, it is worth a small risk, that he is as good as I originally thought…

3:00 I feel that Charbel should be taken on, in this…
He ran a massive race last time in the Arkle at Cheltenham – putting it up to Altior and still in with every chance when falling at the second last.
However, that is part of the issue. I can’t believe that race didn’t take a lot out of him – and on the back of a fall as well, I couldn’t consider him at 4/5.
Colla Pier looks outclassed and I’m not a big fan of San Benedeto: though in fairness, he does have every chance on the book – and the small field may well suit him.
However, if Charbel is to get beaten, I suspect it will be by either Politologue or Forest Bihan.
They are 2 very different horses, so choosing between them isn’t easy.
Politologue is an excellent jumper – and I wasn’t at all surprised that he didn’t stay the 2m4f trip in the JLT.
2 miles is more his trip – though whether he will be ideally suited by a quick 2 miles on relatively fast ground, is a different matter…
Forest Bihan isn’t as good a jumper as Politologue – but he’s very much a 2 miler.
His defeat of Cloudy Dream at Doncaster reads very well – and on that form, he must have every chance of beating, even a peak form Charbel.
He had a chance to prove that last time in the Arkle – but a bad mistake at the third last, effectively ended his race.
I expect Brian Hughes to settle him in behind Charbel/Politlogue and challenge late.
Provided his jumping holds up, I’m optimistic that he will be able to outspeed that pair over the final couple of furlongs.

3:40 I’m pretty keen on Knock House in this – and I’m a bit surprised that others aren’t as well !
He was acquired by Tim Leslie at the start of this season and sent to Donald McCain, presumably with the intention of running in the Grand National.
However things haven’t quite gone to plan, with him running just twice since – and only once over fences.
As a result, his handicap mark has dropped by a pound - and he has just missed out on a place in the field for the big race (he is second reserve).
That must be gutting for them – but this race will offer some consolation – and you can be pretty sure that the horse will be primed to run for its life.
If that’s the case, then I think it has a very good chance, as todays ground and track, will suit him perfectly (he is very much a good ground horse).
More than that, he is a well handicapped horse.
His last win came off a mark of 140 – the same mark that he runs from today.
He also finished fourth at last seasons Cheltenham festival from a 4lb higher mark - and was sent off at just 8/1 for this race 12 months ago, off a 3lb higher mark and when the ground had turned against him…
As an 8 year old, having just his third run for a new trainer, he even has scope for improvement.
In short, there’s not a lot to dislike about him !
As you would expect in a race like this, there are plenty of potential dangers, with Emerging Markets the one I would probably fear most.
However, for me, this race is about one horse: Knock House.
Provided he gets a bit of luck in running, I’m very hopeful that he will run a massive race.

4:20 I just can’t resist a play on Different Gravey in this, at a spectacularly big price.
The horse has too much latent ability to be sent off at 25/1 for any race – so this is really a bet on whether Nicky Henderson can get the best out of him today…
He actually ran in this race 12 months ago – and was just a 5/1 shot. More than that, he was up against Thistelcrack – who was himself coming here on the back of a demolition job in the stayers hurdle at Cheltenham.
As it turned out, it was a non event, with Different Gravey not performing –and Thistlecrack strolling home for an impressive win.
Different Gravey was well supported to beat Thistlecrack, because on his previous outing he had put up one of the most impressive performances of the season.
That was when taking apart a decent handicap at Ascot, under top weight.
It was also his seasonal debut – but he came home unchallenged by 16 lengths.
Only very good horses can produce that kind of performance.
Unfortunately he has not repeated it since – with only a win on his chasing debut at Ascot in November, reminding us of what he is capable…
Nicky Henderson reaches for the cheek pieces today – which can be read in a couple of ways.
However, if they have the desired effect of waking him up, then we know that he has the ability to go close.
On official ratings, he is still only 5lb shy of top rated Yanworth – and that is despite a couple of disappointing runs…
My suspicion is that he will either go very close today – or blow out completely.
Let’s hope it is the former…
Of the others, then I would expect Cole Harden to run well – and he is probably the one to beat.
He ran really well last time in the stayers hurdle at Cheltenham – and slightly faster ground and an easy track, should suit him better today.
He also has a visor applied for the first time – so there will definitely be no hanging about !
I don’t think that will work in the favour of Yanworth.
He has been trained to show speed – but is likely to need stamina today.
I won’t be surprised if he comes up short, over the final couple of hurdles.
Snow Falcon should run well – provided his jumping doesn’t let him down: as should Supasundea, with the ground likely to suit him.

5:15 Solving the Grand National, gets harder every year.
Without exaggeration, there are only 10 horses in the race that I would feel confident of dismissing – and for most of those, it would be because they don’t have sufficient stamina to last the 4m2f trip.
30 years ago, there would only be 10 in the race, with any chance.
Half the field would have been carrying too much weight: whilst another half wouldn’t be able to jump the fences ! – and that’s before you got onto the suitability of ground/distance…
How times change !
One thing I do feel, is that you shouldn’t generally back anything at less than 20/1.
As Gold Present showed yesterday, the element of lottery hasn’t changed – and with so many horses having a chance, the winner is likely to be the one for whom everything drops right.
Obviously, that could be a horse priced at less than 20/1 – but betting is about odds and percentages, and if you back 30 X 20/1 shots, you’re going to lose, even though you’ll probably get the winner !
Anyway, enough of the pre-amble !!
I started with a ‘short list’ of 12 – and I’ve ended up tipping 6 of those. 5 win only – and one each way.
This is likely to be a race which I either get spectacularly right – or wrong !
The 6 chosen ones are:
Bishops Road: my long term fancy for the race. There is a doubt about the ground – but that is more than factored into the price.
He stays; he jumps (despite falling at the first in last years Topham !) – and he is well handicapped (most notably, with favourite Defintly Red).
If he does handle the ground - and the fences - then he is likely to run a massive race and 66/1 is an insulting price.
Vicente: I put him up in the forum a couple of months back – and whilst he has disappointed on his only run since then, conditions have come right for him this afternoon.
He has also been bought by Trevor Hemmings – and has Brian Hughes in the saddle.
He showed what he is capable of, when winning last seasons Scottish National – and off a pound higher mark today, must have every chance.
The Young Master: Has been trained for this race all season - and showed that he was ready to peak, with his run last time, at Cheltenham.
He won the B365 chase at Sandown last spring off a mark just 2lb lower – under near identical conditions to those he will face today.
Again, granted luck in running, I expect him to go very close.
Thunder and Roses: Beat Rule the World in the Irish National 2 years ago – and has repeatedly shown decent form since then. He doesn’t look badly handicapped (particularly in relation to Pleasant Company) and should have no issue with the conditions.
Wounded Warrior: Is another Gigginstown horse. I toyed with tipping Measureofmydreams, but I suspect that Wounded Warrior is Noel Meades number 1 hope. He’s a class horse – but he’s had problems. He disappointed last time in blinkers – but they have been left off today. On his previous outing, he ran really well in the Thystes, staying on late like a horse who would appreciate todays marathon test. If everything falls right for him today, he has the ability to win.
Drop out Joe: The most speculative of the lot ! But, he has very good form when fresh – and will be very fresh for this. He jumps and travels: has an excellent win record – and will really appreciate the decent ground. He’s been injured, so that is a concern – but if the old ability remains, he should go very well.
The others on my short list – and so just missing out on being tipped, were:
Perfect Candidate (possibly too high in the handicap – but could easily be placed): Measureofmydreams (suspect jumping might catch him out); Ucello Conti (may lack a bit of stamina); Rogue Angel (not a lot of margin in his price); Shantou Flyer (could be a bit high in the handicap).
Whilst if I was going to side with one of the favourites, it would be Blaklion.
For those who like to play in running: Gas Line Boy, Tenor Nivernais and Stella Notion are all good jumpers, who like to race prominently – but who will struggle to get home.
Of the 3 Stella Notion is probably the most interesting.
Let’s hope it’s a memorable race !!

6:15 I was hoping that I might be able to tip Wakea at a price in this…
That’s what I did last time, when he ran a stormer at Cheltenham – blasting 20 lengths clear and briefly looking like he might hold on.
That was his first run for 4 months, so he could easily improve for it: he should also be better suited by today’s quicker ground and sharper track.
However, I don’t see a great deal of margin in a price of 8/1 in a competitive 19 runner handicap.
In truth, I don’t think the race is quite as competitive as the numbers imply – but there are definitely 4 or 5 real dangers.
Unfortunately, they are all at the head of the betting, in the shape of So Celebre, John Constable, Chesterfield and Born Survivor.
Donagh Myler will need to get his fractions spot on with Wakea, if he is going to hold off those 4…
Darebin is one worth considering, at a price…
He ran a nice race last time in the Imperial Cup – and I could see him doing the same again this afternoon.
Jason Nuttal takes off 10lb – and that could be significant.
He’s certainly worth considering EW at a general 22/1.

Here’s hoping for a great day ahead !


Advice Summary


Aint 1:45 Joe Farrell 1pt win 16/1
Aint 1:45 Fountains Windfall 1pt win 12/1
Aint 1:45 No Hassle Hoff 0.5pt win 5/1
Aint 2:25 Benatar 0.5pt EW 50/1
Aint 3:00 Forest Bihan 2pt win 6/1
Aint 3:40 Knock House 2pt win, 1pt place 18/1
Aint 4:20 Different Gravey 2pt win 25/1
Aint 5:15 Bishops Road 0.5pt EW 66/1
Aint 5:15 Drop out Joe 0.5pt win 66/1
Aint 5:15 The Young Master 1pt win 22/1
Aint 5:15 Vicente 1pt win 25/1
Aint 5:15 Thunder and Roses 0.5pt win 33/1
Aint 5:15 Wounded Warrior 0.5pt win 66/1


Aint 6:15 Darebin (O )

Eye Catchers

Aint 1:45 Barney Dwan
Aint 2:25 Benatar
Aint 6:15 Wakea 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Review of the day

With Moulin a Vent a non runner, we were left with tips in just 2 of todays races…

The first of those was the opening contest on the card – and Dream Barry went very close to providing a winner on the day.

In fact, on the run to the last – and even after jumping the last – it merely looked a question of when Barry Geraghty chose to pull the trigger.
However, when he eventually did, the horse found very little for pressure, and was seemingly happy enough to have one in front of him crossing the line !

The tips in the Topham didn’t get as close – but all 4 ran with credit.
The record book will say that Vintage Vinnie did best, finishing seventh – one place in front of Henryville.
But Eastlake looked a real danger turning in, before not getting home.

More than that, I suspect the Gold Present would have gone very close, if he hadn’t effectively been brought down at the Canal turn.
It was still along way from home, but he was jumping and travelling like a dream.

However, you always need a bit of luck in these races…

Earlier on the card, Pingshu had caused a bit of a shock in the novice hurdle.
As I said this morning, I could see him running better than his odds implied – and when he was supported late in the market, I wasn’t too surprised to see him win.
That said, relatively speaking, I suspect the race wasn’t overly strong.

Might Bite held off Whisper in the novice chase – and maybe a little surprisingly, there was very little drama in the race…

The big race of the day was won in spectacular fashion, by Fox Norton.
I must admit that I hadn’t previously been totally convinced by the horse – but he seemed to improve significantly for the step up in trip and comprehensively put Sub Lieutenant in his place.
Based on this run, he looks just about the best two and half miler around at the moment.

In Moulin a Verts absence, The Worlds End was able to just cling on in the Sefton novice hurdle, from Beyond Conceit and Debece.
They were the other 2 that I could have been interested in, so I couldn’t help but feel that Moulin a Vert would have gone pretty close.

Finally, the bumper was won in impressive style by Lalor.
He should have been held by Run to Milan, on form earlier in the season – but is clearly an improving sort.
Enniscoffey Oscar ran on well to take second – but the 2 that I was most tempted by, finished well beaten.


Daily write-up - Apr 7th (Aintree day 2)

Day 2 of the Aintree Grand National meeting.

After yesterday, I’m not really sure what to expect, with regard to the ground.
It was definitely on the soft side – though a warm(ish) day, with a nice breeze, could well mean that it rides a little quicker today (assuming it’s not been watered overnight !).

There was no clear bias towards – or against – horses that had run at Cheltenham, so I’ll continue to treat each race on its own merits.

Generally, todays racing doesn’t lend itself particularly well to betting.
There are 2 or 3 races, where you would need to get quite creative if you were going to strike a wager: plus 2 massive field handicaps, where it’s not easy to decide on a betting strategy (never mind find the winner !).

I’ve ended up with 7 tips on the day – but spread across just the 3 races.

Here are my thoughts.


1:40 When the opening show appeared for this race, I was sure I was going to be issuing a big tip…
Sky Khan was installed at 50/1 (66/1 in a place !) – and on quick ground, off a mark 10lb lower than he ran from when fourth in this race 12 months ago, he held huge appeal – each way.
However, the price started to collapse during the afternoon – and by 5:00, even beating 20/1 wasn’t easy.
Pricewise putting him up was the final nail in the coffin and at a best price of 14/1 this morning, he was the same odds to win, as he had been to place, a few hours earlier !
Such is life…
I did consider having a token 0.5pt win on him – but I think he is far more likely to place than he is to win, and 4/1 on that happening, has limited appeal…
Instead, I decided to simply try and find the most likely winner of the race – and I opted for Dream Berry.
He looks an improving sort – and ran well last time when third to Brio Conti in the Cheltenham consolation race, run at Kempton.
Part of the attraction with him, is that Barry Geraghty appears to have chosen him in preference to Geordie des Champs - and I thought that one had a fair chance…
In addition to him, I also want Crystal Lad on side.
He ran a really big race last time, when fourth to Minella Awards in the NH novice final at Sandown.
He went 3 lengths clear approaching the second last that day, but tired up the Sandown hill.
On quicker ground and ridden with a little more restraint, I can see him going close this afternoon.
In truth, he should struggle to beat Dashing Oscar, based on their run at Sandown in December.
He was beaten a neck that day – and is 4lb worse off this afternoon.
However, I suspect that Crystal Lad is the more progressive of the pair…
In addition to the 2 tips, there are also 3 eye catchers running in the race, in the shape of Thomas Campbell, Hawk High and Mad Jack Mytton.
Thomas Campbell is the race favourite – but I’m happy to oppose him over todays trip, at a sharp course like Aintree. I think he needs more of a test of stamina.
Mad Jack Mytton will doubtless travel well (and therefore could be one to play in running) – but I’m not sure he will be up to winning.
I would give Hawk High the best chance of the 3 – and wouldn’t put anyone off a small play on him.
Certainty, if the ground is quick – and he has come on for his run at Cheltenham I could see him running a big race.

2:20 This is an interesting race – but one in which it’s quite hard to have a strong opinion.
River Wylde, Mountain Mews and Moon Racer appear to be the 3 to focus on – but they have very different profiles.
River Wylde represents the Cheltenham Supreme Novice form – a race in which he finished a creditable third.
In absolute terms, that is a fair standard – but it shouldn’t be insurmountable.
Moon Racer was ante post favourite for the Supreme – but ended up running in the Champion instead.
However, he disappointed in that race, and was pulled up before the third last.
Even if he bounces back to his best, I think it is questionable whether he will be good enough to win.
It’s also questionable whether Mountain Mews will be good enough – but that’s because he has not had chance to prove how good he is.
He’s looked very good in his last 2 victories – and his connections are not inclined to tilt at windmills.
Of the 3, I would have a slight preference for Mountain Mews.
Outside of them, then it’s possible that The Unit could improve sufficiently to get involved: whilst I also wouldn’t be too surprised to see Pingshu run better than his odds suggest.
He ended up well beaten in the Supreme – but travelled quite nicely until making a mistake at the second last. 

2:50 This looks a 2 horse race – between Might Bite and Whisper.
They finished first and second in a dramatic RSA chase at Cheltenham, when Might Bite looked sure to hack up, until running sideways up the final hill !
It says much for his ability that he was able to get back up and win, after looking to have thrown the race away – but it also says much for his temperament that he nearly threw the race away in the first place !
Clearly he is a huge talented – but he is also very quirky.
As a consequence, this is an impossible race to bet in.
If Might Bite puts his best foot forward he will win comfortably – but if he doesn’t then Whisper is more than good enough to take advantage.
It won’t help Might Bites chance, that the wily Davy Russell is riding Whisper.
If there is a jockey capable of winning a race that he shouldn’t – then it is Davy !
It simply has to be a watching race – though it could well make for fascinating viewing !

3:25 I’m a little disappointed that I can’t find a route into this race…
Fox Norton, Sub Lieutenant and Gods Own head the market – and a case can be made for each of them.
Of the 3, I would have a slight preference for Sub Lieutenant, who I feel is the most progressive and has just about the strongest form.
However, he had a hard enough race at Cheltenham, and 3/1 is not a price that sets the pulse racing…
If Royal Regatta weren’t in the race, I would take a chance on Uxizandre.
He disappointed last time at Cheltenham, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bounce back from that.
The refitting of a visor almost certainly means he will try to make all – but so too will Royal Regatta and it’s anyone’s guess how that will work out.
In fairness, both horses have a top jockey in the saddle, so I suspect they will find a way no to overly compromise their chances.
However, at this level, you need everything to fall right and unless Royal Regatta is held up, that’s not going to happen…
Half chances can be given to most of the other runners - depending on how the race pans out – but it’s not easy to make a particularly strong case for any of them.

4:05 30 runners – and it’s easy enough to make a case for at least a dozen of them.
To say this is a tough race to tackle, is a bit of an understatement !
The other issue is that the betting looks generally about right – with the strongest candidates heading the market.
I decided to take 4 against the field – all win only – and hope that one of them comes good.
Gold Present and Henryville strike me as the 2 most likely to win.
The former was an eye catcher last time at Cheltenham when finishing runner up to Tully East.
That looked strong form at the time – and Double Ws and Bun Doran boosted it further with their efforts yesterday.
Gold Present is young and progressive: he jumps well (touch wood !) – and comes from the stable of Nicky Henderson, who has a very good record in this race.
What is there not to like ?!?
Henryville is more exposed – but ran with real credit over todays course and distance, when third to As de Mee in the Grand Sefton, in December.
He is 8lb better off at the weights with As de Mee for 7 lengths and there shouldn’t be much between the 2 of them. However, everything went right for As de Mee that day, whereas Henryville made at least one significant mistake.
Henryville has run once since then, in the Brown Advisory Plate at Cheltenham.
He travelled really strongly in that race – but didn’t get the clearest of passages towards the end of the race.
I’m sure he has a race of this nature in him off his current mark – and hopefully he will demonstrate that today.
In addition to those 2, I also want 2 more speculative ones on side at bigger prices…
The first is last years winners, Eastlake.
He bolted up in this race 12 months ago – and whilst he has to run from a 10lb higher mark this afternoon, he may well be up to it.
For a start, he has since won from a mark just 4lb lower than he races off today, when winning at Cheltenham 3 runs ago.
He also ran really well last time, in the Grand Annual, from a mark 2lb higher than todays.
With his ability in the conditions proven, he is worth a risk at a price.
The final one I want on side, is Vintage Vinnie.
The angle with him is freshness – as he is a horse who performs best after a break.
It is 4 months since he last ran – in the Grand Sefton – and whilst he ultimately finished well beaten that day, he was right in the mix, until the second last fence.
That run showed that he can handle the fences – and it looks as if he has been saved for this race.
Of the others, then Balykan and Go Conquer are two more official eye catchers running in the race.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both perform well – with Go Conquer in particular, looking to have a very good chance (though that is reflected in his price).
Bouvreuil and As de Mee give Paul Nicholls a very strong hand – and again, I could see them both running extremely well.
Thomas Brown and Katnap are the final 2 that I will mention. Both come with risks – but are capable of big runs.

4:40 The Worlds End, Constantine Boy and West Approach head the market in this – but non of them look bomb proof…
The Worlds End is favourite on the back of a fall in the Albert Bartlett, when he still looked to be travelling well – but it’s anyones guess how he would have come home that day.
Constantine Boy finished fourth in that race – having been hampered by the fall of The Worlds End.
It was a creditable performance – but the standard doesn’t look insurmountable.
West Approach ran in the Stayers hurdle – but was pulled up.
On his earlier form with Wholestone, there shouldn’t be much between him and Constantine Boy.
Rather than get involved with any of those 3 at relatively short prices, I would be more inclined to take a risk on one of the next 3 in the betting: Moulin a Vent, Debece and Beyond Conceit.
They all arrive here via a less conventional path – but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see one of them step up to the level of the 3 market leaders.
Moulin a Vent is the one that interests me most…
He is an unexposed 5 year old, with only 6 runs under rules – and just 4 over hurdles.
Despite his inexperience, he has already shown some decent form – even though his jumping hasn’t been particularly good.
Apparently that has been worked on – and I would also expect him to show improvement on todays better ground.
Certainly, if that is the case, then it would be no surprise to see him going very close.
I would struggle to choose between the other 2 – though I do think that Beyond Conceit already has form in the book which makes him look over priced at 16/1 (though Debece has the greater potential).

5:15 I was half tempted to take a couple of stabs at this, at big prices – but they would have been total guesses, so I resisted…
The 2 I considered were Carlos du Fruitier and Loud and Clear.
The former disappointed last time at Newcastle in heavy ground – but had looked good when winning on his debut at Warwick.
He could be worth a tiny play at 40/1...
It looks to me as if Loud and Clear has been targeted at this race – and the booking of flat jockey Martin Dwyer is particularly eye catching.
The trouble is, when I watched a replay of his win at Ayr in October, I wasn’t overly impressed – so I would be supporting him solely based on subtle signs.
Again, he is a big price (25/1) so may be worth a tiny play – but he would be difficult to tip.
Of the others, then Black Op strikes me as the most likely winner – but I couldn’t entertain getting involved with him at 7/2.
Whilst Run to Milan and Enniscoffey Oscar are 2 others who look interesting and are fair prices.
All this said, I do think it should probably be a watching race…

Here’s hoping for a great day ahead !


Advice Summary


Aint 1:40 Dream Berry 1pt win 12/1
Aint 1:40 Crystal Lad 0.5pt EW 25/1
Aint 4:05 Henryville 1pt win 12/1
Aint 4:05 Gold Present 1pt win 11/1
Aint 4:05 Eastlake 0.5pt win 16/1
Aint 4:05 Vintage Vinnie 0.5pt win 20/1
Aint 4:40 Moulin a Vent 1pt win 14/1


Aint 2:20 Mountain Mews (P )
Aint 3:25 Uxizandre (C )
Aint 5:15 Loud and Clear (S )

Eye Catchers

Aint 1:40 Thomas Campbell
Aint 1:40 Hawk High
Aint 1:40 Mad Jack Mytton
Aint 4:05 Gold Present
Aint 4:05 Balykan
Aint 4:05 Go Conquer