Back Un De Sceaux EW at 11/2

The Punchestown festival starts tomorrow and I fancy Un De Sceaux to upset his stablemates Douvan and Min in the Champion Chase (5.30). He looks a solid bet each way at 11/2. The ground should be fine for him and he ought to settle better over this shorter trip than he did at Cheltenham where he raced much too freely to do himself justice.

I’ve always thought Douvan’s jumping susceptible to the type of massive blunder he made at Cheltenham. Although he can throw some breathtaking jumps, he seems to me leggy and awkward at times and unable to organise himself. That goes for Min as well, although to a lesser extent. Min’s Aintree run was probably the best I’ve seen him jump but I think he had a hard race there. And I think he was outbattled rather than outstayed so there could be a character weakness too.

Anyway, Un De Sceaux is a top notch horse in his own right and might not need defects to show in others for him to win this.

Un De Sceaux is a strongly recommended (see here) bet each way at 11/2, which is widely available.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.


Bet Cracksman for the King George at 4/1

I seldom bet on flat racing but sometimes a horse catches my eye as a potential champ; Cracksman is one of those. Last season I was convinced that such was his rate of progress after July, he’d turn up in the Arc. But his trainer John Gosden also had Enable and, although Cracksman was with a different owner, Gosden persuaded the owner, Anthony Oppenheimer, that Cracksman was too immature mentally to take on Enable in the Arc.  When I watched Enable win the big one in style, I didn’t feel quite so bad tearing up my Cracksman antepost tickets, but when the colt turned up at Ascot for the Champion Stakes, it made me wonder again what might have been.

He pulverised a decent field that day, drawing away in such a manner that it seemed the real race was going on behind him. Racing Post Ratings judged him to have run 2lbs better than Enable did in winning her Arc, and jockey Dettori reported that there was a lot more to come from the colt.

So why can he be backed right now at 4/1 for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth stakes at Ascot in July? It’s a race that rarely pulls in double figure fields. Nine opposed Enable last year, but that was the first time in five years the field had reached double figures. Given the likely presence this year of Enable and, hopefully Cracksman, I suspect we’ll see the smallest field for many years. I believe too that Cracksman will go off favourite if he lines up. The ‘if’ is the reason for his current price. Last season Cracksman’s connections said that it was unlikely he would meet Enable until October this year in the Arc. But it seems that the owner (perhaps not the trainer) is having second thoughts.  Cracksman had a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last week. It went well. Oppenheimer was there and was quoted thus: ‘I’d like to see him run in the King George’.  Gosden also made a point of mentioning the King George as the first potential public meeting of his two stable stars. So, I’m assuming there has been a rethink.

But the bookies know this too and 4/1 is still available. The other potential barrier to Cracksman’s Ascot participation will be the ground. Although he has run three times on good ground (and won on it), his best form by some way is on easy ground. It was soft at Ascot for his Champion Stakes. The King George is in July and the race has been run on good to firm ground three times in the past ten years. I’m far from sure Cracksman would take his chance on fast ground and I believe this ground doubt is playing a part in the current 4/1. Also, as antepost betting has other risks attached – a horse getting an injury or not working well at a critical time – why bet Cracksman now? Why not wait until he is due to run next? Well, by that time, the yard will probably know for sure what his programme is and if the King George is in it, he’ll be 5/2, rather than 4/1 in my opinion.

I’m laying out the argument in this detail to give you as much information as possible so that you can make your own decision. I have backed him this morning and I am making him a ‘recommended’ bet now for readers. If I were sure he was running, he’d be a ‘strongly recommended’ bet as I’m confident he can beat Enable, even with her mare’s allowance. But, as ever, bear in mind the antepost pitfalls.

Cracksman at 4/1 to win the King George VI with Paddy Power is a ‘recommended’ bet (see here).

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.



TV Tips Saturday 21st April

Post racing update: We carried a deficit for the year of £5.12 into today. Thanks to Crosshue Boy at 22/1 and Bigmartre at 4/1 we go into the final weekend of the season (Sandown) with a profit of £17.12 on TV Tips to £1 stakes.

I was intending to hold off on further TV Tips until the last weekend of the jumps season, but it’s a strong jumping card at Ayr, so let’s see if we can get in front.


Forest Bihan is a classy horse who’s at his best on good ground. I also think this track and ground will suit Foxtail Hill who will probably try to make all but might just get collared by Forest Bihan.  A bet on each is recommended.

Forest Bihan  9/1

Foxtail Hill  20/1


The Irish horse Crosshue Boy has been in fine form of late and although he’s raced only on easy ground, his action suggests he’ll go well enough on good. He might also prefer going left-handed as he will be today.

Crosshue Boy 20/1


There are some tough competitors here and I’m expecting good runs from Chesterfield and Claimantakinforgan, but I’m going to side with the unexposed I’m A Game Changer. His trainer Philip Hobbs has had a lousy season by his standards, but this horse won well at Ludlow recently. I was taken both by the way he travelled and his looks. I suspect they’ll try to land this after being very patient with the horse and then send him chasing next season.

I’m A Game Changer 12/1


Reading between the lines of what his trainer has said, I suspect the hitherto progressive Bigmartre went to Cheltenham last time at the behest of his owner. Trainer Whittington has always talked of him as a flat-track horse.

He hasn’t won over this far, but I think the fastish ground will be a major help.

Bigmartre 4/1


Blog subscribers will know I’ve tipped Regal Flow at 25/1 here and I’m happy to stick with him on the TV tips too.

I fear The Young Master; more because he has long been a ‘cliff horse’ for me and has just 10 stones in this. If a recent wind op has fixed his major problem (I suspect he has more than one big problem – not the best of jumpers either at times), he’ll go close.

Another old favourite of mine is Silsol, but he too can hit a fence hard at a critical time.

Regal Flow 25/1


Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.


Back Regal Flow at 25/1 for the Scottish Grand National

A maximum field of 30 has been declared for Saturday’s Scottish Grand National, and the one who catches my eye right away is Regal Flow. At first glance, this 11-y-o is far from a typical winning prospect for this race, but horses his age have won 3 of the past 9 runnings. It’s his improving profile that most interests me. Many assume that a horse this old simply doesn’t improve, but occasionally one pops up and a little digging can sometimes find a potential reason for the improvement. In Regal Flow’s case this could well be the recent marked step up in trip.

He’d been campaigned at around the 3 miles mark until March 12th when he was put into an extended 3m 4f race. He won that by 3 lengths in the best performance of his career (on Racing Post Ratings), then bettered it by 7lbs when reappearing five days’ later in the Midlands National over 4 miles 2 furlongs: he won by ten lengths. The runner up, Milansbar, went on to finish 5th in the Grand National.

Both of Regal Flow’s victories were in heavy ground, but he has run well on good ground more than once (has won on it). An assumption will be made by some bookmakers that he needs it heavy (it’s likely to be good to soft at Ayr on Saturday), and that has helped keep his price up. At 25/1 with Ladbrokes, I think he’s twice the price he should be and he’s very much worth backing EW at 1/4 odds first four.

Regal Flow is a ‘strongly recommended’ (see here) bet EW at 25/1 with Ladbrokes (also Betfair and Paddy Power) for the Scottish Grand National.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.



Back Cepage at 10/1

Among last week’s TV Tips was Bentelimar, who won. When researching that selection I came across Cepage (Bentelimar was well behind him that day at Kempton), and I was struck by the powerful manner in which he challenged late and came clear. The shape of the race – run at a fast pace – sometimes sets things up for a horse to come and do what Cepage did, but I suspect there was more to it than that and perhaps Cepage is on the up.

I’m a wee bit worried that most of his running in the UK has been right handed, but trainer Venetia Williams had him entered at the Cheltenham festival (she took him out because of the ground) so she must be reasonably confident he’ll be fine going this way round (he did jump noticeably right at the last two fences at Kempton).

At the price, I’m more than happy taking the chance that Cepage will be fine and I make him a recommended bet at 10/1 with Betfair or Paddy Power .

“Recommended” (see here) Cepage 2.40 Cheltenham at 10/1

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.




Back Identity Thief at 20/1

Identity Thief is surely a daft price at 20/1 in the Ryanair Hurdle (4.20)

Sam Spinner is so short, I think, because everyone assumes that the slow pace was a major excuse for his performance last time at Cheltenham. But it might well be that he simply didn’t hold his form or wasn’t up to the big day atmosphere.

There are question marks over pretty much everything else in the field, while Identity Thief didn’t run a terrible race to finish 4th in the Champion Hurdle. He’s had a quiet season, but should act in the ground. I don’t think the stamina doubts merit the big price by any means and I think he’s solid value and I make him a ‘recommended’ bet (see here) at 20/1.

Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.


TV Tips for Saturday April 14th 2018

Post race update: we started today with a deficit on the TV tips of £21.32. Profit on today’s bets was £16.20, so we’ve done not too bad with the price of our TV racing entertainment since January 1st being £5.12. That’s about it for the Jumps season. I’ll be back tipping on the final weekend, what used to be the Whitbread meeting, and will decide after that what to do blogwise. It’s likely I keep the main tips section (recommended bets) going but we will see.

All the best.


It seems to have passed quickly, but I prefer the three days of the Aintree Festival to the four days at Cheltenham, at least as far as structure is concerned. Anyway, here we are on Grand National day; let’s try to get back in front for 2018 with the blog’s TV tips.


There are two potential hotpots here vying for short-priced favouritism, but I’d much sooner have an each way bet on Western Ryder as well as a win saver on the Skelton mare Momella. Dan Skelton had planned to keep Momella for Fairyhouse next week. He’s also on record as not wanting to risk her in really soft ground. I can only assume that with Fairyhouse likely to be heavy, he has chosen to take his chance here since she’ll get the 7lbs mare’s allowance from the others, and I’d expect to see money in the market for her. The other one, Western Ryder has been running really well this season and last time in the Supreme finished as though this trip and track – especially with the long straight – would suit well. He beat Friday’s winner Lalor earlier this season and I think he will go very close in this.

Western Ryder EW 8/1 and Momella to win 11/1



At first glance it seems folly to take on Petit Mouchoir, a very classy hurdler and a horse I fancied to beat Footpad at the Festival. Petit Mouchoir pretty much lost all chance at Cheltenham by taking on St Calvados in a pounding battle of front running, and Davy Russell will be keen to avoid another nose to nose for the lead here with Shantou Rock. At the prices it’s worth taking a chance with the unexposed mare Lady Buttons. Her trainer Philip Kirby seems determined to win a good handicap hurdle with her, but her racing demeanour suggests to me that she is an awful lot happier pinging fences then hurdles. She could surprise Petit Mouchoir.

Lady Buttons  7/1



A fascinating race where a number of horses catch the eye. I’ll go fo ran EW bet on Hammersly Lake who looks to me twice the price he should be. The reason for this is probably that it’s the farthest he’s run over and the softest ground he’s experienced for a long time. But I think this horse improved for a change of scenery. He moved from Nicky Henderson to Charlie Longsdon almost a year ago and, in his next three outings, bettered all previous Racing Post Ratings. He then went to the USA for a £200,000 steeplechase where he was beaten under 5 lengths.  This is his first run since and I think he could surprise a few.

Hammersly Lake EW 40/1



Sam Spinner is a short price based on his early season form and on the assumption that his jockey didn’t press on with him at Cheltenham and make it a full stamina test. Young Colliver will be under pressure to make amends here and is likely to be taken on up front – for a while at least – by Coole Cody. All in all, things might not be straightforward. I like Old Guard but I suspect the ground, trip and pace will combine to see him fail. The one who appeals strongly value-wise is Identity Thief. He’s such a long price because this is the farthest he’s tried by quite some way. He’s usually campaigned at 2 miles at pretty much top level (he was 4th in the Champion Hurdle last time) so this is a big trip increase. But he’ll handle the ground and is a classy animal who should have a fine chance of making the first three.

Identity Thief  EW 22/1



This is the big one and I can do nothing more than relist the three selections posted as recommended tips already.

Milansbar  33/1

Virgilio  80/1

Final Nudge  50/1


NB The prices I list above are taken from Oddschecker. Depending on when you read the blog and place your bet, those prices might have changed. You can check current prices here


Enjoy the racing and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.