Charbel looks well in for Elite

Turning into the straight in this year’s Arkle Chase, Charbel led the field, travelling well. His closest pursuer, making ground all the time, was the 1/4 favourite Altior.  Charbel rose at the fence and cleared it with his front legs but caught his back legs in the birch and came down. It’s highly unlikely he’d have won but finishing second to the horse who could easily have won the Champion Chase would still have been a fine performance.

Charbel’s trainer Kim Bailey thinks a lot of his horse but he’s a wise and pragmatic man and appears to have concluded that Charbel might run some valiant races over fences this season in the red hot 2m division, but he’s unlikely to win many.

Last week, Bailey had him entered in two hurdle races and no steeplechases. He was in the Elite and the Greatwood (run next Sunday at Cheltenham). He’s been declared to run in the Elite and I think he’s worth betting at the 4/1 on offer from Bet365 NB the link is added for convenience. I have no affiliate deals with bookmakers or anyone else.

Charbel is top on official ratings at 149 in this race. But he hasn’t run over hurdles since April 2016 and since then, over fences, he’s built a bigger rating of 154. If that rating is replicated over hurdles, and there is no reason it should not be, he is 5lbs well in tomorrow.  Doubtless this potential benefit was in Bailey’s mind when planning the season’s campaign.

Apart from the potential weight advantage, Charbel also has a good record first time out in a new season. Just looking at his form figures, this is not obvious:


It looks like he has been 4th and 5th on his last two seasonal debuts, but those were in practice, his final runs of the previous season, which finishes officially on what is now Bet365 day at Sandown (known to oldies as The Whitbread) and begins again the day after.  The key factor is that after an extended break over the summer, Charbel is unbeaten first time back.

The going is forecast good to soft at Wincanton and Charbel has won on that and indeed has won on soft. But it’s worth mentioning that his trainer is on record as saying the horse’s ideal is good ground. Wincanton is a right-handed track and Charbel’s record going that way is 2 from 6. (He’s 3 from 7 going left).

All in all, the case for Charbel’s chance of winning this looks strong. 4/1 is very much on the low side when I’m tipping but that’s mostly because the majority of my tips are antepost. At 3/1 or shorter I wouldn’t be backing Charbel but that’s more because of the type of punter I am. You must make up your own mind.

But always remember what the screenwriter William Goldman famously said about highly experienced film executives trying to come up with the next blockbuster – “Nobody knows anything.’   That’s a fine maxim to cling to when you’re betting. Don’t be deceived by the large number of posts on this blog that seem well informed, just remember that nobody – and I’m very much included – knows anything.

Never bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile.  Good luck.

Saturday 11th November: Wincanton: 3:00. Charbel 4/1       Bet365.

Post-race edit and P&L

Big market drifter, never travelling, beaten a long way out. Too bad a run to be true and I’ll give him another chance on good ground if he stays over hurdles.

Profit and loss (started from November 2017)

1pt loss.





Cheltenham 2017 day 2 selections

Yesterday is dead and gone, as the old song goes, so, on to Wednesday.




1.30  Shattered Love  EW

2.10  Acapella Bourgeois

2.50  Tombstone and also an each way on Hawk High who looks big at 33/1

3.30  God’s Own  EW

4.10  Cantlow  NAP

4.50  Diable De Sivola  EW

5.30  Irish Roe  EW

There are three here worth a small stake EW Patent – Hawk High, Diable De Sivola, and Irish Roe are all 33/1

Good luck


Cheltenham Festival 2017 – Day 1 Selections

I won’t bore you with the workings

Bet them each way except Melon (Skybet offer cash back on all losers in the 1.30 up to £20 stake which is returned as a free bet)

Don’t put too much on

Enjoy the racing


1.30  Melon  3/1   Freely available

2.10  Charbel 12/1  Betvictor/Betfair/Power

2.50  Singlefarmpayment NAP  15/2  Freely available

3.30  Brain Power  7/1  Freely available

4.10  DebDebDeb  150/1  Hills/ Betvictor/Power

4.50  Bells N Banjos  66/1 Betway

5.30  Captain Redbeard  22/1 Power/Betfair/Betway

One For Arthur a likely gamble in Randox Health Grand National

gnnFor about a week after he won the Betfred Classic Chase over 3m 5f at Warwick, bookmakers continued offering 33/1 for the National about One For Arthur (he was 40/1 for 48 hours). This seemed a daft price and although he’s come in now to 20/1 there’s a fair chance he’ll go off half those odds.

He has a light burden (10.6), he’s improving, and has experience over the fences without having to face the white-hot furnace of the National itself (those who’ve run in it before are at a disadvantage these days, imo) and he jumps and stays.

Crucially, from a price viewpoint, he is trained in Scotland and will have lots of support from us natives and from the Scottish media. Perhaps more importantly, he has a name which will be latched onto by anyone with a relative or good friend, dead or alive (the former more likely, I’m afraid) called Arthur. These apparently small factors can drive significant gambles from the general public.

But the Braveheart factor and the housewife’s blessing of an old man’s name is far from all he has going for him. His jockey, Derek Fox, who has ridden him in all three runs this season reportedly told Lucinda Russell, the trainer, after the Becher that the horse ought to be tried with a tongue tie. Luke Harvey (ex-jockey) speculated that this suggested Fox had heard the horse make a noise during the race and Fox looked after him that day (he was a 3 lengths 5th of 22).

The tongue tie went on for the Warwick race and despite being quite badly hampered early, One For Arthur was unfazed, as was Fox who hacked him round at the back before taking closer order in effortless fashion with about 6 to jump before steadily drawing clear. His leap at the last suggested there was quite a bit in the tank although Fox took no chances, driving him out to the line.

You’d have to assume that had the tongue tie been on in The Becher, you’d be looking at a horse unbeaten in three races this year. He’s 8 and improving. Just how much difference the tongue tie has made, we will find out at Aintree although there has to be a worry that one needed fitting and his breathing is not A1.

But, all in all, I very much doubt that 20/1 will last once the publicity around the race begins in earnest.

Don Poli is another who should run well with evidence continuing to build that he needs to go left handed (I suspect you can add flat tracks and good ground to that but there’s not yet enough data to say for sure).

As mentioned earlier, I’ll be avoiding horses who have run in previous Nationals. In the old days, a proven appetite for the fences was a bonus. But since those jumps were seriously softened, the race has become a high octane test of stamina and big-day temperament. Visually the fences will still leave their mark on an animal, but I suspect that all the razzmatazz coupled with adrenaline-fuelled jocks asking their mounts for everything over such a long trip leaves an indelible mark on 90% of those who contest the race.

Here’s hoping the horses all go home after it and that no jockey need the services of the sponsors.

Charbel fine value at 33s in The Arkle

jockey_club_logoCharbel is superb antepost value at 33/1 for The Arkle chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He’s due to face Altior on Saturday and that one beat him easily in the Supreme, where Charbel finished 5th. But Charbel looks to me a more natural jumper of fences than Altior and I’ve backed him in the Henry VIII on Saturday.

The form of Charbel’s debut win has been strengthened by Top Notch who was 3rd to him at Uttoxeter and has won his next two. Runner-up Le Prezien won a Grade 2 next time out.

I think 33s (William Hill) is way too big. His trainer says the JLT might also come into the picture so I’ve had a saver at 75 on Betfair for that, but he looks a two-miler. I still hold to the belief that Altior’s jumping might let him down and he’ll be rerouted to the Champion Hurdle. If you want a related-contingency bet that is without penalty, you can bet Altior at 33s and Charbel at 25s in a double with Paddy Power.

The usual warning applies: antepost betting is hazardous. Much can happen between now and raceday (though that works both ways), and if your horse doesn’t run, your stake is lost.  Bet for fun and beware of tipsters who promise the earth,

Good luck