Rain, rain everywhere and Lingfield yesterday reminded us that proper jumping ground is finally here with showers and wet weather forecast for Thursday. Newcastle will be a real test today and while Tramore is nowhere near a stiff track with pretty easy fences, they’ve got heavy for that re-arranged card which gives plenty for punters to work with.
Hopefully we can address the two seconds from our last two bets in this parish, although Jewel Maker ran a fine race and nearly got there yesterday at 8/1. Sea Speedwell won at least, and is another for the ultra-reliable Sea The Stars. Plenty is coming up today, and hopefully we can a see a lot more than the last jumps’ card in the north east.
We also have the added intrigue of a Henry De Bromhead runner at Warwick.
Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.
12:20 Warwick – Graystone – 5.04/1 into 4.03/1
13:25 Warwick – Inca Rose – 8.515/2 into 7.06/1
15:40 Taunton – Freddy Fanatapan – 15.014/1 into 11.010/1
18:00 Chelmsford – Royal Heart – 7.513/2 into 5.59/2
The market says LAY!
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
16:00 Chelmsford – Antiphon – 13/8 OUT to 15/8
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
There is an early start at Newcastle, so those watching the Ashes might want to carry on through straight into the first race at 11:40. Although the way things are going out in Oz, it might all be over by that opener. Click here by the way for the best in the business Ed Hawkins and his preview.
The two Extra Place races in the Toon are the 12:40 Handicap Hurdle where 16 runners were declared last night, and the preceding contest at 13:10 2m4f Handicap Hurdle with 17 runners. So both cater for the each-way punters today.
Young conditional rider Thomas Doggrell claims 5lb and he’s on a 33% strike-rate at the moment from 10 rides. His only mount of the day Benito 15.014/1 runs in the 13:10 and was backed last night from 22/1 into 14/1.
He’ll have to go some though to catch Brian Hughes, who has been the leading jockey at the track over the last five years with an astonishing 52 winners – his nearest rival is Henry Brooke on 15. He is 2-6 this season at 33% and I like the claims of his mount Crystal Glory 4.3100/30 in the 14:50.
Another 17-runner Handicap Hurdle over 3m is the Extra Place from the Sportsbook for Taunton’s 15:40. Jack Andrews from the Andrews family riding dynasty (brother to Bridget and Gina) is riding Colonel Manderson 8.07/1 for Dan Skelton. Jack checks in at an astonishing 6″4 but was a the Point-To-Point riding champion so he won’t be hard to miss.
Jockey Adrian Heskin isn’t quite literally on fire, but he’s close with 12 winners from his last 38 rides at 39%. He only has two mounts at Taunton and both have good chances according to the market. Sword Beach 6.05/1 makes his hurdling debut for Alan King in the 13:00 Novices’ Hurdle , and he was decent horse on the Flat for Eve Johnson-Houghton.
He will also pilot the bang in-form Royal Pretender 8.07/1 for the same handler in the 14:40 0-130 Handicap Hurdle and that looks a cracking race, and the best on the card.
One Extra Place at Warwick to consider, and that’s the 2m5f Alpha Boilers Handicap Hurdle at 13:25. Olly Murphy will look to maintain his recent strike-rate of 29% with market leader Italian Spirit 3.9.
However, the two Warwick doyens at the moment in terms of winners to rides at the track this season are Bryony Frost 4-7 at 57% and Nico De Boinville 5-9 at 59%. Frost only has one mount which is Graystone 5.04/1 in the opening 2m Agetur (UK) Ltd Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (GBB Race) at 12:20.
De Boinville has a two rides for his ‘guvnor’ Nicky Henderson. Major Sting 11.010/1 and Barbados Blue 13.012/1 however both appear to be outsiders, though I always enjoy hearing De Boinville use the cockney term ‘guvnor’, as he hails from French aristocracy!
The best horse on show on Thursday’s Tramore card is by far and away likely to be Henry De Bromhead’s Guily Billy 1.51/2. He’s a short price in the opening 12:35 Get Your 2022 Annual Badge At Tramoreraces.ie Maiden Hurdle over 2m .
How the grey didn’t win at Clonmel on his debut recently I don’t know. He was miles clear and was chinned late hitting 1.071/14 in defeat. He cost plenty and runs in the Cheveley Park silks, and while he may have been at a slight disadvantage racing on the inside that day, he was ultra-enthusiastic from the front and there’s something about a dashing grey. His rider Rachel Blackmore is hitting 38% at Clonmel this term.
Trainer and jockey Declan Queally was flagged up here in terms of strike-rate at Clonmel’s last fixture and he landed he double then. He has two favourites on the card with Robyndeglory 2.47/5 running in the 13:05 2m (2m50y) Book A Table For New Years Day Mares Handicap Hurdle and Lovely Moon 2.427/5 is his other horse for the day; she won by 18L last time and has a serious chance in the 14:15. DQ is rolling along at the moment with 5-16 at 31%.
Stat Of The Day
No trainer is hotter at the moment than Harriet Graham at a rip-roaring 75% with three winners from her last four runners – showing a level stakes profit of +25.50. She only has one horse entered at Newcastle on Thursday and that’s outsider Big Arthur 21.020/1 – who makes his debut in a good-looking bumper. It will be interesting to see how he goes in the market and he is related to a pair of greats in Morley Street and Granville Again.
Horses for courses
This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today’s tracks and could be in with a chance today.
13:45 Newcastle – Ascot De Bruyere 6.05/1 has won here four times (36%).
14:20 Newcastle – Cornerstone Lad 2.68/5 has won here twice (100%).
14:00 Warwick – Emmas Joy 9.517/2 has won here twice (50%).
15:00 Warwick – High Counsel 23.022/1 has won here three times (60%).
15:15 Tramore – Highest Benefit – has won here twice (50%).
17:00 Chelmsford – Samphire Coast – has won here six times (19%), and Cashel has won here three times (38%).
Weighted to go well
“Weighted to go well” highlights horses running that are more than 10lbs below their last winning handicap mark.
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Jockey Jason Watson may have lost his job at Beckhampton with Roger Charlton, but he has bounced back with great maturity. His newly-forged links with Yorkshire handler David O’Meara is paying dividends with Watson riding Chelmsford very well this season with a very impressive 26% – the best against his peers. With seven wins from 27 rides there in 2021, he can add to that tally with O’Meara’s Headingley in the feature 1m Betsi Handicap (Class 2) at 17:30.
He’s 12-69 when he rides for the stable and Headingley has improved for the application of cheekpieces with 1m2f, and he’s back down in distance tonight.
Michael Scudamore is on the road again with another long traveller, this time in Newcastle’s closing bumper at 15:20 with Commander Of Ten 21.020/1. He goes 279 miles from Herefordshire.
Nietzsche is the biggest money earner on show at Taunton and also the furthest traveller for Brian Ellison – clocking up 273 miles from the north east for the 15:10. He refused to race last time so the journey better be worth it!
As the horse’s namesake said: “Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood.” Maybe he’s thinking too much these day.
Race of the day
The presence of Henry De Bromhead’s Kapard adds to the feature 14:00 2m4f Actioncoach Invest In The Best Lady Godiva Mares’ Novices’ Chase (Listed Race). although ‘Our Henry’s’ horse isn’t favourite.
The Glancing Queen 3.412/5 for Alan King has that honour, and I thought she put in a super round of jumping last time at Bangor in a similar race. She was ridden confidently by Tom Cannon and as the Racing Post said in its post-match report, she never put a foot wrong.
That was her chase debut on good to soft ground and she wouldn’t mind rain as she won the Aintree Grade 2 bumper in soft conditions and also sluiced up in heavy conditions at Bangor last season. Her trainer King has said he has always adored her and Cannon described her as an old pro in terms of her jumping.
Kapard 3.814/5 has only been over fences once and that was a win this term on her seasonal reappearance at Navan in November, turning over hot-favourite Mt Leinster. Although a few have beaten him this term already as he’s been a beaten fav on all four runs.
She seems very straightforward and has a solid attitude, and her trainer wasted no time with only four runs over hurdles. Her dam is related to the top-class Al Ferof and her sire Kapgarde is the sire of A Plus Tard. Although factoring all that in, could she be a little too short in the betting? It’s great to see De Bromhead coming over on a regular basis, although I am 0-2 with his runners in the UK this term. Ladbrokes Trophy and Becher blanks.
I’ve been quite impressed with the Philip Hobbs-trained Little River Bay this season and she made it 2-2 at Uttoxeter last time. It may only have been a handicap, but she won with tons in hand from 132 and improved from her chasing debut win at Worcester. She didn’t do much in front that day, but her jockey Ben Jones said she was a bit tubby, so on that she might have needed the run.
Her breeder and owner Sir Christopher Wates (pictured above) also had this mare’s dam Pennyrose Bay, who was a very useful, and Hobbs has trained her best son in Imperial Presence – who was a 150-rated chaser who ran from the front with good jumping skills. He took a while to mature, and we could be seeing the same from this improving mare.
Big race verdict
Little River Bay’s jumping is sound (like her half-brother’s) and she was a very progressive hurdler last season with a sequence of three wins on the spin. Her action is quite high in the knee and has winning form on heavy, so I wouldn’t worry about the rain with her. She’ll stay 3m and it’s good to see Hobbs with a decent mare, as I can’t remember the last time he had one up to Cheltenham standard. Unless I’ve missed something.
She had drifted last night from 9/4 to 11/4 but I don’t mind that, as probably the cash will come for De Bromhead’s.
Timeform offer up three of their best
Timeform sage Adam Houghton highlights a Nap, Next Best and Each-Way selection at Chelmsford on Thursday and has a bet for the feature 1m 0-105 Handicap that sees the hat-trck seeking Mobashr top the market.
Sad news this week as we lost the Aussie sprinting sensation and wonderful stallion Choisir at the grand old age of 22. He was a real trailblazer in every sense, in not only doubling up over the two days in both sprints and breaking the course record in one of them, but laying the foundations for the crack Australian sprinters to try their luck. And to be honest, they changed the game back then with their brute strength and speed.
I heard someone say the raw speed he had witnessed when close up on the rail was a sight. I remember being near Lake Coniston with the great Pad Eddery on board at the Royal Meeting many years ago and I had never seen anything as quick. Imagine how quick Choisir was!
I miss the days of the likes of Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Black Caviar taking on the best in Europe.
My journey to see Black Caviar in 2012 via train from Waterloo to Ascot was one of the best build-ups I had ever been involved with as there were so many Black Caviar fans at the station and on the train decked out in salmon and black, it was fantastic. The atmosphere before, and after Luke Nolen rode an early finish was electric. The world has changed since then of course, but Choisir was a mighty sprinter and a fine stallion. God bless Choisir.
Good luck today!