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Welcome to the BetBright STATZONE, where we give you the stats and you make the decisions!

It’s the calm before the storm this coming Saturday with the Cheltenham Festival looming on the horizon. However, still plenty to get stuck into with the ITV cameras to take in four races at Sandown Park that include the competitive Imperial Cup – a race the sponsors put up an additional bonus of £100k should the winner go onto land any race the 2019 Cheltenham Festival – the last horse to do the double was Gaspara in 2007, who were all trained by the Pipe stable!

We’ve also two LIVE ITV races on the AW to take in from Wolverhampton, including the Lincoln Handicap Trial – yes, all the racing talk might be about Cheltenham at the moment, but the start of the flat turf season is also not far away!

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on STATZONE with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races – we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get cracking!

Sandown Horse Racing Trends (RUK/ITV)
1.50 – European Breeders´ Fund Matchbook VIP “National Hunt” Novices´ Handicap Hurdle Final (Grade 3) Cl1 2m3f173y ITV

16/16 – Had won no more than twice over hurdles before
15/16 – Aged 6 or younger
15/16 – Carried 10-11 or more
13/16 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
13/16 – Rated 129 or less
13/16 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
12/16 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
11/16 – Irish bred
11/16 – Returned 8/1 or less in the betting
12/16 – Unplaced favourites
10/16 – Aged 6 years-old
8/16 – Had won over this trip before
5/16 – Won last time out
2/16 – Won by trainer Nicky Henderson
2/16 – Won by trainer Paul Nicholls
2/16 – Won by the Pipe yard
1/16 – Winning favourites
1/16 – Winners that went onto run at Cheltenham (3rd Martin Pipe)
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 10/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow……………………….

2.25 – Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 2m110y ITV

16/16 – Had won no more than twice over hurdles before
15/16 – Had won between 1-2 times over hurdles before
15/16 – Had raced within the last 6 weeks
14/16 – Carried 10-13 or less
13/16 – Rated 124 or higher
12/16 – Aged 6 or younger
11/16 – Carried 10-7 or less
10/16 – Winners that went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival (1 winner, Gaspara – Fred Winter)
10/16 – Had won over at least 2m1f (hurdles) before
10/16 – Finished in the top two last time out
9/16 – Winning distance – 3 ½ lengths or more
8/16 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
7/16 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
6/16 – Raced at either Cheltenham (2), Sandown (2) or Ascot (2) last time out
6/16 – Won last time out
5/16 – Winning favourites
5/16 – French bred
5/16 – Had raced at Sandown (hurdles) before – 2 had won there before
5/16 – Won by the Pipe stable (have won it 9 times in all)
1/16 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
The average winning SP in the last 16 years is 11/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow……………………….

3.00 – EBF Stallions/TBA Mares´ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed) Cl1 2m110y ITV

15/15 – Had won at least one NH Flat race before
14/15 – 1ST or 2ND last time out
13/15 – Returned 17/2 or shorter in the betting
11/15– Won last time out
10/15 – Had won just once before (NH Flat race)
9/15 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
8/15 – Aged 5 years-old
1/15 – Winning favourites
9 of the last 12 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 13/2

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow……………………….

3.35 – Matchbook Racing Is Commission Free Handicap Chase Cl3 3m37y ITV

14/16 – Had won over at least 2m4f (fences) before
14/16 – Carried 11-1 or more
14/16 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
13/16 –  Rated between 125-134
13/16 – Aged 8 or older
12/16 – Had won between 1-4 times over fences
12/16 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
10/16 – Placed favourites
10/16 – Unplaced last time out
10/16 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
10/16 – Irish bred
8/16 – Returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
4/16 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/16 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
3/16 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
3/16 – Won last time out
2/16 – Trained by Oliver Sherwood
Pete The Feat (9/1) won the race in 2018
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 9/2

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow……………………….

Wolverhampton Horse Racing Trends (ATR/ITV) 2.05 – Sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap Cl2 1m141y ITV

15/16 – Aged 6 or younger
14/16 – Had raced within the last 6 weeks
14/16 – Won over a mile (or further) before
13/16– Won at least three times before
13/16 – Priced 9/1 or shorter in the betting
10/16 – Placed favourites
9/16 – Ran at Lingfield last time out
9/16 – Came from stall 8 or higher
8/16 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
7/16 – Aged 5 years-old
7/16 – Had won at Wolverhampton before
5/16 – Won last time out
5/16 – Winning favourites
2/16 – Trained by the Richard Hannon yard
2/16 – Ridden by Jamie Spencer
Big Country (8/1) won the race 12 months ago
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 6/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow……………………….

3.15 – Sunbets.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes (AW Championship Fast-Track Qualifier) (Listed Race) Cl1 7f32y ITV

11/12 – Had won over 7f before
10/12 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
10/12 – Had won at least 4 times before
10/12 – Placed favourites
9/12 – Had raced within the last 3 weeks
9/12 – Rated 104 or higher
7/12 – Raced at Lingfield last time out
7/12 – Drawn in stall 7 or higher
6/12 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
6/12 – Unplaced last time out
6/12 – Had won at Wolverhampton before
4/12 – Winning favourite
2/12 – Trained by Marco Botti
Second Thought (8/11) won the race in 2018

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow……………………….

 

The post BetBright STATZONE: Saturday ITV Racing (9th March 2019) appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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Top Newmarket trainer William Haggas has fired in 9 winners from 20 runners so far in 2019, the master at Somerville Lodge hitting the ground running for another exciting year ahead. Haggas also boasts an impressive 40% hit rate with all of his runners at Newcastle in recent years, which is why his sole runner of the day, ALLIEYF, is trading at warm odds to land the opening novice stakes tonight at 5.30pm in Dundalk…

ALLIEYF showed glimpses of promise in two turf starts in 2017 and 2018. He has been gelded since his last start when 3rd at Pontefract back in May and looks to have found a weak race here to kick off 2019 with a win. Offspring of New Approach have a moderate record on the Tapeta surface, but he should really be winning the opener here. Jockey Paul Mulrennan is 0/22 in the past 28 days, so it would be a welcome tonic to begin March.

Epeius, Jan Van Hoof and Archimedes form a formidable trio of chances in the 5f sprint handicap at 6.30pm, but at likely double figure odds, it could be worth keeping an on Paul Midgley’s RANTAN. This 6yo has quite a few decent runs over 6f on the turf to his name and a drop in trip on the A/W here rather catches the eye, where he’ll be competing on a workable BHA mark of 65.

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He’s a bit of a shot in the dark, but a big run wouldn’t surprise.

Look out for John Gosden’s SEVERNAYA in the 7.00pm maiden over seven furlongs. This well bred newcomer must be doing some nice bits of early homework judged on her price for this race and with opposition looking low on the ground, she won’t need to be a star to take it on debut. The 7.30pm is a trappy affair where it is difficult to split the top three in the market so I am happy to let them figure that one out between themselves and focus on the last at 8.00pm. A Class 7 sprint handicap over the minimum distance, it is a very open heat, but it could just pay to side with the in-form Ben Haslam, who has fired in several winners in recent days. DISPLAYING AMBER ran disappointingly here back in October when last seen, but was a convincing course and distance winner a month earlier and looks well treated here returning from a break on a mark of 49.

Yuften is back for more…

Good old YUFTEN is back for more at Dundalk having won his last two races there for latest trainer James Feane. If you’ve taken note of the other pair of “shorties” mentioned in this piece thus far, Yuften would make a worth addition for a multiple bet of some sort in the opening claimer at 5.15pm.

BURNING LAKE bumped into a well-backed and fancied jolly here last time out and the pair came clear of the chasing pack on this 3yo ex-Charlie Hills’ runner’s stable debut. The handicapper nudged him up a fairly harsh 3lb for that, but he did take really well to the surface and the services of a bright prospect Donagh O’Connor claiming 5lb tonight makes him a major player in the 6.15pm handicap over 7f.

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JIM BOLGER has been steadily finding the net in recent weeks, has a respectable 16% strike rate with all of his Dundalk runners and his filly GASTA must have very sound place claims in the 7.15pm handicap, again over the 7f trip. She has been struggling to cope with a mile and further in recent starts, so this drop in distance could be really encouraging for the daughter of Vocalised.

Gasta was rated 93 as a juvenile, so clearly her current handicap mark of 74 rather jumps off the page.

The Listed Patton Stakes over a mile at 7.45pm is the race of the night and sees a return to action for Aidan O’Brien’s WESTERN AUSTRALIA, who was last seen finishing 3rd to stablemate Magna Grecia in the Group 1 Vertum Futurity Stakes at Doncaster. Tonight’s trip of a mile will prove to be on the sharp side as the season goes on, but the race is a perfect starting point for this fair prospect, who should have the beating of Van Beethoven.

Joseph O’Brien’s Numerian could be the party pooper, if there is to be one.

The final two races at Dundalk are also very trappy affairs over 1m4f and 2m, not necessarily the type of distances I excel at in terms of finding winners. On speed figures, McGuigan (8.15pm) and All’s Quiet (8.45pm) would just about come out on top if pushed for an opinion. Perhaps a small double containing those two could yield some reward if Lady Luck is on our side.

You can read more from Kevin O’Malley and find the latest form, racecards, free tips & news on GG.CO.UK.

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Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.

The post A/W Action at Newcastle and Dundalk on Friday Night! appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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We’re nearly there, you can almost taste it.

I love this time of the year, where all your ante-post selections are winners, you spend most day’s eagerly anticipating descending onto Cheltenham and hopes are unfathomably strong.

Unfortunately, the fragility of the protagonists of our sport was confirmed on Monday with the news that Le Richebourg, the warm favourite for the Arkle, will not make it to the festival.

It’s a cruel blow to the yard and one that completely blows open an already up for grabs Arkle.

It really is anyone’s race.

As enjoyable as the build up to Cheltenham is, every day from here on in will bring more news of injury-stricken horses and connections who will not make it to the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

Unfortunately, that’s Racing.

We enjoyed another informative weekend and with the release of the handicap entries, I take a look at three horses to stay on the right side of at the festival.

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The Week That Was

Laurina looks set to take on the Champion Hurdle after another facile victory in the mare’s division.

She was far too good, as expected, but I’m still happy to be taking her on in a Champion Hurdle. She just doesn’t jump well enough to win this to my reckoning and hasn’t experienced anything like the frenetic pace she will face at Prestbury Park.

She could be something very special indeed but hasn’t done enough to warrant her skinny odds for Tuesday’s feature race.

Epatante was another mare to showcase her ability when sauntering to victory at Exeter on Friday.

It’s clear from his rhetoric that Nicky Henderson thinks the world of her, but I still feel she has it all to do against the brilliant Honeysuckle.

It’s just great to see such a deep Mares Novice hurdle, with the aforementioned duo of Epatante and Honeysuckle set to take on the likes of Posh Trish and Salsaretta.

It could well be a cracking contest.

Another one of Nicky Henderson’s battalion, Angel’s Breath was beaten at Kempton in the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle by Paul Nicholls’s Southfield Stone.

I wouldn’t overreact to this loss whatsoever.

This was Angel’s Breath third ever run, his second time ever jumping hurdles in public and he has plenty of excuses for not taking the contest. To put his experience into context, the winner was having his seventh start.

In truth, getting as close as he did was an achievement especially once you consider that he had missed valuable work in the lead up to this contest after receiving his Equine Influenza jab.

The ground was far too fast, Nico De Boinville seemed at pains to looks after him and Kempton definitely would not have suited this son of Shantou on Saturday.

The truth of it is that Angels Breath was beaten by a decent horse who was better suited to the good ground that prevailed on the day. The race was run in a very strong time and the winner was receiving five pounds from Nicky Henderson’s charge. It was a valiant effort all things considered to get within a length of the winner, even granting that horses mistake at the last.

I think the combination of softer going, the Cheltenham Hill and his now added experience will see Angel’s Breath go very close in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2 weeks’ time.

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

It will be a strange occurrence at this year’s festival in that the four-day extravaganza will end with a Handicap Hurdle, instead of the usual Grand Annual.

Joseph O’Brien was dealt a blow with the news that Le Richebourg will miss the festival, but he should end up in the winner’s enclosure at least once during the week regardless.

He looks to have an overpriced one in this also in the form of Early Doors.

For all intent and purposes, it looks as if this has been the target all year for this horse. He has been pitted against Apple’s Jade twice and has been fairly hammered twice.

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Early Doors could never have been expected to win a race like that, but it means his mark should be left unaltered whilst in the process continuing to get fit for the festival.

There’s absolutely no shame in being swatted aside though by a mare who sits at 2/1 for the Champion Hurdle!

The form from last season is what brings him solidly into this. He was second to Mengli Khan in the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and then was a brilliant third behind Blow By Blow and Discorama in this very race last year.

That’s a race that has worked out very well, apart from the winner who has been a touch disappointing so far over fences.

Discorama, second on the day, is my idea of a great shout in the National Hunt Chase and in fourth was Sire Du Berlais, who is fancied for the Pertempts.

As I type, he’s only one pound higher than what he was last year and is now an older and stronger six-year-old. Early Doors is definitely too big for this at 20/1.

Coral Cup

Eight of Ireland’s seventeen Cheltenham Festival winners ran at the Dublin Racing Festival in 2017, with four doing the double. It’s is such a good place to warm up for the festival.

So, it can be no major shock that all three of my big festival handicap fancies (four if including Surin) all ran at Leopardstown in February.

Uradel is another one of these runners who really showed he can go very close in March off the back of a strong showing in fifth behind Off You Go in the handicap hurdle (two miles) at the Dublin Racing Festival.

The same owners and trainer had Bleu Berry run in this race and then go onto Coral Cup (two miles, four furlongs) glory and there’s no reason why Uradel can’t follow suit.

He travelled well throughout but didn’t quite have the finishing kick to reach the front four over what looked an inadequate trip. Going up in trip will be the making of him.

He’ll need a few pounds from the English handicapper, which he should get, and he’ll go very close off a low weight.

He’ll adore the Cheltenham hill and looks ideal for a test like this. I really fancy him, but he’s one I’ll wait to back on the day with an extra place or two.

It’s an odd position I find myself in, hoping that the handicapper puts a horse I fancy up a few pounds!

Livelovelaugh (Whatever he turns up in)

This horse has a plethora of options at the Cheltenham festival, so whilst I’d shirk taking a price about him now, he is one to seriously note when he is declared!

You just have to think he can exploit a mark of 139 over fences, or even his mark of 138 over hurdles. He looks well handicapped in the grand scheme of things.

His last run was a big effort when second at the Dublin Racing festival.

Livelovelaugh jumped well, travelled sweetly and saw out the trip to good effect when just not able to reel back Whisperinthebreeze. The fourth that day, Cadmium, has come out and won impressively since also to back up the form.

The field allowed Paddy Kennedy and the winner far too much rope in front and there was no catching him turning in.

Livelovelaugh is a horse who has been close behind the likes of the Storyteller, Al Boum Photo and Anibale Fly in his career and I firmly believe there is room to manoeuvre in his mark.

He’s a nine-year-old, but he’s only raced eighteen times in his career, so it is possible that there is even more improvement to come yet.

His Cheltenham Festival record is somewhat questionable after a no-show in a Ballymore and then falling at the sixth in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase last year.

I’m happy to move on from this though as it all happened a bit quickly for him in the Ballymore and his fall last year was just of those things that can happen in racing.

He’ll go close in whatever he appears in, and for the record I hope he turns up in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (16/1).

He’d be ideal for that! Selections 0.50 Pts E/W Espoir D’allen 20/1 (Champion Hurdle)
0.50 Pts E/W Saldier 20/1 (Champion Hurdle)
2 Pts Win Penhill 5/1 (Stayers Hurdle)
0.50 Pts E/W Black Op 14/1 (Stayers Hurdle)
0.50 Pts E/W Al Boum Photo 14/1 (Gold Cup)
0.50 Pts E/W Vision D’Honneur 20/1 (Supreme)
0.50 Pts E/W Sam’s Profile 25/1 (Ballymore)
0.50 Pts E/W Discorama 16/1 (National Hunt Chase)
0.50 Pts E/W Rockpoint 20/1 (Albert Bartlett)
0.50 Pts E/W Surin 14/1 (Fred Winter)
0.50 Pts E/W Early Doors 20/1 (Martin Pipe)

The post Path to Prestbury: the Week that was, the Martin Pipe, Livelovelaugh and more appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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Welcome to the BetBright STATZONE, where we give you the stats and you make the decisions!

With the Cheltenham Festival  on the horizon, it’s no surprise the quality of the weekend racing takes a slight dip over the next few weekends. That said, we’ve still plenty of action to enjoy as the ITV cameras head to Newbury to take in two races, with the Greatwood Gold Cup their feature race – a contest the powerful Pau Nicholls yard have won in 6 of the last 9 runnings.

We’ve also got four races at Doncaster with the Grimthorpe Chase the main event – 10 of the last 14 winners were aged 9 or older and carried 10-12 or less in weight so these two trends are certainly worth having on your side.

The cameras are also at Kelso for one race – the Grade Two totescoop6 Premier Kelso Hurdle – with 8 of the last 10 winners placed in the top four last time out this is a key trend to have on side.

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on STATZONE with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races – we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get cracking!

NEWBURY HORSE RACING TRENDS (ITV4/RUK) 2.05 – William Hill Supporting Greatwood Veterans´ Handicap Chase (Qualifier) (Leg 3 of Veterans´ Chase Series) Cl2 3m2f110y ITV4

8/9 – Returned 9/1 or shorter
8/9 – Aged 10 years-old
7/9 – Won over at least 3m (chase)
5/9 – Favourites unplaced
5/9 – Carried 11-4 or more in weight
4/9 – Finished in the top 3 in their last race
2/9 – Won their last race
1/9 – Winning favourites
Trainer David Pipe won the race in 2015 and 2016
Trainer Paul Nicholls won the race in 2013 and 2017
The average winning SP in the last 6 renewals is 6/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………

2.40 – William Hill Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 2m4f ITV4

14/15 – Carried 11-5 or less in weight
13/15 – Won by a horse aged 8 or younger
13/15 – Had run within the last 5 weeks
13/15 – Had won between 1-4 times over fences previously
12/15 – Raced at Newbury (hurdles or fences) previously
12/15 – Won over this trip previously
11/15 – Placed in the top 5 last time out
10/15 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or less
10/15 – Officially rated 139 or higher
9/15 – Favourites placed
8/15 – Won by the Paul Nicholls stable
8/15 – Winners that came from the top 3 in the market
7/15 – Won by a French-bred horse
6/15 – Won by a horse aged 8 years-old
6/15 – Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
5/15 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
5/15 – Favourites  to win (1 joint)
2/15 – Won by the Pipe yard
2/15 – Ridden by Nick Scholfield
1/15– Won their last race
Thomas Crapper won the race 12 months ago
Sametegal won the race in 2016
Note: The 2006 renewal was a dead-heat

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………

DONCASTER HORSE RACING TRENDS (ITV4/RUK) 1.50 – 888Sport Handicap Hurdle Cl2 3m96y ITV4

Only 6 previous runnings
6/6 – Aged 9 or younger
6/6 – Ran in the last 6 weeks
5/6 – Ran in the last 3 weeks
5/6 – Priced 9/2 or shorter in the betting
5/6 – Finished 4th or better last time out
5/6 – Carried 10-13 or more in weight
5/6 – Irish bred
4/6 – Favourites place in the top two
4/6 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
4/6 – Ran at Doncaster (2) or Ascot (2) last time out
2/6 – Aged 9 years-old
2/6 – Favourites
2/6 – Won last time out
Brydon Boy won the race in 2017

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………

2.25 – 888Sport Bet £10 Get £30 Handicap Chase Cl2 2m90y ITV4

7 previous runnings
7/7 – Priced 15/2 or shorter
6/7 – Aged between 6-8 years-old
4/7 – Carried 11-1 or less in weight
4/7 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out
3/7 – Raced at Musselburgh last time out
2/7 – Trained by Brian Ellison
2/7 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has a 22% record with his runners over fences here
Trainer Nicky Richards has a 25% record with his runners over fences here
The average winning SP in the last 7 runnings is 4/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………

3.00 – 888Sport Take ‘Em On Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 3m96y ITV4

5 previous running
5/5 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
5/5– Returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
4/5 – Aged 5 or 6 years-old
4/5 – Favourites placed in the top 2
4/5 – Ran in the last 7 weeks
3/5 – Won by the favourite (1 co-fav)
3/5 – Irish bred
The average winning SP in the last 5 years is 9/4

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………

3.35 – 888Sport Grimthorpe Chase (A Handicap Chase) Cl2 3m2f ITV4

14/14 – Aged 8 or older
13/14 – Won over at least 3m (fences) before
12/14 – Won no more than 4 times over fences
11/14 – Ran within the last 7 weeks
10/14 – Carried 10-12 or less in weight
10/14 – Aged 9 or older
10/14 – From the top 3 in the betting
10/14 – Priced 11/2 or shorter in the betting
9/14 – Rated 131 or less
8/14 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
7/14 – Raced over fences at Doncaster before (3 winners)
6/14 – Won their last race
6/14 – Irish bred
4/14 – Went onto run in that season’s Grand National (no winners)
2/14 – Favourites
8 year-olds have won 3 of the last 4 runnings
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 15/2

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………


KELSO HORSE RACING TRENDS (ITV/RUK)
3.15 – totescoop6 Premier Kelso Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 (4 yo+) 2m2f ITV4

10/10 – Aged 7 or younger
9/10 – Favourites placed in the top three
9/10 – Raced in the last 7 weeks
8/10 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
7/10 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
7/10 – Had won at least twice over hurdles before
7/10 – Ran in the last 4 weeks
5/10 – Won last time out
5/10 – Irish bred
5/10 – Had raced at Kelso before
3/10 – Winning favourite
3/10 – Ran at Musselburgh last time out
2/10 – Trained by Lucinda Russell
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 13/2

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………

 

The post BetBright STATZONE: Saturday ITV Racing (2nd March 2019) appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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Worcestershire trainer Henry Oliver has fired in five winners from fifteen runners in the past 28 days and he sends out five interesting runners on Friday, including two horses at Exeter well worth keeping an eye on…

The first is a sound stayer called CHASE END CHARLIE, who runs in the GG.CO.UK sponsored handicap hurdle over 2m7f at 1.30pm. This horse took some time to come to hand in 2018, but his last two efforts when 2nd over 2m4f at Market Rasen and 3rd over 3m1f at Hereford last time, suggesting he is approaching the kind of form required to pick up a race from a current BHA rating of 115. The step back in trip by two furlongs should be a help and Exeter’s galloping, right handed track will hopefully suit.

If you’re a forecast punter, Trans Express is also right in this contest if Sue Gardner’s 9yo can prove he stays this far. Printing Dollars and Good And Hardy are unexposed runners representing good stables, indeed it is a good quality Class 4 contest, with a due nod to the top weight and popular Buywise seeking a confidence boosting round over hurdles.

The 2.05pm is a very interesting race from a viewing perspective, but a fiendish looking Pertemps Qualifier for punters to negotiate. Thomas Campbell jumps off the page a bit for Nicky Henderson, while it would be nice to see a lot more from Dan Skelton’s promising Robin Waters here after a wind operation.

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The GG Tips Novices’ Hurdle at 3.10pm is another interesting contest with several horses worthy of mention. Ask Dillon probably brings the smartest form to the table following an Ascot win last time out, but the race didn’t produce the best of speed figures and perhaps he had the run of things there. French recruit Accomplice has no fancy entries just yet but is of obvious interest for Paul Nicholls, while the David Pipe trained UMBRIGADO may just prove the best each way value, despite shouldering a penalty here. This 5yo son of Stowaway had a bit of a fight on his hands at Southwell between the last two flights, against a determined Venetia Williams trained 2nd favourite called Khage (who will make a nice chaser) back in December. But Umbrigado responded really generously for pressure to score handsomely come the line, with the pair pulling well clear of the rest. Exeter is a vastly different track and this is a warmer race, but he certainly is going the right way.

35 minutes later in the GG Fast Results Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, the second of the aforementioned Henry Oliver trained runners heads to post in the shape of LOVE LANE, a very much in-form mare who comes here on the back of recent wins at Market Rasen and Chepstow. Her handicap mark has risen from 110 to 123 now, but she’s been given a few weeks of, looks to be a promising youngster and this is not the deepest of races. She is another Stowaway offspring, who incidentally boast an impressive 24% (12/50) strike rate at Exeter in recent seasons.

The Class 3 GG Racing Podcast Chase, a limited handicap for novices, has attracted a field of seven running for a very healthy prize of £17,400 at 4.50pm. I think the horse to back is Captain Cattistock, who hasn’t had things go his way of late, but he could be very nicely handicapped over fences for Paul Nicholls here off a BHA mark of just 137 under ‘Talk of the Town’ Harry Cobden. Sky Pirate is getting over a fall here, while Molineaux isn’t the most consistent horse, so this could be a really good opening for Captain Cattistock.

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We’re only three weeks away from the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and I don’t think I’m prepared.

It’s been a funny few months in that regard, the jumps haven’t really got going and yet here we are now facing into the festival.

Hopefully all our collective frustration about the stop/start nature of the season will subside when those four glorious days of racing begin on the hallowed turf at Prestbury Park.

You can keep your World Cups; the Cheltenham Festival is the mecca.

After Equine Influenza ruled out racing for a week, we enjoyed a very informative weekend of racing wherein a plethora of horses laid down some serious markers.

Clan Des Obeaux

It’s probably finally time to start giving this horse the respect he deserves after his victory in the Denman Chase. It was a red-letter day for his trainer Paul Nicholls, who landed a 45,863-1 eight-timer on the day.

Not a bad day’s work for the yard.

Of course, Clan Des Obeaux is going to have to improve to be a force in the Gold Cup, as clearly this renewal of the Denman Chase wasn’t exactly a challenge similar to what he’ll face at Prestbury Park.

It just struck me as a very strong performance, nonetheless.

I think it was the perfect blend of precision and aggression of his jumping, the change of pace he showed coming to the last and how mature he looked in easily getting the job done that earmarks this horse as an ideal Gold Cup contender.

The fact also stands that Terrefort is rated 159, was getting three pounds from Paul Nicholls’ charge and was utterly outclassed.

Presenting Percy missed his intended target at Gowran Park and it must now be reasonable to say that on this season’s form alone, Clan Des Obeaux is the horse to beat in the division.

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He deserves to be where he is in the market.

Paul Nicholls has been slowly putting together a yard to try and get back to where he was in the old days and he might be getting there. He’s amassing a very strong stable to go to war with.

His comparison between this challenger and the great Kauto Star will be music to the seven-year olds supporters’ ears.

“Kauto was seven when he won his first Gold Cup and he’s just where we want to be. I won’t need to give him any racecourse gallops, he’s mega-fit and we’ll go to Cheltenham full of confidence.”

I’m still concerned with his Cheltenham record though. Clan Des Obeaux has trudged onto the Cheltenham turf four times and has still yet to win there.

Only time will tell whether he has just improved beyond recognition this season, or whether he might not act at Prestbury Park.

He can always go down the Silviniaco Conti route in any case and win the Aintree Bowl instead!

Cyrname

“Horses for Courses” is a common adage, but one that fits in beautifully here.

Bristol De Mai has Haydock and now Cyrname owns Ascot.

He is simply different gear at this venue and this was one of the best performances you will ever see.

For the second time in as many starts at Ascot, Cyrname recklessly bound off into a lead and never came back to his competitors. On Saturday he stepped up from handicap level to a Grade One but achieved the same result. He absolutely obliterated them.

The performance was truly devastating, with seventeen lengths back to the second, last year’s winner no less, in Waiting Patiently. The talented Fox Norton and Politilogue were unable to land a blow in third and fourth.

He turned a competitive looking affair into a procession.

It’s such a pity he doesn’t seem as effective going left handed and trainer Paul Nicholls alluded to the same after the race.

I’m not giving up on the second Waiting Patiently either. He hated the ground, and if the heavens do eventually open again, we’ll see the best of him once again.

Unfortunately, this season has just transpired against him.

Back to the winner, whilst we more than likely won’t see Cyrname at Cheltenham, he does add further spice to the King George at Kempton in December later this year.

Thinking a bit ahead, I know… The Rest

Al Dancer backed up short odds at Newbury for a classy victory in a very competitive handicap. In the end, he made it look rather easy.

This victory will perfectly tee up the Dai Walters-owned winner for the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The three-and-three-quarter-length win, from Magic Dancer and Blu Cavalier, was not representative of how easily he actually won the race. Al Dancer could’ve won by much further if he was needed to.

I’m always wary of these winners though, as it won’t be the first time a winner of this race gets over-punted for a Supreme and ultimately finds one too good. Ballyandy, My Tent Or Yours and Kalashnikov can all vouch for this theory.

He was also very keen in the opening part of this race. He won’t get away with that in a Supreme.

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Al Dancer nonetheless has delivered a further level of intrigue to what I’ve a feeling will be a very good Supreme. It can’t be much worse than last year’s renewal anyway!

Monalee further enhanced his Ryanair claims in the Red Mills Chase and looks a solid proposition going forward over this trip. Connections might hopefully give up the dream of him being a Gold Cup horse, as he just doesn’t stay well enough to ever be a factor over staying trips.

I do understand them persevering though, nobody spends good money on a young horse dreaming of one day winning a Ryanair.

As well as the above, Tiger Roll confirmed he’s a near certainty for the Cross-Country chase, Grand Sancy has his part to play in the Supreme and Kalashnikov once again advertised how poor a renewal of the Supreme we had in 2018.

It was a very good weekend of racing and it needed to be after missing a week of action.

Fred Winter Fancy

As we edge closer to the festival, it’s about now I seriously begin to look at the handicaps. The weights are out in two weeks, so you can possibly beat the odds by trying to spot one who might end up being “well in” beforehand.

Surin looks a prime example of this at 14/1.

She has been given a rating of 130 here in Ireland, which she obviously won’t be allowed to run off by the English Handicapper at the Cheltenham Festival. Last year all Irish juveniles were given a mark six pounds higher than what they were allotted In Ireland and hopefully this would be the case again.

136 would be a very fair mark for her.

She was purchased by Gordon Elliott from Mario Hofer after a victory in a Market Rasen 3-year-old bumper and has gone from strength to strength in the meantime.

Finishing second on debut to Gardens Of Babylon, she then overturned that form at Fairyhouse to prevail by a nose. Surin was understandably no match for the brilliant Sir Erec last time but ran a gallant race to be third on the day all the same.

Gardens Of Babylon (rated 139) had his excuses and I think he’ll get closer to Sir Erec next time in a truer run affair.

If you take that onboard, then Surin would be very well treated running in a Fred Winter.

I firmly believe that Ireland’s juveniles are much better than their English counterparts, and with Gordon Elliott confirming that this was her aim on a Q&A on Twitter, Surin looks a big price a 14/1 for the 2019 running of the Fred Winter.

Selections 0.50 Pts E/W Espoir D’allen 20/1 (Champion Hurdle)
0.50 Pts E/W Saldier 20/1 (Champion Hurdle)
2 Pts Win Penhill 5/1 (Stayers Hurdle)
0.50 Pts E/W Black Op 14/1 (Stayers Hurdle)
0.50 Pts E/W Al Boum Photo 14/1 (Gold Cup)
0.50 Pts E/W Vision D’Honneur 20/1 (Supreme)
0.50 Pts E/W Sam’s Profile 25/1 (Ballymore)
0.50 Pts E/W Discorama 16/1 (National Hunt Chase)
0.50 Pts E/W Rockpoint 20/1 (Albert Bartlett)
0.50 Pts E/W Surin 14/1 (Albert Bartlett)

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Welcome to the BetBright STATZONE, where we give you the stats and you make the decisions!

We’ve another busy afternoon in store with seven LIVE ITV races spread across three tracks – Kempton, Lingfield and Newcastle.

The 888Sport Handicap Chase tops the bill at Kempton, with four LIVE races at the Sunbury-On-Thames track, while the stayers are out again up at Newcastle for the gruelling Eider Chase that’s run over 4m1f. Then down at Lingfield the All Weather racing fans get their fix with a top-notch card that includes the Group 3 Winter Derby – a race that Gracious John took 12 months ago.

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on STATZONE with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races – we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get cracking!

Kempton Park Horse Racing Trends (ITV4) 1.50 – 888Sport Pendil Novices´ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 2m4f110y ITV4

12/14 – Favourites that finished in the top 3
12/14 – French (8) of Irish (3) bred
11/14 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
11/14 – Returned 5/2 or shorter in the betting
11/14 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
11/14 – Ran in the last 5 weeks
10/14 – Trained by Paul Nicholls (won 7 of the last 10)
9/14 – Had won between 1-2 times over fences before
8/14 – Won last time out
8/14 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 10 renewals is 6/4

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

2.25 – 888Sport Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 2m ITV4

14/15 – Priced 8/1 or shorter in the betting
13/15 –  Came from the top 3 in the betting
13/15 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
12/15 – Had won no more than once over hurdles in the UK
12/15 – Had raced within the last 7 weeks
12/15 – Winners that went onto run in the Triumph Hurdle (3 winners)
11/15 – Placed favourites
11/15 – Had won over 2m (hurdles) before
10/15– Won carrying either a 4lb or 7lb penalty
9/15 – Won last time out
7/15 – Winning favourites
5/15 – French bred
5/15 – Irish bred
4/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
4/15 – Trained by Alan King (won the last two runnings)
3/15 – Winners that went onto win that season’s Triumph Hurdle
3/15 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
Zarkandar, Soldatino and Penzance went onto land that season’s Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 7/2

Note: The 2006 renewal was staged at Sandown Park

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

3.00 – Sky Bet Dovecote Novices´ Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 2m ITV4

12/13 – Ran within the last 5 weeks
12/13 – Had won over 2m (hurdles) before
11/13 – Had never raced over hurdles at Kempton before
9/13 – Placed favourites
9/13 – Aged either 4 or 5 years-old
10/13 – Won between 0-2 times over hurdles before
10/13 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
8/13 – Won last time out
6/13 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (no winners)
5/13 – Winning favourites
4/13 – French bred
4/13 – Trained by Alan King
4/13 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
3/13 – Ridden by Barry Geraghty
2/13 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/13 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 9/2
Note: The 2006 renewal was staged at Sandown Park

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

3.35 – 888Sport Chase (Handicap) (Grade 3) Cl1 3m ITV4

14/16 – Rated 139 or higher
14/16 – Finished in the top 5 last time out
13/16 – Aged 9 or younger
12/16 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
11/16 – Won a class 2 chase or better before
11/16 – Carried 10-13 or more
11/16 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
11/16 – Came from the top 4 in the betting
11/16 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or more
10/16 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
10/16 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
10/16 – Rated between 139 and 150
8/16 – Carried 11-5 or more
7/16 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
7/16 – Won last time out
5/16 – Aged 8 years-old
5/16 – French bred
4/16 – Winners that went onto run in that season’s Grand National (all unplaced)
4/16 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
3/16 – Ridden by Paddy Brennan
2/16 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
2/16 – Ridden by Richard Johnson (won it 5 times in all)
2/16 – Trained by Tom George
2/16 – Trained by Philip Hobbs (won it 4 times in all)
2/16 – Ran in the King George VI Chase last time out
2/16 – Winners that went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (1 winner)
The average winning SP in the last 16 runnings is 10/1
Note: The 2006 running was staged at Sandown Park

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

Newcastle Horse Racing Trends (ITV4) 2.40 – Vertem Eider (A Handicap Chase) Cl2 4m1f ITV4

15/15 – Had won over at least 3m before
13/15 – Aged 10 or younger
12/15 – Carried 11-0 or more
12/15 – Priced 11/1 or shorter in the betting
11/15 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
11/15 – Irish-bred
11/15 – Winners came from the top 3 in the betting
10/15 – Winning distance – 4 lengths or less
10/15 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
9/15 – Officially rated between 131-140
9/15 – Aged either 8 or 9 years-old
8/15 – Placed favourites
5/15 – Won last time out
5/15 – Won over 3m4f or further before
3/15 – Carried 11-12 in weight
2/15 – Winning favourites
2/15 – Irish-trained winners
The average winning SP in the last 15 runnings is 10/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

Lingfield Horse Racing Trends (ITV4) 2.05 – Betway Hever Sprint Stakes (All-Weather Championship Fast-Track Qualifier) (Listed Race) Cl1 5f6y ITV4

11/12 – Rated 96+
10/12 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
9/12 – Raced 6 weeks or longer ago
9/12 – Had raced at Lingfield before
8/12 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
8/12 – Placed favs
8/12 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
7/12 – Ran at Lingfield last time out
4/12 – US bred
4/12 – Winning favourites
3/12 – Mare winners
3/12 – Trained by David Barron
0/12 – Winners from stall 1
Royal Birth won the race in 2017
Gracious John won the race in 2018
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 15/2

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

3.15 – Betway Winter Derby (All-Weather Championship Fast-Track Qualifier) (Group 3) Cl1 1m2f ITV4

16/16 – Winning distance – 2 lengths or shorter
13/16 – Won by a horse aged 6 or younger
12/16 – Priced 8/1 or shorter in the market
12/16 – Had run at Lingfield previously
12/16 – Won over at least 1m2f previously
12/16 – Had raced at either Lingfield (8) or Kempton (4) last time out
12/16 – Winning distance – less than a length
10/16 – Placed in their last race
10/16 – Drawn in stall 7 or less
10/16 – Came from the top 3 in the market
10/16 – Won at Lingfield previously
10/16 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
9/16 – Won their last race
8/16 – Won at least 6 times previously
7/16 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the 16 renewals is 6/1

STATZONE VERDICT: To Follow………………………

 

The post BetBright STATZONE: Saturday ITV Racing (23rd Feb 2019) appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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Presenting Percy is already a Superstar name among the purist Cheltenham fraternity in Ireland and the UK and perhaps rightly so, as a dual Cheltenham Festival winner hailing from a small but popular yard.

As the 2019 Gold Cup Jolly was due to put the finishing touches on his preparations for a seeming date with destiny on Friday 15th of March, confidence couldn’t have been higher in the air around the horse approaching this weekend. On Friday morning though, news emerged he would not be declared for his prep run in the Red Mills Chase, which means he may now go straight to the Gold Cup as favourite, without having had a run over fences all season.

This time last year, Pat Kelly’s 8yo gelding was beaten by the ill-fated Our Duke when he was in receipt of 7lb from that horse. It was a quality effort in its own right, an enjoyable horse race and ultimately led to him improving on it handsomely to win the RSA Chase in style. Following an excellent win over hurdles here last time out, this seemed to be the ideal stepping stone to a third Festival success under his partner in crime Davy Russell.

As to the horse’s current health status, I am yet to hear, but we can only hope he is sound and remains on track.

As a punter and in respect of the uniquely gruelling test a Cheltenham Gold Cup is, you’d have to harbour real concerns about his experience and profile going into the race now, given he hasn’t jumped a fence in public since the RSA Chase. It is a shame we don’t get to see this somewhat mythical creature perform on Saturday, but fingers crossed for a speedy return.

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Gowran Park – 2.30pm

Willie Mullins has won the Red Mills Chase three times in the past ten years, all with strong market leaders and perhaps 11yo KILLULTAGH VIC can earn a timely victory in 2019 as a likely second favourite behind Monalee.

A talented but quirky veteran, Killultagh was held in 3rd by Presenting Percy last time out, but ran to a far more promising level than a poor effort on New Year’s Eve at Punchestown.

Here, larger obstacles, a shorter trip and a favourable pull at the weights with his chief threat make him of major interest under Ruby Walsh. Monalee is clearly a grand chaser, just not one I’ve warmed to, while Edwulf needs a telling revival here to be considered a player at this level going forward. Anibale Fly ran to an RPR of 132 last time out and is vulnerable looking now too. Killultagh Vic deserves to land a nice pot and I can envisage him out-battling Monalee from the back of the last to the line in the 3.05pm showpiece chase.

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Gowran Park – 1.50pm

Earlier on in the card at 1.50pm, Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas looks to get a win on the board in the Grade 3 Red Mills Trial Hurdle over two miles. He was 25 lengths behind Apple’s Jade last time out, which puts paid to any realistic Champion Hurdle hopes, but he wouldn’t need to improve massively on that to go close here.

Last year’s winner Forge Meadow hasn’t been quite the same horse since and looks up against it to me. Although his Naas run in January was a step in right direction, it still leaves him with a bit to do and he was readily held in 4th behind Espoir D’Allen. All told, Joseph O’Brien’s unexposed French recruit DARASSO may prove the one to be on. A strongly built sort now rated 149, this 6yo has shaped with good promise over 2m4f and 3m in his two starts in Ireland so far and this drop to two miles rates an interesting experiment.

You can read more from Kevin O’Malley and find the latest form, racecards, free tips & news on GG.CO.UK.

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Every now and again, I do enjoy an each-way Goliath bet and Dundalk’s competitive eight race meeting on Friday evening is ideal to have a go at one for small stakes. How ever you are attacking the Dundalk card from a punting perspective, below you’ll find my idea of the angle in each of the octet of races, starting at 5.00pm.

For the uninitiated, the Goliath consists of 247 bets: 28 Doubles, 56 Trebles, 70 Four-Folds, 56 Five-Folds, 28 Six-Folds, 8 Seven-Folds and an 8-fold Accumulator. The trouble is, if you choose four losers, you lose 93 bets. That’s a lot of disappointment on one slip! Naturally, I find the 494 each-way Goliath can be even better craic. An occasional 5p or 10p wager of this kind though, is good for the soul. The audacity in sweet talking Lady Luck with spirited attempts to get a great many equine stars to align at once is always a thrill and it’s a handy way to have an interest in each race without the commitment of single bets.

The 5.00pm is a handicap race over 5f, where Adrian Joyce’s BLASTOFMAGIC can give a bold bid under Shane Foley if transferring recent turf form back on the polytrack. This 5yo has seven lengths to make up with Danz Gift on their meeting here last April, but Blastofmagic is an improved horse since then and his handicap rating of 59 looks exploitable. In the 5.30pm maiden over a mile, ULTRA PRIDE can run into the frame for Ms Sheila Lavery with this horse who has curiously finished 7th in two starts so far at Dundalk over 7f. The gelding’s Racing Post Ratings improved from 53 on debut to 70 when beaten little over three lengths here in October and another step forward would see him go well in a fairly ordinary contest.

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Dundalk – 6.00pm

In the 6.00pm contest, Division I of a mile handicap for horses rated 45-65, MASALAI must have a favourite’s chance after shaping well after a long time off her last time out. He has a big weight of 9st 13lb, but Oisin Orr negates that by 3lb in the saddle and I’m very hopeful the pair can land the spoils.

Dundalk – 6.30pm

QUELUZ has run over ten furlongs on two of his last three starts, but looks to have sound enough each way claims in the 6.30pm handicap back over one mile for Division two of the previous race. He was a little disappointing last time out, but ran to RPRs ahead of his mark on four starts prior to that and can be expected to be seen staying on strongly late in the day under 10lb claiming jockey Mike O’Connor.

Dundalk – 7.00pm

Things don’t get much easier at 7.00pm with a 6f handicap containing thirteen runners, where the twenty-six grand in prize-money makes it a highly competitive affair. UK raider Nick Vedder is an interesting contender here, but the horse does have a bit of a glass chin, so for a bit of solidarity, I think market leader VIEW THE BAY will prove a decent addition to my Goliath. Andrew Slattery’s 4yo filly has been targeted at this race for some time and she arrives in excellent form having slammed Danz Gift here the last day. She is up 7lb tonight in hotter company, but she is going the right way and seems to get on very well with Ben Coen, who claims 5lb off her back once again.

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Dundalk – 7.30pm

At 7.30pm, let’s side with the in-form PARK ROW for this 1m4f heat. The two market leaders haven’t done a great deal on the clock and lack experience, while this evergreen 9yo is in the form of his life and absolutely loves it around here since joining Dennis Coakley’s yard. A handicap mark of 84 is stiff enough on the face of it, but this is not the deepest of races and I’ll be somewhat disappointed if he doesn’t give a very good account of himself, despite the stable having a bit of a quiet period.

Dundalk – 8.00pm

The 8.00pm maiden over 1m2f looks to be at the mercy of odds-on shot and well bred Hazel Bay for Dermot Weld. For the sake of a little devilment, I’ll throw in MACHIAVELLI at a huge price, running in first time blinkers here on his second start for Denis Hogan. The 4yo is clearly hard to win with, but did hint at fair ability on several occasions when trained by Johnny Murtagh in 2018 and a repeat of any one of his five starts from mid-April to late June last year, in this race, would see him bang in the mix for the places tonight.

Dundalk – 8.30pm

Last but not least we revert to a far more fancied runner in the last in the shape of ROYAL ADMIRAL for shrewd handler Adrian McGuinness under top pilot Colin Keane. This is another horse that has not run since 2018 (Oct), but to my eye he arrives with much the best form for a very moderate affair and I’ll be surprised if he fails to resume racing with a career-first victory here in the closing ten furlong handicap at 8.30pm.

You can read more from Kevin O’Malley and find the latest form, racecards, free tips & news on GG.CO.UK.

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In the end, the loss was nothing like as significant as we feared. Only one racing day of any significance went missing, many of whose best races have been rescheduled for this weekend.

And such has been the clamour for action that you can bet your life this Saturday’s improvised jamboree will record a comparatively massive audience figure on ITV.

We’ll be treated to some great sport, the Cheltenham bandwagon will start rolling again, and we’ll wonder whether six days dominated by talk of Equine Flu were just a bad dream.

The truth is that this might have been a nightmare.

When the BHA announced deep into the night last Wednesday that racing would be cancelled the following day, there was widespread praise for what was generally deemed swift and decisive action.

To the industry, this smacked of strong, clear leadership from an organization that had taken a few PR hits in recent weeks. If they were sweating the small stuff a bit too readily, their crisis management skills looked pretty assured.

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On Monday evening, with the racing Twittersphere tightly clenched, aching for action, the BHA unlocked the embargo to a deep collective sigh of relief. Again, the authority was praised extensively, until such time as several trainers realized that they would need a valid vaccination within the last six months in order to declare runners.

In between times, the BHA was under enormous pressure, accused simultaneously of not testing methodically enough and being over zealous.

The fear set in when the lockdown of trainers’ yards by possible association with a positive test was put in motion on Thursday morning. Suddenly, the realization dawned that this was a potentially never ending scenario should just a few new positives come to light.

As it happened, the BHA was able to adopt a more pragmatic approach. Some might say this was something of a ‘reverse ferret’ out of an overreaction, but a kinder interpretation was that a fuller picture had been painted and that a period of lockdown and thorough testing was necessary to paint that picture.

Either way, we’re back in action with a few conditions. These won’t please everybody, but nor should a sport’s regulator aim solely to please.

Debate will rumble on, but here are three takeaways to consider from the last few days.

1. Be wary of homespun wisdom

Trainers were always entitled to question the BHA’s approach, but many made plenty of the anecdotal suggestion that you could test any string at any time and find a few positives and, therefore, this was essentially a pointless exercise.

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The fact that there were no positives outside two concentrations of the virus blows this theory out of the water. Clearly, the existing vaccination regulations are robust and effective.

2. A protocol needs to be established

When BHA Director of Welfare David Sykes appeared on Luck on Sunday, he conceded that he and the veterinary committee were using a combination of global experience and common sense to guide them.

Essentially, there is no official protocol to determine how to gauge the severity and impact of an epidemic whilst enabling racing to continue.

3. There must be more harmony between Britain and Ireland.

Although IHRB vet Lynn Hillier assured me that close co-operation with the BHA had been maintained, facts suggest it could and should have been closer.

Ireland’s announcement that it would accept British-based runners BEFORE the BHA had lifted its own sanctions undermined the BHA.

We learned late in this sequence of events that Ireland had itself been operating a more targeted policy of containment for some time.

It is true that the positive test in Ireland had not travelled to the races, but there are evidently clear differences in attitude and methodology between the two countries.

With Brexit looming, it is important now more than ever for the two authorities to be regulating along broadly similar lines.

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The post Nick Luck: In the end, the loss was nothing like as significant as we feared… appeared first on BetBright Blog.

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