New BDH Squad Members: Welcome aboard Regi and Choosy…

Sir Reginald Dwight, as he is known to his friends!

There was plenty of straight track sprinting action for me to delve into from the recent Ayr Gold Cup meeting, in search of some new members to freshen up our BDH attack squad.

The pace/draw angles were pretty clean-cut in all the cup races and that, to some extent, makes my job a little bit easier.

I actually pondered over adding my old mucker CHEVETON to our BDH squad. He ran a solid race from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ in the Bronze Cup and although I will be keeping an eye open for him he just doesn’t seem to be giving out the sparkle of old. He will go into my own personal ‘Handicap Sleepers’ list (he was actually already there) and if conditions are right for him I will back him, but he just hasn’t quite done enough to step up into the exclusive BDH squad.

That honour goes to 2 runners from Saturday’s Ayr Silver Cup. One who most will have noticed and another who I reckon should have skipped under the radar of most…

Race in focus: 2.40 Ayr (21-09-2013): William Hill Ayr Silver Cup – 6f, Class 2 Handicap (27 ran)

How the race played out…

Ayr Silver Cup Review

We all know this was all about those drawn up high. The first five home were drawn in stalls 15 or higher and 9 of the first 10 home were also drawn in stalls 15 or higher. The field did split into 2 here but the low numbers, surprisingly, didn’t go and hug the far rail; a mistake in my opinion. In the previous days Bronze Cup, although it was also a high numbers race, the low numbers did the standard procedure of gunning it down their rail and they finished much closer to their highly drawn counterparts than the low numbers from this race did.

From the low numbers it was THUNDERBALL (Stall 1) & COLONEL MAK (Stall 7) that tried to set a pace but their bolts were pretty swiftly shot long before the race hotted up, fading to finish in 20th & 25th. It was always going to be a fruitless task trying to make serious strides down the middle of the track.

In the high group (near side) it was CHEVIOT in stall 25 that led the pack along and he held that position well into the final furlong. His front running provided an excellent tow into the race for the first 3 home (ANCIENT CROSS, FAST SHOT & AN SAIGHDIUR) who all sat on his tail before pouncing inside the final furlong.

It was quite clear that this was a race that favoured the high numbers and the low numbers really struggled to land any sort of blow.

The end result…

The winner ANCIENT CROSS had the luxury of being drawn in the 2nd highest box and as such had the ‘golden highway’ under the stands rail right underneath him all the way home. Although this was the highest mark he had ever won from he had placed/run well in the past from a slightly higher mark (100 & 101). The handicapper may well raise him above that mark after this and I imagine that may well anchor him for a bit. Second home, FAST SHOT, made a late surge for the line and was unlucky not to collect here. He has won and placed from around this mark in the past but if the handicapper knocks him up a couple of lbs he may also just find himself anchored, depends on exactly how much he is put up (if any). The Irish Raider AN SAIGHDUIR ran a career best in 3rd from a career high mark. He was ideally placed in the highest box of all (Stall 27) but had to move out a bit towards the centre to get a clear run, that may well have just cost him. PICTURE DEALER in 4th ran close enough to his best to suggest he may be able to pick something up from this mark. He is on a career high rating but is only a 4yo and could well have a bit more up his sleeve. The same comments could be applied to 5th home BOOTS AND SPURS, he ran a sound race and may be able to pick something up from his current mark. SIR REGINALD in 6th was the obvious eye-catcher. He was the only runner in the top 10 to be drawn in the bottom 14 stalls. The fact he came from stall 2 makes his 2 & 1/2 length 6th even more impressive. He actually came there with a serious chance in the final furlong but the efforts of running out in the middle ultimately left him a bit short in the finish. TAKE COVER is an interesting one. He finished a decent 7th here and he probably could have been done without the ground drying out. He is extremely lightly raced for a 6yo and he does give the impression that there is more still to come; he is one to watch from the well drawn ‘beaten’ horses.

BDH(s) to follow…

SIR REGINALD (6th) (R Fahey)

He is the obvious one to take from the race but that doesn’t mean we should ignore him. This was a mighty effort from his stall 2 outpost and his 2 & 1/2 length defeat gives further signs that he is back to somewhere near the form he showed as a youngster. It is easy to forget he was rated as high as 105 at one stage of his career and also ran well in Meydan from marks in the 100’s at the start of the 2012 season.

I don’t have too many conditions that I want to apply to him as the main pointer for me is his handicap mark of 93 (he ran off 91 in the Silver Cup). 93 looks within his range and he looks a much happier and sounder horse these days. We must remember that his 3yo season was curtailed after 1 run because of injury and his 4yo season was also interrupted a touch because of another minor injury. His last 3 runs fully suggest that he is now over those ailments and is ready to show what he can do.

1 small condition I would like to have in our favour is Paul Hanagan in the saddle. The form line when the former champion jockey is in the saddle is 2119946016 compared to 335205097072 when he isn’t. Hanagan isn’t imperative in the plate but he clearly is a bonus.

Apart from that I’m happy to evaluate him on a race by race basis.

Conditions – Happy to take him on a race by race basis. Hanagan a serious plus but not a necessity. His handicap mark of 93 looks well within him and a big field handicap at 6 or 6 & 1/2 furlongs is a feasible target.

CHOOSEDAY (12th) (K Ryan)

This 4yo is a less obvious choice but it shouldn’t go unnoticed that he actually finished 2nd of the low drawn horses. He made a strong move to the front around the 1.5 furlong mark but his effort petered out on the unfavorable part of the track.

Pat Smullen was an interesting booking on the day and they obviously expected the horse to go well, only to be undone by the poor draw. This was actually the 2nd race in a row where he was berthed in an unfavorable stall, he was drawn on the wrong side of the consolation Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon last time out but still managed to run a solid race in 4th. The race before that he fired in a career best on the figures in the Stewards Cup consolation race at Glorious Goodwood, giving clear signs that he is still a horse on the up.

Conditions wise we don’t want him on anything too testing.

His Soft & Heavy ground form reads 53577

compared to…

His Good to Soft or better form of 1343024214277340

He does handle cut but the signs are that he is much better without it.

I would also rather have him over 6f than 5f…

5 furlong form is 6 runs | 0 wins | 1 placed effort

6 furlong form is 15 runs | 2 wins | 5 placed efforts

Apart from those small points of note he is another we can probably play race by race. He is only a 4yo and seems to still be on the upgrade, he just needs a decent draw to show what he can do.

Conditions – Happy to take him on a race by race basis although would prefer to see him on Good to Soft or better and over 6 furlongs.

SIR REGINALD & CHOOSEDAY now both enter my Proform ‘Horse Watcher’ tool and I will post on the Blog when they are due to run next.

Ben (BDH)

p.s. I’m really starting to dig into the National Hunt action now behind the scenes. Make sure YOU don’t miss out on the action by joining the FREE updates list here >>> FREE NTF Updates List

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p.p.s One of the Handicap Sleepers on the Free guide just ran at Carlisle (Tuesday 24th depending on when you are reading this) in the shape of ROKER PARK. Everything looked in place for a decent run…but he ran a stinker! …so I had a closer look. He was drawn in stall 10 of 10. Runners in stall 10 over 5f & 6f at Carlisle since 2007… 3 wins from 91 starts for a 3% S/R! They do win quite a bit less than they should as well. Watching the race it was clear that Roker Park was up against it and he could never get into a position from that draw.

Carlisle is one of those sprint tracks that pretends it is a straight…but is far from it! Bit like Beverley and places like that. You are turning a fair bit and if you are stuck out wide you really are up against it. On the face of it ROKER PARK ran a stinker, digging a bit deeper I’m more than willing to cut him a bit of slack for that run.

…also I should have checked this before I backed him! Yes my money was down and subsequently lost as RP failed to get anywhere from that devil of a stall that is stall 10! Still, lesson learned, notes taken, we move on poorer but all the wiser!

BDH Weekend Review: Sifting through the wreckage…

Well Saturday was a tough day at the office!!

Jack Dexter ran a big race in 3rd under his welter burden and softened the hammers blows slightly (very slightly!!) but apart from his effort there was precious little else to shout about.

Let’s dissect the runs of our BDH squad and see if we should boot any of them into touch…

2.40 Ayr – Silver Cup

THUNDERBALL

Two things went markedly against Scott Dixon’s runner here. At the time of writing we were looking at Soft ground, which is the ideal conditions we want for him. By the time the gates went up it had dried to a tacky Good to Soft, OK for him but not perfect and in a race of this nature you probably want perfect conditions. It was also quite clear (by the time they crossed the line!) that it was the high stalls that held the upper hand here, he was isolated in stall 1 and that just left him high and dry with nowhere to go.

One thing that did surprise in this race was that the low group actually gunned it down the middle. Why not stay in a straight line and fire down the far rail? Most horses are better with a rail to run against, last time I looked there were no rails down the middle! Personally I thought it was a strange decision, it maybe made little to no difference but there was a rail down that side and I would have thought it would have been more beneficial to use it that float about down the middle of the track…

We learned nothing about T-Ball here and he stays on the list, hopefully we get PROPER soft ground for him next time out.

YEEOOW

I actually though he ran a sound enough race in 8th. He came there with a challenging run but as soon as he was pulled into the middle his run fizzled out. He was at least still well in the ball-park come the line and I’m happy to keep him in the squad for now.

3.30 Newbury – Group 3

STEPS

Didn’t even manage to engage 1st gear here! He was struggling after about 100 yards and never looked like landing even a glancing blow. Is he just feeling the effects of a long-ish season?

We have been unlucky not to collect with him recently (VERY unlucky!) but I fear he may be stuck in no-mans land now (above his handicap ceiling but not quite up to Group level). With that in mind it’s time to say goodbye to this squad member, he did us proud despite not winning but things are probably going to get tricky for him with regards where to place him and we now say au revoir to STEPS.

3.50 Ayr – Gold Cup

JACK DEXTER

Hard to crab a 3rd placed effort from a mark of 110 in one of the most competitive sprint handicaps known to man. He was an each-way bet and he delivered. For a brief moment it looked like he would unleash a barn-storming finishing kick but it wasn’t to be. Drying ground wouldn’t have been perfect for him but in no way could it be used as an excuse, I would have preferred soft but was more than happy to dive in on Good to Soft.

One thing that did spring to mind in the aftermath of the race was ‘Did he need the run?’

This was his first start for 84 days, his record after a break of 31 days or more now reads – 464312 – admittedly not that bad but now look at his record after a break of 30 days or less – 11100115371 – or even after 20 days or less – 1001111. Certainly edging towards him being better after a recent run and something for us to bear in mind going forward from here.

I’m more than happy to keep JD on the list after that run.

DUKE OF FIRENZE

No bet on DOF anyway and ran as I expected. To be honest I didn’t even hear the commentator mention him once! These would not have been his ideal conditions and I’m not judging him on this performance. He can still do damage when conditions suit him, just not sure there will be spots for him to strut his stuff before the season is out…

Additional selections…

I did put up 2 additional selections for the Gold Cup and they both ran OK without setting the world alight.

OUR JONATHON ran a sound race in 7th and I did briefly think he may sneak a place for us but he just couldn’t quite get there. He is on a decent mark and could pick something up before the season is out.

GABRIEL’S LAD was probably caught on the ‘wrong’ side of the high numbers and his 9th place was a decent enough run considering he had to do most of his work out in the middle.

Again I was surprised that there wasn’t a group trying to gun it down the far side rail. It was drying ground and what’s to say the far side wasn’t drying faster than the near side? Surely it was worth a punt instead of losing ground tracking over to the middle?

I’m going to review all the big sprints from Ayr later on today, there are a few I noted when watching the races ‘live’ as potentials for our BDH squad but as always I like to have a proper look once the dust has settled.

I’ll do my best to keep all things BDH updated in the coming weeks but my attention will be switching to NTF very shortly and I expect that to devour plenty of my time; I’m already doing some work on the Paddy Power Gold Cup!! I’m starting to think David Pipe has a fantastically strong hand (again!) to play in the race with a couple of his team (obvious and less obvious members) but there is also one from the Hobbs team that is potentially very interesting…

Anyway that’s for the National Hunt leg of my racing work (you can join NTF here and grab a bunch of FREE guides at the same time), I’ll hopefully have a new BDH squad member for you in the next couple of days on here.

Ben (BDH)

BDH Saturday Qualifiers: Mob-handed in search of Gold & Silver…

Will 38 years of Scottish hurt end with Jack Dexter capturing Gold?

A busy day in store for us on Saturday as we fire double barreled assaults upon both the Ayr Gold and Silver Cups!

As well as our 4 Ayr raiders we also have last weekend’s unlucky 2nd, STEPS, ‘stepping’ into Group company for the first time at Newbury.

Before all that, however, we have to deal with Fridays runners…

WAKING WARRIOR 2.20 Ayr

12th of 24. Pace was up his side. Average run. Never looked like landing a blow. Time to drop him from the squad. He was staying on at the end but to be honest I’m just not feeling it and I’m happy to drop WW from the squad.

TAWHID 4.50 Newbury

Winner! Job done! He won how I hoped/expected/how he should have. Soft ground is simply a must for him and Silvestre De Sousa is a massive bonus when he takes the ride. His place in the squad is safe, lets hope there are a couple more spots for him before the season is out.

Now onto Saturday’s action…

Saturday’s BDH runners…

BDH Runners:YEEOOW & THUNDERBALL 2.40 Ayr

First things first lets take a look at the pace map for this 27 runner sprint…

Ayr Silver Cup

Pace coming from all over the track, which is handy as we are berthed in Stall 1 (THUNDERBALL) and stall 21 (YEEOOW). If anything there is slightly more pace down the bottom end (low numbers) but there isn’t enough to make a definitive pre-race conclusion. On the pace angle we are good with both. With the pace map looking like this I’m very happy to be hedging our bets with 1 high and 1 low.

Let’s deal with our 2 runners individually….

THUNDERBALL – Ran a very sound race at Doncaster last week (3rd), only 3lbs shy of his career best on the figures, and the 2lb raise he receives for the run still leaves him 1lb below his highest ever winning mark; good.

My initial assessment of him was that we want 6 furlongs and Soft and that’s what we get here; doubly good.

A straight track was also a preferable condition for him and he also gets that here, the only real ‘reservation’ is that this is a race worth more than 20k to the winner, an area he is yet to prove he is totally up to. However, he meets everything else and with Queally remaining in the saddle (form figures of 016813 when riding the horse) I’m more than happy to take a punt at prices of 20-1+. Needless to say in a race of this many runners I will be covering him in an each-way capacity.

YEEOOW – Another that ran a solid 3rd at Doncaster last week, running 1lb below his career best whilst at the same time meeting with ground with cut in it for the first time. Joey Haynes gets the leg up here and his 5lb claim takes the horse down to a mark of 87, 3lbs below his highest ever winning mark.

Off the back of last weeks effort and with the claimer making things interesting I think we need to play our boy again here. Like Thunderball I’ll also take this lad in an each-way capacity.

I would often try and find something else to have on my side in a race with this many runners but to be honest nothing really stands out at me, well nothing that tempts me into a bet. I’ll let it roll and just go to war with our 2 BDH warriors.

BDH Runner: STEPS 3.30 Newbury

Clearly Roger Varian’s hand has been forced to a certain extent here by the consistency of his horse and another rise in the weights (up 3lbs to 104) has made the trainer look to Group contests to get his 5yo back in the winners enclosure. I initially suggested that I didn’t think he would be up to this level but his last run has made me rethink that opinion.

He gets his bare minimum 5f trip here (well bar 34 yards!) and also his favoured Soft ground. Andrea Atzeni back in the plate is also interesting as together they have an eye-catching record of 131585. This wouldn’t be the toughest Group 3 we have seen and with Steps in such rude health I reckon it’s worth taking an interest in him again here. There is plenty of 8-1 flying around so I’ll probably look to take him Each-Way if I can.

BDH Runners: JACK DEXTER & DUKE OF FIRENZE 3.50 Ayr

Huge field again so let’s first take a look at the pace map…

Ayr Gold Cup

Like the Silver Cup there does seem to be a decent enough spread of pace here although it may just be that it is low to middle that is the strongest zone with regards to the pace. That isn’t totally ideal for our pair, boxed in stall 22 (JACK DEXTER) & 20 (DUKE OF FIRENZE), but it isn’t catastrophic either. It does mean that I’ll probably be looking for some sort of cover bet from the bottom half though. We will get to that later.

Let’s deal with our 2 BDH runners individually first….

JACK DEXTER – 110 is a hefty mark to win any handicap from but Advanced won this race from a mark of 109 in 2007 so it can be done and JACK DEXTER is certainly a progressive and classy beast, as shown by his close 4th in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. The soft ground will be perfect (form of 11111) and even if it dries out to Good to Soft I wouldn’t be put off (form of 261). He has good track form (531 – including a very comfortable victory in last years Bronze Cup), Graham Lee knows him very well (1541101041), he runs well in 16+ runner fields (741110064) and runs well in September/October time (4111).

I see very little negatives for him and the only small worry I have is the draw. At current odds I’m definitely on and once again I will look to cover him each-way.

DUKE OF FIRENZE – Hmmm…Duke Of Firenze (DOF)…what to do with DOF. My feeling is that 6 furlongs on soft ground will not suit. He has always struck me as one that is more at home on the top of the ground and his 2 runs on ground softer than Good have not promised too much.

Ryan Moore doesn’t make the trip up for the ride although I must admit Cathy Gannon is an interesting booking. She has ridden once for Stoute in the past 5 seasons and that was a winner. Is this a handy spare ride or have they booked her especially? It’s probably the former and in any case it isn’t really enough to swing me into a solid punt.

He is a tasty price for sure but I think he is a tricky ride and I would probably rather have a jockey that has ridden him before taking the mount here. I would also rather it was Good or better ground. If the pace does end up being down low then there is also a chance he doesn’t get a tow into the contest and as he seems to enjoy coming through runners late on that could prove to be a bit of a problem.

All in all I just have a few too many questions about DOF today and personally I won’t be backing him here.

So that leaves us with JACK DEXTER going into battle in the ultra competitive 27 Ayr Gold Cup; time to look for a bit of back up me thinks!

I want 2 others on my side here and those are GABRIEL’S LAD from stall 13 and OUR JONATHAN from stall 12.

I ran the entire field through my extended trends analysis and only 1 runner passed all 15 trends, that was GABRIEL’S LAD. He is an improving sort who was only just pipped by our BDH runner Redvers last time out and he also has winning form on soft ground. His mark of 99 looks workable and he is one I want on my side.

OUR JONATHON won this race 2 years ago, is fantastically well handicapped (10lbs below last winning mark & 19lbs below his peak rating) and will love the ground. He missed the break last week in the Portland at Doncaster but still ran well enough in defeat without managing to get overly involved. There is plenty in his favour here and his odds are too tempting to ignore.

Summary of runners…

2.40 Ayr

THUNDERBALL – Bet Each-Way

YEEOOW – Bet Each-Way

3.30 Newbury

STEPS – Bet Each-Way

3.50 Ayr

JACK DEXTER – Bet Each-Way

DUKE OF FIRENZE – No Bet

Additional selections…

Each-Way on GABRIEL’S LAD & OUR JONATHON – 3.50 Ayr

These cavalry charge sprints are always tricky to nail (bloody tricky!) but I feel we go in with solid chances of collecting at least some each-way spoils, hopefully much much more.

Best of luck if you are getting involved

Ben (BDH)

p.s. We are fast approaching October so if you are looking to join the full NTF service for the 2013/14 National Hunt season then make sure you join the FREE list so that you are eligible for the discounted sign-up offer…

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Even if you are not looking to join the full service there are still plenty of FREE racing guides and betting systems for you to download, with more to follow as we reach the National Hunt season proper.

BDH Friday Qualifiers: Last chance saloon for WW & Taw?

Are 2 of our squad drinking in the last chance saloon today?

Two of our BDH squad take to the rain softened turf today with WAKING WARRIOR running up at Ayr and TAWHID running down at Newbury. Both horses potentially running in the last chance saloon as far as being fully paid up members of our BDH offensive line.

Before I give you my take on their chances here are my thoughts on our Wednesday runner MISSION APPROVED… ‘agggghhhhh not another bloody photo finish 2nd?!?!?’

Only kidding (kinda!!), here are my real thoughts…

MISSION APPROVED 8.45 Kempton (AW)

Whether it was Richard Kingscote stealing the race with an early move or it was in fact James Doyle ‘losing’ the race by getting his mount going too late is irrelevant now, the facts are the line came a yard or 2 too soon for our lad and we ending up going down by an ever diminishing head. It can be a game of fractions this racing malarkey and we just came out on the wrong side of it. There was nothing in this run to suggest we should take him off our list and for now he remains as part of the team. Hopefully we will see him back on turf next time out…

Now to tackle today’s runners…

BDH Runner: WAKING WARRIOR 2.20 Ayr

I’m possibly being a bit harsh on saying this is the last chance saloon for this guy. In fairness he hasn’t had the best of the draws on his last 2 runs, however, I don’t want to give him too many more chances as his flat record does give me a wee bit of concern (0 from 25). I am happy to wade in with him today though as there is plenty of juice in his price to warrant our involvement.

He actually ran a decent 5th in this contest last season off the same mark on heavy ground so we can be fairly confident the track and underfoot conditions will be fine for him.

From a pace angle he should be OK, there are pace horse close enough to him to give him a good tow into the contest. To be honest there is pace from a few sources right across the track so baring something unusual happening with the grouping splits he should have as good a chance as any. The one worry would be a large group far side (low numbers) and a small group near side (high numbers) and our boy stuck in the near side. In the big sprint on Thursday at the track they split into 3 groups and that situation here would be perfect for our lad.

In a race of this size and with the odds available on our BDH warrior I’m happy to pitch in with an each-way punt.

BDH Runner: TAWHID 4.50 Newbury

Soft ground; now we are talking! This is the real ground we have been waiting for. He has run 3 times for us since he was added to the squad, for the first & second of those runs he was a ‘no-bet’ as the ground was officially described as good. He ran well enough on both those runs without winning but from a punting angle it wasn’t for us anyway. Last time out (3rd run for us) he had Good to Soft ground, which was closer to what we are after, but it is safe to say that he was given an…um…interesting ride. Whether that was pilot error or riding to instruction isn’t clear but whatever it was it clearly didn’t play out well. Today we have Soft underfoot conditions; game on!

The Soft/Heavy ground form of Tawhid reads 113 (3rd in a Group 2) and Silvestre De Sousa back in the plate is a huge bonus (the pairing have a 1432 record together). Here he steps back down out of Group company for this first time since his maiden victory last October and the 3yo weight allowance he receives here sways things very much in his favour.

This is a golden opportunity for him and I’ll be backing him for the win. If he doesn’t convert then his place on the BDH squad is very much in jeopardy…

Ayr Gold & Silver Cups… 

At the minute we are double handed on the BDH front in both these contests, fingers crossed all line up on the day. Make sure you check back in either tonight or Saturday morning to see my full thoughts on these squad members. Needless to say the Ayr Gold Cup is very much a race I want us to nail…

Ben (BDH)

BDH Weekend Review: My boot scootin’ baby is drivin’ me crazy…

Not sure what is worse. This Steps photo or the Steps photo (finish) from Saturday!!

We had 3 BDH runners at Doncaster last week and all 3 placed. With a bit more luck it could have been even better but we can’t complain…well maybe a bit about STEPS!! I mean come on! The least we deserved was a dead-heat!! Even trainer Roger Varian demanded to see the print!

Anyway there is nothing we can do about that agonizing 2nd placed finish so here are my proper thoughts (as opposed to my “what the f@*k happened there” thoughts!) on our Saturday BDH runner…

STEPS – 2.40 Doncaster

At the end of the day I said there was enough juice in his price (at time of writing) to get on each-way and he duly delivered that part of the bargain. That was his 3rd 2nd placed finish in a row but to be fair to him I don’t think he is un-genuine or quirky or a dodge-pot, far from it in fact, when you get beat by a pixel in a 22 runner-handicap it’s just the roll of the dice going against you.

He once again fired in a career best on the figures (by 5lbs) and we have to expect another rise in the weights for him. At the moment I’m not going to drop him from our squad, there is every reason to think he is still improving, however, I wait with bated breath to see exactly what punishment Mr Handicapper deals out to him. There are no immediate entries for him so we can let the dust settle on this result and see what comes out in the wash.

New Squad Member(s)…

There are none! I had a look at last weeks action but to be honest nothing stood out at me. I again half thought about adding MONSIEUR CHEVALIER to the team after his run in the Portland but in the end I kept him on the reserve squad.

Once the gates opened he essentially had no chance. For starters he missed the break and was instantly on the back foot and secondly he was caught on the wrong side. Five of the field stayed on the far side and the best finisher was Prodigality in 13th; they were too far away from the pace to make any impact. MONSIEUR CHEVALIER had to work his way onto the back of this small group but as the race developed he somehow found himself in no-mans land in the middle of the track and basically had nothing to aim at. He actually did wonders to finish only 8 lengths back in 15th  (2nd in his group) and it was noticeable that his jockey considerably eased off in the final furlong.

He is a horse I will keep an eye on and may back, without him officially being in the BDH attack squad.

We have the Ayr Gold Cup festival at the end of this week and there is a chance we go into the big race itself mob-handed, there are a few BDH runners entered and, interestingly, a few of our previous squad members who have already done their work for us.

Hopefully we have runners in the Bronze, Silver AND Gold Cup so that we don’t have all our BDH eggs in one basket!

NTF National Hunt Service… 

As most of you will be aware I will be opening the doors to my full NTF subscription service next month. I will be implementing some of the BDH methods into the NTF service this season, the NTF Handicap Sleepers is a new addition I’m particularly excited about.

Most of you reading this will already be on my free list but if you are not and you are looking to join my NTF subscription service I would advise you to join the FREE list sooner rather than later. This is the ONLY place you can get a discount to the NTF subscription service for the 2013/14 National Hunt season. (You also get a bundle of FREE guides when you join the FREE list, with more in the pipeline soon to be released).

Join the NTF/BDH FREE list today >>> NTF FREE list – Discounts and Free Guides available

Ben (BDH)

 

Ladbrokes St Leger: Dosage & Trends Analysis

The final domestic Classic rumbles into action today at Town Moor on day 4 of the 2013 St Leger Festival with the lung bursting St Leger taking centre stage at 3.50.

I have a full Dosage & Trends guide available for you later on in the Blog for the big one but first I’ll give you my thoughts on yesterday’s BDH runner as well looking at today’s BDH qualifier and some Portland Handicap analysis.

Let’s start with yesterdays BDH runners…

YEEOOW – 4.25 Doncaster

Finished 3rd, each-way money secured, handled the ground, I’m happy. The field split into 2 groups which didn’t really help our lad but he gave plenty of indications that he is still improving and he very much stays on the list after this run.

I’m hopeful he can land something for us before the season is out.

Now onto today’s action…

BDH Runner: STEPS 2.40 Doncaster – Portland Handicap

Ahh Steps…Steps…Steps. He probably should have won last time out and he again finds himself climbing the weights without winning. He is now 11lbs higher than his highest ever winning mark and 17lbs higher than his last winning mark. It’s starting to concern me for sure.

I would also slightly prefer him over a bare 5f rather this 5 & 1/2f.

On the plus side he has ground with cut in it which is a huge positive and he has winning form at Doncaster.

His hold up style of running should also be a bonus in a race that looks to hold plenty of pace up front.

He has fired in 2 career best’s on the figures on his last 2 starts so there is reason to believe he can overcome this mark.

Despite a couple of small reservations I’m happy to pitch in with him here today. The Varian yard are in bouncing form and with enough juice in the price to get on each-way I’m happy to have our BDH warrior STEPS on our side.

As is usual the case in race of this stature I’m also looking for another runner to carry my money. Let’s start by looking at the pace chart to see how the race is likely to shape up…

Portland 2013

To be honest the pace map doesn’t give us a great deal of help. The signs are that there is pace from all over the track so from this angle I can see no clear advantage to top, middle or bottom.

I would expect the field to split into at least 2 groups, with each group having solid front-runners at the head of affairs.

My next stop would usually be a quick delve into the trends but personally I don’t think this is a great race for that approach. I could fire up some trends without any problem but from past experience it wouldn’t be the strongest from the trends angle.

Instead I’ve had a look at the field from a handicapping perspective and picked out a clutch of runners that I have marked up as ‘well-in’ on old form, whether that is old handicap form or indeed old graded form.

That gave me the following shortlist…

MONSIEUR CHEVALIER

OUR JONATHAN

ANGELS WILL FALL

ANGELS WILL FALL has never struck me as one to enjoy a large field and she has been really struggling of late so she gets punted from that list fairly readily.

The other 2 are much more interesting to me…

OUR JONATHAN finds himself slipping to a very handy mark indeed. 2 years ago he won the Ayr Gold Cup quite comfortably off a mark of 105, today he runs off  97. We know he handles ground with cut in it, we know he handles large fields and we know he is classy on his day. He has also run some decent races at Donny without actually winning so his 0 from 6 track figures are a lot better than they first seem. At the odds available he is worthy of consideration.

MONSIEUR CHEVALIER is one that is very much of interest to me. I’ll let you into a little secret; he almost made the BDH squad after his last start. That was last weekend at Ascot behind our boy Redvers in what was only his 3rd ever handicap start. That race was over 7f and he made a serious move to hit the front around 2f out, however, as soon as he got there he smashed into his stamina wall and back-peddled rapidly.

It’s easy to forget he was once rated as high as 116 after a close 2nd in the 2011 Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot. This year he has been tried over 8f (x3) & 7f (x4) and only once over 6f. Admittedly he did run a sound race in 5th over 7f at Glorious Goodwood in the Lennox Stakes but apart from that every sinew of him looks like it has been crying out for a return to 6f, if not 5f.

I’m not put off by the fact he only ran 7 days ago as his form figures when returning within a week read -12- and his form figures when returning within 2 weeks read -121115050- he clearly has no problem with a quick return.

We know he has the speed for this trip, we know he handles the ground and with jockey Natasha Easton taking off 5lbs we can be pretty confident the mark of 91 (taking the claim into account) makes him an interesting proposition.

I’ll take STEPS (BDH Qualifier) and MONSIEUR CHEVALIER (BDH almost squad member) as my 2 bets in this valuable sprint and I’ll ponder over whether to include OUR JONATHAN in calculations as well.

Ladbrokes St Leger full Dosage & Trends Analysis

We move from the sprinting division to the staying division with one fell swoop and put the St Leger under the full ‘Trosage’ microscope.

It doesn’t look the strongest St Leger in recent memory but someone has to win it and with it generally proving to be a strong race for both Dosage and Trends it was a no-brainer to give it a full and thorough seeing to.

The full analysis guide can be downloaded from the following link…

>>>Full BDH St Leger Analysis Guide

As always you don’t have to side with my selections, there is plenty of analysis in the guide that you can utilize for your own thoughts and workings.

Best of luck if you are getting involved today.

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Ben (BDH)