Monthly Archives: October 2015

Charlie Hall Chase Preview

Charlie Hall Chase Preview

This Saturday is the day when it feels like the jumps season is back properly, and some of the biggest stars of the sport will be making their seasonal reappearances at Down Royal and Wetherby. We will be concentrating on the Charlie Hall Chase at the latter venue, and it looks to be a very open race with a number of the contenders holding viable chances.

Last year’s winner Menorah is back to defend his crown but he won’t have it easy with a host of talented horses in opposition. Favourites have a pretty poor record with only three obliging since 2005, though the biggest price in that period was Menorah last year at 8/1, which suggests it pays to concentrate on the horses near the head of the market.


This 167 rated 8yo son of Cloudings needs no introduction after a heroic victory off a big weight in the Grand National at Aintree back in April. It was a fantastic performance, and his jumping on the day was a joy to behold. He won four of his five starts last year, including the Hennessey, and his only defeat came at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup, where he finished a respectable sixth.

He won on his reappearance last year en route to the Hennessey, so his ability to run well fresh is not in question. The big worry has to be the fact that he has to concede weight to some very useful rivals, and Menorah last year was the first horse since Our Vic back in 2006 to carry 11-10 to victory. Another worry would be whether his monumental effort in the Grand National has left it’s mark. He is currently priced up at 6/1 and he could well come out and win. However there are too many doubts for my liking, and at his likely price he is best watched.


This 167 rated 10yo son of classy sire King’s Theatre is back to defend the crown he won last year. It was a magnificent effort by Menorah that day, and it was his second time to win on his seasonal reappearance. However, he has unseated, been pulled up and run poorly on his other comeback runs, so it is difficult to predict which Menorah will show up on the day.

Consistency hasn’t been a strong suit for Menorah in recent times, but there is reason to believe Hobbs will have him spot on for today’s race. He isn’t getting any younger, (Menorah not Mr. Hobbs!) and it seems that Grade 1 level is beyond him these days (no win at that level since 2012). This Grade 2 prize is an obvious target. The ground is ideal, his yard has been amongst the winners, and he has won his only previous start over course and distance. At his current odds of 13/2 he is perhaps a bit skinny, given his consistency issues, but if he drifts to 8/1 or bigger he is worthy of a little each way support.


This 160 rated 8yo son of Okawango has often threatened at this level but he has yet to deliver over fences, and his biggest wins have come in Listed and Grade 3 handicaps. His performance at Cheltenham last season when giving The Druids Nephew 6lbs and a beating was a super run, and he also ran a cracker behind Road To Riches at Leopardstown. However, he was pulled up on his final two runs, and he has a tendency to throw in the odd stinker.

He has run well first time back on a number of occasions during his career, and the decent ground will be no bother to him. However, a lot of Paul Nicholls’ horses have been needing their first run back, so that is a bit of a worry. This looks a winnable race though, and if Sam Winner is ever going to score at this level today could be the day. He has an excellent jockey on board in young Bowen, and at odds of 14/1 he is capable if on a going day.


162 rated 8yo son of Gold Well and he ran some cracking races in defeat last year at Grade 1 level. Was a good 4th in the Gold Cup behind Coneygree and again ran well in 3rd behind Silvinaco Conti at Aintree on his final run. He deserves his place in this field, and he gets a handy 4lbs from Many Clouds, Menorah and Sam Winner. His best piece of form was at Aintree back in 2014 when he beat Don Cossack by 10L in the Grade 1 Mildmay Chase.

That brings him right into the picture on the figures, but the worry has to be that it has usually taken him a couple of runs to reach peak fitness. His form figures on his comeback runs are 332, including in 2013 when he was well beaten by Many Clouds off level weights over 20f. A repeat of his Aintree efforts would put him right in the picture here, and a decent surface suits. 6/1 looks a fair price and he has definite each way claims.


9yo 163 rated son of Shantou who is a very talented horse on his day. He has a propensity to mix the sublime with the ridiculous though, and is always a risky proposition. I remember getting word for him the day he made his English debut in a handicap off 123 and he made an absolute mockery of that mark. Had his best day yet at Cheltenham in 2014 when romping home in the Byrne Plate, and pushed Silvinaco Conti all the way in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree in April.

He won a Grade 2 at Auteil back in May, so he is a proven winner at this level. His very best runs have come when fresh, so his lay-off is not a worry, and could in fact be seen as a positive. He only carries 11st so he is getting 10lbs from the top three and 6lbs from Holywell. 6/1 looks a big price considering his record when fresh and he is a serious contender.


9yo son of King’s Theatre that is now rated 160 over fences having been rated as high as 172 at his peak. He hasn’t won a race since winning at Haydock back in 2013, though he has been highly tried with all but one of his runs since coming at the highest level.

He struggled to land a blow in some hot contests last season, and the jury is still out on whether he has the stamina for a truly run 3m+ race. He sometimes finds it hard to settle early on and that can cost him in the closing stages. He hasn’t turned into the horse that many people expected him to, and unless the break has worked miracles it is hard to see him coming out on top here, even in receipt of weight from his rivals. Looks too skinny for me at 7/2 and best watched.


Another enigmatic chaser from the David Pipe yard, and he had a pipe opener in France three weeks ago over an inadequate 19.5f trip. That was his first run back since getting to within 2L of Many Clouds at Cheltenham back in January, and he is a massive 10lbs better off with that rival here. He missed all the festivals last year with a hind leg injury, and this race will show if he still retains the same ability he had before his injury setback.

That run in France wasn’t devoid of promise, and he stayed on quite nicely in the closing stages, albeit well behind the winner. He should come on leaps and bounds for that run, and this 166 rated 9yo son of Martaline is the best treated horse in the race at the weights. If he is as good as he was before his injury he should be going close here at odds of 4/1.


As the prices would suggest this is as open a Charlie Hall as there has been for many years. Not one of the field can be ruled out with maximum confidence, and a solid case can be made for all. Dynaste is the best treated horse in the race, and a repeat of his run behind Many Clouds earlier this year would put him right in the picture. Menorah won’t give up his crown without a fight, and if Holywell is fit he is a threat to all.

However, the one I like is Ballynagour, who is an absolutely brilliant horse on his day. He is getting weight from his rivals, he is best when fresh, and at odds of 6/1 he represents a bit of value too. He is the selection for what should be an exciting renewal of the Charlie Hall Chase.



Best Premier League bets – Week 11

Best Premier League bets – Week 11

Premier League expert Jamie takes a look at the best Premier League bets for the upcoming weekend.


Manchester City vs Norwich Manchester City -1 @ 8/13

Manchester City, currently top of the Premier League, have started the campaign solidly. The blues ran riot at home against Bournemouth and Newcastle, thrashing them both 5-1 and 6-1. I can see them winning by at least a couple this weekend as Norwich will go into the game following back-to-back defeats at home to West Brom, losing 1-0, and being battered at Newcastle 6-2. The results themselves emphasise their defensive vulnerabilities as they are the only team in the Premiership yet to keep a clean sheet. If Man City score early on, the floodgates could open and it could be a long afternoon for the Canaries.

West Brom vs LeicesterLeicester @ 29/20

Leicester have started the season off in excellent form, sitting 5th in the Premier League. Claudio Ranieri has really brought the spark to The Foxes, and Englishman Jamie Vardy has been clinical in-front of goal, netting 10 already, making him the league’s top goalscorer. On their previous outing at the Hawthorns, The Blues collected all 3 points after winning 3-2 in April. The Baggies have also started well under Pulis, sitting 10th, however, Leicester are a very good price and have managed to score in every game so far this season.

Southampton vs BournemouthSouthampton @ 6/10

Bournemouth will be without both Max Gradel and Callum Wilson for this outing as they are ruled out for quite a while, and unfortunately for the Cherries I can’t see them snatching any points against a solid Southampton side, after coming off a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. Sadio Mane will be available for the trip as he will serve his one-match suspension, which he picked up at Anfield, mid-week against Liverpool in the Capital one Cup. I can see the Saints picking up a victory in this bout as he and Graziano Pelle have really ticked for Southampton again this season and they will both prove to be very difficult to defend against for the Bournemouth back-line.

Newcastle vs StokeBTTS @ 4/5

Both teams will go into this game bitterly disappointed after a defeat at the weekend and will be desperate to pick up points at the weekend. The Magpies have a decent attacking force with the likes of Perez, Mitrovic and Wijnaldum but definitely have their vulnerabilities in defence. Stoke, on the other hand can also be good going forward with the likes of Shaqiri and Bojan but are slightly more resolute in defence, albeit the recent 2-0 defeat against Watford, the Potters kept consecutive clean sheets at Aston Villa and Swansea. The last 3 contests between the sides at St James’ Park have ended with both teams scoring in the match and I can see the same happening again this weekend as they will both be pushing for the win, leaving the game wide-open with bags of space for the attackers to exploit.

Watford vs West Ham – West Ham or Draw @ 11/20

The Hammers have been absolutely incredible on their outings this season, managing to convincingly beat Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Crystal Palace, whilst also picking up a draw at Sunderland. West Ham or draw seems a safe bet as they are currently unbeaten in away games and sit 3rd in the table. Watford have only beaten Swansea at home this season but will be brimming with confidence following their excellent 2-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium. The quality of Dimitri Payet may be too much to handle for Watford but if they do manage to nullify his attacking prowess I can still see West Ham managing to pick up at least a point.

Holy Grail 2015-16 – First Quarter Review

Holy Grail 2015-16 – First Quarter Review


Country Bets Placed Won Lost Staked Profit (pre comm.) ROI (pre comm.) Profit (post comm.) ROI (post comm.)
England 252 89 163 £49,209.94 £6,699.71 13.61% £5,281.96 10.73%
France 17 3 14 £2,153.68 £-574.10 -26.66% £-612.47 -28.44%
Germany 40 13 27 £6,479.00 £2,479.74 38.27% £2,227.95 34.39%
Scotland 7 4 3 £1,126.00 £2,209.26 196.20% £2,167.90 192.53%
Spain 10 3 7 £1,795.54 £1,303.46 72.59% £1,220.05 67.95%
TOTAL 326 112 214 £60,764.16 £12,118.07 19.94% £10,285.39 16.93%


Well, as we’re already a quarter of the way through the 2015-16 season it’s time for an update on the HG system’s performance to date. As is traditional it’s been a roller-coaster ride so far. We started off by investing £20,000 into the system at the start of the season and had a very poor start indeed, dipping to just £15,200 at its lowest point on 21st August. At this point a few subscribers rightly asked the question ‘How does the HG usually perform at the beginning of the season?’ As it happens, the system historically performs better at the beginning of the season than at any other time, so it came as a big surprise to see the start it had made – the worst on record, over 12 (mostly simulated) seasons.

One of the lessons we learned last season with the HG system is ‘patience is a virtue’, and that maxim, so early into the season, was proved to be true once again. From the end of August to today, 7th October, the returns have shown a drastic improvement and is already back in the black, recouping all of those early-season losses. As things stand, a quarter of the way through the season, the overall balance (including additional £5,00 investment) now stands at an impressive £32,744.94 after commission (16.93% ROI). Hopefully the turnaround in fortunes will continue into the next quarter. We’re confident, so much so that as mentioned we have added a further £5,000 into the pot!

The table at the top of this article has some even more impressive figures than we’ve actually achieved and we need to look into why this is. It could be that we are recording prices earlier than when we go to bet or that we’re not getting the full stake matched at the prices we are recording against. Either way, it’s good news in many respects as profits may be able to be improved further especially if you are placing these manually with bookies.

Bet365 are by far the best bookmaker to use if you are looking for a Betfair alternative. At least until Pinnacle Sports returns to the UK market anyway. Not only are they always up there with the best prices but you can navigate through the markets very quickly which is important when placing a high volume of bets on a busy weekend.

As you might expect, the HG system doesn’t stand still. Instead, we invest many hours over the course of the season developing, evolving and expanding its capabilities. That has been true this season too and we’re pleased to say we’ve made a number of alterations to its configuration since August itself to improve results and expand its capabilities still further. In fact, we believe a small part (though by no means all) of the upturn seen this season has come about due to an improvement in how we collect odds prior to an upcoming game. As always, all changes to the system, no matter how large or small, are carefully re-testing / re-simulated in full.

We are currently trialing the placement of Asian Handicap odds – although we’ve only been doing this a couple of weeks initial results are positive (8.05% ROI after 57 bets). We hope these by utilizing this market we can smooth out results somewhat and turnover more money. Not only that, we are now trialing betting on HG away tips for the top Spanish, French, Scottish and German leagues – simulations show an impressive average of 24% ROI for such bets for these leagues, over time. We are in profit on those bets too though we’re only a couple of weeks in. More to follow on these developments.

For those who are subscribed to the Holy Grail system this season I hope you’ve enjoyed the season so far and have stuck with it through the rocky start to benefit from the profits available. If you’re not yet signed-up it’s not too late to get involved – subscribers are able to pay a monthly fee to receive Holy Grail tips as described on the following link:

Holy Grail Betfair Profit/Loss


Following Tipsters

Following Tipsters

It has been pointed out to me on many occasions by friends and girlfriends (OK – EX-girlfriends) that not everybody shares my love of statistical analysis. If you are one of those strange people who don’t find numerical scrutiny endlessly fascinating then I promise that I will try to limit the amount of times when I pepper these articles with pounds, points and percentages. That said, here is some statistical analysis of Betting Tools Tipsters. You’re welcome.

There are those who will tell you that following tipsters is never a good idea, but merely looking at the results of the top seven in the Betting Tools all-time horse racing list shows that by blindly backing every tip they had come up with between them in 2015 (assuming you could get the price advised which is, I accept, extremely difficult) you would have been up by £8860 to the end of September, at an average of £984 per month, based on £10 level stakes. March alone would have seen you make over £2500 profit and your worst month would have still garnered in excess of £200.

This is a fabulous performance over a sustained period and if you had seen these results for the first time on 1 October you could be forgiven for thinking that you wanted a piece of that. However, if you had bet on every tip given by the same tipsters since then things would not have been so rosy.

By 18 October there had been 41 Betting Tools tipsters in action during the month and the six out of the top seven who had been active were lying 41st, 39th, 34th, 9th, 29th and 37th respectively in the monthly league table. Five of the six were showing losses and backing all tips submitted in the first 18 days of the month would have lost you £915. Now for this to happen to virtually all the top tipsters at the same time is quite extraordinary and you may think that it would be unlikely to continue in the long run. You may well be right, but (and this is where following tipsters differs markedly from following systems) in the short-term you need to be aware of the ‘Human Factor’. It is perfectly possible that one or more of them will suffer a mild degree of panic at their bad run and this could change the way they choose their selections. They might start looking at shorter-priced horses than those with which they have been making their profits, or maybe start to back each-way when win bets have been their previous route to success. This potential change to selection criteria needs to be taken into account when deciding whether to persist with following any given individual.

Take the case of regular Betting Tools tipster Tracy2014 as an example of how hard it can be to make a judgement on such matters. Backing all her selections for 2015 to the end of July would have shown an impressive profit of £1232. However, starting to follow her at this point would have seen you lose nearly £500 over the next two months. Okay you might think, I will give her a few days of October to turn this around or I will drop her. One week into October, and a further £254 worth of losses later, you may well have decided she had been losing for too long and it was time to stop. You would have then missed out on the £656 worth of profits she achieved in the following ten days which saw her leap to the top of the October league table. This would probably have infuriated you and you might well have reasoned that you needed to start following her again as she had finally hit form. £191 worth of further losses over the next eight days and you may now be reaching for the Valium.

A mere cursory glance at Tracy’s page however will show you that her total profit of £577 has come entirely from tips at odds of over 16. She has made £1570 profit in that higher odds area and losses of almost £1000 spread fairly evenly everywhere else. Clearly she specialises in long shots. Even her own one line self-description states that she likes to “…come up with a few big priced winners.” If you chose to follow Tracy’s higher odds selections only from day one then you would be nicely ahead but clearly this strategy will have long and painful losing runs and missing a couple of winners in close succession will hurt.

Whether you choose to follow Tracy, or any of the other tipsters who are particularly successful at longer odds, will be down to your own attitude to risk and the length of losing run you can sustain with your betting bank. I admit that my own preference is for lower risk and potentially lower rewards. I would rather see a regular ROI of 5-10% on a large number of bets with shorter losing streaks than a 15% yield on long shots with potentially nerve-shredding losing sequences.

There are some great tipsters on this site – the long term profitability of many of them is there for all to see. Indeed it is reassuring to note that the top seven mentioned earlier have managed to reduce their losses from £915 to £641 over the last week. I would certainly never put anyone off following tipsters with proven success over reasonable periods, but I would recommend taking time to discover who you are following, what their areas of expertise are and adapting your bets accordingly. Check carefully the areas in which they tend to specialise before steaming in to back their tips blindly. Just as Tracy seems great at tipping long shots and ropey at fancied runners so Templegate appears to be the exact opposite. Every tipster on Betting Tools has their results broken down by odds ranges and these alone could save you money. Remember this – making profits from betting is as much about avoiding losing strategies as finding winning ones.


Paul Dixon is a lifelong sports fan and author of the book Fun and Games in Fife and Gretna– a humorous look at an Englishman’s journey into Scottish football. He has been making regular profits from betting since 2012.

A Bettor Way Of Life – Introduction

A Bettor Way Of Life – Introduction

It was Albert Einstein who said that insanity could be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. But that is precisely how the mind of a sports bettor needs to work. Systems which have produced profits for year after year can suddenly start producing losses. Tipsters who have been profitable to follow over a sustained period can hit a spell where they couldn’t pick a winner of a two-horse race where one of the participants has its legs tied together. Is it a sign that things have changed and the system or tipster will no longer make a profit, or is it a temporary blip which will turn around in the near future? Perhaps the most important skill that any serious bettor can have is the ability to know when to quit when you’re behind.

You may have devised systems which have been profitable based on the results of horses trained by either Luca Cumani or Roger Varian over recent years, but recent news that Sheikh Mohammed Obaid al-Maktoum has decided to move 35 horses from Cumani’s stable to that of Varian is bound to have an impact on both trainers’ future results. If a racecourse moves a rail, alters stalls positions slightly, or changes watering policy then these small differences can have a major impact on whether laying a favourite with a low draw at Ripon makes a profit or loss moving forward.

You may be disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that there is no clear cut rule for deciding whether a change in fortune is long or short-term. Whether you are therefore smart or stupid for sticking with, or terminating, a system is down to how your future bank balance is affected. If the chairman of a football club stands by his manager in bad times and things turn around he will be praised for showing sound judgement rather than a knee-jerk reaction. If the bad run continues and the club are relegated he will be castigated for not acting swiftly and bringing in a new man to freshen things up.

I have recently been experiencing by far the worst run I have had since I started betting seriously over three years ago. When things go wrong everything seems to conspire against you. After this weekend I have now come out on the wrong side of ten of the last twelve photo-finishes in which I have had an interest. I backed Simple Verse each way in the St Leger, but I did so via the Betfair Exchanges, as they were still paying three places despite the field being reduced to seven. She finished first, she is officially the winner in the record books, but, as Betfair rules pay out based upon the stewards decision, I lost the 9/1 win part of the bet and there’s nothing I can do about it. I signed up on this very site for the Holy Grail football service on Tuesday, but was not around to place the three bets recommended on day one – they all won. I did back the one Wednesday selection (Guiseley to win at Wrexham at 8.6) only for Wrexham to hit a 93rd minute equaliser in a 3-3 draw. Luck, at the moment, is not my friend. This bad run has caused me to re-appraise much of what I do. Sporting results are fluid and it essential that you are prepared to adapt.

Earlier this year I took a punt and purchased a system. I tend not to do this very often as I dislike parting with cash too readily, but this system has won awards on various testing sites and has seemingly been making consistent profits for several years. When the details arrived I was slightly nervous as it began by mentioning staking plans. My usual rule is that if a system is not profitable at level stakes then it is best avoided but, given the high praise and lengthy winning run this system has enjoyed, I decided to run with it.

Without giving details away the system involves laying selected odds-on horses using a Fibonacci staking plan. It started well enough but I then hit a run where I missed betting on horses which lost and seemed to catch all the ones which won. Sure enough I soon caught a nine winner sequence which meant a total of 88 points had been staked on those selections and some 74 points of my bank had disappeared. Nevertheless I continued and since then have been making small profits. However, I have my own similar system involving odds-on place laying which I decided to adapt to fit the staking plan. This was going ok until the last few weeks when I experienced six successful lays in a row (and nine in twelve) followed by a run of eight losses building me up to the dreaded 34-point lay again.

It was at this point that I realised how tense it was making me feel. How I had cursed and yelled as the eighth consecutive losing lay came home and how stressed I felt that in the middle of a bad run elsewhere I was now looking at having to lay an odds-on chance with a 34-point stake and how gutted I would feel if the horse won. This is no way to carry on. You must be able to remain calm in the face of adversity if you want to be a successful bettor and this staking plan is clearly not helping me to achieve this. Plus any run of results where I can achieve nine winning lays from twenty odds-on runners and still see me looking down the barrel is clearly bonkers anyway. The horses don’t know where they fit in my sequence. The fact that after my earlier nine-runner losing sequence the tenth one came nowhere had only frustrated me further as had its race been earlier in the day than the ninth loser I would have come out smelling of roses.

I do not need the anxiety. I do not know what happened to the next runner in the sequence for I stopped looking. Clearly there are bound to be occasions when the ninth in the sequence goes my way – that is a mathematical certainty. But it is also a certainty that there will be nine losing lays in a row again too. I can do without the way that makes me feel as the sequence builds up. I have jettisoned both systems, written off the losses incurred and the initial purchase cost. I realise that I may be turning my back on potential regular small profits in the future, but, do you know what? I feel much better for it.



Paul Dixon is a lifelong sports fan and author of the book Fun and Games in Fife and Gretna– a humorous look at an Englishman’s journey into Scottish football. He has been making regular profits from betting since 2012.

Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Preview

Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Preview

2.30 Ascot Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
(British Champions Mile) (Group 1)
(CLASS 1) (3yo+) (1 Mile)

Champions day at Ascot this Saturday and the fare on offer will be of the highest class throughout the day. The race we are going to have a look at is the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile, and hopefully we will finally get to see crack miler Gleneagles return to action to take on French superstar Solow. There is a decent supporting cast too, and it should be a fantastic race.

Aidan O’Brien has landed this prize on three occasions since 2005, while Solow trainer Freddie Head was victorious with Charm Spirit last year, which shows they both know what is required to come out on top in this contest. Four favs have gone in since 2005, three of which were trained by O’Brien. No winner has been priced bigger than 11/2 in that period. The ground is currently described as good to soft with no rain forecast.


Comes here after a couple of good efforts over today’s trip on easy ground behind Elm Park last time and the re-opposing Kodi Bear on his penultimate run. His only win at pattern level came in a listed heat at Doncaster back in 2013, and his last victory came in a handicap at the same track back in March off a mark of 100.

He has been placed at group level on a number of occasions, but he looks to be punching way above his weight in this contest. It is difficult to see how he can turn around the form with Kodi Bear, let alone trouble the likely market leaders. Deserves to be 100/1 and is best left alone on this occasion.


French raider who is unbeaten since finishing sixth over 15.5f back in May 2014. Has won all eight of his subsequent starts, and this gelding will be hard to beat if getting his favoured soft underfoot conditions. He has won four Group 1s in a row, and according to the bookies has Gleneagles to beat if he is to complete the five-timer.

Although his trainer has stated he wants soft ground to be seen at his best Solow has won all of his Group 1s on good ground. It is frightening to think there could be even more to come when he returns to his preferred easy ground. His last win came in the Sussex at Goodwood, but he had to work pretty hard to get the better of Arod, though in reality the result was never in doubt. His form in beating the likes of The Grey Gatsby, Gailo Chop and Esoterique is rock solid, and if the ground doesn’t dry out too much he has a favourite’s chance in this race and is priced accordingly at 11/10.


Has been an admirable servant to connections over the past couple of seasons, and after a bit of a blip at the start of this season he has found his stride again in recent months. The highlight came at York, when he just failed to land a group 2 by less than a length behind Tullius.

He also ran a cracker at the same level at Leopardstown behind Custom Cut, and his sole win this term came in a listed heat at York when he accounted for today’s rival Gabrial. However, while he should confirm the form with Gabrial he is unlikely to trouble the best of these. Should run his usual honest race but likely to come up short at odds off 66/1.


Made a welcome return to form last time out with a never nearer third behind Cable Bay in a group 2 at Newmarket last Friday. Dewhurst winner last year, beating today’s rival Kodi Bear by 2 lengths but hasn’t scaled the same heights since. His best run this year came in the Irish Guineas when he was less than 2 lengths behind Gleneagles.

That run came on easy ground though, and there is no doubt that Gleneagles’ turn of foot was blunted. It was still a good run, and a repeat of that would give him place prospects here. He needs more rain though, and if it doesn’t arrive it will impact on his chance massively. Best watched at 50/1 unless the heavens open before now and race time.


Group 1 scorer last year in the Racing Post Trophy, and after a couple of below par efforts this year (highly tried) he returned to form with a 2 length defeat of Gabrial in a listed heat last time. Unlike a few of these he is not totally ground dependent, and he has won on surfaces ranging from soft to good to firm.

His last win would have been a good confidence booster for him and after his poor efforts when stepped up in trip earlier in the season it seems connections have accepted that a mile is his optimum trip, at least for now. It will be interesting to see how he gets on back in a Group 1 over his ideal distance, and he could well sneak a place at odds of 16/1.


We have been waiting a while for Gleneagles to return to the track, as soft ground has scuppered previous plans to run. The way O’Brien has been so careful about placing this colt suggests he thinks an awful lot of him, and on the three occasions we have seen him this year he hasn’t disappointed.

Took the Guineas at Newmarket on his reappearance in scintillating fashion on good to firm ground, and showed a serious turn of foot in the process of winning by over 2 lengths. His next run at the Curragh in the Irish equivalent was more workmanlike, but that came on good to yielding ground, and probably explains why O’Brien was so reluctant to race him on a similar surface again.

Returned to quick ground he was back to his best at Royal Ascot, easily landing the St James’ Palace Stakes. That was his last run, 123 days ago, but if he does run O’Brien will have him fit. There is no way he will take part at anything less than 100% as it seems O’Brien is doing everything in his power to ensure he continues his winning run. Is priced up at 2/1 and if the rain stays away that represents serious value. Gets a handy 3lb from Solow and is the one to beat on good ground or better.


Failed in her bid to defend her crown in the fillies group 1 contest she won at Newmarket last year, going down by half a length to Esoterique. Ran in this race last year but could only manage sixth, although in fairness to her the heavy ground wouldn’t have suited.

Has been beaten by Esoterique twice in her career, and given that filly couldn’t beat Solow when they met it is unlikely that Integral will either. The drying ground will at least be in her favour, and she has won over course and distance before. Place prospects at the very best and can be backed at odds of 20/1.


This talented son of Kodiac has been brilliant for Clive Cox, and he has won at listed, group 3 and group 2 level this season. He has come up short on the two occasions he has run at Group 1 level, beaten by Belardo and Territories when he made the step up. He could well have improved since those efforts though and is definitely worth another go at this level.

Any ground will do, and his last two wins came on good at Salisbury (group 3) followed by a group 2 win on soft at Goodwood (beat Gabrial 3 lengths). Those two efforts were way above anything else he has produced, and he doesn’t need to find a huge amount on the figures to get involved. However, the suspicion remains that he wants easy ground to be seen at his very best, and at odds of 8/1 he is probably best watched, though a big run wouldn’t surprise.


Another French raider who chased Gleneagles home in the Guineas at Newmarket. Is a Group 1 winner already this season, beating Dutch Connection at Chantilly over a mile on good ground. His colours were lowered by Esoterique last time in another Group 1 at Deauville, but the ground was atrocious that day and this colt needs a decent surface to be seen at his best.

His trainer is one of the best in the business, and his jockey is a man that rises to the occasion on the biggest of days. Territories has been freshened up since that last effort, and will likely arrive at Ascot in tip top condition. Fabre will be delighted with the weather forecast, and he could well give the top two in the market something to think about. Has beaten Kodi Bear already this year (easily) yet is a bigger price. Definite claims at 10/1.


The bookies have essentially decided that this is a match between Solow and Gleneagles, though as can be seen from our preview that is far from the case. The drying ground could blunt Solow’s effectiveness, while it is likely to play to the strengths of Territories, and in particular GLENEAGLES.

He is a proper horse, and the way that O’Brien has handled him with kid gloves suggests he is keen to ensure he only races when he is guaranteed to show his very best. Hopefully the weather plays ball and we get to see this exciting miler in action again. If he runs he wins and the 2/1 won’t last too long either if the rain stays away.

From an each way perspective Elm Park and Kodi Bear appeal, though the 10/1 about Territories looks massive. Those three can fight it out for the places with Solow, who looks way too short to me at 11/10 (unless the ground turns soft)

3) ELM PARK 16/1
4) SOLOW 11/10

Dubai Dewhurst Stakes Preview

Dubai Dewhurst Stakes Preview

3.10 Newmarket
10th September 2015
Dubai Dewhurst Stakes
(Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) (Class 1) (2yo) 7F

The Dewhurst is a race that has been dominated by the Irish over the past decade. Since 2005 they have won it on seven occasions, and Jim Bolger leads the way with five victories. Aidan O’Brien has won it twice and they are both represented in this year’s renewal.

Five favourites have won since 2005, and four double figure priced horses have struck in that period, including the Jim Bolger trained Parish Hall at 20/1 in 2011. Roger Varian took it last year with Belardo at 10/1. Conditions are currently described as good to soft but the forecast is good so the ground will dry out. Good ground looks likely.


A typically hardy Mark Johnston 2yo who has had 6 starts already this season, winning just once, his second start in a maiden at Newbury (6f good to firm). He is a son of Invincible Spirit, and there is plenty of black type on the dam side of his pedigree. His half-brother was placed at group 3 level also.

He ran a cracker last time behind Sanus Per Aquam, just fading in the final strides over course and distance on good to soft, just half a length behind the winner in third. It was a good effort, but the winner took a while to get organised in the final furlong, and he should confirm the form with Adventurous. Could run a big race at 40/1 with Johnston’s string back in good form, but likely to just fall short of the win.


Extremely well bred Ballydoyle colt whose dam is out of a full sister to American Champion filly Flanders. The son of War Front has made a big impression in his four starts so far, winning three of them, including two group 1s at the Curragh on his last two runs. He avenged his only defeat to Buratino in both of those successes.

However, the form of those wins have been let down slightly since. Herald The Dawn, runner up to Air Force Blue last time, was well beaten next time at Longchamp, and though he did beat Buratino it could be argued that the ground wasn’t ideal for the Johnston horse on either occasion.

The bookies have him priced up at 13/8, and if they are to be believed he only has the Godolphin horse to beat. I won’t be steaming in at those sort of odds though, even if he obviously has a good chance. It will be interesting to see if he drifts before the off.


Arrived at this track in August for his debut over this trip and was obviously well fancied as he was sent off at odds of 6/4. He won in the manner of a decent animal, and he reinforced that impression with an authoritative win in a Group 2 over the same trip at Doncaster, when Appleby revealed that Buick described him as ‘the real thing’ after his debut effort.

He is a son of the top class Shamardal and is a half-brother to dual group 2 winner and 2yo group 3 winner Etched. His dam won a group 1 too, so his pedigree is not in question. He is bred to be a Group 1 horse, and with the flood of money that has arrived for him during the week he is obviously expected to live up to his breeding and follow in his dam’s footsteps. He is a best price of
just 5/4 and is likely to go off even shorter. It will be exciting to see what he is capable of.


Intriguing contender who is the choice of Paul Hanagan from two Al Maktoum entries. This son of Teofilo has had just the two starts, and went down by a head over today’s trip at Sandown on debut. The horse that beat him that day, Cymric, was just edged out in a group 1 at Longchamp last time. He made amends at Leicester after a bit of a break, and he won in the manner of a smart horse.

He is well bred too, as one would expect and his dam is a half-sister to a 2yo group 3 winner. His sire Teofilo has proven time and again he is capable of producing top class horses, and Massaat could well be another one to add to the list. Hanagan declared himself ‘very impressed’ and described him as ‘something to look forward to’ after his win at Leicester, and at odds of 16/1 he may well surprise a few with a big run.


Jim Bolger doesn’t send runners to this meeting just to soak up the atmosphere, and in Sanus Per Aquam he has a real contender for this group 1 prize. He won his first two races, both over 7f on good/good to firm ground. The second win was very impressive, slamming subsequent group 2 scorer Port Douglas by nearly five lengths in a conditions event at Leopardstown.

Last time over course and distance (good to soft) he bagged the group 3 Tattersall Stakes by a nose from Tasleet. He seemed to take a while to get organised in the final furlong though and in my opinion he was value for more than the winning margin of a nose.

He is out of a half sister to Dawn Approach, so there is no question about his pedigree. He looks an absolutely massive price at 20/1 and given Bolger’s excellent record here he should not be discounted. Could easily give the front two something to think about and looks well overpriced.


This son of Big Bad Bob looks to be connection’s second string on jockey bookings, and Hanagan deserts him having ridden him on all three starts thus far. He won two of those, his only defeat coming on debut behind Justice Law. He took a listed heat at Doncaster last time (7f good). That form was let down badly by the runner up who was well beaten by Sanus Per Aquam on his next run.

He is nicely bred, and his dam is out of a half -sister to Irish/French 2000 Guineas winner Bachir. However, the fact that Hanagan abandons him combined with the question marks over his form means he is probably out of his depth in this contest. It is strange to see him priced up shorter than Massaat at 14/1, and he doesn’t appeal at that price.


Looks pretty exposed already, but has been mostly consistent in his six runs to date. Ran well here over 6f behind Poet’s Prize, 3rd beaten a length. Won his first two and then went close in a group 3 at Goodwood (7f good to soft).

However, he looks to be punching above his weight here, and on all known form and figures he can’t win. It is racing though, and anything can happen, but his odds of 66/1 say it all about his chances. One for another day and best watched.


According to the bookies this is a straight match between Air Force Blue (13/8) and Emotionless (5/4). There seems to be a lot of confidence behind the Godolphin horse, and his price has shortened in recent days. They are both very short though, and there are a couple at bigger odds that could well be up to this sort of level.

Massaat is a fascinating contender for Hanagan and Hills, and his current odds of 16/1 look way too big. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see him run well. However, the odds of 20/1 about Sanus Per Aquam are huge given Bolger’s record in the race, and there looked like there was a lot more to come from this smart colt on his last run. If he progresses again he will be bang there at the
finish and he is the each way selection for the Dewhurst. Emotionless and Massaat complete the shortlist.

MASSAAT (16/1)