Race Preview, Wetherby, Friday October 30th
Welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, in particular to anyone dropping in for the first time. Saturday is going to be an absolute belter, and the intention is to post some previews for all of Down Royal, Wetherby and Ascot, but first things first – we’ve got a tip-top race on Friday. A dozen are declared for the Listed 2m3f handicap chase, the feature on day one of Wetherby’s Charlie Hall-meeting, and they include Betvictor Gold Cup-winner (and runner-up in this last year) Happy Diva, previous winner of this race Born Survivor, and promising second-season chaser Two For Gold. It’s a mouthwatering starter, prior to Saturday’s main course, so click or tap for the Race Preview.
23rd October 2020
Race Preview, Cheltenham, Saturday October 24th
Cheltenham, without the crowds and the noise. That’s where we are, seven months after the pandemic first took hold. At least we’ve got racing, as we get used to this new normal, the participants distancing and wearing masks. Here’s a preview of the two best handicaps on Saturday’s card – the Pertemps Qualifier at 3:15, and the handicap chase (3:50), in which Cogry runs for the fifth time and takes on several familiar names, not least 2019 Ryanair Chase-winner Frodon in what looks a cracking race. (I’ve got the whole season to practice not using samey cliches like that.)
16th October 2020
Welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. I’m doing no updates this weekend, but look out for Race Previews for next Saturday’s action (October 24th), when Cheltenham has its first behind-closed-doors Saturday of the new season. Look out on Sunday though, because – hot on the heels of Captain Drake‘s win in a handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter on Friday – the next Fifteen To Follow-runner, Lightly Squeeze, is in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las (3:10) – here’s the full 15 To Follow-list.
12th October 2020
So the most informative performance over the weekend was… Secret Investor? Grand Sancy? McFabulous? None of those. For me, with the ground at Chepstow drying out to near-enough good to firm, lots of non-runners, and some of the races melting down to burn-ups on the downhill home straight (it’s likely that some horses will have come back jarred up), the performance of the day on Saturday for me was actually Great White Shark in the Cesarewitch. Having won over 3m at the Galway Festival over hurdles, this was the first time he’s won ugly – up to this point he’d normally taken a good hold and raced freely, but for most of the last seven furlongs of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile he looked like winning nothing, off the bridle and struggling under a ride, until he picked up really well for pressure over the last three furlongs. He’s more interesting to me now when he goes back over hurdles, than he would have been if he hadn’t won the way he did on Saturday, now that he’s shown he can find extra when he’s shaken up.
More updates soon…
10th October 2020
Race Preview, Chepstow, Saturday October 10th
The amount of rain we’ve had recently, it’s hard to believe that the going at Chepstow is officially ‘good, good to soft in places’, but some of them were absolutely flying at the end of their races today, and the mudlarks are unlikely to get a look-in on Saturday. These previews are for the two feature handicap chases, both of which have last year’s winners lining up, Ballyoptic in what this year is the Native River Handicap Chase (2:47), and The Bay Birch in the 2m3f-event (4:32).
* The Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (3:57) is now added as of 23:40 on Friday night and this too has last year’s winner in it, Flash The Steel going for the follow-up.
7th October 2020
“The jumps is back!” So said the scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen on Sky Sports Racing yesterday, even though it’s been back since July. It was, of course, a reference to Chepstow’s traditional season-opener on Friday and Saturday of this week – I’ll be doing Race Previews for some of the best action on Saturday, as will every racing person on Twitter looking through recent tweets. Well all I can say is, if you’re surfing on Saturday morning, on your way through the minefield of material and (mis)information, make sure you drop by here, where you’ll find good Chepstow-related stuff.
Ahead of that there’s a belter of a staying handicap chase at Ludlow – big welcome back to the Shropshire track – at 3:20 today, and if I wasn’t back to working ‘proper’ hours I’d have been all over it – couple of hours’ study, spreadsheet prepared – but unfortunately I’m no longer finishing at 1pm. Unoriginally Templepark‘s the tip, but you might get a run from Sumkindofking at a bigger price, and maybe Relentless Dreamer, although the latter is one I’d like to see over an extreme trip and you’re unlikely to see him turn up on the scene until the fourth last fence. Good luck if you’re playing.
Race Preview, Fontwell, Saturday October 3rd
Mornings, lovely out there ain’t it? Even though the Class 2 handicap hurdle at Fontwell has fallen to pieces, four of the original dozen runners taken out, I’ve done a Race Preview for it. They’re likely to get more rain, so it’s touch and go whether it actually goes ahead or not, and they’re dropping out of the other races like flies too.
2nd October 2020
Race Preview, Gowran Park, Saturday October 3rd
Apparently there’s some big race or other in Paris this weekend, but it’s October now, and that means the start of the peak jumps season in Britain and Ireland, so here goes with a Race Preview for a couple of races from the best jumps meeting on Saturday October 3rd, which is at Gowran Park, and the feature is the PWC Champion Chase, for which a classy six-runner field will assemble. I was intending to put up a preview for the Class 2 race at Fontwell on Saturday, but with 40mm of rain forecast overnight – adding to the 28mm they apparently got prior to Friday – I’m holding fire on that till later on Saturday morning. It’s early enough in the season to be talking about meetings in trouble because of the weather, but that’s where Fontwell might be at.
22nd September 2020
Next Updates in October
Every now and again it’s a good idea to have a little break, and on the back of a recent diagnosis – only coeliac disease, nothing I can’t handle – and a change in working hours, meaning I’m going back to working ‘proper’ days, rather than early-start-and-finish – now, with the National Hunt season proper about to kick in, is one of those times. Going forward Race Previews are likely to be only for Saturdays, which is a bind, but the intention is they’ll be good, with hopefully a steer or two to some weekend winners.
There’s material live now though, and if you haven’t seen it yet, the Fifteen To Follow for the 2020/21 jumps season is now live – one of them’s already won, but I can’t really claim Marlborough Sound’s win last week as one for the list, as it was on the Flat at Kempton. Bodes well though, surely? Also the latest PLOG (Punter’s Blog) is worth a read.
19th September 2020
I think I should have been clearer when I did yesterday’s update (see below). What I should have said was ‘no updates for this weekend’ – because there certainly is an update – as in posted during the weekend, and it’s a Race Preview for Monday, September 21st, which is day two of the Listowel Harvest Festival. The feature race is a competitive renewal of the Lartigue Hurdle, a handicap restricted to four year-olds – click or tap here to read the preview.
18th September 2020
Welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. No updates this weekend, but I may well have a go at the best jumps action at Listowel next week, so watch this space. In case you missed it, the Fifteen To Follow for the 2020/21 jumps season is now live – click/tap here for the list. You can browse the site content via the linkbricks at the bottom right, or if you prefer use the site-search facility above.
15th September 2020
It’s the welcome return of racing at Kelso on Wednesday evening, albeit behind closed doors, and there’s a warm 12-runner Class 2 handicap hurdle which I’ve previewed. The improving Chapmanshype is top weight, but might find this tougher than the Fontwell race he won last time, opposition including Newtown Boy who won over fences at this meeting last season, and Skiddaw Valleys who arguably should have run closer last time out. Click or tap here to read the Race Preview.
11th September 2020
Greetings, hope you’re all staying safe, and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. Having struggled to feel enthusiastic about the jumps racing we’ve had in August and September up to now, the Class 2 2m2f handicap chase at Fontwell on Saturday 12th looks interesting – there may be only the seven runners, but five of them are rated 140 or more. Click or tap here for a Race Preview.
9th September 2020
Welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, and particularly welcome to anyone dropping in for the first time. As we approach the core period of the 2020/2021 National Hunt season – assuming we actually get it in the current climate – I’m pleased to roll out my Fifteen Horses To Follow For 2020/21 – a diverse range of hurdlers and chasers, all of whom look likely to win races this season. Click or tap here to get this season’s top 15.
1st September 2020
Happy September – nearly Autumn folks – and welcome to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. The latest new piece is live, and it’ll take you on a journey. We’re off to York, then Killarney, York again, Killarney again and Cartmel in ‘To Or From York Or Killarney‘, the latest PLOG (Punter’s Blog), which you can read now by clicking the links.
29th August 2020
Hello and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, in particular to anyone dropping in for the first time. Prior to a few notes about the feature race at Perth tomorrow (August 30th), I’m pleased to tell you that the latest round of edits to the Take On The Tracks page has been made. I’m not so pleased that it contains several references to the ongoing pandemic, but that’s where we are right now. Click or tap here to read the rwsteeplechasing guide to British National Hunt racecourses.
Sam Morshead Perth Gold Cup, 3:15 Perth, Sunday August 30th
The weights for this ITV3-televised three-mile handicap chase are headed by The Young Master, who concedes 11 lbs and more to the remainder; he hasn’t been dropped in the weights since running third to Minellacelebration in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter, making a lot of the running, but is likely to run well. That said he doesn’t make the shortlist – the winner is likely to be one of Imada, who looked like a horse going places when winning readily at Bangor on July 29th, leading on the bit two out and beating subsequent Market Rasen winner Potterman, although the handicapper was impressed too, putting him up a stone; course specialist Amalfi Doug, who’s down a bit in the handicap after running 3rd to the reopposing Boy’s On Tour on August 11th – off the bit halfway and shaping as though this trip is what he needs nowadays – and Fortunes Hiding, who bettered most of his form for previous connections on his first run for Lucinda Russell when winning over 2m4f at Perth on July 21st, and is proven over this trip.
25th August 2020
After a busy week, I’m glad to relax a bit and analyse the past week’s racing, in preparation for whatever I’m going to do next. Also upcoming over the next few weeks will be some updates on the site, with the core period of the 2020/21 National Hunt season fast approaching – so the intention is to make a few relevant updates to the Take On The Tracks page, add a new PLOG, work on the 20/21 Horses To Follow, and a couple of other things. Plus, more Race Previews will appear as the season picks up. For the time being, check out the links at the bottom right to see what’s on the site now.
23rd August 2020
Happy Sunday, hope you’re enjoying the weekend, and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. Something you’ll definitely enjoy is happening today:
Race Preview, Class 2 Handicap Chase, Cartmel, Sunday August 23rd
No racecourse – none of them – deserves terrestrial television coverage more than Cartmel, and at last ITV put that to rights by showing two races from the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding in their ITV3 show this afternoon. This preview is for the best of the two races, a competitive handicap chase where lots of course form comes to the table, not least courtesy of last year’s winner Ardera Cross. Click or tap here to have a read.
21st August 2020
Race Preview: Grade B Handicap Chase, Killarney, Saturday August 22nd
I feel spoilt for choice. Even before throwing the Melrose and the Ebor at York into the punting mix, between them the BHA and HRI have put a whole stack of good jump-races on their cards this weekend – someone really needs to take a look at this, pandemic or not it’s Summer, and it’s not peak jump season. Easily the pick of the National Hunt-action over the weekend is the feature handicap chase at Killarney on Saturday, so in the hope that this time it doesn’t fall to pieces due to withdrawals like the handicap hurdle on Thursday did, click here for a Race Preview. Cheltenham Festival-form – mainly courtesy of Grand Annual-placed Us And Them – dovetails with several who last ran at Galway in what looks a cracking contest.
August 19th 2020
Race Preview: Grade B Handicap Hurdle, Killarney, Thursday August 20th
Irish jump racing continues to be more than half-decent considering the time of year, and here some Galway form is put to the test in this pretty good handicap hurdle at Killarney. One proviso – the going is almost certainly not ‘good, good to yielding in places’, which was still being given officially on Wednesday night, despite the Flat course going ‘soft to heavy’ during racing on Wednesday. Whatever it is, it’s likely to get muddier – two separate weather forecasts are predicting over 20mm of rain. Click here for the preview and shortlist.
July 25th 2020
Welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk during lockdown. I have a PLOG and a half to share with you. In keeping with these strange times, here’s some stuff about recent strange goings-on with me – betting activity that ordinarily I’d never have considered, and uncomfortable conversations. This Time, I Really Don’t Know Where To Start – for that reason, that’s the title of the piece. Click or tap here to read.
July 15th 2020
Think I need to reign back my enthusiasm, last week with the Summer Cup and Summer Plate in the same week was a bit much. For the time being, may I recommend a page that would, in a normal year, be going live around now, but with the suspension due to the pandemic, I was able to finish a whole lot earlier – my annual Cheltenham Festival Analysis. Click or tap here to browse my pen pictures for all 477 runners, I think it was, at what turned out to be the last major jumps festival to take place in 2019/20.
July 9th 2020
Race Preview, Summer Plate, Market Rasen
Like the Summer Cup earlier this week, the Summer Plate, Market Rasen’s number one race, is also being run in a different slot to usual – usually on Saturday around a week or two later, it’s on a Friday this time. I’m not sure it’s right that the British Horseracing Authority are squashing everything together in a packed schedule, but there we are. It’s drawn a fair field though, it’s televised on ITV4, and I’ve given it the once-over – click/tap here for the preview.
July 5th 2020
The British Horseracing Authority’s squashing in as much of the race programme as it can fit is extending to the jumps this week. I’m not sure it’s right to put the Summer Plate at Market Rasen and the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter in the same week, a few days apart, competing with the enhanced Flat-schedule in the same week – Derby/Oaks, Eclipse, then Newmarket’s July-meeting – but that’s what we’ve got. Not many will notice the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter this year as it falls on a Monday, instead of its usual Sunday-slot (I don’t do many Sundays, let alone during a normal Summer), but I’ve had a look at it, and here’s the preview. Two-time Staffordshire Plate-winner at the track Minellacelebration is an interesting contender.
July 3rd 2020
Race Preview: Bellewstown, Saturday 4th July
Lockdown makes you do funny things. Working at home, waking up later, anxiously waiting for the daily 5pm-briefing – well thanks heavens racing’s back, as it means I’m not doing the latter. As for horse racing, well – the Guineas in June, the Derby in July, the Eclipse on a Sunday – who’d have thought? Anyway, here’s another oddball. If you’d suggested to me in February that I’d be studying a race at Bellewstown in July, I’d have promptly dismissed the suggestion. So what happened? They cancelled Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and now horses who last ran in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival – Saint D’Oroux and Gealach – are dropping in on this two-mile handicap hurdle at Bellewstown for their next stop, instead of the cancelled Spring Festivals. Add in the likes of Efferknock Fizz and Razoul who ran well in the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary, and last year’s winner Ming Dynasty, and you’ve got a belting good race – you’d take it if this was on a Spring Festival-card. So I’ve given it a go – click or tap here to read the preview. Yellow Sam it ain’t.
June 29th 2020
Jumping has returned in Ireland, with a few competitive fixtures at the likes of Roscommon and Tipperary during mid-June, and will return in Britain at Southwell on July 1st; so also returning will be the rwsteeplechasing Race Previews – albeit not straight away. I’m staying out for the first few days of July, but I’ll probably be doing something later in the month – the Summer Cup and Summer Plate, at Uttoxeter and Market Rasen respectively, are scheduled on Monday 6th and Friday 10th. Watch this cyber-space.
June 22nd 2020
Hello all and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, the best website I do. Hope you’re all having the best Summer that you can, in these circumstances the world finds itself in. I’m pleased to announce that there’s new material – the latest PLOG (Punter’s Blog) is live now, in which I talk about how my Royal Ascot-week went. Click or tap here to have a read.
May 30th 2020
Hello everyone, hope you’re all keeping safe and well, and welcome along to the rwsteeplechasing.co.uk website, and particularly to anyone looking in for the first time. So are we rejoicing in the Government announcement today (May 30th) that British horse racing can restart from June 1st, or do we think it’s too soon? A few scientist-types think the latter. Either way, here’s wishing all participants safe journies as racing restarts.
A couple of new things going on – first, you’ll notice above that a search bar has been introduced to the home page. Eventually the standalone Search The Site-page (link below) will disappear. The Search Results now display the page titles, so try a search at any time and you’ll get clearer results, as long as you don’t search for something that’s blatantly obviously not here – put in ‘Frankel’ and you won’t get far, for instance.
Secondly, and for the first time that I can recall, here’s a new piece to read – it’s a summary of how my Fifteen Horses to Follow for the 2019/20 season got on during the truncated campaign
24th April 2020
Hello, hope you’re all staying safe, staying home and keeping healthy, and welcome along to the rwsteeplechasing.co.uk website. Well of course, normally at this time I’d be working on the form and website previews for the Finale meeting at Sandown, but with that not happening – along with all other horse racing in Britain and Ireland at the time of writing – it’s given me the opportunity to finish what is normally one of my Summer projects, considerably earlier than usual. My annual Cheltenham Festival analysis is now complete, and guess what – it’s live on the site. All 477 runners get a pen picture, so click/tap here to read, and pick up some hints for the 2020/21 National Hunt season and the 2021 Festival.
April 11th 2020
Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy, and if you’re not well at the moment then I wish you better soon. With the lockdown in Ireland extended until at least May 5th, and jumping in Britain off until July 1st, there isn’t a lot for me to do right now. Not much except stay safe and stay home, until the coronavirus pandemic is over – whenever that turns out to be.
If there is a flip side to this, it’s that one of my annual projects – the thorough watchback of the Cheltenham Festival – is being done quicker than it normally is. At the time of writing this post I’ve only got the Friday to do, when usually around this time I’ve only analysed a handful of the runners – typically those going on to Aintree, which of course we haven’t had this year. You’ll be able to see my assessment of the Cheltenham Festival Class of 2020 on the website and I’ll announce it on Twitter when it’s live.
March 25th 2020
Hello all, hope you’re keeping safe and healthy. It’s finally live – how my Cheltenham Festival 2020 went on the betting front, and several other things besides in what have been troubled times, documented in the latest PLOG (Punter’s Blog), ‘The C-Word’.
March 21st 2020
The next Race Previews on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk – well, that probably depends on what the BHA and Horse Racing Ireland do regarding coronavirus in the coming days and weeks. Until the new PLOG (Punter’s Blog) goes live, hopefully next week, here’s my assessment of the winner’s performances at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival:
March 21st 2020
Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase Grade 3, 2m2f, 3:10 Thurles
There’s as much enthusiasm for Thurles’s meeting today, Saturday 21st March, as there is for a day at a festival-meeting, with this the only racing going on. Opinion is split on Twitter, and I am a little sceptical over how long this can go on for, with the coronavirus pandemic yet to peak in Europe, but I’ve had a look at the feature race.
There are nine runners and I think eight have at least one piece of form that suggests they could win. Sizing Pottsie lines up on a hattrick but he shouldn’t be as short as 2/1. Zero Ten was doing okay till falling last time but arguably found little at Naas the time before behind Cash Back, and Dallas Des Pictons is dropping in trip which might not suit him (has form over 3m). The shortlist is Sizing Pottsie; front-runner Cappucimix, who was beaten a long way two starts ago but it was behind Chosen Mate, who smashed it in the Grand Annual last week; and the bottom one Emily Moon, who lacks the chasing experience of some of these but impressed when making a successful debut over fences over this course and distance earlier this month – she was supported at prices during the morning.
You’ll know by now that all British horse racing is off until at least the beginning of May, and that in Ireland it’s going to continue, but not be open to the public. How that’s going to work for the upcoming festivals at Fairyhouse and Punchestown remains to be seen as big races, big occasions, thrive on big crowds – can you imagine Jerry Hannon calling a four-way photo in the Irish Grand National to an empty grandstand?
We’ll see how it works out, but for the time being horse racing isn’t as important as the health of the population, and in coronavirus – which never used to be a thing, like Brexit wasn’t – we have a disease bringing the world to a halt, so I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. There’ll be a new PLOG (Punter’s Blog) coming soon, but for the moment here’s a statistic I churned out over the weekend – Mrs rwsteeplechasing thinks I’ve too much time on my hands. Err, she has a point…
March 13th 2020
And that is your lot for another year… So next year when I do the spreadsheets, I’ll just put in Elliott and Mullins’s horses as favourites, Henderson’s as second favourites, and everything else as outsiders? Of the 28 races, those three trainers won 18. Do we start calling Paul Nicholls a small trainer now? Do we avoid the handicaps, with only one won by a horse at longer than 10/1 this year?
I’ll worry about that when the time comes. No sour grapes in this corner – okay, I admit Indefatigable had something to do with that, but arguably this Festival showed that the gap between the really big players and everyone else in National Hunt horse racing is getting bigger. Apart from Politologue, Nicholls had nothing that could compete. Who’d have thought that scenario would happen in the Denman – Kauto Star days? Indeed, who’d have thought Nicholls would have no runners on day one and spend the day in his local pub?
Upcoming on the website – well, in the immediate future, I won’t be studying the Midlands National this year. I’m mentally spent. Next week I’ll hopefully write a new PLOG (Punter’s Blog), and look out also for my Cheltenham Festival winner’s ratings. Lastly for now, many thanks to all who’ve dropped in this week, and even more lastly it’s worth a mention that Indefatigable is in the Fifteen To Follow for this season – there are only a few weeks to go, but there still might be a winner lurking in amongst this lot, maybe two at a push.
March 13th 2020
Good morning and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk for the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. Race Previews for Friday at Cheltenham have now been completely uploaded, so click or tap the link for an opinion on all seven races – sure, on some races there’s more detail than others, but there’s a shortlist for each. To go to a specific race, click on the time in the box at the top-left. Make the most of it as this could well be the last high-profile racing for a while – it seems that the Festival is the only sporting event in the world taking place, with this morning the Premier League joining the likes of Formula One and ATP/WTA Tennis events in being temporarily suspended. Good luck if you’re betting today, and don’t lose your heads.
March 12th 2020
Mornings and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. The whole of the card is now previewed here, so click or tap for a good read and a few lines on all seven races, including of course the Stayers’ Hurdle, in which Apple’s Jade taking on Paisley Park is potentially intriguing.
March 11th 2020
We’ve reached halfway. Flagging yet? Me neither, although that might change in half an hours’ time. The first Race Previews for Thursday’s action at Cheltenham are now live with the first four races covered – click or tap for a read. The Engine Room remains in session as I go deep into the night, to study the rest.
March 11th 2020
Mornings and welcome, or welcome back if you’re a returning visitor, to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. Halfway through the meeting, in terms of the stuff I’m writing for the site anyway, with Cheltenham day two Race Previews now complete, the Coral Cup added this morning. Check out my opinion on the whole card. Back later with the first scribblings for day three.
March 10th 2020
Cheltenham Festival Race Previews Continue
At the time of this update (around 21:10 on Tuesday evening), the Race Preview for Wednesday’s card contains six races, with the Boodles (Fred Winter, the Juvenile Handicap) just added. Only the Coral Cup isn’t yet covered, and that’ll be up on Wednesday morning. For now click tap to get the previews, shortlists and tips for everything else
March 9th 2020
Hello and welcome along to Cheltenham Festival week on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, particularly to anyone dropping in for the first time. The first Race Previews of the week have been uploaded, covering the Champion Hurdle and the Mares’ Hurdle. The Champion is up for grabs this year, with a handful of serious candidates in a sub-standard year. The Mares’ is much less competitive – the pair who are likely to fight that out wouldn’t have been out of place in the Champion.
More has been added now, with the Supreme Novices‘, the Arkle Chase and the National Hunt Chase added to the piece. Joining them in the last few minutes (this update at 23:30) is the Ultima Handicap Chase. I’m calling it a night now and will be back in the morning with the novices’ handicap.
March 4th 2020
Apologies for the lack of updates this week, too – my week’s been rather kyboshed. They want me to do some extra hours where I work this week as well, so sadly I won’t be doing any updates for midweek racing this week.
Additionally, as I’d said already, I was already ‘out’ of this coming Saturday, March 7th, and that’s still the case. I’m choosing not to divulge the reasons why at this time, but suffice it to say that they are good ones. ‘All in good time’, as is sometimes said. Nothing to do with coronavirus – that much I will say.
Cheltenham Festival Prep Is Underway
There is a glimmer of light. As I’m off work for Cheltenham-week, unless something’s sprung on me last-minute-dot-panic, I’ve started watching relevant videos for Cheltenham. It hardly goes near to scratching the surface even at this stage, when there are in excess of 140 entries for the likes of the Coral Cup and the Martin Pipe, but the idea is to ramp up the study the nearer it gets. Once I’ve got a handle I’ll be doing Race Previews, and they’ll go on the website.
Assuming that there’ll actually be a Cheltenham Festival, of course. This coronavirus is escalating, to say the least, with 87 confirmed cases in the UK at the time of writing. An Oddschecker-search didn’t return any results for ‘will the Festival go ahead’ – optimism there, I suppose – but Betfair’s go-ahead market when I looked just now (18:34 on March 4th) had ‘No’ at 2.75/1, a tiny drift, with ‘Yes’ at 1.35. So it’s looking good – a small bit.
February 27th 2020
Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates this week.
It’s been a period of upheaval, last week and this. We’ve got rid of Virgin Media, and had another well-known provider of telly-net stuff installed. That’s in place for the Cheltenham Festival, coronavirus permitting (well at least one bookie’s betting on it, so some people are seeing it not going ahead as a realistic possibility).
On top of that, I’m having to work a few extra hours this week, further restricting the time I can spend on racing at the moment… and on top of that, there’s something else that’s just turned up, which necessitates me taking action. I don’t want to say what the something-else is right now – I’ll do so when I get to the other side, but because of it, I’m sorry to say that I’m stepping out of the next two Saturdays, February 29th and March 7th.
As I write these words, the intention is to go for a couple of weekday dabbles next midweek. I’ll post here if it happens. Also, as this year I do have Cheltenham Festival-week off work (like the rest of you), I want to get stuck in to it, watch videos, make notes and see where that takes me – the usual for me then, at least it was up to 2018.
Don’t forget – check out @Royraces on Twitter, or come back to this page, for all my latest updates. I’ll get back on here in a few days.
February 22nd 2020
There went another three hours of my life (see below) – guess I’ll just have to look for an opportunity to recycle my Eider-material. With Newcastle gone, it’s two races at Kempton today on the Race Preview – the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle and the old Racing Post Chase. Click or tap the links for horse-by-horse previews.
February 21st 2020
Not Ducking The Eider
It’s to be hoped that Newcastle survives its precautionary inspection at 08:00, and looking at the weather forecast it could go either way, so the preview of the Eider Chase that I’ve been working on for the last few hours could well have been for nothing (could easily recycle some of the material when previewing Nationals). Welsh National-fourth Prime Venture and Classic Chase-third Petite Power will attract a lot of attention amongst the 12-runner field.
Apologies for not having done much this week. It’s been a bit of an upheaval-week at home, so I haven’t had as much time as I’d have liked to do racing-stuff – just in time for what’s been a full week of jumps racing. What meetings have been abandoned have been replaced by additional meetings, races and jumpers’ bumpers cards, and in Ireland they rescheduled one of last week’s cancelled meetings. Anyone found it hard to follow?
Anyway the first Race Preview for Saturday 22nd is live now and it’s the Grade 3 handicap chase at Kempton. It might not be Black Corton‘s ground, but he and Bryony are top weight. More to come and I’m tapping away in The Engine Room this evening.
February 14th 2020
Try and try again. The weather’s certainly very trying right now. So much for no overnight rain forecast at Sandown, according to one of the Clerk Of The Course’s tweets, they got 5mm on top of what they already had. So on we go to Saturday February 15th, and there are inspections all round with Storm Dennis just around the corner. Well I’ve been hanging off the Met Office’s website, along with most racing folk no doubt, and according to the forecasts Haydock is going to get the least amount of rain – is it going to be wrong again? For the first Saturday Race Preview this week, here’s the National Trial.
A horse-by-horse preview of the Pertemps Qualifier on the card has been added to the Haydock Preview-page on Friday evening – always interesting races, this one’s even more so with the presence of Unowhatimeanharry carrying top weight. He’s still nearly top class, as his last time out-second to Apple’s Jade at Leopardstown shows.
February 13th 2020
After this week’s abandonments it looks like we’re in for a full house on Friday, no overnight rain forecast at either Fakenham or Sandown. Fakenham deserve bigger fields than they’ve got for their card, so Sandown’s been my focus, and in the Listed mares’ hurdle at 2:25, whilst respecting Cill Anna‘s progressive profile, Deja Vue‘s form went to another level when she was third to Silva Eclipse in a warm handicap at Haydock last time, so she’ll do for me.
The three-mile handicap chase at 4:00 is tricky, full of horses with inconsistent profiles, not least the blinkered first-time Cobolobo. Arguably the best last time out-run was by Horatio Hornblower in the Veterans’ Final, looking strong when unseating at the first of the Railway Fences on the final circuit – he continued and ‘led’ before running out at the last, but may well have led at the last had he still had the jockey on, so well was he going when departing. The least exposed runner is St Erney, the former pointer who’s only had three runs under Rules, the most recent an Exeter win when last seen in March, but will he be fit enough on his belated reappearance? Potters Legend, if you overlook his pulling up in desperate conditions at Haydock over Christmas, has a chance too.
February 12th 2020
Storm Ciara, now Storm Dennis… National Hunt racing-fans will be hoping that those two don’t get together and make some worse weather event or other. I won’t bother with any jokes using the word ‘menace’, as I think they’ve already been done, so suffice it to say that it’s not looking great for Saturday, as the Met Office’s weather warning for the new storm comes into effect from 12:00 noon that day. Things are looking precarious.
Before then the only surviving jumps meeting on Thursday 13th, at Leicester, has no inspection planned at the time of writing, but there is a whole heap of overnight rain forecast. That would probably most effect the Flat course-crossings – it’s an all-chase card, but there are of course a couple of bits where the chase track crosses what will be churned-up, saturated ground that’s been used for hurdling. We’ll have to hope that the forecast is wrong.
Eight go to post for the 3:00, a 0-120 handicap chase over 2m6f151y, and Caltex looks interesting, with back form on heavy over 2m7f and signs of getting there last time at Doncaster on what turned out to be his last run for Claire Dyson, checking out from the fourth last – this is his first run for Michael Scudamore. It was the best run for a while by bottom weight Dontminddboys at Market Rasen behind Ultimatum Du Roy, going comfortably with every chance to the home turn and keeping on for second at the last when the winner was away, and those two should go well. If you back Troubled Soul, don’t worry if he’s a length down on the bit at the last – he has to be ridden like that, which is why his effort was delayed at Warwick on New Year’s Eve when second to High Counsel. I don’t like Scotchtown, who took no interest at Newbury last time and seems to have had enough of the game.
Only four (of an original seven entries) have stayed in the 1m7f201y novices’ limited handicap chase that follows at 3:30 and I’m expecting First Flow and Muratello to fight that out.
February 8th 2020
The Throwaway Quid Is Thrown Away
It’s been another Winter Saturday morning on which things at home have got the better of me, and I haven’t had time to find a tip for The Throwaway Quid, and write about it. Anyway, between when I started it and today, has it been a success? No. So having run out of time today, I’ve decided to dump The Throwaway Quid altogether. I do analysis better, so I’ll concentrate on that side of it for the Race Previews going forward.
On the subject of which, the handicap hurdles at Newbury are previewed here and the Warwick Castle Chase at Warwick is here, all of them horse by horse.
February 7th 2020
The first Race Previews for Saturday February 8th are now live and it’s two races at Newbury, the three-mile handicap hurdle and the Betfair Hurdle – click here for horse-by-horse previews. More material on Saturday morning including something for Warwick, but first 30 minutes’ sleep, or however long my power-nap turns out to be. See you in the morning…
February 6th 2020
Next Stop Saturday
I’ve not looked at Friday 7th’s racing, instead I’ve done plenty of video study ahead of Saturday’s card at Newbury. it looks as though Storm Ciara will be hitting the UK after racing on Saturday has finished (Sunday might be a bit precarious), so next updates on here will be Race Previews for Saturday – first ones up Friday night – and The Throwaway Quid on Saturday morning around 10:15 to 10:45.
February 5th 2020
Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle, 2.31 Huntingdon, Thursday
We’ll have to get used to these non-standard race times I guess, but this isn’t a dog race – it’s one of the more recognised trials for the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and it’s one that I think is likely to be fought out by Shishkin, who won well at Newbury last month and, despite a poor performance in the mud at Sandown last time in the Tolworth, Hang In There, who stayed on well to beat Pacify at Cheltenham in November and is likely to be suited by the longer trip.
3.05 Huntingdon, 2m4f handicap hurdle Class 2
Over the same c/d as the Sidney Banks. The unbeaten Tea Clipper may well start favourite after his defeat of Magic Dancer last time over 1m7f here, recovering from a mistake at the last, and is bred to stay, but has more to do. Colonial Dreams faded probably through lack of fitness at Newbury on his reappearance and has a chance on the form of his win at Sandown on the final day. So does Settie Hill if fit enough after his absence – he warmed to his task when winning at Newton Abbot, going better on the home turn than at any point before that – and Cervaro Mix, who’ll be better suited by drier ground than at Taunton last time, a good move into contention before the third last as good as it got. It’s a dry overnight forecast.
February 4th 2020
3:15 Ludlow, Wednesday, 2m4f handicap chase Class 3
I like the look of this race – it’s a smallish field, but it’s competitive; the only ones I feel I can rule out are Luckofthedraw, who looks best fresh, and Dr Sanderson, who’s done little up to now over fences and is a weak finisher. The last time out-winners Molineaux and Town Parks, whose victory was over this c/d, are respected, but the one Town Parks beat – Night Of Sin – looks better on good to soft or faster and the going’s coming right with a dry forecast, and the reappearing Elixir Du Gouet looked like going close before the uphill finish at Carlisle found him out against Piton Pete last March and he’s had a tasty 6-lbs drop in the weights (good mark on French form). Almazhar Garde was an early faller in the Town Parks-race, but before that won at Catterick with a ton in hand having jumped soundly – the bare form isn’t up to his mark but the style marks of the win suggests that the improvement is in there.
February 1st 2020
Good morning, welcome to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, and the Leopardstown Race Preview for today now has the two-mile handicap chase added – click here for horse-by-horse previews of that race and the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Also now live is The Throwaway Quid – today’s tip runs at Musselburgh and you can get it here.
Now, to illustrate that I haven’t completely ignored Sandown…
Masters Handicap Chase, 3:35 Sandown
For my last bit of form study for this weekend I’ve had a look at the feature handicap chase at Sandown. Full of tricky customers, not least Cloudy Glen who’s back so soon after last week’s ran-out-first at Cheltenham, having been led in at the start, that in itself not a first for him. Of the Colin Tizzard-pair Mister Malarky has become a difficult ride and Royal Vacation doesn’t seem to want to know any more, and there are doubtful stayers present in As De Mee, Le Rocher and Diable De Sivola. Last year’s winner Classic Ben is back for more and looks fairly treated, whereas Ami Desbois, who chased him home a year ago, is high enough after running a good second to Big River at Kelso, looking held at the last then rallying. Another who’s not totally trustworthy is Dragon D’Estruval, but he broke the habit of a career and won at Ludlow last time, so might run well again.
January 31st 2020
For the website’s first update since Brexit at 11pm on January 31st, it is perhaps appropriate that the first two Race Previews are for races in countries which would rather Britain stayed in the EU – but more to the point, it’s appropriate that they cover good jumps racing. Which they definitely do, because we have the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, and the two feature races at Musselburgh.
More material to follow in the morning (I’ll be mighty surprised if I end up at a racetrack this Saturday like I did a week ago), including The Throwaway Quid, which will go live mid-morning from this point forward; reason being so that the markets can take shape, and I might be a bit more spoilt for choice than I have been.
January 29th 2020
The first update this week on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk is live now and it’s a Meeting Review – Cheltenham last Saturday, with the performances of such as Simply The Betts, Santini and Harry Senior analysed.
Coming up from Friday evening; the usual weekend Race Previews. I’ll be taking my pick from one or other, or all, of Sandown, Musselburgh and Leopardstown.
January 25th 2020
Mornings, welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. We’ve made a last minute decision this morning over the breakfast table – Mrs rwsteeplechasing and I head to Cheltenham today. Because of that we need to get going pretty quick, and that unfortunately means – maybe fortunately, let’s face it – that I have to shelve The Throwaway Quid for this week. It also means no preview for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster, so apologies for that too as I normally get stuck in to that race. Let’s hope we make it to Cheltenham in time for the second…
January 24th 2020
Race Previews for Cheltenham on Saturday are live now, with four races covered, and there’s more material to come on Saturday morning.
The Throwaway Quid will be posted later than it has been on Saturday mornings, from around 10:15am, starting on Saturday 25th. This is to allow the markets to take shape – I’ve noticed that there hasn’t always been much to go for earlier in the morning, whereas come 10:00 or thereabouts, you can tell who’s been cut in price, and there’ll be some drift.
January 24th 2020
The next Race Previews on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk will be for Saturday’s racing, but here are a few brief thoughts on Doncaster’s card on Friday.
Unusually for a 12-runner Class 2 handicap chase I want to stay out of the 1.50 over two miles as it has a tricky look about it, but one that does make appeal is Cracking Find, who’s been dropped in the weights and represents the in-form Sue Smith yard, which was a bit unlucky with The Paddy Pie at Wetherby on Thursday. The now 12-year-old Duke Of Navan has also been dropped in the handicap and if he’s to run one last good race, this could be it.
Nine go to post in the Listed fillies’ juvenile hurdle at 2.25, but I make it between only two – Midnight’s Gift, a good second at Taunton just after Christmas, and Guardia Top, who bettered previous form when third at Exeter on New Year’s Day.
The 3.55 is a 0-110 handicap hurdle over three miles – some won’t want to go anywhere near it, but I have a couple of ideas: Who’s In The Box, who did a bit of late work at Catterick last time and is bred to stay this longer trip; and Eclair On Line, who has a similar profile and shaped well over shorter at Doncaster when last seen.
January 22nd 2020
The first updates of the week on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, a week which has Festival Trials-day at Cheltenham at the end of it, are live now with a preview of the Class 3 handicap chase at Wetherby on Thursday.
Also, there’s a new PLOG (Punter’s Blog), ‘Looking Every Each Way’. It’s been a stressful time on and off during November and December, and that’s documented – sort of – along with my betting rambles (should that be ‘scrambles’?).
On Saturday there’ll be the usual weekend previews plus The Throwaway Quid, which may go live later than it has been doing – will announce that one way or the other probably on Friday.
January 18th 2020
Mornings, today’s The Throwaway Quid is live now – it runs at Ascot and you can get the tip, and the reasons behind it, right here.
Also now up is a preview of the pick of the card at Ascot, including round two of Defi Du Seuil versus Un De Sceaux in the Clarence House Chase.
January 17th 2020
Good evening and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. Although I made a later start on Saturday’s scrambles today, due to going for a blood test (don’t think anything’s wrong, so if you’re worrying, no need), I’ve got a preview ready for the best of Haydock’s card tomorrow.
Also added is a preview of the feature handicap hurdle at Navan. There’s more material to come, and something for Ascot plus The Throwaway Quid will appear on Saturday morning.
January 15th 2020
Hope you’re managing to keep dry. Not for the first time recently, the levels of the nearby river where I live are well up, illustrating that we’ve had a lot of rain this week – it remains to be seen if it will affect this weekend’s jump racing. It might affect tomorrow’s Somerset National-card at Wincanton, but – in hope rather than expectation – I’ve gone ahead with a preview of the main event on Thursday’s card, in which Christmas In April bids to follow up his victory in the Sussex version at Plumpton on January 5th.
January 11th 2020
Mornings, welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk especially if you’re dropping in for the first time. Today’s Saturday previews are of the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton, and the Classic Chase and Pertemps Qualifier at Warwick; and as it’s Saturday there’s also The Throwaway Quid, the weekly tip at nice odds.
January 10th 2020
The first Saturday previews are live now with the Classic Chase and the Pertemps Qualifier at Warwick covered – click here for horse by horse previews of the two races. I’ll be back tomorrow morning to add the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton, plus The Throwaway Quid.
January 8th 2020
It’s North Yorkshire Grand National day at Catterick tomorrow, and I’ve had a look at the best bits of the card. In the main event itself (2:40), Milansbar is sure to go from the front with Kingswell Theatre not too far away, and with the latter on a favourable mark he might well run close – however they may well set it up for Little Bruce, and/or Brian Boranha, who’s the one that makes most appeal, down to his winning mark from Sedgefield in October 2018 when he won the Durham National.
Plenty is going on in the two handicap hurdles which follow the main event. Nefyn Point made a forward move plenty soon enough here on New Year’s Day and was fading when making a mistake at the last in the race won by Summer Lightening and he’ll run close if held on to for longer in the two-miler (3:10). Top weight Never Be Enough was out of her depth behind Sir Chauvelin at Musselburgh, also on January 1st, and is interesting in this race also.
‘Nicky Henderson having a runner at Catterick is a tip in itself’, is probably what whoever’s doing the Racing Post’s Spotlight will say about Captain Woodie in the 2m3f-handicap hurdle (3:45), before not actually studying the race and heading off to the canteen for a coffee. Am I convinced? No – his worst run up to now was over 2m4f at Huntingdon, when he was too keen and didn’t last home behind Do Wanna Know – his stand-out run at Warwick behind Emmas Joy was back over the minimum trip. If you want an alternative, you’re spoilt for choice – all of Groveman (outclassed in Listed handicap at Sandown last time), Enfin Phil who ran his best for a while at Sedgefield on Boxing Day and Get Help, who’ll be suited by dropping in trip here after not staying 3m1f at Carlisle last time, will give you a run.
January 5th 2020
So begins studying for this weekend. Plenty to do with big handicaps at Warwick (Classic Chase), Kempton (Lanzarote Hurdle) and Fairyhouse (Dan Moore Memorial) to consider, and I’ll surely be getting stuck into at least one of those for this website’s Previews. Updates on Twitter (@Royraces).
January 4th 2020
Happy New Decade, and welcome along to the roaring twenties – occasionally more like whimpering – on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. The first new pages in 2020 are previews of a couple of the best races on Saturday January 4th – there’s a look at the Class 2 handicap hurdle at Sandown, and also the best race on the card at Cork, which is a 2m4f handicap hurdle.
And added on Saturday morning just now (07:02am) is the first Throwaway Quid-selection of the year.
December 28th 2019
Unfortunately my Raceform Interactive went wrong yesterday, so therefore I’m afraid there are no updates for today. (Is that cheering I can hear in the background?) It’s looking like the next updates will be next year then, so for now thank you to everyone who’s visited rwsteeplechasing.co.uk in 2019, and best wishes to all for 2020!
December 27th 2019
Mornings, the last Throwaway Quid of the year has been posted, it runs at Kempton and you can see what it is here.
First up for Friday December 27th is a horse-by-horse preview of the Coral Welsh Grand National – it looks as though there won’t be enough rain to put the Chepstow meeting in jeopardy, which of course is a good thing, but fog is forecast for much of the day, so hopefully we’ll get to see it…
Also added is a preview of the 3m handicap chase at Kempton at 3:05, and the next Throwaway Quid-selection will go live in the morning.
December 26th 2019
Mornings, happy Boxing Day, and welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. Hope you’re keeping dry, unless of course you’re one of those mad people that goes swimming in some freezing lake or other this time each year, in which case hope it’s nice and wet for you. Today The Throwaway Quid is in operation, and you can see what the tip is here; and if you haven’t read them yet, or would like to read again, the feature races at Kempton are previewed here, and the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby is covered here.
December 23rd 2019
Evening folks, happy Christmas Eve Eve, and welcome to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, especially if you’re here for the first time. The last updates to the website before Christmas are now live. If you’d said to me that the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton would draw a final field of ten runners I would have reminded you that it’s Christmas, not April Fool’s Day, but ten there are including last year’s winner Verdana Blue, and International Hurdle runner-up and third Ballyandy and Ch’tibello. There are horse-by-horse previews of that and the feature King George VI Chase, Cyrname versus Lostintranslation the principal narrative, with the 2018 victor Clan Des Obeaux not expected to get a look-in by some.
Also covered is the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby, with last year’s winner Lake View Lad in again, but Jonniesofa and Bennys King look to have claims in a good renewal.
Until The Throwaway Quid for Boxing Day goes live hopefully around 07:00 on Boxing morning, may I wish you all a Happy Christmas. Let there be peace, harmony and coffee.
December 21st 2019
Mornings, how are we all doing? Taken the tree down yet? It’s the Saturday before Christmas, so it’s the final Throwaway Quid before the festive season (for those of you who don’t think it’s started already). It runs at Ascot, so in the unlikely event of it being abandoned (see the below post) there’ll be a re-think, but for now click here to get the tip.
The next TTQs will be Boxing Day and December 27th – check here or @Royraces for updates.
December 20th 2019
Fair play to Ascot, it didn’t look as testing as I thought it was going to be today. Saturday is another matter, with more rain forecast overnight, hence the track calling a precautionary inspection at 08:00. Around 98 times out of 100 these days, there’s a ‘racing goes ahead’-announcement at 07:58, and I’m confident that will happen again. Here’s a preview of the Long Walk and the closing Grade 3 handicap hurdle.
Also now added is a preview of the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock, where no inspection is planned.
December 20th 2019
The chances of Ascot going ahead on Friday seem remote, judged on the weather forecast and considering that the going’s already heavy, and it’s an uninspiring card – particularly where the two Grade 2-events are concerned, the Noel Novices’ Chase only having the two runners. Having said that the Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle at 2:30 looks a tight one, all four participants having something about them. Three of the field ran in the Listed bumper at Cheltenham in November 2018, Master Debonair leaving McFabulous and Ribble Valley behind, but the latter two improved later in the season, and I fancy the last-named to surprise a few people and take this – he left previous winner Sir Valentine well behind at Wetherby last time, and is two out of two over hurdles, whereas the other two named above have been beaten over hurdles once, McFabulous yet to win over them. The other runner, hurdling debutant Time Flies By, was in the latest renewal of that Listed Cheltenham bumper and ran second to Israel Champ, so will probably turn out okay and is a live contender here, obviously enough given connections.
December 16th 2019
“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Whether You Like It Or Not…”
A Christmas Number One in the making, no doubt, but it’s a work in progress. I’m hardly the best columnist, let alone the best lyricist, so I might need a few Christmases to come up with the rest of it, then drop a ska beat behind it (you can ska anything up – imagine the National Anthem with a rhythm section over the second and fourth beats). Between now and then, there’s a more realistic chance of whatever’s carrying The Throwaway Quid winning on Saturday, and as Ballyandy was only a neck shy of landing the International Hurdle last weekend, the songwriting can wait. Before that I’m hoping to post a few words about Ascot on Friday as well as Saturday – as usual announcements for new material will go on Twitter, so keep an eye on @Royraces.
(PS: Bah Humbug.)
December 14th 2019
Mornings, today’s Throwaway Quid-tip is now live, it runs in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham, and you can get the selection here.
December 13th 2019
This Saturday’s horse-by-horse previews are live and they’re the two top races at Cheltenham, namely the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, in which Lalor is a non-runner along with Riders Onthe Storm, and the International Hurdle, which was going to be truly international this year but will sadly be without the Australian runner Big Blue, who was pulled out on Friday evening. Click/tap here to read.
That just leaves The Throwaway Quid, which will go live at or around (or even before) 07:00 on Saturday morning.
Line-ups for Doncaster are poor in terms of numbers, but I may well jot down a few notes about it on the home page tomorrow morning.
December 12th 2019
I can never remember studying racing form on the day of a General Election. Probably something to do with elections normally taking place in May, out of the peak jumps season, but here we are, Cheltenham racing on Friday in December, and the aftermath of the election dominating the news. Well it’s Prestbury Park that’s getting my vote, and I’ve previewed the two best handicaps. Cogry and Singlefarmpayment are in the staying handicap chase – they were the first two in it last year – and the 2018 Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm is of interest in the handicap hurdle.
December 11th 2019
The Best And The Worst Of This Sport
At least we had a bit longer to revel in the race of the season this time. National Hunt horse racing knocked its followers flat as soon as it lifted all who saw the great scrap between Many Clouds and Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in 2017. For thirty seconds, racegoers and TV-viewers were buzzing, but then in the thirty-first second, Many Clouds collapsed and passed away. Last Saturday in the Tingle Creek Chase Defi Du Seuil, Un De Sceaux and Waiting Patiently served up a belter of a finish, but thirty minutes later the popular veteran chaser Houblon Des Obeaux collapsed on the home turn in the London National, leading to the voiding of the race and farcical scenes, which have been much documented. The highest high, the lowest low, and nothing in between. Let’s hope we get some cracking racing this weekend at Cheltenham, without a sting in the tail.
First up for the week, there’s a good Class 3 handicap chase at Taunton on Thursday, which is previewed in full here, horse by horse.
December 7th 2019
Grade B handicap chase, 2:45 Navan
Good handicaps are everywhere today, including this belter at Navan, and my shortlist consists of: Jetz, who shaped well behind Footpad at Punchestown ; Whisperinthebreeze, who’s in the 15 To Follow and made a lot of the running before lack of a run probably told at Punchestown last time, jumping well; and the top weight Us And Them, who if you overlook a poor run in the Betvictor Gold Cup last time, was another in the race who did well in the face of a stiff task, in his case behind Snow Falcon in the Champion Chase at Gowran Park. One that I’m not going anywhere near is Glenloe, who’s been beaten double digits on all his chase starts to date, and was struggling with four to jump behind Faugheen (who isn’t the machine of old, surely) at Punchestown last time.
December 7th 2019
Tingle Creek Chase, 3:00 Sandown
No doubt that Cheltenham winner Defi Du Seuil is progressing, but Un De Sceaux is still the benchmark on my ratings, about 6 or 7 lbs ahead – and don’t forget another making his reappearance, Sceau Royal, whose high cruising speed is likely to take him up to the leaders from the Pond Fence, and there’s no Altior this time. For Politologue to win, over this trip, he’ll have to be made some use of (the Ryanair Chase would be his Cheltenham Festival-race), but unoriginally, I’m going for Un De Sceaux.
To see a horse-by-horse preview of the London National at Sandown, click here.
December 7th 2019
And good morning! Delighted to announce that The Throwaway Quid is back, and the tip – who runs at Aintree – is live now.
December 6th 2019
Good evening and welcome along to Roy Waterhouse Steeplechasing, and particularly to anyone dropping in for the first time. With more to come later on Friday evening and early on Saturday morning, here’s my first material for Saturday December 7th. Aintree’s up first.
Many Clouds Chase, 2:40 Aintree
Is it going to be so hard for Black Corton to concede 4 lbs to Native River and Might Bite? They’re giving the ground on the Mildmay course as Good to Soft, and for me that puts the stayer/grinder Native River at a disadvantage round this sharp track, even though he wears first-time blinkers. We don’t know where we are with Might Bite, who’s in cheekpieces for the first time having gone off the map last season, so Bryony Frost’s second best buddy (after Frodon amongst her four-legged ones) – who we know retains his ability after his Galway Plate-second and cracking run behind Vinndication at Ascot on November 2nd – is the call for me.
To see a horse-by-horse preview of the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences, click here.
December 2nd 2019
Back In The Room
With further apologies for rather abruptly taking a break from things, it feels like I’ve got my mind back now, so I’m going to gradually edge back into the swing of things. I’ll start small and work up, and you can’t get much smaller than the 3:05 at Southwell on Tuesday December 3rd, a 0-100 handicap, but here’s the shortlist. Norwegian Woods was running well – although failing for a bit of stamina at the end of 3m1f – when falling at the last at Hereford last time and will be suited by the drop in trip; Tis Fantastic ran into the thrown-in Guardia Top at Chepstow last time; and something a bit left field perhaps but I’ll throw in Duty Girl, on her debut for the Julia Brooke-stable, who shaped well at Tipperary in July. More to come later in the week and the intention is to bring back The Throwaway Quid this Saturday.
November 22nd 2019
Timing Is Pants, But Taking A Break
Sorry to be posting this. Anxiety has taken hold over the last couple of days, and as a result I’m ‘not me’ just at the minute, and I don’t feel I can give racing my best shot. I’ve decided to take a break from the website and Twitter, so there are no previews for this weekend – also no The Throwaway Quid, so I’m sorry about that – and the aim is to be back for the start of December.
November 21st 2019
Welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, and as always, a particular welcome to anyone visiting for the first time. There’s a Race Preview now live for the two Class 2 handicaps at Ascot on Friday – click here to read.
November 20th 2019
There’s a new Race Meeting Review on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk – it’s of Wetherby last Saturday, on which there were good performances by the likes of Big Bad Bear and Cornerstone Lad – click or tap here to read.
November 19th 2019
The 3:50 race at Chepstow on Wednesday isn’t necessarily the best race of the day, but it’s one of the most competitive. I can see the market revolving around the top one Mick Manhattan, on account of his running fourth at Exeter to subsequent Cheltenham winner at the weekend Hang In There, but this is over 2m3f100y and on breeding he’s no certainty to stay this far. My three against the field are Mere Anarchy, who arguably would have won at Worcester back in May but for stumbling on landing at the last; Champagne Chaser, who runs after a break but has twice won when fresh; and Megalodon, who drops in class and in the weights after running poorly behind Mason Jar at Ascot – there’s nothing wrong with his third to Legal History at Exeter last April.
November 18th 2019
The Start of Betfair Chase Week
It wasn’t wrong to concentrate on Wetherby last Saturday, but it wasn’t right to completely dismiss Cheltenham. After the abandonment of the Friday card, having feared that they might have had something worse than they got for the Saturday of the October meeting when they were galloping through lakes, it actually looked a lot better than it was in October, so fair play to all concerned.
Coming up this week, there’ll be a Review of the aforementioned Wetherby meeting – my first Wetherby visit for ages, and Mrs rwsteeplechasing’s first ever – and I’ll be analysing the performances of such as the promising Oscar Robertson and the winner of the Class 2 introductory hurdle Big Bad Bear on that. Probably going live on Wednesday, it’ll be announced on Twitter when it does. Later this week, no messing about – the weather’s looking good, and I’ll give the Betfair Chase-card at Haydock a good go.
November 15th 2019
With apologies to anyone wondering what I think of Cheltenham this weekend, I’ve taken a decision to swerve it altogether. There’s still rain around, there’ll be omitted obstacles, the hype about Slate House and Siruh Du Lac over the past week has meant that decent prices on them were never there and – a first for British racing, please correct me if I’m wrong – the weights for the betvictor Gold Cup were put up with Saint Calvados‘s withdrawal.
So this Saturday, rightly or wrongly I’m all for Wetherby – that might yet be the meeting that gets rained off as they have some forecast overnight themselves, but on Friday afternoon that seemed the more likely to go ahead. Mr Antolini, who chased Black Op home at Stratford recently, gets an early chance at a handicap chase in the 2:15. I’ve previewed three races – click here to read.
November 14th 2019
With the abandonment of Cheltenham on Friday, the next updates on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk will be for Saturday’s racing, if anywhere’s on. At the time of posting Newcastle on Friday have changed their ground to soft (heavy in places), while Southwell will be inspecting on Friday morning for that day’s card.
November 13th 2019
Most competitive race on Thursday appears to be the amateur riders’ handicap hurdle at Ludlow (4:00) in which I like three against the rest: course winner Longhousesignora, who shaped well on her debut over fences at Worcester last time and reverts to timber; Grageelagh Girl, whose rider was a little caught out by the enterprising tactics on the winner Midnight Midge from the home turn at Taunton LTO; and Wilde Spirit, another mare (you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a mares’ race – it isn’t), who very much shaped as though the 2m5f trip of this race is what she wants over 2m at this track on her debut for the Henry Daly-stable.
November 12th 2019
In future, if I’ve got a few ideas about the following day’s racing, but I don’t have time to construct and post a full Preview-piece, I’ll write a few lines here on the home page – like about the 2m175y handicap hurdle at Exeter on Wednesday (3:40 race). Smarty Wild didn’t act on the track at Cheltenham last time in a more competitive race, making several mistakes, and back at a track he’s won at, he’s half my shortlist. The other half is Searching, who was put into the race too soon after racing wide at Wincanton last time behind I’d Better Go Now. I’m worried Haldon Hill will pull too hard, and Nordic Combined‘s third at Ascot behind Gumball last time disguises the fact that he’s a hard ride who’s difficult to win with.
Feature race tomorrow is the Anne Duchess of Westminster Handicap Chase at Bangor (1:50) and Calipso Collonges looks on a good mark in that, although the progressive Commodore – at least he was progressive when last seen – shouldn’t be underestimated.
November 11th 2019
So it’s what used to be the Mackeson Gold Cup at Cheltenham this Saturday, and they’re predicting ground no worse than good to soft. Isn’t there an element of ‘heard that one before’ about that? Anyway, I’m not sure what the plan will be for the weekend, but the video-watching and the note-taking is underway and I’ll see where it takes me.
If you’ve never been on this site before, you can click any of the bricks below to take you to the pages – Atlanta Ablaze was a winner for the 15 To Follow-list last week, so maybe give that a try if you haven’t yet; also there’s a review of the meeting at Huntingdon on Sunday November 3rd – and on Saturdays, there’s The Throwaway Quid, which comprises one tip, available at 10/1 or more on the morning, that’s worth a throwaway quid. While there’s no tip live, the brick above will take you to the record of all TTQ tips to date.
November 9th 2019
Mornings, welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, and in particular welcome to anyone dropping in for the first time. As well as a Preview of the feature races at Aintree (link below and above top-left), today’s The Throwaway Quid, who runs at Wincanton, is now live – click here to get the tip.
The preview of Wincanton is now live also, with races covered the mares’ handicap hurdle and the feature Badger Beers Chase, which Present Man and Bryony Frost will win for the third year running. (I’ve seen the script – it’ll be like a work in professional wrestling.)
November 8th 2019
The first preview for Saturday’s racing is up now and it covers the feature races at Aintree on Saturday, the 2m4f handicap chase and the 2m4f conditions hurdle, which features three horses with pretensions to finishing second to Paisley Park in the 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle. A Wincanton Preview and The Throwaway Quid will go live on Saturday morning.
November 7th 2019
I’m pleased to post the first Meeting Review to appear on the new website – click here to read a Review of Huntingdon last Sunday, November 3rd, where Deyrann De Carjac was the star of the show, decisively winning a competitive novices’ chase.
November 6th 2019
We look at a couple of the handicaps on Newbury’s first jumps card of the season in the latest Race Preview – the Pertemps Qualifier, which includes a couple of horses who were withdrawn from the recent Cheltenham one on account of the ground, and the following handicap chase.
November 5th 2019
Last week it was Monday Musings, but thanks to having to do a hell of a lot of housekeeping after the weekend, this week’s first update on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk takes place on the Tuesday of Badger Ales Chase week. The approximate timetable for this week’s new material is hopefully going to go something like this:
* Wednesday evening – Race Preview for a bit of Newbury’s card on Thursday;
* Thursday evening – the first Meeting Review on the new website. Although I didn’t tweet anything on Sunday I was at Huntingdon (it’s in part thanks to that that I’ve been playing catch-up), where Deyrann De Carjac was the star of the show in the competitive novice chase – so I’ll be working on that later;
* Friday evening – first Race Previews for Saturday;
* Saturday morning – the next The Throwaway Quid tip will go live, as will more Race Previews.
Talking of The Throwaway Quid, the tip-list has been updated, and despite Diego Du Charmil‘s well-documented best efforts to get out of it, he is TTQ‘s first winner. The list of TTQ tips given is live and if you click the brick above at times when there’s no tip, you can see the complete list.
November 3rd 2019
Hello again, happy Sunday, and welcome to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk. So what’s the topic of conversation today? Ballyoptic slogging it out to beat fellow slogger Elegant Escape in the Charlie Hall? How good was Envoi Allen at Down Royal? Road To Respect? Vinndication? Probably none of those… ‘Diego Du Charmil, jump or no jump’ is probably what you’re all discussing. I’m in more than two minds, I must admit. I certainly don’t think Capeland should have been disqualified. Anyway we move on, and here’s a rare Sunday Race Preview, with Huntingdon the meeting covered.
November 2nd 2019
Mornings, welcome along to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, and in particular anyone looking in for the first time. I’ve a busy day ahead. At the time of this update I’ve just posted The Throwaway Quid for today, who runs at Ascot – a preview of a couple of Ascot’s feature races will go up later this morning, and then later today a preview of some of Sunday’s Huntingdon card will be here. There’s a realistic chance of me seeing none of today’s races!
Final update for Saturday November 2nd – the Ascot preview is now live, with two of the feature handicaps covered.
November 1st 2019
The first preview for Saturday’s racing is for the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby – no Black Corton this year, but it’s a good renewal. More previews and The Throwaway Quid will go live on Saturday morning.
October 31st 2019
Rain is the last thing Wetherby want, and they appear to have some in their forecasts for Friday and Saturday, but there’s none in the overnight weather forecast for Stratford on Thursday, which is just as well as it’s soft, heavy in places on the chase course. The feature is the 3:25 race, the 2m3f handicap chase, and it would arguably slot right in to a decent Saturday card. With a 142-rated top weight in Kim Muir runner-up Kilfilum Cross, here’s a horse-by-horse preview.
October 27th 2019
I’m still a bit shocked at how bad conditions were at Cheltenham on Saturday. I may well be the only person who thought they were bad, but you know it’s somewhere between ‘heavy’ and ‘waterlogged’ when you see plenty of horses, moving well to a point, suddenly grind to a halt and pull up. The card is not a total write-off in terms of form – far from it, as having said that plenty of runners gave their running and gave the races credibility – but I suspect there’ll be plenty of horses about whom I’ll think ‘ignore it on account of the conditions’, next time they line up – provided it’s on better going of course.
One such horse who moved well for a long way but didn’t complete on Saturday was Master Work, who has the now-dubious distinction of being the first tip offered on this website’s The Throwaway Quid-feature. Because I want to stand up and be counted, it’s my intention to record all of the selections on the site, even if it’s zero from whatever in 25 weeks’ time. So while there’s no tip live, if you click the brick above – or here – you’ll go to the page where the list sits.
There’s also a minor update to the Take On The Tracks page, noting that Ayr have started using one-fit padded hurdles, starting from its opening meeting of this season. Didn’t see any publicity about it, did you? Cork will be the first Irish track to use the new rubber obstacles, at its meeting on November 3rd.
This weekend we go again, but I’m not sure what I’ll go with. It’s that time of year, racing everywhere on Saturday and you don’t know where to start. It really ought to be Wetherby for the Charlie Hall fixture, but 1/ the back straight’s waterlogged after all the rain, and 2/ the main supporting race, the West Yorkshire Hurdle, has only eight entries, and you fancy it will need Unowhatimeanharry to run to have any credibility. We’ll see. I could concentrate on Wetherby, have more than a passing glance at Ascot, or even get stuck in to Down Royal. We’ll see. Whatever I come up with, it’ll be here.
October 26th 2019
Mornings, welcome to the website, particularly anyone dropping in for the first time. Today, The Throwaway Quid launches on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk – one tip, every Saturday during the main period of the jumps season, that’s available at 10/1 or better early on Saturday morning, that’s worth a throwaway quid, or 50p each way. The tip runs at Cheltenham – click here to find out who it is.
Also this morning the preview for Cheltenham today has been updated with the addition of the opening handicap chase at 2:00 – so that’s the three feature handicaps covered, previewed horse by horse. Click here to read. Note the going change – at 07:55 it was Soft (Good to Soft in places), but it might change again as more rain is forecast.
October 25th 2019
There’s a seriously mucky weather forecast for overnight and before racing at Cheltenham on Saturday, but I’ve carried on regardless with the first Race Previews for day two of the Showcase meeting – they’re for the two-mile handicap chase and (not unusually for me) the Pertemps Qualifier. More material will be added on Saturday morning.
October 24th 2019
Soon comes round, doesn’t it. Racing is back at Cheltenham for day one of the Showcase meeting and there’s a Race Preview up now, with three races covered. The likes of Al Dancer, Getaway Trump, Wholestone and Dinons are likely to make their presence felt in the novice chases, which are two of the races covered.
More to come for Saturday’s card, which will also see the launch of The Throwaway Quid on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk.
October 19th 2019
Welcome to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, particularly anyone who’s dropping in for the first time. There are now two Race Preview-pages up for today (Saturday October 19th), with a look at the Prelude Chase at Market Rasen, in which the high-class San Benedeto is top weight and last year’s winner Royal Village is in again, now added to the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, which as I type this note has passed its 7:30 Inspection and goes ahead.
October 18th 2019
The good jumps action is beginning to come thick and fast, and for those not waiting for Cheltenham next weekend, and Precautionary Inspection at 7:30 permitting, here’s a Race Preview of a stomping-good renewal of the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, with the likes of Le Prezien, Clyne and Monsieur Lecoq starting their seasons.
October 17th 2019
There’s another Race Preview up for Friday October 18th and the one race covered is the Class 2 handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter, in which there are several horses better known as chasers starting their seasons over hurdles, including the useful De Rasher Counter and Sussex National winner The Two Amigos.
October 15th 2019
This season, it’s the intention to do a few more weekday Race Previews. The first of these is for the two best races on Wetherby‘s season opening-card, and it’ll be great to see horses like Crievehill and Cracking Find back in action in the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase. Also covered: the 2m handicap hurdle, with Swinton runner-up Project Bluebook top weight.
October 12th 2019
Welcome to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, and especially if you’re looking in for the first time. There’s a Race Preview for the pick of the action at Chepstow today live now, primarily concentrating on the handicap chases on the card. The 5.05 in particular is a very good race, with Peterborough Chase winner Charbel involved – he won this race last year as well.
October 11th 2019
It’s a new Race Preview on rwsteeplechasing.co.uk with my pick of the card on day one of Chepstow’s traditional two-day season-proper-starting card, with the likes of Thyme Hill and Lisnagar Oscar on show.
September 28th 2019
They’re back… Race Previews return to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk with a look at the feature races at Market Rasen on Saturday 28th September, namely the juvenile hurdle which gave us Katchit a few years ago, and the Class 2 Prelude Handicap Hurdle in which the 2018 County Hurdle winner Mohaayed is top weight.
September 20th 2019
I’m pleased to publish my improved Ten to Follow for the 2019/20 National Hunt season. Why is it improved? Because it’s actually a Fifteen to Follow – yes, 15 good prospects, likely to win races this season. There are youngsters, mudders, two-milers, three-milers – as well as one or two who don’t fit those descriptions. Click or tap the link and have a read.
September 1st 2019
The Punter’s Blog returns to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk, with a new piece entitled ‘Time To Put In The Hours’, describing my betting fortunes during the Grand National meeting and after, and lamenting about how the introduction of the ‘virtual Grand National’ influenced the betting for the real thing.
August 17th 2019
The next addition to rwsteeplechasing.co.uk is live and it’s the return of Take On The Tracks, the site’s guide to British National Hunt racecourses. From Newcastle to Newton Abbot, Perth to Plumpton, and everywhere between, left and right, visit the page to read a write-up of every jumps track in Britain.
July 13th 2019
Firstly, welcome to the new website. There may be tweaks and things still to implement, but it’s now in a publishable state, so here goes with the first pages. The first new content on the revamped rwsteeplechasing.co.uk is now live, and it’s my annual Cheltenham Festival Analysis. Now you may recall that I missed the 2019 Cheltenham Festival owing to work, so I didn’t see it live, but I’ve sure as hell seen it now. This will become apparent when you scroll through my pen picture for each of the 498 runners – and my own ratings for each horse are included as well.
The new website will be populated with more content besides the above over the next few weeks – please check back for updates or visit my Twitter handle, @Royraces.