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.