21 Jul 2018

Weatherbys Super Sprint (Class 2)

It’s another big afternoon for our ENIGMA Racing syndicates as we own a piece of Group 3 winner Little Kim, who lines up for the Super Sprint at Newbury this afternoon. Not too shabby, when you consider our syndicate members paid just £192.31 each, and that included upkeep for the whole 2018 flat season. Some of them will be racing as owners at Newbury today.

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So, understandably, while we have everything crossed for Little Kim her 8lb Group penalty for this race will make life tricky. She should run very well, but you have to suspect that something laid out will be tough to beat with lots of weight in hand.

Looking at the Super Sprint is really a case of short-listing trainers. I would suggest looking most closely at: Tim Easterby, Richard’s Fahey and Hannon, plus Andrew Balding and Jon Portman.

I filter their runners with just a few criteria:
Has won a class 5 race or higher
Has not yet won beyond 5fl
No more than 5 previous career starts
Last ran 11 to 45 days ago

In short; proven ability, fast, lightly raced improvers, smoothly prepped.

Since 1998, runners from these yards who met this criteria are; 8 wins from 29 bets, +£54.70 LSP.

This year’s short-list is: Red Balloons, Ginger Nut and Good Tyne Girl.

RED BALLOONS ticks all the right boxes: nice weight, ideal draw and going. He's been laid for the race by Richard Fahey. To cap it all runners who competed at Royal Ascot have an especially good record and he’s Timeform top rated too.

So (with every fibre) we will be hoping Little Kim can step up and defy top weight, but Red Balloons looks the value - perhaps almost a shot to nothing each way. He could well win.

3.35 Newbury, Red Balloons 1.5pt EW 13/2, 5x1/5 various

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at:

** Feedback: Ginger Nut wins at 16/1, much bigger when posted. Another terrific winner for the angle, if frustrating for me personally to pick wrong! **

Red Balloons ticks all the boxes for the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury


30 Jun 2018

Irish Derby Meeting Research

Great to be posting again after a summer break.

Ballydoyle dominate non-handicaps at the Irish Derby meeting and it stands to reason the most promising runners will tend to be those arriving via the best meetings. So, in terms of finding selections, the key criteria for each runner is the venue of their last run.

Overwhelmingly, the runners to be interested in last ran in a non-handicap at: Ascot, the Curragh, Epsom or Leopardstown.

The only other filters are to put a line through anything going off 25/1+, or exposed runners with 10+ career starts.

Backing every qualifier blind in non-handicaps since 2003:

127 Bets, 48 wins +95.87 pts level stakes profit (ROI 75.49%)

Since 2005 there have only been 2 losing years, -1.52 pts 2009 and -4.8 pts 2012. Last year produced +10.61 pts, 6 wins from 14. This year is already 1 win from 1 qualifier.

In the real world you probably wouldn’t back blind, as some races with multiple O’Brien qualifiers wouldn’t make sense at the prices. But it does give you top class short list.

Qualifiers ridden by Ryan Moore make a blind profit: 8 wins from 16, +10.99 pts to date.
But by far the most profitable jockey to follow is J A Heffernan. Since 2003, 16 wins from 32, +100.91 pts.

In normal years you could probably just forget the rest and back his mounts, but with Donnacha on the scene, as we saw at Ascot, Aiden’s son is (probably) sitting on those horses right now.

The ones to look at most closely this weekend are qualifiers ridden by those two.

Today’s qualifiers are:
2.50 Fleet Review (Moore) 11/8
4.35 Van Beethoven (Moore) 10/11
5.15 Saxon Warrior (Moore) Evens

You could probably do a lot worse than put those in a Trixie. 2 out of 3 will do slightly more than return stakes in most cases, while landing all three bags a profit of around 18.00 points.

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at:

** Feedback: Two wins returned stakes plus a small profit, Saxon Warrior sadly just outstayed to deny the full house - he'll be down in trip after that **

Saxon Warrior - out for redemption in the Irish Derby


19 May 2018

Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1)

The Lockinge is a race most often won by well supported 4 or 5-y-o's with Group 1 winning form.

If we combine this simple criteria and focus on the first 4 in the betting:

Since 1998, 11 wins from 19 qualifiers, + 23.57 points level stake profit at SP. As big race stats go, it's a compelling one and this year there is just one qualifier.

The layers fancy Limato, but Ballydoyle are drawn to dominate and force the pace to ensure this mile is run at a furious gallop and I expect RHODODENDRON to be tough to beat.

A filly with the speed to win over a mile in a Group 1 on good-firm at Newmarket (still her career best RPR), also 2nd in a Guineas on similar going but stays 10fl strongly. She will be staying on best of all from her convenient draw right behind the pace.

She's had a prep, it's the logical race, the yard are flying, the draw has been kind (less so Limato, while Addeybb looks completely isolated), and she has pacemakers ahead of her.

The only doubt is whether the fire still burns as bright, but she has won Group 1's for two seasons running, which suggests she will be as game as ever.

They will turn this into a real test and her extra stamina will be key.

Good luck today,

3.40 Newbury, Rhododendron 2 points win 7/2 various

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at:

** Feedback: the race unfolded very much as expected for a memorable win **

Al Shaqab Lockinge day at Newbury racecourse


12 May 2018

Totescoop6 Victoria Cup (Heritage Handicap)

In a race like this it’s easy to get caught up with experienced runners who have dropped a few pounds, but the most successful group (by far) are improving 4 or 5yo’s with a recent run.

There are a few other filters I run the field past to create a short-list (you have to be an ENIGMA member to access that bit), however the candidate who comes out best on my trends this year is Saeed Bin Suroor’s SILENT ATTACK, ridden by SDS. 

He also comes out top on Timeform ratings and was a big eye-catcher last time out, not least for the impressive sectionals. He’s obviously gone up the handicap, but winners of this race (tending to be progressive), are invariably rated a good bit higher than their last winning mark. 

It’s probably more a case of whether he takes to Ascot, but being all-weather proven, there’s a good chance he will. 

Another potential improver is GILGAMESH from George Scott, who continued to enhance his reputation with a fine winner at Chester this week. Gilgamesh didn’t enjoy the ground at Newbury, and also ran too fresh. 

That race though was always just a prep for this, and the drop back to 7lb will suit as will the fast conditions. He’s another lightly raced all-weather performer who is sure to prove progressive this year and looks well worth a crack at Ascot handicaps. 

Looking at my pace chart I think middle to high is the place to be this year (as it often seems to be), and both are nicely drawn among the predicted pace.

Good luck today, 

Silent Attack, 1pt win 15/2 generally 
Gilgamesh, 1pt EW 22/1 5x1/5 various 

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.KEYRACINGNEWS.COM/FORUM-RESULTS

** Feedback: Silent Attack was disappointing, however Gilgamesh was a big eye-catcher and could do no more than win his side of the draw - compensation may await in the Hunt Cup **

Progressive Silent Attack, a strong trends pick for Saeed Bin Suroor in the 2018 Victoria Cup


28 Apr 2018

B365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

And so, to journey's end; the B365 Gold Cup, last hurrah of the jumps season, won by some classy types over the years and always a race to savour.

We have a good system for this race and went desperately close last year with Vyta Du Roc who (literally) arrived 1 stride too late. Let’s try and put that right in 2018.

Class is key here. The ideal candidate has previously won any kind of race at Grade 2 level, and can make that ability tell from a realistic mark.

For example, since 1999, if you had blindly backed every previous Grade 2 winner 1pt EW on standard bookmaker terms, the outcome would be 22 win or placed from 64, +92.20 pts profit at SP and some very decent prices, with winners up to 25/1.

Three runners fit the criteria this year; Houblon Des Obeaux, Present Man and Bigbadjohn.

Houblon Des Obeaux is gradually coming down the weights, but all bar one of his wins have come in a small field and in any case on the evidence of Ascot in March he will need easier opposition than this to make an impact.

PRESENT MAN interests me. He’s been fairly dismissed by the market after failing to make an impression in this race last year, however that was after winning at Ascot and this is a horse who needs to be extremely fresh.

Paul Nicholls describes him as a horse with a huge amount of ability – his chase record certainly backs that up; 5 wins and 2 seconds from 11 starts. It’s also hard to pin down the ceiling of his ability as he idles in front. The ground has come up okay, which will help him. Bryony Frost knows him inside out and claims a valuable 3lbs.

One with fewer stamina concerns is BIGBADJOHN, who remains nicely treated on the pick of his form for Rebecca Curtis, and who made a winning start for Nigel Twiston-Davies in February. He ran in the 4-miler at Cheltenham last year and was staying on strongly over 3 miles in his recent win.

An early exit in the Topham means he still comes here fresh and this trip looks much more his thing.

Good luck today,

3.35 Sandown, Present Man 1pt EW 22/1+, 5x1/5
3.35 Sandown, Bigbadjohn 1pt EW 14/1, 5x1/5

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.KEYRACINGNEWS.COM/FORUM-RESULTS

** Feedback: Bigbadjohn disappointing, but as expected Present Man was heavily underestimated and ran a huge race, landing place money **

Present Man trained by Paul Nicholls, looks underestimate for the B365 Gold Cup