11 Nov 2017

Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase (Listed)

This year's Badger Ales Trophy chase looks a cracker, with a little spice added by the prospect of properly soft ground as this is a staying chase usually run in faster conditions. There has been 11mm overnight and the forecast says there's more to come. This has changed the complexion of the race into a real test of stamina.

Being a race that attracts front running types, the presence of free-wheelers like Yala Enki and Henllan Harri, suggest the race should set up for a closer with proven stamina, and that looks an ideal combination for the up-and-coming young legs of Mr Mix, ridden by Harry Cobden for Paul Nicholls.

MR MIX arrives on the back of a smooth victory on handicap debut in the Desert Orchid Silver Cup at this venue two weeks ago - a path taken by four previous winners of the Badge Ales Trophy - improving greatly for the step up to an extended trip. He is sure to remain very well treated and as we know, this is a race Paul Nicholl's loves to win.

The yard's other contender, Southfield Theatre, fell at the final fence here when 1/2 length ahead in last year's race. That was on good ground, he's 3lbs higher and the soft ground will stretch his stamina. Given the rain, if he had a choice (which Paul Nicholl's says he doesn't), I would imagine Sam T-D would be high-tailing it over to ride Mr Mix.

Paul Nicholls took this race a few years ago with another unexposed type in The Minack and has gone close with several others. I expect a bold show from Mr Mix, he should be hard to keep out of the first 4 and could well take this with a good ground of jumping.

3.35 Wincanton, Mr Mix 1.5pt EW 9/1 various, 4x1/4

Good luck,

Herbie is one of the pro-gamblers in the ENIGMA forum:


Mr Mix (left), handicapped to turn the tables on Yala Enki in the Badger Ales Trophy


28 Oct 2017

Randoxhealth.com Handicap Chase (Class 2)

D N Russell is 5 wins from 18 in handicap chases for Henry de Bromhead for a blind profit of +19.5pts to SP. It's an association that has gathering pace in recent times - the duo are 3 wins from 6 this year (+15pts), including 2 wins on board On Fiddlers Green.

In fact, Russell has been in the saddle for all 4 of On Fiddlers Green's career wins since his maiden hurdle victory in 2015 - although he's proved a much better chaser. Russell's rides on this horse when chasing read: u,2,1,1,1 culminating in a career best win at Roscommon in the Connacht Handicap Chase (described as an ultra-competitive renewal), where he jumped round like a dream.

ON FIDDLERS GREEN was thought good enough for a crack at the Galway Plate on next start but ended up reserve and didn't get a run, which was a shame because he ended up in the consolation race run on soft ground which is probably didn't suit.

He had a prep for this 20 days ago (again modest on soft, and Russell wasn't riding) and will arrive fit, back on good ground and, hopefully, ready to resume his upward path over an ideal tip. Looks good value at 16's and the yard do love a winner here.

2.00 Cheltenham, On Fiddlers Green 1pt EW 16/1 various, 4x1/4

Good luck,


Herbie is one of the pro-gamblers in the ENIGMA forum:

About us: http://www.keyracingnews.com/about-us/4593890647

** Feedback: Never travelling, back to the drawing board with this one - frustratingly, Henry de Bromhead struck in the very next race instead with Twobeelucky **

On Fiddlers Green, looks under the radar on good ground for Henry de Bromhead


14 Oct 2017

Coral Stayers Handicap (Class 3)

David O'Meara fields an interesting newcomer today in the Aga Khan bred French import Dalshand, who makes his GB debut this afternoon at York.

Dalshand has a top class pedigree - the dam is a full sister to Daylami and a half-sister to Dalakhani, one of the Aga Khan's best late-maturing bloodlines. He produced a very taking display on debut, hacking up impressively in a valuable 1 mile 3yo maiden.

Dalshand didn't progress as fast as they hoped that year - he's a big backward type - but ran a fine race in a £20,000 Listed contest at the tail end. That was over 14 furlongs on good ground. He had a wide draw and was forced to race 3 wide, off a muddling pace. He did by far the best of anything off the pace, only failing to get up by 1.75 lengths.

He picked up an RPR of 98 for the run (Timeform 106) and races from a BHA mark of 88 today.

They don't have a good program of suitable 2m+ staying flat races in France, so the following season they tried him dropped back to middle distances which only confirmed he wants a trip. He's only ever been tried twice at 1m6fl+ and he's run really well both times.

Today's race on a flat 2 miles around York, where he should get an end to end gallop looks ideal. He won't be wound up to 'run for his life' - that's not the O'Meara way on debut - but off a mark of 88 he doesn't need to be, especially when they are offering circa. 16/1 to 4 places.

Win, lose or draw today, he's one for the tracker.

Good luck,

5.00 York, Dalshand 1pt EW 16/1+, 1/4 odds to 4 places

Herbie is one of the pro-gamblers in the ENIGMA forum:

About us: http://www.keyracingnews.com/about-us/4593890647

Dalshand (FR) - promising addition to the GB staying division for David O'Meara

30 Sep 2017

Cambridgeshire Handicap (Heritage)

Regular readers will know I make a bee-line for the enhanced place terms offered in top quality big field handicaps; so I've been rubbing my hands this morning as they don't come much bigger than the Cambridgeshire.

A strongly run handicap over the unusual 9fl trip on a straight course is perfect fodder for big prices in the frame. Especially, in the case of Hills or Sky, where that frame is 8 places.

Every year, this handicap is like 2 races. The upwardly mobile improvers with marks up around 100 and the lesser lights with perhaps more experience and lighter loads who can run to their mark, or a little better, in a very strongly run race.

Almost every year the RPR's of the first 5 or 6 home jump around all over the place. For example in 2015 the first 5 home were awarded RPR's of; 106, 111, 96, 98 and 104 (the winner 106). The horses who achieved RPR's of 96 and 98 were priced at 50/1 and 20/1 respectively. That's just one year.

If you go back far enough over the last 20 years, you'll even find a winner of this race at 100/1. Clearly, you could do your brains trying to root out a horse like that, but there is a nice way to check whether the field might hold a likely candidate:

Age 5 or 6
Handicap mark same as last win or up to 7lbs higher
Weight 8-6 to 8-9 (before any riders' claim)
Finished 1st or 2nd in any of last 3 runs

The fairly-weighted, in form, competitive 5 and 6yo's are heavily overlooked. To be fair you don’t get too many of the right kind but they do crop up. Over the last 20 renewals there has been just 14 qualifiers, but 7 of those either won or made the frame. The most recent example was Bronze Angel in 2014. Many will also remember Prince of Johanne winning in 2011 at 40/1.

There is a qualifier this year, NICHOLAS T trained by Jim Goldie.

A late bloomer, he's been in career best form this season and quietly improving. He's also very flexible, coping equally well with turf as different as Ayr, Ascot or York.

The most recent run at York was very interesting: stepped up to 10.5fl in a high quality handicap, he was bang there with a furlong to go, fading quickly. However the run needs marking up, as he had no chance racing on the slowest part of the track. That was a very strongly run race, and he proved he could go toe to toe for 9.5fl. The drop to 9fl looks plumb perfect here.

He's drawn low and that may or may not work out the place to be. He would also probably appreciate good ground rather than gd-sft - although he ran a very big race recently at Ascot with cut. He's a standing dish at Ayr where the ground soon gets very holding and I suspect Newmarket gd-sft will be fine if they avoid more rain.

At the prices though, I'm more than happy to pay to find out.

Good luck,

3.35 Newmarket, Nicholas T - 1pt EW 100/1, 1/5 odds to 8 places Hills

Herbie is one of the pro-gamblers in the ENIGMA forum:

About us: http://www.keyracingnews.com/about-us/4593890647

** FeedbackUnlucky yesterday, Sands Chorus, 2nd at 100/1 carried 8-05, just 1lb outside the criteria used. Suffice to say we've amended the weight range for next year! Great example though of the angle...the TV pundits completely bemused! Nicholas T out of sorts, keep an eye on him, he's much better than that but likely needs better ground and/or flat track **

Nicholas T, looks well suited to a 9fl trip in the Cambridgeshire for Jim Goldie


9 Sep 2017

Chapel Down Handicap (Class 2)

This is the sort of weather that can fry your brains trying to find a decent bet, but after a good hunt round this morning there is one horse who looks underrated at Ascot today.

When Tony Carroll sends a sprinter to a southern Grade 1 track, you should give the horse a second glance. He's an 'under the radar' trainer at these venues, despite enjoying great success with quality sprinters like Boom The Groom, Caspian Prince and Time Medicean - so the prices are often attractive.

And Mr Carroll does look like he's got his hands on another interesting one in DOC SPORTELLO who ran a very taking debut for the yard at this venue in the Shergar Cup - motoring home from the rear in the final furlong, but shaping with promise throughout.

The extra furlong today looks ideal and the testing ground, if anything, could suit him better than good to soft.

He does have an in and out profile, but the signs last time were that he's thriving, and at the price looks well worth a speculative bet.

Good luck,

5.05 Ascot, Doc Sportello 1pt EW 22/1+, 1/4 odds to 3 places

Herbie is one of the pro-gamblers in the ENIGMA forum:

About us: http://www.keyracingnews.com/about-us/4593890647

** Feedback: well beaten, not the horse the yard thought he was on this evidence **

Ascot racecourse, more rain on the way this afternoon