Michael Foster Conditions Stakes (Class 3)

At first glance this conditions stakes looks a one-sided affair with the 110-rated Custom Cut taking on an assortment of handicappers and one or two under-achievers.

However the 8-y-o gelding is a son of soft ground sire Notnowcato, and has done all his best work on an easy surface. They are relying on class to win out, for a horse who comes across these days as not quite absolutely keen to put it all in.

Bookmakers make a career out of laying such horses and 4/5 looks awfully short.

Bryan Smart will be hoping that gelding proves the key to Kentuckyconnection, who was 5th in last year's Guineas but one I have in my tracker, and who could well be improving, is Kevin Ryan's MOUNT TAHAN.

The 5-y-o looked in great nick in the Spring Mile, travelling best of all for a long way before just finding the trip slightly beyond him. 7fl is his bag and the step back down is just what he wants.

Take out the slightly wobbly favourite and it's certainly an open race, and I'm not at all surprised Mount Tahan has attracted support this morning.

Good luck today,

1.5pt win Mount Tahan, 6/1 generally

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


** Feedback: Ran well for 3rd, a drifting favourite duly beaten - a great bet for layers. Our pick went off 100/30 - we won't go too far wrong this year backing those at 6/1 **

Custom Cut (right) could well prove vulnerable today on fast ground 


Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

Grand National day is upon us with the big one in this later 5.15pm slot, which still all feels a bit new. I wish they would stop fiddling. Anyhoo…

The way to play the National for profit over time is to concentrate on the enhanced EW terms and fish for big prices. We've seen multiple win and placed SP's of 100/1 this century and all sorts of fancy prices make the first 5 or 6 home. 

Those terms, especially to 6 places make the layers very vulnerable if you steer towards them and away from simply trying to pick the winner - which is the trap the bookies are relying on you falling into.

We have figured out the optimum strategy for tackling the big EW prices, but for that you need to be an ENIGMA member. If you want the exact details of how to do it - not to mention the 2017 picks, just go here:


And a very shrewd move that would be too!

In the meantime, we've got something else for you which I hope and think will get your day off to an excellent start in the 1.45.

The J P McManus owned NO COMMENT ended up in one of those races at the Festival where runners held up had no chance off an unusually slow pace. Well fancied for the Martin Pipe, No Comment showed his excellent form with eye-catching progress. Philip Hobbs' gelding did much the best of those most disadvantaged and obviously didn't have a hard race.

His previous win ahead of Minella Awards reads well and he's the choice today of Barry Geraghty. The trip is an unknown but I do think it looks suitable on this surface. Put it this way, if he does stay I think he will run a very big race.

1pt win & 1pt EW No Comment, 10/1 various, 4x1/4

Good luck today,

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


** Feedback: Excellent 2nd for No Comment, finding this combo of trip and pace well suited to his hold up style. Meanwhile ENIGMA members who followed our Grand National EW system were rewarded with Saint Are and Gas Line Boy in the first 5, advised at 33/1 and 80/1 respectively. We did warn you! **

Banking on a winner today in the green and gold for J P McManus and Philip Hobbs



Betway Spring Mile Handicap (Class 2)

Short and sweet this week.

Lady Bamford isn't interested in owning gelded handicappers, let alone 6yo ones - so there's no doubt J Gosden thinks this horse has a valid shot at being Group quality.

He certainly has the look of one.

Also fits a long term stat we keep about unexposed J Gosden runners in April who reappear in decent handicaps at Group 1 venues.

2pt win Sacred Act, 9/2 various

Good luck today,

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

** Feedback: stood no chance with a heavy draw bias in evidence against those who raced stands' side, but one to keep a close eye on. The vibes from the yard were firmly as expected **

John Gosden must be on plan D for Sacred Act by now, but he looks a good one



The Perfect Post Cheltenham Tonic

I hope you noticed Premier Bond's very gutsy run in the Kim Muir this week (finished 3rd, beaten under 2 lengths). We own a share in him via our Enigma Racing syndicates.

Another one we have a share in, Divine Spear runs at Kempton today and we're expecting a very good run. He's been working well - in fact there are no negatives at all, his work suggests he's improving and Mr Henderson thinks it’s the ideal race for him so we are certainly hopeful.

Well worth a little EW investment - as indeed are the Enigma Racing syndicates.

So far, in 3.5 years of having runners, the syndicates have:

Made 18 people Group 1 winning owners
Made 18 people British Classic placed owners
Made 25 people Cheltenham Festival placed owners
Made 7 people - all of the above!

We currently have the last few shares available in a very nice 2yo with Mark Johnston - a handsome, well bred colt who is doing everything right - that's him pictured below.

Comes highly recommended. If you'd like a brochure just drop me a line:

Good luck today,

1pt win & 1pt EW Divine Spear, 9/1 various, 4x1/4

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

** Feedback: Divine Spear ran a great race to finish 2nd, only beaten by a Paul Nicholls' handicap blot who is now Grade 1 entered at Aintree...**

Take your place with one of our exciting 2yo's this summer - Ventura Knight, trained by Mark Johnston


Matchbook VIP 'National Hunt' Novices' Handicap Hurdle Final (Grade 3)

With Cheltenham just around the corner I wasn't sure whether anything would interest me today, but I was pleased to spot a runner I've been waiting for - and I think there's reason to believe this might be the day to catch him.

Mr Henderson was gutted to lose the services of MINELLA AWARDS when Potensis Bloodstock threw in the National Hunt ownership towel last year. In the kerfuffle that followed, the gelding ended up being taken out of the yard, much against the trainers wishes.

Being owners in the yard ourselves we got the gist of things. As such, I would be fairly confident that the run in Feb 2016 was for experience, and not to be taken too literally. After such a long time off I also think it's reasonable to assume his latest run was merely a pipe-opener.

I suspect Minella Awards is much better judged on a very taking run at Newbury behind Champers On Ice - a horse who was afterwards 3rd in the Albert Bartlett behind Unowhatimeanharry, and finished ahead of Barters Hill. That's a serious piece of collateral form, and if you watch the race it was also the manner in which Minella Awards went about his business. He has a quality engine.

A stiff galloping track on soft ground looks tailor made for him. It's no surprise he steps straight into Graded company here and conditions look perfect. If he's as good as Mr Henderson used to think he was, he will have a very decent chance in this.

At the price I'd much rather have 2 points on the win rather than dilute the stake EW.

2pt win Minella Awards, 9/1 B365, 8/1 generally

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

** Feedback: not much to add, confidently ridden to score a decisive victory **

Harry Fry - has an interesting runner at Sandown in Minella Awards