16 Feb 2019

William Hill Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade 2)

This race has tended to be a graveyard for favourites over the last decade, although soft or heavy ground doesn't apply today which may assist Yanworth who comes back from nearly a year off.

A good criteria for value in this race is to focus on horses who ran on a Saturday last time out and have previously run in a race of at least a 3 miles. This has short-listed the winner 16 times since 1998 (16/83 +25.08 to SP). 

This improves to (16/75 +33.08), if excluding horses with a mark lower than 138. This angle has each way potential as when it misses the horse that finished 2nd is almost always short-listed too.

This year the qualifiers are Shades Of Midnight and 2018 winner Donna's Diamond. 

It's easy to side with Shades Of Midnight, the latter is considerably up in weight from last year, lacks his preferred testing ground and finished 76 lengths behind Shades Of Midnight on their last start at Kelso.

If the Yanworth of old turns up there will only be one winner, but Shades Of Midnight looks to have Clyne (who would definitely much prefer it a lot softer) to beat for 2nd, comes into this in-form and looks a fair price.

1.55 Haydock, Shades Of Midnight, 1pt EW 9/1 various, 2x1/4

** Set the fractions, with Yanworth beaten a long way out. Ran out a comfortable winner **

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

Haydock Park racecourse


2 Feb 2019

888Sport Masters Handicap Chase (Class 2)

I’m relieved the racing has survived at Sandown as finally we have a meeting run in the kind of conditions we’d expect for the time of year.

Moreover, the ENIGMA Racing syndicates have a stake in Divine Spear who runs there today in the most backable handicap on the card, and there are good reasons to think he may be about to outrun his current quote of 22/1.

Divine Spear is quite a big unit and it took him a while to fill out his frame. He’s a very solid jumper, chasing was always going to be his game and last year body and mind came together and we got a glimpse of the horse he could be. A freak injury on the very eve of the 2018 Festival spoiled the party as he’d been primed to arrive there at his peak.

Going into that we were confident he was well-handicapped, and he’s since come down a couple of pounds. Rated 139, we think (and hope) he’s destined to wind up well into the 140’s over fences.

With regard to today, it’s worth bearing in mind that Divine Spear's half-brother Jadanli was a Thyestes Chase winner who loved it soft and I think this is the sort of race the Spear been building up to his whole career.

Put a line through the run last year at Musselburgh, that was purely for fitness – he’s better judged on the prior run when hacking up at Ascot on soft by 10 lengths in a novice chase (giving 5lbs to Exitas who is now rated 142). Divine Spear has often run well right-handed and, crucially, today he finally again gets his conditions.

At Cheltenham on reappearance this year the yard thought he would run well, but the ground was very firm underneath and he didn’t travel a yard. Nico eased him down a long way out to save him for another day. We know he’s a lot better than that. He’s largely unfancied today coming off that run.

It is possible that he’s lost his appetite for the game, but there’s no doubt in my mind he is overpriced to find out. My bigger concern is whether he’ll stay the 3-mile trip in these conditions at a course as stiff as Sandown. That is a journey into the unknown but his jumping, breeding and liking for the conditions give him a shot. Nico hasn’t lost faith in him either.

3.35 Sandown, Divine Spear 0.75pt EW 22/1, 5x1/5 various

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

** Nico reports the Spear travelled great but simply didn't stay. 2.5 miles is his trip, especially in testing ground. He jumped and travelled, compensation awaits in due course **

Divine Spear looks underestimated today at Sandown in ideal conditions


1 Feb 2019

Blog update Feb 2019

Time to login for a quick update.

I tend to take a bit of a break November through January, so for a while there's not been much I've really liked or liked enough to put on the blog. And then the unseasonal conditions this winter have added an extra dimension of wariness.

The old adage goes that when the ground is heavy keep your money in your pocket, but in my experience seasonal heavy ground in October is just fine - but ground riding the fast side of good in January most definitely isn’t. And now it’s snowing!

Weather aside, I take a closer punting interest from the first Saturday after Feb 14th. For me, prime punting runs from Valentine’s Day to Halloween (easy to remember too).

It's just as well I have a break though, because life gets extremely busy elsewhere.

It’s astonishing how the ENIGMA syndicates have grown. From just a pair of yearlings with Richard Hannon in 2013, we now have a stake in over 50 horses across GB and IRE.

Late autumn is the time the new yearlings come up for sale. So far, we’ve invested in 22 new youngsters - all now limbering up for their 2yo season. 5 with Richard Hannon, 3 with Mark Johnston, a brace each with Messrs. Fahey and Burke. The rest are spread around top yards all over the country.

Thrills + fun = Success

The reason the syndicates have succeeded is quite simple. They offer enormous fun and great thrills, for a price many of us can afford.

Don't take my word for it, have a look at our reviews on Google 

Because our share price is so low, lots of people have become involved who never dreamt they'd be able to fulfil the dream of ownership. 

And this affordability means it’s also easy to build up a string of horses, which makes a huge difference.

As anyone who has spent thousands on bigger shares in the past will tell you, ENIGMA Racing offers the chance to enjoy almost all the same benefits, but with the benefit of being able to buy shares in multiple horses (with plenty of change left over).

More horses mean your chances of connecting with a really good one rapidly increase.

Which Is Important

Taking on royalty and the super-rich isn’t easy, but with our collective spending power we give ourselves real chances. In just 5 years of having runners we’ve won over 130 races – including 10 Listed or Group races, right up to Group 1.

Plus we’ve finished 2nd in the St Leger. Entering the final furlong leading a British Classic is an off-the-charts experience. Who gets into ownership and does that? Very few. This year we have a horse aimed at both the British and Irish Guineas.

When all's said and done we're in it for the glory, the challenge of trying to win high quality races. But sometimes it can be about the money too.

Last year a horse we held a stake in was sold to Hong Kong for £1,000,000, beating our previous best of £600,000 – although with prize money that horse actually made just over £950,000.

The ENIGMA syndicate are primarily an investment in pleasure but the cheques when they do come are very welcome too.

The shares are sold exclusively to members of the ENIGMA Forum and everything posted on the forum this winter has already sold out. However, I keep a few back so we have something to offer new members. If interested, drop me a line:

You can read about the syndicates here:

So, we are set fair and looking forward to a huge year in 2019, across betting and bloodstock. If you love your racing, there's nowhere quite like the ENIGMA Forum to enjoy both and I hope you come and visit us sometime.

Good luck to us all, and best wishes for the season ahead.


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