10 Oct 2019

Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap (Class 6)

With the yearling sales in full swing I've been a bit pre-occupied of late sifting new recruits for the Enigma Racing shares scheme and putting syndicates together.

However, almost all the shares are sold now and I'm back in the game, limbering up for the Cesarewitch meeting, when this one popped up on my stats for Southwell today.

For reasons that are probably obvious to everyone by now, USA-breeding (especially USA dirt breeding) is of prime interest on Southwell's fibresand surface. 

There is a clear statistical edge in taking a chance on these sorts before the market can accurately weigh their ability. But on debut they have long proved under-priced - particularly if you focus on yards who employ it as a repeated strategy.

This has been around for ages but there are far fewer USA-bred horses around here these days, and so just a trickle of qualifiers. Richard Fahey has one today:

Richard Fahey USA-bred runners on fibresand debut at Southwell; 5 wins from 22 (22.73% SR, £27.63 LSP - an ROI of 125.59% at SP).

He has a couple of runners in the 6.15 and SEVEN FOR A POUND might be the sort to do well. He has a good draw and makes his fibresand debut having only ever shown interesting career form on the all-weather, most notably at Lingfield where he didn't stay 10fl. 

He's since come down 12lbs and looks potentially set up for a winter campaign. The drop down to a mile looks a sensible move and he has to be of interesting trying fibresand for the first time, with a USA breeding on both sides of his pedigree. 

6.15 Southwell, Seven For A Pound 1pt win 15/2 various

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold betting thread on the ENIGMA forum

Enigma racing forum: 5-Star review average on Google


14 Sept 2019


Apols for the lack of a recent post, the ENIGMA Racing syndicates have monopolised my time for the past few weeks - see the latest shares with Mark Johnston, Joseph O’Brien & Richard Hannon. Prices from just £180.

Everyone is on A Momentofmadness this year, although we had the distinction of tipping him in 2018 at 25/1 – see the Blog Post.

Moreover, readers of my thread on the ENIGMA forum got 33/1 (a lesson in there somewhere).

A MOMENTOFMADNESS goes very well fresh and last year skipped York en route to here, so I was surprised to see him line up at York this year. But the way he ran shaped like putting the finishing touches to him, so despite a different prep I can’t see a reason to lose faith.

The 5.5fl trip suits him perfectly, he ran an excellent time last year and is 4lbs lower now. His whole season revolves around this race and we know he’s coming into it in good nick. He doesn’t want it rattling quick, but the watered ground should be ideal.

Clive Cox is a man to keep on side at this meeting. September is usually a very good month for the yard, and this is a meeting he increasingly targets. Since 2016, his runners have returned a blind profit; 5 win or placed from 12, for +44.05 pts LSP (EW). Cox is also a previous winner of this race (as was Charlie Hills last year).  

He fields KONCHEK who was an eye-catcher last time out and looks to have been put by for this meeting.

Konchek has been highly tried but remains a low-mileage horse who has gradually come down to a workable mark. This looks his level and, most importantly, this also looks his trip and ground. The track should also suit.

You could play this various ways for a place - if you have a Hills account it would be almost rude not to take the 7 place concession - but feeling ahead of the game after last year I’m personally content to simply take these two against the field.

1.50 Doncaster, A Momentofmadness 1.5pt win 7/1 various
1.50 Doncaster, Konchek 1pt win 33/1 various

Herbie has 3 more selections today at Doncaster and Leopardstown – available to readers of his Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA forum.

Doncaster racecourse, Town Moor. Home of the St Leger


17 Aug 2019

William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap (Class 2)

Delighted to be back from a bit of an extended summer break. With so much growth in the ENIGMA racehorse share syndicates, summer has actually become a good time reign it in, before the yearling sales season starts up again this weekend.

The Great St Wilfrid handicap has always been a favourite of mine, especially when there’s a bit of cut underfoot as it rules out so many while ruling in those with the relevant course form.

The perfect profile for this race is runners aged 4 to 7, with 1 to 3 previous course wins. So great is the advantage of winning course form, just applying this criteria to any 3yo+ or 4yo+ class 2 sprint run at Ripon since 2003 produces a blind profit of +£43 from 166 qualifiers.

Having narrowed the field, and with soft ground firmly in mind, the one I like is Mark Johnston’s LAKE VOLTA who has a great deal going for him.

Two of his best three career runs have come on soft, including over 6fl at Hamilton just 3 starts back. He’s since run at Ascot, a course where he never runs well, and faced an impossible task in the Stewards’ Cup.

He tends to be ridden to the fore which is ideal for this track and his Ripon course form over 6fl reads 3rd, 1st (3rd was in Listed company). His central draw also looks realistic, with low to middle draws usually favoured, especially in these conditions.

A few firms have put their head above the parapet, offering 6 places which looks particularly attractive.

Good luck!

3.15 Ripon, Lake Volta 1pt EW 9/1, 6x1/5 (Hills, Paddy)

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

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Ripon - Yorkshire's garden racecourse hosts the Great St Wilfrid handicap


15 Jun 2019

Pavers Foundation Sprint Handicap (Class 2)

I’ve barely noticed the weather this week as I’ve been sifting through research ahead of Royal Ascot, but bobbed up to take a good look at this handicap, which is one I always enjoy as it has a history of landing excellent prices – 6 at double figures in the last 10 years, and 3 of those at 20/1+

The reason is simple, it’s a 3yo only race, wide open to improvers – whereas the market tends to run short of inspiration and overbet form in the book. While soft ground helps to keep Arab-owned hotpots away and maintain a nice open affair.

The fact that neither Moore or Doyle are riding for Haggas today suggests Victory Day is not necessarily a good thing. Doyle can do the weight and is riding for Haggas earlier on the card but appears to not have wanted it.

Moreover, Danny Tudhope surely had the choice of Victory Day and SECRET VENTURE and rides the latter (having ridden both last time out). I don’t lay horses by inclination, but if I did I’d be laying Victory Day.

Secret Venture was unsuited by the ground on reappearance and lost a shoe. He’s a lightly raced improver for a top northern sprint yard and should appreciate the conditions. He looks well drawn too, but more of that later.

Perhaps less obvious is another runner from the Kevin Ryan yard, YOUSINI. It’s worth watching his last run at Newmarket where he travelled into the race like a proper horse until flashing his tail and backing out. It’s a fine line with him – he really wants some juice but can cope with goodish ground if it’s loose on top (but didn’t that day.)

He’s by Siyouni and has always wanted some ease, but last summer that was impossible to find and by autumn he needed wind surgery, so was put away. We have a share in him via the ENIGMA Racing Syndicates, so we’re aware of all this. Finally, he has it all in place today. 

Yousini is in very good form at home and if he disappoints it will only be that his suspect wind has come to haunt him (which I don't think it will.) The yard think he’ll run a big race and I’m pretty hopeful too.

As regards draw, I looked back over the last 17 class 2 sprint handicaps run at York (ie since 2016), run on gd-sft or wetter, and every winner was drawn 1-11. Both the above are drawn low and looking at the stats that certainly doesn’t feel like a negative.

Royal Ascot

I will try and post the odd thing here during the Royal meeting – however if you’d like to follow me bet for bet (which historically is a productive thing to do), it's good moment to join the ENIGMA Forum, where you can subscribe to my Key Racing Gold thread to receive an email with each bet.

Good luck!

3.35 York, Secret Venture 1pt EW 14/1, 5x1/5
3.35 York, Yousini 1pt EW 33/1 5x1/5

** Secret Venture disappointing, Yousini 5th to collect excellent place money - Victory Day beaten for lay bettors (but only just!) **

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.ENIGMARACING.NET/RACING-FORUM

The Knavesmire, Ascot of the North


1 Jun 2019

Derby Day 2019

I chipped in the Oaks winner yesterday for my Key Racing Gold thread which is having another excellent month on the ENIGMA FORUM and I think there’s every chance I can complete the double as we eye up the boys’ event.

With Sir Dragonet in 13 and Telecaster drawn 2, the Frankie factor looks to be at play in the Derby market with the well-drawn Circus Maximus an EW compromise bet, Dettori riding for Ballydoyle.

Circus Maximus is a decent trends match. You are looking for unexposed, improving runners (2 to 5 career starts), top-3 last time out with a prep at Chester, Leopardstown, Newmarket or York.
The kicker is they need to be drawn in stalls 4 and 15. Lower than 4 and you need a lot of luck to overcome traffic problems. Above stall 11 it becomes tricky, but if you have the class to inhale your peers, you usually get the bonus of a clear run.

The qualifiers this year are: SIR DRAGONET and Circus Maximus. After Frankie’s performance yesterday Circus Maximus has attracted support (he looks a frame chance), but it’s questionable whether he has the brilliance to win.

But then again few horses in this field have firmly hinted at the combo of brilliance and stamina that marks out a really good one. Only two appeal as having such potential, Sir Dragonet and Telecaster, and I'd rather be drawn in 13 than 2. It's not the biggest Derby field, stall 13 isn't a disaster for a horse with class, but Telecaster will certainly need luck in running.

The Dash

As you know, we are also active with a very successful racehorse share scheme. Amazingly, we have a stake in 2 runners today at the Derby meeting (a thrill in itself), and at least one of them deserves a mention.

HAROME is a fast horse who likes to lead and the Epsom Dash has long been the race they’ve had in mind. He also loves fast ground and arrives here cherry-ripe on a nice mark from a decent draw.

Roger Fell is an excellent trainer. He was David O’Meara’s landlord and assistant in his ‘magic period’ and Fell now trains in his own right from the same premises with much the same result. In short, Harome is in very good hands.

His recent run at York put the finishing touches to his fitness, whilst running an eye-catching race from the wrong side of the draw. ENIGMA FORUM members took 25/1 EW midweek, but he’s still very backable and we’d like to think can be bang there.

3.45 Epsom, Harome 1pt EW 16/1, 5x1/5 various
4.30 Epsom, Sir Dragonet 2pt win 3/1 various

** Harome blew the start and finished like a train from dead last into 6th - so frustrating, would surely have gone very close. Sir Dragonet, ultimately, not good enough **

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.ENIGMARACING.NET/RACING-FORUM

The Investec Derby Stakes 2019 Group 1