Thursday 24th January


A very wintry good morning! It has been a few days since the last post and that has been largely the responsibility of the crazy british weather since the weekend! I’ve had some crazy experiences in the car the last few days. Localised snow in my village has caused carnage and I had to give up my shift on Timeform Radio on Tuesday. I’ve arrived up at Coral TV towers and the weather is not really any better up here. Hotel car park is completely covered in snow still but we firmly have our fingers crossed that we are getting warmer and Cheltenham can go ahead at the weekend!

News has come out this morning that Ladbrokes have acquired Betdaq in a deal worth around £25 million. It is an interesting move and I will be keen to see if they try to integrate it in any way but the reality is that Betfair are still a clear industry leader.

Last night’s football was not exactly thrilling for me but exactly what I expected. The only thing that shocked me is that we scored first. I have a lot of respect for Big Sam. He’s done a job for the club and everyone knows what he is about but why would you go to a game like Arsenal, a London derby and rest your three best players when you have a week off after today? Jarvis, Cole (Joe not beanpole) and Diame all left out. Baffling. We got exactly what we deserved for pathetic defending. I have to send all my best to young Dan Potts. A serious prospect and a hammer through and through. Wish you a speedy recovery mate. Oh yeah there was another game wasn’t there. What on earth was the whole ball boy saga about. First Hazard is an idiot for what he did, secondly the ball boy/man (apparently he is 17) is an idiot for going down like Jordan on a first date.

Fingers crossed as I mentioned that the weather is set to improve and we can get some serious racing back on the agenda! There are a couple of runners today from the hot list but they are both a little shorter in the market than I had hoped. The first of them is BAHRI SHEEN (4.00 Kemp) who was a winner last time out off a dropping mark of 53 in a race where he beat the well fancied Norwegian Reward and pulled five lengths clear of the remainder in the process. A 6lb rise is not that excessive on the back of that considering his back form and provided there is some pace to run at I think he could be a player and is available to back at 6.4 on Betfair.

PASTORAL JET (4.35 Kemp) looked a progressive animal to me last year and actually ran a bit better than the form suggests last time. A mark of 56 doesn’t look impossible to me and a continuation of his progression could see him take this a shade cheekily today under the very capable Thomas Brown. There are some really exposed animals in here and the only one that really concerns me is the top weight Hip Hip Hooray who is on a nice mark and has George Baker in the saddle. I think he is a really solid bet later on and will be playing at around 3/1.

Those of you that read regularly will know just how much I love Mick Appleby’s ART SCHOLAR and he makes his second start over at Meydan today in the opening 11f handicap. His run last time was full of promise as he got checked in the run a couple of times. He is currently favourite and I’m not sure he deserves to be so short but I expect a few sentimental quid will be thrown at him. The yard could do with a winner and I hope it’s him! Come on the Scholar!!

The feature race on the card over at Gowran Park is the GOFFS THEYESTES HANDICAP CHASE (3.25). It really is a bit of a punting minefield as there are several plotted up runners as well as some smart ones. I’ve given the race the once over and the pencil has landed on a couple at relatively big prices and I will split stakes on them each way in the hope of a decent return. The two are MURCHU and IN GREAT FORM. The former actually looks fairly treated and will love the light weight and the latter looks to me like he has been being tee’d up for a tilt at a little punt. They are long shots in a wide open contest on bad ground and the 20’s and 21’s available on Betfair will do me fine!

Fingers crossed that we are going to get the go ahead at Cheltenham at the weekend, it looks a belting card! I have been doing my usual late scramble to get accommodation sorted for the festival……..anyone know of anywhere cheap ish hook me up!!

Enjoy a good day! Be lucky! Let’s have some winners!



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