Derby weekend preview!


Well a very good evening campers. What an enjoyable day today was (apart from England’s performance at Lords). Absolutely delighted for Ralph Beckett for his one-two in the Oaks this afternoon. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ralph on the phone on Timeform Radio yesterday and he was a pleasure to speak to and  very pleased with both of his filly’s going into today. If you were listening it was a classic radio moment as myself and Rory (Delargy) were discussing Talent at the time that our producer put the call live. I think Rory is now off Ralph’s Christmas card list but on a brighter note, I doubt he cares tonight.

I have to say that I do feel for a lot of my colleagues who were all on Secret Gesture at massive prices months ago. For what it’s worth I think she still might actually be a better filly that talent, things just didn’t quite go her way today. It would have been a very interesting finish had she got first run and a clearer passage. Still there is no doubt that they were quite clearly the two best horses in the race.

A terrific result from my horses to follow list today too as JUST PAUL won at Catterick. Most of you will know that he’s been on the radar for some time. I’ve had to be pretty patient as he went on the list last year. The SP of 14/1 was beautiful.The only other selection today was HELL HATH NO FURY. A nightmare passage down on the inside having slightly missed the break and midge had to sit and suffer to a degree. She looks on a nice mark and I’m sure it won’t be long before the losses are recouped.

I have a full weekend of cricket to take care of so I will not be around so I’ve spent the evening going through tomorrow’s cards and I have managed to come up with a couple of selections. One is fairly obvious.

I will start things off in the Woodcote Stakes (2.05 Epsom). Kodiac’s two-year olds have made a magical start to 2013 with 11 wins from 36 runs and he has two in here that are both of major interest to me. The likely short priced favourite will be Richard Hannon’s Thunder Strike but I think there is reason to take him on as from all the runners he has beaten in his two starts only one of them has even managed to place since. He may be smart but he is much too short. I really like the look of HAIKBIDIAC who’s available to back at 9/2 on Betfair this evening and I think he might be a bit shorter come post time. He won well on debut before looking like 5f was a bit too sharp on his second start. This step up to six should really suit and he has the added assistance of Ryan Moore and a good draw in stall 4. I expect Ryan may track Richard Hughes early and pounce late. I will be having a saver on MONEY TEAM for Bill Turner. He was really well backed last week ahead of his smooth victory and I think he might be up to this step up in class. He’s available to back tonight on Betfair at about 17.5 and that will do nicely.

I will take great pleasure in watching St Nicholas Abbey winning the Coronation Cup again as he is one of my favourite horses in training.

I managed to narrow the dash down to about 3 or 4 but couldn’t find any value anywhere as the ones I like are towards the head of the market. If you had to put a gun to my head I would probably side with Captain Dunne but it is wide open. If you fancy LONG AWAITED you are probably going to have no finger nails by the end of the race as Hughesy is going to have to pull out one of his master classes! Good luck!

The Investec Derby 4.00 Epsom

A race that revolves around the stamina of DAWN APPROACH. Jim Bolger’s unbeaten colt comes here on the back of being very strong at the finish in the 2000 Guineas, as he has been in most of his races. His sire New Approach’s progeny are proving to be stout stayers but it is on the Dam side that the doubts are being bantered about. His dam (Hymn Of The Dawn) raced five times over 6-8f and finished with a rating of 73 (not deserved). She is by the US bred PHONE TRICK who was a classy sprinter and who’s own progeny have never won a race over 9 furlongs.

I for one think he will stay. He has a classy way of travelling through his races and the downhill section of the course at Epsom will come at a time when a lot of these will be pressing the button. As a result I think that Kevin will be able to sit on the bridle for much longer than he would normally want too and then he can use the unbeaten colt’s class to get him home.

On a line through Sugar Boy the disparity in the market between Battle of Marengo and GALILEO ROCK is stupid. GR has been crying out for at least a mile and a half and as such I think he represents a degree of interest in the Betfair place market. He might well be a St Leger horse later in the year and the 8.6 about him to place with a small win saver has to go in the book aswell.

I think Dawn Approach will win mind and he goes down as a maximum as he continues to drift.

Disappointed with England today at Lords. I can’t see why Jade Dernbach still gets in the side. Yes he has a good slower ball but most frontline bowlers do. He’s a good T20 addition but he is not a one day frontline bowler. It brought back some great memories watching the game today having played at Lords in the National Village Cup final two years ago. The road back there continues this Sunday in the Regional Semi Final.

The conference finals in the NHL get underway tomorrow too and the Bruins travel to Pittsburgh for games one and two so a couple of late nights are in order! Let’s go BRUINS!

I trust you’ll all have a an excellent weekend. Be lucky, back plenty of winners.




BING BONG, stewards enquiry, stewards enquiry!


There are certain things in our sport that drive us mad. Small number cloths, awful rides, non triers, pathetic each way terms, being stuck in the 1960’s…..and so on. Then there are the things that tip you over the edge. Yet again the winning margin has lured the stewards into amending a result when the simple fact of the matter is the better horse won on the day. At the end of a grueling three miles and half a furlong both Rebel Swing and Bishophill Jack under Samantha Drake and Nick Scholfield respectively are out on their feet climbing the Towcester mountain. Both jump the last markedly right-handed before both horses then drifted back towards the rail in a tight finish. Samantha Drake tried her best to change her whip hand but just didn’t have the time, or ability in which to do so. Rebel swing held on in a tight finish and other than a small bump 40 yards from the line there was minimal contact. Now the stewards have come to the conclusion that had there been no interference, Bishophill Jack would have won. Pardon? If they had both run in a straight line over the last, Rebel Swing would have won. Fact.

The inconsistencies within the stewards is baffling and this has finally drawn me to the conclusion that we need to move on and have full-time professional stewards. To rub salt into the wound Samantha was handed a two-day ban………..she has my full sympathy.

 Most of you will know that most of my video study is concentrated on handicaps but I have stuck a few in the notebook from maidens over the last week. DISKO caught my eye at Bath last week and is one to note. As is WIKI TIKI who ran at Windsor on Monday night. Twice now Wiki Tiki has run over 5f and been readily outpaced despite travelling ok. On pedigree she is likely to need at least a mile, probably further and I would expect to see her over 5 or 6 again soonish to get a mark and she might then be held back for a nursery later in the year off a very workable mark. A slightly more obvious one was COSSETED who ran at Nottingham this week in the colours of Cheveley Park. Stayed on really nicely into 2nd with the jockey taking things very easily.

From the last seven days my handicapper to follow is GLOSSY POSSE from the Richard Hannon stable. She endured a really troubled passage at Doncaster last week and Richard Hughes gave up a long way out when he was still travelling very well as she was never going to get close. This was over seven furlongs and she is likely to appreciate a step up in trip too (by Dubawi out of a Fantastic Light mare) and looks like a well handicapped filly off 66!

Today’s cards are tough and I don’t have any eye catchers running. One horse that I do think is interesting to a degree though is RIDGEWAY HAWK (5.20 Southwell). I’m not really an each way punter but he looks a bit of a first three certainty. He can find trouble but he goes well here and is likely to reverse the form with Thorpe Bay from a couple of runs back and maybe we could play it with one point to win and two points to place on the old Betfair machine!

Working on Coral TV today with Martin Kelly. So I will be doing my best to try to make him laugh or mess things up through the day.

Great news that West Ham have made big moves already signing Rat from Shaktar looks a very good piece of business and we have agreed a deal with Liverpool for Andy Carroll. Fingers crossed the personal terms can be agreed. The Bruins won game three last night too and now lead 3-0. A place in the conference finals is within touching distance!

If anyone has a cure for Psoriasis please let me know. Mine has gone bonkers.

Be lucky today,



The sabattical is over!


Hello campers! I’ll kick off with massive apologies for the lack of posting over the last month or so! Work, social and sporting life gets very hectic at this time of year which has taken up a lot of my time. I’m committed to playing league cricket at the weekend so I have to cram my freelance broadcast commitments into the week so I spend my life travelling from Monday-Friday at this tie of year. My laptop that has finally stuck its middle finger up at me after 4 years of abuse. Writing a blog on an Iphone is not cool and absolutely kills your eyes.

What have we missed? Well Dawn Approach looks just about unbeatable. He might not even need to truly stay a mile and a half to be winning the derby next weekend. I was far from impressed by Battle of Marengo and he would have to improve two stone on that to win a Derby in my opinion. I am still not quite over my massive failure in the Oaks market. My colleagues at Timeform have been beating the drum about Secret Gesture for about 6/7 months! Some are on at 33/1……now if I’m still keen I can take 11/4! I think the ship has well and truly sailed there, but I hope she goes on and wins next Friday. The nightclubs and strip joints in Halifax won’t know what has hit them next Friday if she does.

Elsewhere Sir Michael Stoute has made a cracking start to the season and it is good to see. As a result Ryan Moore has made a flying start too. He was absolute class at York last week. His pace judgement really is outstanding. I will be cheering him all the way to November (on at 7/2 for JC) but don’t tell anyone.  Richard Fahey’s older handicappers made their usual flying start and helped bolster the coffers for a few weeks. They have also had 6 first time out juvenile winners  in the last week or so.

As usual I have plenty of eye-catchers to pick up on but we will get to them as and when they actually run!

Elsewhere the mighty hammers had a pleasing end to the season. To finish tenth in our first season back is a really good effort and our home form was absolute class. IF we can become more of a threat away from home then will can only improve. 33 points at home, 13 on the road, that’s a big disparity. The fact that Big Sam has been given a new contract means that the club has to do everything in its power to keep Andy Carroll. I have heard some worrying rumours about potential replacements for him (including Crouchy) which just don’t fit in very well. All in all though pleased with what we achieved. Two home draws against united, we also drew with Man City and beat Chelsea. Upton Park once again is a place that the big boys don’t fancy coming.

For those of you that don’t know I’m also a big US Sports nut (how long till the NFL kicks off??) I’m a big Boston Bruins fan in the NHL and I woke all my neighbours when they came back from 4-2 down with a minute to play in game 7 against the Maple Leafs the other night to win 5-4. Check out the videos if you haven’t seen them…..its amazing!

I’m off on the pilgrimage up to Coral TV towers today so I will miss much of the day’s racing action. I know that Kim Bailey’s team have always been keen on TWELVE ROSES (5.35 Towc) and he is being backed again. It was disappointing he got beat at odds on last time but the front two did pull well clear. I think they might not see which way MARODIMA goes in the 6.35. Several hold up horses in the race and he might be gone before they decide to press any buttons.

KANDARI (6.50 Ponte) looks really interesting. Given the yards exploits in recent weeks he still looks a well handicapped horse on the flat and the booking of Richard Hughes is very taking. I think he might win and I think that MISSION APPROVED is about as certain to win as I am to fall asleep tonight. He’s evens but should be 1/2.

Welcome back to the blog. Will be here most days from here on in!

Be lucky!