Sir Henry Cecil, more winners and a pace bias?


Woke up with a right old spring in the step this morning on the back of yesterday’s results. It seems all the work I am putting in at the moment is really paying off as we had two more lovely winners. Not an awful lot went right for Ghanaian but she still won really well and pretty comfortably. She looks well ahead of her mark and the time was the best of the day on the card too. I think you have to give extra credit to Press Room at Lingfield last night too as he managed to wear down another seriously well handicapped beast in Big Thunder. They pulled well clear of the others and both have multiple entries over the coming days. Big Thunder definitely needs to go back on turf on a galloping track mind as he never really looked at ease at Lingers. The 4/1 about Press Room in the morning was a gift considering his SP of 6/4, I just hope I convinced enough of you to join in. He is entered at Sandown on Friday, but I doubt he will get in.

The sad news about Sir Henry Cecil yesterday was a bitter blow to the racing industry. A truly remarkable man and above all a fantastic horseman. No less than 75 Royal Ascot winners spanning 43 years. He excelled with fillies and picked up six 1000 Guineas victories as well as eight Oaks. Four Derby winners and no less than ten trainers championships. Towards the end of his career he will largely be remembered by the younger brigade as the man who so tenderly handled probably the greatest racehorse we will ever see in FRANKEL. Many believe Frankel wouldn’t have gone unbeaten in the hands of another trainer and that just speaks volumes. Sir Henry, a true gentlemen, an unbelievable horseman and an absolute legend of our sport. RIP.

If you were paying particular attention to the meeting at Yarmouth last week you will have noticed that 6/7 races were won from the front. Very similar conditions at the Norfolk track today could see a similar outcome. I haven’t had a chance to go through the Yarmouth card in too much detail though as I am travelling up there today for presenting duties so have a good look through the card for pace angles. At a very brief look that might make Claude Greenwood interesting in the 3.10 although strictly he has a few pounds to find.

Now onto the runners today from the notebook. First up and many of you will remember this one from last year is ISOLA VERDE (5.10 Yarmouth). I’ve had to be pretty patient in waiting to get the reddies back on this one as her last run was back in November. She ran in first time blinkers that night and not for the first occasion she got badly hampered and had a troubled passage. She is undoubtedly better than her current mark and if she is fit and well she could go close. Today could also just as likely be a prep for another day as she will come on for this. I’ve had to play though as the price of 7/1 this morning was just too tempting especially with Buick up.

Another one from the list is GRAN MAESTRO (2.20 Haydock) but he is in a race where I actually like two or three of the runners so is no bet. He is much too short now anyhow. I also really like the look of SUPER SAY in that race too but it looks open.

Another one that is jumping out at me is MEGLIO ANCORA (9.20 Ham). The omen of leaving it till the last race on the card hopefully coming good again. He caught the eye when being beaten by Spirit of Gondree (the day we were on) at Wolverhampton in January and is ridiculously well handicapped on some of his old form (rated mid 80’s). He had a spin over hurdles last month to blow away some cobwebs and should be just about right. Graham Lee rides for the first time to add some extra spice. Today may not be the day but the 14/1+ available is much too tempting to leave him alone.

Looking forward to game one of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight. I will have to watch it on record as I’m off to Yarmouth however. If your around at the track tomorrow do come and say hello. I’ll be the plonker with the mic.

Be lucky,




From Frankel to NFL Sunday!

What a spectacle yesterday was. 38,000 people packed into Ascot racecourse to see the last run from the horse of a lifetime and he didn’t disappoint. After missing the break and giving away five lengths at the start he sauntered through the race and then came alongside Cirrus Des Aigles on the bridle. Ground irrelevant, opposition irrelevant he just takes it in his stride and cruises to victory. I have been cursing myself for the error that meant I wasn’t there. It was great to see so many youngsters in the crowd and hopefully a new generation of racing fans was born at Ascot yesterday. How I wish they had chosen to go to Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup. Imagine the media frenzy and the British following over there.

Frankel the perfect 14 from 14, the best horse I have ever and will ever see. He is off to strut around the stud and do his thing…….happy retirement fella.

After Chelsea and West Ham did the hard work the shorty (Gooners) let the treble down. How on earth were Chelsea 9/5??? West Ham were gravy! Irons!

From a punting point of view we continue to bang our heads against the crossbar. Bold cross drifted out to 12/1 then ran a blinder to finish…..yes you guessed it…..2nd. The same fate fell upon Galaxy Rock (2nd) and Hold On Julio (3rd). They travelled like the two best horses in the race and both looked like winning turning for home. Levi Draper got punted off the boards though and made it a winning day.

You would think I should be in the Bahamas right now with the amount of big priced runners-up I’ve had in the last two weeks.

There is only one notebook runner going today and it requires a large leap of faith in the form of REPLICATOR (5.15 Bath). He hasn’t won for a while but just showed last time that all is not forgotten. He won off 71 a few years back but is now doing his racing off just 42 on the turf which means he is 4lbs out of the handicap today. He is far less exposed on the turf though with only 13 starts compared to 38 on the all-weather. He likes to race with the pace which is a plus around here and has stall 7 which is fine. It might be barmy and on Betfair he could be any price you like but he is generally 33/1 and is worth noting and following. I’ll be having a few quid on each way.

I’m off to splutter my way through the day on Timeform Radio as I’m full of cold and flu again.

I have two selections for you tonight on the NFL live games.

Game one ARIAN FOSTER to go OVER 99.5 yards with SKYBET

Game two TOM BRADY to go OVER 300.5 yards with SKYBET.
Will try to update todays blog with more in-depth NFL review when I arrive in London. This time next week I will be on route to wembley to watch the great master at his best! I simply cannot wait!

Peace out, have a lucky day and listen in to Timeform this afternoon if you get the chance.

MG (@markagrantham)

Super Saturday….SUPER FRANKEL!

A quick recap of yesterdays action saw that Dutch Masterpiece is very much still ahead of the handicapper. Hay Dude got absolutely smashed off the boards, travelled like a dream and found nil. Population went about half a mile then O’Regan was looking down and pulled him up and Dark Lover was ridiculously well handicapped off a mark of 120!

The biggest frustration of the day was the run of TARO TYWOD at Wolverhampton. She travelled like a dream tucked in on the inside but you could see what was coming a mile off. Shane Kelly had nowhere to go and was trapped on heels for all of a furlong whilst in the meantime the favourite got a clear around the outside and sprinted clear. Once she got out she finished a decisive second and rewarded the each way play at a big price. She is back to form and is very well in on her maiden form. I think she would have won with a clear, but we will never know. At Cheltenham yesterday after further study I talked myself into backing Viking Blonde and Jewel of The West at 22/1 and 14/1. They both finished second and the crossbar once again is lying on the floor broken in pieces.

Super Saturday really is that today. I nearly choked on my porridge when I saw Mattie Batch on the morning line today. Matt’s a top bloke who’s always willing to lend a hand with anything. He turned out for my team in our charity cricket match in aid of McMillan last month. He deserves a break and looks nailed on to be a quality racing broadcaster as I know that is what he wants to do. Hope Carruthers wins today pal.

Absolute top class flat action from Ascot, jumping from Cheltenham and some very big games in the footy as we return from an international break. A break is what I expect the idiot from Leeds to be getting courtesy of her majesty after last nights pathetic behaviour at Hillsborough. I don’t think they should be overly hard on Leeds. I do however think they should come down hard on the stewards and the police. It was a Yorkshire derby on a Friday night and the fans had been in the pub most of the day…… do the maths.

Of note in the football today, in the early kick off I do think Chelsea are a massive price. They are as big as 9/5 in places this morning and the Spuds have struggled at home to beat much lesser sides. I don’t bet on football very often but that looks much too big a price to me?

Today’s racing revolves around the best racehorse I have ever seen in my lifetime and probably ever will. Frankel is a machine with a glorious galloping stride that seems to go two to all others ones. I know the ground is an imponderable but I hope Tom is patient with him and glides to success. I would absolutely love to see him come upsides Cirrus Des Aigles on the bridle and then just skip 6 lengths clear. Due to a personal clerical error I’m working on Coral TV today rather than mixing it with the other 38,000 people as Ascot. Don’t choke on the hog roast you lucky gits.

The race didn’t really pan out for BOLD CROSS (6.20 Wolv) last time but tonight’s race should suit a little better. He is still feasibly handicapped from a win point fo view and the 5lb claim of Robert Williams (not the singer I may add, he would be claiming at least 50lbs) is a big plus. There is plenty of pace in this race and his hold up style may just come into play once again if the young apprentice can weave a passage. He looks a spot of value and a good each way bet at 9/1 and you might get some tasty prices on Betfair.

LEVI DRAPER (7.50 Wolv) is a horse you will know we’ve backed on his last two starts. He got absolutely no run last time and was desperately unlucky. The step down to 5f is a slight concern but this is such a weak race that I’ll be tucking in. Clear run please Hayley.

I’ve found it hard to find a bet at Ascot. In the first few races they have all beaten each other at some stage and it is hard to find an angle. Excelebration should win the QE2 but is no sort of price.¬† I do think there are a couple of runners that are overpriced in the big apprentice handicap to finish the card (4.45) and they are at opposite ends of the weights. MY FREEDOM and KINGSCROFT both look at little overpriced and will both definitely go on the ground. Might be worth half a point on each at 25/1 and 20/1 respectively.

I was hoping to back THAT’LLDOBOY (2.30 Chelt) this morning at around 7/1. It wasn’t until I turned on the morning line with blurry eyes that I realised that Pricewise had tipped him. He looks on a really nice mark and if he gets to about 9/2 or 5/1 nearer post time I will probably back him.

The main race of the day at Cheltenham is the 3.40. I think it’s a real tough race for punters as I think the market is about right. HOLD ON JULIO was a real progressive chaser last term and could prove this year to be a bit better than 144. GALAXY ROCK also looks like he may be better than his current mark of 137 and of the other ones at big prices I think¬†DARNA is progressive. I’ll probably back all three at 6/1, 9/1 and 16/1 for a profit.

BIg day for the hammers today too. We have a real tough few weeks coming up and it is imperative that we take three points in these sorts of game at home. Southampton have been leaking goals left right and centre so fingers crossed the even money will get rewarded. For those of you that like a muggy Saturday treble I would throw in a London mix……WEST HAM, CHELSEA, ARSENAL……pays about 9/1.

Enjoy an absolute feast of sport today! Hope you find plenty of winners.

I’ll be on Twitter all day @markagrantham