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Month: November 2016

Hennessy day

Hennessy partyI won’t be in the UK for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury but I will be keeping a close eye on the card and hopefully accessing replays of the races on Racing UK.

First, a quick resume of today’s racing. Jenkins (10/11and now 12/1 for the Supreme) made a satisfactory introduction to hurdles but I’ll reserve my view about him until he has a better challenge. Clan des Obeaux (5/2) was properly impressive against decent opposition in the 2m 4f novices’ chase, as was Uknowhatimeanharry (7/2 and now 6/1 for the World Hurdle) in his with Ballyoptic second and Menorah third in the Long Distance Hurdle.

On to tomorrow and I’ll be selective because I’ll be in a plane for the best action.


12.20 Mares’ Novices Hurdle 2m

La Bague Au Roi*** (evens) is well ahead of the rest and should get us off to a good start.

12.55 Novices’ Chase 3m

Thistlecrack***** needs to avoid overly extravagant jumps but this is the right route, albeit at a prohibitive 1/6.

3.10 Hennessy Gold Cup 3m 2f

This is by no means a classic renewal so why not Smad Place* (11/1) for a win rather than each way. He’ll either win or bomb out. Coologue** (33/1 e/w), the winner of the Randox Handicap Chase (Class 2) at Cheltenham on 22 October, is good value.

3.45 Handicap Chase 2m 1f

I wasn’t going to mention this one until I saw Parsnip Pete* a placer at a very appealing 7/1 (e/w). OK, you won’t make a fortune but the place record of this horse is remarkable.


Unsurprisingly, my only interest is in the Fighting Fifth (by the way the entries for the “French Furze” are really poor in my view). This Grade 1 2m hurdle has a super history with three time winners Comedy of Errors and Birds Nest. It’s named after the nickname of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Saturday’s renewal is up to standard with a thrilling renewal with four series contenders. Apples Jade*** (9/4) should win but Sceau (can we get the pronunciation right please!) Royal and Petit Mouchoir will provide serious opposition.


So, how about La Bague Au Roi, Thistlecrack (optional), Apples Jade and Bristol de Mai (thrown in in the Rehearsal Chase at 4/1 second favourite) for a jolly Lucky 15.

Good luck!


Cheltenham Saturday

terrypicI balk at calling it Bet Victor Gold Cup day because the then Victor Chandler Gibraltar based company screwed me for £200 a few years ago and I’ve never bet with them since then. They are grade one shits and if you, Michael Tabor (now the owner of this disreputable bookie with a history of misbehaviour), wants to sue me for that, bring it on! By the way, the picture is Terry Biddlecombe, having won the Mackeson, for that is how we remember it.

Now on to better things in the shape of what we all know as the Paddy Power Gold Cup and, for those with longer memories (like me) the Mackeson Gold Cup with a roll of honour including Fortria (1960 and 1962), Gay Trip (1969 and 1971), Bradbury Star (1993 and 1994) and that great grey Señor El Betrutti off 10st in 1997.

Now on to the races!

12.40 Triumph Hurdle Trial 2m

So, these are largely debutants at this level and I’m keen on Wealth Des Mottes (2/1) as a classic P F Nicholls import from France. I see the challengers as Nucky Thompson (16/1) and Defi du Seuil (another at 2/1) for JP. It’s a lottery but I have a feeling that the selection will be thereabouts in March.

1.15 Novices’ Chase 3m

Thistlecrack (1/6), currently 4/1 (10/1 bar) for the Gold Cup has to follow up on his spectacular chasing debut at Chepstow. His form leading into this is 1/211111-1. A watching race that I’m really looking forward to.

1.50 Handicap Chase 3m 3f

Not my sort of race from a betting perspective. For the sake of it, I’ll choose Cogry (9/1) as a random bet (if I was giving stars it would be 0 stars), just a choice in the absence of anything else.

2.25 Paddy Power (formerly Mackeson) (Handicap) Gold Cup 2m 4f

I’m all against More Of That and with As De Mee (9/1) for Nicholls/Bowen off a very attractive 10st 8lb which is perfect for this race. It’s important to remember that this is an early outing for decent horses in a handicap. Those who think that they have really decent handicappers wait for the Hennessy, notwithstanding the greater distance. Genuine 2m 4f Festival contenders are generally saved (see my earlier posts).

3.00 Handicap Hurdle 3m 1f

This is my bet of the day. Irish Saint (at a superb current 18/1 e/w) is comfortably ahead of the rest of these. Some may say that the top weight is too much but I’d bet on him at the Festival and I think that he’ll hose in. Bet now because I’m convinced that the odds will shorten.

3.35 Intermediate Handicap Hurdle 2m 5f

By its name this is one avoid (0-140 with conditions). As I’m writing it’s 10/1 the field so I’ll just pick one, Robin Of Locksley (9/1) for an each way based on good trainer and jockey at a low weight. I don’t recommend any bet on this race.

4.05 Mares’ Bumper 2m 1/2f

If the last one was difficult, at this time of the year, this one is ridiculous. I’ll just follow Timeform and go with Irish Roe at 13/2.

Not a day for combinations (I’ve checked Wetherby) or a placepot.

I’ll know early because I’m going for a double with Wealth Des Mottes and As De Mee for a Nicholls double.

Good luck!

Cheltenham Friday

Cheltenham_Race_CourseJust a quick run through tomorrow’s Cheltenham card this evening. I haven’t studied the card in any detail (maybe for the better!).

12.55 Veterans’ Handicap Chase 2m 4f

I tend to avoid these races for 10-y-o plus plus horses because some of these seasoned campaigners can get a little wise about the game. With that in mind I’ll go for the best recent form in the shape of Gordon Elliott’s Realt Mor (4/1), a winner at Down Royal last week and well weighted to follow up.

1.30 Handicap Chase 2m

Sizing Codelco (7/2) stands out in this one, all the more for the transfer to currently hot trainer, Colin Tizzard. Bold Henry won this two years ago but was pulled up last time out (at Punchestown last April).

2.05 Novices’ Chase 2m 4f

Another favourite in the shape of Barters Hill. A decent hurdler, this is his first public outing over fences but the market is already talking, with the price having shortened from 5/2 to a best 15/8.

2.40 Novices’ Hurdle 2m 5f

Baden has comfortably the highest Timeform rating (152p) but this is a no bet for me because I don’t know the horses well enough.

3.15 Handicap Hurdle 2m

Good luck! 9/1 the field and no obvious candidate for me.

3.50 Amateurs’ Handicap Chase 3m 1f

Fayette County (17/2) has cost me in the past but is race fit with recent form of 421. I’m influenced by the jockey selection, the excellent Jamie Codd who got that amazing result on another JP horse, Cause of Causes, at the Festival.

No nap and I’ll be very selective.

Good luck!


27496375661_9907058f5c_bHere are my thoughts about what you should do about your computer.

A few years ago the dominant option was to get a decent Windows computer. I did and I also set up a Ubuntu basic laptop computer for the house in France. However, the dominant phone was iPhone and when you add iPad there is an obvious need for your computer to talk with your tablet and your phone. I bought a MacBook Pro and that was when having PCs with a tower, keyboard and mouse became redundant. I subsequently bought a netbook for the house in France and it is fine for wi-fi but any users will have to sort out the natural French keyboard (it can be done).

So, for the last couple of years, I’ve moved to the Apple choice with the home base a Macboook Pro with Retina display. I also bought a Thunderbolt Display (very expensive – £899). At the October event, Apple made clear that they are leaving displays to others:!&f=display&fh=4593%2B45df so, if I want to upgrade, I will have to go with the LG option. I’m OK with that.

I visited the Apple shop this week and had a chat with an Apple person (maybe a genius!) who had an amazing “Liverpool brow”. She could not have been more helpful and we had a chat about my intention to buy a Macbook Pro. She showed me the new Macbook without the new magic touch bar and we agreed that there’s no good reason why anyone would buy that. The new MacBook Pro should be available in the next four to five weeks and is well worth waiting for.

If you are a current user, I should also let you know that I bought a new keyboard and mouse (called the Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Mouse 2). Both are superbly better than their predecessors and should be bought without hesitation.

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