Which horses do Timeform think are the current top rated? Normally, I wouldn’t want to disclose what might be seen as protected content. However, since they’ve published the details on Twitter, they’re obviously happy to let the information be known.
167 BUVEUR D’AIR
163 L’AMI SERGE
161 MICK JAZZ
159 MY TENT OR YOURS
158 SAM SPINNER
157 CILAOS EMERY
156p SUMMERVILLE BOY
I agree with the top five and that makes the anticipated Fighting Fifth at Newcastle with Buveur D’Air and Samcro very interesting. I think that Bapaume is slightly overrated and I wouldn’t be backing Mick Jazz at the highest level. Agrapart can have a good day and I think that My Tent Or Yours is probably past his best. We’ll have to see how Sam Spinner performs this season and I’d definitely hold fire on that one. Cilaos Emery has had no outings in 2018 and holds no entries so we’ll have to wait and see about that one as well.
I think that Sharjah is underrated. I know that he’s been race fit against season debutants but the record is there to be challenged.
172 NATIVE RIVER
171 MIGHT BITE
170p GREAT FIELD
169 ROAD TO RESPECT
169 SIZING JOHN
169 UN DE SCEAUX
168p WAITING PATIENTLY
167 FOX NORTON
166 BALKO DES FLOS
166 TOP NOTCH
This is a very compressed list, particularly towards the bottom, with 10 horses between 166 and 169.
I strongly agree that Altior is the best current chaser. Footpad has to assert following his latest outing to take the mantle. I think that Great Field deserves his “p” and could be one of the horses of the season. I hope to see Min on TV at Ascot this weekend, entered for the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot (currently 3/1), along with Politilogue (13/8f), Bellshill (5/1) and surprising omission from the list Shattered Love (5/1).
Sizing John will need to show that he retains top class form, but I doubt that this will be a problem for hard as nails Un de Sceaux. Waiting Patiently is another with a deserved “p”.
Top Novice Chasers
147p COUNT MERIBEL
147p VOIX DU REVE
145p BAGS GROOVE
145p KAISER BLACK
145p THE WORLDS END
145p WINTER ESCAPE
145 BRAVE EAGLE
145 MALL DINI
144p BLOW BY BLOW
144p LE BREUIL
144p LIL ROCKERFELLER
I could not have been more impressed with Lalor’s jumping and running away win at Cheltenham last weekend. For me, this is the Arkle one to beat.
I’m very surprised that Diakali is so highly rated. Kaiser Black is another that hasn’t beaten much opposition and appears overrated. I totally get why Winter Escape is included in the list. A very exciting prospect.
It’s too early to say much about the following two categories but I’ve added them all to my horses to follow.
Top Novice Hurdlers
139 QUICK GRABIM
137 AYE AYE CHARLIE
137 HEARTS ARE TRUMPS
136p CITY ISLAND
136 GRAND SANCY
135p BLACK SAM BELLA
135 DOUBLE TREASURE
134p FAIR MOUNTAIN
134p ROYAL RENDEZVOUS
134p STONEY MOUNTAIN
134p THE DEVILS DROP
Top Juvenile Hurdlers
137 QUEL DESTIN
135p JACK REGAN
134 CRACKER FACTORY
128 CHIEF JUSTICE
126p NEVER ADAPT
125p FANFAN DU SEUIL
123p KING D’ARGENT
121p OUR POWER
121p SONG FOR SOMEONE
119 NEEDS TO BE SEEN
117p FRET D’ESTRUVAL
The bottom of this list is intriguing. Idilico (by Lawman from a Sadler’s Wells mare) was a beaten evens favourite at Market Rasen on 8 November (“ridden when switched inside flat, kept on, no extra towards finish”). Needs To Be Seen (by Motivator and formerly with J P O’Brien) was fifth of six in Quel Destin’s Triumph Hurdle Trial last weekend at Cheltenham (50/1) – “held up in rear, headway on wide outside before 3 out, soon prominent, every chance next, ridden and unable to quicken before last, well held flat”. Fret d’Estruval has been bought by Munir/Souede and placed with Alan King. Formerly with Guillaume Macaire, he won at Vittel on 4 August and followed up with a win at Lyon Parilly on 16 September, both over hurdles. Looks very interesting! Song For Someone, a son of Medicean, won a hurdle at Le Lion d’Angers in July for Joel Boisnard and has been placed with Tom Symonds for Sir Peter and Lady Gibbings.
I wonder how many of these will turn out to be Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham Festival winners? It’s a good long list to work from.
A good day yesterday with a reasonable return on the Lucky 15 plus Josies Orders.
Much harder today so just the selections:
12.40 As usual a this is a rally good race and a good marker for next March. I like all three at the top of the market so I’ll be watching rather than betting. From Quel Destin (5/1), Never Adapt (evens) and Montestrel (5/2) I’m just with Quel Destin.
1.15 As the market suggests The Worlds End (5/6) should be well ahead of the rest of the field.
1.50 I’ve never liked Singlefarmpayment who is highly strung and has too much of a habit of coming up short. I’ve given up on Calett Mad and, with ground to suit, my selection is Vicente (8/1).
2.25 The BetVictor Gold Cup is a really good race and a hard one to work out. I’d love to see Frodon win but with top weight against this field it’s a tall order. There’s a lot of support for Rather Be and Kalondra but I’ll have a small wager on Movewiththetimes at 9/1.
3.00 I have no views about any of these horses so I’m swerving this one.
3.30 This is another really hard race but I keep on getting drawn back to Speedo Boy, the current 3/1 favourite.
12.35 This looks like a great opportunity for Mall Dini at a generous 5/2.
2.20 Finally we get to see Stormy Ireland on her first outing of the season and, against her own sex, in an average race, the current 2/1 looks very appealing.
Not a betting day for me (apart from the two at Punchestown (singles and double) but nonetheless a very enjoyable afternoon in prospect.
12.40 This is a winnable option for The Young Master* (7/2) to follow up on his win at Chepstow against good opposition (at 14/1) at Chepstow on 13 October.
1.15Dostal Phil** has been bought by J P McManus and is with the resurgent Philip Hobbs. Should win at 9/4.
1.50Bun Doran*** (11/4) is a confident selection in this one against no obvious opposition.
2.25 This is a decent race and I like White Moon (4/1) to bounce back after a year’s break.
3.00 (Cross Country) As I mentioned in a previous post, I can’t imagine that Tiger Roll will be remotely fit for this. There isn’t much opposition so I’m happy with Josies Orders* (9/4) in a small field. Probably one to watch.
3.35 This Grade 2 as attracted a less than deserving field. One to watch. If I’m flying by then I might have a little dabble with Darlac.
Summary: A Lucky 15 with The Young Master, Dostal Phil, Bun Doran and White Moon (for low stakes). Potential £1155.06 to a £30 (£2) stake. I think that we will at least break even.
Undoubtedly the highlight of Friday’s racing is Kalashnikov‘s chasing debut in the 2.00 at Warwick. 1/3 is a fair price against three markedly inferior opponents. I wouldn’t often be tempted at a price like this but he has reportedly schooled well over fences (always looked like a chaser in the making) and might just stake the Betfair balance on this one to get things started.
Another of interest but at prohibitive odds is dual bumper winner Windsor Avenue (at 2/5) in the 1.05 at Hexham. This is the time of year when very short odds progressive horses are given easy outings and this one could easily be combined with Kalashnikov for a modest return on a double. A £10 double will return a little over £18. Bet placed, just to make it a little more interesting (my first bet since Aintree’s national meeting).
Now we’re talking! Saturday’s Naas meeting could be a cracker if some of the main entries are declared.
I think that we’ll see seriously good bumper horse from last season Blackbow in either the midday maiden hurdle over 2m or the 1.05 maiden over 2m 3f (probably the former) notwithstanding that he won his maiden PTP on good ground over 3m (current going for Naas on Saturday is good).
The Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle at 12.30 could see Saldier (15/8) v Mr Adjudicator (9/4) v Espoir d’Allen (5/2) and Stormy Ireland (6/1). Farclas was entered but it’s reported that he won’t run. Saldier was one of my horses to follow last season but I’m hoping that Stormy Ireland has progressed and that she could be a serious player this season. Her best form is on soft/heavy but she beat good horses on yielding in a listed race over 2m 1f last May.
The Grade B Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f has no less than eight J P McManus entries from a variety of trainers including Jezki, Sire du Berlais, Housesofparliament, Plinth, De Name Escapes Me and Fitzhenry. As matters stand, my preference is for Stooshie who was third last week in a Grade B for Gordon Elliott at Down Royal on good to yielding and will therefore have race fitness on his side.
The Poplar Square Chase (Grade 3) at 2.15 will be my highlight of the day because Willie Mullins has said that this will be Footpad‘s season debut. One of the best horses (and my favourite) last season, the current 1/4 is another fair price but he could be facing some fairly decent opposition in the shape of Saint Calvados and Tombstone. As I said in my last post, I think that this is the season in which he will progress to open company proper stardom and I can’t wait to see another foot perfect performance.
The 3.25 may feature a few horses that disappointed last season, namely Bleu Berry, Carter McKay, Bacardys and Deal d’Estruval. However, this is a beginners’ chase and could throw up one or more who are now in their element. One to watch with interest.
Over the water, the fare is more modest with, putting aside the flat meeting at Doncaster, interest being focused on Wincanton’s big day and some fairly average racing at Aintree.
The Wincanton feature Badger Ales Chase has attracted a pretty rum bunch. I don’t have any particular fancies in this and I suspect that the field could cut up severely so it’s one to wait and see with.
The Grade 2 Rising Stars Novices’ Chase (2.25) at Wincanton has one of the poorest set of entries (let alone declarations) for a race at this level that I’ve seen for a long time, which I suspect is down to the predicted good to firm ground. The Elite Hurdle (3.00) is a bit better but I won’t be surprised if We Have A Dream and Verdana Blue are both pulled by Nicky Henderson, in which case Redicean (with recent decent form) should win.
Aintree is predicting good, good to soft in places on the chase course, so we have a better chance of seeing some half decent horses.
Terrefort would be one to watch in the 1.35 Pertemps qualifier but I don’t really see the point of running him in a race like this when his future is manifestly over fences. He’s entered in the intermediate chase at Sandown on Sunday which seems far more likely as a prep for the Ladbroke (Hennessy) Chase on 1 December.
The 2m 4f hurdle at 2.10 could be a decent race but I’m afraid that I suspect that the potentially interesting participants probably won’t turn up.
The feature handicap chase at 2.40 could turn out to be a fair event but doesn’t feature any horses at the entry stage that I’d see as ones to get excited about. When are we going to get 48 hour entries for all the big national hunt races? Well, we are for next year’s Cheltenham Festival thank goodness!
I’ll be interested in Bun Doran if he turns up for the the 3.20 handicap chase and the bumper at 3.55 could turn out to be a good pointer but I have no idea which one may prevail.
The top racing continues at Navan on Sunday. In the 1.05 I’ll be with WP’s Quick Grabim at an attractive 11/8 (current co-favourite with Felix Desjy) and the Lismullen Hurdle (1.35) could be a cracker with too many good horses to mention so let’s see which ones turn up. The Fortria Chase is, on its face, right up to standard but will depend very much on which ones run the day before in the 2.15 at Naas. The beginners’ chase at 2.40 could feature top hurdler Mengli Khan, another who could be progressing to his natural metier.
Meanwhile at Sandown I’ll love the chasers tackling the railway fences in a taster for what the season is to bring. Most of the fields are too big to pass any comment on but the intermediate chase (2.20) definitely has the makings of being the highlight. Daryl Jacob has been named as the jockey for Terrefort which makes me think that this is his target and he could face decent opposition in the shape of Elegant Escape, Coo Star Sivola, Thomas Patrick, Barney Dwan and Ms Parfois. A race to savour! Let’s hope that they stand their ground.
Although national hunt racing is my favourite sport, boxing comes a close second and I can’t wait for Oleksandr Usyk v Tony Bellew on Saturday. This is an absolutely top class fight. I’ve watched Bellew more or less from the start of his career and his progression is all about heart and determination. He’s not the best technically (Usyk could well be) but… Bellew is on a nine times winning streak and his last loss was to Haitian superstar Adonis Stevenson in 2013. His last five fights have all been wins against the odds. This is Bellew’s last fight and he has promised to give it his all and leave absolutely everything in the ring. Usyk is very impressive and unbeaten but his biggest win was against a lacklustre Marco Huck (suspended indefinitely by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board) and who lost in his previous fight against Mairis Briedes who is also fighting Saturday (in Chicago against a no mark opponent). For the record I know that others might take the view that his World Boxing Super Series win against Murat Gassiev was his best but I watched that fight and Gassiev was valiant but a hyped and lesser opponent (on form). All of that taken into account the current 5/1 on Usyk against 5/1 against Bellew is crazy! I see it as about a 2/1 on Usyk, 7/4 against Bellew, 20/1 the draw. As such the 5/1 is possibly the best bet of the weekend.
On the undercard, Scotty Cardle against “The Rickster” Ricky Burns is a hastily convened fight which, for me, can have only one outcome: an easy win inside the distance for Ricky. 1/4 is absolutely fair and takeable to bolster the funds for the big one.