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04 Oct 22 11:01
Date Joined: 05 Oct 11
| Topic/replies: 15,763 | Blogger: differentdrum's blog
Plenty of well bred youngsters entered this week. It looks as he is trying to get off to a flyer.

Unfortunately, in recent years I can't remember him producing too many serious bumper/novices. I am surprised so many invest so much, and end up with what are effectively five-year handicap projects.

He needs to do better with the ammunition he gets.

Today he runs Collectors Item at Huntingdon. On his two runs he is much better than this opposition, but he hasn't been strong in the market and you have to wonder if two miles on a sharp track on quickish ground is going to be ideal for a national hunt bred horse with his profile.
Pause Switch to Standard View Jonjo O'Neill's Team
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Report differentdrum January 29, 2023 5:27 PM GMT
Cawthorne Banker seemingly had every chance, but didn't produce the kind of gear that the jock expected. Sadly, something of a recurring theme. At least they know he wants a better surface. From a distance Nitwit looked the part, but he really had no place on a racecourse. Clueless. Mammies Boy picked up pieces, but was never seriously involved. Another you might be hoping would be better over further. Spitalfield was given a no nonsense ride, but despite keeping on well in the straight, he found one to good.

Not the best meeting in Ireland today, but Echoes In Rain emerged as the one most likely to chase Marie's Rock home in the Mare's Hurdle. On his belated Rules debut, although never put in the race, Present Soldier (300,000) showed enough to suggest he can win a three mile novice. It's not a good idea to give Mulins five lengths start in a bumper as confirmed in the final race. Built By Ballymore has gone backwards since last year, and his trainer has had a nothing season. Talking about going backwards, Blackmore appears to have slipped back into the pack. She is now miles behind Townend. There was a time when she took charge of races, but now she is forever waiting for something to happen. Over here, as expected Strong Leader dotted up at Southwell, and I suspect he will go to Aintree. His jumping is still not the best.

O'Neill purchased one at the Cheltenham Sale yesterday. With 13 of the 43 lots not selling is the big money on the wane?

Just two runners tomorrow.

Orrisdale steps up in trip at Hereford. Although he has won on his last two visits to the track they were in three and four runner races on good ground. He comes here out of form, and this is a totally different test. Head Law runs at Huntingdon. He shaped up well on his reappearance, and off the same mark looks to hold every chance.
Report differentdrum January 30, 2023 5:26 PM GMT
Two shocking performances, one expected, the other I am not too sure about.

I thought Head Law could easily have been a 3/1 shot today, but there was nothing for him. Everything looked in his favour, but scenic trip, and never looked likely at any stage. Seemingly, a large step backwards. Orrisdale was beaten after a couple of fences.

Over at Punchestown Princess Zoe scrambled a dead heat. On that evidence it looks hugely optimistic to even cross the water. Sa Fureur displayed a nice attitude in looking to out stay La Malmason. Sir Argus threw away the novice hurdle with an horrific round of jumping. He wasn't great last time, but he was even worse sent forward. Rare that you see one from that stable so inept at the obstacles.
Report differentdrum January 30, 2023 6:25 PM GMT
Three at Newcastle tomorrow, trying to repeat the December hat trick.

Although Morning Spirit is the biggest price, he is the one I like best of the three. The trip looked too far last time, and the drop in trip should help. Hopefully, he isn't pestered on the lead. Fame And Concrete was poor on hurdling debut, but given three months off, you have to assume there was some issue. The favourite will be hard to beat, but the Challow form has already taken a couple of knocks. Dollar Bae is up 4lbs for scrambling home, but the temptation to claim has been resisted. Softer ground a question mark as well.
Report differentdrum January 31, 2023 5:24 PM GMT
That hat trick a distant memory.

I was lucky to land the each-way on Morning Spirit. He looked a different horse today, ballooning fence after fence. He must have lost 10-12 lengths at the obstacles. Fame And Concrete was better than on debut, but yet another ridden for a gear he hadn't got. Dollar Bae still wants further and much better ground. Noticeable how few times horses ridden by O'Neill actually make ground at an obstacle. Far more likely to lose it which is a major disadvantage when you are intent on holding nearly everything up.

Hard work today, particularly at Ffos Las. More than one horse travelled best into the straight only to get turned over.

Five runners tomorrow, three at Exeter, and two at Leicester.

Destin D'ajonc has looked completely out of form, and drying ground unlikely to help his cause. Copper Cove hasn't run for nearly three months, and will need to improve if he is to place. Lorcan Murtagh retains the ride on Sacre Coeur. She bounced back last time, but this is an entirely different track, and quicker ground. On The Bandwagon returns to Leicester despite a note saying he jumped left. That was a better effort under Brogan, but it was a poor race, and likely he needs more to be competitive again. Uptown Lady makes her chasing debut after nearly two year's absence. Not so sure getting 4lbs from Moonlighter makes her well handicapped. You would think a clear round would be the first priority.
Report differentdrum February 1, 2023 5:43 PM GMT
Stamina at a premium again today. Even more so at Leicester with the third last hurdle taken out.

The dismal run continues. Bar a couple of days in the sun that sums up the winter. Just waiting for some idiot pundit to suggest the stable is in form. Where's Harvey when you need him?

On The Bandwagon made really bad mistakes on both circuits, and that put paid to any chance he might have had. Uptown Lady got rid of her jock well before the business end, but hadn't travelled with any great enthusiasm. The three at Exeter were about as good as listening to Lizzie Kelly's high pitched warble. Destin D'ajonc appears to be intent on being as disappointing as Easysland. Jumped slowly, and never at the races again. Copy and paste job. Copper Cove did travel strongly, but has weakened away tamely in the straight. Unfit or problem? Bookmakers would have loved him and Max's Champ (one to avoid) being kept out of the places. Weak in the market, and a woeful effort from Sacre Coeur.

Four at Wincanton tomorrow, and it will be quite a surprise if the downward spiral is broken.

Sermando stopped as if shot last time. He would have an each-way chance if you ignored that run, but no explanation was offered at the time. The two in the following novice hurdle look unlikely to be involved. Montmartin showed very little on hurdling debut, and although Rocco Royale showed a little promise in a bumper, that was more than three months ago. I will be keeping an eye on Shuil Ceoil who is again running over the wrong trip, but did show something despite essentially farting about at the back for most of his Rules debut. Dana's Gem took a big step backwards last time, and is another unlikely to figure.
Report differentdrum February 2, 2023 6:06 PM GMT
Another predictable day. The percentage continues to fall, and that's now 21 losers in a row.

Sermando did finish his race off this time, but was fortunate to finish fourth. Montmartin and Rocco Royale raced together in the novice hurdle, but the latter soon left his stablemate behind. He was another who benefitted from a little bit of carnage. Not sure what is going on with Shuil Ceoil. That's twice they have effectively used the racecourse as a schooling ground. It worked so badly he has ended up falling. They have guaranteed that if he ever reproduces the promise of his Point run only the bookmakers will be celebrating. Dana's Gem was struggling with a circuit to run, and took another step backwards.

Big day numerically with eight runners at Chepstow tomorrow.

Crebilly returns after Wedge outrode O'Neill last time. Wedge again very much the one to beat with Doyen Star. O'Neill also runs Anytrixwilldo who was a relatively cheap purchase considering he is a full brother to the stable's Beg To Differ from the family of Atone and Music Be Magic. The mare just seems to revisit Flemensfirth. He will surely need a longer trip, and seems unlikely to figure on the front end. I suggested last time they should have claimed off Crebilly, and it looks a similar story tomorrow. He isn't a difficult ride. Limetree Boy is another who returns after a three month absence. If stripping fit his hurdles form suggests he should have a chance, and drying ground should help his cause. Inch House has looked one-paced, and needs to improve. Drying ground probably not a plus. Monbeg Genius is up 10lbs for three wins, but he was good over course and distance before so I don't see why he shouldn't make all. He looks easily the best chance of a stable winner. Arrivederci hasn't won for more than two years, and has cut little ice in three starts over fences. Hard to see it off this mark. Are U Wise To That is another who looks to have enough weight. Didn't get home last time, and needs to improve his jumping . Better ground might help. By Chepstow standards it looks a weak bumper, but Beachcomber needs to step up markedly to figure. He has already been pulled out once before on good to soft.
Report differentdrum February 3, 2023 10:22 AM GMT
It seems the stable have got their piggy ban out - Crebilly, Inch House, and Monbeg Genius all shortening. I can see Monbeg Genius, but not the other two. Very strange drift on Doyen Star. He was entered in the Tolworth so they must think he is better than Liberty Hunter who beat Crebilly.
Report MJK February 3, 2023 1:37 PM GMT
Don't think Jonjo could've ran that horse into many more hurdles if he tried.
Report Storm Alert February 3, 2023 1:53 PM GMT
tbf hurdled just as badly at Chepstow last time as well and off my list now. For some reason looked much better at Newcastle before that.
Report sageform February 3, 2023 1:59 PM GMT
Beware. Both of the horses that beat him were Rucker/Williams who have a very strong hand of novices this season. Libberty Hunter, Out of Office and 2 others that won at Ffos Las as well as Doyen Star.
Report charbar67 February 3, 2023 2:13 PM GMT
Another useless ride on Limetree
Report sageform February 3, 2023 2:38 PM GMT
And then they win one.
Report Storm Alert February 3, 2023 4:45 PM GMT
Just the three winners today... Laugh
Report differentdrum February 3, 2023 5:16 PM GMT
Another day in the sun. I think that's three times this season.

A case of deja vu with Wedge getting the better of O'Neill in the opener. No nonsense ride on a horse who jumps and travels. Nice bit of promise from Anytrixwilldo who should onviously benefit from a step up in trip. When he gets it is another question. Limetree Boy made one terrible mistake, and got in deep a few times. He looks like he could benefit from a Richard Johnson style ride. Inch House benefitted from an end to end gallop, and a couple of rivals disappointing. He still looked a little awkward in closing stages, but this was a step forward. Long term you could envisage him as a National type. Monbeg Genius made all, and with one exception his jumping won him the race. Arrivederci was well positioned towards the front end, but couldn't sustain his effort in the straight. Bit of a strange effort from Are U Wise To That. He appeared to travel then got outpaced before staying on again. Probably worth a try over further. Beachcomber was very weak in market, but he appeared to travel nicely, again towards the front, and forged clear from two furlongs out. This was a huge step forward from his Carlisle debut.

Almost a rest day tomorrow with just the two at Sandown. Dr Hegarty has no chance in opener, and Flight Deck probably needs a career best to take the staying handicap. Drying ground doesn't look a plus. I am surprised that they haven't found another Pertemps qualifier for him.

Elsewhere it is a very weak looking Scilly Isles. I am surprised they are even running Gerri Colombe. He looks much the best, but he surely wants a stiffer test at this trip. At Leopardstown I would hope to see a better run from Absolute Notions on a quicker surface, and it will be interesting to see if Banbridge has the pace to put it up to the favourites in the novice chase. At the moment the Turners looks a better bet for him than the Arkle. Disappointing line up for the Irish Gold Cup. Couldn't we have found something to take the hotpot on?
Report paulo47 February 3, 2023 6:01 PM GMT
Thanks for Doyen Star today differentdrum , they all help .
Report differentdrum February 3, 2023 7:14 PM GMT
Yes, I wish they all drifted like that and won.
Report differentdrum February 4, 2023 5:41 PM GMT
It seemed a pretty pointless entry, but Dr Hegarty did get £300 for finishing last. Even though the staying handicap was sponsored by Virgin it was a Pertemps Qualifier. It seems that Flight Deck has a problem with these races. He was immediately struggling, and if anything it was even worse than Aintree. This after a very impressive win. I wouldn't drop him for that.

Pleased with Gerri Colombe. He won despite trip, and ground. He is a very accurate jumper, and I have thought he should be favourite for the Brown Advisory ever since he made his chase debut. Fingers crossed the ground on the day isn't too quick. Elsewhere, Gemirande jumped nicely at Wetherby, and the form with Certainly Red looks strong for the grade. Pleased enough with the two Leopardstown seconds. Absolute Notions shaped as if the step up in the Albert Bartlett should suit. The winner always had a better track position. Banbridge couldn't go the pace, but finished so strongly, despite jumping the last worse than the three in front, to suggest that he will have a very good chance in the Turners. I would make him favourite. His course form is a big plus. Lossiemouth ended up having a pretty hard race in defeat. On reflection I do wonder if the idea was to set a slow pace because stamina might be a concern. Either way you wouldn't be disappointed if you were on Blood Destiny. The only impressive part of Galopin Des Champs win was the run in. Again he didn't seem to travel that well, and he again appeared lethargic at his fences. Is this the result of trying to get him switched off? Last season's exuberance seems long gone, but how much have they lost? This was a very ordinary field today, and it is going to be so much more difficult to ride that sort of race in March. I would be surprised if that was the Festival Bumper winner in the last, but to be fair he has achieved more than the current favourite.
Report differentdrum February 4, 2023 5:41 PM GMT
No stable entries until Tuesday.
Report differentdrum February 5, 2023 5:12 PM GMT
They can do what they want with Honeysuckle, but I think they are heading for another disappointment if she goes for the Mare's Hurdle. The biggest worry for me today was her jumping. She was getting in too deep, and losing ground throughout. Even at her best her form at the longer trip isn't that great either, and she is now significantly on the downgrade.

Hard to know what to make of Facile Vega. He only got the job done last time, but at least he saw his race out. Yes, he has probably gone too quick, but that doesn't excuse him bunny hopping hurdle after hurdle, and ultimately folding completely. Perhaps he just hasn't transferred his bumper form, but today was too bad to be true. On that evidence it will take one of Willie's best ever training performances to get him back for Cheltenham.

As a Banbridge supporter, I wasn't too worried by Mighty Potter's win. It was a poor Grade 1.

At least a few of those Festival races now look a bit more open than they did a couple of weeks ago.
Report differentdrum February 6, 2023 5:34 PM GMT
Three at Market Rasen, all part of the large batch that are returning having had three months off.

Cedar Row didn't show a lot on stable debut, and on much quicker ground this looks a tough ask. Presumably, Betty's Banjo had an issue last time. If you can ignore that run she would have a chance on ground that should suit. Mellicent landed the odds on stable debut, but her Irish run looks much better form. If she can reproduce that effort she has an each-way chance. Sherwood has really talked up the favourite, and she needs to win well to justify the comments.
Report differentdrum February 7, 2023 4:14 PM GMT
After the hat trick, that's five duffers in a row. That's far more in keeping with the overall season.

Both Cedar Row, and Betty's Banjo were ridden out the back, and disappeared once the pace quickened. No positives whatsoever. Mellificent  attracted a little support, but was disappointing, albeit from a poor track position. There was always a chance he was going to get into that mess. The Sherwood bubble burst. It is hard to put your trust in a trainer who looks distinctly like yesterday's man. I would have thought anyone with a Festival Bumper ticket can rip it up. Aintree Mare's would seem a more likely option.

Just Piper Tom at Ludlow tomorrow. He attracted a little support on bumper debut, but needs to step up markedly on that disappointing effort to trouble the market leaders. Interesting to see if there is money for him again.
Report differentdrum February 8, 2023 12:54 PM GMT
For those that might be interested:-'neill

Sadly, for the most part it tells you less than I do on this thread. There's no commitment to anything running at the Festival. Anyone can look up the entries themselves.
Report differentdrum February 8, 2023 7:23 PM GMT
Just Half The Freedom at Doncaster tomorrow. He bids to follow up his recent course and distance win under likely similar conditions. Up 5lbs, I haven't been too sure about him, but this race should answer a few reliability questions. Brace replaces Brogan.

Piper Tom was supported before Ludlow was abandoned, and he reappears in a much weaker race at Kempton on Friday.
Report differentdrum February 9, 2023 5:59 PM GMT
Sadly, punters kept the faith in Half The Freedom, but he never looked likely to justify short priced favouritism. Not sure he needed a wide trip, but he was never travelling which seems to be a trait. Presumably, Brogan will now replace Brace.

Just one at each meeting tomorrow. Piper Tom goes in that weak Kempton novice, so weak he is second favourite. On different ground to his debut, the market is the only guide for punters. Gwennie May Boy has another run at Bangor. I can only imagine this has something to do with the owner because he looks as if he wants a more galloping track, and a step up in distance. Brogan doesn't appear to have done anything wrong on the horse so a bit surprised they are claiming off him. He needs to brush up his jumping, but he has an each-way chance.

Just returning to the stable tour. They highlight an ex-pointer called Hey Day Baby. She took four goes to actually win a point, and would have been a relatively cheap purchase. Johnny Who probably cost ten times that amount yet there is hardly a dickie bird. Nothing as to what has gone wrong since he joined the stable. At least it now seems they have given up a hurdling campaign for this season.
Report differentdrum February 10, 2023 10:49 AM GMT
Market seemingly not bothered about track, jumping, or change of jock for Gwennie May Boy. Nothing so far for Piper Tom which seems a little strange that he was backed for a much tougher race.
Report differentdrum February 10, 2023 4:00 PM GMT
All the concerns about Gwennie May Boy proved to be spot on. A terrible performance, and fingers burnt again. In the same race Twiston-Davies again showing why he has no equals as the king of the weighing room bunglers. Supposed top jock, but nobody ever calls him out. Noel Fehily has got hold of several good horses, but trust O'Neill to get one of the duffers. That's what it looks like with Piper Tom. Bar the winner that was likely an awful race today. Once they went a bit quicker his jumping fell apart.

Just the two runners again on Saturday.

Coeur Serin goes in an interesting three runner novices handicap. At the weights he is the equal of McFabulous. They have all gone forward, and hopefully, O'Neill does just that. That's how the horse ran well for Brace at Chepstow. Chances are O'Neill will just ignore that as he did last time. Letmetellusomethin goes in the novice at Warwick. He shaped quite well on hurdling debut, and he wouldn't have to take a huge step forward to finish third or fourth, in fact it would be disappointing if he didn't.
Report differentdrum February 11, 2023 10:03 AM GMT
Sadly, Letmetellusomethin out. Not what you want on an already ordinary punting day.
Report differentdrum February 11, 2023 5:29 PM GMT
I will give O'Neill the benefit of the doubt, and suggest he wanted to go forward, but couldn't muster the pace. In the end he has probably benefitted from the favourite blowing out, and the leader going a touch too quickly. He has an entry in the National Hunt Chase, and in a poor year, I don't see why he shouldn't take his chance. He was eighth in the Pertemps last year.

What to make of Jonbon? Watching the race with March in mind, I think I would be more worried about Coleman than the horse. It looked to me that Skelton caught him totally unawares, and in the end Jonbon has shown a good attitude to reel the leader in. Elsewhere on the card Hullnback was impressive in beating not very much, and Favour And Fortune took the bumper in the style of a horse worthy of a crack at the Festival Bumper. The same owner's Bowenspark ran an interesting race in the concluding Newbury bumper. Patrick got him into a poor position, and let's be generous and say he wasn't exactly busy up the straight. Earlier on the card Zanza confirmed how much he likes Newbury by running away with a poor Denman Chase. Why run him elsewhere? I am not keen on flat breds in bumpers but Samui was probably the one to take away from Naas. He picked up well to eventually run away from the strong travelling leader. Just checked and no Cheltenham quotes for either bumper winner. Wakey wakey.
Report differentdrum February 14, 2023 9:53 PM GMT
After a short break, two runners at Wetherby tomorrow, both with what look each-way chances.

Front View ran pretty well on comeback, but there are three doubts: the potential bounce, the step up in trip, and the quicker ground. Given those potential issues I think Prince Escalus is the less risky of the two with at least ground and distance in his favour. He is 0/7 left handed under rules, but he did win his point left handed. Four less runners than last time is a definite plus, and it is interesting he has come in for some market support despite there being only 7 runners. He will surely try to make all. Rose Sea Has would be the one most likely to hassle him, but hard to see him winning if he doesn't lead.
Report differentdrum February 15, 2023 5:06 PM GMT
All three negatives may have contributed to Front View's demise, but whatever the reasons he quickly folded once the pace picked up. On the other hand all went well for Prince Escalus. The fact that he outjumped Rose Sea was probably crucial to the win.
Report differentdrum February 17, 2023 6:51 PM GMT
Seven runners, and some of the better ones, spread across two meetings tomorrow.

Springwell Bay returns after a three month break, and as expected is upped in trip, but this looks more competitive than the Graded race. Attacca might well improve for the step up in trip, and looks the one to beat. You would love to know what is going on with Petit Tonnerre. Is tomorrow the target, or is he just warming up for Cheltenham? He is currently on a lovely mark for the Martin Pipe. Itso Fury seems to be improving, and although topweight, he doesn't have to concede too much weight to most of these. That said I would want a touch more than 11/4. Bethka has a nice pedigree, and ran a promising race on debut. She takes on the winner again, and must have at least an an each-way chance. Of course the Henderson horse could be anything, but she makes a belated reappearance, and is hooded for rules debut.

Three interesting ones at Haydock. I thought Time To Get Up showed quite a bit more last time, but still managed to get dropped 5lbs. He is now below his Midlands National winning mark. Is that the target or tomorrow? Maypole Class has stopped to nothing twice, and if the wind surgery has worked then she is also worth a look at big odds. Collectors Dream is upped considerably in class, and although the trip now looks corrct, he may find Haydock a little sharp for his liking, particularly if his jumping is not up to scratch.

Nice horse in the last race at Kelso today, in the shape of Balcomie Breeze. Out of a full sister to Brindisi Breeze the slow pace wouldn't have suited, and had he not hung left again, the favourite might well have found it a lot tougher to have got up.
Report differentdrum February 18, 2023 8:02 PM GMT
A day that started well, but tailed off.

Springwell Bay won without being asked any sort of question. Difficult to know what he achieved as the second probably isn't anything special, and it looks as if the favourite didn't stay. One thing is for sure it looks a bit daft not having chanced an entry in the Ballymore and Albert Bartlett. Unfortunately, the trainer seems to believe everything is a handicap project. There probably isn't much worse in the game than a jock not trying, and the Stewards either not noticing, or deliberately turning a blind eye. That's what happened with Petit Tonnerre today who thanks to O'Neill stopping riding finished fifth instead of fourth. There should be a way of looking at these cases retrospectively. He deserved a ban. Irrespective of what happened at the finish, it was another really poor ride. He seemed to have learnt nothing from last time, dropping the horse out in a slowly run race, and then making a bungle he could have done without. He made progress, but couldn't sustain the run. Beginning to wonder whether the ineptness of the jock is making me think the horse is better than he actually is. Ipso Fury (form boosted in the earlier race) was another held up in a slowly run race, and although he made some progress he was another to produce a tame finish. No surprise if he is dropped back in trip. Bethka was a bit keen tracking the leader in the bumper, and was another to engage reverse in the straight. Weak in the market, and a very disappointing performance.

At Haydock I don't think course or ground suited Time To Get Up. He never travelling with enough enthusiasm to take a hand. He cried enough from the turn for home. He jumps soundly even, but it's a style suited to much softer ground, and a galloping track. I wouldn't drop for this, and if he gets the right conditions a second Midlands National might be on the cards. Maypole Class, very much a gelding, jumped left throughout (not great at Haydock), and consequently never really travelled. No obvious signs that the wind operation has worked. Collectors Dream ran well enough, but couldn't confirm the Kempton form on 4lbs worse terms. I think he would have preferred an end to end gallop rather than Jones messing about on the front end.

Just a word for one of the also rans in that race. The course, ground, and the way the race was run were all very much against De Legislator, and as a result he never looked as if he would figure. To his credit he kept plugging away. Testing conditions on a galloping track, and I don't think he would be beaten 25 lengths.

Just Trapista tomorrow. Still waiting/hoping to see her being allowed to use her jumping on the front end.
Report differentdrum February 19, 2023 6:27 PM GMT
Trapista non runner.

Big day for a Monday.

Big Ambitions is arguably the best of the bunch in the Lingfield opener. He looks a galloper, and up in trip looks the right move. Just disappointed that McLernon hasn't retained the rice. Fame And Concrete is another upped in trip, this time on handicap debut. A run of seconds doesn't look great, and for a horse who has looked essentially slow the drying ground might not be a plus. Walk Of No Shame travelled like a winner last time, but stopped to nothing. Excuse of heat stress? She is dropped in trip. Playtogetaway makes his handicap debut off 102. The horse he might well have beaten in his point is now 132. Who knows? For me he has never looked a two miler. Walk In My Shoes won a very weak race, and then blew out in a more competitive race. She needs to improve significantly for first time blinkers. Merveillo looks to have very little chance in the Carlisle novice. Perhaps better ground might help. Morning Spirit needs to return to the form of his earlier course and distance win. He hasn't looked the same horse in two subsequent performances. Perhaps Brogan can bounce him out in front in first time blinkers. That should be the plan.

Very impressed with Ballyburn for the reasons given in separate thread. He could be pretty good.
Report differentdrum February 20, 2023 5:20 PM GMT
Dreadful ride on Big Ambitions. Very weak in the market, and never gave it a chance of winning. The last thing a galloper wants is a wall of horses in front of him. It doesn't help that he is ballooning his hurdles, and perhaps fences will eventually see him in a better light. Sadly, McLernon is currently on the sidelines. Fame And Concrete bungled his way round again, and never looked anything but very slow. Walk Of No Shame won very easily despite a horlicks of the second last. She probably had little to beat with the favourite hanging left in the straight. Another serious market drifter, Walk In My Shoes jumped very well, but doesn't seem to have the engine to match. Safe to say that the better ground didn't improve Merveillo, and a hurdling career looks pointless unless someone is trying to work a massive dodge. Morning Spirit continues to disappoint. After a sluggish start he got to the front, but was taken on, and he was already waving a white flag with a circuit to run.

Two at Market Rasen tomorrow. Valentine Getaway has a decent pedigree, but looks completely outclassed. Ilestdancingspirit plugged on late on his bumper debut without suggesting he was likely to win next time.

Two irritations. Are Sky Sports Racing best mates with O'Neill? It is bad enough when Cattermole refers to him as Jonge, but Hammond was doing the same today. No real surprise, but Chapman could make anything unwatchable. Everything is about him. It seems he really believes he is the star of the show. The stupid singing, the oh so pally interviews, the constant references to the whip. The guy is a total dick. He doesn't need to go out every day to prove it.
Report differentdrum February 21, 2023 5:21 PM GMT
Valentine Getaway outpaced before picking up pieces late on despite jumping left. Difficult to know what she achieved as the second favourite backed out having chased the impressive winner. Ilestdancingspirit looked paceless again, but that didn't deter O'Neill riding for the imaginary turn of foot. He is fast becoming a master of that 'skill'. Head carriage didn't look great as well.

Just Rocco Royale in a weak novice at Ludlow tomorrow. Yet another who would surely benefit from a longer trip.
Report MJK February 22, 2023 2:42 PM GMT
Interesting ride is what I'd call it on Rocco Royale
Report differentdrum February 22, 2023 5:17 PM GMT
While the favourite was given a no nonsense ride, Rocco Royale was ridden more like a 25/1 shot than a second favourite. Just a nonsense of a ride. So many of the stable's runners are run over the wrong trip, and held up too far off the pace. Owners must have more money than sense to keep putting up with it.

Two at Huntingdon tomorrow. Trapista isn't a good thing, but she can win if O'Neill finally gets the message, and sends her forward. Inchester D'Amsyl showed a little promise on debut, and will he even be trying to bustle up the favourite?

Didn't see every race, but there were several other questionable rides today in addition to O'Neill - Midgley, Donoghue and Bellamy all worthy of a mention.
Report differentdrum February 22, 2023 5:23 PM GMT
Very poor, forgot Blue Shark and Bertie's Bandana.

Although it is his first go right handed, no obvious reason why Blue Shark shouldn't go in again. Bertie's Bandana has no chance on recent evidence.
Report sageform February 22, 2023 8:25 PM GMT
I could not believe what i was watching in the replay when Jonjo came from way back to be third without doing anything to encourage the horse until the run in. I had a small interest in the 4yo, Greatness Awaits who did OK for a first attempt at hurdles and was eased after 2 out when Jonjo was still 5 lengths behind him! Both are worth far more than the bare form.
Report differentdrum February 22, 2023 9:38 PM GMT
There is an explanation for anyone who wants to read it, but it is just a lot of words describing a dreadful ride. Amazingly, he thinks that two miles is the right trip for the horse.

This only a couple of days after he should have been banned for the ride on Petit Tonnerre.

The jock is in a very lucky position, and appears to be playing with the game. A bit sad for someone of his age.

Talking of Petit Tonnerre despite spending the season running over middle distances, he has only been entered in the County Hurdle. So have they deliberately run it over the wrong trip four times this season?
Report differentdrum February 23, 2023 6:09 PM GMT
Deja vu is a phrase you could easily get tired of using when describing O'Neill's rides. If it a first a tactic doesn't succeed carry on doing exactly the same. Such tactics have blighted Trapista's attempts to win. Hold her up, she gets outpaced, and then she plugs on with any chance of winning long gone. Today she was in trouble from the moment she lost her position when he got the stride pattern totally wrong. Inchester D'Amsyl stayed on late, but in truth was in a different county to the winner, and probably didn't progress much from his debut. Blue Shark racked up the five-timer despite the ride. Jock admitted afterwards this was as sharp a test as he wanted so it begs the question why hold the horse up in tenth as opposed to racing in the first three as he had done previously? Jumping a big factor in this sequence. One mistake, and he would probably have lost. Bertie's Bandana made the running in first time cheek pieces, but beat a hasty retreat once headed. 

Four at Warwick tomorrow.

On The Bandwagon reverts to hurdles in first time cheekpieces. He remains a maiden, and has been very disappointing. Hard to see anything changing tomorrow. Cedar Row looks outclassed in the novice hurdle. Despite four Cheltenham entries, Iron Bridge continues over the intermediate trip. His last two efforts have been disappointing so he needs to be winning this in style to justify those entries. Only By Night was a 110,000 purchase having won an Irish Point at the third time of asking. She finished very strongly to win going away, but the form is relatively untested. The sire has done well with very few runners, and this one comes from a decent family including Somersby, Horner Woods, and Mr Baxter Basics. This looks the tougher of the two divisions, and the current 7/2 looks plenty short enough.
Report differentdrum February 24, 2023 6:27 PM GMT
On The Bandwagon raced prominently, but folded pretty tamely once headed. Several riders seemed to take the wrong course, but no action was taken. Even reading the Stewards Report, I don't understand why. Despite some errant jumping, Cedar Row ran on late without ever looking likely to trouble the places. Not sure some of those ahead handled course/ground, and he might have been a touch flattered. Iron Bridge looked all over the shop early on, but did find his way into the race, before lacking a gear in the closing stages. This was disappointing again. His jumping is generally too slow, and I suspect a big field might well frighten him. Hard to see him at the Festival. The National Hunt Chase might provide a small field, but he is totally unproven over that trip. Only By Night ran a respectable from a wide trip, but doesn't shout bumper winner on that run. She should pick a staying novice hurdle or two. Bumpers were notable for a couple of decent runs by Telescope's progeny. That hasn't happened very often, and maybe I can't so easily put a line through them. The winner of the first division looked by far the best prospect on show.

Four runners tomorrow.

Imperial Bede takes a rise in class, but everything in the race has something to prove. The form of his win has been let down since, and only seven runners makes him hard to recommend each way. Lock's Corner after a string of improved efforts was very lack lustre last time, never threatening to take a hand. How much was that the horse, how much the jock? Down in trip, if you could ignore that last run, he clearly has a chance. The bumper is for me the most interesting race with three promising ex-pointers by Affinisea. Brook Bay was bought for 380,000 on the back of a comfortable success in an Irish Point. He went off favourite, and it was a decent time. d. The form of the win is completely untested. Scholfield takes ride. His family goes back to Desert Orchid. Although Classic Anthem finished alone in his point he would have beaten No Time To Wait who was subsequently a very impressive bumper winner.

Cawthorne Banker runs in the Chepstow bumper. He has run with credit, but now looks a touch exposed.
Report differentdrum February 25, 2023 6:15 PM GMT
Worrying signs for Cawthorne Banker. Four runs in he didn't seem to fancy it. That was a woeful performance.

Imperial Bede probably not good enough, but didn't appear to get that much help from O'Neill in the straight. How much did he want to finish third? Hard to find words to describe Brook Bay. Not as if he went too quick. The cheeky chappie must be wetting himself with laughter. A couple of days ago he landed yet another Irish Point winner 290,000. How stupid are these people? He seems to be just wasting people's money over and over again. The other two ex-pointers ran with promise, particularly the second, but neither had the pace to be winning a bumper on a quicker surface.

This day has thrown up Cheltenham winners in the past, but I doubt too many were on show today. I don't believe JP's bumper winner is in the same league as Ballyburn.

Just the two runners tomorrow at Fontwell.

Letmetellusomethin ran well enough on hurdling debut, and I am a little surprised he is such a big price in an ordinary race. A repeat of his course and distance second should give Spitalfield every chance in the concluding bumper.
Report differentdrum February 26, 2023 4:54 PM GMT
Letmetellusomethin pulled on account of the ground. Strange betting pattern, as big as 100/1, as short as 20/1. Spitalfield hasn't gone on from stable debut, and looked very average. Noticeable how many Lavelle bumper horses travel nicely on the bridle (and probably go short in running) only to seemingly find nothing where it matters most.

Cracking novice race in Ireland today, I suspect much better than anything on show yesterday. If I had Corbett's Cross I would be disappointed he wasn't in the Ballymore. He has certainly got more pace than I thought he had. Found A Fifty, one for the future as well. Couldn't say the same about Blackmore. Looked very weak in a finish again today. I am beginning to wonder how long she will carry on.
Report differentdrum February 27, 2023 5:44 PM GMT
Two runners tomorrow on a day when it is strictly bottom of the table stuff. Hopefully, it isn't going to be this bad all the way to Cheltenham.

File Illico has been absolutely dreadful this season, but did win this race on his only previous run at Leicester, and perhaps the quicker ground might help. It's such a poor race just jumping round would give him a chance. Also Known As is very quickly sent chasing, and in first time blinkers. After a modicum of promise at Uttoxeter he took another step backwards last time. The better ground should help, and it is another very weak race.
Report sageform February 28, 2023 9:06 AM GMT
All of todays racing is very weak. Have you worked out which of Jonjo's entries will run in a Cheltenham handicap yet? I expect there is a winner there somewhere.
Report differentdrum March 2, 2023 12:25 PM GMT
Just a quick catch up. I will go through the Cheltenham entries later.

Not sure File Illico improved that much. Made the running, but couldn't get the very easy winner off the bridle. O'Neill looked like a poor amateur on Also Known As, weight back in the saddle and bouncing up and down. Awful performance from horse and jock.

Yesterday, Wideeyedandlegless returned after a long absence. Like so many held up for a change of pace and ended up staying on when the race was over. Credit to Cobden for taking advantage of the muppets in behind. Neither of those two odds on shots was impressive, and a lesser rider might have got them beat.

Just Sacre Coeur today. Winner at Haydock, woeful on quicker ground and more testing track last time. Seemingly unfancied.
Report differentdrum March 2, 2023 1:50 PM GMT
I make it 20 Cheltenham entries, split between 12 horses.

Coeur Serein (3 entries)
Monbeg Genius (2)
Iron Bridge (4)
Regal Blue (2)
Saint Davy (2)
Prince Escalus
An Tailliur
Soaring Glory
Petite Tonnerre
Collectors Item

Coeur Serein, Monbeg Genius, and Iron Bridge all hold similar entries, and if the intention is to run you would imagine they would probably be separated. All three would definitely get in the Kim Muir, but need some to come out of the Ultima. Monbeg Genius has dominated small fields from the front, and if he wants to repeat those tactics then the Kim Muir would appear the best option. Iron Bridge has been very disappointing and his jumping in a big field might be very suspect. I would have suggested the Brown Advisory, or National Hunt Chase in the hope of facing a much smaller field, but he has yet to show that he really stays even three miles. Coeur Serein has got some big field course form, and might be worth a shot at a very weak National Hunt Chase. Regal Blue and Saint Davy are both promising, but short on experience. I would have thought that the Albert Bartlett would be a better fit for both of them. Collectors Item is a bit more exposed, but took a large step forward last time, and is another for the same race. His previous course run was dreadful. Presumably, they are just hoping with Easysland? For me it's retirement or move him. Prince Escalus wants a small field and quick ground. The Grand Annual is a terrible fit. An Tailliur has been very consistent, and progressive over the last couple of years. I had presumed he had been held back for the Pertemps, but the trainer states he has had some issues. If all is well he must have a decent each-way shout. Soaring Glory and Petite Tonnerre will probably get in the County. Soaring Glory is out of form, and has never really looked like a Cheltenham horse. I thought Petite Tonnerre might be a Coral Cup/Martin Pipe project, but his last two starts have been very disappointing. Beachcomber surprised me by taking a huge leap forward last time, but he will likely need an even bigger one to figure in the Festival Bumper.

So there you are Sage, perhaps you can tell me the winner? I would have An Tailliur as the best each way chance.
Report differentdrum March 2, 2023 1:53 PM GMT
Springwell Bay is another useful novice, possibly their best. Would they think about parachuting him into the Albert Bartlett?
Report sageform March 2, 2023 3:29 PM GMT
I have an idea that they are targeting the Ultima and the Kim Muir. The same 3 horses are in both but are well below the safety limit for the Ultima. They would get into the Kim Muir. Iron Bridge interests me most but although he is in two novice chases, the handicap looks more realistic.
Report differentdrum March 2, 2023 4:36 PM GMT
Hugely annoying win for Unspeakable today. Mentioned him a couple of times on the thread when he finished tailed off. Market clue last time, nothing today.
Report differentdrum March 2, 2023 6:56 PM GMT
Sacre Coeur slightly better, but I think she really needs a strong pace, and horses to be stopping in front of her.

Two runners on a very moderate card at Newbury. Piper Tom looks out of his depth in the novice hurdle, but Yes Indeed is currently being supported as if a drop in trip, and wind op might work the oracle. The stable could certainly do with a winner.
Report differentdrum March 3, 2023 5:50 PM GMT
Two more disasters to add to a list that is ever increasing. Just waiting for some clown to suggest it is a stable in form going into Cheltenham. The reality is that it hasn't been in form at any stage of the season. Piper Tom looks to have the size to jump a fence, but at the moment he is very much a Noel Fehily dud. The market couldn't give away Yes Indeed, and it proved to be spot on. He jumped badly (yet another one, there is a trend here, and the connection is O'Neill) and was never at the races.

More moderate stuff tomorrow. If you have a mediocre horse, and the trainer hasn't got it out in these two weeks before Cheltenham, then he isn't doing his job. Still it should mean everyone has some ammo to play with.

Four runners at Newbury.

Cloth Cap runs in the old stagers race. He has his ground and track. If it wasn't for having O'Neill on board I would give him a decent shout. He has even managed to coax a refusal out of the old boy. I am not sure what was going on with Lock's Corner when he was ridden too far back, and just failed to qualify for the Pertemps Final. Back in trip, if he resumes his previous progress he should have an each-way chance. Head Law made a promising reappearnce, travelling strongly on the bridle, but failed to back that up with a woeful performance at Huntingdon. Who knows what to expect? Mardy Mono is out of a full sister to More Of That. She looked very one-paced in her Point, and this looks a tough ask on debut.
Report differentdrum March 4, 2023 10:41 AM GMT
Unless you know something then both Lock's Corner and Head Law have drifted to ridiculous prices.
Report differentdrum March 4, 2023 6:20 PM GMT
Another day with far more negatives than positives. It's becoming more desperate by the day. Just the 1 winner from the last 27 runners.

Cloth Cap won't get any easier opportunities than today's race. Surely retirement isn't far away? It's not that unfair to say that Lock's Corner looked beat after 10 yards. He raced with all the zest of a horse who hadn't won for three years rather than three starts ago. The wheels seem to have come off big time, and the market was spot on. I missed Head Law's race, and because he was fatally injured I can't now see a replay. I have never liked the idea of air brushing reality. I can't believe any sane person would watch a replay just to see a fatality. Anyway commiserations to all those involved in the horse. The bumper was a procession. Given that Mardy Mono was able to stay on past wilting rivals, I suspect those in behind the runaway winner were a pretty average bunch.

Big day numerically tomorrow with six runners, at Ffos Las and Huntingdon.

Hungry Hill carries topweight in a modest novices handicap. Last time he raced too freely, stuck out wide, on ground that was likely too soft. All the hallmarks of not exactly trying too hard. He is worth a market watch, but I am not sure what he has done to be conceding 19lbs to Maid Of The Night. Walk In My Shoes jumped nicely on chase debut for Brace, but ultimately wasn't good enough in a lower grade. Copper Cove makes his handicap debut after fading away tamely at Exeter. Perhaps he needed that run? Bob Bob Ricard makes a belated seasonal debut in the bumper, but looks up against a couple of potentially decent rivals. Orrisdale goes in the handicap chase at Huntingon. He has been in dreadful form, and the better ground needs to spark a massive revival. Not sure what has been the problem with Mersey Street as he makes a belated rules debut after a years absence. He was a relatively cheap purchase having finished second in what looks a modest Irish Point. This looks a weaker bumper than the one at Ffos Las.

Hard to pick out much of note elsewhere today. Dargiannini looks ahead of the handicapper, and Seeyouinmydreams looked impressive in the bumper, but will surely find it difficult to execute similar tactics at Aintree. She was another for that 'terrible sire' Telescope who seems to have suddenly found a few winners. Anyone who backed Le Milos today won't be best pleased, but I am surprised some bookmakers pushed him for the Grand National. The winner is a useful tool at Kelso, and it looks as if Skelton has kicked too soon on a horse who ridden in that manner wasn't fit enough to get the job done.
Report formoftheace March 4, 2023 6:22 PM GMT
He wins a decent race at a big meeting and they all squawk ……dreadful outfit
Report differentdrum March 4, 2023 7:15 PM GMT
That's the nature of the beast. All you get is wall to wall cheerleading. This trainer is in form, that trainer is in form, same with jocks, you might think they are all in form. Kerry Lee, a current example. She was struggling for ages, nobody mentions it, bangs in a few winners and suddenly she is brilliant. They continually treat their audience as complete fools.
Report sageform March 4, 2023 7:40 PM GMT
But spotting trainers and more importantly owners in or out of form is one of them main guides to winners. Remember Louise Duffy who owned Mr Frisk? Her horses only won when she paid her annual visit to UK. She was not the only one who made sure her horses were tuned up for a specific period of time. It is not usually an accident when an owner or trainer has a sudden change in form.
Report differentdrum March 5, 2023 6:43 PM GMT
Hungry Hill didn't travel early, but eventually arrived on the bridle looking as if the race was won only to be eventually run down close home. Not sure whether he was just green, or hanging fire was a sign of a more serious issue. You have to think had the jock held on a little longer he would have won. That's happened to a few recently. Copper Cove seemed to travel sweetly enough upsides the winner, but again he has finished very tamely. Bob Bob Ricard probably stepped up on his debut, but was no match for the comfortable winner. He took advantage of another terrible Lavelle bumper runner. Once Paisley Park is retired the cupboard looks empty. The two year association with Bellamy hasn't produced one promising young horse, just a string of disappointments. Orrisdale was again found wanting, dropping away quickly once headed. Mersey Street travelled well enough, but could only muster one pace when it mattered. Much better effort from Sheehan here than in the Luck On Sunday studio.

Fortunately, I am not having quite as many losers as Jonjo, but just the same the odd winner before the Festival would be nice. Hopefully, the forecast cold snap doesn't disrupt racing too much this week.

Three runners tomorrow.

Arrivederci has been woeful for two years. First time cheek pieces look the only hope. Letmetellusomethin has been pulled out twice recently. Assuming he is allowed to take his chance this looks tougher than the races he has missed. After several disappointments Fame And Concrete has found another weak handicap. He clearly lacks a gear, and doesn't jump very well.
Report differentdrum March 6, 2023 4:17 PM GMT
Fast disappearing over the cliff - I think that is now 1 out of 36 including a large number of dreadful performances.

Today it was par for the course with three duffers.

Brogan has done well to motivate Arrivederci enough to finish fourth. He didn't travel with any zest. His jumping is safe, but laboured. Letmetellusomethin seemingly attracted plenty of each way support, but it was soon obvious he wasn't going to reward backers. An absolutely terrible round of jumping which ultimately led to the inevitable tame finish. Despite an uncontested lead, Fame And Concrete faded away to nothing once challenged. It looked like he was running through concrete.

Just the one runner at Sandown tomorrow. Gwennie May Boy finally steps up in trip on a galloping track. This is far more competitive than the races he has been running in, and he needs to jump better to have any chance. O'Neill rides for the first time.
Report differentdrum March 7, 2023 7:52 PM GMT
Gwennie May Boy jumped a little bit better, and plugged on to finish a distant third. It looked to me as if the ground was a negative, and he is worth considering over a similar trip on better ground.

Nothing tomorrow, but did notice a little market support for An Tailliur in the Pertemps.

Also noticed O'Neill was up for ride of the month on Inch House. Who picks these? The horse has a trait of hanging left yet he still used his whip in the right hand. If they were choosing worst rides of the month he would be in the running every time.
Report differentdrum March 8, 2023 3:31 PM GMT
Hopefully, three at Wincanton tomorrow, and perhaps a chance of a winner?

Walk Of No Shame can be a bit buzzy, but is quite useful. If she handles the quicker surface she must have a decent chance of defying the penalty. Sermando steps up a grade, and hard to see why the step up in trip should make a significant difference. Dr Hegarty steps up in trip on handicap debut in a very poor race. He has shown next to nothing in three starts at the minimum, and is a full brother to Timberman who has been doing his winning at two miles. Best watched.
Report differentdrum March 9, 2023 6:27 PM GMT
It's getting difficult to find any new words to describe the performances. It's now up to 1/40. There can't be many yards in the country in worse shape than that, let alone one that spends hundreds of thousands on the horses. Owners only got themselves to blame.

Walk Of No Shame had a pretty easy task, but alarm bells were ringing as early as the first hurdle. She never travelled or jumped. Bookmakers in clover. The other two finished last, and pulled up after a few hurdles.

Four at Exeter tomorrow, and you couldn't back any with confidence. You would think they would all drift.

Inchester D'Amsyl showed a little promise on debut, but could only finish a distant second returning after a two-month absence. Judicial Law hasn't run since September, and his best form on soft ground. Red Dirt Road beat Corbett's Cross and Thomas Mor in his Point, but hasn't shown anything like that form under rules. That Point was on soft ground, and it seems strange he has since been kept to the minimum trip. In many respects Blue Shark has been the stable star, but even before you consider the stable/jockey form, he is up 5lbs, and significantly up in trip on a stiff track. He hasn't looked to be crying out for the extra distance.
Report differentdrum March 9, 2023 7:21 PM GMT
Iron Bridge cut across the board for the Kim Muir. Presumably, someone has tipped it up, sometime who appears to be oblivious to stable form, and the form of the horse itself for that matter.
Report sageform March 10, 2023 3:50 PM GMT
Iron Bridge does not seem to be declared for any Cheltenham entries. Monbeg Genius and one other I can't spell in the Kim Muir.
Report differentdrum March 10, 2023 6:55 PM GMT
Hurrah, a winner at last.

Given the way the others ran, I think Red Dirt Road has probably won by default. He made all, was never seriously challenged, and pulled clear from two out, looking better the further he went as you might expect for a horse running over the wrong trip. Inchester D'Amsyl tried to sit in front, but dropped away tamely once the pace increased, and ended up taking a heavy fall. Another dismal performance that promised nothing. Judicial Law jumped poorly out out the back before getting outpaced. He plugged on, but was in a different county to the winner. The writing was on the wall for Blue Shark almost from the start. I commented last time how O'Neill dropped him out, but the horse got him out of trouble. He did the same again today, and this time the horse didn't get him out of trouble. The horse probably needs a break, and preferably Brace back on board.

Hopefully, three at Sandown tomorrow.

Crebilly was beaten by a decent horse last time, but not sure he wants the extra distance in this type of ground. I hope Churchills Boy can be a rare big winner for Nick Gifford. A slog in the mud should suit. Hard to see an out of form Soaring Glory playing much of a part off top weight in the Imperial Cup, albeit a weak looking renewal. Morning Spirit appears to have lost the plot since winning at Carlisle.

Yes, very strange gamble on Iron Bridge. If somebody did put it up not the wisest selection.
Report differentdrum March 11, 2023 5:58 PM GMT
Two relatively better efforts today, although neither remaining runner looked like winning. Crebilly travelled well enough, but didn't get home. Morning Spirit doesn't look one to trust. Today he travelled with some zest, and kept battling up the straight. Which version you get next time is anyone's guess.

Four tomorrow at Warwick.

Half The Freedom is another who seems to need everything to go just right. Not sure he wants testing ground. La Domaniale has been off since last August and put in at a short price the ground must again be a big concern. Cedar Row made nice late gains last time without ever looking like being seriously involved. A little more progress would give him every chance, but he looks another running on the wrong ground. Rockstown Native was bought for 82,000 having won an Irish Point in January. The family is no great shakes, and he didn't look the biggest, but he did jump very nicely. This might well prove too sharp a test. He is a big price, but I did think Ultra Beat did shape nicely in his Point, and is worth a watch for the future.

Not much to get enthused about today. I think I enjoy tired horses slogging up that Sandown hill in testing conditions less each time I watch.
Report differentdrum March 12, 2023 6:06 PM GMT
Another day when a winner was surrounded by something a lot more in keeping with the current run.

As with the other winner, I think Cedar Row won almost by default, and it certainly had zero to do with the ride. He was much the strongest stayer, and O'Neill only had to stay on board.

Half The Freedom had to be pushed along throughout, and just confirmed that he is never going to be an animal to trust. La Domaniale was weak in the market, and never looked likely to be seriously involved. Rockstown Native was outpaced in a steadily run bumper. Ultra Beat doesn't look a bumper horse, but shaped nicely. It is hard to believe that punters keep standing for Bailey and Bass. They have had a dreadful season, and by not making the running they have taken away Bass's best attribute.

One runner at Stratford tomorrow, quite appropriately, Came From Nothing, a half brother to Marie's Rock who I am very much hoping will bolt up on Tuesday. I very much doubt this one will do likewise. He returns four months after getting outpaced on debut. Hard to believe that whizzing around Stratford will suit.

Just the one stable entry at Cheltenham on Tuesday, Monbeg Genius in the Ultima. This is a far cry from bossing small fields, and looks more about giving the jock a ride, rather than doing best for the horse. He would surely have had more chance of dominating the Kim Muir?
Report sageform March 12, 2023 6:13 PM GMT
Yes, I was expecting Monbeg Genius to go for the Kim Muir. I suppose they declared for the Ultima in case he got in-which looked unlikely. Were they aiming to be balloted out and get the entry money back?
Report differentdrum March 12, 2023 8:17 PM GMT
Given all the money that is being wasted on the horses, I would be surprised if they are too worried about saving a few bob on entry fees.
Report sageform March 13, 2023 9:07 AM GMT
Monbeg Genius does seem to be well backed though.
Report differentdrum March 13, 2023 5:16 PM GMT
Dire effort from Came From Nothing. Sweated up, and almost the first beaten, quickly tailing off.

Just Monbeg Genius tomorrow. I have no idea what has inspired the gamble. He has dominated small fields beating just 14 rivals in three runs. He will need something akin to a miracle to be able to dominate this field so can he do anything else?

I am pleased to be going in losing half as much as last year, but not so pleased not having backed a winner for two weeks.

Hopefully, Marie's Rock can win again. I think she is much the best, but the potential lack of pace is a concern. Test of stamina, and she doesn't get beat.
Report sageform March 13, 2023 7:50 PM GMT
I had to have a £1 on Monbeg after such a gamble. It is the kind of race where Jonjo has done well in the past. My real fancy is Oscar Elite who came right back to form recently for Cobden who keeps the ride and he is only up 3lb for that win and is only 1lb higher than when finishing third last year. Take a look at his third to Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame at Aintree.
Report differentdrum March 13, 2023 10:00 PM GMT
Good luck.

Oscar Elite has run well at the Festival, but in general has been very disappointing. Last time he won a shocking renewal of the Reynoldstown beating a non stayer. He is 5lb better off with Corach Rambler for three lengths, but I think the winner was value for more than the official verdict.
Report sageform March 14, 2023 8:35 AM GMT
Fair enough, but he is a horse with good back form who has had problems for a year prior to the latest win. He seemed to get on well with Cobden which is a plus. 14/1 seems a fair price to me.
Report Jinxy1 March 14, 2023 8:54 AM GMT
Monbeg Gebius, given an extra run just to make sure that he got in the race, will do for me.
Report sageform March 14, 2023 3:01 PM GMT
Monbeg and Oscar both ran well. Oscar too far back but had a chance at the second lat. Monbeg every chance, not quite good enough. Laid both of them off in running so no damage done.
Report differentdrum March 14, 2023 6:32 PM GMT
Very good effort from Monbeg Genius. No excuses, just not good enough on the day. At least he showed he could cope being held up in a big field which opens up big handicap possibilities.

Two runners tomorrow.

Easysland has zero chance on all known evidence since he switched to this yard. He is blinkered first time. Beachcomber stepped up massively to win last time. He needs to do the same again and more.

The first thing to say about today is the ground wasn't anywhere near as soft as people were expecting. Several good ground horses ran well enough. This can be a very long week if you don't back any winners, and having started with two seconds things were not looking good. Step forward Corach Rambler. He travelled so well I was just waiting for something to go wrong, but fortunately, despite idling, it didn't. I took advantage of the £10 offers on Constitution Hill, but in the same race I Like To Move It blew out completely. Biggest disappointment was the Mares' Hurdle being run at a dawdle, and the Henderson yard happy to see the race run at a dawdle. They could easily have forward with Theatre Glory, but she was held up, and effectively played no part in race. It makes me think that they wanted to have this race set up for Epatante. That's how it looked. A crawl was the last thing Marie's Rock wanted, but even so she was very poor. Metamorpheus travelled nicely in Boodles, but didn't come up the hill. Not great to finish sixth when you are on five places at big odds. Mister Coffey getting a lucky place in the last rounded off a very small win day.

Of the other performances I was taken by Marine Nationale in the first. El Fabiolo took the Arkle nicely, but the fight with Jonbon never materialised. Bar the last flight the Champion Hurdle was something of a non event.
Report sageform March 14, 2023 7:59 PM GMT
I know it sounds like aftertiming but I could never see Marie's Rock at all. I know she won last year but there were 2 Champion hurdle winners in there this time so she had to improve massively to beat either of those. Love Envoi ran a massive race as I had hoped but could not see off Honeysuckle from the last. Epatante was very disappointing and could also be retired.
Report differentdrum March 14, 2023 8:16 PM GMT
Yes, it is nice to hear opinions before races.

You honestly think that was the real Marie's Rock? She has run way below her best, and a huge part in that is down to the farcical pace which suited the speed horses on the front end. That should be obvious to anyone. I raised the concerns about lack of pace beforehand, but thoroughly expected Theatre Glory to go forward. She ended up beating Marie's Rock which just confirms how poorly the favourite has run. The rag wouldn't be in the same league. An on song Marie's Rock didn't have to improve massively to beat two ex-Champion Hurdle winners from a moderate era, both on the downgrade. Likely she didn't have to improve at all. Love Envoi was 147 and Marie's Rock 153, so if she had run to that rating she would very likely have won. I am not buying into Love Envoi suddenly showing massive improvement, she was just well ridden.
Report sageform March 14, 2023 8:28 PM GMT
I posted my opinions on what I thought would win, mentioning Love Envoi several times. I would rate the race through Honeysuckle at her OR of 159 which is still well below her rating last year. That would put Love Envoi on 157 which is not unreasonable. She won her previous 2 races in a canter so was open to 10lb improvement.
Report differentdrum March 16, 2023 12:06 AM GMT
After a shocker of a punting day didn't feel much like doing this today.

Easysland see previous comments. I have no idea why they are perservering. Just embarrassing. As expected Beachcomber was never at the races.

Two runners tomorrow.

I have backed An Tailliur each-way, but the initial support has dried up, and ground a likely negative. I would have run Coeur Serein in the National Hunt Chase, but if he gets into a rhythm on the front end he could run a decent race.

As for today's punting hard to believe too many would have been on Gerri Colombe and An Epic Song at such big prices and just about as bad as it gets that both would have won in a couple more strides. Never been a believer in the idea that luck evens out. Far more likely it is another dose of the same tomorrow.
Report sageform March 16, 2023 8:04 AM GMT
Yesterday was poor for me too. Hermes Allen was particularly disappointing and Benson, Thyme Hill and Edwardstone were too bad to be true. That was my betting day! Good luck with Coeur Seren if you are on. Stage Star and Paisley Park are my 2 anti post bets. The rest will be last minute decisions.
Report differentdrum March 16, 2023 6:11 PM GMT
I backed both An Tailiur and The Changing Man. Both jocks - Powell another terrible jock - looked to be caught out by the burn up in the straight. They stayed on as well as anything outside the winner. Unlucky for anyone with five places. Coeur Serein, never at the races, and would surely have been better in the longer, small field, race?

Just Petite Tonnerre in the County tomorrow. His best effort this season was on good ground over the intermediate trip. Unless he has been hiding an awful lot hard to see.

I really need to revise what I wrote yesterday. Today I had Envoi Allen (16/1), Sire Du Berlais (50/1), and Seddon (22/1 & 25/1). It would have been nice to have finished off with Stumptown at 9/1 in the last, but that would just have been greedy. A day likely never to be repeated. A few shots left to fire tomorrow, but if they all lose, it will still be a nice winning week.
Report MJK March 16, 2023 6:45 PM GMT
I backed An Tailiur ew myself. Don't think he could've ran it up the back of more horses.
Report differentdrum March 17, 2023 6:28 PM GMT
Petite Tonnerre finished as well as anything, but was never realistically at the races. Much too far out of his ground.

On the betting front it was never likely to be a repeat of yesterday. For the most part it was the exact opposite. Blood Destiny was rubbish; Pembroke was arguably the worst performing favourite of the week; Corbetts Cross ran out when holding a slim chance; Ahoy Senor brought down Sounds Russian, and Noble **** only got going when the race was finished; Rocky's Howya desrved a place but didn't get one. Although I did have a small saver on Lossiemouth you couldn't get much more of a tale of woe. Thankfully, Zambella managed an each-way fourth, and the week was rounded off with Iroko winning the last at 20/1. That made six winning bets at 14/1 and above which was key to a very good week. If I learnt one thing it was don't go in early on the shorties. Even if these didn't drift bookmakers had plenty of offers. Biggest disappointment other than those two short head reverses on Tuesday was Banbridge's no show at 22/1. Hard to believe he wouldn't have at least placed in what turned out to be a very ordinary renewal of the Turners.

Looking ahead if he stays right Galopin Des Champs is going to be very difficult to beat. The trip was no issue in a well run race. They might drop Corbetts Cross in trip, but I would be very surprised if Stay Away Fay were beat him again. Lossiemouth won nicely, but I am not sure what she ended up beating. In terms of a Champion Hurdle contender I wouldn't have her close to Marine Nationale.

Four runners at Uttoxeter tomorrow.

Collectors Item skipped the Albert Bartlett and should have every chance with conditions to suit. Flight Deck runs in the same race, but who knows which Flight Deck will turn up? Time To Get Up has almost certainly been targeted at a second Midlands National and from 8lbs lower it's not impossible, but it is a tough renewal. Will come back on the bumper horse as the At The Races site appears to have crashed. Likely it's a stronger bumper than the Kempton one.
Report isleham March 17, 2023 10:09 PM GMT
The Gold Cup is a truly gruelling race and 12 months ago APT would have had 2 further runs both Pulled Up so difficult to be too bullish about Galopin
Report differentdrum March 17, 2023 10:44 PM GMT
Correction, actually 5 runners tomorrow.

I forgot about Iron Bridge who also skipped Cheltenham for tomorrow. I thought he struggled home when finishing alone at Haydock, and for me his stamina is unproven at this trip on slow ground. I couldn't find any video for Hasthing, but it appears he has won both starts nicely. He beat a now 110 rated animal very easily. Clearly something has gone amiss since then, and the double penalty makes this a tough ask after such an absence.

I will try and keep this going until Punchestown. It's been a help to me, and not really a chore. No point in doing a Flat equivalent because I don't know enough to add any value. I can assess bumpers, but loads of unraced Flat horses is not for me. Too much guesswork. Will probably start back with a different trainer in October. I was thinking maybe Henry Daly off the back of a not too bad season. His Rapper reportedly bled from the nose. It did look too bad to be true.
Report differentdrum March 18, 2023 10:59 AM GMT
Not sure where they got that 8/1 Collectors Item on today's morning show? A clear mistake. He very much needs to brush up his jumping technique. Flight Deck has drifted to big price if he decides to put in a shift. Like to see him in a rhythm on the front end. Been the odd nibble for the bumper horse, but you wouldn't have thought he wanted an absolute slog returning from such an absence. Minella Double looked an out and out galloper when a fortunate Point winner. He has also attracted attention, and you would have thought that Bowen shouldn't have any thought on his mind other than making this a severe test of stamina.
Report sageform March 18, 2023 1:50 PM GMT
Iron Bridge is my only interest from the yard. After missing 2 engagements at Cheltenham, they must fancy it fort this.
Report differentdrum March 18, 2023 6:21 PM GMT
Another winnerless, disappointing day.

Given that the ground had heavy in the description it was a strange watch as horses were never walking home as for instance they do on a regular basis at Sandown.

Collectors Item did jump better, but looked as if four miles might be too short. A disappointing performance. Flight Deck was beaten before he started. Given the horse appears to easily lose interest why would you line him up wide, and so far back? Idiotic tactics. He should have been on the front end. He was driven along, but the jock eventually gave up with half a mile left to run. Time To Get Up 33/1-10/1 never travelled a yard, and it was no surprise when he was pulled up. Given that conditions should have suited this was a shocking effort. Hasthing raced quite freely, and ended up too far back - sadly, a recurring theme - otherwise he should probably have won. Despite the market support Minella Double was beaten as soon as he was held up. Anyone who watched his Point could have seen that he was just a galloper.   

Another five runners tomorrow.

Nitwit was absolutely clueless on his bumper debut. On that evidence you wouldn't expect too much on his hurdling debut. Likely this is just experience for next year. Favourite looks a penalty kick. Wideeyedandlegless was disappointing returning from an absence. The longer trip should be a plus. Hopefully, in combination with a more positive ride. Again the favourite should be hard to beat. Dollar Bae is finally upped in trip, but the ground is a big question mark. Isocrate with three fourths would have an unusual profile for a bumper winner. His latest form is relatively untested, and in a few more strides he would only have finished fifth. 10/1 Looks pretty short, and I would be more interested in Gidleigh Park if he copes with the ground. Maypole Cross goes to Carlisle. He appears to have gone backwards after showing promise at the start of the season.
Report differentdrum March 18, 2023 6:24 PM GMT
Again I forgot Iron Bridge. He seemed to see it out well enough, and although he did travel like a winner, this is perhaps his level. It will be interesting to see if they now stay at this trip.
Report differentdrum March 19, 2023 5:59 PM GMT
A day of what might have been.

Nitwit travelled a little more kindly, but quickly dropped away. On this evidence it will be quite a time before we find out whether he actually has any ability. Wideeyedandlegless raced prominently, but looked as if he might want four miles when left behind by the winner. After continually suggesting that Dollar Bae should be upped in trip that was quite galling to watch. She coped with the ground, and produced her best performance. A big market drifter, Isocrate has done well to finish fifth, in what was likely an above average bumper. Gidleigh Park was another who had no problems with the ground. Commiserations to those associated with Maypole Cross. I flagged him up earlier in the season, but that promise hadn't been fulfilled. Amazing how you go from such a poor performance to looking a steering job.

Three at Southwell tomorrow.

File Illico has had a very poor season, and was readily brushed aside in a three-horse race last time. Needs a revival even at this basement level. Hey Day Baby made all to win her point, looking a strong stayer, but despite a similar rating I would be surprised if she turned over the other Point winner, Sanda Rena. Valentine Getaway makes her handicap debut stepped up in trip. On pedigree that should suit, and she wouldn't need to show much improvement to be competitive in this race. It would be disappointing if she wasn't.

Interesting bumper to round off the card at Taunton with three winning ex-pointers. Rock House was a relatively cheap purchase, but the horse who came down when chasing him has subsequently given that form a boost. Pa King the key to Hammer Dan and Saladins Son. He got into a right horlicks at the last on Hammer Dan and that one to my eyes looked the pacier of the two, an asset you need round Taunton. In fact it is a surprise to see these type of horses even running at Taunton.
Report differentdrum March 20, 2023 5:26 PM GMT
Back to the usual dismal day.

File Illico jumped increasingly right (Racing Post analysis says left?) and dropped away tamely. Hey Day Baby attracted some market support, but having shown herself a stayer in her Point win, was stupidly dropped out, and given no chance. Isn't the idea of tactics to give horses the best chance to win? Valentine Getaway was very disappointing, and seems of very limited ability on this evidence.

Two at Wetherby tomorrow.

Given a couple of recent dire results from the Evan Williams stable, it looks as if Springwell Bay should provide another rare winner. At the moment he looks the most promising novice in the yard, and he should be able to concede the weight, and possibly go on to Aintree. Trapista goes up in trip, but having continually suggested that she is one paced and should make the running, I have given up.

Centara doesn't have the greatest pedigree, but ran away with today's Taunton bumper. It run at a decent clip, and he barely came off the bridle. He might be another heading to Aintree. The second gave a boost to Secret Squirrel who might heading in a similar direction. Poor effort from the Pipe horse today, stopping to nothing having seemingly travelled well. Perhaps this came too quick after his Point run?

It was only few years ago that Nicholls hardly ever trained a bumper winner. Clearly he has realised that if you get your horse fit, and actually try to win the race, it can be easy pickings. From the way many other trainers approach these races you would think winning a bumper somehow destroys a horse. Just lazy training and wasting owner's money.
Report differentdrum March 21, 2023 9:57 AM GMT
Just to confirm the stable made a couple of big money purchases at the recent Cheltenham Sales - will the owners ever learn? They are certainly not getting the results so it is baffling to think what experience he is providing.

Mt Fugi Park (290,000) is a good looking 5yo by Walk In The Park, from the family of Royal Athlete. He stayed on nicely to win on debut, and the first two drew clear. Those behind haven't done anything for the form.

Bill Joyce (225,000) is a 4yo by Mahler from the same family as the stable's currently disappointing, Betty's Banjo. He looked a nippier sort, but far less imposing than the older horse. The form is so far completely untested.
Report Trident March 21, 2023 10:12 AM GMT
Unless the stables horses are backed Very late, I have no interest in their runners. For the price they pay, it's almost like most horses are out for a Fun day out.... Not a stable to have your hard earned on IMO
Report differentdrum March 21, 2023 6:10 PM GMT
Springwell Bay duly won comfortably, but probably learnt next to nothing in doing so. He could still do with brushing up his jumping, but that's probably in part down to the jock. Amazingly, he is to be targeted at an Aintree handicap. I can't fathom that out, unless the trainer wants to turn everything into a handicapper. I wouldn't have thought beating up very small fields was the ideal preparation. I would have aimed him at the staying novice. Trapista was ridden as before with exactly the same result. Still one paced, but hey ho, let's carry on riding it for a change of pace.

Three runners tomorrow.

Uptown Lady didn't give much cause for encouragement on chase debut, but that was after a long absence and upped in trip the ground should be much more suitable tomorrow. Copper Cove was very disappointing after an absence, and didn't shape as if crying out for a longer trip. Fame And Concrete goes to Warwick, and has been put in favourite for a very weak race. Even at this level I wouldn't trust him to deliver.

Another very impressive bumper winner today in the shape of Indeevar Bleu. Almost certainly a weaker event than yesterday, but he couldn't have been more impressive. It's about time Murphy started turning this type of horse into Graded winners.

Forgot to mention Senior Chief yesterday. He was value for more than his winning margin, and looks a nice staying chase prospect.
Report differentdrum March 22, 2023 5:58 PM GMT
Uptown Lady out ran her odds as might have been expected. Unfortunately, she faded away in the straight so we are left wondering if that was a reflection of her true ability, or a poor preparation. Fame And Concrete is a terrible advert for the trainer. He was a poor jumper to start with, and he is still a poor jumper. The first time cheek pieces made no difference. Copper Cove travelled well enough but didn't stay. Another one who is already looking disappointing.

Three at Chepstow tomorrow.

Merveillo makes his handicap debut having shown next to nothing in four runs over hurdles. He receives just 6lbs from a progressive horse who has won four in a row. Very hard to see on all known evidence. Walk In My Shoes jumped well on her chase, but O'Neill still managed to conjure a fall out of her next time. Assuming O'Neill doesn't mess up again she has an each-way chance on ground that should suit. Bethka ran well on debut, but absolutely bombed at Ascot. Again if she can reproduce the Ludlow run she would have every chance in a weak race.

Very ordinary racing today, But David Bass seemingly remembered what he does best.

Looking ahead to Aintree I see Marie's Rock is being stepped up in trip. She got beat at Cheltenham because the stable made a pig's ear of tactics, not because of the trip. The race ended up being a total farce. I won't be in any hurry to back her this time. Not overly excited by the National entry. Far easier to rule them out than rule them in. I have backed Le Milos and Corach Rambler, mainly because they have produced two nice ante-post results this season. The worry for Le Milos is the trip. These days it isn't easy to nurse a horse into the race from off the pace. I think the jumping is the main issue for Corach Rambler. He gets very high at his fences so is going to be coming down steep. He almost lost his legs on landing at Cheltenham. He is another who is going to be patiently ridden, although in his case stamina should be fine.
Report differentdrum March 23, 2023 5:58 PM GMT
Another hat trick of disasters.

Merveillo continues to show nothing. What's the point? Walk In My Shoes doubled in price, lost ground at the start then three lengths over the first two fences and it was effectively game over. A bit of promise with Brace on board, useless in two outings with O'Neill in the saddle. Bethka continues on a downward spiral. Trouble beforehand, and ridden out the back, never looked likely to land the odds. I can't remember O'Neill winning a race this season when a horse has come off the bridle in the early stages. Just bounces up and down in the saddle, and most of time the horse pulls up.

Just Yes Indeed upped in trip at Newbury tomorrow. Like so many in the yard hasn't shown any form for ages.
Report differentdrum March 24, 2023 6:01 PM GMT
Very glad that Yes Indeed didn't take advantage of the winner's wayward tendencies. Who wrote the Racing Post comment that it 'had every chance'? They must use a crystal ball rather than a form book. 

Two runners tomorrow in the money events.

Walk Of No Shame heads to Kelso, and can't be seriously fancied off the back of a pathetic effort last time. Jaxonne runs in the Sales Bumper at Newbury. It's very much a mystery pedigree with Dunne taking a rare ride for the stable. I like the look of the Twiston-Davies second string on pedigree, but who knows on desperate ground.

It was desperate ground at Chepstow yesterday, and just as bad at Newbury today. Nicky Henderson suddenly became a soft ground trainer. Tread with complete caution. It's not worth throwing money away.
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