Dave’s Blog

No Fallers Please… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

No Fallers Please… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1600 1200 Dave T.

No Fallers Please…

How perceptive were these words last week?

“…but if Willie Mullins thinks his lad is up to this grade, who am I to disagree”

Err right sentiment wrong horse, what a kick in the selection box watching Tornado Flyer keep on doggedly to win the King George at 28/1 whilst our great grey hope Asterion Forlonge overjumped and came down at the final fence. Talking through my charred wallet I still thought the grey was in with a shout but there you go that’s steeplechasing.

The Gold Cup market has had a bit of a shake up over the last few days to me Minella Indo is still the one to be on, even after his Kempton flop, he loves Cheltenham and is unbeaten on the New Course two statistics it is hard to ignore. Galvin, I feel is a bigger danger than A Plus Tard as he seems to possess more stamina, although Henry de Bromhead seemed happy with A Plus Trad’s performance. It will be fascinating to see which of the De Bromhead runners Rachel Blackmore picks and whether connections stick with cheek pieces come March. At around 10/1 Minella Indo is worth an early interest. Not forgetting they all have to get there safe and sound which is a big ask with National Hunt horses, but it promises to be a cracking contest if last Tuesday’s Savills Chase is anything to go by.

Still in Ireland , it was hard not to be impressed with the chase debut of the Willie Mullins gelding Galopin Des Champs who led from the first and won unchallenged at Leopardstown. He is already 9/4 for the Festival Novices Chase which could be good value come March. He won the Martin Pipe at this year’s Festival so acts on the course and is a novice to keep an eye on. From the reports so far, it looks like both Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor are being aimed at the same Festival target, what a contest that could be.

Cheltenham has also a decent meeting to kick off New Year’s Day and perhaps put us in funds for the year ahead….no sniggering! There are a couple of good handicap chases to have a look at, let’s hope we can avoid fallers this weekend.

Selection – 12:50 Cheltenham – New Four Eighty Restaurant At Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase

The first at 12.50pm is over three and a quarter miles and on the forecast soft ground the trip will take some getting. Never a bad idea to see what is lurking amongst the bottom weights when the ground is testing, and David Bridgwater’s Captain Tommy might be the answer carrying 10st 1lb. He runs off a rating of 120 and he is inching down the weights from a high of 127 earlier in the season. A possible downside is that he seemed to have a hard enough race last time at Exeter, which was only a couple of weeks ago, when he appeared to pay the penalty for helping force the pace. He was struggling to maintain his position entering the straight but then ran on again after the last two fences. At the forecast odds of around 12/1 I think he is worth an interest. Like all good handicaps the race is wide open, and Venetia Williams’ unexposed Destinee Royale could be anything as could Undersupervision from the Twiston Davies yard.

1. Captain Tommy

Selection – 2:00 Cheltenham – Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase

The other cracking handicap at 2.00pm over two and a half miles is like déjà vu all over again, bearing a strong resemblance to the earlier Paddy Power and Racing Post chases so much so Paddy Power have sponsored this contest. Coole Cody and Zanza first and second in the Racing Post turn up again and on 2lb better terms plus the addition of cheekpieces Zanza might have his revenge. I have my doubts as the Hobbs gelding always seems to find trouble in his races and make life difficult for his jockey before finishing with a late rattle. At around a similar price I would rather have a few quid on the six-year-old Galahad Quest who started favourite for a handicap at Aintree at the start of December… you guessed it he fell… but watching the race again it wasn’t a drastic error more a slip on the landing side… no jokes about old lads getting up for the toilet in the night please. He was a fast finishing fifth in the Paddy Power, so we know he handles the track and his trainer although he doesn’t have many runners gets a decent return from them. The usual caveats apply as in all good handicaps but around 7/1 I feel Galahad Quest will give us a decent run.

1. Galahad Quest

I was pleased to read that another old stager has been given an honourable retirement this week, no not yours truly, but Nicky Richards’ Takingrisks the 2019 Scottish Grand National winner. The gelding is now destined for life as a hack at Greystoke which he thoroughly deserves after a career which saw him win six chases and three hurdle races. The Greystoke handler was quoted as saying “It’s brilliant when you can retire them in one piece, which is the main thing.” An excellent sentiment.

I was taken aback to read the title of the 1.30pm race at Uttoxeter this Friday, the Steve Lawrence Northern Soul Memorial Handicap Chase… err

Right just off to man the border crossing near Carlisle before the Tartan Army descend for their Hogmanay Celebrations…

Hope 2022 brings you health and happiness and perhaps the odd winner.

Have a good one.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

Not Long Now with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Not Long Now with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 720 960 Dave T.

Not Long Now.

I am sure you all have enough to do at the moment, so have kept the waffle to a minimum this week. to allow full concentration on the main event.

So, the wait for the big day is almost over. Yep, Boxing Day racing is on the horizon and like most years it looks like being worth the wait. Ten meetings of differing quality seven in England and three in Ireland. Wherever you are there is a decent opportunity to get out in the fresh air and see some live sport. If you cannot attend there is always the telly coverage… just turn the sound off… sometimes the coverage is like paralysis by analysis.

Selection – 3:05 Kempton –  Ladbrokes King George VI Chase

Ok the turkey is wrapped; the presents are in the oven. How’s that for an each way double Missus? as Ken Dodd would say, time to have a look through a couple of races for Sunday. The obvious place to start is the mid-winter highlight the Grade 1 King George V1 chase at Kempton Park. A cracking field including the last two winners both from the Nicholls yard Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon and the current Gold Cup holder Minella Indo over from Ireland. These three will head the market and it will be interesting to see who starts favourite come 3.05pm. I am tempted to take a chance on another Irish runner the Willie Mullins’ grey Asterion Forlonge who was going well when he stumbled three out and unseated Brian Cooper last time out in the Grade 1 John Durkan at Punchestown. It would have been fascinating to see how the race panned out if he had stayed on his feet as the winner Allaho was all out at the line… but that’s racing. The seven-year-old has always been prone to the odd error and his jumping will be tested in this contest but if Willie Mullins thinks his lad is up to this grade who am I to disagree.

1. Asterion Forlonge

Also, at Kempton the third race gives us an opportunity to see if the great hope of the North Ahoy Senor is as good as Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore hope he is. Only four declared and it should be a match between Senor and Bravemansgame from the Nicholls yard. Fingers crossed for these two promising youngsters as they go head to head.

Selection – 2:10 Wetherby – William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase

Wetherby’s Rowland Meyrick Handicap doesn’t attract the quality of yesteryear…. shut the old waffler up I hear from the back…but it is still a good three-mile chase. I used to be a regular at this fixture but since they moved the jumps course to the inside the fences seem to be less severe and they don’t provide the stern test which used to be associated with the Yorkshire track, so am now an armchair spectator. The Ladbroke Trophy winner Cloudy Glen is entered off his new mark of 150 which will be a tester for him after his Newbury triumph. I could never catch this gelding right last season when I really fancied him for the Welsh Grand National. Venetia Williams has perhaps turned the corner with him and ironed out his quirks so Sunday should give us a clue. However, I am prepared to give another chance to Sandy Thomson’s seven-year-old Empire Steel who ran a good race first time up at Haydock behind the bang in form Strictlyadancer. Thomson’s charge had some reasonable novice form last season, he is only up 1lb for his Haydock second and allowing for the added fitness edge a forecast price of around 7/1 looks ok.

1. Empire Steel

Don’t forget the Welsh National on Monday. A bit early as I type to know what is declared but I like the look of …. here we go again… Venetia Williams’ Hold That Taught if he is declared. He stayed on strongly up the hill at Carlisle last time and as he is only six there should be bags of improvement to come. What a pity there will be no punters to enjoy the spectacle.

Sad to note that the old warrior Top Cees who was a headliner in his day has died aged 31 Top Cees was a dual Chester Cup winner and was at the centre of an infamous libel trial back in 1998. He also won the Cesarewitch on the Flat and a Coral Cup over hurdles, he must have been a delight to own and lived out a happy retirement in Lincolnshire. Thanks for the memories.

That’s it for the Festive season so have a great holiday, hopefully Santa brings you all a sack full of winners.

Back to the brussels everyone…

Have a good one.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

Which way to go? with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Which way to go? with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1733 2222 Dave T.

Which way to go?

As you will all no doubt be aware, this week the Ashes have got under way Down Under, which leads to an interesting thought for this weekend’s punting. Do we still try to hit boundaries or attempt to steady the ship by taking a few safe singles? Mock if you must but I have always thought an occasional long priced winner to keep topping the bank up is a lot more fun than sticking on shorties which needs regular winners to keep the show on the road.

A gloomy old week not just on the betting front, only brightened by a warming 12/1 winner in the Fontwell murk on Tuesday. I like Fontwell for having a bet its idiosyncrasies suit certain horses and the stiff finish means you always have a chance even after the last. It might have been even better week if a 40/1 second at Hexham had got up but there you go, win a few miss out on a lot.

Before moving on I thought Chris’s Dream gave us a good spin in the Becher chase until a strange unseating of Jonjo junior at the Canal Turn. If you watch a rerun the gelding jumped the fence ok, but JJ appeared to step off a couple of strides later. Whether the tack slipped, or the horse corrected itself and unbalanced the jock, we will probably never know but I saw enough promise to chance a little 50/1 for the next year’s National.

Great to find Rachel Blackmore… see below… in the nominations for the World Sports Star category in the upcoming BBC SPOTY awards. Its good for racing to be in the Media glare for the right reasons for a change. She’s up against some big hitters including Novak Djokovic and Tom Brady but she has my vote. I cannot understand why she isn’t in the running for the SPOTY award itself, after her historic Aintree win, but I gave up trying to understand the Beeb some time ago.

So, eyeing the boundary rope what races are there to focus on this weekend?

Selection – 1:50 Cheltenham – Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap Chase

Obviously the first port of call on Saturday is newly named Racing Post Gold Cup Handicap at 1.50pm. This valuable chase never seems to carry the same cachet as its month earlier version the Paddy Power but is always a cracking contest. The first problem before looking through the remaining runners is whether to stick with Midnight Shadow to back up last months win. Sue Smith’s gelding loves the track, will like the forecast ground and the 7lbs rise for his last win doesn’t seem too harsh. Add in the positives that they still have him in the King George on Boxing Day and the most recent form being franked by Protektorat’ s impressive win last week and I seem to be presenting quite a case for the gelding Milud. However, there is one horse down amongst the low weights who catches the eye Venetia Williams’ six-year-old Farinet.

This lad has only had two runs since coming over on a dinghy from Yannick Fouin’s French yard. Williams had the gelding declared for the Paddy Power, but the horse was taken out due to the good ground, second time out over here at Sandown he won a listed novice impressively on soft ground so the forecast ground at the weekend should be ok. He is first time out which is a worry but if he was fit to go in November, he should be raring to race by now, add in the booking of Rachel Blackmore…see above… as presumably Charlie Deutsch is unable to do the weight and what’s not to like?

As usual in these top class handicaps there are lots with chances but taking the weight concession into consideration I am going to side with the youngster Farinet to just pip Midnight Shadow on the run to the post. They will both be decent odds hopefully around 9/1 which is value whichever way you play.

1. Farinet


Selection – 1:15: Cheltenham – Simon Claisse Handicap Chase

The other race worth a close look for betting purposes at Cheltenham is the Simon Claisse Handicap Chase over 2miles at 1.15pm so best have an early lunch. I was quietly impressed with Monsieur Lecoq in his last race at Ascot, so I was a bit miffed to see he wasn’t declared on Thursday. Bit of a Monsieur Le Coq up by yours truly.

I think Venetia Williams’ stable is now ticking over nicely so in the hope of a stable double in these unstable times… betting wise… I am going to take a chance with another of the yard’s French imports Frero Banbou third in the good Newbury handicap Il Ridoto won the other week. Before that he had finished a good fourth in another top handicap at Ascot when he went off favourite. He is 7lbs better off with the winner Amoola Gold admittedly beaten 19 lengths, but he wasn’t given a hard time when his chance had gone. He ran a strange race that day being up with the early pace before completely losing position then rallying to get back to the pack three out. Interesting to dee how Charlie Deutsch rides him this week, at around 7/1 the gelding is worth having on our side.

1. Frero Banbou


That’s it for another week and I’ll the cricket references for the time being too…

Have a good one.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

Must Do Better with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Must Do Better with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1600 1200 Dave T.

Must Do Better

I don’t think we can blame Storm Arwen for blowing last week’s selections off course tempting as it may be. We only really had some sort of run from Elusive Belle and even she was back tracking before the turn into the Newbury straight. Kitty’s Light was squeezed jumping the first and lost a prominent position, from then on, he was always struggling to get back to the main bunch. Notachance from what I could see, through the snow, lived up to his name and perhaps last season’s promise will not be fulfilled.

Moving swiftly on it looks like the North might have a top class chaser once again. Lucinda Russell’s Ahoy Senor was very impressive when hacking up in the “John Francome” Grade 2 novices chase at Newbury last Saturday. Let’s hope the six-year-old stays injury free and goes right to the top.

This week saw the start of two high profile cases involving racing. Firstly, Freddie Tylicki’s claim against fellow jockey Graham Gibbons got under way in the High Court. A day later the start of BHA disciplinary hearing to determine whether Robbie Dunne is guilty of bullying Bryony Frost. Whichever way both cases are decided I cant help but think there will be no winners at the end of the day. Just like this column I hear the cynic at the back shouting out.

More cracking action this weekend. Sandown has two ‘Group Ones’ in the form of the Henry VIII Novices Chase plus the Tingle Creek Chase. Small gripe time… I wish the TV cameras could show all the “railway fences “side on at Sandown but they usually switch to head on after the water jump which doesn’t allow the armchair viewer to appreciate the runners jumping at speed…. end of gripe. Throw a tasty 3m5f handicap in the mix and that’s me sorted. Then Aintree pops up by offering the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase and the Grade 3 Becher Chase…. then Wetherby and Chepstow both serve up decent cards and the National Hunt fan is well looked after. All that’s needed are some winners.

Selection – 2:40: Aintree – Unibet Becher Handicap Chase

Do we file the Becher under too blooming difficult or it’s a tempting race to bet in? it’s a no brainer really, who cannot resist a punt over the National fences certainly not me. The going as of Thursday was soft good to soft in places so perhaps its wise to look amongst the lighter weights for the winner. However, we will leave the wise men to arrive nearer Christmas and take a chance with Henry de Bromhead’s top weight Chris’s Dream who is the class act in the field. As usual there are a whole host in with chances but watching a rerun of this year’s National it was noticeable how well this lad had jumped until… spoiler alert … he unseated Darragh O’Keefe four from home. The pace was quickening at that point, and it may have been that Chris’s Dream’s stamina was just beginning to be found wanting. Whatever the reason the shorter trip on Saturday must surely be in his favour. He was still in last week’s Ladbrokes Trophy until the declaration stage so perhaps connections think this is a better option. Jonjo junior has the mount with stable jockey Rachael Blackmore heading to Sandown, at around 10/1 I reckon we will get a run for our money.

1. Chris’s Dream


Selection – 3:00 Sandown: Betfair Exchange London National Handicap Chase

Across at Sandown the 3.00 pm London National over 3m5f has an open look to it but comes with the caveat on the BHA website that some fences may be omitted due to the low sun so perhaps jumping might not be quite so important which is a shame. Our old friend Strictlyadancer is favourite and will take all the beating going for a four timer, but his price will reflect that. This time I am tempted by one of the low weights, Oliver Sherwood’s Seaston Spirit who has form over these marathon trips. This together with the booking of Sam Twiston Davies have persuaded me that this eight-year-old is good value at his advertised 20/1.This gelding a son of Kayf Tara was also entered in the 4mile Borders National at Kelso on Sunday, perhaps his covid pass wasn’t in order and he would have ben turned back at Gretna, but Sandown is certainly easier to get to from Lambourn.

1. Seaston Spirit


Selection – 1:50 Sandown: Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices’ Chase

Anybody thumbing through the upcoming Sandown card with burnt fingers, err is that possible? might have a look at the runners for the 1.50pm Henry VIII chase. Paul Nicholls has declared last week’s facile Newbury winner Il Ridoto. It is a big step up for the four-year-old and he won’t be able to cruise round as he did last time against handicappers. However, at around 8/1 I am prepared to take a chance to see if he has the potential against the impressive Skelton runner Third Time Lucki.

1. Il Ridoto


So, there we are, three more against the world which after last week’s debacle obviously come with a health warning… next slide please.

Whichever way you go good luck and have a profitable weekend.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1440 1178 Dave T.

One of Us Cannot be Wrong…

Not a lot to write about this week so best not to wander off on a flight of fancy about old guys in pubs wittering ad nauseam, as I am sure you will agree.

So much for my great race reading skills last week when I thought A Plus Tard was worth opposing. The gelding as you will know by now hosed up at Haydock jumping well throughout, he is now best priced 7/2 for the Gold Cup in March where he could well go one better than last year. Looks like Rachel Blackmore will have a big decision to make as trainer Henry de Bromhead has the first three in the betting.

I mentioned Brief Ambition as a horse to follow a couple of weeks ago, well shrewdie that I am he trotted up at the rewarding odds of 1/3 in a two-horse race at Ludlow last Monday.

On a not so shrewdie theme, last week’s two selections both ran second but at much reduced prices from what I was expecting. Furius De Ciergues ran a game race leading until the last half furlong, he had been under the pump before the turn into the straight and I thought he did well to get so close. The other pick Empire Steel also ran a good race but as I thought, the improving Strictlyadancer was just too strong.

Enough of the sackcloth and ashes. This weekend brings more opportunities to bet some winners with a host of cracking races. Newcastle stages the Rehearsal Chase and the Fighting Fifth hurdle whilst Newbury sees the Ladbrokes Trophy plus a couple of other really decent handicaps. It’s a bit like opening a selection box at Christmas one doesn’t know what to pick first but here goes, let’s hope we’re not sick at the end.

More good racing this weekend not least at Haydock where the Betfair Chase is the highlight. Not a race for me to bet in but I think it might be the day to oppose A Plus Tard he is pretty short in the market, he didn’t win first time up last season admittedly over two miles, throw in that trainer Henry de Bromhead’s runners seem to be needing their first run …Put the Kettle On the most recent example. All in all, a favourite to swerve. I had forgotten that our old friend Waiting Patiently had moved from Ruth Jefferson to Christian Williams, Brian Hughes has kept the ride though. It would be typical if the fickle Gods of Racing decided this was the moment for Waiting Patiently to have his day in the spotlight on ground he will appreciate.

Selection – 2:05: Newcastle – Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase

Newcastle’s Rehearsal Handicap Chase is always a good race, this used to be run at Chepstow, bit of useless information there to fill space up, apologies for that. I like the look of Alan King’s 7-year-old Notachance especially with the booking of Jonathan Burke who I think is under rated. Notachance was pulled up in his final couple of races last season when he was found to be lame on both occasions. His final race was the Scottish Grand National a race in which several of Saturday’s runners competed, notably Dingo Dollar who finished a close up second. Before those disappointments Notachance had looked an improving young chaser so in the hope the trainer has the gelding’s problems sorted he is worth a bet at around the advertised 11/1. One niggling doubt is the forecast ground, but I don’t think connections would risk their lad if they felt the conditions were too quick. Fingers crossed he runs.

1. Notachacne


Selection – 3:00 Newbury: Ladbrokes Trophy Chase

Newbury Ladbrokes Trophy is one of the season’s major staying handicaps which has produced the usual stellar cast. The Irish are out in force and it’s good to see one of our conditionals to follow Jack Foley being legged up on Annamix for Willie Mullins. This young lad could be the next big thing so keep a careful eye on his riding at the weekend. The Irish have the front two in the market with Ontheropes for Mr Mullins and Eklat de Rire for the de Bromhead Blackmore team. As the market indicates there is not a lot between the two runners, but I have a slight preference for the latter who might just possess a touch more class. However, the runner I have a suspicion might go well is Christian Williams 5-year-old Kitty’s Light. I admit to perhaps letting my heart rule my head here as I followed this lad over two large cliffs last season leading to no light shining from the betting kitty. At Wincanton in the Badger Beer, he was a fast finishing third after being badly hampered by a faller. Then even more unlucky in the Bet365 at Sandown when coming to win his race before being bodychecked by Enrilo and losing out once again. So much for the sob story I had earmarked Kitty’s for the Welsh Grand National but obviously connections fancy a tilt at this big pot. I notice the gelding is entered in the King George over Christmas, which is a positive, he ran a really good trial in the Charlie Hall and this season they seem to be riding him closer to the pace in his races and I can see him charging up the Newbury straight which should suit him down to the ground. All in all, I am convincing myself to have few quid on at around 10/1. Whether you follow me in or not there are loads with chances so good luck.

1. Kitty’s Light


Selection – 3:35 Newbury: Watch Racing Free Online At Ladbrokes Handicap Chase

This is either a race to play up your winnings or get deeper into the mire, but it is tempting either way. There are some improving unexposed horses enter not least the likely favourite the Paul Nicholls’ trained 4-year-old Il Ridoto who carries bottom weight. . Another unexposed one is the Nicky Henderson mare Elusive Belle who to date has only run in three chases one of which being a win over course and distance at this meeting last year. The mare’s final chase outing was in a Grade 2 over Christmas where she was pitched in against Shishkin which was probably for experience’s sake. I have been wondering whether the wily Waley-Cohens have something planned at the next Aintree meeting for the mare but at around 9/1 I think she is reasonable value for another course and distance win. Sam W-C doesn’t get that many rides, but he won’t be lacking in fitness if it comes to a driving finish.

1. Elusive Belle


There you have it for this weekend as I said the good races are coming thick and fast now, so be selective and don’t blow all the turkey money, have a good weekend whether punting or shopping.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

Hallelujah… a winner with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Hallelujah… a winner with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 720 960 Dave T.

Hallelujah… a winner… see final paragraph.

And now a word from our Sponsors…

I thought this might be an opportune time to mention two National Hunt horses in the Hope Eden stable. Firstly, Em Meme Temps who made his long-awaited debut in a Novices’ Limited Handicap chase at Ayr last Tuesday, and what a cracking debut it was. Always in the first three and never making the semblance of an error EMT was only run out of first place by the Olly Murphy trained favourite African Dance. Hopefully the son of Saddler Maker can go one better next time up.

The other lad worth a mention is the much travelled six-year-old Lethal Steps who is now enjoying some box rest with Phil Kirby prior to being readied for a spring campaign. The grey may well be the type to benefit from the North Yorkshire air as he seemed to have become disillusioned with life in the Emerald Isle after being tried at a decent level on several occasions. To date he has been trained by Ger Lyons, ran in the Group One National stakes, Andrew Balding then off to Gordon Elliot and Denise Foster before his latest move back over the Irish sea. Once the gelding’s head stops spinning Phil is just the man to rekindle his enthusiasm. Fascinating to see how he does… the horse not the trainer… but it will be a good test of the trainer as well.

End of adverts…

I was surprised Bryony Frost was given a two-day ban for her ride on Yala Enki at the weekend apparently for an incident after the third fence from home. To me it just looked like normal race riding but the times they are a changing as Bob used to sing. Interesting to see if they decide to appeal …perhaps VAR might be heading for a racecourse near you.

Talking of surprises last week’s news contained another. The story about trainers in Ireland using an unlicensed individual to treat tendon injuries seems to have stirred up rumours of an unsavoury nature….be interesting to see how it develops. Racing either side of the Irish Sea cannot afford any more bad news stories at the moment.

One good news story from last weekend was Midnight Shadow’s success in the Paddy Power. Not only because we selected it… 11/1 available… but seeing the resurgence of Ryan Mania in the saddle after his retirement in 2014 when he went off to work in hunting. Since his return he has slowly been rebuilding his career, he did us another good turn when Seeyouatmidnight won the Veterans Final at Sandown back in January and is now riding better than ever.

Let’s hope he can stay injury free and achieve more success.

More good racing this weekend not least at Haydock where the Betfair Chase is the highlight. Not a race for me to bet in but I think it might be the day to oppose A Plus Tard he is pretty short in the market, he didn’t win first time up last season admittedly over two miles, throw in that trainer Henry de Bromhead’s runners seem to be needing their first run …Put the Kettle On the most recent example. All in all, a favourite to swerve. I had forgotten that our old friend Waiting Patiently had moved from Ruth Jefferson to Christian Williams, Brian Hughes has kept the ride though. It would be typical if the fickle Gods of Racing decided this was the moment for Waiting Patiently to have his day in the spotlight on ground he will appreciate.

Selection – 12:40 Haydock: Because We’re Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Chase

As you will no doubt be aware I can’t resist handicap chases as a betting opportunity. Two 3mile plus chases at Haydock catch the eye. They won’t be the usual slugfest on the prevailing ground, but they are still worth a look. The first at 12.40 is a 0-135 3m four-and-a-half-furlong contest with eleven declared. The youngest horse in the race Furius De Ciergues catches the eye off bottom weight. Last time out he finished a staying on third at Cheltenham to Strictlyadancer… Of whom more later… only beaten 2 and ¾ lengths. The improving winner is now rated 122 whilst our selection runs here off 109 so he must have a squeak. Ollie Greenall’s horses are in cracking form and at around 9/1 his lad is worth a punt.

1. Furius De Ciergues


Selection – 3:35 Haydock: My Odds Boost On Betfair Handicap Chase

The last race is a corking 0-145 3m 1and a half furlongs handicap at 3. 35. Only seven go to post which is disappointing, but the ground is taking its toll at the moment. Christian Williams’ Strictlyadancer… yes him again… will start a short-priced favourite in his bid for a hat trick following his two impressive Cheltenham wins. Last week he took the field apart in the Amateurs race after three out, and looked like he was waiting for company when idling on the run in. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him but as he will most likely start at south of 2/1, I am happy to look elsewhere. One that does look good value is Sandy Thomson’s seven-year-old Empire Steel. Quietly progressive last season he ended the season being pulled up in the Grade One Mildmay Novices chase at Aintree. He was up against some quality novices that day such as Chantry House Shan Blue and Fiddlerontheroof to name the first three home, so connections obviously feel they have talented horse on their hands. I am prepared to forgive him that one poor run where jockey Ryan Mania said the gelding hung badly right-handed which doesn’t augur well for Haydock. However, watching the race again, he was going ok on the first circuit so perhaps he may have knocked himself as the race progressed. Let’s hope at around 5/1 he can give Ryan Mania another good pay day.

1. Empire Steel


Over at Ascot a race I liked the look of was the 2mile 1f chase at 3. 15pm. After spending some time arriving at a selection it wasn’t a happy bunny who read that the chosen one was not declared to run…. doh. However, keep an eye out for Belargus in the next few weeks as I think he has a good handicap in him for trainer Nick Gifford.

While I was typing these pearls of non-wisdom, I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s Greatest Hits … what a voice …. A Grade One performer sadly no longer running.

Cheers and as always, have a good weekend.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

A Funny Old World with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

A Funny Old World with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1600 1066 Dave T.

Funny Old World…

It crossed my mind at the weekend, not for the first time, when I was in the pub chewing the fat with the lads, average age 73 average IQ substantially less, how few people are interested in racing. Our conversation ranged leisurely from Macron to Boris from sleaze to covid a detour via Twickenham then disappeared into a cul-de-sac about the fishing dispute. The latter topic being a subject everyone present had no idea about but a boat load of opinions. Not once did the weekend’s racing crop up, no chance for a post-mortem of the Badger Beer or the Grand Sefton or even a look forward to the Paddy Power next weekend. Probably just as well after last week’s selections both of which seemed scuppered by a fast early pace before staying on at the end. It’s a good job syndicates like Hope Eden are around to provide a meeting place for interested racegoers these days as the demise of betting shops in the internet age, where the like-minded could meet for a debrief, seems irreversible.

I was very impressed with Fergal O’Brien’s chasing debutant Brief Ambition at Kempton on Monday. Admittedly it was only a 0-120 handicap but the seven-year-old jumped like an old hand and beat the odds-on favourite very easily. Racing off 117 he will go up a few pounds but if his jumping remains so assured, he looks capable of defying any rise.

There was a cracking comment in the Press recently from a point-to-point trainer about one of his horses….” Envious Editor is a fast horse, so fast he could play table tennis on his own” …what a line.

Its looked like another lengthy spell on the side-lines for the unfortunate Jack Kennedy who sustained a suspected broken arm at Navan at the weekend. Just when the big guns start firing this happens to one of the most talented younger jockeys who has broken his right leg three times and his left once since 2016. Add to that collarbone issues and broken ribs and you wonder where these guys get the bottle to keep getting up and doing it all over again. Be fascinating to see who Gordon Elliott uses on the big days if Jack is out for a while, perhaps the new kid on the block Jordan Gainford will get the opportunity to prove his worth? Luckily a further examination revealed a dislocated and fractured shoulder and Jack is hoping to be back around Christmas, lets hope he mends quickly.

Selection – 2:15 Cheltenham: Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase

More good racing this weekend especially at Cheltenham where the Paddy Power Gold Cup takes centre stage. As usual it’s a difficult handicap to work out but no harm in having a bash.

I was very tempted by Protektorat of the Skelton’s who seems the ideal type for the race being a second season chaser who has form on the track but at the current odds he is a bit skinny for me. I would like to see the Northern stables do better in these big handicaps which always seem destined for the top Southern yards. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be the North’s turn in the shape of Sue Smiths Midnight Shadow. This 8-year-old has some excellent course form in the book as well as making an excellent seasonal debut at Aintree in the Old Roan chase. There are loads of others in the mix not least our selection from last year Al Dancer who is now with Sam Thomas, Lalor now with Paul Nicholls, the 5-year -old Galahad Quest is well fancied but may need softer ground I could go on and on…but at around 8/1 Midnight Shadow will do for me.

1. Midnight Shadow

Selection – 1:05 Cheltenham: Jewson Tool Hire Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

The other Cheltenham race on Saturday worth a closer look is the 1.05 the Amateur Jockeys’ 3m1f handicap. I cant resist these races as you get a good mix of potential improvers and old sweats and that’s just the jockeys. One Irish visitor that catches the eye is Matthew J Smith’s Mindsmadeup the mount of Finian Maguire. Maguire doesn’t ride over here much but he is a top-class pilot, son of ex jockey Adrian he is the go-to man in lots of Irish amateur races and his mount won’t be lacking in assistance. I think he is worth a modest investment at around 7/1.

1. Mindsmadeup

Moving on to Sunday if you can tear yourself away from Songs of Praise the Shloer Chase at 2.20 is a must watch, Put the Kettle On up against Nube Negra and Sky Pirate should be a corker. So, hymn books down and notebooks out the season’s warming up nicely.

Over at Uttoxeter on Saturday the Hobgoblin IPA Handicap Chase caught the eye not as a betting proposition but it’s a really nice pint if you haven’t come across it…

Cheers and have a good weekend.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

Here We Go Again with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Here We Go Again with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1024 681 Dave T.

As the stars of National Hunt slowly start to appear for the new season perhaps it is a good time to kick start these musings into life. I don’t have to write them you don’t have to read them so what’s not to like.

Interesting that two of the guys we mentioned last season seem to be heading in the right direction Kevin Brogan is getting some quality rides and won’t be long in losing his claim. Jack Foley has gone back to Ireland after a short spell with Emma Lavelle. He already has 25 winners on board in the new season and has been used a few times by Willie Mullins… definitely a lad going places… Jack not Mullins who has already scaled the heights.

A thought from the Charlie Hall run recently at Wetherby…. I thought Kitty’s Light ran an excellent trial for the Welsh Grand National, but trainer Christian Williams has muddied the waters by also entering the horse for the Ladbrokes Trophy. The five-year-old is around 10/1-12/1 for both races and must go close wherever he turns up.

Ignoring the usual temptation to roll out a string of horses to follow in the months ahead, it is probably sensible for the moment to concentrate on this coming weekend when a couple of decent chases are being run. First up is the Grand Sefton at Aintree quickly followed by the Badger Beer at Wincanton.

Selection – 2:15 Aintree: Betway Grand Sefton Handicap Chase

In the Grand Sefton like most races over the National fences previous experience is always welcome and Jamie Snowden’s 2019 race winner Hogan’s Height catches the eye. Like two years ago he has had a prep run over hurdles to put him straight for Saturday. Without wanting to be a hostage to fortune his twelfth in last years National proves his liking for the track and at around 8/1 he represents good value.

The downside is he’s two years older and off a mark 6lbs higher, but his experience should negate those doubts. Like all the good Saturday chases there are dangers lurking wherever you look, not least two from Ireland and Jonjo’s Time to Get Up who is already amongst the favourites for next year’s Grand National.

1. Hogan’s Height

Selection – 3:00 Wincanton: 60th Badger Beer Handicap Chase

The Badger Beer rarely fails to disappoint, and this year’s renewal looks another tricky contest. The race is usually truly run and the ability to see out the trip is paramount. I had shortlisted Fergal O’Brien’s Hurricane Harvey but at the current odds and not having won over further than three miles there remains a niggling doubt that the extra furlong might just find him out. A distance winner that catches the eye off 10st 6lbs is Innisfree Lad the mount of up-and-coming Rex Dingle and trained by David Dennis. The Dennis family won the race in 1996 with Coome Hill so perhaps … like father like son?

Innisfree Lad is around 25/1 at the moment so obviously comes with a health warning, but a few quid each way on a longshot is less stressful than lumping on a shorty especially over fences. But each to their own.

1. Innisfree Lad

So here’s wishing all participants a safe injury free season … let battle commence.

Have a good weekend.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

What a Sport with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

What a Sport with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1024 681 Dave T.

What a Sport

Sitting here tapping away on a beautiful April day I couldn’t help thinking about poor Lorna Brooke. An amateur in the true sense of the word her life was cruelly cut short at the age of 37 in a fall at Taunton. When you see a fall in a race it’s all too easy to either breathe a sigh of relief, that it wasn’t your horse, or curse that it was your selection. Apart from a mention from a commentator about the incident its easy to move on as events unfold and forget all about the poor jockey or horse lying stricken on the floor. Most times they dust themselves down and are ready to fight another day perhaps, or in the rider’s case, in another half hour. Occasionally as in Lorna’s case it’s the other extreme and it brings home what a dangerous sport this is that we love to be involved in. She died as she lived “living the dream” …. R I P Lorna.

Another amateur “living the dream” this weekend is Mr John Dixon from Thursby near Carlisle who rides Captain Zebo in the Grade 2 bet365 Select Hurdle at Sandown Park on Saturday. Unbeaten since joining the Dixons the ex Gigginstown gelding’s rating has risen to 146 from 114, obviously the Cumbrian air is to his liking. Mr Dixon was unable to ride at the Cheltenham due to the Covid 19 restrictions so they decided to wait to give their charge a crack at the big time. Lets hope they both have good spin on Saturday and return home to Cumbia safe and sound.

If you have been betting for a number of years you tend to think you have seen every variation of disaster. First fence fallers, last fence fallers, left at the start, beaten a nose, I’ve had fallers on the flat and a few variations on leading at the last and doing funny things on the run in. I had to have a shake of the head when my latest next big thing in the jockey’s world Benoit de la Sayette was suspended by the BHA after a positive cocaine test. Hopefully, he gets his head down during the inevitable suspension and comes back stronger and wiser. No doubt about it he has the talent to go far. In the hope I don’t blight this next lad’s career as well there is a young lad in Ireland worth keeping on your side, Sam Ewing. Only 17 but another pony racing graduate he one to keep onside in the big Irish Handicaps.

Talking of Ireland, the Punchestown Festival start next week and has some cracking contests. If you haven’t been racing at the track its one to have on your short list when travel restrictions are lifted. It’s a great sight watching them roll on down the far side winging the fences before heading back up towards the straight. The banks races are also a good watch, but a lot of the

action is a fair way from the stands. Let’s hope next year we can get over there and sample the Guinness.

The end of the jumps over here on Saturday, as I write it looks like Harry Skelton is about to be crowned leading jockey. All credit to Harry for riding north of 150 winners considering not so long ago he was down to seven winners in one season and wondering if it was all worth the effort. His resurgence coincided with his brother Dan’s rise through the training ranks, and they could be a formidable duo for some years to come.

Selection 3:40 Sandown: bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase

The Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase, the old Whitbread to those of a certain vintage, is the centrepiece and as usual has attracted a competitive field. Plan of Attack for the team of the moment Henry de Bromhead and Rachel Blackmore looks like going off favourite and must go close. However, he fell last time out so I will pass him over. Way back in November I had a few quid on Kitty’s Light in the Badger Beer at Wincanton when he was a fast finishing third to El Presente after being badly hampered three out…. see earlier comments about unlucky losers….and running on strongly when too late. He reopposes on 2lbs worse terms which is neither here nor there, but I am sure the faster ground will be right up Christian Williams’ gelding’s street. He is not much of a price at around 5/1 but he is worth a few quid to finish the season on a winning note.

1. Kitty’s Light

Selection: 4:50 Sandown: bet365 Josh Gifford Novices’ Handicap Chase

Our last attempt at a winner for the jumps season is in the bet365 Josh Gifford Novices Handicap over 2m 4f. Sentiment would sway me towards Nick Gifford’s Belargus to win the race named in honour of his late father, but I think the horse might need softer ground a comment which should also apply to Venetia Williams’ Farinet. Having backed this lad when he won over course and distance last time, I can’t believe his shrewd trainer would run him on unsuitable ground, so at around 5/1 I think he is not bad value.

1. Farinet

I can’t help ending where I started and consider the difference in attitude between the Lorna Brookes of the sporting world and the sheer brazen opportunism of the clubs trying to get the European Super League off the ground. I know which sport I would rather be interested in.

That’s it then for the jumps season sorry about the losers but it’s all part of the fun …ok maybe not. I will pop my head round the door on the occasional flat weekend to show I can do just as badly in that discipline.

Have a good weekend.


Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.

Soon be Dancing in the Dark with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Soon be Dancing in the Dark with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1024 576 Dave T.

Soon be Dancing in the Dark.

So, the jumps season is running down. The Welsh Irish and English Nationals have all come and gone with just this Sunday’s Scottish version left to decide. The race for the jockey’s championship seems to be edging towards Harry Skelton but you never know. Although it does seem he has a Sherman tank at his disposal whereas Brian Hughes has only a pea shooter. I was tempted by Harry Cobden’s odds a couple of weeks ago, thinking if the two favourites were to have a knock there was value in his price. What happens poor old Cobden had a nasty fall at Aintree and is out for the season.

Enough has been written about Rachel Blackmore and Minella Times’ triumph so suffice to say the whole result showed National Hunt racing at its best. A good horse well ridden and well trained, with sufficient back stories to keep the non -racing media happy for days.

Just watching the race on Saturday, I don’t know whether it was just me, but it seems easier to spot the individual horses these days. Years ago, with loose horses and mayhem all around picking out your selections seemed really tricky. Presumably, better picture quality also needs to be factored in unless it was just my new specs.

Interesting to read earlier in the week that Rachel Blackmore has been asked to ride Ajas, one of the favourites in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on May 23rd. Trainer David Cottin was working for trainer Guillame Macaire when Blackmore spent some time riding out at the yard so he obviously will be well aware of her abilities. It wouldn’t surprise me to see her win this as well, the way her season has panned out.

The best cards have been moved to Sunday this weekend for reasons well known to everyone. Ayr would appear to be the meeting to concentrate on, there being some really decent chases to get to grips with.

Sunday Selection: 3:35 Ayr: Coral Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase

The Scottish Grand National is centre stage and as usual has attracted a cracking field. You wonder if its tempting fate to side with the Irish once again, but I like the look of Mister Fogpatches down amongst the bottom weights. This lad has only had five chases to date and hasn’t set the world alight but has been running on well at the end of his races so this extra distance might be what he needs. Looks like the in-form Danny Mullins will be in the saddle so at around 12/1 he is a tempting proposition. Aye Right will run his usual game race from the front and it would be great to see him win but, reluctant as I am to pass him over, I cant help thinking his hard season may have caught up with this honest stayer. No doubt all the Scottish trainers will have squirreled one away for this big pot as it’s a race they love to win. Interestingly Lucinda Russell has replaced the injured Blair Campbell with Tom Scudamore on Mighty Thunder. It would be a typical “National “story if Scudamore were to win on Sunday to partially compensate Tom for Cloth Cap’s poor show at Aintree.

1. Mister Fogpatches

Sunday Selection: 1:50 Ayr: CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase

The other chase I like the look of is the 3m Novices Handicap at 1.50pm. The shrewd Emmet Mullins has Pilbara lurking at the foot of the weights, but the horse is too short a price for me looking at his overall form. Young Emmet is a trainer to follow though so Pilbara won’t be far away. I think the Skelton entry Flegmatik might have a squeak at decent odds. He’s only a six-year-old so is probably still improving. He won at Carlisle earlier in the season and I think the good ground will really suit him as opposed to some of his rivals. Only a couple of Northern entries for this decent prize which indicates where the power base is these days. The flat yards seem to be able to attract the big hitters I wonder why the jumping money doesn’t filter North.

1. Flegmatik

To end on a sad note, I was sorry to see that Irish jumping star Presenting Percy has died following complications from a leg injury. Twice a winner at the Cheltenham Festival he was favourite for the 2019 Gold Cup when he finished down the field but was subsequently found to be lame, he then fell in the 2020 renewal when still in with a shout. Always a shame when one of these warriors doesn’t get the retirement they deserve.

Only Punchestown on the quality jumping horizon now, just a case of trying to get into flat mode. Now that is, as Springsteen would say, a case of “Dancing in the Dark”.

Enjoy the weekend’s racing.



Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.