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Sweet Sixteen… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Sweet Sixteen… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1600 1200 Dave T.

Sweet Sixteen

Apart from the drastic change in the weather there’s not a lot going that might be of interest to my lone reader …me. It has been blooming cold up here let’s hope the Spring sunshine is back before too long.

So, leaving aside the Ukraine the Oscars and “Partygate” it is probably wise to stick with what we know a small amount about.

Having an idle ten minutes I was having a look through the jump jockey stats as we head into the last two and half weeks of the season. Brian Hughes was sitting on 189 winners from just over 870 rides his nearest pursuer Sam T-D has just hit 100 winners. It has been obvious for a while that Hughes would regain the championship, but it looks like he may struggle to hit the two hundred. Hughes seems to follow the late Arthur Stephenson philosophy “little fish are sweet” as he seems happy to pick up winners at the lesser tracks and steer clear of the bigger ones. Meanwhile Kevin Brogan looks nailed on to be champion conditional which is pleasing as we mentioned him last season as one to follow.

The weekends action looks pretty good with the Scottish Grand National the centrepiece. 24 declared and the usual wide-open race.

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

I have been a devoted follower of Kitty’s Light for the last two seasons and have some hard luck stories to recount but they are for another day. Christian Williams gelding is still only six and the long final straight will suit but at around 9/2 I will have to reluctantly pass him over. Although having said that come Saturday I will no doubt have a few quid on him for old times’ sake…. sound of violins in background. I think the three seven-year-olds all have good chances Fantastikas, Stormy Judge and Major Dundee. They are unexposed and have only run in five six and three chases respectively. My choice from the three would be the lowest weighted of them Alan King’s Major Dundee as the other two would seem to need deeper ground than the good to soft which is forecast for Saturday. All three are around the 10/1 mark so even if you back one of the other two you should get a decent run at good odds. However Sandy Thomson and Iain Jardine will be doing their best to keep the prize money north of the Border and the booking of red hot Irish conditional Mark McDonagh for Thomson’s top weight Hill Sixteen catches the eye. The gelding is up nine pounds for a decent run last time at Kelso, but McDonagh takes off a valuable five. At around 18/1 he will do for me to keep the pot in Scotland.

1. Hill Sixteen

Selection – 1:15 Ayr –  Scotty Brand Handicap Chase

The first race at 1.15pm is a good quality two-mile listed event with ten declared although Gordon Elliott’s Coach Carter is also declared on Friday so might be missing. The in-form Tom Lacey sends Sebastopol on the long trek North and this last time out winner won’t be far away but at around 2/1 he’s not for me. Better value could be Iain Jardine’s Gold Des Bois, the eight-year-old’s chance is not immediately apparent, but his owner Raymond Anderson Green loves a winner at this meeting. His doughty stayer Merigo won the big race in 2010 and 2012 and was second in 2011 so Gold Des Bois might just be primed to strike. He is down 10 lbs from his opening race this season so a price of around 8/1 looks tempting.

1. Gold Des Bois

As I said not a lot to write about but hopefully a home trained winner of the Scottish National will keep the Press boys occupied in the run up to Aintree. I see this week my selection Fidddlerontheroof is down to 16/1 from 25s which is hopefully a positive ……there again.

Have a good weekend and roll-on Aintree.


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

Always something else… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Always something else… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1439 716 Dave T.

Always something else…

Cheltenham over for another year but no respite, the start of the Flat season this weekend swiftly followed by Aintree then Punchestown. There is hardly time to learn anything from this year’s Festival before prices go up for next years. I was a bit taken aback to see on one of the betting websites this week some firms were offering prices for the handicaps next year never mind the Championship races.

So, what can we take from last week’s action? The Irish still seem to have the upper hand although they were not as dominant as was feared beforehand. A Plus Tard looked a class act when ridden slightly differently, Honeysuckle still looks a class above her contemporaries. Could they be dethroned next year? The Gold Cup winner has at least two worthy contenders for his crown in Galopin Des Champs and L’Homme Presse. The former looking mightily impressive until slipping up at the last fence. In the hurdling ranks Constitution Hill will be well fancied to beat Honeysuckle and that showdown might come next month if they meet up at Punchestown. If they do it should be a race worth seeing. Include Vauban and the contest looks even more inviting next year.

Only two jumps meetings this Saturday which is disappointing but at least we have the Scottish Grand National next weekend to look forward to. The Ayr race is being run this year before Aintree which is giving some trainers a dilemma over which race to go for.

Selection – 4:48 Stratford – Paul Diblasio Memorial Handicap Chase

The only chase which has an open look to it is the 4.38pm at Stratford a handicap over two- and three-quarter miles. The two youngest horses in the race seem to be the ones to concentrate on. Top weight Kap Auteuil is a seven -year- old and the six- year- old Galahad Quest is only rated four pounds lower. Of the two my preference is for the top weight who has course and distance form to his name and is a slightly better price in the opening shows. However, Galahad Quest has decent handicap form, and this race will be easier than where he usually struts his stuff. He is only around 9/4 and I prefer the forecast 4/1 on Toby Lawes’ topweight. Sods Law will no doubt muscle in on the act but there you go….

1. Kap Auteuil

Seems a low-key start to the Flat these days as opposed to days gone by. I suppose these days it never really goes away with the All-Weather meetings, but the turf seems to enter the room without anyone making a fuss anymore. I am not a great fan of the Flat, except for the Group Ones and the top handicaps, however I feel it needs a bit more of a fanfare to welcome the big boys back.

For a bit of relief from selecting chase losers I thought it might be fun to have a dabble in the Lincoln and leave the Flat well alone until the Prix de L’Arc… probably wise looking at recent selections.

Selection – 3:35 Doncaster – SBK Lincoln

Charlie Appleby’s Modern News was my original pick, he has been all the rage especially with the booking of the promising claimer Harry Davies and is now 7/2 favourite. Leaving him aside I think the mount of the under rated David Probert is worth a small punt. Notre Belle Bete has some good recent form and off 92 might go close for trainer Andrew Balding. First time up last season he was only beaten two and a half lengths at Leopardstown by Jim Bolger’s Poetic Flare who went on the win the 2000 Guineas, a reproduction of that would see him in the mix. No doubt the draw will enter calculations as usual and scupper some well laid ante post bets. Drawn 21 of 24 our selection’s connections will be hoping high proves the place to be in the earlier races.

1. Notre Belle Bete

In case you missed it there is a cracking clip on the Hope Eden Facebook page of Lady Kyria and her new foal by Muhaarar. The foal is only a few days old but the way she cavorts round the barn, with mum trotting diligently behind, she will be well suited to the likes of Chester. Hopefully the little rocket grows into a decent type…. fingers crossed.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the Flat season.


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

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

Not Long To Go Now… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 2560 1920 Dave T.

Not long to go now.

I feel greater minds than yours truly have had their say on the upcoming Festival so we will park the subject for this week. If things work out and don’t go the way of my intended trip to the Dublin Racing Festival, I shall be at Twickenham on Saturday so racing will have to take a back seat. Mind you. looking at some of my previous selections that’s what they have been taking. However, we did manage a non-runner last week. Although that horse is entered up at Sandown come Saturday so the law of sod will no doubt come into play.

Ok I can’t resist one angle which might pay dividends next week. This is to keep an eye out for the mounts of the two Irish conditionals I have been banging on about this season. If either Sam Ewing or Jack Foley are jocked up in the handicaps they should be followed. Some of the big trainers use these two lads and their claims are like gold dust. Whilst I am at it if Mr H Swan…son of the mighty Charlie ….is jocked up in any of the amateur riders races he is also worth following.

Yet another weekend coming up which has a distinctly “let’s get to Cheltenham as quickly as possible “feel to it. Three UK jump meetings on Saturday at Ayr Sandown and Hereford. The Imperial Cup will be the big betting race of the day, but I think I have used up my luck on two-mile hurdles so will give it a swerve. The two most valuable chases are the 3.35pm at Sandown a 0-140 two miles four furlongs Novice Handicap and the 4.10pm at Sandown a 0-135 over three miles. Both of these are worth a second look for betting purposes. As seems to be the case these days small fields prevail with only six and seven runners respectively. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Selection – 3:35 Sandown –  Paddy Power Novices’ Handicap Chase

Looking at the early prices for the novice handicap nothing really stands out as a value bet. One of the two Nicholls entries Danny Kirwan is down as favourite but as a nine-year-old who doesn’t appear the most fluent of jumpers he looks opposable. The top weight Scene Not Herd is unbeaten over fences all at smaller tracks and is 22lbs higher than when he started his winning run at Herford back in November. He has the assistance of the underrated Jonathan Burke and might still be improving but unless he eases out to around, he is not for me. Albert Einstein said, ”Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results“ but I am still drawn to a Venetia Williams runner at the available prices. The stable has been under a cloud as Farinet demonstrated last week but, where’s that cliff? They had three entered but choose to run the seven-year-old Frenchy Du Large. This lad’s hat trick bid faltered in the Lingfield mud last time out which was surprising as he has form on that surface, at around 6/1 he looks to have a decent shout if he copes with the forecast good going. Let’s hope we can prove Albert wrong.

1. Frenchy Du Large  


Selection – 4:10 Sandown – Paddy Power Handicap Chase

The three miler is another tight handicap with only seven pounds separating top and bottom weights. Last week’s non running selection Powerstown Park might turn out to bite us on the rear end, but I like the look of Robert Walford’s Flagrant Delitiep who is dipping his toe in slightly deeper waters than normal. Usually plying his trade round the West Country circuit, connections must feel the time is right to try him out on a bigger track. In form Stan Sheppard takes the mount and providing his mount stays the trip this free going sort could go close. He has never won off a mark this high but if around 4/1 or 9/2 is available he is worth a look. The Tizzard runner Ofalltheginjoints might be the biggest danger he is dropping rapidly down the weights and didn’t run badly last time out at Kempton. He was running off 143 this time last year and now runs off 130 so if they can reignite the spark, he should have a chance.

1. Flagrant Delitiep


Looks like Danny McMenamin is confident of being passed fit to ride Tommy’s Oscar for Ann and Ian Hamilton in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday. What a fillip that would be for Northern racing if that team came home in front.

Its hard not to be too excited and remember the usual caveat … you don’t have to bet on every race.

Enjoy the week…

Have a good weekend too.


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

The Great Triviality… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

The Great Triviality… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1170 649 Dave T.

The Great Triviality…

It seems a bit irrelevant to be writing a few words about nothing of importance when things appear so bleak. But life goes on as the poet Robert Frost once said.

Trying to look on the bright side Carlisle United are on a roll, well at least a small bun, with six points from their last two games, hopefully they can pull clear of the dreaded bottom two positions. Just need another Hughie Mac to start getting some goals.

Of slightly less significance to many Carliols (locals) but still steaming towards us is the Festival. Under two weeks to go and already the media hype is at full throttle. Preview nights, special programmes, in depth articles you name it you can have it seven days a week. One can only hope the four days live up to the expectation levels which are running amok. I see the clamour for a five-day festival has started once again. To me it would be diluting an already, on at least one day, weakened offering but no doubt some suit will produce a graph showing the demand is there. We shall see.

The Racing Post reported during the week that Denise Coates joint CEO of Bet365 has taken a £170 million pay cut in the year to March 28, 2021. Funny old world.

As usual for the couple of weekends pre-Cheltenham the cards have a Championship rather than a Premier League look to them. However, there are still a couple of good chases to have a punt on.

Selection – 1:50 Newbury – BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup

The first of them is the 1.50pm at Newbury the BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup over 2m4f. A decent field of ten are declared and it looks a reasonable opportunity for Venetia Williams’ seven-year -old Farinet. He was a selection a few weeks ago for a 3miler at Sandown when he was backed into favourite but never really showed. He looked an improver the time before so whether the longer trip or the slightly quicker ground were to blame for his defeat we will have to guess. Anyway, this race is half a mile less and on deeper ground so that’s two excuses out of the way. The worrying thing is that the Williams’ yard has reported that some of their horses have been a bit under the weather of late, but I don’t think Venetia would run this lad if he wasn’t good to go….famous last words. The other seven-year-old Tamaroc Du Mathan from the Nicholls’ yard might be the biggest danger as he had some reasonable novice form last term and hasn’t been over raced so far this season. At around 5/1 Farinet is good value to reclaim last time outs losses.

1. Farinet

Selection – 3:30 Doncaster – BetVictor Greatwood Gold Cup

Sam Thomas’ horses are in fine form this season, and his Powerstown Park looks to have a sound chance in the 3.30pm at Doncaster the Virgin Bet Grimthorpe Handicap Chase over 3m2f. The likely favourite Le Milos won the Sandown race that our friend Farinet disappointed in, and he should run well being an improving type and will relish the trip. His price puts me off as he could start south of 3/1 but if you fancy him stick on. Powerstown Park started this season with a couple of runs over two miles but struck form when upped in distance at Hereford. He seems to come good in the Spring notching up a three-timer last March so let’s hope he can do the same this season. Jack Tudor successful in last weekend’s main race claims a valuable three pounds and at around 7/1 the Thomas gelding looks a good bet.

1. Powerstown Park

Phil Bull the sage of Timeform in days gone by, described racing as the “Great Triviality” which is probably true unless your livelihood depends on it, but in the present troubling times it provides an escape route away from the misery we see on the TV on a daily basis. Let’s hope it provides that escapism for some time to come.

Enough of the philosophising it’s as bad as my selections…. have a good weekend

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.

Hope Eden Racing Limited - Race Horse Syndicate - Racing horses competing in a flat race

Not the weather to be a Fiddlerontheroof… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Not the weather to be a Fiddlerontheroof… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 701 501 Dave T.

Not the weather to be a Fiddlerontheroof….

This week saw the publication of the Grand National weights closely followed by the usual complaints by various connections. Looks like Tiger Roll won’t be heading for the boarding gate once again as owner Michael O’Leary considers the gelding’s weight allowance is insufficient. It appears Tiger Roll is to be aimed at the Cheltenham Cross Country race once again and possibly retirement after that. Whatever happens I am sure Gigginstown will do the best by their charge.

At this stage I quite like the chance of the Tizzard’s Fiddlerontheroof who ran a good race last time out in the Ladbroke Trophy. He is only eight and had some decent novice form last season, 25/1 is available if we shop around. He’s entered up at Ascot this Saturday if he runs and runs well his price will no doubt get a haircut.

Some interesting races this coming Saturday lets hope Storm Eunice doesn’t scupper any fixtures. I see Friday’s Fakenham card was cancelled due to a warning of an ‘unprecedented ‘storm. Even getting to the courses will be a nightmare and I think there may well be lots of non-runners come race time. It wont be much fun driving horse boxes around in gale force winds so let’s hope the stable staff stay safe, and their charges as well.

The authorities seem to be getting concerned at the moment about the disappointing field sizes. Saturday’s Haydock fixture being the latest case where only 48 horses were declared for the seven races despite the £295k on offer. Whether there is a lack of quality to contest these better cards or the ever dominant Cheltenham is sucking the blood out of other meetings who knows but I am sure the BHA would love to reverse the trend.

Selection – 2:40 Haydock – William Hill Grand National Trial Handicap Chase

The Betfair Ascot Chase is an open contest for a grade 1 and not a race I want to play in but talking of the Grand National, Haydock stages its Grand National Trial at the weekend. If I remember correctly this was the race that Ginger McCain used to use as Red Rum’s warm up for the big event. The ground is forecast to be heavy, so the 3 mile four and a half furlongs trip is going to take some getting. Eleven are declared amongst them is last years winner Lord Du Mesnil who runs off a mark of 150 only a pound higher than last year. The class horse in the race is Bristol De Mai who has a fair chance off 159 the lowest rating he has run off since a Wetherby success back in 2017. Obviously, he is getting a bit long in the tooth and may not be the force of old but at around 8/1 he is too well treated to ignore. Enqarde started favourite for the race last year and finished fifth whilst Sam Brown ran a decent second to Royal Pagaille at the track last time out. They will all be in contention coming out of the back straight, but I fancy Twiston Davies’ old warrior to be in front at the line.

1. Bristol De Mai


No hurdle selection this week as Ascot stages a bet friendly 3-mile chase with some decent entries. Ten have been declared and it’s shaping up to be a really good chase. Top weight Fiddlerontheroof (see above) is the forecast favourite and must go close although his likely price of around 9/4 would put me off backing him. Probably better to have a few quid on for the National and let Saturday take care of itself. I think I will give one more chance to Charlie Deutsch’s mount Hold That Taught. My fingers are still a little warm after backing this lad the last twice to no avail. He ran in the Welsh National off 140 and was quite well backed so off a mark of 132 on Saturday he must have some sort of shout. The trainer and jockey are bang in form so I will chance burning my remaining digits and give Hold That Taught a punt at around 12/1, and hopefully see a decent run by our grand National fancy at the same time.

Anybody notice the Betfair Hurdle result last week? Asking for a friend…

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.

Patience needed… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Patience needed… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1024 345 Dave T.

Patience needed…

So, the Dublin Racing Festival 2022 two years in the planning twenty minutes in the cancelling. What a downer the dreaded Covid strikes two days before the tapes go up so no trip. Hey ho perhaps 2023. At least you were spared the dreaded selections for a week.

Plenty to chew over from the weekend though not least Galopin Des Champs in the Ladbrokes Novice Chase. Although he was still a bit novicey in the early stages the further he went the more polished his jumping became. Whichever race he starts in at Cheltenham he must have a serious chance.

Others to throw their hats in the Festival ring included Minella Cocooner, Vauban, Facile Vega (daughter of the mighty Quevega) and Sir Gerhard not forgetting of course the unbeaten Honeysuckle. The unconsidered, except by a few shrewdies, Conflated gave a good performance in the Irish Gold Cup but I wouldn’t be surprised to see reigning champion Minella Indo turn the tables on the big day. Throw A Plus Tard in the mix and that’s another race coming nicely to the boil.

Interesting the contrast in fortunes of two National Hunt jockeys in the past week. Brian Hughes notched up his 150th winner on Monday and seems well on his way to the jockey’s championship providing he stays injury free, whilst at Doncaster on Thursday John Kington rode his first winner for something like 322 days on 66/1 shot Lough Salt. It makes one wonder what drives the less successful boys on, they have the same risks the same weight struggles the same travelling etc as the top boys all for a rare day in the sun. Long may they chase the dream.

More egg and chips than steak frites this weekend but one or two nice chases to cast an eye over. The Denman chase at Newbury has only attracted five runners but it will be informative to see if Royal Pagaille can give Clan des Obeaux a race. The Nicholls’ horses seem out of sorts whilst the Williams’ yard is bang in form so a good opportunity for Royal Pagaille to polish his burgeoning profile.

The 3.15pm at Warwick is a cracking little Class 2 handicap and the seven -year-old Lieutenant Rocco catches the eye as a likely improver. He had some half decent novice form last season including a two-length beating by Protektorat receiving three pounds when they finished second and third in a rerouted Dipper at Wincanton. This lad likes to bowl along, and Warwick is a track for front runners so if he gets an early lead, he might take some pegging back at good odds. Trainer Harriet Brown is a new kid on the block only having her first winner in mid-January so a high-profile Saturday winner would be very welcome at this early stage.

Selection – 3:35 Newbury – Betfair Hurdle

The handicaps at Uttoxeter are pretty low-grade fare so I thought I might break the habit of a lifetime and dive into the murky waters of the Betfair Hurdle which is Saturday’s most valuable race. These big pot handicaps don’t seem as sexy as in previous but there are lots with chances and at 9/2 the Henderson favourite Broomfield Burg the betting reflects this. One trainer I like is Tom Lacey who is beginning to get noticed and his entrant Glory and Fortune must be worth a punt at around 20/1 at the time of writing. Last time out this lad was second to Epatante in the Christmas hurdle beating last year’s Betfair winner Soaring Glory a neck in the process. Lacey’s gelding has gone up 3lbs for that so a narrow defeat will tell us whether connections might rue running so well.

1. Glory and Fortune


So, a month until Cheltenham unless I am mistaken it looks like another good meeting for the Irish. I think l’Homme Presse might be one for the home team but with one of the bookie sites going 1/12, as the man said “They think it’s all over” …… ummm.

Have a good week


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

Reasons to be cheerful… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Reasons to be cheerful… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1598 1065 Dave T.

Reasons to be cheerful…

Well soon have January behind us, the racing is now starting after Bargain Hunt, the afternoons are getting longer, and Cheltenham is peeping over the horizon like a nosey neighbour so all we need are a few winners to maintain the cheery outlook.

Another reason to be cheerful is the lifting of Covid 19-restrictions this week which will make the whole experience of going racing much more hassle free and hopefully more enjoyable. There seems a certain symmetry in the fact that Wetherby which hosted the last race pre shutdown in March 2020 became the first to race without restrictions on Thursday. Probably a good quiz question in a few months’ time.

Last Saturday’s heavyweight clash lived up to its billing with Shishkin and Energumene serving up a cracking contest. Energumene who led everywhere but the final half furlong lost nothing in defeat and connections of both horses must be looking forward to round two in the Champion Chase on March 16. I think both geldings had hard races and deserve a break before the screws are tightened once again, interesting that Willie Mullins seemed to think his lad might be better suited going left-handed, however it pans out it will be a return to savour.

I thought the other stand out performance last weekend was from Venetia Williams’ Royal Pagaille who successfully retained his Peter Marsh crown off an official mark of 163 -the highest in the race since Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Jodami won off 169 in 1997. As I alluded to last week, we don’t often see class horses giving lumps of weight away in handicaps nowadays but judging by the Haydock crowd’s reaction the demand is there. All roads would appear to lead to Cheltenham for the gelding and his price was trimmed to 16-1 (from 25s). If the ground comes up soft for the big day this lad is not a forlorn hop

Selection – 1:55 Cheltenham – Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase

Cheltenham Trials day this Saturday which always produces a good card, and this year doesn’t disappoint. Three really decent chases plus rehearsals for the JCB the Albert Bartlett and the Stayers Hurdle. I like the look of the Paddy Power Grade 3 at 1.55pm which has almost as much quality as the Paddy Power handicap run in November.

Coole Cody will give it a real go from the front as usual, but I quite fancy the chances of Venetia Williams’ Farinet who burnt a few fingers in the Racing Post Gold Cup in December, mine included, when he was pulled up after reportedly losing a shoe. The grey was pretty impressive last time out at Sandown, and I think he can continue his improvement come the weekend. Around 5/1 would seem fair odds.

1. Farinet


Selection – 3:20 Doncaster – Sky Bet Handicap Chase

The other race I can’t keep away from is Doncaster’s 3.20pm the Sky Bet Handicap another race which has been won by some quality horses over time. A typical open handicap as one would expect but somethings has to win, and I like the booking of top conditional Kevin Brogan for Kerry Lee’s Demachine. Demachine went off a short price favourite last time at Ludlow to follow up his cracking 5th place in the Ladbroke Trophy but stumbled and unseated his rider after the first. The gelding ran off 142 in the Ladbroke and has since dropped 2lbs so add in Brogan’s 3lb allowance and he’s looking tempting at around 10/1.

1. Demachine


The supposedly Gold Cup trial has produced a disappointing turnout of only five and the likely favourite Chantry House is on a recovery mission after letting his supporters down in the King George. He never looked happy that day and connections are putting cheekpieces on the eight-year-old to try and perk him up. He is not my idea of a bet, and I would love to see the small yard of Harriet Graham fly the flag for the North with her stable star Aye Right. I am not sure the undulating track will play to his strengths, but it would be good to see the under rated Callum Bewley making people aware of his abilities.

I see Boodles beat Hope Eden to the Gold Cup sponsorship, oh well there is always next year.

Off to Dublin for the Festival next week so you are spared any losers from this column for a while, enjoy the break and have a good week.


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

January… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

January… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1600 1066 Dave T.


I think I am right in saying that January is named after the Roman god Janus who was the god with the ability to look both forwards and back in Roman mythology. I suppose I could check it out on Wikipedia but hey its not that important.

At least it gives me an intro to this week’s musings, looking back at the career of another equine favourite who has just died and forward to the potentially rewarding careers awaiting two Irish conditional jockeys.

First the sad news of this week with the untimely death at 17 of the 2013 Gold Cup winner Bobsworth. The old warrior suffering a freak accident in his field at Hillwood Stud where he was spending his retirement. Successful three times at the Festival Bobsworth was an unspectacular horse who tried his heart out each time he ran. His victories in the 2011 Albert Bartlett 2012 RSA and 2013 Gold Cup make some hat trick, add in the 2012 Hennessey and the 2013 Lexus at Leopardstown and you can see he was all quality and must have been a joy to own. If you have the opportunity, take a look at his Gold Cup victory again and see the ground, he makes up from three out to overhaul the leaders before the last. That took some doing as the leaders weren’t for stopping and only a real trier would have bridged the gap.

Looking forward, I think over in Ireland another conditional might be about to make a name for himself. Sam Ewing has just started riding over jumps this season and has proved a young lad going places. He seems to be switching his attention to the jumps after fifty odd flat winners in the last couple of seasons. His precocious talent was recognised in 2020 when as a 16-year-old he was legged up on Tiger Roll by Gordon Elliot in a flat race at Navan. Both his jump wins to date have been in chases, but it won’t be long until some shrewd trainer utilises his claim over hurdles. It’s early days but if they use him in any of the big Cheltenham handicaps come March take note.

Much the same applies to Jack Foley who we flagged up last season when he joined Emma Lavelle. Whether he was homesick, or things didn’t work out we will probably never know but he went back to the Emerald Isle and has never looked back, with 37 winners so far this season. He is equally at home over hurdles and fences and is another to keep an eye on. He is jocked up at Lingfield today so Lucky Max must be fancied to complete a four timer. The future looks bright for both these lads given the necessary luck.

Good cards again at the weekend where there is an excellent Sunday meeting this side of the Irish sea for once. Lingfield have put up decent money lets hope the anticipated frost doesn’t put a spanner in the works. The highlight at Ascot is the Clarence House with a mouth-watering clash between Shishkin and Energumene. Last year’s winner First Flow won’t be far away on his favoured soft ground if he can jump away like last year, he might get the two market leaders to make errors, but it looks a match between the big two.

Fresh from last week’s triumph of managing to get a selection to complete I think the Peter Marsh at Haydock is an interesting race… what a surprise. Like Ascot last years winner shows up again, but this time Royal Pagaille carries seven pounds more. It’s a big ask but the connections must feel he is up to the task. He was quietly fancied for last season’s Gold Cup when he finished lame in sixth place. He was put in his place over course and distance last time out by A Plus Tard but returned with a cut leg whether he might have finished closer who knows? It’s not often the really big boys show up in handicaps these days so that’s a tip in itself. I’m reluctant to bet against the Williams horse as I don’t see any improvers in the line-up so no bet, unless the fav eases out to 7/2 or thereabouts which is doubtful, when I might have an interest

Selection – 3:45 Haydock – Smalley Decorators Handicap Chase

One horse I do like the look of on Saturday is Dr Newland’s Katpoli in the Haydock 3.45pm. This lad didn’t run a bad race last time up in the Castleford Chase when he hadn’t been seen for 430 days and had also had wind surgery in his time off. He was running off 138 a couple of years ago and now gets in off 129 so in the hope the Castleford blew the cobwebs away he is worth a few bob at around 6/1.

1. Katpoli


Selection – 1:10 Ascot –  SBK Handicap Chase

The other race to have a look at is the 13.10pm at Ascot. Evan Williams is going well at the moment and his entry Winds of Fire might be the one to be on. This will only be the gelding’s fourth chase and he hasn’t been highly tried to date so Ascot will be a stiff test, but his price will reflect that. The likely favourite Cat Tiger will be ridden by his enthusiastic owner Mr David Maxwell who got lots of stick by the social media jockeys when getting beaten at Doncaster so he’s probably a winner without a penalty but at around 11/2 I think Winds of Fire could go close.

1. Winds of Fire


Soon be February……

Have a good weekend don’t forget Lingfield.


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

Opportunity Knocks… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

Opportunity Knocks… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1024 701 Dave T.

Opportunity Knocks….

Just been reading this week that Cheltenham are struggling to get a sponsor for this year’s Gold Cup, I don’t know about anyone else, but I think the Hope Eden Gold Cup has a certain ring to it! Get moving sponsorship department and strike whilst the opportunity is hot…. just an idea.

This column is beginning to contain more obituaries these days which is a bit sad but there you go. This week I was sorry to see that M.L.” Taffy” Thomas had died. The Welshman was a popular lightweight jockey in the years encompassing the early sixties to the late eighties the period when specialist lightweights were worth their weight in gold. He had an excellent record in big handicaps and won the Northumberland Plate, the Cambridgeshire twice, the Stewards Cup twice, together with the Cesarewitch and Lincoln.

“Go to” lightweights seem to have gone the way of honest party goers nowadays no doubt due to increased minimum weights and other factors contributing to a dearth of small thin people, but we will need to await the result of the enquiry before coming to any conclusions.

Selection – 3:00 Warwick – Agetur UK Ltd Classic Handicap Chase

Back to the heavier lads now and another good weekend’s jumping on the horizon. Warwick stages its annual 3m5f Classic Handicap chase which has seen some decent winners in the past. One For Arthur swooped late to take the race in 2017 prior to his Grand National triumph and Lucinda Russell has another well fancied entry this year in Corach Rambler who shoulders top weight. Successful at Cheltenham last time out he heads the market with the Pipe entry Gericault Roque who appreciated the step up in trip when second to the fast-improving Saint Palais over 3m 2f at Newbury in December. Either or both of these two market leaders should go very close. Last year’s first and second Notachance and Achille reoppose but having burned my fingers already this season on the former I am inclined to give him a swerve as he looks a shadow of last season’s improver and at twelve surely Achille’s best days are behind him. Although having dismissed a Venetia Williams winner on Thursday on age grounds perhaps this theory is looking dodgy…hey ho. After last week’s French inspired pulled up double perhaps it smacks of stupidity to go in again on an ex French competitor. However, the Paul Nicholls six-year-old Grace a Vous Enki has had some fancy entries of late and turns up here under Bryony Frost who won the race in 2018. Nicholls doesn’t have many runners in January, and I find it interesting that he gives this gelding his first taste of English fences in such a quality contest. Going by the Enki name I presume he is related to Yala Enki who stayed all day so that’s hopefully a positive there again perhaps the breeders use that name on all their stock, and he is no relation at all. He has experience steeplechasing at Auteuil which is not for the faint hearted so should handle the fences. It could be it’s a sighter for later in the season but at 12/1 or thereabouts I am happy to risk a few bob, whether you are, being another matter.

1. Grace a Vous Enki

Selection – 3:23 Wetherby – Racing TV Anywhere Handicap Chase

So that’s one pulled up sorted let’s find another… coming nearer home the 3.23pm at Wetherby only has eight runners but I think it’s a race to have a bet in. The likely favourite Tim Easterby’s Morozov Cocktail has only had two chases both at Wetherby and was successful last time out over this trip. Although he is probably the unexposed horse in the line up his price will reflect that so I will pass him over in favour of Sue Smith’s Frimeur Du Lancray. This gelding looked a promising young chaser at Newcastle on his penultimate start and hopefully a fall at Uttoxeter on New Year’s Eve hasn’t dented his confidence. Ryan Mania is off to Warwick on Saturday so Sean Quinlan steps in for the ride and at around 7/1 the Smith’s gelding looks a value bet.

1. Frimeur Du Lancray

I know this isn’t supposed to be a tipping column, but it sure dents the old confidence when selections don’t do themselves justice… sound of sobbing… so let’s hope for at least a couple of completions this week, who knows we might need the funds to throw into the Gold Cup sponsorship pot. I can just see Mr Tinkler chatting away with the Princess Royal on the winners’ podium…

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.

The French Connection… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog

The French Connection… with The Northern Soul – Tommo’s Racing Blog 1170 649 Dave T.

The French Connection

Not a lot of peripheral news this week to bang on about this week unless you count the petition against Tony being knighted but that’s not for this space to discuss so moving swiftly on…

I thought it was interesting in the week that sees the final of the Veteran’s chase series at Sandown Park that the grand old campaigner Vieux Lion Rouge has been retired after pulling up on his latest outing. What a pleasure he must have been to own. He ran in five Grand Nationals and won two Becher Chases. According to the Racing Post statisticians he jumped 242 National fences in a row before that run came to an end when he fell at the 20th in last season’s renewal…some feat. He was bought at an Arqana sale in Deauville and his owner reckoned that they were fortunate that the gelding came up for sale at lunchtime and perhaps the French were a little distracted…. plus ca change. Let’s hope the gelding has the long and happy retirement he thoroughly deserves.

Keeping the French theme, good news from across the Channel for a change where James Reveley, grandson of the famous Mary, regained the jump-jockey’s championship which he had first won in 2016. He managed 102 winners in the calendar year and secured over £4m of prize money for connections. Compare that with the £1.9m from 152 wins for Britain’s champion Harry Skelton in his 2020-21 title winning season. Umm…

James realised he would struggle to make the top in this country and moved to France in 2016 since when he has never looked back. His quiet style of riding is well suited to French races where the pace is less frenetic, and they only seem to quicken up from the back of the last. He has just purchased a 46-box yard in Chantilly where he intends to train from when his riding days are over. Bonne chance James.

Sandown has a good card on Saturday which centres round the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices Hurdle. This contest sees the reappearance of Nicky Henderson’s next big thing Constitution Hill who is already second favourite for the Supreme Novices at the Cheltenham festival. He will be short odds-on Saturday, but he could go right to the top.

There are three good handicap chases on the support card, but I have mentally filed the Veteran’s Chase under too difficult so let’s have a look at the other two.

Selection – 1:15 Sandown – Read Nicky Henderson’s Unibet Blog Handicap Chase

The first at 1.15pm is a 2m4f class 3 0-130 with a field of 8. I backed top weight Farinet over course and distance last season when he won well. However, he let the side down last month in the Racing Post chase when he was pulled up, he was later reported to have lost a right hind show whether this was the reason for his poor display who knows. He looks to me like a horse who will be happier in small fields so Saturday should suit but at the forecast 9/4 I can leave him alone. At the early prices it’s another French bred who takes my eye David Pipe’s Red Happy who will be having his first run over British fences. He said au revoir to France with two wins the last being at Fontainebleau in November. It will be fascinating to see how the chestnut adapts, some do some don’t, at around the advertised 7/1 I am prepared to take a chance.

Having been involved a while ago in a chaser that we ran first time over here at Cheltenham it becomes clear the French chasers jump a lot lower and brush through the fence tops if they can. Lets just say the mare we ran probably brought forward Seamus Durack’s retirement by a few years… He certainly earned his riding fee that day.

1. Red Happy

Selection – 1:50 Sandown – Unibet Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Chase

The other race is at 1.50 a class 2 0-145 over near enough two miles. Only 7 runners this time but still a trappy little contest. More with the heart than the head I have decided to maintain the Entente Cordiale for one more race. I fancied Monsieur Lecoq for an Ascot handicap in December where he was annoyingly taken out at the declaration stage. He showed up a couple of weeks later at Lingfield where he managed a disappointing last of seven. Perhaps he was concerned about the ongoing fishing dispute or covid passports, but he ran no sort of race. He has never been unplaced at Sandown in three visits… don’t all snigger at once… and at the early 9/1-10/1 he’s backable. The likely favourite Gunsight Ridge has form tied in with Venetia Williams fast improving L’Homme Presse which gives him a solid chance, but I will stick with the Gallic option.

1. Monsieur Lecoq

As I said earlier, I can’t see an edge in the Veteran’s chase by the nature of the beast nothing will be unexposed, but it will still be a grand spectacle as there are some good old lads entered. Nothing from “Oop North” which is a shame as we managed the winner last year in Seeyouatmidnight for Sandy Thomson and Ryan Mania. If someone gave me a tenner, I would probably plump for Rolling Dylan as I am a big fan of Michael (Irish version) Nolan and I think Phillip Hobbs’ horses are just coming into form.

So, a combination of heart and head what a recipe for…

Whatever the outcome at least the nights are getting lighter…

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.