Saturday Newsletter – 16th March 2019


We usually say, ‘we hope all come back safe and sound’ but sadly that wasn’t the case on Cheltenham Day 4 with the loss Invitation Only becoming the second horse to die after a fall in the big race yesterday. That followed a fatal injury to pre-race favourite Sir Erec in the first race of Gold Cup day and will no doubt give ammunition for the cruel sports lobbyists. Luckily our forum doesn’t tend to attract these people to have to openly defend the industry – without the near 15,000+ horses in training, trainers, stable lads & lasses plus allied industries supported by it – the unemployment register would be a whole lot longer. The safety measures continually reviewed and introduced have reduced fatality rates to just 0.15% that is a 30% or so reduction over the last decade.

On the betting front we made a loss on the pot we invested with 30pts staked and 23.75pts returned for a small loss – we just couldn’t crack a decent priced winner, despite Bun Doran going extremely close with our final Day 4 selection at 14’s that would have gotten us into the black 🙁

Back to Saturday matters, it’s been a long week burning the oil and there’s not a whole load of runners leaving us just one for members below going in a C2 at Kempton. Outside of that it’s Midlands National Day at Uttoxeter and Timeform’s views on the runners are below and we’ll throw a small dart at that one 🙂

15.35 –  Uttoxeter Midlands National Midlands National: Timeform’s runner-by-runner guide

1. AMERICAN (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) 
Lightly-raced sort, but highly talented, finishing ninth in last year’s Gold Cup. He’s been off since producing a poor run in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in December, but a repeat of his very smart performance to win a novice chase at this meeting two years ago would put him right in the mix, and it would be no surprise should he bounce back with a big run here.

2. MS PARFOIS (Anthony Honeyball/Aidan Coleman)
Likeable mare who was a smart novice last season. Off since but finishing sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on reappearance at the beginning of December but today’s trip and the testing ground on offer is right up her street, and she’s respected in receipt of a sex allowance.

3. FOLSOM BLUE (Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell) 
A regular in this sphere, finishing fourth in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last spring. He wasn’t disgraced when eighth in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December, and a solid run to finish fourth in a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Sandown last month should have put him spot on for this. The 4m2f trip should bring out the best in him, and he’s high on the shortlist.

4. SMOOTH STEPPER (Alex Hales/Ciaran Gethings)
A winner of handicaps at Newcastle and Kelso respectively last season, but has been well held in both starts since switching to the Alex Hales yard, and would need to step up if he is to feature here.

5. DELL’ ARCA (Tom Scudamore/David Pipe) 
Represents a trainer in David Pipe who has won this race four times in the last decade, and while he ran up to his best when third in the Last Fling Chase at Haydock in December and arrives here fresh, he would need to find more to overturn the form with Chef d’Ouvre (first) and Back To The Thatch (second).

6. BALLYDINE (Charlie Longsdon/Sean Bowen) 
Lightly-raced staying chaser, with just six starts over fences to date, who has been shaping as though he’ll be suited by a marathon trip, particularly when finishing third at Haydock in January. He has a good record in the mud, winning a handicap at Sandown in February 2018, and could go well for the Charlie Longsdon team.

7. DAWSON CITY (Polly Gundry/Tom Bellamy)
Strong stayer who landed the Devon National at Exeter last month for the second year running. Up to a career-high mark as a result but is likely to be staying on when others have cried enough.

8. PRIME VENTURE (Evan Williams/Adam Wedge)
Arrives here having produced a couple of good effort to place in two 3 miles handicaps on similar ground in December. The longer trip here promises to play to his strengths and he has claims on the same mark as last time for a stable who won this in 2016.

9. ARTHUR’S GIFT (Nigel Twiston-Davies) 
Built on the promise of his chase debut at the second attempt when seeing off 12 rivals at Carlisle (3m, soft) in February. He’s been raised 8 lb by the handicapper for that performance, but is respected for a Nigel Twiston-Davies yard which has a good record with novices in valuable staying handicaps.

10. JAMMIN MASTERS (Warren Greatrex/Gavin Sheehan)
Dual hurdle winner last term who has shown even better form over fences so far this season, for all that he has yet to get his head in front in this sphere. He rates as an interesting outsider, though needs to bounce back from his most recent run at Chepstow, when he wasn’t at his best.

11. MILANSBAR (Neil King/Bryony Frost) 
Chased home Regal Flow to finish a gallant second in this last year, before following that up to finish fifth in the Grand National at Aintree. He’s yet to reach those heights this year, but he plugged on for a fair fourth at Newbury at the beginning of the month and the fact that Bryony Frost retakes the ride is a bonus. He has each-way claims with the refitting of blinkers likely to help.

12. REGAL FLOW (Bob Buckler/Sean Houlihan (3)) 
Defeated Milansbar when winning this race 12 months ago, but has been below form in seven starts since, with six of those coming this season. A return to testing ground is likely to help, but the fact he had a run as recently as Monday at Taunton is a concern and others are preferred.

13. RAZ DE MAREE (Gavin Cromwell/Conor Orr (5))
Firmly in the veteran stage as a 14-year-old, but still capable of a big performance when granted a sufficient test of stamina, winning the 2017 Welsh Grand National at Chepstow (run in January 2018). The conditions here will suit him down to the ground, but his temperament has seemingly been on the wane this season and has something to prove.

14. POTTERS CORNER (Christian Williams/James Bowen) 
Bounced back to land a Wincanton handicap in December and in the process of running very well when falling on his last 2 starts at Wincanton and Newcastle respectively. He’s capable of figuring if able to keep the errors down and is respected.

15. CHEF D’OEUVRE (Sam England/Jonathan England) 
Took advantage of his falling mark when winning 27f Haydock handicap in December and confirmed his return to form when finishing third of 15 in the Grand National Trial there in February. He should should give another good account having been raised just 4 lb for that most recent run.

16. BACK TO THE THATCH (Henry Daly/Richard Johnson)
Young, lightly-raced sort who has his name on a good staying handicap at some point. He chased home Chef d’Oeuvre at Haydock when second on his most recent run in December and arrives here 9 lb better off with that rival this time around.

17. GET ON THE YAGER (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton) 
Capable of useful handicapping form at his peak, winning the 2017 renewal of the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby. Has struggled over inadequate trips on his two starts so far this season, though the return to this trip will suit and is no forlorn hope if able to bounce back to something near his peak form.

18. KILKISHEN (John Joseph Hanlon/David Mullins)
Confirmed the promise of his previous start when running out a convincing winner of an 11-runner handicap at Fairyhouse (25f, soft) on New Year’s Day, and though he was unable to follow that up at Punchestown the start after, he ran up to his best when finishing fourth of 16 in Eider at Newcastle most recently and is respected off 1 lb higher.

19. FINAL NUDGE (David Dennis/James Davies) 
Placed in the Badger Ales Trophy and the Welsh Grand National last season, but has struggled for form so far this term, with a wind operation making no difference on his most recent run. He arrives here in a first-time visor, but has plenty to prove.

20. JETSTREAM JACK (Sophie Leech/Connor Brace (7))
Ended his time for Gordon Elliott in uninspiring fashion over fences, and has been disappointing in 3 runs over hurdles since, leaving Olly Murphy after second occasion to join the Sophie Leech team. As such, he’s very difficult to fancy at the moment.


Nigel Twiston-Davies likes to get plenty of races into his string and ARTHUR’S GIFT won three times during his 2017 winter hurdling campaign over ten races that culminated in a nice Cheltenham win.

He started this term out well over larger obstacles at Aintree in a race throwing up plenty of winners on ground that wasn’t really to suit. Since, he has won easily at Carlisle and the 8lb raise looks fair.

He’s still a very unexposed chaser and we’ll take the best 12/1 with Betfair and FIVE paying slots.

Any late withdrawals and we’ll take Chef D’Oevre as our next best local charge who has shown some improved form of late after falling the ratings. Guiseley trainer Sam England has hubbie Jonathan in the plate following his 3rd in Hyadock’s Grand National Trial on going faster than he would have liked.

Uttoxeter 15.35 – Arthur’s Gift



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BOL (Best Of Luck!)

ABW Team

Today’s Selections

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Here’s today’s free Timeform and the assist for the Kempton card from the ‘speedmeisters’… on the highlighted link to take you through to your Betfair account……

1.30 Matchbook Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (4) 2m

Timeform Top Rated:
140 4. ASHUTOR Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
139 5. HARAMBE Alan King Wayne Hutchinson
138p 2. FERROBIN Dan Skelton Bridget Andrews

Analyst’s Verdict:
Ferrobin admittedly didn’t beat a great bunch at Huntingdon 13 days ago, but he couldn’t have done it any more emphatically and looks capable of following up with further improvement on the cards. There should be better to come from Heatstroke so long as he stands up to his racing, while Ashutor is also worthy of close consideration.

2.05 Get Switched On With Matchbook Chase (Novices’ Limited Handicap) (3) 2m

Timeform Top Rated:
153p 3. TIMOTEO Alan King Wayne Hutchinson
148 5. EDDIEMAURICE John Flint Jamie Moore
145 4. KNOCKMAOLE BOY Jean-Rene Auvray Dave Crosse

Analyst’s Verdict:
Timoteo looked a natural over fences when winning on his chasing debut at Stratford on Monday and he can follow up under a penalty. Eddiemaurice, a winner over hurdles here at Christmas, might be the danger having shown more back over the larger obstacles of late.

2.40 Matchbook VIP Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle (2) 2m5f

Timeform Top Rated:
144 8. MY WAY Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
143 1. BURROWS EDGE Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
142+ 4. TOWNSHEND Nigel Twiston-Davies Joe Anderson (10)

Analyst’s Verdict:
There was lots to like about Burrows Edge‘s reappearance run over C&D 3 weeks ago and he can build on that and go one better now. The Warren Greatrex pair Star of Lanka and Mahlervous are going the right way and are likely to give Nicky Henderson’s charge something to think about. My Way is another who should go well.

3.15 Matchbook Betting Exchange Silver Bowl Handicap Chase (2) 2½m110y

Timeform Top Rated:
150p 9. ONEFORTHEROADTOM Harry Fry Barry Geraghty
149 4. BROTHER TEDD Philip Hobbs Tom O’Brien
149 6. KANSAS CITY CHIEF Neil Mulholland Robert Dunne

Analyst’s Verdict:
El Terremoto looks to have been let in rather lightly from an opening chase mark of 137 and almost proved the point when second despite an inadequate test at Kelso last time, so there’s every chance he can go one better here, acknowledging that Brother Tedd and potential-improver Onefortheroadtom should ensure it’s not all plain sailing.

3.50 Matchbook Betting Podcast Novices’ Hurdle (4) 2m5f

Timeform Top Rated:
147 2. DARLING MALTAIX Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
140p 3. THE CASHEL MAN Nicky Henderson Jeremiah McGrath
138p 1. RESERVE TANK Colin Tizzard Tom O’Brien

Analyst’s Verdict:
Darling Maltaix escapes a penalty back in novice company and may have a bit too much for progressive pair Reserve Tank and The Cashel Man in an interesting race despite the lack of numbers.

4.25 Matchbook Casino Handicap Chase (4) 3m

Timeform Top Rated:
125x 3. JARLATH Seamus Mullins Tom O’Brien
122 5. MISS YEATS Laura Mongan Jamie Moore
121 1. MINELLA FOR ME Tom George Daryl Jacob

Analyst’s Verdict:
Jarlath was back to form when third at Leicester and gets the vote off 3 lb lower. Wetherby-winner Minella For Me is next best.

5.00 Matchbook Best Value Exchange Maiden Open National Hunt Flat (5) 2m

Timeform Top Rated:
No top rated horses

Analyst’s Verdict:
Expensive Irish point recruits Grey Getaway and Shishkin have joined top yards and are probably the pair to focus on here. The former gets the nod but the betting should provide more clues. Et Apres Thou is another likely type on paper.

p commonly referred to as a small ‘p’; and the the horse is likely to improve
P commonly referred to as a large ‘P’; and the horse is capable of much better
+ the horse is possibly better than rated
? the rating is suspect or (used alone) the horse is out of form or cannot be assessed with confidence
§ the squiggle’ indicates the horse is unreliable (for temperamental or other reasons)
§§ the ‘double squiggle’ the horse is so unsatisfactory as to be not worth a rating
x a poor jumper



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