Weekly Diary – Horse Racing

King Power Racing

I start my weekend round-up on a sad note. The football and horse racing worlds are facing the possibility that Leicester City & King Power Racing owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabh, lost his life in a tragic helicopter crash outside the Leicester’s ground on Saturday evening.

At the time of writing, there has been no confirmation of any deaths, but it’s increasingly likely that there will have been fatalities.

King Power Racing have made a big investment in horse racing in the past year, and it’s going to be a blow to the sport in general. However, at a time like this, our thoughts are with Mr Srivaddhanaprabha and his family, and of course, any other people who may have lost their lives in this terrible accident.

It has just been announced that Mr Srivaddhanaprabh and four other people lost their lives in the helicopter crash. Our deepest sympathies go to all family members.

 The Jumps Are Back!

You know the winter game is back when Cheltenham & Aintree are hosting meetings. To get into the winter spirit, the weather played its part, some parts of the country saw snow!

From a punting perspective, Saturday was a bit of nightmare for me, as more rain hit Cheltenham than I expected, and it turned the good going into good to soft after the first couple of races.  On the plus side there were a fair few eyecatcher’s for the tracker.

 O’Brien Makes It Nine in Futurity

Over at Doncaster it was the final Group 1 of the flat season. With the Vertem Futurity Trophy, formerly the Racing Post Trophy, the highlight from Town Moor.

The name of the sponsor may have changed, but it was business as usual for trainer Aidan O’Brien who registered his 9th win in the race since 1997.  Magna Grecia provided the win in what turned out to be an exciting finish to the race.

His two stablemates, Western Australia & Circus Maximus, set the race up for him by giving some really strong early fractions. The colt showed plenty of stamina to win this 1m contest, and a good battling attitude to hold off Phoenix Of Spain at the finish.

The disappointment of the race was the well-fancied Turgenev, who failed to make the improvement expected on his step up into Group company. He was caught out a bit wide with no cover and finished tamely. I doubt this was his true running, and it will be interesting to see if there was something amiss with the colt.  He’s not one to give-up on just yet!

No doubt the first two home will be trained for next year’s 2000 Guineas, but with the first five home separated by just 1 ½ lengths at the finish, the strength of the form can be questioned.

I will be taking a look at this season 2-year-olds in next Monday’s post.

Weekend Eyecatcher

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there was plenty to take-away from Cheltenham. No more so than Sykes trained by Nicky Martin.

The 9-year-old did well for the trainer last season over hurdles, and showed on Saturday that he had returned from his summer break in good heart, when beaten just a short head in the Pertemps Series Qualifier.

His career record now stands at 5 wins from 24 runs with 12 placed. That record is improved when you focus on his runs between October & December – 5 wins from 12 runs, strike rate 42%, 9 placed with place strike rate 75%.

The handicapper will no doubt nudge the horse up in the weights for this performance, but’s worth noting that the trainer has a 12lb lower mark over fences to exploit. If connections opt to return to the larger obstacles, I am sure there is a handicap chase in him.

 Racing Goes Global: It’s Breeder’s Cup Time

Next weekend, we have the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs, closely followed a few days later by “The Race That Stops A Nation” the Melbourne Cup. More on the latter race next in next Monday’s post.

A record 221 individual Breeders’ Cup entries for the 14 championship races were announced last week, with a few of the races well over-subscribed. The final declared runners, and stall positions, will be revealed on Monday.

Recent Arc winner Enable adds spice to the Breeders Cup Turf. However, the race of the meeting is, of course, the Classic on the dirt. Roaring Lion, the top 3-year-old colt in Europe, looks set to take his place in the race alongside Aidan O’Brien’s Mendelssohn. 

Roaring Lion isn’t the only top turf horse likely to go for the Classic. The home team are likely to have Catholic Boy & Yoshida in the field. According to the American handicappers, the dirt track at Churchill Downs isn’t too severe for turf horses. Hence why a high number of turf horses look to be targeting this year’s renewal.

There are mixed messages on pedigree about whether Roaring Lion will handle the dirt, but good turf horses normally replicate their turf form on dirt, running just a second or two slower than they do on the grass. Roaring Lion has some great run-speed figures, so he should go well granted a decent berth. Of more worry than the surface would be the hard race he seemed to have in winning the QEII on Champions Day.

Connections have nothing to lose by rolling the dice of course. His value as stallion will double if he was to win, and if he loses he will still be classed as a turf champion.

The Breeders Cup will be great to watch, and there will be plenty of betting opportunities when we know the final runners and their draws.

 Wetherby Takes Centre Stage

Over this side of the Atlantic it’s the Charlie Hall Meeting at Wetherby on Friday & Saturday.

In last week’s post I highlighted two trainers whose runners were worth noting at Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting. One them was Rebecca Curtis, here is what I wrote:

“Another trainer worth noting is Rebecca Curtis whose had 3 winners from 9 runners, strike rate 33%, SP Profit +19.25. However, she’s not had a runner at the meeting since 2016”.

Well she had her first runner at the meeting since 2016 on Saturday, when Relentless Dreamer ran in the 3m 1f handicap chase.  The 9-year-old did her proud, with a battling win at a juicy 16/1. Another nice winner for the stats, although there were good reasons to think the horse was overpriced. His record when racing off a 90+day break, for example, or the fact that all his career wins have come between June & December.

 Charlie Hall Meeting Stats

So, are there any interesting stats for this weekend’s action at Wetherby?

One of the most interesting is the record of horses in the top three in the betting. The first three in the betting have produced 79% of the winners from just 36% of the runners at the meeting since 2014.

On the trainer front a couple of trainers whose runners are worth noting:


Harry Fry – 3 winners from 4 runners 7

                     Strike Rate 5%

                     SP Profit +5.25

                     4 placed

                     Place Strike Rate 100%


Nicky Richards – 2 winners from 2 runners

                              Strike Rate 100%

                              SP Profit +5.5


Sandy Thomson – 2 winners from 2 runners

                                Strike Rate 100%

                                SP Profit +8.75


Monday Stat

Last but not least. A new feature the Monday Stat.

Trainer Marcus Tregoning has an excellent record with last time out winners having had:

28 winners from 101 runners

Strike Rate 28%

SP Profit +69.34

A/E 1.38

50 placed

Place Strike Rate 50%   and this is since 2014.

With those running within the previous 30 days of their last start producing:

22 winners from 70 runners

Strike Rate 31%

SP Profit +81.21

A/E 1.61

36 placed

Place Strike Rate 51%.

He saddles recent Kempton winner Landue in the 5:45 at Chelmsford.  Despite stepping-up a notch in grade today the 3-year-old should be tough to beat here.

Good luck with this week’s punting.

Until next week.

All the best,
John Burke
for The Race Advisor

John Burke

I have a MA in International Politics and having spent a number of years working in political campaigning but I eventually I realised that politics was not the world where I wanted to work I had been interested in horse racing since the late 1980s but in the early years I was merely just betting and watching racing like most people as a bit of fun and a hobby, then the hobby becomes a passion and that’s what happened to me with horse racing. I soon realised that to make money from my hobby I had to learn as much as I could about the sport and betting in general. The whole process took time but after a number of successful years of betting, I decided in 2011 to take the plunge, gave up my full time day job and decided to bet on horse racing as a part time business and I haven’t looked back since. I like to specialise in the better class of races and I love to solve the puzzles posed by big field handicaps the latter races often provide punters with great value betting opportunities. Whilst most of my time is spent reviewing previous races I like to keep things as simple as possible as even the biggest field handicaps can usually be pruned down to half a dozen strong contenders with the right sort of approach.
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