Weekly Eye-Catchers – Horse Racing

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This week’s article is shorter than normal due to preparing for a funeral today and because the horse racing has taken a bit of a hit due to the wet weather recently.

Next week ‘s article will be back to normal but it wont just contain the eyecatchers but also a review of the weekends big race action and hopefully I will also take a look at a few horses that have caught my eye with the Cheltenham Festival in mind.

For those of you who have subscribed to the Eyecatcher Pro software you will have been delighted with a 7/1 winner at Kempton on Sunday in the shape of the Pat Phelan trained Celtic Ava. This is what I wrote in the notebook after her last race:

“Held up at the back the filly had to make her effort out wide, covering more ground than those who finished ahead of her at the finish. Was finishing well but had too much to do. A step up to a mile should suit or a more galloping track at 7f. She can win a handicap in class 6 or 7 company”

On Sunday she raced on a more galloping track and once again in Class 6 Company, this time she was ridden up with the leaders and not given too much to do like last time at Lingfield.

Hopefully some of you kept the faith with the Kerry Lee trained Russe Blanc who won the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase on Saturday at a generous 20/1. This is what I wrote in my notebook after his run at Newbury in November:

“Well suited by a stamina test, he won over 3m 2f at Carlisle last winter, and testing going all four of his wins have come with soft or heavy has appeared in the going description. Running off 3lb higher than for the Carlisle win, he will be nudged up a bit more by the handicapper but can win another staying handicap chase off this sort of mark”.

He got his ground on Saturday and this was his first attempt at a real marathon trip, which I thought would really suit the nine year old.

I have got just four eyecatchers this week for you but I will be adding another one for Eyecatcher Pro subscribers. This one looks handicapped to strike in the coming weeks on the all weather over at Dundalk.

Wednesday 13th January


Alben Star – Richard Fahey – Off the track for 137 days and only having his second run since finishing 2nd in the Sprint on All Weather Championships on Good Friday. Trainer had expected the 8 year old to need the run but ran a race of promise to take 3rd here. Should come on well for the run and can run well in these sorts of races. Is 4/16 +22.75 with 10 places at Lingfield & Wolverhampton. Can be competitive in a very strongly run 5f but worth noting that 6 of his 7 career wins have come over 6f. Jockey Paul Hanagan is 5/12 +30 8 places on the horse but given his Meydan commitments it’s unlikely we will see him on he horse in the coming months but if we do it would be highly significant!
Thursday 14th January


Boomshackerlacker – George Baker – During the Dubai Winter Carnival I like to put up one or two each week from Meydan. The six year old ran respectably on the dirt at the Carnival last year and although he doesn’t have the best of career win records 4/30, there is no doubt he comes into this years Carnival a well handicapped horse. Ran well to take 4th in this 1m handicap on the turf on his first start since August and this run can be marked up as he made his effort widest of all and covered more ground than the three horses that finished in front of him.. On the evidence of this run he can win a race like this!

Friday 15th January


Reginald Claude – Mark Usher – The eight year old looks like he is about to hit form, He always seems to need a strongly run race to get his head in front and once again was staying on well at the finish, when the race was all over as he tends to do. Seven of his eight career wins have come on the all weather at Lingfield or Wolverhampton and all his nine career wins have come over 6f. Eight of his nine career wins have come in Class 6 races and he is 1lb lower than his last winning mark on the all weather back in March last year. Needs a decent draw and a good strong pace to chase, doesn’t find much off the bridle, and if all the cards do all fall right he can take advantage of his present handicap mark.

Saturday 16th January


Pearl Acclaim – Dandy Nicholls – Was having his only his second start since October when finishing 3rd, beaten, 1 ¾ lengths in this 5f handicap. The six year old hasn’t been seen at his best since winning at Musselburgh back in June but he built on a promising 5th at Kempton in December with his run here, when only caught by the eventual winner and runner up well inside the final furlong. On mark 3lb lower than when winning at Musselburgh he can be competitive around this sort of mark. Has only had three starts on the synthetics so is unexposed on the surface and looks at his best over 5f.

Good luck with your betting this week and as ever if you have any questions or comments about the notebook horses leave a message and I will reply to them when time allows.

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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