Weekly Eye-catchers – Horse Racing

horse racing

Arthur Races into National Picture at Warwick

There was some good horse racing last Saturday, with the highlight for me being the win of the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. The race over 3m 5f is a definite test of stamina but even more so when the ground is as soft as it was at the weekend. One For Arthur jumped really well throughout the race and once he took up the running two from home he was not for catching. His rise in the weights for this comprehensive win, now means the 8-year old could well get into the Grand National in April. As he showed in the Becher Chase the big Aintree fences hold no terrors for the horse and he is a definite contender should he go for the big one!

Before looking at last week’s eyecatchers, I thought I would do something I haven’t done in a long time and that’s take a look back at how the weekend eyecatchers fared. A bit of self-analysis on your bets fared makes you a better punter and I thought I would share with you my thinking on the performances of this weekend’s runners. This means the second instalment of my Cheltenham Festival Ante Post Briefing is delayed but have no fears I will be looking at the Neptune Novice Hurdle in next week’s column.

How the Eyecatchers Fared: A look Back at the Weekends Runners

There were seven tracker horses running on Saturday and Sunday and apart from one the rest didn’t run to form. Here they are with a brief bit of analysis as to how they ran:

Saturday Runners


Pobbles Bay – I put the Eavan Williams trained runner-up as a one-off selection on the day. After his previous win, the trainer had suggested that the Midlands Grand National could be an ideal target for the race. I thought he was worth ago in Graded company but he just didn’t jump well enough to get into contention in the race. The trainer isn’t having the best of runs 2 wins from 30 runners 7% in the past 14 days which could also partly explain this run. He still looks worth bearing in mind when he returns to handicap company. I think the form of this novice chase is strong and can be followed.

Sego Success –  The going might have been too tacky for the horse on this occasion, as he was eventually pulled up two out after weakening out of it. The key to the horse looks to be dropping back in trip. I just don’t think he stays marathon trips. Looking at his record at 3m 2f+ he is 0 wins from 6 runs 0 places but at 3m to 3m 1f his record is 4 wins from 10 runs 5 places. I also think he is better in smaller fields as he is 4 wins from 9 runs in field sizes 10 or fewer, in fields of 11 or more he is 0 wins from 9 runs 1 place. Not one to give up on just yet!


Chesterfield – The ante-post gamble of the race. Pulled far too hard without any cover on the outside and not surprisingly he weakened out of contention. Still handicapped to win over hurdles!

Silvergrove –As I felt on the morning good to soft ground would be too quick for the horse as is 3m on this going but that can’t explain his woeful run here. Has yet to come to himself this season but there is still time when the ground rides softer.

Lingfield – All weather

Kasbah – The one horse to run as hoped for when he stayed onto take 2nd in the shadow of the post. Was a bit slowly away and would have preferred a better overall gallop. He is knocking on the Door.

Sunday Runners


Dysios – Denis Cullen – I really should have gone no bet this one on the day but the soft ground tempted me in each way. The reason why I should have avoided the horse was his record going right-handed, which is now 1 win from 22 runs -15.50 5 places contrast that with his performances going the other way 5 wins from 22 runs +14.75 11 places.


Fine Rightly – Stuart Crawford – I really thought he would outclass his rivals in this handicap chase especially with the ground going heavy. He travelled supremely well to two out and looked like he would hack up but he weakened out of it dramatically after the last fence. Clearly, something is amiss with the trainer’s horses. As mentioned in the morning write up the trainer is very much on the cold list having gone 57 days since his last winner and is now 35 runners without a win. Can be forgiven this run and once the trainer has his horses running better he can leave this run behind when he gets soft or even better heavy ground. A bitter disappointment given the way he had travelled through the race!

Well, I hope you have found that look back informative and has given you an insight into how I examine tracker horse’s recent performances. It won’t be a regular feature but it’s always worth the occasional examination.

This Weeks Eyecatchers

I have three horses for your trackers this week and also a bonus one from last weeks Meydan Carnival meeting. I will be adding three more exclusively for Pro subscribers over the next few days, including any for Meydan which are already proving profitable to follow:

Monday 9th January


Wade Harper – David Dennis – The 7-year-old looked to be moving well to three out but soon faded out of contention in this 3m novices handicap chase. Has won at Doncaster in the past so there were no issues with the track or the good going but once again his stamina for racing 2m 4f+ hasn’t been proved and the gelding is 0 wins from 5 runs 0 places when racing beyond 2m 3 ½ f . There was support for him on the morning of the race which suggests he is on a competitive handicap mark but to take advantage of it, he needs to drop in trip. Best suited by good or good to soft going and he is 3 wins from 10 runs 6 places on such going.

Tuesday 10th January


Missed Approach – Warren Greatrex – Had been well backed to make a winning debut over fences back in November at Exeter but could only finish 4th of 6. That race looks a useful one as the winner the harry fry trained American won the big novice chase at Warwick on Saturday. Hadn’t been seen since that run but returned with a comprehensive victory in the Lingfield Novices Chase. The second home had finished well ahead of the Greatrex runner at Exeter but the form was easily turned around here and the front two put over 30 lengths between themselves and the third home. Jumping and travelling well through the race he clearly has no problems with heavy ground as he galloped his eight rivals into the ground. It transpires the horse had a wind operation after his first run. Will be a tough nut to beat in novice company when stamina is at a premium.

Friday 13th January


Mad Jack Mytton – Jonjo O’Neill – Made his chasing debut in this 2m 4f novice handicap chase but found only classy top weight O O Seven to good. He jumped nicely and was travelling very well in the hands of Aiden Coleman and coming to the last he looked just as likely a winner before O O Seven experience just told on the run in. A useful handicap hurdler for the trainer this was a nice introduction to fences for the gelding. The way he has travelled you would think a drop in trip would be fine for him. Indeed his two hurdle wins both come at around 2m and on good ground. A big handicap at the Festival could be on the cards but the Jury is out about whether Cheltenham suits him as he is 0 wins from 4 runs 1 place there. A flat track suited over hurdles 2 wins from 6 runs 5 places, as did going right handed 2 wins from 7 runs 5 places compared to 0 wins from 9 runs 4 places going the other way round. Evan if it’s not at Cheltenham he can win a valuable chase handicap when he gets his conditions.

All that’s left is to wish a profitable weeks betting!


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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