Weekly Eye-catchers

Another couple of winners last week for the eyecatchers with What About Carlo winning at Epsom at 13/2 and Whitman a 11/4 winner at Ripon.

I tend to split the Turf Flat season into three sections: Spring horses (March to May). Summer horses (June to August) and the autumn horses (September & October). I do something similar for the National Hunt season but I will explain how that works at a later date.

For me the autumn begins on September 1st and it can be a very tricky month for punters as the ground changes around this time of year and there is rarely much firm in the going description. It’s also the time of year when horses who have been given a summer break, to avoid the quick going, return to for their end of the season campaigns and form obtained on quick ground doesn’t always carry forward. It’s for this reason that I have just undertaken a clean up of my tracker horses.

I have kept a few horses that are likely to run at this weeks Doncaster St Leger meeting or at Ayr’s Western Meeting and I have also kept a couple of horses that I mentioned in last weeks notebook that I am backing in specific races in the coming weeks.

Thursday 2nd September


Fractal – David Simcock – Twice a winner last September, the four year old looked like he was coming back to form when finishing 4th at Newmarket on previous start and continued back on track with a ½ length third here. There was no gallop in the early part of the race which wouldn’t have suited the gelding as he was held up at the back of the field before staying on strongly at the finish. He has had only four starts this season so he will be fresher than most and can land a handicap over 1m 4f in the coming weeks.

Friday 3rd September


Compton Park – Les Eyre – The eight year old was in great form last year when winning three handicaps last summer. He hadn’t shown much on his previous two runs this season but his strong finishing 5th placing was a welcome return to form. He slightly missed the start and his draw on the stands side wasn’t an advantage as it paid to be drawn down the middle of the track. Running off a mark 6lb lower than for his last win he is certainly handicapped to take a 6f sprint handicap on genuinely good ground.

Saturday 4th September

There was plenty of high quality of racing on Saturday and here are four horses that can be placed to advantage in the coming weeks.


Fox Trotter – Brian Meehan – The three year old only made his seasonal return at Glorious Goodwood when taking 4th in valuable three year old 7f handicap. He then returned to that track at the end of August and although he only finished 12th of 19 that day he should have finished a lot closer as he didn’t get any sort of run two furlongs out. Held up at the back of the field here he wasn’t suited by the moderate gallop and was never able to get into the race but was staying on nicely to take 6th at the finish. There is surely a 7f handicap in the gelding when he gets the run of the race

Perfect Muse – Clive Cox – The five year old won three times last year over 5f and she shaped very nicely on her seasonal return at Goodwood which suggested that she would be in for another good year. Sadly that hasn’t been the case until this race where the mare made a welcome return to form for her inform trainer. She only found a three year old too strong for her well inside the final furlong and on the evidence of this run, a return to the winner’s enclosure shouldn’t be to far away.


I am a big fan of sprint handicaps as I am sure you might have guessed by now.

B Fifty Two – Charlie Hills – The six year old hadn’t shown up in his four previous starts this year so his second place here was a step back in the right direction. A winner twice last year at Chester, when making all, indeed all his best runs have come when he has been at the head of affairs. Running without his usual tongue tie or blinkers, he wasn’t the best away from the stalls, was them held up at the back of the field before making good headway a furlong out to finish his race off in good style. Back to form and 3lb lower than for his last win he is on a winnable mark. The way he was ridden in this race shows he doesn’t have to be ridden from the front and it will be interesting to see if he turned out quickly for the Portland Handicap at Doncaster on Saturday.

Vibrant Chords – Henry Candy – The two year old was arguably the talking horse of the day in this 6f Nursery handicap and was sent off 2/1 favourite. A winner of a 6f maiden, on his previous start at Salisbury, a race which is working out well with the 3rd and 6th that day both winning since. Described by his trainer as a “ right little fireball and hes very quick” The sticky ground wouldn’t have suited this speedy son of Poet’s Voice although he still ran well enough to take third. He looks the sort who will be brought out fairly quickly, if the ground is suitable, and the gelding is surely worth another chance on better ground, to show that his present mark of 81 is a winnable one.

Good luck with your betting this week and as ever if you have any questions or comments leave a message and I will reply to them in next week’s article.

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.


  1. I backed both Fox Trotter and B Fifty Two (: so I’ll be hoping to get some better returns next time they appear!

  2. Hi Chris I was on Fox Trotter myself. He wasn’t suited by the way the track was riding on Saturday as it was hard to make up ground from the back of the field

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