Road to the Cheltenham Festival


THE dreams start now. The crisp autumnal mornings give birth to the hopes of hundreds of owners, trainers and jockeys. Jump racing is back in earnest this month and with it the glorious visions of Cleeve Hill in March and Aintree in April. But there’s no need to remind Richard Johnson. He has already amassed 88 winners in an extraordinary start to the Jump jockeys’ championship. The title is Dickie’s Holy Grail and it will be a fascinating sideshow as winter bares its teeth. Read More

Daily Dabble September 24

THERE will some long faces at John Gosden’s Clarehaven stables if LINGUISTIC (2.00 Newmarket) fails to win the opener at Headquarters. He chased home the ultra promising Very Talented at Doncaster and looked far from fully wound up. He should go one better although he could start very short. More value could be found with the progressive BATHOS (2.30 Newmarket) who is on a four timer. The handicapper has raised him 7lb for a ready win at Thirsk. He will definitely handle the ground, which cannot be said for likely favourite Executor, who floundered in soft conditions on his debut. Read More

Piazon offers Bronze Cup value

TALK about competitive. You will do well to find just one winner on day two of Ayr’s Western meeting. (If you get the Placepot up then it should be a decent pot). Two 25-runner handicaps, a big field nursery and a super-tricky Listed juvenile sprint are conundrums sent to test the most diligent form student. The best chance of a winner is in the two divisions of the maiden two-year-old races. PENNOCK (1.30) appeals in the first. He showed good speed on his Haydock debut and Mark Johnston’s juveniles are usually undercooked on their debuts. Fatherly Friend and Prying Pandora are respected. Read More

Daily Dabble September 16

A FILLY who went into my notebook recently was BELLE TRAVERS (3.55 Sandown) who was slightly unlucky when just failing to reel in Bahamian Desert at Musselburgh. The winner got first run that day and Richard Fahey’s three-year-old had a chequered passage. Today she is sent south to Sandown and although she is upped in grade she will be well suited by the stiff mile. Read More

Ladbrokes St Leger preview

storm the stars

THERE are three Group One races on Saturday. In years gone by the St Leger would have knocked spots off anything else. The undoubted highlight. But this year’s race is in danger of being comprehensively overshadowed by the Irish Champion Stakes with Golden Horn and possibly Gleneagles lining up (unless, of course, the Ballydoyle “lads” spot a bit of moisture in the ground). The days of the Triple Crown being the Holy Grail for three-year-olds seem to be long gone. There are other riches to target and a dearth of interest in breeding middle-distance champions. Read More

Daily Dabble September 8

NOT a bad day yesterday. Two winners, a decent price third and one, inevitably, that bombed out. There is some nice racing today with plenty to go at. POPLAR CLOSE (2.20 Redcar) is an old chum of this blog. He is tough, stays well and progressive and despite carrying a lot of weight he should be competitive in the opening nursery at Redcar. Outrank is a scopey individual but on the formbook he has a bit to find with Poplar Close. Next up is… Read More

Daily Dabble September 7


I SHOULD have blogged yesterday. I would have tipped up George Dryden who was a 12/1 winner at York. I napped him in the Sunday Express and “Gorgeous George” as he is known at Ann Duffield’s yard near Leyburn has put me in a handy lead at the top of the Racing Post/Coral Naps Table with six weeks to go. Latest table here. Anyway, enough showing off. Today’s racing is what you would phrase a “typical Monday”. But it is St Leger week and the fare on offer will get better as the week goes on. First up today are… Read More

Daily Dabble September 3


SALIERIS MASS (4.40 Haydock) went into many notebooks when he won his maiden at Ripon in April at 33/1 beating subsequent winner Decorated Knight. We didn’t see the strapping son of Mount Nelson again until late July when he was a decent enough fifth to Memorial Day at Newmarket. The latter has since won at the Ebor meeting and the third Laurence has also won recently, so the form looks good. I felt Salieris Mass probably needed that race after the three-month lay-off. Read More

Daily Dabble September 2

AUTUMN is definitely moving in and the darker evenings seem to have sneaked up and pounced. Jump racing is beginning to enter the radar and Richard Johnson has already ridden 75 winners. The proper National Hunt stuff will start next month but it is the focus of today’s column as there are Jump meetings at Southwell and Worcester. BRAVE SPARTACUS (4.10 Southwell) is an old favourite, the sort of horse who feels like an old friend. He is nine now and may not be getting any better but he showed when winning the Summer Plate at Market Rasen that he is as well as ever. Read More

Daily Dabble September 1

YESTERDAY the ground at Epsom was pretty testing and it promises to be the same again today. I’m pretty confident GALESBURG (2.00) can handle it. He left a good impression when he won at Leicester on good to soft over 6f and being a son of Shamardal he should enjoy the heavy conditions. Galesburg missed the break at York in a hot nursery last time so a line can be drawn through that run. The extra furlong will also play to his strengths. Read More