Fairy Kempton to Ling…

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With Fairyhouse, Kempton, Lingfield, Newcastle & Chepstow all on today, there is so much racing to get our teeth in to & so many races to find winners! Hopefully, we have picked out the one’s most likely to get over the line first & without any HARSH penalties for their rider’s before the big few days at Prestbury Park next month!

Charlie will be back for Cheltenham, so Chris, Jamie & Rich are holding the fort…

Chris –


1.30pm Hever Sprint Stakes

Always a competitive dash on the all-weather, I’m siding with Look Out Louis to land his first win at this level today for the Julie Camacho team. His 2022 campaign was almost feast or famine, with 4 wins sandwiched between less inspiring unplaced efforts. His handicap success off 95 over this trip at Haydock gives him fair claims today, as is his liking for the tight course at Chester. He has won twice on the all-weather at Newcastle, and connections will hope he can produce a career best here and get involved at the finish. This son of Harbour Watch looks a good each-way play this afternoon and is drawn low to attack.


2.25pm Pendil Novices Chase

A select field of 5 for this Grade 2, and I can’t look past market leader Boothill for this. He’s one of the more experienced runners in the field, tasting success over fences on 3 occasions. That includes at this level at Kempton over Christmas over 2m (beating Betfair Hurdle winner Aucunrisque), having previously run with credit behind one of the Arkle favourites Jonbon in the Henry VIII. That form is by far the strongest on offer today, with this step-up in trip also looking like a smart move, having finished placed over 2m 4f in a decent handicap when hurdling last term. Good ground seems ideal and he should make a bold bid here to defy the penalty.

Jamie –

Kempton –

3:00 – Premier Handicap Chase

Selection: Cap Du Nord

I am hoping that Cap Du Nord can keep his recent good form intact for this 3m test around Kempton. Christian Williams’ likeable 10yo has refound his form after a couple of below par performances pre-Christmas. After a close second in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster Cap Du Nord was sent to tackle another Premier Handicap Chase at Ascot last weekend. Where he travelled well into the contest and was comfortably on top after the last fence. Looking to defend his title here today, Cap Du Nord is only carrying 2lbs more than last year thanks to Irish claimer Cian Quirke getting the leg up.  Good ground is in his favour and he looks very well handicapped off 135. I am expecting another big run today at a course he is proven at. The big danger for me is Annsam, who bolted up here last month over C&D.

And one for the world’s richest race from Riyadh…

5:35 – Saudi Cup (G1)

Selection: Country Grammar

The richest horse race in the world and this year 13 runners will try to pocket the £8.3m winnersvcheque. There is no European interest this year with the home team, the Japanese and the American’s all fielding strong contenders. The one I like is last year’s runner up Country Grammar who has been primed for this race. Ever since his second in this race in 2022 Country Grammar went one better to land the Dubai World Cup, finished a well beaten second behind Flightline at Del Mar (No shame in that) and finished runner up twice more in a G1 & G2. It was Boxing Day at Santa Anita where Country Grammar had his prep run. A comfortable victory in the G2 San Antonio Stakes was a nice confidence booster. We know that he likes the Riyadh course well enough after last year and Bob Baffert says his horse has never been in better shape, his best price of 4/1 is hard for me to ignore. His stablemate Taiba is a big danger and probably a worthy favourite, whilst I think the defending champion Emblem Road at 16/1 could sneak a place as this race looks likely to set up well for him again.


Rich –

Lingfield – AW – Standard
1.30 Hever Stales – Listed – Class 1 – 4yo+ – 5f 6yds
Exalted Angel – Dark Angel X Hurryupharriet 7yo gelding.
3rd to Summerghand in the 6f Listed Golden Rose Stakes at this course in November by 1 & 3/4’s of a lengths before a 3/4L runner up spot at Newcastle in a 5f Class 2 Conditions Stakes. 2nd again at Wolverhampton to Mums Tipple in another Class 2 Conditions Stakes, this time over 6f by 1/2 a length before finishing 3rd to Annaf in the 6f Kachy Listed Stakes at this course on February 4th, with Runner Up, Diligent Harry, winning next time out. Wears 1st time Visor….

Kempton – Good, Good to Soft in Places
1.50 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle – Grade 2 – 4yo Only – 2m….
4 runs since October, 3 over hurdles & has 3 wins. 2 wins over Hurdles. Winner of the Grade 2 Triumph Trial at Cheltenham in November by 2 & 1/4 lengths before winning a Flat race on the All Weather at Wolverhampton on December 30th. HE followed that with a very good 2nd at Cheltenham in the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial in January, when a 3/4’s length 2nd to Comfort Zone. Top Rated 132 & Top Weight…

Thanks for popping by & for taking the time to read our latest BIG Interview with Adrian Nicholls…. We really appreciate it

All the best – The AOLR Team

Watty Spots – Haydock

Fresh from his trip to Bangor in Wales, Neil Watson headed to his local track of Haydock for another Watty Spots…

After last Friday’s pleasant afternoon over the border into Wales for the North Wales National at Bangor-On-Dee it was much more closer to home on Saturday, about just shy of three miles as Haydock opened it’s doors for the first time since December as the Grand National Trial meeting came around once again.

A good mix of good field handicaps with some novice races, one of which was a Grade 2 and the Walrus Hunters made for a competitive card, which at times made finding winners just that little bit difficult.

In the feature race, the Grand National Trial over 3m 4f and 22 fences, which was sponsored by a well known bookmaker, we had a thrilling finish between two top talented staying chase mares and it was Quick Wave from Venetia Williams, who eventually ground out the win from former Becher Chase winner, Snow Leopardess in a real Grandstand finish.

Quick Wave

It was quite ironic really that in this neck of the woods that the Leopards were tamed, Friday night saw Leigh Leopards’ first Super League game of the season fall to defeat to the Salford Red Devils and now Snow Leopardess found herself beaten too, such is the way of sport.

Popular 12yo Bristol De Mai sadly couldn’t recapture his youth and thankfully he can head into an honourable retirement, although it would be nice if he could come back to Haydock and parade occasionally, such is the love and admiration that he has acquired from the Haydock faithful over the years, a triple winner of the Betfair Chase, plus single wins of the Peter Marsh Chase, Altcar Novices’ Chase and by default last years Grand National Trial, he will be missed never forgotten.

One horse who impressed many came in the G2 Albert Bartlett and another appropriately named winner here as Makin’yourmindup took the honours for the Paul Nicholls yard and in a year where the city of Liverpool will be hosting Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine due to the sad events going on over there at the moment , it was quite a nod to it and the popular Owners Group owners (i own five shares in five different horses, not this one just to put the record straight) will doubtless have been in the land of make believe as they popped a few bottles of The Fizz to celebrate,

Enough of the pathetic mention of Bucks Fizz songs i hear you groan, it’s now time for the Wattyspots.

1 – Punta Del Este – 4yo Chestnut Gelding – Trainer : Dan Skelton.

One who caught the eye straight away came in the opening contest, the Victor Ludorum for the 4yo hurdlers and this one ran very nicely in my view for his UK debut over hurdles.

A winner last time out at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in France he was running on nicely over a trip what was probably a little bit on the short side for him.
I’d be completely surprised if he went for the Triumph but should the handicapper not overreact he could be nicely weighted for the Fred Winter should he get an entry.

2 – Cloudy Glen – 10yo Bay Gelding – Trainer : Venetia Williams.

A bit odd i agree to stick a 10yo in this as it’s usually all about spotting horses with potential futures but it isn’t all about that all the time.

The late Trevor Hemmings loved having Grand National runners and was lucky to own three and he could have a posthumous one come April in the shape of Cloudy Glen.

He holds an entry in the Aintree spectacular and this was his seasonal debut, he ran with credit but just weakened towards the end, that run will have done him the world of good and he can have a say although it depends what weight he gets come the announcement.

Famous Clermont

3 – Famous Clermont – 8yo Bay Gelding – Trainer : Chris Barber.

Another one Aintree bound will be this fella who strolled home in the final race of the afternoon, the Walrus Hunter Chase.

This was one of the easiest winners of the day as he sauntered home following up from a recent Wincanton win and a couple of wins in points.

The Aintree Foxhunters is his aim and the 2m5f trip their will suit him as this win here was 2m6f.


A bit of a break until the next one, March is traditionally a quiet month for myself on the racing front with the next planned outing being Haydock again on Easter Saturday so may all your festival bets be winning ones although we all know that probably won’t be the case.

Till next time, Goodbye. 

Article & Pictures – Neil Watson ( @WattyRacing)

AOLR Publication – Published : February 2023

From Bangor With Love – Watty Spots

The weekend before Valentines Day & Neil Watson (WattyRacing) took a trip to Wales & here’s his review, with his usual Watty Spots….

The North Wales National, this might sound like the name of a building society that you’d walk past along Rhyl’s main high street but on Friday 10th February 2023, it was actually the name of a new race albeit, a race they already had but with a new title to give it a bit of an edge and a new feel.

For yours truly it was a return to Bangor-On-Dee for the first time since 2011, when they raced on the same day as the Grand National at Aintree, the year that Ballabriggs won.

This afternoon, though a decent sized crowd turned out in the North Wales countryside for what looked a fairly decent card and a good mix of jump races on a pleasant enough day.

As for the feature race itself the RPM North Wales National, well despite the home side only fielding one runner, which came courtesy of Rebecca Curtis. The race brought horses from all over the racing landscape as we had runners from Kinross in Scotland, Greystoke in Cumbria and even Newmarket had representation in this 3m 5f steeplechase. 

The prize though went to a nearby stable in Henry Daly as Bretney under Tom O’Brien picked up the lead with about a mile or so left and promptly never saw another horse, he was always travelling well and the first time use of blinkers certainly helped him, he’s apparently being aimed at the Go North Final at Carlisle but this 8yo is definitely one to keep an eye on in marathon chases.


Another horse who caught the eye with a potential Cheltenham or Aintree festival plan was the Paul Nicholls trained Secret Investor who took the opening race, a hunter chase fairly easily, hard to imagine that back in 2021 he beat Clan Des Obeaux in the Denman Chase at Newbury, he needs one more race to qualify for the Foxhunters Chases and Taunton during the week was touted but also this Saturday’s upcoming Walrus at Haydock might be considered too.

Now on to the main highlight, the Wattyspots, here are my three to take out.

1- Crambo – 6yo Bay Gelding – Trainer : Fergal O’Brien. 

In much calmer waters than the Challow in which he was pulled up this 6yo under Connor Brace ran away a nice winner in the 2m novice hurdle and now qualifies for the EBF Final at Sandown next month where he will probably take his chance and should get a nice racing weight, the 2m trip here was probably on the short side but his class and ability shone in the end.
He’s one to take note of.


2 – Hidalgo De L’isle – 6yo Bay Gelding – Trainer : Donald McCain. 

Making his handicap debut off what looked a fair mark of 108 he readily landed the 2m handicap hurdle and looks a progressive sort, this Tim Leslie owned horse will definitely add more wins to his formbook.
He has a bright future ahead of him.

3 – Kankin – 7yo Chestnut Gelding – Trainer : Alex Hales. 

Visually the most impressive horse in the paddock for me in the novice hurdle won by Crambo this 7yo looked a real chasing type and had a huge physique about him, he finished quite a way down the field after being prominent throughout most of the race,
He will strip fitter for the run and when upped in trip for his handicap debut he should be on the premises a lot more.

Secret Investor

So a nice venture over the border, sadly on my walk around Wrexham which involved going past another racecourse albeit it was The Racecourse Ground home of Wrexham Football Club which had the pub The Turf next to it, it appeared i was a day early to witness Will Ferrell having a pint with his fellow Wrexham fans, if only he’d been in on Friday i could have tried to get him to swap the football shirt for the tweed of national hunt!

Anyway this Saturday all being well it’ll be Haydock for the Grand National Trial, till then it’s goodbye. 

Article & Pictures – Neil Watson

AOLR Publication – Published : February 2023

Grade 1 Bonanza

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Plenty of Grade 1 & 2 races around in Ireland at Leopardstown DRF & Scotland with Musselburgh hosting a cracking card, so plenty to get our teeth into on this bonus Sunday blog.

Jamie –

Leopardstown –

3:10 – Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle (G1)

Selection: Honeysuckle

I am still a believer in Honeysuckle despite seeing the great Mare lose her unbeaten record last time out. If she is to win a fourth straight Irish Champion Hurdle then she will have to overcome her toughest test on Irish soil by defeating the Mullins duo of State Man & Vauban. I still thought it was a good run from Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace last time out. For me it looked as if she needed the race quite a bit and she just got tired approaching the last. The eventual winner Teahupoo has proven it was no fluke either by bolting up in a Grade 2 at Gowran Park since. Honeysuckle will strip a lot fitter for today’s assignment and if she can get back to anywhere near her best, which she will have to be, then I still think she still has enough in the tank to repel all raiders. The De Bromhead team are happy with her wellbeing coming into this race too. Leopardstown may need a new roof if Honeysuckle crosses the line in front at about 3:15pm.

4:10 – Festina Lente Charity Liffey Handicap Hurdle (Grade B)

Selection: Fortunedefortunata 

It’s rare to see such a hot favourite in a red hot 2m handicap hurdle like this but Gaelic Warrior looks in a different league to these. I think he will win this so this race has a good each way scenario for me. At 20/1 Gordon Elliott’s Fortunedefortunata appeals to me as the unexposed and improving type who could be better than we know at the moment. Fortunedefortunata has done well since joining the Elliott team winning a Galway handicap in good style before not being beaten far in a competitive handicap at Navan in November. It could well be that he has been primed for this meeting having not been seen since. With winning form on yielding/soft ground and with some experience of the hustle and bustle of big fields, I can feel a big run coming today off a low weight of 10-4. With a bit of luck I don’t think he’ll be far away in the closing stages. With only 4 races under his belt there is a lot more improvement to come, hopefully this sort of test will not come too soon in his career. 

*Each way advised*

Rich –

Leopardstown =
1.10 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Grade B – 4yo+ – 2m 1f 150yds…
Popova – Ruler of the World X Meon Mix 6yo Mare.

1 win from 3 starts over hurdles. Won on hurdle debut in a Thurles 2m Maiden in December before a distant 4th of 5 runners on next start on January 1st at Fairyhouse.
Runner up last time out, January 22nd, on Handicap debut at Thurles over 1m 8f by 2 & 1/4 lengths. Raised 3 from 119 to 122 – Each Way

Musselburgh –
2.55 Handicap Hurdle – Class 2 – 5yo+ – 2m 7f 180yds
Wakool – Motivator X Symba’s Dream 7yo gelding.

2 wins & 3 places from 6 course runs, both wins over C&D. 1 win this season from 3 runs, which was over C&D. Finished a distant 7th in November on 2nd start in the Class 1 Stayers at Haydock before an improved 6 length 2nd in a Class 2 Handicap over C&D on January 2nd – Each Way.

Thanks for popping by this weekend, we really appreciate it. The BIG Interview will return next Sunday at 7pm!

Good Luck – The AOLR Team

A Big Weekend

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Here we go again, heading in to a Big weekend of racing & just over a month until the Cheltenham Festival but also not long to wait for the start of the Flat season. We still have Aintree to go along with Super Saturday from Meydan along with the Dubai Carnival & the massive race day in Saudi….

We have a full compliment today, with Charlie back along with Chris, Jamie & Rich, so let’s get cracking!

Charlie –

Sandown 2.55

Selection – Remastered 10yr old Gelding out of Network and Cathodine Cayras. Has had 25 career starts winning 7 times. Has won 4 chases from 9 starts and has won 2 hurdle races from 12. Has been in great form since having wind surgery with one win over hurdles and a win and a 2nd over fences, is 10lbs lower over hurdles. If reproducing form shown in last 3 starts should have enough to gain another victory today, biggest threat to the selection comes in the shape of Jet of Magic who has a win and two 2nd places finishes from last 3 starts.


Musselburgh 3.16

Selection – Grivetana 5yr old Mare out of No Risk At All and Stourza. Has had 7 starts winning twice. Was beaten into 2nd two starts back by First Street going down by 2 and 1/2 lengths, with better underfoot conditions forecast, should be thereabouts again today and is taken to gain another victory at the expense of main threat Nayati who won here last time out.

.Chris –


1.45pm Dolos Handicap Chase

A competitive renewal of a race now renamed after fav Dolos and his excellent record in this contest, but I’m siding with Frero Banbou today. He also boasts some smart form around here with a win and 2 placed efforts from 3 starts at this trip. Despite running with credit this term, he is now dropped down to his lowest mark in almost 2 years, this could be his best chance of getting his head in front once more. He makes excellent each-way appeal here.



3.16pm Scottish County Handicap Hurdle

Lebowski is a very lightly raced 8yo who won twice as a novice last season before being outclassed in Graded contests. He reappeared with a comfortable win at Wetherby in December over this trip and a 7lb rise does not look harsh. He steps up in grade today, but could well be much better than his current mark of 129. Conditions look fine and he must go close here.

Jamie –

Leopardstown –

1:20 – Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (G1) 

Selection: Good Land 

Nine runners go to post for the opening race of the 2023 Dublin Racing Festival. Whilst the expected majority of entries are dominated by the Mullins & Elliott stables I like the look of Barry Connell’s Good Land. This horse seems to be held in high regard by his trainer judging by his comments after winning over C&D at Christmas. That day Good Land won by eight lengths from Tag Man but it is the fourth home Embassy Gardens who has really boosted the form by scoring impressively at Thurles next time out, so the form looks very solid. Whilst this is a big step up to a Grade 1 am confident there is more to come from Good Land as this step up in trip to 2m 6f looks ideal for him. I don’t think quicker ground is going to cause any concerns either as he has a sound looking action. This horse could be anything and the market is very positive on his chances today. Every chance in what looks to be the most open of the Grade 1s this weekend. 

Lingfield –

2:26 – Kachy Stakes (Listed) 

Selection: Summerghand 

I am going to side once again with the evergreen Summerghand as he has done me some good turns on this blog in the past. David O’Meara’s 9yo was better than ever towards the back end of the flat season last year, winning the Ayr Gold Cup was followed by a cracking effort over 6F at Ascot when second to Rohaan. Summerghand rounded off his season over today’s C&D in a listed contest back in November. He found his famous late turn of foot to get up to by a half length going away, in the process beating two of today’s rivals. He is now 2/3 at Lingfield and if he is in the same vein of form as he was in the autumn then Summerghand will take some beating. I’m just hoping that he will get the gaps from the rear of the field as he is a hostage to fortune with his running style. Big shout once again on all know.

Rich –

Sandown –
2.55 Handicap Hurdle – Class 1 – GBB – 4yo+ – 2m 7f 98yds…
Bells of Peterboro – Carlotomix X Prince of Future 8yo gelding

His last win was in December 202when landing a Class 2 Handicap over 2m 7f at Chepstow & has run 8 times since that day, with 4 runs over hurdles & 4 over bigger fences. This is his 2nd run back over hurdles, with his last start on December 27th, at Chepstow when finishing 2nd by 4 & 1/2 lengths in the race he won in 2021. Very consistent with 4 runs & 4 places this term. Each Way.

Lingfield –
3.01 Tandridge Listed Stakes – Class 1 – 4yo+ – 1m 1yd…
Manaafith – Exceed & Excel X Almashooqa 4yo filly.

The only filly in the field & receives 3lb from the boys. Unbeaten in 5 all weather starts, including over C&D in August 2021. Her last start was on January 1st at Southwell in a Class 2 7f Handicap, winning by 3/4’s of a length. Win

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Good Luck – The AOLR Team