This blog is written by a punter, for punters. It is meant to be informative, and hopefully we can have some fun along the way. It was never set up for me to tell everyone how good I think I am, or crow about winning days.
Time is not on our side and doing both previews and reviews is not easy. I've only done a handful of previews and they have been on races where I think I have everything stacked on my side. Hopefully I'll be able to do more this winter and I appreciate the feedback on Twitter, which makes it so worthwhile.
Having said all that, it's worth revisiting some races that do work out and try to see if we can replicate those circumstances further down the line.
The Runswick Relax/Rosquero bet stood for a number of reasons, perhaps most pertinently was that the top weights were rated 94 in a 0-100 race, meaning those at the very bottom could race off their true marks.
Not only that, but the two at the bottom were effectively racing off marks of 66 which is virtually unheard of, particularly for horses that had won races and clearly had ability.
They also had changed circumstances - in Runswick's case a change of trainer, and in Rosquero's case a new combination of headgear. It also helps when the market makers over-estimate the chances of another in the race, namely Bollin Line on this occasion. He is a horse who looks paceless at any trip.
There was another race at the meeting that demanded closer attention than usual with southern raiders Rebel Benefit and Gonalston Cloud taking on the northern regulars. Most of the time the northern trained horses are taking each other on time and again, and it's often a case of 'whose turn is it today'.
We should know by now that horses like Swing Hard, Urban Gale and Apache Pilot are what they and are not going to do anything beyond what we expect them to do.
If that's the case, it's always worth considering one a bit from left field, giving punters a new angle into the race. In the case of Gonalston Cloud we had a horse who had done little under rules, but had gone 5/6 in points.
Now I don't know how much that form is worth any more than you probably do, but the odds were that a rating of 92 could under-estimate his chances. A nice handy looking horse out of a Roselier mare, he was sure to stay well and go on the ground. He looked fit enough to me and there was a bit of money around for him.
Whether you backed him or not, it's another example of how just a little lateral thinking can take you a long way.
It was a very informative afternoon at the Bridge where the ground was remarkably decent after all the rain in the area. On the times you wouldn't say it was much worse than good to soft although it seemed to take some getting.
The opener was tricky with the big, strong chasing type Tippmanboy a worthy favourite ahead of Champagne At Tara, another lovely rangy individual who is sure to continue to improve. The grey settled much better this time and I thought the oft-maligned McLernon was seen in good light.
Tippmanboy is very keen going and they will need to teach it to settle if he's to reach his potential, as he's bred to stay. This looked a good race with Blue Rambler unable to get to the front pair in third. It's hard to know what of flat ability remains though as he looked pretty fit for this.
The second division was another hot race for the track and this time the market got it spot on as the pair for money dominated throughout really, Always Resolute landing a decent plunge for B Ellison ahead of Caged Lightning. Both looked to have plenty of size for the winter game but the winner has clearly improved bundles for the switch from T Jarvis and the sight of timber, which he jumped notably well.
The runner-up did not look straight forward on the level and it won't be at all surprising if they reach for the headgear sooner rather than later, while a longer trip should help. They were miles clear of Keep Up in third who once again revealed plenty of ability.
There is nothing wrong with Jonjo's Will Take Charge here, who is a real nice specimen. Bred to stay, he could end up with a ludicrous mark if he continues to be 'slow to come to hand'. I also like Multi Grain, who should be a darn sight better on good ground in the spring.
As mentioned in the preview I had to take on Truckers Highway in the 2m chase and this time he didn't have things his own way up front and was well beaten. As suspected there was loads of early dash and the tactics on my selection Engrossing were ridiculous for a horse who is suspect off the bridle.
As soon as he was bounced out of the gate I knew I was on a loser, although this run should ensure he slips to a mark of 110 which will make him a well-handicapped horse. If they adopt patient tactics, he's a winner waiting to happen as he jumps well in the main.
Also of interest is Wolf Sword who didn't see which way they went. Regardless of the ground this is a rapid 2m and I have this horse down as a stayer in the making. His fencing was very novicey but he got round and stayed on pretty well. He wasn't right after Huntingdon and he is one to keep an eye on.
The runner-up Oficial Ben did well but he's running on his nerves at present. His run will have surprised paddock watchers as he got very sweaty in the prelims. He obviously has talent but he's a stayer and they will need to teach him to settle. Discay looks too small to achieve much over fences but he helped force a daft pace that made Nautical Twilight look better than she is.
For all that she is improving and was leniently treated after just a 4lb impost for her last win, she'll do well to defy a steeper rise next time.
Valleyofmilan was quite well touted prior to the finale and he brushed aside fears that the ground would be too soft by romping home off a very favourable hurdles mark. Make no mistake though, soft ground is not his friend.