Cal Weekend Betting Tips – 5/01/24

Estimated read time 11 min read

Christmas Racing Festival Review

We were spoilt for choice over the festive period in regard to racing, some races truly did not disappoint so let’s focus on those.

THE KING GEORGE did not disappoint as we were in total disbelief to see HEWICK rally from off the bit with about half a mile to go in the race in which again, Gavin Sheehan has delivered another belting ride to get this lad up. SHISHKIN looked home and hosed before falling when stretching clear down the home straight. ALLAHO then took the race up from there and looked to be getting the better of BRAVEMANSGAME until from nowhere HEWICK jumps the last and absolutely flies home. Honestly for me the race of the festive period.

It’ll be interesting to see where HEWICK ends up next as SHARK HANLON had mentioned he may not even end up at Cheltenham for the GOLD CUP if the ground is soft on the day which the chances of that are largely in favour… but what a race that was at KEMPTON.  Surely now all roads lead to ALLAHO to end up in the RYANAIR CHASE in which he takes all the beating… stick around for my ANTE-POST SELECTION at the end of my blog!

SAVILLS CHASE- GALOPIN DES CHAMPS… just wow. This is what we all wanted to see, the king is back. He has served up a career best performance in my eyes and is now the horse to beat in the GOLD CUP. 23 LENGTHS… on the bridle. That is scary. Yes there is questions that this could have taken a lot out of him but to me, Willies comments of ‘pure stamina performance’ would give you the impression that he is truly back and ready to be aimed to the GOLD CUP.

He has truly stamped down on the questions around GERRI COLOMBE and the others who contended in the market apart from FASTORSLOW who is yet to even run over 3M. He may not even stay the GOLD CUP trip, I am firmly in the GALOPIN DES CHAMPS camp come MARCH. I think the only horse who could get near him would be a tuned up SHISHKIN… some race to look forward to come the off!

JACK DE BROMHEAD CHRISTMAS HURDLE – IRISH POINT landed a nice winner for myself at 9/4 but away from the betting aspect, this was some performance… I think if he was aimed towards the stayers hurdle I would side with IRISH POINT over TEAHUPPO. He is a lot more ground versatile than his stablemate and although not being as fast, he looks like he could be a stronger stayer going forward. Proper performance and I am buzzing to see him run again, whether that be CHELTENHAM or AINTREE. 

THE KAUTO STAR showed us what IL EST FRANCAIS is all about as he already leads favouritism for this years KING GEORGE CHASE… this is how good this horse is. Once they set off travelling he never looked like he was for passing… he has beaten HERMES ALLEN by an eased down 11 LENGTHS. You can take a lot of things from this race, is STAY AWAY FAY that good? HERMES ALLEN AND IL EST FRANCAIS had gone that well of a clip that made GIOVINCO pull up, I think there is no doubts that IL EST FRANCIAS is a superior horse to STAY AWAY FAY but as for HERMES ALLEN, could he be a stronger choice for Paul Nicholls to send to the RSA…

he won’t sent them both to the same race I think we all know that, but HERMES ALLEN could be a nice each way chance in the TURNERS. As for the winner here though, trainer Noel George has claimed he is unlikely to return over to the UK for the RSA as his target is the FRENCH GOLD CUP which to us is a shame but the prize money for the FRENCH GOLD CUP stumps the RSA pot… I am sure he will be back soon and one I am truly keeping onside moving forward. Not to mention I had a few notes on at 5/2 as advised in my weekly blog!

We could go on all day here but I’d like to cap of the segment here with some worthy mentions which include GAELIC WARRIOR, MARINE NATIONALE, GRANGECLARE WEST, BALLYBURN, STATEMAN, JADE DE GRUGY & JALON D’OUDAIRIES. All of these performances by these horses were extremely impressive, especially BALLYBURN. He absolutely relished the extra 4F and now would be my idea of the BALLYMORE winner come March.

I think there is a strong chance he reverses the form with FIREFOX over the extra distance should they both meet again, which all roads to the festival would suggest that is highly likely. 4/1 could look a really nice price come the off especially if FIREFOX gets beaten in the LAWLORS OF NAAS this weekend, which leads us on nicely to my thoughts for the weekends racing.

This Weekends Racing

After the fortune of racing we have had over the last few months, it looks like this weekend is relatively underwhelming to say the least apart from a handful of races including the GRADE 1 LAYLORS OF NAAS HURDLE. 

The contest leads a really strong field including AN TOBAR, FIREFOX and ILE ATLANTIQUE. This is a really strong race for novice hurdlers. I think AN TOBAR could take some whacking here, FARRENS GLORY looked the winner next time out until falling 2 out, so the form of the last race has certainly taken a boost. He looks like a 2M 4F horse all over to me and I mentioned this in my blog a few weeks ago and I am delighted to see him upped in trip here.

He did so well to stay on as well as he did in the ROYAL BOND and as previously mentioned the form has franked with FARRENS GLORY being an unfortunate faller despite looking likely to hose up, and KING OF KINGSFIELD gagging up against the hot talking horse MIRAZUR WEST.

I know for a fact he will love the trip, if he wins this here as I mentioned a few weeks back in my blog, he could have a proper chance in the BALLYMORE. I am really excited to see him back out and at 8/1 E/W AN TOBAR is my only selection of this weekends racing. I hope CROKE PARK runs a good race too as he is a horse I think has a massive future ahead of him the further he goes in trip.

YOUWEARITWELL should be winning the LISTED MARE’S HURDLE at Sandown, but the 4/6 on offer there doesn’t interest me to a betting proposition. 

TWO AULD PALS is a horse that caught my eye on debut a few weeks back in a novice hurdle. He returns to action this weekend at Newcastle in the 13:40. He was a 74 rated horse on the flat with a few tidy wins to his armoury. I may have dabble on him but there is no market currently available. Hopefully opens around 3/1 +. 

Cheltenham Festival Ante Post Selection

I hope you have stuck around until the end as now we are onto the good stuff. This week, I have 2 ANTEPOST selections for you all. At the end of this section, I will do an ANTEPOST re-cap to reflect on my current selections leading onto the CHELTENHAM 2024 FESTIVAL. As you may have already guessed, my first selection comes in the shape of ALLAHO 9/4 for the RYANAIR CHASE.

Now looking at the market, you can cancel a few of these out as they’re likely not coming here which immediately leads me on to my thoughts that I would have ALLAHO more of a 6/4 shot coming into this. STAGE STAR was hugely disappointing a few days ago, yes he was top weight in a handicap off 12 stone, yes he made a few mistakes and probably cost him the race but… off the back of that viewing you cannot be confident he would serve it up to ALLAHO who just ran a 3rd in a KING GEORGE over a trip that is not even suitable for him…

ENVOI ALLEN ran a great race here last year and was a worthy winner of the RYAN AIR, do I think he would replicate that run against ALLAHO? Probably not, I think he needs just a bit further than 2M 4F now. APPRECIATE IT looks like a horse who could have a good chance at this but does not get near ALLAHO in my opinion, again he is a horse who is a bit ‘hit and miss’ but can always put up a solid performance from time to time with that recently displayed in the JOHN DURKAN finishing ahead of GALOPIN DES CHAMPS, but then 41 lengths behind him in the SAVILLS CHASE…

EDWARDSTONE is due to run in the GRADE 2 SILVINIACO CONTI CHASE over the 2M 4F next Saturday where he will take on PIC D’ORHY. If he gets beat there then he would have no hope getting past ALLAHO… but he certainly needs the step up in trip at this stage of his career.

JONBON & CONFLATED don’t come here. So when you break it down like that, the dual winning RYANAIR CHASE winner ALLAHO at 9/4 seems like a whacking bit of value and one I am willing to take at this stage. I have bigger prices myself, but I am happy to go in again at this price. We can assume Paul Townend will be jocked up on the day and knows how to win this race with this lad, he just bowls along out front and doesn’t get caught. I cannot wait to see this lad win his 3rd RYANAIR CHASE come March.

Finally, my second ANTEPOST selection for this week is… GALOPIN DES CHAMPS 11/10 for the GOLD CUP. Now come the off, with the hype around this lad, I can guarantee you will not be seeing 11/10 on the day. We have just witnessed a career best performance from this machine and he wasn’t for pulling up easily after the line, he had absolutely bags full left. I loved how he was rode in the SAVILLS, pure aggression and relentless performance and he has the stamina to be able to race like that. If he is on song like that, I have no doubt in my mind that FASTORSLOW takes a fair beating by GDC.

There is nothing that is going to beat him if he is on song like that, the chases over 3M at Leopardstown tend to be relatively close finishes in past races but this lad has arguably put up the best performance over the track ever… this thing is an absolute weapon. Will he be rode the same in the GOLD CUP… that’s an interesting avenue to go down but as shown last year, he could be rode deeper and have enough up his sleeve to achieve GOLD CUP glory, I am praying that this race has left no major marks on him and will be revved up to go again at CHELTENHAM.

I think the argument of GERRI COLOMBE vs GDC has being settled, 23 lengths behind him when he crossed the line, it’s going to take some serious freak of nature for that form to be reversed. I would personally miss the IRISH GOLD CUP with GDC and send him fresh to Cheltenham. 

Cheltenham Festival Ante Post Review

Below you will find my current selections for the 2024 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL






I think its fair to say we’re building a nice portfolio ahead of the off come March. I will be returning next week with another selection which comes in the MARES CHASE. With IMPERVIOUS ruled out for the season, I think JP wins it again this year but with another one of his mares…

Thanks all,


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