Penworthy writes Spectator Life’s column about horse racing.

Looking ahead to the Cheltenham Festival

Tomorrow’s Bet Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle is just the sort of marathon contest in which I usually like to have a bet but, with so many of the 13 runners out of form and the going likely to be very soft, I am happy to give it a miss this time around. Instead, I

Two bets for Ascot and Haydock

The run-up to the Cheltenham Festival is a quiet time for many punters with some of the best horses in the land effectively wrapped-up in cotton wool so as not to sustain an injury that would keep them out of their big-race targets next month. However, there is plenty of competitive racing on offer at

Two soft-ground specialists for Newbury

The heavy rain of the past 48 hours is good news for two horses that I fancy for the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle tomorrow (Newbury, 3.15 p.m.). The ground is now ‘heavy, soft in places’ and more rain forecast later today. I put up BRENTFORD HOPE at 14-1 for the race four weeks ago and his

One bet for tomorrow and two ante-post wagers

The two-day Dublin Racing Festival this weekend will – just as Cheltenham Trials Day did a week ago – provide a host of clues to which horses might win the big races at the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March. I covered tomorrow’s Grade1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle (Leopardstown, 1.20 p.m.) in my column

Five bets on Cheltenham Trials Day

If a glittering eight-race card at Cheltenham tomorrow doesn’t whet the appetite for the Festival in less than two months’ time, then nothing will. Plenty of reputations will go on the line at Festival Trials Day and there will be an abundance of clues to which horses might be winning huge prizes between 12 March

Ante-post bets on both sides of the Irish Sea

With tomorrow’s cards at Ascot and Haydock both victims of the cold snap, and Lingfield’s Sunday meeting under threat, it makes sense to look ahead with some ante-post bets, for once on both sides of the Irish Sea. I like to back horses in the Randox Grand National a long way ahead of the race

Three bets for this weekend

Most racehorse trainers are creatures of habit and they love to target races which they have won in previous years. Alan King consistently hopes to win the Wigley Group Classic Handicap with one of his best staying chasers. He has enjoyed regular success in the race, winning it no less than three times, in 2008,

Two bets for the Cheltenham Festival

At 8 a.m. this morning, my column was done, the ‘i’s were dotted, the ‘t’s crossed. I had even suggested a headline, ‘Three mudlarks for Sandown tomorrow’.  Within half an hour, I would be pressing the send button on my weekly email to my friends at Spectator Life. Sadly, just 20 minutes later, the whole

Two wagers for New Year’s Day

I am slightly surprised at the way that bookmakers have priced up Monday’s Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase (Cheltenham 2.05 p.m.). Stage Star is a lovely young horse who has, with the exception of a flop at Aintree in April at the end of a long season, improved with every race over the

Three bets for Christmas

There are only some seven weeks left for connections to get their horses qualified for the 2024 Randox Grand National. This year it will be harder than ever to get a run in the Aintree marathon, with just 34 runners, instead of the usual 40, for safety reasons. That means a horse will need an

Two wagers for big races tomorrow

I have followed the fortunes of GIN COCO closely for the past two seasons and, even though the gelding will turn eight on New Year’s Day, I am convinced his best days still lie ahead of him. He has been lightly raced during his career with three wins from just nine runs and he could

Take an in-form trainer to deliver again

There are a lot of extremely able jump trainers in Britain but only a handful are really adept at successfully preparing a horse for a big target, such as a race at the Cheltenham Festival or one of the season’s most valuable handicaps. These are typically the contests in which the leading Irish trainers also

Ireland can land the Coral Gold Cup

The weather is going to play a key role in the outcome of tomorrow’s big race, the Coral Gold Cup (Newbury, 2.50 p.m.). To start with, the cold snap might even claim the card altogether with a course inspection due at 7.30 a.m. on race day. Secondly, after little rain over the past fortnight, the

Tips for the Coral Gold Cup and Becher Chase

There are two high-class chases taking place tomorrow – one at Haydock and the other at Ascot. They will have a bearing on the betting markets for the Ladbrokes King George VI at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Cheltenham Festival. However, neither race this weekend is now an attractive betting proposition because each has

Four tips for upcoming big races

Cheltenham’s November meeting is, as usual, a meeting to savour and I am looking forward to my first visit to the Cotswold track this season when I attend tomorrow’s seven-race card. I put up two tips for tomorrow’s big race, the Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.20 p.m.), last week and I was pleased to see

Two tips for the Paddy Power Gold Cup

Richard Hobson is a trainer that I have a lot of time for. He always gets the best out of his small string and he is always willing to share information with journalists about the well-being of his horses and their big-race targets. He places his horses well too, even if it means going to

Two tips for the Grand Sefton at Aintree

The jumps season is well under way and I am delighted to be tipping chasers and hurdlers again for the first time in six months. I particularly enjoy backing course specialists over the Grand National fences at Aintree and so the Boylesport Grand Sefton Handicap Chase is just up my street. In last year’s contest

Tips for Doncaster and Newbury tomorrow

I have a policy of not betting or tipping on jump racing until at least the first week of November. That’s because the early season form over chases and hurdles is so difficult to predict in that it is hard to know which horses are fit from their summer break and which are not. Having

Two tips for Ascot on Champions Day

Not for the first time on Champions Day at Ascot, the ground tomorrow looks likely to be very soft and it is essential to back horses that can handle the conditions. All the better, too, if they have strong course form as the sand-based track is not liked by all horses – even those that

Three tips at two meetings tomorrow

Tomorrow’s Club Godolphin Cesarewitch Handicap (Newmarket, 2.40 p.m.) is worth more than £100,000 to the winner and it is always a highly competitive affair. As usual, the substantial prize money has attracted several runners from the other side of the Irish Sea and it is not hard to see why one of them, Pied Piper,