horse racing

James Ewart stable tour: Part II & In-running pointers

If you haven’t yet read Part I of my exclusive report on my visit to the James Ewart yard then make sure you do soon. Some interesting comments as well including 1 from the breeder of AZERTYUIOP’s half brother THORLAK.

Today I’m going to dig a bit deeper into Ewart’s squad of horses and take a look at some of the maybe less familiar names in the yard –

BEST LOVER – “Good enough to go south with” was one of the first things James said about this 9yo. He thinks there is plenty more to come from this lad and pinpointed him as ‘1 to follow’. He has only made it to the racetrack on 6 occasions as he has had tendon problems in the past. However, he has had a tendon operation and James is happy (very happy indeed) that his legs are now better than ever. The final comment James made about this horse was that “he could win a big race”.

Very much 1 to follow….

OPEN DE L’ISLE – Described by James as a ‘forgotten horse’. Heavy ground and Hexham/Carlisle are his forte. The horse is on a winnable mark and should not be written off.

ZARU – *Runs at Kelso today – A horse that works well at home but is yet to put it all together on the track. He has some decent bits of form but essentially he needs to relax more on the track. There is quality there if the penny drops and could be very good if he can reproduce what he does at home on the track.

WILD PASTURES – Won his 2nd bumper start impressively at Catterick and is described by James as the best novice hurdler in the yard. Wants a galloping track and wants cut in the ground, he won’t run unless the ground has soft in the description. Potentially a very good animal.

QUICUYO – Won on his seasonal debut at Carlisle. A flat galloping track like Ayr is ideal for this 8yo. In fact James is keen to find a race for him at Ayr as he has pinpointed the short run-in after the last at Ayr as being the perfect place for this chaser to utilise his slick jumping to the full. Attention to detail again…..

CONCEPTUAL ART – A bit of a dark horse for the yard. Came to the yard from Michael Bell and was given some back treatment and a bit of a rest. They would be disappointed if he didn’t win a novice hurdle at some stage.

UNAMED – No that’s not the name of the horse this is Milan gelding that is a half brother to the useful Evan Williams trained horse William’s Wishes. Described as a relentless galloper with a big engine under the bonnet who they would be confident of winning first time out. James is currently looking for owners for this exciting prospect – Un-named Gelding – Milan – Strong Wishes (Strong Gale).

CAPTAIN AMERICO – *Runs today at Kelso – Still lightly raced for a 9yo but is ready to go and ran very well on his debut last season (won by 9l). Still more to come from this lad and they think he has improved since last season.

As I mentioned yesterday James thinks this is the best bunch of horses they have had so far in the yard, it’s now up to those horses to take on the enthusiasm and drive of their boss and get the results they thoroughly deserve on the racetrack.

In-Running pointers from Andy Richmond

The next excellent in-running installement from Racing UK’s Andy Richmond – enjoy.

This week and next before the National Hunt season gets going properly I was going to focus on some of the horses that I shall be following this season over fences and hurdles especially their in-running traits and how to make a profit on them using their running styles. But watching the opening days racing from Cheltenham and then taking a look at the prices traded in-running about the winners gave me a thought about how to approach Saturday’s card there and I’ve  put on hold the horses to follow piece, which I shall try and fit in during this week.

With a course like Cheltenham there are many occasions when the winner trades at a much bigger price in-running than their original SP, either due to the leaders going off too hard, the course layout being underestimated by in-running punters or horses taking time to find their feet on this unique course. With that thought in mind I first of all looked up the IR highs of all the winners at Cheltenham on Friday and all of them were above their SP, a couple only marginally so, but the other five were all substantially above their pre-race price. Now backing in-running isn’t for everyone but on occasions it can be very profitable to small stakes and looking through the races on Saturday’s Cheltenham card I thought it would be interesting to see if we could hit a “home-run” with some horses which in the past have traded above their SP on several occasions and still gone on to win. Even if you don’t back these you can use them as a guide to horses which can certainly find plenty for pressure in-running or because of their run style often fool punters into laying them at big prices often with expensive or nerve jangling consequences.

So here’s one horse per race (I’ve excluded the bumper) that might just provide some entertainment at bigger prices in-running on Cheltenham’s Saturday card.

2.05 ONGENSTOWN LAD – won a Gowran Park handicap on good ground last time out so the going should be perfect and with the likelihood that this will be run at a good pace he should get a decent tow into the race but with several out and out front runners there is a fair chance he’ll trade far bigger in-running. On all of his four wins he has traded above his SP but once his stamina kicks in he should be picking up the front runners from around halfway and I’ll be looking to his price shortening from the top of the hill and on the run home.

2.40 EDGEBRIAR – is one of those runners that consistently trades above his SP, even from his usual position where he tracks the leaders, this is very much his grade and he won this race last year off a similar long break, showing that he is best when fresh. Last year despite looking under pressure at various stages he ended up winning by ½ length in gritty style and I’d be tempted to try and back in him in-running to repeat last season’s victory.

3.15 PLAN A – Gordon Elliot has a terrific record at this meeting and this horse could go some way to improving that. Once again there is pace in the race and his hold-up style can deceive many punters, especially as he can idle also – in his last two races he has traded above Betfair SP at 6.0 (2.54 BSP) and 6.4 (3.18) – and there are two other examples of him winning under those circumstances to. He has every chance of repeating that feat and given his style and in-running CV I would certainly not be backing him pre-race but taking a chance at bigger prices during the race.

3.50 CHICAGO GREY – another Gordon Elliot inmate and this horse must have one of the best records I have seen when converting trading at big prices in-running into wins. On all of his six wins over obstacles he has traded at more than double on his SP on each occasion and he looks to have the ideal pace scenario again at Cheltenham on Saturday. The trip may be a little on the short side but I would be prepared to risk backing him at twice his SP in the early stages of the race. More importantly he has twice displayed this trait at Cheltenham, winning a novice chase at this meeting last year when 95.0 (7.6 BSP) and 14.0 (7.48) when winning the 4 miler at the Festival. Don’t be too quick to write off Chicago Grey who won’t be put in the race until late.

4.25 JEU DE ROSEAU – a speculative “selection” but his record when trading at more than twice his SP is worthy of comment. He’s never run in this class before but in what looks a messy race from a pace angle his in-running CV may well stand him in good stead and he could surprise a few. That record when he trades at twice or more than his SP shows three wins from five occasions when that has happened so I wouldn’t be quick to write him off as he can display a tenacious nature. His last four runs have shown him in a really good light and although his 11lb rise in the weights leaves him vulnerable from a handicapping perspective I think he could reward in-running players at a healthy price.

4.55 ZAYNAR – is a quirky customer at best and one that I certainly couldn’t back at under 4.0 pre-race, his profile is very much one of a horse that will always trade bigger in-running and if you do want to support him I would be amazed if you can’t obtain a price well above 4.0 in-running. For the record I will be laying Zaynar pre-race at a sub 4.0 price and backing the horse at prices above 5.0 to cover the liability in-running. With other strong contenders in the line-up who will be ridden more aggressively I’m confident that by around halfway I will be able to produce an all-green book. If that strategy carries too much risk for you and you still want to support Zaynar he is very much one to play during the race and not before.

Hopefully one of these more speculative plays will pay off and the scenario that played out at Cheltenham on Friday will be reproduced with one of these horses. If nothing else it pays to be aware of the pace, style and in-running traits of horses within a race and I will endeavour to highlight more examples in the coming weeks.

I hope that you enjoy these thoughts and they provide some insight into a new sphere of the betting market that is evolving constantly the in-running market. I’ll be highlighting some more horses that you can use throughout the season in the next couple of weeks and once again it is only right to point out that all the information is produced and analysed via the Proform Professional system ( where the new In-Running module will be available soon.

If you have any comments or questions then please leave those via Narrowthefield site and you can also follow me on Twitter (@Bickley14) where I am happy to answer questions and also post daily in-running thoughts and statistics.

NTF National Hunt Service – 2011/12 – Doors close Friday 21st October

To join the NTF National Hunt service please visit –

Places are limited and doors will close this Friday (21st October).

Ben (NTF)

7 responses to “James Ewart stable tour: Part II & In-running pointers”

  1. haha! very good mate.

    I know they are slightly concerned sending Vosges over this extended trip as he is only a 4yo but they do think he has stamina in him and these types of distances are what he is made for. It will be very interesting to see him over fences today and whatever happens he will be one to follow.

    Thanks for the comment

  2. I have been following the ewart yard for the last 2 seasons with good success up here in the north along with other border yards but looking forward to james sending them south..

  3. Thanks Ben for the great writeup, made for a very interesting and educational look at the talent in the Ewart yard will be archiving this for reference throughout the season

    • Thanks Stephen, glad you enjoyed it. I feel its good to get a view on the smaller up and coming yards in the game.

  4. Ben

    Thought you might like a few observations from Kelso:

    CAPTAIN AMERICO looked to me as if the race would just bring him on. He certainly wasn’t as hard fit as first time out last season. He ran well enough in fourth.

    ZARU went well until capsizing two out. He’s built like the proverbial brick outhouse and will jump fences well enough I would imagine.

    VOSGES looks to have strengthened since last year. Another who looked as if the race might put an edge on him and went OK until running out of puff.


    • Much appreciated Rob, thank you.

      They like Zaru but basically ‘the penny has not dropped’ with him yet. A fence in front of him could be the key. Built to jump them wouldn’t you think?

      Thought Vosges was jumping well until either stamina or fitness started to show. They were slightly worried over the trip as he is only a 4yo but are confident he will stay a trip in time.

      Thanks for comments mate, appreciate it

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