BOZmail – 1st FEBRUARY 2020 – the 2020 home of the BOZmail

Welcome to the BOZmail service including the daily LESS IS MORE bet. 

WARM WELCOME to all those reading the BOZmail for the first time. Special message for you below regarding the Cheltenham Yankee first posted as an Ante-Post acca recommendation on the BOZmail on January 1st 2020.









LESS IS MORE: Saturday play


I point all new readers to the BOZmail Golden Rules printed below before I begin.This is a marathon not a sprint and the Turquoise Tortoise, as they are calling me now, will be starting the New Year steady eddie despite the temptation to always try to start with a bang. That’s what the Hairy Hare does however and The Boz ain’t never that. Sit back and take it steady. Exercise caution with the ground still so volatile and practice the key disciplines of patience and caution. Not going to pretend this has been an easy start to the new cycle and I’ve wrestled long and hard with the three qualifying races at Sandown trying to make cases for Paul Nicholls’ horses Flic Ou Voyou, Dolos and Quel Destin but ultimately found the favourites in all three races too hard to take on and so ended up back with my back up 3 runner Novice Chase at Musselburgh where Nicholls sends Southfield Stone and BOZmail rule number one sways me to this race. Out of the day’s limelight, he has sent Bryony a long way on the best hurdler in the race to continue his chase education in the capable hands of Ms Frost. Should front run and getting weight from the Tom George horse (whose stable has been out of kilter but did manage a winner at Chepstow on Friday) is a worthy fav leaving Espoir De Teillee at a price we can relatively safely lay. Mahlervous is also good LIM cover and the reason I’m not backing in the race. Does have a decent chance in a race that isn’t easy to be confident about but just about sneaked in and prevented me from calling a no bet day as our opener. Always honest, it was mighty close!

To small money though I am ok to play and take on the George inmate.


0.2pt LAY on ESPOIR DE TEILEE (around 2.5 : Upper value parameter price 3.1)

For those new to the concept I point you to BOZmail rule No.4 regarding getting the best price that you can. The above price parameters are a guide only and should be used to help inform you on the decision of what price to take. Never take silly price. Try hard for best price. Ultimately in the fast moving exchange world we live in now, be happy with the price you get. Log it in your stats and keep a record of your long term score. I’ll publish mine on this sheet but as a guide only. It’s not a competition. It’s about you doing best you can with what you get. I often do worse than other, smarter exchange players. Ultimately the only score that matters is the score you achieve.

We are starting very conservatively and will probably do so for a while this year with the way the ground is. Stay solid. It picks up when the sun comes out and I’ve got my eye open always for the stonking value play that doesn’t come up every day. LIM is about staying steady – remembering rule 5 about the importance of breaking even – and being in a good position to benefit when the cracking winner comes along. We play most every day to keep the discipline in shape. We don’t fear losing but we do everything to avoid it!!

After that lecture on caution and discipline, more cheerier fare below. The Cheltenham Yankee for those who haven’t yet seen it and an interesting horse to follow trade for day one alongside our LIM bet.



A few new names (and a couple filtered out) on here after the January break and I hope existing members kept their eyes on the ball with Wenceslaus, Maire Banrigh, Cat Tiger and Magic of Light all notching up extra wins in the January quagmires! 

Unwin VC* 

Tea Clipper* 

Nube Negra 

Black Op – Entered for RSA & Marsh Novices (Mar 11&12)

Verdana Blue – Entered for Champion Hurdle & Mares Hurdle (Mar 10)

Maire Banrigh* – Entered for Arkle (Mar 10) & Marsh Novices (Mar 12)


Thyme Hill* – Entered for Supreme Novices,Ballymore & Albert Bart(Mar 13)


Indian Opera

Lady Bowes 


Lostintranslation* – Entered for Gold Cup at Cheltenham (Mar 13)

Cat Tiger* 

Welsh Saint* 

Normandy Soldier* 


Esprit Du Large – Entered for The Arkle (Mar 10) & Marsh Novices (Mar 12)

Magic of Light* – Entered for Mares Hurdle Cheltenham (Mar 10)

Defi Sacre* 

Lieutenant Rocco

Israel Champ

Soaring Glory 

Ambion Hill 

Saint De Reve


4-10 SANDOWN – AMBION HILL @ 6/1 – 0.15pt BACK

Might be an each way selection in fixed odds terms as seemingly held on a direct line through Cat Tiger – our eponymous to follow horse whose formline yielded mucho profit end of 2019 and again in the New Year – but well worth a trade as I would expect a good run FTO in a handicap after Le Cameleon advertised the Chepstow form with a good 2nd on his handicap debut on Friday.Ambion Hill just got outspeeded at the death behind Le Cameleon and should benefit from the step back up in trip and although strictly held by Iconic Muddle on that line through Cat Tiger I do still actually give the Tizzard charge a realistic winning chance. The ground is a bonus and the jockey booking strong. The advice is a trade however. That’s what I’ll be doing so early in the cycle. Playing cautious. Take a best price you can get and hedge back when offered preferential odds either before the off or in running. I shall hedge in two stages myself. Once before the off but leaving the second hedge til late in the day if the horse is perceived to be running well and in with a decent chance of victory. The benefit of that is to gain very preferential odds if his chance is seriously in the balance in the final furlong. 


This is what I wrote about the Cheltenham Yankee on January 1st:

Ante-Post Extravaganza:

I want to start with a traditional BOZmail feature that hasn’t overly fired in recent years  about which I feel particularly bullish in 2020. The Cheltenham Festival Yankee. It was a cornerstone of early BOZmails and landed a couple of touches (after which several publications paid me to publish my fancies for following years – not least The Sporting Life,Betting @ Betfair.Com and the Betting School’s Insider magazine) but has largely failed to fire in recent times as I have failed to find the BestMate/Binocular/ Coneygree/ Sprinter Sacre of yesteryears i.e. The Blue Riband horse extraordinaire who stands above his or her peers at the greatest equine event of them all – The Cheltenham Gold Cup festival.

I’ve got a Champion Hurdle horse and a Gold Cup horse this year though. Plus a female entrant in the Arkle and a wild card fourth candidate who could go in any one of three races. Most importantly there isn’t a prohibitive price in sight and the combined odds of the four-timer currently stands at 55,692/1! 

Got to be worth a quid of anybody’s money if you can find a bookmaker to accept the bet now. Like all ante-post bets, it comes with the risk of all runners making it to the starting line in March but if you like this sort of thing, I can hand on heart say I’m feeling like I haven’t felt for a few years about it. Knee trembly. What’s more, you’ll know the four horses if you’ve followed the BOZmail for any length of time now. They are – in order of bullishness ascendancy order:

1/ LOSTINTRANSLATION: 8/1 for the Gold Cup

That’s a price you wouldn’t have expected to see before Xmas. He was 11/4 fav before the King George but the market belted him out after his perceived Pulled Up flop. I wasn’t overly dispirited by his performance at Kempton and have watched it back a few times to understand what went on and see it very much differently to the market and even differently to what we are being told by trainer and jockey (never believe all you hear them say! They are often in the game of getting a better price!!).

Don’t forget that Colin Tizzard always told us he had a potential next Gold Cup star on his hands. And I agreed. That surge up the Cheltenham hill to beat Defi Du Seuil first time over two miles had future Gold Cup written all over it. So did this year’s Betfair Chase win over Bristol De Mai when he misjudged the second last after a serious cruise round and looked like he might have done his chance only to find that ‘finishing kick’ again at the death to overhaul the Haydock Park standing dish that is Bristol De Mai. Those are his top two performances to date and both to my mind qualified to justify him as favourite for this year’s Blue Riband. It is to our advantage not detriment that the King George didn’t work out. What went wrong?

Well jockey Robbie Power says the horse always wasn’t travelling like he had at Haydock and trainer Colin Tizzard is on record reporting awareness of a ‘flapping palate’ with suggestions that a wind op is imminent. Now don’t get me wrong, there are two people who know a whole load more about horses and Lostintranslation in particular than I could ever know. But they don’t always tell us the truth or at least the whole truth. Henderson is the master of that and Binocular his finest coup in that sphere. Wasn’t even running in the race when he won the Champion Hurdle so that his ante post price hit 1000/1 on the exchanges if you remember. But he turned up nevertheless and won in a procession. Never believe all you hear.

My version of the King George comes from a race reader’s perspective without the intimate knowledge that comes from training or riding the horse and with a healthy  Journalist’s acknowledgement that I don’t necessarily believe all I hear and read knowing full well that no trainer worth his salt is going to tell the world his innermost secrets. Not lying necessarily of course. Just being economic with the truth in best politician’s mode.

I thought Lostintranslation ran exactly the sort of race I expected him to run in the King George with the possible caveat that I had hoped he would avoid the jumping blip at a crucial moment that has happened in a fair few of his defeats to date. Tizzard’s horses are always prone to that. Something in the way he schools perhaps?

They go for their fences so that when they get it right they win big races but only takes one error to lose the Championship races. Who could forget Cue Card’s Gold Cup?

Would have won in a canter but for the small matter of breasting the fence at the top of the hill. More like trying to plough straight through it!

Lostintranslation is a better jumper than that but has had a tendency to fiddle the odd fence often when the pace is upped and on. I think he was half lengthed at Kempton. Yes he had struggled out the back early but that was him just having to work to stay with the pace Cyrname set. That was always going to happen. Over two miles five, Cyrname would have beaten him like he beat Waiting Patiently. By a country mile.

But Lostintranslation – the Gold Cup stayer if ever you saw one – had worked to stay in touch and over the fourth last, with Cyrname’s stamina just starting to wobble – he came away from his landing in the style of a quickening stayer. Gained on Clan Des Obeaux who was his danger in the race read anyways and a proven course and distance Championship stayer so that they approached the third last just a head apart with Cyrname seriously starting to come back to them. Lostintranslation took off same time as Clan Des Obeaux as horses often do even when a tad behind and he was consequently overreaching at it and crashed his hind legs through losing serious momentum and a vital couple of lengths in the process. Jockeys job to try to avoid the half length. All in the timing at certain points of a race. I suspect a totally truthful Robbie Power (who is often in the business of blaming himself for a horse’s defeat but there was a million quid on the line here and maybe it was prudent to keep schtum) might have took the blame but he did also pull up pretty quick after as he felt the stuffing going out of his mount’s run.

Would he have won without that error? 50-50 for me. First or second anyways. He had Cyrname covered so it qualifies for me as a decent prep for the Gold Cup given that we know he is a Cheltenham horse where the race gallop will be less about speed and the winner will be the one that stays the course. Yes, he’ll have to jump better but he won’t have to do that early work he had to do here just to stay in touch.

Leastways I suspect not. It depends who the Irish send and they do have Delta Work who looks a speedy sort. 

But the King George changes nothing for me. Yes, his failure to win it takes him out from 11/4 fav but in my book to around 4 or 5 to one. He’s on at 8/1 and I’ve seen some nine. Keep your ear to the ground about whether that wind op takes place. I have my doubts personally. But if they are really hearing a flapping palate then a quick op will sort that. I just think he was outpaced early though as you’d expect him to be in a race containing Cyrname. Just my perspective! And when it comes with gift wrapping on it, often worth a punt!  

2/ VERDANA BLUE: 33/1 for the Champion Hurdle 

If Leg 1 is outstanding value, leg 2 takes us through the roof although it is most certainly a ground dependant one. Soft ground on the day and Verdana won’t win.

That’s why I keep the stake of this bet for now at a quid (Four timer only. The Yankee is kept for the day before Festival starts when likely ground and entrants are known).

We bet now because of the prices. And because this is Henderson. Who has the 3/1 favourite for the race now in Xmas hurdle winner Epatante. On my figures, Verdana beats him on goodish ground just like she beat Buveur D’Air in last year’s Xmas hurdle. And no doubting Henderson has always seen Verdana as a potential Champion Hurdle winner if the ground comes up right as it did at Kempton 2018 and afterwards for the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr. She was entered at early stage this year after running fifth in last years (on soft ground). That race was same as this year’s Xmas hurdle which was Verdana’s first spin of the year and both races were marked by how brilliantly she travelled into contention only for the last two furlongs,

when quickening up speed was required,to turn into a flattening out. Soft ground blunts the acceleration in the pace of a race finish for many horses. Definitely applies to Verdana. When ground is soft her speed is hampered (same on the flat. She’ll be the first Champion hurdler for an age to have done prep by winning flat races!). She still runs ok though as she did in both last year’s Champion hurdle and this year’s Xmas hurdle. On good or good to soft ground, this is my nap bet of the year. She has the current fav covered plus last year’s winner. The danger is in fact Silver Streak who has headed her in both those races she lost on soft mentioned above but also has times to challenge on better ground.

I won’t have Verdana beat in a true race on good ground though. Nor I suspect will Henderson. 3 or 4 to one favourite in my book in that scenario. 33/1 is a chance not to be missed!  

3/ MAIRE BANRIGH: 25/1 for The Arkle

Legs 3 and 4 are more speculative at this stage. The Arkle is a target race for the Irish and thus won’t be an easy one for the Skeltons to pick up as their first Blue Riband crown. And Maire Banrigh hasn’t beaten much so far (Baddesley Knight was backed off the boards to beat her on Sunday though after seriously impressing at Wincanton. Maire batted her away like an annoying wasp!) and has perhaps a few more prep races to come when we’ll know more. She’s in though because 25/1 is massive for a horse that jumps like she does. In the Sprinter Sacre mold. Flawless and although I was rude about her jockey in the run up, there is perhaps an aspect of this being the horse Harry Skelton has been waiting for. He does have supreme confidence in himself and likes horses who attack their fences and if nothing else is required, he’ll presumably have the nerve to stay on board and let the mare win her Blue Riband the way he did on Sunday. What you might call an armchair ride. Harry is good at getting horses jumping mind. And he’s strong. Just when things get tight and a decision needs to be made that he shows his middle ranking quality. Maire did all the thinking for him on Sunday. She’s that good. Not the cert of the bet because the opposition will be strong and the stable/jockey combo do have question marks. But head and shoulders the most exciting horse in the bet. Maire Banrigh has the potential to sky rocket. Of course the Skelton’s have another live Arkle contender in Nube Negra. There may yet be more to unfold on this one. But Maire Banrigh is out and out my candidate for horse of the year.

4/ THYME HILL: 6/1 for the Albert Bartlett – bigger prices for the Supreme Novices and the Ballymore.

Second in the horse of the year so far category is Defi Sacre but I can’t include him in this bet as he has no Cheltenham entry as I write. Watch that space. Thyme Hill is a seriously good stand in although he might make the bet hard to get accepted at this stage as his likely race is tough to predict. They have him 6/1 favourite for the three mile Albert Bartlett. His attitude in winning three from three so far this year has him up there. A novicey jumper still but a hardy battler and already Cheltenham proven from his second start this year and his third in Envoi Allen’s Champion Bumper. The entries in the Supreme and the Ballymore suggest they aren’t sure yet what optimum trip is but staying would be my guess too going on the way he ran at Newbury over the weekend. All the best work at the end including overcoming a horlicks at the last.

Gets a champion ride too and Hobbs a trainer meticulous at entering his charges in the right races ultimately. Maybe more prep runs to come on that score as they experiment with optimum distance. We shall see. All the vibes of a quality animal whatever and as good a fourth leg for the bet as I’ve had in many a year.

So just a quid on the four timer for now if you can get it accepted. Updates on it will come via the BOZmail in weeks ahead as things develop. The Yankee is deferred to the Sunday before the Festival. And whether you go each way is up to you. The Boz is playing this to win at this stage. That bullish and the prices are that good! It will get written up and published for various outlets in weeks ahead but you are first to receive. If it cops, I shall expect you to never forget the damage you did to the British economy!!

0.01pt FOUR TIMER for above four to all win at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival

And this is the update written on January 28th for benefit of the new members of The BOZmail:

First thing to say is that at this stage, the bet still stands as per. No defections. A few minor drops in price and for the new members, the news that Betfair Sportsbook offered and are still offering an acca edge on the bet for those able to get on with them. This means very little reduction in overall odds if one of the four doesn’t win as a result either of not winning or not competing in the relevant race. That was good value on January 1st and remains so now with some of the main criteria still pertinent. Those who can’t get on with Betfair Sportsbook might find that available elsewhere as we near the time of the festival so keep eyes peeled. It is a good offer.

Main developments to the bet are that Lostintranslation has been announced as going straight to the Gold Cup without further prep and no wind op registered as of yet. Reported to be happy with how he came out of King George in work afterwards and price only reduced to 15/2. Still value on my read.

He is the only one of the four to have a single Festival entry however. Verdana Blue has also been entered for the Mares Hurdle as cover if the ground remains wet. That makes sense as would be a slightly easier task in softer ground and good from connections point of view to have options. Champion Hurdle still main focus however and 33/1 still there. Take it and pray for an end to the rain! Dry Spell required for her!

Maire Banrigh has also been entered in a cover race – the Marsh Novices – which will be an option if the Irish contingent looks too strong in the Arkle. She ran a prep race at Huntingdon last Friday over the extra half mile and won well again batting aside an aggressive ride from Geraghty against her. She also scared off main market rival in the race. They’ve seen what potential she has!

I’m hoping Dan Skelton’s nerve holds because I think the Irish will also have noted her jumping as a serious threat. Her price has dropped to 20/1 for the Arkle which is another positive for me. Everyone’s impressed. The Marsh Novices is also over the half mile further – as was Friday’s prep at Huntingdon – and whilst she proved she stayed it as her breeding would suggest, I thought both ground and extra distance made her work more than she had previously.

Better at two miles for me and also better on decent ground and I don’t fear the opposition in the Arkle. I think you have to go for it on the evidence so far. Don’t let the Irish scare you away Danny Boy! The other positive was Wenceslaus’ continued excellent form at Plumpton and Thomas Darby’s win at Ascot. The form is banking up.

Which leaves just Thyme Hill whose news of course is that Richard Johnson broke his arm. He’s busy working hard to be back in time and more to suggest that they’ll wait for the Albert Bartlett on the 13th where 5/1 fav is now best price.

So all in all still on course. Get that quid acca on now if you ain’t already covered and hedges,subs bench players and other cover plays to follow in the weeks ahead as situations develop. Hold on the Yankee bet til the day before Festival starts for all late news and remember to keep praying for the dry spell that will undoubtedly help Verdana!! 

 Good Luck with your bets.


The BOZmail golden rules:

1/ Try to look where others do not.

2/ Make sure your selections are as good as you can get them(the boz’s job here)

3/ Get your staking right (up when confident – down when less so or when managing bank)

4/ Do all in your power to get best price available(whether that be using price comparison sites or using partial staking techniques on the exchanges when unsure which way a price might go. Be careful not to take exchange ‘silly prices’ if you are going in early on a lay price or if a specified low lay tissue price goes on a significant drift. Always check bookmaker tissue prices first to get a guide on what to expect from the market if it is not yet properly formed on the exchanges. 

The recommendation is always to secure a price (if possible) when actually placing the lay bet. Your discretion based on personal form study and watching the markets develop also encouraged to ensure you maximise returns.The staking advices are a general rather than rigid dictate – mainly for the less experienced and those not able to spend time watching markets develop and practising the optimum betting time skill. Remember also that a lay price available at a significantly lower level than stated on the sheet offers opportunity to increase lay stake without increasing calculated safe lay liability. This can be a key profit optimising tool in the long term if your form study agrees with that published by The Boz.

5/ Always keep in mind the long term ‘importance of  breaking even’ philosophy and practice. This is very much used by The Boz in his staking advices and is recommended in your betting practices – especially during the down spells – in order to maintain a healthy and consistent bank.

6/ Always remember the BOZ does traditionally suffer from Murphys Law. If he expresses his opinion but states that he won’t be betting on it himself and isn’t making it an official tip, remember that historically these can be his best advices! The 2019 Grand National opinion expressed paid a £2,260-93 tricast for a £60 (£1×60) permed stake (five selections). 

7/ Never accept an overall loss. This has been the BOZ’s mantra for 22 years. The year the BOZmail posts an overall loss is the year he packs in.

“I play cautiously and strategically with bank management always in mind.”  Boz 

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