Boxing Day Celebrations – Master Minded by Pumpkin?


Hello to all! Today we have our King George preview, written by John Mac:

Boxing Day for us racing folk is the highlight of the Christmas break. The presentshave been opened and the dinner has been well and truly digested and now all that remains is the real reason we all love this holiday period, THE KING GEORGE.

So many memories of colossal equine performances – Wayward Lad, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star to name but three Christmas heroes from days gone by.

What does this year have in store for us, will the record books be re written again by the greatest horse of our generation, Kauto Star?

Will LONG RUN notch up another victory in the great race to launch himself  firmly on the the long road to equine superstardom or will MASTER MINDED show that his wonderful talent and latent ability can be stretched out over the 24 furlongs of the Sunbury turf ?

So many questions to be answered, or will they ? Will we get even more questions than we get answers ? Such is the glorious uncertainty which this great sport brings us on a daily basis.

For many reasons this is a race which should just be savoured but to us, the punters, it is always difficult to let what may be a betting opportunity slip under our radar.

Everyone will have an opinion, but life such as it is only deems them worthwhile ifthey are served up and offered before the race so with that being the case what follows is my interpretation of what may unfold in this seasons Christmas extravaganza.

When I try to unravel a conundrum such as this race I begin by running the race in my mind’s eye and try to foresee how things might unfold.

As I see it, the key to the early part of the race is if GOLAN WAY consents to run. If he does then he will set the tempo for the race as he loves to hot hoof it from the front and if he gets into a rhythm he will set the race up perfectly. Slick, fast and accurate jumping are his want and this will be perfect for the race itself.

NACARAT is the potential spoiler for GOLAN WAY as he too likes to get on with it but he has looked a shadow of his former self thus far this season and I just cannot see him being in good enough form to want a pace duel so I have him settling for a lead and racing in second.

I don’t see DIAMOND HARRY too far behind them but I cannot see this race being run to suit him so I have him as a bit player only.

KAUTO STAR will want to be ahead of LONG RUN so I see the two of them sitting just behind DIAMOND HARRY then MASTER MINDED, SOMERSBY and CAPTAIN CHRIS held up towards the back of the pack.

As the race develops, Ruby brings KAUTO STAR  into the race about a mile from home, LONG RUN who has been drawn into plenty of mistakes follows him through as CAPTAIN CHRIS blunders his chance away when trying to get into the race. DIAMOND HARRY drops away with Nacarat as GOLAN WAY still leads KAUTO STAR with half a mile to go.

LONG RUN looks laboured in third as the enforced errors begin to take their toll and the smooth travelling MASTER MINDED is brought into the race.

With three to jump Ruby moves KAUTO STAR to the front, LONG RUN follows him through but he is struggling to keep up the gallop, MASTER MINDED moves smoothly through to track his stablemate.

By this time all of the others have fallen away and the race only  concerns the big three. LONG RUN cracks and fades away as his jumping gets ever more ragged, KAUTO STAR is passed by MASTER MINDED, who surges to the front on the run to the last fence and pings it going two lengths clear. He then starts to tire on the run in as Ruby galvanises KAUTO STAR for one last effort but it isn’t enough as MASTER MINDED prevails by a rapidly diminishing half a length with a yawning gap back to Golan Way in third who battles back past a faltering Long Run who finishes a well beaten fourth.

So there you have it, THE KING GEORGE as run in my mind’s eye.  The reasoning behind the fiction?

Well let’s take it from the top.

MASTER MINDED…. Totally untested at a trip in excess of 21 furlongs but who is to say he won’t improve for it? Only rated 4lb behind Long Run by the official handicapper but 4lb ahead of Kauto Star, therefore, even a reproduction of his grade one form at the shorter trips brings him bang into the equation. An almost perfect record going right handed complemented by a much publicised campaign centred around this race,  give him an interesting profile, one which isn’t really reflected in the market.  He can be backed at around 7-1 and this may even get bigger as the race approaches and the “in the box” punters plump for the already established facts rather than “the what might happen” scenario. His Ascot defeat of Somersby and Medermit was a rock solid performance emphasised by both the previous and subsequent racecourse efforts of Medermit. Somersby  is not a reliable horse to use as a guideline as he can be very hit and miss but Medermit is a reliable 160 rated horse for me and he was comprehensively murdered by Master Minded at Ascot.

KAUTO STAR…. A  legend.  But a legend who may have left this race behind in the brutal Betfair Chase, a race which took no prisoners. Was that his last Hurrah?

LONG RUN…. His jumping is an issue for me and again he had a brutal race last time out. I think he has been flattered by circumstances in winning the Gold Cup and last year’s King George and I want to be against him. His jockey Sam Whaley Cohen will have to be bang on the money here to get the horse home and I just cannot see it.

CAPTAIN CHRIS…. Talented but still too guessy at some of his fences for my liking.

DIAMOND HARRY…. Will not be fresh enough and the course will not be a positive either.

SOMERSBY…. Won’t get the trip and wouldn’t be good enough anyway.

NACARAT…. Has not been in good enough form so far this season and we may have seen the best of him.

GOLAN WAY…. Interesting.  Although he doesn’t fit the stats required to win this race he could outrun his price if he puts his best hoof forward.

Those are my thoughts, all pre-race and laid out ready to be shot down in flames!

I may be right or I may be horribly wrong but it is always sound practice to have an opinion prior to an event and set it out in the manner which I have done. It is then easy to assess if and where you got it wrong.

Good luck to all and alternative opinions are most welcome as after all that is what makes the game what it is.


Back Master Minded to win

Back Golan Way to trade out in running (Currently 90 on Betfair)


Thanks for that John, I’ll be having a small interest along those lines myself!

This will be the last post before Christmas, so it only remains for me to thank everybody for reading the blog and listening to my ramblings. It’s been great fun and hopefully we have all managed to improve our betting. Have a wonderful Christmas, don’t eat too much ( I always do and it always ruins it!)  and I will be back before the New Year.

Have a wonderful time!



  1. Long run for me was not fully wound up last time will be this time would like to see a professional jocky on board though Nacarat ew laid out for this race ?

  2. I too like Master Minded. Obviously stamina is the question, but the way he finished off when beating Albertas in the Melling Chase in April says he may be ok.

    He has plenty of class, is still only eight (though does have miles on the clock), and could step up. The price is about the only value in the race, unless you take the view that Long Run will jump better, in which case he’s hard to overlook. His pilot is a buffoon, and a liar. Quite far from the corinthian his father would like to portray him as.


  3. to kieran & co
    long run for me will be more forward this time captain chris e.w would like to see a senior jockey on board long run i backed him last year plus gold cup all the best to all for xmas a next year regards ron

  4. Very interesting post, and if it transpires in the way John Mac envisages then the man’s a genius. My personal view is that it’s too hard to pick the winner and I will probably be backing Golan Way e/w . Being a front runner he will keep out of any trouble and he might just scrape a place.
    Happy Xmas, and the best of luck to all.

  5. this is why this is the best insight site, who else would describe a race before its run on how they think, and explain why, very brave but shows they are genuine, im backing captain chris and master minded, but kuato star scares me lol, every one wrote the horse off before his last race lol, stuff sentiment this horse is a bully and knows how to win, brilliant, why hasnt he won sports personality of the year ?. merry xmas all x

  6. Well done everyone for contributing. What this thread has highlighted is that everyone can have an opinion and wether you have called it correctly or incorrectly, you at least offered something pre race without even the thought of ridicule afterwards as nobody really knows what will actually happen. All we the punter can do is lay the facts out on the table, put our own individual spin on how we interpret them then roll the dice. No more, no less…

    Good luck to all who have contributed. Many thanks and compliments of the season to everyone.

  7. Hi everybody

    Many thanks for all the comments and predictions.

    I’d like to echo John’s sentiments on rolling the dice. All we can do is try and take everything possible into account and hope for the best. If we put in the work, profits will flow in the long term.

    Have a great day tomorrow


  8. There must be a reason for Barry Geraghty riding Diamond Harry. I think he needed his 1st outing for a year, last time. Percentage wise he has won more of his races than any other in the field. My only worry is why he did not run for a year. Possibly there may be something wrong with him, but I am going to take a risk that his trainer would not run him unless he was ok, Somersby is also an ew possibility.

  9. Master Minded to win a three mile chase with his doseage figures.You must have had too much christmas spirit.
    Long Run for me,and kauto to chase him home.

  10. History was made as the Horse that seems intent on rewriting all the books did it again. What a wonderful performance from a special horse.

    As for Master Minded, having suffered an injury mid race we have yet another unanswered question.

    Long Run gave the outside up to nobody. Jumped better than I thought he would but was arguably given an inept ride. Yet another question to be raised by the race.

    Then you have GRANDS CRUS winning the feltham in a far quicker time than the King George???

    The questions just keep on coming such is the nature of the sport.

    Well done David for nailing your colours to the Kauto Star mast, as you quite rightly said you can never write him off.

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