Archive for February, 2017

24 Feb
2017

Loosen The ‘Perc’ Strings At Fairyhouse

Quite apart from his obvious form chance, Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy might need to go up a couple of pounds to be assured of his place in next month’s Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival (his sole entry), so a bold show looks likely in Saturday’s At The Races Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse. (2.55pm).

Testing ground, a drop in trip, plus the addition of a first time tongue tie all provide encouragement to back him, mindful of the fact his brilliant trainer used this race as a launch pad for Mall Dini’s win in last year’s Pertemps.

Bear in mind, Presenting Percy won a Ballinrobe bumper on Heavy last year, and also received a strong collateral form boost on Thursday, with the win of Sutton Manor at Thurles a boost to his recent fourth at Punchestown.

Elsewhere, on to keep on eye on at Newcastle could be Sue Smith’s Special Wells (4.30pm).

He’ll love the testing conditions on Eider day, and has a decent chance of completing a hat-trick after wins at Uttoxeter and Wetherby.

Balyboley keeps the weights down but would surely prefer better ground, and if that turns out to be the favourite’s Achilles heel then Special Wells looks well placed to take advantage.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.55 Fairyhouse- At The Races Handicap Hurdle – 6 Presenting Percy (win) @ 5/2 (bet365, Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

4.30 Newcastle – Betfred “The Home Of Goals Galore” Handicap Chase – 3 Special Wells (win) @ 4/1 (BetVictor or Skybet)

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Posted 7 months ago

21 Feb
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(25th & 26th Feb)

This week’s La Liga tips are delivered from the forecourt of an instantly recognisable Spanish stadium, a world famous venue where the locals have got plenty to celebrate at present.

Watch Tom give his thoughts on where to place your cash on this weekend’s top flight action in this short video blog…

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15pm Sat – Real Betis v SEVILLA – Away win @ Evens (Betfred, BetVictor or Skybet)

7.45pm Sat – EIBAR v Malaga – Home win @ 21/20 (Hills)

7.45pm Sun – Villarreal v REAL MADRID – Away win @ 7/10 (BetVictor or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 7 months ago

18 Feb
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(18th & 19th Feb)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight winners.

It doesn’t stop there either, with teams from Spain also ruling the roost in Europe’s second tier tournament, the Europa League, taking four of the last five editions, highlighted by triumphs for goal happy Sevilla in 2014, ’15 and ’16.

Enthused by a domestic league bursting with quality and rivalry, Betting Directory’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…

You’ll have to go a long way to see a better football spectacle than the midweek delicacy served up at the Bernabeu between Real Madrid and Napoli, a game which featured stunning strikes from both Lorenzo Insigne and Casemiro.

Real now return to domestic action with the Saturday afternoon visit of Espanyol, bidding to complete a league double over the side they beat 0-2 away from home at the start of the season.

This really should be a comfortable home win for the league leaders, but Espanyol have confounded the doubters with some impressive recent performances, and it should be remembered they’ve scored at least one goal in all six of their fixtures in 2017.

For that reason, plus the beautiful way in which Madrid like to give teams a chance before coming roaring back to beat them, back the home side to win in a game where both teams find the net.

In one easy swoop you transform a 1/5 shot (Madrid to win) into nearly a 7/4 chance, simply by hoping Espanyol can register.

Next up on Saturday, the draw looks the safe investment at the Riazor, as Deportivo entertain yo-yo side Alaves.

One minute they’re clinching a place in the Copa Del Rey final, the next they’re being humiliated by Barcelona, so Alaves would surely take a bit of stability and a point on their travels at an intimidating ground.

For their part, Depor were massively unlucky not to get yet another draw last weekend, undone by a last minute winner for Athletic Bilbao.

That was no disgrace, and they can get back to drawing ways here at 23/10 with either BetVictor or Paddy Power.

Lastly, don’t forget that 10th placed Celta Vigo have had less than 72 hours to recover from Thursday night’s Europa League defeat at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, when they take the field against bottom team Osasuna on Sunday afternoon (5.30pm).

It’s almost certainly way too little too late for Peter Vasiljevic’s team, but to be fair they’ve not given up, far from it, daring to score against Real Madrid last week, and before that drawing with Malaga and scoring three against Sevilla.

They could well nick a point here, a 3/1 shot with Coral or Hills.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

Sat 3.15pm – Real Madrid v Espanyol – Madrid to win & both teams to score @ 17/10 (Betfair Sportsbook, Betway or Coral)

Sat 5.30pm – Deportivo La Coruna v Alaves – Draw @ 23/10 (BetVictor or Paddy Power)

Sun 5.30pm – Celta Vigo v Osasuna – Draw @ 3/1 (Coral or Hills)

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Posted 7 months, 1 week ago

17 Feb
2017

Niver-niver Land

Ascot, Gowran Park, Haydock Park and Wincanton provide the meat in Saturday’s jump racing sandwich, one which despite the proximity of the Cheltenham Festival looks likely to contain more than a few pointers to next month’s festivities.

I especially like the look of the card at Wincanton, but before concentrating on that it might be worth putting your faith in the in-form Venetia Williams stable to strike at Ascot (2.25pm).

Williams, on a decent run which has yielded 4 winners from 23 runners in the past fortnight (17%), sits on the 25 winner mark for the campaign, and at the likely odds has a handy opportunity of adding to that with hardy stable favourite, Tenor Nivernais.

Rarely out of the places, this in-form 10-year-old likes it at Ascot, finishing 4th,1st and 3rd in his three previous visits.

He usually contests valuable big field handicaps, often finishing in the places, but this smaller field against some more exposed types looks like it could be just his cup of tea.

Clearly the two young bucks towards the bottom of the weights, Go Conquer and Chef D’Oeuvre are a danger, but they both have to prove they can mix it at this level against these more experienced horses, and at 8/1 it could well be the turn of Tenor Nivernais.

Meanwhile, in the West Country it could well be the scene of yet another winner for red-hot Neil Mulholland, as the Northern Irishman saddles Bishops Court at Wincanton (2.15pm).

Barry Geraghty takes over in the saddle on an animal who brought up his hat-trick over course and distance last time out.

A further four pound rise is unlikely to anchor him, and he looks much the most convincing option in a winnable looking contest.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.15 Wincanton – Betway Hcap Chase – 2 Bishops Court (win) @ 15/8 (BetVictor, Paddy or Skybet)

2.25 Ascot – Keltbray Swinley Chase (Ltd Hcap) – 2 Tenor Nivernais (win) @ 8/1 (bet365, BetVictor, Boyle, Hills or Stan James)

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Posted 7 months, 1 week ago

12 Feb
2017

Size Matters

It’s a day of Leopardstown Grade 1 goodness with us on RTE, with Cheltenham pointers likely to be on display in the Spring Juvenile (2.30), Deloitte Novice Hurdle (3.00), Flogas Novice Chase (3.30), and in the big one at 4.00pm, the Stan James Irish Gold Cup.

It’s also a day where Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott once again go toe-to-toe in their private battle at the top of the trainers’ standings, especially in the second of the aforementioned contests, in which the two men field a collective nine of the 10 runners!

One race where they might not have it all their own way however is the last of those listed above, the wide open Stan James Irish Gold Cup…

In Don Poli and Empire Of Dirt, Elliott clearly has a seriously powerful hand, one which occupies the first two places in the betting.

Don Poli is a three time Grade 1 winner, off the back of a cracking run in the Lexus, a dour stayer, a two-time Cheltenham Festival winner, and one who has been there and done it at Leopardstown.

However, he’s also capable of throwing in a stinker, as demonstrated when running no race at Down Royal back in November on his first run for Elliott.

For his part, Empire Of Dirt (also relatively new to Elliott) is a Cheltenham Festival winner with a different complexion, a fast improving handicapper who deserves his chance in a big one such as this…

Both will have plenty of fans, but this is an especially open running, particularly with Carlingford Lough going for a third consecutive win after successes at 4/1 in 2015 and 20/1 in 2016.

He’s the choice of Barry Geraghty, who could also have opted for Minella Rocco or More Of That.

That pair both cross the Irish sea for Jonjo O’Neill, bidding to become the first British-trained winner of this prize since Neptune Collonges triumphed at 8/13 back in 2009.

Both are former Cheltenham Festival winners, and neither should be discounted.

However, with the exception of hat-trick chaser Carlingford Lough, the top-rated horse in the line up isn’t any of those stars, but the Jessie Harrington inmate Sizing John, a quality horse who has numerous experiences of chasing Douvan home in the bank, but has never, until now, been allowed to show what he can try and do over further than two and a half miles.

The risk is clearly that he won’t get today’s extended three mile journey, but the odds of reward (11/2) look a reasonable trade-off for a talented horse who stayed on strongly when winning at Thursles in the Kinloch Brae last time out.

Despite being 7-0 down in head-to-head meetings with Douvan, Sizing John is still three from eight over fences and could be explosive if the stamina holds out.

At 11/2 with Paddy Power that’s what I’ll be paying to find out!

Good luck!

Today’s best bet at Leopardstown:

4.00 – Stan James Irish Gold Cup – 7 Sizing John (each way) @ 11/2 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

09 Feb
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(11th & 13th Feb)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight winners.

It doesn’t stop there either, with teams from Spain also ruling the roost in Europe’s second tier tournament, the Europa League, taking four of the last five editions, highlighted by triumphs for goal happy Sevilla in 2014, ’15 and ’16.

Enthused by a domestic league bursting with quality and rivalry, Betting Directory’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…

Football has an uncanny way of bringing teams together, and less than 72 hours after the Basque side Alaves sent Vitoria-Gasteiz into orbit with a 1-0 semi final second leg win over Celta Vigo in the Copa Del Rey, a win which sealed their first ever final appearance in the competition after 96 years of trying, in which they’ll meet Catalan giants Barcelona, they have to take a deep breath and get back into the flow of league action….against, you’ve guessed it…..Barcelona (Sat 3.15pm).

Will the Basques put down a marker for the final, or will Barca take advantage of a longer preparation time having met Atletico in the same competition on Tuesday?

It’s not an easy game to call, so rather than getting involved there let’s focus in on events in Seville, where earlier in the day Real Betis entertain a struggling Valencia at the Benito Villamarin (12.00pm).

Stormy weather on the north west coast meant Betis had a day off last weekend, denied the chance to meet Deportivo at the Riazor, meaning the last time we saw them was in their impressive 1-1 draw with Barcelona.

If they can reproduce anything like that level of form then they’ll tear Valencia to bits, with the visitors in disarray and experiencing their own footballing equivalent of stormy weather, especially when beaten 0-4 at home by Eibar last Saturday, in a game which featured a stunning strike from Dani Garcia.

That’s seven goals conceded in two games for ‘Los Che’, and Betis look well placed to take all three points – you can back them to do exactly that at 29/20 with Boylesports.

Next up, if ever a game screamed draw then it has to be Athletic Bilbao against Deportivo La Coruna at San Mames.

Bilbao were very unlucky when failing to score in the first half in the Nou Camp last weekend, but they do struggle to finish teams off, and in Depor they’re up against a side who are fresh following the aforementioned postponement last weekend, and who are also very good at getting a point!

The value here has to be the stalemate at a handy 14/5 with BetVictor.

Last but not least on Saturday, it’s hard to see Real Madrid being as charitable as Sevilla were when they steamroller into Osasuna’s El Sadar stadium for the evening kick-off (7.45pm).

Sevilla allowed the bottom team to score three times in a see-saw 4-3 win on January 22nd, but Real should have way too much for their soon to be relegated opponents, and are unlikely to be so generous as they look to turn the screw at the top of the table.

Real are 6/5 to win to nil with any of BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Paddy.

Fast forward to Monday night and the ever-developing success story which is Eibar gets another airing, this time at home to Granada at the Ipurua Municipal.

Sitting pretty in seventh position, this would be nine points from three league games for the Basque outfit, who welcome struggling southern side Granada.

Granada’s home form has given them maybe the tiniest sliver of hope, but they’re likely to left discussing another away defeat after this lengthy trip north.

Eibar are a general 4/7 for the victory.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00 Sat – Real Betis v Valencia – Home Win @ 29/20 (Boylesports)

5.30pm Sat – Athletic Bilbao v Deportivo La Coruna – Draw @ 14/5 (BetVictor)

7.45pm Sat – Osasuna v Real Madrid – Madrid to win to nil @ 6/5 (BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power)

7.45pm Mon – Eibar v Granada – Home Win @ 4/7 (General)

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Posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

03 Feb
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(4th & 5th Feb)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight winners.

It doesn’t stop there either, with teams from Spain also ruling the roost in Europe’s second tier tournament, the Europa League, taking four of the last five editions, highlighted by triumphs for goal happy Sevilla in 2014, ’15 and ’16.

Enthused by a domestic league bursting with quality and rivalry, Betting Directory’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…

Some potentially very tight encounters are the hallmark of week 21 on the La Liga calendar, and a game which looks a rock solid candidate to end honours even is Saturday’s midday kick-off between Malaga and Espanyol at La Rosaleda.

After the postponement of Depor against Betis on Friday night due to adverse weather, this opening game of the round of fixtures is 14th against 9th, in a match where Marcelo Romero’s Malaga really need to get something to build on last week’s point against Osasuna.

Their lack of strength in depth was highlighted by their inability to see off the relegation strugglers, and Espanyol are much better equipped to cause them problems.

That said, Espanyol aren’t world beaters themselves, and were flattered by last week’s 3-1 home win against high-flying Sevilla, who were forced to play for almost the entire game with 10 men after a second minute red card for Nicolas Pareja.

It’s about time Malaga starting making inroads into 2017 after a poor January, and a point would suit both sides.

The draw is available at 12/5 with any of bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Skybet.

Next up on Saturday (3.15pm) is a potential banana skin for Barcelona, as they welcome the stubborn Basque side, Athletic Bilbao, to the Nou Camp

Well drilled by Ernesto Valverde, ‘Los Leones’ as Athletic are also known don’t concede too many, and it’s worth bearing in mind these two sides were only separated by a single goal (4-3 on aggregate) over 180 minutes in the Copa Del Rey last month.

What’s more, the Basques are in positive goal difference for the season and might be able to cause Barca real problems, with Luis Enrique’s side under pressure to keep up the heat on Real Madrid, less than 72 hours after a taxing Copa Del Rey encounter with Atletico Madrid.

It’s also worth recalling the cagey game the two sides played out when they met in the league back in August, with Barca nicking a 1-0 win at San Mames.

As such, Barca make zero appeal at 2/9 for the win, with the draw looking a huge price at 6/1 with any of Betfred, BetVictor, Sportingbet or William Hill.

Moving on, fourth-placed Atletico need to get back to the sort of form that saw them beat Betis and Eibar to nil in January, and their home game against lowly Leganes looks a perfect opportunity to do so (Sat, 5.30pm).

Leganes have failed to score in three of their last four in the league, and are lucky that in Granada, Osasuna and Sporting, there are three worse teams than them to help them ward off the threat of relegation.

Atletico have had a tricky campaign on a number of levels, but Diego Simeone will have his side fired up for this in case Barca or Sevilla drop points above them.

Back Atleti to win to nil at 4/5 with either BetVictor or Coral.

Lastly, something to light up Sunday could well be a rare win on the road for Alaves (3.15pm).

The Basque outfit have become stalemate experts in 2017, drawing seven of their last nine in all competitions, but if something can help them snap that sequence then surely it’s the short three hour trip to northern rivals Sporting Gijon…

The two teams draw 0-0 in Vitoria-Gasteiz back in August, but while the babazorros (Alaves) have become ultra hard to beat, Sporting have embarked on a dismal run, gaining just one point from a possible 18 recently.

That’s nowhere near the required standard, and another defeat looks a distinct possibility, with Alaves looking a super price at 13/5 with any of Betfred, BetVictor, Boylesports or Ladbrokes.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00 Sat – Malaga v Espanyol – Draw @ 12/5 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor or Skybet)

3.15 Sat – Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao – Draw @ 6/1 (Betfred, BetVictor or William Hill)

5.30 Sat – Atletico Madrid v Leganes – Atletico to win to nil @ 4/5 (BetVictor or Coral)

3.15 Sun – Sporting Gijon v Alaves – Away Win @ 13/5 (Betfred, BetVictor or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago