Grand National Tips
No Tom I’m afraid this week folks so you’ve got me, Russell Palmer from the Betting Directory as I bid to ably deputise as Tom tops up his tan on holiday.
It’s a pretty competitive day looking across the cards, with the highlight the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock (4.30pm). Limato is the short priced favourite and with good reason following his win in the July Cup earlier in the Summer and the second place last time out behind Mecca’s Angel in the Nunthorpe.
There was no disgrace in finishing second that day and his form is better than any in Saturday’s field. However, with forecast rain on its way to Haydock the four year old’s participation could be up in the air, so I’ve picked out a couple of each -way chances as insurance.
The form of the July Cup is key here as I like the second and third home that day to go well again on Saturday.
The filly Quiet Reflection has been hugely impressive this season, winning the Group 2 Sandy Lane here in May by three and three quarter lengths. A win in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot followed and she was third at Newmarket last time. She gets a fillies allowance here, goes on any ground if there is to be a change in the going and arrives fresh. The Henry Candy trained filly can be backed each-way at 11/2 with Coral.
The horse who finished between Limato and Quiet Reflection in second at Newmarket was Suedois who represents real value here at 14/1.
If we’re backing Quiet Reflection then Suedois should also be considered. The David O’Meara trained five year old has four pounds in hand on Quiet Reflection from that July Cup run due to the weight for age allowance and I can’t for the life of me see why he’d be a double figure price amongst this field.
Earlier in the card I like the look of Hathal trained by William Haggas in the Superior Mile (3.00pm). I backed Yorker trained by Haggas in the Strensall Stakes a few weeks ago at York, a horse that had come back following a long lay off and the trainer has a knack with horses such as these with Hathal running for the first time in a year.
The four year old was improving last year winning a Listed race at Newbury before the lay-off. The Haggas yard is in absolutely scorching form with his last 38 runners yielding 20 who have finished either first or second. At 7/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair it looks a cracking each-way bet.
Tom will be back next week, good luck with Saturday’s bets!
Saturday’s Best Bets:
3.00pm Haydock – Superior Mile – Hathal (each-way) 7/1 (Paddy Power and Betfair)
4.30pm Haydock – 32Red Sprint Cup – Quiet Reflection (each-way) 11/2 (Coral) and Suedois (each-way) 14/1 (Various)Posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago
Supplemented for a race his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, has won eight times since 1987, Thikriyaat looks the one to be with in Saturday’s most valuable prize, the Group 2 Doom Bar Celebration Mile (4.30pm) at Goodwood.
One of the infrequent but popular days upon which the Chanel 4 bandwagon gets a welcome chance to set up camp on the scenic Sussex Downs, the Celebration mile features a field of just five, of which the two three-year-olds, Thikriyaat and Zonderland, hold sway at the top of the market.
Bear in mind, the Classic generation have dominated this event and then some, taking six of the last eight renewals, from a mere 11 representatives.
What’s more, Thikriyaat has been beaten just once in five career outings, and even that came when runner-up at the hands of a future Group 1 scorer, Ribchester.
He won a Group 3 over course and distance last time out on a track that can take some knowing, and looks a very solid option in the hands of Paul Hanagan.
At the time of writing, both Stan James and Paddy Power are 15/8.
Notching a double figure winners tally in the fortnight to Friday, it could actually be a quickfire ‘cross the card’, Group race, three-year-old double for team Stoute, as Ulysses goes for Windsor’s Winter Hill Stakes on Saturday evening (6.00pm).
Fit again Ryan Moore is jocked up to partner a horse who made a massive impression when winning his maiden at Newbury, earning a hike in class that saw his next start come in the Derby!
A shade out of his depth there, he was more at home when winning a mile and a half Group 3 at Glorious Goodwood.
This drop in trip to 1m 2f won’t be an issue, especially with Moore eager to make up for lost time.
Saturday’s best bets:
4.30 Goodwood – Doom Bar Celebration Mile – 4 Thikriyaat (win)
6.00 Windsor – Winter Hill Stakes – 4 Ulysses (win)Posted 11 months ago
Two down, two to go here at the York Ebor Meeting, where both extremes are on display today, with the blink and you’ll miss it five furlong Nunthorpe topping the bill alongside the two mile marathon runners in the Lonsdale, both of which you can see live with us on Channel 4.
Sitting neatly between the two feature events is the Group 3 City Of York Stakes (3.05pm), where despite the presence of highly-rated three-year-old Nemoralia, the value play could be Dean Ivory’s Librisa Breeze.
Only a four-year-old, he looked very much a Group horse in the making when justifying a gamble at Ascot last month, and another big step forward would come as little surprise here.
He looks very fair value at 5/1 with any of BetVictor, Betway, Hills, or Skybet.
Some 35 minutes earlier (2.30pm), reformed character Pallasator can be on his best behaviour to land the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.
He ran arguably his best ever race last time out, when going down a length and a half to Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup, and he looks a more solid option than favourite Trip To Paris, who makes his second start since returning from an injury lay-off.
He hasn’t always been the most straightforward customer in the preliminaries, but Pallasator seems to be a different proposition now and can cement that with a victory here, to build on a fortnight in which his stable have enjoyed seven winners from 20 runners.
Lastly, rather than getting drawn into the imponderables about the ground for Mecca’s Angel or the trip for supplemented Limato, I’m going for a small each way wager in the feature (3.40pm) on a huge outsider.
Prince Of Lir, winner of the Norfolk at Royal Ascot and sent off favourite for a Group 2 in France last time out, is one of three runners in the Nunthorpe for sprint master, Robert Cowell.
One of only two juveniles in the field, both of whom receive a vast weight concession from the older sprinters, he might outrun his price in the hands of Tom Marquand – a number of firms are offering 40/1.
Friday’s best bets at York:
2.30 – Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup – 3 Pallasator (win) 4/1 with Bet365
3.05 – Sky Bet City Of York Stakes – 5 Librisa Breeze (win) 5/1 with Bet Victor
3.40 – Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes – 19 Prince Of Lir (each way) 40/1 with Paddy PowerPosted 11 months, 1 week ago
Fast ground, big crowds and blazing sunshine are the key ingredients so far here in York, where we head into day two of the Ebor Meeting after an opening salvo which featured headline displays from Idaho and Postponed.
The first of those is now something in the region of a 7/4 favourite for the St Leger after barrelling his way through yesterday’s Great Voltigeur, while Roger Varian’s Postponed could be set to light up the Arc de Triomphe at its temporary home of Chantilly in October, for which bookies’ quotes range between 4/1 and 5/1 following his classy display in the feature Juddmonte International.
Today’s big one comes at 3.40pm in the shape of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, with a four strong challenge from Aidan O’Brien, spearheaded by proven top level performer Found.
There is a little bit of a question mark for her on this quicker surface though, and in receipt of a meaty 10 pounds it might be one of the three-year-olds that come to the fore.
Seventh Heaven lived up to her name when winning the Irish Oaks in mid-July, but it’s another of the O’Brien quartet, Even Song, who might claw back some of her dented reputation from that race by springing a surprise today.
Sent off the 4/5 market leader for the Curragh Group 1, she wasn’t a danger at any stage that day, but leat we forget any horse can have an off day, and this filly didn’t go off odds on for a Group 1 by accident…
Furthermore, Ryan Moore chose her over both Seventh Heaven and Pretty Perfect that day, no doubt hugely impressed by her win in Royal Ascot’s Ribblesdale.
A return to that form, with Pat Smullen up for the first time today, might see her make a mockery of her odds, with bet365 and Stan James both going 14/1 and 1/4 odds for each way money.
Later on, another filly crossing the pond from Ireland who might be over-priced is the Jim Bolger-trained Glamorous Approach, who takes her place in the hands of Kevin Manning in the EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes (4.20pm).
The Bolger stable is in superb nick, and today’s mile and a half assignment might be ideal for a progressive three-year-old who has been experimented with at a variety of distances.
By Derby winner New Approach, she’s joint top rated but gets weight from the older horses, giving her a great chance to at least make the frame at the 15/2 available with Hills.
Today’s best bets at York:
3.40 – Darley Yorkshire Oaks – 6 Even Song (each way) @ 14/1 (bet365)
4.20 – EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes – 6 Glamorous Approach (each way) @ 7/1 (Paddy Power)Posted 11 months, 1 week ago
For the fourth day on the bounce it’s a top notch racing and football double header, spearheaded by six races on the penultimate day of Royal Ascot, plus key three Euro 2016 matches in Groups D and E.
It’s to Ascot we’ll head first to try and unravel some each way value on a tough card, one which could see the Soft ground improve a little, but only if the showery weather stays away.
The second race on the card is the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes, a mile and a half contest where a field of nine will do battle for an overall £200,000 pot.
Split between Ascot and Leopardstown trainer Aidan O’Brien enjoyed four winners yesterday, and it’s little surprise to see his Beacon Rock topping the bookies’ lists.
The comfortable Gallinule Stakes winner is the pick of Ryan Moore, but at bigger odds one who might have slipped through the net is Across The Stars, quietly fancied at big prices for the Epsom Derby, before failing to act on the track.
Today, Sir Michael Stoute has enlisted the help of Frankie Dettori for this talented sort, one who was almost certainly unlucky in-running when third to the reopposing Humphrey Bogart and Carntop at Lingfield in early May.
Effective on a range of ground, his turn might not be long in coming, with this just sixth racecourse start.
Across The Stars is 12/1 with any of bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Betway or Paddy Power.
It’s hard not to be excited by the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup upcoming at 3.40pm, the three-year-old sprint over six furlongs.
A filly tops the market in the shape of Karl Burke’s prolific winner, Quiet Reflection, but at quadruple her price the one who was most visually impressive when I watched him win was one of the Richard Hannon runners, Log Out Island.
Admittedly it was only in listed company at Newbury in May, but lit up by a first time hood the pace he showed that day to go screeching clear of his field was incredible, and if he can reproduce that effort today he’ll have a fine chance.
It’s not as if James Doyle’s mount has come from nowhere, finishing second in the Mill Reef Stakes as well as winning the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy in 2015.
Today he’s an 8/1 chance with Paddy Power.
Swapping racing silks for a football shirt, there could be a solid double to take advantage of among today’s big games…
The Stade Municipal in Toulouse is the venue for pace-setting Italy against Zlatan Ibrahimovich’s Sweden in Group E at 2pm, a match where Sweden would dearly love to get three points, but look likely to be undone by the Italians high energy counter attacking game.
The Swede’s limitations were exposed against Ireland in match day one, with the supply line to a largely lethargic attack sealed off efficiently.
They’re up against a much better side here, one that don’t concede very often with a tight and experienced defence run like a metronome by ‘keeper Buffon.
Azzurri boss Conte may have something that appears similar to a school janitor’s mop attached to his head, but don’t let that put you off backing his side to make it two wins from two.
Next up, there could be a similar good news story for Croatia in Group D.
They play the Czech Republic in St Etienne (5.00pm), along with Marseille’s Velodrome by some way the best grounds in the tournament, and the eastern city can become a fond memory for the team martialled on the pitch by Messrs Modric and Rakitic.
They were far too good for Turkey on matchday one, and can effectively seal their progress with a win today.
In places (such as Ladbrokes) the double pays an attractive 3/1.
Today’s best racing and football bets:
3.40 Royal Ascot – Commonwealth Cup – 6 Log Out Island (each way) @ 8/1 (Paddy Power)
Euro 2016 – Italy to beat Sweden, Croatia to beat Czech Rep – double pays 3/1Posted 1 year, 1 month ago
Perhaps my favourite race of the entire meeting at Royal Ascot is today’s ridiculously difficult Royal Hunt Cup (5.00pm), a big field mile barging match which is as attritional a handicap as you can get, made all the more difficult by the continuing rain turning the ground Soft.
Far from easy, but with bookies going 10/1 the field and the conditions meaning plenty can be discounted, it’ll be all the more satisfying if it can be unravelled.
The suggestion is to back a couple at big prices, then hope from some luck in-running…
My shortlist features the names Spirit Raiser, Donncha, Mr Owen and Secret Brief, with the latter pair the ones who’ll be carrying the cash.
Charlie Appleby is as confident as you can be about Secret Brief, noting that the Betway Lincoln winner will love the going and is thriving after a 74-day break following his Doncaster heroics.
Drawn in stall three, he’s up only four pounds for his April win, has proven big field handicap experience, plus a top pilot in William Buick.
At 14/1 he could very well be the one, especially with Paddy Power paying SIX PLACES each way!!
My other big hope is Qatar Racing’s sole representative Mr Owen – how on earth this fella is 28/1 is a mystery?
Fully proven even on really testing ground, he actually is rarity in that he’s a genuine Group 1 performer, now trying his hand in a handicap, albeit perhaps the toughest one all summer.
Third to Make Believe in last year’s French Guineas, he even went to Canada to run in the Woodbine Mile back in September.
If he takes to this sort of race he’ll surely outrun his price, and we know it’s been a plan as trainer Francois Rohaut has had him stabled in Deauville to cut down on the travel.
Oisin Murphy has options left, right and centre from stall 14.
Today’s best bets in the Royal Hunt Cup:
A pair of Grade 1’s in the shape of the Neville Hotels Novice Chase (1.55pm) and the Ryanair Hurdle (2.30pm) usher in the fourth and final day here at Leopardstown, with the track set to be hit by some fairly rough weather for the denouement of its great Christmas fixture, the best of which you’ll see live with us on RTE2.
Both feature just four runners, with Drinmore winner No More Heroes a best price 2/5 to extend his winning sequence over fences to three in the former, while a little later it’s Nichols Canyon, the only horse to have beaten runaway Christmas Hurdle winner Faugheen, who is no bigger than 1/2 to claim his sixth Grade 1 prize.
That means opportunities are probably limited, especially with the ground riding Heavy, so we’ll look further afield for the day’s sole recommendation, to Doncaster and their two mile Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (1.10pm).
Six go to post for this, featuring some promising types such as Donald McCain’s Katachenko, who won a messy race at Wetherby on Charlie Hall Chase day, but couldn’t follow up off a pound higher next time out – he’ll have to pull out more having gone up another four pounds here.
Charlie Longsdon’s Long Lunch travelled beautifully through his race at Sandown last time out, just fading late on, suggesting today’s drop back in trip could be a huge asset, while former Imperial Cup hero Baltimore Rock can surely play a hand if fit and ready to roll on his first try over fences, reappearing as he does after a 262-day absence.
However, perhaps the one with the least question marks is Brian Ellison’s runner, The Grey Taylor.
He has the assistance of jockey Richard Johnson, as the Herefordshire man blazes a trail towards a double century of winners for the season, currently motoring along on 167.
The Grey Taylor was a very useful hurdler, winning two of five starts, and going off at 5/1 for Kemtpon’s prestigious Dovecote Novice’s Hurdle back in February.
It’s over fences though that he has the potential to be even better, a school of thought encouraged by October’s pillar to post win over the larger obstacles at Carlisle.
Confidence is high after that, and Ellison has his string in great nick, firing in five winners from his last 17 runners.
Tuesday’s best bet:
It’s a wet and windy Leopardstown that’s set to welcome another big crowd for day three of the annual Christmas meeting, one which boasts the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle and Lexus Chase as its chief components, both of which you’ll see live with us on RTE2.
The three mile Christmas Hurdle (1.55pm) in particular looks set to be a thriller, pitting strong stayers Martello Tower and Alpha Des Obeaux against the classy, but stamina unproven, Arctic Fire.
Albert Bartlett winner Martello Tower is returning to the track from a 290 day absence since his Cheltenham heroics, but even so is bound to try and make this as searching a test as possible.
The same is true of Alpha Des Obeaux, who was comfortably accounted for by Arctic Fire in Fairyhouse’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle last month, though that came over half a mile shorter than today’s trip.
Seemingly there aren’t too many chinks in 169-rated Arctic Fire’s armour, a horse available at just 8/1 for the two mile Champion Hurdle in March, though the conundrum for his trainer is the embarrassment of riches which sees him furnished with two seemingly superior options for that contest already, in the shape of the monster Faugheen, as well as Nichols Canyon.
Trying to keep them apart is no easy feat, so it makes sense to try and chisel out a new discipline for Arctic Fire, stepping him up in trip in a fascinating experiment.
Will he stay, or will the petrol light be flickering on empty?
On ratings the last season’s Champion Hurdle runner up ought to be an odds on shot, he’s proven on Soft ground, hails from a stable in red hot form, and has the assistance of Ruby Walsh.
Perhaps more importantly, he’s seen out both of his races this season powerfully, staying on well to score over two and a half miles at both Navan and Fairyhouse, a precedent which bodes well for this afternoon.
There’s no guarantee, but I expect him to win today, and his current odds of 12/1 for the World Hurdle to be adjusted accordingly.
Elsewhere, winner number 167 of the season beckons for champion jockey elect Richard Johnson, as he partners Cotillion in Leicester’s Parsley Selling Hurdle (1.25pm).
Johnson, on target for trainer Ian Williams at Huntingdon on Saturday, gets the leg up on a horse who won on the all-weather 12 days ago, and was last seen hurdling at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
It’ll be a disappointment if he doesn’t have too many guns for some limited opposition.
Monday’s best bets:
Outstanding racing around the country means Saturday ought to be a day for Jumps racing enthusiasts to savour, with two races over the National fences at Aintree, as well as Sandown Park’s Tingle Creek card.
On a day where a single winning Scoop6 ticket could take home a cool million pounds, arguably the biggest draw is Sandown’s Grade 1 two mile feature (3.00pm), in which a dead eight will have each way tongues wagging.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Vibrato Valtat, winner of a Grade 1 Novices’ Chase on this card 12 months ago, tops the market off the back of his impressive reappearance win in Exeter’s Haldon Gold Cup.
Pressing him at the front of the market is comeback kid Simonsig, a dual Cheltenham Festival winner who returned to the track for the first time in more than two and a half years when second to stablemate Bobs Worth last month.
That Aintree run came over hurdles, but this former Arkle winner is unbeaten over fences and commands great respect, with Barry Geraghty released from his retainer with JP McManus to take the ride.
The 11-year-old Somersby benefits from the services of Nina Carberry in the saddle, trying to add to his second placed finishes last season in both this race and the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Also in there trying to repeat previous good form is bang in-form Gary Moore’s Sire De Grugy.
Moore, on target with a big-priced treble at Sandown on Friday, believes he has the 2013 Tingle Creek and 2014 Queen Mother winner in flying form.
However, at 5/1 with a number of bookmakers maybe the one to pin our hopes on is the sole Irish runner in the field, Henry de Bromhead’s Special Tiara.
Fit from a run to blow away the cobwebs at Navan, the eight-year-old is one who might still be improving, plus his visits to the UK have been fruitful.
He showed his liking for Sandown Park when surging clear in April’s Grade 1 Celebration Chase, having already won Kempton’s Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase last Christmas.
It’s worth remembering he had three of his rivals here in rear when easily taking the Celebration, the ground won’t be a cause for concern, and de Bromhead is in form, winning Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth hurdle with his only UK runner last weekend.
Away from the track, anyone looking for a football wager might consider Premier League surprise package Leicester, as the Foxes travel to out of sorts Swansea.
The better side against Manchester United last Saturday, they’ve got Jamie Vardy up front looking to snatch the Premier League record for scoring in consecutive games, while in Riyad Mahrez they’ve got a silky midfielder who can help them grab three points on the road.
They look very fairly priced at 7/4 with either bet365 or BetVictor.
Saturday’s best bet at Sandown Park:
3.00 kick-off in the Premier League – Leicester to win at Swansea – 7/4 with either bet365 or BetVictorPosted 1 year, 7 months ago