Posts Tagged ‘ odds ’

13 Mar
2013

Cheltenham Festival 2013 – Thursday’s Tips

A winner and three places on Wednesday meant that Tom continued his good start to the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. Here are Thursday’s seven selections.

 Race Tom’s Selection Betting
1.30 – Jewson Novices’ Chase No.6 Dynaste (win) @ 7/4 (Betfred)
2.05 – Pertemps Final (Handicap) No.19 Ely Brown (each way) @ 22/1 (Bet Victor)
2.40 – Ryanair Chase No.4 First Lieutenant (win) @ 11/4 (Betfred)
3.20 – Ladbrokes World Hurdle No.8 Reve De Sivola (win) @ 9/2 (Bet365, Paddy Power or William Hill)
4.00 – Byrne Group Plate No.13 Cantlow (each way) @ 8/1 (Betfred, Coral or William Hill)
4.40 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup H’Cap Chase No.4 Harry The Viking (each way) @ 20/1 (Bet365)
5.15 – Glenfarclas Cross Country H’Cap Chase No.1 Uncle Junior (each way) @ 10/1 (Paddy Power)

Previews for all races as well as odds for every race on day three, including live Cheltenham news, results and latest free bets and bookmakers offers can be found at http://cheltenham-festival.betting-directory.com/

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Posted 4 years, 6 months ago

16 Dec
2011

Grounds For Confidence On Ladbroke Hurdle Day

With a bit of luck both Ascot and Haydock can escape the worst of the wintery weather to make up a cracking six race double bill live on Channel 4 on Saturday afternoon.

It’s an early start for yours truly in front of the Morning Line cameras, and it should be a show well worth tuning in for with guest contributions from the BHA’s Director of Security Paul Scotney, plus top rider Christian Williams.

I’ll also be out and about chatting to Ascot Clerk of the Course Chris Stickels, plus Ladbrokes very own David Cameron look and sound-a-like David Williams who’ll be unveiling news of their best punter friendly concessions on one of the key days in the Magic Sign’s sponsorship portfolio.

At the time of writing rumour has it that’ll mean Ladbrokes offering to refund stakes on the horse who finishes second to Big Bucks in the Long Walk, which essentially for many people will mean a bet to nothing on the improving Dynaste. Not bad.

Out on the track there’s plenty to say about Saturday’s racing, but both main cards will be hugely influenced by the weather and indeed the relatively testing conditions if they get the go ahead.

Ascot’s ground was changed to Soft ahead of Friday’s card, while Haydock is Heavy having absorbed a lot of rain, but also threatened by snow and frost.

Fingers crossed they can survive at the Newton-le-Willows track, as I’ve got their 2m 4f handicap hurdle scheduled for 2.10pm down to just two options, both of whom will thrive on the ground while others are dropping like flies.

Both are towards the head of the weights, but both are sizeable prices and certainly worth chancing on a day which could throw up some decent priced winners.

First up is Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old Priolo gelding Pateese, who isn’t well treated off 140 but does have decent Conditional Matt Griffiths on top to alleviate some of his big weight.

He looked a totally different animal on Soft ground when scooting up in a Sandown handicap off 128 at the start of November, and off the back of that effort went off favourite for the Greatwood no less (which may have come too quick).

He has only been out of the frame twice in nine starts over hurdles, and can take advantage of these conditions to run a big race at 9/1 each way with Victor Chandler.

Backing two in the same race isn’t my ideal approach, but sometimes it can be considered a necessary evil, as it is in the case of Venetia Williams’ mud lover Houblon Des Obeaux.

There were whispers from within his stable that he might have a genuine chance at the top level in the Triumph Hurdle after he got the job done in deep ground in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock in February, but this will be the first time since then he’s had his ground and only his third handicap, and even that’s from a reduced mark.

As a course winner he deserves respect, and at 12/1 each way with Ladbrokes i’d be in no way surprised if he popped up here.

I’m sure you’ve already read that Donald McCain has given Peddlers Cross the day off rather than risk him on bottomless ground at Haydock, but one stable star making the short journey from Cheshire is Wymott, who’ll be fully revved up for his attempt at the feature Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase at 2.45pm.

On ground he’ll love he has a favourite’s chance, and can net his first win since February.

Down at Ascot had the ground remained Good I’d have been gearing up for a tilt at Massini’s Maguire in the Silver Cup on just his second run for David Pipe, but leaving that contest well alone I’ll fast forward to the final race on the card, Europe’s most valuable Handicap Hurdle no less, in the shape of the Ladbroke Hurdle at 3.35pm.

Favourite Prospect Wells joined Paul Nicholls from Howard Johnson in the summer, and has hit the ground running with a pair of wins at Chepstow and Newbury sandwiching a highly creditable effort at Cheltenham, when he was worn down in the dying strides by Steps To Freedom.

He was very handy on the Flat, and might be a good thing with Ruby up and mark of 142 guaranteeing a lovely racing weight (10.9), but 4/1 is short enough for one with so little experience (only three starts over timber), and there is a chance he might find it happening all a bit too fast against seasoned pros.

Over the last few campaigns the stats are rotten for the four year olds, with a recent record of 0-27 enough to concern anyone thinking of backing fancied contenders such as Prospect Wells’ stablemate Brampour (who’s technically nine pounds well in but has top weight), sole Irish challenger Sailors Warn, or northern contender Abergavenny.

Interestingly the stats also show that the last eight winners were aged between five and seven, and most had run no more than ten times in this discipline.

One who conforms, acts on the ground, and might be a shorter price if he hailed from a more fashionable stable is Lucy Wadham’s Alarazi, who was smart on the Flat when with John Oxx, has had a run to sharpen him up, and might think Christmas has come early with a feather weight to carry and the great Richard Johnson on his back.

You don’t need a long memory to recall him hacking up in the Imperial Cup in March, and though he hasn’t won since he has been highly tried, and to me it seems far too soon to write off this good looking son of Spectrum, which freely available quotes of 20/1 appear to.

Bet365, Boylesports, Ladbrokes or Stan James will all lay you the top price.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets:

2.10 Haydock – Maxilead Metals Supports Alder Hey Imagine Appeal Handicap Hurdle – 2 Pateese (each way) @ 9/1 (Victor Chandler)

2.10 Haydock – Maxilead Metals Supports Alder Hey Imagine Appeal Handicap Hurdle – 3 Houblon Des Obeaux (each way) @ 12/1 (Ladbrokes)

2.45 Haydock – Maxilead Metals Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase – 2 Wymott (win) @ 7/2 (Boylesports or William Hill)

3.35 Ascot – The Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle – 11 Alarazi (each way) @ 20/1 (Bet365, Boylesports, Ladbrokes or Stan James)

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Posted 5 years, 9 months ago

17 Aug
2011

Time To Turn The Air Blue In Darley Yorkshire Oaks – Thursday’s Tips

York’s four day Ebor Meeting got off to a flyer on Wednesday afternoon, and more of the same will do very nicely with three days of top notch action lined up and ready to go.

Thursday’s big race is the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks (3.40pm, live on C4), and after she did this column a huge favour when getting up to deny Banimpire in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh a month ago, there’s no way I can advise anything other than a win bet on Blue Bunting for Godolphin and Frankie Dettori.

Speed, stamina and an abundance of grit mark this daughter of Dynamformer down as a special filly, and she needed all of those qualities and more when seeing off the re-opposing Banimpire on Yielding ground in Ireland 32 days previously.

The short head winning margin suggests there isn’t much between them, but I fancy them to fight out a decent finish and Blue Bunting to prevail once again, especially as this is a home game for her whereas as Banimpire has to travel here from Ireland.

It’s been some season for Mahmood Al Zarooni’s flagbearer, with an English Guineas to go on the mantelpiece alongside her top level Irish win, and at 3/1 with William Hill I’m very keen on the idea of her adding a third Group 1 to her haul for the 2011 campaign.

Of the opposition Banimpire is clearly made of a sturdy stuff and isn’t one to throw the towel in when a scrap is in the offing, but a series of hard races could have left their mark.

Of the older mares Crystal Capella is the obvious one, but she rarely manages to put it together at this rarified level, and what’s more the challenge of conceding 10lbs to three years olds as good as these looks beyond her if you ask me.

Keep it simple: a decent sized bet on Blue Bunting to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at 3/1 with Hills is the way forward.

York should suit her and the ground will be perfect.

Elsewhere on the card some very good juvenile fillies line up in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes over six furlongs at 2.30pm, and the one that stands out in my eyes is Barry Hills’ unbeaten Angels Will Fall, who arrives here in great nick after scorching the turf on her debut at Windsor (over five furlongs), and then successfully stepping up to six when a winner at Ascot in July.

Like several in what looks an above average renewal of the contest she looks to have bags of scope for improvement, but I really liked the way she went about her business on similar ground at Ascot, and at 4/1 with Bet365 or Paddy Power she looks worthy of an interest.

If you’re looking for one at bigger odds don’t be afraid to throw a few quid each way at Tony Newcombe’s Leviathan in the 20 runner Addleshaw Goddard Handicap at 3.05pm.

I’m absolutely convinced this fella has got one of these in him, and with a lovely low racing weight (the handicapper dropped him a pound to 91 after his last outing) I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Steve Drowne was able to put his nose in front when it matters, and at 20/1 with either Victor Chandler or Paddy Power I’m looking forward to seeing if he can.

Here he steps back up to a mile after failing to run his race at Ascot over shorter last time out, but if you think back to his Salisbury win in June off 89, or his unlucky seventh at Sandown on Eclipse day then he must have a squeak in this.

Having run respectably there in the past the track won’t hold any surprises for him, and an each way investment beckons.

Good luck!

Thursday’s best bets at York:

2.30 – Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes – 4 Angels Will Fall (win) @ 4/1 (Bet365 or Paddy Power)

3.05 – Addleshaw Goddard Stakes (Handicap) – 16 Leviathan (each way) @ 20/1 (Victor Chandler or Paddy Power)

3.40 – Darley Yorkshire Oaks – 6 Blue Bunting (win) @ 3/1 (William Hill)

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Posted 6 years, 1 month ago

13 Aug
2011

I Need A Dollar – Saturday’s Newbury Tips

It’s threatening to be a lovely day here in Newbury, with an early band of rain clearing away to reveal blue skies and even a hint of sunshine.

If you saw Morning Line earlier on today you’ll know we reported just 2.5mm of rain overnight; happily it seems to have bypassed the racecourse given that John Francome tells me it ‘lashed down all night’ in nearby Lambourn.

Either way, Clerk of the Course Richard Osgood reports the ground to be unchanged from yesterday at Good, but if it does ease between now and this afternoon I’m happy to be with a pair of horses who both boast form on rain softened going.

If you were watching this morning you’ll know I was keen to be with a selection in both of the Group races, the first of which is the CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes at 3.05pm, live on Channel 4.

It’s a contest in which, of the older horses, Meeznah must have a big shout with the mares’ allowance, especially on the back of her convincing Goodwood Group 3 win last time out.

My feeling is though that she may have to give best to one of the three year olds (who are all in receipt of a handy 11lbs), notably runaway Royal Ascot winner Brown Panther.

He won the King George V Handicap at the Royal Meeting by a whopping six lengths despite being eased close home (Good to Soft), beating the re-opposing Census into second when receiving three pounds, and although he was perhaps a shade disappointing when only fifth in the German Derby at Hamburg when sent off 7/4 market leader on heavy ground, he definitely strikes me as a horse from whom there’s stacks more to come.

I find it fascinating that bookmakers have him at 14/1 for the St Leger when Census is only 12/1, though in fairness Richard Hannon’s horse did go on to finish an excellent second to Masked Marvel in a Newmarket Group 3 at the July Meeting.

The step up in trip and any rain don’t do any damage to Brown Panther’s chances, and though I have an inkling lightly-raced Yaseer might run a big race in first time blinkers, I’m very happy to take 5/1 with any of Bet365, Ladbrokes, Stan James or William Hill.

Just 35 minutes later it’s time for the feature Group 2 CGA Hungerford Stakes, a race in which there’s support on the exchanges for Richard Hannon’s Dubawi Gold after he was tipped up by our studio guest Richard Hughes this morning.

It’s a cracking contest, especially as Delegator returns following his Lennox Stakes disappointment trying to concede weight to all comers, but as with the Geoffrey Freer I’m sweet on one of the Classic generation, with Marco Botti’s talented Excelebration the one to be with for my money.

Twice thwarted by Frankel this season, first when second in the Greenham over the seven furlong course and distance, and then when third at Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes, he has no such roadblock to contend with this afternoon.

Rated 117, those creditable displays bookended an easy win at Cologne on Soft ground in the German 2,000 Guineas, and at 5/2 with Bet365 I expect him to stamp his authority later today.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Newbury:

3.05 – CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes – 8 Brown Panther (win) @ 5/1 (Bet365, Ladbrokes, Stan James or William Hill)

3.40 – CGA Hungerford Stakes – 10 Excelebration (win) @ 5/2 (Bet365)

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Posted 6 years, 1 month ago

08 Apr
2011

Tips For Day Two Of The 2011 Grand National Meeting

The opening day provided a scorcher, with thrilling action on the track coupled with balmy summer like temperatures, and it’s a case of more of the same today please.

Bookmakers certainly felt the heat in the early skirmishes, as Big Buck’s and then Zarkandar justified heavy support to leave the layers with a hangover.

This afternoon’s action has a more open feel to it, but there are certainly a couple of bets to be had early on the card:

They kick off at 2.00pm (live on BBC2) with the John Smith’s Top Novices’ Hurdle over an extended two miles, a contest in which I’m very keen to be with Lucy Wadham’s Imperial Cup winner Alarazi.

Now rated 137 after a demolition job at Sandown Park a few weeks ago, he failed to give his running in the County Hurdle, but take out that run and I think he’d be shorter than the 9/1 currently available with Ladbrokes.

Rated a whopping 106 on the Flat when trained by John Oxx I think Aintree could suit this improving young horse down to the ground.

He looks very likely to be in the mix at a generous each way price.

Half an hour later a field of eight line up for the John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase, and it can pay to side with Sheena West’s Golan Way as the seven year old goes in search of his third win over fences on just his fourth start over the larger obstacles.

Upped in trip my hunch is he’ll stay, and if he does this exciting front runner can lead them a merry dance in the hands of Leighton Aspell.

Off the back of a 139 day break since winning at Huntingdon this is undeniably a horse who goes best when fresh, and his slick jumping technique will be seen to good effect.

Of the opposition favourite Wayward Prince is not a fluent jumper and comes off the back of a gruelling race at Cheltenham, plus there’s a chance he’ll sulk in a first time visor, while Irish raider Quito De La Roque surely wants it a good deal softer than this to display his best form.

With that in mind an each way bet on Golan Way at 15/2 with Paddy Power or Boylesports seems the way to go.

I’ll be happy to put my feet up and watch the Melling Chase with so may ifs, buts and maybes regarding Master Minded and co, but in the Topham Chase (3.40pm) I can’t take my eyes off his stablemate Mon Parrain as he bids to build on a dazzling British debut win at Sandown Park last month.

It’s a selection that won’t win me too many prizes for originality, but it was a staggering display that day, and if he turns up in a similar mood then the rest might as well not turn up.

The handicapper responded with a whopping 16lb rise (to a mark of 149), but it’s quite possible this horse will prove to be far beyond mere handicaps, and if he takes to the National fences then this could turn out to be a walk in the park for Paul Nicholls’ charge.

At 11/2 with Stan James I’m definitely keen to see if he’s the real deal.

Lastly, a note for any Lord Culcheth fans who’ve been deprived of news of late.

I received a tweet (@tomstips) last week which read: “What has become Lord Culcheth? Update please.”

Well, fear not, he was present and correct at the races yesterday, sporting a foul cream suit reminiscent of the ones worn by the subsequently defeated Liverpool team in the 1996 FA Cup final, and showing off his surprisingly attractive new girlfriend.

Enquiries as to whether she had in fact been hired for the occasion were not met with humour. Such is life.

Good luck today!

This afternoon best bets at Aintree:

2.00 – John Smith’s Top Novices’ Hurdle – 1 Alarazi (each way) @ 9/1 (Ladbrokes)

2.30 – John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase – 1 Golan Way (each way) @ 15/2 (Paddy Power or Boylesports)

3.40 – John Smith’s Topham Chase Handicap – 3 Mon Parrain (win) @ 11/2 (Stan James)

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Posted 6 years, 5 months ago

18 Mar
2011

Cheltenham Gold Cup Day Tips – Friday’s Best Festival Bets

The bookies took a battering on Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival with the wins of Big Bucks and Junior causing the most damage. Another fantastic day’s racing awaits as the curtain falls on the 2011 Cheltenham Festival and Tom has come up with six tips for today. Read more about his selections on our sister site which has cheltenham tips, betting and racecards.

1.30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle

Selection: Sam Winner (each way) @ 7/1 (Bet365, Paddy Power or Stan James)
Selection: Zarkandar (each way) @ 7/1 (Paddy Power, Sportingbet or William Hill)

Tom’s reasoning behind backing two horses in the Triumph Hurdle is that he believes the long time favourite, Grandouet, is vulnerable and therefore offering value about other runners in the race.

Sam Winner finished 15 lengths ahead of Grandouet at Cheltenham in November and followed up that win in good style in December, making him 2-2 over course and distance and the 7/1 available for the opening race on Gold Cup day looks tempting, especially with Ruby Walsh favouring this over the other Paul Nicholls runner, Zarkandar. That has not put Tom off suggesting an each way bet on Zarkandar either with him saying of the horse “I was mighty impressed by his attitude and technique when winning the Adonis and with Daryl Jacob in the saddle, looks the biggest danger to Sam Winner”.

Triumph Hurdle Odds

2:05 – Vincent O’Brien County handicap Hurdle

Selection: 15 Dirar (each way) @ 7/1 (Ladbrokes)

Despite describing it as a “matrix like puzzle” Tom is still confident that he can solve this 28 runner race, in the form of Dirar (each way) who represents the Gordon Elliott stable. Campaigned soley on the flat since finsihing third in the Galway Hurdle, including a win in the Ebor Handicap, he races off a mark of 138 and after a recent prep run at Kempton, it’s thought he could be in peak condition and has a “huge shout here”.

Vincent O’Brien Hurdle Betting

2:40 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Selection: 13 Mossley (each way) @ 16/1 (Bet365)

An each way bet on 16/1 shot, Mossley, is Tom’s recommendation in this race. The Nicky Hederson trained stable-mate of favourite, Bobs Worth, in the hands of AP McCoy is considered to give this course and distance winner who has some great form in the bag a great chance and in Tom’s words “he may well prove to be overpriced here”.

Albert Bartlett Hurdle Odds Comparison

3:20 – Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup

Selection: Imperial Commander (win) @ 7/2 (Ladbrokes)
Selection: Tidal Bay (each way) @ 20/1 (Boylesports, Coral, Stan James, Totesport or William Hill)

Tom’s “confident” selection for the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup is last year’s winner, Imperial Commander, who he rates as “top class” and whilst he gives the other leading protagonists a chance, he concludes “it simply has to be to full win bet on Imperial Commander”.

In addition, he suggests an each way bet on Tidal Bay at 20/1, suggesting that the Howard Johnson trained runner is “capable or running a huge race a big price.” After staying on strongly in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, he thinks if he “gets out of bed on the right side” he could make the frame.

Gold Cup Odds

4:00 – Christie’s Fixhunter Chase

Selection: Baby Run (win) @ 100/30 (Sportingbet)

After making all to win this same race 12 months ago, Tom thinks that Baby Run can repeat history again for the Twiston-Davies yard with another attacking ride from the front.

Foxhunters Chase Betting

4:40 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle

Selection: 8 Qaspal (each way) @ 10/1 (Boylesports NB who offer 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4-5)

Tom thinks that penultimate race of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival could go the way of Qaspal, who is running for the first time since winning the 2010 Imperial Cup some 370 days ago! However, this is not enough to put Tom off backing a horse from a stable more than capable of readying a horse following a lay off and this hold up horse will love the strong gallop here and “it would be no surprise if he hits the front late t o win the race.

Martin Pipe Hurdle Odds

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Posted 6 years, 6 months ago

28 Jan
2011

Cheltenham Trials Day the pick of a ‘Grand’ weekend of Racing

It’s not very often that Tom forgoes the responsibility of writing for his loyal army of followers but this week is one such occasion and for just the fourth time since he joined the Betting Directory team in 2008, he has handed over the reigns to the man regular readers will know as “The Bull Dog”. Unfortunately, I can’t promise to complement this weekend’s racing preview with the same colourful stories that a man of Tom’s jet-setting prowess can provide but can assure readers that I’ve been working overtime to hopefully point you in the direction of a few winners and continue the excellent start Tom has had to the new year with his tips.

What’s so important that Tom can leave his weekend preview in the hands of someone else you may ask? Well, rumours about what he’s up to have been circulating after he was spotted earlier in the week getting kitted out at Urban Outfitters before a trip to Maestro’s hair salon, suggesting wherever he’s going, it’s important. I can in fact confirm that he’s actually heading to Chicago to partake in something called the ‘Polar Bear Plunge’! Picture the scene, Tom jumping in to a frozen Lake Michigan wearing little more than his Speedo’s! Therefore, since his laptop is neither waterproof or capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -7°, we’ll let him have the weekend off. Be sure to read next week’s column when I’m sure he’ll let us know how he got on.

To this weekend’s racing and the highlight of which is Cheltenham Trials day on Saturday which sees Prestbury Park opens its doors for the final time before the Festival, just six weeks away now! All seven races at the Gloucestershire track provide an ideal opportunity for trainers to see how runners perform at the course and if recent years are anything to go by, there should be some significant moves in the Festival’s antepost markets come ten past four on Saturday afternoon.

The feature race of the day is the Grade 2 Argento Chase at 2:30 which lost a little of its appeal at the final declaration stage on Friday following the omission of Royal & Sun Alliance Chase favourite Time For Rupert, who, following a minor infection, misses the the race and will go straight to the Festival.

Six go to post and Tidal Bay sets the benchmark for the field following his second to Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander last time out in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, but just one win from his past twelve runs (spanning over two years) suggests that Howard Johnson’s runner is perhaps not completely straightforward. Tidal Bay’s last win came twelve months ago this weekend when he landed the Cleeve Hurdle, ironically beating Time For Rupert in to second. You have to go even further back to November 2008 for his last win over fences and ending that drought looks all the more difficult up against the promising Punchestowns in this race.

A disappointing fifth when favourite for last year’s RSA Chase before being beaten at odds of 4/11 on his seasonal reappearance last month at Newbury, Punchestowns has a couple of questions of his own to answer. However, the loss of a shoe coupled with finishing lame at the Cheltenham Festival and the foggy conditions last time out are more than justifiable excuses and he is given another chance here to prove the early promise he showed when switching to bigger obstacles following a top class hurdling career.

This will be only the fifth start over fences for the Nicky Henderson trained runner and even on the two occasions he’s been beaten, he has not been disgraced and at the age of eight, he should have a lot more to offer up against a field of ten year olds, who all must prove they have what it takes to cut it at this level and Punchestowns is certainly the pick of this six runner field at 6/5 with Victor Chandler and Stan James.

The Cleeve Hurdle at 3:35 is one trial on this card that has provided some useful Festival pointers in recent years with Big Bucks (2009) and Inglis Drever (2008) both landing the race en route to victory in the World Hurlde. Big Bucks doesn’t line up this time around and it’s difficult to see anything emerging that could threaten the Paul Nicholls star from landing a hat-trick in the old Stayers Hurdle come March, although the David Pipe yard may think otherwise in the form of Grands Crus. This lightly raced six year old is well ahead of the handicapper following back to back wins in November, including an impressive victory at Cheltenham and an easy 10 length win at Haydock, the form of which has worked out well, with both 2nd and 3rd going on to win and this Pond House runner could be absolutely anything.

This step up to Grade Two company could be more fitting of Grands Crus’ ability and it’s worth taking a chance that he’s got more to offer at the best price 9/4 on offer with Bet365 & Paddy Power. It may also be worth a speculative punt at 12/1 on him winning the Pertemps Final at the Festival which is sure to be his preferred route given his age and the force that is Big Bucks in the World Hurdle.

Up at Doncaster, the Skybet Chase takes centre stage and is live on Channel 4 at 3:20 and in what looks a very competitive handicap, it may pay dividends to have an each way bet on Nicky Henderson’s course and distance winner, Wogan. The eleven year old went from strength to strength as a novice in 2010, running consistently above his current official rating of 134 and he could potentially be well well in at the weights providing he has come on for his seasonal re-appearance at Haydock back in November .

There is no question to answer about stamina, handles a variety of going and will relish a return to Town Moor where he is 2-2, including a six length course and distance win this weekend last year. He has been placed in each of his last six starts and makes plenty of each way appeal at 10/1 with either Boylesports or Victor Chandler.

Whilst on the subject of Cheltenham Trials, there’s a cracking card at Punchestown on Sunday where Big Zeb’s connections will look to put the finishing touches together ahead of a tilt at winning back-to-back Champion Chases at the Festival by landing the Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase. Unlikely to get much bigger than the early price quotes of 4/5, the Colm Murphy runner should have no problems recording his third win of season at the expense of Golden Silver, who has finished second behind Big Zeb on the last two occasions the pair have met. If you’re happy to back odds on shots, a win bet is the recommendation.

Also this weekend, the ‘new look’ Morning Line can be seen on Channel 4 at 8am on Saturday. I’m lead to believe that there have been some exciting changes and great new features afoot so it may well be worth watching!

Good Luck

Weekend’s best bets

2:30 Cheltenham Argento ChasePunchestown (win) @ 6/5 with Victor Chandler & Stan James

3:20 Doncaster – Skybet Chase – Wogan (each way) @ 10/1 with Boylesports & Victor Chandler

3:35 Cheltenham – Rewards4Racing Cleeve Hurdle – Grands Crus (win) @ 9/4 with Bet365 & Paddy Power

1:50 Punchestown (sunday) – Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase – Big Zeb (win)

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Posted 6 years, 8 months ago

09 Nov
2010

A ‘Five Star’ trip to Exeter for Tuesday’s tip?

What could be finer than an anaemic looking bacon sandwich courtesy of Costa Coffee at Sedgemoor Services on the M5 southbound at 7am?

Well, plenty of things as it happens, but the restorative effects of a few strips of half cooked Danepak are without question, and this certainly earns a mention among the multitude of unusual places this page is updated from (though nothing will match one particular contribution from the site’s no nonsense Bulldog Editor one day last summer, who when crushed into the back of a fast moving sports car somewhere near Galway Airport was frantically typing while grappling with a savage hangover, plus a dodgy broadband signal which kept dropping out courtesy of his mobile internet dongle). A true pro!

Being deep in the South West at such an early hour on a day such as this can only mean one thing, a trip to the epitome of old school National Hunt action that is Devon & Exeter – on a perfect day for the sport, with visibility little more than zero and the rain teeming down.

I’ll be steering clear of a pair of potentially informative small field novice chases on the card, but in the second race at 1.50pm (live on ATR) there’s a strong case to be made for Jeremy Scott’s Five Star Wilsham going one better, as he returns to the scene of a fine course and distance second a week ago.

With the ground officially being given as soft (heavy on the home bend) our selection should be right at home (and importantly we know he acts on this idiosyncratic track), and this week should have the measure of Victors Serenade who collared him in the last 100 yards last Tuesday.

On what grounds? Well, he was beaten just a length and a half trying to concede eight pounds on that occasion, but while Victors Serenade tries to shoulder a seven pound penalty here Five Star Wilsham remains on a mark of 112, but in addition now has conditional Ian Popham (the rising star of Paul Nicholls operation and one of the likely major beneficiaries from Ruby’s injury, rides Poquelin in the Paddy Power) to do the steering, coming as he does with a rather handy five pound allowance.

With some justification you may then ask how he’ll have enough guns to outpoint favourite Scotsbrook Cloud as he chases a four timer, but lest we forget this is a horse who’s risen significantly in the weights, plus has had to stomach a lot of racing recently.

Assuming his improvement continues and he is fully firing on his fourth run in 30 days then there’s an even bigger question mark, as this testing ground is a total unknown.

In fact the only time Scotsbrook Cloud has been seen on ground with any use of the word soft in the going description was on his racecourse debut in an Exeter bumper way back in December 2008 when beaten over 100 lengths.

His only other visit to Exeter a year ago yielded a tame fifth.

With that in mind at more than double the odds it seems sensible to side with a fresher in-form rival who loves the ground, acts on the track and has a top conditional on board to ease the burden of top weight.

You can back Five Star Wilsham at 7/2 with Victor Chandler.

Good luck!

Tuesday’s best bet at Exeter:

1.50 – Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Handicap Hurdle – 1 Five Star Wilsham (win) @ 7/2 (Victor Chandler)

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Posted 6 years, 10 months ago

22 Oct
2010

Making the case for Casamento – this weekend’s racing tips

What a week for sport! Very much a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Perhaps we should begin in reverse order: headlines dominated by Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney’s shambolic efforts to net himself a move across town or a new deal, Liverpool fans being hunted in Naples, Gazza’s latest misdemeanours, a thrilling round of Champions League games, and the building excitment of two days racing at Aintree plus cracking cards at Donny for the Racing Post Trophy and Newbury for the Horris Hill and St Simon.

With such anger being vented towards Rooney until his about turn it is perhaps worth pointing out that he may have had a very good point buried within his misguided sense of whining self importance and efforts to negotiate big money deal/escape – that his present club no longer have the financial muscle or ambition to compete with their rivals due entirely to the Glazer family’s cancerous occupation of Old Trafford.

If supposedly clued up United fans cannot finally grasp that paying the parasitic Glazers to bleed their beloved club dry is a feat roughly akin to forking out for a ticket to see their wife or girlfriend being gang raped then somebody should pick them up and shake them.

Maybe the penny will finally drop for the morons who cheerily attend Old Trafford boosting the Glazer coffers by sporting a lovely polyester replica shirt, all the while displaying their supposed contempt for the owners by proudly wearing a green and gold scarf to complete their natty look. A more handsome contradiction is hard to imagine!

Still, expect Old Trafford’s toothless green and gold campaign to be replaced by some more direct anti-Glazer vitriol even now Rooney has agreed a new five year deal.

Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson looked so deflated in his notorious press conference earlier in the week due to the realisation that even he might struggle to re-build and work another miracle under his current financial constraints, especially with an ageing squad and the listless Michael Carrick still considered an option in the middle of the park.

That football is dead as we know it or at least on life support is only further accentuated by his supposed choice of new club had he left United: Manchester City, the nouveau riche arrivistes plying their trade sagging under the weight of Sheikh Mansour’s wealth, a team who 12 years ago drew a crowd of 3,008 for a midweek game when across town their hated neighbours were playing Bayern Munich in front of a slightly bigger crowd.

Nowadays, in a process fairly similar to prostitution, how City fans can derive heartfelt joy from watching a bunch of mercenaries corralled together via a highest-bidder tag is beyond me.

I should point out that I’ve nothing against City, from an entertainment point of view the league would be a poorer place without them, Adam Johnson is a player worthy of a Sky Sports subscription when he’s on his game, but these comments are more an indictment of the sorry state of top level football…..that English football’s one prime example of fiscal virility can be exploited and milked by predatory owners, while perennial under achievers can suddenly can suddenly begin throwing their new found financial might around as if there’s a closing down ‘everything must go’ type situation occurring is ghastly.

A more anti-sport situation is hard to imagine, but perhaps our national game is in danger of emulating the abhorrent cash cow which was the conception of cricket’s Indian Premier League, a grotesque self serving monster that benefits only the chosen few within its bloated bubble.

Still, where’s my inflatable banana when I need it? Wayne’s staying put and the whole episode should add some spice to the forthcoming Manchester derby at Eastlands on November 10th anyway!!

Happily racing rumbles on with its own internal squabbles to deal with, none of which will detract from what could be a thrilling weekend of sport, not least at Doncaster where the Racing Post Trophy takes centre stage (live on C4) at 2.55pm on Saturday.

Ten go to post for the end of season juvenile stamina test, and in my eyes the one to be on is easy to back favourite Casamento for Michael Halford and Frankie Dettori.

Supplemented for the race there’s so much to like about his chances: not least that four of the last six winners of the RP Trophy had previously won over a mile, hey presto this son of Shamardal is the only one in the field who has, and that came in no less than the Group 2 Beresford Stakes (won by Sea The Stars and St Nicholas Abbey!!) at the Curragh four weeks ago.

It gets better too, favourites have a brilliant record in the race, with a 50% strike rate stretching back 20 years, and he goes on basically any ground.

Dettori has had another great season and can cap it here with a big domestic prize.

Of the opposition I’m none too keen on the second favourtie Dunboyne Express, so much is being made of how he beat Dewhurst placed horses Roderic O’Connor and Glor Na Mara earlier in the year, but that was on their debuts.

Everything else has to improve on what’s been seen so far, though most firms shortened Master Of Hounds yesterday when Johnny Murtagh chose him over Seville (though Seville is generally still level with his stablemate or shorter in the betting).

All have stamina to prove though, with the exception of our selection, and a win bet at 11/4 with any of Stan James & Blue Square is the advice.

Looking ahead one for the notebook could be Nicky Richards’ stylish novice chaser Premier Sagas when he steps up in trip this winter. I was at Carlisle on Thursday and saw the strapping French bred six year old make a very good chasing debut, finishing third to Divers over two miles having jumped well throughout – he’ll be carrying my cash when he’s tried over further.

Elsewhere, dip in to the Melbourne Cup antepost market for a few quid each way on Holberg as Godolphin plan their assault on the big Australian prize – word is confidence is high as the Halling four year old heads a British challenge alongside Manighar and Profound Beauty. Most firms are currently 16/1.

On Friday afternoon Red Roar is well fancied to make it a hat trick of wins as she takes on Paul Cole’s Doc Hay in a 0-70 handicap at Ayr.

She has the beating of her chief market rival on a strict line through Bushwhacker (who she beat at Beverley in August), and importantly is still improving. She can rattle up another win under Franny Norton this afternoon.

Snap up a slice of the 11/4 available with any of Victor Chandler, Stan James or Sportingbet.

At Doncaster Baby Strange looks to hold a leading chance in the 0-105 handicap over six furlongs at 3.55pm.

Twice a winner over course and distance this season this fella takes his racing really well and has the assistance of five pound claimer Dale Swift to ease the burden. He can make the frame at 12/1 with Boylesports

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets:

3.30 Ayr (Friday) – Poppyscotland Small Things Big Difference Handicap – 3 Red Roar (win) @ 11/4 (Victor Chandler, Stan James or Sportingbet)

3.55 Doncaster (Friday) – Sovereign Health Care Handicap – 12 Baby Strange (each way) @ 12/1 (Boylesports)

2.55 Doncaster (Saturday) – Racing Post Trophy – 1 Casamento (win) @ 11/4 (Stan James & Blue Square)

Melbourne Cup antepost – Holberg (each way) @ 16/1 (general, including Bet365 and Paddy Power)

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Posted 6 years, 11 months ago

16 Oct
2010

Get Ahead on Newmarket’s big day with tips from HQ?

The Stone Roses epic track This Is The One might be the appropriate selection to serenade racegoers packing into the Rowley Mile for Saturday afternoon’s most keenly anticipated of cards, especially at about 2.15pm when they’re tying up the loose ends before a mouthwatering Dewhurst (live on C4 2.25pm).

It seems odd with Cheltenham back on the syllabus to be going all sentimental about the final acts of a Flat campaign which many of us argue can rarely live up to the thrills, spills and raw excitement of the Jumping game, but this is one of those precious occasions where Cheltenham really will have to play second fiddle to events on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border.

In the Dewhurst itself you only have to look at the prices of quality colts such as Roderic O’Connor (25/1) and Glor Na Mara (66/1) in a six runner race to realise what quality we’ve got on show at the front of the market, with unbeaten trio Frankel, Dream Ahead and Saamidd putting tall reputations on the line in a bid to gain (or maintain!) favouritism for the 2011 Classics.

Runaway Royal Lodge winner Frankel is odds on, Saamidd won the Champagne Stakes in the manner of one superior and has been dubbed Pegasus by those who know him, but with a brace of Group 1’s already in the bag I love the look of 3/1 about Dream Ahead – it’s pleasing that Ladbrokes are ducking him, and if you think he’s already done the business on this very course and will love the step up in trip, then carpet looks a tempting price.

Lest we forget having done the business in the Prix Morny he absolutely destroyed them in the Middle Park just a fortnight ago, horses of the calibre of Coventry Stakes winner Strong Suit, Norfolk Stakes and Gimcrack winner Approve, plus Mill Reef Stakes and Super Sprint winner Temple Meads.

Frankel is clearly a special one to have Henry Cecil likening him to greats of yesteryear such as Wollow, but with Dream Ahead in town he’ll have to earn it on Saturday afternoon, and I’d love to know that price Dream Ahead would be if he were trained by someone more fashionable than David Simcock?

At the price he looks a more than viable alternative to the odds on fav – i’m happy to take 3/1 with any of Bet365, Boylesports, Paddy Power or Totesport.

There’s also the small matter of a Champion Stakes to dive into, and with the French enjoying an enviable record in the race I love the look of 1m 2f specialist Vision D’Etat for Eric Libaud and Olivier Peslier.

Seen only once since running down the field in the Dubai World Cup Vision D’Etat has had a nice break since winning at Deauville in mid August – he’s a class act who goes on any ground, won on his only previous trip to England when doing this column a favour in the 2009 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and has been targeted specifically at this race.

I think the firms are spot on in making him 7/2 favourite.

Finally in the Pride Stakes at 4.50pm I have to say thanks to my pal Matt Doyle over at Skybet (follow him on Twitter @Matt_Doyle_Sky for market moves) for alerting me to the credentials of Crystal Capella for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore.

Off for a year since going down to Ashalanda in this 12 months ago the buzz is she’s ready to do herself justice at an inflated price.

Don’t forget her previous tilt at this prize resulted in victory in 2008, runs that bookend a defeat of the great Dar Re Mi in York’s Middleton Stakes in the Spring of 2009.

At 5/1 with Stan James or Victor Chandler she looks a fair investment each way.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets at Newmarket:

2.25 – Dubai Dewhurst Stakes – 1 Dream Ahead (win) @ 3/1 (Bet365, Boylesports, Paddy Power or Totesport)

3.00 – Emirates Airline Champion Stakes – 8 Vision D’Etat (win) @ 7/2 (Bet365, Boylesports and Paddy Power)

4.50 – Pride Stakes – 3 Crystal Capella (each way) @ 5/1 (Stan James or Victor Chandler)

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Posted 6 years, 11 months ago