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Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Racing Secrets [Exposed]: Thumbs Up From Nag3

Hello again dear reader, and welcome to Wednesday. Its time to analyse Racing Secrets [Exposed], the product which has been generating the lay selections you've seen here over the last seven days.

Over the week, the final results were as follows:

Date Course Horse Odds Result P/L to £20 P/L
23-May Sedgefield Cannon Fire 1.5 2 £20 £20
23-May Ayr Fitzroy Crossing 0.8 7 £20 £40
24-May Goodwood Bicoastal 2.5 5 £20 £60
24-May Southwell Gold Flame 1.25 1 -£25 £35
25-May Stratford Ingratitude 0.91 2 £20 £55
25-May Pontefract Grand Fleet 0.91 3 £20 £75
26-May Newmarket Right To Play 2 1 -£40 £35
26-May Stratford Helvetio 3.5 9 £20 £55
27-May Newmarket Transcend 0.91 1 -£18 £37
28-May Redcar Lacework 1.25 1 -£25 £12
28-May Leicester Medieval Maiden 3 1 3 £20 £32
29-May Chepstow Penang Cinta 1.75 4 £20 £52
29-May Redcar Monteboli 1.75
3 £20 £72

Bets 13
Losers 9
Lose % 69.23
Av Odds 1.694615

As you can see, I managed to pick 13 horses (and one non-runner), and get nine of them beaten. Not bad, but people do better. However, when you consider that the average odds of selections was around 13/8, that's a lot of short ones turned over!

Indeed, the average odds of the winners (and therefore the ones where I would have paid out) was less still at lower than 11/8.

I have to say that I've been very impressed with these results, and will continue to lay one or two a day, based on the pretty straightforward rule based system expounded in Racing Secrets [Exposed].

The guide comes in pdf format (readable by all computers) and is 80 pages long. It has five sections, some of which may be of less interest if you're already an experienced punter.

Section 1 is quite brief and outlines the notions of overrounds and betting percentages, and the general principle of value.

In the next section, the author gives an overview of laying, which is worth a read even if you already strike this type of wager now.

Section 3 again is pretty brief and walks you through the Racing Post website, with specific focus on the elements which are of interest when trying to find losing horses. So, even if you know your way around the RP website, it's useful to note the specific data that will contribute to finding losers.

Then in section 4, which is the main guts of the guide, the rules for the system are outlined. Of course, I can't tell you what these are. But what I can say is that there is a series of five 'Primary' warning signs which might indicate that a horse is a false favourite.

Thereafter, there's a set of 'Secondary' warning signs, also useful but considered less influential than the first set. If I'm honest, when making my selections, I actually only used the 'primary' warnings, and yet still managed to come out well in front.

The warnings are (slightly) different for flat and jumps races, but are all framed around common sense.

Finally, in section 5, the author shares his own approach to maximising value. This is predicated on a degree of discipline in terms of not laying over a certain price, and there is loads more than just the price consideration in this closing piece.

Overall, I'm impressed with the guide. Because of the introductory sections, it can be picked up by a novice or an experienced punter within a few days. The sense of the warning system has been seen this week, when we've managed to get nine horses beaten, with the longest priced of them being a 7/2 shot that pulled up and a 3/1 favourite that finished last of 13!

One thing to note is that it does take a bit of time to find the best choice of selection: I reckon about half an hour on any day when you're looking for a serious lay or two.

But most people spend at least ten minutes scanning the racing pages anyway and - given the results - I'd consider it time well spent. For instance, two losing lays for £20 each makes £40 for half an hour's work. Not sure about you, but I'm happy to earn £80 an hour or more...

Importantly, as with any product I review, the guide comes with a full eight week guarantee. So you can paper trade for a good two months before actually risking a bean of cash, either with betfair or on the guide.

To read more about Racing Secrets [Exposed], and to get your copy, click on:

http://tinyurl.com/377z6p


I'm laying another two today!

Ciao pronto!

Matt

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Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Tuesday's Lays

Back to work for most today, and an early post from yours truly due to an unexpected bout of insomnia. Nasty business: my sympathies to those who suffer with this regularly.

Anyway, enough of my woe and on with the show!

Yesterday I nominated Lacework who alas won at 5/4. She looked beaten but rallied well to get up in the last 50 yards.

The other pick was Medieval Maiden, who was (rightly) poohpoohed in this column yesterday. Sent off the 3/1 favourite, she finished last of 13.

For his part, Kris, the author of Racing Secrets Exposed, wanted to row in with Medieval Maiden yesterday, but felt the price was too big. So he instead sided with Karlani, who was beaten at 7/4. He is now 3 from 5.

Story so far:

Date Course Horse Odds Result P/L to £20 P/L
23-May Sedgefield Cannon Fire 1.5 2 £20 £20
23-May Ayr Fitzroy Crossing 0.8 7 £20 £40
24-May Goodwood Bicoastal 2.5 5 £20 £60
24-May Southwell Gold Flame 1.25 1 -£25 £35
25-May Stratford Ingratitude 0.91 2 £20 £55
25-May Pontefract Grand Fleet 0.91 3 £20 £75
26-May Newmarket Right To Play 2 1 -£40 £35
26-May Stratford Helvetio 3.5 9 £20 £55
27-May Newmarket Transcend 0.91 1 -£18 £37
28-May Redcar Lacework 1.25 1 -£25 £12
28-May Leicester Medieval Maiden 3 13 £20 £32
29-May Chepstow Penang Cinta
29-May Redcar Monteboli

As you can see, today I go for the slow 2yo Monteboli (who is a very likely improver, but will have to be, and I think is underpriced), and Penang Cinta (who has been in excellent form lately but is on a career high mark now, has never run on ground this soft, has something to find on the clock, and faces stronger opposition - not a 2/1 shot in my book).

You can find out more about RSE at

http://tinyurl.com/377z6p

A quick word of congratulations to Derby and their fans. I must admit that, due to a pathological hatred of Billy Davies (I hope he's not reading this!), I wanted the boom boom Baggies to win. However, Derby will take their chance in the big league next season and - despite obvious predictions that they'll call in the parachute payments this time next year - it pays to give promoted sides a second look. More on that in due course... (I'll say this though, they need to become infinitely better at defending set pieces or will concede wantonly next year!)

Only four more days to the weekend!

Matt

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Monday, 28 May 2007

Monday Lays

Again, no real standouts today. However, I think that Lacework (Redcar 3.15) is underpriced in what might be competitive. Also, Medieval Maiden (Leicester 5.25) looks thoroughly opposable off topweight in this race. A filly carrying topweight against colts, having never won on the surface and in an apprentice race is not my idea of a solid betting proposition. For all that, the opposition is mostly poor, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't at least one to beat her.

Yesterday we had a non-runner and winner (at slight odds on, 10/11) bringing the running total to six from nine losers and a profit for £20's of £37.

On the soggy Wembley turf, Kiegan Parker finally remembered where the goal was, and with no little aplomb, scoring a belter from 25 yards, as Blackpool beat a disappointing Yeovil to record ten straight wins (a club record).

That meant that we landed the 10 point nap with Bristol Rovers (11/4) and the five point next best with Blackpool (9/4 generally, 5/2 in places). I'll be bring my view on the ante-post for the league in a month or so's time, and suffice it to say, I already have one team strongly in mind...

Thereafter, I'll be providing a football service for Saturday punters for a small premium. More on that in due course.

Happy (rainy) Monday.

Matt

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Sunday, 27 May 2007

Sunday's Lays: 75% Success Rate So Far

Today its tricky, as I can't find any obvious lay opportunities. (I try to only nominate opposable horses at shorter than 2/1 on the Racing Post forecast prices).

However, I will row in with these two:

Newmarket 4.25 Transcend
Fontwell 5.45 Rathcor

After a winner and a loser yesterday, the latest position is as follows:

Date Course Horse Odds Result P/L to £20 P/L
23-May Sedgefield Cannon Fire 1.5 2 £20 £20
23-May Ayr Fitzroy Crossing 0.8 7 £20 £40
24-May Goodwood Bicoastal 2.5 5 £20 £60
24-May Southwell Gold Flame 1.25 1 -£25 £35
25-May Stratford Ingratitude 0.91 2 £20 £55
25-May Pontefract Grand Fleet 0.91 3 £20 £75
26-May Newmarket Right To Play 2 1 -£40 £35
26-May Stratford Helvetio 3.5 9 £20 £55
27-May Newmarket Transcend
27-May Fontwell Rathcor

As you can see, Helvetio drifted badly in the betting before tailing off and being pulled after just four flights! Right To Play did win, however. Despite me thinking there were plenty in the race to go by him, none of them did.

On the footy front, well done if you followed the strong 10 point nap on Bristol Rovers. Although I got out before yesterday's game for my stake, I still had a nice 2/1 free bet (11/4 into 4/6).

Today, Blackpool take on Yeovil and the five point next best was the Tangerines if you remember. So we may well be sitting pretty come 5pm. That said, I liked the look of Yeovil when they turned Forest over, and they will give Blackpool a lot to think about. If Kiegan Parker has another of his misfiring days then the West Country may well be celebrating another promotion.

My advice is to trade out for for stakes and profit at the current 1.64 on betfair (about 8/13) Having got in at 9/4 and 5/2, I'm happy to take my profits now on this one.

Until tomorrow...

Matt

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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Saturday's Lays: 5 out of 6 So Far

Another good day yesterday, with both my nominated lays beaten at odds on (both were 10/11).

In fact, Kris had also selected Grand Fleet to get turned over, so the score on the doors currently are:

Matt: 5 losers from 6 selections (one 5/4 winner)
Kris: 2 losers from 3 selections

Today, Kris is opposing Monaazalah in the 4.40 Haydock

My two to oppose are:
5.00 Newmarket Right To Play
8.05 Cartmel Helvetio

Best of luck!

Matt

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Friday, 25 May 2007

Arachnids And Psychoactive Narcotics: A Friday Lesson

Seeing as we're about to embark on a weekend of relaxation and merriment, with the odd drink and bet along the way no doubt, I though it might be prudent to remind you of the excesses of various poisons readily (and no readily) available these days...

Not strictly racing related, but amusing nevertheless...

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Today's Lays / Progress Review

Following on from yesterday's post, a quick line to notify today's horses to oppose, and to give a progress update...

So far, from four horses chosed, I've had three losers (and therefore winners!), and one winner (and therefore loser) at 5/4.

Kris, the author of Racing Secrets Exposed, nominated Whitbarrow yesterday, which also won at 6/4. So he is one from two currently.

My two to lay today, based on the system outlined in the RSE are:

7.15 Ingratitude
7.30 Grand Fleet

Happy Friday to you.

Matt

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Thursday, 24 May 2007

Playing With Laying... A Beginners' Guide

Today I'd like to have a quick look at a relatively new concept in betting (for the average punter at least): laying.

If you've been living on Mars or somewhere and don't know what laying is, it is basically what your bookmaker does every time he takes your bet. Striking a bet is an agreement between to parties, where one party will pay out in ratio to the other party's wager.

An example will help: I think Shergar will win the 2.20 at Plumpton. His odds are 2/1. I stake £10 at 2/1, giving me the chance to win £20. The bookie who takes the bet has essentially wagered on all the other horses to win at odds of 1/2.

So there are two possible outcomes: 1) Shergar wins and the bookmaker pays me £20, or 2) Shergar doesn't win and I pay the bookmaker £10.

And that's it. Why am I telling you this? Well, again, Martians aside, most everyone reading this will have heard of the betting exchanges - and especially betfair.

(Incidentally, if you bet on horses or football and you don't have a betfair account, you are missing out on the best odds on pretty much every horse or team in every race or competition).

The point about betting exchanges is that you may have only ever used them to get the best odds on a given event. Nothing wrong with that - indeed its just good sense.

But every time you strike a bet there, someone else (maybe me, maybe another reader, maybe a bloke in Botswana or Bangalore) has 'played bookmaker' and layed the bet.

Now the first thing to say about laying a bet on betfair is, as you may have already cottoned on, that you will typically have to offer slightly better odds than the bookmaker.

This may seem unattractive at first glance, but its not, for one very good reason. A traditional bookmaker is obliged to take your bet, irrespective of which horse or team you want to bet, up to a certain financial limit. However, when we lay a bet on betfair, we are able to be hyper-selective about the horses or teams we lay.

In practice, this means that Ladbrokes for instance will take varying amounts of money on all horses in a race, and their 'book' will be massively skewed towards the favourites (i.e. they will have greater liabilities on the more favoured horses, and therefore a favourite winning will cost them much more than they take on a race).

But the betfair layer can choose any, all or no horses to lay in a given race. You look at a race, and think a favourite is solid. So you leave it well alone. In another race, you think the favourite can be beaten and is a false price. So you offer odds on the horse to others.

I've been sent a review copy of a new guide that's currently doing the rounds, called Racing Secrets Exposed. Its 80 pages long, and is packed with useful information around betting basics and how to optimise your experiences with the betting exchanges.

Its real value however lies in the approach the guide takes to identifying likely false favourites. It has a series of selection criteria (five primary elements) which are simple enough to check using www.racingpost.co.uk. The author recommends just finding one horse a day to lay, but of course thats up to you.

I asked Kris, the author, to give me a lay each day that I could share with you, so that you could see how it did. I also agreed that I'd only share the lays with you after they'd run, but you can rest assured that I receive the emails prior to the events.

Yesterday's lay was Court Emperor, which finished fourth at Huntingdon last night. His SP of 9/2 was bigger than usual odds, and indeed Kris had laid him at 3/1 earlier in the day.

Today's lay runs at Southwell tonight and is likely to go off at shorter than 2/1 (currently trading at 6/4 to 13/8).

Although I promised not to divulge these tips until after, I am trying the system out for myself and, after picking Cannon Fire (2nd 6/4) and Fitzroy Crossing (7th 4/5), I had a good day paper trading.

Today's lays using the system are:
3.10 Goodwood: Bicoastal
6.50 Southwell: Gold Flame

To find out more about the system, go to:

http://tinyurl.com/377z6p

The football playoffs are this weekend and, after watching the FA Cup and Champions' League finals in the last few days, I know that these matches are very tough to call.

For this reason, I have laid both my bets (on Bristol Rovers, 10 pts at 11/4, and Blackpool, 5 point at 5/2) off at 1.67 and 1.71 respectively. I still think that Rovers and Blackpool will win their matches, thus I have only taken my stake money and a small profit out.

If you followed the advice, I'd suggest you at least get out for your stakes, thus giving you a couple of nice free bets on the finals. Good luck!

Finally, I will be going to Sandown next Thursday 31st May for the Brigadier Stakes evening meeting. Due to a friend being unable to attend, I have a spare Premier Enclosure ticket (free!) that I'd be happy to give to any reader who might be planning to go. And don't worry, you won't have to hang around with me and my drinking / betting buddies...

If you want it, just email me at enquiries@trainerflatstats.com - if you don't hear back, the ticket's gone (and sorry).

Finally, finally, the revamp of nag3 (www.nag-nag-nag.co.uk) is coming along. I hope to have much of the initial content posted there over the course of the next week. Do please let me know what you think, and whether there's anything else you'd be interested in seeing.

Pip pip!
Matt

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Friday, 18 May 2007

Carnage.... A Good Lesson Learned


Welcome to Friday, dear reader, everybody's favourite day of the week.

For yours truly, after the joys of Wednesday came Black Thursday. Now, I am pleased to report that having paid (literally) too many times for indiscipline, I am usually a level-headed punter.
I try to take the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune on the chin, whether it goes my way or not.

But not yesterday. Yesterday I chased my cash. I'm still running, but my cash is out of sight.

I had one of those terrible days when you have the Sadim Touch (thats the Midas Touch in reverse). Everything I backed was either brown or shaped like a pear.

I got beaten short heads for the win; I got beaten short heads for the place; I got things totally wrong; I laid winning favourites; I backed losing favourites.

Have you ever had a day like that?

Well, I live to fight another day. But, my lesson learned (for the umpteenth time), I'll not be rushing in with the boots on anything today.

Saying that, there are a couple I fancy. Here is a whistlestop tour of the York card as I see it...

1.45 2yo fillies race is akin to a teenage girls' party, so no strong fancy. Form pick is probably Tom Stack's Shivering, but there are several that will improve for their debuts. If I was betting here, which I'm not, I'd be interested in Dubai Princess and Tia Mia.

2.15 A classic inside draw race historically, with six winners since 1999 being drawn in the lowest four stalls. I really like Bauer but he's in the carpark here and will likely need the run (as Filthy Luca Cumani's often do), so he's a place lay. I'd take a chance here with three against the field: Mutawaffer, Kilimandscharo, and Kyoto Summit.

2.45 A cracking race for the Yorkshire Cup, and one of the stalwart stayers lines up for the prize. Sergeant Cecil is the beastie, and I've reproduced this picture from the Racing Post at the top, because I think its brilliant. Its also a breach of copyright, so I'll take it down in a day or two and hope I don't get sued. But I love it! Hope you enjoy it too.

For all that, I don't think the Sergeant will do more than plod (plod, geddit?!) on for a place. My idea of the winner is Munsef. John Dunlop is a master trainer of stayers, and loves to win at York. He won this race with Millenary in 2004, and five year olds have a good record.

I find it very hard to see this one out of the frame, so 11/2 (Lads / Hills) is tempting, even for a man swearing punting abstinence today. He's a confident selection.

3.15 More young ladies, this time 3yo's. After Anna Pavlova made a meringue-utang out of me yesterday (sorry, I'm really sorry, my joke writer's quit on me!), I will swerve this race too. (I like betting fillies about as much as I like betting amateur riders - did you see that buffoonery masquerading as horsemanship at Folkestone last night?!)

Token selection is Promising Lead, but the Pavlova should tell you all you need to know about the perils of betting odds on in fillies races...

3.50 Some lightly raced sorts here, and some interesting ones at the bottom of the handicap. I'm interesting in how All You Need and Sea Rover run, but for the selection I'll row in with in form Tombi. Howard Johnson's got some ambitious plans for this progressive young man (followed up a 7th place finish - out of 24 - in the Redcar 2yo Trophy with a facile 4L win on debut this term), and he'll need to show his hind quarters to most, if not all, of these if he's to justify the entries.

4.25 The fact that Adrian Nicholls has chosen to ride Buachaill Dona out of Dandy's three runners speaks well of the horse's readiness for this seasonal introduction. In a very trappy race, that's enough for me. There could well be less than two lengths between half a dozen of these at the business end, so I'd advise small stakes (if any).

5.00 Fong's Gazelle is a filly in form, and foiled a TFS runner at Bath on her penultimate start. She won by 4L last time over a quarter mile shorter, but she was certainly not stopping. Mark Johnston is a master at progressing horses in handicaps, and she must go close. But the donation of weight all round may be a tough ask, and - though I'd definitely recommend a saver on her - I think there is better value elsewhere. Two horses right at the other end of the handicap (one possibly badly drawn) catch my eye: Its Moon and Force Group.

Both have had the cobwebs blown off with at least a run this season, and both come here in form having finished runner up last time.

Note also Sir Mark Prescott's runner (Serpentaria), though I'd have expected to see money for her if she was fancied. Sir Mark ANYWHERE in handicaps is a profitable maxim, so irrespective of how this filly runs, follow the cigar chomping serial bachelor all season in handicap company.

I must quickly also mention Eglevski, trained by John Dunlop. He's fit and ready for today. The only (significant) question is whether he's quite good enough.

Moving on, and Bristol Rovers landed the 10 point nap, though not in quite the manner expected. I predicted that it would be a low scoring game, perhaps even 0-0. The first goal went in on 2 minutes (and what a goal!), and - by the end - Rovers had helped themselves to five of the eight scores.

Small consolation on the night for me was that I only bet under 2.5 goals, rather than selling total goals! Also, I'm out on my bet now as well.

What I mean by that, is if you backed Rovers at 11/4 (3.75) or more, you can now play bookmaker by laying them on betfair at around 11/10 (2.1). If you lay them for the same amount as your initial stake, you'll have a free bet at around 13/8. Which is nice.

MK take on Shrews tonight in the other League 2 game, and I can't imagine it will be nearly so tepid as the first leg. I'm expecting all those absent cards from the first game to manifest themselves here. But, again, as I am still smarting from yesterday, I'll be drinking beer rather than watching for cardage yardage.

I won't be doing a Cup Final preview, but I do fully expect Manchester United to win (sorry Chelski fans), and I think the 7/4 in 90 minutes is VERY tempting. If I can stay out of trouble today, the boots might be back on again tomorrow...

Good luck to you, Happy Friday, and enjoy the Weekend!

Matt

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Thursday, 17 May 2007

York Day 2 Preview: More Of The Same Please!

Winners, dear reader, that's what we're after. We're not so fussed for the Fancy Dan editorial that surrounds it (though we don't mind it), but give us the winners...

Alas, I can only partially sate your desire for winners without words. You see, the trade on this little ethereal pitch of mine is that I put forward what are hopefully enlightened thoughts, breeding enlightened selections, and in return I get to bluster and pontificate to my heart's content. Well, perhaps not to my heart's content, but at least a fair bit. Deal? I hope so...

If you're still there, lets proceed - non-stop - to the sunny side of the (punting) street... (with apologies to the late, great Mr Sinatra).

Yesterday started badly, but got better and then better again. I laid Emirates Skyline for a place for a decent sum in the opener, only to see the horse cruise into a favoured rail position (from a carpark draw), travel like a Group horse throughout, and win well. He is clearly a better sort than these, and is also indicative that Godolphin are back in business. Look out for everything the boys in blue run in the next month or so.

My each way selections in the race are still running, though Spell Casting showed a modicum of promise. Blue Spinnaker has put together a hat-trick of stinkers now, and is on the dodge list.

Second race, and Shmookh, the nap of the day, did it nicely. He was also a TrainerFlatStats qualifier (one of two on the day), and landed some nice bets at 4/1. This made for a winning day for me, irrespective of what followed.

Next up was the Musidora, Oaks trial race. Sir Henry's flying filly did enough, winning despite the nature of the race and not because of it. The time was pedestrian (10 lengths slower than the handicap), and the proximity of the rag Bobansheil to the protagonists until the furlong pole suggests that one shouldn't interpret this race literally. That said, Passage Of Time cruised to the front, dossed, then picked up again when challenged.

On the basis of the evidence to date, she wins the Oaks. (Unless AP O'Brien has any ammo up his sleeve..) Personally, I'll hold off backing her until the day, as at 5/2 she's unlikely to be much shorter, and there have been a few nagging issuettes with her preparation. When she's confirmed as fit and well, and running on the day, I'll be stepping up with a hefty wager I suspect.

Next up was a Grand Old renewal of the Duke Of York Stakes (geddit?!), with some very interesting contenders, fronted by Amadeus Wolf, Al Qasi and Soldier's Tale. The first named won, and won well. Al Qasi was beaten just over two and a half lengths back in sixth, a promising seasonal debut.

But the one to take out of the race for me, was definitely Soldier's Tale. Having his first run since July 2005, he looked fit. But lack of race sharpness saw him outpaced early, before munching up the turf in the latter part of the race to finish a never nearer third (beaten two lengths). He clearly retains the ability, and is a bigger stronger animal now than when last seen.

Soldier's Tale favours soft ground and, wherever he gets those underhoof conditions, don't look elsewhere for the winner. The Prix de l'Abbaye, though a 5f contest, might be worth chancing in due course, but there'll be other opportunities between now and then over a sodden six.

Onwards and downwards, as it was after the previous two classy contests, and York without the Easterby's is like crumble without custard, Fred without Ginger and, er, tips without verbiage...

So it was that Tim Easterby's Tcherina won the handicap at 11/2, rewarding my e/w tickle. Better news still was that Forroger - who I'd laid at a measly 1.85 for a place - was never able to get competitive from a poor draw. Although Emirates overcame his draw in the opener, its definitely worth favouring low drawn horses on the round course here.

The 2yo race was impossible, and the only word here goes to unlucky punters who backed Just Sort It. Sent off at 4/1, he'd got upset in the gate and his head had come out underneath the front of the stall. Video evidence showed one of the stalls handlers actually kick him in the head! He should never have run, and you were mugged if you backed this one.

Finally, and if winners at 4/1, 11/2, 5/6 and an odds on winning lay were not enough, I managed to pick out Spice Route and Woodcraft in the 'nightcap', the former winning at 6/1 (easily) and the latter finishing a decent 4th (out of the e/w places alas) at 10/1.

If further evidence of the draw was needed (it wasn't!!!), the first seven home out of 14 runners were drawn:
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 7

The well backed 5/1 favourite and TFS qualifier, Mutadarrej, had no chance from the 11 box and finished... 11th.

To today, and I've already exhausted my rambling rations in yesterday's preview. I have to concede to not having as much confidence around today's card. Nevertheless, here are my thoughts:

1.45 Tournedos (e/w) is with the right yard now (Dandy Nicholls) and has been better class than most of these. He's drawn up the middle (a positive), has Richard Hughes in the plate, and could run a nice race.

Kay Two is also in fine form.

2.15 I'm not very good at understanding women (I'm a man after all!), but I do like desserts. For these reasons, I will pass up the opportunity to bet Anna Pavlova. She has the best form, loves the ground and will likely win. Just not with my cash. Echelon is the obvious danger.

2.45 Authorized heads the betting for what looks like being a Donkey Derby at Epsom this year, at least on the evidence to date. He has his seasonal debut in today's Dante, but I'll take a chance with Sir Michael Stoute's Adagio. Although not obviously bred for this trip, his running in the 2000 Guineas was too bad to be true, and that race form is perceived to be rock solid by savvier judges than me. Lacking nothing in fitness, that may just give him the edge on Authorized.

As far as Epsom goes, it really doesn't look a strong race, and a taking performance from Peter Chapple-Hyam's colt would make him a pretty warm jolly for 2nd June. Anything else, and we're likely to be seeing 5/1 the field for the Blue Riband.

3.15 Wise Dennis won the big race last Saturday, and is in excellent form. However, that race may have left a mark and he is drawn wide, so I reckon he's a good place lay. Against him for win or each way purposes, I'll side with Zero Tolerance.

He's got two duck eggs against his name for the season, but loves it here, loves it soft, has a low draw, and Jamie Spencer in the plate. (I've said some very unkind things about Spencer over the years, especially for his riding in Breeders' Cups, but currently he is riding as well as anyone around, so credit where it's due).

3.50 No bet race for me. However, the most appropriately named is Mission Impossible, who also has the benefit of a run (so important in early season juvenile races), and is drawn near enough to the centre. Not for my cash, but he should give you a run in a very tough race to quantify.

4.25 Now here's a funny thing. Four out of the last seven winners of this two and a quarter mile race were drawn in the highest fifth of the stalls. Possibly coincidence on the basis of such a flimsy sample size, but I'll use that to inform my (tentative) selection here. Great As Gold, Dehdaah and At The Money look interesting, and I'd suggest a little on each. They are all drawn high, have all won over a distance, and have all won on softer than good.

5.00 Another wide open race, but there's no way I'm going to desert Sir Henry. He runs the in form Power Of Future. Dangers abound and possibly most worrying is Gala Evening.

Quick word on the football, and hallelujah, if there wasn't a home win last night for West Brom, ensuring their trip to Wembley where they'll face Derby County. Might as well have played it at Villa Park if you ask me!

Tonight sees my great white hope Bristol Rovers take on Lincoln City. In what I hope will be an attritional game, I'll not be betting. I'm already on Rovers to win the League Two playoff, and am looking for a 0-0 score tonight. That said, if the West Country boys can score one, it will make life very difficult for the Imps. All to play for.

Good luck today - more tomorrow.

Matt

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Wednesday, 16 May 2007

York Preview: Trials And Tribulations

Welcome back dear reader, for another jaunt around the sporting vista.

The main action this week centres on football and horse racing, with cricket pulling off its Springtime raincoat for the (rain delayed, I suspect) start of the Test series.

I have to concede that I'm not much of a cricket fan, so I won't attempt to offer any advice there. It seems to me though that the England team should have the Timeform Squiggle against their name and, as such, any wager is probably riskier than the odds might suggest. Of course I sincerely hope they win, and entertain the fans along the way, but its just not a game for me. (Unless we're spanking the Aussies, in which case I'm a fan of any competitive medium available!)

Enough already. To the horses, and with haste...

This week sees the three day meeting on the Knavesmire in York. I went once: to see Pasternak win the Magnet Cup. Beautiful town, brilliant course, great fun. And I was hoping to go again today, to watch Rapid City win the last race. But alas, he has an injury and my viewing of the day's racing is confined to a comfy sofa here at Hackney Mansions (right next to Hackney Marshes, as it happens!).

Today's big race is the Musidora Stakes, a recognised Oaks trial. The last filly to win this before going on to Epsom glory was Henry Cecil's Reams Of Verse, back in 1997.

Sir Henry (a travesty that the knighthood prefix is not official, in this scribe's opinion) is represented today with the exciting filly, Passage Of Time, and - as James Willoughby recounts in his excellent piece in today's Racing Post - it would truly be an appropriately named winner for Cecil. This season he seems to have recaptured the zest which made him champion trainer and punters' pal for more than two decades.

Perhaps released finally from the personal problems, which have sadly been played out so publicly. First there was the divorce from Julie, then the besotted affair with the stable lass (later his wife, Natalie) which breached class barriers. Ultimately, that ended in disaster when she was caught in the showers with an unnamed paramour (alleged to be a very high profile jockey, who remains my favourite despite not riding currently... you do the math!).

As if all that wasn't enough, H R A Smith (no doubt) was caught with a call girl in a Brighton hotel at the same time.

Natalie and Henry's nanny was quoted at the time as saying: "Natalie was given everything by Henry. She had money, power, a fantastic house and a beautiful son.

"But I knew their marriage was not going to last. She has such a temper and is so selfish the split was inevitable.

"I just wish there was something I could have done to help, for Henry and Jake's [their son] sake. He is a loyal man, even today he still loves Natalie and cannot turn off his feelings for her like a tap.

"Henry is devastated that another marriage has failed and that he now faces the prospect of losing his son."

And then, in 2000, Henry's twin brother David, died of pancreatic cancer after a painful and protracted struggle.

Its hard not to feel for a man who has had so much brown stuff hit his personal fan. And so it is that I hope and prey that he has a filly to go to war with once more: first around the Knavesmire, and then on the rollercoaster undulations at Epsom.

The above of course is all predicated on sentiment, and I hope you will forgive me my little self-indulgence for one of the true racing greats - and true gentlemen to boot - of our era.

On a more factual note, Passage Of Time clearly has the best form in the race. In beating colts in the Group 1 Grand Criterium on her last two year old start, she set a very high benchmark for the fillies to aim at this season.

However, the vibes around the young lady are not great. First, she had a small abscess on her epiglottis, and now she is rumoured to be coming into season. Having traded as low as 1/2 on betfair, she is around the 8/11 mark currently and on the skid. I certainly won't be backing her today, but I will be cheering her - and Henry - for all I'm worth.

Against her is another smart young thing in Shorthand. She is a full sister to last year's winner Short Skirt, and is trained by the only other trainer to challenge Cecil's grip on this race, Sir Michael Stoute. On form, its a two horse race and, with the complete no-hoper Bobansheil excluded from the realistic line up, there are only four runners numerically.

Shorthand may win today, but I'd certainly want to be on Passage of Time to roll back the years come the first Friday in June. That would - as Willoughby wrote - leave a lump in all our throats.

Elsewhere on the card, there are some highly competitive looking handicaps. One thing to bear in mind at York in big field races over a mile and further, is that there is a strong low draw bias. The reason is that there are a couple of turns, the final one into the straight being quite marked. If you're trapped out wide here, expect to concede eight to ten lengths.

On the straight course, middle draws are favoured often.

So, with that in mind, here are my fancies for the handicaps today:

1.45 Blue Spinnaker (ew) / Spell Casting (ew) / lay Emirates Skyline for a place (bad draw)
2.15 Shmookh (nap)
2.45 Passage of Time (though no bet)
3.15 Fayr Jag (ew) / Quito (ew)
3.50 Tcherina (ew) / lay Forroger for a place (bad draw)
4.25 No idea!!!!
5.00 Spice Route (ew) / Woodcraft (ew)

Lots more football playoff action this week, and the away win rule seems to be getting stronger. To remind you, last year, there was only one home win from the 12 semi-final ties. So far this season (including last night's away win for Southampton in 90 minutes), there has been only one home win from seven matches.

There might just be some value to be had here.

There is also the small matter of the Uefa Cup Final tonight in Glasgow, between Espanyol and Sevilla. Having vanquished Spurs with a degree of panache (though my mostly Tottenham-supporting mates wouldn't agree!), I fancy Sevilla to finish the job tonight.

Its an all Spanish affair and interestingly I didn't hear Michel Platini (head of UEFA: great footballer, lousy politician / administrator) making any of the "I'm glad its not an all English affair" type noises he did when Milan beat Man Utd. He's already marked himself down in my card. I just don't understand how so many imbeciles are allowed to run our beautiful game. Johannsson, Blatter, and now Platini: a triumvirate of invertebrates! (That's a trio of spineless creatures, in case you were wondering!)

Good luck as ever if you're playing at York today, and let's hear it for Sir Henry!!!

Matt

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Sunday, 13 May 2007

Weekend Review: Close But No Long Yellow Fruit

Hello again dear reader, and I hope the weekend has recharged your batteries (and perhaps your bank balance as well).

It was a case of 'close but no banana' for the Victoria Cup preview yesterday. You may remember that I'd narrowed it down to just six of the 29 runners, and had plumped for King Of Argos to win. Well, five of the first seven home - including 14/1 winner Beaver Patrol - were in the nominated sextet. These horses were 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th. The nag conspicuous by his absence? Why, King Of Argos of course.

As this was the first leg of my Saturday Lucky 15, I was somewhat disappointed. However, better news was to follow for yours truly. The other three nominees on my (virtual betfred.com) ticket were Firenze, Princelet and TrainerFlatStats only runner of the day, Sky More.

They all won, and they all won easily, at odds of 7/2 (incredible price - I took 2/1!), 5/1 (I took 4/1!) and 2/1 (I didn't take 15/8 - phew!).

Elsewhere, and its been a busy weekend of football. First of all, commiserations to Sheffield United fans, whose team were mightily unlucky to be relegated today. In what turned into an absolute slog, the man Heskey was "immense" (to quote Sky commentator, Alan Smith) for Wigan.

In the playoffs, followers of this column are sitting pretty right now. I vouched for more than two goals at 5/4 in the West Brom - Wolves game (result 3-2), and I confidently predicted wins for both Bristol Rovers and Blackpool.

Rovers were a bit lucky in truth, and looked nothing like their normal assured selves defensively against a dangerous Lincoln unit. They'll have to pull their socks up for the second leg if they're to progress, but I still expect them to get a result at Sincil Bank and advance to Wembley. A small(ish) wager on Ravers to win the tie was cashed at a very generous 6/5.

In the tie between Blackpool and Oldham, where I'm on record as saying I think Blackpool will win both legs, they have done the hard part today by getting the result by the odd goal in three at Boundary Park.

After a tepid first half, the Tangerinemen smashed Oldham to pieces in the seconda tempo. How they only won 2-1 (and the one was a dubious penalty), I don't know. Well, actually I do. Kiegan Parker missed - by my count - six one on ones or otherwise presentable chances. This tie could have been massively out of sight, and I remain confident that Blackpool will take their winning run to a very impressive nine matches in midweek and head for Wembley with their tails up.

They were trading at just over 7/4 on betfair for the game today and I availed myself, again only for small money, as I've backed them and Rovers already to win their respective playoffs.

With just the (predicted) bloodbath between Shrewsbury and MK Dons at Gay Meadow tomorrow night before all ties are at the halfway point, its interesting to note that four of the five games played this season to date have ended in away wins (Bristol Rovers the notable exception).

Even more interesting is that of the twelve playoff semi-final ties played last season, there was only one home win. I have no idea why this is, and it could just be (a mighty big) coincidence, but suffice it to say that I won't be steaming into any supposed home bankers this week.

For followers of this column's advice, my suggestion is to sit tight on Rovers and 'pool, with every chance of getting both sides to the final. Those of a slightly more prudent disposition can trade out now on either team for a bet to nothing, to win about 1.25 stake units.

Oh, and before I close, a quick reminder that I reckon there'll be one or two cards issued tomorrow night, so a small buy on the bookings index may reward the hardier footballing (and punting) souls.

And finally, as Sir Trevor MacDonald used to smirkingly say on the ITN News at Ten, just time to tell you that I'm learning some new web design skills currently (if you've seen my sites, you'll know I need to!), and my first attempt can be seen at www.nag-nag-nag.co.uk, which is of course the home page where this blog resides. Do feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. Please don't be too harsh... ;)

More soon... may your next bet be a winner.

Matt

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Saturday, 12 May 2007

Victoria Cup: Reasonably Confident!

Quick line on the big handicap at Ascot today. There are some fairly positive trends in the race, which is encouraging, given that its 29 runners down the straight seven furlongs on good to soft.

Excluding 2005, when the race was run at Lingfield, and 2001 and 1998, when it was abandoned, lets look at the data for the other seven years. Obviously, this is not a great sample size, but nonetheless I think there are some fairly solid trends here.

Weight: only one winner carried less than 8-09, and only one winner carried more than 9-01, so there is a fairly tight weight bracket to concern ourselves with. This leaves us with horse numbers 6 to 15.

Draw: only one winner drawn in single figures, with majority drawn in the middle. However, on the two runnings on good to soft, the winners were drawn 16 and 22, so middle to high is where its at. This excludes Skhilling Spirit and Prince Of Thebes.

Odds: No real clues here, though the favourite has won and four out of seven winners have been 10/1 or shorter, including the last two at Ascot (and last three in total).

Age: All of the last eight winners have been aged 4, 5 or 6. This discounts Pentecost and One More Round.

All of which means we are left with the following shortlist:

Partners In Jazz (last year's winner), Wise Dennis, Beaver Patrol, King Of Argos, Ordnance Row, and Fullandby.

To whittle down this likely sextet, lets revert to the age stats again. Five of the last nine winners of the race were four year olds (from a relatively few number of runners) and, while I fear the five year olds, I'm going to put my head on the block with King Of Argos.

Quick line on the big handicap at Ascot today. There are some fairly positive trends in the race, which is encouraging, given that its 29 runners down the straight seven furlongs on good to soft.

I think Ordnance Row, the other qualifying 4yo, is drawn out of it in stall 11.

So there it is, after all that I make the jolly old favourite the most likely winner. Despite all that, he's still freely trading at 8/1, comes into the race in fine form, has the extremely capable assistance of Jamie Spencer in the plate, and is trained by the improving Ed Dunlop.

There is a slight doubt about the ground (never raced on softer than good), but he's performed well in finishing second to one of the best All Weather horses around in Cusoon on the sand at Wolverhampton, so I'd not be too concerned about this.

My money will be on Spencer this afternoon - lets hope for a bold show.

Other matters, and desperate news from Exning. Rapid City has unfortunately suffered a hairline fracture to one of his tibias, and will need at least four weeks box rest. Not only does this mean I won't have a nice day at York next week (he was due to run on Wednesday), but also he is unlikely to be fit for one of the handicaps at Royal Ascot.

Ho hum, that's a (small part-) owner's life...

Draw at Chester did us no favours in the sprints this week alas. Middle draws seemed to dominate, and its possible that the rain had just got into the track on the inside making it slightly deeper.

However, another draw bias to be well aware of, and incredibly well exemplified this week, is the high draw bias at Beverley. In the 5f sprint on Thursday won by Wanchai Lad, the first six home were drawn 14, 15, 3, 11, 13, 12, out of thirteen runners (two non-runners).

The horse who was drawn 3 that day was Aegean Dancer, and he - in my view - is essentially a winner without a penalty. He was on a hat-trick going into the race, and continues in very good heart. Definitely one to be on next time.

Tough luck on Yeovil last night, conceding two penalties, but the tie may not be quite over yet. They have nothing to lose now at the City Ground, and definitely have players capable of causing Forest problems. That said, Forest are rightly strong favourites to progress now.


Enjoy your weekend punting!

Matt

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Friday, 11 May 2007

Payoffs in the Playoffs? (Part Two)

Hello again, dear reader, and welcome to the second part of my view of the divisional footy playoffs this year. Having gone strong on Bristol Rovers (especially to make the final) in League Two, I am now going to review the race for a place in the Championship.

The four sides with chances of escaping League One (for a season at least!) are Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Yeovil and Oldham. They finished third to sixth respectively in the division, and now Blackpool will play their Northwestern rivals Oldham, and you can do the math on who's in the other tie.

Blackpool are unquestionably the form team here, having won all of their last seven games. Not only that, but they scored an amazing 21 goals in that time, averaging three a match.

Compare and contrast that with Oldham, who have managed only two wins in their last six, and only six goals scored.

I expect this to be as straightforward as it seems, with the Tangerine men from the land of trams and rollercoasters (and cheap beer and women, according to my fond memories!! "Ay'oop luv, fancy a ride on my big dipper?" - its the only place on the planet where that line has a chance even of not winding you up in casualty!) cruising past the Latics, probably winning both legs.

The semi-final between Yeovil and Notts Forest, which plays out its first leg tonight, is much closer, in my opinion. Forest are in good form currently, having won three and drawn two of their last six games. But, when you look at the teams they've faced - Crewe, Leyton, Bournemouth (an easy three points yielded by my boys), Brentford, Rotherham and Millwall - they should probably have done better.

Yeovil, allegedly big rivals of Bournemouth (not so I've noticed!), have won four from six, including their last three. When you look at the two teams to beat them recently, Scunthorpe and Bristol City, both of whom qualified automatically, you can argue that the Tractor Boys are in slightly better form.

Given the disparity in odds (Forest 2/1 and as low as 13/8 with Hills, Yeovil generally 4/1), I'd have to side with the value there.

However, ultimately, its irrelevant because I still fancy Blackpool to beat either of these sides.

They are playing some brilliant football at the moment, scoring for fun, and will love the wide open spaces that Wembley affords them. At a best priced 9/4 with Paddy Power, they're hardly cracking value (major money for them has seen them cut to 2's from 11/4 with a number of firms), but they do look cast iron to reach the final.

If they do make the final, you have a back to lay opportunity, and indeed this is the approach I suggest you take. They're likely to be around evens, and the same proposed strategy as with Bristol Rovers should see at least one of these two in the final. That being the case, it will be possible to lay the team that makes the final for any loss incurred on the other.

If that makes sense... (possibly not).

The biggest prize of all awaits the winners of the Championship playoffs and, not least for that season ticket to the Premiership, this is the hardest division to weigh up in my opinion.

The four teams up for the cup are: Derby, Southampton, Wolves and West Brom. The betting is wide open (almost 7/2 each of four!), and in truth you pays your money and you takes your pick.

Saints play Derby and the Brummies play each other in the semi-finals.

I just fancy Saints to nick their tie, with reformed (allegedly) alcoholic (allegedly) George Burley returning to one of his former (drinking) stamping grounds. There's no doubt he's a top drawer manager, just don't ask for a lift home after the game!

Seriously, Saints have some really talented players at this level, including another ex-Derby man in Grzegorz Rasiak. The Polish hitman has treated himself to no fewer than 22 goal bonuses in just 44 starts for the Southerners, and I reckon he'll be well up for getting another additional cheque against his previous employers.

In the other tie, well your guess is as good as mine (better, more than likely). I truly have no clue who will emerge victorious, between two evenly matched sides who will be playing for local honour as well as the top flight. Both teams are in OK form, both are scoring (and shipping) bags of goals.

Perhaps the percentage play is to bet over 2 goals in the first leg, where Stan James offer 5/4. Not enough to tempt me, but in a match where I can't find a fag paper to split them, I'm struggling to suggest anything other than 'NO BET!!!'

So that concludes the action for me:

Bristol Rovers to win League 2 Playoffs: 10 points win (lay prior to final if opportunity presents itself)

Blackpool to win League 1 Playoffs: 5 points win (lay prior to final if opportunity presents itself)

Saints to win Championship Playoffs: but no bet.

Good luck to you if your teams are involved this weekend, and I hope you get the result you need.

TFI Friday.

Matt

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Thursday, 10 May 2007

Payoffs in the Playoffs? (Part One)

With the regular League season (excepting Premiership) action complete, twelve teams will now fight it out for a spot each in the next division up. It is fiercely tricky trying to predict who will emerge victorious in this type of situation. Nevertheless, your humble scribe rarely backs away from such a challenge, especially when there’s the opportunity of having a wager…

So let’s get into it, starting with League Two today, where I think probably the best bet of all three divisional contests resides.

League Two


The quartet doing battle here are: MK Dons, Lincoln City, Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury Town. These teams finished fourth to seventh respectively, and MK will face Shrewsbury with Brizzel Ravers taking on Lincoln in the semi-finals.

For much of the season, Lincoln’s Imps looked like they would gain one of the three automatic promotion spots up for grabs in the lowest league. But a weak finish to their season (won just once in their last six) means they are especially vulnerable against a rampant Rovers, who have – for their part – topped the form league with four wins and two draws.

Rovers have outscored their opposition by seven goals to two in the last six games, so it is solid defence rather than spectacular striking that has underpinned their current stellar form. Against that, Lincoln have scored only thrice and conceded one more.


So… don’t be expecting a goal glut, but I confidently envisage the blue half of Bristol making their (Wembley) way along the M4.

There they will face one of MK Dons or Shrewsbury. The Dons have arguably the best player in the division in Izale McLeod. He has scored 24 goals in a relatively few 39 games this term, having missed numerous matches for no less than three red cards.

What McLeod lacks in discipline, he makes up for in pace, power and an unmatched eye for goal at this level. The Shrews defence will struggle to keep him at bay and, even if they do, they’ll also have to counter the autumnal Clive Platt. Platt has scored 18 in the league and, alongside McLeod, their combined tally is a hugely impressive 39 league strikes.

For all their offensive prowess, Dons have been whacked on a number of occasions this season, including a 5-0 reverse at Rochdale. In the head-to-head with Shrews, Dons lost 2-1 a month ago in a very ill-tempered affair (MK had eight players booked and another one sent off – Spanish ref probably!). There were also six bookings in the reverse fixture, which MK won 2-0.

I don’t think there will be much in this tie, but the evidence points to no love lost between the sides, and a buy of cards in the first leg at Gay Meadow should yield a profit.

Overall, I reckon Milton Keynes will sneak a tight and strongly contested battle (‘battle’ being the operative word).

That leaves a final for my money between Bristol Rovers and MK Dons. Irrespective of whether they play the Dons or Lincoln, I am strong on the chances of Bristol Rovers going all the way.

They have an excellent team (at this level) and – to have needed such a strong finish to even reach the playoffs – have arguably underperformed this season.

Not a prodigiously free scoring outfit, it would again come as a surprise to me if they hit more than two in the final. Equally, they’ll need to be wary of the open spaces of Wembley, with Izale McLeod looking to exploit them in combination with his own turbo-boosted legwork.

Ultimately, I always favour a strong defence over a strong attack, and I think that Rovers will find holes in Dons’ suspect backline, and edge it by 2-1 or some such score. At a best priced 11/4, I make them a cracking bet.

If, as I confidently expect them to, Rovers win their semi-final, you’ll be able to hedge out at around evens, so I reckon this is a decent opportunity for a bet to nothing.

Of course, the Impish Lincolners may have something to say about this, but my money will be lodged in County Avon, and I’ll be rehearsing my West Country burr over the coming week.


Come on you Pirates!


Look out for tomorrow’s League One preview.


Until then, “Aw’roit moy carkers!”

Matt

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Thursday, 3 May 2007

I Know Its Rude To Gloat.... But "I Told You So!"

Well of course I should be charitable in the face of the smell of so many singed digits (thats burnt fingers to you), but I can't help myself...

Since the day of the announcement that Teofilo had had a setback, I've been YELLING from here that he can't win and, indeed, probably won't run.

It's no surprise that the description of the injury sounds like a recurrence of the original problem, and common sense has prevailed. Why would you risk him, when there is another equally prestigious race a couple of weeks later (Irish 2,000 Guineas).

It is to be hoped that Teofilo lives to race another day, because he is doubtless a fantastically exciting horse.

But there's no way he should have been entertained as a bet for the 2,000 Guineas after injuring himself so close to the race.

On 17th April, I wrote:

"So, if you want a tip for the 2,000 Guineas, try this: lay Teofilo at whatever price you can. Even IF he turns up on the day - which personally I doubt (I reckon they'll save him the for the Irish equivalent) - his chances are severely compromised by this training setback.

It is hard enough to win a Group 1, let alone a Classic, with an uninterrupted preparation. Factor in a hiccup little more than two weeks prior, with an easy week for the horse stated by the trainer, and it will take more than 9/2 to get me parting with my cash!"

I hope you heeded my advice.

Gloat over.

Til next time, toodlepip!

Matt

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Wednesday, 2 May 2007

"Wascal Wabbit" on the 2000 Guineas

Hello dear weaders, and welcome to my second attempt to send this post after my computer cwashed on the first attempt... dwat!

You may be wondering why I am witing with no r's today. In case you are, it is because I learnt some intewesting and slightly cuwious news this week. Its been bwought to my attention that therw' is a google language setting forw' Elmer Fudd!

In the spiwwit of the cartoon genius, I will twy to wite this as Mr Fudd... (some of my unkinder weaders may think the similawities don't stop there!)

Onto business, and today lets look at the histowical twends in the 2,000 Guineas with a view to finding the winner.

Firstly, weight and age are constants in the wace. All are thwee yearw' olds and all cawwy nine stone.

However, therw' are some stwong twends elsewhere...

Odds: No horse has won the wace at longer than 11/1 since Mister Baileys in 1994. Indeed, the winner has been in the first five in the betting in each of the last eleven wunnings of the wace, except one, when the winner was sixth in the market.

So lets scwub out all bar those with a chance of being in the first six in the market. This is not tewwibly helpful in finding the winner, but it does weduce our list to:

Teofilo, Adagio, US Wanger, Major Cadeaux, Diamond Tycoon, Dutch Art, Haatef and Stwategic Pwince. Of these, some will likely not fit the bill on the day.

The other point of note with wegards to the betting is that George Washington last year was the first favouwite to win since Zafonic in 1993, and there have been a few supposed 'good things' turned over at odds-on in that list.

So, I'll stwike out Teofilo. My wegular weader will know how keen I am to do that anyway! (Note, the one pwoviso herew' is that I weckon Adagio might start favouwite on the day).

Nine of the past eleven winners of the wace were twained by Stoute, O'Bwien or bin Suwoor. Of this stellar twiumviwate of twaining twiplets, only Stoute's Adagio is likely to be in the cowwect pwice bwacket. This must be a big positive if he is not sent off favouwite on the day.

Pwevious wun this season? Eight of the last eleven winners were first time out wunners. Only Haatef, Stwategic Pwince and Teofilo have that in their favour.

Pwevious form? Nothing too intewesting here (at first glance at least), as four winners had been unbeaten, the same number suffered one defeat, and thwee had had two weverses.

Dwaw? Vewwy vewwy intewesting! On first glance, the dwaw looks iwwelevant with winners coming fwom (seemingly) all parts of the twack. But comparw'ing the winning dwaw with the number of wunners weveals that no fewer than sixteen of the last seventeen winners were dwawn five or fewer stalls from either side. Although this potentially gives you ten horses to follow, if you're not dwawn within five of a wail, I say forget it! (Therew' are alweady sixteen horses jocked up out of a possible thirty, so I'd expect half the field at least to be dwawn out of it.

So there we have it: still a numberw' of impondewables, but I'm looking for a horse in the first five or six in the betting (but not favouwite), dwawn within five of the wails. I'd bet all that pass these tests.

If forced to make a selection, I'd go for Adagio (won despite a twoubled passage last time) and Diamond Tycoon (vewwy fast horse).

Other matters: "Spanish wefs, buy the cards" took a dwubbing last night, as did I, when the pwojected sanguine tub (or bloodbath if you pwefer) failed to matewialise. Although it was a well contested affair (as you'd expect forw' a match of such magnitude), it was also disappointingly well wefereed by the Spanish arbitwator (ok, so I'm just picking words with r's that I can turn into w's now!) Nevertheless, do not lose faith on this one. You will be wichly wewarded if you follow this stwategy.

Well, that's about the size of it for this post. Its actually a lot twickier than it may seem to wite like Jonathon Woss and Elmer Fudd speak. Twy it, and you'll see what I mean!

With warm wegards,

Matt 'Elmer' Bisogno

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