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Monday, 30 June 2008

Hello dear readers.....

Before I start Matt has asked me to pass on the following;

“To all of the people who were kind enough to either email me or leave a comment on the blog, my sincerest thanks. I’ve been overwhelmed with your kind remarks, and humbled at the appreciation you’ve shared with me. When I envisaged the nag3 site I wanted it to shine through as a place where all horseracing fans – be they wearied by the usual sales bluster, or newbies to the sport, or just looking for an entertaining read – could pitch up and find something of value. I’m very proud that your comments imply I’ve managed to do that, and I’ve every confidence that Gavin will maintain those values”.

So with those last words (for now) from Matt, I now take the reins.

Judging by those warm comments left for Matt I can see that he's going to be a tough act to follow but then I knew that when Matt first approached me with a view to taking over his much loved and treasured Blog.

Matt is the most decent, hardworking, generous, (oh, and opinionated!) person I have ever known and he is a true friend. As you are all aware he is a naturally gifted writer whose style is witty, incisive and very, very honest.

It is with great honour that I take over the running and writing of his blog and hopefully all his loyal readers will stay with me while I find my feet.

The first thing I'd like to do is assure you all that I don't intend changing anything.
-If it ain't broke why fix it?

And to all of you who have emailed asking about the future of TFS and TTS, this too I can assure you, will continue in exactly the same format as before. The Trainer Flat Stats and Trainer Track Stats will still be produced using the same data/software and criteria Matt used. Matt has also agreed to help me produce this coming seasons NH version, so rest assured you can expect the same steady stream of big priced winners for years to come.

There were also a few things Matt was planning to start himself but has now entrusted to me.
Relating to the questionaires, you the readers have answered, the following will be implemented;

Firstly, all trials of racing products will be conducted over a longer period with a minimum of 2 weeks and,
Secondly, I will be taking a look at the growing number of 'bots' available for Betfair trading.

I hope to begin trialing the first of these 'bots' within the next fortnight. And as you all now expect, these products will be viewed with an open mind and a totally honest appraisal will be given.

I'm sure Matt will be back writing the occassional piece for you, tipping a few winners and keeping an eye on me! but for now if you have any problems, queries or just want to talk racing you can email me at gavin@nagnagnag.com

I will be back mid-week for a look at the weekends action so....

Until next time,
Gavin.

 

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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Changes at Nag3

It is with a heavy heart, dear reader, that I tell you of an important personal decision I've come to.

Here's how it happened...

As an avid horseracing fan and part-time internet marketer, I am interesting in all sorts of ideas relating to this fantastic thing we know as the internet, and to marketing more widely.

As such, I subscribe to a lot of newsletters. The same kind of subscription emails that you probably receive: for instance, the one that told you about this blog post. Or those that offer products and / or information, be they related to racing or other interests you may have.

A while ago, I received one such email, from a guy called Tim Lowe. Some of you may know Tim, or at least know of him. He's a big guy (in all senses!) in direct marketing: that is, marketing via letter mailshots. He also has a speciality of newspaper advertising in the small 'Business to Business' classifieds.

Tim is a multi-millionaire and has grown a fledgling business from scratch to turn over more than £15 million in the last six years. And Tim has big plans for the future.

In order to meet his plans, Tim identified that he needed a 'right hand man', a General Manager if you will, and so he advertised via his weekly newsletter for the role.

He received over 100 applicants and, to cut an already long story a little shorter, I was offered the job. The offer itself was not difficult to accept.

But there is a condition: in order to avoid any possible conflicts of interest, I am obliged to give up my current business activity to focus solely on a role that will take all of my energies anyway.

My remit? To maintain the existing level of business and, furthermore, to help to grow the business to between five and ten times its current scale.

Ambitious it most certainly is and, for me, it's a challenge I'll relish. But the hardest part of the decision was about turning my back on nag3. This little blog gets anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 visitors each time its posted to, and many of you have been reading my news, views and reviews for many months: indeed, a significant number of you have been with me from day one, way back (or so it seems!) in February 2007.

It is actually very difficult for me not to be sentimental about the decision I've made, and people close to me had suspected that I'd not been able to do it. You see, nag3 is not just a blog. Nor is it simply a marketing tool.

It's not only a means of building a community of like minded racing fans. It means more to me than that: it's actually my online catharsis. It's where I've shared much more than horse racing with those who have been prepared to read.

And it's where many of you have been kind enough to share your own thoughts, stories and experiences which aligned to whatever personal sermon I was jabbering on about on any given day.

But move on I must. And I hope that you will not care an iota, as long as the nag3 way is upheld. [I know, and am grateful, for the fact that many of you will be sorry to hear this news.]

So, once my decision was made, about three weeks ago, I had another decision to make regarding nag3. The options were:

1. Sell the business for a healthy five figure sum
2. Pass nag3 onto someone I could trust to maintain the balance of racing tips and entertainment
3. Close the site down

I only really considered options 2 and 3, despite the fact that I could have picked up around £50k (conservative estimate) for my online portfolio. Option 1 was not considered for one simple reason, and that is this:

I am immensely indebted to you all for the loyalty you've shown me over the last few years, not just through nag3, but also through your trust both in my own products and in the opinions I've shared on other people's products. You'll know that I rarely recommend a product but, when I do, it's decent. And if a product's bunk, that's what you'll learn about it.

I didn't want to risk selling my portfolio to someone who might not have the same business ethos as I do. And I don't need to tell you that most people in this game do have a different business ethos from mine!

Option 3 was favourite for a while, and would have been the only option had I not been able to find someone I could absolutely trust to continue the traditions of the site: integrity, fun, and some bloody good winners. :o)


Luckily, and I say that on a personal level as well as a professional one, I know Gavin Priestley to be just such a man. Gavin and I have been great friends for pretty much half of our lives.

I met him when I was 18, and working in the civil service (Job Centre, in case you were wondering!) in Parkstone, Dorset. In my lunchtimes, I used to go to the local independent bookmaker and wager a quid or thereabouts on a placepot.

My local independent bookie? One Gavin Priestley, who'd expanded his burgeoning empire to three shops at that time. Gavin's family are steeped in racing, and have owned betting shops for two generations. So he knows this business all right!


Over the years, we've had many a great coup, and many a whopper slip off the hook, punting wise.

In fact, I'm also proud to say that I am godfather to Gavin's son, Dylan, a young man with boundless energy, a cheeky smile, and hand-eye co-ordination that is so natural and effortless as to virtually assure him a career in sport, should he wish. (How many two year olds do you know who could run up to a plastic golf ball, and smash it straight at daddy with a plastic golf club unerringly every time?! He's a little older now, but no less accurate! Poor daddy...!)

And I hope that your introduction to Gavin's writing and tipping skills over Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby meeting has whetted your whistle for more of the same over the coming months.

Gavin is also keen to review more products for you, and has taken on board your comments from the last survey to ensure that the products he looks at are the ones you may be considering yourself. I'll leave it to him to explain more in due course, but I think you can expect more backing products and more bot (automated software) products.

So, as my tenure in the editor's seat at nag3 draws to a close, Gavin steps in and will take it from here. There's masses to come over the Summer, before we get the jumps off in September, so make sure you stay tuned.

All that remains for me now is to thank you all most sincerely for the time you've spent reading my online blusters and for your loyal support, and to wish Gavin good luck and every success.

Until the next time...

Matt

p.s. If you’d like to leave a comment, feel free to do so using the link directly below this sentence that says, ‘0 Comments’ (or perhaps a bigger number by the time you read this!)

 

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Friday, 20 June 2008

Royal Ascot Trends: Saturday cont...

The Wokingham.

A 28 runner handicap over 6 furlongs, easy peasy!
I've had Tombi as the horse to back for this race since his win at York last time. I still think he's the best bet in the race but let's see what the stats say,

- Only one horse aged over 6 has ever won this race, first run in 1896!
That's goodbye to the 3 equine OAP's

- 10 of the last 11 winners finished in the first four last time out.
11 more down, 14 to go

- 6 of the last 7 winners ran no more than twice earlier in the season.
Only 7 left to choose from.

- Four and five-year-olds have won 8 of the last 9 renewals
Now we have 4.

It usually pays to go with the high or low draws and leave the ones stranded in the middle alone and with Tomba fitting all the right stats and just being drawn low enough I will put him up as a very strong fancy and my nap of the meeting.

Selection: Tomba
Danger: Tamagin



Duke of Edinburgh Handicap

Some big age and weight trends for this race with;

- 9 of the last 11 winners carrying 9st+
and
- 17 of the last 19 winners being aged four or five.

Unfortunately that doesn't seem to reduce the field by very many.

However, when we see that;

- Last-time-out winners have won 7 of the last 13 runnings

We are left with just two runners: Ezdiyaad and Proponent

With Ezdiyaad being doubtful because of the ground the selection is Proponent, whose jockey and trainer have already won a big handicap this week.
Sir Michael Stoute has won this 3 times in the last decade and his Sugar Ray is feared most.
Last mention is to a horse that surely must win a big handicap soon, Smart Instinct. He always seems to find trouble in running and one day he is going to pop up at a big price.

Selection: Proponent
Danger: Sugar Ray

The Queen Alexandra Stakes

The last and certainly the least appealing of all the races run at Royal Ascot this 2m 5 1/2f race is a bit of a strange ending to the Royal meeting.

Basically, you need a horse aged under 7-y-o, fancied in the betting and who has been running in group/listed races throughout his career (but stay away from dual purpose horses.)
Horses that have run at the meeting already that week do well also.

Selection: Honolulu
Danger: Enjoy the moment

That's all folks.
Gavin.

P.S. Don't forget that Trainer Flat Stats will only be available to buy until the last race at Royal Ascot.
Get it now by going to

http://www.trainerflatstats.com/

 

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Royal Ascot Trends: Last chance saloon

The Golden Jubilee.

-Last 10 winners had all previously scored at Listed level or above

-Every winner since 1990 had already won at 6f
So Aeroplane won't be flying in.

-3-y-o's are 0 from 40 runners since 1996
So we will lose the 4 youngsters.

- Aiden O'Brien has never won this race. It's difficult to leave any of his horses out of a Group 1 race, especially after this week but we need to cut the field down
He runs two so 13 left.

-The last 10 favourites have all been beaten.
Difficult to predict who will start favourite at the moment so we'll leave this for the moment.

- 8 out of the last 10 winners had run within 24 days of this race.
This seems to strike out quite a number of fancied horses.

- 6 of the last 10 had finished in the top 4 last time.
- 7 of the last 10 had already won that season.
Dark Missile misses out on both of these trends which leaves us with 5

Utmost Respect probably won't get the rain he needs to run and I will concentrate on the remaining 4;
Balthazars Gift, Marchand D'Or, Snaefell and Takeover Target.

- Previous Royal Ascot form is another good pointer to this race (7 of the previous 13 winners had run at Royal Ascot)
- 7 of the last 10 winners had made all or raced prominently throughout

With the Southern Hemisphere horses running well in recent years I will select Takeover Target, who usually races up with the pace, to go one better than his run on Tuesday. I just hope he doesn't start favourite!

Selection: Takeover Target
Danger: Balthazars Gift


Chesham Stakes

Usually the weakest of the Royal Ascot 2-y-o races but a good race for the punter as;

- 18 of the last 19 winners were from the first 3 in the betting
- 8 of these were favourite

- Ireland have only won this race once since 1978
Unfortunately this doesn't help us as they don't run any this year. Obviously they are aware of this trend!

- 7 winners in the last decade had won their sole start

- Mark Johnston's last 10 runners have yielded 3 winners and 2 thirds

Not much to go on but with Richard Hannon's horse having won his sole start and likely to be at the head of the market, he will do nicely.

Selection: Free Agent
Danger: Pegasus Lad


Hardwicke Stakes


- The Irish have only won this once since 1983 and Aiden O'Brien has never won this race (His Scorpion was beaten at odds-on last year)
Reluctantly after his great run for me in the Coronation Cup, McArthur is scratched.

- Only one winner since 1977 has carried a Group 1 penalty.
No, no Lurcarno

- 12 of the last 13 winners had won over 1m4f
3 won't stay in our list

- No horse older than 6 has won in the last 30 years.
Looks like 7-y-o Maraahel's bid for a three timer is doomed (Deja vu anyone?)

- 11 of the last 13 winners had won a Group 2 or 3 race
Spanish Moon and Speed Gifted are without the class.

This leaves us with three but Yellowstone would be a shock winner and I will choose from the other two, Happy Boy and Hi Calypso.

With Ryan Moore opting to ride Spanish Moon over Hi calypso and the better record of 5-y-o's in the race I will go with Goldophin's entry.

Selection: Happy Boy
Danger: Hi Calypso

I'll be back with more later,
Gavin.

 

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2 DAYS LEFT.

Don't forget...

Trainer Flat Stats will not be available to buy after Saturday's last race at Royal Ascot. Get your copy now before it's too late;

www.trainerflatstats.com


Gavin.

 

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Thursday, 19 June 2008

Royal Ascot Trends: Friday cont...

Queens Vase

This used to be dominated by Henry Cecil in the 80's and 90's but since 2001 Mark Johnston has won it 4 times, with Michael stoute and Saeed bin Suroor winning it twice each in the last decade.

- Only one horse in the last decade has started at double figure odds.

- Interestingly, 7 of the last 12 winners of this race were unraced as a 2-y-o.

- The last 6 winners were all beaten last time out.

- A good stat for all breeding statisticians is that Saddlers Wells has never sired the winner of this race. (Tiffany Diamond)

-12 of the last 14 winners were sired by a stallion with a Stamina Index of no less than 10f

The Mark Johnston horses must run well but I am going to go for John Oxx's Ebadiyan. Unraced at 2, beaten last time out and near the front of the betting he should give a good account of himself.

Selection: Ebadiyan
Danger: Captain Webb

 

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Royal Ascot Trends: Friday cont...

Albany Stakes

For 2-y-o fillies only, this race has been run since 2002 and has yet to see any really strong trends emerge.

What little we do have to go on include:

- 4 out the 6 winners had run just once
- 3 had won a maiden last time out
- Jeremy Noseda and Mick channon have won it twice each and both have also saddled a 1-2
- 4 winners have been at double figure odds including last years shock 50/1 winner

As I said not much to go on, so I'll stick with Mick Channon and his once run, once won filly, Please Sing

Selection: Please Sing
Danger: Danidh Dubai

Wolverton Stakes (H'cap)

Another race transferred in 2002 from the old Ascot Heath card on the Saturday.The conditions of the race remain pretty much the same so I'll use the full data available. Even so, this is a hard race to sort out as winners have come from the full range of the handicap with a whole hatful of trainers responsible for the past winners

- last 5 winners and 7 of the last 10 were 4-y-o's

- 10 of the last 13 had no more than 2 runs previous to the race

- 9 of those 13 were placed in the top 4 last time

This leaves Charlie Farnsbarns, Mutajarred, Mount Hadley and Monte Alto.

The booking of Johhny Murtagh for Luca Cumani's Monte Alto looks interesting, the trainer isn't adverse to laying one out for a Royal Ascot handicap and he looks nicely weighted at the bottom of the weights.

A word also for Pinpoint who will find this a lot easier than some of the races he has contested since winning the Spring Cup last year.

Selection: Monte Alto
Each Way: Pinpoint

Gavin

 

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Royal Ascot Trends- Friday's races

Ladies first... The Coronation Stakes.

Forget last years shock 6 length 25/1 winner and the trends are quite good for this race.

- Not surprisingly, 9 out of the last 10 winners had run in either the English, Irish or French 1000 guineas.

- 14 of the last 17 winners had finished in the top 3 last time out

- 8 of the last 10 winners had won at least at Group 3 level

Applying these trends leaves us with a shortlist of;
Carribean Sunset, Modern Look and Spacious

Interestingly, since 1993 only 2 horses placed in the Newmarket Guineas have come on to win the Coronation Stakes so I will eliminate Spacious on this basis.

Difficult to split the pair that are left but I will side with Carribean Sunset as she looks to have the edge on a line through Halfway to Heaven.

Selection: Carribean Sunset
Danger: Modern Look


King Edward VII Stakes


The 'Ascot Derby' but not a single horse that ran in the Epsom Derby set to contest this years race.


- Ireland have only had one winner in the last 30 years.

Cheerio to Hebridean, Moiqen and Winchester to be sure.


- 11 of the last 12 winners had not yet won over 1m4f+

Here we lose All the Aces


- 11 of the last 13 winners were winning a Group race for the first time

Another one bites the dust, City Leader


- 12 of the last 14 winners started favourite or second-favourite


Sir Michael Stoute has won this race 4 times since 1991 and with Conduit likely to be towards the front of the betting I will side with him


Selection: Conduit

Danger: Campanologist

 

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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Royal Ascot Trends: Ladies Day

Ladies Day at Ascot which should ensure the BBC flat racing coverage is even worse than usual. Full of fashion experts criticising some poor girl for wearing flat shoes instead of heels, loads of hat experts cooing over some £500 monstrosity and totally inane blabbering and speculation on the colour of the Queens outfit. It almost, almost! makes you wish for more of Willie Carson, the most pointless and annoying racing 'expert' on TV.

Who cares, if you want fashion go and watch Trinny and Susanah on some obscure Sky channel, just leave the racing alone! (If you do care, then the Queen will be wearing a Pale Blue hat this year, 5/1 with Skybet).

Anyway rant over, on to the highlight of the day the Ascot Gold Cup.....

Favourite for the race is Yeats but I am going to oppose him on the grounds that

- Sagaro was the last horse to win a hat-trick of Gold Cups in 1975-77. Plenty have tried since and failed.
- there has only been 1 winner aged 7 or older in the last 68 years.

This last stat also excludes 3 others.

- The last 8 winners had all won at least a Group 2 race.
- 5 of the last 6 British trained winners had run in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown

Bye Bye Baddam and the two Bin Suroor runners.

Which leaves 4.

If you forget the enigmatic Royal Rebel who always seemed to need a couple of runs before getting to Ascot, placed form in the prep run is very important with only 4 of the last 18 (2 of which were the Rebel) running unplaced. So by removing the down-the-field-last-time Allegretto and Thundering Star we are left with;

Coastal Path and Finalmente.

Preference is for the unbeaten French colt Coastal Path. Any rain will only boost his chances.

Selection: Coastal Path
Each Way: Finalmente



Norfolk Stakes

I am relying on the 3 horses that have run already this week not turning out again.

- Must be a winner last time out. Only 1 winner since 1991 was beaten last time out
- 10 of last 15 winners undefeated in their career so far
- 8 out last 10 winners had only ever raced at 5f
- fancied horses win this race. 11 of last 15 started 5-1 or shorter. Last 5 winners were 1st or 2nd favourites

Howard Johnson won this race in 2005 and his representative South Central romped home by 11 lengths last time and a repeat of that run should see him in the shake up.

Jeremy Noseda's (whose 2-y-o's always do well at Ascot ) Waffle looks the main danger.

Selection: South Central
Danger: Waffle


Gavin

 

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Royal Ascot Trends: 30 runner cavalry charge

Brittania Stakes H'Cap

Probably the hardest and most competitive 3-y-o only handicap run all year.

It usually goes to an unexposed runner from a top stable but there has been no winner in the last decade coming into this race having won a maiden last time out. Henry Cecil's well fancied Rattan would therefore be eliminated.

- 27 of the last 33 winners carried 9 stone or less. That takes the top 6 out.

- Last 16 winners finished in the top 4 last time out.
- 9 of the last 11 winners had raced no more than 7 times

This whittles the field a bit and leaves 11 remaining but now it gets a bit tougher.

To try and cut the field further, 8 of the last 16 winners won last time out. Not a great stat but we need to start somewhere.

Newmarket trainers have dominated this race in the last decade and for this reason I will stick with last years winning trainer M. Bell.

He trains Redford and he looks to have a good a chance as any in this tight field. He won nicely on his re-appearance and fits all the right trends.

Selection: Redford
Danger: Thebes

Gavin

 

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Royal Ascot Trends: Thursday

Ribblesdale Stakes

Not a very good race from a trends point of view as the last 10 renewals has seen a mixture of handicappers, maiden winners and Oaks horses contest the finish at prices ranging from 13/8 to 25/1.
Saeed Bin Suroor has won it 3 times in the last decade but does not have a runner this year and 7 other trainers have shared the spoils for the remaining renewals.
Aiden O'Brien has yet to win the race

I tipped Michita in the Oaks after her impressive win in a Goodwood Oaks trial and I'll give her a chance to prove the Oaks run all wrong.

Selection: Michita



Hampton Court Stakes

This race was switched from the Heath Card on Saturday to mid week and reduced in distance from 1m 4f to 1m 2f in 2001.

Again, no strong trends have emerged in the 6 previous renewals other than;

- Michael Stoute horses are best avoided. he has provided 2 x favs, 2 x 2nd favs and a 3rd fav and all were beaten.
- All 8 penalised runners to have run have been unplaced
- The last 6 winners were all winning in Listed company for the 1st time

Aiden O'Brien won this in 2004 and 2005 and looks to have another likely candidate in King of Rome.

Selection: King of Rome

 

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Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Royal Ascot Trends: The West of Wednesday...

A muted start on day one, dear weader (a touch of the Elmer Fudd's in this post...!), with Haradasun doing the beeswax for Gavin in the opening Queen Anne Stakes, but not much else to cheer home alas.

Gavin also put up 3rd placed, Twice Over at 8/1, while my selections in the juvenile events ran well without threatening to win (Orizaba missed the break and finished fifth behind impressive winner, Art Connoisseur; Light The Fire showed up well for a long way but faded to tenth behind the 100/1 (!) winner, trained by one of last season’s trainers to follow, John Best).

Still, four race previews and one 5/1 winner puts us marginally in front.

TrainerFlatStats weighed in too, with one runner: Yamal winning at 9/2. FOUR days left to get your copy should be so inclined. Window shuts (and is firmly bolted!) on Saturday at 5.35.

******

To Wednesday and, as well as the Prince of Wales Stakes already previewed by Gavin, let’s take a look at a few of the other races.

Firstly, my sincere gratitude to the excellent work of Paul Jones, whose pieces are paraphrased here due to time constraints on my part. You can read his work, and also watch the Royal Ascot racing AND check out loads of other cool stuff at the Attheraces website. And it’s all gratis! It’s about the best Royal Ascot site on the web (after Nag3 of course!)

2.30 Jersey Stakes

18 go to post. A Group winning horse has not won since 1986. Lose the top four, including Jupiter Pluvius.

Six of the last twelve winners won last time out, and all bar one finished in the first four LTO. Scratching those that didn’t reduces the field to eight.

There is a standout form race, which appears to be the key prep for this: the King Charles II Stakes. Half of the last eight winners (yes, that’s four!) were first or second in the above race. The front two both line up here, and are Calming Influence and Stimulation respectively.

They’ll do for me, and I’ll take the latter to reverse placings tomorrow.

Selection: Stimulation
Danger: Calming Influence

The Windsor Forest (3.05), a mile race restricted to the girls, has only been going since 2004, and its been pretty much Sir Michael Stoute’s race. He’s won it twice and had the second in another year. Last year, he could only manage 5th and 7th.

There’s little else to go on just yet, and Stoute runs the favourite, Heaven Sent tomorrow. Let’s not overcomplicate this.

My old mate Gerard Butler’s mare, Baharah might follow her home.

Selection: Heaven Sent
Danger: Baharah

The Royal Hunt Cup (4.20) is the most curious of races for a banker bet to emerge in, but Luca Cumani’s Bankable holds this mantle for many punters. Officially a stone well in, and easy peasy winner of both starts this season (and his last two last year), it’s not hard to see why.

The trends in the race are thus:

- All bar two of the last 22 winners were four or five years old.

- Only trend busting Mine in 2004 (a 6yo) has carried more than 9 stone to victory since 1991 (Bankable carries 9-02!)

- 7 of the last eleven winners were drawn close to either rail (within six stalls)

- Half of the last 14 winners ran in the Victoria Cup

Although Bankable may well win, there is lots of value to be had elsewhere. (Hotpots do get rolled over in this race).

We’ll Come from the Michael Jarvis stable is well drawn in 27, carries less than 9-00, is a 4yo, and must improve for his first run of the season, a staying on fourth having missed the break… in the Victoria Cup. At around 8/1, he looks a rock solid each way alternative to the Banka.

Selection: We’ll Come
Danger: Bankable

The Queen Mary (4.55), a kilometre sprint for young ladies (or 2yo fillies, if you prefer), is a race much favoured by Messrs Hannon and Channon, and a race I’ve backed many winners in over the years.

The trends say:

- 12 of the last 13 won last time out

- 6 of the last 8 (though not the last two) were unbeaten

- Channon has won thrice in the last decade

Selection: Lucky Leigh
Danger: Baileys Cacao

Staying with the girls in the ‘lucky last’ at 5.30, the Listed Sandringham handicap over a mile, and some quite strong patterns to assist…

- All bar two of the last 13 winners had a handicap rating of at least 90 (delete the bottom five)

- Ten of the last dozen winners had won already that season (only two left!)

The two on the shortlist then are Rosaleen and Jazz Jam. The latter won on the all weather and will find this rather different. Meanwhile, the former won nicely over course and distance before being a tad outclassed in a recognised Oaks trial last time.

Selection: Rosaleen
Danger: Jazz Jam

Good luck with your Woyal Wednesday Wagers, and let’s pwey we win a wickle bit. (where’s that wascal wabbit, Elmer?!)

www.trainerflatstats.com

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Royal Ascot Trends: Prince of Wales Stakes

Some notable trends for this race include;

- no horse aged 6 years or older has won since 1995

- 9 out of last 10 winners posted a top 3 finish last time

- Only one horse in the last decade was making his seasonal re-appearance

- Only 1 mare has won in the last decade

Unfortunately this does not narrow the field down very much but when we learn that this race was only granted Group 1 status in 2000, some very strong trends emerge.

- In the 8 years of this race being run as a Group 1 EVERY winner has previously scored at Group 1 level AND contested a Group 1 race last time out. Applying this trend to the field it leaves just 3 horses, Duke of Marmalade, Literato and Pressing

- Also, since being awarded Group 1 status the race has seen the winner come from the top 4 in the betting for all 8 renewals. This would seem to eliminate Literato

Another very interesting stat for this race is that the last four 5-y-o winners all contested the Prince of Wales the previous year as a 4-y-o.
Michael Jarvis's Pressing contested this as a 4-y-o when he finished 5th to Manduro. The trainer won the race in 2004 with Rakti and on this basis I will select him as the value alternative to the favourite.

Selection: Pressing
Danger: Duke of Marmalade

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Monday, 16 June 2008

Royal Ascot Trends: St James Palace Stakes

One of the most interesting races of the week with the form of the three European 2000 Guineas set to go under the microscope. Some strong trends for this race and very few recent shock results should make this a good punting race.

- Unsurprisingly 13 of the last 14 winners had been placed in the top 4 of either the English, Irish or French 2000 Guineas.

- Of the last 10 winners, all had at least 2 career wins prior to lining up for this race.

- 9 of the last 10 winners were officially rated at least 116

- The biggest price winner in the last 10 years was 8/1

Again, unsurprisingly the three horses left are Henrythenavigator, Ravens Pass and Falco.

But....

the other horse in the top four of the betting, Twice Over, could also be added to this shortlist.
Of the last 14 runnings,the only horse not to have competed in any of the Guineas and come on to win this race was Dr Fong.

Twice Over has a very similar profile to this 1998 winner in that Dr Fong was unbeaten as a 2yo (2 from 2), he was trained by Henry Cecil and he too was thought of as a Derby fancy until beaten in the Dante.

So four horses left and the front four in the betting, but which one will win?

Aiden O'Brien's record in the race is second to none (won 4 of the last 8 renewals) and he is the only trainer to have done the Newmarket Guineas and the St James Palace double since 1981 (with Rock of Gibraltar). Henrythenavigator's form in both Guineas couldn't have been franked any better by New Approach and he will surely take all the beating.

The French Guineas form has generally been the weakest of all the Guineas and I feel Falco may struggle to win this race.

Twice Over's beating of Ravens Pass in the Craven stamped him as an above average miler and the subsequent decision to bypass the Guineas spectacularly backfired when he was well beaten in the Dante. The form of the Dante though was given a big boost by the winner, Tartan Bearer, in the Derby.

I won't be rushing to take the odds-on price available for Henrythenavigator and suggest at the current odds, Twice Over is the value bet to confirm superiority over Ravens Pass and prove his Dante run all wrong.

Selection: Twice Over
Danger: Henrythenavigator

p.s. Six days left to get TFS before the window closes forever. Click here for your copy.

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Royal Ascot Trends: Queen Anne Stakes

The first race of the Royal Ascot meeting and raised to Group 1 status in 2003, the Queen Anne run over the straight mile has some very strong recent trends,

- No filly has won this race in 50 years of trying, so the two ladies seem up against it.

- Last 23 winners were either 4 or 5 years old. So the two equine OAPs bite the dust.

- The last 6 winners had all scored at Group 1 level. Three of the runners remaining haven't managed it yet.

- 9 of the last 10 winners came from the first 4 in the betting and since 1980 only 4 horses have won at odds of over 10/1. Bye Bye to Mount Nelson.

- Only 1 overseas winner since the mid 1970's. Au revoir Sageburg

This leaves Haradasun as the only horse left to fit all the major trends. Another strong plus for this horse is the very good record of horses beaten in the Lockinge (3 of the last 6 winners). Let's hope for an improved show from this very talented beast.

One more 'trend' worth noting is Sir Michael Stoutes record in this race. From 9 runners he has only had 1 of them finish outside the top 4. Even more amazing is the fact that 8 of these had started at bigger odds than 11/2. Linngari is an interesting runner.

Selection: Haradasun
Danger: Linngari

Gavin.

p.s. Six days left to get TFS before the window closes forever. Click here for your copy.

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Sunday, 15 June 2008

Royal Ascot Trends: Coventry & Windsor Castle

The Day One juvenile events are always well contested, dear reader, and 2008 will be no exception, with loads of winning debutantes pitching against each other.

However, with the usual assistance of draw and historical data, we can try to dig beneath the surface of insoluble form, and get to the nub of the winning horse profiles.

Enough of this introductory bluster, and on with the piece!

First up is the Coventry Stakes, over 6f on Tuesday at 4.20. It's for the boys and the trends are quite instructive. Here's what I learnt:

- All of the last ten winners had won on their previous start. This quickly scratches four of the eighteen runners.

- All ten had either won over six furlongs (the Coventry distance) OR were trained by Aidan O'Brien. Three more fail on this count, leaving eleven

- All won a Class 4 or better race OR an Irish EBF race last time out. One unlucky nag gets his horse blanket and heads for the exit.

- 9/10 had run just once or twice. Cheerio to Shampagne. Half the field still standing.

- A really interesting stat is that 8/10 won last time out by 2 lengths or more, and 10/10 won by 3/4 of a length or more. Applying the 8/10 stat reduces the nine to just four.

The four on the shortlist then are:

Lord Shanakill
Orizaba
Shaweel
Versaki

On form, and visual inspection, preposterously facile Newbury winner Orizaba will take some stopping. He's also clear on Timeform ratings.

Allied to these positives is the fact that 9 of the last 10 winners of the race had been 8/1 or shorter in the betting. Orizaba is the only one of the four shortlisted to pretty much be guaranteed to be in the right price bracket.

However, one possible fly in the Orizaba ointment is that he has drawn stall one. In the four runnings of the Coventry in the past decade where there were 18 runners or more, three of them have been won by a very high drawn horse.

An honourable mention for Peter Tchaikovsky who fits the profile of an O'Brien winner, aside from his last time out winning margin. On breeding, he probably did very well to overcome the short five furlong trip that day, and will be better suited by a mile plus in time. He might be good enough to buck the winning distance trend.

Selection: Orizaba
Danger: Peter Tchaikovsky

A quick trip south from Coventry to Windsor Castle, and a drop back in distance to five eighths of a mile for a Listed contest.

The profile of a Windsor Castle winner is not quite so robust as its more illustrious juvenile colleague, the Coventry, but there are still some pretty promising lines. A whacking 26 go to post, so let's take a look:

- 8/10 winners had already won a race (six of these eight won by 2 1/2 lengths or more). Ten down directly.

- 8/10 finished 1st or 2nd last time out. Four of these did not and are struck off our register.

- 9/10 last ran between nine and 28 days ago. Another couple with cobwebs depart.

- 8/10 had two previous runs (10/10 had 1-3 previous runs). We'll erase those not having their third start, of which there are four. Six left.

- Of the eight times when the race has been contested by 14 or more horses (which excludes the ten runner affair at York when the track here was being renovated), six of them have gone to a horse drawn in double digits.

This leaves us with a trio of candidates: Dabbers Chief, Effort and Light The Fire.

The last named is trained by Bryan Meehan, who won this race in 2000 with Autumnal, and has a fine chance this time.

The winning debutante Bushranger rates a danger, though there could be many!

Selection: Light The Fire
Danger: Bushranger

Plenty more of these previews to come, so stay tuned over the next couple of days!

Matt

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Friday, 13 June 2008

The unending search for value.....

Matt's away in deepest Dorset for the weekend which leaves me in the hotseat again in the pursuit of some profitable punting possibilities.


The best of the weekends racing centres on the York card which serves as a good appetiser for the feast of next weeks high class racing action.
Time to dust off the Top Hat and Tails as the countdown to Royal Ascot has begun.

I'll be back later with a preview of this great meeting with a few ante-post pointers and a few notable trends in the big races,

But it's back to York for now and without doubt the big race of the weekend is the £100k 6f Betfair Sprint Cup. With that kind of prizemoney on offer this race is usually a really tight, impossible to fathom race full of decent inform handicappers and future top class sprinters.
This year is no exception.

The trends don't help us much either as the last 10 winners have varied in weight from 7-10 to 9-2 and in price from 9/4f to 33/1. Also, the draw doesn't seem to favour any particular part of the course so I think it's back to the form book to pick the winner the old fashioned way....

The two I will take against the field are;

Van Bossed from the D. Nicholls stable (who have won this twice in the last decade). He looked on the upgrade after two easy wins at Ripon before dissappointing slightly in a conditions race last time. Taken to bounce back to form now returned to handicap company and on this easier ground he should be in the shake up

and Fathsta. He had a few of these behind when winning over this course in May, albeit it over 7furlongs, and seemed to improve again when chasing home Iguazu Falls in a Listed race at Epsom last weekend. With the likely strong pace hopefully aiding in this drop down in trip I take him to run another good race.



My other weekend fancy comes in tonights footie match between Holland and France. No matter what Matt says about Italy being unlucky to lose 3-0 (I think he needs to visit specsavers and get those rose tinted glasses checked) in their opening game, Holland still look a far better team than France to me and I take them to win this match and win it well.

The 5/1 at William Hill for Holland -1 goal looks a value bet and definitely worth a small punt.


Talking of value, here's the Friday Fun.
Its an advert for a Poker Website that unsurprisingly got banned.
Well, when you see value you gotta take it, no matter what...........




One last thing before I go, and much as it pains me to write this, congratulations has to go to Matt for some truely inpired tipping in his earlier blog (see below)

From the three races he analysed he gave all three winners at odds of 8/1, 4/1 and 6/1. Great
tipping and great prices.

I hope you all took his advice. Very well done Matt.

Bye for now,
Gavin.

 

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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Despatches, And A VERY Special Offer...

Windows, dear reader, are funny things. Clear and yet obtrusive, they are metaphors for all kinds of situation.

Windows on the world show you things you'd not otherwise see, such as the wildlife images on your TV.

Windows Vista takes you to breathless heights of frustration that other operating systems simply cannot reach. ;o)

And windows of opportunity are short periods of time when you have a chance to take a calculated risk with a significant upside, be it financial, vocational or personal.

And it is to one such window that I will allude later in this post.

But first, the survey results are in....

******

A couple of days ago, I invited you to feedback on what you thought of Nag3 system reviews and in particular on a few that I have especially enjoyed over the past fifteen months.

As with each of the three times I've asked you for feedback, I've been extremely pleasantly surprised at your generosity and candour in taking the time to share with me what you think about our little virtual space, Nag3.

Among some fascinating insights which will shape the future of product reviews on these 'ere pages were the following responses:

- Almost everyone - 96.5% - thought the reviews were helpful (aw, bless!)

- Most of you - 81.5% - liked the honesty in the reviews (i.e. good is good, and crap is... erm... not very good!)

- Whilst more than 60% felt the reviews are fine as they are, a third believe the trials could be longer. I hear this, and agree with you, so future trials will span a fortnight at least.

- I was heartened to learn that only 6.6% of you felt that the reviews were too sales-y. Of course you know that if I review a decent product and you buy it, I get a slice of the sale price. Apart from the fact that I love writing about horses and other assorted gubbins, I am transparent in the fact that I take a cut for doing the legwork / reviews. And I'm chuffed that 93.4% of you acknowledge that and accept it.

- Almost every one of you (89%) is interested in learning about horse backing products. (Me too!)

- Perhaps surprisingly (certainly, I was!), nearly half of you would like Nag3 to review betting software products, such as bots. You'll definitely see more of these in coming months!

- And I was thrilled to discover that a measly, trifling, 1.7% of TFS owners thought that product was rubbish!!!! (Bless you, my loyal and - I hope, given its well in front for the third season in a row - loaded readers!)

Enough of the number chucking - take a squint at the digits over here....

Show me the Survey Responses!



Be sure, kind respondents, that your views are massively important here at Nag3 and will be taken on board, and acted upon. What you might call a win-win situation.

Thanks again...

******

Now, from win-win's to win-window's (with apologies for the terrible link)...

As you'll no doubt be aware from my various comments on the matter, and from your own wagering should you be in on the TFS gig, we're having a rather dandy time of it (fairly quiet week since Saturday's three winners aside).

The monthly scores this season are:

March +4.15 points
April -1.15 points
May +46.75 points (!)
June +18.55 points

Profits then to £20 at betfair odds are a very satisfying £1,366.

Even at SP for the small minority who still use the bookies regularly, the same £20's would have returned you £835.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because from now until the end of Royal Ascot, the window (if not the door) is opening for TrainerFlatStats.

The usual sales pitches apply: this is genuinely the last chance you'll have to buy TFS. At 5.40pm UK time, the window shuts, and we draw the curtains.

Thereafter, the guide will not be sold again this year. Your next opportunity to get hold of this type of information will be in late August when TrainerTrackStats 2008/9 hits the ether. Yes, the same TTS that has made 60 and 100 points respectively in the last two seasons :o)

So, before I get crucified by those who believe I'm too sales'y, you can get TFS - should you wish to - by going here:


You have a little less than nine days to get your copy and, of course, if you get it now, you'll enjoy Royal Ascot with us!

******

Talking of Royal Ascot, its just five days away, and I'm barely over my Epsom pain (backed the runner up in both Oaks and Derby - aaaargh!)

But over my Epsom pain I am, and onwards we go. Timeform popped through my door this morning, so I'll share a few pointers from there.

Timeform Bankers next week look like the following:

Tuesday: Fleeting Spirit in the Kings Stand (3yo filly against mixed sex older horses) is 6 points clear of her nearest rival.

Wednesday: Luca Cumani's handicap snip (?) Bankable in the Royal Hunt Cup is 6 points clear with the 'p' symbol indicating there is potential for further improvement!

Thursday: In the Ribblesdale, Oaks heroine (trained by our man, Raiph Beckett) Look Here is 6 point clear as well, if she runs.

Friday: Tartan Bearer, should he run in the King Edward VII Stakes, is 5 points clear of Henry Cecil's Twice Over (who is in turn clear of the third top rated)

Saturday: TrainerFlatStats is 65 points clear with a 'p' and closes after the last race! ;o)

Stay tuned on the Royal Ascot beat, as from the weekend and through next week, Gavin will be sharing the key trends in the key races.

******

For those of you who can't wait for next Tuesday to strike a wager (and that would be me!), there are loads of potential draw bias opportunities for a punt.

Goodwood tomorrow night presents one such, and Councellor trained by the very good Stef Liddiard looks worthy of an ickle tickle at around 6/1.

High has typically been the call on the straight course over at Chepstow, and there are some big fields in which to try and exploit this tomorrow.

Seventeen selling platers are due to go to post for the 7.00, and course winner Cyfrwys, trained by track specialist Bryn Palling will carry a couple of my more speculative quids from the 15 berth.

Superduper and Solemn both have belting chances in a moderate sprint at 8.15. Win only on the former, and a spot of each way indulgence on the latter. Well, there are four places to play for..!

Over at Sandown, its pointless getting cute on the five furlong chute (catchy, eh?). High wins the races usually.

So, with that in mind, we'll have a small bet on best drawn Macdillon at around 10's in the opener; and we'll follow up with Requisite (win) and First Trim (e.w) in the second race. Then, to the bar to count the shekels...!

Finally in what could be a very fine day (or not!) for draw followers, York offers significant sway towards low boxes in mile and 9 furlong races.

In the 2.50 race, Goodbye Mister Bond looks to be ready to win again. He's a course and distance winner, for whom the ground has come right, and he races off his lowest mark, 80, since May 2006. That day, he also raced off 80, and came home in front. Looks nailed on for the frame, and is my bet of the day, win and place.

******

That's all for tonight. Remember, don't put it off and forget, if you're interested in TFS, now is the time to grab a copy. The window closes in less than nine days time, and more winners are expected between now and then.


Gavin will be back tomorrow with his first look at the Royal Ascot showpiece festival, so stay tuned for that...

ttfn
Matt

p.s. Did anyone else buy the cards in the Spain - Russia game?! Despite there being 36 fouls, the referee (a noted card issuer) failed to book a single player... I was not impressed...

p.p.s. Hats off to petulant baby, Bastian Schweinsteiger (tipped by me to be one of the stars of the tournament!), for his spoilt brat cameo tonight. The tempestuous Teuton played less than 20 minutes before getting sent off. I don't imagine he'll be getting too much more first team action this Summer... that's more like it!!!

p.p.p.s. There's no TFS pitch here...

 

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Monday, 9 June 2008

Don't Buy Football Formula Until You Read This!

Bizarre timing in many respects, dear reader, for the launch of a football betting product. I mean, granted, the Euro 2008 tournament is now well underway. But for many, the absence of British interest (whichever section of Britain you're in) means its little more than an aside to the horse racing and tennis shenanigans in which we have higher rank...

No matter, for curious timing or not, Football Formula has been launched amid a torrent of emails proclaiming its brilliance. So what's the truth of the situation?

Well... I thought I'd grab a copy and check it out, and share my observations with you.

First thing to say is its written by the guy who wrote one of my favourite laying guides, Racing Secrets Exposed (RSE). RSE is no lazy man's guide, but its packed full of common sense and I made some good money trialling it here on the blog, and have made some good money using its principles since.

But horse laying and football systems are not the same are they? So can Mr Jackman turn his hand to the beautiful game with the same aplomb?

Well, yes actually. But before you rush out and buy this, I need to warn you it might not suit your style.

You see, the key to making money with this guide is discipline. Yes, I know its an ugly word and I know from your feedback that a majority of you struggle with it (me too!).

But this system is not about five team accumulators. It's not about massive odds first scorer / correct score doubles. And it's not about half time / full time betting.

The shocking truth is more mundane than that!

Football Formula is all about the Asian Handicaps, and how you can turn them to your advantage.

It features an intro to Asian Handicaps (basically, one team spotting the other a goal, or a fraction of a goal start), and how to identify good bets. These may not be the most obvious.

FF then goes on to walk you through four winning strategies for playing the Asian Handicaps.

Now I have to say that I think three of them are very likely to put you in front, and the fourth may do as well, but it wasn't obvious to me.

So is FF for you? Well, if you don't like doing any work then possibly not. Actually, that said there is an option to get a subscription service where the selections are emailed to you. I suspect this will be very popular and, when the season starts, I may sign up for this myself.

If you like to 'get your hands dirty' with stats (as I do) then you'll love this.

FF also comes with a couple of bonus products. I haven't looked at these yet, but I'm hopeful that they contain the same common sense as both FF and RSE.

As with all products promoted through Clickbank, if its not for you, you can get a refund.

If you like wagering on footy, and you are happy to bet around evens on strong probabilities, then this may well be worth a look.

However, if you need to put at least five teams in your weekend acc'er, this won't float your boat in the slightest. Like Favourites Phenomenon, this is very much "Softly, Softly, Catchy Monkey".

Recommended.


Ciao pronto!
Matt

p.s. pLeAsE don't mention the football after Italy got smashed tonight. I thought they were the better side (albeit through my azure tinted glasses), and 3-0 was a travesty!

 

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Friday, 6 June 2008

Last but definitely not least.....

The last of my posts for now and an indepth look at one of my favourite races of the year,
THE Derby.

Firstly, I've changed my mind more times than Jim Bolger regarding this race and due to events this week even Matt has questioned my sanity over the final selection but I've decided to go with my original post (I'm sure Matt will enjoy the bragging rights for weeks to come should it all go belly up!) and with fingers firmly crossed here it is........

17 runners but 16 really as Maidstone Mix cannot win unless he starts at Tattenham corner.

We can also forget Alan Devonshire as he looks outclassed too.

The last maiden to win the Derby was Merry Hampton in 1887, so I think we can safely put a line through Aiden O'Briens pair Bashkirov and Washington Irving.

An interesting stat is that no horse has ever won the Derby after being beaten in the Dante, so goodbye to another O'Brien horse...Frozen Fire.

14 of the last 15 Derby winners had won last time out (Sir Percy was the exception having finished 2nd in the 2000 Guineas). So if we disregard any horse not finishing in the top two last time out we can knock out Bougeureau and River Proud and if we take this stat literally we can knock out another O'Brien horse King of Rome plus the Goldophin beast, Rio De La Plata. (Saeed Bin Suroor has yet to win the Derby and has had 15 beaten horses in the last decade.) We will leave New Approach in for the moment as he too also finished 2nd in the 2000 guineas.

This leaves us with Alessandro Volta as the only Aiden O'Brien runner left and he looks a very interesting runner. Last time out he won the Lingfield Derby Trial, a race that has provided the winner of the Derby 4 times since 1983 and run on a track that is very similar to Epsom.
Currently trading at 40/1, I think this is a big price for a horse that will stay the trip, handle the track and from a top stable with a fine record in the race. (2 winners and 3 runner ups since 2001).
My only concern is the going as he does need the ground to firm up a bit. With Epsom reporting that the track is drying out all the time I'll take a chance that the going will be okay for him, especially at the big price on offer.

Another interesting stat is that the winner in each of the last 10 renewals have all had 5 career runs or less. This would seem to exclude a very fancied runner in Curtain Call. Also, the last 10 winners had all run within 30 days of the race. Curtain Calls last run was 45 days ago when he won a 3 runner race at Nottingham. His trainer has a great record in this race (2 wins and a 2nd) and he really has been quite bullish about this horse's chance but he's not for me.

Another horse to fail on the 30 day rule is Kandahar Run. If any horse is to prove me wrong I hope it is the Henry Cecil runner but he doesn't look to have the class of previous Cecil winners and horses running in the Fielden Stakes (he was 2nd to Campanologist) don't have a great record in the derby.

Next we have the two most popular Irish trainers in the racing world and their representatives. Dermot Weld with Casual Conquest and Jim Bolger with NewApproach.

Firstly, New Approach. Horses that ran in the 2000 guineas have a very poor record in the Derby. Yes Sir Percy did it but there have been a long list of failures throughout the years and Sir Percy did it without the added inconvenience of contesting the Irish 2000 as well. All those punters who managed to get the 209/1 on Betfair are obviously sitting on a very nice price but I would be looking to lay it all back on this doubtful stayer at the much shorter price now on offer.

Casual Conquest on the other hand looks cast iron to run a very big race. The Derrinstown Stud Trial that it won last time threw up the Derby winner 3 times in the early noughties and Casual Conquest couldn't have been more impressive when slamming Washington Irving by 6 lengths. My only concern is his inexperience: no Derby winner in the last 10 years had run less than three times prior to the race. If he can overcome his inexperience he will run a big race.

For me, the key to the whole race is Sir Michael Stoute. He has won this great race 4 times and seen plenty of his runners run extremely well making him a trainer to take seriously. This year he has three runners and all seem to have a good chance.

Doctor Fremantle, beaten by Bronze Cannon off level weights in a Newmarket handicap, has obviously improved since this defeat and won a Chester trial quite comfortably.

The second of his runners, Tartan Bearer won the number 1 Derby trial of recent years: The Dante. He beat the O'Brien horse Frozen Fire that day but the race was devalued a bit with the poor running of the favourite and one time Derby jolly Twice Over (subsequently found to have had a 'problem').
Ryan Moore has chosen Tartan Bearer and of the two he looks the more likely but it's Stoute's third entry that appeals most to me as the likely Derby winner......

Step forward Tajaweed, this horse looks to have all the right credentials and fits all the right stats and trends. He will go on the ground and his win at Chester in the Dee stakes (2 previous winners since 1999 including Stoute's Kris Kin) had class stamped all over it. He looked as though the step up in trip could only help him improve and I'm really confident he will stay the 1m 4f.
The horse he beat that day, Unnefer, has won a decent contest since and come Saturday I think Tajaweed will be crowned King of Epsom. The minor setback he had midweek has been sorted and, if anything, has helped us because we can now get 10/1 instead of the 6's it would have been. Every cloud and all that...

Last word goes to Kieran Fallon who was quoted as saying 'he would choose Tajaweed' if he was given the choice of the field. If it's good enough for Kieran it's good enough for me!

Selection- Tajaweed.
Danger- Casual Conquest.
Each Way- Alessandro Volta.

 

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A Classic Football Weekend...

Hello again, dear reader, Matt here for a change ;) with a few thoughts on Euro 2008 before I descend into the intoxicating carnage that will be the champagne bar at Epsom this afternoon...

Before I start, I just want to say a big thank you to Gavin for his excellent posts on the Coronation Cup and Oaks (and I know he has another on the Derby lined up for you later!).

So, Gavin, THANK YOU!

Ok, that now complete, let's take a whistlestop tour of the wagers I will be striking / have struck / recommend you consider striking on the forthcoming footyfest in those hardcore hotbeds of the game, er, Switzerland and Austria...

Knowing as I did that I wouldn't be writing on the subject until quite late in the day, I was very worried that the Racing Post would put up all my selections in their fantastic 64-pager yesterday.

Mercifully, assuming they don't have a monopoly on winning wagers, they disagree with me on a number of things. So one of us will end up with albumen on physiog (that's egg on face to you!)...

So, without any further further ado, let's proceed to the sunny side of the punting street:

As you probably know (or alternatively you probably don't care), there are sixteen teams competing, and none of the home nations are among them.

In one respect, this makes it a tad easier to be objective about the sides who are there, and their respective chances.

Four years ago, Greece shocked and stunned everyone (as well as pretty much bored them into a torpor), with their unique brand (or should that be bland) of nicking a goal and dulling it out for the rest of the ninety. They were available at 100/1 pre-tournament.

There will be no repeat: the cat is out of the bag, and that is that.

But I think I have found a value bet nevertheless. Before I tell you who it is, let us very briefly touch on the notion of value.

Value is an oft misunderstood term. Because a horse is 20/1 it is not value necessarily. In fact, most 20/1 shots (certainly more than 20 out of 21) get royally thumped. I would not take 20/1 about a pony of Blackpool beach winning the Derby (although he'd clearly be bigger than 20/1 you get my drift).

Conversely, because a horse is 8/11, that does not necessarily mean it is not value. Would you take 8/11 about it getting dark tonight around 9.45? Me too! That would be fantastic value despite the apparently short odds.

My point here is that value is not an absolute of price. Rather, it is a favourable comparison of the odds on offer against the perceived true chance of the horse winning. Now the phrase, 'perceived true chance' is quite likely an oxymoron. What I mean is that a view of the true chance of something happening is based on a ruleset.

For instance, I use the stats in TFS to identify what I believe to be the true chances of certain trainer's horses. I can then establish what I consider value in certain circumstances, and incorporating other factors.

The bottom line with all this verbosity? I think Germany are excellent value even though they are the 4/1 favourites. Why? Virtual home advantage; highly respected coach; solid at the back (with the possible / probable exception of Jens the Comedy Keeper); extremely hard working in midfield, but also creative (Ballack and Schweinsteiger both have shots at the player of the tournament award); and with masses of firepower up front in Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez (Klose has been misfiring but he's proven and you can be confident he'll love the service he's going to get).

[Incidentally, I love the fact that the Germans have a Pole - Klose - and a Spaniard - Gomez - playing up top for 'em!]

Add to the strengths of the team the weakness of their group (Croatia, Poland, Austria) and of their half of the draw (according to the market, they will play Czech Republic in the quarters, Portugal in the semis, and Spain or Italy in the final).

It's fair to say that the aging Czechs are a decent side on their day. But Germany beat them 3-0 in qualifying, and will have the edge again.

Portugal are interesting in the semi (by which time we can probably trade out at 6/4 anyway, which would be the recommended play), but ultimately Ronaldo's brilliance will be unable to mask the abject striking talents of geriatric Nuno Gomes and misfiring Simao (7 goals in 30 games this season).

Indeed, though I have said I think their group is weak, I actually believe the team who will also qualify from that section is the likeliest outsider. Croatia beat England twice and, goalkeeping comedies aside, were the better team in both games.

They are a fiercely proud nation, still in its teenage years since independence (remember, Yugoslavia were withdrawn in 1992, when their replacements Denmark won, because of the war that gave birth to Croatia... and also saw millions of Slavs buried, I'm afraid.)

I was lucky enough to have a holiday in Croatia last year, and these are a tremendously hospitable people. They are also nationalistic beyond what would be deemed acceptable here. I obviously don't condone that sort of bigotry or ignorance, and I think / hope they will rapidly outgrow it.

My point is that they will play for the shirt in a way that the Dutch for instance never have (and, dare I say it, nor do the English, despite all their tabloid posturing to the contrary).

They have brilliant technical players and, if Slaven Bilic, the wily ex-Toffee / Hammer with a law qualification, can get the wheels oiled, this train could stop at all stations to the final.

I'm especially looking forward to seeing Spurs' new boy, Luka Modric, about whom I've heard only great things but seen nothing.

Onto the top scorer market, and I've had a lot of success in this over the years, including Milan Baros at 50/1 and Klose in the World Cup at 25/1.

This year, I'll take two: Klose and Gomez. Available at 11/1 and 20/1 respectively, you might think that they will be obliged to share the goals. And you might be right. Add in the fact that Lukas Podolski is also in the squad (with 25 strikes in 48 internationals to his name), and so is Ballack (36 in 81, and takes penalties), and you may think I'm crazy.

I am certain that Germany will go deep in this tournament, I think they are capable of embarrassing both the Poles and the Austrians in their group (although they do have strong rivalries with both), and I believe this team will score a LOT of goals.

If I'm wrong, I'll have done my dough on the boot market. So what?! I'll collect on the Germans overall. :o)

Elsewhere, some interesting wagers for me are:

- Germany to win and either Klose or Gomez to be top scorer at 20/1 and 45/1 respectively.
- Czech Republic to qualify from their group at what I consider to be a standout 5/6 with Ladbrokes.
- Top German scorer Mario Gomez at 5/1 (if they're 11 and 20 in the outrights, then surely 6/4 Klose and 5/1 Gomez is too much of a disparity at intra-team level?!)

And a big tournament would not be a big tournament without some sort of prediction on the bookings. Go long, and cheer dirty tackles is my advice! :oP

I love nothing more than a high cards game, and Switzerland - Turkey could just be the rocket fuelled encounter we're looking for. Why?

Check out this link from the BBC website reporting on their previous encounter, in no lesser game than the World Cup playoff to see who would qualify. Switzerland prevailed. And, erm, Turkey didn't like it!

Switzerland - Turkey: buy the cards, and prey for a Spanish ref!!!

Finally, a couple of lays: France are well past it and cannot win. Spain are as desperate in the underachievement stakes as England (but at least they made the tournament), and will go home early.

That's all of it really, except to say that I'm very excited and can't wait for the action to get underway. Just don't talk to me if Germany head for the ausgang prematurely...

******

The Oats and Barley - sorry, Oaks and Derby - aside, and there is a glut of racing over the weekend.

TFS continues in fine form and its sole runner yesterday stormed home at the fat juicy odds of 11/1. We're now a deeply satisfying 70 points up on the season already (see the results here), and you can still get a free week subscription - just in time for a bad run, no doubt! ;o)



For those that are wondering, we have a somewhat curious situation tonight, in that the 7.20 at Goodwood has no fewer than FIVE potential qualifiers in a field of ten. Crazier yet, they will probably all be 14/1 or shorter.

So what to do in a situation like this? There are three options, one official and two unofficial: officially, you back all of those that are 14/1 or shorter. Unofficially, if this doesn't float your boat, you can either dutch them (i.e. split your stake across the group) or pass on the race.

I've put them all into my bot and will back them if the odds are appropriate. (Rather, my bot will. I'll be blooted and - if I can still stand - at Wimbledon cheering my dog, Dog Biscuit Too, home in the A5 at 21:15).

******

While we're at Goodwood, there's a big field 1m1f race, where the draw will likely be material. High is where to be. I suspect that the fact that these are amateur riders will accentuate the effect of the draw, rather than negate it.

My two against the field from favourable berths are Palmetto Point and He's Mine Too. Julia's son, Ross Birkett, rides Ruffie, but he's got a lot to do here...

Finally, in the last race at Epsom tomorrow, Gift Horse - the winner in 2005 - looks to have strong claims for master Epsom sprint trainer, Dandy Nicholls.

He's had two cobweb cleaning runs, has Jamie Spencer aboard, and looks well boxed in trap 6 (8 of last ten winners were drawn 10 or lower in big fields).

I'm off for some bubbles and - hopefully - a big 'oi oi' as Getaway scoots clear down in Surrey.
Enjoy the Oaks and Derby, and look out for Gavin's Blue Riband preview later today.

Matt

 

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Thursday, 5 June 2008

So onto the Oaks......

Probably the hardest of the 3 group 1 races this weekend with so many potentially high class fillies and lots of unexposed maiden winners, further complicated by Aiden O'Brien having 6 declared runners. Let's see if we can narrow the field down a bit.....

Firstly, I think we can safely knock out Ice Queen who was a well beaten favourite in the Lingfield Oaks Trial (only 1 winner of this race has gone on to Oaks Glory in the last decade). The winner and 2nd in that race also line up on Friday but I can't see the form of that race being good enough to win an above average looking Oaks...so goodbye Miracle Seeker and Look Here also.
The other Trial race that I can't see being strong enough to provide this years Oaks winner is the Cheshire Oaks. The race itself is a poor guide to the Oaks with only 2 winners from the past 57 runnings and I can't see this years winner Sail or runner-up Sugar Mint bucking that trend.
Of the other O'Brien ladies, stable jockey 'group 1 Johnny' has chosen Adored. This filly won a group 3 race at Naas last time where she beat stablemate Tiffany Diamond by 1 3/4 lengths. The trouble with this form is that Tiffany Diamond had previously been beaten in a 50-75 handicap and is only rated 73. Even allowing for the fact that fillies can show vast improvement in form at this time of year I think it takes a big leap of faith to believe either one of these two will win the Oaks.

Chinese White and Katiyra strike me as two very similar fillies. Both come from a top stable, both with big reputations and both inexperienced with masses of potential. Chinese White, unbeaten and still green when winning a listed race by over 4 lengths looks the likelier of the two for me. The wily Weld immediately nominated the Irish Oaks as the likely next target but has had a change of mind (not for the first time) and decided to run her at Epsom. I just feel that this race may come to soon in her career and will reluctantly look elsewhere.

The race that seems to hold the key to the Oaks is the Musidora. Won in very impressive fashion by Lush Lashes, she seemed to relish the step up in distance and will be very hard to beat on Friday. I cannot see how any of the horses that finished behind her can possibly reverse the form such was the manner of her victory and will therefore put a line through both Cape Amber and another O'Brien runner Moonstone. On the down side, the last 7 winners of the Musidora have all been beaten at Epsom (though 5 have been placed and the 2006 runner-up went onto Oaks glory). The going may also be against her as her two wins have been on Good/Firm and her worst run came on her reappearance this year on soft going.

This just leaves one O'Brien runner left, and to me, also the most interesting. Savethisdanceforme ran in both English and Irish Guineas but I don't think she appreciated the firm ground on either occasion and has shown most of her best form with a bit of give in the ground. O'Brien horses that contested the Irish 1000 Guineas have always performed very well in the Oaks (Imagine, Shahtoush, Yesterday, Quarter Moon and Peeping Fawn all ran in both races) and I am expecting a big run from this one. The step up in trip should help her and at around 50/1 is a live outsider.

The Irish definitely have a stranglehold on this years Oaks with over half the field and 4 of the top 5 in the betting. The lowest priced British horse is currently Clowance. She won the Swettenham Stud Fillies Trial, a race not traditionally seen as a very good indicator for Epsom. However, she beat a 107 rated filly in some style, is obviously improving and will love the ground. She should run a big race and is one for the shortlist.
The unbeaten filly Saphira's Fire won her trial at Newmarket but the Pretty Polly Stakes is probably one of the worst guides to the Oaks of all the trials. Only Ouija Board has done the double out of the last 8 to have tried and I think it's safe to say that Saphira's Fire is no Ouija Board! She's not for me.

Which just leaves Michita. The John Gosden trained filly absolutely bolted up at Goodwood last time in the Height of Fashion Stakes (previously the Lupe stakes). She won by 4 1/2 lengths and went straight into my notebook as a likely winner of the Oaks. She handled Goodwood's downhill finish well, quickened up immediately when asked and will go on the ground. Barring accidents, she looks nailed on for the frame.

Selection: Michita
Danger: Lush Lashes
Each Way: Savethisdanceforme

That just leaves the Derby and I'll be posting my review of the big race later.
Good luck all.

 

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Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Fingers crossed.......

that my blog writing career doesn't fall at the first hurdle.

Anyway, here goes.....

First of the three group races run at Epsom this weekend is the Coronation Cup.

A very interesting statistic for this race is that every winner since 1989 recorded a top 3 finish in a group race last time out. If we apply this rule to the field for this years race we see only two horses qualify, Getaway and Macarthur.
This can only mean one of two things,

1) We have uncovered a fantastic betting oppurtunity
or
2) Benjamin Disraeli was right- there are lies, damn lies and statistics

I'm inclined to go with the first option because I think the two horses in question have a fantastic chance anyway. Getaway's trainer Andre Fabre has won this race 5 times since 1990 and last won it in 2006 with Shirrocco. He won at Epsom after winning the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket, the same race Getawaytook this year in very impressive fashion. That race has been a good pointer for the Coronation Cup (4 winners and 8 places since 1995)and Getaway, on his favoured softish ground, looks a very worthy favourite
As for Macarthur I think he is massively overpriced. This is mainly due to Aiden O'Briens other runner Soldier of Fortune being in the race. He has much the better form of the two but hasn't had a run this year and no horse has won this race on his seasonal reappearance since 1988.
O'Brien has won 2 ofthe last 3 runnings of this race and provided the 1-2 last year with Scorpion and Septimus. Scorpion won at Epsom on the back of a battling defeat in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester (a race Daliapour had won taken prior to winning the Coronation Cup) and this years Ormonde winner was none other than Macarthur.

Andre Fabre and Aiden O'Brien obviously know what it takes to win this race and though Getaway has all the credentials I can just see Macarthur running a massive race at a big price.

At about 5/4 and 16/1 respectively I think we can afford to back them both.


I'll be back later with an in-depth Oaks preview.

 

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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Hello dear readers.....

this is your new blogger Gavin.
*******
I thought I'd write a few words before previewing the Epsom meeting firstly to introduce myself and secondly to thank Matt for giving me an opportunityto share my racing thoughts.

As Matt said, we have been great friends for many years and from Breeders Cup racing to owning shares in various horses to doing our money in less salubrious betting shops and race courses throughout the country we've shared some great racing experiences.

My favourite trainer is Henry Cecil; Keiran Fallon is my all time favourite jockey (Steve Cauthen a close 2nd) and Mtoto and Dylan Thomas the best race horses I've seen. I can't abide Richard Quinn and Mick Kinane's riding at the breeders cup over the years can still give me nightmares.
I play poker in my spare time and competed in the World Series main event in Las Vegas last year, with Matt cheering me on from the rails.
As Matt mentioned I've owned and run betting shops for over 20 years and been a punter for more years than I should have. I have fond memories of missing Maths lessons to wile away the hours in the Fred Ash betting shop in Torquay. He only ever asked me if I was old enough to bet when I was lucky enough to back a winner, which in those days wasn't that often. I guess gambling has been in my blood from an early age.

As for the blog, I know you are all aware of Matt's unbiased and honest reviewing of the various racing systems available and have grown to trust hisopinion in this veritable minefield of good, bad and ugly products. It is these values that have seen Nag3 become one of the most popular and trusted Racing sites on the internet and it is these same values that I will endeavour to uphold when writing my pieces.

So thanks Matt and I'll try not to ruin all your hard work!!

p.s. Matt asked me to tell you that Rapid City is down to run tomorrow night at Kempton (7.10), having been pulled out last week due to the ground. Track, trip, and pace are all in RC's favour tomorrow, but it may just be too high a class race. As ever, Matt will be punting his nag with his heart rather than his head...

Also, there was another big priced winner for TFS today.....12/1 Moonstreaker

Hope you were all on but if not, just a reminder that although the guide is unavailable you can still get a subscription to the email service. Better still, you can try it for free for seven days at

www.trainerflatstats.com/subscriptions.html

 

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Sunday, 1 June 2008

Sunday Despatches: May Review

I've been letting the train take the strain, dear reader, over the last couple of days. The reason is that I've been enjoying some time in Wales with my great friend Gavin and his family (which includes my godson, Dylan :-)

Gavin is a racing friend of mine who I've known for some 17 years now - getting on for half my life!

And very knowledgeable about the game he is too. He blooming well should be: for as long as I've known him, he's owned and run betting shops!

The good news for us is that I've persuaded him to write down some of his thoughts on the blog here over the coming months, and the even better news is that he's going to start this week (all things being equal) with a preview of the Oaks and Derby, scheduled for next weekend.

Furthermore, Gavin's got a few dark horses (and some not so very dark ones!) for Royal Ascot, which is only a couple of weeks away.

He takes a different approach to me quite often, by burying his head in the collateral formbook for days on end. But he's also a trends man, so you can expect some incisive comments of the winner profiles for big races in the coming months. And, as you'd expect, having watched so much racing over the years, he has a very good eye for 'notebook' horses.

I'll say no more on this now, except to advise you to look out for a piece in the next few days. If you like it, please add a comment at the bottom (using the 'comments' link), so that Gavin feels welcomed to our little group... :o)

******

Being as it is the 1st June today, I thought I'd give you an update on TrainerFlatStats.

After a modest March where we made £83 from just a handful of runners (more than enough to pay for the guide!), TFS made a flying start in the beginning of April, before coming unstuck a bit at the end of that month. In fact, despite everything, the loss for April was a paltry £23 in the end.

May has been a brilliant month, and it was topped off in emphatic style yesterday with winners at 12/1 and 15/2 (both available at significantly bigger on betfair) from five qualifiers. (We also had a 2nd at 7/2 and a 3rd at 5/4).

Total profit for May was a whopping £935, to £20 stakes on betfair (calculated at 16% over SP, and with a 4.5% commission on winning trades).

The long and short of this is that TFS is now up £995 on the season for just £20's. Or 50 points to whatever stakes you'd use yourself.

Although the guide remains unavailable (well done if you got a copy!), you can still get a subscription to the email service. Better still, you can try it for free for seven days before even considering spending a penny (as it were). Get a TFS trial by clicking below:


Finally, the month of May was also a lucrative one for Favourites' Phenomenon followers (that's easy for me to write, though not to say!).

Level 3 backers collected on all betting days, for a profit of 27 points on the month; Level 2 players were rewarded with 13 points profit on the month having suffered one losing day; and, Level 1 players enjoyed 13.5 points profit in May, with just two losing days.

(Remember, the levels equate to degrees of risk, so for Level 1 punters, the risk threshold is much lower, meaning losing days are considerably more palatable).

FP is still available at the usual place, and there is going to be some more good news on this in the next couple of weeks (I hope). Stay tuned for that, if you're interested.


******

Let's hope June can continue in the same rich vein of form, irrespective of which system you're following... (perhaps you're one of the shrewdies whose been cleaning up on both!)

In fact, if it's half as good, we'll all be sitting pretty come July time.

That's all for now, but remember to check out Gavin's inaugural post later this week.

Matt

 

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