Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Theo Walcott I salute you!

Theo Walcott - Skysports ©

As if the young lads goal against Liverpool in a Champions League semi final some years ago didn't tell you, if his hattrick for England didn't tell you, then at least his goal against Barcelona after coming on as a sub told you - This kid has GOT IT!

England awaits you Mr Walcott after this superb cameo appearance!

After only 2 minutes I was seriously thinking "what the hell have I bet on here?" It was excruciating to watch but yet also freshingly absorbing as Barcelona literally pummelled Arsenal into submission in the opening exchanges. However early on, one man on the Arsenal team had not read the script and he was Manuel Almunia who incredibly managed to keep a clean sheet going into half time at 0-0 despite the barrage of shots that had peppered his goalmouth.

0-0 at halftime and I was staring blankly at my TV set thinking absolutely EVERY SINGLE BET I've placed has absolutely **** all chance of coming in now! ....Well what a difference 45 minutes makes! That's all I can say.

Second half began with an instant goal for Barcelona after a mere 23 seconds of play. This meant I only needed 2 more goals from any team to end up in profit and with 44 minutes left I felt mildly confident now as I assumed Arsenal would crack under the pressure and Barcelona would have it sewn up before the 2nd leg.

Once again obviously, I was wrong! Barcelona did indeed go onto grab another goal but then the road-runneresque Theo Walcott came on! The only English player to play on the night!

Within seconds he caused havoc and by now I was merely just hoping for a third goal for some minor profits. I was hoping it would be Arsenal just so it kept it entertaining for my 2-2 draw bet. After less than 10 minutes of being on the pitch Walcott showed unequalled pace and slotted a shot past the dopey Spanish keeper (he is really crap, I cant even be bothered trying to remember his name). It was game on now and I knew I had at least made a few quid from staking big on over 2.5 goals!

I didn't expect Arsenal to score again but then they got a penalty! I would have danced, if I wasn't so lazy! When the penalty went in I gave it the usual roar "GET IN!". I had 7 or so minutes left plus injury time and I'd made a sizeable chunk from a brilliant and compelling football match. It had all the attributes of a Foreman vs Ali boxing match and a pleasure to watch... and indeed, it did end in a fantastic 2-2 draw!

Now I have got some money for my trip to Aintree... providing the trains don't strike!

Champions League - Arsenal vs Barcelona

The media and bookmakers seem to be doing the preverbial in preparation for this match and that is trying to convince us that Barcelona are a sure thing to beat Arsenal this evening.

Don't be too quick to believe all the hype. Barcelona are a team that are ferocious on home soil at the Camp Nou with 13 domestic league wins and just one draw from 14 matches this season.

Away from home a slightly less gruesome picture is painted as they have suffered four draws and one defeat from their 15 league fixtures. This does not make me a shrewdie but I think you'll find that means they fail to win 33% of their away matches!

Considering the competition in Spain, if you exclude arch rivals Real Madrid, is pretty tame then you have to believe that this Barcelona team is beatable.

The problem I have with Barcelona is that they went to Stuttgart in the last round and only managed a 1-1 draw. Stuttgart are managed by the infamous Christian Gross who almost murdered Spurs when he was in charge. It would not make me feel confident backing them.

Also got to consider what I feel is the fact that domestic opposition are afraid of Barcelona but that does not seem to occur the same in Europe.
Despite having 80% of possession in the Group stages against Dynamo Kiev they could only muster a 2-1 win and when they played minnows FK Rubin Kazan they only succeeded in achieving a 0-0 draw!

I think this game will all come down to what occurs at the Nou Camp so I am keen to take on Barcelona for this opening leg.

The bets I am going to go for are: -

Over 2.5 Goals at 10/11 2pts
2-1 Arsenal at 11-1 0.5pts
2-2 Draw at 15-1 0.5pts

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Irish Grand National - Late Antepost thoughts

The antepost market for the Fairyhouse Irish Grand National is quite complex at present but it would appear that there is a strong possibility that the horse Saddlers Storm who heads the current antepost betting may not run. Indeed in anycase, that horse is trained by A J Martin and we all know what his horses are like and I wouldn't trust his runners with any of my money regardless.

The trends are very strong for this race.
The most signifcant ones from the last decade include:
ALL winners had raced in less than 8 handicap chases.
ALL winners had raced in no more than 13 chases in total.
ALL winners had to have at least placed in a race worth 19k, preferably have won one.
ALL winners had won on a right handed track.
and finally 9 out of 10 had ran in the last 50 days so fitness has to be proven.

There is also the interesting statistic on official ratings which can shorten the field dramatically.

9 out of 10 winners in recent times had been rated between 125 and 136 over fences.

It is as safe as running through Afghanistan with a 'Shoot Me' sign to totally disregard anything weighted above 11 stone therefore.

Bluesea Cracker (33-1) is the best trend horse if that is the approach you want to take.

But before you do then it is important to realise that only two mares have won in the last 40 years!

Any horse older than 10 can be ignored too. Looking through past years then only the famous DESERT ORCHID has managed to win at a double figured age in 30 years!

My early thoughts are the ground is definately going to be heavy and it will be a slog and a horse that looks very interesting and as though it will love a trip over this distance is WILL JAMIE RUN.

The horse has had an ideal preparation for this race with 2 recent spins over hurdles. It will carry a fly-weight for the national and despite being 9 years of age is relatively unexposed, especially over the longer distances.

33-1 is currently available with several bookies and so that is my selection this early on as that price looks very favourable considering it compares well to the trends aswell.

(Please note WILL JAMIE RUN is number 59 on the Antepost list and needs 29 to pull out before him as 30 runners is the maximum field allowed. However the antepost favourite is number 58 on the list and so it does look like many of the runners will bypass this race so the answer to WILL JAMIE RUN? is I think so!)

Monday, 29 March 2010

Lack of discipline leaves me counting the cost - AGAIN!

At heart I cannot deny that ultimately I am a gambler. I don't like the term but it would be nonsense to suggest that the term does not fit me.

However over the years I've calmed down on the ill-discipline and moments of madness, which in truth, have cost me. The natural instincts of a gambler to recoup what has been lost have absconded from my own traits in moderation, but sadly not totally...

Whether it was due to the fact that this weekend was the culmination of the Dubai Festival or because it was the opening weekend of the British flat season I do not know.

What is fortunate is that it was only a mild blip compared to yesteryear when the ill discipline could easily have been defined likened to a mafia assault on my bank balance.

It is a harsh lesson to learn time and time again but the idea of this blog is to help me understand and be analytical about both my fortunes and misfortunes. This weekend may have been a negative betting weekend with the Dubai failures and the private Sunday betting spree which produced an orgie of squandered cash.

However I did manage to scrape together a 50-1 antepost placed horse with Smokey Oakey in the Lincoln which will be the plus I take with me as I try to decipher the form for the forthcoming Leopardstown Irish National and Aintree Grand National meetings during the coming days...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Channel 4 - The epitome of amateurish Broadcasting

Channel 4 tonight presented a programme based solely around the richest race in the world - the Dubai World Cup.

Having sent over an army of staff to cover just one race a decent showing could be expected.

Very little insight into the runners was given as it was seen best to talk about a lavish hotel and 1 kilometre length grandstand for most part.

When the race did begin it was a slow paced crawl which turned into a sprint finish. Rather demeaning the whole occasion as Glorio De Campeo, Lizards Desire and Allybar fought out a three-way finish crossing the line as one.

Ahmed Ajtebi the jockey of Allybar proceeded to congratulate Kevin Shea on board Lizards Desire as they went past the post, only for the South African to then believe Ahmed Ajtebi was the Dalai Lama and what he was telling him must be no lie.

Whilst all this was happening replays were being shown and Channel 4 pursued their concentration of Kevin Shea on board Lizards Desire. Not one of the presenters was actually looking at the replay as they hadn't even mentioned the third horse hardly in the photo Gloria De Campeao who was indeed trading at odds on in the photo-finish on Betfair.

Then as judges dithered to create an increased suspense, Channel 4 decided that they had run out of time and the show ended before the winner Gloria De Campeao was announced. It was a jaw-dropping example of terrible programming with no foreseen planning, and all at the cost of a hefty and almost criminal budget.


Richards Kid for the World Cup?

Richards Kid is friendless at the moment on Betfair having reached 29's to win and 6.8 to place. I am not one to avoid a drifter if I think it has a chance and so I've added it to my selection Gio Ponti.

Gito Hernando I picked at 13-2 earlier in the week but decided not to back it until later in the week. However, the mad British Public have latched onto it and it is now a 9-2f so I am having to swerve it as I do not feel the odds are in my favour. Would be nice to see that one at least place though!

Preferably behind Richards Kid and Gio Ponti mind!

Football Picks

Looked over the form tables and seeked the value.

Here are my three picks for the Pundit Treble today:

Selections Time of bet: 27/03/2010 14:10:34
Event Date Event Selections Odds E/W Terms Result

1 27/03/2010 Plymouth v Blackpool
(Full Time Result) Plymouth 2.62

2 27/03/2010 Millwall v Stockport
(Full Time Result) Millwall 1.28

3 27/03/2010 Wolverhampton v Everton
(Full Time Result) Wolverhampton 4.00

This pays out 13.57 odds on BET365 so is a decent proposition.

Plymouth may be 2nd bottom of the Championship but they have improved their form dramatically since they changed their manager. Blackpool have struggled for away points of late and have only recouped 3 out of a possible 21. Millwall are the form team in league one barring Norwich and look a healthy bet against a team heading towards League 2 in Stockport County.
Wolves meanwhile have shined lately despite having the misfortune of 3 successive away games. They have done themselves proud with 7pts out of a possible 9 and back at home today and at a stunning price of 3-1 I can see the confidence of the crowd spurring them on to a victory over an Everton team that doesn't quite cut the mustard away from home.

Possible Winner Found

Sat here chewing the fat on my 4th place in the opening Meydan race with WAR ARTIST who was a 9-1 shot. There is a intriguing Listed race at Doncaster over the 6 furlong course due to start at 2.35 and EVENS AND ODDS appears to have alot going for it coming into this race. The horse placed in both the Stewards Cup and Ayr Gold cups last Autumn for two career best performances. The 14-1 available undervalues its actual chance based upon those two runs. Ran well at Doncaster last March and its ability to handle soft ground was proven when it was runners up in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood.

I am going to have a cheeky punt on it to start off my British Flat season! Here is hoping.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Selections For Dubai World Cup Night - 27th March

1.20 - Dubai Al Quoz Sprint

#1 Pick: War Artist - 9-1 with Bluesquare

#1 in brief: First race of the night is the G3 sprint filled with proven Group winners. I am taking a chance on War Artist considering it did not run well last time out. I am hopeful that it was just an off day as before that the horse showed impressive form to win on its Meydan debut against the classy Gayego. Take a look and you decide if 9-1 isn't good value...

1.55 - Dubai Godolphin Mile

#1 Pick: Desert Party 5-2 with most bookmakers

#1 in brief: Dettori has chosen this one instead of stablemate Skysurfers despite both horses having the same Official Rating. It will have been a hard choice but I think he has made the correct decision. The draw has not been too kind (in stall 11) but this horse does not need to be up with the pace and so it should not prove to be a huge problem. Forgotton Voice would have been a danger but for an awful run last time, which means I am safely ignoring its chance for this.

2.35 - Dubai UAE Derby

#1 Pick: Musir - 7-4 with Bluesquare

#1 in brief: All I can tell you for this race is that in the ten runnings of it that there have been either Mike De Kock or Saeed Bin Suroor has trained the winner! No other trainer has had a look in! Both have a few entries this year, so your choice should be between Mendip, Enak, Musir, Raihana or Solid Choice.

My tentative vote goes to Musir who looks marginally infront of Mendip on form at present. Should be close!

3.15 - Dubai Golden Shaheen

#1 Pick: Gayego - 5-2 with most bookmakers

#1 in brief: Tough race and not one to get involved in too much considering the doubts I have about even making a selection for it. Gayego needs to improve on its recent reappearance but should it manage to, then it will be very tough to beat. Rocket Man looked impressive on its recent reappearance after an absence through injury, but that will be just one of several who will have a chance on the night in this G1 6f sprint.

3.55 - Dubai Duty Free

#1 Pick: Presvis - 5-2 with most bookmakers
#2 Pick: Confront - 12-1 with most bookmakers

#1 in brief: With no super slick Gladiatorus this year in the field this race is there for the taking for last years runner up Presvis who showed himself to be in fine form ahead of this race with a scintillating and simply awesome run last time out to ease past Alexandros. Take a peak at the video below and place your bets before it reaches 2-1!

#2 in brief: This pick is one of Sir Michael Stoute's rising stars. Very progressive and ended 2009 with a run in the Hong Kong Mile G1 running on well after being held up. Was beaten by Good Ba Ba (re-opposes here) that day, but showed enough to suggest over this extra furlong it could be the better horse. Good Ba Ba has only left Hong Kong twice before in its career to race and it has flopped both times. Confront has confirmed that it travels well and should put in a huge performance despite not having had a prep run. The 12-1 looks too big and the forecast with the two selections looks pretty tempting. Here is the Hong Kong Mile for your viewing:

4.35 - Dubai Sheema Classic

#1 Pick: Presious Passion - 14-1 with Skybet

#1 in brief: Never heard of it? Where HAVE you been?? What a horse! Capable on its day of winning at the very highest level. It only has one way of running and thats get to the front and kill off the opposition with its deadly speed. Rather than I babble on to convince you, just watch this short video of it in the 2009 United Nations Stakes G1.

5.45 - Dubai World Cup

#1 Pick: Gio Ponti - 6-1 with most bookmakers
#2 Pick: Gito Hernando - 13-2 with Boylesports

#1 in brief: This pick was runner up in the Breeders Cup Classic. Only the freakish Zenyatta could get infront that day with the vigorously ridden and almost pulverised Twice Over back in third place. It seems incredible that this horse does not have shorter odds, considering the opposition here is nothing more than a "decent" Group 1 field. I referred in a previous posting to no horse in a decade having won this race with a rating less than 119 from its previous race. However this horse did not shine last time out because it was coming back from a break and running over a distance too short. The RPR recorded in the Breeders Cup Classic of 127 is the best rating any horse in this field has mustered so far, and so it makes logical sense to stick with the best rated horse in the field. If it runs to its peak form, it cannot be beaten!

#2 in brief: This pick is still only young at 4 years old but is quickly developing into a superstar. It is interesting as it has proven it is capable of beating a G1 field as it did when it travelled over to the US to win the Goodwood Stakes. Its form in England on the All-Weather is also very useful with a scintillating 4 1/2 length victory over Suits Me in a Winter Derby trial. The trainer reported before that race that the horse was only 80% fit! If that is true, then the improvement that could be still left in the tank may just be enough to beat this field. Dark horse!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Dubai World Cup Race Night Saturday 27th March

The Dubai World Cup is fast approaching with a plethoria of money-grabbing trainers and connections looking to grab the riches from the grasp of the delusional, yet very prosperous sheikh's. I have just started my plotting for the afternoons races and I will post my thoughts on what I feel are the best bets for the night shortly....

My early opinion of the £6.2m feature race makes me think we have two false favourites. Twice Over and Vision D E'tat both have not raced in 2010 and when I've looked at the past decade of runnings it seems that the longest absence the winner of this race has endured is to have its last race on the 31st January. I am therefore considering whether to use this stat to scratch the two most fancied runners!

However for those that are followers of RP Ratings you will find that the last decade of winners have all achieved a rating last time out of 119+. If we were to narrow the field down using just this basic statistic then we would be left with... you guessed it... Twice Over and Vision D E'tat!

I think this is why horse racing is a difficult game to fathom! I'll need some time to chew the fat on this one and I'll update you later this week with my final selection and rest of the evenings best picks!

William Hill Lincoln - Doncaster 27th March (3.10pm)

I have already placed one bet for this race at the time of writing and I've pretty much ignored the trends of recent years.

The typical approach to this race is to look for a young horse, 4 or 5 year old with a progressive profile that looks capable of developing into a group winner later in the season. Concentrating on horses 9st or below has proved to yield better returns. Ignore any horse older than 6.

Having said all that, my chosen bet is 2008 winner of this race Smokey Oakey. It traded at 50-1 over at Bet365 on Sunday evening and at those odds I could not ignore it. It is almost guarenteed to be SOFT ground on Saturday with bad weather looming later in the week up north. This horse won this race as a 4yo rated 95 and then subsequently went and won a Group 3 race to show its capabilities. Rated only 97 now after a disappointing 2009 season and back on soft ground it has the qualities of an "unlikely" winner. Trainer reports the horse to be in fine form after a recent gallop and in my view BET365 were abit slow in reducing its odds. Best available now is only 25-1 but that is still decent each way value as I expect it to be 16-1 on the day.

The other horse to note that is guarenteed to run is unexposed 4 year old Mull Of Killough trained by J L Spearing and ridden by the adequate Adam Kirby. This horse has had success in 3 of his 6 career starts with most notably a win over Light From Mars and a runners up spot behind Firebet. Rated only 96 still, the soft ground will be a new experience but the course is guarenteed to suit as its a flat galloping track. The best price available at the moment is 14-1 and I think I will be nibbling at this one at some stage this week.

Selection(s): Smokey Oakey (1pt EW) and Mull Of Killough (1pt WIN)