Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Paddypower Chase - Three Mile Carnage

The Three Mile Paddypower Chase was one of my favourite races last season when I managed to win with a large bet on Oscar Time who had been priced at crazyish odds on Betfair at 20-1 or so. He won like a good thing and perhaps I had been lucky as the festive juice could have indeed been in my system that morning when finding him as my big selection of the day. Indeed 28 runners makes this race a minefield but if you can find that elusive winner then it does indeed give you a buzz and I would love to repeat it for the second consecutive year.

I have probably missed any value but Betfair can be surprising and layers often get abit over giddy on their Irish feature races so there could be some hope yet!

What I remember doing last year for this needle in a haystack bet was looking for those repeating trends and there are some easy to find markers for the event which means you can grab bets of supreme value if looking in the right place.

Noticeable trends are the likelihood that the winner of this race will have raced within the last 45 days. That will have been tough for a number of this field due to the weather so it helps narrow the field down somewhat more than usual. ALSO it is a highly efficient statistic that winners have come with a low weight attached to them. Only Cane Brake in the last decade has won with a weight of over 11st and ignoring him the heaviest winner has only carried 10st 8lb. Ignore the high weights, especially in heavy ground like we have for today!

Last year there was one bit of form that stuck out like a sore thumb and attracted me wildly to Oscar Time and that was when he was leading a Novice Graded race before falling at the last fence. He was a low weight for this handicap chase and having almost won a Graded chase previously it made no sense to ignore his chance.

For the event today there is not much Graded race form on offer amongst the low weighted horses but there is one horse that is being upped in trip this season and could improve dramatically for it. Stewarts House is being aimed this year at the Irish Grand National having never even raced at three miles prior to this season. He is also far from heavily raced over fences which is a neccessity I recall to win here. Oscar Time had merely had SEVEN chase outings prior to this event and many before him have had a similar number of outings before winning the race. Stewarts House has had just nine career chase outings which puts him as my prime candidate to run well here. It does not worry me one bit that he flopped on his most recent start over three miles. He was fresh that day and can only improve for the experience. Paddy Flood is in the saddle and he has a first and second aboard the horse in just two outings together.

All things look good, including the 33-1 price on BETFAIR!

Good luck.

Pundit Pointer:

2.30 - Stewarts House ( 1pt @ 33-1 on Betfair)
Might trade and set a lay inrunning as that tactic has managed to win me back my last two betting stakes in recent days....

Graded Action Everywhere

Finally some decent racing has passed the weather inspection and I fail to set my alarm clock to wake up at an early hour and steal some nice prices. Typical!

I am keen not to get into bad habits and bet loads just because there has not been much racing to watch of late and instead I am going to be very stingy with my stakes unless something clearly tells me that it is a wrong price and a supposed mistake in my view by the layers.

First up on the hit list is the 1.20 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase (Grade 1) at Leopardstown. Only four runners take to the field but between three of them they have limitless ability as each has performed and won at the highest possible level in style previously.

Big bets will no doubt be on Big Zeb who is the smartest of the threesome but Leopardstown may not be quite the perfect course for him. Captain Cee Bee meanwhile is only just coming out of Novice Company and tackling the two greatest Irish two milers of the present will be a tough feat and not one which I am certain he is up to.

My interest is firmly with Golden Silver getting the better of Big Zeb at the FOURTH time of asking. Leopardstown brings out the best in him and he is a DUAL Grade 1 winner on the track. Strangely Big Zeb has only ever won THREE Grade 1's in his lifetime despite it feeling like he has won half a dozen. My thinking is the slight edge and value is with Golden Silver who will have come on plenty from that first run last month at Fairyhouse when he was behind his biggest rival Big Zeb.

To make it a Grade 1 double I am intrigued to side with Solwhit who has the idyllic word HEAVY in the going description for today's event at 1.55. The iPhone App Festival Hurdle (Grade 1) looks a cracking contest which will only be contested by 5 rivals. In likelihood only two of them will feature and despite Hurricane Fly recently getting the better of the skillful Solwhit that race was ran on only soft ground and it was over an extended trip which would have inconvenienced the selection. On official ratings there is merely a 1lb rating difference and so the 2-1 on Solwhit in a two runner affair in favoured conditions is a value bet despite the short price.

Pundit Pointer:

1.20 - Golden Silver (1pt @ 2-1 Skybet)

1.55 - Solwhit (1pt @ 2-1 Bet365)

Double fun anyone?

Monday, 27 December 2010

Festive Fun - Racing At Southwell

With all the big meetings abandoned once again Southwell has come to the rescue to offer a high quality all weather card for racing enthusiasts. OK, so I am quite possibly taking the biscuit there by laying claim to such a thing but I am certainly not lying when I declare that I am having a festive bet on what I normally treat as a disaster area for myself - Fibresand!

The tricky race I decided to solve was the 1.50 More Live Football Betting At Handicap (CLASS 5). Not a large field and full of exposed sorts so it is definately a race that looks like it can be worked out. My selection is indeed Lay Claim.

It took 14 career starts for this horse to lose his maiden tag last time out when he raced on this track over a furlong more two weeks ago. That was a very low quality of race and indeed the selection has been raised 6lb as a result. However that was only the second occasion that the horse had raced over middle distances and so his handicap rating previously had been accumulated from runs over an inadequate distance. As a three year old he can certainly improve where as most of the opposition have reached their limit in terms of ability and are simply run of the mill low grade handicappers. Most importantly is that the first time worn eye shield from last time remains as Lay Claim will often show up well for a long period of time and then flop on the run to the line. This is partly the reason why I am setting myself up for a LAY inrunning at short odds to recoup my stake should the horse decide he's not up for a sprint finish.

Its hard work betting on races like these but at 11-2 he seems to be the value bet in the race and should run well.

Pundit Pointer:

1.50 - Lay Claim (1pt @ 11-2 Paddypower)
Setting up a LAY on Betfair at 2.6 to recoup initial 1pt stake.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Bleak Time Of Year

Global Cooling is quickly turning horse racing into a suffering sport and one which I am actually finding I can live life without. Gone are the days when I felt a bet was mandatory and I feel much the better for it in honesty.

Reverting some of my gambling habits back into Poker seems to have absorbed some of the entertainment lost due to a lack of racing action. Admittedly in the past two weeks I have only seated myself on six occasions and merely in six player single-table tournaments. I have indeed yet to recapture my winning mentality and have come only second place twice as a result with no wins. I expect much better over Christmas as I will be able to play when wide awake and not late in the evening before bed when I am miles off my best.

Today sees some racing action actually take place and I have endeavoured to have a trade on LOWTHER in the 2.05 race at Lingfield. This class 2 race over a mile has been reduced to SEVEN runners so the pace could be tame. Lowther is not 100% guaranteed to stay the trip the best so looks to be an ideal back to lay horse as he should be bang there at the 1f pole. However I am only laying off my initial stake as I quietly fancy him to sneak it despite this worry.

Hopefully a winner this afternoon will restore my faith in a sport that is slowly disappearing this winter into the oblivion.

Pundit Pointer:

2.05 - LOWTHER (1pt @ 13-2 William Hill)
Set a lay on Betfair at 2.16 for same stake - inrunning-

Saturday, 18 December 2010

No Bets

Despite a Grade 1 race at Navan in Ireland surviving the weather and a supporting Grade 2 I feel an unwillingness to bet in what should prove races to be won by the market leaders. Had a scour of the outsiders and they offer little and I do not get the same buzz if I bet on a favourite that I do get when I bet on an unnoticed in the betting selection.

Hopefully the snow will not be around forever and we can get betting again soon.

I think I will turn some of my attentions to Poker this afternoon as my car looks desperate in the snow and I imagine I would not be able to move it even if I tried.

Good job I have supplies of the neccessities in my Fridge Freezer - Beer, Vodka, Pizza, Bread and Bacon!
So at least I will survive at home during this wintry spell.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Fairyhouse On Wednesday - Grade Race Focus

Some of Ireland's finest are in action on Wednesday at Fairyhouse after the cold snap has managed to just subside long enough for the twice abandoned meeting to finally go ahead. Many horses have stood their ground so the quality on show has not been tarnished in any way.

I have already chosen my tepid selections with my own personal confidence being slightly subdued at present to the lack of decent racing action and the disjointed indecision I have had tempering my mind when writing down and reviewing my selections.

Due to a lack of time I will only do a very brief analysis of my selections below and hope that you wish me luck. I will watch the races in their entirety after I finish work and hopefully be delighted by the outcome. In the real world more than likely I will be distraught at what could prove to be another inept showing from my chosen few.

For anyone that wants to know if their selections have been jinxed or not by my heavy hand read on and you can go on about changing your mind!

Pundit Pointers:

1.55 - J'Y Vole (0.5pt @ 6-1 Ladbrokes)

J'Y Vole was not a horse I particularly rated for most of the last two seasons but there was massive quality about her performance at the last Cheltenham Festival when an unlucky third in the Ryanair Chase. Almost definitely would not have been the winner that day but had some bad luck at a vital moment which prevented her from pulling off a shock runners-up spot. On her day she is quite a classy mare and proved that with a win over Big Zeb back in her 2008 Novice days to win her only Grade 1 event to date. This is most definitely her trip and her filly allowance will make her a player. Disappointing that this is only her seasonal debut and may well come on for the run but there are question marks I feel over a host of her rivals in this and so she has to be of interest.

1.55 - Trafford Lad (0.8pts @ 44-1 Betfair)

Trafford Lad was once a sublime horse and circumstances prevented him from showing his true class last season after injury prevented him from improving on his monster weight conceding third place behind Tranquil Sea in a Grade 3 event at Navan. Back in 2008 Trafford Lad was one of Ireland's leading lights over hurdles and fences but after a lengthy absence in 2010 he was not quite right for his comeback run and jumped appallingly. Connections are clear that at home he is a beast and were unable to understand why he failed to act last time out. However it needs to be understood that he must have been showing signs of his old class in schooling as they brought him back in a Grade 1 contest and expected him to run well. With so many trainers suffering from the bad weather several of this field may come into the race undercooked which could be a nice leveller for Trafford Lad. At his best he was a better horse than Tranquil Sea has ever been in my opinion and if he could just rediscover his old jumping technique under race conditions then he is a super value bet - but it is worth noting that I am slightly biased about this horse so tread carefully.

2.30 - Realt Dubh (1pt @ 5-1 Bet365)

Looking through the stats of recent renewals horses that have had just one or two starts prior to this event have an incredible record. The favourite for this is the superstar Mikael D'Haguenet but with a 593 day absence and this being his chasing debut you would have to be seriously round the twist to consider backing him at EVENS. No doubt that if he takes to these larger fences he is the one to beat but the trainer has already declared they are mostly interested in a "clear round" only for this debut so one would have to feel if it was a close finish he would not be put under his utmost pressure and may be able to get run out of it. Under these circumstances I feel Realt Dubh is a good enough rival to take advantage. He won a Grade 2 Novice chase on his most recent start and that should have brought him on quite well in his preparations for this event.

3.00 - Osana (1pt @ 13-2 Betfair)

Osana, Osana, Osana... deary me. A horse that has lost his way in his most recent outings but I feel there are excuses for each run so he comes into this event at very decent odds considering it is a Grade 2 event and he is a Grade 1 calibre of horse. Golden Silver is the main player in this event but at EVENS odds has little scope for value seeking and there is a chance that he may just fall short in an attempt to repeat last years victory from top weight. This renewal is clearly of higher class in my view than last years event and he never had to concede 8lbs to a horse like Osana. Osana since his gutsy third placing at Cheltenham in last seasons Arkle behind Sizing Europe has run several times but failed on each occasion. He first ran at Aintree but horses quite often fail to sparkle there after exerting all their energies at Cheltenham so his second placing was not too shabby in the circumstances. Since then he ran one race too many by trying to tackle the Punchestown Festival after a tiringly long season. Since he has reappeared this season he has been tackling longer trips and not looked quite the horse he was. This return to 2m 1f however should be right up his street and as long as he stays away from repeated faller Zaarito he could be the most likely challenger at the weights to Golden Silvers probable dominance in the race.

I could be interested in a top up on Osana should he not drift in the market pre race. He is likely my best value selection of the day when summing up his odds to his actual winning prospects.

Good luck.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Rest Of Cheltenham (and Lingfield)

My next attempt on Saturday comes at 1.20 in what appears to be a Grade 1 hurdle in all but name with Zaynar, Karabak, Celestial Halo and Restless Harry all opposing. It is the Unicoin Homes Relkeel Hurdle (GRADE 2) and it is impossible for me to envisage Zaynar not putting up a bold show from what look like tempting odds at 9-2 for this course specialist. The trip should be ideal and despite his recent run being a disappointment and Restless Harry finishing ahead of him I still feel a race fit Zaynar (now fitted with blinkers) will take alot of beating and his rivals would need to put up a career best effort to do so. Restless Harry had had the benefit of a run before their last meeting, Celestial Halo has spent too much time trying to jump over fences of late to remember how to jump a hurdle efficiently and in my opinion Karabak just lacks that special ingredient to be the "star" horse.

Karabak is certainly overdue a win having not tasted victory since January 2009 and this is easily his best chance of fixing that record but the safer and more logical bet would be to stick with Zaynar for this contest despite the marginally shorter odds of 9-2.

At 2.30 there is a terrific handicap chase in the Vote A. P. Gold Cup handicap (Grade 3)where one of my tentofollow entrants runs in the form of Mad Max. Barry Geraghty has dismounted from one of my favourite horses in training to ride Dave's Dream which perhaps is a tip for the latter but I feel that Mad Max despite his big weight can improve on his fourth in the Paddypower last time and run a huge race. I am sure he can improve enough to turn around form with Little Josh now that he has a run under his belt but it could be Dave's Dream that indeed is the biggest threat should he stay the trip. However I do not feel that he is particularly well handicapped so I will take a chance by keeping all my eggs in one basket with Mad Max for this race. A superb horse.

The race at 3.05 is covered in high class with some seriously solid improving sorts in opposition with an already top notch look to their form about them. This race is the International Hurdle (Grade 2) and is run over 2m 1f. It features a host of stars in the making with significant chances being handed to Silviniaco Conti, Menorah and Cue Card. There is also a chance for forgotton horse Clerk's Choice to bounce back to form and show his Haydock run to be a one off diabolical run.

The record of four year olds is unimpressive it is worth noting with just five from that age group winning since 1963. You do read that correctly in that with over 45 renewals since that day there has been just five four year old victors. The most recent two have been the classy horses Detroit City and Binocular. The latter did indeed progress to win a Champion Hurdle and it is arguable that Detroit City could have also developed into the same calibre having already coasted to a Triumph success but fate had it that he was to end his life early.

Knowing the quality of horse required from the four year old age group it would be a feat of massive ability should Cue Card with only two previous hurdling runs to his name run out the winner here. It is not beyond possibility but with inexperience on his side and stats suggesting only the creme-de-la-creme of four year olds win here I can swerve him at the price.

Silvinaco Conti meanwhile has to contend with a penalty so should he prove to be the winner that would be an incredible feat and surely propel him to be the main player for the Champion Hurdle in March.

The safest bet in my mindset is to stick with my totetentofollow entrant Menorah who is a year older and wiser and only ever does enough to win meaning he could prove to be better than he has yet shown. He is incredibly gutsy and can outbattle some of these younger pretenders in what will be in my view the race of the day.

Meanwhile the same headline on the All Weather can be given to the 2.45 £150 Welcome Bonus At Handicap (CLASS 2) contest. This race on paper lacks sufficient pace which could give recent disappointment Dream Lodge a chance of succeeding from the front. He has the perfect draw in stall 1 to set a steady gallop and with some of his rivals preferring a test it could play into his hands. The fact I am acknowledging a horse that has recently lost out in a rubbish claimer bothers me but it could have been an attempt to lower his handicap mark - they all do it after all! No doubt many will shout fix after the result but the pace angle could be the key to the form reading of this race and not recent runs.

Pundit Pointers:

1.20 - Zaynar (1.5pts @ 9-2 Bet365)

2.30 - Mad Max (1pt @ 14-1 Betfair)

3.05 - Menorah (1pt @ 5-2 Bet365)


2.45 - Dream Lodge (1pt @ 17-2 on Betfair)

Saturday - Early Race At Cheltenham Preview

Todays installment of racing action will be previewed in two parts to allow myself time to study all the races on offer. It is astonishing that they have been able to provide the meeting with good ground and that always gives me more confidence that I may find a nice winner.

In the opening 11.40 contest at Cheltenham we see a host of solid handicappers take on the two mile challenge over fences in the Jenny Mould Memorial Handicap Chase (CLASS 2). Woolcombe Folly is a favourite there to be shot at as there is no doubt that the Paul Nicholl's horse would ideally want a flat track. That combined with top weight obviously gives his rivals some hope. My two that I want to take out of the field as possible contenders are Safari Journey and Fiendish Flame.

Those two rivals quite recently met at Ascot for an interesting chase in which Safari Journey ran out an easy winner but has since been raised 14lb in the weights for that effort that in effect gives Fiendish Flame a solid chance of closing the gap. It is quite a strong renewal this season with the top weight being a hefty rated 154 and my feeling is that this could well go to a decent sort rated in the late 130's or early 140's.

Safari Journey has always looked on his day capable of winning a chase at Cheltenham and despite the recent handicapper rise conditions will be ideal for him today. He is only six years old so it is far too early to suggest he cannot cope with his new mark as he did win the Ascot contest with consumate ease to look like an improver from last season. Connections are adamant that he is better in good ground which means last seasons SIXTH placing at the Festival in the Grand Annual is a solid effort as it was pelting it down with rain that day (as I was there soaking wet).

Connections of Fiendish Flame think there is better to come from their prospect and he does still appear as if his handicap mark is not too strict. He comes into the race in solid form after a last time out win at Bangor in soft ground. This will be a totally different test but he has not reached the ceiling of his ability just yet and rates a big danger. He was SIXTH in last seasons Jewsons Novices and was only run out of it late on. Two miles is perhaps just on the short side however for me to be certain of his winning chance but he should not be far away and makes an appeal for a cover bet in what is a very decent opening contest.

I will put my next post online before 12.30 with my next likely bet to come in the 1.20 at Cheltenham.

Pundit Pointers:

11.40 - Safari Journey ( 1pt @ 14-1 Bet365)
11.40 - Fiendish Flame (0.75pts @ 9-1 Skybet)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Back In The Groove

Seems like an age since I last thought about horse racing and infact it is only last Saturday when I did indeed last look at a race card but it seems like a lifetime. In the past week I have kept away from all betting which has had a knock on effect that I have not updated my blog either. My apologies.

The racing break did do me good however as I felt bored last Sunday afternoon and decided to re-download Poker software from Pokerstars' website so I could try my hand at a few hands after an absence from playing of over two years. Once I had managed to assure the system that I was indeed the same person despite changing my e-mail address I was greeted with an account balance of $350. Now but for the snow and ice interrupting the horse racing season how much longer would that have been unknowingly left in there doing diddly squat for my wealth? Worries me to think in all honesty.

I indeed went onto Partypoker thereafter and did the same thing. This time no funds had been left in my account but I did have a $170 dollar free pass on my account to a 10 seater semi final in a Step Tournament where a win in the final would make me $2000 richer.

I will be downloading more software on Sunday as it seems I may have stupidly got abit bored with the game and stopped playing before I had emptied my accounts and used up my rewards. I plan on restarting my interest in poker though after mildly enjoying the few games I have played this week. Six Seater STT's are my majority interest as you have a 33% chance of making the prizemoney and if you are at a table with numpties those odds shoot up! I recommend it as an excellent game for those interested in competition but would not recommend cash tables as they can prove expensive if you lack discipline!

Horse racing is my main agenda on Saturday where Cheltenham is the main event of the day supported by some All Weather action at Lingfield. The Scoop 6 may appeal to many and I will be waking up nice and early to start my form reading because I know a winning run is not far away if I do my homework properly!

Check back in the morning!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Elna Bright Gets The Vote

Elna Bright is my selection in the 3.50 William Hill - Home Of Betting Handicap (CLASS 2)which is scheduled to be my only horse racing bet of the day. Ran a career best effort under Kieren Fallon last time having had a small break and may hopefully come on for that run as the majority of the horses career performances have been wins when having had a recent run. 14 Days ago was Elna Bright's last racecourse appearance when he took on a prominent role to try and keep the pace brisk. He was outdone by two smart finishers and 2nd place that day Autumn Blades reopposes today on 2lb worse terms. He has been frequently raced over the last few weeks and would not have lacked an edge for that outing unlike the chosen selection who should improve for the run.

The draw could be an issue with stall 3 not being very welcoming but there should be no problems getting a midfield slot which is probably a good enough early position here over 7f. With Kempton being marginally a stiffer test that Lingfield it should play more to Elna Bright's strengths who has won at distances in excess of a mile before today. Do not let that put you off as Elna Bright has also been a victor at Kempton over 6f previously as well. Should run well if in the mood.

Pundit Pointer:

3.50 - Elna Bright (0.5PTS @ 9-1 Betfair)

Was Not Going To Bother

The bad weather is an excellent excuse to have a relax away from betting just to make sure I am not addicted and so far this week I have not blogged or touched any sports betting which is good going. I have not even been remotely interested in having a bet and did not even have a bet on the fantastic Spanish Football that was delivered on Monday evening when Barcelona pulverised Real Madrid 5-0.

There is however today some All Weather action and a Class 2 race at both Southwell and Kempton. To be honest Southwell does not agree with my methods as I am not sure I have ever had more than a couple of winners at the venue but in all reality I've probably never had more than ten bets. Its a track and surface that I just do not like and never leaps out at me as having MUST BET races - even back in the day when I bet on absolutely ANYTHING!

I will endeavour to find a good selection in the 3.40 at Kempton and hopefully put right what was indeed a stupid bet on the track last time out, last weekend.

Check back before 2PM. I am off to make some dinner!