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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday's bets

Heading up to Leopardstown today with few friends - can't wait. It's become a bit of a tradition for us now and it should be a good session. Not certain what I'm backing yet, looking forward to seeing Hurricane Fly certainly, and I'll probably back Sizing Gold in the maiden hurdle. Lord Wintermere looks the pick in the beginners chase. Still undecided on the mares hurdle and the bumper later.

Also looking forward to some racing across the water. Here's today's Irish Independent article:



CLONDAW KAEMPFER
DESPITE the fact that I backed Long Run in the King George at Kempton, his win there has not made me any more confident about his Cheltenham Gold Cup chances and I'm happy to keep an open mind on that race for now. Certainly, he has plenty of guts and a huge heart and that's what got him over the line at the expense of Captain Chris; but his jumping was far from fluent and in the end it was stamina which just about papered over the cracks. He’ll most likely take in the Denman Chase next but unless the ground comes up heavy in March (which is very unlikely) he won't get away with sloppiness in the Gold Cup when faced with the likes of Bobs Worth on better ground. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to downplay what he's achieved and regular readers will know that I’ve often said he’s under-rated. But to win the top races these days, he needs the ground conditions and pace to fall just right so it was a little surprising to see at least two bookmakers cut his price for Cheltenham's Blue Riband event immediately after Kempton - although Gold Cup prices have been revised once again following Tidal Bay’s victory in the Lexus Chase yesterday.  Speaking of Cheltenham , this afternoon's Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury (2.45) might give us a few Festival clues  and can go the way of Clondaw Kaempfer trained by Donald McCain, priced around 2/1. A half-brother to the useful hurdler Its A Dream, he kicked of his career by winning a valuable bumper at Fairyhouse in April for trainer Colin Bowe before being sold for £130,000 and sent across the water to go hurdling. He put his point-to-point experience to good use in his first novice hurdle at Aintree in October, drawing easily clear of his three rivals on heavy ground and followed up that victory with another win last time out in a listed novice hurdle at Haydock. While he did make a bit of a blunder at the last, he kept his composure and stuck to the task at hand thereby giving the impression that he's learning the ropes rather quickly. His latest race was over two miles which seemed a bit short so it's good to see him back up in distance today and he's definitely one to keep on side as the season progresses. It's no secret that Donald McCain thinks very highly of the Oscar gelding and when Cheltenham comes around in March, he's bound to be popular in the betting for one of the novice races provided connections don't opt for the bumper instead. Another interesting entry is Jonjo O’Neill's French import Taquin Du Seuil (5/2), which won a grade two novice hurdle at Sandown earlier this month. O'Neill has stated that he's the best novice he has in training at the moment and looks forward to training the horse he describes as "Cheltenham Festival class". We'll find out today just how classy those two horses are. 

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER
ABOVE The Stars is worth taking each-way in the 32Red Casino Handicap on the Polytrack at Dunstall Park (2.05) if she goes off at a double figure price as forecasted. The Richard Fahey trained four-year-old ran poorly here a couple of weeks ago but had earlier put  in some solid performances on the artificial surface, hitting the crossbar a couple of times without actually winning. The handicapper has let her mark slide quite a bit since her last win at Pontefract back in August and if Barry McHugh can get her out into her preferred front-running position early on, she can finish in the money once again this afternoon.

DO THE DOUBLE
Horseracing: OK it's time to be completely unoriginal here but Hurricane Fly is impossible to oppose in this afternoon's Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown (2.00). He now has twelve grade one wins to his name and while he was below par in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, he confirmed his wellbeing by winning his latest two races at Punchestown. He can win this without breaking a sweat today, priced around 1/3.
Soccer: MANCHESTER United lived up to their newly earned reputation as the comeback kings on Wednesday when fighting back more than once to beat Newcastle 4-3. The defence is still weak but luckily they are making up for it up front and there’s a good chance we'll see numerous goals scored in this afternoon's Premier League clash with West Brom at Old Trafford. Make some money by backing both teams to score, priced just under even-money. 

*Wednesday's double was successful on both legs at an overall price of 15/8.  

TODAY'S SELECTIONS
1.35 Newbury: Module
2.00 Leopardstown: Hurricane Fly
2.05 Wolverhampton: Above The Stars (e/w)
2.45 Newbury: Clondaw Kaempfer



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

St Stephens' Day/Boxing Day racing from Leopardstown and Kempton

Hi all, hope you all had a great Christmas. For better or worse, I've gone with Long Run in the King George today. Hope I'm not following him over a cliff but I still think he has something left to give. Here's today's Indo article:

LONG RUN
DESPITE the fact that racing takes place 362 days a year, punters feel starved at the moment and a return to action at Leopardstown, Limerick, Down Royal and Kempton is welcomed with open arms. My friends know that the King George at Kempton (3.10) is one of my favourite races of the year so for this year's Christ Child gift (or Chris Kindle as it's now known) I got a betting docket with a pony (€25) on Long Run to win the race. It's nice to know that my mates sometimes listen to my ramblings and I've often mentioned that Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old has become somewhat under-rated having had the misfortune to be around at the same time as some great horses like Kauto Star and Silviniaco Conti. With Finian's Rainbow and Sir Des Champs undeclared, he's now as short as 15/8 but to me that's still good value with conditions likely to be testing. I've often noted in this column that his style is becoming closer than a stayer more than anything else and three miles around Kempton on soft to heavy going is bound to play to his strengths. I do admit that I lost my monkey-nuts backing him in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last time out but a fantastic round of jumping from Silviniaco Conti coupled with an enterprising run from Ruby Wash was just too much for Long Run's dour style and he was beaten fair and square on the day. His amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen often gets a bit of stick but the thirty-year-old was right not to turn the Betfair Chase into some sort of sprinting match as it would have took too much out of the horse and possibly ruined his season. This time around though, there's no obvious pacemaker so it will be interesting to see if Waley-Cohen has to take him out early to set the tempo himself - but the horse doesn't mind going out in front doing his own thing and is said to enjoy working on his own at home. While he's become a little frustrating to follow, it shouldn't be forgotten that Long Run won the 2010 King George (ran in January 2011) in fine style at the expense of Riverside Theatre and Kauto Star and if we include his French career, he's now won 13 races from 23 which is a fantastic achievement in any man's language. True, Kauto Star beat him last year but he lost nothing in defeat and readers will not need reminding that Kauto is widely regarded as one of the greatest chasers of all time. While Cue Card and stablemate Riverside Theatre won't let him have it all his own way, he can show the racing public what he's made of with a second King George victory today. At Leopardstown, Arvika Ligeonniere looks the banker of the day in the Racing Post Novice Chase (2.55), albeit at a restrictive price of 10/11. Willie Mullins' seven-year-old has a very high cruising speed and was perhaps a little stretched last time when winning the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse but the drop in trip to 17f this afternoon will be right up his street. Oscars Well is the one most likely to follow him home.

EACH-WAY
THERE are excuses for Flying Trader's below par effort at Lingfield last time (7th of 12 runners) as he had just been gelded and wasn't race fit after nine weeks off. He looks well treated in the weights based on his Kempton win in April, and with his jockey Ian Burns claiming a very useful 7lbs, odds of 8/1 are a couple of ticks too high for today's Boxing Day Handicap at Wolverhampton (4.45).

DO THE DOUBLE
Horseracing: THE Fuller's London Pride Novices' Chase has been won by some exciting sorts in the past including Denman and Bobs Worth and this year's renewal saw Dynaste prove himself to be one of the best novice chasers of the season with a well-rounded victory by four and a half lengths. David Pipe's six-year-old is back in action in the Kauto Star Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton (2.00) and with 16lbs in hand on official ratings, he looks fairly bombproof this afternoon, priced around
5/6. Soccer: FOR a team that are down to the last sixteen in the Champions League, Celtic's trip to Dens Park to face bottom of the table Dundee should be a relatively straightforward assignment. The hoops have scored 24 of their 37 SPL goals away from home and can be backed with confidence to land the halftime-fulltime result this evening at 4/5

TODAY'S SELECTIONS
2.00 Kempton: Dynaste
2.35 Kempton: Get Me Out Of Here (e/w)
2.55 Leopardstown: Arvika Ligeonniere
3.10 Kempton: Long Run
4.45 Wolverhampton: Flying Trader (e/w)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all readers.

Looking forward to Leopardstown and Kempton on St Stephens' Day but for now, it's time to take a little break. I've some loose ends to tie up later today but then I can relax. Enjoy the break!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot

Alan King's Smad Place


Some good racing from Ascot on today but unfortunately, I'll miss half of it as I've to go and do my Christmas shopping :-(

Shouldn't moan though, it's a nice time of the year for kids and Santy still comes to our house. It's just all the crowds and madness I hate. Looking forward to later on tonight as I'm going for a meal out with a few friends.

On the favourites strategy, Smad Place is the selection at Ascot (2.00) priced around 9/4. That fits in nicely with my Irish Independent article for today:


SMAD PLACE
ALAS, the world has not ended after all and here you are reading Saturday’s newspaper, hopefully at your leisure. Some people took this Mayan prophecy business quite seriously and I’m told that hundreds assembled on Mount Rtanj in Serbia yesterday to watch the world crash down around them. In Ireland, one bookmaker was offering 5000/1 that the end was nigh and while I’m sure it was meant as a joke, a friend who is employed in the risk management department told me they had actually taken more than one bet on that market. I would have liked to see those punters wade through fire and brimstone to collect their winnings at their local turf accountant had the bet been successful! The mind boggles. As Einstein once said, only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity. While they didn’t take a hit on the end of the world, here’s hoping some damage is inflicted on the bookies this afternoon by Smad Place, which is the general 11/4 favourite for the Long Walk hurdle at Ascot (2.00). Unfortunately, we won't see last year's winner Big Buck's make an appearance as he's out for the season with a tendon injury but his absence does at least make for a competitive betting market. Alan King's five-year-old looks the one to beat, provided he's back to his old self following a disappointing run at Wetherby on his reappearance last month. He just didn't seem right and King wasn't too happy with him when he returned home to the yard; so they subsequently missed the Hennessey meeting at Newbury in order to give him a rest. They gave him a good gallop at home on Saturday and the word from the yard is that the sparkle is back. He unseated Robert Thornton previously in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in April but that came on the back of Cheltenham where he gave a fairly good account of himself when finishing behind Big Buck's and Voler La Vedette in the World Hurdle. He'll surely come on for his Wetherby run and deserves his place at the top of the market. Another one with claims is Trustan Times, trained by Tim Easterby. His jumping over fences is a bit suspect but he's come back to life recently over timber and showed some very smart form when winning the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle at Haydock last time under a heavy burden. Despite two wins over hurdles already this term, he still has room for improvement and while this is a big step up in class, it would be no surprise to see him thereabouts this afternoon. Earlier on Lingfield's polytrack, the Alan Bailey trained Strictly Silver looks overpriced at 10/1 for the six-runner Happy Christmas From All At Lingfield Park Conditions Stakes (1.55). On paper, his sixth place of fourteen runners in a class two handicap at Doncaster in September doesn't look too inspiring but a line can be drawn through that form as he almost unseated his rider early on, and he later got hampered by a number of horses. Otherwise, he's been improving all the time and it's a little surprising to see him friendless in the early markets.

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER
THE Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Double Ross looked certain to win a class two handicap at Haydock recently and traded as low as 1/6 in-running - but a bad mistake at the last meant he had to settle for fourth place. At 16/1, the market doesn't give him much chance in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot (3.10) but he loves the heavy ground and may have a bit more to come before the handicapper has his measure.

DO THE DOUBLE
Soccer: WIGAN have conceded 17 goals at home in the league this season and face a tough 90 minutes this afternoon at home to an Arsenal side who are fresh from beating Reading 5-2 on Monday. The Gunners have won ten of the 14 Premier League meetings of the pair and it makes sense to back them to do so again this afternoon, priced around 8/11.
Horseracing: PUNTERS on this side of the world may not be too familiar with ten-year-old Shadow
Gate as he spent most of his life in Japan - but he was a decent sort in his day and won the group one Singapore International at Kranji back in 2007. He's now based with Takashi Kodama at the Curragh and proved that he still retains plenty of ability when winning is first race for his new yard at Dundalk in October. Priced 7/2, he can make his presence felt in today's listed Quebec Stakes at Lingfield (2.25).

TODAY'S SELECTIONS
12.00 Newcastle: Fourjacks
1.55 Lingfield: Strictly Silver
2.00 Ascot: Smad Place
2.25 Lingfield: Shadow Gate
3.10 Ascot: Double Ross (e/w)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fiscal cliff

The US markets took a hammering as the expected deal on the fiscal cliff fell through:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100332842

Could be a bit of a crazy day on the markets so, just before the Christmas break!

A good day on the racing yesterday with a 7/2 winner - I hope no-one missed out as I posted the wrong race time.

One for today on the favs strategy, Puffin Billy 1.55 Ascot. Will be odds-on though.

Has created a striking impression when comfortable winner of both bumper starts at Fontwell and here, and comfortably landed odds on hurdling bow at Newbury last month. Looks a top prospect.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday

Late for work so no write up - on the favs strategy, Topaze Collonges is the selection in the 3.40 at Towcester while on the handicaps, Ukranian Star looks the one to beat in the 2.40.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday

Just one for today on the favourites strategy, Rose Of The Moon, 2.25 Newbury:

Went the wrong way over hurdles for David Pipe, but has made promising start over fences for new yard, easily winning novices at Wetherby and Sedgefield this term, with possibly more to come.

Currently 11/8 or thereabouts. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday

Sorry for the lack of posts lately - I've been up to my eyes with a few things. In a bit of a hurry so no time for a write-up.

One word to describe the weekend: woeful.

Just one bet for today on the favourites strategy, Tick Tocker 1.10 Catterick:

Irish point winner in May and joined this yard for $65,000 thereafter. Failed to justify strong support sole bumper start, but looked a natural over hurdles when runner-up at Sedgefield last month.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday's Irish Independent article

Have gone with Rock On Ruby today - although I must admit that the ground is a slight worry. Best of luck with whatever you do today:


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday

Hi folks, a couple of bets today. On the form study, I like the look of Willie Mullins' Champagne Agent (3.05 Gowran), priced around 6/5:

Bumper winner and 4-time runner-up over hurdles, most recently 1½ lengths behind High Desert in 15-runner Fairyhouse maiden. Not progressing, though only looks to have Kashline to beat here.

 On the favourites strategy, Willoughby Hedge is the selection at Taunton, priced around 9/4:

Fourth in pair of bumpers in the spring and made a promising start over hurdles when chasing home a couple of useful sorts at Exeter last month. Should improve and got to be high on shortlist here.

Haven't done too much on the financials lately but I still have that trade open on the FTSE as described in Mark Shipman's book:

Big Money, Little Effort: A Winning Strategy for Profitable Long-Term Investment

It's basically a moving average strategy and it's working so far with the trade in profit. However, my gold has gone into decline and the price of an ounce is now $1695. So my open trades in my account have my balance basically floating around zero - with the bad gold position more or less cancelling out my good FTSE position.

But there could be a good gap trade emerging on the S&P500 which I'll probably try around 11.30am. As you can see, I've drawn a line across the chart at last night's closing price. The current price is a few points below that.
The trade here is to basically buy the S&P500 around 11.30am (when the American traders start hitting their desks) and take my profit if/when the gap closes and the price hits last night's close. The stop loss is one and a half times the gap:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday's bets

Good morning folks  - can ye believe Billybo was beaten at 1.31 yesterday? Just goes to show there are no certs in this game and that follows on from Final Bay getting beaten at 1.11 on Friday.

A couple of bets for today - on the form study, Quadriga (3.45 Kemp). A bit of a worry that it was sold relatively cheaply but nonetheless, it might go well around 3/1. Here's Timeform's comment:

Half-brother to the smart Surrey Star, and sets a good standard on his first 2 in-frame efforts in maidens for Aidan O'Brien. Changed hands for 15,500 gns and now upped in trip by new stable.

 On the favourites strategy, Cantlow is the selection in the 2.40 at Leicester. Should be around 5/4 with Tony McCoy on board.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday

Hi folks,

Sorry for the lack of posting over the weekend - I've had quite a bit of work on. Just one selection today on the favourites strategy - however, Billybo (2.10 Font) is as short as 4/11 so I won't be winning tipster of the week for that one.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday's bets

Good day yesterday with the favourites strategy selection Bold Sir Brian winning. There's one selection on that today, Join Together at Aintree (2.10). It's 6/1 which is probably the biggest priced selection on this strategy to date.

Elsewhere, we have the Tingle Creek. Absolutely mouthwatering stuff. I won't be having a bet but I just can't wait. Here's today's Irish Independent article:

MASTER OF THE SEA
AN American archbishop and media personality by the name of Fulton J. Sheen once said that “the proud man counts his newspaper clippings, the humble man his blessings”. While I do admit to getting a kick out of tipping a nice-priced winner in print, I certainly won’t be making a clipping of the Betting Ring column from a fortnight ago. In it, I suggested that Silviniaco Conti needed some more top-race experience before we see him hit the big time. As a backer of Long Run that day, I was left both red-faced and out of pocket as Silviniaco Conti put in a great round of jumping to land the Betfair Chase under a bold ride from Ruby Walsh. I had talked a mate out of putting a substantial bet down on Nicholls’ gelding and if awards were given out for having to eat humble pie afterwards, I’d have been right up there on the podium collecting the trophy. Within minutes of him crossing the line, the bookmakers were excitedly issuing new prices for the Gold Cup but those markets had to be revised again slightly last week after Bobs Worth jumped like a stag to take Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup (tipped here at 4/1).  So which of the pair is the best bet for Cheltenham? At 5/1, I’m going to give Bobs Worth tentative thumbs up although with Silviniaco Conti (7/1) still somewhat unexposed and likely to be kept under wraps until March, the 2013 renewal is still a wide-open race. Furthermore; Long Run, Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar can't be ruled out either. While I'm with Bobs Worth for now, I've learned in recent years not to get too attached to my ante-post bets on Cheltenham and I'm open to persuasion over the next few months. In the Champion Chase market, Sprinter Sacre is as short as even-money and it's possible that he may touch odds-on should he put Sanctuaire in his place in today's Tingle Creek at Sandown (3.05). At 1/2, the odds suggest this will be a straightforward penalty kick for Sprinter Sacre this afternoon but with just three pounds separating the pair, this could be closer than the market suggests and it's a race best enjoyed without having a bet. Earlier on the same card, Captain Conan looks the one to beat in the Grade One Markel Insurance Henry VIII Novices' Chase (1.55) but with Overturn not declared, his price too will be similarly restrictive. For something worth backing then, attention is turned to Aintree’s card where Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Master Of The Sea makes appeal at 100/30 in the Betfred Bonus King Bingo Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (1.35). He had good form in bumpers last year but he didn’t really shine in novice hurdles over the summer. However, we saw a totally different animal on his return to racing at Hereford on Wednesday following a five-month break. It was his first time racing in a handicap but he was really game and responded immediately when challenged. His jumping was spot-on and while he’ll get a penalty for that win, the handicapper hasn’t had a chance to reassess his mark and I reckon he could be a couple of pounds to the good today.  Donald McCain’s horses are in good form so Beeves might be the biggest threat to the bet. 
 
EACH-WAY OUTSIDER
THE Dessie Hughes trained In Compliance finished a respectable fifth in this year's Aintree Grand National and there could be some value in backing the old timer at 12/1 as he tackles those fences again today in the Becher Chase (2.10). It was disappointing to see him pulled up in the Troytown at Navan recently but he was well off the pace and the trip was too short. He's the only Irish representative but Hughes has good form in the race winning twice in recent years with Black Apalachi and Vic Venturi.
DO THE DOUBLE
Soccer: With United just three points ahead of their City neighbours, Premier League games don't come much bigger than tomorrow's Manchester Derby. While the freak 6-1 thrashing that City gave United last season sticks in the memory, this fixture often sees both sides play it safe and there’s rarely more than a goal in it. Back the draw at 5/2.
Horseracing:  The John Gosden trained filly Hepworth (4/5) found the promising Reckoning too good in her debut race at Doncaster last year - and although she hasn’t been seen since then, she’s expected to build on that experience by taking the 32Red.com Maiden Stakes at Lingfield this afternoon (2.15). She's related to some decent middle-distance winners sand she could be worth following when tackling some longer trips next year. 
TODAY'S SELECTIONS
1.35 Aintree: Master Of The Sea
2.10 Aintree: In Compliance (e/w)
2.15 Lingfield: Hepworth

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday

In a bit of a hurry so no time for a write up - just one bet for me today as part of the favourites strategy, 2.20 Sandown, Bold Sir Brian. Currently priced 11/10, here's Timeform's comment:

Chaser going places and small-field scenario here will suit having posted another success in similar contest at Carlisle (2½m) on return. No reason why he won't stay 3m and leading claims.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday

No bets today! Was going to back Gordon Elliott's Oscar Hill but Leicester has been abandoned.

Cracking win for Celtic last night - they weren't very polished but they got there in the end. A fantastic achievement for a club with very limited resources.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Glasgow Celtic v Spartak Moscow

Hi folks,

Not many opportunities today - can't find much on the racing and the it's the same on the financials. The favourites strategy has one bet but Doyly Carte (2.20 Catt) is as short as 4/11 so there's hardly any point in putting it up.

I have my psychology course later but I hope to get out in time to catch most of the Celtic match. I reckon they can beat Spartak Moscow but they are still relying on another match too - Celtic have to better Benfica's score against Barcelona. Again, you'd have to say that's entirely possible but you never can be sure in football.

I've had a good few fantastic times in Parkhead over the years - I'd say it would be an amazing night tonight if they qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Favourites strategy

Morning all, a couple of bets today. On the form study, Billybo looks very interesting in the opener at Towcester. He's actually 9lb out of the handicap and it's a couple of years since he's had a race. However, he has been out an about on the point-to-point scene and is doing well by all accounts. He's changed trainer and is with Tim Vaughan now - someone I always watch out for in the handicaps. Currently priced 5/4.

On the favourites strategy, there's one selection today - Angles Hill, 1.50 Towcester. Short enough around 4/5. The favourites strategy has been going well although I do admit it's early days with only 45 bets under the belt. So far, we have:

Bets: 45
Wins: 23
Strike rate: 51.11%
Profit: 15.91pts


(Bets recorded to Betfair SP and assume commission is 5%)

Here's a chart of how it is doing to a €10 stake:



It's going in the right direction but as I say, it is early days.

On a less positive note, the price of gold has continued to drop and I'm now at break-even point. This is frustrating because there was money on the table which I could have took. However, the entry and exit points are based on moving averages so I haven't got a sell sign yet. This is the downside of using technical analysis - there's always a time lag with things like moving averages. The upside is that it helps you stay in a trend and gives you clear buy and sell points. I'll keep going for now and see how we get on.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday

Not much time for a write up today - in the handicaps, Delgany Gunner (2.10 Plumpton) is worth a look around 6/1 on Betfair. Not sure if he'll actually run though - he raced yesterday and won and gets a penalty but his jockey can claim a few lbs off. On the favourites strategy, Pendra 12.40 at Plumpton is the selection priced around 4/6.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday's Irish Independent article



BOBS WORTH
IT'S always a challenge to try and pick the winner of a big field handicap like the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury (3.10) but in fairness to punters, they've had a good stab at it recently and only two winners have gone off above 10/1 in the latest ten renewals. To help narrow down the field, I find it's best to focus on horses that are in good form so I usually cross a line through any runner that didn't finish in the top three last time out. In fact, nine of the last ten winners of this race had a top-three finish in their latest completed start, and using this approach to narrow down the field helped me tip last year's winner Carruthers for the column at 10/1. This time around though, the  nine-year-old is ruled out as he could only finish meekly last time out at Cheltenham (11th of 16 runners) and his price of 25/1 is a fair reflection of his chances today. I'm also not too keen on backing older horse in this race with Mandarin (1961), Rondetto (1967) and Diamond Edge (1981) being the only horses to win aged ten or older since the race began in 1957. Indeed since 1997, 33 horses aged ten or older have raced and only three have been placed. On that basis then,  Roberto Goldback, Lion Na Bearnai  and Paul Nicholls' Tidal Bay are all scratched from the list; although I do admit that ignoring horses from Ditcheat is an exercise fraught with danger, no matter what the stats may tell us. Tidal Bay carries topweight and while he did win the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown carrying 11st 12lbs, I think he might struggle today against much stronger opposition.  I hope my readers will forgive me for being a little unoriginal today then; but if we are looking for a horse aged under ten that is reasonably strong in the market and had a top three finish last time out, then the Nicky Henderson trained Bobs Worth ticks all the right boxes. He's short enough at 7/2 but he looks to me to be an ideal Cheltenham Gold Cup candidate and this is the perfect starting point for that campaign. He was unbeaten over timber as a novice and while it took him a couple of chases to find his stride, he was mighty impressive at Cheltenham last time when winning the RSA Chase. He got into a good rhythm, he jumped well and he stayed on nicely; all of which are the ingredients that make up a good Gold Cup horse. He has a preference for going left-handed so he'll enjoy coming back to Newbury and while heavy ground would be a concern, he'll stay the distance no problem. Earlier on the same card, it will be good to see Big Buck's back in action in the Long Distance Hurdle (2.00) as he attempts to win his 18th race on the trot. At 1/7, there's not much point in having a bet and he's frightened away all but three other runners; Fox Appeal , Five Dream and Reve de Sivola. He's some 26lbs clear of Fox Appeal on ratings and barring some sort of catastrophe, a win is merely a formality. All going well, we'll see the nine-year-old back in action for the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot later this month. 
EACH-WAY OUTSIDER
THE David Pipe trained Consigliere won the Sportingbet Handicap Chase at Newbury in 2009 and at 20/1, the nine-year-old is overpriced to do so again this afternoon (3.45). He usually needs a run or two each season before he's back in shape so his disappointing performance at the Cheltenham Open meeting last time can be discounted.  With his jockey Tom Bellamy claiming 7lbs, he might be capable of springing a surprise. 
DO THE DOUBLE
Soccer: Everton have already registered draws against Liverpool and Arsenal this season and have beaten Manchester United - so Manchester City might not have it all their own way against the Toffees at the Etihad this afternoon. The Citizens are as short as 1/2 in places but this could be closer than the market suggests and the 4/5 about both teams scoring looks the better value option.
Horseracing: Just four horses go to post for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle (2.20) with Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes most likely to enjoy the testing conditions. He hasn't lost a race since getting off the mark in a maiden hurdle at Aintree last year and his manner of victory at Cheltenham suggests there is plenty of improving to come from the five-year-old.
SELECTIONS
2.20 Newcastle: Cinders And Ashes
3.10 Newbury: Bobs Worth
3.40 Newbury: Consigliere (e/w)
3.10 Fairyhouse: Tarquinius (Sunday)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday's bets

A great day yesterday with two decent winners on the horses. I also done Everton/Arsenal both teams to score so I earned about two ton in total over the three bets which was great because I had quite a few big losses over the weekend.

Unfortunately, gold has tanked a little following the nice rush last week. I'm still in profit but it has declined significantly.

On the horses today, Clashnabrook can go well in the 3.20 Thurles in his favoured heavy ground. He's up a hefty 16lbs for a recent win though so it won't be a walk in the park. Currently 5/2.

In the favourites strategy, Cedre Bleu is the selection in the 2.40 at Newbury, priced around 11/4.

Daily gold chart:


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday's bets

In a bit of a hurry so not much time for a write-up. In the handicaps, Happy New Year looks a couple of lbs ahead of the assessor at 2.55 Limerick, priced around 2/1. On the favourites strategy, Langham Lily is the selection at Wolves (4.50) at 11/8.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday

Not much happening in the racing with Lingfield the only survivor. I've one form study bet there, Sire de Grugy at 2.00. Short price though around 1.7 on the machine.

The favourites strategy has also thrown up the same selection so fingers crossed. Here's Timeform's comment:

Smart handicap hurdler who has made a pleasing start to life over fences, winning 2m maiden on debut before finishing second to Captain Conan in Grade 2 novice at Cheltenham. The one to beat.

In the financials, there was a very small gap of about ten pips on the S&P500. I don't normally trade gaps that small but it was starting to rally so I threw a couple of quid down and earned a nice 22 quid in about ten minutes :-) Not a lot but it would be nice if it was always that easy!

S&P Gap trade:




Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday

Pretty crappy weekend on the horses. It's funny how it works out, last weekend the winners were flowing left, right and centre but this week, I drew a blank other than a couple of short ones. As Jimmy Greaves might say, it's a funny old game.

Had a look through the cards this morning and can't find anything much so I'm staying away. There's one bet on the favourites strategy but it's hardly worth posting up as it is five to one on: Snake Eyes, 1.00 Kempton.

Don't want to go near the financial markets either until we see what happens over this Greek deal today - could be a bit choppy until something is sorted.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday's Irish Independent article



Another good day on the favourites strategy yesterday with Minella Class winning at a decent enough price.  One bet on that today which turns out to be Long Run. That's fine with me as I've tipped him in my Indo column for today (see below).

The price of gold shot to the moon yesterday too which was fantastic for my open trade. As always, I wish I had bought more but sure I can't complain. As mentioned on here, I bought at $1707 an ounce and as I type it is now $1752.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/49935015


Today's Irish Independent article:

LONG RUN
WITH Imperial Commander ruled out of the Betfair Chase (3.05 Haydock) due to injury, one would have expected Long Run to be red-hot in the betting - but that just hasn’t been the case and punters have deserted Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old this week in favour of the new kid on the block; Paul Nicholls' Silviniaco Conti. While Long Run is still most likely to go off as favourite, it seems quite bizarre to see his price as big as 13/8 in places considering he’s 10lbs clear of the field on official ratings and 13lbs clear according to Timeform. In my eyes, that price is huge and I’ve yet to hear a strong reason from his opponents as to why he should be avoided. I wouldn’t say it’s a case of getting the wheelbarrow out, but I'll definitely take a trip to the nearest automatic teller machine to have a decent sized punt if he goes off anywhere near those odds. Perhaps I’m being a little naive here; after all, the market is the collective voice of the people and it’s surprisingly accurate at assessing a horse’s chance in a race. When it goes cold on a horse, it's usually with good reason. Yet the arguments put forward for opposing him have been quite weak and mainly focus on the fact that he won just one race last season, the Denman Chase at Newbury. But let’s not forget that he won the King George and Gold Cup in 2010/2011 and while Kauto Star put him firmly in his place this time last year, he’s still relatively young and should not be written off after one or two questionable performances. It’s been pointed out that he doesn’t have a great record when fresh but the word from the yard is that they are getting a different feel for him this time around and as long as he keeps his jumping mistakes to a minimum, he’ll almost certainly be thereabouts. Looking at his more recent races, his style seems to be getting closer to a stayer as he matures - so three miles in soft to heavy ground might actually prove advantageous. His owner, Robert Waley-Cohen, has admitted that they enter unknown territory if the ground comes up heavy – although it must be noted that he has faced poor ground in France in the past. If I were in charge, I’d get amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen to hunt him around the sharp course as best he can and let him take his time approaching the fences. Silviniaco Conti put in a fantastic round of jumping in the Charlie Hall Chase and it’s important that Long Run doesn’t lose too much ground by crashing through any obstacles. Nicholls’ horse is fairly unexposed and on his novice form, he looks extremely promising. But even considering Long Run’s flaws, Silviniaco Conti still has a good lot to make up and I think he needs some more big-race experience before we see him hit the big time. The rest of the field make it an intriguing race; The Giant Bolster finished ahead of Long Run in this year's Gold Cup, while Donald McCain's Weird Al has been kept rested with this race in mind.

*Last week's winners: Al Ferof (8/1), Money Spider (4/6), Far West (15/8).

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER
American Spin defied a 7lb rise to win an eighteen-runner handicap in May and I'm still not convinced the handicapper has him in his grip. He finished mid-division in a similar race at Cheltenham last month but it was his first run of the season and it will have helped get him back in shape. He's as tough as nails and odds of 12/1 for the Betfair 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle (2.30 Haydock) appear a little generous.

* Last week's each-way selection, Cross Kennon, was second at 16/1.

DO THE DOUBLE
Horseracing: He didn't get the trip in the World Hurdle but Oscar Whisky will be right at home in the Ascot Hurdle (2.45) and the extra cut in the ground will give him an advantage. With eleven wins from fifteen races, he's remarkably consistent and can justify his odds-on price of 8/11 with yet another victory this afternoon.
Soccer: QPR have lost twelve of their last thirteen away matches and that figure looks set to increase today as they face Manchester United at Old Trafford. Back the Red Devils to keep a clean sheet at 5/6 in what's likely to be an extremely lob-sided affair.

* Last week's double was successful on both legs at an overall price of 6/4


TODAY'S SELECTIONS
11.40 Lingfield: Dream About You
2.30 Haydock: American Spin (e/w)
2.45 Ascot: Oscar Whisky
3.05 Haydock: Long Run



Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday

Have a lot of work on so I haven't had time to go through today's cards. Yesterday's favourites strategy won and I've one on that today, priced around 2/1:

1.30 Ascot - Minella Class
Grade 1 hurdles winner who made a promising start over fences when runner-up at Bangor in January, but failed to complete all outings since (over hurdles last time), and bit to prove on return.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

It's thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. so nothing much happening on the financials. The racing too is quiet with Thurles, Hereford and Wincanton abandoned and any other horses I fancied are very very short so I think I'll stay away and keep the gunpowder dry for the weekend. There's one on the favourites strategy, Changing Times in the 1.40 at Market Rasen. Short enough around 4/5. Here's Timeform's comment:

Dual Fairyhouse hurdles winner last term and runner-up both outings over fences so far, bad mistake 4 out when beaten by Molotof in 11-runner event at Taunton late last month. Looks the one to beat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday

Quiet day today and I can't find any real betting opportunities on the racing. The S&P500 held most of its gains yesterday but has dropped a little in the overnight futures trading. Can't spot anything there either so pretty much a blank day for me.

There's one qualifier on the favourites strategy I've been testing:

2.50 Warwick - Uxizandre
Useful form when runner-up sole run over hurdles in France for T. Trapenard in May. Sets a good standard here and likely to prove tough to beat on British debut for new yard.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's bets and FTSE trading

No formstudy or handicap bets today, there's just one on the favourites strategy I have on trial:

3.20 South - No Dominion
Firmly on the upgrade switched to this surface, winning twice over C&D in October. Value for more than winning margin latest, so no surprise if he made a bold bid to complete the hat-trick.

Currently around 5/2 on the machine.

***

The financial markets stayed up yesterday and rallied through the day. I didn't do any trades yesterday but it looks like a small downside gap is appearing on the S&P500 today so I'll go back to that around 11.30am and see if there's a trade there.

The gap trade strategy has been working very well for me on the S&P and I'm going to start a trial on the FTSE this week. Of course, the times are different with the FTSE opening at 8.30am our time and closing at 4.30pm so it's a nice trade that could be done in the mornings before work or whatever. Hopefully, it works out and I'll report back here on progress.

The City,  London:


Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday

It was a cracker of a weekend with Al Ferof winning at a nice big price, plus some others coming in a decent prices too.

My double came up too which was great. Those 'both teams to score' bets have been going great for me lately - I was put on to them by a friend, Tony, who is good at football betting. Focusing on the top six or so in the Premier League and then being selective with the bets is paying off so far. Might start looking a bit more serious at it as up until now, I've just been throwing a few ponies here and there in the bookies to pay for a night out or whatever. But it's going quite well and I'm going to look into it further.

No bets on the formstudy or the handicaps today although the favourites strategy has one qualifier. It's as short as 2/5 however, so no-one's going to be retiring on this just yet. Here's Timeform's comments.

1.20 Plumpton - Broadbackbob
Useful novice hurdler last term, winning first 2 starts, and improved again to finish second in Grade 2 at Cheltenham in January. Type to take high rank amongst this season's novice chasers.


Nothing much doing on the financial front either, we had a bounce on Friday in the end but whether or not that continues this week remains to be seen. I sometimes find Monday a tricky day to trade as everyone is cautious, waiting to see what piece of news is going to push the market. Think I'll leave it for today.



Al Ferof:


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday at Cheltenham Open Meeting

Not a bad day at all yesterday with the S&P Gap trade going perfectly well and Dodging Bullets adding some more profit to the favourites strategy. The other horse was nowhere!

Today, Grands Crus comes up as the selection on the favourites strategy and this puts me in a bit of a mix as I fancy Al Ferof, as you can see from Saturday's Indo article below. Might actually dutch both but it's a fascinating  PP Gold Cup. Can't wait!

***

AL FEROF THERE aren't too many big races left that Paul Nicholls has yet to win, but the Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.35 Cheltenham) is one that has somehow eluded the master of Ditcheat hitherto. Having trained the runner-up on three occasions, he knows what it's like to play the bridesmaid and this year he'll have three runners to try and get the monkey off his back - namely Poquelin, Al Ferof and Aerial. If the betting market has it right, there's a 7/2 chance of any one of the Nicholls horses winning today with Al Ferof the most likely to perform best out of the trio at 7/1. The 2011 Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner has only five chases under the belt but he's amassed some decent prizemoney during that period including a grade one win at Sandown. He was a little unlucky in the Arkle when he made a blunder at the 10th, and he looked a quite weary last time out in a novice chase at Aintree in March. While those two races are a cause for concern, it's worth remembering that Al Ferof always goes best when fresh so we can expect to see a rejuvenated animal this afternoon. Nicholls brought him for a racecourse gallop at Wincanton on Sunday to loosen him up a bit and reports from the yard say the gelding is in fine fettle and rearing to go. He does have to give weight to almost all of the field but if he's back in form as expected, the extra lead will not be a problem. That said, it would be foolish to underestimate the claims of the favourite Grands Crus, trained by David Pipe. If anyone knows how to prepare a horse for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, it's the Pipe yard. Great Endeavour won last year for David, while his father Martin holds the record as the most successful trainer of all time in the race (eight wins). Grand Crus was disappointing in the RSA Chase last time out but he scoped badly afterwards and can be given the benefit of the doubt. At these weights, you'd suspect he has more to come but his price is simply too short at 9/4 in a race where a strong case could also be made for Hunt Ball, Walkon, Micheal Flips and one or two others. In the opening Juvenile Hurdle (12.45), Far West is the one to beat at 2/1 receiving 4lbs from the Alan King trained Mcvicar. The selection is another one of Paul Nicholls' French recruits and was a real eyecatcher when winning his debut British race at Chepstow last month. His jumping was fluent, he travelled well throughout and for a three-year-old, he appeared very calm and in control. The horse he beat handily at Chepstow (Handazan) has since gone on to win at Aintree and I'm certain we'll be hearing a lot more about Far West as the season progresses. Definitely one to stick in the notebook. At Lingfield, Bint Alzain (7/2) should take all the beating in the Get Straight To The Bet At bluesq.com Claiming Stakes (1.05). She's been running to form in some all-weather handicaps of late but should be seen to better effect now that she's been significantly dropped in class today.

EACH-WAY OUTSIDER
At 33/1, the market gives Cross Kennon very little hope in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham (3.05) but he won this race a couple of years ago and was fourth in the World Hurdle in 2011. Some lacklustre performances since have seen him go below the radar and while it's fair to say that the eight-year-old has seen better days, he's not without a place chance in what looks to be a wide-open contest this afternoon.

DO THE DOUBLE
Soccer: The Arsenal v Tottenham London Derby is always a tough one to call. In fact, this fixture has seen more draws than any other in Premier League history with 17 clashes of the pair ending in a stalemate. In the latest four renewals, the average number of goals per game has been 5.75 and with both sides badly needing the win, we can expect to see that trend to continue today. Back both teams to score at 8/15. Horseracing: The handicapper has caught up with Money Spider on the flat, but she's got other
options over hurdles and wasn't disgraced when third of fifteen runners in her first race under that code at Thurles recently. She may have done better had she not been hampered early on and she's a safe enough bet to make amends today priced 4/6.

TODAY'S SELECTIONS
12.45 Cheltenham: Far West
1.00 Punchestown: Money Spider
1.05 Lingfield: Bint Alzain
2.35 Cheltenham: Al Ferof
3.05 Cheltenham: Cross Kennon (e/w)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday

No real time for a write up - my internet was down all morning and I'm now under pressure to get some work done.

Bought the S&P just now and hope to do a gap trade. In the handicaps, Akbabend looks overpriced in the 3.35 at Cheltenham and is taken each-way. In the favourites strategy, Dodging Bullets 2.25 Chelt is the selection.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday's racing tips

Didn't get to post yesterday as I was working on my book. It's coming along nicely again and I'm about 3/4 of the way through. It's about trading on the exchanges and it's nice to see light at the end of the tunnel although editing it will be another big job.

Had a great day on Tuesday, the S&P Gap trade I tipped worked out fantastically well so I earned a nice few bob from that. It's my absolute favourite trade to do - but there's no opportunities today, more's the pity. I only really do downside gaps as I find the strike rate much greater. Then the racing bet, Anna's Arch won very well so some nice money was made. I actually done that one 'old style' in the bookies as I was hoping for some ready cash. As much as I love the computer, there's still something magical about being handed real cash across the counter.

In today's racing, I've two form study bets today - Sizing Europe is very hard to oppose in the Clonmel Oil Chase (2.25) although at 1/4, no-one will be getting rich. In the following race at the same venue, Knockfierna looks the one to beat - although I must admit it's a worry to see it drifting in the market considering the yard it comes from. In the handicaps, Dark Energy and A Decent Excuse look a couple of pounds ahead of the handicapper in the 1.30 Ludlow and 1.55 Clonmel respectively.

Separately, I've been working on a new strategy that mostly involves favourites. I'll call it the favourites strategy for now for want of a better name but the horses may not always be the jolly. So far so good but it's early days. I've had 15 winners from 31 bets and a profit of 13pts has been shown to a level stake at Betfair SP, assuming commission is 5pc. One qualifier today, Havin A Good Time in the 2.20 at Southwell.

Sizing Europe should continue his form today:


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street's Wildest Con



Just finished a fantastic book:

It's a non-fiction book but it reads like a thriller and they definitely should make a movie about it. I won't ruin it too much in case anyone chooses to read it but basically, it's about Sam Israel III, the guy that ran the Bayou Hedge Fund.
Israel was basically a good guy at heart but some bad trades seen his hedge fund in trouble. He ended up treating it like a Ponzi scheme and needed to get out. Amazingly, he fell for a load of conspiracy theory stuff about a secret trading market and ended up putting Bayou's hedge fund in accounts with guys in London and elsewhere. The trickster was tricked himself. Amazing story and a proper page turner. 
**
In the racing, I've one for today - Anna's Arch in the 2.50 at Sedgefield. Turned out quickly under a penalty and should be hard to beat:

Dual bumper winner who shaped with promise in couple of novices last December before taking significant step forward to make winning handicap bow at Kelso last week. Hard to oppose under penalty.

**
In the financial trading, there looks to be a nice Gap Trade opportunity on the S&P500. As explained before, the gap simply involves buying the S&P around 11.30am (Irish time) when there is a decent gap between the current price and last night's close price. If you take a look at the graph, you will see that I bought the index this morning at 1368.8. My profit target is last night's closing price of 1378.4 and my stop loss is one and a half times my desired profit at 1354. I've added lines at the key prices explaining each:



Elsewhere, my gold trade is still in profit thankfully to the tune of about €40. Best of luck with your trading and betting today.