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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:

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. 

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.

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.  

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:

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.

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).

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

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:

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.

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.

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).

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:

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


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


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


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


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


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:

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. 
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.
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 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. 
1.35 Aintree: Master Of The Sea
2.10 Aintree: In Compliance (e/w)
2.15 Lingfield: Hepworth

Friday, December 7, 2012


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


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


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

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. 
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. 
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.
2.20 Newcastle: Cinders And Ashes
3.10 Newbury: Bobs Worth
3.40 Newbury: Consigliere (e/w)
3.10 Fairyhouse: Tarquinius (Sunday)