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Thursday, December 26, 2013

King George VI at Kempton

Good afternoon folks, hope you all had a good Christmas.

Very much looking forward to the King George today. I've sided with Cue Card although I'm starting to get worried about Al Ferof. May actually Dutch the two of them at an overall price of 6/4.

There's a lot of racing on so it's best to pick a few to concentrate on and forget the rest. Have a good one,


Today's Irish Independent article:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury

Another good day of racing ahead. The Hennessy looks hard to decipher but I've decided to go for Emma Lavelle's Highland Lodge. Here's today's Irish Independent article:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Betfair Chase at Haydock 2013

Absolute cracker of a race! It's like having the Gold Cup in November.

Today's Irish Independent article:

I WAS flicking through some science magazines in the local library last week, when I came across an interesting article about handedness. Apparently, around 92 percent of men and 90 percent of women are right-handed, but scientists are still unsure as to the exact reasons why. Most agree that genetics plays a part but it's also believed that the left and right sides of the brain divide up the body's tasks in different ways - with most brains preferring to delegate manual work to the right side of the body. There's nothing too startling about that but I did find it fascinating to learn that animals too are not immune to handedness. In animals, a preference for one side of the body over the other is called laterality and it can be seen in lots of types of creatures including horses. In the betting world, people often argue whether or not it's possible for a horse to have a preference for running at a left or right-handed racecourse. I used to be sceptical about this, but scientists have shown that if a horse's laterality is on the right-hand side, he will take bigger strides with his right foreleg. And if he takes bigger strides with his right foreleg, this effectively pushes him in a slightly left direction when running. If this is true, then today's Betfair Chase (3.0 Haydock) favourite Bobs Worth may well have a dominant right side, as his record around left-handed courses is seven wins from seven races. Right-handed, he's raced five times, winning two. Coincidence? Maybe so - but it does give me that bit of extra confidence as I back him today at 9/4 around left-handed Haydock. This year's renewal is arguably the best we've seen since the race was established in 2005 so it will take a lot more than the correct laterality for Nicky Henderson's charge to cross the line ahead of his seven rivals. But in my book, he's the best staying chaser in training and the eight-year-old showed true character and grit to win the Gold Cup, having looked well beaten three out. He also goes well fresh, so there's no concerns over the fact that he hasn't been seen since Cheltenham. Paul Nicholls' Silviniaco Conti was in contention when falling in the Gold Cup but whether or not he would have had the stamina to see off Bobs Worth is something we'll never know. He has a chance to prove himself again today but with the pace likely to be strong, I have my concerns. The seven-year-old's jumping was a bit sloppy in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree last time which is a slight worry - although he did win this race last year and if he gets around unscathed, it will make for one hell of a contest. For those looking for an each-way bet, I wouldn't put you off Cue Card around 7/1. He was disappointing in the Haldon Gold Cup Chase at Exeter last time but he was giving weight all-round and an early mistake scuppered any real chance of victory. Dynaste and Tidal Bay have claims too but Bobs Worth's consistency makes him something special and I'm confident he'll kick off this season's campaign with the best possible start. 

Each-way outsider
AT 33/1 and higher, bookmakers give Monetary Fund very little hope of winning the Betfair Cash Out 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock (2.55). With Grands Crus, Dynaste and Diamond Harry among the recent winners of this race, Monetary Fund does look a little out of his depth; yet he's consistent enough and rarely makes mistakes. A win looks unlikely but I'd be surprised if he runs as badly as those odds suggest. 

SOCCER: THE Premier League makes a welcome return this weekend and it's a big day Merseyside as Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison Park. Second-placed Liverpool have done precious wrong this term and are now odds-on for a top four finish but the Toffees have been holding their own too, losing just once away to City. If you ask me, this one has draw written all over it (12/5).
RACING: OF those horses which have a mark, Flashy Queen has a couple of pounds in hand in the 32 Free At Stallions Maiden Stakes at Lingfield (12.20). She was a little one-paced when making her handicap debut at Wolverhampton back in September but she got herself back on track when runner-up in a maiden at Bath last time. 5lb claimer George Chaloner is a jockey to keep an eye on and early odds of 2/1 about the filly seem a little high. 

Today's selections
12.20 Lingfield: Flashy Queen
2.05 Ascot: Al Ferof
2.40 Ascot: Zarkandar
2.55 Haydock: Monetary Fund (e/w)
3.0 Haydock: Bobs Worth

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tony McCoy - 4,000 winners

Well done to an absolute legend. The greatest sportsman of our time if you ask me.

Here's Saturday's Irish Independent article, have a good one:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hello November

Good afternoon folks. A quick hello as it's ages since I blogged.
A few updates...

The book I've written about trading is finished and I'm simply adding the final touches and doing some more editing. I've no date for it yet but it'll be quite soon now thank God. Writing a book is a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be to be honest. I'm a librarian by profession so I've come across literally thousands of books in my time and I always wanted to write one. It really can be a hard slog though, especially so if you are writing non-fiction and trying to explain a topic to someone, get the right screen grabs and make sure the English is good but still readable. Having said all that, I've already got an idea or two for some other books so you never know. It's quite an achievement, and even if no-one buys it, I'm proud to have done it. I'll certainly wait a little while before doing it again though!

Other writing
I'm still doing my weekly piece for the Irish Independent which I love. Had a nice winner at 7.15 already for today's column so fingers crossed the rest of the day goes as well :-) 

Financial trading/Betfair trading
Haven't done much lately to be perfectly honest. I simply haven't had time. I sold up all positions and went to cash a couple of weeks ago to pay for some stuff and haven't dipped back in yet. Financial trading is not something I can pop in and out of successfully when I feel like it - I need to get in the zone for a couple of weeks and get a feel for it. Going to start dipping the toe in the water again soon. The same goes for Betfair trading. I've had very few full days off lately to give it my all. When I try to trade a race here and there it never works out so I now don't do it unless I can dedicate some decent time to it. As always, it's a question of making more time for myself! But I intend to be trading in the next week or two. 

Going pretty well. I'm making some decent money from my place lay handicap system which I posted here some time back and it's now up 53pts for 2013. My regular place lays are well in profit for the year too although September was a tricky month where a lot of money was lost. It's great to be able to finally make some money from the place markets though, as I'd struggled in those for years. 

I went to the doc last month and found out that I had high cholesterol (6.3). Initially, this was quite a shock as I am quite light and exercise quite a bit. But looking back, my diet was full of saturated fat. I love my cheese and dairy and all that and would always use stuff like real butter etc. I'm on a cholesterol diet to get it down and it's a bit tough but that's the way it goes. Nothing too serious he said as I don't smoke and am fairly fit so he said it should come down handy enough soon with some diet changes.  Now I know how the women feel going on diets and it ain't fun.  As regards running, I'm doing 5K twice a week which isn't too bad. I've signed up for Hell and Back tomorrow which should be interesting! Looks mental to be honest, I'll report back if I make it out alive. 

Ciao for now,


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kit Kat time

Hi all, I'm going to take a short break from the blogging for a couple of weeks to concentrate on my book. I've pretty much got it done but it needs to be edited etc which takes time. I've been putting it off for ages and keep coming up with excuses to avoid doing the boring parts of the book but it's starting to drag on now and I need to get it finished. So I'm going to try and stay away from Internet land for a bit until I get it completed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July Cup

Saturday's Irish Independent article:

I won’t pretend that I know a whole lot about South African racing but I do always take note when the country’s best known trainer, Mike de Kock, sends a runner over to Britain. Admittedly, eleven winners from 77 British runners since 2003 is not exactly earth-shattering stuff; but the fact that you would have broke even to SP and made a reasonable profit at exchange prices blindly backing his horses suggests they are often overpriced. While the sample is small, he’s proved particularly profitable to follow in five and six furlong sprints but it’s my guess that punters are sometimes put off backing horses from outside Britain and Ireland as their form is harder to assess. There are, however, one or two de Kock horses which punters  here may be familiar with and it’s not long since Shea Shea almost became the first South African winner at Royal Ascot (traded at 1/5 in-running in the King’s Stand Stakes).  The six-year-old gelding is back today for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket (3.50) and once again takes on the horse that beat him at Ascot, Sole Power. My big concern about Sole Power is the fact that he's never raced beyond five furlongs and it really is anyone's guess as to whether he'll get the extra furlong today. Shea Shea has proven himself over a number of distances and has won a race over seven furlongs in the past although he's definitely a sprinter at heart and is seen to best effect in five and six furlong contests. While he hasn't yet been successful in Britain, don't forget that he was very stylish when winning the Group One Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan back in March and if he runs anywhere near his best today, he'll be very hard to beat at odds of 7/2 or thereabouts. At Chester, we've a couple of six and seven furlong handicaps on the card and regular readers may remember the Chester strategy I mentioned on these pages last month whereby you back horses drawn in stalls one and two in five and six furlong handicaps provided they are in the top three in the weights. Since then, that system has produced two winners from three bets for a profit of €95 to a €10 stake (results exclude yesterday evening's racing due to copy deadlines).  With those figures in mind, it should be worth siding with Red Explorer to at 9/4 and El Viento  each-way at 8/1 in the 2.50 and 4.0 races respectively. With Chester being the tightest track in Britain, horses drawn low on the inside rail have a big advantage as they obviously have to cover less ground than those on the outside. 

WHILE Stencive would appear to be the most likely winner of the 54th John Smith's Cup at York (2.55), odds of 5/1 make little appeal in a 20-runner handicap which looks quite open. Instead, I'm going to keep Clon Brulee on my side each-way at 8/1. A bookmaking pal across the water who works for one of the big firms told me he's noticed significant interest in this horse since the decs came out and any market support today should be taken as a positive sign. The lightly raced gelding is progressing nicely and I reckon he's a few pounds better off than his rating of 93 suggests. 

WITH Dublin priced 1/10, the bookies believe it's not really a question of whether the boys in blue will beat Meath in the Leinster final; rather it's more a case of just how many points they beat them by. While we've seen some big GAA shocks in recent weeks, Dublin have so much strength in-depth throughout the squad that it almost impossible to envisage Meath lifting the Delaney Cup in the Hogan Stand tomorrow afternoon. We'll probably see some goals so take a chance and back the ultra-talented nineteen-year-old Paul Mannion to hit the back of the net anytime at 2/1 (Ladbrokes).
NOT every horse can handle fast ground but Aljamaaheer has put in a number of notable efforts on firm ground and was unlucky to be collared late-on by Declaration Of War last time in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot. He's dropped in class for today's Group Two Summer Mile Stakes (2.30 Ascot) and his recent big-race experience should give him an edge over his rivals, priced around 2/1. That said, he won't have it all his own way and the likes of Afsare and Trade Storm will make sure Warrington native Paul Hanagan has to work hard to earn his riding fee. 

Today's selections
2.30 Ascot: Aljamaaheer
2.40 Newmarket: Good Old Boy Lukey
2.50 Chester: Red Explorer
2.55 York: Clon Brulee (e/w)
3.50 Newmarket: Shea Shea
4.00 Chester: El Viento (e/w)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Coral-Eclipse at Sandown

Today's Irish Independent article:

BACK in the 18th Century, if a horse was beaten by more than 240 yards (just over a furlong), it was officially recorded as finishing 'nowhere'. How accurate the race records of the period actually are remains open to question but the outstanding horse Eclipse, which won every one of his 18 races from 1769-1770, is said to have left many horses trailing far behind in his wake. A popular phrase at the time among racegoers (which still survives today) was 'Eclipse first - and the rest nowhere'. I read somewhere that Eclipse was so talented, he never once ended up in a tight finish and jockey John Oakley had no use for his whip whatsoever. Looking at the field of seven for the race named after the great horse, I highly doubt we'll have a runaway winner today with just 1lb separating Al Kazeem and Mukhadram at 126 and 125 respectively (3.50 Sandown). There was only a neck in it when the former beat the latter last time in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot with another one of today's runners, The Furge, back in third - so a closely fought battle is expected again this afternoon. I must admit, I had been a bit concerned about Al Kazeem earlier this term and wondered if he would bounce back from a stress fracture that kept him away from racing for a year but he's proved his worth with a trio of Group wins since his return. Mukhadram is a straight-forward sort and Paul Hanagan gave him a simple front-running ride at Ascot which, at one stage, looked likely to pay off. But the response from Al Kazeem was impressive as he pushed forward strongly in the late stages of the race to assert his authority and took the lead to win. While Mukhadram is sure to make this competitive, I have a fear that he lacks that extra gear and his honest running style leaves him open to be picked off by others with a good turn off foot. The more I watch the re-runs of Royal Ascot, the more I'm convinced that the placings will remain the same and as such, I'm quite happy to take the 15/8 on offer about Al Kazeem. As for The Furge, she was held off the pace for far too long at Ascot and a different type of ride here by William Buick could see her make the frame. She seems to be maturing nicely and is one to keep on side over the summer, especially if she goes back racing against her own sex. On jockey bookings, Declaration Of War is the pick of the O'Brien pair but you'd have to wonder if his stamina will hold out over this distance if Mukhadram goes off ahead early as expected.  

Each-way outsider
Sir Michael Stoute's Opinion heads the weights for the Bet365 Old Newton Cup Handicap (3.30 Haydock) but 7/2 seems a bit short considering he's up 8lbs for winning the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes. At 20/1 and higher, Communicator is capable of causing an upset from the Andrew Balding yard. While his latest two starts were disappointing, the handicapper has now dropped his mark back down to 94; a figure off which he was a close second to Art Scholar in the November Handicap at Doncaster. 

THIS time last month, Kilkenny were odds-on in places to win the All-Ireland and Dublin were rank outsiders at 66/1. But there's been a seismic shift in the hurling landscape since and amazingly, The Cats find themselves battling it out in the qualifiers against 2010 winners Tipperary. While Tipp made plenty of mistakes against Limerick, Kilkenny fans have more reason to be concerned considering their side couldn't get ahead of Dublin at any stage of last week's replay. Back the Premier County to qualify this evening at 21/20 (William Hill).
NARGYS shaped well when fourth to Annecdote in the 26-runner Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot last time. She was just a length off the winner which was no mean feat considering she had to switch course by Jamie Spencer just over two furlongs out and she ended up covering a lot of ground. Back in October, she was denied a clear run in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket (but still managed second) and it looks to be a matter of time before she wins a decent race. Today might be the day and a chance is taken on the three-year-old at 7/2 in the Coral Distaff at Sandown (3.15).

*Last week's double was successful on both legs at an overall price of just under 5/2.  

Today's selections
2.05 Sandown: Mince
2.55 Haydock: Albasharah
3.15 Sandown: Nargys
3.30 Haydock: Communicator (e/w)
3.50 Sandown: Al Kazeem

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Irish Derby at the Curragh

Morning folks, it's a good weekend of sport with the Irish Derby at the Curragh, Dublin hurlers v Kilkenny and the Dublin footballers v Kildare.

The Irish Derby is a hard one to call. Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World is the one to beat on form but he's just a little short in the betting for my liking. Could be a cracking race though - here's today's Irish Independent article:

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today's Irish Independent article:

Mount Athos, which is situated in an autonomous region within Greece, is inhabited by 1,800 monks and has no less than 20 monasteries scattered throughout.  Interestingly, no women or children are allowed to visit the holy mountain and the number of daily male visitors is strictly limited. As much as we all love our women and kids, I reckon a male-only mountain like Mount Athos would prove extremely popular in Ireland although it would have to have a boozer and bookies if it were to catch on. While I don't have a mountain to go up, I do have my own little sanctuary in the shape of my local bar and on my way up this afternoon, I'll be sure to stop into the bookies and back the Luca Cumani trained horse named after the Greek mountain which seems a cracking bet at 5/2 for the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot (3.05). I stuck Mount Athos in my notebook following a trio of victories last year including a Group Three at Newbury but he went off my radar when they sent him off to finish the season in Australia and Japan. Unfortunately, I somehow missed his return to British racing last month when he won a six-runner Group Three at Chester at 11/8, beating Aidan O'Brien's 6/5 favourite Memphis Tennessee in the process. It wasn't the strongest race in the world but he was impressive nonetheless considering the ground was less than ideal being on the softer side of good. Around four furlongs out, he asserted his authority by quickening up and forging clear and his manner of victory suggests he's well capable of stepping up in class and taking a Group Two. The fact that connections have entered him in the Group One King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in late July should be taken as a hint as to how good he might be and I'll be extremely surprised if he's not a major player today. Of the rest, Sir John Hawkwood is worth a second look considering Sir Michael Stoute's excellent record in this race; while Roger Varian's Ektihaam is expected to give a good account of himself following a career best when winning the Listed Buckhounds Stakes here back in May. Later on the same card, the James Fanshawe  trained Society Rock is very hard to oppose at 3/1 in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes (3.45). He was particularly impressive when wining a Group Two at York last time considering he was under a penalty for his Sprint Cup win. Given a patient ride by Kieren Fallon, he showed a fantastic turn of foot to take the lead in the final furlong and while at one stage it looked like Lethal Force was going to chin him at the line, the selection dug deep and showed some true class. Lethal Force re-opposes today but there's no real reason to believe he'll reverse the placings. Another one that's expected to go well is Gordon Lord Byron which is trained in Ireland by Tom Hogan. He was third behind Society Rock and Lethal Force in that race at York but he seems to be enjoying his racing this year and there could be room for improvement.  


MASTER Carpenter's odds of 12/1 offer some nice each-way value in the opening Listed Chesham Stakes at Ascot (2.30). A son of multiple Group One winner Mastercraftsman, the colt enjoyed the step up in trip to 6f when landing his second win from three races at Pontefract recently and the extra furlong today should be within his range. Training assistant James Millman reckons he'll get a mile over time and the two-year-old is described as one of the best juveniles they've had for a while.


League relegation to Division 1B following defeat to Clare was a big blow for Cork, and the huge amount of work put in at underage level in the Banner County is paying off. The two sides face each other again at the Gaelic Grounds in the Munster SHC semi-final tomorrow afternoon in what should be a fiercely fought battle - but Clare look the up-and-coming team in the Championship and can be backed with a good degree of confidence at 10/11.
MECCA'S Angel looked promising when fourth in a very tight finish on her debut at Thirsk last month. The Michael Dods trained filly is related to a number of winners and connections are expecting her to come on for that run as she tackles five rivals in the Rita Ora Here On 9th August Maiden Stakes at Haydock, priced around even-money. 

Today's selections
2.30 Ascot: Master Carpenter (e/w)
3.00 Ayr: My Propeller
3.05 Ascot: Mount Athos
3.45 Ascot: Society Rock
4.25 Ascot: Rex Imperator
6.50 Haydock: Mecca's Angel