A pound for a lb challenge! HELP PLEASE!

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Hi Peeps. I’m after a favour….please read below….

A POUND FOR POUND

As many of you will be aware Macmillan Cancer Research has become a big part of all of our lives over the past couple of years and it is time to give something back.

On behalf of Macmillan on the 1st January, I will enter into a new world for 5 months. I am going into full time training in an effort to change my life and that of hopefully a few others with your support. The idea is that I will endeavour to lose 70lbs (5stone) from January 1st until May 31st.

For every pound in weight that I manage to shed over the 5 month period I am looking for sponsorship of £1 (max cost £70 if I reach the target) If this is a bit much we can also do 50pence per pound in weight.

It’s obviously going to be a gruelling and tough experience. I will be completely tee total during the five months (this includes Cheltenham) to aid and assist my goals but hopefully this will not only change my life for the better but also we can give something back to such an important charity such as Macmillan.

I really hope that this is a journey you will look to support me on; I know I can do it!

Please get in contact via email if you wish to support me and state if you are 50p or £1 sponsor. Markgrantham78@gmail.com or via Twitter @markagrantham

I would really like to try and raise several thousands of pounds and will be keeping you all up to date on my progress on a daily basis!

Thanks in advance,

MG

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By mgsportsramblings Posted in General

Boxing Day – King George – Kempton

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I would just like to start by saying a very merry Christmas to one and all. Sorry for a lack of posting in the lead up to the festive period! The lack of racing and the busyness of the holidays just got in the way. Blog will be back in full swing as per.

First and foremost I am really looking forward to the hurdling debut today of NEW YEARS EVE in the first at Kempton. He is a horse with immense potential over hurdles on the back of a bright bumper season last year where he was arguably unlucky not to win the champion bumper at the festival. This however is not the most ideal introduction to hurdling today as he comes up against the potentially smart River Maigue and the forecast heavy ground. I am sure whatever he achieves today he will firstly come on for the run and secondly will improve for better ground another day. I have to back him today just in case he proves to be very smart.

THE WILLIAM HILL KING GEORGE – 3.10 KEMPTON PARK

A fascinating renewal of the feature Christmas race today that also has a slightly strange feel to it as it is the first time in a long time I am not wearing my Kauto Star T-Shirt and scarf! Defections in the last few days mean that Long Run is now a very warm favourite for Nicky Henderson and Sam Waley-Cohen. For many people he is their festive banker but for me I just can’t have him. In races where they go really quick at this level his jumping is just not good enough and he has no turn of foot. It’s all consistent one paced stuff and I think he is too short and very vulnerable.

My selection for the race has been the same for a long time and has been my first real ante-post bet for ages. I think that CUE CARD has outstanding claims this afternoon and is ready to come of age. Everyone around me is bored with listening to me tell them how good I think he is. Let’s just have a look at why? Well as a novice chaser last season he was the only horse to get anywhere near Sprinter Sacre over a trip that is never going to be his optimum. He gave Silvianaco Conti and Walkon solid beatings off level weights before being beaten a short head by Bobs Worth at Newbury giving him 7lb over two and a half miles. All of this form stacks up very well and we have already seen this winter that the second season chasers seem to be a step ahead of the older guard. He looked a horse that had matured massively when winning the Haldon Gold Cup on his re-appearance by 26 lengths.

The one question mark that all pundits throw at you is the question about the trip. It is my only concern but on breeding he should get it all day. Many ex winners of this race have had their stamina questioned in the past only to go on to being multiple champions. Fingers crossed that he does get the trip, Joe is patient with him and he has too much tow for the one paced Long Run. I also happen  to think that the Giant Bolster will beat Long Run too……..

Of the others I hope that the breathing operation has a positive effect on Grand Crus. It will be good to see the big grey back to his best, although that may not actually be good enough to beat a couple of these. I think that they will go to quick for Riverside theatre and although he goes well fresh, he may get too far behind.

The Christmas Hurdle (2.35) is a fascinating renewal. Having backed Cinders and Ashes for the Champion Hurdle I was disappointed with the outcome at Newcastle. I can’t really see him reversing the form on this ground although I hope he does. Darlan is interesting but he has been taken out because of poor ground several times already and this has the makings of a two-horse race for me as Darlan is likely just going to get a run.

KATKEAU went into more notebooks than Frankel after his British debut at Haydock last time. He really looks a cracking bet at arounnd 5/2 this afternoon and I’ve popped him into a few multiples for good measure.

I hope everyone has a cracking boxing day! Enjoy the festivities…..just about to crack open the first beer!

COME ON CUE CARD!!!

MG

Proform

Saturday December 15th

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Morning peeps. Sorry for the lack of posts this week, it’s been incredibly busy. Normal service to resume from today. I had planned to be at Cheltenham today but with the look of the card and the weather coupled with the fact I can’t shake this cold, I thought it wise to stay indoors in the warm. This also of course gives me the opportunity to watch the darts action from the worlds! You know it’s Christmas when the darts gets underway.

I’ve done a few hours of study with the draw and past performances. I even watched back some of the action from the first round last year which provided a few shocks and thrillers. The problem this year from a punting point fo view is that the market seems to be pretty accurate. If you’re looking for value, there is not a lot out there other than probably Phil Taylor. I know you might think that sounds stupid as he is 2/1 favourite but he has been odds on for this tournament for the past ten years and probably comes here in better form than each of the last three.

I’ve had a break even saver on Phil but have backed some runners at prices to make a lovely profit! They include Lewis, Barney, Hamilton, Huybrechts and Wes Newton. All have been played on Betfair with a view to trading for a nice profit when we get to the quarters.

Today’s racing is solid but with so many short priced favourites expected to win it could turn into a blood bath for either the bookies or the punters.

My best bet of the day comes away from Cheltenham and arrives in the first of a fourteen race epic at Wolverhampton. DARK ORCHID (2.05) really caught my eye last time out when upped in trip to 9f. He clearly didn’t stay that day and the drop back to 7 will be ideal. Spencer keeps the ride today and he is still really lightly raced for a 3-year-old. The 12/1 on Betfair that is available is much too big and I’ve had a nice each way bet on him.

I’ve backed MIDNIGHT OSCAR (12.25 Donc) as we did on his hurdling debut. Kim Bailey thinks he is his best novice in the yard and he travelled really well last time before getting outpaced by a couple of more experienced rivals. The step up in trip today should suit and I expect him to win.

I’m hoping the OUR FATHER (12.45 Chelt) wins the novice chase today. He is much too shorter price to be backing today but I’m on him at 60’s for the RSA ante-post so fingers crossed he enhances his reputation today.

By far the horse I am most looking forward to seeing today though is CONEYGREE (1.55 CHELT). I know how much the team have thought of this fella since day one and I hope that he can defy a penalty today and enhance his chances of success at the Festival. Spoke to Mattie briefly this morning and he thinks the ground will be no problem at all. I expect him to grind them into the ground from the front and win well! Come on the Batch!

The big chase of the meeting is the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at 2.30. I have the feeling there are several well handicapped horses running in this race. Walkon is the right horse to be favourite based on his 2nd in the Paddy Power to Al Ferof but I just have a nagging doubt about him putting two solid efforts together. I went through this race in some depth and the two arrers that I’ve thrown are at NOTUS DE LA TOUR and UNIONISTE. The former looks like a mark of 144 massively underestimates his ability based on one or two of his novice events last year and I think he will run a big race. I just couldn’t get my eyes away from Unioniste though as he gets in here off such a light weight. His jumping has been sound and I have backed both and will be disappointed if they don’t fight out the finish.

Lots of action which considering the weather is a right result!

Have a good day

MG

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Saturday 9th December – Tingle Creek!

Proform Proform

Good morning campers. Apologies for the lack of posting the last two days. Very busy and a lack of internet scuppered the roll…

A great day today that I am really looking forward too. I was supposed to be at Sandown for the Tingle Creek meeting but I forgot the car was booked in for the MOT this morning! The upside is the car went through with flying colours so it was a cheap morning!

I can’t go on without mentioning the ride by Connor O Farrell on Tanerko Emery yesterday. I think he knew he was on a particularly well handicapped horse but needless to say he timed it to absolute perfection. A cracking ride.

THE SPORTINGBET TINGLE CREEK CHASE

Not the most strength in-depth for this years renewal but the return of two of last season’s most exciting novice chasers provides us with an early christmas treat that rivals any mince-pie with brandy sauce. It seems that Paul Nicholls has finally found the key to SANCTUAIRE who has been called a few names in his career but has always had untapped ability. Whether or not he has quite enough ability to hold onto a horse like SPRINTER SACRE I’m not so sure. Nicky Henderson’s second season chaser gave me that feeling last year that only Kauto Star has given me in my professional career. His jumping is electric and could you have a better stage to display your skills than around Sandown. Provided that all is well and Sanctuaire does consent to race today then I imagine Ruby is going to pop out in front and attempt to make all and try to get Sprinter Sacre off the bridle. I just can’t see it, if anything I think Sanctuaire will help Sprinter Sacre. He doesn’t really provide any kind of betting medium, but I think he will win easily and it will be a fascinating watch.

Talking of exciting novice chasers and Tim Vaughan has one today at Wetherby (12.45) who looks to have an immense amount of ability. ALAND ISLAND is hovering around even money this morning and I have backed him. I think he is a class act that should be much too good for these. I wouldn’t be surprised that although he has plenty of fancied rides, he is the sole reason AP has gone there.

I’ve also backed KENTFORD GREY LADY (12.55 Sand) who looks to me to be on a really good mark. Yes she has to carry around top weight, but she’s in against her own sex and 135 massively underestimates her overall potential. I don’t need to tell you how progressive IFBUTANDWHYNOT looks. The form was given a massive boost yesterday and the 13lb rise is very unlikely to stop him today in a race that should be run to suit.

My best bet of the day though comes at Lingfield in the form of FONTERUTOLI (2.50) who was given a poor ride two days ago and the team are looking to recoup those losses again today. Different jockey on board today and arguably a better draw in stall 6 which may sound a bit strange for a hold up horse. The reason I say this is that he often travels very well and finishes off well but he constantly gets trapped on heels with nowhere to go. Ideally here today he can just pop out and travel 2/3 horses wide and then come with a run down the outside in the straight. The favourite in the race is a short price based on his unlucky run here on Thursday too but he had twenty races in Norway and Jersey and only won once. His ridiculous price means there is value elsewhere and the 13/2 this morning about Fonterutoli was just massive!!!!!

I’ve also thrown a few quid at Nacarat at Aintree in a race that really should be run to suit him. The Mildmay course is nowhere near as testing as the rest of the tack (good to soft in places).

Someone at BETVICTOR is going to get sacked this weekend. They have priced up West Ham at 85/40 at home to the Suarezless Liverpool tomorrow. I’m sorry but that price is just amazing and it will pay for the Christmas parties this week.

Have a top day today, be on for a good look at tomorrows NFL!

MG

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Wednesday 5th December

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Morning campers. Woke up to a Twitter feed full of people talking about snow? Nothing here, but I practically live on the beach and it tends to stay away! Well how frustrating a day was yesterday? Knowe Head was basically given no chance at all of winning by his inexperienced jockey. they went absolutely no pace whatsoever and the front two remained in that position throughout. He remains off interest though as does Fortunate Bid. What a frustrating run! He was cantering all over them two furlongs out and looked all over the winner. Tony Hamilton just didn’t know which way to go off the bend and his indecisiveness cost him not only the race but the place money. He is a horse that has to do as much of the work on the bridle as possible and I have no doubt with a clearer run he would have won. He has been heavily backed the last twice now though so all hands have very much been shown. Upto Something must have traded very short in the run too. He was going much the best turning for home but seemed to idle in front then got out stayed up the hill. Keep an eye on that Coneygree form, it looks strong.

I fancy a few speculative ones today. I have to follow in on OFFICER IN COMMAND (1.30 Ling) as he travelled so well last time. Have a feeling that Lingfield might just suit him a little better and he’s a definite each way player at double figure odds.

The old problem of two list horses in the same race comes up at 2pm. I really like the chances of EXCEEEDEXPECTATIONS but he has been drawn widest of all which is the only negative. That is however factored into his price and the 8 & 9/1 available in places is much too big. In the same race I have also had an each saver on FISHFORCOMPLIMENTS. I’ve backed him the last twice and he is so consistent. Today is last chance saloon in the hope that he can get that head in front.

I think the best bet of the day comes a little later in the day though in the form of BAAN (3.30 Ling). On some of his old form he would actually pick this lot up and carry them and of late he has dropped a couple of hints that he is ready to strike. He is a better horse on the all-weather than he is on turf and races today off a career low mark of 55. Last time out he actually ran much better than the bare form suggests on really bad ground behind the very well handicapped Beyeh from the Mick Appleby stable. In my opinion that makes him of massive interest in a race of this nature. The only problem really lies in how much assistance he is likely to get from the saddle. Stevie Saunders has only had one ride in public and it was on Baan two starts back. It might not be pretty but I am prepared to give him and chance and the 9/1 available is much much too big!

I have also thrown a few arrows at LOYAL ROYAL (5.50 KEMP). It is just such a weak race that his consistency might well just pay off!

Not too much more to report on for today,

Hope you back plenty of winners!

MG

Tuesday 4th December

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I have to admit to sleeping through my alarm today and I also apologise to the neighbours for the noise late into the night! Another really good performance from RG3 and the Redskins to knock off the Giants and get back to 6-6. It has thrown the division wide open and I have to say gives us an outstanding chance of getting to 10-6. We play Baltimore at home this Sunday which will be crucial, we then have relatively soft games against Cleveland, Philly and finish at home to Dallas. We are basically already into play off football. I hope plenty of you managed to get on the RG3 rushing yards with Laddies. They took the market down a couple of hours after I posted but he covered it comfortably.

Good day on the racing front too as Rapid Water went in at a very tasty price of 10/1.

Today’s racing is on the moderate side but it is good to be racing. I see temperatures are set to drop again later in the week! There are still no entries available for the Tingle Creek? I’ll be there on Saturday to see the delights of Sprinter Sacre vs Sanctuaire….bearing in mind the entries are not yet out I hope we are not looking at a potential 2/3 horse race?

I really like the look of KNOWE HEAD (1.40 WOLV) this afternoon and he is without doubt the bet of the day for me . He is back down to his last winning mark today and actually ran a lot better than the bare result suggested last time where he got stopped in his run at a crucial stage. That was a 0-85 contest and was much warmer than today’s 0-75 where he picks up top weight. I think he looks set to run a really big race and the 12/1 around earlier on has been well and truly mopped up!

I also like the look of FORTUNATE BID (5.10 Wolv) for all the same reasons as I mentioned the other day before he was subject of the abandoned meeting. He is 8/1 with Bet365 which is much too big!

I’m also pretty luke warm on UPTO SOMETHING (1.50 Towcester). He ran poorly last time but had been progressive before that. The Uttoxeter race might actually end up being pretty good as the winner (CONEYGREE) bolted up at Cheltenham next time in what looked a decent novice hurdle. Forgive him that run today and he is a really big player!

I have just gone through the draw for the World Darts Championships which was made this morning. From what I can see it looks like Phil Taylor will be very pleased. He might have to play Adrian Lewis in the 3rd round but he won’t be worried about anyone else on his side of the draw. The top half looks brutal! Barney or Newton will play Anderson in the second round. Huybrechts and Hamilton will probably meet in round 2! Nicholson, Whitlock, Van Gerwen and Chisnall are all set to meet early on aswell! That 3/1 about Taylor last week all of a sudden looks a distant memory! Can’t wait for it to start, just wish i’d got tickets!

Be lucky today,

MG

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Monday 3rd December! NFC East Showdown in DC!

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Well what a weekend to behold! Things got underway in super fashion at Upton Park with the mighty hammers given Chelsea a good beating. I was travelling back from Coral TV at the time and I think a few people on the M23 thought I was a nutter when West Ham scored. At home especially we are picking up points against the big boys so we are making progress and a top ten finish is not out of the question now.

Got home just in time to see Bob’s Worth make a mockery of his mark of 160. He travelled really well and jumped nicely on the whole and looks sure to be a player in the main event at the festival. Well done to all that weighed in. Tidal Bay ran another absolute blinder in finishing 2nd. He’s a remarkable horse. Hold On Julio ran on well to pick up 5th but in truth his jumping just didn’t hold up. He hit 2 or 3 down the back pretty hard and losing 2/3 lengths a time in a race of that nature is unforgiving.

The weekends NFL action was nothing short of Carnage! Andrew Luck’s performance in Detroit was amazing, as was the finish in Chicago! Everyone just continues to beat everyone, it is the most wide open season I can ever remember. Denver are getting really hot under Manning but it is hard to really know how good they are as they have had a pretty soft schedule. The Broncos have only played 4 teams with winning records and have lost three of those games! Tonight’s game is a huge one with the NFC East so tight.

Looks like the weather is finally starting to settle down and we are going to get a good week of racing. Interesting stuff today but I have only managed to find a couple of semi interesting bets. One solid one and one from left field.

RAPID WATER (4.20 KEMP) is a really interesting runner. He was a little unlucky two starts back when not getting the best of runs. His latest effort can be forgiven as he doesn’t get the trip. Back in distance today he is on a very nice mark and gets in today off bottom weight. He was running off marks in the 80’s a couple of years ago and gets in here off 55! The 8/1 around this morning is lovely!

BALTIC PRINCE (4.30 WOLV) is lightly raced and is definitely over priced for his return to Wolverhampton and more importantly 7f today. Still a maiden but is potentially on a fair mark given what we have seen so far around here and there is no way he is a 33/1 chance and there is every chance he could be in the mix up!

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins

Just enormous play off implications going into this contest tonight for MNF. The Giants lead the NFC East on 7-5 and the Skins are 5-6. So if Washington win tonight it will blow the division wide open with 4 weeks to go. Dallas won last night to go to 6-6 too so it is literally tighter than Wonga at the bar. Tonight’s game is a real head scratcher. The game in New York was tight with the Redskins going ahead in the final minute only to give up a big play to Victor Cruz with seconds remaining to give the victory to NY. Giants are slight favourites tonight and that is probably just about right.

The worry for Washington is that their defence is just not good enough although they have played much tougher the last two weeks. The Giants are hot and cold. In New York they really struggled to cope with RG3 and I’m expecting much the same tonight and I think that is where the bet may lie…

Ladbrokes are going RG3 rushing yards at OVER 48.5! Yes please I’ll have the 10/11 as he is likely to bust that in one or two plays…

Should be a quality game and a guaranteed late night! Should also say a big happy 30th to Dicko today. He’s at the HWPA awards and is sure to travel strongly through the day, he might weaken late on and be given a break on the back of it though.

Be lucky today!

MG

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Saturday 1st December – Hennessy Gold Cup!

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A really busy Saturday of sporting action today. We’ve got darts, snooker, rugby, football and of course the glue that sticks the day together in the racing. I have to say I’m very disappointed with the turn out of runners for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle although I suppose the forecast bad ground has been the major factor. A great piece of placing by Brian Ellison with Bothy who at worst will pick up £5.5k for finishing 4th…

We will start at Newbury and if you have read the preview blog you will know that we are already on Hold On Julio, Duke of Lucca and Harry the Viking in the feature race of the day so we have nothing more to add to the portfolio there.

For what it is worth I think CALL ME A STAR is a good thing in the 12.50 and have backed him accordingly. I have also had a one point bet on FIFTYONEFIFTYONE (3.40) although he has been put up by Pricewise. He is still 14/1 with SportingBet.

As always though it seems at the moment my two main bets of the day come at Wolverhampton this evening. I like the look of a couple each way at Dunstal Park with possibly the stronger of the two coming in the form of FORTUNATE BID (8.50). He has been knocking on the door for a couple of runs now and hasn’t quite been getting the best of things. The fact that Graham Lee has come back in for the ride this evening is a real plus and I think he is set to run a real big race and the 7/1 available this morning is much too big so I’m on each way.

I have also backed LEGAL EAGLE (9.20) each way in the lucky last. He is a horse that has been on my radar for a long time that has been messed about over various trips and races. This might just be the right race for him finally and the 12/1 that was available this morning was just much too tempting!

Got to travel back down south after I finish at 12.30 this afternoon so I will be watching all the action on catch up later whilst listening to West Ham and Chelsea on the radio! Really think we are a big price today and we might pull off a result! COYI

Good luck with all your bets today, I hope it’s a quality day. Good luck to the Batch on Carruthers in the big one today!

MG