Well here we are again. For the first time in a long time today the heating very briefly went on, only to trip all the electricity in the house and then pack up altogether! This means summer is officially over! Whilst most of you will be rejoicing and thinking of long winter nights, strictly come dancing and X-factor leading up until Christmas……us normal folk are dreaming of sub-zero temperatures at Wolverhampton and Kempton on the all-weather.
The summer months have gone quicker than ever this year. Another disappointing season for Sussex CCC in all forms of the game. Although bizarrely if they win their Championship game this week they could end up finishing second having been embroiled in a relegation battle for the last couple of months. I must send my congratulations to Yorkshire on a fine display all season on route to winning the County Championship for the 31st time. They have been the best side throughout the summer and fully deserve their title.
Bitter sweet season for my old home county Warwickshire. Winners of the Natwest T20 Blast but falling at the very final hurdle in the final of the Royal London Cup at Lords at the weekend. Well done to Durham; winning a tense low scoring affair. I still struggle to see the value of a final in late September in front of a half empty stadium. This probably needs looking at. My own season was curtailed by a bad knee injury the very first week meaning that I spent the rest of the season just playing as a batsmen. Standing at first slip is very frustrating when you are a bowler! Still I managed a couple of tons and about 750 runs on the season so there is life in the old dog yet. One more year Mark……(maybe).
On the football front I am a reasonably happy hammer at the moment. It has been a positive start to the season, capped off with a great win over Liverpool at the weekend. The disappointment of the two home defeats against Spurs and Southampton leaves me feeling like it could have been so much better. We have made some very shrewd off-season signings though and the future is looking much brighter as we get our teeth into our penultimate season at Upton Park. How weird is that going to be…….. Enner Valencia looks the real deal. His work rate has been exceptional too. My main ante-post involvement was to back Eastleigh each way in the conference on the say so of the shrewdie Mr Bucs. 19 points in the satchel from the first 11 games is a good return. They are bang in the mix for the each way return but Barnet and Torquay are potentially on another planet. I also backed Donny and Barnsley both to suffer another relegation from League 1. They have both made average starts and are just hovering above the bottom four.
As far as all the summer of racing goes it has been enjoyable if not long. I am fully ready now for a slow down in pace as I concentrate on the all-weather for the winter and the best quality jumps racing. News has come through this evening that Kingman has been retired to Banstead Manor Stud as his throat infection will take some time to heal. Another champion comes and goes. A real shame that we won’t get to see him on Champions Day at Ascot. I still remember clearly the reaction post-race after he won his maiden and the clambering for prices for the following seasons classics. Let’s all hope and pray that he becomes a champion sire too.
Punting Highs and Lows
People often ask me what is the most important tool you use when it comes to racing and my answer has pretty much always been the same. My eyes. 99% of people who bet on horse racing will pick up the Racing Post (or stare at it in the bookies) and read the spotlight and horse notes in an almost lemming like fashion. There are 1% that look at racing differently. Pleased to say I know quite a few of them. We all have our own techniques and that really is the beauty of the game. My game relies about 85% on what I see on the videos. The other 15% then helps equate what have seen on the tapes to turn into the analysis for which ones I want to be with and against next time. Just try it…….watch a seven race card with the sound down. Watch each race 2,3 or 4 times. See what catches your eye. You will probably be amazed at the little things you notice.
As for the highs and lows of the summer. Well I’ll start with Taghrooda who was a great winner for loads of us in the Oaks at Epsom. I cannot take any of the credit for it though as I was firmly pointed in her direction by several of the lads at Timeform in the Ante-post market. That was a good day! The best single day of the year was Wednesday the 6th of August when I had the luxury of a summer’s day off! I took the privilege of attending the first day of Brighton’s three-day August festival and managed to go through the card. Funnily enough I don’t remember much about the evening, although the hog roast was superb. Two days before the Derby I got shot at on an email by a Timeform Radio listener for saying that I thought Romsdal was a cracking bet in the place market when there was some 7/1 available. Funnily enough I never heard anything from him afterwards? Arab Springs win at Royal Ascot was a joy too! I suppose I should also give a mention to the day earlier in the year when Flow, Stomp and Knight Owl all won and I advised putting them into multiples. Plenty of you won a fortune that day which was rewarding. I should give a mention to Seamster too who is welcome to come round and have some hay at mine anytime!
Downs? Well Choisan getting chinned on the line having backed him at 25/1 at Ayr last week was no fun. Tatting finished 2nd at 20/1 on June 15th. I backed Bow Creek in the Britannia at 33/1 who finished……yes second. There were a few others but for my own safety I should probably stop there. I still cannot quite get my head around each way betting. Everybody seems to have a different view on it too. I’m still not quite sure how Big Baz has managed to get beat on his last two starts either. The bank manager surely isn’t impressed.
Pleased that Mick Appleby is having another good year. Danzeno will surely be a group one sprinter sooner rather than later. Actually his handicap win off 90 at Newmarket in April definitely should be in the best wins category. The shouts of “how far” were out at about half way!
Moving forward I’m pleased to say that I will now have the time to put the blog up again over the winter months. Apologies to those of you that were regular readers earlier in the year. The schedule just gets a bit too hectic for me to be able to commit enough time to studying and writing about the racing. Although I would love to be able to do this all year round so if you know of anyone that would like to sponsor the blog then please do feel free to get in touch! This is something that actually really interests me quite a bit so if you are or know of anybody that is looking for sponsorship opportunities then I’d love to hear from you.
My first full blog will be back on either Wednesday or Thursday of this week. I will keep you updated. Please do spread the word and I hope you enjoy reading for the rest of 2014. Hopefully we can put plenty of money in the coffers for a bloody good Christmas. Goose fat roast potatoes, cold meats and pickles are but a few cold days at Southwell away!
Great to be back
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All the best,