Friday’s action…

Proform

Morning one and all. I hope and trust all is well and that you’ve all been smashing in winners left right and centre. After a dismal day hosting Sussex vs Essex on Wednesday in the Royal London Cup (not due to the cricket, but due to the weather) I finally managed to get back on the horse on the racing front in the last 24 hours or so. Had a good go on Tasleet in the opener at York yesterday. My main bet of the day though was on the Godolphin filly Mistrusting in the last. After her win in the four runner handicap at Newmarket last week I’d convinced myself that she was a potential group horse. I think the way she travelled through the race yesterday lead me to believe that again, it was a nervy last 100 yards but she held on well, possibly just idling in front.

I have started going through the videos, so within a few days we will have a nice big bank of eye catchers and horses to follow. Before we get on to today’s racing, just thought I should give a mention to the test match. It is a really flat pitch. A typical five day Oval pitch. The Aussies showed yesterday that if you get through those early overs, then the afternoon is normally a batters paradise. The next two days are set for very good weather, then there are storms and rain forecast for Sunday and Monday. The draw is available at 7/4 in places this morning. Providing England bat well later on today I cannot see this being anything other than a draw. I think the prices are wrong. I’ve backed the draw. If today follows a similar pattern to yesterday, then I expect the draw will be about 4/7 by the close of play. Tradetastic for all you that like to “cash out”.

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I can’t click a race replay on RacingPost.com whilst looking at a race. The basic membership is about £14 a month now, and £26 if you include all the tipping pages. Cannot imagine that anyone is paying for that. I use the basic package but only due to the fact that all of my notes are stored on the database. Once I upgrade my office computer, I think I many well transfer all my notes onto the Proform database so that it’s all in one place. Taking the videos off the website I’m sure is a big mistake.

Found the opening race at York difficult. Plenty of possibilities, but nothing that leapt out for a bet. I don’t have a strong opinion in the Yorkshire Cup either. I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone of them won to be honest.

First bet of the day will be Richard Pankhurst in the Sky Bet City Of York Stakes at 3.05. I know he’s only had two starts and has had 426 days off since winning the Chesham last year but that was a really taking victory, one that suggested he was going to be better than listed class. He is in great hands and I’m sure he’ll be ready. He is a general 13/2 chance this morning, if that had been at this years Royal Ascot he’d be 6/4 so I think he represents value and if he is anywhere near his best; I think he’ll be really hard to beat. I will be having a small saver on Short Squeeze. He was given one of the rides of the season in a big handicap here last year by Smullen and he is back on board today. Whilst he is probably better at a mile, there is a good chance this will be frantic. Salateen, Toocoolforschool and Glory Awaits all have double figure pace figures on Proform so I’m expecting a strong gallop and this brings Short Squeeze into calculations. At 12/1 I’ll be saving on him.

On to the feature race of the day the Nunthorpe at 3.4o and I cannot get away from ACAPULCO. She ran to a topspeed figure of 110 at Ascot. Only Muthmir (111) has run anywhere near that this season. She gets a 24lb allowance from her elders here which whatever way you look at it makes her very very hard to beat. Tactics may be important. There is the smallest chance things could get to her jockey Irad Ortiz Jr, who is not guaranteed to get the best of receptions from the patriotic’s. The Nunthorpe is a race that can throw up an odd result too. All things said, I honestly could’t go against her. I hope she wins. Whether she is bankable at 2/1 or not I’ll leave up to you. She might go in a multiple.

acapulco-easton-angel_3315932

I’ll jump to the evening card at Wolverhampton for the next interest. BUSH BEAUTY (8.20) is mildly interesting in the class 6, 6 furlong handicap. Normally better over slightly longer she needs a real test at six to figure but I think we may well get that tonight as Cloak And Degas, Captain Future, Bosham and Indian Affair all like to rattle along. We have to forgive the run last time but she has never shown much on turf. Back on tapeta she is drawn in stall 2 so Rachel Richardson can just pop out and take her time. If they go stupid up front then she will be a big player when they turn for home. She comes out top on the PROFORM  ratings by some way too. She’s 10/1 in places this morning and must represent a fairly good each way bet.

At Sandown in the opener I thought KOMEDY (2.20) may be interesting. She has a piece of form (debut) that would make her particularly interesting off an opening mark of 64. Her last run in a maiden certainly smacked of “nursery type” and the yard are in much better form than earlier in the year. I’ve had a small interest on her at 7/1.

On a totally separate note, the Redskins went 2-0 in pre-season last night after beating Detroit 21-17, that unfortunately though does not tell the story. The first two quarters, the offensive line decided not to block for RG3, he got hit 7 times and sacked 3 more. He ended with a  busted shoulder and a concussion. This is clearly unacceptable and this needs to be addressed as soon as possible. We moved the ball with ease once Colt McCoy came in. It was all too similar a story to last year when RG3 was in. The pocket was collapsing with ridiculous ease. I hope there is no skulduggery going on.

For the first time I’m starting to think that it might be time to trade him as there are clearly some trust issues within the team.

Have a good day today, be lucky.

MG

Proform

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It’s been a while!

Proform

Well it has certainly been a while since the last time I rambled on. The cricket season as always takes up my time in the summer. As well as my frequent visits back to my second home in Zante. Unfortunately, the knee injury I’ve been ignoring for a year has finally taken its toll and I am pretty much done. Waiting for a specialist appointment which I’m told will take 6-8 weeks. We all know the actual spread is 16-18.

My coverage of racing has taken a back seat as per usual over the main summer months. Which is probably not the best idea considering my flat racing far outweighs my jump racing analysis. Looking forward to tackling the racing again with some gusto into the back end of the season and into the all-weather (the boos from the back of the room can be heard all round).

The first thing I’ll touch on will be the beloved West Ham. Overall I have to consider the summer a slight success. Whilst a lot of know it alls will say we were mad to part company with Allerdyce, they are also the people that don’t watch us week in week out. His gusto had gone. We started last season playing much better football, attacking with gusto and going after the better teams. Whilst I knew we wouldn’t sustain our top 4 place, to drop away like we did with such timid and poor performances it was clear the time had come. There were times in his reign that Sam got things bang on. The 3-0 win at White Hart Line was a touch of managerial beauty. There were other times when we had no plan B, selected weak teams because he felt we couldn’t win the game. He also relentlessly picked Kevin Nolan, which meant we had to play 4-5-1 to accommodate his old legs, which other teams worked out and took full advantage of. Nolan is his prime was a master at reading the game and knowing where to be. Last season, he was unfortunately way off the pace. The fact no side (even championship) has shown any interest in him says all you need. He will be Big Sam’s assistant in his next job (NAP).

So we move onto the Bilic era. I think he was the right choice for now. I like his ethos and attitude towards the game and what he wants to achieve at the club. I couldn’t give two hoots about playing kids in the Europa League and an early exit. Means nothing. English teams that get in to the group stages have terrible records in the Premier League. Our sole concentration, should be on going to the Olympic Stadium next year on the back of a top ten finish and progress. A massive positive is the signing of Payet from Marseille. He looks a classy player with the ball at his feet. He can beat a man with trickery, pace and strength. His assist stats are phenomenal. Everyone saw at the Emirates last week what an asset he is going to be. Very pleased with the additions of Obiang and Ogbonna. My one criticism would be that on the back of Enner Valencia’s injury news we should have gone and got a striker straight away. Sakho is streets ahead of the others but cannot play alone all the time. Who knows if Carroll will be back, when he’ll be back and how long he’ll last.

I still think we have the basis of a good squad and I really hope that a top ten finish should be doable comfortably. There are some really very average sides in the league this year. If Sunderland don’t finish bottom I’ll be shocked. They were a disgrace on Saturday. Players walking all over the pitch. Watch Cattermole for the 2nd goal. He don’t care.

Cricket hasn’t been too enjoyable over the summer. Whilst I’m very much at the back end of my career we are playing the highest level we ever have down at Rottingdean. It shows. We are 4/5 players short of where we need to be in all honesty. Playing for a year on dodgy knee ligaments has all but done me in. For Sussex again it’s been disappointing. Thought the squad looked capable of challenging in the Championship this season but they have been poor. Managed to get to the quarter finals of the T20 Blast largely down to Luke Wright, but again a poor home performance (said that on repeat the last two years) meant defeat. Let’s just hope having Chris Jordan back for the final few games means that they can have enough fire power to leapfrog Worcester in the table and stay up.

The positive about the cricket season coming to an end means that the NFL season is just a few weeks away! 25 days to be precise. Literally cannot wait this year. I will run a blog on a season preview at some point in the coming months. Could be all change this year. The Seahawks look like they are going to try and throw the ball. The Patriots have plenty of new faces and don’t look like they’ll have Brady for the first 6 weeks (still be 5-1). The Packers look very good, as do the Colts. There are a couple of cracking bets I’ve lined up at bigger prices but I’ll touch on them another day.

With regards to the racing. I’m hearing from Proform Racing towers that a brand new feature is being prepared for the upcoming jump season called the Cheltenham Trail. It will preview up to 80 of the major races that lead to your Cheltenham Festival bets, with facts, figures, stats and trends. Looks a cracking development and I will give you more details as and when they come through to me.

Looking forward to York this week. The Juddmonte looks an absolute belter with Gleneagles taking on Golden Horn. Time Test is no back number either. Should be the race of the year so far. Very much looking forward to seeing Acapulco in the Nunthorpe. She looked an absolute beast at Ascot and gets more allowances than the cast of benefit street. She might break the track record. Gutted that for the 3rd year in a row I can’t go. Bad planning on my part. I’m hosting Sussex vs Essex on Wednesday then on Coral TV duties the rest of the week.

I must end this edition with a note to my beloved pal Bryn Jones who we tragically lost in a car crash in Zante at the weekend. So many fond memories I wouldn’t know where to start on talking about them. He was an infectious character that just made life great. He was my neighbour for a few years with his Mrs Cat, who for the record is just nothing short of a diamond. My heart goes out to her and all of their family. Bryn was 29 and a massive hammers fan. We went away together and always bumped into each other at Upton Park. We were together just a few days ago celebrating beating the Arsenal and being general boys amongst a crowd of gooners. The Zante family has shown themselves to be nothing short of remarkable in their efforts to support Bryn’s family. Saturday was a particularly tough day. Being so far away has not helped. Rest in piece pal. You know that every time I ever sing bubbles I’ll be thinking of you. Now have a word with the big man upstairs and get us in the Champions League.

Mark

Proform

January wrap up and Sunday’s action!

Proform

Well we have arrived at the end of the first week and the end of January. A pretty decent start to our challenge to get us off the ground too. Sixteen bets in total in week one with five winners yielding a 31.25% strike rate. We will happily take that throughout the rest of the year especially as several things didn’t really fall for us this week. We have finished off January with a 12.25 points profit (+£1,225).

Saturday was slightly frustrating. Silsol won really well again in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at a juicy 10/1. I very nearly went a little stronger than the single point on him.

silsol

The last horse I crossed off the list yesterday was Join The Clan at Wetherby. Thought his price was a bit skinny in the morning despite thinking he had a great chance of following up his Warwick win. Well he went off even shorter and won well again. I found Ffos Las slightly uncomfortable viewing throughout most of the afternoon.

On to Sunday’s action and I am going to attempt to kick February off with a couple out the back of the hand as I like the look of a few at prices. I’m writing this on Saturday evening so apologies if some of the prices are a little out of date. I would advise (as always) where possible to be taking best odds guaranteed.

We are going to start with the googly in the form of EASTWARD HO (2.20 Chelmsford City). On recent form he doesn’t cry out as a potential winner but I’m hoping that circumstances of the race may just help. Firstly he is absolutely thrown in on some of his back form, admittedly though it’s been a while since he shown anywhere near that. Now he likes to be handy in his races but with Miami Gator in the field he is likely to have to take a lead. They are drawn alongside each other in 3 and 4 here so hoping we can just get a lovely trail into the race and pounce late. We are getting weight all-round here with Danny Brock taking over from Shelley and provided he doesn’t go mad early and try to chase a silly pace he may well be overpriced at 18/1.

EASTWARD HO 1 pt win 18/1 with SKYBET.

My strongest fancy of the day comes in the 3.20 at Chelmsford with BLACKTHORN STICK. John Butler’s charge did well to come from so far back last time to finish a close second behind a well backed winner. Having come a long way back down the weights he is now on a really attractive mark and could be ready to strike. I am hoping they have a good look at the race and ride him a bit closer to the pace as there is a lack of early toe in here. Ridden handily from a middle draw and kicking off the bend should see him go very close.

BLACKTHORN STICK 2 pts win @ 9/2

BIRCH HILL (3.30 Musselbugh) looks certain to appreciate the step up in trip when tackling three miles under rules for the first time. Mistakes and the wrong trip have been the issue to date but when wining his point last April he was strongest at the finish and with the extra emphasis on stamina here I’m hoping we may finally start to see some of the promised potential. He’s a general 4/1 chance this evening and that is probably too big.

BIRCH HILL 2 pts win @ 4/1 generally.

One more to come late on and again this time we’ll chuck in the doosra. Gonna throw a point at KRUZHLININ at Musselburgh (4.30). The Grand National is likely again to be the target this year for Donald McCain’s charge. He has not been seen since the Beecher Chase in early December where he got behind early but stayed on to finish a creditable 7th. Whilst this is probably a prep run, his hurdles mark is lower than his chase rating and the yard have hugely turned the corner this week. This is the weakest race he has run in for a while and I just thought that he may well out run his odds significantly. You don’t want to get too far behind round here so I will be delighted if he is ridden close to the pace in the early part of the race.

KRUZHLININ 1 pt win @ 16/1 generally.

Have an awesome Sunday and fingers crossed the Patriots do the business for us tonight in Superbowl 49!

Be lucky!

MG

Proform

Summer is gone and we are raring to go!

Proform

Eye Catchers Coming Soon

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

If you’d like to get in touch then feel free to email me at markgrantham78@gmail.com

All the best,

MG

Proform

Thunder sends shivers through the King…….

Proform

A thrilling 2000 Guineas was the highlight of the action on Saturday with 40/1 shot Night Of Thunder taking first prize despite drifting across half the track. The runners split into two groups which have led some reports to believe the race has thrown up an odd result, I personally don’t really buy into this. Kingman ran a blinder to finish 2nd. Probably in front early enough on the far side. Australia is now a short price favourite on the back of his 3rd for the Derby, which is good news as I will be keen to take him on at Epsom.

Today is the turn of the ladies in the 1000. As per usual my ante-post position on My Titania has gone with the wind! 17 fillies are set to go to post at 3.50 and I am really keen now on the chances of MISS FRANCE. Andre Fabre’s filly was most impressive when winning the Oh So Sharp back in September when winning with quite a bit in hand. She can be forgiven being beaten on her re-appearance as the race was a mess from the start. It will at the very least have put her cherry ripe for this afternoon.

A quick look back at some of the results yesterday. Absolutely So won really well as did Fort Bastian. Waseem Farris ran a blinder at a huge price and was actually maybe unfortunate not to win. Fingers crossed plenty of you backed them all.

Time for some Proform stats for trainers that have runners this afternoon:

Trainers win and place strike rate with more than 10 runners in the last 14 days:

A P O’Brien 68.18% (22 runners)

Ralph Beckett 61.54% (26 runners)

Saeed Bin Suroor 60% (10 runners)

John Bridger 53.85% (13 runners)

Michael Dods 52.38% (21 runners)

Clive Cox 52.38% (21 runners)

Andrew Balding 51.52% (33 Runners)

I should also note from these figures that Karl Burke currently has a 35.71% winning strike rate as 10 of his last 28 runners have won. He sends out Odeliz and Yeeoow today.

On to today’s eye catchers. First up we have ECONOMIC CRISIS (1.55 Ham) who has been in the book since an interesting run back in October.  He is now a well handicapped horse as he is 5lbs below his last winning mark. His two runs this year will have made him cherry ripe for this afternoon and he absolutely loves it here (all three career wins at Hamilton). He is as big as 8/1 in places in a race that looks very winnable indeed.

YEEOOW (3.10 Newmarket) looks to be coming to the boil really nicely and he is on a winning mark. The yard is absolutely bouncing as we have already mentioned sending out 10 winners from their last 28 runners. This is really competitive but it should be run to suit and if you shop around then you can get some 14/1 with the first five places being paid by some of the big firms if you like the each way angle. I would almost insist on a saver or maybe split stakes on NINJAGO in the same race. He was potentially unlucky not to have won a couple of big prizes last year and from a handicapping point of view is surely capable off 101. He goes very well fresh and Hughesy is up which is a positive. Play the two against the field at 14/1 and 11/1 respectively.

Longshot

Without doubt the horse on the day that is probably most over-priced is the Linda Perratt trained ROYAL STRAIGHT (4.10 Hamilton). The negatives are that he can take a run or two to get race ready some times and that he may well be better now over 10 furlongs but both of these negatives are out weighed by the price. He is a general 28/1 chance but there is much bigger available on Betfair. His last two wins were off marks of 64 and 67. Today Royal Straight will race off 63. He is very capable and if he is race fit he could just run a massive race at a big price. If today is not the day, keep an eye on him for next time.

The dilemma of what to do when three of your horses to follow all end up in the same race. Hamiton’s 4.45 has thrown up SIRVINO, O Ma Lad and Pixie Cut. Of the three (who I think will all win soon) I do favour Sirvino. He ran an absolute blinder at Musselburgh last time on a track that was suiting front-runners. He missed the break and had to come from a long way back. The 2lb rise will not stop him from winning. O Ma Lad was given a very interesting ride back on his re-appearance and I would expect him to go close too. I am also convinced that Pixie Cut is a well handicapped horse but she might struggle against the top two. I would strongly suggest backing Sirvino and O Ma Lad for a profit and have a saver on Pixie Cut.

I hope the above digs out the odd winner. Another day of cricket for me this afternoon. Should just leave on the note of how enjoyable beating Spurs three times in a season was. Epic. they spent 108 million pounds on new players. We bought a crocked number 9 who has played about 8 games……. funny old game eh? COYI

What a comeback too by the Boston Bruins last night in the 3rd period. Their skating speed and fore-check late in the game has really set the tone for the rest of the series.

Enjoy today,

All the best

MG

Sam Allardyce – My views…..

Proform

On the back of what can only be described as a dark day for West Ham United after losing 5-0 to Championship side Nottingham Forest, I felt it was time for one or two thoughts about the Sam Allardyce situation.

Let’s not make any bones about it. Our position in the Premier League and results on a whole have been far from acceptable this season. Yes I understand the injuries have played a major part to a degree but that alone brings in some issues that the management and board should answer from the August transfer window when we should clearly have signed at the very minimum; a back up to Andy Carroll. The board made some very strange comments along the lines of “we couldn’t sign a striker due to the new fair play rules and salary capping issues”……. if that was the case why are we all of a sudden able to sign anybody now? Was this just bullshit to cover up the fact that our scouting policy has been dreadful for the last 2/3 years. What does it say about the management and board that the 4/5 key players they supposedly tried to sign in the summer all turned us down? Is there a breakdown in the way we present the club to potential signings? Do we have anybody at the club that has a non business like personality, that can actually sell the club to them?

My feelings about Sam are mixed. Has his job been made impossible by the injuries and lack of signings? YES… he has built a squad of players that play his way. Two sharp wingers with excellent delivery (supposedly) to feed Carroll. Andy obviously attracts more than one defender to all balls into the danger zone which leaves Nolan (Sam’s son) free for knock downs etc. It worked well last year….. but without Carroll it’s a system you can’t play because we don’t have the personnel. You cannot replace Andy with Maiga because he is a footballer in a different league. I cannot have him at the club. We went and stood in the pissing rain at Southampton playing 4-5-1 with Maiga playing up front on his own and I have never seen a player be so lazy in all my life. He didn’t move, didn’t chase down, doesn’t have a football brain. I honestly said to my sister that day that I would be shocked if he ever wore the shirt again. I am a big lad but I would have been more productive on the day. You can’t train someone to have a killer instinct.

Defending up to the point of about a month ago had been solid and had kept us in games. Plenty of clean sheets. What happened? Well two things…first Winston Reid got injured which is a body blow in itself. Then James Collins got fit. He is tactically a very poor example of a centre back. He dives in, gets pulled out of position and gives away countless needless free kicks that we concede from. His injury was a blessing. If you don’t believe me look at the stats for when he doesn’t/does play.

So Sam’s job has been made very difficult. Do I think he should be sacked? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, his tactics in some of the games over the last 6 weeks have been nothing short of pitiful. Some of the substitutions have been bonkers (Maiga for J.Cole after 20 mins against Chelsea), but I do appreciate that you are trying to win with very important players missing. I do think however that a change of attitude is needed. I lost respect for Sam when he was laughing and smiling after the game today.

The key for me is that despite how bad we have looked going forward. Playing some games with no forwards. We have been right in a lot of games. We have given up 14 points from winning positions. So with Andy, Winston, Ricardo etc to come back. Plus the addition of 3-4 QUALITY premier league proven players we will NOT GO DOWN. This needs to happen and it needs to happen NOW. I was utterly bewildered by the fact the so called crises meeting between the board and the manager only happened 2 days ago? They should have had a list of targets ready to go on the 1st Jan. We are desperately short of players. We should at the very least have signed a striker straight away. What are you we waiting for?

I will give it 2-3 more weeks. I won’t be shouting Allardyce out just yet, but the club has potentially three weeks in which to stop another catastrophic season happening. Pay the money, go out and get the quality we need to stay up. Bin the long ball in games Carroll doesn’t play and play to the strengths of the players you have on the pitch that day.

One last word. We had at Upton Park the best match day announcer in the country in Jeremy Nicholas. David Sullivan has tried to “cut his money” so he resigned. Stop running the football club like a business in every sense. Jeremy is exceptional at his job. Taking pennies from the lower earners at the club to pay lazy shits that don’t even want to play for the club is unacceptable. Step up and refund the 3000 that endured that shower of shit at Forest today.

Keep the faith guys and girls. Let’s hope we don’t get completely embarrassed on Wednesday!

See you on the terraces….

COYI

MG

Tuesdays racing action!

Proform

It was really good to have some action at Plumpton yesterday and I’m pretty sure that will be the last Monday of the winter I will miss!

I’ve made the dash upto Coral TV for a few days so I’ll have to keep this short and sweet as I don’t have much time.

One bet this afternoon is JAY BEE BLUE (4.00 Ling). Been running very well of late and actually did well to finish as close as he did last time with the race not run to suit. Plenty of pace in here and off bottom weight he looks a cracking play.

Two against the field at Kempton in the 6.40. EVIDENT looks well handicapped based on his last effort of Wolverhampton and this should tee up nicely for him. I do think that LUTINE BELL must be backed too. His last run went largely unnoticed as he got trapped behind a wall of horses at a crucial stage. With the blinkers left on he is very much over priced at 10/1.

Bit of a flyer in the last in ROYAL ETIQUETTE (8.10). Been running a little bit better than the form suggests of late and has slipped down to a handy mark for tonight. Gets in here off bottom weight and the 14/1 is wrong. Good each way shout.

For what it is worth, Chelsea look cracking value at 11/8 tonight.

All the best,

MG

Glorious, glorious Goodwood!

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Morning! I’ll start with the usual apology for a lack of bloggage lately. The summer months really are so busy, up and down the country on a daily basis, I barely get time to think let alone write! The mid-summer drinking festivities also seem to be a barrier as well as getting the new business concept of the ground too. Thanks for everyone who is lending a hand, very exciting indeed. Check us out on Twitter @sportslineprods.

The racing has been kind the last month or so, on a very good mid summer run with the usual hard luck stories thrown in. Still I can’t complain, things are going well and I’m seeing the form nicely. Looking forward to Goodwood immensely this week although I am actually only going on Thursday and Friday as I’m working at Coral the early part of the week. Thursday is a racing day whereas Friday is an old re-union with pals that I generally fail to remember the next day.

The football season is just around the corner too but more importantly so is the NFL (37 days to be precise). Disappointed with West Ham’s transfer dealings so far. We need a solid back up to Carroll and a right back. Having spent a few hours scouring the markets last week and taking on some advice from our shrewd football gods I have done a few footy teasers to see me through the year. Backed Blackpool to go down in a double with Pompey to go up. Also backed Pompey outright, they have a small but strong squad and are assisted by the fact they have sold more season tickets than in previous years as they are now owned by the fans. Also had a muggy acca on Chelski, Reading/Watford and Pompey for interest.

As far as the NFL goes I was struggling to find any value anywhere! The outright market is so tight. Once again I will be playing on the back of weeks 1 and 2 as the market overreacts to early results. I will be writing a full season preview in a couple of weeks time!

Day one of GG. Proform brings us the following trainers with exceptional win and place strike rates in the last 14 days:

David Simcock 68.75%

J W Hills 64.71%

Jeremy Noseda 64.29%

James Tate 56.25%

Roger Charlton 52.94%

William Haggas 52.78%

Ian Willams, Elaine Burke and Jonjo O’Neil also all over 50%.

One or two of today’s handicaps are very difficult indeed. I have only backed two today and the first one is far from obvious. This would be the one that I jump and little wider on the crease and try to get to reverse into the batsmen (Jimmy Anderson is far better at this than me). It comes in the maiden at 4.15 in the form of FIFTYSHADESOFGREY. He is a lovely looking colt by Dark Angel that caught my eye on debut at Bath when the race was a huge learning experience. On the back of this he went on to run in the Windsor Castle at Ascot and the form book suggests he was a well beaten 13th. However if you watch the race back he actually shaped very nicely, travelling strongly away from a lot of the action before sticking on. Now he was only actually beaten 4.25 lengths and was only 2 lengths behind Sacha Park who is a very strong favourite in this at 13/8 whereas Fiftyshadesofgrey is 25/1? There is still plenty of improvement possible, the extra furlong could help also so the disparity between those prices is barmy. The rain could be a concern but the dam side of his pedigree (by a Kheleyf mare) handle soft conditions very well so I wouldn’t be too worried. All in all it is a bit of a flyer but he may run a big race at a big price so I’ve tucked in.

The Lennox Stakes (3.05) is an interesting renewal but I do think that Aljamaaheer has outstanding claims. He has some very solid form lines in the book behind the likes of Farrh and Declaration of War. He was a smooth winner of a group 2 last time and although he has the penalty to carry for that win he looks to me like a group 1 horse. He also acts well here which is a big plus. The rain has come for Garswood and he is still open to improvement at this level. It is good to see Caspar Netscher back on course too and he could go well fresh. Aljamaaheer for me though, very tough to beat.

Fennel Bay is a moody so and so but is a big price in the opener so thrown a couple of shillings in his direction and I’m hoping today is the day for MY SON MAX who has caught me eye on countless occasions. He is dropping rapidly in the weights and today Robert Tart takes off an extra 5lbs. He has a very light weight in the last at 5.25 and I’m on at 20/1 although I’ve also had a small bet on MATA HARI BLUE for Mick in that contest.

All in all very much looking forward to a cracking day. Must say a big happy birthday to BIggs. Shots on Friday!

Enjoy the day.

MG

@markagrantham

@sportslineprods

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BING BONG, stewards enquiry, stewards enquiry!

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There are certain things in our sport that drive us mad. Small number cloths, awful rides, non triers, pathetic each way terms, being stuck in the 1960’s…..and so on. Then there are the things that tip you over the edge. Yet again the winning margin has lured the stewards into amending a result when the simple fact of the matter is the better horse won on the day. At the end of a grueling three miles and half a furlong both Rebel Swing and Bishophill Jack under Samantha Drake and Nick Scholfield respectively are out on their feet climbing the Towcester mountain. Both jump the last markedly right-handed before both horses then drifted back towards the rail in a tight finish. Samantha Drake tried her best to change her whip hand but just didn’t have the time, or ability in which to do so. Rebel swing held on in a tight finish and other than a small bump 40 yards from the line there was minimal contact. Now the stewards have come to the conclusion that had there been no interference, Bishophill Jack would have won. Pardon? If they had both run in a straight line over the last, Rebel Swing would have won. Fact.

The inconsistencies within the stewards is baffling and this has finally drawn me to the conclusion that we need to move on and have full-time professional stewards. To rub salt into the wound Samantha was handed a two-day ban………..she has my full sympathy.

 Most of you will know that most of my video study is concentrated on handicaps but I have stuck a few in the notebook from maidens over the last week. DISKO caught my eye at Bath last week and is one to note. As is WIKI TIKI who ran at Windsor on Monday night. Twice now Wiki Tiki has run over 5f and been readily outpaced despite travelling ok. On pedigree she is likely to need at least a mile, probably further and I would expect to see her over 5 or 6 again soonish to get a mark and she might then be held back for a nursery later in the year off a very workable mark. A slightly more obvious one was COSSETED who ran at Nottingham this week in the colours of Cheveley Park. Stayed on really nicely into 2nd with the jockey taking things very easily.

From the last seven days my handicapper to follow is GLOSSY POSSE from the Richard Hannon stable. She endured a really troubled passage at Doncaster last week and Richard Hughes gave up a long way out when he was still travelling very well as she was never going to get close. This was over seven furlongs and she is likely to appreciate a step up in trip too (by Dubawi out of a Fantastic Light mare) and looks like a well handicapped filly off 66!

Today’s cards are tough and I don’t have any eye catchers running. One horse that I do think is interesting to a degree though is RIDGEWAY HAWK (5.20 Southwell). I’m not really an each way punter but he looks a bit of a first three certainty. He can find trouble but he goes well here and is likely to reverse the form with Thorpe Bay from a couple of runs back and maybe we could play it with one point to win and two points to place on the old Betfair machine!

Working on Coral TV today with Martin Kelly. So I will be doing my best to try to make him laugh or mess things up through the day.

Great news that West Ham have made big moves already signing Rat from Shaktar looks a very good piece of business and we have agreed a deal with Liverpool for Andy Carroll. Fingers crossed the personal terms can be agreed. The Bruins won game three last night too and now lead 3-0. A place in the conference finals is within touching distance!

If anyone has a cure for Psoriasis please let me know. Mine has gone bonkers.

Be lucky today,

MG

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The sabattical is over!

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Hello campers! I’ll kick off with massive apologies for the lack of posting over the last month or so! Work, social and sporting life gets very hectic at this time of year which has taken up a lot of my time. I’m committed to playing league cricket at the weekend so I have to cram my freelance broadcast commitments into the week so I spend my life travelling from Monday-Friday at this tie of year. My laptop that has finally stuck its middle finger up at me after 4 years of abuse. Writing a blog on an Iphone is not cool and absolutely kills your eyes.

What have we missed? Well Dawn Approach looks just about unbeatable. He might not even need to truly stay a mile and a half to be winning the derby next weekend. I was far from impressed by Battle of Marengo and he would have to improve two stone on that to win a Derby in my opinion. I am still not quite over my massive failure in the Oaks market. My colleagues at Timeform have been beating the drum about Secret Gesture for about 6/7 months! Some are on at 33/1……now if I’m still keen I can take 11/4! I think the ship has well and truly sailed there, but I hope she goes on and wins next Friday. The nightclubs and strip joints in Halifax won’t know what has hit them next Friday if she does.

Elsewhere Sir Michael Stoute has made a cracking start to the season and it is good to see. As a result Ryan Moore has made a flying start too. He was absolute class at York last week. His pace judgement really is outstanding. I will be cheering him all the way to November (on at 7/2 for JC) but don’t tell anyone.  Richard Fahey’s older handicappers made their usual flying start and helped bolster the coffers for a few weeks. They have also had 6 first time out juvenile winners  in the last week or so.

As usual I have plenty of eye-catchers to pick up on but we will get to them as and when they actually run!

Elsewhere the mighty hammers had a pleasing end to the season. To finish tenth in our first season back is a really good effort and our home form was absolute class. IF we can become more of a threat away from home then will can only improve. 33 points at home, 13 on the road, that’s a big disparity. The fact that Big Sam has been given a new contract means that the club has to do everything in its power to keep Andy Carroll. I have heard some worrying rumours about potential replacements for him (including Crouchy) which just don’t fit in very well. All in all though pleased with what we achieved. Two home draws against united, we also drew with Man City and beat Chelsea. Upton Park once again is a place that the big boys don’t fancy coming.

For those of you that don’t know I’m also a big US Sports nut (how long till the NFL kicks off??) I’m a big Boston Bruins fan in the NHL and I woke all my neighbours when they came back from 4-2 down with a minute to play in game 7 against the Maple Leafs the other night to win 5-4. Check out the videos if you haven’t seen them…..its amazing!

I’m off on the pilgrimage up to Coral TV towers today so I will miss much of the day’s racing action. I know that Kim Bailey’s team have always been keen on TWELVE ROSES (5.35 Towc) and he is being backed again. It was disappointing he got beat at odds on last time but the front two did pull well clear. I think they might not see which way MARODIMA goes in the 6.35. Several hold up horses in the race and he might be gone before they decide to press any buttons.

KANDARI (6.50 Ponte) looks really interesting. Given the yards exploits in recent weeks he still looks a well handicapped horse on the flat and the booking of Richard Hughes is very taking. I think he might win and I think that MISSION APPROVED is about as certain to win as I am to fall asleep tonight. He’s evens but should be 1/2.

Welcome back to the blog. Will be here most days from here on in!

Be lucky!

MG

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