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

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January wrap up and Sunday’s action!

mgsportsramblings

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…

View original post 618 more words

The 2015 Challenge & Saturday blog!

Proform

Morning all. Managed to witness Cambridge parking several double deckers in order to secure a 4th round replay at Old Trafford last night. Not the most riveting viewing for the neutral but a scoreline which means that Cambridge United’s financial future is pretty secure. Very much looking forward to our trip to Bristol City on Sunday, although far from impressed by the away allocation due to ground building works.

A couple of you have mentioned about me doing some sort of challenge on the racing front this year in order to keep the blog regular (sorry again), so I have come up with something to keep us all entertained whilst hopefully making you a few quid at the same time. So the challenge is set. The UK’s average salary in 2014 was £26,500. So, can we make the average UK salary in just under a year from backing horses? This is the challenge for the next 11.5 months and is set out below:

I will put up my daily selections on the blog and each horse will be backed on a points system from 1-5 pts depending on the strength of the bet. For the purposes of the challenge, we will bet at £100 a point. This means that on average in need to make 22.5 points profit per month. A sum I am confident we can nail. Keep an eye on the staking, sometimes there will be two against the field which for me is still a very profitable angle in certain races.

Now for the purposes of added incentive maybe if one of our friendly bookmaker representatives or indeed a few of them would like to take on the challenge, maybe we could agree to pay the profits at the end of the year to a few charities? The Injured Jockeys Fund, Racing Welfare & Heros? Maybe a few of you would like to offer even £1 a point or similar for the final points total in December? If anybody outside the bookmaking teams would like to donate then please do feel free to get in contact. My twitter is @markagrantham.

Please feel free to share this with anyone that maybe interested in the head to head and we will see if we can make some money for charity at the same time.

So there really is no time like the present…… let’s get this started!

A superb days racing today with trials day at Cheltenham plus Skybet Chase day at Doncaster. Most of my attention betting wise though will be centered around Lingfield.

First off in the 1.25 we have two interesting runners to concentrate on. Firstly SASKIA’S DREAM went into many notebooks at Chelmsford on the opening day when she stuck to the far rail when most of the winners that day had come up the middle of the track. The negative is she doesn’t win very often but having said that her last win came off 61 and she’s in here off 57 so from a handicapping point of view there is a lot to like. She’s only got 8-13 to carry off bottom weight and is of major interest. The other one in the race that is really interesting is HUMOUR. Looked all over the winner at Wolverhampton last time and traded very short in the run before getting collared on the line by an in-form rival. This drop back to sprinting might just be ideal and should be backed.

SASKIA’S DREAM 1 pt win  @ 11/1 generally, Humour 1 pt win @ 12/1 generally.

Jump to the last race of the day (4.20 Lingfield) and I’m keen on the chances of KODIAC LADY. She hinted on handicap debut last time that a mark of 60 is going to be well within her compass. There is not a load of pace in the race today with several stalkers that will be held up. With Luke Morris up I expect him to just sit in behind the pace and look to make good use of her off the bend. She looks to be overpriced to me at around 8/1.

KODIAC LADY 1 pt each way @ 8/1.

A cracking days racing at Cheltenham today but I failed to feel overly strongly about anything. Really looking forward to seeing Peace and Co again. I know he ran big on all the figures at Doncaster but the thing that lit my fire the most was his hurdling. It was electric. He reminded me of a young Harchibald on how slick he was from one side to the other. I hope he wins really well today.

Enjoy,

All the best

MG

Proform

Friday’s Blog: Der Meister Strikes!

Proform

Eye Catchers Coming Soon

First and foremost I must kick off today’s blog with a thanks for all the kind messages about yesterday’s results. With Der Meister’s win at 12/1 it was a decent winning day all round but was very nearly much better! Prince Gagarin ran well off a slow pace but could only manage 2nd and after being absolutely smashed up in the betting into 9/4, Thunder Pass also ran well just failing to land the spoils. It seems that plenty of you put them into each way doubles and a treble because of the prices and had a lovely return. I think the place element of the treble paid about 17/1. A special note to Peter Nawab for his donation. The closer Thunder Pass’s race came around the more confident I became. He will come on a bundle for that run you would imagine and in hindsight when you delve into his pedigree, a mile and a half on the turf will probably suit slightly better. Let’s hope the handicapper is not too harsh on him for finishing 2nd.

A really busy day today and plenty of action to get your teeth into and a really quality card at Newmarket. There is very little in the way of value on offer in the feature races. I am very much looking forward to seeing LUCIDA on our shores for the first time in the Rockfel at 2.40. She in the space of a month has very quickly made up into a smart filly. Today’s test is likely to bring about plenty of improvement in her and I struggle to see her getting beat today. Whilst I am not into putting up short priced favourites, I simply could not put you off putting her into your bets today.

Ok in the search of a bit of value today I have managed to find one in the most difficult race of that day that I do actually believe is largely over priced. We are searching for the Friday night crown jewels in the form of COINCIDENTLY in the Silver Cambridgeshire (5.00 Newmarket). She has been in the notebook for a while as a potential improver and duly dotted up off  a mark of 73 at Epsom four starts ago. She then ran poorly on her next start but that was just 48 hours later. She was back to form off her revised mark at Ayr three weeks later and ran a blinder to be second. Again she tried to back that up 48 hours later when traveling very strongly and getting no run whatsoever and Franny Norton gave up some way out and she effectively finished on the bridle. This shows she is still in rude health and also gives me belief that she is very capable of this career high mark. Granted, there are plenty of potential improvers in this field and the younger three-year olds have an outstanding record in the race so she has a task on but let’s look at the positives. Firstly she is a 33/1 shot this morning. She will be much bigger and largely ignored on the exchanges. Her three career wins have come in August, September and October suggesting she is an Autumn filly. Silvestre De Sousa has ridden her just twice and has won on her twice. I am obviously wary of the younger brigade but taking single figure prices in this type of race is the fast way to the poor house. In true Pricewise style I am going for the out of the park home run. I think she will out run those odds considerably and probably should be about 12/1.

1 pt each way at 33/1. Make sure you shop around for prices as some firms are paying five places.

The second one I want to have a good go on today is WILDE INSPIRATION (4.10 Haydock). The lightly raced son of Dandy Man has been ultra consistent this season and still has plenty of scope for improvement having only had nine career starts to date. The main reason for him being a selection today though is down to the step up in trip. Three times on my race notes I have mentioned that he could benefit from a step up in trip and today he gets a mile for the first time. Paul Mulrennan has a good rapport with him and he also has the weight for age allowance. I really respect the chances of the rejuvenated Pearl Nation who has improved enormously for the switch to Mick Appleby but I am confident that Wilde Inspiration will run a big race.

2 pts each way at 8/1 generally.

The two above are the main two interests of the day for me really but I do have a couple of others to throw into the mix. The first of these is PENGLAI PAVILION (3.45 Newmarket) who has had a poor season so far but on his best form, including a staying on fifth in last years Arc, he would win this comfortably. He has been given a break and gelded since his last run and if that has had a positive effect he might go very close to winning this afternoon.

1 pt win @ 9/1 generally

GREEK SPIRIT (6.20 Wolverhampon) has been largely out of sorts recently but just caught the eye last time. She is lightly raced and judged on her win off 6lbs lower last year this mark is workable. A very small interest at big prices.

0.5 pt win @ 18/1 generally

GHOSTING (9.20 Wolverhampton) is slowly slipping from an opening mark of 74 and did well to come from off the pace in an slowly run affair behind a Godolphin improver. This should be run to suit and although there are a few potential lurkers I am more than willing to have a stab at the morning price of 6/1.

1 pt win @ 6/1 generally.

A really busy day then and some quality stuff. Coral TV this morning with an avid eye on the golf. What an atmosphere at Gleneagles this morning!

Cheer home some winners!

All the best

MG

@markagrantham

Proform

The blog will return now cricket is finished!

Proform

Greetings friends and readers. First up apologies (as always at this time of year) for the lack of content on the blog over the last few months. When summer takes over my schedule becomes so hectic with covering cricket and playing league cricket that it becomes difficult to commit enough time to do the blog that much justice, and as a result racing can take a bit of a back seat. Played in my last game of the season yesterday as I’m off on holiday next weekend so upon my return I will have the time to blog up again!

I hope all my regular readers have had a good summer and as we move into the autumn (and the start of the all weather…..YES!) I hope you will all become regular readers again as we search for plenty of winners.

Going forward over the coming weeks  and months I will obviously blog as much as is possible on a daily basis and then will do a decent weekly wrap over the weekend too.

I will send out a good update over the coming days….

Will be good to be back!

Muchos love

MG

Proform

 

The big Saturday blog…..

Proform

Morning campers. I theory I should have a banging headache and a stinking hangover this morning after yesterday’s heroics. Luckily With two full days of cricket this weekend I managed to fend off the urge for big celebrations and kept it low-key, so I’m nice and fresh.

Thank you for all the lovely messages and texts etc about yesterday. It makes the effort of writing a blog more than worthwhile. The three main bets of the day all in the end won with some considerable ease. There was never too much worry at all. STOMP as expected is well ahead of the handicapper and was given a lovely patient ride by George Baker. He  has given a very well handicapped horse a good beating and should be followed. KNIGHT OWL was always going to win. Tracking the front two he was always traveling strongly and won like a progressive horse and then ten minutes later FLOW landed the maximum bet in good style despite just getting tired close home. I hope plenty of you put them into some multiples! By the sounds of it, lots of you did! Great work!

Here are today’s trainer stats courtesy of Profrom:

Trainer form with entries today. Win and place strike rate with min 10 runners:

Ger Lyons 75% (16 runners)

Karl Burke 66.67% (27 runners)

Dermot Weld 59.09% (22 runners)

Robert Cowell 56.25% (16 runners)

Ralph Beckett 53.85% (26 runners)

Chris Gordon 53.85% (13 runners)

Michael Dods 53.85% (13 runners)

Amanda Perrett 53.33% (15 runners)

Andrew Balding 53.19% (47 runners)

Kim Bailey 52.94% (17 runners)

Alan King 51.43% (35 runners)

Another really busy day today but nothing fancied as strong as we had yesterday. One or two pokes at big prices. We are well over 100 points up this month now though already so we can be afforded this luxury.

First up is HAMELIN (2.05 Ascot). A bit like Flow yesterday, he is a pattern performer waiting to happen. Just a 6lb rise for a ready win first time in a handicap at the back-end of last year. I expect him to win on his re-appearance.

HAMELIN 2 PTS WIN @ 11/4

I do really like the chances of SAIGON CITY (4.30 Nottingham). He is progressive and surely would have won last time had he had better luck/ if the track had suited. Big galloping track like this today should suit much more and I would expect him to go very close indeed on route to better things. If there is a lurker in this race it could be BARREN BROOK who is also on the interesting list. I will certainly be having a saver on him having shaped with interest on both his starts so far this year.

SAIGON CITY 3 PTS WIN @ 4/1, BARREN BROOK 1 PT SAVER @ 14/1

ANOTHER ROYAL (5.40 Thirsk)  is right at the top of my interesting list at the moment. He has been shaping like a punt is in order for some time. Interesting that he has been stepped up to a mile for the first time today which on his pedigree he is far from certain to get. He has though been shaping like he would appreciate it so it is probably worth a go. If the money comes then he would be very interesting. At about 17/2 he is worth a go today.

ANOTHER ROYAL 2 pts win @17/2

The last bet in a two against the field format is REAL TIGRESS (7.40 Thirsk) and SPACE WAR. We all know about Real Tigress. We have backed her for her last two victories and she hinted the other day that a 6lb penalty would not stop her. So she is worth going in with again in case she has improved again. The one that I am most interested in though is one at a huge price in SPACE WAR. His last win came at this time of year off today’s mark of 66. He was once rated in the 90’s so he is thrown in on some of his old form. His return was very eye-catching in that there was very little effort whatsoever in the saddle. The step back up to a mile today is a big positive and bearing in mind they are a gambling yard, he rates as very interesting if today is the day. You can get plenty of 20/1 this morning which will do very nicely.

REAL TIGRESS 1 PT WIN @ 4/1, SPACE WAR 2 pts EACH WAY @ 20/1

Two shorties I think will both win are YOURARTISONFIRE (4.35 Ling) and SEA DEFENSE (7.55 War), so those of you looking for a multiple should include those. Like I said at the top, nothing as strong as yesterday on a busy Saturday but hopefully we have found a few winners.

The best of luck if you are getting involved in the scoop 6 today. 7.5 million pounds up for grabs. I won’t be playing, it looks devilishly difficult to me and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it rolls over again.

Best of luck today

All the best

MG

Proform

Yeeooowwwwzers. So Close…

Proform

A really enjoyable day yesterday. A convincing win on the cricket pitch in our final friendly before the real stuff starts next week and a really good day for the blog results. Although we came close to being an amazing day.

Miss France won the 1000 Guineas holding on gamely up the hill from Lightening Thunder and Ihtimal. Tapestry ending up being sent off favourite and ran no race at all finishing last. Rizeena simply wasn’t good enough and Lucky Kristale clearly didn’t stay the mile and I would expect to see her dropped back to six furlong contests going forward.

Economic Crisis got the blog off to a flying start going in at 8/1. He really loves it around Hamilton Park. Yeeoow and Ninjago painfully finished 2nd and 3rd so failed to pick off the main prize. I know some of you had done them in multiples, so this was a bit frustrating. They both started much shorter than the morning price. Sirvino won easily and in hindsight I was frustrated that he wasn’t included as maximum bet material. Still a winner is a winner and I hope you all won a few quid!

Time for some Proform stats ahead of this afternoon’s action. If there are any particular stats that you would like to see, feel free to ask at anytime, happy to have a look through.

Trainer win & place strike rate over the last 14 days with over ten runners:

A P O’Brien 65% (20 runners)

Ralph Beckett 63.64% (22 runners)

Dan Skelton 60% (10 runners)

Dermot Weld 57.14% (14 runners)

John Bridger 53.85% (13 runners)

Roger Charlton 53.85% (13 runners)

Andrew Balding 53.33% (30 runners)

Nicky Henderson 52.94% (34 runners)

Karl Burke 52% (25 runners)

Gary Moore 51.52% (33 runners)

Of the above DERMOT WELD, ROGER CHARLTON and KARL BURKE have exceptional winning strike rates.

Let’s move on to today’s action. The usual bank holiday Monday fare. Plenty of action and some off the interesting list too.

The 1.55 Warwick looks a pretty good race for the grade with Specialty, George Benjamin and Glasgon all likely to have live chances. The one I like the look of is HAYEK for Tim Easterby. It is only a small note as his recent runs have been too bad to be true but he is now seriously well handicapped and he was given a very quiet ride by Rachel Richardson on his re-appearance on ground that he wouldn’t have liked. If and it is quite a big if, he is fully tuned up for today (they like a punt) he is likely to run a big race at around 8/1.

HAYEK 1 pt win @ 8/1

MAGICAL ROSE (2.25 Windsor) has been on the interesting list for a while. Having been campaigned largely on the all-weather at the back-end of last year her last two turf runs came at Yarmouth in August where she was well backed off handicap marks of 72 and 70. She runs off a mark of just 61 today having switched stables to Conrad Allen. IF she has been perked up for the switch and is ready to go she looks an enormous price today at around 8/1

MAGICAL ROSE 3 PTS WIN @ 8/1

Another yard switcher that catches the eye is the now David Barron trained MONEY TEAM (2.40 Beverley). Two victories last year both on similar speed tracks to today’s. He was given suspect rides over the wrong trips on his final few starts last year. Switched now from Phil Kirby to the Barron team he looks overpriced this afternoon switched back to five furlongs on a speed track off a falling mark. There is plenty of 16/1 available and he may well out run those odds.

MONEY TEAM 1pt each way @ 16/1

Other runners to note are REAL TIGRESS (5.00 Bev) and FREDERIC CHOPIN (5.55 Warwick) but they are a little bit too short to be followed in.

Have fun today,

All the best,

MG

Proform

Sunday 20th October!

Proform

Afternoon campers. I hope you all enjoyed a great days sport yesterday. Champions day went pretty well with a stunning victory for Farhh in the feature. Lots of credit has to go to the team for having him fit and ready off such a long lay off. He will now head straight for stud duties…. lucky sod. Jack Dexter ran an absolute blinder in the sprint but just failed to get to Slade Power. When previewing the race in the morning with Dicko on Coral TV he was worried about the lack of an out and out front runner and he said SP was a solid bet. A really great shout (again). Very pleased with Dark Lover winning at Cheltenham, although a little lucky as Balder Success looked in control when falling two out. Delighted to see Balthazar King lead at a good pace, jump like a stag and win. I know a lot of people fancied him yesterday.

At Wolverhampton things didn’t pan out. Ajeeb ran a stinker and is probably gone at the game. I won’t touch him again unless I see strong early money. He could do with a change of yard. Available ran well to be 3rd but for one who likes to be on the pace he had to go via Milton Keynes to get near the lead after traveling well into the race. Hannah’s Turn was much to keen and didn’t really do herself justice. I cannot wait to see her back on fibresand where she will win!

Nothing from the http://www.proformracing.com horse watcher today. I do think that Fitzwilly (2.30 Bath) is interesting if getting a soft lead. Maybe a play in running!

NFL SUNDAY

Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions

Two improved teams on what we saw last year and I think we are in for a tight one in the early game on Skysports this evening. Both sides have weapons on each side of the ball and I have really enjoyed the progress of Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert for the Bengals. They are finally a franchise moving in the right direction. Andy Dalton is not the greatest QB in the game but he is a very good game manager and I expect them to push the Lions all the way. Turnovers could end up being the difference between these two teams today so defense is going to play a huge part. I think the handicap line is so tight here it doesn’t justify a play. I think the under 47 total points is the best play in the game market with the NAP coming on GB to score anytime.

UNDER 47 pts @ 10/11 with William Hill

GIOVANI BERNARD anytime touchdown scorer with Paddy Power at 7/5 (NAP)

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs

The later game on sky is a tale of two franchises in opposite ends of the scale that we expected. Houston we have a problem has been used more times than ever in the last few weeks! QB problems a plenty they will be ripe for the picking at Arrowhead tonight. Kansas are 6-0 but they are not a genuine 6-0 team. They have had a soft schedule so far and we will see them in a much better light when they play Denver in two weeks. I think I’ve found a cracker in here though in the sacks market.

SkyBet are going 10/11 on over 5.5 sacks! Neither offensive line is particularly strong and you should get as much as SkyBet will allow on!

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

One simple and easy bet for you here. OVER 55 PTS. Maximum bet material.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

Once again last week Tom Brady showed why he is probably the best ever. The Pats 4th quarter winning drive was just a joy to behold and had his rookie receivers held on to the ball better in recent weeks they would still be unbeaten. I was very disappointed with the Jets last week and I had the Pats in as 7 pt favs here so the fact you can get -3 on the handicap across the board is a bonus.

NEW ENGLAND -3pts @ 10/11.

I may well stick Bernard (7/5), Pats -3 (10/11), over 55 pts (den v ind) in a sexy treble!

Enjoy the games!

MG

Tuesday 9th April

pro5

Morning campers! Hope you all had a terrific weekend and of course loads of you backed the national winner? Well I was sat there like most thinking who on earth backed that? Then of course I found out that the prolific Chris Dixon had tipped it up on air for Coral TV and most of the staff have followed him in and had probably spent most of Saturday toasting the Encore!

I’m really looking forward to this week as this is where the flat season really gets into full swing. My excitement has already started to flourish after a great result on Saturday with Keep It Dark. He really caught my eye at Mussleburgh the week before when everything was winning from the front and he was the only horse in the race to come from the rear. I thought the more testing track at Newcastle on Saturday was absolutely perfect for him. I backed him in the morning at 7/1 and then got heavily involved in Grand National fever (including dancing round the room when Solwhit sluiced in). It wasn’t until I returned to my computer about ten minutes before the race that panic started to set in. I checked the market and he was nearly 20/1 on Betfair! What had happened? Had a leg fallen off on the way to the start? All seemed ok, horse was at the start and I was baffled. So I did what all rational punters do and had some more on at 16’s as his price had been clipped in a bit. I then sat and watched in delight as you could call him the winner a long way out. The moral of this is just don’t let drifts put you off. They do win.

I’ve had a good look at the card at Pontefact today and it’s a real good start to the season with some competitive races and hopefully we can find a few winners. First of all a few stats from Proform….

Trainers in from with the best win & place strike rates over the last 14 days:

Alan Swinbank 83.33%

Roy Bowring 66.67%

Philip Fenton 60%

Conor Dore 60%

John Quinn 57.14%

Ralph Beckett, Warren Greatrex, W McReery, Charles Hills, James Tate and Philip Kirby are all operating over 50%.

The Swinbank team are absolutely flying at present and must be feared. He only has one runner at Pontefract today and that is Regal Swain in the 5.15.

We will start by taking a look at the 2.10 where the Richard Fahey trained SNOOKY looks to have an excellent opportunity to continue the progress made at the back-end of last year. He’s been gelded since we last saw him and he has managed to bag stall one from the magic machine which is always a brucey bonus around here. The yards record in March & April with handicappers at 4y-o+ stands up to some considerable scrutiny and he looks to have a big chance. Dolphin rock has also benefitted from the draw and tends to go well early season. CROWN CHOICE is very much on my radar but probably not today. He is seriously well handicapped on his old form (peaked with a rating of 97 in Hoof It’s Stewards Cup win) as he races off just 70 today. This trip is probably to far for him though (all wins at 6&7f) especially with a stiff finish so today is likely to be a watching brief. He should be watched closely though and it will be interesting if any money comes for him.

The 3.10 for me is fairly straight forward as I like both of the Richard Fahey runners. Polski Max has also been gelded since we last saw him and comes here on the back of a winning effort on his final start as a juvenile. He seems to relish cut in the ground and fingers crossed it won’t have dried out too much by the time racing gets underway. His chance and price is boosted by the fact Flashlight is such a short price but I think he is well worth taking on. He won very easily on the fibresand last time but that is not uncommon for horses trying the surface for the first time (especially dirt bred) so I think he is too short and should be opposed. The other one I’m keen on is FANTACISE. After winning her maiden here last year she went on to finish just 5 lengths behind Sendmylovetorose (now rated 107) in the Cherry Hinton at Newmarket. That piece of form alone means she is potentially very well treated off a mark of 78 especially if she has trained on. Blinkers return today for her re-appearance and she is very likely to out-run her odds of 16/1 so I’m happy to play both Fahey runners.

I cannot get away from ZAPLAMATION in the 3.40 who didn’t even come off the bridle when winning very easily indeed on the first try over two miles last week. He beat a potentially well handicapped horse that day too which gives that form some substance. You would imagine this track will suit his strong travelling credentials and I think he will be very tough to beat. Hidden Justice comes here for the same in form yard on the back of running down the field in the Triumph behind Our Connor. He is rated 147 over hurdles so he looks dangerously handicapped in this sphere. I do have my reservations about him on the level though and I think he’s worth taking on. The other one I like at a big price is DORRY K. All of her best form comes on the turf (including when winning off higher last year) and there is a very good chance that her two spins on the all-weather would have been to put her cherry ripe for today. First time blinkers, the booking of Paul Hanagan and the price of 25/1 give her some appeal!

The 4.15 is a tight little handicap but I’m quite keen on the chances of SPANISH DUKE who has switched from John Dunlop to Briain Ellison this spring. He’s a horse that goes well fresh, has won off higher marks and indeed ran well off marks in three figures. If he is cherry ripe and has found any improvement for the switch in scenery he is likely to go very well indeed! Of the runners at a big price I thought SILVERY MOON was worth saving on at around 16/1. He is back down to his last winning mark and represents the Easterby team that love to have winners at this meeting.

The 5.15 looks a tough handicap and is very competitive. Lots of respect goes to Regal Swain for the bang in form Alan Swinbank team. He has yet to win a race though and there maybe one or two improvers around him. I really like the chances of SYNCOPATE for Pam Sly. Nicely drawn down on the inside and ran much better than the bare form suggests in a falsely run race at Lingfield last time. This should be run to suit and the stiff finish over this slightly shorter trip could be ideal. I really like his chances. Of the others I thought the main danger may well come from CARRAGOLD who always runs well at this time fo year and SDS is a really positive booking. I will back both with confidence.

Away from the racing we are looking forward to the first golfing major of the season with The Masters starting on Thursday. If you fancy anyone outside of Tiger Woods you should probably be betting with Coral. They are giving you your money back if your bet finishes 2nd to woods which is a cracking concession. I went through all the prices in detail yesterday and I couldn’t find any value anywhere in all honesty. Mickleson hasn’t hit a twig all season yet is 16/1 third favorite?  I think Woods will win and more to the point I hope he does too.

Enjoy the racing today. Hope you back some winners!

All the best,

MG

Cheltenham Festival Day 3

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Well if you’re in front after the first two days then you’re doing well. The over ten lengths on Sprinter Sacre saved the day for me yesterday after I had plenty more seconditis. We are effectively only at half time and we have reached a really pivotal day as I fancy a few strongly this afternoon. Must just touch on The New One who was mightily impressive in winning yesterday. That puts to bed any worry about NTD horses that are running.

1.30 Cheltenham – Jewson Novices Chase

A real interesting opener and the opportunity for the David Pipe trained DYNASTE to enhance his already tall reputation. He has done nothing wrong to date with his last run being a 9l beating of Hadrian’s Approach in the Feltham at Christmas. On a line of that form you would think that Dynaste would have gone very close to winning the RSA yesterday. This is probably a slightly easier task today. The one worry about him would be that all of his form is generally before Christmas. He was beaten out of sight in the World Hurdle last year, but he looks a more mature horse this time round and if he runs to his ability today I think he will win. The main danger is likely to be CAPTAIN CONAN who also comes into this race unbeaten over fences. He had to really scrap to beat Third Intention at Sandown last time which was far from impressive but conditions here are likely to be more to his liking and although I think he will certainly play a part, I have always had a nagging doubt about him at the highest level.

AUPCHARLIE comes in next and he has some interesting form lines that have already produced the goods this week. It was however very disappointing that he was beaten at Naas last time and the fact that One Cool Shabra wasn’t at all far behind him is off-putting. I think a likely big danger could be TEXAS JACK who has been a model of consistency this season. He beat Lord Windermere at Leopardstown before finishing a nose behind Boston Bob last time which at double figure odds makes him a player and a solid each way proposition.

I’ve backed DYNASTE but I have also had a saver on TEXAS JACK.

2.05 Cheltenham – The Pertemps Final

This is a race I really like mainly down to the fact I’ve had some massive winners in it in the past. Today’s favourite comes here very well backed after two very interesting runs this season. SAM WINNER was 5th at Sandown on the back of a year off and was fairly tenderly handled by Ruby and stayed on quite nicely late on. He then went on to win a jumpers bumper at Kempton and comfortably beat Peddlers Cross in the process. Now it is never wise to try to weigh up the marks of horses in those contests but you have to think that he is starting to look a seriously well handicapped horse off 140. He comes here with every chance and the step up in trip has promised to suit for some time but he is quite short now.

SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR is progressive and has been winning by the smallest of margins. He is up another 9lb in a much better race but more improvement is possible under tha champ. CLOSE HOUSE comes here in rude health on the back of an excellent 2nd behind the well handicapped Double Ross he went on to comfortably dispose of Rangitoto at Wincanton in a race where the front two pulled miles clear. He’s up another 7lb but must be considered. TOPOFTHERANGE improved markedly to win really easily at Sandown last time and is only 5lb higher today. He is another for the short list and BET365 are really sticking their necks out this morning and going 16/1 about him which is too big! HOLLYWELL is up another 5lbs for another solid 2nd last time. He’s now gone up 21lbs in the weights without winning which is incredibly harsh and he is likely to give you another cracking run for your money at a big price.

I have to give one more chance today to CAPTAIN SUNSHINE. Most of you know the bad luck stories we’ve had with this fella and I must admit I would be a lot more comfortable if we had a different jockey. I’m not going to slag off Dominic Elsworth, he is simply just not my cup of tea and this game is all about opinions. He is definitely capable of winning off this mark but sometimes has his own ideas about things. If he jumps off this race could really suit him and I think he’ll go well.

I’ve backed Sam Winner ante-post so I will play up on Captain Sunshine and Close House for a profit.

2.40 Cheltenham – The Ryanair Chase

Really looking forward to this today. Probably the best renewal we have had in my opinion. Several of these would be near the top of the Gold Cup market and would be each way players there. We all know by now how much I love CUE CARD even though he has never really won me any reddies. I’m sure he will run another cracker here today but I do just worry that something may out stay him up the hill in what could be a cracking finish. The rock solid one is FIRST LIETENANT for Mouse Morris. His form in the Hennessy and Lexus is by far the best on offer this season and he would surely have gone to the Gold Cup with a massive chance. If he runs to form here today I think he will be very hard to beat indeed. The market reflects that now as he is a very well backed 9/4 favorite. Last years winner RIVERSIDE THEATRE comes here on the back of only one run this season in the King George. He will need to be cherry ripe to follow-up but you certainly wouldn’t rule him out. Martin Keighley’s horses are running very well and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Champion Court run a big race and on ground he loves ALBERTAS RUN could be very hard to pass.

All in all this is going to be a cracker. My heart wants CUE CARD to win and I will have a sentimental bet on him but on all form I do think that FIRST LIETENANT will be very very hard to beat and should be backed.

3.20 Cheltenham – Ladbrokes World Hurdle

No Big Bucks this year so this makes the World Hurdle a very attractive betting race. Quite clearly the best horse in the race is Oscar Whiskey and by some way in my opinion. the problem for him comes in the form of the trip and if this track actually suits him. If this race was over 2.5 miles he would be odds on. As it is that extra half a mile makes things very different indeed. The better ground will certainly help him in that respect but I’m still not convinced he will see it out in what is likely to be a fastly run race.

REVE DE SIVOLA has blossomed since returning to hurdles and comes here on the back of two solid victories, including beating Oscar Whiskey here last time. He is without doubt a mud lover though so today’s quicker conditions may not be ideal for him. He should run his usual solid race and be in the mix. Similar sentiments go to BOG WARRIOR who has had an excellent season back over hurdles in Ireland. He has never struck me as a grade one winner though and I would worry about him in here. SOLWHIT has been well backed but would need to improve to turn the tables on Bog Warrior from two starts back. The real interesting ones are SMAD PLACE and WONDERFUL CHARM. Smad Place is very good on his day but has largely had a disappointing season. Both his poor efforts this year have been on bad ground however and he is definitely a horse that appreciates a firmer surface. If he reproduced his form from this race last year he will be bang in the mix. Wonderful Charm is completely unexposed having only had one start in this country when bolting up in the Persian War at Chepstow. He would still need to find something on paper to get involved but there is no knowing how good he could be and is a fascinating runner. Get Me Out Of Here goes well here and if he sees out the three miles has to be a player too.

A cracking race. I have backed Smad Place and Wonderful Charm. If RDS continues to drift I may have a bit on him too.

4.00 Cheltenham – Byrne Group Plate

At last time to let the shoulders go with my best bet of the week. I have been waiting for CANTLOW to go over three miles for some time and he has been absolutely teed up for a big handicap. All three starts over fences have come over much shorter and as a result he gets in here off 143. Paul Webber’s charge was a very good third in the Pertempts final last year so brings festival form to the table. He is a bigger, stronger horse this year and his chase rating completely underestimates his ability. I’m sure he is going to be an out-and-out stayer and this has been the plan for some time. The presence of HUNT BALL means he only has to carry 10-12 which is probably why this race was chosen as his option. I think he will run a massive race and I’ve had 5 pts on each way.

I do massively respect HUNT BALL who travelled very well for a long way in ground he would have hated last time. He is a massive player back on decent ground and will surely trade quite short in running so is an obvious back to lay proposition. I will have to save on him and will look to green up in running. It is just pure guess-work when trying to work out how good BALLYNAGOUR could be. He has a 20lb penalty to deal with on the back of his facile victory at Warwick. That may underestimate his ability but it is pure guess-work and he is a massive player for sure.

VINO GRIEGO has gone up 17lb for his two easy wins and comes here in rude health. Although his is likely to run his race again he may find this a little tougher. Poquelin always runs his race on this course and is a big price.

This is a race that revolves around the front of the market. I am a massive Cantlow fan and he is just about my strongest opinion of the week. I will be looking to play on Hunt Ball and Ballynagour in various ways to ensure a profit. COME ON CANTLOW!!!!

4.40 Cheltenham – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

Wide open.  A race that is fiendishly difficult to win. No surprise that I like the look of ALFIE SHERRIN. He did me a massive turn in the JLT last year and he has been running on ground that wouldn’t have suited so far this year. This will be much more his cup of tea and he can take this on route to winning the Grand National! (We can dream being on at ridiculous prices). Two big dangers though in this race could be the improving ROMANESCO under the excellent Nina Carberry and NO SECRETS off bottom weight for David Pipe and Katie Walsh who is a real eye-catching booking!

I’ll be cheering on Alfie Sherrin with side bets on Romanesco and No Secrets.

My thoughts about the Cross Country if it goes ahead are exactly the same as Tuesday and I will be cheering on Alex Hammond in the charity race aboard Mica Mika!

Hopefully the day today where we fly into a big profit! Be lucky, back plenty of winners and come on CANTLOW!!

MG

Proform