NFL Sunday!!!!

A Sunday off with quality racing and a full NFL program! Lovely jubbly! Shame the parents are away or else I could have slipped in a home cooked roast too!

A brief touch on yesterday. I happen to think that Far West’s performance was very impressive and that quotes of 12/1 for the festival are a bit big. I was absolutely delighted with Our Father! He has always been seen as a chaser and he jumped superbly and won incredibly impressively. I’ve had a bit on at 60’s for the RSA and was pleased to see that he is now 8/1 on the back of yesterdays performance. I was cross with myself for not backing Al Ferof…..even my dad took the time to text me from Australia just to let me know he was on the grey beast!

Wolverhampton was interesting. Backed Charming at massive prices on Betfair. Then watched in delight as his price went from 33/1 into 8/1 just before the off……then watched in horror as he ran a shocker. Gotta love the game.

Today is a not of an anti climax racing wise as we have lots the two main attractions in the form of Sprinter Sacre and Darlan due to the ground. I have backed CLOSE HOUSE (1.45 CHELT) his juvenile form is fairly solid as he finished last season with a solid 4th behind Simonsig at the festival. Plenty of much higher rated horses in behind that day suggest his opening mark of 133 might be lenient.

Also backed CONEYGREE (3.25 CHELT) each way. Looked a decent recruit at Uttoxeter and if he was from a more fashionable yard he would be even money for this. Mattie really likes him.

NFL SUNDAY

Three really interesting games in their own rights tonight on tv! We kick off with Green Bay at Detroit which is a game I am really looking forward too as I still feel that the packers are huge runners for the Superbowl (currently 9/1). They will be the first leg of my treble tonight as I think they will have too many guns for the Lions. Game two is Indy at New England as the proven class of Tom Brady comes up against the new kid on the block, Andrew Luck. Let’s not mess about, Brady is close to the best there has ever been, but Luck looks the real deal and with the Pat’s defence nowhere near the level of the offence I fancy this could be a high scoring game. The late game is also a belter as the Baltimore Ravens travel to Pittsburgh. This is a divisional rivalry and they absolutely hate each other. I have to say I was far from impressed with the Steelers last week and I think that the ravens will pound it towards the right side of the Steelers offensive line. Look for Ray Rice to have a massive game.

My treble this week is GREEN BAY, WASHINGTON AND DENVER.

Have a wicked day,

MG

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Thursday 15th November

Days like yesterday are just best put into the trash and left to wilt.

Ayasha ran pretty well but had to finish second to a massive improver that would have won with me on him, he undoubtedly needs seven furlongs now and is a winner waiting to happen . Frans Hal also ran ok. Whilst waiting for the start at Kempton all we needed was Ihtifal to break and she would win. So along with the order of the day she obviously missed the break, was rushed up and beaten a nose. Bugger. To add more misery I backed Keppels Hill at Exeter who was clear at the last when falling….traded 1.01……bugger 2.

I have to say that I felt massive sympathy for everyone that backed Captain Sunshine yesterday. When you went through the race he looked an absolute shoe in and was backed accordingly. I would like someone to explain to me what good it does for racing for the starter to let them go? Yes I understand that the horse was facing the right way when he lifted the tape but what harm would it have done to call them back and go again? Half the jockeys almost stopped anyway. The effort and expense for the owners/trainers to get the horse to the races, the travelling, the preparation? There would have been no harm to anyone in calling them back. The starter in my opinion had them to far apart anyway. I thought it was a shambles, and if you backed Captain Sunshine I felt your pain. Hats of to Paddy Power who immediately refunded punters, I think they were the only ones. There has to be something added to the rules that if these things happen the stewards have the power to deem it a non runner. You have to protect the punter  (job is hard enough anyway) or we won’t have a sport. Rant over.

On to today’s action. Start with the cricket and the moronic England selectors have only picked one spinner, again. It’s turning sideways on the first day. If you’ve backed India in the first test then get ready to get in the payout queue! The selectors are still 2/7 on to pick one spinner in the 2nd test. If that is the case, I will be max laying them all series.

The racing is interesting if not full of superstars.

SUGARFORMYHONEY – 6.25 KEMPTON.

Interesting Dutch Art filly who was given an opening mark of 85 after winning her maiden here last year. She has not gone on from that and has dropped in the weights accordingly. Ran well behind a very well backed and well handicapped rival last time and she looks like she is ready to strike. The 8/1 on offer with SportingBet is an insult and should be lapped up with an early season mince-pie.

ISOLA VERDE – 7.55 KEMPTON

Ok, this one gets the blood pumping. Batten down the hatches. Point one, she is beautifully bred. Point two, she is much better on the all-weather than turf. She has run well in races against some well handicapped rivals that didn’t suit her (Alnoomas). She has been absolutely crying out for a step up to seven furlongs in my very humblest of opinions which she finally gets tonight. Throw into the mix the fact that she gets first time blinkers and gets in off bottom weight and I think that Christmas Day is actually here on 15th November! Does Santa know?? The 9.2 available on Betfair right now is a joy to behold and I’m tucking in! Is available at 7/1 with William Hill. Come on Hayley, bring home that turkey!

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills

Thursday night football returns to our screens tonight and its a bit of a punch up from the AFC EAST. Both teams are very hot and cold and the Bills are without doubt a better side at home. The Bills like to gun it whilst the Dolphins concentrate on the ground game. Provided butter fingers Bush doesn’t fumble it too much I thought this had all the makings of a high scoring game. Both teams have the most outside of outside chances to make it into the playoffs as a wildcard but will need to go on a winning streak starting tonight. The over 45.5 on Betfair looks particularly enticing. Can’t wait till thanksgiving next Thursday! Redskins v Cowboys! Yeehhaaaa.

I’m off to cover Kempton for @TimeformRadio. I will try my very best to be impartial when good old Hayley kicks Isola home in the last!! Go on girl!
Be lucky today, spread the word, let’s get the blog viral.
MG

Sunday 4th November – Breeders Cup Hangover & NFL Sunday!

Must apologise for the lack of posting for the last couple of days. It’s been incredibly busy and I just haven’t had the time in amongst the travelling and working to get anything down. I had five days on the road which has taken its toll. I’m zombie like today.

An interesting few days. Every year I feel divided by the breeders cup. On one hand I think it’s a fantastic spectacle….but on the other I don’t feel it represents truly run top class horse racing. There have been so many hard luck stories over the two days and false results through brain-dead rides it makes it hard to fathom. It is just about the only two days of the year in America that horses run in a pack too which I’m sure adds to the volatility of the results. Mike Smith has got 18 breeders cup wins to his name, so what the hell was he doing on the favourite in the marathon? He is a closer or stretch runner as the americans like to call them, yet Mike gunned him to the lead about 7f out? The poor horse needed an oxygen tank up the home straight. Hughesy was desperately unlucky on Sky Lantern as was Buick on The Fugue. Pretty certain both would have won with a clearer passage.

I am seriously considering a trip next year to take in both the breeders cup and the Melbourne Cup. The problem is that with the time difference and the 15 hour flight between LA and Melbourne it would be very tight. You would need to be flying on the Saturday evening I think, as if you flew Sunday you wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday which is the day of the race.
Anyone that has done this trip, get in touch!

@markagrantham

Really interesting NFL action tonight too and I think there is a real quality treble to be had on the live games today.

REDSKINS, GIANTS and FALCONS all to win pays approx 11/4.

Very jealous of my brother James and his girlfriend Hannah as they are on their american road trip and are off to the redskins game later. Lucky gits. Better be getting me a present!
Have a cracking Sunday

All the best

MG

Thursday 1st November – Kauto The Legend

There is no other way to start todays blog other than to talk about the legend that is Kauto Star. Clive Smith’s star chaser has been by far and away the horse that has given me the most pleasure from national hunt racing in my lifetime. It was seven years ago today that Kauto Star finished 2nd in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter behind Monkerhostin. Little did we know from that point onwards what he would go onto achieve. The first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup crown after losing it to his stablemate Denman the year before. He had a total of 31 chase starts on our shores with 19 victories, amassing a total of 2.23million in total prize money.

There are so many memories but the two that stand out for me are the regaining of the gold cup in 2009 and last years 5th King George victory. That was an emotional day for personal reasons and his victory was a real boost as I’d backed him big and played the forecast with long run on the exchanges. Betfair had a RFC market up that day and it was simply a two runner race. I think it was around 3.8-3.9 for the RFC. It was a late but very welcome Xmas present. His stride, swagger and almost brilliant exuberance at his fences were what made him so amazing.

My biggest regret was not being at one of his gold cups or any of his King Georges. A racehorse of a lifetime. A legend. Kauto Star, take a bow son.

Onto today and wiping away the tears we kick off with a new month today and lots of interest.

Todays bet of the day comes in the form of SURPRISE MOMENT (3.20 Ling). The unbeaten daughter of Authorized has improved steadily with each run and looks ready for this slight step up in class this afternoon. She is potentially well treated today as she has an official rating of 95 which I think slightly underestimates her ability and she gets the three-year old allowances in this contest this afternoon. The step up in trip to 13f may well bring about a bit of improvement too. She looks a class stayer in the making and I fully expect her to remain unbeaten and the 2/1 on offer this morning should be taken.

KINGSCROFT (4.20 Ling) must be backed again today on the back of catching a tartar at Catterick the other day. We go in with all the same reasons as we did that day, well drawn in 3 today from bottom weight.

We have the interesting situation of two list horses running in the same race a Kempton in the 6.10. JUST FIVE won twice earlier in the year off marks of 55 and 60. He had a run of average performances on the back of those wins but the thing that makes him of huge interest today is his record when going fresh. He has had a break of 80 days which should have freshened him up nicely and he looks a huge price this morning at 14/1. In the same race we must also be backing VITZNAU. He is a horse that we followed last winter as he is incredibly well handicapped. He was messed about over a variety of trips and given some more than interesting rides. I nearly fell off my seat when I saw that he had been switched to John Butler’s yard. Butler is a master at improving horses from other yards and has a high strike rate with first time out recruits from other yards. The 9/1 with Bet365 is very interesting indeed and should be played 1 pt to win as a saver.

FORTUNATE BID 8.10 Kempton is another one that we backed last week that we have to follow in again for all the same reasons. The drop back in trip should really suit tonight and we fancy him strongly. Take the 6/1 with Totesport and Betfred.

A busy day on the racing and we also have some NFL action tonight as the banged up Kansas City Chiefs travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers. It’s an interesting contest and both defences tend to struggle so I thought the points line was interesting.

Over 42.5 pts at evens with BetVictor

Have an awesome day and be lucky

MG

NFL Sunday @ Wembley Stadium! Pats vs Rams!

Morning campers.

Mixed emotions yesterday. Art Scholar ran another cracker to be second and the same with AvonValley. It seems that a lot of you have started putting my big priced selections into each way doubles which has been a right touch. 12’s and 14’s on the early prices. Lovely. Invincible Warrior managed to win nicely, I hope plenty of you managed to get the 5/1 early doors.
Anyway you look at it, it has been a very profitable month!

Off to Wembley today to see the big game! Can’t wait, shame about the weather, looks like I am going to freeze my rocks off!

It’s actually a tough game to call and I don’t think the Rams will get blown away and the points line is a bit high (Pats -7). Rams may well cover that but as I am going to be cheering on the Pats I think there is a decent bet to be had in the first TD scorer market.

Wes Welker & Rob Gronkowski split stakes at 6’s and 8’s!
Hope you all enjoy the day! There are no list horses running today, which is a good thing as it means they can’t finish second!
Enjoy!

MG

Friday 26th October – Tom Brady and the Patriots are here!

Apologies once again yesterday for forgetting to add the NFL rundown for last nights game between the Vikings and the Buccaneers. I did tweet last night that the best bet was Tampa +6.5 on the handicap and that they were probably value in the outright market at around 11/5 with some 9/4 about. Well Tampa steam rolled the Vikes 36-17 with the rookie Doug Martin rushing for 136 yards. He looked impressive but the biggest thing this highlighted again is how poor the odds compilers are with the NFL. Every week the games are priced on the teams records rather than the actual ability of the two teams in that particular match up. The home crowd were booing in the first quarter…..wtf???

Hold Court made a pleasing enough hurdling debut to bring home the bacon at Ludlow. He came off the bridle fairly early and didn’t jump too fluently but he was ultimately well on top at the end. He looked to me like he may be in the need of slightly further on a more galloping track.

There has been plenty of chit-chat over the last 48 hours about the new channel 4 racing line up. There have been some good additions to the squad and one or two interesting appointments too. Nick, GC and Gina are all solid additions to the team and well deserved. The one thing that really gets me is why people who can’t broadcast are given jobs as broadcasters? One thing I think you can be sure of from January 1st is that fashion might take up as much air time on the racing program as the actual racing. I also think it’s a real shame that Chris Dixon wasn’t at least put in the squad. I know I am slightly biased as he’s a mate but he honestly walks all over most of the team with his work ethic, knowledge and outright zest for the game. Having said that he has plenty of time and in my book is 1.01 to get there eventually and I’m sure he’ll be propelled up the RUK ranks with others less frequently available.

There are several horses running from the hotlist today……here goes.

Bet of the day material was tough to come by today as all of the list horses are reasonable prices. The hammer came down on DULKASHE (4.00 Newbury). The daughter of Pivitol has only had six starts to date and has shown some steady progression with each run except for a weak effort at Sandown last month on very fast ground. She seemed to appreciate the softer surface when a staying on third at Nottingham last time behind the very well handicapped Art Scholar. That form has a real solid look to it and back on a soft surface she jumps off the page at me this afternoon. She’s generally available at 9/2 and 5/1.

Also at Newbury I like the chances of KING DRAGON (4.00). The Brian Meehan trained gelding has been mixing it with some big guns for most of the season and has largely been running with credit. Today represents his easiest challenge for a while with the drop down to nursery company and I thought he represented some value at around 8/1 this morning with Stan James.

ARCHIE STEVENS (6.10 Wolv) is not the most straight forward by any means, but having said that he has shown glimpses that make me think he would be well handicapped off his current mark in a handicap so that makes him of interest dropped to a seller. The yard continue to go well and if the money came that could be significantfor this drop in grade.

Then there are the two slightly more speculative horses that have managed to weasel their way onto the interesting list. The first of them is EDGEWARE ROAD (8.10 Wolv). A short stint over hurdles must have given the yard the impression that he wants a trip. Well Either that or they have been setting this up for a touch. A strong traveller who likes to lead and he has been in front at the 9f pole on most of his recent starts before blatantly not seeing out the final 2/3f. The drop back in trip looks absolutely ideal tonight and the blinkers are going back on. Very interesting at around 13/2 this morning.

The last bet of the day will be FORTUNATE BID 9.10 Wolv. Although it is a speculative one.  He’s caught my eye on more than one occasion in the process of dropping in the weights and is definitely handicapped to win. He is though probably better over 7/8f so this just does stretch him a little although if he is ridden with patience he does see it out. Patience will be needed but as a result 12/1 is much too big and is an each way play.

It’s the last day of four on the sidelines today and the dreaded flu has stopped me from getting half the things done that I wanted to. I am on Timeform Radio tomorrow for Racing Post Trophy day at Donny and then I’m off to Wembley on Sunday for the NFL matchup between the Pats and Rams so a busy weekend lies in store.

Be lucky today. Back some winners.

@markagrantham

MG

Tuesday 23rd Oct – Time to crack on!

The lord has been kind enough to grant me 4 days off from today which is probably a good thing considering the late night NFL action last night. Biggs had been on (@Bickers56) to advise that the unders were a certainty in the Monday night football between the Bears and the Lions in the windy city. The line was set at 46.5 and with the game ending on 20 pts, this was never ever in doubt. If your on Twitter, then follow him. Very shrewd NFL judge. Only five days to go until I’ll be at Wembley with the troops watching one of my all time heroes in Tom Brady. I can’t wait. His last-minute drive on Sunday just sums him up, pure class.

Whilst working on Turf Tv yesterday we had 20 minute gaps between races and the more I looked at the card the more I liked THE TIGER and CHEVETON in the last two races. I expect there were plenty of pissed off betting shop managers when the guy on the audio in their shop says “The Tiger looks like a standout win bet and by far the best bet of the day” to then watch as it goes from 11/2 into 7/2 and wins on the bridle. Me and Anthony Kemp my parter in crime for the day were counting the cash about half a mile out. I could have put up several pounds overweight on him myself and won.

Today has actually turned into a very busy day. Several list horses are running and a couple of very strong win bets are required.

LANGHAM LILY (2.00 Ling) is without doubt the bet of the day. Chris Wall’s filly has only had four starts to date and really appreciated the step up to 9f last time at Wolverhampton in what is turning out to be interesting form. She went down a nose that day to Kathleensluckylad who looked well handicapped and has gone on to win off a five-pound higher mark since. They kicked clear and the further step up in trip could bring about even more improvement. Back in 4th that day was TARO TYWOD, you all know the improvement that has come there. The one danger in the race was going to be Mutual Regard but that was taken out first thing this morning. I fully expect Langahm Lilly to win and continue her progress. I’ve chunked on at 11/4 but I dont know how long it will last.

A nice each way bet could well be in order in the form of AARTI (3.20 Yarmouth) today. The Oasis Dream filly has dropped 10lb from her opening mark and is starting to drop hints that she is ready to strike. The switch to bad ground might aid her today as she tends to get a bit tapped for toe before staying on. There are lines in her pedigree that suggest she should go on it and with William Buick booked for her in form yard she represents a little value at 9/1 with SportingBet.

WINTER HILL (4.00 Ling) has looked like a horse for a while that is ready to strike. Having dropped a total of 12lbs since her opening mark of 69, the Tom Dascombe filly has run some creditable races without winning. Today she drops into a seller for the first time after catching the eye on her last run. Strictly she has a few pounds to find with a few of these on her current mark but I have no doubt she is better than that so potentially is very well in here off bottom weight. Very interesting at around 8/1. Ooi Long is also on the interesting list in the same race so may be saved on.

In Yarmouth’s 4.50 both GEEAITCH and EXCEEDEXPECTATIONS remain firmly on the hotlist. Geeaitch won for us last week and looks well ahead of his mark but you could also say the same for the latter. I will play them both with split stakes slightly favouring Geeaitch.

A real busy day and hopefully a big winning one!

I’m off back to bed with a Lemsip max to try and shed this flu once and for all. Come on the Lily.

Be lucky today campers,
MG

Friday 19th Oct – Nearly the jackpot!

I’ll start today’s post by saying thanks for all the messages regarding yesterdays’racing. Some real kind words and it’s nice to see the hard work pay off. We all need a day like that every now and again. Chuffed for everyone that got involved too. A know quite a few of you put all four into various multiples and almost scooped the big pay out. I had only backed them individually so when it came to the last leg I was pretty calm. I’d saved on the winner too on the advice that it was Dicko’s bet of the day. I hope DD is in good shape today, we reluctantly left him at the bar at about 10.30….he’d won big and was sinking lager like there was an ale drought due.

In hindsight Nordic Quest actually ran a blinder, the winner Castilo Del Diablo looks like a big burly staying type. He actually came off the bridle quite early and Kempton probably didn’t suit. He will be seen to better effect on a big galloping track back on turf maybe over two miles and should be followed.

On the back of the racing I completely forgot to preview last night’s NFL action as the 49ers hosted the Seahawks. I literally nearly fell off my bed in the hotel when I saw that the Hawks were getting 9.5 on the h’cap with Blue Square. I did tweet the selection late last night for those of you that weren’t already in cuckoo land and I would like to extend a big thank you to Blue Square for offering such a stupid bet! I think that’s about 6/7 NFL naps on the bounce if anyone is counting.

Today represents a whole new challenge as we have the return of proper national hunt racing! Cheltenham is back on the scene with a very competitive looking card. Winner finding however, might not be the easiest over the next couple of days. A real busy day today though.

I don’t necessarily have a bet of the day today but I do think that the market has massively underestimated the chances of TARO TYWOD (7.50 WOLV). Mark Brisbourne’s filly was awarded an opening mark of 69 on the back of her maiden success last September but has been on the back foot ever since. Her mark has dropped to a mouth-watering 53 and she ran much better last time behind two very well handicapped horses where the winner, Kathleensluckylad has actually gone on to win again since. Hopefully that was the hint that she is ready to bounce back and there is the added chance that this might just be her time of year! In a Classified event she comes out well at the weights from stall 2 looking like a cracking each way play at 12/1 with Bet365 & Ladbrokes.

I’m pretty sure DUTCH MASTERPIECE is still ahead of the handicapper (2.25 Haydock) and he rates a sure-fire winner for those of you that like a shorty. I had him in at about 4/6 and you can back him at evens with Coral & StanJames.

I am a big John Ferguson fan and he has a real interesting hurdling recruit in the form of POPULATION (4.30 CHELT). He won both his bumpers at Ascot in fine style before finishing down in 6th when a warm favourite for the grade 2 bumper at Aintree. He got into a bit of bother mid race that day and it halted his progress so I’m not worried about that too much. The fact he went off a 7/4f that day says it all. He has reported to have schooled well and looks a nice recruit. The winner of the Aintree bumper goes in the first at Cheltenham today as a clue. I think he’s a win bet but I would possibly throw in Tartan De Sarti as a saver as he has lots of potential too.

Backing 4/1 shots in a 22 runner handicap is the fast way to the poor house in general but DARK LOVER (5.40 CHELT) looks potentially well handicapped off a mark of 120 for Paul Nicholls in the lucky last. He hasn’t run since last February which is the only worry, but if he is fit and ready to go he looks a knocking play with 4 places up for grabs.

I was really taken with the way that HAY DUDE (3.00 Hayd) went through the ground on debut at Ayr. He gave Anna’s Pearl (now rated 94) a sound beating that day so on a strict form line should be much the best in here on ratings and warrants a decent bet at 2/1. If I did have a bet of the day he would be it and I’m having four points on.

I also thought The Knocking Lord (8.50 Wolv) was interesting on handicap debut but I’m happy to wait and see how the market goes. If the money comes he might well be a player later on.

I hope we have another storming day, enjoy Cheltenham and most of all be lucky!

MG

@markagrantham