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Showing posts from October, 2012

NFL Wembley preview

The NFL comes to London as the International Series rolls on at Wembley and of course next year we will have two games on the hallowed turf. Andy Richmond, @bickley14 and one of the brains behind the NFL-Insight website previews the match.... Looking at this game when it first popped onto the schedules you almost thought that this could be a an easy away day for the Patriots but recent event suggest that it could well be a bit closer and how about this fact – 12 of the 14 games that the Patriots and Rams have played this season have been within seven points in the fourth quarter, this Sunday could give the London crowd its best game yet and that’s before we mention the Patriots fourth quarter woes. There are also some other fascinating aspects of this game you can crib the Patriots offence, they lead the NFL with 436.1 yards and 31 points per game and have racked up 16 consecutive games with 350 yards offensively, but they have struggled against sides with tough defences, like the

Pinnacle - will it survive?

In terms of sportsbooks that bigger or smarter punters love to play at, Pinnacle is right up there - tight margins and willingness to take seriously big bets. None of this sorry sir, your business is not economical for us, you can have no more than £5 on (if you're even that lucky), which annoys with modern-day "bookmaking". Tennis punters in particular are really going to take a hit if the fallout from this weekend's events is serious. In case you missed it, there was a big roundup of sportsbetting identities in New York this week.... The allegation from the Queens County District Attorney in New York is that the individuals involved were acting as agents for Pinnacle, a firm who had exited the US market back in 2007 after heavy attention from New York police. That they didn't exit the US market quite as completely as they told everyone is likely to have further implications on this case down the track. Read the press release from the Queens County District

Cox Plate speed map

Once again, Racetrack Ralphy has given me permission of Racetrack Ralphy for this big Australian feature race, here are his form comments on the Cox Plate. Ralph Horowitz produces speed maps and form comments for every Melbourne metropolitan meeting via the 'Racetrack Ralphy' app for iPhones. It's even available in the UK iTunes store as well (search for 'Racetrack Ralphy'), so it's great for expats like me on the other side of the world! A bargain at £1.49 or $1.99 per meeting. Leaders: Midfield: Backmarkers:

Cox Plate preview from Racetrack Ralphy

Once again, Racetrack Ralphy has given me permission for this big Australian feature race to use material from his app, here are his form comments on the Cox Plate. Ralph Horowitz produces speed maps and form comments for every Melbourne metropolitan meeting via the 'Racetrack Ralphy' app for iPhones. It's even available in the UK iTunes store as well (search for 'Racetrack Ralphy'), so it's great for expats like me on the other side of the world! A bargain at £1.49 or $1.99 per meeting. I'll post the speed map shortly. In saddlecloth order: SHOOT OUT has had 6 tries at this distance range for two 3rds, three 4ths and a 5th. All of those were at Group 1 level and – perhaps significantly – none of those were “Grand Final” races which this clearly is for him. (He’s had a Derby which he won, a Melbourne Cup and a Doncaster as his previous target races so this is a new dynamic.) Jockey Hugh Bowman is an absolute elite level rider and has ridden him in his pas

Champion Stakes preview

The swansong of a champion like Frankel deserves more than a stock-standard preview; it's not just a race, it's witnessing a door close on history. Who better to add colour and life to the story than David Plane, @planey2k . ----------- Sitting by the radio, watching the rotating spools of a TDK 90 minute cassette as they consigned the gig of my lifetime to a strip of magnetically coated plastic, I made myself a promise: I would never miss out on anything ever again. A difficult pledge to adhere to, but one I strive to uphold. I have since seen Oasis play at Finsbury Park, The City of Manchester and Wembley Stadia, and had a whale of a time in the process. But that 1996 Knebworth Park performance was the peak of their power and the pinnacle of a Britpop era that punctuated my puberty. Everything after that, being brazenly and brutally honest, was watching the group in decline. I openly admit that I enjoy the longevity of following horses that jump over fences and hurdl

QIPCO Fillies and Mares Group II 12f preview

It will be a fantastic day at Ascot.... if it stops raining! Truly hope it doesn't get that wet that it ruins a fantastic day of racing. Stepping up to examine the girls' race is Jon da Silva, @creamontop . QIPCO Fillies and Mares Group II 12f Fillies and Mares have been having a rare old time recently from Zenyatta to Solemia. This season fillies and mares coming off thumpings have won Group 1s - Giofra, Danedream, Ridasiyna and Siyouma. Prior defeats have not stopped Solemia and Shareta either. The Main Runners +++++++++++++ Great Heavens Form is hard to argue and her beating of Shimmering Surf gives some line into la Pomme D'Amour's bets effort. Some will argue she could bounce after a hard race yada yada just as her brother Nathaniel bounced off the Eclipse when all but winning the King George no doubt. It's not that horses do bounce but that they do not all bounce or indeed the same horse may not behave the same way in similar circumstances. At 5/2 a

Spring Carnival Tipping Comp

In return for putting up a bunch of Miller's Guides as prizes for #auspubquiz (hosted by me, every Sunday night Aus time on Twitter), I've granted a rare plug to Betfair Australia. With the serious stuff now underway, why not have a crack at a free tipping competition? You don't even have to be a Betfair customer to enter. Betfair have a Spring Carnival Tipping Comp worth $20,000 - get involved here -

The Racetrack Ralphy view of the Caulfield Cup

With special permission of Racetrack Ralphy for this big Australian feature race, here's another perspective on the Caulfield Cup. Ralph Horowitz produces speed maps and form comments for every Melbourne metropolitan meeting via the 'Racetrack Ralphy' app for iPhones. It's even available in the UK iTunes store as well, so it's great for expats like me on the other side of the world! A bargain at £1.49 or $1.99 per meeting. No money has changed hands for this plug, but he will owe me a beer or two next time.... Backmarkers Midfield Leaders And the Ralphy form comments and ratings: Let’s start with an admission that most racing analysts won’t admit to yet should; I’ve unapologetically got not much of an idea about the internationals runners! Why? Because I analyze the data and view every single Victorian race year round. When horses come from interstate to race in Melbourne, there’s enough of a guide through others they’ve raced against, or times that they

Caulfield Cup preview

The richest 2400m handicap in the world deserves an in-depth look from me, and with massive exotic pools expected, it's not just about the major prize... AMERICAIN - star galloper who revels in being trained by his French master, not the failed experiment with D.Hayes. Supposedly better suited at Flemington over two miles, ignore him at your peril despite the gate. DUNADEN - reigning Melb Cup champion who has focused more of WFA 2400m contests this season. If connections thought he had even the slightest chance in the Arc, then he has to be respected here, even from the car park barrier. JAKKALBERRY - trackwork reports have been glowing, drawn in the middle of the field, looks a great chance. Has been well beaten by Dunaden at WFA but gets some weight relief and better gate. But the jockey concerns me, Caulfield is not a place for a first-time jockey in a high pressure race. Drawn next to December Draw, will he get cover or be stuck at the head of the three-wide line? Can't

Sunday night NFL action

From my former colleague and gun NFL analyst, Andy Richmond, @bickley14 , an in=depth preview of tonight's big TV clash. I've always been a 49ers fan thanks to the international coverage in the 80s in the Montana/Rice era. Trip to Wembley next year to see them again is locked in already. Visit NFL Insight to learn more about live trading on NFL, there aren't many sports better suited to live betting than American football. --------------- New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers NFL Preview On this occasion there is not as much on the line as when these two last met – that time a place at the Super Bowl table was on the line and it was the 49ers who made the crucial errors and failed to move the ball as they went down 20-17 in OT, the rest of the Giants season is of course now history. That New York win was based on a stifling defence which characterised most of their Super Bowl run last season, this season they have been far more profligate and they’ll need to tighten

Season Over? Not For Me

It might be getting darker earlier and colder, but there's still plenty of top quality flat racing left in 2012. Jon da Silva aka @creamontop has caught the international racing bug and takes aim at that big event on the other side of the Atlantic - the Breeders Cup. ================== For many UK punters the flat season ends about when Frankel narrowly holds off Cirrus by 4 lengths - relatively narrow for him that is. However for a few of us and the rest of the world we've merely had the Hors d'Oeuvres. Melbourne is building to The Cup probably the only race that has its own public holiday not to mention a slew of Group 1s at the Spring Carnival. Japan its Cup. America its Breeders Cup which surprisingly they refer to as The World Championships. Hong Kong will have its Cup day as well. There are a host of others as well in Singapore and the Canadian International to boot. The Canadian International will feature Imperial Monarch, under rated previous winner Joshua Tr

more of the Armstrong files

(More links added 12/10 22:30) Back in August I posted a series of links in relation to Lance Armstrong crying 'no more' in the battle against doping allegations. It's time to add a few more: The evidence - over 1000 pages from the USADA Might take you a while to get through that! Witness statement from USADA Chief Science Officer Explaining a lot of the science in drug tests and how they can only ever be part of an investigation, not the only source of proof. Michael Ashenden interview - why I believe there is no doubt he took EPO in 1999 The Ashenden one is a fascinating insight into how it could be done. Bring in a new tax ruling and crafty accountants will find a way to exploit it. Introduce a new rule in F1 and the teams will push as close as they possibly can to bend that rule into any old shape until they are told they are breaking it. Why would it be any different with systematic doping of athletes? If the procedures and what they can test for are well do

Lance Armstrong is sunk

Today marks the day that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) finally sent their evidence to the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Flat Earth believers, sorry Armstrong supporters, were holding onto the conspiracy theory that USADA weren't sharing the 'evidence' for a reason and that Santa Claus does really exist. Well, if this is a set-up, it's better than anything Hollywood can come up with. Armstrong case: USADA confirms reasoned decision sent to UCI and WADA, over 1000 pages of evidence Citing ‘overwhelming evidence’ which amounts to over 1000 pages in length, the US Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed that it is today sending its reasoned decision to the UCI and to WADA in relation to the sanctions against Lance Armstrong. USADA CEO Travis Tygart will later today release a large amount of that evidence, but has given an overview of what those sporting bodies plus the general public can expect. He states that evide

cricket spot-fixing - are the umpires joining in too?

An Indian cable TV channel has released footage of a sting on a group of Asian cricket umpires, all ICC-accredited, ahead of the T20 World Cup. Are umpires jealous of missing out on all the dodgy dealings under the table or is it a set-up? Six ICC umpires caught on camera willing to fix matches for money, India TV stings reveal New Delhi, Oct 8: In a major sting operation carried out in July, August and September ahead of the recently concluded ICC World Cup T20 tournament, India TV undercover reporters exposed six ICC umpires, belonging to Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, willing to fix matches for money during T20 matches. The entire sting operation was telecast on Monday prime time by India TV. The six umpires who were exposed in the sting named "Operation World Cup" are : Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangaldesh, and Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage of Sri Lanka. The seventh umpire Sharfudoullah Shahid Saikat

rest of Longchamp card preview

Plenty more action at Longchamp today, here's a look at the rest of the action, courtesy of Edward Hewitt, @luckypunts . 2yo features still to come from another source... Qatar Grand Handicap de Longchamp The day’s racing gets underway with the Grand Handicap, a traditionally sticky race that once again looks difficult for punters. In such a contest it would normally be sensible to look for course and distance winners, especially at Longchamp where previous winners perform particularly well, but this race throws up 8 runners with previous course winners, four of whom did so at this distance. Money is likely to come for the experienced Roatan, particularly with the booking of Christophe Lemaire, who looked back to form at his last outing, but slight preference is for AMIRANT who may well be the most progressive of the lot and who has looked equally adept on both good and soft ground. Al Nejma represents an obvious danger after his course win last month, but this could represent a

Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe preview with replay links

This was looking like a fairly straightforward preview until it rained, and rained, and rained in Paris today. So now we have to go even deeper than the bare form and determine which horse has flippers in its hooves! This race baffles me - geldings aren't allowed to run, but several runners which will only cause traffic problems and will be fighting it out for last are welcome to run? What a stupid rule! Sea Moon (16) - started favourite in the King George and was beaten 2.25L by Danedream into fifth, the first time he'd ever missed a place. Ran 2nd in the Breeders Cup Turf to St Nicholas Abbey last year and won the G2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot (beating five horses aiming at the Melbourne Cup). Can he swim? He has two wins and a second on Good-Soft and his maiden on Heavy from five wet starts. The draw won't help but by the end of the day if the track is wet, I doubt it will be a factor. Into 10/1 fourth favourite now. St Nicholas Abbey (10) - Ballydoyle's old

Superleague Grand Final preview

After last week's great tipping performance in the NRL, James Jack, @materialista27 , returns with his assessment of the northern hemisphere's biggest club match in rugby league. ---------- Later today, in a repeat of this season's Challenge Cup final, Warrington and Leeds meet in the Super League grand final. Both sides came through brutal semi finals to book their Old Trafford spot - Warrington avenged their play-off week one loss to St Helens, whilst Leeds went forward passed defeated the table topping Wigan Warriors. The cup holders, Warrington have been marked as the bookies favourites, but the Rhinos can't be underestimated especially with their wealth of Grand Final experience. They will be lining up for their seventh Grand Final in nine years, whilst for Warrington, it's a totally new experience. With this in mind, many could question why the Wolves are favourites, they finished 9 points in front of the Rhinos in the table, but they proved at Wembley tha

Turnbull Stakes meeting preview

It's October, the footy seasons are over and spring racing really gets serious now in Australia. After a stunning debut last week on the AFL Grand Final, Michael Courts, @mtcourts , displays the breadth of his expertise with a look at some of the main races on the card tomorrow at Flemington. -------------- Turnbull Stakes Preview With last weekend marking the end of the season of Australia’s oval ball codes, it is finally time for Melbourne’s spring racing carnival to take centre stage in Australia’s packed sporting landscape. Officially known as Melbourne Cup Carnival Preview Day, Turnbull Stakes Day features three Group 2 races and five listed races as support to the day’s eponymous feature, widely regarded as a key lead-up for the spring’s three main features – the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and the Cox Plate. Those who followed last week’s tip on Ryan O’Keefe for the Norm Smith Medal in the Grand Final at $15 should now have a nice bank for the entire carnival, not just