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Showing posts from August, 2012

US Open women - quarters betting

Most of my content for the next fortnight will be exclusive to TheShark.com.au - men's preview found here, so here's an extra piece to savour...

QUARTERS BETTING

With Serena Williams touching odds-on in places, then it's worth taking a look at the quarters betting to find some alternative betting options.

Q1:

Main seeds - Azarenka, Lisicki, Li, Clijsters, Stosur.

Potential surprises: Zheng, Goerges, Cirstea, Watson, Dellacqua

The main seeds should control this one. Azarenka won the Australian Open and will be desperate to retain her number one ranking. She also comes off low points - her record here in the past is terrible, only once into the fourth round, but there's no logical reason why that is the case. 6/4 is unders with that record.

Lisicki is enigmatic, best result of R4 here last year, potentially so much better but injuries often get in the way.16/1 is about right, certainly wouldn't want to be taking anything less.

Li has the best hardcourt form o…

the guys are on fire!

Hope you've been following my guest tipsters this week at York, take a look at the results of the last three races previewed!

Ebor (Calum Madell) - top pick Willing Foe, 14/1 WINNER

Melrose Hcp (Jack Milner) - lands the tricast in order - Guarantee (9/1), Biographer, Cardinal Walter - £413 tricast (£220 trifecta, a rare low div for the Totepool - I reckon some of them followed the Yorkshireman!)

Nunthorpe Stakes (Jack Milner) - Ortensia 7/2 fav WINNER, and his third pick, Spirit Quartz ran second at 14/1.

the Lance Armstrong links collection

Need a place to find the links to investigations and evidence against Lance Armstrong? This is the one.

It's Not About the Lab Rats - his charity work doesn't seem quite so angelic now

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/athletes/lance-armstrong/Its-Not-About-the-Lab-Rats.html

The myth of Armstrong's "I've been tested 500 times and always negative" defence

http://www.cyclismas.com/2012/07/the-legend-of-the-500/

The charge sheet from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, outlining the charges against him, and the evidence behind them

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/armstrongcharging0613.pdf

Journalist David Walsh, a long-time accuser, has his say on the charges

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/david-walsh-on-armstrong-and-usadas-charges

Has he simply conceded to keep the details quiet?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/aug/24/how-lance-armstrong-strongarmed-cycling?CMP=twt_fd&CMP=SOCxx2I2

I haven't got time to w…

Ebor Handicap preview

The biggest staying handicap in Europe is the Ebor Handicap at York, it's still a great race in its own right and definitely not a procession for favourites. Calum Madell, @calummadell, analyses the race from a trends, rather than form, angle.

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The Ebor Handicap

One of the toughest handicaps of the year but in what will be a different types of preview, I will try and eliminate as many as I can for different reasons, mainly on trends and then on form, ground, trip, draw etc.

1. Ignore front runners and prefer closers

Virtually every one of the last ten winners of the this race have raced off the pace, sometimes well off. The pace is so strong usually in the Ebor that front runners go off too quick and the complexion of the race always changes dramatically. For that reason I'd be against horses such as Bob Le Beau, Sense Of Purpose, Crackentorp, Area Fifty One, Icon Dream (sometimes doesn't), Hurricane Higgins, Hammerfest, Dreamspeed and Royal Diamond.

2. Age…

Melrose Stakes preview

Plenty of quality racing to finish off the Ebor, including three staying races. Jack Milner, @JJMSports, returns to preview the 3yo distance contest.

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Melrose Stakes (Handicap)

The 2.30 at York on Ebor day is an absolute crackerjack of a race, and the very fact there are only three geldings, as opposed to thirteen colts shows that there is a lot of untapped talent, with the calibre of unexposed possible group horses being potentially extremely good.

Gospel Choir heads the weights running off 98, and is up 8lb for a defeat of Sir Graham Wade last time out at Haydock, who is dealt a similarly 4lb hike, and 17lb overall for his last three runs. Gospel Choir received what I like to call ‘the Ryan Moore treatment’ last time out to win, and the rise seems steep. Similarly with Sir Graham Wade, the handicapper seems to have now caught up with Mark Johnston’s charge.

Guarantee has only three runs to his name, stepping up from a second on debut to win a mile and a half maiden an…

Nunthorpe Stakes preview

Bit slow off the mark today, the weather up north hasn't helped. Here's Jack Milner's look at today's highlight, the five furlong dash of the Nunthorpe Stakes!

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The Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes is the highlight of Friday’s card, and has a maximum field of twenty runners battling for the £140,000 first prize, in what is truly an international field. Four runners from Ireland and one from down under have come to compete, and whilst an international feel, Yorkshire are incredibly well represented, accounting for more than half of the home runners. Unfortunately, they have a poor record, with the exception of Bordelescott, there has only been two winners for ‘Gods Country’ in the last fifteen years, both of whom were trained by Dandy Nicholls, who doesn’t have a runner.

Although Sole Power was a 100/1 winner two years ago, he was still an unbeaten colt, and it was more of a shock that he could step up from an unknown quantity, as opposed to running so badly…

Gimcrack Stakes preview

It's a great card at York on Friday with the juvenile race taking some of the spotlight. Dissecting the form for this contest is a newcomer with some very impressive penmanship (or should it be keyboardship these days?). Anyway, please welcome Gary Savage, @chesneywold, to the blog!

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The Gimcrack Stakes at York looks a less than stellar renewal this year, and the race has not had a really top-class winner since Rock of Gibraltar, nevertheless a competitive race is in prospect with eight runners going to post.

Heavy Metal of Mark Johnston is the highest rated horse going in to the race due to his last time out success in the Richmond Stakes. Like last year’s winner Caspar Netscher, Heavy Metal is a highly-experienced colt having already had six runs this year starting with the Brocklesby way back in March. Horses running in that race doesn’t usually end up in late summer Group races but like a lot of his trainer’s charges Heavy Metal is incredibly tough and there is no…

Strensall Stakes preview

More quality action from York, this time previewed by Mark Rowntree, @uptheirons007. If you'd like to read more of his great work, try his blog.

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Strensall Stakes preview

Friday sees day three of the Ebor Festival at York, and a cracking card which includes the Sky Bet Group 3 Strensall Stakes run over 1 mile and 208 yards (effectively nine furlongs). The race – named after a village to the North of York – is open to three year olds and upwards, with previous Group 3 winners carrying a 4lb penalty, fillies receiving a 3lb weight concession from colts and geldings and three year olds receiving a 7lb weight concession from older horses.

Analysis

The sole pair of three year olds in the contest are no strangers to each other. Stipulate and Tales of Grimm have met recently on two occasions, with Sir Henry Cecil’s colt Stipulate coming out on top on both occasions. Stipulate was a well supported 6/1 shot when finishing fourth behind the dead heaters Archbishop and Trumpet …

Yorkshire Oaks preview

Thursday's feature race is for the females, a rare Oaks race open to more than just the 3yo fillies. Regular contributor James Jack, @materialista27, attacks the form.

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Darley Yorkshire Oaks
The Yorkshire Oaks is a Group 1 race, run over a mile and a half, and is open to fillies ans mares aged 3 or older.
3yo carry 8st 11lb while 4yo+ carry 9st 7lb.
We have no previous winners in the field, Sir Michael Stoute is the leading trainer in the race, though gladly he doesn't saddle an entrant this year.

1. Bible Belt (4yo)
Fran Berry for Mrs John Harrington
Group 3 winner last summer over 1m1f, and finished a creditable 2nd to Dancing Rain in the BCS Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot last year. Sadly this year has not been so promising, finishing a distant 4th of 5 in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and a poor third in the Ballyroan Stakes less than a fortnight ago. I think she'll run a decent race, but to be in the frame against this opposition, she needs a lot better th…

Betfair Handicap preview

More from the Yorkshireman, this time the main handicap of the day....

The 3.05 at York may not be the flashiest on a card that includes The Lowther Stakes and The Yorkshire Oaks, but from a punting point of view, it is potentially the best race on an exquisite card. A twenty runner handicap over York’s infamous mile, a decent kitty has brought out a fair few100+ rated horses, and it looks a field of class.

The trainer who has enjoyed August like no other is Mark Johnston, and he goes mob handed at this race, with three runners. Stable jockey Joe Fanning opts for Switzerland, running with a 6lb penalty, Crown Counsel runs after a good second at Ayr last time out with Luke Morris on board, and Nicky Mackay takes the leg up on Lady Macduff. It could be folly to rule out, but none looks like being major players.

There are a further number of horses who are running out of the handicap, or due to be lowered a few pounds. In one of these big fields’ handicaps you need everything to go …

in-running pointers for York this week

Racing UK pundit and former Betfair colleague Andy Richmond (@bickley14) is providing free in-running notes for York this week, all the more important as this is a meeting on terrestrial TV rather than the several seconds delay on ATR or RUK. Remember to switch off the HD though if you want to trade with the fastest pics possible! But that's not the only option, in-running pointers such as these can provide you with the basis to make your own back-to-lay (or vice-versa) trades you can set up before the race and let them go.

Today's guide can be found here. (Free registration required)

Thursday's guide can be found here.

Friday's guide can be found here.

Saturday's guide can be found here.

Acomb Stakes preview

The Group 3 juvenile race mightn't be a big field but it's very competitive.. plus one horse running for £1,480 prizemoney for fifth. TheYoungRacegoer, Calum Madell (@calummadell), returns to the blog with his detailed analysis of this contest.

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Acomb Stakes

Afonso De Sousa
Contested two decent maidens, including when fourth in the same maiden Dundonnell was third in at Newmarket. Did have two attempts at breaking his duck but clearly improved for better ground when a comfortable winner when last seen, beating a 78 rated rival (beaten since) by 9 lengths. Clearly a decent prospect for a good yard and has to be respected.

American Impact
Well beaten third in a Yarmouth 6f maiden on debut and did show good speed latest when just getting home dropped to 5f at Musselburgh. Beat a 70 rated rival by a short head that day and the fact he went off evens shows it was a pretty below par maiden. Officially rated 72 and has to improve by far the most of these to take a hand…

Frankel, Best Ever Miler.....

It's time for York says Jim Gilchrist, @jimgilch. You may not agree with him, but at least it's nice to read a contrary view from time to time!

Juddmonte International Stakes
(British Champions Series) (Group 1) (CLASS 1) (3yo+)
Winner £411,148
9 runners, 1m2f88y, Good To Firm

"....AND 88 YARDS"

It's time for York. Frankel is to grace the Juddmonte on Wednesday, and follow in the hoofprints of Sea the Stars in appearing on the Knavesmire.

As everyone knows, 12 career starts, 12 wonderful victories have made FRANKEL perhaps the greatest miler of all time, certainly in my 40+ years as a racing fan. Nothing has got near him and as he has learnt to settle, and strengthened up, he has just become scary good, dare I say an unbeatable miler.

For good measure, those calling for the horse to stop smashing Excelebration and take on some new challenges, the latter bolted up in France to Frank(el) all the form. Poetry in Motion, Power, Grace.... but I won't go on wi…

Great Voltigeur preview

Making a rare foray into stakes class is blog regular Dan Kelly, @muffinmannhc.

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The Great Voltigeur is a confirmed St Leger Trial, and recently we have seen an increase in quality with Rewilding and Sea Moon taking the 2010 and 2011 renewals. Those winning connections are represented this year in the form of Encke, Energizer, and Noble Mission. This year's Derby second, Main Sequence, and fourth, Thought Worthy, and Royal Ascot winner Thomas Chippendale complete the field.

This has the potential to turn into a bit of a dawdle with Thought Worthy the only confirmed front runner in the field, but Encke as shown by winning at Sandown can take it up a long way from home, and without the hood, could Noble Mission be lit up here? I can only see this being a hindrance to one horse if they don't go a gallop and that is Thomas Chippendale. Keen on seasonal debut in the London Cup, he was wide throughout also which didn't help, but that keenness has never gone …

York - Betvictor.com Hcp preview

The Ebor Festival gets underway at York later this week, four days of fantastic action and for a change, it's unlikely we will be too worried about the weather!

Our regular Yorkshire-bred contributor, Jack Milner, @JJMSports, is first up to the plate, with a look at Wednesday's tricky staying handicap.

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Betvictor.com Handicap

The two mile (and 88yds) handicap is one of, if not the most open and exciting handicap of the meeting, barring the Ebor itself. Never mind some of the sprints, this takes tactical aplomb, and will be a game of craft and guile. Full of illustrious pedigrees, handicap plots, and National Hunt animals, it is the proverbial minefield. The only real and thorough way to assess the field, is to go through it runner by runner. Officially titled the BetVictor.com Handicap, hopefully it brings me a bit of an omen, and gives me something of a home field advantage.

Dazinksi won the race last year for Mark Tompkins, who excels with these ong distance h…

Great St Wilfrid Handicap preview

The biggest sprint handicap of the north takes place today at the lovely Ripon track. Lining up to attack this difficult race on his blog debut is Marco Makaveli, best known as@Sir_Back2lay. I think you'll agree it's comprehensive!

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Great St Wilfrid Handicap Preview 2012

As some of you many know from my Lincoln preview back in March, I do use trends when previewing big handicaps no matter what the distance. I don’t follow them religiously or make them my only port of call but they can be a great way to filter out a large field.

· Aged 4 to 7
· Carrying 8-10 to 9-6
· Officially rated 91 to 100
· Run at least 3 times this season
· Won a race this season (or placed in Stewards' Cup)
· Ran in last 20 days in class 3 or higher
· Ran at Newmarket, Goodwood or Haydock last time out
· Won over 6F or further
· CD winners do well
· Drawn 1 to 10
· Trained by Dandy Nicholls (& …

Breeders Crown 2yo races

The Breeders Crown is such a special day in Australian harness racing, it deserves more than just one preview. Aspiring sports writer Blake Redden, @1stPTPRacing, has a crack at the pair of 2yo races on the elite card.

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Melburnians have had to suffer through an insanely cold winter, but just like our English counterparts have had Frankel, there is a shining light at the end of the tunnel.

The Blue Chip Farms Breeders Crown series has become a traditional curtain call for the harness racing season.

Run on a Sunday afternoon in late August, the series is a culmination of heats, semi-finals and repechages right across Australia and New Zealand in the preceding months.

The last of the warriors left standing after a long season are set to do battle in nine separate Group 1 events, three for trotters and six for pacers worth in the vicinity of $1.4 million (AUD).

There are many a headline act with a raft of New Zealand trained and owned standardbreds hitting the eas…

Australasian Breeders Crown preview

It's the biggest race day of the year for Australian harness racing on Sunday at Melton, just outside the world's greatest city, Melbourne. I'm always keen to post coverage of the best betting events around the world, and as a harness racing buff, it's the perfect week to bring it on board. I wouldn't normally allow a plug for a bookie at the same time, but Ben is a quality judge and his employer is one of the very few corporate bookies in Australia which hasn't (yet) been bought out by a European firm.

Preview for Breeders Crown Day
By Ben Krahe (Harness Racing Manager Betstar)

This day has grown tremendously in stature in the few years it has been run. There are nine Group 1s and is now known as Super Sunday. The interest is now bigger than any other full day of harness racing on the calendar. The Kiwis have invaded us with their best and are expected to win as many as five of the nine finals. Not sure we can do anything about that as they may simply be too…