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Showing posts from June, 2013

John Smith's Summer Cup preview

It's the time of the year where the National Hunt scene is rather quiet, however we have an intriguing running of the John Smith's Summer Cup at Uttoxeter to get our teeth stuck in to. It's a race I have bittersweet memories of. Back in the days when England had the occasional genuinely hot bout of weather, I was running the Betfair trailer on site at Uttoxeter at this meeting in 2006. People with long memories may recall it as the day the racing was held up for nearly two hours because of a fire on course - due to a design fault, the generator caught fire and it (slowly) burned to the ground. It was not a fun day, and by the time the Summer National as it was called back then came around, it had been raining quite heavily! The happier part of the day was backing McKelvey to win the big race thanks to a gem of a ride from AP McCoy. Run over over 3m2f this listed handicap chase has attracted a field of 18 runners. Simon from CheltenhamZone has a look at the leading contend

Menangle Super Sunday preview

Harness racing gets the occasional mention on the blog, I've always loved it - it was my first introduction to betting as a little tacker. Those days are long gone and the sport in Australia have moved ahead in leaps and bounds, onto bigger, faster tracks, but not necessarily greater prizemoney. Tomorrow is one of the great days for the sport in Australia - SEVEN Group 1 races, featuring the Len Smith Mile. Lining up with the preview is harness racing expert, Ben Krahe, @benkrahe . -------------------------- Preview for Super Sunday at Menangle (Len Smith Mile Day) on Sunday 30 Jun 2013 R1 – NSW Rising Stars Series – 1609m Good quality race here. The prepost favourite COURAGE TO RULE is obviously the one to beat but at the current odds on quote I’m making it my lay of the day. Horses to venture into NSW such as FREYBERG (a kiwi who has been most impressive since crossing the Tasman), BEAUTIDE (one of Tassie’s best horses) and BALLOCHBUIE (unbeaten in 2 starts since coming no

Irish Derby preview

After the conjecture over the strength of the 'Epsom' Derby, sights are turned towards Ireland for their version of the time-honoured classic. The racing world seeks clarification of the three-year old pecking order - will Ballydoyle extend their winning run to eight in a row or is there a new colt in the pack ready to emerge? Making his debut on the blog is one of the guys behind the Dublin Racing Club , Stephen Cass. You can also follow him on Twitter, @CassStephen ----------------------- Irish Derby Don’t overlook the obvious………… Ireland’s premier flat race has been accused of being something of a snore-fest in recent years. Since 1999 it has produced five winning odds-on favourites. This, coupled with the fact that Aidan O’Brien has monopolised the contest with the last seven winners has taken the competitive gloss off when compared to its Epsom counterpart. However an argument can be made the lack of competitiveness is not so much down to the quality of the field

Australia v British & Irish Lions Second Test preview

Occasionally the guest previews stretch to other sports and this weekend it's to cover the next Test of the Lions tour. Occasional blog contributor Jim Gilchrist, @jimgilch , dons the head bandage to assess the next contest in this thrilling series. You can read more of his excellent penmanship on his blog . --------------------- Will the Pride Roar? Lions 2nd Test... Following the first test success, a mixed bag of brilliance, nerves and ultimately no small slice of luck, the Lions are one game from glory, and a first series win since 1997. Can they do it against a wounded Aussie side, a side who missed 14 points with the boot, and probably feel they should have won? There are so many fascinating features that make this second match so tough to call, but hopefully the blog will find some answers and a few worthwhile bets on the match! That this game gives the Lions a chance of history is undeniable, and can't be understated. The occasional 'snipe' that this t

Premium cycling tips

With the start of the Tour de France just 36hrs away, it's time to point you in the right direction of a very shrewd cycling judge. For excellent in-depth previews of major cycling events, @wheelie1977 is the man to follow. Alongside his regular stage and race outright previews, his latest extension into h2h betting has started with great results, +25% ROI for June from the Dauphine Libere and the Tour de Suisse. Check out his website for more details. All bets and previews are sent out to subscribers well before they go up on the website. Cycling markets are not deep in liquidity, it really is the early bird catches the worm. Thankfully there's regularly enough room for decent price moves before the value is completely gone. Tour de France previews across most markets are already out to Members but most won't go on site for the public for a few more days. Anyone signing up to Wheeliebets and mentions this blog gets a 12.5% discount as well and first 10 get the remain

Tour de France preview

The first post-exposure of Lance Tour de France should be an interesting one. Are riders all clean? Will Brits be as interested now that a) Wiggins has won the race and b) withdrawn due to illness? Is it the dawn of a new era? Taking to the keyboard in the first of a few Tour de France previews I'll have over the next few weeks is Kieran Kenneally, @kierankenneally , who turns out to have been a bit of a lycra addict himself... --------------------------- Tour de France I once had a friend follow me in his car while I cycled an old racer bicycle. It was a flat road about half a mile long. I told him I would increase speed gradually "in the saddle" up to slightly over 30mph. At this point I would sprint out of the saddle flat out for as long as I could ( approximately 200yrds) and could he tell me what speed I hit? I know, it's not exactly the most accurate method of doing it but at the time I had no other. The answer I got was 43mph! It's the late 80s, I

State of Origin Game 2 preview

From the top blokes at ReadingThePlay , @readingtheplay , here's a look at game two of this year's State of Origin series. ----------------------- STATE OF ORIGIN – QLD V NSW GAME 2 – FREE PREVIEW Brisbane, Lang Park 8pm Wednesday A few facts and figures - QLD have won 7 of the last 9 games at Lang Park - Only once in the last 7 occasions have NSW successfully gone to Lang Park with a series lead and then won - QLD lead the overall counts – Series 17-12 and individual Games 51-44 - Likely ground conditions damp and slippery under foot following recent wet weather and ground use (Broncos, Wallabies Test) QLD Outs: Shillington, Harrison Ins: Papalli, Cherry-Evans NSW Outs: Hayne, Ferguson, Tamou Ins: Dougan, Merritt, Woods Tip: NSW As I was for the opening game in Sydney I’m surprised again at the market pricing here with NSW as good as $2.72 through recent days where off their domination in game 1 and the then team changes I have had them marked a $1.95

Wimbledon preview - women

Unfortunately this year I don't have the time to write comprehensive Slam previews anymore so I'll sum this one up pretty quickly - it's all about Serena. 1 - Serena Williams. In incredible form. Since bombing out in R1 of the French Open last year, she has lost just three times - to Kerber (Cincinnati QF), to Stephens (Aus Open QF) and to Azarenka (Doha final). She has won three of the last four Wimbledon finals plus the Olympic gold last year where she dropped just 17 games in six rounds, against opponents which included four former world #1s. All that considered though, I can't have her at 1/2 (1.50) on Betfair. She just has to be opposed. I can't put a finger on who is going to beat her, but I have to side with her prospective opponents. If you want a smokey to put some small change on, try Maria Kirilenko. Her record in the Slam isn't so great but it has been improving - a best result of R4 last year beaten by finalist Radwanska 7-5 in the third, and

Wimbledon preview - men

The committee at the All-England Club made the bizarre decision last week not to upgrade the seeding of a former champion and long-time world no.1 over a player with one quarter-final appearance here in 10 years. Oh, he'd won the rubbish grass tournament at s'Hertogenbosch before so that's more important. What a farce. Or was it a failed attempt by the club to produce a soft draw for Andy Murray? After all, either he or Djokovic had to be the beneficiary... Anyway, we now have Djokovic trading at evens with most bookies which spoils much of the fun. 1. Djokovic - as mentioned above, gets the very soft draw. Might face Haas in R3, Gasquet or Berdych R4, and Ferrer/Dolgopolov/Nishikori/Dimitrov/del Potro in the semi-final. Biggest risk for him is that he doesn't get a hard enough test before the final. Only injury will stop him playing on Sunday week. 2. Murray - on the harder side of the draw but only has to face 'one' of Federer and Nadal in the semi before

Wokingham Stakes preview II

I did say this was a bastard of a race to solve, so I've brought in a second opinion. And wouldn't you know it, a completely different set of selections. Good luck finding a winner with this one! Making sense of the race is yet another talented new addition to the blog - Stephen Boardman, @ste_b85 , in a preview which was originally posted at TheRacingGuru . ------------------- Wokingham Stakes HITCHENS Winner of a Grp3 at the Curragh on latest start and only blip this season when down the field in HQ 6f h'cap (Gabriel's Lad 2nd; Shropshire 4th). Should love the quick conditions and Murtagh 1-1 on him; bit to find with some of these though. ARNOLD LANE Used quite a lot in his career so far and seeks a hat trick here after landing a conditions event and German Grp3 on last two starts. Creeping up and up the weights as a result though and muddling middle draw hinders chances too. ELUSIVITY Shown a fair level of form this term so far since joining the O'

The Chesham Stakes preview

The final 2yo race of the week provides one last chance to combine breeding, scope and limited exposure to form on largely immature and inexperienced racehorses. Time to call in the specialist - making his debut on the site is @twoyearoldtips . You'll enjoy reading his quality analysis and he's just started a blog you can find here ------------------------ The Chesham Stakes The Chesham Stakes is a two year old listed contest for horses sired by stallions that have won over one mile two furlongs. It is generally considered the weakest of the juvenile races at Royal Ascot and whilst this is probably fair, it is not to say it cannot produce a decent horse. Group One winner Maybe won it in 2010 and multiple Hong Kong group winner Zaidan the year before. This years race doesn't look the strongest renewal and despite the massive field of 20 can be safely narrowed down to a few protagonists. Berkshire - By Mount Nelson out of group one winning Mare Kinnaird, he cost £60,00

Hardwicke Stakes preview

A classy middle-distance contest to round off the week, look for a few of these heading to Melbourne later in the year for the Cups. In charge of the analysis for this hot contest is Jon da Silva, @creamontop . -------------------- Hardwicke Stakes Another Group 2 springboard to the Group 1s in July that may alternately turn out to be the height of a second tier horse's career. Generally gets improving or unexposed types that duck the O'Brien Coronation at Epsom. Winners a mixture of never was' and the odd Harbinger of better things to come. Aiken by the lovely Selkirk and runs in the same Strawbridge colours. Won 6 straight including beating Maxios as Buick sat in front and kicked on in a false run race. Won a listed race here 10 lengths last year. Hence went off 4s 2nd fav to Sea Moon in this last year - finished behind Sea Moon, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux. Beaten since but not forlorn. Mostly raced with cut in the ground and seems not quite top class. 2nd in the Ch

Diamond Jubilee Stakes preview

The final Group I of the week and it doesn't look the strongest encounter. The Aussie mare is a decent horse but I wouldn't put her up as one of the best we've sent across. But then again, this isn't an inspiring field. What does Lara Pocock, @lara_pocock , have to say about it? Read on.... ---------------------- Diamond Jubilee Stakes The final Group One of the Royal Ascot meeting, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, looks to be a rather open contest, with no hot favourite and a number of leading contenders sure to make it a great race. Run over six furlongs many horses have gone to run in this race after running in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day of the meeting and it is surprising none are backing up this year in such an open race. Last year's renewal was a hotly awaited race as it was the British public's only chance to catch a glimpse of the great Black Caviar, who just held on to win. The expected rain has not arrived at the Ascot course

Wokingham Stakes preview I

Several decent races tomorrow to complete Royal Ascot week but the biggest handicap of the week to most is the Wokingham. A right bastard of a race if you ask me, so tough I've had to draft in two previews! This one from regular contributor Kieran Kenneally, @kierankenneally . ------------------- The Wokingham I used to love a big handicap back in the day. The Stewards Cup, Ayr Gold Cup and the Epsom Dash were my big three. It seemed to me back then that there was more form lines per horse in the old Sporting Life and all interconnecting. That could also just be nostalgia for an old friend. The Wokingham handicap, 29 runners across the track, what a challenge! Let's start with Dinkum Diamond . 3rd behind Duke of Firenze over 5f at Epsom he is now 7lb better off for a half length beating. You could argue that Dinkum Diamond is even better off as he was very badly drawn that day and also had trouble in running. Duke of Firenze had a perfect draw. Although 19 of his 22 care

Coronation Stakes preview

Prolific blogger Calum Madell, @calummadell has attacked several races today on his blog , here's his look at the feature of the day for the 3yo fillies. -------------------- 3:45 - Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) A really interesting renewal of the Coronation which sees the form of the English and Irish Guineas put to the test. Just The Judge of course ran in both, finishing runner-up in the former and taking the latter in decent style. Again she must go close if the pace up front isn’t too gruelling and though this is the first time on a proper round course (Curragh has a long straight), she should do just fine even with a wide draw which is a slight inconvenience. The ground though is ideal for Sky Lantern , who beat her at Newmarket after a brilliant ride by Richard Hughes. She is beatable but very consistent and though she may need to settle better to confirm that form and does also have a wide draw (less off a problem than the favourite as she

King Edward VII Stakes preview

The previews kept rolling out, this one for another option for the classic generation, the King Edward VII Stakes. The favourite's rather short but he might just have plenty on these if he has recovered from his Derby exertions. Taking up the reins for the preview is one-time regular contributor, James Jack, @materialista27 . ------------------- King Edward VII Stakes The King Edward VII Stakes is a Group 2 run over a mile and a half exclusively for 3 year old colts and geldings. It has traditionally been viewed as Ascot's version of the Derby, but this year only includes one runner from the Epsom field in fourth placed Battle of Marengo. Previous winners include Ella-Mana-Mou who went on to triumph in the Eclipse and King George the following year, and more recently Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso, and King George and Eclipse winner Nathaniel. This year looks like a weak renewal, with only Battle of Marengo carrying the extra three pounds for his win in the Derrinstown

The Queen's Vase (in memory of Sir Henry Cecil) preview

The tearjerker of the day is likely to be this race, renamed to honour the great Sir Henry Cecil. Estimate won it last year so it has a lot to live up to. Making his blog debut is Dan Briden, @DanBriden . You can read more of his excellent work over at SBB Columns . ------------------------ 5.00 Royal Ascot – The Queen's Vase (in memory of Sir Henry Cecil) The Queen’s Vase is almost always a interesting race, it annually bringing together a mixed big of three-year-olds in terms of ability, and this year’s renewal sees a couple with form at this level taking on a host of improving handicappers/promising maiden winners – notable winners of this contest in recent times include Mamool, Patkai, Mikhail Glinka and Estimate. Dashing Star , trained by David Elsworth, is a son of Teofilo who came good at the third time of asking when landing a 1m maiden at Nottingham last backend, travelling well throughout and seeing it out strongly. He was too keen for his own good when only fif