Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Warrnambool day 2 preview

Plenty more racing to come from Warrnambool. TheTrialFiles, @thetrialfiles return with a selection of races on the card. For the full preview, including a couple of blackbookers running at Warwick Farm today, visit their site.

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The Trial Files (www.thetrialfiles.com) is a unique and revolutionary trial service that gives punters a vital edge over the competition through the thorough analysis of Vic, NSW and SA barrier trials.
At the trial files we use a combination of digital sectional times along with an understanding of the effort a horse is exerting in a trial to compile a comprehensive assessment of all trials run in Vic, NSW and SA.
Trial Files will identify the horses to follow, and conversely the horses who will start under the odds and be suitable “lay” bets. Our experts will assess the races our “blackbooked” horses appear in and provide betting advice accordingly. Whilst it is great to identify horses who trial well, or poorly, at Trial Files we acknowledge that the horses need to be in their right races, so we follow them right through to raceday for our clients. The fact that punters so prevalently ignore and or don’t have access to barrier trials as a form tool, creates huge value in backing, and laying, horses who are coming through such trials. The Trial Files have identified over long periods of research that these horses provide the best value betting propositions and have subsequently created an exciting service for you, the punter.

Warrnambool Carnival Day Two
Another massive day with the feature on the flat being the Wangoom Handicap, which has assembled a crackerjack field headed by last year’s winner, Second Effort. No TTF blackbookers going around at the ‘Bool, but we have previewed all flat races once more.

Firstly, the quaddie for the ‘Bool, and let’s hope we are more successful than yesterday where we missed the first leg only!
1st Leg – 1,3,4,5,11
2nd Leg – 2,3,5,6,10,17 (add number 1if track slow or worse)
3rd Leg – 1,4,5,7
4th Leg – 1,2,4,9,12

WARRNAMBOOL Race 6
Selections – MITFORD SISTER and STARS IN THE SKY at the value from REDDAMOUR
First leg of the quaddie and let’s hope we at least make it past this point today. A very smart bunch of 3YOs assembled here over the 1400M. FOURDAYS OF MYLIFE and REDDAMOUR are the clear speed horses with TEXTILES coming across and look for the trail. MITFORD SISTER looks the next in line.
Once again looking for the value here with MITFORD SISTER ($9 fixed) and STARS IN THE SKY ($12 fixed). MITFORD SISTER should have won by a lot further at Mornington, she was held up until the last 100M when she burst through for a good win. She is suited up to 1400M, gets a lovely run and the 2kg claim for Ay brings her in with 52.5kg.
STARS IN THE SKY was allowed to flop out of the barriers last start from a wide draw after racing on pace at its previous start. He got a long way out of his ground but once he picked up the bit he really exploded but was held up terrible once motoring. That run signalled a return to form and his best is definitely good enough to win this event. Promote even further if horses are starting to win out wide, which often happens late on the second day. The other main player is REDDAMOUR won by 6L two starts back where it was noted in the steward’s report that he “attempted to savage another runner”. He then went to Sandown and was backed off the map before running second. He was OK in that affair and his racing style will see him prominent early here.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 8
Selections – EL DIVINE one of the better bets on the programme with a save on YOKOZUNA. FIVE O’CLOCK next best.
ROAD TO SUMMER and SONGSPUR will battle for the lead, and this could set a frantic tempo. MANGO MOJITO is going to want to be very handy from barrier two and ZACHARY QUACK is up to 1400M for the first time in a while and always like to race on pace. They will go very quickly here and the race will be setup for something to come from the second half of the field.
Pretty keen on EL DIVINE here. He will get a nice trail just beyond midfield, and will importantly get a strong tempo, as she pulled badly two starts back when the tempo wasn’t suitable. He enjoys a little sting out of the ground which he will get today and his last run was full of merit at Donald when unlucky not to finish closer. Really looks one of the standout bets of the day at around $5.
YOKOZUNA is the clear danger. He is currently $9, and that is over the odds. He showed a return to form last start and is another who likes to get back and run on. He has a tremendous record at the ‘Bool and is not too badly in after the claim against this field.
FIVE O’CLOCK is best ridden cold off a hot pace and the cards fall his way today, he can definitely be in the finish.
ROAD TO SUMMER goes into the quaddie as the best of the frontrunners.


WARRNAMBOOL Race 9 – Like OCEAN MIST, happy to back her the WIN with something on FASHION WAH WAH at odds.
Selections
The curtain falls on another day. Assuming that GENERAL ORDERS will be scratched here after racing on Tuesday. Looks as though Jake Bayliss will lead on FASHION WAH WAH and fancy MR SPEAKER will come over from its wide draw and sit outside the leader. LOVEMELONGTIME and COSMIC DEMON will be next in line and then there is a host of runners who like to race handy to midfield.
If the track is no worse than dead then OCEAN MIST might just be a good thing here. She won three on the trot in her first campaign and then was reported not to handle the heavy track at her only subsequent run. She had a noticeably quiet trial at Hamilton recently, but did look to be in good order. She will settle just forward of midfield with a lovely trail and can come over the top of the leaders.
FASHION WAH WAH looks the best of the on-pacers and might represent huge value in the race. She has raced at the ‘Bool on seven occasions for three wins and three seconds and if it is an advantage to be on speed then her chances increase hugely.
AWAKEN THE DRAGON won a stronger race in town last time out, but has the 60kg and a wide draw here and faces a tough task. By the same token he needs to go in the quaddie, as does COSMIC DEMON who is nothing is not consistent.

Wangoom Handicap preview

Day two of Warrnambool is about the flat racing, particularly the big sprint feature, the Wangoom Handicap. Taking the magnifying glass to cast an eye over the field is @brisburghphil.

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The Wangoom Handicap, 1200m.

Always a race that seems to spark my interest. It generally draws a pretty decent field and more often that not something stands out at first glance. This year is hopefully no exception. Below is a short history (last 4 winners) with a few details;

2012 Second Effort 56kg (13) Slow -25 days between runs
2011 Uxorious 53kg (10) Heavy - First up
2010 Stanzout 57kg (3) Heavy- 14 days between runs
2009 Arch Symbol 53kg (2) Slow – 17 days between runs

There isn’t a terrible lot we can ascertain from this short history, except for the fact that all 4 had run well at the track at some stage prior to winning the race, and 2 of them were actually trained at the track. All 4 were run on significantly ‘affected’ surfaces but we might just get a slightly better rated track tomorrow.

Weather and Track Conditions

A few showers are forecast and the track was rated a Dead 4 late Tuesday.
UPDATE - Downgraded to Slow 6 at 8am Wed, and still raining....

Race Tempo

Looks like being solid enough. Dee Bee Nine & King Cotton appear to be the most obvious to take up the running although the former may not gain a start. Population, Gybe, Constant Force, La Remas & Zamorar with Blinkers On first time can be expected to be prominent, without perhaps actually forcing the issue up front.
To summarise I’d expect the speed here to be genuine enough to give every horse it’s chance though admittedly second guessing tempo can be fraught with danger a lot of the time.

Form Analysis;

1. SECOND EFFORT- Won this race last year with 2.5kg less (same minimum weight) but is struggling for form right now, and this might be a slightly better field on paper. He is 3/3 here at this track though which is enviable, albeit all on Slow tracks. 6-7/13 at this distance another plus and his Autumn/Winter strike rate 9-3/18 is much superior to Spring/Summer 0/3-9. Not out of this but I suspect he needs it Slow or worse underfoot and is weighted to his absolute best here given recent efforts.

2. WEALTH PRINCESS- Quality mare who came off a near 2 year break to go down narrowly in this race last year to Second Effort. Prior to this years running she has had 11 months off and you can assume trainer Darren Weir will have her fit enough today with his fairly recently acquired altitude training methods. She meets SE .5kg better for last year, but does also rise in weight 2kg for this years edition which will make winning no easy task. The 2 most pertinent factors on her resume though are, her 5-2/8 record at the distance (doesn’t quite get 1400m), and liking for a reasonably firm surface, preferably no worse than Dead. She is drawn awkwardly but her class will carry her a long way. Definite Place hope at the very least but not sure I’d have her as 2nd favourite (under $5) as most markets do.

3. ZAMORAR- Scratched

4. GLANEUSE- Underrated galloper who ran 3rd to the 2 top weighted runners in this race last year. He didn’t do a lot resuming this time in but it was a similar scenario last year leading into this race. He doesn’t get significant weight relief of either horse that finished in front of him there and he comes back from 1400m today and does have better form at that distance and beyond. Dual track winner though and any give in the ground will assist (4-2/11 Dead). Place chance only it would seem from an awkward barrier.

5. TOKUGAWA- Came of age last preparation with a couple of very impressive wins including a dynamic first up performance, at Moonee Valley, at this distance, on a Slow surface. He followed that up with a good effort behind Sea Lord, beaten less than a length, but conceded 3.5kg to that galloper, who went on to win a WFA race at the same track in the Summer. That is a great form reference for this considering he gets in here with only 1kg over the minimum in a handicap race. Connections tried to test his stamina out to a mile on 3 occasions last preparation but it did seem a little beyond him. Despite that he ran a very respectable 2.5L 4th in the Waterford Crystal Mile (G2) at WFA behind the top class mare Silent Achiever. I think he can win this race if he overcomes the barrier and performs to his best at the Warnambool circuit. 11 of his 12 career runs have been on Metropolitan tracks with a debut win at Wangaratta. That alone suggests he is good enough to make an impact here, and he is weighted to win at a reasonable generous $6 quote.

6. RED COLOSSUS- Has been going well for a new stable and he ran a very nice race first up at this distance at Cranbourne with a massive 62kg impost. His second up record is quite poor though and 1200m is well short of his best distance in reality. Nicely drawn and did win his only start this track at 1700m last preparation. The drier the better for him. Place claims if he repeats that first up run.

7. GYBE- She is a bit of a query here off more than 12 months break and with only 2 runs in 18 months. Also has to contend with a wide barrier which she could overcome with her early pace. Note her good 50% strike rate on Dead tracks and her trainers ability to win races with his Sydney stable first up in Victoria. She has also won a barrier trial in preparation. They are the 3 positives I’ve come up with and not sure she can test these lacking in fitness.

8. WILD MIA- Imported Mare who is yet to race below 1700m and a huge query off nearly a 12 months break. Probably class enough with a Group 2 placing to her name but a bit hard to see her troubling some seasoned Sprint types here.

9. CONSTANT FORCE- On Pacer who has an affinity for his home circuit here. Did win first up last campaign over 1300m at Geelong (Synthetic), but other than that he has only had 1 other career start below that distance. It would appear that he is a little outclassed here against some decent sprinters at a trip below his best.

10. THAT’S THE ONE- Quality galloper who showed a surprising turn of foot first up when co leading down the straight and just beaten by General Truce at the end of 1000m. That is a great formline now after GT won at G3 level at Morphettville on Saturday. He was very good, and a little unlucky first up last preparation behind Sea Lord at level weights with that horse beaten 1.5L but then failed to go on with the job in 2 subsequent runs. Drawn a bit awkwardly here and not sure what the tactics will be this time. I’d be expecting him to race midfield which would be more his normal pattern than what we saw with in fresh run. He is a live chance here but on a weights and margins comparison with Tokugawa/(Sea Lord) he comes up a bit short of that horse, and I’m tired of seeing horses racing flat 2nd up after a great first up effort. He is favourite for a reason though and has Glen Boss aboard. Very hard to beat off that first up run and has to go into Quinellas and Exactas with his ability to handle all track conditions also a bonus.

11. ANOTHER PRELATE- A bit of a favourite of mine but not sure he’s quite up to this standard at a distance short of his best. Also drawn awkwardly and his first up form doesn’t inspire confidence.

12. KING COTTON- Worth some consideration here at a big price given he will be up on the pace and he does race well from an inside barrier. Also note a Tongue Tie goes on, and whilst he doesn’t appear to have won a race with that gear addition, he has won both times when a Tongue Control bit has been applied. Quite obviously there was a problem last start because he raced well below his best in a slightly easier race at this distance. The distance may in fact be his biggest hurdle here as he does seem much better suited at 1000m. Nevertheless, he has won here at this distance, and could give some cheek especially on firmish footing. Big value place claims if the weather holds up.

13. LE REMAS- Significantly has been specifically set for this race after winning a 1300m race at Sandown 4 starts ago. He subsequently beat Under The Eiffel at Sandown, and then went super when beaten only 2.5L by champion (arguably) colt All Too Hard in the CF Orr Stakes (WFA) at Caulfield. That is a great from reference for this race, and this horse does have a very respectable first up record. Last preparation he too ran into Sea Lord and was only beaten 1.2L by that horse in receipt of 3kg from a wide barrier. Prior to a spell he was very disappointing when stepped up to 1600m from an inside barrier. I get the feeling looking at his 0-0/4 from good barriers, and overall career runs, that he doesn’t like to be bottled up inside horses, so a pity he has drawn one again here. Best performances have been from the front at distances a bit beyond 1200m, so a good barrier jump might be crucial to his chances here. If he can get clear of the rail early it should enhance his chances. Handles all conditions and is a live chance here if things pan out for him. Definite winning chance and a must for multiples.

14. POPULATION- Ran 6th in this race last year and the 1200m here is probably short of his best distance. Would probably need a soft lead which he is unlikely to get, and the break between runs is some query (no precedent). Awkwardly drawn to make things just that little bit tougher for him.

15. AGRIPPA- This distance is short of his best and his first up form is only fair. Shocking barrier draw so looking to others to make more of an impact here.

16. DAYITA- An interesting runner from the Peter Moody stable. She has her fair share of ability but is yet to win below 1300m so would need to produce her absolute best to figure against some good sprinters at 1200. She is going to settle back in the field and would probably need a Slow track or worse to figure in the finish here. She has a decent record on Dead tracks but a not so inspiring one when resuming from a spell which is the case today. Some hope of running into a place but hard to see her winning.

17. DASH FOR VIZ (E)- Really struggles to win (4/30) but comes into this off a good first up 4th behind General Truce & That’s The One. He meets the latter 1kg worse for being beaten 1.7L though so hard to see him turning the tables. Chances would skyrocket on a track Slow or worse (3-4/12) given his ordinary strike record on better than that. Definitely worth keeping in mind if the rain comes but otherwise would be struggling to find the placegetters.

18. DEE BEE NINE (E)- Scratched

19 SOPHROSYNE(E)- Will be struggling to get a run and if he does so looks outclassed against these. Would need a very heavy track to suggest he is any hope at all here.

20. BALZEUS (E)- Only 2 wins from 13, and whilst he isn’t the worst of these, it would be tough to suggest he could trouble the placegetters given his better performances thus far. Has at least placed at this track in much weaker grade. Hard to see him getting a run in any case.

Summary

Quite keen on TOKUGAWA here providing he returns to the form he displayed in the Spring. I think he can overcome a wide barrier and think he has the stamina and turn of foot to do so. Pretty sure his best distance will be in the 1200-1400m range and looking forward to him proving that here. Hardest to beat is That’s the One who will take some stopping if he runs up to the first up effort, and Le Remas appeals too having targeted this race and shown enough ability at WFA to suggest he is good enough to win this. Wealth Princess likely to be competitive at her favourite distance and chances enhanced on a track rated Dead or better. I have them in that order.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Day 1 Warrnambool preview

People outside Australia will have heard of the Melbourne spring carnival and the Sydney autumn carnival, and they are great in their own right, but they are spread out over several weeks, in the big city, so if you live there, there's no chance to get away and enjoy complete immersion in the racing and the off-course festivities. The best week for that in Australia is the Warrnambool carnival - three consecutive days of flat and jumps racing in a seaside town almost three hours away from Melbourne. Close enough to drive down for the day if you really wanted to, but also far enough away to justify staying for the week. And what a week it is.....

Joining the blog this week to preview several races is @TheTrialFiles - a website which bases its analysis on ..... trials! More details below.

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WARRNAMBOOL Carnival Day 1

The Trial Files (www.thetrialfiles.com) are going to preview all flat races throughout the Warrnambool Carnival as an extra to our normal Blackbook preview. We have a number of Blackbookers running over the next few days, but there is also a few standout bets outside of these that are worth looking at. The ‘Bool carnival is one of the best betting events on the racing calendar and it is famous for huge betting moves and massive fields. Best of luck for the next three days and hopefully we can steer you into a few winners. Firstly we have summarised the information below for those who don’t have time to read it all:

• Race 3 DESIGN FOR LIFE looks an absolute standout on the card at the ‘Bool, the $2.25 fixed on offer is more than generous.

• Race 5 OH SUSANNAH with a save on SHADANE is the play.

• Extended quaddie for the ‘Bool; 1,4,5,8,9 / 1,3,4,6,9,11,12 / 2,7,11,13,14 / 1,7,13,16

• Skinny quaddie for the ‘Bool; 1,5,8,9 / 4,6,9 / 2,7,11 / 1,7,13,16

WARRNAMBOOL Race 3 DESIGN FOR LIFE & JUNCTION JACK
Trial Comments
DESIGN FOR LIFE Werribee 15th April - BANG CRASH WALLOP! This is what you like to see in a trial and especially fr0m the astute Smerdon stable. This horse will not be a maiden for long, and cannot wait to see him step out over 1200M or even a little further next time out as he will be a betting proposition.
JUNCTION JACK Colac 25th March - was the pick of the bunch here. This was his first trial and he looks a professional racehorse. Follow him early in his career.

Summary
JUNCTION JACK has since had a run when well beaten by the favourite Moonsmoke at Werribee. The run was OK, and he hit the line like the 1200M here would be more favourable.
Assuming THE PRINCELING and ROSE OF CENTAINE, who ran on Sunday, will be scratched here.
First starter, MULTI, trialled at Werribee and led them up before being throttled down late. The trial was OK, but really doubt she has the speed to cross from barrier 13 and will find it hard to get in better than three off the fence.
STAR OF THE WEST and ZARA’S BALCONY will push forward and race for the early lead. Fancy that STAR OF THE WEST will end up taking up the running. Up to the 1200M from 1000M, DESIGN FOR LIFE shouldn’t be too far away in the run and benefit from a nice trail. JUNCTION JACK probably needs to be ridden for luck from the draw and his best bet is to push forward and try and slot in behind the leaders.
This really looks the race for DESIGN FOR LIFE. His first up run over the unsuitable 1000M at Sandown was outstanding and the trial since has shown he has improved immensely from that run. He has come up $2.25 (TAB, even after all the scratchings) in early markets and we see that as great value, very confident he will get the carnival off to a winning start. In terms of dangers most have been scratched, but it wouldn’t surprise if JUNCTION JACK got into the trifecta or first four and he may represent huge value.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 4
Summary
The 2YOs do battle here in a rich Vobis Gold Race. Unraced and untrialled runners are 4,8,9,11 and 17 and the markets MUST be watched on these.
THIAMANDI has tremendous early speed and will lead these with MEZERAY MISS the clear next in line. THIAMANDI has come up favourite, but we question her ability to run a strong 1000M and at the price she has to be avoided. MEZERAY MISS is clearly the horse to beat. She ran cracking time over the 1000M at Cranbourne and then backed it up with another slick gallop over the 900 at Sandown. She can camp on THIAMANDI and straight on by at the 200M mark. STAR DESTINATION looks the value selection, she was green when debuting in a strong race behind ITAMERI and CALCATTA.
Given the amount of unknowns here we would be wanting close to $4 about MEZRAY MISS but she is clearly the standout selection.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 5 SHAMARINO and OH SUSANNAH
Trial Comments
SHAMARINO Hamilton 3rd April - Settled third early but showed amazing pace to fly around the outside of the field passing the 600m and kept going. She maintained her wide run around the turn and ended up in the middle of the track down the straight. Nice trial. Looked like this Shamardal filly just wanted to run. Given a cut with the whip upon straightening to keep her mind on the job but kept going in the straight. Mixed her form last prep but in good order it seems. Best form with the sting out of the ground slightly
Colac 25th March - The only horse worth following from this heat is OH SUSANNAH. She was given a very easy time by Lane, and although finishing last, she had these horses covered by panels. Was a winner at her first start at Morphettville, and looks set to run a big race first up this time in.
Summary
SHAMARINO has since run at Naracoorte and was disappointing. OH SUSANNAH went around a heavily backed favourite after its trial and was an absolute tragedy beaten for TTF followers when she got back early and came twelve wide on the turn before running the winner (who had the dream split) to 0.4 of a length.
BALZAC (also accepted Thursday) does look the likely leaders here from the wide draw with TESTA GRIGIA the other horse pushing forward. Confident that Yendall will not allow OH SUSANNAH to get back like she did last start and he will position her up right on the speed. The pace doesn’t look overly strong here and the race could set up well for those on speed.
SHAMARINO was disappointing at Naracoorte and would need to lift considerably to be competitive here.
OH SUSANNAH on the other hand is without doubt the horse to beat. Her debut win in Adelaide over a reasonable field really showed above average ability and her trial and subsequent run at Stawell gave every indication she is going as well as ever. Interesting to note she was a natural leader early in her career, further adding confidence that Yendall will use the gate and press forward here.
The main danger is SHADANE who was brilliant in winning his only start to date at Mornington. He bolted up to the field on the turn and put them away very quickly. He was erratic that day and hung very badly, which meant the rider couldn’t get at him as much as he would have wanted to, and he could have won the race by much further. He bled that day and has served his three month ban as a result. The only thing against him today is he was slowly away on debut, and that was 1200M, and he looks like he will get a fair way back over 1100M here. Any give in the track wouldn’t dent his chances. Keen on OH SUSANNAH at $3.70 fixed currently and SHADANE as a saving bet (but to make profit on the race) at $8.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 7
Summary
UNIQUE STORM and WEE MAC from wide draws will push forward and look for the lead while THE FOUR LADS will kick up from an inside draw. Fancy the aforementioned two will eventually find the front and THE FOUR LADS will end up taking a sit.
NERVE TEST has come up a short priced favourite and she did run well when getting back at Ballarat first up before charging to the line and finishing second. Couple of concerns here, barrier one is against her as she will get back and need plenty of luck in the straight and we really feel she is looking for 1200M plus at this stage.
KACHADA looks super value at around $21. He won very well on debut at Yarra Valley before a luckless run here at the ’Bool. He was trapped wide early and copped a couple of checks. He dropped out on the turn but really liked his last 100M. He will take a midfield spot in the running line from his widish draw and can be right in the finish.
THE FOUR LADS is the horse to beat on its debut win. He was outstanding when winning by 6 lengths over 1200M on debut, leading all the way. He is going to be up on the pace making his own luck.
CHICAGO MISS is super value at $61 and will relish carrying just 55.5kg here. She can definitely make her presence felt and is huge overs.
RED CORNER appears to be at its best on rain affected going, although it was slightly unlucky not to finish closer first up after racing wide. Happy to work around it here as it will be right back near the tail of the field.
Happy to work around a couple of the favourites here in RUSHWORTH and NERVE TEST, although both must go into the quaddie. Recommended win bet on THE FOUR LADS with something EW on both KACHADA and CHICAGO MISS at huge odds.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 8 OAK HEART
Trial Comment OAK HEART Colac 25th March - had plenty more to offer in this trial. Being a 1200M trial I would expect it to kick off its campaign over 1400 or 1600M, in which case it would be very competitive.
Summary
OAK HEART has had two runs since the trial and both have been reasonably poor. This is his last chance to show something before being put on the scrapheap.
ROSELLO was noted as a poor trialler at Terang, but would be very wary of any market move as this is obviously a target race first up over 1700M and the stable are very astute.
ALROUZ is a natural leader and will run them along here up to the 1700M for the first time this preparation. SMARTY MAC form out wide and UMATAIN look the next two in line along with ME HUNGI who will kick up from the inside draw. ME HUNGI shapes as the horse to beat, he has a great record at the track and has run some really smart time here at the ‘Bool. He was forced to do the chasing last time out and the eventual winner just had the lovely drop on him the whole way. He will be better ridden with a bit of cover from barrier one and will be hard to hold out with luck in the straight. The early market move for OAK HEART suggests he is ready to run a big race and third up last time in he ran a close second in a 1700M race at Flemington. That form is good enough to be right in the finish.
Happy to take the $4 ME HUNGI with something on OAK HEART who has already been well backed from $21 into $8, he will likely drift a little closer to the race as money comes for other runners. In the quaddie would include; THE WINGMAN (no luck at MV and should have finished much closer), FASMOSS (has a great first up record, and has had a few jumps trials to build fitness for this), EVENMOREACTION, ALROUZ (who can run a race up on the speed) and ANLON (very consistent). Wide leg, but keen on ME HUNGI and OAK HEART.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 9 STREET CRIER
Trial Comment
STREET CRIER Colac 25th March - was definitely the pick of the bunch. He coasted to the line under an absolute stranglehold and could have very easily put this trial to bed.
Summary
WANNAJEWEL will come over from a wide draw and match OAMARU’S CHOICE early, these two should set the tempo. RED RAIN will be next in line and GLENMAURA / PEPPY KOALA will form the rest of the speed. STREET CRIER will get back beyond midfield, but the pace does look OK here.
STREET CRIER went to Morphettville first up and was a solid second over the 1050M and he is better suited to the 1200M today.
WANNAJEWEL has an imposing first up record and his recent Terang trial is worth noting in. He was restrained early before hitting the line nicely behind Dusty Star, suggesting he is once again primed for a huge first up tilt. He has switched to the Corstens stable this preparation.
CASH BOUND was smashed in early markets, $19 into $6, but it’s hard to see him winning on recent form, although the blinkers do go back on for the first time in five runs.
WANNAJEWEL shapes as a ripping EW bet here around the $11 mark currently. He will get up on the speed, trialled well enough and has a cracking first up record. The TTF Blackbooker, STREET CRIER, will be hitting the line hard provided horses can make ground on day one and is worth an EW saver if that is the case. Adding GOLD BRIDIAN (great first up) and GENERAL ORDERS (who trialled OK before luckless first up run, improves here) into the quaddie.

WARRNAMBOOL Race 10
Summary
RAZOR will lead from LET THEM HAVE IT, but there does look solid speed here for a 2300M race with the likes of RETLAW LAD, REGINA CEOLI (especially up from 1600M to 2300M), MICKIEM (really forced to go forward from horror draw) and MUJADALE all liking to race handy. Really think they will run this race at a decent clip and that will give backmarkers every chance to run over the top.
WELLS is really going to enjoy the strong tempo up front. His last run over 2000M at Seymour was super, coming from near last to all but win. He has been to the ‘Bool three times for two wins and is ideally suited getting out to the 2350M at this stage of his preparation. At $7 he represents a great each way betting option as the race sets up perfectly for his racing style.
MUJADALE is the main danger. He sat second last start at Ballarat before taking over on the turn and booting away to a most impressive win. He will find it harder here as the pace will be more hotly contested early, but he is right in the mix.
THE WILD THING looks massive odds at $41. His last run at Sandown was full of merit and if you go back a few runs he ran ME HUNGI to 0.5L when that horse was absolutely flying. He is going to appreciate the hot tempo up front and will be running home strongly.
Tough way to finish. Having an EW bet on WELLS with something on THE WILD THING at $41 and a saved on MUJADALE. Play this three prominently in all tricks. Adding WHITE KNIGHT for the quaddie.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

'Betfair king' turns out to be just another conman

Well, blow me down with a feather. The bloke who boasted to the News of the World a few years back that he was making millions out of Betfair was actually just a conman stealing money from 'investors' and blowing it on his own ego and an extravagant lifestyle.

The call went out quickly back in June 2009 when it first came out that it was utter tripe, but unfortunately there are always gullible people who will believe any old story told to them about get rich quick schemes, and they've done their money. The crook, Elliott Short, is currently on trial for 13 counts of fraud.

I was hoping for a slightly more reputable publication to post the story but instead I'll have to use the Daily Mail...

Gambler, 26, who called himself the 'Betfair King' conned friends out of £600,000 with betting scam to pay for designer clothes

A gambler who allegedly conned family friends out of £620,000 through a bogus betting scheme spent thousands of pounds shopping for designer clothes at Harrods and Ralph Lauren.

Elliott Short, 26, who lived in Chelsea, central London, was said to have claimed he was able to place successful bets on races and make large sums of money using a layered betting scheme.

But the horse racing expert lost more than £1million of his own money and cash given by investors through unsuccessful gambling and lavish lifestyle, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Christopher Antoniou allegedly invested £200,000 in Short’s betting system, hoping for huge profits - but he never saw the cash again and began to become suspicious after reading an article about the scheme in a newspaper.


I do love the concluding paragraphs in the original myth-busting article in the Guardian, it's very apt.

The most charitable explanation of how this baloney came to end up in a national newspaper is that the journalist in question was having his chain yanked. As the late Rocky Ryan proved so frequently, there are no end of "stories" that fall into the category of too good to check. A tale of £20m won for very little effort will not be the last of those.

But it is a reminder, too, of the complete ignorance that persists in much of the mainstream media when it comes to the business of betting. Something that many followers of racing take for granted, often on a daily basis, is still regarded with a mixture of awe, puzzlement and deep suspicion in the "outside" world.


Friday, 26 April 2013

The Audemar Piguet QEII Cup preview

High quality racing all around the globe this week, including the 'other' international day in Hong Kong. A handful of foreigners have beefed up the field in the QEII Cup into quite a tasty contest with plenty of depth. With the preview, it's regular HK correspondent, Jon Thompson, @jaytee6666.

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Audemars Piguet QEII Cup

Sha Tin stages the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup on Sunday with 14 runners heading to post at 16.35 local time or 09.35 on the UK clocks.

The race features what will surely be the first of many clashes between the local champion of the older generation Ambitious Dragon and this year’s Hong Kong Derby winner Akeed Mofeed.

The Arthur Millard trained Ambitious Dragon has been in superb form since reappearing last October already notching up three victories, a second and a fourth in his five races to date. His last performance in winning the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup was as impressive as any firmly putting the likes of Glorious Days and Lucky Nine in their place. Jockey Zac Purton has also had a tremendous season and again takes the ride on the local superstar who is drawn in stall six on Sunday.

Akeed Mofeed had been one of the most talked about racehorses to arrive in Hong Kong when joining trainer Richard Gibson from Ireland’s John Oxx. Formerly at the forefront of Epsom Derby betting until an interrupted preparation and injury took its toll this son of Dubawi has been handled masterfully by Gibson and delivered the trainer with his first Hong Kong Derby in just his 2nd full season as a trainer in HK. Jockey Douglas Whyte retains the ride and Akeed Mofeed will start from stall four.

The overseas challenge this year totals four in numbers with Eishin Flash from Japan, Sajjhaa from the Godolphin stable in the UK and the Mike de Kock trained duo of Treasure Beach and Igugu.

It’s hard to make a case for any of the traveling contingent although one is always aware of the credit that the Japanese horses have performed to in the world’s top races in recent year albeit without often winning.

Eishin Flash ran the enigmatic Orfevre to three parts of a length on his last start at Hanshin but earlier form looks questionable at this level including a seven length defeat by Monterosso in what was clearly a substandard Dubai World Cup in 2012.

Sajjhaa will be looking to provide some positive headlines for her stable in what has been a difficult week to say the least! One of two fillies in the race, the other being Igugu, this daughter of King’s Best has won her last four in Dubai culminating in taking the Dubai Duty Free with Igugu back in 5th place. She is undoubtedly in great form and it probably the best of the travellers.

The de Kock trained duo both look as if they will come up short. Treasure Beach looks a shadow of the horse that ran 2nd to Pour Moi in the 2011 Epsom Derby before taking the Irish equivalent 22 days later. His last two runs in Dubai gave the impression that he is either now a very hard horse to get fit or that he may simply need 2400 metres on turf to show the best of his ability.

Igugu has met an in-form Sajjhaa on her last three starts and although has made progress in finishing closer to her rival on each occasion clearly has something to find.

The John Moore trained Military Attack has won his last two in good style and is now the ride of Australian Tommy Berry with Zac Purton on ‘the Dragon.’ Formerly trained in the UK by John Hills he comfortably holds Irian and Zaidan on the form of the Citibank HK Gold Cup although supporters of California Memory will be hoping for a better run from their horse who could only manage 10th place at short odds that day.

Prior to that race California Memory had Ambitious Dragon a place behind him in the Stewards' Cup although it can be argued that after racing very tightly through the first quarter that Ambitious Dragon got far from an uninterrupted run. These two are old rivals and it is worth mentioning that at this trip there will be plenty who feel that the Tony Cruz trained runner will have his chance. Matthew Chadwick takes the ride from stall one.

Ashkiyr is worthy on a mention purely for the reason that he drew stall 14 of 14 in the HK Derby and was only beaten just under four lengths. However when you consider that Autumn Gold appeared the real hard luck story in that race coming from last place to be beaten two lengths in sixth it’s hard to make a case for Ashkiyr to reverse placing with Akeed Mofeed.

Thumbs Up, Crackerjack and Wrath Of Fire complete the line-up but all would need to magic up a career best performance to trouble the judge.

It’s a race where the pace will be key with Ambitious Dragon clearly possessing the turn of foot and Whyte looking to get a long and sustained clear run from Akeed Mofeed once they turn for home. Treasure Beach has been known to attempt to make all from the front and Colm O’Donoghue is a jockey that has been placed in that position many times with his pace making duties for Ballydoyle. Treasure Beach will enjoy being back on turf but it remains a question mark as to whether 2000 metres is on the short side for him these days.

With the Hong Kong Derby form still questionable due to a snail’s pace after 800 metres this looks another terrific opportunity for Ambitious Dragon to add another huge payday to his already impressive haul. If there is a surprise for the places then Ashkiyr could be the one.

1. Ambitious Dragon
2. Ashkiyr
3. California Memory

Emancipation Stakes preview

The last of Saturday's Randwick previews comes from another first-timer on the blog, Tyson Hamilton, @tyhamilton24. Read his assessment of the Group II Emancipation Stakes below and you'll soon notice he knows his stuff...

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The Emancipation Stakes

Track: Assuming Dead or similar.

A 1600m Mares Group 2 and a wide open one at that. 11 runners with a 4.5kg weight spread, three trainers with dual runners and two Kiwis fresh off the boat makes for a difficult race to assess.

Say No More: Ex-Kiwi galloper making its 14th career start. A lightly raced mare possessing an excellent win record back in New Zealand (46%). She has had two Australian starts that can best be described as “fair”. Last start was 7th to Hot Snitzel on the Randwick slow. Positioned midfield throughout, may not have enjoyed the track and didn’t really throw a punch down the straight finishing four lengths off the winner. Will take fitness from that start but does jump 4.5kg in weight. I can’t find a runner to frank that race with Smokin Joey (2nd), See The World (3rd) and Rarefied (4th) all nominated today. In her favour is a good second up record in NZ with a win and place from 2 efforts. Sportsbet are also telling me she is $9 into $7.50. Has reportedly trialled well (via @thetrialfiles) but I think she will be battling for the minors.

Xanadu: Crap movie. Good horse. A Group 1 winner last start over 1600m on a “slow” Te Aroha surface back in NZ. Haven’t seen the footage personally but all reports suggest it was impressive. Sat last and second last throughout then powered home out wide to get the win comfortably. Finishing that way over a slow NZ surface would suggest there is absolutely no query with the 1600m. The Randwick track should also suit her nicely giving plenty of room to wind up. The trainer has suggested that she will go back again rendering her good barrier draw (4) defunct. Given her best performances (on paper) have come from further back; the small(ish) field should suit nicely. If she is sitting 7th come the 800m mark and the race has been run at a strong tempo, look for the run. Opened at $2.70, drifted out to $3.50, now back into $3.40. Whilst her recent form is compelling, those odds are short for a first start on Australian soil with a small question mark on the firmer ground. More Than Sacred didn’t perform to expectations last week and I wouldn’t be surprised if Xanadu was slightly flat. Something of note; back in mid 2012 Say No More, Xanadu and Floria did meet over 1600m, finishing in said order. Say No More giving 2.5kg to Xanadu on that occasion. Results would suggest Xanadu has improved though.

Skyerush: A tough as nails 7yo who looks to have come back in the best shape of her career. I was on her first up when she held off Riva De Lago. For that she has some equity with me. She comes into this race 1.5kg better off from her start last win over Alma’s Fury a fortnight ago. Has drawn barrier 2 which suits her perfectly, should finish a nice spot near the front with cover around Cathay Lady and Cannery Row and maybe Floria. Also very interesting to note that she has peaked 4th run in during her last 2 preps. Everything seems to have fallen perfectly for Skyerush. Then we get to her price. Currently $3.60 and shrinking with Sportsbet. I’m not going to say she won’t win the race but at $3 or so I won’t be backing her. If I was to play with some exotics (and then have a bet, boom tssh) I would certainly include her though.

Raspberries: The first of my two value runners. Last start came from back in the field to finish strongly 1.5l behind Skyerush. Goes up 1.5kg on that run but has been brought in to barrier 9 (from barrier 11). First up she finished 2.5l again behind Skyerush over 1300m at Warwick Farm however travelled wide for most of the trip and was ridden further forward that day, I do think she is a horse that prefers a slightly quieter ride early. She does need a little bit of luck and it has been a while since her last win but the odds of $8 currently available are quite attractive to me.

Shannara: Last win in late 2011. Never disgraces herself but I don’t see her winning.

Floria: The second first-Australian-soil-starting Kiwi. She does have a 0.3l 3rd over 1600m to Shez Sinsational back in her home country. Yet her overall form just looks inferior to that of Xanadu and I don’t think we will see her in the finish. A piece of advice though, watch for the very informative tweets of @racingcarrot on the Twittersphere. A guru on NZ racing. Remember your Mum telling you how good Carrots are for your health? They also work wonders on your Betfair account balance…

Cathay Lady: Another ex-Kiwi runner. Different profile to that of Say No More though having had 14 Australian starts. Preferring a spot at the front of the field, Cathay Lady has run two decent races this prep. First up was 1.6l 4th to the ultra-impressive Arinosa (who was Dundeel-esque last week) and a game 3.5l 9th in the Queen of the Turf to Appearance. She should be nearing peak fitness after those 2 runs and has drawn well in barrier 3. The inside at Randwick should still be in okay condition given this is only the 3rd race of the day. If she is to sit on the pace against the fence, or even 1 back with cover I wouldn’t be worried. I do like the distance profile of her first two starts this prep, a 1200m then a 1500m should have her primed for a nice shot at the mile. At the current quote of $18 I would say she is the value runner of the race. I am quietly confident she will find a place at least.

Scorpio Queen: I enjoy backing second up horses with good second up records after mediocre first up efforts. Didn’t do a lot when finishing a 4.8l 11th to Keith’s Legacy over 1400m. It is noteworthy that the time of 1.22.77 for that race is however pretty sharp. Keith’s Legacy has also gone onto to record another Randwick win last Saturday. My biggest worry is the 25 day gap between runs. I can’t find her attempting this before and it makes me question how much emphasis to place on her good second up record. (Note: She has been back to the trials and once again performed well, via the brilliant @thetrialfiles). The Waller stable has been in good form though so if you like her, at $26, she might be worth a few Bob.

Shamardani: Hasn’t been racing badly but I can’t see her beating all of the above mentioned runners home. She is offered at $51 and I would say that’s about right.

Plucky Belle: A winner last start over 1400m at Caulfield. However has never won over the 1600m. First time going the Sydney way as well but given she is trained by the great Pete, I won’t dare question her preparation for such. I just don’t see her form lines as being anywhere as strong as those of Skyrerush, Raspberries and Xanadu. Nor can I find an x-factor that gets me interested. Moody’s current form needs to be respected but at $9.50 I would say she is unders.

Cannery Row: Gets some nice weight relief from her last start 3rd to Westchester at Canterbury albeit that was in a much weaker class. Has drawn a decent gate and should go forward. Being honest, I don’t see her winning but what she does in the race will have a big impact on the result. If she was to jump well and get into a battle with say Cathay Lady for the lead, stretching the pace, Xanadu and Raspberries becomes the real chances. However if she is content to sit 3rd or 4th with Cathay Lady leading at a leisurely pace, advantage Cathay Lady and Skyerush.

Who to back? After 1300 words and 3 hours I’m not going to sit on the fence. I will back Raspberries EW and Cathay Lady the place at circa $5.

All Aged Stakes preview

Yet another Group 1 feature on the closing day at Randwick. I'd write a longer intro but there's a better version below! Entrusted with the preview of this mouthwatering contest is another blog debutante, longtime equine enthusiast Lara Pocock. Follow her on Twitter, @lara_pocock and read more of her musings on her blog. She's not afraid to throw out an opinion on equine matters - always entertaining reading!

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All Aged Stakes

It was pipped to be the race of the Sydney Carnival, a possible clash between the wonder siblings Black Caviar and All Too Hard, with other Australian stars Hay List and More Joyous set to contend the 1400m feature on the final day of the Autumn carnival. However with the retirement of Black Caviar last week and the withdrawal of Hay List on Monday due to a viral infection, the field will only feature eight horses, but what a quality packed field it is.

After heavy rain left last week's track testing, sunshine and minimal rainfall have the left the course this week at a perfect Good3 yesterday evening. All eyes will be on the Hawkes Racing-trained All Too Hard, who will be embarking on an international campaign before standing at Vinery Stud. Therefore this race will be his domestic farewell.

1. Rangirangdoo - Chris Waller-trained veteran who will be making his reappearance after a long lay off. He was second to New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever on his most recent start, over 1600m last October,

2. Fiorente - Second in the Melbourne Cup last year to Green Moon who has been off the track since that race. He trialled at Randwick earlier in the month but will probably need further to shine and this is likely to be a pipe opener for him.

3. Rain Affair - Fair sprinter who has won three Group Two races but has been out of the winners enclosure since March 2012. He prefers rain affected tracks (lives up to his name!).

4. Rolling Pin - Outsider of the field. Has won over 1500m in Group Two company but could only manage fifth first up on his last start in lower class company.

5. Smokin' Joey - Has run two decent races in stakes company over 1200m this preparation but this is a steep step up in class for him. He finished fifth in the Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes last year over this distance.

6. More Joyous - Top older mare who has won eight Group Ones. Maybe showing signs of her age (six) with lacklustre performance in the Group One Queen Of The Turf Stakes when fifth, could be retired at the end of the season.

7. All Too Hard - Has won three Group Ones and will forever live in the shadow of his older sister Black Caviar. Missed the Group One Australian Guineas due to a high temperature but connections say he is on top form and recovered well.

8. Epaulette - Another three-year-old who was second behind Black Caviar in the Group One T J Smith Stakes on his last start first up. He was third behind All Too Hard and Pierro in the Group One Caulfield Guineas and is due a big victory.

Obviously if all eight do go to post there is definitely each way value in the race. All Too Hard and More Joyous are battling for favouritism, with More Joyous currently the slim favourite at $2.50 with the TAB and All Too Hard on $2.70. Epaulette is next in line at $4.60 and the only runner in single figures.

Australian racing has seen some short-priced favourites turned over recently, with More Joyous 4-6 odds-on favourite for the Queen of the Turf Stakes when getting beaten and I think the same could happen today. Therefore my winning selection will be All Too Hard, if he is good enough to make it on the international circuit he should win this easily, and connections clearly think he is having planned the Royal Ascot trip for a while. The only other concern to have regarding this horse is whether he recovered from the illness that kept him out of the Guineas but after winning a barrier trial two weeks ago I think we can safely say he has.

Next up will be Epaulette, he has some great form, will also be getting weight as a three-year-old, and should win a big one soon, however he has run into yet another good one. The Darley team have been in great form this carnival, taking many of the major races so this is another major positive him.

My third selection is Rangirangdoo. If More Joyous disappoints again this horse could make the frame at a good price. The Chris Waller-trained veterans can often pull a big one out of the bag and he is another yard in form.

7. All Too Hard
8. Epaulette
1. Rangirangdoo
TIP - Lay the favourite (More Joyous).

Champagne Stakes preview

The finale to the Sydney juvenile Triple Crown is the Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes over the metric mile. We don't have the Golden Slipper winner going for the glory this year but it's still a quality field. Making his debut on the blog is Josh Humbler, the wise man behind the Excelleresport website which also provides trading advice on EPL, La Liga and the PGA Tour. You can also follow him on Twitter, @excelleresport. Welcome aboard!

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RACE 5: Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes, 1600m, Group 1

Randwick has played at its testing best over the carnival thus far with no leader winning and race fitness an asset. The final leg of the Sydney 2yo Triple Crown presents an interesting challenge with varied form lines coming in. It may serve to remember a filly has won each of the major 2yo races this season – Magic Millions, Blue Diamond, Golden Slipper and Sires Produce. Prices in brackets are assessed prices.

#1- Riocetto ($101): a decisive winner over this course and distance last week in the Fernhill. Was the recipient of a perfect run last week and may well prove to be a superior wet tracker. Conditions aren’t likely to suit tomorrow

#2 - Criterion ($16): possesses the shortest starting price of those coming out of the Golden Slipper, though has not run since. Although his racing pattern may suggest he is looking for this trip to the eye, he must be risked on this testing Randwick track.

#3 – Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($21): a similar profile to Criterion with two starts against that horse for a 0.2L loss and a 0.3L win. The market, however, has sided with Criterion twice. Tomorrow you are asked to take the same price about this horse. He must be risked for the same reason as that horse, no start since the Slipper.

#4 - Fuerza ($51): proven somewhat at this distance last week behind Riocetto. Blinkers go back on and may well settle handier from the wider draw. His form is well exposed and the best of it exists in sales restricted races. Looks safely held.

#5 – Charlie Boy ($21): will need to make a decision whether to go forward or back from the gate. Sat midfield in the Sires and stayed towards the inside of the track which was not the place to be. Can improve into a place using the middle of the track.

#6 - Champollion ($101): scored at big odds two starts back before meeting many of these in the Sires last start. Looks tested against this better class of animal.

#7 - Havana ($101): one to risk. Battled home alongside Champollion in the Sires, which is not good enough to compete here.

#8 - Equator ($34): certainly bringing a different form line to the event. The winner of both of his starts, a 2yo maiden and a 2yo no metro win race. A typical Gai Waterhouse style of horse that sits handy to the speed, and may well set the speed in this event. The form around him is not strong. Worth risking.

#9 - Drago ($10): an improving profile with a strong finish in the Sires, powering past all bar the trifecta of fillies. I expect him to be the first colt home again tomorrow and he provides good each way value.

#10 – Star Wars ($501): likely to be well back in the field and highly unlike to feature in the finish.

#11 – Guelph ($3.50): an impressive win in the Sires when she was able to blouse the other two fillies late. She is very well found in this event and won’t be flying under the radar. Would need to get out past the assessed price to warrant investing.

#12 – Scandiva ($5.00): I sense she was ridden solely to beat Overreach last start. She achieved that task, ambushing that filly at the 250m mark only to be swallowed up by Guelph inside the final 50m. Robl would be well advised to let Equator and perhaps Diva Dee go here and with a softer run will be right in the finish.

#13 – Diva Dee ($21): started $8 in the event won by Riocetto last week, however has been widely dismissed by the market over a wet track failure. Blinkers come off and, ridden positively, she is a place chance at big odds.

#14 – Shahad ($8): another with a solid foundation of race fitness and a positive finish in the Sires. She shares similar form lines to Scandiva and is surprisingly not priced closer to that filly. Should be positioned much closer from gate 3 and represents terrific each way value.

SUMMARY – The value lies with 12 – Scandiva, 14 – Shahad and 9 – Drago – stake accordingly across these selections. Should 11 – Guelph reach the assessed price she is worth saving on. Owing to the dominance of fillies, 13 – Diva Dee is worth a place ticket.

Sydney Cup preview

The Sydney autumn carnival comes to a close tomorrow with a quality programme at Royal Randwick. The staying feature of the day is the Group I Sydney Cup over 3200m. Over the years it has been won by some... how do I say this nicely.... below top class stayers who've never won another race, but also some superstars as well - Makybe Diva, Tie The Knot and Kingston Town in the last 35 years. The glut of imported European stayers these days should lift the class of all distance races in Australia, and this looks like one of the better fields of recent years, despite a compressed weight scale. Charged with the preview on this occasion is Kieran Fitzgerald, @kjob85.

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Sydney Cup

1. Mourayan
Mourayan is a reliable stayer from the Lloyd Williams stable and can usually be relied on to put in a solid run. He has had an average campaign this autumn, however ran a decent fourth at his last start carrying a big weight. While he has drawn well and will handle the distance, this is probably too much of an ask for him and a place bet would be best.

2. Niwot
Won this race last year with a strong performance, however has struggled since then, without placing in any of his subsequent starts. He is carrying more weight this time around and based on his recent form it seems unlikely that he will be back in the winners circle here.

3. Julienas
A bit of a wildcard in the race. Julienas had been racing well before his last start, where he dropped out at the turn and finished well behind the rest of the field. Since then he has been cleared by the vets and trialled to the satisfaction of stewards, but it does make things a bit risky. On form he is a real chance here, but given his issues last run I would be wary of backing him. Include in the multiples but for me it's a case of caveat emptor here.

4. Kelinni
After a stellar run last start, Kelinni is the clear favourite in this race, and deservedly so. Carrying 60kg on a heavy track, he exploded down the straight to win by one and a half lengths. He is better in the weights here, usually peaks around this time in his prep and after a fourth in last year's Melbourne Cup he is the horse to beat.

5. Maluckyday
A bit of a crowd favourite, Maluckyday has had an alright prep without breaking through. He is usually well fancied for staying races, and the extra distance will suit him. He is well weighted and has drawn the inside barrier. Expect a big run and don't rule him out.

6. Blood Brotha
A New Zealand horse, Blood Brotha ran a strong second in his first Australian start at Randwick two weeks ago. He likes this distance and is well drawn and weighted. Prior to his last start he had a few poor runs in New Zealand, but in general has been a decent stayer. I would expect him to put in a strong showing here.

7. Norsqui
Winner of the Adelaide Cup over this distance last month, his last run produced a disappointing ninth against an average field at Flemington. This horse is quite inconsistent so he really could go either way. He hasn't raced the Sydney way before, but is a strong performer in his home state Tasmania and does like this distance. Carrying little weight, he is a potential roughie chance at big odds. It would be a great story if he pulled through here.

8. Tremec
Tremec has been in great form of late, including beating other horses who are racing here at his last start. He has a wide draw but is carrying a light weight. He is racing at this distance for the first time but his past performances would indicate that the step up shouldn't trouble him too much. On his recent form he should run a strong race and is one of the better chances here.

9. Aliyana Tilde
Aliyana Tilde is having a strong prep and with champion jockey Craig Williams on board, is tackling this distance for the first time. It is a big step up for her but at her last run, where she finished third over 2600m, she looked to peak late, indicating that the extra distance may suit her. The quality of opposition in her previous wins has mostly been average, however there has been enough solid work to indicate she will put in a decent showing here.

10. Coliseo
A horse with a strong record in the country, Coliseo has run twice in the city lately with mixed results. While the extra distance should suit him, the wide barrier draw and the quality of the opposition compared to his past runs make it tough for him and he would need a great run to get up here.

11. Macedonian
A fairly reliable stayer including a win over this distance, Macedonian's recent form has been reasonable without breaking through. This is his ninth run this prep and his record could indicate that he has peaked in this campaign. He is a more experienced stayer than the other horses racing, but it will be hard for him here. Given his record over the distance though, he is an attractive place bet at big odds.

Suggested Bet
KELINNI is the horse to beat here, after his strong campaign and brilliant race last start. While JULIENAS could threaten if he is in good shape, it is too risky for me after his last run. MALUCKYDAY should put in a strong showing, and the next best are TREMEC and BLOOD BROTHA. I would also rate MACEDONIAN for a place at big odds.

Take KELINNI for the win.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Punchestown - Rabobank Champion Hurdle preview

Champion Hurdle Day at Punchestown tomorrow and the appearance of Irish superstar hurdler Hurricane Fly. But is he up to the task? Kieran Kenneally @kierankenneally returns...

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A few weeks ago I was really looking forward to the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown tomorrow. My anticipation was based on getting good fast ground and a belief that Hurricane Fly is vulnerable on that surface. Here we are now on the eve of the race with soft ground, a small field and a 1/3 favorite! So where is the value?

Rock on Ruby is a top class horse who would probably have won a second Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham this year if the ground hadn't turned soft. Hurricane Fly was in all sorts of trouble that day with a mile to go. Flat out and with his head hanging to one side, he simply couldn't go the pace of the leaders and wouldn't have caught them at all if the ground was fast. The ground was soft and the rest is history. All seven of Rock on Ruby's wins have come with the word "Good" in the ground description and on soft ground he makes no appeal!

The horse that does appeal to me and in my opinion has been laid out for the race is Rebel Fitz! He has been first or second in 14 of his 16 runs, has plenty of experience on right handed tracks and loves the ground. His Galway Hurdle win when he gave 19lb to Cause of Causes is top class form. That horse went on to win a big handicap at Ascot and also beat a good Willie Mullins yardstick in Midnight Game giving that horse 1lb. Excuses can be made for Rebel Fitz's last two runs. His second to Tarla was his first run in five months and was essentially an excellent prep. His second before that to Captain Cee Bee when beaten 11 lengths was not his true running as he had previously beaten the same horse on more than one occasion on similar terms.

Thousand Stars is a top class horse, better over further but has been beaten by the favourite every time they meet.

Midnight Game on a line through Cause of Causes is about 20lb inferior to Rebel Fitz!

So Young has proved a decent horse at Grade 2 or Listed level but is below this standard.

Mister Benedictine would appear to be entered as a good day out for the owners and needs other horses to fall or massively under perform to pick up sixth place money.

It is hard to criticise a horse like Hurricane Fly, he has done nothing wrong. A small glimmer of hope for us is his trainers desire to send him to France over three miles for their Champion Hurdle. Maybe he's left a bit of work in him. Who knows?


Hurricane Fly (photo credit - Paul Boylan)

In conclusion I believe Rebel Fitz can step up to another level in his career and is good value at 16/1 to grab the each way money in this and maybe even put it up to the favourite!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Punchestown - Ryanair Novice Chase preview

The Novice Chase ranks are quite strong this year and a quality lineup graces Punchestown for the second feature of Thursday. Another new guest previewer steps up to the podium, Pat Conlon, NH racing enthusiast from Co.Meath. Follow him @woodlane1

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On day three of the Punchestown festival, the Ryanair Novice Chase sees some of our best novices going head to head.

Benefficent from the Tony Martin yard seems to be the one they will have to beat. He made all the running in the Jewson in Cheltenham on March 14th to beat the solid favourite on the day Dynaste. The shorter trip will not bother him and jockey of the moment Bryan Cooper is a very able pilot.

Willie Mullins sends out Arvika Ligeonniere. While you shouldn’t discount a Mullins horse, I think this one has lost its form a bit, coming off the back of a tough race at Cheltenham where he was pulled up and in Leopardstown in January where he fell in the race won by Benefficent.

The Henry De Bromhead trained Special Tiara showed how gutsy he was by beating Overturn and Alderwood with the latter running in this race as well over at Aintree two weeks ago. It will be interesting to see how he has came out of that race. Alderwood was flat enough at Aintree and would need to step up a bit to win here. Mark Walsh deputises for the injured AP McCoy.

If you discount Texas Jack's run at Cheltenham and focus on him being beaten by a nose by Boston Bob on Hennessy day at Leopardstown in Feb, he could be excellent value at around 14/1.

Realt Mor from the in form Elliot yard seems to be the pick of the rest.

With a pot of €62,000 to the winner it's all to race for. The Ryanair gets underway at 6.40pm.

Punchestown - Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle

Day three of Punchestown and the livers are starting to take a pounding, not to mention the wallets! If you do head over for the week, the best advice I can give is pace yourself! Once again we have some top quality racing mixed in with some very difficult handicaps. Please welcome another Irishman making his writing debut for the blog, Kieran Kenneally - @kierankenneally.

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The highlight of day three at Punchestown is without doubt the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle. It's hard not to view it as the big match up between Solwhit and Quevega that everyone is looking forward to but the support cast is also strong.
Solwhit at Cheltenham. Photo credit - Dave Boylan.

The two superstars have met previously, over two miles on heavy ground at this track 1-5-09. Solwhit came out on top that day giving 5lb and just over a three length beating to the mare. Quevega will have 7lb in hand for this renewal.

It's hard to know which horse is more suited to three miles, as they both seem equally happy at the distance and all ground conditions come the same for both horses. It was interesting to hear Willie Mullins describe Cheltenham jokingly as Quevega's "prep" in his weekly column, because that's how the race seemed to me.

Some commentators that day saw the race as another example of perfect timing by Ruby Walsh but to me Quevega looked in need of the race and only just got the win in a relatively weak race. As she gets older she may need extra racing to get race fit, and I can see her improving considerably for the Cheltenham run. She will have to!

Of the challengers Zaidpour, Holywell and So Young are all very good horses but would seem to be playing for place money at best. Of that trio Holywell has had an excellent season, winning a big handicap at Cheltenham and running a very credible second to Solwhit in the three mile Grade 1 John's Smith Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree. He was comfortably held by the winner that day and his general level of form is below the standard needed here.

Reve De Sivola has had a great season winning the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. If he could reproduce his run at Ascot when beating Smad Place by 14 lengths on heavy ground, Reve De Sivola would be a real threat.

The only runner is Whatuthink and he's already trading in triple figures on Betfair.

In conclusion Quevega in receipt of 7lb and with extra recovery time between her races is put up as the Nap of the day at 13/8. Those looking for a bit more value might consider Reve De Sivola ew at around 8/1.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Punchestown Gold Cup preview

Punchestown stretches over five days but perhaps a little strangely, the main event is run on day two. But then again, the feature races are strung out across the festival so perhaps it's not such a bad thing. Anyhow, it's a quality field well known to punters on both sides of the Irish Sea. Making his debut on the blog with the preview is Mark Boylan, a young Irish racing enthusiast and talented musician, often writing about the sport of kings. Follow him @markcboylan or on his Facebook page - Facebook.com/MarkBoylanMusic

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Lieutenant To Command Gold Cup Rivals

Mark Boylan

On Wednesday, the feature race of the day and for some, the entire festival is TheTote.com Punchestown Gold Cup. This race showcases the much anticipated clash between Long Run and Sir Des Champs.

Long Run is returning from a very creditable third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month and connections from Seven Barrows Stables appear to be exuding confidence in their six-time Grade 1 winning star. Cheek-pieces are expected to be fitted once again and owner Robert Waley-Cohen has reported that the horse has come out of Cheltenham in superb form.

The Willie Mullins trained Sir Des Champs will be at the head of many punter’s shortlists after the seven year-old son of Robin Des Champs produced a career best performance when earning a second place finish to Bob’s Worth at the Cheltenham Festival – two and three parts of a length ahead of Long Run.

Whether or not Long Run is capable of reversing the form with Sir Des Champs remains to be seen, but personally I feel that if Long Run is ridden less aggressively and much more patiently, the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner can add another big prize to his already impressive tally.

Although these two will more than likely dominate the market, the ultra consistent First Lieutenant could be the ‘fly in the ointment’ for the Mouse Morris team having produced some outstanding performances already this season.

Other notable contenders include the Philip Hobbs trained Captain Chris who is sure to appreciate the right-handed track and Jimmy Nesbitt’s lightly campaigned nine year-old Riverside Theatre. After studying his run in the Ryanair Chase behind Cue Card repeatedly, I feel that this extended three miles will help his style of racing and level of stamina.

Former Irish Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe held an entry but elected to take on Sprinter Sacre instead today in a very gallant performance.

A trio of competitors from the Aintree Grand National were nominated to line up in the Blue Riband of the week - but only Chicago Grey from the Gordon Elliot team paid up. He'll be the longshot of the field

This looks to be an outstanding renewal of the race and if First Lieutenant lines up, he’ll be a major player in my opinion. The form of horses who have won the Betfred Bowl at Aintree and have come to this race afterwards, read 1st/ 1st/2nd and earlier this month, Mouse Morris’ stalwart wore his heart on his sleeve once again to win that particular race.

All in all, we are sure to be treated to a thrilling contest, perhaps the most keenly contested of renewals for years. Based on the consistency of his performances this season, the brave FIRST LIEUTENANT looks to have enough in him to land another big prize for Gigginstown House Stud.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Punchestown preview - Growsie Champion Novice Steeplechase

If you've never made the trip to Punchestown for the Festival, then put it on your bucket list, it's terrific week! I've put out the call for new blood this week on the blog, and stepping up to the challenge is Peter Tierney, @soladalo with his look at probably the best contest on opening day, the Champion Novice Chase.

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The Growsie Champion Novice Steeplechase, a Grade 1 Chase with the winner taking home €49,600, is dominated by the big players in National Hunt racing from both sides of the Irish Sea.

Of the eight entries, champion trainer W.P Mullins is responsible for two, second in the trainers championship Dessie Hughes is also responsible for two entries with Gordon Elliot, Tony Martin and Tom Taaffe completing the Irish charge. Leading the English challenge is Kim Bailey.

The list of owners represented is no less illustrious, with Andrea and Graham Wylie currently holding two entries and the powerhouse Gigginstown House Stud also holding two entries. Barry Connell, Friti Hay, A N Solomons and the “Lyreen Syndicate” complete the line-up of owners attempting to take home the €49,600 prize.

At this stage it looks likely that the Wylie owned pair, Back in Focus and Boston Bob, are destined to be separated but Willie Mullins has stated that plans won’t be finalised until tomorrow. The musings at this stage seem to indicate that Boston Bob will be held onto for later in the week. The only certainty at this stage though is that whatever horse remains looks set to be sent off the bookies' favourite.

In common with many of the week’s races there are a number of horses re-opposing each other after Cheltenham with connections looking to reverse results. Tofino Bay is aiming to reverse placings with Back in Focus after being narrowly touched off in dramatic style in the National Hunt Cup in Cheltenham, under an audacious Nina Carberry ride. However Back in Focus, a son of Bob Back, is a double Cheltenham festival winner, unbeaten since taking up chasing and has had four of the main contenders here, behind him in previous steeplechases on his way to amassing €140,000 in prize money already this season. He is currently 3/1 with the bookmakers.

Still declared at this stage is his stable mate, the top rated Boston Bob. Unlucky in the 2012 Albert Bartlett hurdle, when the late Campbell Gillies caught Ruby Walsh napping and the heavily backed Irish festival “banker” of 2012 was beaten into second position. He looked to be travelling nicely in this year’s RSA before a slip up at the last ended his participation in the race. He has however been more fortunate this side of the Irish Sea. The RSA was the first time in his racing career where he failed to finish in the first three home. His worst finishing position, prior to falling in the RSA, was when he finished third on his debut here in Punchestown. There is no doubting this horse has genuine class and previous to Cheltenham he had both Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend behind him in the PJ Moriarty Memorial at the Leopardstown Christmas festival.

Dedigout had Mount Benbulben behind him in last month’s Powers Gold and Tony Martin’s charge, has five lbs. to find on official ratings and over 50 lengths if he is to challenge Back in Focus. He was a beaten favorite last time out in Fairyhouse and will be tackling three miles for the first time today.

Kim Bailey’s Harry Tropper unseated his rider last time out in Kelso but prior to that he was an impressive winner of Exeter’s Graduation Chase and also beat Jewson winner, Benefficient, in Newbury last November. With Jason Maguire in the plate it may be dangerous to write him off however this represents another step up in class.

Lyreen Legend has finished behind both Back in Focus, twice, and Boston Bob, once, already this year, albeit over shorter distances but he always shaped as if the step up to three miles would suit. The well backed Saint Des Saints gelding so proved that the step up was no problem when he finished a gallant second to Lord Windermere in the RSA. Representing the inform duo of Dessie Hughes and promising young jockey Bryan Cooper I would expect him to be involved at the business end of the race.

Barry Connell the new owner of the electrifying, runaway Triumph hurdle winner Our Conor is represented by Mount Benbulben who was a hugely promising hurdler last season. He has carried some of his potential into the chasing sphere without ever setting the world alight. This represents his first attempt at 3 miles and despite being under the tutelage of the inform Gordon Elliot and being a son of Beneficial there remains too many question marks about the trip for any of my money.

Gigginstown House Stud, the winning owner in 2012 and 2011, is also represented by Troytown winner Tofino Bay who ran a great race in this year’s National Hunt Cup and was only beaten 0.5L by Back in Focus. The step up to four miles looked to have played to his strengths as a stayer and on that basis I would expect Back in Focus to have his measure once again now dropped back to 3 miles.

Argocat was sent off a 2/5 favorite when winning in Limerick earlier in the month and Tom Taaffe’ charge has been a consistent sort since going chasing. Friti Hay’s five-year-old son of Montjeu, carrying bottom weight 11-1lbs, has plenty of scope for improvement but I imagine Tom Taaffe will find easier opportunities for him as he appears slightly out of his depth at this early stage in his career.

Assuming Boston Bob is withdrawn, BACK IN FOCUS will be a worthy favourite in this race. The, likely to shorten, 3/1 currently on offer looks generous in a race that looks sure to play to his strengths. Proven in all types of ground from heavy through to good to soft, course form, established stamina as witnessed in Cheltenham but most importantly his sheer doggedness which has seen him clinch his last two victories in dramatic style should be enough for him to see off what will no doubt be a worthy challenge from Dessie Hughes’ promising six-year-old Lyreen Legend.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Doncaster Mile

A big Group 1 handicap is the quintessential Aussie horse race and the Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick fits that bill perfectly. A crackerjack field headlined by the all-conquering Pierro makes this year's renewal a mouth-watering contest. These days it's not officially called a handicap, with a compressed weight scale, the name has been changed to Doncaster Mile rather than Doncaster Handicap. Back in the early 90s, a horse called Soho Square snuck in at the bottom of the weights, carrying just 47.5kg to victory. a full 15kg less than the topweight, the mighty Super Impose who won this race twice. We won't see that spread of weights ever again, it's just 5kg this year, reflecting a higher class of contestants - even the bottomweights have Group wins in their form. With the preview, it's over once again to Kieran Fitzgerald, @kjob85.

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Doncaster Mile

Known as the real punter's day of the carnival, this Saturday at Randwick presents what is usually one of the highlights of the Sydney Carnival with the Doncaster Mile, and this year's field does not disappoint.

1. Shoot Out
Shoot Out is one of Chris Waller's strongest performers, and has been a Group One winner this prep in the Chipping Norton Stakes, held over this distance (1600m) at Warwick Farm. He is sheer class over the mile, and has drawn in the middle of the field. At his last start he weaved through from the middle of the field to sneak in for third behind Pierro in the George Ryder Stakes. He is carrying top weight which will slow him down a bit. He should by no means be written off but may find it tough to break through.

2. Pierro
One of the stars of the Autumn both this year and last year, Pierro is an exciting colt to watch in action. He is both unbeaten in his three starts this prep, and unbeaten in his career in Sydney. He likes racing over this distance, having only been beaten at it by another three year old champion, All Too Hard in last year's blisteringly fast Caulfield Guineas. He has drawn exceptionally well with barrier four and goes into the race a well-deserved favourite, albeit at a short price. The only thing that may count against him here is that his last three wins have all been tough runs and he may be feeling some wear and tear. However, he is a strong horse who is well positioned to add this race to his impressive record.

3. Glass Harmonium
Now seven years old, it seems that Glass Harmonium's best performances are behind him. He has been freshened up for this race which will help him, but probably needs more distance to show his best. He will run to the front but it will be a surprise if he can stay there until the post.

4. Veyron
A strong performer in New Zealand, Veyron has raced just once in Australia for a seventh placing in the Ryder Stakes, won by Pierro. He likes this distance and if he can find his Kiwi form, he could put in a decent show at big odds. Keep him in mind as a possible each-way roughie for the day.

5. Danleigh
Nine year old Danleigh is still competing at the top level, having run third in the Chipping Norton this prep, and then finishing strongly to come from the back of the field for a seventh place in the Ryder. He has drawn wide and usually prefers to run the field down from the back, which he will find difficult here with what is sure to be a fast pace and strong horses who will be hard to chase.

6. Happy Trails
After a strong spring campaign in Melbourne last year, Happy Trails has raced twice in Sydney this prep for two ninth placings. While 1600m is his preferred distance, based on his last two runs, against many of the horses racing here, he would need a big improvement to be in the placings.

7. Ethiopia
This is Ethiopia's first run since being injured in the Melbourne Cup and subsequently spelled. Ethiopia often receives a lot of good press, but racing first-up in a race like this is a big ask, and it should be kept in mind that he has only raced 8 times, for one win in Autumn last year. Although his past performances indicate that he has the potential to be a very good horse, he will find it too difficult resuming against the more experienced horses in this field.

8. Secret Admirer
Running in her third start this prep, Secret Admirer is a quality mare who often finishes in the placings, but usually can't break through. She has drawn a wide barrier here and whilst I would expect a strong run, a place bet would be the best option.

9. Solzhenitsyn
While Solzhenitsyn has produced some very good races in the past, he is somewhat inconsistent in his racing, and last start produced quite a flat run to finish at the back of the field. A strong performance here would require a big turnaround from that run and it may be too much for him.

10. Lamasery
Although he produced a poor run last start in the Ajax, Lamasery's second-up form is much better so it is likely that he will produce a better run here than in that race. On top of a good campaign last spring and strong form over this distance, at big odds Lamasery is an attractive outside chance. Definitely one to include in the exotics.

11. Appearance
One of the horses in the race that could threaten the favourite. Showing some excellent form after winning her last two starts and carrying just 53kg, Appearance is a real chance here, with this also being her preferred distance. She opened at crazy odds given her recent form and is definitely worth a look.

12. Red Tracer
Red Tracer is currently enjoying an excellent prep, however has drawn in the car park here (the widest barrier) and this makes it extra tough for her, particularly given that her best performances have been at shorter distances than this. On recent form she should not be forgotten, but a place bet would be a better option given these factors.

13. Streama
The somewhat controversial 2012 New South Wales Horse of the Year, Streama has had a mixed prep however ran on strongly in her last start to finish third in the Queen of the Turf, behind Appearance. She too has drawn widely, and will be helped if it is wet. If the forecast holds up and it is a dead track, then she would be lucky to break through.

14. Norzita
Norzita is in excellent form, having had a strong Autumn campaign, and is very well weighted here. With champion jockey Craig Williams on board, she may be able to overcome a bad barrier draw and threaten Pierro near the front.

15. Monton
Monton has been placed in his last two starts, including a very strong second in the Chipping Norton to Shoot Out, where he was just edged out on the line. Whilst he has drawn wide, he enjoys a firm track and with a light weight and on his recent form, is an attractive place bet at decent odds.

16. Alma's Fury
Alma's Fury has performed well this prep, and is carrying much less weight here than he has in his last four starts in Sydney. Whilst racing well, his strongest performances have been been against fields not as strong as this one, although his recent second in the Doncaster Prelude was against some good opposition. He is unlikely to win, but given the weight factor and his form, I would definitely include him in the exotics.

17. Fontelina
Fontelina has had a disappointing prep, which makes it hard to back her here. She would need a big improvement to get near them.

18. Sacred Falls
Sacred Falls ran second to It's A Dundeel last start, however it was a seven-lengths second. Prior to that it seemed he had left his best form in New Zealand, so it is a bit of a toss-up whether he can perform well here. Personally, I would expect a mid-field finish.

19. Lightinthenite
While he has raced at Group One level before, this horse's best performances have been against average fields, and he is usually found wanting against opposition of the calibre found in this race. He is outclassed and will find it too difficult.

20. Aeronautical
Aeronautical usually prefers to try and run down the field late in the piece, which could be quite difficult here. Having drawn the inside barrier, he may get caught up and find it difficult to break through the pack. He is a good horse but this is not his race.

21. Strike the Stars (Emergency)
A quick look at this horse's form and the average punter could tell you he is out of his depth, with one win from his 20 starts. Very ambitious to enter him here and he is under the odds at 100/1.

Suggested Bet

PIERRO is the deserved favourite, although his tough three runs this campaign may raise a question mark over the short price currently on offer. However, he is still the horse to beat and worth investing in, with the next best being NORZITA and APPEARANCE who are both very well priced. Take Pierro for the win and go a trifecta with the other two. There is good place value to be had with MONTON and LAMASERY also.

PIERRO
NORZITA
APPEARANCE
MONTON

Monday, 15 April 2013

Betfair to go private again?

Interesting reports emerged over the weekend about the possibility of a buyer for Betfair. It turns out the firm behind it specialise in management takeovers so that sounds like some of the existing shareholders stepping in to buy the firm back, rather than see it continue to look like a lame duck on the public markets.

CVC in talks over Betfair takeover bid

CVC Capital Partners, the owner of Formula One, has held talks about a takeover bid for Betfair, the online gambling exchange.

The private equity firm said on Monday that it had held preliminary discussions with Richard Koch, Antony Ball and partners about Betfair, which could include an offer for the firm by funds advised by CVC together with the two men and partners.

Betfair shares jumped as much as 14pc in early trading in London.

Mr Koch, an author, investor and co-founder of LEK Consulting, holds a 6.9pc stake in Betfair. Mr Ball is a non-executive director at Luxembourg-listed investment group Brait and is the co-founder of its private equity business.

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So what would this mean for the company and punters? I suppose it depends on what instigated this. Was it shareholders pissed off at pressures from other investors and where the company was going? That's quite common in floated companies - read the Richard Branson autobiography for a prime example. Do these particular shareholders still see Betfair as it began, as the punter's friend and a major contrast from the High St bookies they were taking on? Do they disagree with the company's cautious stance re grey markets (pulling out of countries with debatable legislation against bookmakers/exchanges) and want to take the firm back to remove the 'overcompliance' demanded by being a public company? Or do they have such faith in the new Breon Corcoran regime that they see massive potential in the value of the company and based on that, think it is a bargain at the moment?

For the punter, the best option of those above would be if the long-time shareholders were embarrassed by Betfair's current image with the smarter than average punter. The days of loving Betfair as a company are long gone. Betdaq powered by Ladbrokes might have a remote chance of capturing that. Perhaps that prospect of genuine competition for a change has inspired the buyout idea. More than likely, this is existing shareholders thinking (rightly or wrongly) there is still value in the company and wanting to take control of the firm back, rather than allowing the public/hedge funds/any other investors steer an ultra-conservative path.

I imagine we will hear more as this story unravels.

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Mark Davies, one of the founders, posted these thoughts on his blog - very interesting reading...

Thoughts on the Betfair bid

Fantasy Betfair

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Plug for a great product - Rewardbet

A brief interlude from the normal content to plug an excellent new wagering product, currently only available on Australian racing. Ever picked out two or three horses in a race and not known the right strategy to match your confidence with potential profit? This is the product for you.



From the founder, a mate with many years of experience in the trade, on both sides of the counter.

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This is the FIRST betting product in Australia in the last 50 years to have been created OUTSIDE the TAB ... and consequently it's been designed from the ground up FOR THE PUNTER ... TO WIN MORE and have a great time doing it!

It is called "RewardBet" - visit the site www.rewardbet.com

It is free to join and free to use .. there's an agreement in place with Luxbet.com - so they are the first major bookie to implement the product. So you can use it now if you have a Luxbet account (or just join Luxbet if you don't).

What will it do?

Well, there's many benefits - but essentially it will allow you to place all your bets for a race in one transaction, all perfectly staked to maximise your returns. It fixes the most important problem in punting - staking! You can be the best tipster in the world but if your staking is poor you will still lose.

RewardBet applies the same principles that the hi-rollers in Australia do - maximising their returns by betting better through the exotic pools based on your win selections. The great thing about RewardBet though is that it is simpler and much faster to use than any alternative way to bet exotics and it's free.

It is likely that RewardBet will become the default way that most people bet in Australia (and indeed, around the world). So this is your first introduction to it.

It is quicker to use than normal betting, simpler (just three steps), places your bets better - including all win and exotics placed to the EXACT CENT and will increase your returns from betting.

It is suitable for EVERY punter ... there's some new features coming soon allowing you to even incorporate your own ratings or prices at the touch of a few buttons.

Check it out - you won't be disappointed - there's already a groundswell of people signing up and there's been no marketing yet ...

www.rewardbet.com - click on the SUPPORT link for more information.

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And this product will soon extend overseas if the popularity of it at ICE was any indication...

Here's a bet of mine from Rosehill today, the George Ryder Stakes. I reckon Pierro is a moral, Solzhenitsyn will run second and I've included four horses to run third.
Selections made, I've made Pierro a banker for first, Solzhenitsyn a banker for second.


Next screen, I have a bunch of options on how to weight my bets. (I've left out a screen where I chose a total $10 stake).


Confirmation screen and then the final display of the bets I have placed.



This is just one of the ways to use it. You can stick with plain old win betting, or pick a couple, back them for the win and the exacta/quinella etc etc. Very cool product with lots of flexibility, and lots of additional features in the pipeline! Currently only linked with Luxbet and BetEzy in Australia - you use Rewardbet to place your bets via those accounts.