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Showing posts from January, 2014

Six Nations - France v England preview

It's Six Nations' time when the cream of European rugby do battle (without the threat of being hammered by southern hemisphere opponents :). The non-football media in England will hit fever pitch in the next 48 hours before England step out onto the Stade de France to launch their campaign. Will eternal optimism be sustained or crushed back into doom and gloom on Saturday night? Step in rugby expert Russ Petty, @rpetty80 , and his detailed pre-game analysis of the first round's headline match. You can read more of his sterling work, including previews of this weekend's other matches via his blog . ---------------------------- France vs England There is a trend that the French do well in the tournament straight after a Lions tour – they won in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010, with Grand Slams in three of them. They did only win two of their 11 games in 2013 though and the problems concerning fitness, and number of ‘foreigners’ in key playing positions in the Top 14 rema

Ballarat Cup Preview

The Ballarat Cup is one of the jewels of Australasian harness racing yet puzzlingly (or is that politically), it is not a Grand Circuit event. This time of year is as good as it gets in Victoria, and signing in on the blog for the first time is Jay Wilkins, @TearitallaJay . --------------------------- 2014 Ballarat Cup Next week's Hunter Cup creates a couple of interesting sub-plots for the top fancies in this year's Ballarat Cup. The Ballarat Trotting Club has assembled a very competitive line-up for their Cup, despite the focus of many stables being drawn to Victoria’s showpiece standing start (SS) classic on 1 Feb. The impact began when Shepparton Cup winner The Gold Ace was deemed to have galloped away from the SS, basically ending his chances of gaining a Hunter Cup place. Hunter Cup qualifying rules state: A condition of the Hunter Cup is that “a horse must have contested and began safely in a minimum of one standing start race in the 12 months prior.” This rul

Courtsiders at the Aussie Open has nothing to do with match-fixing

Following on from my popular post What shits me about match-fixing 'journalism' , there is another prime case of media reporting on an industry they have zero clue about.... but because they once bet two bucks on the Melbourne Cup, they consider themselves an expert on it... It started from this - a police statement about a nonsensical arrest at the Australian Open. Police have arrested and charged a man at the Australian Open for ‘courtsiding’, a form of court side betting that involves placing bets on point outcomes throughout a match. Fault 1 - no it doesn't. It involves placing bets on the match outcome. There's no advantage in betting on points, bookies will NOT let you bet on the next point because they know about broadcast delays. They will bet you on the point after the next point - eg at 15-all, they will offer a market on the fourth point of the game. Fault 2 - this guy would not have been placing the bets, he would only have passing on the data to someo

Betfred Classic Chase preview

Less rain, lots of wind this week means we might get some decent racing this weekend in Britain! Warwick hosts one of its best meetings of the year, and taking up the challenge of the preview is @tenembassy . For weekly previews and reviews, and a monthly Eyecatchers service from him, send an email to for more details. ------------------------------ Betfred Classic – Warwick 11th January Hot on the heels of the Welsh National comes another staying chase with good prizemoney, with over 34k to the winner here. Looks like conditions will be stamina sapping, with the course getting another 11mm Wednesday night into Thursday, but it looks set fair from here to Saturday which might well result in that sticky heavy rather than the heavy that we got at Cheltenham last week, where it just constantly rained and horses got through it easily. It’s a race that’s twice been won by Alan King and Paul Nicholls in the last ten years but for various reasons, neither has a runner

It's on the shelves!

Get out there and buy the Jan 4 edition of the New Scientist.

Sussex National Preview

How a track is allowed to name a race a National while including the county name at the same time is beyond me, but NH enthusiasts of the south will be heading to Plumpton to see this time-honoured race. Time to welcome another new writer to the blog - aspiring local sports journalist Harriet Fuller. You can read more of her work on her blog and follow her on Twitter @HattieLFuller --------------------- Sussex National With waterlogged courses having caused a few meetings to be abandoned, tonight we thank Plumpton for their new drainage system, which has saved the day. Tomorrow is of course the Sussex National and one of the course’s busiest days, and the doom and gloom of the weather is not enough to put many keen racing fans off. The Sussex National will need guts, courage and pure determination to be cliché, and a horse that likes heavy ground may be of help to get round the 3m 5f course. The term ‘heavy’ is a compliment for the ground, the bottom bend is muddy on a good da

Marriott Interactive Handicap Chase preview

The wet weather up and down the isle of Britain has put paid to a few meetings this week but the great mind of the north, Mark Rowntree, @uptheirons007 , has chipped in with a look at the best race at Newcastle, a meeting likely to survive the big wet. Read more of his work on his blog . ------------------------------ Marriott Interactive Handicap Chase Three miles, Newcastle, Saturday 1340. A race that has attracted only seven entries, but a competitive field for the feature-the Class 3, Marriott Interactive Handicap Chase run over 3M. Conditions will be testing (albeit less so than elsewhere in the South), with 32mm of rain having fallen on Gosforth Park since the previous meeting on December 21st. The going is currently described as Heavy, Soft in Places. Ann Hamilton’s 11yo Rolecarr , a winner seven times from 38 career starts heads the weights off 11st 12lbs, conceding in excess of a minimum of almost a stone to all his rivals. Rolecarr adores Kelso, having won on five occ