The Fed Cup final takes place in Prague this weekend when the Czech Republic play Serbia. Cornerstone of the Czech team is of course Kvitova who cost me notes in the WTA (Istanbul) finals last week when she withdrew after her first match through illness.
On Monday Kvitova played an exhibition set in Prague against Sharapova and from what I have read was absolutely awful in a 6-1loss to the Russian. Home pressure will be huge on the 2011 Wimbledon champion this weekend and the Serbian team will be ready to strike if there is any weakness in the Czech team.
I think the Serbian women have a better than 2-1 chance of emulating the Serbian men who triumphed in the 2010 Davis Cup final and thus became national heroes in doing so. I have had:
Takes place at Santa Anita this weekend. Not been there but I am a four-time visitor to the Breeders elsewhere. But not this century. 1999 was my last visit when Frankie won the Turf on Daylami. Not expecting to have many bets this time around. For now going for one in the Turf against the Europeans:
2 pts win 1pt place Dullahan to win Breeders' Cup Turf @ 12/1 William Hill
Probably play a couple of races at Nottingham tomorrow.
Not long now until the end of the flat season. Hopefully we can land a couple more winners before it's over. It's gone pretty well and the 18.5% profit to date has (almost) neutralised losses this year on other sports. Results to date are here: http://www.mikequigley.co.uk/Flat-season-2012.php
I'm playing one race at Leicester tomorrow. Two selections against the field. One price taken tonight and a follow up on the race in the morning:
14:20L 2pts win Weapon Of Choice @ 10/1 William Hill BOG
A great result in the big sprint. Jack Dexter wins a comfortable neck at 4/1f. As you know I took 13/2 BOG last night with WH. However you may have noticed that WH's price this morning was 8/1 so hopefully some of you may have taken that bigger price earlier today. Interestingly Pricewise had two selections in the race (neither of which was placed) and despite the market support for these Jack was backed from 7/1 to 4/1 favourite on the course.
The WTA finals start tomorrow in Istanbul. The most likely winners - Serena and Vika - have been drawn in the same group, so you'd expect them both to qualify for the semis. In the weaker group Kvitova and Pova are the favourites to come through. Kvitova won this event last year of course and is very at home on indoor courts. On the negative side she has been in poor form of late, hence the odds available on her winning this event.
It's a bit of a leap of faith but I think Petra is worth a small each-way bet as follows:
1pt ew Petra Kvitova to win WTA championships @ 9/1 Paddy Power (1/3rd odds 1,2) I have also had a bet on the group: 2pts win Petra Kvitova to win White Group @ 9/4 Paddy Power Total four points. Sent from my iPad
Just the one race of interest today. The Nursery at Pontefract. I think that Scepticism and Ingleby Symphony may try and dominate the race from the start. This tactic could of course set the race up for something else, but I'm hoping one of them can hang on! I just favour the Johnston runner:
14:20P 2.5pts win Scepticism @ 6/1 Paddy Power BOG (also available Coral BOG)
14:20P 1.5pts win Ingleby Symphony @ 15/2 Bet365 BOG
0.5pt reverse forecast above two (William Hill SP)
Wouldn't it be ironic if Wozniacki won a grand slam now she is no longer top of the rankings? She certainly looked good in winning the Kremlin Cup this week and I noticed how many winners she was hitting in her matches. Previously it was often the case that she would only hit three or four even in along match. She has been reaching double figures this week. Is this a new era of attacking tennis for the "pusher"?
Who knows but 45/1 with PP (who bet NRNB) is worth a small interest. SW and VA probably too strong but it's a big price:
1pt ew Caro Wozniacki to win Australian Open @ 45/1 with Paddy Power (1/2 odds 1,2)
(40/1 with Ladbrokes or William Hill is acceptable)
Good news and bad news. First of all Precision Strike has gone in @ 33/1 - unfortunately I only staked 0.5pt each-way @ 25/1 but at least we are bogged up to SP 33/1. The horse was very weak on betfair and 40.0 was available early in the day hence my light staking. Haven't seen the race yet but you know what they say - you never have enough on a winner!
Our 50/1 poke in the 16:50 is a non-runner. Yougoigo had been backed down to 14/1 in places so I was expecting a big show! Going to have a small replacement be as follows:
16:50N 1.5pts win Ginger Ted @ 8/1 Blue Sq/888.com
Eight runners declared and CAD is now a best priced 4/1. All bookmakers except William Hill currently betting each-way only on the first two. Hills continue to offer one-fifth odds 1,2,3 which has prompted me to have the following bet as they are best price:
1.5pts ew Declaration Of War @ 50/1 William Hill 1/5th odds 1,2,3.
Once again the value of the BOG (best odds guaranteed) concession was in evidence today.
Whereas my main selection in the 15:45G (Gouray Girl) was a warm order, going off at 8/1 having been 10/1, my second selection in the race (Sugar Beet) started at an amazing 50/1, having been an early price of 25/1 which I had shrewdly secured!
Gouray Girl was annoyingly beaten 1/2 length into fifth thus denying us an e.w. payout. Sugar Beet, however, was not far away from winning the race finishing runner-up at 50/1. Because the bets were placed at W Hill BOG, we are paid on Sugar Beet at 50/1 (1/4 odds) i.e. 12.5/1 place odds instead of the 6.25/1 place odds payable on the early price.
Two more companies have recently joined the BOG roll of honour. These are Stan James and Coral. Stan James are no longer any good to me. They used to lay me bets to win £100. I got into the habit of having, say, £10 @ 10/1 and then going elsewhere for the balance of my bet. Unfortunately this pattern of enormous staking proved too much for their fearless layers and they closed my account a couple of months go. It's a shame Pinnacle don't offer UK horse race odds as they are one of the few firms prepared to lay bets these days.
So remember to look for the BOG labels ( "B" on oddschecker) when searching out your early prices!
Watched the new series for the first time last night. Programme goes on far too long - over two hours! Betting market is pretty settled now with Ella Henderson odds on with all firms. She may well win but because of her price there is scope for an each-way play.
Only three firms are not betting win only: Sportingbet, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. Forget the first of these unless you don't have a PP account. Based on the teenage girl screamer/voter factor, I like Union J at the 12/1 with Paddy Power (Ladbrokes 9/1):
3pts each-way Union J to win x-factor @ 12/1 Paddy Power (1/5th odds 1,2,3)
I'm just starting to think about the Champion Stakes next Saturday and what the ground could be like. They will have had plenty of rain at Ascot recently and after a couple of days respite rain is forecast again from the middle of next week. Is it possible they might not run Frankel in the Champion Stakes if it turns really soft?
The only real challenger in the ante-post market is last year's winner the gelding Cirrus Des Aigles whom I saw win his come back race at Longchamp last Saturday when beating my ew selection Hunter's Light by nine lengths. The ground was of course heavy, conditions that really suit Cirrus. Nevertheless it was an impressive performance as the horse was said to be not fully wound up. It is difficult to see what could possibly beat Cirrus Des Aigles at Ascot other than Frankel.
Therefore I have had a major each-way punt as follows:
7.5pts ew Cirrus Des Aigles to win Champion Stakes @ 5/1 William Hill (1/5th odds 1,2,3)
Dutch Masterpiece is a non-runner in the Nottingham race so, as my forecast bet is with William Hill the bet becomes a single @ SP on Millkwood. I think most bookmakers settle this way but if yours doesn't you will need to decide what to do with your void stake. For the purposes of the blog however it will be on Millkwood to win.
After the excitement of Paris - but unfortunately a complete lack of winners - it's back to the more mundane setting of Pontefract for our next bets. Need to get back on track so that the flat racing season bets show a healthy profit come the first week in November.
Having just left the track I can report that it's riding very soft as it rained throughout the afternoon.
My two main selections for the Arc are both drawn low, as a single figure draw has won this race in nine of the last ten runnings. It's just possible the "wide runners" could get into this this year so I am adding one more selection to the portfolio. This one is drawn 15 but its best form has been on very soft ground. Of its four victories two have come on very soft ground and one on heavy ground. The bet is:
1.5pts win 1pt place Kesampour to win the Arc @ 40/1 William Hill BOG
Probably post something for the Abbaye later but first it's scallops and Chablis on the Boulevard Georges Seurat! (Arty-farty punters will know which district of Paris I am in!).
I am blogging from a hotel in SW London as I am en route to Paris for the Arc. Tonight I attended the LRC (London Racing Club) Arc preview. Not only did this focus on the Arc; Champions' Day, Breeders' Cup and Melbourne Cup were also covered.
The panel included the superb Racing UK analyst Steve Mellish and the respected International Bureau chief Adrian Beaumont.
Steve, who tipped Danedream at 33/1 last year at this gig, is keen on Sea Moon. However the draw will be announced tomorrow morning so I am keeping my powder dry until then. (We already have a small bet on Shareta @ 10/1).
However I have had a small interest in the Melbourne Cup as follows:
1pt ew Fiorente to win Melbourne Cup @ 25/1 Paddy Power
1pt win Mount Athos to win Melbourne Cup @ 8/1 Paddy Power
If you didn't see the 16:50 Bath but have just looked at the result you might be thinking: "Model Behaviour, that's a poor selection it's finished last". That is just part of the story. Put up at 20/1 it had been a drifter all day touching 33/1 with Sportingbet, one of the firms that seems to have no opinion and just slavishly follows Betfair.
At the track it was very different with substantial support at all rates from 28/1 to 10/1 SP.
As soon as the stalls opened though Model Behaviour's chance had gone as the jockey had lost his irons.
Our other selection, Jawim, took it up about a furlong out but was beaten in a four-way photo finish taking fourth place at 20/1.
No horse bets tomorrow but back Wednesday for possible wagers at Newcastle and/or Nottingham if these meetings go ahead.