Saw the great Scottish fiddler at the Birmingham Symphony Hall last night. She was in great form in a fabulous venue. Played the Szymanowski violin concerto with which she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year back in 2004.
In anticipation of cleaning up (!) at Fairyhouse I have put in an advance order of chablis. Like most things in life you have to get the value, so I have gone for a Tesco punt that was originally put up at £10.99 a bottle:
It now trades at £5.49 a bottle. However Tesco has an offer this week of 25% off if you buy six bottles. So this brings the price down to a very attractive £4.11 per bottle!
You can get the deal in-store or online but for free home delivery you will need to spend fifty notes.
Don't take my word for the quality, here's what The Times' Jane MacQuitty said about it (when priced £5.99):
"Ignore the stupid name and grim label and tuck into this rock bottom-priced chablis. ...this gets my vote... elegant, waxy, smoky, nutty, wine. Just the ticket with a plate of smoked trout or salmon."
Price now: 20/1 best with sporting-shite but more importantly odds-on to finish fourth and deny us the ew return. Not good.
1pt win Chris 20/1, 1pt win Chris 16/1 (w/o Ella), 1pt straight forecast 6/1 Jahmene-Chris
Price now: Chris 6/1 best but as low as 4/1 sporting-shite. Forecast now available @ 7/1. According to leaks Chris has topped the poll every week to date. Whether this continues who knows but money has been coming for him last 24 hours or so. To quote Kevin Keegan: "I would love it" if he won as I was chucked off the sofabet site some weeks ago for criticising the site and in particular their selection of him to depart at short odds in previous weeks.
Would be fantastic if the anti-Cowell, anti-xfactor selection won. I still think it's possible as only old fogies watch the shite now. I certainly won't be tuning in this week as - floods permitting - I hope to be in Dublin for the Fairyhouse gig this weekend.
Nine points invested so far and last throw of the dice is:
1pt James next elimination @ 8/1 Coral
1. Union J to get bounce from bottom two last week
2. James has been in bottom two and already benefitted from bounce
3. Chris never in bottom two and popularity to continue
4. Jahmene never in bottom two and leaks say second best most weeks
5. James too off the wall for old fogies who make up increasing share of the audience!
Now we know the final twelve. We have already lost money on the event before it starts as gold medalist Queen Vic is not in the final. In fact all but one in the final twelve is an Olympic gold medalist, the exception being Rory McIlroy.
Like Cavendish last year, Wiggins is a very short price. Unlike Cavendish though the opposition is a lot stronger and I think you could make a case for eight or nine of the twelve winning. I cannot believe Bradley is 2/5 and I am tempted to lay him as I did unsuccessfully with Cavendish last year!
My idea of the winner is Mo Farah available at 8.0 (7/1 less 5% commission) on betfair - somewhat better than bookmakers' top price of 5/1. For this reason I'm not booking a bet but I think 8.0 should be considered. Not least as my wife says that for her his two races were the defining moments of the Olympics!
Interestingly Coral is the only bookmaker currently betting on a top three finish (excluding betfair) and some of the prices are just too big, given the earlier comment about eight or nine runners being worthy contenders.
I have therefore had a few small bets in the hope that a "rag" can make the frame:
1pt Rory McIlroy SPOTY top three finish @ 50/1 Coral (Internet only: 40/1 shops) 0.75pt Ben Ainslie SPOTY top three finish @ 66/1 Coral 0.75pt Chris Hoy SPOTY top three finish @ 80/1 Coral 0.5pt Nicola Adams SPOTY top three finish @ 100/1 Coral
You can tell from the stakes above there is a lot of guess work here! What we need is a viral marketing campaign to spring up centred on one of the four listed.
The other wager I had sometime ago was a point on Ellie Simmonds @ 80/1 who at least has made the final twelve. She is now top price 66/1 and I have had a small further bet as follows:
1pt win Ellie Simmonds without Bradley Wiggins @ 40/1 Betfred (Lads only 16/1)
Total invested four points
I have just had my maximum allowed bet on a straight forecast with Paddy Power - £6.80p @ 6/1 on Jahmene/Chris (xfactor). They immediately moved the price to 5/1. Unbelievable and no doubt that this was a result of my bet. I then topped up with my maximum allowed with skybet on the same wager - £4.17p. So before that price disappears I am logging:
1pt st. fcast Jahmene/Chris xfactor @ 6/1 Skybet
Neither act has finished in the bottom two unlike all other competitors.
It is fast becoming not worth betting with these pathetic firms. If they don't close your account they restrict you to fivers or a tenner if you are 'lucky'.
Well it's been a good one. You will see from the published figures that I finished the flat season with 16.9% profit:
It's a shame that Indignant could only finish second at Doncaster on Saturday having been a late plunge from the 10/1 we took down to 5/1 joint-favourite.
The calendar year to date for all bets is not so good with a small deficit - 2.28%. However the overall profit from the inception of the blog is showing 660 points profit or 18.3%.
I don't expect to be posting much in the next few months. I will be having a rest from punting (other than the Dublin trip planned for the end of the month). Going on a cultural trail of concerts, films and a catch up of the novels sitting in the bookcase waiting to be read!
Del Potro takes on Federer tomorrow afternoon and needs to beat him to reach the semi-finals. Federer has already qualified for the last four.
Paddy Power offers 18/1 the Argentinian winning the event including an each-way provision.
I couldn't believe it when Federer told everyone he played a great match to beat Ferrer in straight sets. The fact is he didn't - just check out his unforced error count. Delpo won his latest encounter with Federer in Basel and in the match before that I was lucky enough to watch him go down narrowly to Federer 19-17 in the final set of their Olympics' encounter. Delpo was so close that day and appeared to leave the court in tears after the defeat.
I hope the big man fares better tomorrow as I have had:
1pt each-way Del Potro to win ATP finals @ 18/1 with Paddy Power (1/3 odds 1,2)
Disappointed that Uncle Dermot could not hang on to the lead at Nottingham yesterday and that (after-time alert!) the only horse I thought was a danger turned out to be the winner of the race. This followed on from the decent second place in the Melbourne Cup for my 25/1 each-way selection Fiorente. The selection's SP was 30/1 and it was trading at 44.0 on betfair the evening before the race so naturally I pressed up with some additional win money to no avail.
The last 2012 flat season bets will be at Doncaster on Saturday. I am very confident that my approach can produce good profits in 2013, given access to a decent variety of betting accounts. However more accounts have been closed or restricted this year than for many years and it remains to be seen whether I will be able to achieve the range of prices needed to secure the value.
With regard to x-factor, unfortunately it looks like my ew poke Union J could get squeezed out of the frame. Money is coming for the "cruise-ship" singer Christopher Maloney as according to leaked reports in "The Sun" I understand he is polling twice as many votes as any other contestant. No doubt the producers will be out to stitch him up ASAP. You just wonder, with the reduced viewer numbers this year, whether a "rogue" contestant could win - as has happened a couple of times in SPOTY ( e.g. Ryan Giggs). Unlikely I realise but wouldn't it be terrific is Cowell got a winner he didn't want?
A very speculative 1pt win Chris Maloney to win x-Factor @ 20/1 Boylesports
Good news from the USA. We would have been beat with a man wearing sacred underpants in charge of the western world. He believes god lives on the planet Kolob. Spell the planet in reverse and that tells you all you need to know about it.
Meanwhile more down to earth considerations at Nottingham:
15:15N 3pts win Uncle Dermot @ 7/1 William Hill BOG
12:15N 1.5pt ew Dancing Maite @ 9/1 Skybet (offer 1/4 odds 1,2,3 and top price)
Further Nottingham bets may be posted after the first race.
Apologies for the tennis advice chaps. Could not have got it more wrong as Safarova, for once, held her nerve and Kvitova came through with no apparent medical problems. So that's the end of Serbia's challenge.
Two selections at the Breeders' Cup: both tailed off. As for the Turf runner I was right to take on the Europeans but annoyingly my selection's trainer won the race with his second string at 25/1.
Flat season ends next weekend. Possible plays at Nottingham mid-week and Doncaster Saturday. And that will be it until March 2013. Selections over the jumps will be few and far between.
Off to Ireland - Fairyhouse - at the end of the month so that should be fun. Been to this particular two-day fixture three times - but not since 2001. My Paris exploits will appear shortly in the next LRC mag and will also be published on my website before too long: "Drawn to the Arc", sub-titled: "Down but not quite out in Paris".
The tie will open tomorrow with Ivanovic v Safarova, a "your-choice" even match with the bookmakers. Safarova has the better recent record in the H2Hs but I don't think she is one to have on your side in a tense situation.
When Czech Republic beat Russia in the final in Moscow 3-2 last year it was Safarova's two singles matches that produced the 0-2 and in those matches she never looked likely to win a set against either of the Russian B team (Kuznetsova and Pavlyuchenkova).
Kvitova plays Jankovic tomorrow and will of course be a warm favourite to beat the Serb despite her continuing health issues. The indoor court is said to be on the slow side so that would obviously suit the underdog in this match.
The Czechs are of course highly likely to win the doubles whoever the Serbs put up so realistically they need to win the singles 3-1 to prevail. The 2/1 we took earlier about Serbia has gone but PP is still offering 15/8 which I believe is worth a top up given the uncertainty of Petra's health and the potential nerves affecting Safarova's game. I have had:
4pts Serbia to win Fed Cup final @ 15/8 Paddy Power
Looking forward to watching a bit of the Fed Cup on Saturday, apparently Kvitova is going to play as she is in the process of recovering from her various ailments. Should be interesting.
Meanwhile I've played an outsider in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, race six in the Breeders' Cup tomorrow. This race is run drug free. The only home runner who has never taken drugs (i.e. Lasix) is Kitten's Point. This may (or may not) give her an advantage against the home team as they will be coming off Lasix for this race.
She's drawn one. Again, possibly favourable:
21:28SA 1pt each-way Kitten's Point @ 20/1 Ladbrokes (1/4 1,2,3)