Don't like having missed a price but that is the situation with today's selection which conceivably could start even shorter. Missed the early double figures as was at Ludlow races landing the Placepot and somehow the winner of the last (followed by the pub). All this was preceded by my first visit to http://www.ludlowkitchen.co.uk for lunch. Will add some (positive) comments on the restaurant to the relevant page of my website in due course. Meanwhile I have had:
16:50W 2pts win Sylvia Pankhurst @ 8/1 Paddy Power BOG
Endorsing getting caught by a head in the last race bet on yesterday was a disappointing end to the day. The day's loss was limited to 3.5 points thanks to a 9/2 winner. No action today.
Seems extraordinary to me that the jumps' season finished yesterday and then starts again today. I think they somehow have to divorce the timetable from the flat timetable through shifting the dates around a bit but that's the least of the authorities' worries at present. I am going to Ludlow races this afternoon but betting action will be confined to Placepots. I much prefer betting on the flat and seldom bet on the jumps (apart from the Cheltenham festival and occasionally at Ludlow.)
Later today Li Na plays Sharapova in the Stuttgart final on artificial clay. (This is a tremendous surface which my tennis club is hoping to add to its facilities in the near future.) Pova is marginal favourite despite dropping three sets this week whereas Li Na has come through her matches in straight sets. I guess Pova being mentally stronger is the more likely winner but I hope Li Na plays well to enhance her chances of regaining her 2011 French Open title from the Russian next month.
"We really thought we had a purpose
We were so anxious to achieve
We had hope
The world held promise
For a slave to liberty
Freely I slaved away for something better
And I was bought and sold
And all I ever wanted
Was to come in from the cold"
My main bet for the French Open Ladies is the 2011 winner Li Na (3pts ew at 14/1). She is now a best price 10/1 having beaten Kvitova in straight sets in the Stuttgart Open yesterday. We also have half point ew bets on Barthel (100/1: has not trained-on) and Vinci (250/1: a big price).
I have added two more players to the portfolio. Last year's runner up (Errani) and the 2008 winner (Ivanovic who played well in losing a close three-setter to Pova in Stuttgart):
1pt ew Sara Errani ladies' singles @ 28/1 Spreadex (fixed odds) 1/2 odds 1,2 0.75pt ew Ana Ivanovic ladies' singles @ 66/1 Paddy Power* 1/2 odds 1,2
There are still doubts about Ivanovic - whether she would have the nerve to win it if she found herself in the the latter stages of the tournament. However the price is pretty big about her chances and she is a previous winner.
* price available with other companies, however PP offers non-runner no bet
Bets today at Sandown and Doncaster but firstly to clarify yesterday's returns. The non-runner in the Newcastle forecast resulted in a one point single at SP on the remaining runner - Gandalak - a six point return. I also had 1.5pts on this selection @ 7/1 which was reduced to 5.6/1 because of Rule4. So the total return is 15.9pts for 7.5pts valid stakes. Profit 8.4pts.
Terrible day Saturday. Possibly the worst day since the start of this blog. I hope you didn't join yesterday. If you joined for this flat season you are still showing 50% profit or alternatively if you joined on 1/1/2013 you are nearly 200 points in front (43% ROI). So it's not all bad. However there are of course no guarantees. I am interested in one race at Pontefract tomorrow and possibly one or two at Wolverhampton and Kempton.
I have started the bets at Ponte with the following:
16:40P 2.5pts ew Green Howard @ 8/1 Betfair fixed odds BOG 16:40P 1pt ew Shadowtime @ 9/1 Paddy Power BOG
Unbelievably poor run from the sole selection today which finished last. It was never going well or indeed seen with a chance. Unfortunately those of you who didn't manage to secure the 7/1 last night would have been accommodated today at that price as it drifted out again after being supported. Strangely it was punted on-course into 4/1 joint-favourite before its unimpressive run.
Therefore a slight set back of a couple of points after a good run of profits in recent days.
Betting opportunities at Nottingham, Thirsk and/or Wolverhampton tomorrow. Homework to be done. However just back from a (Charlie Dore) concert so too tired to sort anything out now. Will have a look at the markets in the morning.
A very good day for the blog with three winners and 34 points profit: w11/1 (BOG), w6/1 (SP an incredible 9/1) and w100/30 (BOG). Poor price advice on the 6/1 shot, hopefully you acquired a BOG price and were paid at 9/1!
Another small bet on a big priced outsider. Roberta Vinci has shown impressive clay court form this week in winning Katowice. She beat Kvitova in straight sets in the final today. Vinci hasn't got a good singles record at the French Open - in fact she lost in the first round last year. I wonder though whether she could emulate fellow Italian Schiavone and capture the title late in her career?
Extremely unlikely I know but I am rather attracted to Boylesports price of 250/1. This obviously won't last long but I wouldn't be unhappy with (VC's)150/1 if the bigger price goes. Only suggesting a tiny bet because that is all you are likely to get!
0.5pts ew Roberta Vinci to win French Open singles @ 250/1 Boylesports (1/2 odds 1,2)
I have just this second checked and the price is still there. I don't think I will bother with the evens currently available on Betdaq, or indeed the 10.0 on betfair!
Problem with the championship this year is that the first and second favourites are potentially non-triers, partly because both are previous winners. I have been waiting to see whether RLM was going to bother with the smaller gaffs and provide a realistic challenge to Hughsie. He has started as though he is going to take it seriously. He has been unlucky in recent years with injuries so provided he can stay in the saddle must have a realistic chance of being champion again. The score so far is 16/14 RLM/RH.
I tuned into "Morning Line" for the last few minutes today and the general drift of the conversation amongst the talking heads seemed to support the view that RLM was a trier this season. I think the betting should be closer for the front two.
I have had:
8 pts win Ryan Moore to win flat jockeys' championship 2013 @ 5/2 William Hill (available generally)
Pliskova plays Vinci at 12:00 UK time tomorrow. I am hoping the extra day's rest will favour the Czech - Vinci had to play three sets today to get past Bertens. I think Pliskova has a good chance if she sticks to her natural attacking game. If she gets involved in back-hand slices then she will be carved up by the Italian veteran. I have had an additional bet as follows:
3pts Pliskova to beat Vinci @ 3.32 Pinnacle Sports
Another winning day on the horses with the sole selection winning easily at Kempton at 7/2. Might have a small bet at Wolverhampton tomorrow but not certain.
Very poor card today at Kempton. I know they race frequently here but the first five races are all over the one mile trip. Tedious. The only race of interest to me is the last which has just been reduced to seven runners. Just the one bet here:
20:30K 4.5pts win Maggie Pink @ 100/30 Paddy Power BOG (also VC, WH, Bet365)
Slightly higher with betfair but I think I need the BOG!
Katowice: stopped here once for tea and cake. A pit stop whilst travelling from Prague to Krakow by train. Not that far for Czech players to travel. They had five girls in the draw including Kvitova, Zakopalova (beaten Wednesday) and the improver Karolina Pliskova. Saw the latter beat Kanepi Wednesday afternoon in most impressive style. Everyone had been talking up the Estonian who had been absent from the tour for six months until making a winning return Tuesday.
Pliskova played with such incredible confidence for someone just turned 21. Standing at 6' 1" her serve is impressive, even on this clay surface. Kanepi didn't play badly she was just outplayed by the Czech. She now meets the winner of Vinci v Bertens for a place in the semis. Could be tricky getting past Vinci if the Italian comes through today. Then potentially the winner of Beck v Camerin to reach the final. Kvitova, the even money favourite, makes the market and is in the other half of the draw.
Bet365 is the only company still offering 1/2 odds to reach the final (others 1/3) and are also the biggest price on Pliskova:
2pts ew Karolina Pliskova to win WTA Katowice @ 12/1 Bet365 (1/2 odds 1,2)
Four points staked.
The powerful Czech player Karolina Pliskova
Small loss on the horses Wednesday (5pts) following two strong days. Kempton again later today.
I have to go out so have decided to post the 16:40 suggestion now. The favourite is as short as 4/6 in places. However this is a handicap with 1/4 odds 1,2,3 (unless there are three or more non-runners) so each-way bets look the best option.
My bets are:
16:40N 0.75pts ew Teolagi @ 20/1 William Hill BOG 16:40N 0.5pts ew Prospera @ 22/1 William Hill BOG
My other two horses today are easy to back but Moviesta's price has collapsed. The 11/2 suggested (which was available with several firms apart from Betfred) has shrunk to 4/1 and is as low as 3/1 with Coral. I think the selection could even start favourite.
I won't be getting too involved with the golf as I wish to keep my focus on the flat racing. In any event we have the multi-majors bet starting out here on the unlikeable Tiger Woods. He must have a favourite's chance of a fifth green jacket.
However I have had a couple of bets on the tournament. It is not quite so daunting as a regular PGA event that can have 150 runners. Here there is a smaller field, many of whom have no chance.
My outright bets are:
1pt ew Matt Kuchar to win Masters @ 40/1 Coral 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5
0.5pts ew Justin Rose to win Masters @ 20/1 Coral 1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5
If you have a Victor Chandler account you should place these bets there as they offer the same place terms (albeit a shorter price of 16/1 Justin Rose) but will refund the win part of pre-tournament losing bets if T Woods or R McIlroy wins the tournament (up to £50).
For those of you who prefer a smaller field, I have had the following bet:
4pts Fernandez-Castano to be top Spanish player @ 14/5 Totesport
(Ladbrokes are 3/1 if you have an account and can place a four-point bet.)
There are three runners in the top Spaniard market.
Dolphin Rock made all to score @ 8/1 at Pontefract today (SP only 9/2). The other selection in the race was slowly away and might have won if it had a better start. However Dolphin Rock was the better result of the two for us, netting a 17 point profit on the race.
I have backed the first three in the Grand National to be trained in Ireland. That gives me (at the time of writing) the first three in the betting: Seabass, On His Own and Chicago Grey plus Colbert Station and Rare Bob. On top of that there are a whole host of rags that have place potential.
16:15A 1pt win First three in GN to be trained in Ireland @ 20/1 William Hill BOG
Big feature on Rebecca Curtis last night on C4 which you may have seen. Teaforthree played a big part. Money coming for this one, a name the public may catch on to. Now 12/1 most firms to win the race but 20/1 to start favourite with Coral:
16:15A 1.5pts Teaforthree to start favourite in GN @ 20/1 Coral
I have just downloaded my IPad Racing Post and I note that the Pricewise headline selection is Chicago Grey, my only selection for the race so far. I am glad I am already on @ 14/1 as there will be a scramble to get on at this price in the morning accompanied by restrictions on stakes.
It is very tight at the top of the market and it could well be 10/1 or 11/1 the field at the off. In fact Coral and Stan James have a market currently on which horse will start favourite. It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to think that Chicago Grey could be the market leader at the off. My advice is to take the 16/1 with Stan James that my horse starts favourite. I was closed by SJ so I have had:
06/04/13 3pts Chicago Grey to start favourite in the GN @ 14/1 Coral
Interesting that it's a similar price to win the race as it is to start favourite. I think the latter is more likely!
I have already backed Chicago Grey to win @ 14/1 and I am going to follow up with Paddy Power who are offering good place terms and the same price. I will be having further Aintree bets either tonight or first thing in the morning:
06/04/13 16:15A 1pt ew Chicago Grey @ 14/1 Paddy Power (1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5) BOG
My tickets for Hay Festival (23 May-2 June) have arrived this morning which, even though I can still see snow on Clee Hill, makes me think that summer is almost here. My tickets include: Philip Glass, Sebastian Faulks, Rokia Traore and Christy Moore. I saw the latter at Hay a couple of years ago and he was superb.
Closer to home we have the Ludlow Spring Festival (10-12 May) which is rather more than a beer festival. Then the new arts festival takes place from 21-30 June. A lot of work has been done to get the new arts festival in place following the collapse of the 50+ year-old festival last autumn. Although there is no Shakespeare in the castle this year there is high hopes that this will return in 2014. Presteigne music festival is scheduled for 21-27 August and is always a treat.
The Ludlow Food Festival takes place in September. The first and the most prestigious in the country. (Ludlow was voted the No 1 foodie hot-spot in the Telegraph last Saturday and was also voted the top town to retire to by the Times two weeks ago.). If you don't know about the Ludlow Food Festival you can get a taste for it by tuning into The Hairy Bikers at 7pm on BBC2 tonight.
Hopefully, weather permitting, a great summer of events to look forward to.
As usual I shall be having a couple of bets in Saturday's feature race. I'm starting today by backing one of my selections from last year that was unfortunately brought down early in the race. Paul Carberry, who won the National in 2009, is the intended pilot provided he recovers from a recent fall. The Irish have not won this race since 2007 but have plenty of ammunition amongst the market leaders. The winning trainer in 2007? Gordon Elliot, who saddles my first selection Chicago Grey. A ten-year-old carrying 10-7: a similar profile to his winner six years ago.
Gordon's yard has been in great form with a host of winners over the Easter weekend. Romanesco, his sole runner in the Irish version, was unlucky not to finish in the first five on Monday coming with a rattle before falling at the last. Better luck in running could see the well-handicapped Chicago Grey in the shake up. I have had:
06/04/13 16:15A 3pts win Chicago Grey @ 14/1 William Hill NRNB
Torres gets the nod ahead of Ba for the league game against lowly Southampton. Chelsea get chinned 2-1. Ba starts ahead of the useless Torres in the FA Cup match against Man Utd. Chelsea win 1-0 with wonder goal from man of the match Ba.
However Ba has not played well overall since joining Chelsea with just two goals in 11 matches. Remarkably he is still fifth (with 15 goals) in the TGS list just one goal away from a share of fourth place. Last season he finished with 16 league goals - one goal from a share of fourth place.
Last season he did all his good work before the turn of the year and that pattern looks to be repeating itself this season. I think we are unlikely to pick up on our 40/1 each-way first four TGS bet on the Senegalese.
Not much to get excited about today. The Irish Grand National takes place at Fairyhouse, a track I have visited many times but I have never been to this meeting. The Gordon Elliot yard is in terrific form with a four-timer yesterday: a double here and a double at Cork.
Therefore I have had an interest in his sole GN runner, which has won on heavy ground and ran well (third) in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham:
16:50F 1pt ew Romanesco @ 14/1 Paddy Power BOG (1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5)