Monday, 26 May 2014

Stan not the man

Couldn't cope with GGL's game today. Can he adjust to being the hunted rather than the hunter? Not this week anyway. Stan's exit (in theory) aids Mugray's chance. But who could be lurking in the quarterfinal - none other than Mugray's conqueror in the Davis Cup - Fognini (should they both get that far). 

Mugray is around 20/1 to win the tourney, Fab is around 100 points bigger. I have had:

0.75pts ew Fabio Fognini to win French Open @ 125/1 Spreadex (1/2 odds 1,2)

1.5pts staked

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

A wolf between two Kings

Early start for me today, unusual on a Sunday. Well, most days actually. My first Hay session was scheduled for 10am. It's a 30-mile drive. Got there in plenty of time to listen to Anthony King talking about government blunders. Extraordinary to think he is still Professor of Government at Essex University. He was there, in the same role, when I was a student at Essex in the '60s. As eloquent as ever. He said he was very fond of Hay and described the atmosphere as one of good-fellowship. That struck me as an accurate observation.

Oh, and pretty much the biggest government blunder of the century is the poll tax.....

By 11am the place was heaving. I've never seen so many people here despite visiting for several years. I took a stroll down to Market Square to listen to the live music. Conveniently one of Ludlow's popular trios was playing: Grey Wolf. Well worth a listen if they are playing in a town near you:

After that it was back to the main site for some superb Spanish tapas and then a session by another King: Mervyn. Comparing the financial crisis of 2008 with that of 1914. Two more sessions completed my cerebral day. Jeremy Paxman on the Great War (understandably completely sold out) and to finish the Joan Bakewell lecture on why history matters.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Genie wins her first title


Billy Bragg with Roy Bailey at Hay last night:

Tremendous stuff!

French quarter selections

Been for a trot around the shops to try and get a bit of value. Shops packed with Scoop6 punters.

I think the areas to concentrate on are the ladies' second and third quarters. The first three in the outright betting: Serena, Pova and Li Na do not play in either.

Ladies' second quarter

I think you can make cases against the first two in the betting. A-Rad is favourite, despite preferring a faster surface, next best is Kerber who is out of form. CSN has a chance but I have supported two of my outright rags as follows:

3pts win Bouchard @ 6/1 Coral

Reached the semis in Australia and not been great since - until this week. Still chasing her first title but that could change this afternoon as she is in the final of Nuremberg. 

2pts win Pennetta @ 12/1 Coral

Good recent record in grand slams. Plus:

1pt win Cornet @ 25/1 Betfred 

Has been in quite good form and likes the big (home) stage.

Ladies' third quarter

Halep and Ivanovic head the market here. Incredible that Halep is up to four in the world. This however brings with it expectations. Halep is also recovering from injury. Ana has been in great form and could go well in a tournament she has previously won. She is up against the improving Garcia in the first round which should be tough. Who will be more nervous? Difficult to say: Ana nervous type, Garcia in front of her home crowd. However Coral are a stand out 40/1 Garcia to win this section whereas Ivanovic is no bigger that 3/1. The market says Garcia will have a first round exit, but the value is with the French player:

2pts win Garcia @ 40/1 Coral

Others choices in this section:

1pt win Kuznetsova @ 16/1 Coral 

1pt win Giorgi @ 28/1 Coral

Turning to the men's event, just a couple of small interests:

First quarter: 2pts Ferrer @ 9/2 Coral. Third quarter: 1pt win Roberto Bautista-Agut @ 35/1 Paddy Power

Total quarter betting stakes = 13 points.

French Open quarters

First of all we got the draw we were hoping for in the ladies with the inform Sharapova being drawn in Serena's quarter. The Russian looks a terrible bet now given her record against the number one and not surprisingly has drifted to 7/1. She's 9/2 to reach the semis.

I'm going to have some quarter winner bets today but will have to visit the relevant shops as I can't get a decent bet online. For example I couldn't resist a fiver - yes £5 - on Muguruza to win Serena's quarter at the 100/1 Fred was offering. Cut to a now top price 40/1 immediately after my huge bet was accepted! So I'm reluctant to make that a recommendation at the much lower price.

Will post later if what I see as value is still available.

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Monday, 19 May 2014

French Open prospects

The second grand slam event gets under way on Sunday. Here is a review of my ante-post portfolio to date:

Men's singles

With both Nadal and Djoko showing their well being in the Rome final yesterday it looks like these two players are extremely likely to meet again in Paris in the final. 

I have backed the two Swiss players who are currently world ranked three and four and therefore should be seeded in opposite sides of the draw.

Stan, who made the Aussie Open a winning tournament for me (small ew @ 50/1) is the better prospect. 
I am on @ 16/1 ew here whereas the best ew price as I write is 9/1. He has been in very mixed form recently and I don't think he, or his fellow countryman, has a huge chance of lifting the trophy.

Total market exposure is six points.

Ladies' singles

Li Na is the main chance here. As I had hoped/anticipated the Chinese holds the world number two ranking so will be seeded in the other half of the draw to Serena. The key to Li Na's chances could rest with where Sharapova is seeded. The Russian is ranked eight and therefore should be seeded seven with the news today that Azarenka is a non-runner. If she was to be seeded in Serena's half that would greatly increase the chance of Li Na reaching the final. I am on @ 10/1 and the best ew price is currently 6/1. 

Aside from the above I have four bets on outsiders @ odds between 66/1 and 150/1. They will, at least, all be seeded as they are ranked 13.19, 28 and 29. Not worth going through them individually just to say the exposure here is 5.5 points!

Total market exposure is 13.5 points. 

Friday, 16 May 2014


I could be accused of confirmation bias by publishing the following article. However this issue with the ballot papers could conceivably cause problems for the UKIP vote in next week's Euro elections. They are as short as 2/5 to win most votes which seems a very short price:

I'm not going to get involved in laying them as I am happy to stick with my speculative bet on the Cons @ 20/1 for a shock win. Who knows if the sun continues to shine people might mistakenly begin to think everything is alright with the world with the Cons at the helm!

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ATP Rome

What has been extraordinary about this tournament so far is Nadal's underwhelming performances. He really struggled in his first two matches - against both Simon and Youzhny. Although neither underdog could get the result they were seeking they both went close. Had Nadal been in top form you would have expected straight set victories, but that was not to be the case. In fact Nadal traded at odds against in both encounters and it was only his tremendous will to win that saw him through. 

Now Nadal faces Murray. The latter has been below par too but it would not surprise me if Murray overturned the odds and beat Nadal tomorrow. The HTH is 13-5 in Nadal's favour and 4-0 on clay. However they have not played each other since 2011. Whoever comes through will play the winner of Dimitov v Haas for a place in the final. The young Bulgarian is starting to make a name for himself and I fancy him to beat the German veteran tomorrow. Both beat higher ranked players in the last round. Dimitrov downing Berdych and Haas getting past Wawrinka. 

Dimitov beat Murray in their only encounter so far in 2014 and went down in four close sets to Nadal in the Australian Open in his latest meeting with the great Spaniard. 

So for me a small value play is Dimitrov each-way. I have had:

1pt ew Dimitrov to win ATP Rome @ 18/1 Boylesports (1/3 odds 1,2)

(Available also at 18/1 with Ladbrokes)

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Monday, 12 May 2014


A friend of mine was on the tube this morning and was sat opposite some strange people. He took the following photograph of them:

Anyway the point of this post is that these punters are showing at the top of Euro election polls today. UKIP have been strong favourites to win most votes for sometime. It appears though that the Cons are coming with a rattle and could possibly overtake Nigel's lot. UKIP are still as short as 4/9 to prevail. However the Cons can be backed at 20/1 with Corals and SJ as I write. They are 22/1 with some firm called "Winner". I have had:

2pts Cons to gain most votes in European elections @ 20/1 Coral

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Blues Boy Dan

Blues Boy Dan getting ready to play the final slot at the Ludlow Spring Festival this afternoon. Just 22 years old today and an amazing talent:

Play-off update

I have just read that the York v Fleetwood match has been rescheduled for Monday with a 19:45 kick-off. I believe this means all bets on the match stand.

So it's Crown Jewels or modest win!

Saturday results

First of all a very poor result at Ascot. Really thought I had read the race well but was nowhere near being on the right lines. Add the Euro song nonsense and that's five points lost.

In the Madrid tennis it proved the right thing to do to effectively get out of the Ferrer bet. Despite the Nishikori injury time-outs he somehow managed to come through the match in three long sets. Ferrer saved nine match points before the Japanese player finally prevailed. There is an 8.4 point return on the match bet so with total stakes being seven points (including the outright wagers) we finish on the right side at plus 1.4 points.

The play-off football results are far more encouraging! It started unpromisingly on Thursday with Derby winning 2-1 at Brighton. Then things got a lot better:

Wigan 0-0 Q.P.R - winner 23/10
P'Boro 1-1 L'Orient - winner 12/5
Preston 1-1 Rotherham - winner 12/5
York p-p Fleetwood - match postponed (waterlogged)
Burton v Southend - playing Sunday 12:00 noon

We staked eight points in total on the football multiple. The winning treble pays 15.25 points. My understanding of Coral online rules is that the York match would have to be played by Monday evening for bets on it to stand. That seems unlikely. If it is played at a later date then the York fixture will be treated as a non-runner. That would push up the total return on the bet to 28.85 points and thus a 20 point profit. And that, of course, doesn't include the possibility of the Burton match finishing all-square on Sunday.........

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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Saturday bets

First of all can't resist a bet in the 26-runner Victoria Cup at Ascot. This race is the last leg of the Scoop6 so punters will be up against it again to try and land the monster rollovers. My main selection is Bertiewhittle. The negatives are a chunky weight and the fact that he has not won for a while. However he has won on soft ground and ran a good race to finish second in last year's event. Soft ground could favour the low drawn horses - if those jockeys decide to run across to the far rail. My bets are:

15:50A 1.5pts ew Bertiewhittle @ 28/1 Coral BOG (1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5) 
15:50A 1pt win Flyman @ 16/1 Paddy Power BOG (VC 18/1)

I've also had an interest in the Eurovision Song Contest which takes place tonight:

1pt UK to win Euro Song contest @ 10/1 Betfred (money back as free bet if finishes second)

Five points staked.

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ATP Madrid Open 2

We have a good chance of a return with Ferrer in the Madrid Open. He played well to defeat Gulbis yesterday. He is favourite to beat Nishikori today and give a return of 12 points for reaching the final. That would be an eight point profit on the event. However I'm having a three point saver on Nishikori to win the match with William Hill @ 9/5. The Japanese player is very much the man in form and is capable of winning the semi-final if fully fit. In yesterday's match with Lopez he twice had treatment for a bad back.

William Hill will void all match bets if there is a retirement - one of the reasons I have chosen them for the hedge bet. Nishikori is more likely to retire than Ferrer, according to everything we know. But bear in mind if the Spaniard retires the hedge bet will of course be void and four points loss will be the overall outcome for the tournament. I have had:

3pts win Nishikori to beat Ferrer @ 9/5 William Hill

I have not taken into consideration Ferrer winning the final. This would almost certainly be against Nadal a player he had not beaten on clay for ten years - until a couple of weeks ago! So here's hoping he can do it again. Will be having a couple more bets today which will be posted shortly.

Monday, 5 May 2014


I've played the draws in each of the first round play-off matches in The Championship, League One and League Two. These are priced at 9/4 or better with Coral. Statistically these matches are close to a 40% draw success rate which means they should be priced nearer to 6/4 than 9/4 for the stalemate. 

Therefore, in theory, you could layout the notes for six singles and expect at least two to finish all-square for a minuscule profit should just two matches oblige. I prefer to combine them in a multiple and hope for the Crown Jewels! I have had:

08.05.14 Brighton v Derby to draw @ 23/10 Coral
09.05.14 Wigan v Q.P.R. to draw @ 23/10 Coral
10.05.14 York v Fleetwood to draw @ 9/4 Coral
10.05.14 Peterborough v Leyton Orient to draw @ 12/5 Coral
10.05.14 Preston v Rotherham to draw @ 12/5 Coral
11.05.14 Burton v Southend to draw @ 9/4 Coral

20 x 0.4pt trebles. Eight points staked. One treble shows a minimum profit of 5.9 points. But I'm hoping for four draws or more!

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Irish Champion Hurdle

A disappointing field however Jezki showed that his Cheltenham Hurdle win was no fluke by easily beating The Fly in the Irish equivalent. Below, he leads last year's winner in the paddock and indeed throughout the race.

A full report on my three days at the track together with additional photos will appear on the website in due course.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

ATP Madrid Open

Bracelet ran a disappointing race today finishing nearer last than first. 

So now I'm moving on to the Madrid Open with a couple of each-way plays. As I'm sure you know Djoko has withdrawn from the tournament which has severely weakened the fourth quarter. Obviously the markets have adjusted as a result but I believe a little bit of value remains. 

I have backed two players who in theory could meet in the quarter-finals if they both progress. In all probability the winner would then meet Stan in the semi for a place in the final to play Nadal, if the seedings hold up. You could argue that Stan is the ew play but he is very short now at no better than 4/1. I have played: 

1.5pts ew David Ferrer to win Madrid Open @ 14/1 Skybet (1/2 odds 1,2)

0.5pts ew Dolgopolov to win Madrid Open @ 100/1 Skybet (1/2 odds 1,2)

Four points staked.

Dolgopolov has lost his last two matches and in addition has a tricky first round match against the higher ranked Fognini. However he has an impressive 5-1 HTH against the Italian who is coming into Madrid having lost the Munich final at the weekend. The Dolgopolov price is available with several firms.

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1,000 Guineas

I've had a bet in the second classic at Newmarket today. AOB's second string, ridden by Ryan Moore. A good combination. Drawn on what looked like the more favourable side of the track on Saturday. I have had:

15:50N 2pts win Bracelet @  10/1 Betfred BOG

I hope she can run rings around them!

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Friday, 2 May 2014


Daniel P Response via email on 02/05/2014 02.36 AM
Dear Mike,
We write this e-mail as a recent review has highlighted your Sky Bet account as one which requires tighter liability management.
As our Best Odds Guaranteed offer has been designed to provide our Horse Racing customers with even more value, unfortunately it has no longer become viable to offer you this promotion. With this in mind, any bets placed from this point forward will no longer apply for Best Odds Guaranteed and will be settled at the price option taken upon placement.
We've come to this decision in full accordance with the Terms & Conditions of the promotion and those agreed to upon registration. These are available to view online here: here:
This decision is also final and will not be over turned. However, if you require any further assistance with your account, please do not hesitate to contact us through our Help & Support site here:
Kind regards,
Shy Bet Customer Care Team

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French Open portfolio

I've added another player to my ever increasing portfolio. The former champion Kuznetsova looks in good form and seems to have regained some of her enthusiasm for the sport. She has had a rough time with injuries but hopefully is now fully fit. I have had:

0.75pts ew Kuznetsova to win French Open @ 100/1 William Hill (1/2 odds 1,2)

1.5pts staked.

Also available several other firms at the time of writing

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