Monday, 10 October 2016

4.20 Nottingham, Wednesday, October 12

In the 4.20 at Nottingham on Wednesday, Waseem Faris makes a quick reappearance after being beaten, but not disgraced, in a better race at York last Friday and returns to the scene of his last victory. In fact, the Exceed And Excel gelding can race off the same mark as when keeping on to beat El Viento by 1¼ lengths in this race last year and is similarly well drawn, so warrants close inspection. Joseph Tuite’s 7-year-old has raced just once in this grade in the interim, when beaten half a length off a 1lb higher mark over 5½ furlongs at Brighton in August, so would appear to hold every chance if anywhere near his best. He’s won on going ranging from firm to soft, so should run his race regardless of the vagaries of the British weather and, with a couple of ‘duck eggs’ next to his name, could represent a shade of value.

Selection: Nottingham 4.20 Waseem Faris to win

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

England versus Malta, Saturday, October 8

‘Ignominious exit’ is a phrase that has become synonymous with the England national football team in recent months, but defeat against Malta – officially rated 164 places worse than their hosts, according to FIFA – at Wembley on Saturday would be plumbing new depths, even for the Three Lions. Interim manager Gareth Southgate is without Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson due to injury but, even so, anything other than a resounding victory will feel like a defeat for the home team.

England did manage a last-gasp victory in their opening World Cup qualifying match against 10-man Slovakia in Trvana, while Malta were on the wrong end of 5-0 hammering by Scotland in Attard, a match in which Falcons’ defender Jonathan Caruana was controversially dismissed after an hour. At odds of 1/50, only a routine away victory, with a clean sheet to boot, will do for England but, while Vardy, Rashford and company could run riot, let’s err on the side of caution and try England to win 3-0 at 13/2 with Paddy Power or William Hill.

Selection: England to win 3-0 (13/2 with Paddy Power or William Hill).

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Rio 2016

What an Olympics it's been so far. My highlight has to be the fairytale ending of the pole vault competition. How Thiago Braz da Silva pulled that one out of the bag I will never know. Great for Brazil too as they're not exactly brimming over with track and field stars. I must say though, that I did feel bad for silver medallist Renaud Lavillenie getting booed. That behaviour falls well outside of what you'd expect and hope for and goes completely against the spirit of the olympic games.

To be honest I've not even had a bet these olympics. I have just been enjoying taking as much of it in as I can. There are some fairly heavily odds ons anyway (Bolt at 1/14 to win the 200 meter final) so not, on the surface of it, a miriad of decent odds betting opportunities.

Of the remaining events, I'm most looking forward to seeing Mo Farrow run again. His gutsy performance after taking a fall in the 10,000m, should give him a bit of confidence going into the 5,000m, especially if he can stay on his feet this time around! I'll be cheering him on! For those thinking of having a bet on the race, he's currently 1/5, with Abrar Osman at 12-1 alongside Caleb Ndiku. Muktar Edris is 13-1.

Monday, 18 July 2016

4.45 Nottingham, Tuesday, July 19

In the 4.45 at Nottingham on Tuesday, Always Resolute has been in cracking form since returning to action on the Flat in May, winning three of his four starts and looks far from impossibly handicapped, despite a 5lb rise in the weights for winning at Chester last month. He’s reunited with 7lb claimer Ben Robinson, who won on him at Ripon three starts ago and, while he’s yet to win on going faster than good, he’s been placed on the prevailing good to firm going a couple of times.

The son of Refuse To Bend has been tried just twice over 2 miles, finishing a never-nearer sixth of 14, beaten 7 lengths, behind Magic Circle at Haydock last September (when with Timothy Jarvis) off a mark of 65 and beating Diamond Joel by 1½ lengths at Chester off a mark of 73 on his most recent start for his new yard. That latter piece of form represented a career-best effort and, while Musselburgh isn’t as sharp as Chester, the sharp, flat track should play to his strengths once again and he looks a decent bet to continue his winning sequence.

Selection: Nottingham 4.45 Always Resolute to win

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Euro 2016 - Football's Coming Home

What a remarkable few days of football we've had. It's great to see England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland all through to the knock off stages of Euro 2016. Some failed to dazzle on their way there (England as per usual!) while others really gave it their all. I must say that the performance on Wednesday by the Republic of Ireland against Italy really was the cherry on the cake. Talk about leaving it all on the field. The celebrations afterwards  from the fans made for such a great sporting moment.

It would be amazing to see all four teams make it through the first round of the knockouts, but aside from being very unlikely in normal circumstances, it's impossible due to the fact that Wales and Northern Ireland are due to meet. That's a pity in one sense, but on the other hand at least one of them will be progressing to at least the quarter finals and in the easier side of the draw too! England are in the other side of the draw and have some tough games down the line if they can overcome the tournaments surprise package, Iceland.

Current Odds for games involving  England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland:

Saturday 25th June: Wales  17/16    Draw 21/20   Northern Ireland   41/10
Sunday 26th June: France  7/15    Draw 16/5     Republic of Ireland 21/2
Monday 27th June: England  4/7  Draw 56/19   Iceland   8/1

No doubt the patriotic pound will find its way to people lumping onto England at 4/7, but for impartial observers the real dream result would yet another Republic of Ireland win, this time against hosts France. Of course that can't be said to be particularly likely, but we can dream. No bets for me this time around, I'm just enjoying the tournament!