Put Your Faith In The Angel At Ascot

Caravaggio is sure to be top of many ‘banker’ lists ahead of Friday at Royal Ascot, yet it may pay to look elsewhere.

There’s no doubting his class and Aidan could hardly be more bullish about his chances, after a pleasing reappearance.

However, the same could be said about Harry Angel. He’s been heavily backed every time he’s set foot on the course, which suggests he obviously shows something at home, and his last performance was simply jaw-dropping.

He pulled hard when being just touched off by the reappearing Blue Point (giving him four pounds) on his seasonal reappearance and it would be no surprised to see the form reversed.

Godolphin now own the pair, after forking out a hefty some following Harry’s last visit to the track. He made all at Haydock, never seeing another rival, moving readily clear of Second Thought and Mubtasim, who since ran a stormer to finish third in the Jersey.

Harry’s Angel is a horse on the upgrade and at 7/2, he looks worth a small interest.

Selection:

1pt win: Harry’s Angel (Commonwealth Cup) @ 7/2

Magic Mori Can Turn Heads At Ascot

We’ve enjoyed a solid start to Ascot and hopefully this will continue across the next three days.

Thursday sees the Ascot Gold Cup take centre stage and given Aidan O’Brien’s misfortune so far this week (gutsy Highland Reel apart), there has to be a slight concern about steaming into Order Of St George.

It looks a fairly messy race and this means I’ll be leaving it well alone but will be hoping for a Big Orange win.

The one and only punt for Thursday comes in the Ribblesdale, in the shape of Mori.

She finished a respectable fifth on debut at Newbury – after going off favourite – and she showed the benefit of the run, winning smartly at Ascot next time out.

She was punted off the boards before her cosy Listed win and she has the scope to progress even further.

She’s a Frankel filly out of Midday, so big things were always going to be expected. Good ground is ideal and she looks an attractive proposition stepping up in trip against the AOB-trained fav, who finished third in the Oaks last time.

Selection:

1.5pt win: Mori (Ribblesdale) &@ 10/3

Lancaster Bomber Can Land Breeders’ Cup Success

For two days every year, European eyes are cast across the Atlantic as the US of A put on two fantastic cards of racing.

Ok, ok, Friday’s action may well be an amuse bouche for Saturday’s super-size main course, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it just as much.

Despite a rather underwhelming European challenge to this year’s Breeders’ Cup party, Friday sees a couple of major chances, including Lancaster Bomber in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Aidan O’Brien’s number one participant in the race appears to be Intelligence Cross, who has twice finished credibly behind the impressive Mehmas, before being rather tentatively handled when running on well in the Middle Park Stakes last time out.

He has the added bonus of Ryan Moore in the plate and it is obvious to see why he will undoubtedly prove popular. However the performance of his stablemate, Lancaster Bomber, last time out, mean it is hard to ignore his glaring chances from stall one.

After underperforming on softer surfaces he was given what looked to be a ‘pacemaking’ role on his last two starts. On a quick surface, he has battled on well after coming under pressure finishing nine-lengths behind Classic favourite, Churchill, before closing the gap to just one-and-a-quarter lengths at Newmarket.

He was sent off at 66/1 in the Dewhurst, after being expected to ensure a fair pace before falling back through the field. As expected, he came under pressure a fair way out as the strong-travelling Churchill moved past him. However, as he looked set to trickle back tamely, he changed gears and stayed on well to retake second and close on the eventual impressive winner, finishing eye-catchingly well.

Rivet, who was back in fifth, has since come out and franked the form by winning the Racing Post Trophy and it may well turn out to be a very strong race.

Lancaster Bomber steps up to a mile at Santa Anita and this should be perfect. Stall one could be a blessing as it now gives Seamie Heffernan added emphasis to pop him out and make the running. He will be a hard horse to pass if he can kick off the bend and at 7/1, he looks fair value to even make the frame.

Elsewhere on the opening evening, La Coronel could be worth a second look in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf. The European raiders are to the fore in the market but the manner in with the American filly picked up to win on her last two starts was very impressive.

If she hadn’t have underwhelmed during her first two starts (still not terrible runs) she could be shorter. A draw of 14 is far from ideal however, but it’s not impossible to overcome as Hit It A Bomb showed last year. Expect her to strike late and at 9/1, she could go well.

Selections:

1.5pt win – Lancaster Bomber (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf) @ 7/1 (Various)

0.5pt win – La Coronel (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf) @ 9/1 (Various)

What to Expect Out of College (American) Football This Year!

It’s nearly the end of summer, which for millions of students across the country means heading back to class. With the arrival of fresh faces comes another chance for NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities to seek out and train some of the top athletes in the world in hopes of winning a national championship. NCAA football teams often show future professional players, and there is a lot of talk about which schools are heading to a Bowl and which ones will be crushed under the pressure. So what are some of the big college football predictions for the 2015 season?

The University of Texas at Austin’s Longhorns are coming off a tough year, but things are looking up. No-nonsense head coach Charlie Strong is hitting his stride, and the team is catching on to his ways. Speaking of new coaches, Bo Pelini at Youngstown State should improve his record after an embarrassing first season. While the Penguins may not go all the way in 2015, they will certainly make moves.

Players Making Moves

In terms of players to watch, there are many NCAA football predictions to pay attention to, especially when it comes to incoming freshman. Tony Brown, rated as the No. 9 player overall, is heading to play cornerback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. His performance alongside safety Landon Collins could make Alabama’s pass defense top notch. Another 5-star defensive back prospect is Jalen Tabor, who decided at the last minute to leave Arizona to play for the Florida Gators. He could easily partner with junior Vernon Hargreaves III to create a solid foundation for the Gators defense.

The end of summer always brings about a ton of college football predictions, and it’s hard to know exactly which will come to fruition. But by the looks of things, it’s going to be another exciting year for NCAA football fans around the country and the world.

Check out TheMachinesPicks.com for more college and sports related prediction for the upcoming football and college season.

 

World Cup – 32 Best Bets

The World Cup is fast approaching, and it is often the one time that punters really splash out, with such brilliant value occurring during the quadrennial event.

So, in this piece I am going to offer 32 fantastic odds-against bets, one for each team taking part in this year’s World Cup, ranging from a wide variety of different markets.

Group A:

Brazil;

The hosts are in scintillating form, and for the first time in a long time, have a fantastic balance, with both exceedingly strong defence and attack. They should coast out of the group comfortably, and they will prove extremely hard to peg back in the latter stages. Neymar and Hulk are often used as the wide-men as part of a front three, and this gives freedom to Fred to take up the typical ‘number nine’ role. He is 7/2 to finish top scorer for Brazil, and this looks like a brilliant bet.

Fred to be top Brazilian scorer @ 7/2 (Coral)

Croatia;

Croatia enter the tournament in good spirits, after a solid qualifying campaign, finishing runners-up to group winners Belgium. They comfortably beat Iceland in the play-off to enter the tournament, and they should have enough about them to get the points needed against Mexico and Cameroon to get out of the group. However, they will then come up against the winner of Group B, containing Spain, Chile, Netherlands and Australia, so you would fancy any of the big trio in the that group to see off the Croatians. So for this reason, take the 11/5 with Ladbrokes about Croatia exiting in the second round.

Croatia to exit in the second round @ 11/5 (Ladbrokes)

Mexico;

Javier Hernandez will be attempting to impress new boss Louis van Gaal, or potentially put himself in the window for clubs who may be tempted to bid for the 26 year old. He is currently trading at 9/2 to be his nation’s top scorer in Brazil, as Oribe Peralta is clear worthy favourite. It is worth taking a chance on Chicharito showing his magnificent tactical awareness and predator like finishing from inside the box, at 9/2, as with Mexico likely to find it difficult to get out of the group, two goals may end up being the top scorer for El Tricolor.

Javier Hernandez to be top Mexican scorer @ 9/2 (Various)

Cameroon;

The Indomitable Lions managed to snatch a 2-2 draw with Germany in the build-up to Brazil, and this will give them tremendous confidence they can mix it at the top level as they head into the tournament mammoth underdogs to get out of their group. They are 5/1 to get 0 points during the group stages, and this could well appeal. They look certain to lose to Brazil, and Mexico in the opener looks their best chance of getting a result, as Croatia are also looking very sharp in the build-up. So it is essentially getting 5/1 for Mexico to beat Cameroon, which would look a sensational bet on a coupon.

Cameroon to get 0 points @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

 

Group B

Spain;

The Spanish have been utterly dominant in the last three major international tournaments, winning the last two renewals of the European Championships, and entering the tournament as current World Cup holders. They still have plenty of class flowing through their side, and the addition of Diego Costa is a massive bonus as they are set to battle it out in a tough group with Netherlands, Chile and Australia. They should manage to come out on top, and then they have a fairly decent run to the semi-finals, are they are likely to play Croatia and then possibly Colombia or (here’s hoping) England in the quarter’s. They should manage to breeze through to the semi’s where they will face a big South American side. This is where they are set to come unstuck, and the 11/2 for them to exit in the semi-final’s looks a bet worth chancing.

Spain to exit in the Semi-Final’s @ 11/2 (Bet365)

Netherlands;

There have been plenty of injury troubles for Oranje in the build-up to Brazil, as they bid to go one better than their runner-up finish back in 2010. They disappointed massively in the Euro Championships two years ago and will be aiming to prove they still have something to offer at the top level in van Gaal’s swansong. Robin van Persie is still the talisman, and everything will be based around his finishing in and around the 18-yard box. He is 13/8 to be top Dutch scorer and this looks the safest bet surround the side this year.

Robin van Persie to be top Dutch scorer @ 13/8 (Sporting Bet)

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Chile;

The Chileans are set to be the entertainers of the tournament, with their free-flowing attacking football, and magnificent pressing game. They are likely to surprise many, and I think they should be too strong for the Dutch, and potentially score more against Australia which could be the difference between qualification. It’s 9/2 for Spain/Chile/Netherlands/Australia quadcast, which looks an attractive proposition.

Spain/CHILE/Netherlands/Australia @ 9/2 (Betfair Sportsbook)

Australia;

Australia have been very unfortunate to be placed with three very high quality teams, and they will be hoping to amass at least one point during the group stages. This is not very likely however, and the 7/5 for Australia to fail to gain a single point, looks one of the safest bets of the tournament.

Australia to get 0 points @ 7/5 (Paddy Power)

 

Group C

Colombia;

News filtering through that their talisman Radamel Falcao will be missing the World Cup through injury is obviously detrimental for Colombia’s chances, however they should still have too much about them to qualify comfortably. Ivory Coast, Japan and Greece make it an intriguing group and with the absence of Falcao, Jackson Martinez can step up and take the crown of top Colombian goalscorer, at a tempting 7/2. He has been in fine form, scoring 20 in 30 for Porto, and he will given the role of goal poacher, where he should be served by the creative influences of James Rodriguez and Carlos Bacca.

Jackson Martinez to be top Colombian scorer @ 7/2 (Various)

Ivory Coast;

This looks to be the final chance for Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Gervinho to leave their mark on the World stage, and they will be giving their all to get out of the group at the very least. They will be aiming to get something out of their first two games to give themselves something to fight for going into their final group game against Greece, who could well be out of the competition by then. The 7/5 for the Ivory Coast to beat Greece looks a solid bet, as if this is the case, they will be a lot shorter come the day.

Ivory Coast to beat Greece @ 7/5 (Ladbrokes)

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Japan;

The Japanese have been impressing many football fanatics with their all-action style, attacking in numbers which makes for high-scoring games. They are currently 7/2 third-favourites to score the most goals in Group C, and this appeals thanks to the emergence of Osako has helped, with that clinical edge. Their high-pressing game often pays dividends, and as Colombia, Ivory Coast and to an extent Greece, all try and play attacking football, expect Japan to score plenty on the counter.

Japan to score the most goals in Group C @ 7/2 (Various)

Greece;

Greece had a successful qualifying campaign, only just missing out on automatic qualification on goal difference, finishing level on points with Bosnia-Herzegovina.  They may struggle against the speed of Japan and Ivory Coast, whilst Colombia’s class is sure to prevail. They will set up to contain, and although this may work defensively, they are going to find it hard to score many, and this means the 13/10 with Paddy Power for Greece to fail to win a game appeals massively.

Greece to fail to win a game @ 13/10 (Paddy Power)

 

Group D

England;

Roy Hodgson surprised many by picking a youthful and exuberant squad, in an attempt to make a deep run in the tournament, although for once there is very little expectation from the English media. Daniel Sturridge is expected to take the starting lone striker role, after impressing in the build-up to the tournament, and the 3/1 for him to be top England scorer looks a solid bet, with favourite Wayne Rooney set to play a deeper role.

Dan Sturridge to be top England scorer @ 3/1 (Various)

Italy;

Mario Balotelli is key to Italy’s chances, as the eccentric striker has magnificent ability combined with an impulsive side that often is to his and his sides detriment. He is 13/8 to be top scorer, which is fair, however the value is with the 5/1 for him to pick up the most card points for Italy. He has the tendency to throw in a rash tackle when things are not going his way, and also the opportunity to be carded when celebrating in a ‘Mario manner’ means he is the logical choice.

Mario Balotelli to gain the most card points for Italy @ 5/1 (Bet Victor)

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Uruguay;

Uruguay are boosted by the inclusion of star man Luis Suarez, who will help his side battle through to the latter stages, as they have the benefit of being used to the South American climate. They lack pace in defensive areas however and they were the most carded side during the CONMEBOL qualifying, by some distance. They are prone to fouling, to save their weary legs in their defensive third, and they look a tasty proposition at 12/1 to be the most carded side at this year’s World Cup. A lot is riding on them making a decent run in the tournament, which looks plausible, and should they get out the group, the 12/1 will crumble, considering it is already 6/1 in places.

Uruguay to be the most carded side in the World Cup @ 12/1 (Bet Victor)

Costa Rica;

Costa Rica come into the World Cup as massive underdogs, and should live up to their name, showing little in qualifying to suggest otherwise. They are 7/4 to fail to collect a single point, and this looks as fair a shout as any.

Costa Rica to get 0 points @ 7/4 (Sky Bet)

Group E

France;

The French are often hit-and-miss at major international tournaments, which spells danger to plenty of gamblers. However the team really seems to be gelling under Didier Deschamps and a bit tournament is expected, even without a fully fit Frank Ribery, who may yet miss the competition with an injury. Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras is a slightly tricky group, but with the balance France have, the 9/2 for them to collect 9 points looks a bet worth getting involved with.

France to get 9 points @ 9/2 (Various)

Switzerland;

Josip Drmic has been in fantastic form this year, netting 17 times for the relegated Nuremberg, with little service. He has been snapped up by Bayer Leverkusen, and has continued to emerge as a big talent, netting three times in six appearance for his country. He is set to get the nod up-top and the disparity between bookmakers in-terms of odds for top goalscorer is staggering, so get stuck into the 7/2 with William Hill for Drmic to be top scorer for the Swiss.

Josip Drmic to be top Swiss scorer @ 7/2 (Ladbrokes)

Ecuador;

The South American outfit have a real chance of getting out of the group due to their aptitude to the climate, and magnificent pacey athletic players such as Enner Valencia, who will be a key-part of their success. He has been in magnificent form playing in the ‘Number 10’ role for Pachucha in Mexico, netting 18 times in 22 appearances. He will be given his familiar role once more, and with his pace, power and brilliant finishing, he looks a massive danger to opposition defences. He is 10/1 to be top Ecuadorian scorer, and this looks a massive price for someone who is going to be hot property in the aftermath of the World Cup.

Enner Valencia to be top Ecuadorian scorer @ 10/1 (Sporting Bet)

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Honduras;

Los Catrachos are going to find it extremely difficult to mount a real challenge to get out of the group, as France are extremely classy, Switzerland have been in great form, and Ecuador are adept to the climate. This all points to Honduras struggling, and for this reason the 13/5 for Honduras to fail to get a point looks fair.

Honduras to get 0 points @ 13/5 (Ladbrokes)

Group F

Argentina;

La Albiceleste are current second-favourites to win the tournament, and look set for a massive run. This is the time for Lionel Messi to step up and put in a performance everyone knows he is capable of, to answer critics who constantly mention the fact he is yet to show his true colours in a major international tournament. They should sail out of the group comfortably, and then ease into the final where they are likely to come up against Brazil. They may fall just short, so the 18/1 for a Brazil/Argentina straight-forecast looks a definite play.

Brazil/ARGENTINA straight forecast @ 18/1 (Sky Bet)

Bosnia-Herzegovina;

The side have enough quality in the shape of Dzeko, Pjanic, Ibisevic etc, to ensure they get out of the group. Argentina will have too much class for them, but you would have to fancy them to get the best of both Nigeria and Iran, so the 4/1 for Bosnia-Herzegovina to finish the group with six points seems a solid bet.

Bosnia-Herzegovina to finish on six points @ 4/1 (Bet365)

Nigeria;

Nigeria have had a successful qualifying campaign, and the heat will be no bother to them as they line up in Group F. However, they have plenty of defensive frailties, which will be exploited by both Argentina and Bosnia. This means their only major winnable tie looks to be against Iran, so take the 7/2 for Nigeria to end up with three points.

Nigeria to finish on three points @ 7/2 (Bet365)

Iran;

A rather boring final selection for Group F, but it is one to maximise profits if the others do fall into place. Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina should get the better of Iran, which means that Nigeria v Iran is going to be a massive tie for who finishes third and fourth. There is 14/5 on offer for Iran to get 0 points, which would fit with Bosnia getting six points, and Nigeria getting three points, resulting in a decent pay-day.

Iran to finish on 0 points @ 14/5 (Sky Bet)

Group F

Germany;

Joachim Low has been incredibly brave, and selected only one out-and-out striker to take to Brazil, in the shape of World Cup specialist, Miroslav Klose. He will be the pinnacle of a magnificent German attack, which encorporates fantastic young creative talent, that will be relying on the calm shoulders of Klose to finish off the chances they will be making throughout the tournament. He will have plenty of opportunities to net, and the 9/2 for him to be top German scorer appeals massively.

Miroslav Klose to be top German scorer @ 9/2 (Sporting Bet)

Portugal;

Cristiano Ronaldo will have the hopes of Portugal on his shoulders, as he lines up in Brazil and at 1/2 he is no value to be top Portuguese scorer, so attentions turn to a tri-cast bet, with Portugal fancied to finish runner-up in the group, with Ghana taking the third spot ahead of the USA, which pays 19/5.

Germany/PORTUGAL/Ghana tri-cast @ 19/5 (Betfair Sportsbook)

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Ghana;

Asamoah Gyan was integral in the success story of Ghana back in the 2010 World Cup, and yet again he is the talisman as they head into the 2014 tournament. His goals have helped Ghana qualify, including a brace against Egypt in the play-off. All attacking play will be based around him receiving the ball in a shooting position, so for this reason, the 100/30 for him to be Ghana’s top scorer is fair.

Asamoah Gyan to be top Ghanaian scorer @ 7/2 (Various)

USA;

Jurgen Klinsmann has his work cut out massively, is if he is to get out of this difficult group, and the first game against Ghana is massive. He knows realistically they need a result in order to progress, and even a draw may not be enough. If he attacks, Ghana’s pace and power will be too much, and for this reason, take the 7/1 for USA to get no points during the World Cup campaign. The games against Portugal and Germany are going to prove very difficult, and Ghana have never lost against the US at a World Cup and that trend looks set to continue.

USA to finish with 0 points @ 7/1 (Sky Bet)

Group H

Belgium;

The Red Devils can no longer be labelled as ‘Dark Horses’ as they enter the tournament fifth favourites, after their magnificently talented young squad have matured over the past four years. They are likely to top their group, and should be able to progress past the runner up of Group G, which looks set to be Portugal. It will be then they are really tested against the elite of the world, and they look as though they may fall just short against Argentina, should they progress as expected. It will be a big learning curve and the 4/1 for Belgium to exit in the quarter-finals looks worth a go.

Belgium to exit in the quarter-finals @ 4/1 (Coral)

Russia;

Fabio Capello will be hoping to improve on his efforts with England back in 2010, as he lines up again with Russia who look set to qualify from the group, securing the runner-up spot. They should be able to get three points against both South Korea and Algeria, but may fall short against the mighty Belgium. This means the 4/1 for Russia to end with six points is a decent bet to side with.

Russia to finish on six points @ 4/1 (Various)

South Korea;

The South Koreans will be content to show the world their attacking game, when lining up against quality opposition. They don’t look to have the quality to replicate their 2002 performance and get to the semi-finals, and they may well depart in the group stages, finishing in third place. The tri-cast of Belgium, Russia and South Korea is also at 4/1 and looks a solid bet.

Belgium/Russia/SOUTH KOREA @ 4/1 (Betfair)

Algeria;

To complete Group E, and the surprising 4/1 selection for each team, Algeria to end the group stages with 0 points massively appeals. They will certainly struggle against Belgium and Russia, which leaves a key battle between Algeria and South Korea which looks set to go the way of South Korea. Algeria managed to get one point back in 2010, at the expense of England, but that doesn’t look likely to happen again this year, so get stuck into the 4/1 for Algeria to end the tournament with 0 points.

Algeria to finish with 0 points @ 4/1 (Various)

Overall;

Group A:

Fred to be top Brazilian scorer @ 7/2 (Coral)

Croatia to exit in the second round @ 11/5 (Ladbrokes)

Javier Hernandez to be top Mexican scorer @ 9/2 (Various)

Cameroon to get 0 points @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

Group B:

Spain to exit in the Semi-Final’s @ 11/2 (Bet365)

Robin van Persie to be top Dutch scorer @ 13/8 (Sporting Bet)

Spain/CHILE/Netherlands/Australia @ 9/2 (Betfair Sportsbook)

Australia to get 0 points @ 7/5 (Paddy Power)

Group C:

Jackson Martinez to be top Colombian scorer @ 7/2 (Various)

Ivory Coast to beat Greece @ 7/5 (Ladbrokes)

Japan to score the most goals in group C @ 7/2 (Various)

Greece to fail to win a game @ 13/10 (Paddy Power)

Group D:

Dan Sturridge to be top England scorer @ 3/1 (Various)

Mario Balotelli to gain the most card points for Italy @ 5/1 (Bet Victor)

Uruguay to be the most carded side in the World Cup @ 12/1 (Bet Victor)

Costa Rica to get 0 points @ 7/4 (Sky Bet)

Group E:

France to get 9 points @ 9/2 (Various)

Josip Drmic to be top Swiss scorer @ 7/2 (Ladbrokes)

Enner Valencia to be top Ecuadorian scorer @ 10/1 (Sporting Bet)

Honduras to get 0 points @ 13/5 (Ladbrokes)

Group F:

Brazil/ARGENTINA straight forecast @ 18/1 (Sky Bet)

Bosnia-Herzegovina to finish on six points @ 4/1 (Bet365)

Nigeria to finish on three points @ 7/2 (Bet365)

Iran to finish on 0 points @ 14/5 (Sky Bet)

Group G:

Miroslav Klose to be top German scorer @ 9/2 (Sporting Bet)

Germany/PORTUGAL/Ghana tri-cast @ 19/5 (Betfair Sportsbook)

Asamoah Gyan to be top Ghanaian scorer @ 7/2 (Various)

USA to finish with 0 points @ 7/1 (Sky Bet)

Group H:

Belgium to exit in the quarter-finals @ 4/1 (Coral)

Russia to finish on six points @ 4/1 (Various)

Belgium/Russia/SOUTH KOREA @ 4/1 (Betfair)

Algeria to finish with 0 points @ 4/1 (Various)

 

Obviously I am not suggesting that you should bet on every selection, however I hope that the reasoning and pricing of the selections have helped you decide on your own bets for this World Cup. Best of luck with your punts, and if you have any bets you would like to share, tweet me @JoshBradley10

 

 

 

Five National Hunt Horses to Follow – 2013/14

As the flat season draws to a close, our attentions turn to the upcoming National Hunt season, with plenty of potential stars about to make their re-appearances.

Oscar Rock (Malcolm Jefferson)

The 5-y-o went into many notebooks after running away with a very competitive bumper at Newbury in February, and he looks set for a massive season.

Transferring from the Harry Fry stable to Malcolm Jefferson, means he is nearer his owners in the north of England, and a big campaign looks in-store, with all roads leading to Prestbury Park in March.

Fry neglected the chance to rush his charge into racing at the Festival last year, choosing to bide his time and have a tilt at the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, for which he is currently 12/1.

He beat the subsequent front-three in the Grade Two Aintree Bumper, which means his price has slowly been dropping since his last run, yet it is expected to continue to be chipped away at with every passing performance.

His former trainer suggested ‘the sky is the limit’ with the gelding, and following him should prove extremely profitable (including ante-post).

Just A Par (Paul Nicholls)

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Ditcheat may well have seen better days, but there is still plenty of exciting prospects to get in the notebook for the coming season, and none-more-so, than novice chaser, Just A Par.

After winning a maiden-hurdle at Punchestown impressively in November, he changed hands for £260,000, with Paul Barber and Graham Roach taking ownership.

He performed with great credit on his only two starts over hurdles for Paul Nicholls, finishing runner-up on both starts, including behind the very highly-rated Fishers Cross in a Grade One at Aintree.

He was bought with chasing in mind, so last year’s performances were a bonus in terms of returns of income. He is a big type, who looks as though he will thrive over fences, and you can guarantee he will have the best chance of becoming a top chaser, with the schooling programmes and facilities on offer at Ditcheat.

There will be plenty of hype around his first public appearance over fences, and if he impresses as expected under Daryl Jacob, the 25/1 on offer for the RSA Chase at the Festival, will not last very long.

Blackmail (Tony Martin)

The shrewd Irish handler could hardly contain his excitement when his 5-y-o ran out a very impressive winner at the Galway Festival.

He has made a seamless transition to hurdles from the flat, winning both of his starts in impressive fashion. He looks like a likely improver, and Martin has a reputation for getting the best out of youngsters with potential, and the 33/1 on offer for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at next year’s Festival is fairly certain to be a lot shorter come the day.

His is closely matched with stablemate Ted Veale on flat form, and if he manages to continue his upward curve, he should be in for a big season.

Master Red (Donald McCain)

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McCain is a master at selecting the right races to ensure his charges can spring together a run of victories, and Master Red looks a perfect type for McCain to continue this trait.

He won on his only start for Andrew Cook, running out a comfortable winner at 20/1, before being sent to Donald McCain.

The son of Red Clubs cost £100,000 and the 4-y-o has some brilliant family connections, being out of a full-sister to the classy Ghizao.

His bumper form has panned out well, and he has shown glimpses of high-class ability on his two starts for McCain, finishing second on debut (when travelling best of all, before flattening out), and a wide-margin win in a Sedgefield bumper.

He may not have the mould of a future Cheltenham winner, but there are plenty of races to be won with the 4-y-o this season, and it will certainly pay to keep him onside.

Baradari (Venetia Williams)

The very shrewd Guy Petit purchased a three-year-old son of Manduro, from the Aga Khan Stud to be sent to Venetia Williams, by the name of Baradari.

The €235,000 purchase has finished runner-up on two occasions at Listed level in France, is from a brilliant jumping pedigree (half-brother to Grade One winning hurdler Barizan), and looks set to be an exciting prospect over hurdles.

His physique suggests he will enjoy the step up to middle-distances, and you can guarantee he will be schooled extensively by Williams before he sees the racecourse.

He looks a very classy type and although he is not currently marked up for any ante-post races, he should return a very profitable season if he manages to transfer his ability over obstacles, so make sure you got on early.

 

Glorious Goodwood – Day Two Advice

The match-up that this very week has been based around, arrives on Wednesday, and it looks set to be an absolute belter.

The superstar 2-y-o and subsequent 2000 Guineas and St. James’ Palace winner Dawn Approach lines up against the classy Toronado, and consistently strong Declaration of War.

Dawn Approach only has one blip on his CV, when nearly ripping Kevin Manning’s arms out of their socket in the opening three furlongs of the Derby, before going on to fade into the background of the Epsom cambers, losing his unbeaten record.

dawny

There were talks he would never be the same horse again, and he re-appeared against Toronado (who had since had an operation, following his Guineas fourth) and Magician (Irish 2000 Guineas winner), at Royal Ascot in June, answering his critics in a game style.

He failed to settle once more during the early part of the race, showing up very keen in-touch, but once he switched off, he travelled up like a dream and even after being given a bump when making headway, he still managed to show his turn of foot and true spirit, fending off Toronado by a short-head.

Toronado was given the ultimate hard luck story in the media, with questions raised as to whether he would have got the better of Jim Bolger’s colt, without the bumping at half-way. In my opinion, he wouldn’t.

He eyeballed Dawn Approach with half a furlong to go, and if he was the better horse, he would have gone past him and won.

No doubting Richard Hannon’s horse is incredible, just I think Dawn Approach is a slightly better animal.

Declaration of War is going to give a massive show, having ran two absolute crackers when landing the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot before finishing runner-up behind the horse of the year so far, Al Kazeem.

The stable think really highly of him, and the heaviness in which he was backed before his Lockinge flop gave us a taster of just how highly they rate him.

However, he does have to give weight away to the classy 3-y-o’s, and that should just swing it in their favour.

Overall, I have to feel, if Dawn Approach settles, he will win. It is a slight risk at the odds, but he is yet to give us that breathtaking performance he has always promised, and tomorrow looks set to be the day. Can he follow in the hoof-prints of Rip Van Winkle, Canford Cliffs and the mighty Frankel? I suggest taking the 6/5 that he can..

Advice:

4 points win: Dawn Approach @ 6/5 

 

 

Royal Ascot – Day One Tips

It’s finally that time of year, where the Royal’s descend to Berkshire to get involved with five of the greatest flat racing days of the year.

Opening Day Double:

Five days of brilliant Group One action kicks off on Tuesday with the Queen Anne Stakes.

Animal Kingdom is the odds-on favourite, and it seems impossible to oppose the Breeders Cup Mile runner-up, who went on to land the Dubai World Cup in tremendous fashion, destroying a classy field.

He has been working well since coming over to England, and the straight mile should cause no problems for the International raider.

Elusive Kate and Trade Storm are interesting contenders at a price, but Animal Kingdom looks nailed on, and is the beginning of our opening day double.

The second horse in the double is Epsom Derby flop Dawn Approach.

The son of New Approach looked a superstar in the making during his unbeaten 2yo career which included a win in the Coventry Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago.

ascot

He carried this form into his 3yo career, landing the 2000 Guineas with sumptuous ease at Newmarket, before going on to disappoint in the Derby, after failing to settle early on.

A drop back to a mile is sure to suit, and he should arrive to the race fresh, after Kevin Manning eased the colt down a long way from home at Epsom.

His magnificent cruising speed and turn of foot make him a worthy favourite, especially with doubts over Magician’s fitness, following reports of bruising on the colts’ shin.

He looked a special horse when landing the Irish 2000 Guineas, and will prove stiff opposition, as will Toronado from the Richard Hannon stable.

Richard Hughes has always maintained confidence in his mount, and said in his Racing Post column this week, if they can get over their own problems, they will win.

However, they now face a bigger problem in the face of Dawn Approach, whose course form, unbeaten record over a mile, and the shrewdness of his trainer Jim Bolger, suggests 11/8 is too big to ignore.

If he arrived here without stepping out at Epsom, he would be around the 1/2 mark, so if you can forgive him that one run, he seems a worthy bet.

Don’t Abandon the Reckless:

Overseas raiders have a brilliant record in the Kings Stand Stakes, but this year, the short priced favourite Shea Shea, does not appeal at the odds.

Instead, we should turn to Clive Cox’s raider, Reckless Abandon at 5/1. He won over course and distance at last year’s Royal meeting, and has since gone from strength to strength.

He’s notched up three group wins, two of those group one’s, since last June, and went very close to making it four, when finishing a narrow third behind Kingsgate Native at Haydock last time out.

That was his first defeat on a racecourse, and he was extremely unlucky, having been stranded down the far side before finishing with a flourish, but Kingsgate Native and Swiss Spirit, who both re-appear at Ascot, having the benefit of the stands side rail.

Spirit Quartz and Morawij have both been out since and franked the form, having both raced with Reckless Abandon on the far side, they have both gone on to land pattern races, which provides a timely boost.

He faces stiffer competition today, but with the weight allowance for three-year-old’s, and a decent draw, the 6/1 looks a solid each-way bet.

Arise Sir John:

The Coventry is as competitive as ever this year, with sixteen quality 2yo’s going to battle it out over a stiff six at the Berkshire track.

The favourite, Stubbs from the Aidan O’Brien stable, looks an interesting prospect, and landed the same prep race as last year’s winner Dawn Approach.

aiden

However, he has a tendency to hand left under pressure, and the fact he’s coming from stall 1, means that is arguably the worst draw possible for the son of Danehill Dancer.

This leads us to look for a bigger priced raider, and one who fits the bill perfectly, is O’Brien’s supposed second-string, Sir John Hawkins.

The pedigree of the colt is simply superb, with the four-time Group One winner, Henrythenavigator being his sire, and his dam being none other than former Irish Oaks winner Peeping Fawn.

He showed great promise on debut, when showing great natural speed, beating a fairly competitive field with a tad in hand.

He will come on massively for the run, and with Ryan Moore on board, the confidence can only increase.

The 13/2 looks a solid each-way bet, and it would be no surprise to see the colt emulate his father, by winning the Group Two on Tuesday.

Advice:

2 points win double: Animal Kingdom & Dawn Approach @ 3.12/1 (Paddy Power)

1 point e.w double: Reckless Abandon @ Sir John Hawkins @ 51.5/1 (William Hill)

 

Liverpool v Chelsea – betting preview in association with BetVictor.

Rafael Benitez returns to Anfield for the first time since leaving Liverpool in 2010.

It will be a strange atmosphere for Rafa who will most likely receive a better reception from the home crowd, than his own set of fans.

Since Rafa was last in the dugout for this fixture, Liverpool have won four of the games, and drew one, does this bode well for the red men?

On the pitch, it is all set to be a tight affair, with Chelsea going all out to try and secure a Champions League spot, from fellow London rivals Arsenal and Spurs.

Liverpool’s only remaining hope of a successful season is to finish above rivals Everton, and know that home wins are imperative to make that happen.

It won’t be easy for the reds with Chelsea looking to finish the season on a high following their exit from the F.A Cup, whilst still maintaining one eye on Europe.

Fernando Torres has looked a completely different player over the last month, as his confidence is growing, seemingly after putting on his mask.

It’s transformed him, and he has regained the ability to attack defences in the way he did when gracing the turf at Anfield many years ago.

He knows the weaknesses of the centre-half duo of Agger and Carragher, having trained with them for so long.

It would be no surprise to see Torres on the score-sheet, and the 7/1 for the Spaniard to net first looks on the large side, having previously had so much success in this fixture previously (albeit on the other side). 21/10 for him to net any-time is big enough to tempt us in to a small saver, and it all looks set for Rafa and Torres to team up again to devilish effect at Anfield once more.

There is sure to be goals in the game, with a draw being no good for either side, so the 4/5 for over 2.5 appeals massively.

Both defences have had their troubles in the past, and although Liverpool’s consecutive clean-sheets look promising, you have to take into account they were against West Ham and Reading, who haven’t got the most potent attacks.

Whereas Chelsea have an attack-minded back-four, who tend to go walkabout when their side have possesion leaving themselves exposed to the counter-attacking threat of Liverpool, with the pace of Sturridge, and trickery of Suarez and Coutinho.

Liverpool v Chelsea very rarely disappoints and the 15/1 for a 2-2 draw, makes the most appeal in the correct score market.

Advice to back with BetVictor:

1 point win: Fernando Torres FGS @ 7/1 

1 point win: Fernando Torres any-time @ 21/10

2 points: Over 2.5 goals @ 4/5 

0.5 points: 2-2 correct score @ 15/1

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