The passing of the baton, as from the focus of the attention being the John Smith’s Grand National meeting, next week live on
we can enjoy classic trials with Newmarket’s Craven meeting and then Newbury at the weekend.
For now it’s a more relaxing time, the final few days of the Easter holidays are drawing to a close and I’ll find myself at Kempton in their betting enclosure. I refuse to call it a ring as I am sceptical as to how many bookmakers will be stood in it. Being a Saturday there should be a double figure attendance but questionable how strong.
A brief review of the Grand National three days gives me cause to say, Brian Gleason and I found trade extremely quiet in their betting ring on Thursday. Sufficient without being excitable on the Friday. However I have grave concern for those betting in it when they bet overbroke having gone 2-5 Sprinter Sacre near to post time! Whatever for? The majority were 1-3, a few were 4-11, a worrying few 2-5. It’s their business but I am concerned did they know the mathematics and probability of their decision? The big boys left them to it, but had they come off the rails or from higher pitches, I wonder what would have ensued.
Saturday was organised chaos in the betting ring, the type you love, just swathes of punters queuing up just to get on, with little or no choice to hunt the value as moving about was restricted. What was perturbing was the each-way terms on some boards, bookmakers will only have themselves to blame when punters wise up, or technology and regulation means we will be permitted to bet through our mobile phones or other devices on course, or we just don’t attend any more.
Thankfully though, it seems racecourses are weaving into their terms and conditions of betting on course, sensible each-way terms.
To be back at Aintree was something I thought would never happen and when walking on my hallowed turf and spiritual home on the Wednesday, great thoughts and memories flooded back. The place is magical and what a privilege to be part of it once more, but I wish I had being standing on a bookmakers pitch, that’s not to say I wasn’t inspired and didn’t love presenting, but bookmaking is in my blood.
Back to the action and Kempton what a great listed fillies’ race, I’m hoping to see Lily’s Angel on the track in the morning or in the paddock. She carries a 3lb penalty for a listed race win in the 3.15. It’s very tricky and full marks to those who can crow they’ve found a certainty but I make it between at least three. Stirring Ballad, Lily’s Angel and Burke’s Rock.
Jamie Osborne has a strong hand in the 2.05 and I like Amadeus Wolfe Tone, while we are on it how about Doncaster who have an excellent card. Perhaps Rock A Doodle Doo for Sally Hall in the 2.55. Forgive me though as always I’ve been distracted by other sports.
It’s not the winning or losing that counts its having the discipline to hedge, as far as the Masters last night was concerned. Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson were my three off the tee and the aforementioned should be leading on at least 7 under. However the volatility of the in running betting has afforded me the luxury to watch the rest of the tournament in comfort as I’ve also backed all three without Woods.
I’ve loved golf and investing in it for over 20 years now. There was a time in the early nineties especially when Scott Hoch won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, that all I wanted to do was follow the PGA Tour round America betting my selections as and when. As we all know life never fully pans out how we plan. Yet I have relished, thrived and enjoyed many golf tournaments in this country and have some wonderful memories and been able to spectate and participate in so many other things courtesy of the wizards of the fairways.
One of my most satisfactory wins was backing Chad Campbell at 66-1 to win a tournament which he was leading by three or four shots after two rounds, and knowing his frailties hedged out at 5-2. He didn’t win, I think it was the Nissan Open, instead he barely clung on to a top ten position.
Sadly time doesn’t permit me to be all consumed by the form, stats, and details of the PGA Tour as much as I was five, ten even twenty years ago. And my advice to anyone is to study, study, and study more until you can recite the form, stats, best placings etc. A huge asset to my records was knowing the fastest players, because in a two ball the stats dictated the fastest player had a big advantage. John Huston was very quick whereas we all know we could lay out a picnic before Ben Crane strikes a ball.
Plus always remember Driving is for show, putting is for dough! Scott Simpson, Loren Roberts and David Toms precision putting were the significant factors in helping hold their nerve. However David Toms in his prime was a one off, he chased down victories.
Though for now just enjoy the final two rounds, but do look out for sure fire future winners in the also rans. Matt Kuchar looks as though he is priming himself for another Sawgrass win. Sorry I’ve rambled on.
Cricket season has started and I’m glued to the IPL, fantastic sport and to think the majority of those boys will be over here in June for the ICC Trophy.
Thankfully I appear to be in a bit of form as of late with my tips in last week's column producing two winners.