Tanya's Blog - Saturday 2nd March 2013
Harry Topper running in Kelso’s 4.15pm makes me smile and arguably they have the best meeting of the day. The way Kim Bailey’s runner won at Exeter has me making him one of my picks of the day. He is due to run at Cheltenham so I hope he does oblige.
Next week I’ll be sending through my early thoughts on the Cheltenham Festival but I’m sure you all just want it to start now. As an early thought I want to be on AP McCoy as top jockey, seeing how many favourites JP McManus owns!
Being a cynical, whinging individual I seemed to have answered more Cheltenham Q&As than ever.
Wincanton was the destination on Thursday to be part of the panel at the racecourse's Cheltenham Festival preview night, alongside Paul Binfield of Paddy Power, Joe Tizzard and Paul Nicholls. Alice Plunkett was hosting.
Although it is a privilege to be asked, and they are great fun to do, I am beginning to question the merits of them. Even at this stage with the weights out for the handicaps there are many question marks over which races horses will eventually end up in.
Is it fair to have an audience listen to various panels surmise the ifs, buts, whys, wheres, whens?
I try to offer a point of view as if I was standing up as a bookmaker, plus add as many stats as possible but this has a tendency to make people glaze over. All that is needed is winners, and they are hard to come by day-to-day let alone within a specific 27 races.
Certain preview panels do lend themselves to a good night's entertainment, especially ones with Mark Winstanley or Andy Smith, who are both not afraid to put forward strong opinions.
On Tuesday I was given a chance to say a fond farewell to a true gent; Malcolm Palmer. He worked for Coral in the public relations department for many years and died a few week's ago aged 65.
He was a character who can never be replaced, a graceful, dignified man, who embraced and included everyone in his fun and enjoyment in life. Nobody could bring together so many personalities from differing walks of life and put them in a room and they all got on famously. He was truly admired and adored, which shone through by the standing-room-only turnout to bid a fond farewell.
It was also an opportunity for me to go home. Yes, my spiritual home of Southend. I'll admit there was a feeling of nostalgia taking in the sights which formed the first 25 years of my life.
My primary school whose playing fields have just been eaten away by housing: six football pitches and a running circuit have now shrunk to a token gesture of a football/hockey pitch.
Access in Priory Crescent is reduced to rubble, supermarkets have sprouted up; they call them convenience stores now yet to rush hour traffic they are a big inconvenience.
On arrival at the Crematorium I overheard a discussion ending with, “who an earth could live in this area”. Well I did, and I loved it. Everything was so accessible, especially when armed with a bus pass! Plus out of Southend you can arrive in London via either Fenchurch Street or Liverpool Street.
I passed and acknowledge the old site of Southend’s Greyhound track, which was last seen in the 80s but now just is an industrial estate.
I spent much of yesterday re-writing my Daily Record column in Newbury's press room as most of the horses about which I was typing were not declared!
Oli Bell and Graham Cunningham were hard at work in the press room ahead of their appearance, too.
In other betting news Argo clinched the Oscar, which was a lucrative win in this quarter and pays for a fair few more cinema visits in the future!
It’s out on DVD next week if you haven’t seen it and take the opportunity to watch a bit of cinematic genius by Ben Affleck. Okay, a couple of bits are corny and you’ll spot them, but I refuse to give anything away.
Affleck’s attention to detail is meticulous and pitches the late 70s spot on. He is now on a par with Clint Eastwood for that part of his directing. With The Town and now Argo I can’t wait for Affleck’s next offering.
Only one of the nine winners had won on their previous start
Eight of the last nine winners were aged eight or younger
Paul Nicholls has won the race five times
Seven of the last nine winners carried 10st-11lbs or less
The last eight winners came from the first four in the betting
The last nine winners had finished no worse than fourth on their previous run. (Five had won on their previous run)
James Ewart has had seven winners from his last 16 chase runners at Doncaster, that’s a strike rate of 44%
Seven of the last eight winners of the 3.30pm at Doncaster have come from the first three in the betting
Eight of the last ten winners of the 3.15pm at Newbury have come from the first four in the betting (or all ten came from the first five in the betting, not one priced in double figures!)
Only one of the last ten winners of the 3.15pm at Newbury have been older than six
Philip Hobbs and AP McCoy have a 75% strike rate (six from eight) when teaming up with hurdlers.
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