Friday Race Previews uploaded - Ante Post Focus uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Week 4 uploaded - Paul's Blog & Andy Richmond's Beating The Bias uploaded - Sunday Race Previews & General Sports uploaded - Saturday Race Previews uploaded
I’m still not fully over this wretched virus thing so it looks like I’ll be watching more Commonwealth Games coverage than I thought! It was planned to be zero but once I started watching the Wales v England Men’s Doubles Bowls this morning it hooked me for the whole 18 ends!
Overall, the Glorious Goodwood race previews columns went well with the Friday being the undoubted highlight with Mister Milliner (14/1) and Orbaan (20/1) winning the two big handicaps of the day, and there was plenty of 33s about the latter overnight so hopefully you got on early, which is what I always advise doing. As early as possible after the column is uploaded if you can. In fact, from two fancies in both races we had the 1-2 each time with the bigger-priced runner prevaliing.
More of my fancies that not start at a shorter SP than their overnight price and horses generally have more potential to shorten up by a higher percentage than drift by the same amount. Another example was Oscula who was 12/1 when I uploaded the overnight preview where she was my fancy for the Oak Tree Stakes before being backed into 100/30 favourite in a 15-runner contest with no withdrawals.
The meeting lived up to its name with Baaeed majestic in winning the Sussex Stakes following a Goodwood Cup that didn’t just live up to expectations but surpassed them and Nashwa continued her stake to argue that she’s the best 3yo filly around. Royal Scotsman and The Platinum Queen looked very smart in the two-year-olds races and we had a first back-to-back winner of the Steward’s Cup in over 50 years.
So onto the York Ebor Festival next where I’ll be covering all four days and where it is expected that we will see Baaeed raised up to 1m2f (and 56y) for the first time. I’ve read some interesting debates whether he’ll be as effective over an extra quarter-mile and if the same Mishriff that won it by 6l last year turns up then he’s in for the toughest test of his career. I have not made up my mind yet but I'll end up going with what my eyes and instincts are telling me nearer the time over all other factors such as form, trends and other more fashionable data these days.
Having recommended Pyledriver in the Ante-Post Focus column to win the 2021 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes only for him to pick up an injury, it was rather galling to see him win it at 18/1 a year later without a penny invested! I’ve no one race that I am looking at for tomorrow’s column so will pop up my trends for the Shergar Cup which I didn’t realise had been extended from six to eight races until yesterday plus smaller field sizes. Apparently they have done this as were petrified some of the races wouldn’t take up their full quota of runners despite the good prize money. The irony is not lost that the Shergar Cup was Peter Savill’s brain child and earlier in the week he submitted a proposal to the BHA to increase field sizes in the bigger races amongst other things.
As for the general sport that we’ll be covering in August, the Premier League restarts on Friday evening when Crystal Palace host Arsenal and I will give my overall thoughts on the season earlier that day.
This will be a more interesting opener for me than usual as Palace are my idea of the team who can most outrun their odds now that Patrick Vieira has had a season to bed in (they took Arsenal apart at home in the spring) so will look to get with them in some market and, also, my only bet so far this season is Gabriel Jesus each-way for to be Top Goalscorer at 20/1 in a place (was 16/1 general at the time) which I highlighted in a Thought of the Day last week. I really hope that you followed me in as he is now only a top-priced 12/1 across the board after banging in the goals since then in pre-season matches.
Rather than sitting on my hands once I saw 20/1 which just instinctively looked the wrong price, that was another example of taking decisive, immediate action - one of the sub-headers in the chapter on Ante Post Betting in From Soba To Moldova, which I re-read for the first time earlier this summer since I published it a few years back just to sharpen myself up and remind myself of my own advice! It certainly worked in this case as Jesus is almost half those odds not much more than a week later.
Also in August Paul Smith will return to cover the England v South Africa Test Series which starts at Lord’s on the opening day of the Ebor Meeting, Will Steele will be covering Joshua v Usyk II which takes place on the final day of the Ebor Meeting and, regards golf, I will be overseeing the three FedExCup Playoffs that take place the weeks before, during and after the Ebor Meeting. Hoping for better there than The Open. I told you that St Andrews was a glorified pitch ‘n’ putt course! Best putter won.
So everything in my head for August then revolves around the Ebor Meeting! Even my now-annual three-nights’ camping trip to Tribfest about 25 miles from York which takes place over the final two days, so all copy will be uploaded before I upload my tent. So if you are racing at the Knavesmire and fancy a bit of Guns 2 Roses, Kopycat Killers and Ian Dury and the Blackheads after the Nunthorpe, I’ll see you there! Just down the road from Malton.
Whilst on the subject of musical cheese, it has been officially announced that after finishing runner-up to Ukraine in May that the United Kingdom will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023. The front runner to host is Glasgow’s OVO Hydro with a 14,500 standing capacity and was used in the Will Ferrell comedy film Eurovision, The Story of Fire Saga. I’d only recommend you watch this is you a true Eurovision lover!
I have to say that I am very tempted to apply for media accreditation next year with access to the dress rehearsals, interviews, red carpet events etc. I’m not sure that it gets you into the arena for the final though, just the media centre for the full concerts, but I’d only be watching it on a TV at home anyway. As I preview the event for the Attheraces website (a toned-down version on the day from the one you see on here earlier), and the ATR website is part of Sky Sports Racing, I think I’d have a fighting chance of getting a thumbs up given their big page view numbers. Whether I can convince them I need my mate as my official photographer on his IPhone, I’m not so sure!
A quick look at September and Andy Richmond is raring to go with his NFL columns again. It all kicks off on September 8th with the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams before the first Sunday of action on the 11th, which is the final day of Irish Champions Weekend that I am covering before I take a week’s holiday between September 12th-20th.
I am really looking forward to the first half of my break having been invited to a three-night Soccer Saturday Golf Tournament at La Manga Resort which is set to feature Jeff Stelling, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier and Charlie Nicholas. I’ve played in a few horseracing golf days before (and I can guarantee you that no one can possibly play slower than Peter Scudamore!) so this is something a bit different for me and guess that I’ll have to pound some balls on the range so not to embarrass myself on the two courses, one of which hard enough to have hosted the Spanish Open.
Enjoy the final month of summer where my main hope is that we don't have another heatwave. I managed to eke out a McDonalds lunch for over two hours just to take advantage of their powerful air con and then likewise Odeon Cinema for Top Gun Maverick in the evening. Horrendous. Not the film, though it was a bit American Cheesy, I'm just not made for that kind of heat.