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The roadshow moves on to York this week where I will be covering all four days. I set up and appeared on The Punters’ Panel for them in the paddock before all their race meetings about 15 years ago which is still going strong. I also used to be their racecard tipster under the guise of Baron Ferdinand, who you may remember winning the Magnet Cup back in 1993. Not my idea for the name of pseudonym, trust me!!! I’ve not attended the Knavesmire for around five years so I don’t know if The Baron is still going strong or not and, if so, whether the red aeroplanes next to the horse’s name in the racecard (also not my idea, trust me!!!) is being persisted with.
The retirement of Paul Carberry was announced last week and he will sadly missed from the saddle. Bobbyjo winning the Grand National is widely regarded as being his career highlight but my personal favourites were his rides on Sausalito Bay and Go Native winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. I recall Sausalito Bay beating Best Mate into second at 14/1 with particular fondness as he was the clear trends horse of the race in the very first race of the meeting in the very first year of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide, so my book couldn’t have got off to a better start. So in a way, I have a lot to thank Paul Carberry for. He had the best hands in the business.
As for his best ride? One I was cursing having been on Teaforthree ante-post for the Welsh Grand National for some time only to see Carberry at his sublime best to bring the fence-belting Monbeg Dude home late in the day. Few Welsh Nationals are won from off the pace underlining the brilliance of that ride. I very much recommend reading his autobiography if someone asks you “any ideas what you want for Christmas this year?”
The Premier League got underway with all six favourites on the opening afternoon failing to win. I suggested in my preview of the weekend’s action that the price for the outsider is generally too big in football matches over a sprint of 90 minutes and certainly in the opening half a dozen games or so in the season so those set of results didn’t dent my enthusiasm to take on the favourites over the next month or so. Manchester City won at 1/5 but looked anything like long odds-on shots during the game and got away with it with a late winner via an own goal or otherwise it would have been 7/7. If Guardiola’s team had played any slower they would have stopped which led to a noisier crowd than at a Dido concert. Anyone backing all seven outsiders to win would have made a LSP of +£5.25.
I had a little a pop at Sunderland at 14/1 to beat City which gave me a run for my money but, and I hope I am not tempting fate here, I’m extremely hopeful that we can bag a 14/1 winner later today as they were the odds that Paul Smith recommended about a 2-2 scoreline before the start of the England-Pakistan Test Series. Pakistan are now as short as 1/10 to square the series at 2-2 in the final test after Younis Khan’s double century put them firmly in the driving seat at The Oval. It reminded me of the last time that I attended a Test Match when the same player also notched up a double century at Headingley where I didn’t see one single wicket fall in three full sessions as both Younis Khan and Mohammed Yousuf hit double hundreds in a record-breaking partnership. Surely not even Pakistan can blow this and a 14/1 winner would go very nicely indeed next to Paul’s 2pts win suggestion of Joe Root at 11/4 to be Top England Runscorer in the same pre-series article, which is already home and hosed.
The Olympics has taken a little while to take off and we’ve been a bit unlucky with a couple of recommendations. Rohan Dennis, for example, was the only leading contender to have a mechanical problem in the cycling time trial and the time he lost when changing bikes undoubtedly cost him the bronze medal, after I suggested him each-way. It was also a case of close but no cigar with Carl Redden’s Ladies’ Tennis 20/1 each-way fancy, Madison Keys, who reached the semi-finals but it was then so frustrating to watch her fail to convert any of the ten break points she created as she went down to Angelique Kerber.
It’s tough taking on the favourites in the athletics but, for what it is worth, one favourite who I think should be shorter than 5/4 is the reigning Olympic Champion and still only 23, Kirani James, to win the Men’s 400m tonight. He looked very smooth when winning his semi-final in comfortably the fastest time last night.