Six Nations (outright) in General Spots uploaded - NFL Divisional Playoffs Part 2 & Sunday Race Previews uploaded - NFL Divisional Playoffs Part 1 uploaded - Saturday Race Previews uploaded - Ante Post Focus uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Week 10 & Australian Open uploaded
So.......I have tested positive for coronavirus and, along with other family household members must self-isolate for ten days. As, unlike me, they are currently not showing any symptoms, that means being locked away in the bedroom on my own with just the Freeview Channels to keep me entertained TV-wise so looks like it’s Great British Railway Journeys, Top Gear and Open All Hours for the next few days before the Snooker Shootout starts on ITV4. At least I am getting served breakfast in bed!
Outside of the coughing, aches and switching from sweating up to shivering with cold so also a lack of sleep (thankfully nothing chest related yet - touch wood), it’s left me feeling pretty weak and tired so I won’t be taking it lightly and will be having full rest with plenty of water and Vitamin C for the next few days. I have never taken an illness break since the website launched 5½ years ago but the plan is to return for the Saturday race previews on Friday with one small exception. I had already pre-written this blog earlier in the week so dictated this three-paragraphs’ additional intro to my daughter to upload. However, if I start to feel re-energised before Friday then that could change.
That small exception will be for the Cheltenham Festival column on Tuesday as I do have a recommendation before the Dublin Racing Festival takes place next weekend and I expect that horse to be running there. That column usually takes me between 10-12 hours to write over two days and I am certainly not up to that in the next couple or so days. Therefore on Tuesday I will just give the recommendation including the reasoning behind it.
With another month of lockdown ahead I hope that we can help keep your sanity with what the website will be providing in February.
Looking back to January, our highlight was First Flow winning the Clarence House Chase as recommended in Ante Post Focus at 14/1. We only matched those odds on the day with Waiting Patiently being a surprise supplementary entry but what a spectacle it was to watch David Bass throw him at everything and see off Politologue making up for The Two Amigos (e/w at 16/1 in the same column) only finding the well-handicapped favourite too good in the Welsh Grand National, though a profit is a profit. And I hope that you also had a go at the recommended forecast at Chepstow too.
Given the recent successes of the Ante Post Focus column, although I don’t offer stake points suggestions for that column unlike for Cheltenham, having had many a nice winner since the launch of this website as recommended in the final summary, I decided to go back through every column over the last 5½ years to see what kind of level stakes profits it would have been showing had I made every win and each-way suggestion in the final closing summary a 1pt bet (either 1pt win or 0.5pts e/w).
I knew we would be very nicely up but discovered that from 268 of what could have been said to be suggested bets, we would be showing something around a 184 points level stakes profit at the recommended best prices. I didn’t go into decimal points. And this excludes the 75 level stakes profit since I started the Cheltenham Festival Ante Post Service. So now I am gutted that I didn’t do this like for the Cheltenham-only column as I can’t really ‘officially’ advertise it as some may see it as ‘cooking the books’. Though, of course, all members have back access to every single column since the website launched if they wanted to check it all out simply by scrolling down the page.
We are now fully into Cheltenham Trials Season and 11 weeks into the Cheltenham Festival column where so far I have stuck up 14 ante-post bets and I am happy with most of them, notably A Plus Tard (e/w) at 66/1 for the Gold Cup of course so hopefully he’ll enjoy good preparation. Of course there is an odd turkey in there too - I am looking at you Felix Desjy!!! I usually end up with something in the high-thirties in terms of bets once we take into account the on-the-day recommendations.
Onto February and towards the end of the month I will upload my Big Race Trends for all 28 races at the Festival in addition to the usual racing content.
With regards to the sport, and with a home tie against Bristol City in the fifth round, I am starting to get quite hopeful about my sole FA Cup recommendation, Sheffield United (each-way) at 100/1 attempting to follow up the successful pre-third-round recommendation on Arsenal at 14/1 last season. If they can negotiate a home tie against those lower-league rivals and then avoid a big club in the quarter-finals, I will then really start to get interested! The less said about my Premier League form in this crazy season the better though.
For the first time we are covering the Six Nations. I have resisted it until now but when the former Head of Communications at Wasps got in touch to ask if he could write a Rugby Union column of the biggest events, what else could I say? Maybe it will turn me round to liking the sport! But I know that many of you do so I hope this new coverage adds to your enjoyment of the event. Showing my lack of rugby knowledge I uploaded his first set of games’ previews a week early!
Carl Redden has made a profit for us on the last four Grand Slam tennis events and he will be covering the Australian Open for us next weekend with his outright preview on Sunday. Play begins at Midnight, so shortly into the Super Bowl.
A week today is Irish Gold Cup Day (I gave my fancy in last week’s Ante Post Focus), one of eight Grade 1 races at the two-day meeting but it’s also Super Bowl night where Andy Richmond will give us his in-depth preview of Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Expect a mega-long piece with plenty of recommendations if previous years are a guide!
George Weyham returns with his snooker column to cover the Players’ Championship later this month (Feb 22-28) as they build up to the World Championships in April. Only seems like August since Ronnie beat Wilson in the final. Oh it was.
He is not covering the Snooker Shootout for us that that starts on Thursday where whoever is front after 10 minutes progresses to the next round. I attended a day last year (some of the audience must have been let out on day release) and picked up a mini-angle. The table was playing so fast that the reds spread out off the break wider than normal so whoever was not breaking was effectively ‘first in’, which means plenty in a ten minutes’ frame. It’s obviously a different table and venue so I don’t know how slick the cloth will be, but pretty fast I’d imagine, and the natural inclination players these days is to go for a long red off the break. My plan therefore is to back the outsider of two if they are not breaking off, especially as there is a very good argument to back the outsider of two regardless.
The next darts event that Mike Henderson is covering after a successful World Championships is the UK Open in early March behind closed doors at, you’ve guessed it, Milton Keynes! Like virtually every darts and snooker event since last summer. The Premier League has been put back a month to April in the hope that some fans will be allowed to attend by then.
With regards to the Sporting Predictions Competition 2021 encompassing 50 events over the year, I received 78 entries so the first prize will be £546, second prize £156 and third prize £78. After the first of the 50 main events, I can confirm that we have 78 joint leaders on zero points with no one selecting Yan Bingtao or John Higgins for The Masters. We will have names on the leader board after the Super Bowl though with the Chiefs understandably being a popular choice and a few souls went with the Bucs.