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I am off to Malta early tomorrow morning for my annual early November trip of mainly bamboozling the locals with raising under the gun with 5-2 off suit, so this is likely to be my last blog until Tuesday, November 10th ahead of when we officially launch two days later when I preview Day 1 of The Open Meeting at Cheltenham in ‘Race Previews’. However, I will be checking and replying to emails daily. If you've never been to Malta before they have a drink out there called kinnie which is a bittersweet alternative to coke - don't buy it. It's an acquired taste shall we say! The national dish of fenek (rabbit with garlic and rich tomato sauce), now that's an altogether different matter.
On that Tuesday (the 10th) I will be giving my early views on the Paddy Power Gold Cup in ‘Big Race Focus’. Also, look out for Mike Henderson’s preview of the Grand Slam of Darts next weekend with his outright and group stage bets. This is the tournament when the best players in the BDO take on the PDC in a group-stage format for the first few days. After both his advices won yesterday, Mike also has two bets for the quarter-final stage of the European Championships this afternoon, a three-day event covered on ITV4 which comes to a climax tonight in ‘Sport’. Also check out Ross Miles’s Week 8 NFL preview were he has suggested a yankee.
In ‘Guest Contributions’, Paul Ferguson has given us his novices to follow in his first monthly ‘Novice Note Book’ feature which has been uploaded this morning. Paul’s book, Jumpers To Follow 2015-2016 is available to order at £9.95 via [email protected] and is well worth just a tenner of anyone’s money for the amount of content to help you through especially the next couple of months.
It’s the Haldon Gold Cup and Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. I can’t really say that the Melbourne Cup does it for me but I’ve been following Willie Mullins in staying races on the Flat this season with some success so am firstly drawn to Max Dynamite. He might have the right blend of speed and stamina for this. At Exeter, the shape of the Haldon Gold Cup isn’t yet known but Simonsig misses the race to start his campaign following over 2½ years off the course at Aintree over hurdles instead. It looks like Sire De Grugy will carry top weight though Vibrato Valtat will be fancied by many in receipt of 10lb. The Nicholls horses are needing a run however as we saw with Sam Winner and Rocky Creek yesterday and after Sound Investment won the Old Roan Chase improving massively for a prep run. So maybe Tom George’s God’s Own can win it for a second year running off a 5lb higher mark if he is declared. He won by 5l last year so is up to defying his new mark. His trainer had him spot on for his seasonal debut last year and his Module was a very unlucky second the previous year so he has clearly spotted that this is a race where he can take advantage of better horses’ lack of fitness.
I am not a rugby union officionado by any stretch of the imagination but I thought ITV did a good job on the World Cup. Like most people I expected them to fall short of BBC’s coverage, like they did big time in the football World Cup, but I felt it was professional and slick. The only downside being the poor quality of co-commentator, many of which were biased. ITV have come a long way since they broadcast the 1991 World Cup Final when Australia beat England where because England had made the final they thought it would be a good idea to have Sir Geoff Hurst as a studio panellist!
And finally, Happy Birthday son. Happy Birthday dad. It’s an expensive day in the Jones household today!