Clear, concise, comprehensive horseracing analysis and insight from Paul Jones, former author of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide, concentrating on jump racing in addition to the best of the Flat and leading Sports events.
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July Schedule

3/7/22

As with June we have a quiet first week in July before things start picking up - so plenty of tennis watching then.

We’re half-way through Wimbledon. Can I admit to not watching a single shot as yet? With the singles winners having to play seven matches, from a watching perspective I only start to get interested from the second week onwards, so I’ll get properly into it from tomorrow, after a day of attending my granddaughter’s christening celebrations. It looks like I’ll definitely have to watch the Kyrgios match on Monday after reading about his antics in his victory over Tsitsipas! He might be an idiot but he’s box office.

As far as Carl Redden’s pre-tournament selections are concerned, best check with your bookmaker if there were any refunds after Mateo Berrettini was forced to withdraw before the tournament started having tested positive for Covid. He was Carl’s ‘name the finalists’ selection alongside Novak Djokovic. With the clear favourite Iga Swiatek knocked out of the women’s tournament yesterday ending her long unbeaten run, Carl’s 8/1 outright recommendation, Ons Jabeur, is now 2/1 market leader over Simona Halep at 4/1.  

Glorious Goodwood will be the main focus of the website towards the end of July looking over all five days and hopefully we’ll get to see another ‘Duel on the Downs’ with Caroebus taking on Baaeed and a Goodwood Cup where ground conditions mean that we have no high-profile defectors.

Before then we have the Newmarket July and King George Meetings to look forward to which I will cover in Ante Post Focus. I gave an overview of five of July’s highlights in last week’s column which started nicely with my preference of Vadeni winning the Coral-Eclipse. A little fortuitously I have to say as I’m pretty convinced that Mishriff would have won with a clear run. The winner likely waits for the Irish Champion Stakes but a Baaeed v Mishriff dust up in the Juddmonte International will be something to look forward to with the best horse in the world and last season’s 6l winner going head to head.

The main ante-post recommendation at Royal Ascot won when Kyprios (advised at 6/1) landed the Gold Cup. As for the rest of the meeting, we had our winners but missed out on that tasty-priced one that would have ‘made’ the five days for us. Andy Richmond’s weekly horses to follow column, Beating The Bias, continues to highlight a steady stream of winners.

On the sports front in July, Mike Henderson will be on duty previewing the World Matchplay Darts from Blackpool where Peter Wright bids to defend his title. Mike has tickets for all sessions so I might be joining him one day, if he is not dressed up like a Flintstone. This is regarded as the second most important darts tournament of the year.

I was a guest of the sponsors, Stan James, back in 2009 so had a back stage pass - the bar/lounge area being literally directly behind the dart board - and spent an enjoyable evening in the company of the then darts commentator and BBC Five football reporter, John Gwynne. Very sadly I read in a tweet last night from his son that his life journey is coming to an end after suffering with cancer. Such a warm, lovely fella. A tanked-up Eric Bristow later joined us after he had finished his shift as a spotter for the commentary team. Clearly being almost under the table didn’t affect his mathematics!

The sporting event that I am most looking forward to this month though is The Open Championship from the home of golf, St Andrews. Or as I call it, a glorified pitch ‘n’ putt course. Unless the wind blows that is. That’s its only defence.

I just don’t get as bleary-eyed about St Andrews as other golf fans but don’t get me wrong, if anyone was to offer me a free round of golf at the Old Course! Events can be very much draw affected at St Andrews too as we saw when Louis Oosthuizen won by seven shots in 2010 when a virtual unknown at the time. Hence why again I’ll be looking to have my main bet in-running so will be writing half-way stage and final round columns which is where we have done well this year, so just a couple of outright pre-tournament picks to help set the scene.

I’ve had a player in mind for The Open for a good few weeks who is in amongst the 33/1 shots. Hopefully we can land on the winner of another Major this year as we did at the USPGA at the halfway stage with Justin Thomas and at the US Open heading into the final round with Matt Fitzpatrick.

Fitz had been my cliff player in Majors over the last two-three years and he put on a ball-striking clinic to win at Brookline. Delighted for him and I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t win another Major title in his career. Naturally I was disappointed not to be with him from the outset having been my boy for the last few seasons but I just felt that his ‘previous’ at the course (won the US Amateur title there) had been factored into pre-tournament top odds of 25/1 - some 15 points lower than usual. C’est la vie.

I’m at Center Parcs with the extended family for the first two days of The Open in a tremendous piece of planning from Mrs Jones (so the wave machine, canoeing and badminton can do one those days), which if anyone who has been there before will know full well will cost me an arm and a leg. Five days in New York would work out cheaper but thankfully it’s not during school holidays or I will have to re-mortgage the house!

The Tour de France started on Friday and I gave my pre-race thoughts in the General Sports section. Even if it is a feast for the eyes, watching six hours live isn’t for me so I have the hour-long highlights on series link on ITV4 presented the utterly brilliant broadcaster, Gary Imlach. I say it every year but at least once I need to hire a campervan and follow it round France. When I’m retired I imagine.

Onto cricket and Paul Smith will be previewing the England v South Africa Test Series which starts in August and finishes in September. It’s been a great start for Ben Stokes as the new captain beating New Zealand 3-0 which has freed up England’s best batsman, Joe Root, to concentrate on what he does with the willow. I’ve never been keen on a cricket team’s best player also having the captaincy. Just let them do what they do best.

As for the Joshua - Usyk fight, that has now been put back to Ebor Day (August 20th) and Will Steele will return to cover the bout which will take place in Saudi Arabia.

Enjoy the summer sport and hopefully July will be warmer than June. Missing my evenings chilling out in the garden until hitting the sack.

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