Six Nations Week 1 in General Sports uploaded - NFL Championship Weekend uploaded - Saturday Race Previews uploaded - Six Nations Outright in General Sports uploaded - Ante Post Focus uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Week 10 uploaded - Premier League Picks uploaded
Well done to Carl Redden who, after hitting the crossbar more than once with beaten finalists in recent weeks, advised David Ferrer to win ATP Vienna at 5/1. Carl will return with the end-of-season World Tour Finals at the O2. Before then, Mike Henderson will be covering the European Darts Championship that starts on Friday looking to build on his superb record of 9/10 winning bets in the head to heads at the World Grand Prix.
You will notice another item has crept in on the menu called 'Trainer Trends' as part of the All-Inclusive Service. So far it has stats for seven jumps trainers but I will be adding to it as the season progresses so we will have around 25 trainers by the end of November where I highlight in what specific areas and racecourses we should respect and beware. The idea being rather than you wading through pages of data and figures looking for stats-based angles, I've already done it and suggest what I feel are the most notable patterns which is then presented in an-easy-to-read format with final cut-to-the-chase conclusions. For examples please see my blog on October 22nd.
I am off to Malta next week for a poker holiday as my last break before we start in earnest on November 12th (I’ll take my laptop with me to take care of little bits and bobs) so this is basically the last full week of testing before the official start date and I’ll be posting something in ‘Big Race Focus’ on either the Charlie Hall or Breeders’ Cup (or both) tomorrow. Handily, I will be staying at a hotel that has a lottery shop just round the corner that shows and takes bets on all the British racing. The casinos in Malta are an extraordinary sight of rows and rows of 60+ aged women with slightly strangely-coloured hair picking their slot machine and then remaining there all evening donating more and more euros. I've purchased 'Strictly Classified' by Marten Julian to keep me occupied for the 4hr flight, a book on the insights into trainers' minds, so will let you know what I think of it.
I was at Cheltenham for both days last week. It was the first time I had attended that particular fixture and was surprised by how busy it was. The new Princess Royal Stand was the star of the show and seems to have been universally acclaimed but of more relevance to me was the Crescent Walkway that overlooks the paddock so there is much more space to see the horses come the Festival. This is where the statues of Arkle and Dawn Run have been repositioned looking down at the paddock. I imagine there name plaques will be in place soon.
The ground floor of the Princess Royal Stand houses the Vestey Bar which is fairly similar in layout to the main grandstand bar at Newbury and was understandably busy but not as busy as the Annual Members’ Bar on the next level which was absolutely rammed so I can only imagine how much busier that will be for The Open and The Festival. If I was an annual member I would be looking to use the public bars instead. The next two floors are boxes and the top floor is reserved for Club Members if you’ve got a spare £30,000 for a three-year deal. The view of the racecourse from that balcony is exceptional though. Talking of viewing, the big screens at Cheltenham on the other side of the track just aren’t very big at all. I don’t know what logistical problems means they can’t be bigger, if there are any, but I’m going to have to dust off my binoculars.
I’ll be reviewing the meeting and all other relevant action from the last fortnight on Friday in ‘Cheltenham Ante-Post’, which will be the last of those bi-weekly rounds up before Week 1 of that service officially kicks in on November 16. Later this week I will also be uploading the first of Andy Richmond's weekly Trading Advice columns and the first of Paul Ferguson's monthly Novice Notebook features.