Masters Final in General Sports & NFL Divisional Round (Sun) uploaded - Masters Semi Finals in General Sports & NFL Divisional Round (Sat) uploaded - Weekend Race Previews uploaded - The Masters (Fri) uploaded - Premier League Picks & Ante Post Focus uploaded
Last week started very positively with Carl Redden finding the US Open champion, Bianca Andreescu, at 14/1 and two days later in my home page ‘Thought of the Day’ I landed on Poker Play who then won the Kerry National at 14/1, so a great start to the upcoming jumps season.
Doncaster and certainly Irish Champions Weekend, where I seemed to be on all the Aidan O’Brien-trained fancied losers and none of his winners, could have gone an awful lot better though so I undid a chunk of the good US Open and Kerry National work. I am going to have a rethink about what I want to do with some of next season’s Flat Season content as (a) I’ll have turned 50 by then so looking to ease off just a little with my workload and (b) it’s going to be a busy summer of sport anyway with Euro 2020, the T20 Cricket World Cup and The Olympic Games all to cover plus The Ryder Cup in the autumn so it’s going to be a big year of sport.
With regards to the Jumps Season and the upcoming weekly weekend previews, I will start those two weeks earlier than advertised this year. I usually promote commencing the jumps season with the Cheltenham November Meeting but then can’t help myself and include Charlie Hall/Ascot/Down Royal/Breeders’ Cup day a fortnight earlier anyway with a week off in between. However, I will include Badger Ales day this year too, so we are now only six weeks away from recommencing the jumps season properly, which is the main thrust of the website.
I am likely to make some other changes for the year ahead which I will outline in the invitation to re-subscribe to the 80% of current members who joined when I launched the website four autumns ago. I will also send an email to the remaining 20% who became a member at a later stage outlining those tweaks.
I can tell you now that one of those changes will be moving the Cheltenham Ante Post Service, which did so well last season, back 24 hours to Tuesdays at 7.00 p.m., simply to give me more to time to write it properly. Plenty of the fallout news from the weekend action filters through on Monday afternoons so I’m always trying to keep on top of it all as it breaks whilst writing those circa-8,000 words’ articles, meaning rewrites of sections. I also plan to attend the better Sunday racing this season including the Dublin Racing Festival for the first time, so putting the weekly copy back a day will help timewise in that respect. That 17 weeks’ element of the website will still restart the same week as usual but on the Tuesday after the Cheltenham November Meeting rather than the Monday.
The BMW PGA Championship begins today and is the last event of the season that Ciaran Meagher is covering for us. A repeat of his 1-2 for the last two years would be nice! Personally, I am in the Matt Fitzparick e/w camp who tees off at 1.35 p.m. I am pleased to confirm that Ciaran will be covering the best of the golf for us again in 2020 and will also be upping his contribution from 15 to 19 tournaments and I’ll take it up to a round 20 by overseeing the Ryder Cup again, which went very well last year. In fact, there is a good chance that I will be writing those Ryder Cup articles from Wisconsin next year as the plan is to attend for the first time via one of those golf breaks companies. The wheels have already been set in motion.
After returning us with a small profit on the Cricket World Cup, Paul Smith did likewise for us on The Ashes thanks to recommending Ben Stokes for Top England series runs scorer at 7/1. As with Ciaran, that’s him now done for the year and he will return in 2020 where the T20 Cricket World Cup is the highlight.
Unfortunately Paul is not in a position to cover the Rugby Union World Cup for us as I had advertised earlier in the year. As mentioned in yesterday’s ‘Thought of the Day’ rugby is not a sport that I take a real interest in anyway, hence why I have never covered even the Six Nations, though I did note that during the last World Cup the outsider in individual matches covered the spread on a regular basis during the group phase so, for an ‘action bet’, I would suggest doing that across the board in the opening weeks if you want to spice up your interest on events in Japan.
As for the rest of September, it’s going to be fairly quiet with regards to website content with the next major racing action being Arc Day on the first Sunday in October, though the usual weekly columns will continue. As such, I will be taking myself up to Yorkshire next weekend for the World Road Racing Cycling Championships with all the races finishing in Harrogate and where over 3 million fans are expected to line the route over all races over the seven days, so it will be some event and spectacle.
Last week’s Tour of Britain winner, Mathieu Van der Poehl, is 5/2 favourite to win the men’s race and the coveted rainbow jersey for a year on the final day ahead of Peter Sagan at 5/1 and Julian Alaphilippe at 7/1. No surprise that they should head the betting as the course favours riders who have to be able to climb and sprint. Other major names include Geraint Thomas, Alejandro Valverde, Jakob Fuglsang, Simon Yates, Adam Yates, Philippe Gilbert, Greg van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin and Michael Matthews so it should hopefully be a belter. The 2018 Tour of Britain winner, Alaphilippe, appeals most to me at the prices having been more or less rested since his bold bid to win the Tour de France having only raced for six days since then compared to 15 last year.
It’s another major sporting event to knock off the bucket list and I may well be adding the Mosconi Cup to that in November. Ever since I watched Earl ‘The Pearl’ Strickland in his prime strut his stuff in that 8-ball pool grudge match between USA and Europe in what looks a fantastic atmosphere on television, I have wanted to attend and this may well be the year now it’s a competitive event again after America ended years of European dominance last year. Oh ok, it’s also an excuse for a five-day trip to Vegas!
The 17th edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championships starts next week in Doha, Qatar and will last for ten days and be covered by BBC. The one thing that I can tell you…it’s going to be hot!!! This is an event I enjoy despite the fact that we don’t know who has been on the juice until months after the medals have been dished out. America’s Cristian Coleman is odds-on to win the blue riband, the Men’s 100m, but he has an unfortunate habit of missing drug testing schedule appointments. Second-favourite, Justin Gatlin, also has a proven track record in this regard and then getting caught out anyway. But don’t worry about it, American sprinting is very clean!
I haven’t been following the Diamond League so wouldn’t be up to speed on the betting side of things. Dina Asher Smith is Great Britain’s poster girl and should medal in both the 100m and 200m being ranked in the world’s top three in both. If she can complete that double (5/2 for the 100m but no odds yet on the 200m) then she will be a serious rival to Ben Stokes (currently 2/7) in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Unfortunately there is no each-way betting at present or 25/1 would have been very tempting.
I mentioned at the top that I am looking to ease off a little with my workload after I turn 50 and, as part of making a few lifestyle changes, ten years after setting it up I am deleting my personal Twitter profile, @sportspunter01 at the end of the month. The less opportunity for me to be tempted to look at my mobile phone the better. Someone might want to suggest this to MPs sitting in the House of Commons who seem to be constantly checking their social media whilst debating is happening in the chamber. It really doesn’t look good, and it isn’t. One Twitter account is enough so I will continue with just my website account @PaulJonesRacing and hopefully stop getting congratulated on there when he trains a winner in Australia!
I had a word with Adam Hewson with regards to a potential next Political Betting Blog to which his reply was: “I just need to get my head around this total clusterfuck of what is actually going on first!” As such, he’ll be sitting things out until after Brexit is done and dusted and concentrate on the race for the Democratic Party Candidate ahead of next year’s US Election.