Cheltenham Festival Week 11 uploaded - Andy Richmond's Beating The Bias uploaded - General Sports (Sun) uploaded - Weekend Race Previews uploaded - Ante Post Focus (Thyestes) uploaded - Cheltenham Festival Week 10 uploaded
We’re almost into October which means that the Jumps Season starts in earnest soon so I’ll be sending out the annual membership invitations to re-subscribe next week to those of you who initially joined at this time of the year, which is the vast majority.
Chepstow on Oct 9/10 signals the start of the NH Season properly in the UK for many. Nicky Henderson is the narrow favourite to hang onto his Trainers’ Championship but with Paul Nicholls acquiring all the Jared Sullivan horses plus Next Destination and getting Topofthegame back to action, I’d have it the other way round.
I usually restart the jumps coverage on Charlie Hall weekend but this year I am bringing it forward a week as the first jumps race previews that I will be covering will be for the Showcase Meeting at Cheltenham/Old Roan Chase weekend (Sat-Sun 24/25). The first of the Cheltenham Festival Ante Post columns (to add to the two recommendations I gave back in April to keep things ticking over during lockdown) will follow on Tuesday, October 27th.
Last season I changed the weekly Cheltenham Ante-Post columns from Monday to Tuesday and that will continue to be the case for the 2020/21 season. I gave my jumps season Ten to Follow in last week’s Horses to Follow column and later this month will upload my Big Race Trends for the 15 major handicaps of the season.
This will be the sixth year covering the jumps season since the launch of the website and, after freezing All-Inclusive membership fees for those first five years, the plan was to increase it this year in line with inflation, especially given the increased content since that launch and that may grow again with the possibility of additional snooker previews in addition to the Triple Crown events.
However, given the current circumstances which don’t look like changing much for the next six months, I feel that it is only right to keep the annual subscription at the same rate for another year. Elite sport continues so we’re not going to be missing out on anything in the next 12 months (fingers crossed), in fact, it’s going to be a darn sight busier than was planned with Euro 2020, The Olympic Games, Ryder Cup and T20 Cricket World Cup all postponed to 2021 and we’ll be overseeing those events in addition to all the usual racing and sport.
I’ll give full details of what I and my guest writers have lined up for the next 12 months in the re-subscription invitation next week. Being stuck at home more than you ideally want to be, hopefully between myself and the guest writers we can help keep you occupied and entertained for what will be a very busy 12 months of racing and sport.
Looking back at a busy September, I struggled at the St Leger Meeting but had a decent Irish Champions Weekend, especially at The Curragh with my girls that had done me a favour in the past, Glass Slippers and Search For A Song, doing me proud again. Glass Slippers heads back to the Prix de l’Abbaye on Sunday and it was her victory in that contest last year that kick started a golden autumn of big-priced winners of big races on the flat for us.
That run surely won’t be repeated again but if we can find a nice winner here and there over Arc Weekend, Champions Day, Future Champions Day and The Breeders’ Cup between various columns then that can hopefully set us up for the jumps season where we had a very good run in the big staying handicap chases last season and I have already given my initial fancy for the Ladbrokes Trophy in Ante Post Focus a couple of weeks back.
I am pleased to report that both Ciaran Meagher and Carl Redden made a profit on their recommendations for the belated brace of US Opens last month; Viktor Hovland (Top Continental European) in the golf and Viktoria Azarenka (Quarter winner) doing the business in the tennis. Ciaran has continued to churn out regular profits for us tournament by tournament this season and has seven more events that he is covering for us in 2020 - three in October (PGA at Wentworth, ZoZo Championship, WGC HSBC Champions) and then the Houston Open, The Masters, World Hero Challenge and DP World Championships in Nov/Dec.
Carl has now shown profits for the last three Grand Slams. He was also very unfortunate not to cop a 6/1 winner in the Name the Finalists market with Djokovic-Thiem following the disqualification of the World Number 1 who was surely en route to play the eventual winner, Thiem, in the final. Hopefully his French Open recommendations for the current action at Roland Garros can extend his run to four profitable Grand Slams in succession. Early days in the tournament but so far so good with Carl’s advices.
I wasn’t so good with my Tour de France recommendations suffering with a bad dose of seconditis. My outright fancy, Primoz Roglic, couldn’t hold onto his 57 seconds’ lead heading into the time trial on the last proper day of racing (despite being 1/16 to win at that stage so hopefully there was some laying-off going on) eventually finishing runner-up to Tadej Pogacar who put in a phenomenal ride. That rendered my double with Peter Sagan to win the Points Competition redundant, where he then also finished second and my Top 10 recommendation of Guillaume Martin also missed out by one place in eleventh, so effectively he was another second.
Despite this, I enjoyed the race immensely and will be taking a keen interest in the Giro d’Italia for three weeks that begins on Saturday covered by Eurosport and features five notable names who gave the TDF a miss; Thomas, Kruijswijk, S Yates, Nibali and Fuglsang. Geraint Thomas looks to be peaking at the right time judged on his second to Simon Yates in his prep race and then he was a good fourth in the World Time Trial Championship on Sunday so he looks the right favourite to me at Evens. In this truncated season, the Vuelta Espana (seen as more prestigious than the Giro so the ITV4 cameras will be covering the event) will overlap the Giro this year taking place between October 20-November 8 and will feature Chris Froome plus some big names from the Tour de France yet to be confirmed. I won’t be featuring those events as one-off previews like the TDF but will give my fancies in a ‘Thought of the Day’ on the home page for both.
The NFL season is now in full swing and it has been a good start for Andy Richmond’s outright 20/1 pick, the Seattle Seahawks, who are now 10/1 clear third-favourites after winning their opening three games. His weekly previews will continue to be uploaded by 1.00 p.m. on Sundays. Andy will also be continuing with his weekly Beating The Bias column up until October 19th.
We’ve seen some strange score lines in the opening three weekends of the Premier League and it will take a while for results to settle down. I note that after their 3-3 start despite having the toughest opening set of games of any club having faced Leeds, Chelsea and Arsenal, that my pre-season fancies of Liverpool have quite rightly usurped Manchester City as favourites and are now a top price of 10/11 from an opening 9/4.
The Champions League draw is made this week (usually the most awkward ceremony of the year but I suspect there is no live audience of stiffs this time!) and I’ll take an overall look at that competition before the first set of games.
Televised darts is back in October with the resumption of the Premier League with finals night on the 22nd which won’t feature Michael van Gerwen who failed to qualify. The semi-finals will be played out between the table topper, Glen Durrant (7/2), and Gary Anderson (3/1), with Peter Wright (7/4) facing Nathan Aspinall (7/2). Before then though, we have the World Grand Prix from Dublin which begins on October 6th and Mike Henderson will be covering both events. With no crowds, we have seen some strange results helping some players and hindering others.
Adam Hewson has already written a couple of columns on the upcoming US Elections in his political betting blog having landed 2/1 winners with his last two recommendations and he will be on hand to take a look at some of the best State by State betting opportunities in the run up to November 3rd. It only happens once every four years so I usually get the coffee on, get the matchsticks out and stay up late to watch it. How can you not love that big, beaming, orange face?
With regards to the Sporting Predictions Competition, it has tightened up at the top with 26 entries within 7.5 points of each other with 13 events to be played to a conclusion so plenty still to play for.
Good look in the coming month and I’ll be in touch with most of you soon.