Ante Post Focus uploaded - Cheltenham Festival 'Wash Up' Days 1 & 2 uploaded - Ryder Cup Ante Post uploaded - Ante Post Focus on Tingle Creek & King George VI Chase uploaded - Naas Monday (start of Irish Flat Turf Season) uploaded - Paul's Blog uploaded
I’m looking forward to The Olympic Games which start later this week. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be covering as yet but I’ll certainly have a stab at the golf, some of the athletics and Carl Redden will be looking at the tennis. We'll play it by ear or, in other words, I'll make it up as I go along!
With the USPGA Championship washed out last night I watched the Decker-Budd documentary on Sky Atlantic instead which I would heartily recommend you catch if possible. It really was a terrific programme and ended with the pair meeting each other for the first time since that 3000m race in the 1984 Olympics at the same stadium where the infamous fall took place. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but the pressures placed on Zola Budd at such a tender age were just enormous.
The golf washout also meant that I got round to finish watching Billions. The second half of that 12-programme first series drops off from the first half but the first six editions were exceptional so it was always going to struggle to maintain that level. One day I will finally get round to watching my box set of The Wire but with the Olympics and York being the next two big events I am covering it will continue to gather dust until they are over. The next action that I will cover in the Race Previews section will be the York Ebor Festival.
Glorious Goodwood is done and dusted for another year. Some will say thank goodness for that as there is no other meeting where punters are hostages to fortune as much and with so many bunch finishes. Is there really enough quality to sustain it for four days? It’s not the way things are going but I’d say it would be improved if they chopped it down by a day. I enjoyed the Mark Johnston-Graham Cunningham duel on the downs on The Morning Line on Saturday where the outspoken trainer was properly taken to task about some of his ludicrous comments lately but not as much I enjoyed the Johnston 1-2-3 in the nursery over 7f having recommended that we have a pop at perming his three single-figure-drawn runners in exactas and trifectas given that they were likely to be ridden prominently. The same logic also produced a 12/1 winner for the stable in another 7f handicap at the meeting on Saturday. *I’m going to do a little digging and find out how the yard have gone in all 7f handicaps with low draws at Goodwood in recent years.
Galway will also be done and dusted for another year after today. And I thought five days was too long for Goodwood! Dermot Weld has had five winners heading into Sunday's action but it is Willie Mullins with seven winners that is taking the plaudits this time including winning the two big handicap hurdles and supplying the second, third and fourth in the Galway Plate. In fact, Mullins and Gordon Elliott filled the first six places in the Plate underlining that they are the dominant force of Irish jump racing. Lord Scoundrel took the race for Elliott and with Gigginstown removing their string from Tony Martin and Sandra Hughes for underperforming with their horses (he doesn’t mess about this Michael O’Leary), we can expect Elliott to be given more of their future stars, especially after winning the Gold Cup for them with Don Cossack.
I caught more of Galway than usual and loved the attitude of Westerner Lady who won the handicap hurdle on Saturday. My first thought was that this is a legitimate Mares Hurdle candidate but she will go novice chasing now according to Willie Mullins. It all rather got me pining for some more quality jumps action and thinking about next season. As such, I will be working on a questionnaire this week that I will send out to All-Inclusive Members listing all areas of the website and for your views on them. Once that is returned I can make any necessary tweaks in the All-Inclusive package that I will put forward when it comes to subscription renewal time in the autumn.
Also this week I will be keeping on top of the cricket as the Third Test between England and Pakistan starts on Wednesday which Paul Smith will be previewing. His recommended double-stakes advice on Joe Root to be Top England Series Batsman at 11/4 looks in the bag now after his knocks of 254 and 71 mean that he is now as short at 1-14 (best price 1-8) to land that advice. His 2-2 draw recommendation at 14/1 is now down to 100/30 which gives us plenty of options.
* My thanks to Andy Richmond who has done the digging for me via www.proformprofessional.com re the Johnston low-drawn runners (drawn 1-6) in 7f handicaps at Goodwood. In the last three seasons he has had six winners from 24 such runners (5/17 if just the last season and a half) showing a LSP of 25.5 points.