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Royal Ascot is my favourite racing week of the year.
That may surprise many of you who know me best for being more of a jumps man but I feel a lot less pressure over the five days that is the highlight of the British summer of racing than those four days in March. Looking at races relatively fresh rather than from five months in advance, which can cloud your judgement as you get entrenched into views that are hard to shake off, also has its benefits.
I also have a better punting record at Royal Ascot than any other festival down the years and a bit of sun always helps. This year I’ll be watching Royal Ascot on the Costa Blanca but am all wi-fi’d up so the service will be unaffected. My Big Race Trends for all 30 races are available to view in the relevant section.
Over the last six weeks I have been putting together recommendations building an ante-post portfolio for Royal Ascot (7-17 in the last two years for nice profits) and I am happy with most of our early positions, mainly in the Group 1 races but it is the Group 2/3s where I usually fair best at the meeting (and in general on the Flat) so I am looking forward to tackling those now as the entries emerge. As I wrote in From Soba To Moldova, there is an argument to leave the handicaps alone next week given how super-competitive they are but we know that is not going to happen! However, I will be lowering my stakes for the handicaps next week compared to those juicy 8-12 runner Group races.
Looking back since my last blog, the highlights were Liverpool (12/1) winning the Champions League and my ‘Thought of the Day’ pick for the USPGA, Brooks Koepka (10/1), also delivered. Frustratingly we went close in the Derby and Eurovision Song Contest with my 16/1 each-way recommendations for both, Madhmoon and Italy, only finding one to beat them. Carl Redden made a profit with his recommendations for the French Open advising a Nadal-Thiem final at 5/1 from his four suggested bets.
Andy Richmond’s weekly Beating The Bias column has been highlighting some nice winners of late and Alan Potts’ Racecourse Notes column has also been profitable to follow, especially those who backed Biometric (8/1) and Good Vibes (10/1) in quick succession of each other after his positive write ups on their previous run at Salisbury. My Horses to Follow column also got off to very a good start but then stuttered before a couple of short-priced winners last week. So far it’s 6 winners from 16 runners for a profitable first five columns of the series which goes fortnightly after Royal Ascot.
The Cricket World Cup is now in full swing (hopefully we’re over the worst of the weather) which Paul Smith is covering so comprehensively for us and I hope that members are enjoying his excellent coverage. As for his pre-tournament recommendations, so far so good as one of his Top Runs Scorer selections, David Warner (12/1), currently sits in second place behind fellow Aussie, Aaron Finch, and one of his two Top Wicket Taker recommendations, Pat Cummins (20/1), also sits in second place behind a team mate in Mitchell Starc. A long way to go yet but I’ll be hoping that Australia go all the way to the final and at this stage I’m already finding it difficult to see England, India, Australia and New Zealand not being the semi-finals.
Over the last few months I have been having weekly sit downs with my 87-year-old father and putting together his life story for his family (he was one of 16 children and he is the last sibling remaining) and friends in a book of around 100 pages split into ten eras of his life. I have written 35 books down the years but this was a pleasure to put together and there was just so much that I didn’t know about him. As I wrote in a ‘Thought of the Day’ when I signed it off, the best advice I can give from this experience is to get to know your parents as they won’t be around forever. I’m sure it also gave him a boost and a purpose as he became more and more engaged as the weeks passed. Being Fathers Day, today seemed like the ideal day to deliver them to him.
Somewhere down the line I can see myself writing more life stories for retired people with an interesting tale to tell who want to leave their family and friends a far better lasting memory than a four-page, folded A4 card with their photo on the front, two hymns and The Lord’s Prayer.