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
And so ends another exhaustive Cheltenham Festival series where I am pleased to say that after 18 weeks of lengthy, regular content we realised a profit on all four individual days and an overall level stakes profit of +31 points via ante-post and on-the-day recommendations.
Roksana (16/1 e/w), Topofthegame (12/1 win) and Any Second Now (10/1 win) were our double-figure-priced winners (we were also on Early Doors and Klassical Dream) and we also had plenty of big-priced, each-way recommendations that paid a place dividend; Itchy Feet (3rd 33/1), Coko Beach (2nd 33/1), Bristol de Mai (3rd 33/1), We Have A Dream (2nd 28/1), Sceau Royal (3rd 25/1), Didero Vallis (5th 22/1) and Brio Conti (4th 20/1). If any non-members reading this blog would like to view all four days’ copy from last week, please email me on [email protected] and I will send on.
Of course the next big spring festival is the Grand National Meeting and my Big Race Trends for all races will be uploaded early this week. I usually recommend three horses for the Grand National, one in the autumn, a second after the weights have been framed and a final selection in the lead up to the race which I am likely to do in this Wednesday’s Ante-Post Focus. I will endeavour to upload my annual review of Cheltenham before I head to Aintree for all three days, though there is a week less between the two meetings this year.
Once Aintree is done and dusted, outside of Ayr, Fairyhouse, Sandown and Punchestown, it’s then time to concentrate on the Flat Season. I will be covering the Lincoln Meeting and Dubai World Cup cards on Thursday evening before I attend an evening with Graham Gooch which Mark Ball has organised at his local cricket club the following day which I am looking forward to.
The Horses to Follow column (+25pts LSP in 2018) and Andy Richmond’s Beating The Bias column threw up plenty of winners last season and they will be set to recommence after The Craven Meeting. My weekly Royal Ascot Ante-Post Service will start on the Monday following the Guineas Meeting. That Guineas Meeting will be the first of the leading 30 days of the flat season that I am covering in addition to this coming weekend’s action from Doncaster and Meydan.
I am also looking forward to The Masters but before then will be oversseing the WGC-World Matchplay this week as that form of the sport is not Ciaran Meagher’s bag and then I am happy to say that Ciaran will be taking over the golf coverage previewing 13 tournaments from The Masters up to and including the PGA Championship at Wentworth in mid-September having made season-long profits for us for the last two years. I will give you my two penny’s worth on The Masters now. I was pleased to see Francesco Molinari win on the eve of Cheltenham having been my 50/1 Masters pick when outlining the golf schedule earlier this year but the player I fancy most strongly is Justin Rose who is 14/1. I’m just waiting for firms to bet down to ten places before I have a good each-way bet on such a consistent player who is preparing himself to peak for the second week in April.
I am planning a trip to Santa Anita for the first time for The Breeders’ Cup to celebrate my 50th birthday which falls a week later so I have no major holidays until then, so it will be a more or less uninterrupted coverage of the racing and sport throughout the summer which also entails the World Matchplay Darts, Tour de France, Wimbledon (Carl Redden will also cover the French Open and US Open) and Nations League Football.
Unfortunately, Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup but my Champions League 12/1 recommendation, Liverpool, are now only 9/2 after drawing Porto in the quarter-finals and the 7/2 recommendation of a Manchester City-Liverpool straight forecast at the beginning of the season for the Premier League is now 4/6. The Premier League Picks column has been going particularly well in recent weeks with the highlight being the Draw-Draw double at 15/1 in the North London and Merseyside Derbies.
Speaking of Porto, having spent a couple of days there last week in my post-Cheltenham break, I will be drinking plenty of tawny port during the summer evenings after a couple of very enjoyable tasting cellar tours whilst out there. Five glasses of different ports in 45 minutes with no food for a virtual non-drinker, did leave me somewhat light headed for the walk back to the hotel! A couple of days in Lisbon followed and what a great city that is. In fact, it even topped Vienna in Jones’s European Citybreak ratings!
Easter is fast approaching which means the World Snooker Championships and the 17 days’ tournament will be covered on the website, maybe by a new name who follows the weekly tour far more closely than me, and that is soon followed by the Eurovision Song Contest. I got it wrong last year (bloody chicken song) but overall I have a very good record in the event and will start to listen to the entries for the first time later this week.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out with Graham Wheldon’s column but new on the website for 2020 is Will Steele covering the big boxing fights plus Paul Smith will be overseeing the Rugby Union World Cup for us which begins in mid-September. A very keen follower of the sport, I am looking forward to seeing if he can replicate some of his cricket tipping successes for us on top of him also covering the ICC World Cup and The Ashes which are both being played in England in a big spring and summer of cricket this year. I’ll certainly be looking to attend some of the World Cup games.
So, a busy spring ahead, my favourite time of the year from both a sporting and climate aspect, and I’ve even invested in a new bike in a fitness drive to fully appreciate it. Tom Dumoulin has nothing to worry about but I see can we can still avail ourselves with 13/2 about last year’s Tour de France runner-up. Very civil.