So that was Easter. How was it for you? For me, it consisted of traipsing across Dorset visiting relatives, eating far too much meat, and generally feeling lethargic as a consequence. And I haven't even started on the chocolate yet!
There was also a lot of racing, most of it absolute dross on this side of the Irish Sea, and some of it compelling and competitive on the other side of that body of water. Let's start there, with the Irish Grand National.
I'd sniffed out what I believed to be a pair of value plays against the field in the Irish National, in the shape of solid trends pick Daring Article and interesting form pick, Heaney. And I'd played up that value by isolating a bookie offer that paid out on five places, with a refund on the win part if we were unlucky enough to finish second.
As it happened, we weren't lucky enough to finish second. Daring Article ran a poor race with seemingly no excuses, but the ride on Heaney needs to be seen to be believed. Here's the sportinglife.com comment:
Towards rear, mistake 5th, never a factor, 15th early straight, kept on from 2 out
I hate criticizing jockeys, and it's something I've found myself doing a fair bit in the last month, but this was a ridiculous ride. Still swinging off the bridle turning in, Conor O'Farrell went from cruising to raising the whip, and that's just bad riding. You have to nudge and nurdle a bit. If you're out of your ground - as he patently was - you have to ride more vigorously earlier.
Heaney ran on for sixth place, beaten ten lengths or so. Would he have won if Barry Geraghty was riding him rather than the winner? Maybe. Would he have placed? Unequivocally.
A quick word on the winner, Shutthefrontdoor. I'd said in my preview:
Shutthefrontdoor is a smart stayer in the making, but he cannot jump for toffee. He too ran in the four miler at Cheltenham and pretty much clouted every fence on the way round. Those transgressions took their toll in the closing stages as he faded into sixth, just behind Living Next Door. Door to Door you might say.
Anyway, lousy puns aside, Shutthefrontdoor has 10-13 to carry, and is unlikely to be a significantly better jumper than the last day. If he did put in a near flawless round, he could defy a rating of 142 and go very close indeed. It’s a big if though, despite trip and ground appearing optimal.
And, based on his jumping, I couldn't back him. He jumped very well and won impressively given his weight concession to his closest rivals. He was the only one of the first seven home to carry more than 10-06, and it remains the case that the sensible play is to back low weighted horses in this race.
He is owned by JP McManus and, like Champion Hurdle winner Jezki and World Hurdle winner More Of That, was ridden by Barry Geraghty. Not Tony McCoy. This almost certainly says more about the fact that jockeys are bad judges of what to ride than it does about Geraghty versus McCoy, especially as McCoy wasn't riding yesterday... but there's generally no smoke without fire, and Geraghty for McManus looks an interesting angle.
Indeed in UK over the past five years, Geraghty has seven wins from 18 rides for McManus (39% strike rate), and has a profit of 14.31 to a level unit stake at SP. In Ireland, it's three from fourteen (21%) for a profit of 2.5 units.
Collectively, then, Geraghty riding for McManus has been worth 16.81 points profit, with ten winners from 32 runners (31% strike rate). Considering the stratospherically high profile of both men, that's an interesting little data snippet. And almost certainly represents a touch of value.
On a separate but related point, I've been banging on a bit recently about the Irish tote, and the value opportunities there. And I make no apology for it. Yesterday, I suggested it might be worth looking at the Irish Pick 6 and jackpot (four winners needed), as they look to be value bets.
And I was right. The Pick 6 was not won, but the jackpot - requiring players to pick the winners of races 3 to 6 - paid €7,000 for a €1 stake. It wasn't easy, but nor was it especially difficult.
A 16/1 shot won the first leg, and he was the eighth choice in the betting. Leg 2 was won by the favourite. Leg 3 was won by the favourite. And Leg 4 was won by... you guessed it, the favourite.
Now one of those favourites was Shutthefrontdoor in the Irish National, at 8/1. But he was still the favourite.
The cumulative starting price odds amounted to €1,377. The winning jackpot dividend paid €7,000. That's absolutely stunning unbeatable value. In fact, the payout was more than FIVE TIMES the SP accumulator!
Seriously, you need to be playing this bet! It's not always easy to win it, but as I've said, it was hardly impossible yesterday.
There are lots more reasons to be getting involved with the Irish tote, though their four-leg jackpot bet is probably my favourite.
If you didn't already, you can read my full review and register for an account here. I'm going to be doing a lot more Tote Ireland related pieces in future, especially with the big Punchestown Festival coming up (massive guaranteed pools!), so be ready to get involved. I'm also hoping to run some syndicates, but need to work out the finer points of those.
Now then, talking as we are about value, I've written a new report that I'm going to be offering to new visitors to geegeez. Obviously, if you're reading this, you're already on my list, so there's no need to opt in or anything like that. But I think you might enjoy the report, which highlights what I consider to be the SIX KEYS to successful value betting.
I'll say no more about it here, because you can click this link and download it here.
It is well worth a read in my opinion.
If you're already a geegeez Gold subscriber, you'll know all about the awesomeness of the unrestricted racecards here on geegeez. In fact, they're taking the professionals by storm. I'm not at liberty to mention names (yet!), but trust me when I say that some pretty high profile racing 'faces' are paid up subscribers now, and loving the ease with which they can cut through the chaff of the form book to focus on precisely what they need.
As you know, I've been advising you that the price will rise. And by the end of this week, it will be £24 a month with a ten day free trial. For what we have - and what we're working on building - that's pretty stellar value.
But given that you know the subscription is about to double, and the free trial roughly half, it makes little sense to register next week.
Existing subscribers who are registered before the price rise will be locked in at the half price rate of just £12 a month for as long as they remain a member. That's my way of saying thank you to you for your early support of these next generation form tools: support which has enabled geegeez to make solid progress in the last few months.
Like I say, the sales page should be ready before the end of the week and, when it is, that's when you'll be invited to join us for 80p a day, as opposed to 40p a day.
Fair warning. 😉
geegeez Gold is much more than just a race card and form tool. It also houses Stat of the Day, a service which has been consistently profitable for over two years. Like many other services during March and early April - and like all services at one time or another - we had a lean spell. However, Stat of the Day is currently on a run of four straight winners, at odds of 7/1, 9/2, 9/4 and 10/3, meaning it has more than wiped out all of the losses from March/April!
Stat of the Day is a one-a-day value service, based on statistics, as the name rather suggests, and currently stands at just shy of 160 points in front since inception. That's a 19.3% return on investment, from a 28.4% strike rate.
And finally, racing lost one of its better known faces/voices over Easter, as Julian Wilson succumbed to the cancer which had beset him for several years. He was 73, and former news writer, Ian S, has offered his obituary on behalf of geegeez. You can read it here.