Blimey, where's this week gone? And where do I start with my catch up?
Well, I suppose a quick update on my take on the Guineas might be good. It will be quick though, as I also want to offer some thoughts on Chester's May meeting, share an update on the QIPCO Fantasy Racing league, and tell you about an offer you probably don't know about on a bet you might well be making today. Phew.
OK, let's get cracking. First up, cast your mind back to last weekend, and the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas from Newmarket. Aiden O'Brien had warm favourites in both races, and managed to win both races... though not necessarily with the 'right' horse.
On Saturday, this year's wonder horse, Camelot, made his seasonal debut in the first Classic, the 2000 Guineas. Reasons abounded for why he couldn't win: breeding (by Montjeu, whose three-year-old progeny have a terrible record in high class races at a mile or shorter); being a Racing Post Trophy winner (no winner of that race had won this one since 1972); ground (thought to be better on a sounder surface); and, of course, the small matter of seventeen high class rivals.
To hell with all that, though, as Camelot came from far enough back, and won a duel with French Fifteen in a driving finish. The merit of the form has judges divided, with some suggesting it was a sub-standard renewal.
My own feeling is that the winner is probably very good. He won this despite conditions, not because of them, and he ought to be much better suited to middle distances on good ground.
The second to fourth were 'the right horses' and, while the presence of 250/1 shot Ptolemaic may give the form a hollow look, my suspicion is simply that he a) improved by around five lengths from his seasonal debut, and b) was able to finish in front of horses who either couldn't go on the ground (Top Offer) or couldn't stay a mile (Caspar Netscher, Power).
In other words, I think the form is solid enough, and the winner should be marked up for managing to prevail in alien territory. The 2000 Guineas is the strongest trial for the Derby, and so such a performance offers great hope for backers of Camelot in the Blue Riband.
The only real surprise to me was Abtaal's disappointing run, which did imply - as others had mentioned - that he maybe doesn't quite stay a Championship mile. Time will tell.
On Sunday, the 1000 Guineas featured another Ballydoyle shortie, Maybe. But it was stable companion, Homecoming Queen, who got loose on the front and routed them by nine lengths (!) at 25/1.
To put that into some sort of perspective, when Frankel won his 2000 Guineas last year, a race etched in the memory, he did so by a margin of six lengths. This filly added another 50% to that winning margin.
Now, of course, the winning distance is directly related both to how good the winner is, and also how good the beaten field is. Second home was an unexposed filly, who was bred to relish soft ground, but who was only rated 98.
In third was the favourite, Maybe, for whom conditions were ideal. And there was something of a bunch behind. To my eye, it's hard to really fancy anything from this race to win the Oaks, so it's surprising that Maybe remains the 10/3 second favourite for that race with William Hill.
More surprising, perhaps, is that The Fugue is third choice after being beaten fully eleven lengths here. Yes, she was staying on at the end, and yes, she may be bred to improve over further. But if there isn't a filly better than her, it's a shocker of a year for the ladies. Hint, there is at least one filly a good bit better than her, and she's called Kissed. 😉
Moonstone Magic and the two Godolphin fillies ran no race and have something to prove next time. Sad also to report that the race was marred by the injuries sustained to Gray Pearl in the stalls, prior to her withdrawal. She had to be put down as a consequence of that horrible accident.
Onwards, and many of you entered the excellent QIPCO Champions Series Fantasy Racing competition, and joined the Geegeez Super League as well. I'm glad you did, as we're currently showing up in fourth place in the Super League competition, and that fact was shared with all players in the first update email. See below.
Excellent stuff, and special well done's to the top players after the first two races. They are James Shearer, Robert Mahon, Dan and Martin Tory (related?), and 'hairy' Ben Aitken in fifth place.
Well done to all, and keep up the excellent work. Those bubbling under in sixth to tenth also deserve mention, and are Alan Nixon, Gary Camplin, David Kilroy, Stewart Robertson, and Ken Weall. Well played all.
Let's see if we can get even further up the league, or if this was just an early season flash in the pan!
Now then, it probably won't have escaped your attention that Chester's May meeting is underway, and it was notable for a few things on day one. There was the soggy weather, the 50/1 big race winner, and Wayne Rooney's first runner finishing last (in fairness, it was a tough ask on debut, and she's better than that, I'm sure).
There was also a nice winning double (All Fur Coat and Confessional) for me, as well as 10.4 units of the placepot, which made it a good start!
Now that double and the placepot were predicated on the fact that there is a well known draw bias on the Roodee. Specifically, inside draws are heavily favoured in sprints, and favoured to some degree in races over all distances.
Alas, that bias is blunted - to some degree at least - in very soft ground. Yesterday saw most of the high drawn horses withdrawn from the three sprint races, and today there are only two sprints.
Tom Dascombe has three of the four widest drawn horses in the 3.40 and the joint favourite is in the widest draw of all. I'd be surprised if at least some of those - possibly all of them - don't run.
In the 4.25, a number of the fancied horses are drawn middle to high, and will need at least luck in running to get home in front from there.
Here's the full breakdown - by stall - of Chester sprint handicaps (6f 18y or shorter) run on ground softer than good.
We can still see a pronounced bias towards low drawn horses (stalls one to five or so), but this is not profitable to follow. From a placepot perspective, it's clear that low is still the place to be when looking for placepot picks.
Which brings me onto my next point...
Those fine chaps at totesport are offering 10% cashback on jackpot, placepot, and quadpot bets today, when placed through their totesport site.
As you'll know from my recent mention of it, totesport are also (VERY) keen to welcome new players right now. So keen in fact that they were initially offering a free fiver bet just for registering.
Well, as I predicted, that didn't last long, and I think geegeez readers got the best of that, in truth! If you didn't get involved then, and you still don't have a totesport account, they're currently offering new players a ten pound free bet if you place a five pound bet.
Here's a banner which you can click to get that offer should you so wish.
After yesterday's four figure draw, I will of course be going in again today on the placepot, using my ABCX method. I've talked about this elsewhere, and have a cool free tool you can use if you'd like to follow my lead. It's here: http://betfolio.co.uk/betbuilder/
Just select the pick6/placepot option from the dropdown, choose your stake, and click 'create'. Then drag your numbers to either A, B, or C.
That page will calculate how to structure your tickets to ensure you win as long as any four, any five or all six of your A lines have a placed horse, when they're supported by placed selections on your B lines where the A's weren't placed.
Hmm, that wasn't very clear I don't think, so let me illustrate. Here's (part of) how I will be playing today's placepot. I hope the reasons for not revealing all of it are obvious. Basically, it's a pool bet, so if you copy me, the dividend for all of us is lower. And that's no good to anyone!
OK, let's take a look at this afternoon's card.
Race 1: A tricky opener with non-runners bringing us down to seven, and just two places. Absinthe has soft ground form, but he's been beaten by the only three of these he's raced against. He's trained by Donald McCain though, and I can't leave him out entirely. He'll make the B ticket.
Robemaker is the one I like, and he's going on the A here. I'll be adding a couple more 'mystery horses', which I've demonstrated with numbers outside of the selection range.
Race 2: We're down to seven runners again here, and it looks trappy once more. Hunter's Light has won three Listed races and also the only time he ran on soft ground. He must be thereabouts if fit enough (won by six lengths on seasonal debut last year), and readily makes the A tickets.
I was surprised to see Glen's Diamond, Prince Siegfried and Myplacelater as the three outsiders and I'll be using at least two of them on my B ticket.
Race 3: The third race, the Chester Vase, needs only one to come out to be 'win only', so beware. There's plenty of money for Model Pupil. He's trained by Charles Hills, whose father Barry used to love a punt here. He ought to run well in that context. And I will also chuck in the Ballydoyle beast, David Livingston, and Mickdaam and Call To Battle!
Race 4: Non-runners yet again make this a seven runner, two place race. There's very little soft ground form to go on, which makes it a bit of a nightmare. Glen Moss has placed twice on good to soft; and Seanie won on yielding to soft over in Ireland. But Gabrial is the short priced favourite based on better form, albeit on quicker ground.
I'll use all three, and probably a couple of B's as well here.
Race 5: Well it certainly isn't getting any easier. If Lucky Beggar can live up to his name, and navigate a route from his car park draw, then he ought to run into the frame. Annaley My Darling runs for Jo Hughes, who had All Fur Coat win here yesterday. This one was fast away on debut and, with three first time starters drawn inside of her, looks to have a good chance to lead again here.
A risk has to be taken somewhere on the ticket, and I think I'm going to bank on Annaley... gulp.
Race 6: The last leg is a conundrum. One non-runner so far, and that from trap one! Rusty Rocket has a shocking draw (13) but runs on anyway. He is proven on soft, is in great form, and could make the frame. The fact that he's drawn 13 may also put a lot of placepot punters off, with luck.
Jack Dexter is another who doesn't do much early on, but is improving after just two starts. Hamza is a horse I really liked last year, but he went off racing a bit. He might come back but he's 50/1 and I'd rather have a little side bet than put him in the 'pot.
Kimbali is tough and consistent, and goes on the ground. Ditto Gabrial's Bounty. A's both.
And that makes up to eleven tickets, as follows:
Obviously, it's not to everyone's wallet. And, if that's the case, then you either have to take more chances, or look to a meeting with more certainties on it. Either can be rewarding. It's all about having a couple of strong opinions on the card. (In point of fact, the only strong opinion I have today is that there will quite likely be one, and hopefully two, shock results, hence the depth of coverage).
Placing the above bets will take me about ten minutes, and I'll get £9.92 back whatever happens, thanks to totesport's 10% cash back offer today.
Remember, you need to place your bets through totesport.com, and if you don't have an account, you can get one by clicking here on the image below.
"That was a party political broadcast on behalf of the totesport party"
And that's it for today. I was also going to tell you about the survey results, and a very exciting project I'm working on which might be of interest to some of you (hint, I'm working with one of the top dogs in the forex market currently...), but I ran out of time/space.
More on that tomorrow.