It feels a bit like the calm before the storm today, what with the big York Ebor meeting due to start tomorrow. That fixture now runs for four days, with the Ebor itself being run on Saturday for the first time in its history.
As ever, the traditionalists are getting worked up about nothing (change? what? we don't like change...!), and I'm confident that the Saturday running will be a massive success with every likelihood of a sell out crowd packing the Knavesmire and drinking the house dry. Wish I could be there!
There will be full coverage from yours truly on the first three days, right here on the blog, and then you'll have Andy's Saturday telly trends to help you on... erm, Saturday.
As well as that, Malcolm will be back tomorrow with his Well I Declare feature, digging through the declarations to find the noteworthy races and runners for you. And Andy will be refreshing his view on the trainers who are currently hot, and one who is not.
(By the way, on that point, congratulations to Brian Rothwell, who had been the coldest of cold trainers before Lady Norlela scored a smooth and long overdue success in the 3.45 at Thirsk yesterday. Rothwell had previously gone a soul-destroying 2,119 days (5.8 YEARS!) and 231 runs without a winner. I imagined he enjoyed a glass of something stronger than water last night 😉 )
So your racing pointers cup will runneth over this week here on geegeez. Tell your friends!
It won't have escaped your attention that the diving cheating prima donna's are back in action, and I have decided to veto Arsenal this season. Honestly, as if passing us to sleep all last season wasn't enough (why doesn't anyone in that team ever shoot?!), now they've decided to dive and 'petulance' us to death as well.
Seriously, the game against Newcastle was appalling, embarrassing and a blight on the Premier League. Sagna is the biggest diver in the League by a mile, and it's a wonder to me that nobody has taken him to one side and had a fairly curt word in his shell-like. Disgusting.
Song will get a ban for his stamping incident. Pathetic, cowardly, petulant. Five games please, Mr FA Panel.
And Gervinho was rightly sent off for putting his hand in Joey Barton's face. Yes, Barton made a massive meal of it. And I don't condone that, of course. I will say in his defence (and I never thought I'd try to defend Joey Barton!) that he wanted to make sure the officials noticed the contact this time after overlooking the raking he got from Song.
Wenger is enormously annoying. He steadfastly refuses to change the style of the team, or the transfer policy. Consequently, the best players are queuing up to leave. Arsene, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. You are, I fear, bonkers!
So yes, the Premier League is back. And it's not all doom and gloom (unless you support Arsenal... or QPR...)
Last night, we witnessed the debut of a new star. He's the latest off the conveyor belt of expensive talent wearing sky blue this season, and his name is Sergio 'Kun' Aguero.
Only given 30 minutes of game time, due to not being quite fit yet, his cameo must have been one of the most 'finessed' of all Premier League debutants. He's short, and has a low centre of gravity; he has tremendous dribbling skills; he's deceptively difficult to knock off the ball; his finishing from long range and close range looks clinical (yes, he scored from long range and close range last night); and his contribution to the team looks set to be enormous.
In other words, and I appreciate the probable buffoonery of such a statement after watching half an hour of game time, he looks the closest thing to Maradona, since El Diego called time on his tempestuous career. Maybe I just want it to be true. Maybe I just imagine this little dude in the middle of the park bossing the show and thrilling us all as he remorsely pulls the strings for Messrs. Tevez (going nowhere?), Dzeko and Balotelli.
I'm not really a Manchester City fan, but I thought two bets stood out in the Premier League this season, before the big kick off. The first was 9/2 about City winning the whole gig (1/3 odds a place 1-2), and the second was 4/7 about City to beat Arsenal in a match bet. Again, nothing is done yet - not by a long stretch - but the early portents for both sides are that the disparity between them will be much greater than those odds imply.
...Which brings me nicely onto the Fantasy League. There are 209 entries in the Geegeez Super League, which is our biggest entry yet! And, as you might expect with that many teams, competition is hot.
The leader at this extremely early juncture is Jonathan Sutcliffe, with his team, Clueless Chickens. He scored 72 points and has a fag paper lead over Paul Scott's Real Salfordians (71), Bob Gates' Lukaura United, and Tony Booker's The Might Darlo (both on 70).
After a rather pathetic first week where my 'strike farce' of Berbatov (17 minutes, nothing of note), Balotelli (0 minutes, one interesting sideline pout), and 'Deadly' Dudley 'DJ' Campbell (90 minutes, nothing of note) showed me only that football is a squad game and I don't know who the manager's favourites are, I'm languishing in joint 131st position...
But fear not, dear readers, for I now have 'Super Aguero'... and so, I should imagine, does everyone else! I just pray he doesn't become (or isn't already) a diver. He looks too good for that.
Now then, still on Fantasy Football, and I should tell you a little more about the prizes. Aside from the obvious, and unbeatable, kudos that comes from topping the Geegeez Super League, you'll also receive a selection of horse racing books.
Last season, Colin Metcalfe received a book bundle containing the following titles:
Beyer on Speed by Andrew Beyer (not about narcotic experiences)
Freud on Course by the late, great Clement Freud
Enemy Number One by Patrick Veitch
Winning Without Thinking by Nick Mordin, and
Bet With The Best by Crist, Davidowitz, Beyer et al (excellent US book with tons of great ideas)
There will be a similarly engaging collection of words for this year's winner.
But that's not all!
This season, for the first time, I'm pleased to report that there will also be monthly prizes, kindly offered forward by my colleagues at ucantlose.co.uk.
Each monthly prize winner will receive a free 28 day subscription to ucantlose's arb alert. (These basically tell you about opportunities where two bookies are offering sufficiently different odds that you can back both eventualities and guarantee a profit. Nice).
If you've not already signed up for the Premier Fantasy Footy, or are in that but haven't registered for the Geegeez Super League, you still can, here.
And for more info on the arb service, click here: ucantlose.
Finally today, I've at last got round to setting up PayPal buttons for the Geegeez Racing Club. To remind you, we have a 4yo horse in training, called Khajaaly, and he's not bad.
In fact, he won two races for us last season - one of them at 25/1! - and he's in great form again this term. Last Monday, he had his first run since the 2011/12 club was convened, finishing a neck second with over two lengths back to the third placed horse. (I had put the 14/1 winner in my list of dangers in an email I sent to members, and a couple had a very nice forecast...)
We're sure to have a lot of fun with him in the next eleven months, and if you'd like to join us, there are still a few spaces left. The cost is Â£500 for the year and there are a maximum of fifty spaces available (only a handful of places remaining).
You can split the fee across two or four payments if that makes it easier (and I know it does!), and as well as the race days, we'll also be having a club day at Newmarket where we'll visit the stable and a number of other local points of interest, culminating in a day at the races and a night on the town!
Julia and John are always very accommodating, so if you want to visit the stable any other time, this can generally be done without problems.
Khajaaly's lifetime form can be seen here. As you'll see, he's ultra-consistent. 🙂
If that sounds like something you're interested in, then click here. There's just a few shares left and if they sell out it will be on a first come, first served basis. We really have had a great time with Khajaaly, and I'm hoping he'll be in the winners' enclosure again soon.
That's all for today - if you're interested in the Racing Club, do please give it some thought soonest.
And I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the first day of York's Ebor meeting.