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Archive for September, 2009

Picking over the past for Epsom Handicap betting clues

September 30th, 2009 by admin

I fear Anthony Cummings has been in cahoots with the US military. Only by way of some pioneering technology have the horse trainer’s charges been slipping under the radar lately, and it must be costing some punters big time.

I’m carefully picking over the corpse of the George Main Stakes today, fingering the debris to try and figure out what went wrong.

If I could I’d don my wellies and trudge along the track at Randwick, peering at the scarred turf for clues, but I fear the stewards would throw me off. Not for behaving oddly, but for reeking of post-loss brandy which drowned my tears on Saturday night.

Anyway, the George Main was won by the Cummings-trained Road To Rock, who was hovering around 40.00 before the race and beat off the sub-2.00 favourite Racing To Win, plus my shout Black Piranha, who was second.

I know what you’re thinking – ancient history now, forget it and look to the Epsom on Saturday. Trouble is, I’ve just realised two things;

1.Road To Rock is in the Epsom on Saturday
2.This is not the first time an Anthony Cummings horse has pulled off an upset

Cummings also trains Turffontein, who gobbled up the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield last week as a 15.00 shot, so the warning signs are obvious.

The man is on a roll and must be a master of deception. Therefore at this early stage the bookies are all cautious for the 1600m Epsom and have Road To Rock on 6.00 joint second favourite alongside Drumbeats. The spelling nightmare of Rangirangdoo is the favourite on 3.80, with IASbet.

Thankfully Black Piranha, one of my soft spots, is up on 8.50 with the same bookmaker despite an impressive second to the upstart on Saturday.

Matters are somewhat clouded further by some amusing and insightful comments by trainer Gai Waterhouse, who wins the unofficial quote of the week award.

“The system at the moment is buggered”, she said via AAP of the Epsom handicapping set-up, demanding more of a “sliding scale”.

With that nugget in mind, I’ll be tracking the horse racing betting markets for the Epsom throughout the week and will also be swotting up on the NRL grand final to ensure my system isn’t buggered by the weekend.

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Denman ends my losing streak in fine style

September 29th, 2009 by admin

It turns out pretty much nobody was right about the Manikato Stakes at a damp Moonee Valley on Friday night. Now no-one is happy. Last time in a while I get mixed up in a race like that.

Danleigh took the honours. Who? I know. A 17.00 outsider. The favourite, Nicconi, was third and my shout Mic Mac ended up in fifth. So I look daft but so do all the weirdos who shunned Mic Mac in favour of Nicconi. Let that be a lesson to both of us. Now let’s move on.

Saturday’s hotly-anticipated NFL grand final did go the way of the favourite – in this case Geelong Cats, who won 80 to 68 over St Kilda, although at least St Kilda were making a damn good show of it until a goal in the final seconds robbed the outsiders at the last. Well, I did warn you anything can happen in a final.

Thank god there was some good news from Randwick on Saturday where my tip Denman stormed to victory in the small but competitive field of the Stan Fox Stakes. He shrank down to around 1.35 on the day so anyone who took my advice and gobbled him up at 1.50 on Friday or 1.60 earlier in the week should be smiling today. I take it my brandy is in the post. Thanks.

Unfortunately there was no double for my predictions at Randwick – the group 1 George Main Stakes was won by outsider Road to Rock – a 41.00-odd shout before the race, although Black Piranha and Onemorenomore, who I advised over favourite Racing to Win, were at least second and third respectively.

After the sweat and mud of the AFL grand final on Saturday we have the NRL equivalent to worry about next weekend with Melbourne booking their place in the big one against Parramatta after rolling over the Broncos 40-10 on Saturday.

Add to that a packed horse racing card which includes the Epsom Handicap at Randwick on Saturday, then we’ve got another powder keg week. We’re also less than 12 days away from the Caulfield Guineas. It’s getting serious now.

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St Kilda a tempting prospect in the AFL betting markets

September 26th, 2009 by admin

Saturday has some intriguing horse racing but much of the nation’s attention will inevitably be focused on the AFL grand final. If you’re looking for a short distraction from the track before the spring really gets hectic, where better to look than the MCG?

To recap, Geelong are facing St Kilda in a winner-takes-all battle which has already seen some interesting betting patterns. Despite the fact St Kilda were the form team throughout the regular season, Geelong opened up the online markets by instantly grasping the favourites tag.

As we speak they are still on 1.65 with Betfair compared to 2.48 for St Kilda. The reasons for this apparent discrepancy are numerous. St Kilda did have a wee bit of a wobble towards the end of the conventional season, whereas Geelong were mighty impressive in their last preliminary final against Collingwood. Many therefore feel the wind is with the Cats.

If you’re going to force me to have an opinion, I’d say otherwise. Anything can happen in the final and St Kilda have been better overall throughout the season. By all accounts the weather is going to be rotten as well tomorrow, which may better suit St Kilda’s tough pressing approach. Like I said, it’s a final, so anything can happen, but I’d say St Kilda is the wiser move.

Back to the turf and we have the group 2 Stan Fox Stakes at Randwick, featuring current Caulfield guineas favourite Denman. He’s only got four rivals at present in the 1400m run, although one of them is More Than Great. As such he’s on 1.45 with IASbet – which is actually looking pretty reasonable – if you can find 1.50-odd anywhere, I’d go with that, if not, take the 1.45. I actually mentioned this race earlier in the week and told you to slap something on Denman when he was up on 1.60 in some places. Pay attention.

There’s also the group 1 George Main Stakes at Randwick, which is much harder to call. Racing To Win is the current favourite on 1.90 with Centrebet, but Onemorenomore is looking relatively reasonable on 4.75 and Black Piranha is 6.50. Racing To Win is going to be very hard to beat, but I don’t fancy those odds. A wee wedge on Black Piranha just for fun gets my shout.

Enjoy the (wet) weekend. Turf’s up people.

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Manikato Stakes offers plenty of betting mysteries

September 25th, 2009 by admin

There’s a creeping sense of “they know something I don’t” this Thursday. Sometimes other horse racing punters still put me in a strop. Allow me to elaborate.

Tomorrow night it’s the 1200m Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley, as mentioned previously in the week. It’s a group 1 race with a strong field, not least Mic Mac, Memsie Stakes winner and all-round hot shot.

It’s also been wet at the track this week and as of Thursday it’s rated as a Dead 5. By all accounts it’s still chucking it down too. Mic Mac has a good record on such a surface, winning the Memsie on turf rated Dead.

However, it’s not him who is leading the online gambling markets – it’s Nicconi, currently on 4.40 with Mic Mac on 4.60 with IASbet.

I suppose you could point to the fact that Mic Mac’s last run was a 1600m – the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, where he was second. However, he’s never had a great problem with the 1200m – and was first in the 1200m Aurie’s Star Handicap in August on-yes, you guessed it, a dead track.

What of Nicconi? Granted this horse last won on a short 1000m on September 12 but the record book shows he’s never actually won at 1200m, so why has he edged in front? I have visions of men in dark coats around the back of stables whispering so quietly that not even Nicconi’s pointy ears can hear them.

Granted, it is a pretty open field, but if you feel Nicconi looks the better shout over Mic Mac, please spill the beans and let me know why. And don’t say you can feel it in your waters, that doesn’t wash with my cold British heart.

Besides that, I’m still cautiously going for Mic Mac on this one. But I’d keep it low. A Friday fling, if you will, before the weekend. After all about 500 stone of muscle is colliding in the AFL grand final on Saturday, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, will also be taking a bashing as the MCG heaves with 100,000 fans.

Meanwhile I’ll keep my eye on Mic Mac and hope to learn something on Friday night. Turf’s up.

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Denman to check in on Saturday as Guineas betting starts to firm

September 24th, 2009 by admin

It’s check-up time on Saturday for a colt who could make some of us very happy in 11 days – Caulfield Guineas betting favourite Denman.

He’s off to the group 2 Stan Fox Stakes at Randwick and could face a rather skinny field as there are only six nominations. However, among them will be More Than Great, trained by David Payne.

Denman will be familiar to many horse racing punters having already stormed to victory in the $1 million Golden Rose last month and is currently on odds of 3.80 for the October 10 Caulfield Guineas with IASbet.

He’s also now looking worthwhile for a wedge at 1.50 for the 1400m Stan Fox Stakes on Saturday, with More Than Great on 2.70 with IASbet.

Denman is trained by Peter Snowden, who has said recently he may not run another of his charges, Demerit, in the Guineas even though he won the Prelude. This means he could end up pinning his Guineas hopes solely on Denman, who currently has three truly stand-out rivals for the headliner.

Trusting is now just behind him on 4.20, with IASbet, So You Think is on 7.50 and Manhattan Rain stands on 8.50. Demerit follows on 14.00, but bearing in mind Snowden’s comments this week, may not appear, which leaves us with four current stand-outs for the Guineas.

Of those, Manhattan Rain has been the one lacking in va-va-voom overall, although the colt’s talent is undoubted. He was widely tipped for the Guineas Prelude on Saturday but only managed third.

Arguably, and slightly unscientifically, this leaves us with three hotties at this stage of the Guineas betting. Therefore Saturday is crucial for Denman and for punters – a strong showing and we may see him break away and shrink that 3.80. Am I nudging and winking at my first early shout for the season’s head liners? Yes I am.

Some brief NRL news for you now, where with the two preliminary finals appearing on Saturday there’s many a nail to be bitten. The second on Saturday sees the Brisbane Broncos take on Melbourne Storm and the Broncos are on 3.00 as the outsiders with Sportingbet. However, they are set to be missing Peter Wallace and this looks hardly generous. More on this later in the week.

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Who will like it wet at Moonee Valley on Friday?

September 23rd, 2009 by admin

Friday night is race night this week – it’s also group 1 racing, in the shape of the 1200m Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley, where, by all accounts, it’s been chucking it down for about seven days now. Nothing like a track covered in drink to sort the men from the boys.

Yesterday it was rated a dead 5 with the barrier 2m out round the entire circuit after 14.5mm of rainfall in the previous week. More drizzle is expected throughout the rest of this week so it’s fair to say this isn’t likely to change much.

Enough of the forecasting – what does that actually mean for the field? Trainer Greg Eurell is set to have two running in this one – Mic Mac and the older and more experienced Apache Cat.

The statistics show Mic Mac doesn’t mind a dead track – he won on ‘D’ surfaces in the Memsie Stakes and Aure’s Star Handicap. On the other hand, Apache Cat, as far as I can see, has only ever won one race on a dead-rated track – the Blamey Stakes 3U Open back in 2007.

Phelan Ready is also running and needs to do well – he was controversially scratched from the Guineas Prelude at Caulfield on Saturday following a late vet’s call – but seemed fine afterwards. He needs a good run to stay on track to appear in the Caulfield Guineas proper but to date has not claimed a win on a dead-rated track – both his wins so far have come on ‘hard’ and ‘good’.

So, some early clues from cold, hard figures in tiny tables – thanks to Racing and Sports for the history lesson and the fading eyesight. As soon as the online horse racing betting odds come thorough for this one I’ll be all over it like a rash – and an early punt on Mic Mac might be a good move.

I’m afraid I should mention cricket again. After all, the ICC Champions Trophy is off and running today as if you hadn’t had enough from the World Twenty20, The Ashes and the seven-match ODI series with England. In most markets, including Centrebet, Australia are second favourites on about 4.25.

In my view this is a tad deceptive – the squad have been away from home for some five months and have been trying to play at their highest level almost constantly for the whole of that period. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what their energy levels are like – plus they’ve only just turned up in South Africa when most of the other sides have been acclimatising for days now. Ergo 3.25 on favourites South Africa and 5.00 on third favourites India looks more promising.

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Guineas confusion reigns thanks to Demerit

September 22nd, 2009 by admin

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Thankfully I’m not the only one wondering what the hell just happened today. There are a fair few trainers and owners scratching their heads as well, which makes me feel a bit better. For Saturday, my friends, was again not the finest hour for many horse racing betting lovers.

Trusting and Manhattan Rain looked set to dominate the Guineas Prelude at Caulfield but both were outsmarted by Demerit, who was out on about 8.00 to 9.00 before the race. Trusting, my shout with Centrebet, ended up a close second, with Manhattan Rain in third.

The race was supposed to give us some early clues as to the winner of the Caulfield Guineas next month but instead has left it as wide open as ever. As a result the betting for the Guineas has gone all goo-gah. Demerit has climbed and is on 20.00 with Betfair – which is pretty high compared with some other bookmakers, so this may be a worth a little shot now if the Guineas is very much your thing. Denman remains the favourite on 4.30 while Manhattan Rain is on 10.50 with the same bookmaker.

More despair was to be had in the Underwood Stakes where Heart of Dreams took all the glory, with my shout, Whobegotyou, also in second in this one too. No joke’s about a “bet for a second” button for my winner tips please. It could be worse, I could have tipped star mare Typhoon Tracy, who ended up in eighth. Phew.

The Underwood, like the Prelude, was also meant to help us out ahead of another big one – The Cox Plate. But it’s all as clear as mud for this one as well now. Centrebet still has Whobegotyou as the favourite on 4.00, while Heart of Dreams is now on 11.00.

Thankfully there was some salvation to be had from Geelong versus Collingwood in the last AFL prelim final on Saturday, with the Cats triumphing to book their place in the final. Their odds shrank big style quickly afterwards so hopefully you took my advice to slap something on them early for the final.

We must look forward, like a galloper wearing five inch-wide blinkers. There is plenty to come this week – not least the Manikato Stakes on Friday night. After all, I’m still learning here and we’ve still not had one of the true season headliners yet. Hope springs internal.

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Trusting could repay your faith if you are fast enough

September 19th, 2009 by admin

Tomorrow will be very much ‘crunch time’ for a number of horses and also a nail-biter for plenty of horse racing punters, given the state of some of the odds about today, but fear not. The Pom de Turf is here to hold your hand and offer nervous words of encouragement.

Think of me as your mum telling you that injection isn’t going to hurt one bit – in reality it may sting but my words should at least stop you worrying until it’s time to roll up your sleeve/get your wallet out.

First I’m going to the Gunieas Prelude at Caulfield. The Guineas itself isn’t until October 10 but the distance of the Prelude is only 200m short of it’s big brother so it’s a reliable guide.

All eyes will be on star colts Trusting and Manhattan Rain. Unless you’ve had your head buried in concrete for the last 12 months, you should have heard of Manhattan Rain. He’s one of the most valuable horses in the Southern Hemisphere and is trained by Gai Waterhouse, who has been putting him up there with the best she’s ever seen, and she knows what she’s talking about.

Trusting already has the group 2 Warwick Stakes in the locker this season and has been looking mighty impressive. Now here’s the catch. As of Friday both horses were joint favourites with Centrebet on 4.25. Don’t ask me to call that one – but salvation is at hand – IASbet has Trusting edged ahead in the betting to 3.80 so that 4.25 for Trusting with Centrebet is my shout.

So to the group 1 1800m Underwood Stakes, also at Caulfield tomorrow, where we have Whobegotyou, Typhoon Tracy and Vigor, plus Heart of Dreams in the running. Typhoon Tracy has drawn a pants barrier 16, and with Whobegotyou looking awesome in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday, it’s hard to look past him for the win. His odds are predictably skinny though, but 2.86 with Betfair doesn’t look so bad, so I’d go with that.

It’d be rude not to mention Saturday’s AFL tie – Geelong versus Collingwood at the MCG in the last hurdle before the AFL grand final. Collingwood have much the younger team and have plenty out injured, while Geelong overturned them earlier in the season and are looking confident. Therefore Geelong are the smart move with Betfair, but 1.42 is the best they can manage – perhaps worth waiting until after the game to get some decent early final odds.

Turf’s up. Enjoy the weekend.

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Online cricket betting gives England mighty short ODI shrift

September 18th, 2009 by admin

A slight back seat for the horse racing today. I find it helps to sit and take stock on the Thursday, simply because by this point I’ve read so much track news I risk not being able to see the wood for the trees.

First today it’s over to my homeland to point and laugh at the ODI cricket series between England and Australia. The tourists are 5-0 up and take on England at Trent Bridge today for the sixth match and then again at the Riverside on Sunday for the final tie, by which time the hosts will have been put out of their misery.

The Pom de Turf can hear you chuckling. Laugh away, nothing is going to change the location of that little urn for the next two years. What is in doubt, however, is whether England can get anything at all given their poor performance at Trent Bridge on Tuesday when bad fielding cost them the match.

A tour of the online cricket betting markets throws up few surprises for these last two fixtures. Betfair is offering among the best prices for England to get anything at 2.66 which might be worth a look given England did improve on Tuesday and managed to rack up 299 runs, by far their biggest total of the series. If they can just sort the fielding out, then Nottingham might at least have something to cheer about for an evening or two.

Over at Sportingbet, they are offering you 4.25 for Andrew Strauss to get the highest batting score for England and a tempting looking 5.00 for Michael Clarke and 5.50 for Tim Paine to achieve the same marker for Australia.

Looking quickly to the track again I got quite excited when I realised the so-far impressive So You Think was making an appearance in the Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday. Trained by Burt Cummings, the horse has a win and a second place so far and looks likely to head to the Caulfield Guineas next month. However, the best I could find so far is 1.70 with IASbet, if you find better than this, certainly worth a shot, methinks.

Tomorrow its the usual deluge of information ahead of Saturday and Sunday – let’s hope I get it right this time. Turf’s up.

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Underwood Stakes could be a punter’s graveyard on Saturday

September 17th, 2009 by admin

Today much of the attention is starting to slowly swing towards the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday. This is because some of the form runners of the moment are in the betting for this one, including current Cox Plate favourite Whobegotyou, plus the likes of Predatory Pricer, Typhoon Tracy and Vigor. That, my friends, is quite a line-up.

Helpfully, it distracts from the fact that my shout Black Piranha was ‘close but no cigar’ in the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle on Wednesday, coming second to Absolutelyfabulous.

In my defence, it was the first race of the season for Black Piranha, so in my view he’s still well on track for a strong shot at the Cox Plate. At 200 metres it looked like jockey Tye Angland had to alter course somewhat, which might be what took my dignity in this one.

Anyway a few early facts on the Underwood. It’s a Caulfield, group 1 affair over over 1800m for three year-olds and up with prize money totalling $350,000.

Whobegotyou ended an 11-month losing streak with the win at the weekend and is to be reunited with jockey Michael Rodd on Saturday. Mark Kavanagh had a dilemma after that win on whether he would go straight into another race at the weekend, and appears to have decided to take the chance to match the horse up with his stablemate Maldivian in the race, who himself is a Cox Plate winner.

Elsewhere, Predatory Pricer and Whobegotyou are fighting a separate duel, having faced each other three times before – Predatory Pricer has two wins from these meetings to just the one for Whobegotyou. Sub-plots galore for this one then, and I won’t be trying to call it until Friday at the earliest. Whobegotyou has already made me look like a wally once, so I’ll be watching his odds very carefully.

The betting is already getting interesting with Whobegotyou the favourite with IASbet on 2.60 and Vigor second favourite on 6.00 with the same bookmaker, having dropped from 7.50 earlier in the week. Typhoon Tracy and Heart of Dreams are on 8.00, with Predatory Pricer looking interesting all the way out on 12.00. Made up your mind? No, neither have I.

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