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Archive for November, 2009

England will – possibly – host the World Cup, but can’t win it next year

November 28th, 2009 by admin

Englan’s national side have grand hopes of lifting the World Cup next
year- but officials are busy battling to secure the country the hosting
of the tournament in 2018. Of late they have even had to rely on foreign

Arsene Wenger, who is French, has revealed that he would be happy to be
an ambassador for the English bid to be the country to host the World
Cup, and he thinks it is unfair that Germany has hosted it twice.

At his Friday press conference, Wenger told the press corps: “I am a big
supporter of the England bid for the World Cup in 2018. If I can help
them, I would be very happy.”

This is all well and good, but Wenger then went on to talk about how
England gave the game of football to the world, and it is for this
reason that the country should be allowed to hold the World Cup. He even
said that it is not ‘normal’ for a country that gave this sport to be
denied hosting the Cup.

However, I think he is forgetting one thing. England may have given the
sport to the world, but, and if you will forgive my expression here, the
rest of the world have picked up the ball and ran with it.

England has had some decent shots at glory in the last ten years, but
every time they have somehow managed to fudge it. And while the country
– as Arsene Wenger quite rightly pointed out – may have ‘the
infrastructure, the stadiums, the passion’ to manage a world class
tournament, it still won’t win it.

As such on the field the side are also deceptive – their odds of 8.40
third favourites for next year’s tournament are odd, given that the
Netherlands qualified in similarly impressive style but are out at 17.00.

In my opinion, England are yet to prove that they are part of the world
stage and can justify hosting it. Causing such a fuss over whether or
not they can host it is rather like crying because the bigger, stronger
boys aren’t coming round to your house to play.

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Federer to fade?

November 28th, 2009 by admin

Many years ago I wandered over to SW19 during a very hot English summer, to watch what would turn out to be the very last tennis match at Wimbledon for one Pete Sampras.
He came out onto No 2 court, looking jaded and perhaps ever so slightly confused. Why was he here, on the ‘graveyard’ court, a world champion?

He lost the match, and pretty soon after retired. Sampras was once a safe bet, someone you could lay a bit of cash down on and expect a nice little earner. He was a big gun. The equivalent of a steady racehorse that had a few years in him and then went quietly off into the wings.

Now we have Federer. Roger is a supreme tennis player. Some say he is the best ever, and they have a point. He’s blasting Sampras’ form out of the water anyway.

Tennis is a great sport to lay money down on, because you have the old-fashioned, prolonged drama of watching two people battle it out, with little human error or other unpredictability affecting the result. You study form, and bet accordingly.
Yet it is arguable that the game is becoming quite safe. Let us take a case from the past to illustrate this.
Remember Goran Ivanisevic? This player caused quite a stir a few years ago when he won Wimbledon from out of nowhere and the punters had a very big day.

Could it happen today? Well, Roger has just regained his ranking crown, you could have bet on that. Or you could bet on him winning his next ATP match in London. Betfair have him at 1.35 for that in their online tennis betting market.

Seems it is a one horse race at the moment, the real winners among us can only wait and see if we can spot the signs of Federer fading, and then bet the other way.
However, can’t see him gracing No 2 court just yet, can you?

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Two runners stand out in Winterbottom betting

November 25th, 2009 by admin

So The Winterbottom Stakes are nearly here, and the occasion is trying its best to be anything but a one (or two) horse race.

The race is a huge $500,000 affair, not bad for a 1200m run. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but pundits are swearing blind there are two runners in the big one that could well be strolling past the line with ease.

The jockey from Melbourne, Nash Rawiller, is going to be on Lucky Secret. And the good news for him is that he has been riding the same horse for his last three wins. However, there is another secret at The Winterbottom, namely Waratah’s Secret, another great little runner, to be run by Paul Harvey, who is no slouch by any means.

Waratah’s secret is a three year old, and one that has been totally spruced up energy wise by the trainer, one David Harrison. Harrison must be aiming high. It’s all gearing up to be a great race, but what about the results? What’s the score on this?

As regards Waratah’s Secret, IASBet has the young horse on at 4.40, which is hardly something to ignore. So everyone likes the Secrets, but some bookies are tipping it the other way, so we’ll give you more bang for your buck here, and name a couple of good options for you to consider come race day.

Apache Cat has been getting some favourable press recently. While Neil Evans from Centrebet names Danny Beau as a possible player. He’s on at 8.0.

You got all of that? I know, none the wiser. But give it a go. Maybe a few safe bets will involve the spilling of some Secrets…

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Who will pinch the Winterbottom?

November 22nd, 2009 by admin

It’s interesting seeing which races are available when in the online betting markets – for example, the Melbourne Cup was up and running wager-wise months before the actual event took place, much as you would expect.

Saturday’s Railway Stakes was a different matter – even though it was the first main group 1 event since Cup week, the usual bookmakers didn’t open their betting on it until around Wednesday. Even Betfair and IASbet, who seem among the earliest with most races, didn’t get going on it properly until the middle of last week.

Strange then, that the Winterbottom Stakes, due to appear next Saturday, is already on the go over the web, and in some cases was up and running before bets were being processed on the Railway.

When I had a good root around on Saturday, before the Railway, you could get 4.20 for Warathas Secret at the top of the Winterbottom market at IASbet – while a number of runners who were due to feature in the Railway were in there at tempting prices.

All American, second favourite for the Railway most of the week, was on 31.00 for the Winterbottom, for example.

A point worth bearing in mind, and there will of course be more on the three-year-olds and up race at Ascot throughout the week.

Elsewhere, back with the soccer, all of the major European leagues have now passed the ten games played stage – always a good benchmark to decide who really is in and who is definitely out, when it comes to title races.

In the English Premier League betting markets, Chelsea, the current league leaders, are still the favourites, while Liverpool’s challenge is already all but dead and buried after a poor start.

Holders Manchester United have faltered of late while Arsenal have been growing slowly and steadily. Although there’s little to choose between them and United, points-wise anyway, Arsenal at the moment look like a side capable of powering through later in the season and providing some value – Betfair have them at 5.00 now and this could be the best value for a side which is not Chelsea- the Blues are far too low in many markets given how early in the season it still is.

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Odds for Railway Stakes raiders could be deceptive

November 20th, 2009 by admin

Welcome to Friday. Hello, fans of the Irish soccer team. Remember what I was saying earlier in the week about so much being at stake? Painfully demonstrated by Thierry Henry’s handball – but at least if you slapped some cash on under 1.5 goals going in during normal time you had something to take the edge off. For the record, if FIFA and France agree to replay the game, I’ll eat my South Africa 2010 wall chart.

Back to the racing, and much of the attention has been on the Railway Stakes at Ascot. The track press have had little else of this level to talk about since Melbourne Cup day, so it’s not surprising I’ve now got Saturday’s $1 million race flashing before my eyes in a thousand hypey headlines.

The line-up is a mixture of Perth local runners and eastern chances, some of whom will be lining up on Saturday chiefly because they were out of luck in Sydney and Melbourne over the spring.

Among them is the week-long favourite Gold Salute, on 3.20 with IASbet, having firmed from 4.00. This isn’t great value, with plenty of runners hovering highly ominously around the 9.00 to 14.00 mark. It’s worth remembering that while in the past many horses have headed west for this race with big billings and small odds, many of them have failed.

Besides this, any one of All American, Ortensia and Grand Nirvana are in with a very strong shout indeed, and if Sniper’s Bullet can negotiate the barrier 14 draw, he’ll be a dangerous one too.

All this doesn’t help I know, but there is value for Largo Lad, at 19.00, dropping from 26.00 with IASbet, and good at the mile. Megatic at 17.00 with the same bookmaker looks reasonable.

It’s a tricky one this, but if you cast your eyes to race 2 on the card for Ascot on Saturday you will find the Carlton Mid Handicap – Thorn Dancer is well fancied here and is a paltry 1.80 with IASbet – if you can find better than that this could be a good safety net.

Back on Sunday, turf’s up folks.

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World Cup play-off betting and Railway Stakes update

November 18th, 2009 by admin

A good overview of how you might play the World cup play-off betting tonight before I do a little update on the Railway Stakes, the main racing event for Saturday at Ascot.

By 11am AEDT we will know for sure which teams will be joining the likes of Australia and New Zealand in South Africa next year and which sides face another four-year wait before they have the chance to perform on soccer’s biggest stage.

Today’s World Cup play-off second legs will define the careers of some players – Portugal have been to the World Cup on numerous occasions, but have never won it. Go out against Bosnia tonight and playmaker Deco, at 32 years of age, can probably kiss goodbye any chance of winning the most famous prize in sport.

Elvir Rahimic, the Bosnian midfielder, is 33 and his team have never made the World Cup before – if his side fail to get the required result he too faces the prospect of never playing in a World Cup.

As such the pattern of these second legs can be hard to predict because so much is at stake. Bosnia will be desperate not to concede a potentially decisive away goal, but on the other hand, have to score at some point.

In Paris, where France, leading 1-0 from the first leg, take on Ireland, the situation is a little clearer. They don’t have to score, Ireland do, and are likely to build the game from the back.

Neither team is in the finest attacking form and as such a bet on a scoreline involving less than 1.5 goals looks not too bad with Betfair’s World Cup betting market, at 3.15. Value for wins for the likes of France is likely to be poor, so, as with the first legs, scorelines and over/under goal totals could be the way to go.

Over to the Railway Stakes now, where a pot of $1 million is up for grabs at Ascot on Saturday. First of all, Kasabian, a local chance, is out of the race having developed swelling in a foreleg. Gold Salute is still on top in the betting with All American not a million miles away.

I’m afraid outside the top two or three we are seeing a complicated market at the moment, with some runners spread at around 8.00 to 10.00 and a heap on around 16.00. This could make a placings shout very tricky. More on this on Friday. In the meantime, marvel at the sound of millions of hearts breaking as the World Cup qualification process finally comes to an end.

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Kidnapped nabs me a weekend sweetener

November 16th, 2009 by admin

A dodgy deflection denied me a 0-0 scoreline and a correct prediction for the Ireland – France World Cup play-off on Saturday, and as such I feel as green at the gills as the Irish squad, who played well throughout and even fashioned the better chances.

Over in Russia a surprise Slovenia goal edged out my shout for a 2-0 home win, which confounded my disappointment from the Sandown Classic, which was won by Zipping for the third time in a row – quite an achievement and I won’t begrudge him that one. For the record, my shout Master O’Reilly was third behind Purple.

Thankfully my poor luck ended with a win for Kidnapped in the Sandown Guineas. Peter Snowden’s promising youngster pulled off a classy performance and made the bookies weep – you could get 2.50 when I tipped him and he shrunk to around 2.10 before the race.

Now for some more news on the Railway Stakes – Saturday’s $1 million highlight and quite simply the biggest race in Australia since the Melbourne action.

At this stage we’re still not sure whether Ortensia, likely to be a serious contender, is even going to appear. We should find out tomorrow when jockey Craig Williams takes her for a run round Ascot in the morning – the result of this will decide whether or not she turns up in the Railway or is held for the group 2 Winterbottom Stakes the week after.

Elsewhere, the profile of the race is to be boosted by the presence of three high-profile jockeys who will be taking mounts in the run – Damien Oliver, Nash Rawiller and William Pike.

Pike is a local Perth favourite, while Oliver hails from the area but plies his usual trade in Melbourne. Rawiller is being released by the Gai Waterhouse stable and will be on Sniper’s Bullet on Saturday.

Most betting markets are yet to open for the Railway, but midweek will be spiced up by the presence of the second leg of the World Cup play-offs. Can Ireland pinch a win in Paris? Sacre bleu.

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World cup odds favour correct score bets

November 14th, 2009 by admin

Although nothing can be decided for certain today, the teams involved in the first legs of the World Cup qualification play-offs can virtually seal their seats to South Africa.

Here’s the deal – the teams playing today all came second in their qualifying groups and so missed out on an automatic pass to the biggest show on earth – instead they have been drawn against each other to play two legs home and away, with the winners of each tie going through and the losers staying at home next summer.

Today the first legs will be played, before the second legs come around on Wednesday, with away goals counting double.

For example, today Ukraine host Greece, and should the away side pull off a 2-2 draw, then draw 1-1 with Ukraine on their home turf next Wednesday, they are through by virtue of the extra away goal in the first leg. Got it? Good. Therefore whoever can pull of a handsome win today is in a mighty fine spot.

Let’s firstly turn to Russia against Slovenia in Moscow, with the home side unlucky to have to go through a play-off at all after narrowly finishing second to Germany in their group. Guus Hiddink’s side can call on the creativity and goal power of midfielder Andrey Arshavin, and have pedigree given their strong performance at Euro 2008. As such they look good for a 2-0 win at 6.80 with Betfair.

Also on Saturday we have Ireland hosting two-times champions France. Although France are the favourites to go through over all, Ireland pulled off two impressive draws against current world champions Italy in their group. In fact Ireland were beating Italy 1-0 until a last-minute Italian equaliser in their final group match, so should not be underestimated.

This is over two legs though and I feel France can mount a decent enough defence, however, in general they have not played well throughout qualification and haven’t exactly been free-scoring. A 0-0 at 8.00 with Betfair therefore looks good for this one. More next week when the deciding legs come around.

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Sandown Classic betting looks a tricky task

November 13th, 2009 by admin

I’ve been waiting all week for the online horse racing betting markets for the Sandown Classic to open, and now they have, I almost wish they’d stayed shut.

Scenic Shot has emerged as a 3.50 favourite with IASbet, but behind this horse the field is tighter than a duck’s backside – four horses are between around 5.00 and 9.00, while there are some strong enough contenders at around the 11.00 to 12.00 mark.

Bearing that in mind, I had a nose round for value for Scenic Shot and found not much. Betfair is offering 3.80, which is as good as you’re going to get at the moment. Delving into the background of stayer Scenic Shot, the price seems based on a win in the Mackinnon Stakes, although it’s worth bearing in mind this was an easy victory for him.

Master O’Reilly at 5.00 with IASbet is interesting – the horse hasn’t won for two years but did well to come fourth in the Melbourne Cup and the pace on Saturday could dictate how he does. Lighting could strike three times with Zipping, who has won this race twice before, but a hat-trick is a bit too much for my probability meter to bear.

A word on the Sandown Guineas too, which is on the card just before the classic – here we have a less tempestuous field and Kidnapped is the firm favourite. 2.50 at Betfair is the best price I could find, but this is much more secure than the 3.00 – odd you’ll get for Scenic Shot in the Classic in my opinion.

Therefore I’d be inclined to lean towards Kidnapped in the Guineas and a smaller wedge on Master O’Reilly – he does look to be in very good shape, and at the end of the day, he’s got to win a bloody race sometime. This could finally be it after a dry run which stretches back to a win in the Caulfield Cup win in 2007.

On Saturday I’ll be concentrating on the soccer again – there’s a wealth of World Cup qualifying play-off games, and some interesting betting. Turf’s up.

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Highs, lows and nearly-theres – the story so far

November 10th, 2009 by admin

It seems so long now since I was sounding out Voice Commander in the Warwick Stakes back in August – a whole season of racing has thundered by since then, and all-in-all, besides some shocks, surprises and downright screw-ups, I’m pretty happy with my work for the spring. Not bad for a pom.

As it happens Voice Commander was one of my early tipping failures after Trusting overturned him – but thankfully I bounced back with Secret Flyer in the BC3 Future Stars.

See below a summary of some of my tipping successes over the last three months – along with the odds at the time I tipped them, where I recorded them, and a ‘P’ in brackets for successful placings shouts rather than when I picked a winner.

Secret Flyer – BC3 Future Stars – 2.70
Glowlamp – Intergaze Maiden Plate – 1.85 (grew to 2.25)

Denman – Golden Rose – 2.64
Mic Mac – Memsie – 3.00
Mr Clangtastic – Wyong Gold Cup – 3.70
Black Piranha – Danehill Stakes – 1.75
Miss Marielle (P) – Chelmsford Stakes – 6.33
Denman – Stan Fox Stakes – 1.60

Whobegotyou – Yalumba Stakes
Shamoline Warrior – Norman Robinson Stakes – 3.80
Roman Emperor (P) – Caulfield Cup – 6.00
Manhattan Rain (P) – Cox Plate – 6.00

Crime Scene (P) – Melbourne Cup – 12.50

Looking back over these, it doesn’t look to bad at all – and that Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup placings hat-trick shows I got into the swing of things and hit form at the right time. Of course, besides the successes listed here, there was also a good smattering of failure – in particular I was irked at the failure of Kirklees in the Caulfield Cup -but overall I’m happy with my handiwork.

This Saturday I’ll be hoping to carry my form into the meeting at Sandown, with the online bookmakers yet to open their markets for the day. Of special interest will be the Sandown Classic, which could be tricky because a number of horses with high profiles are appearing – but will be out of their usual comfort zones distance-wise. As such there’s the chance of an upset. Markets should be open Thursday-ish – I’ll keep you posted.

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