The pick of the prices in the Edinburgh National....

Last Updated: 03.02.2017

3rd February 2017

Good afternoon, friends,

In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….

  • Bookies should be FOBT off….
  • The pick of the prices in the Edinburgh National….
  • Two-against-the-field at Sandown….

Bookies should be FOBT off….

You won’t often find me getting political in this column. But….

Government is looking into the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) bookmakers make hay with in their shops. MPs are worried about how addictive they are – and so they should be.

FOBTs are dangerous and bookies use them to prey mercilessly on the simple-minded, the foolish, the desperate and the degenerate – but that is just my opinion….

Of course, the bookies don’t like the government intrusion and are filling their nappies. Earlier this week the Association of British Bookmakers was heard screeching that a parliamentary report into FOBTs was ‘deeply flawed’….

That is as maybe. But bookies also say that racing will suffer if FOBTs are outlawed or legislated against (e.g. maximum stakes reduced)….

Bookmakers help fund racing. They argue that interference with FOBTs will damage profits and, in turn, reduce funding payable to racing….

Bookmakers make this claim to encourage racing to get behind their arguments about leaving FOBT legislation as it is….

Racing should turn its back and play hardball – insisting there can be no reduction in funding – whatever the circumstances….

If FOBT rules change and bookmaker profits are affected, bookmakers should consider adjusting their flawed business model.

As it stands bookmaking is the only business where the operator thrives despite routinely treating customers like criminals, cheats or victims to be fleeced….

SP manipulation; Rule 4 manipulation; massive over-rounds; poor-value ante-post markets; misuse of palpable error rules; arbitrary restriction or closure of ‘winning’ accounts; misleading offers; verification procedures verging on the ridiculous….

Before pleading poverty and seeking to rip-off racing, bookmakers might address some of these issues. Doing so would help restore the faith of punters and rebuild profitability….

The pick of the prices….

This weekend I’m targeting the inaugural running of the Edinburgh National Handicap Chase up at Musselburgh (2.05) – 13 runners go to post over the 4-mile trip….

Musselburgh is a sharp track that suits nippy types and that puts me off Alvarado who runs off a nice mark of 135 for his in-form yard and is reliant on winning to stand a chance of qualifying for this season’s Grand National – a race in which he’s made the frame twice before.

The 12yo has a cracking record at trips and he still retains plenty of ability. But I’m not sure this track will play to his strengths and, at the price, I am minded to look elsewhere.

I could make a case for Five In A Row who runs for the in-form Brian Ellison yard and who needs to bounce back from his last-time-out effort at Sandown. But he’s way too short….

With 13-runners going to post there’s only 3-places up for grabs. So, I’m going two against the field and backing both to win….

ITSTIMEFORAPINT and GONALSTON CLOUD are the two horses that have produced most improvement up the scale over the last few months.

Both have benefitted from stepping up in trip and the application of headgear – cheekpieces for Gonalston Cloud and a tongue-tie for Itstimeforapint.

The other notable feature about both is their liking for good ground and sharp tracks.

Both prepped for this at Catterick in the North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase – where they finished 2nd and 3rd. Both have produced their best efforts on decent ground. Tomorrow’s conditions will suit them better than most.

At 10s and 7s respectively, I’m happy to support both against the field.

To recap….

In the Edinburgh National Handicap Chase at Musselburgh (2.05)….

  • ITSTIMEFORAPINT @ 10s (Generally)
  • GONALSTON CLOUD @ 7s (Generally)  

Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3. They make no appeal to me and I’ll be foregoing the places and backing both my selections win-only.

Two-against-the-field at Sandown….

Over on my paid Against the Crowd service we’re targeting the Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown tomorrow afternoon (3.00) where a field of 15-runners goes to post….

I can’t argue with the claims of the favourite Rolling Dylan. He comes into the race on a nice sequence. And first-time cheekpieces should remedy the concentration issue that did for him last-time-out at Cheltenham.

But as race favourite he’s no good to me at 5s….

My job is to highlight he value and to play the prices. The way I play is not everybody’s cup of tea. But I never get beaten at a short price and when it goes right I get rewarded at big odds….

In tomorrow’s race at Sandown I’m two-against-the-field – backing a pair of horses the market is under-estimating at the prices….

You can get both these extra bets by simply taking a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….

Get my best for the Heroes Handicap Hurdle here….

That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra