17th February 2017
In this week’s issue….
We’re headed to Ascot for our target race this weekend – the Les Ambassadeurs Casino Handicap Hurdle (3.00).
A field of 16 runners goes to post. They race over 2 miles and 4 furlongs on ground currently described as soft….
It’s a competitive race – as you’d expect – and that only encourages me to oppose the shorties the wider market wants to be with….
We’ll get to my selection in a moment or two. First a quick spin through a few bits and pieces on my mind….
I was highly amused this morning to discover I’m not the only guy out there with a really low opinion of the bookmakers….
Gigginstown House Stud owner Michael O'Leary is spitting feathers this week. He’s outraged by the weights allotted to some of his horses by the official handicapper for the Grand National….
We don’t need to go into the details of all that here. O’Leary clearly believes his horses are being treated unfairly. Either that or he’s trying to pressurize the official handicapper to treat them leniently in the future.
Who can tell? There are always trainers and owners shouting and bawling after the Grand National weights are issued. It’s a big game of smoke and mirrors designed to talk horses down the weights. A game as old as Noah….
O’Leary accuses official handicapper Phil Smith of ‘making it up as you go along’….
Smith defended himself by pointing out that one of the horses whose weight O’Leary was complaining about – Don Poli – was at the head of the ante-post betting.
He said this: ‘I notice the bookies have him as favourite. They're usually pretty shrewd and they obviously don't think he's been so hard done to.’
That really got up O’Leary’s bugle. Speaking through the media, he challenged Smith: ‘So that's how you run your handicapping system is it, based on what some ante-post spivs think?...’
This soap opera is set to run and run….
Who is right? O’Leary or Smith? I don’t know. I’m not sure I care. I will work with the weights as they are allotted. As a punter, that’s all I can do.
But I think O’Leary has it spot-on about the bookies. Ante-post spivs – I couldn’t have put it better myself….
The ante-post spivs are already setting out their various stalls for Cheltenham….
Over the next few weeks they’re going to be scrapping like rats in a sack for market share….
Punters bet tens of millions on the 28 Festival races. That’s a big pie and every bookie wants to maximise his slice….
Over the next month shop-soiled bookies will step into micro-skirts, pull up laddered stockings and head into the red-light district – advertising their pale and flaccid wares to passing traffic….
All manner of inducement will be brandished and bared to tantalize and seduce punters into placing Festival bets….
It’s a macabre spectacle. Like false teeth in a bedside glass….
If you’re not careful, you could get sucked into something you’ll live to regret. Like the ‘good deal’ I took a closer look at on my Against the Crowd service earlier this week….
We have an Against the Crowd league on the Pick 7 website. A few dozen readers have already signed-up to play against one another….
Games take place on Saturdays, during big Festivals and on random days in the week. You get regular opportunities to play for cash prizes up to £200,000….
I am already proving to be one of the strongest players in our league – silently bearing the crushing weight of everybody sitting above me.
Tomorrow Pick 7 players go to post in a bid to win £50,000.
You’ll need a Skybet account to play. If you don’t have one, get one here.
Then you need to login to Pick 7. Do that here.
Then you need to join the Against the Crowd League. Go to the ‘Leagues’ tab. Click on ‘My Leagues’. Click the ‘Join’ button. Then enter the following code: RME84M2.
I suspect Gary Moore’s KRUGERMAC could turn out to be pretty good and tomorrow is a good time to catch him at 10s on just his 4th appearance over hurdles in a first-time visor off a mark of just 119.
He was originally targeted at the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury – Britain’s most valuable handicap hurdle event. That’s a lofty ambition and it tells you something about the regard Moore holds this horse in.
I shouldn’t imagine that Moore was just tilting at windmills either. He’s no mug. Especially when it comes to the Betfair Hurdle – a race he’s won 3 times.
He knows exactly how good a horse needs to be to win that race. If he thinks Krugermac is potentially good enough to have been there, then a mark of 119 seriously undervalues him.
As it was the horse didn’t run. Moore didn’t want him running from 6lbs out of the handicap. So, he’s been re-routed here – where he won his maiden at tomorrow’s trip – and where gets a chance to compete off a featherweight.
The visor is an interesting addition to the most expensive horse Moore has ever had in his care. He didn’t pull up any trees last time out and Moore has been a little out of form. But I think this horse is going to prove a ton better than 119 and I want to catch him before he proves it.
Standard place terms are 1/4 1-2-3-4. If 10s is an each-way price for you then don’t let me be the one to put you off.
The weights for the Grand National were published earlier in the week….
Tomorrow at Haydock some horses headed for Aintree get an early-doors opportunity to show how right or wrong the official handicapper’s assessments are….
The Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (3.15) features eight horses with an Aintree entry – including Blaklion and Vieux Lion Rouge who are both fancied to score.
On my Against the Crowd service we make a point of ignoring market sentiment. Instead we look down the betting list and focus on horses that can get competitive at a big price….
Up at Haydock tomorrow I’m siding with a ‘live’ contender with plenty going for him at a big each-way quote….
You can get immediate access to my pick by simply taking a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….
That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.
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