Monday, 16 April 2018

ITV Hails Grand National Big Success

Ed Chamberlain, ITV
ITV's anchor, Ed Chamberlain hailed the Grand National a success after achieving 8.5 million viewers.   

He said:  “It’s something else and I loved it,” he reflected on Monday. “I thought Aintree and the Jockey Club – Grant Rowley, Jessica Dalgliesh and John Baker and his team did an amazing job.

"The opening ceremony, with the Red Devils, Laura Wright and the military, gave the meeting real gravitas and it felt really special – bigger and better than last year, which I loved.”

"I’ll be brutally honest,” he said. “We were going into the dark last year. It was good but this year felt so much better – everything about it. 


"My favourite thing of the whole week is down at the start, it was something I was adamant should be brought in and I love those shots. Hopefully it takes people right to the heart of it, which is what we’re trying to do.

“From the moment we went on air on Thursday it was very much building to 5.15pm on Saturday. We tried to make sure that by 5pm everyone was aware of all the different stories in the race and I think we did that well.”

Peak viewing figures for Grand National day


2018 (ITV) – 8.5 million 
2017 (ITV) – 8.2 million 
2016 (C4) – 10 million 
2015 (C4) – 8.8 million

Chamberlin said: “I’m always hoping for more and probably wouldn’t be happy with 11 million but the fact is that 8.5 million in the modern age is still pretty good.

"The Grand National is an enigma – you had seven million watching Don’t Push It in 2010 and then ten million watching Rule The World in 2016. When I saw the sunshine on Saturday morning I was one person who was cursing, but that’s no excuse. 

"I can’t control that but, for me, that was the biggest and best television show in my 20 years of presenting, and to get a 60 per cent share is fantastic.”

Monday, 9 April 2018

What To Look For In A Grand National Wager

Grand National Wager
It's the biggest day on the horse racing calendar for many, as the Grand National at Aintree is a tradition unmatched by most events. With this event comes the opportunity to wager on the race and to pick a winner at the window.  But how do you figure out which horse to back when it comes time for the race? Looking for the following notches in a horse's belt should go a long way towards helping determine who to put your faith in during the race. 

A history of staying upright 

The Grand National is known for its many jumps, which can of course lead to many falls. So backing a horse that can remain on its feet and continue moving towards the finish line is key. To find a horse that fits this billing, some research will be required. Go back through a horse's race history to find out if it has failed to finish races and what the causes of those lack of finishes were. This will tell you if a horse has been able to stay upright, which can tell you a lot about whether or not they are worth backing in the Grand National. 

This is such a priority because of just how many falls take place at the Grand National every year. There is a long list of horses that fail to finish the race each year, as the gruelling combination of jumps and a long distance run takes its toll on the competitors. If a horse has trouble finishing the job in smaller races, that says a lot about their chances in this one.

A history against their competition 

Often, the Grand National boasts a huge field. And while a select group of horses tend to finish the race when all is said and done, it is important to know how the horse you want to back has performed against the other horses in the race. Over at William Hill, bookmakers take this into account when determining the favourites in the race among other factors, which goes some way to explaining why Blaklion and Tiger Roll are joint-favourites at 10/1. Because if you have been left in the dust by the competition in lesser races, you will be considered less likely to beat them in the biggest race of the year. 

As you would imagine, the competition in the Grand National is fierce. The same can also be said about the tune-up races for the big one at Aintree. With many horses in the field taking part in a select few races to prepare, there are opportunities to see how these horses performed on the same tracks in similar conditions. This can provide a comparison between the horses, which can help make informed decisions. 

Of course, there is a myriad of other factors to consider when picking a horse to back in the Grand National. But using these two as a starting point will go a long way towards weeding out horses that are not worthy of backing on such a big stage. With a little light reading and the knowledge that comes with it, you can be on your way to picking a winner.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Will Minella Rocco Pull A Surprise At The Grand National?


Will Minella Rocco Pull A Surprise At The Grand National?
All eyes will be on Aintree for the Grand National on April 14 as a new champion will be confirmed at the event. One For Arthur won the prestigious race last season with a fine performance, but injury has forced him to withdraw, ending his opportunity to end the crown. His absence will open up the opportunity for the rest of the field to etch their place in history. There are a number of talented runners in the field, including horses that triumphed at Cheltenham Festival last month. Total Recall raced at the Festival, but put forward a poor performance at the Gold Cup, whereas Tiger Roll was outstanding in the Cross Country Chase, defeating Cause of Causes among a strong group of competitors.
As a result, it’s always best to consult the form guide when at Timeform.com before placing a punt for the National. The race can be unpredictable, but there will be one competitor – Minella Rocco- desperate to prove a point after being pulled from the race by trainer Jonjo O’Neill, despite being considered one of the leading contenders for the crown among leading bookmakers ahead of the contest. The bay gelding will face a challenge to find his best form, although he does have proven pedigree looking back over the course of his career.

Minella Rocco made his breakthrough in the 2015/16 National Hunt campaign, making his mark at Cheltenham Festival. The Irish horse secured the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, with Derek O’Connor in the saddle. He started the event at the back of the field before beginning his surge three fences from the end of the race. The bay gelding beat out future Gold Cup winner Native River by one-and-three-quarter lengths, highlighting his potential for the future with a brilliant run.

He returned to the action for the new campaign and suffered a narrow loss in the BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, despite being considered the leading contender for the victory. Minella Rocco lost momentum in the midway stage of the season, falling for the first time of his career in a meet at Aintree before unseating Aidan Coleman at the Irish Gold Cup. The preparation for the Cheltenham Gold Cup was not ideal, but O’Neill’s charge still had a puncher’s chance at the major event of the Festival.
Noel Fehily kept the Irish horse at the back of the field for the start of the race before beginning a push three fences from the end of the meet. He tried to close the gap to Sizing John, but could not match the pace of his rival, losing out by two-and-three-quarter lengths. Minella Rocco finished strong to place second ahead of Native River, which suggested that he could do damage over a greater distance at Aintree in the National.
However, O’Neill opted to pull the bay gelding from the action to preserve him for the next campaign. His return to the track did not go to plan at the Irish Daily Star Chase, placing in fourth well off the pace in Punchestown, failing to rise to the occasion. He then endured an unhappy return to Cheltenham, pulling up in the BetVictor Handicap Chase. There was an opportunity for Minella Rocco to hit back at the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, and although there was a slight improvement in his performance he was still far from his best, sitting back in fourth place.
For the second year on the bounce, Minella Rocco failed to complete the Irish Gold Cup. On this occasion, he fell at the last fence but was not in contention for the crown. The plan for O’Neill was to put his charge forward for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the weather at the event forced the trainer’s hand once again, withdrawing the Irish horse due to conditions on the ground. There is undoubted potential with the bay gelding, highlighted by his performance at Cheltenham in 2016. Minella Rocco has failed to record a victory in eight races, with his form deserting him during the last campaign. He still has solid odds to win the National and the distance and the course could play into his hands, although it will still take a flawless performance to secure the crown.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Grand National 2018: The Housewife's Favourite

Grand National 2018
Who doesn't love a bet on the Grand National?

As the saying goes: it's the housewife's favourite. Betting on a name that catches your eye, those pink silks look like a winner, lucky number 7, didn't that horse win last year?

This year's Grand National 2018 

5:15 Aintree - Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1)

One horse who could be a real player this year is Blaklion trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. This nine-year-old bay gelding is a son of Kayf Tara. He won last time out at Aintree in heavy going. With total prize winning of almost £400,000 this horse will be many a punter's fancy. Fill your boots at Williamhill who presently have this horse priced at odds of 10/1. A worth each-way bet. 

A little Grand National Trivia

This historic handicap steeplechase is run over 4 mile 4 furlong at Aintree and sponsored by Crabbie's. 

It was first run in 1839. The Grand National is televised in 140 countries and viewed by an audience of 600 million. 

Horses jump 30 fences including Bechers' Brook, Foinavon, the Canal Turn & The Chair over two grueling circuits. 

The Greatest Horse

Red Rum is a true legend of this race winning three times in the 1970s. Trained by the late Ginger McCain, he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 & 1977. He finished second in 1975 & 1976. 

The Luckiest Winner

Foinavon proved that you sometimes you need a little bit of luck when winning in 1967. This 100/1 was lagging 100 yards behind the pack when a loose horse named Popham Down caused mayhem at the 23rd fence hampering or unseating most of the field. Foinavon had time to steer round the havoc and none of the opposition had time to catch him.

The Most Humbling Victory 

Few people will ever forget Bob Champion's win in 1981 aboard Aldantini. Two years before this race, Champion had been given only months to live after being diagnosed with cancer. Aldaniti had recovered from chronic leg problems but the pair went on to beat SpartanMissile by four and half lengths in an emotional victory. Their story was made into a film, Champions, starring John Hurt.

Grand National Records:

Mr Frisk (1990) 8 minute 48 seconds (Fastest winner)

Peter Simple (1853) 15 years (Oldest winning horse)
Bruce Hobbs (1938) 17 years old (Youngest winning jockey)
5 horses have won at 100/1 (Longest winning odds)
(1929) 66 runners (Largest field)

(1883) 10 runners (Smallest field)


Whatever you bet on the big day, good luck. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

2018 Grand National - What An Offer


Bob Champion, Aldaniti
The most historic steeplechase in the world. It has to be the Grand National.  

Get ready for this year's race on the 14th April at 5:15.

Two long circuits to get a huge crowd cheering for more. Four long miles & two furlongs. Remember Red Rum? He won three times in 1973, 1974 & 1977. His trainer, Ginger McCain, became as famous as this imperious horse. Could we see a horse win the Grand National three times in this modern era? It would seem unlikely. But who would have believed so many stories related to this hard race.  

In truth, for many, the Grand National is the most famous race in the world. Horses, jockeys, trainers, punters and a betting bonanza with plenty of Offers at the Grand National. It takes a talented, tough and lucky horse to win at Aintree, Liverpool. 

The Grand National History tells a story of triumph over adversity.

The history of this race goes back to 1839 when a horse named Lottery won at 5/1, ridden by Jem Mason. In those days, the Grand National was a race of fearful fences. 

It was probably the reason why Tipperary Tim & Gregalach proved that lightning can strike twice when these 100/1 shots won in 1928 & 1929, respectively.

Other 100/1 winners include Caughoo (1947), Foinavon (1967) & Mon Mome (2009).

Five 100/1 winners. It just shows you don't need to be a favourite backer to make your betting pay. 

Stories never to be forgotten...

The 1981 Grand National was unforgettable for two reasons: Aldaniti and Bob Champion. A jockey fighting against cancer, and horse who at one time could barely walk. The pair won at 10/1. In the process, Champion went on to not only survive but raise millions of pound for cancer research. Their story was made into the film Champions starring John Hurt. To this day, Carl Davis's theme tune is still associated with the Grand National.

Corbiere and Mrs Jenny Pitman

It took a long time for the first woman to train a National winner. Jenny Pitman was an iron lady who was a straight talker and new she had a real talent in Corbiere.  In 1983, Corbiere, ridden by Ben de Haan, won the National at 13/1. It was a strong race with many old favourites such as West Tip and Classified.

Mr Frisk the fastest of them all

In 1990 Mr Frisk recorded a time of 8.47.8 – it was the fastest ever due to faster going. It is very unlikely this time will ever be beaten.  

Don't Push It, Tony.

A P McCoy took well over a decade to claim this illusive title when Don't Push It prevailed in 2010. He was knighted after retiring in 2015.

The Randox Health Grand National.

14th April - 5:15 Aintree

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Weather to Bet or Not

Snow on Christmas Day
Betting. Where does it start or end? I'm talking sports rather than financial loss or gain. 

Every sport seems to have a betting angle. However, thinking about it, it doesn't have to be a sport to bet, hey? 

You may want to know the betting odds about something happening. That must be more varied than any sports. It must cover millions of things. One such happening is our fascination with the weather.

I guess the only time we hear about punters sticking their hand deep in their pocket regards the likelihood of a white Christmas. Snow on Christmas day to be precise. I can't say I've ever bet on snow falling, a rainbow leading to a pot of gold or a hailstone measuring the  size of a tennis ball. Perhaps I should.

Have you ever met anyone who bets on the weather? 

I haven't. 

I remember watching a program on TV with a meteorologist who knew more about the weather than your average Joe. The word meteorologist actually refers to a study of the atmosphere. They use science and maths to predict weather and climate. 

Interesting. Perhaps. I know most people in the UK love talking about the weather. 

So what do most weather-betting fans bet on? 

Temperature markets. Betting on the prediction for the temperature for a given month. This may be an exact prediction, a range. Generally, we are talking the high temperatures in summer and the lowest in winter. Other bets relate to rainfall. 

It is surprising to hear but internet betting on the weather is more popular than imagined. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Cheltenham 2018: The Greatest Trainer of them All


Willie Mulllins is thought of as Irish royalty and is universally favoured by his colleagues on both sides of the Irish Sea despite beating them regularly. Festival success flows through Mullins’ veins. His father Paddy trained Dawn Run to win the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in – a feat that has never been replicated. But Mullins is bemused by his own achievements.

With his first charge, Footpad, romping home on Day 1 of the Festival it looks odd’s on in the Paddy Power Cheltenham Betting for him to come out as top trainer and with the whole festival left to run and many more impressive horses in his arsenal, he’s likely to do it.




Tuesday, 6 March 2018

They Live at Cheltenham

Interesting to consider how we are manipulated without even knowing. 

Well, perhaps we are manipulated or perhaps we are not. I doubt I'm making much sense. Have you ever seen the film They Live directed by John Carpenter. This 1988 American science fiction horror film follows an unnamed drifter who discovers that the ruling class are aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media. 

The film Is based on Ray Nelson's 1963 short story Eight O'clock in the Morning

With the craziness of Cheltenham on the horizon from 13th - 16th March you have to wonder whether there is someone doing the very same thing to get punters betting. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Cheltenham 2018: Five Dark Horses for the Savvy Punter

Cheltenham Festival 2018
The Cheltenham Festival is now less than a month away and punters are excitedly studying the form ahead of the prestigious National Hunt meeting. The March Festival is one of the biggest betting events of the year and it always sees armchair fans lump on the favourites as they buy into the hype. But at Cheltenham the fields are deep and stacked with talent, so the favourite wins less than 30% of the time, and it typically pays to seek out the longer priced outsiders that could spring a surprise. Here are five each-way shots that have a good chance of upsetting the odds at Cheltenham:

Definitely Red

Might Bite is the clear favourite to win the Gold Cup after romping to victory in the King George VI on Boxing Day, while defending champion Sizing John is given the best chance of usurping him. But there is plenty of talent in this superstar field, and Definitely Red stands out at as a brilliant longer shot when you take a look at the spread betting lines. In Cheltenham’s only Gold Cup trial, the Cotswold Chase, he beat American by eight lengths, and trainer Brian Ellison believes he now has a great chance in the most prestigious jumps race of the year. He said: “The Gold Cup is quite open. Might Bite is favourite but I don't think the form of the King George looks that strong. Red has every chance and could be overpriced.” The nine-year-old has won his last two races and is being lined up for a Grand National tilt, but first he will aim to dazzle at Cheltenham.

Melon

It is hard to look past defending champion Buveur d’Air in the Champion Hurdle as he has not lost since 2015 and is in magnificent form. But there is real competition for the places and Melon looks like he could well be in the mix, despite odds of 20/1. He won the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle in November, but has since lost out to Cheltenham contenders Supasundae and My Tent Or Yours. He has struggled in elite company recently, but has two second place finishes in Grade 1 contests at Cheltenham and Leopardstown under his belt and he will be a dangerous opponent in the main event on the first day of the Festival. Melon is a big, strong horse and if he reaches his full potential he can certainly be in the conversation as the runners charge up the final hill in the Champion Hurdle.

Wholestone

Many are predicting a straight fight between Supasundae and Sam Spinner in the Stayers’ Hurdle, but write off Wholestone at your peril. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ brown gelding features twice in Timeform’s list of the top 10 hurdle performances this season, as does Sam Spinner. They met in Chepstow in October, when Sam Spinner finished second and Wholestone was fourth, but Wholestone was the better horse at the weights. He has run really well on good ground, so if the rain holds off next month Wholestone will be in with a great chance of upsetting the favourites.

Ballyoptic

Another runner from the Twiston-Davies stable, Ballyoptic, looks like an intriguing dark horse for an open RSA Chase. Presenting Percy and Monalee are the current favourites, but this race is anyone’s and Ballyoptic is attracting some ante post action. He was last seen winning the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby on February 3, and he secured an impressive 13-length victory at Exeter in the autumn. He is economical and well measured at the fences and seems to improve as races develop, so he will be a strong contender at the March Festival.

Cloudy Dream

Ruth Jefferson’s Cloudy dream was outstayed by Gold Cup hopeful Native River in this month’s Denman Chase at Newbury, and she instantly withdrew him from Gold Cup contention and pointed him at the Ryanair Chase. That drop back in trip to 2 miles and 5 furlongs should suit his strengths, and he is also likely to improve on spring ground. Cloudy Dream has had 11 races over fences, and he has won three and finished runner-up eight times. This season he has finished second in all four races, so he looks a great each-way shout at 16/1 in the Ryanair Chase.

Author bio
Martin Green is an experienced horse racing correspondent and tipster and has been covering the Cheltenham Festival for many years.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Blue Diamond Stakes Preview

Blue Diamond Stakes PreviewThe countdown has begun for the Grade 1 Blue Diamond Stakes and several leading two-year-olds are in contention for the richest juvenile’s race of the autumn. A cool $1.5 million is on offer for this contest and it has attracted an extremely strong field after the third declaration stage. They are bidding to follow in the footsteps of recent winners like Catchy, Extreme Choice and Pride of Dubai, and whoever seizes the win will be catapulted to superstardom. Here are the leading contenders for glory:
Plague Stone
The James Cummings-trained Plague Stone is still seeking his maiden victory, but he has impressed in finishing second in both career starts so far. He finished just behind Secret Lady in the $150,000 Golden Gift (1100m) at Rosehill on November 25, and was runner-up to Written By in the Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield on Saturday. But it is his form in a barrier trial that has really excited punters: he displayed a great turn of pace as he won by five lengths. “He’s a fascinating horse,” said Cummings. “You’d swear he was a five-year-old gelding the way he's so relaxed around the stable but when the gates open he switches straight on and wants to utilise his speed.” Plague Stone is currently the $8 joint favourite in the horse racing betting markets.

Kinky Boom

Jockey Craig Williams likened Kinky Boom to last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner, Catchy, after she secured an impressive debut victory in the $250,000 Inglis Premier over 1200m at Caulfield earlier this month. Williams was aboard Catchy last year and said Kinky Boom is another special horse blessed with fantastic acceleration. “She’s a major contender for the Blue Diamond,” he said. “Like Catchy last year, she showed she can come from off the speed and use her acceleration.” That win caused Kinky Boom to drop from $17 all the way down to $8 for the Blue Diamond, leaving her level with Plague Stone in the betting.
Written By
Written By has also seen his odds plummet in the past few days after beating Plague Stone to win the Blue Diamond Prelude at Caulfield on Saturday. That firmed him from $17 to $8.50 for the big race, which takes place on February 24. He won the Cameron Thurley Bucks Day 2YO Plate over 1000m on his debut at Sandown, but required barrier education after emerging as a bit of a rogue in that department. Trainer Grahame Beggs believes he is now on top of those issues, and Written By responded with a devastating win in the Prelude, finish half a length ahead of favourite Plague Stone and a length and a half in front of Native Soldier. It is great news for Beggs, who trained 12 Group 1 winners in Sydney, before moving to Mornington Peninsula to rejuvenate his career. He now has his first Blue Diamond Stakes runner and Written By looks a great bet right now as he is in superb form and still has vast untapped potential.
Oohood
Another Tony McEvoy charge, Oohood, has placed three times in three races so far and put in an eye-catching performance to finish third in the Blue Diamond Preview. She went off as 3/1 favourite, but was held up and had to weave through heavy traffic before finishing strong and almost winning it. If she gets a better ride in the Blue Diamond she will be hard to beat. McEvoy has a strong hand for the Blue Diamond, with Kinky Boom, Oohood, Run Naan and Roobena all looking dangerous.
Long Leaf
David Hayes’ Long Leaf has only been seen once, but it was an impressive run as he beat Oohood to the Blue Diamond Preview back in November. Hayes holds the record for the most Blue Diamond Stakes wins of all-time after Catchy gave him his sixth victory last year. It is common for his runners to only make a single appearance before the Blue Diamond, and Long Leaf should enjoy the step up in trip later this month.
Ollivander
This promising colt secured a strong debut win in a Listed Blue Diamond Preview, which left him among the early favourites. However, he flopped at the weekend, finishing 10th of 13 runners in the Blue Diamond Prelude, well behind the likes of Written By and Plague Stone. His odds have since drifted out to $11, but he remains sixth in the betting thanks to the strength of his earlier showing.
The Rest
The field is deep and stacked full of talent, and it will not be properly whittled down until final acceptances are made later this month. The field and barrier draw will be released on the Tuesday before the race. There are plenty of interesting runners in the mix right now, including Ennis Hill, Seabrook, Native River and Stratosphere. Favourites have a decent record in the Blue Diamond Stakes, but taste defeat more often than success, so it is worth looking for value further down the card.