Cheltenham Review Part 2

Good morning all,

Early start as I head to Ludlow for one of their busier meetings of the year. I'll be working on the rails with Daren today.

Meanwhile, here's the second part of the Cheltenham review, which I hope you find useful.

Plus a selection from Ludlow. Continue Reading

Big Bash Tips: Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers

Just before we get onto the serious business of some Big Bash bets, I’d just like to say that this great competition starts on Wednesday morning, runs till mid-February and I’ll be providing tips on it right here at Daily Punt every Tuesday, looking ahead to each week’s Wednesday game. For further tips on the Big Bash, you can go to www.bettingmaestro.com to read them.

The Bash Brothers

So let’s start by looking at the opening game: Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers.

It pits a pretty flaky side in the Heat against last year’s winners, the Strikers. The Heat are a bit of a one-trick-pony with explosive opening duo Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn (the Bash Brothers) as good as any opening partnership in the game. Whatever happens, they’ll score at breakneck pace and if they hang about for 10 overs or more together, you wouldn’t be too surprised if they’ve put 100 or so on the board which could well be game over for the opposition.

All well and good but there are two problems with that. The first is that McCullum is pretty much past it. He’s 37 now and whereas a few years ago he was an aggressive player who tried to hit a boundary off most balls and ran a few ones and twos off the good balls, now he just tries to smash the cover off everything without much thought over where it ends up. He may get away with a few courtesy of some edges and miscues but against quality bowling, he’s unlikely to last too long. The other problem they have is that there isn’t really much more to come after them: Joe Burns and Alex Ross are reliable old heads but not more than that and they don’t bat deep so it’s pretty much all down to McCullum and Lynn.

An even bigger problem is that they don’t bowl well. Consider this: last season they went at 8.2 runs an over for the duration of their campaign. The Strikers in contrast, went at 7.1 So on average, the Strikers conceded 20 odd runs less a match. Huge difference when you consider their batting strike rate was virtually identical.

Strikers better all round

But there’s a lot to like about the Strikers as slight outsiders beyond that. Like the fact that they’re the defending champions who with the exception of Travis Head have pretty much the same team as last year. Or the fact that the two players making up their own opening partnership of Weatherald and Carey were ranked 2 and 3 respectively on the Big Bash top batsman rankings last year. They may not score as quickly as the Bash Brothers but they’re more prolific. Or the fact they have Rashid Khan, last year’s joint-top bowler, this season’s favourite for top bowler and also for player of the tournament. More importantly, they’re the better team and rate good value at 2.0.

Side with Siddle

Speaking of Khan, if my life depended on picking the Strikers’ top bowler tomorrow, I’d go with him. I'd probably also go with him if I was picking the overall Big Bash top bowler. But that’s obviously not how betting works. It’s about risk and reward and brilliant though he is, that’s a tad on the short side. Particularly given that just a week ago he was playing a T20 tournament over in South Africa. Admittedly the pitches in the two countries are somewhat similar but that still can’t have been ideal preparation with such a big tournament round the corner. So it may take him a couple of games to get up to scratch here.

Four players last season took 11 or more wickets for the Strikers, other than Khan. Ben Laughlin got 16 and he might go close here for top Strikers wicket taker in the match but at 3.75 that’s a bit short, too. Then there was Billy Stanlake (11), Michael Neser (13) and Peter Siddle (11).  The first two are around the 5.0 mark, Siddle is 5.5. My preference goes for the latter. Not just because he’s half a point bigger but more because if you bet with Bet365, it will go down to who conceded the fewest runs in the event of a tie on wickets. And in this regard, going by last year’s stats, Siddle would win hands down. His economy rate was 5.94, Stanlake’s 6.47 and Neser’s a far bigger 9.11. It’s not unusual at all for one or more bowlers to be tied on two wickets in a T20 and that economy rate could make all the difference. At a chunky 5.5 it’s certainly worth finding out.

2pts Back Adelaide Strikers to beat Brisbane Heat @ 2.0 with Ladbrokes

1pt Back Peter Siddle to be Adelaide Strikers Top Bowler @ 5.5 with Bet365

 

Read more Big Bash tips and other cricket betting content from Jamie Pacheco at www.bettingmaestro.com

Cheltenham Review Part 1

Good morning all,

A two-part Cheltenham review over the next couple of days, given I was there both days and picked a few clues up. It is a big review, hence me splitting it over a couple of days.

Nice to have another winning Saturday, only a shame the Evesham wi-fi didn't work. That won't be a problem this week – I actually have a Saturday off! Unbelievable! Continue Reading

Christmas Crackers & Plumpton Tip

Morning all,

My last Monday column until New Year’s Eve. This time next week I will be enjoying some winter sunshine in Mexico. A great opportunity to recharge the batteries for the New Year and boy do I need it, as it’s been a tiring year.

This week’s column takes a look back at Cheltenham’s two-day International Meeting and forward to some of the key trends for the Coral Welsh Grand National. Inside you will also find the Monday tip which is looking for the hat trick…

Fabulous Frost

On paper Saturday’s action seemed pale in comparison to previous week's fare. We needn’t have worried. As seems to be the case each Saturday during the winter there’s always a good story to be found.

The performance of the weekend came from Frodon in winning the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. His jockey Bryony Frost got the horse in a great jumping rhythm from the off. Baron Alco who had beaten Frodon into second in the BetVictor Gold Cup at the previous meeting couldn’t match his rivals jumping on this occasion and eventually finished 4th.

The only horse who could match the winner was Cepage. The 6-year-old still had a chance coming to the second last. However, jumping is the name of the game and he made a mistake two out whilst Frodon winged it. From then on there was only going to be one winner.

Rather Be Anywhere But Cheltenham

A mistake four out ended Mr Medic’s challenge. The 7-year-old was still travelling well enough at the time although it was probably too early to say where he would have finished. His connections will have been delighted with this run as he showed he can go well left handed. His progress may not have ended just yet.

Nicky Henderson will have been mystified by the performance of favourite Rather Be. The 7-year-old had been well backed ante post for the race, although was weak in the betting before the off. But he was never really in the race and finished a well beaten 5th. There will no doubt be other days for him.

I doubt there is a better ambassador for jumps racing than the winning jockey. Bryony Frost gave a really good interview to ITV after racing and her enthusiasm for the game and the horses is truly infectious.

The New One Retires

Last week I was reporting on the retirement of My Tent Or Yours. Well this weekend another great warrior The New One ran his last race. Connections had said that the International Hurdle would likely be his last race if he didn’t show more.

Racing in the first time visor he was keen out in front. Sadly coming to three out he had nothing more to give and faded out of the race. His jockey sensibly pulled him up after the last.

A Grade 1 winner at 2m 4f. He was just a little behind the very best at 2m. He had a few attempts at the Champion Hurdle crown but the closest he got was when 3rd to Jezki in 2014.

The 10-year-old has been a credit to connections and deserves a happy retirement from racing.

Racing Post Enters A New Era

On Friday It was announced that 31-year-old Tom Kerr would be replacing Bruce Millington as the Editor of the Racing Post.

Tom Kerr has big shoes to follow as Millington has held the job for 11-years and whilst he hasn’t been to everyone’s taste I think he has done a good job at the paper in times of change.

I’m big fan of Tom Kerr’s writing. He’s never been afraid to take on those controversial topics that can be uncomfortable for those who run the sport and sometimes racing fans in general. I think he will do a good job in his new role and I wish him all the luck in the world. I suspect he will need it.

Christmas Crackers

There’s plenty of high quality of racing over Christmas. The Highlight of Kempton’s two-day Christmas Festival is of course the King George VI Chase. Over the Irish Sea we have four-days of high-class racing at Leopardstown. However, on December 27th it’s my favourite race of the festive period the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.

The Welsh National is a race that that has been hit hard by the weather in the past decade with the 2010, 2012 and 2015 renewals having to be held in January of the following year.

Chepstow – December 27th 2018

2:50 – Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 3m 5 ½ f

Since 2008 there have been 10 winners from 192 runners 40 placed and seven renewals of the race have been run on going officially described as heavy.

The Trends

Here are some of the more interesting trends of the last 10 years:

Age: 6 to 8yo’s8 winners from 84 runners +16.75 19 placed (8 -year-olds – 5 winners from 45 runners +25 11 placed)

Odds SP: 22/1 + – 0 winners from 65 runners 14 placed

Weight: 10-0 to 10-107 winners from 104 runners 23 placed

Runs In Last 90 Days: 2 to 4 – 9 winners from 102 runners +4.75 28 placed

Wins In Handicap Chase: 1 to 310 winners from 111 runners +16.75 31 placed (runners with 0 handicap chase wins are 0 winners from 54 runners 6 placed).

Verdict

Looking at those trends the Henry Daly trained Back To Thatch looks of some interest. He’s won at the track in the past and was a close up 4th in the Grand National Trial at the track at the beginning of the month. He was beaten six lengths by ante-post favourite Ramses De Teille but was still in with chance until a mistake at the last and does get a 4lb pull.

The 6-year-old has winning form on heavy. He was travelling noticeably well in the 4m Eider Chase when falling at the 16th. He’s more than capable of winning a staying handicap chase off his present mark if his jumping holds up. Does need a few to drop out to get into the race though.

If the ground was heavy, I can see Otago Trail running well for Venetia Williams. The 10-year-old has potential for more improvement over this trip and was an excellent 3rd in the Rehearsal Chase after a 665-day absence.

Elegant’s Escape runner-up in the Ladbroke Trophy has to be respected and he should appreciate the longer trip.

Another with potential for plenty of improvement over this marathon trip is Ron’s Dream. The mare is one of Pricewise (Tom Segal's) ante-post selections for the race.

Hopefully the above trends will enable you find the winner of this year’s renewal.

Monday Selection:

Last week’s tip The Gipper landed a bit of a touch at Lingfield, following on from the previous week’s winner. Can we make it three on the trot?

Plumpton

3:05 – Finnegan’s Garden – 13/2 @ William Hill & Paddy Power – A winner over C&D in the spring. He ran really well to finish runner-up at Lingfield on his seasonal reappearance. Didn’t back that up at Uttoxeter 12 days later but could have been feeling the effects of previous effort. He looks capable of going close.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and see you again on New Years Eve.

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