Author Archives: John Burke

Monday Racing and Royal Ascot Trends

Morning all,

Well I hope you all had a good week and are looking forward to five days of world class horse racing at Royal Ascot which all begins tomorrow.

Last week's highlight was my first ever visit to Nottingham Racecourse for lunch with the guys involved with the excellent On Course Profits Magazine and Betting School’s Insiders Report.

It was great chatting to the likes of Dave Massey, Josh Wright and Carl Nicholson. Top guys all three of them! I have to say it’s a long time since I have had a get together with a group of fellow tipsters/pundits and had a chance to discuss this great sport we love.

I was impressed with Nottingham racecourse, granted it’s not the biggest but you have a decent view of the races. Sadly, the track doesn’t seem to market itself very well and if it wasn’t for a large contingent of students from Loughborough University, it would have been a poorly attended meeting on what was a super day weather-wise.

Given the tracks close proximity to the centre of the city and its relative closeness to Derby, Sheffield and Lincoln it is most definitely  a track underachieving on the attendance front.

After last weeks look at the World Cup it’s back to horse racing this week. As promised, I will be having a brief look at two of my favourite handicaps of the season the Royal Hunt Cup and the Wokingham Handicap. But first this weeks notebook horse.

Notebook Horses:

This week’s tracker horse comes from the Queen Mother’s Cup for Lady Amateur Riders that opened York’s Saturday card. The horse is in question is the Tim Easterby trained Mukhayyam.

The 5-year-old came into the race 2lb below his last winning mark. He had had finished second in the race last year and was well fancied (sent off 5/1) to go one place better this year.

Sadly, his supporters soon realised they had done their money, as the jockey went off far to quick in front and was never going to be able to sustain the fast pace she had set. Once headed at the two furlongs mark, he was a spent force and had to settle for 5th place.

To the horse’s credit, he did well to finish within 3 lengths of the patiently ridden winner and runner up. You can draw a line under this run and he’s capable of winning a race in the coming weeks.

Royal Ascot: Hunt Cup & Wokingham Trends

Here are some interesting trends for two of the this weeks big betting races.

Royal Hunt Cup – Wednesday 20th June

A big field cavalry charge down Ascot’s straight mile isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly is mine. Here are some of the key trends that you can use to shortlist contenders for this normally tricky handicap.

Trends:

The results below contain – 10 winners from 284 runners 40 placed:

Odds SP: 33/1 & under
Weight: 8-8 to 9-5
Best in Five Runs: 1st
Class Move: Up 1, Same, or down 1
Not trained by Luca Cumani or Richard Fahey

These filters have trapped 9 winners from 75 runners 16 placed since 2008 and have found 15 of the last 21 winners of the race.

Wokingham Handicaps – Saturday 23rd June

Another cavalry charge, this time over 6f, which has attracted an average of 26 runners in the past 10 years.

The results below contain – 10 winners from 267 runners 40 placed:

Trends:

Odds SP: 33/1 & under
Weight: 8-11 to 9-8
Wins at Distance: 1 or more
Wins on Going: 0 to 1
Runs at Track: 0 to 5

The above filters found all of the last 10 winners from 96 runners 20 placed and 13 of the last 21.

Now of course trends can be busted but hopefully the winners of both this year’s races will be found amongst the above.

Monday Racing 

My Monday selections should be carrying a government wealth warning given the poor run they have been having but hope springs eternal and it’s time the Monday tips came off the cold list.

Windsor

7:30 – Six Strings, has taken a bit of time to find his form since moving from the Richard Fahey stable but his 3rd placed effort at Kempton over 7f last week was very much a step back in the right direction.

The 4-year-old looks on a workable mark on his best form of last season, including when a two length 3rd in the Class 2 Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton last July and ¾ length, 3rd at Doncaster over 7f in September.

The Eve Johnson Houghton trained runner, can now race off 7lb lower, than in those races, and if he builds on his Kempton promise back down in trip looks the one they all have to beat.

Monday Selection: Six Strings

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day of Royal Ascot when you take a trial of his service for just £1- Click Here

Windsor Silver Selection

Morning all,

We are in an in-between period. That short gap between the Derby and Royal Ascot. Indeed, this time next week we will be on the eve of the start of Royal Ascot. I don’t know about you but it’s my favourite meeting of the year. Maybe it’s the summer weather, combined with the five days of the highest-class racing, but I just prefer it to Cheltenham.

This year Royal Ascot will be vying for attention with the start of the 2018 World Cup which begins on Thursday and it looks like it could be a cracker of a tournament.

Today, I am going to indulge myself by looking at the World Cup, which is going to provide a whole plethora of betting opportunities.

If football isn’t your thing you can always skip to the bottom for my Monday horse racing selection from Windsor.

World Cup 2018

The Main Contenders

Brazil – The bookies favourites and despite losing the influential Daniel Alves to injury they deserve their place as market leaders. In Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Firmino, they have three of the best attackers in the tournament but for me their real strengths are actually in defence.

Unusually for Brazil they have arguably two of the best goalkeepers in the world in AS Roma’s Alisson and of course Manchester City’s Ederson, who would arguably get into any team in the tournament but can’t because Alisson is the best in the business. To win a World Cup these days you need a world class goalkeeper and Brazil have two.

In front of the keeper are two of the best defenders in Europe in the experienced Miranda and Thiago Silva with Real Madrid’s Casemiro in the defensive midfielder role. They have it all and can reach the final.

Germany – Are the holders, its difficult to retain the trophy and you have to go back to 1962 to find the last team to do so. They always have to be respected coming into a major tournament and did win last year’s Confederations Cup but for me they are older, not so much in terms of age, but footballing wise they don’t have that zip they had. I could easily see them not getting past the quarter final stage.

France – Have one of the most talented squads in the tournament. They have a variety of midfield and attacking options which means they will be one of the most tactically versatile teams in Russia.

They have that a nice blend of youth and experience that you need to win a World Cup. If they are to win this year’s contest they need Manchester United’s Paul Pogba to dominate in midfield and for the manager to get these talented individuals to gel into a team, which he hasn’t so far on a consistent basis.

The semi-finals beckon but I am not sure they will get further with Deschamps as manager.

Spain – Winners in 2010 are back, the team that failed so miserably in 2014 and at the Euro’s in 2016 look totally reinvented. They seem to have got their verve and enthusiasm back and even more importantly the squad has a harmonious feel about it.

They are a blend of the old and the new, the likes of Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Sergio Busquets, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and David de Gea combined with up and coming talents of Isco and Marco Asensio, Koke and Saul.

The back six if you include De Gea and Busquets are the best in the business. The Atletico Madrid central midfield pairing of Koke and Saul allow the full backs to get forward and support the many talents in the final third of the field.

The use of the false number nine was once again evident in Spain’s 3-0 win over Italy in the qualifiers. The interplay between Silva, Iniesta, Isco and Asensio was a joy to behold for the neutral football fan.

The draw has been kind to them and they should reach the quarter final where they will most likely face Argentina or France. If Spain play to the level that they did in demolishing Italy. I think they can win it.

Argentina – Any team that has the world's best footballer Lionel Messi in it has to have a chance of winning. Argentina have major weaknesses in defence despite having the excellent Nicolas Otamendi at centre back.

They have the best coach in a decade in Jorge Sampaoli but his biggest task like previous coaches, is how to fit the team around Messi. He might well have found it, as he looks likely to opt for a very unorthodox 2-3-3-2 formation which of course could easily be seen as more standard 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond and two attacking full backs. In such a system Messi will play as a second striker, playing off either Sergio Aguero or more likely Gonzalo Higuain.

If it does bring out the best in Messi it could make all the difference. One thing is for certain Argentina will play a more exciting brand of football than they did in 2014. If they do meet Spain in the quarter-finals I think the winner of that match can go on to win the tournament.

Best Of The Rest

Of the rest well, Belgium with Kevin De Bryune and Eden Hazard in tandem have to have a chance. Not sure they are defensively as good as the likes of Brazil or Spain or whether the manager’s formation gets the best out of De Bryune. Probably, semi-finalists at best.

Uruguay semi-finalists in 2010 look slightly stronger than they did in 2014 and are capable of reaching the semi-finals.

Meanwhile Colombia led by a revitalised Radamel Falcao, need respecting, but will ultimately falter to deceive in the latter stages of the competition.

If there is a European dark horse it could be Serbia. As good a defence here, with plenty of skill and strength in midfield from the likes of Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Manchester United ‘s Nemanja Matic. Add in the goal scoring talents of English based Aleksandar Mitrovic, who hit a hat-trick against Bolivia at the weekend, and you have team that are my idea of World Cup dark horses.

England Look to 2020!

I can’t complete this preview without a view words on England. Sadly, the years of hurt will continue for England fans. Gareth Southgate will do better than Roy Hodgson did at the last World Cup and Euro's, it would be hard not to.

A youthful squad that have plenty of pace and quality up front. There are goals in the squad and I can see them hammering a pedestrian Panama.

On the negative side there is a distinct lack of creativity in midfield which will cost them dearly in the latter stages and I am not totally convinced about the defence either.

They have a look of Germany at the 2010 World Cup. This tournament will be a great learning curve and something to build on, with 2022 in mind.

The quarter finals are well within England’s compass. Any further not for me.

Verdict: Brazil are the rightful favourites and most likely winners but at the prices I have had a nibble at Spain and Argentina. England will do better than they have done at the previous finals but just don’t have the quality to go beyond the quarters. Whilst Serbia are my idea of value to reach the qualifiers.

Spain – 13/2 @ Coral

Argentina -10/1 @ Coral

Serbia to reach the quarter finals 13/2 @ Ladbrokes

Monday Racing & Selection

Saturday’s racing wasn’t of the highest quality and in all truth this month isn’t going great on the tipping front but given my Victor Value subscribers and I have enjoyed nearly 150pts profit over the previous two months, it’s not that surprising we're experiencing a bit of a dip in form given the nature of the game.

This week is a busy one as I will be doing my Royal Ascot research, as well as enjoying my first ever visit to Nottingham racecourse on Thursday for a bit of a day out with guys at Betting School.

Windsor

7:20Shanghai Silver, looks the likely pace angle here. In a race where most of the field like to come from off the pace it could pay dividends to go with the Charlie Hills trained runner. The 4-year-old only saw the racetrack back in January but he’s made up for lost time by winning at Chelmsford and Newcastle. In the latter race he got a great front running ride from Paul Hanagan.

He wasn’t disgraced when 5th of 13 at Kempton despite a wide trip for much of the race. Not given a hard ride when his chance was gone, he finished just 3 lengths behind recent Epsom winner Dash of Spice.

Granted this is first run on turf and good to firm going would be a bit of an unknown (was withdrawn from a Newmarket engagement on account of good to firm ground). My hope is that his jockey will get him out in front and play catch me if you can. Despite the going concerns I am happy to take a chance on him to get the race run to suit.

Shanghai Silver – 10/1 @ Bet365

In next week’s Monday column, I will be looking at two of my favourite handicaps of the summer the Royal Hunt Cup and the Wokingham.

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 –Click Here

Africa Set To Strike At Windsor!

Morning all,

By the time you read this I will be in Belgium on a Chocolate & Beer Safari with the other half. She likes chocolate, I like the beer, so it should work out fine. Anyway a few days away from racing sounds good to me.

Godolphin Finally Land The Derby!

It’s hard to believe that Godolphin had never won until Masar on Saturday, but Epsom witnessed a bit of history for the operation and for trainer Charlie Appleby who landed his English Classic.

I must confess that I didn’t think Masar would stay the Derby distance, but he did and with some ease too. Of the rest:

Dee Ex Bee did the North and trainer Mark Johnston proud with a battling second in the hands of Silvestre De Sousa but there were plenty of non-stayers or horses who didn’t give their running.

Roaring Lion travelled well in the race and came with a good effort between the final two furlongs, but his effort flattened out inside the final furlong and he ended up losing second to the Johnston horse. He’s a much better horse over 1m 2f.

Odds on favourite and 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior didn’t get the best of runs in the straight but he didn’t pick up when in the clear and just wasn’t good enough on the day finishing 4th. Like Roaring Lion his future looks to be over 1m 2f or maybe even back at a mile.

Hazipour was travelling as well as anything two furlongs out but the tank soon emptied and he had to settle for 5th. He didn’t stay the 1m 4f and is another who will surely be campaigned over 1m 2f for the rest of the season.

Delano Roosevelt looked like stayer when runner up to Hazipour on his previous start and did nothing to dispel those thoughts by only plugging on past beaten horses to take 6th.

His stablemate The Pentagon sweated up before the race and I don’t think he gave his running here. Fast ground at the Curragh for the Irish Derby could be ideal for the colt.

The one real disappointment of the race, was the William Haggas trained Young Rascal. A good winner of the Chester Vase, maybe he didn’t handle the track or maybe he didn't have the race experience but whichever, he never really looked like he would be winning. There will surely be other days for him.

There you have it. Masar was the best horse on the day and fully deserved his win. It will be interesting to see how he goes for the rest of the season. It’s a bit early for quick judgements but my gut feeling he’s an average Derby winner more Ruler Of The World than Golden Horn.

Notebook Horse:

Last weeks tracker horse Carlton Frankie was turned out quickly and was a good winner at Redcar last week.

This week’s it's the Richard Hannon trained Anna Nerium. The 3-year-old was a good winner of the European Free Handicap at the Craven Meeting and wasn’t disgraced when 6th in the 1000 Guineas, on going a shade too quick for the filly.

She really should have won the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Derby Day. Unlike the eventual winner who ideally positioned as the race unfolded, the Hannon filly was at the back and had too much ground to make up in the final furlong. A few strides after the line she was well in front and finished her race off with plenty in the tank.

I would like to see her stepped up in trip to a 1m 2f, rather than staying at a mile for her next run. Her sire Dubawi’s progeny do improve when stepped up in distance and there’s stamina on the dam’s side of the pedigree.

Monday Racing + Selection

Last weeks selection Titus managed to get into the places in the Zetland Gold Cup so let’s hope we can do better today. It’s off to Windsor for today’s selection.

Windsor

7:15 – A 6f Class 3 handicap and another of the Windsor Sprint Series Qualifiers. Here are a my thoughts on what looks a competitive race.

Reflektor trained by Tom Dascombe was in great form on the all-weather early in the year and wasn’t disgraced when 4th over 5f at Chester on his last start. It's possible the 5-year-old could get an uncontested lead here and if he does he could be hard to catch.

Clive Cox and Adam Kirby, have to be respected when teaming up at Windsor and the combine with Louie De Palma who was returning from 1381-day absence but was well backed (sent off just 10/1) before the Victoria Cup on his return. The 6-year-old shaped a bit better than his finishing position suggests and he should be sharper here.

Silent Echo won a qualifier here three weeks ago for Peter Hedger and although he’s been put up 5lb for that win, he’s in form and the 4-year-old could be capable of a bit more progress.

Miracle of Medinah is a talented but inconsistent horse. He was on a going day when 3rd at Ascot on his last start. The 6-year-old is more than capable winning a race like this off his present mark. It all depends how he feels. Trainer Mark Usher has been struggling for winners of late but the booking of smart 5lb claimer Jason Watson is a big positive. Hopefully he will be given a prominent ride and if he does he shouldn't be far away.

Son Of Africa is 1 from 1 over C&D and is also 2lb below his last winning mark. No issues with the going for the Henry Candy trained gelding. He shaped with promise when 4th on his seasonal reappearance at Goodwood. He was slowly away that day and in the circumstances did well to finish as close as he did. There are handicaps in the 6-year-old off his present mark.

Trainer Henry Candy has been having a bit of a quiet spell but had a winner at Goodwood on Friday evening, which could mean an upturn in the stables fortunes is on the way. On balance he will do for me.

Monday Selection: Son Of Africa

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 –Click Here

The Zetland Gold Gup Winner is?

Morning all,

Who can stop the Saxon taking Derby glory? 

This time next week, four of the five English Classics will have been run. Yes, next weekend it’s the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom with the Derby and the Oaks the centrepiece of two days of top-class racing over the Epsom Downs.

The Derby distance with it's uphill start, followed by the long descent to Tattenham Corner,  the home straight with famous Epsom camber and the final furlong climb to the line mean the track provides the the ultimate test for both horse and jockey.

Despite the tracks unique configuration, the winners of both Derby and Oaks are usually the best 3-year-old middle distance colts or fillies of that season and I don’t see that changing this year. Saxon Warrior the 2,000 Guinea winner is the hot favourite for this years Derby and if he's to win he must stay everY yard of the 1m 4f trip better than his rivals, as suspect stayers are often found out by that tough final furlong. If he stays though he wins.

Rascal looks main rival… but The Pentagon has claims..

Hazapour trained by Dermot Weld the winner of the Derrinstown Derby Trial gets the assistance of Frankie Dettori in the saddle. He will be popular with many punters on the day, but he has stamina doubts.

There are no stamina doubts with recent Chester Vase winner Young Rascal whose an improving colt with each way claims and has similar form claims to the Weld horse.

Knight To Behold got the run of the race to win the Lingfield Derby Trial, he’s another progressive colt with each way claims and his sire Sea The Stars did win the Derby.

Aiden O’Brien could easily have the first three home in the race. He looks likely to saddle Delano Roosevelt who was runner up to Hazapour,  and looks likely to appreciate the step up to 1m 4f on the evidence of his last run.

Meanwhile the third home, The Pentagon is another who should appreciate the extra distance. The quicker the ground the better for him and he could be the value of the race if the rain stays away. Not that I would consider backing him until I knew what the going was.

Can Haggas take open looking Oaks?

The Oaks now looks a far more open race than the Derby. Sea Of Class who I talked about in last week ‘s column may well take her chance in Friday’s race. Despite her trainer’s reservations about the filly’s lack of experience, I am very sweet on her chances.

The daughter of Sea The Stars ticks plenty of the trends boxes for the race and once she’s a confirmed runner, I will probably take some of the 7/1 available. Maybe her trainer could be set for a big race double?

In a race that has had its fair share of surprise winners in the past decade, I wouldn’t put anyone off the chances of Perfect Clarity, trained by Clive Cox. The daughter of Nathaniel won the Lingfield Oaks Trial last time and she comes into the race 2 wins from 2 runs. She has a bit to find on form but she’s on the upgrade and the 10/1 available with Bet365 looks fair.

Notebook horse:

Carlton Frankie, trained by Michael Easterby, had shown the benefit of a winter wind-op when a close up 4th over C&D at the Dante Meeting.

The 4-year-old wasn’t drawn on the right side of the track on this occasion. Showing her customary early speed she faded out of contention a furlong out and eventually finished 9th some 4 ½ lengths behind the winner. She's not one to give up on just yet.

Her trainer isn’t really in much form at present. So in the circumstances I am happy to draw a line through this run and she’s better judged on her previous run rather than this one.

Monday racing + selection

It’s a Bank Holiday today, so there’s plenty of racing to get stuck into. At Redcar, it’s Zetland Gold Cup Day and this year’s race looks competitive, with a field of twelve set to go to post.

Redcar

4:10 – Leaders Legacy, a winner at Wolverhampton, on his first start since last June is the bookies early bird favourite. The 4-year-old has only had five career starts and could still be capable of rating higher but at the prices I am happy to take him on.

Big Country can be forgiven his poor run in the Lincoln. This his ore his trip and he’s suited by a sound surface. Top-weight of 10-0 makes life difficult but with Silvestre De Sousa booked for the ride again he'll get plenty of assistance in the saddle.

Speed Company isn’t the most consistent of horses but he’s now 2lb lower than for his win at Ayr. The 5-year-old has the sound surface in his favour and could repay each way support, if he’s on a going day.

Titus, a winner on his racecourse debut for previous trainer Dermot Weld, disappointed on all three of his starts as a 3-year-old and joined Declan Carroll at the start of this year. Sent off just 9/1 for the Spring Mile at Doncaster, he was never a factor, but the market support he received that day suggested connections think they had a well handicapped horse on their hands.

The 4-year-old put that run behind him when winning over todays trip at Wetherby earlier in the month.  He  showed he remains in form with a credible 3rd at York 10 days ago. He was travelling powerfully when going into the lead between the final two furlongs but was just outstayed by the eventual winner and runner-up. Races off the same mark today and seemed to enjoy the quick ground he faced at York.

It's Titus for me but I wouldn't put anyone off Speed Company each way.

Titus – 8/1

All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.

You can benefit from Victor Value expertise and tips every day when you take a trial of his service for just £1 – Click Here

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