Two For Trackers

Good morning all,

Very quick post with a couple from the nursery at Goodwood last week that caught the eye in the paddock, then today's selection from Kempton. Hoping to keep this rather good run going!

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England v India Second Test Betting: Hosts have to be opposed at HQ

England are 1-0 up in the 5-match Test Series. That was after beating India at Edgbaston by 31 runs. The Second Test starts at Lord's on Thursday and there are good reasons to think England, the 2.0 favourites, must be opposed. Here they are:

 

  1. The First Test was close

 

When you’ve played for three and a half days, a win by 31 runs isn’t much. It proves what many thought before a ball was bowled: these are two very closely-matched sides. Had just the one Indian batsman bar Virat Kohli buckled down in the fourth innings, they would have won. The prices don’t reflect the gulf in difference between the two sides.

 

  1. Stokes absence will hurt England

 

As is the case with all champion all-rounders, they inevitably seem to always contribute with either bat or ball. Ian Botham or say Imran Khan were the same. For good measure, Stokes often makes a game-changing contribution as a fielder as well.

 

At Edgbaston it was with the ball, with Stokes taking six wickets in the game and perhaps most crucially of all, the wicket of Kohli in the fourth innings.

 

Except of course, there is no Stokes this time. This isn’t the time or place to discuss ‘that night’ in Bristol. Suffice to say he’s missing because he’ll be in court.

 

By all accounts Chris Woakes or Moeen Ali will play in his absence. Fine. Two perfectly good and experienced Test all-rounders. But the former has little cricket under his belt of late and the latter had been out-of-form in Tests for a while before finally being dropped in the Winter. Are we really meant to believe either of those two can go out at Lord's and do what Stokes does?

 

  1. India likely to learn from selection mistakes

 

India made two selection mistakes ahead of that Edgbaston Test. The first was to pick the dashing KL Rahul at Number 3 ahead of Chet Pujara. If it was an ODI or a T20 it would be a no contest: Rahul every time. But this is Test cricket. It’s not pretty 20s that win it, it’s long, grinding, patient, disciplined innings that win Tests. Admittedly Pujara had been somewhat out of form for Yorkshire in the build-up to the 1st Test. But the simple fact he’s been playing County cricket all summer in England and averages over 50 in Tests should have meant he should have played anyway. The selectors are unlikely to make the same mistakes again. Pujara will almost certainly play ahead of Rahul and India will be stronger for it.

They’ll also be better for playing left arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Not only will it probably turn more at Lord's than at Edgbaston anyway but even if it doesn’t, it’s always a good idea to play two spinners against England when possible. Proof of that was off-spinner Ravi Ashwin’s seven wickets in the first match. And what Yadav may lack in experience compared to Ashwin, he has in mystery balls. England won’t want Yadav to play and that tells you all you need to know.

Assuming India make these two changes, they’ll be far stronger.

 

  1. Kohli could be even better

 

A few people are suggesting England’s bowlers might start to have worked out Kohli. Really? Interesting, because I saw him score 200 effortless, ‘almost’ chanceless runs in the First Test. He got out playing an attacking shot in the first innings when batting with number 11 and made one mistake in the Second innings.

If anything, after those two excellent knocks he’s likely to be even better this time round after having had a look at England’s bowlers in English conditions, rather than the other way round where it’s England bowlers who are meant to have learnt something.

Kohli could easily score far more than 200 runs at Lord's and then the hosts will really be up against it.

 

  1. England don’t like it at Lord's

 

Ah, Lord’s. Home of cricket. HQ. England’s fortress. A big boost. Right? Wrong.

It may be all those things but historically, England don’t like playing at Lord’s. Consider this: in 134 Test matches played there, they won 53, lost 32 and drew 49. That’s a win/loss rate of just 1.656. Australia’s win rate at Lord’s is 2.42!

Contrast that with Edgbaston. In 51 games in Birmingham England have won 28, lost eight and drawn 15. That’s a win rate of 3.5 and over double what it is at Lord’s. So considering these historical stats, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that England won at Edgbaston.

Why is that? Hard to say. At Edgbaston the ball does swing a bit more than at Lord’s but that can’t be the full story.

A less ‘technical’ explanation could be this. At Lord’s the members are polite and well-behaved. They don’t exactly spur their team on. It’s a very different story at Edgbaston where a raucous crowd, often beer-fuelled (!) get behind their team and give them a boost when they need it. And of course the more that happens over the years, the more England win there and the more they believe they can win there next time.

The reasons aren’t as important as the bare stats. And they say England struggle at Lord’s.

 

Conclusion:

England must be opposed at Lord’s. There may be some rain around on Saturday (at last), which brings the draw into the equation and makes a lay of England at 2.1 on Betfair the conservative option. The bolder option and arguably the better value one is to back India at a best price of 3.15, also on Betfair.

 

James Pacheco is a betting writer and tipster. You can find explanations on how to play all manner of football and cricket betting markets with tried and tested winning strategies for them, plus lots of other insightful betting content at www.bettingmaestro.com.

Goodwood Weekender

Good morning all,

Thanks for all the messages regarding Saturday, wish I could pull rabbits out of hats like that every week! Delighted when Gifted Master won the Stewards Cup, I was quite keen on his chances and it was one of three big-priced winners I managed to dig out on the day.

Tales of the weekend on the main piece, plus one from Nottingham which is where I'll be later on. Continue Reading

A Reckless Windsor Bet + Goodwood Eyecatchers

Morning all,

Well it’s been a tough week on the punting front this week at both ‘Glorious’ Goodwood and Galway.

A profitable day on day 1 at Goodwood having the 3rd and 5th in the Stewards Cup (both each way). Then getting the 2nd and 4th at big prices in the big handicap hurdle at Galway on Saturday. Which meant I went into Sunday’s racing just about breaking even on the week. It could have been a lot better but it could be a lot worse. Hopefully some of you were on Growl each way in the Stewards Cup at the advised 20/1.

This week’s article I highlight the claims of two handicappers from Goodwood who look worth following in the coming weeks.

Lightning Strikes At Goodwood

Well Goodwood had glorious weather and some glorious action on the track. My highlight of the week was Lightning Spear’s win in the Sussex Stakes. Yes, there were better performances during the week, Battaash’s back to back wins in the Group 2 King George Stakes being one. But I had backed Lightning Spear at 11/1 in the morning.

The 7-year-old deserved to win a Group 1 race. He had run in 15 Group 1 races round the world before Goodwood without winning. Although he's gone close this season to breaking his hoodoo beaten a short head in this year’s Lockinge Stakes ¾ length in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

I suppose if the son of Pivotal was to break his Group hoodoo it was likely to be over a mile at Goodwood. Twice a winner at the course. His form figures over C&D now read 61311 and his August form figures are now 11311.

This years Sussex Stakes wasn’t the strongest and the winner got the race run to suit on going that he likes. Jockey Osin Murphy got the horse to settle well in the early part of the race and got the cover he needed before producing a nice turn of foot to lead inside the final furlong.

It was a second Group 1 win in the UK for the jockey and the owners Qatar Racing this year after Roaring Lion’s success in the Coral Eclipse.

The third home Lord Glitters was arguably a bit unfortunate. The 5-year-old wasn’t suited by the slow early pace, having to make his effort out wide. He finished off his race strongly and did well to get within 2 lengths of the winner at the line. He’s certainly up with the best older milers in Europe and there is a Group 1 race in the horse, most probably abroad.

Goodwood Notebook Horses:

As ever the big field handicaps at Goodwood have their fair share of hard luck stories and two horses who look worth putting in the tracker are Firmament and Glenamoy Lad.

Firmament hasn’t won for two years but has run plenty of good races in big field handicaps in that time. It was more of the same in the Unibet Golden Mile handicap on Friday as the 6-year-old hit trouble two furlongs out when making his effort, before staying on well, to finish 7th, beaten 3 ½ lengths, behind the winner Seniority.

His last win came at York’s Ebor meeting and he also finished 3rd in the same handicap last year. He’s dropped down to winning mark when all the cards fall right. He’s one to note at the Ebor Meeting.

Glenamoy Lad trained by Michael Wigham, had gone into my tracker after a comfortable win at Newcastle back in November. That Newcastle win made it 3 wins from 4 runs in handicaps since switching to the trainer.

The 4-year-old was making his seasonal reappearance in the Stewards Cup, from a 10lb higher mark than for his last win. He travelled well for most of the race and looked sure to play a part in the finish when not getting no sort of run two furlongs from home. That ended any chance he had and he eventually finished three lengths behind the winner in 10th.

He looks the sort to follow in these big handicap sprints between now and the end of the season. With races like the Portland Handicap and Ayr Gold Cup likely to be on his radar.

Monday’s Racing & Selection:

It’s a Bank Holiday in Ireland today so there are race meetings at Cork (jumps) and the flat at the Curragh. Over this side of Irish Sea there’s flat racing from Windsor and Carlisle and a jumps card at Newton Abbot.

Windsor

6:30 – Considering the good to firm ground this 6f Class 3 handicap has attracted a big field of 13. I am not sure how many of these will actually run but it still looks a competitive race. Daschas trained by Stuart Williams won here over C&D three starts back before a disappointing run at York when sent off the 4/1 favourite. Bounced back to win at Ascot 24 days ago. The 4-year-old remains a progressive sprinter and is just 3lb higher than at Ascot.

As much as I respect the Williams horse, I prefer the win chances of the John Quinn trained Shaheen. The 3-year-old is another progressive sprinter. At his best on good to firm ground. All four of his wins have gone on quick ground with form figures 13112. He’s also 2 wins from 2 runs in Class 3 handicaps. As long as the going remains on the quick side he looks capable of going close. Trainer John Quinn has his horses in great form with 8 winners from 28 runners 29% +34.50. He’s also 1 win from 3 runners at the track in the past 5-years.

At a really big price I wouldn’t rule out Reckless Endeavour, trained by Jamie Osborne. The trainer's horses are really going well – 5 winners from 8 runners 63% +28.75 in the past 14. days. He also has a decent record here with his 3yo+ horses – 10 winners from 34 runners 29% +46.85 A/E 1.99 13 placed 38%.

The 5-year-old has been doing most of his running of the all-weather of late but wasn’t disgraced when 11th in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, before running poorly in the Bunbury Cup on his last start. Drops in class here and is on a competitive mark if he can recapture his best. Given the trainer’s recent form and course record, I can’t resist an each way play on his chance here.

Reckless Endeavour – Each way

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

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