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Trends and Tips

Here's our regular Friday column from the excellent Nick Hardman of Betting Insiders (http://dailypunt.com/nickhardman )

Goldencents (adv 5/4) and Lady Eli (adv 13/2) got us off to a flyer last weekend, the latter putting in an awesome display of speed to win going away from the field.

We followed that up on Saturday with Aurore D’Estruval annihilating her small field. She was widely available at 11/8 before being backed into odds-on favouritism.

This week we will take a trends look at the November handicap from Doncaster and a quick preview of the Wentworth Stakes and Badger Ales Trophy. First we focus on a trainer with an impressive strike rate at Musselburgh.

The man in question is Donald McCain Jr. He has had more winners at Musselburgh over the jumps than any other trainer in the last 5 years.

His 29 winners have come from 102 runners at a strike rate of 28% and a level stakes profit of £32.25.

His handicap hurdlers at Musselburgh underperform compared to his other runners (2-29, 7% strike rate; level stakes loss -£22.75).

If we remove those runners then his stats look like this:

D. McCain Jr – chase, bumper and non-handicap hurdle runners at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014:

Runners: 73
Winners: 27
Strike Rate: 37%
Level stakes profit: £55.00

He has the following runners this Friday up at Musselburgh:

1.00pm Al Musheer (Juvenile Hurdle)
1.30pm Master Dee (Maiden Hurdle)
2.30pm Welsh Bard (Handicap Chase)
4.00pm Gingili (NH Flat)

Those stats were further boosted by 5/1 winner Roserrow on Thursday in a Novice Hurdle.

If you want to dig a little deeper, then I can tell you that D. McCain Jr is 5-22 (23% strike rate) in handicap chases, 12-33 (36%) in non-handicap hurdle races and 4-7 (57%) in NH flat races at Musselburgh since 2010.

Saturday sees a decent flat card at Doncaster with the highlight being the November handicap. I have run through the trends and we are looking for a horse rated 93 – 99 (all of the last 10 winners), aged 4yo to 6yo (7 of the last 8 winners), carrying 8st 10lbs to 9st 2lbs (all of the last 7 winners), won over 1m 4f or further and has raced in the last 60 days.

No favourite has obliged since 1995 and all of the last 7 winners were drawn in stall 9 or higher.

A top 4 finish LTO accounts for 13 of the last 17 winners and at least 4 runs that current season accounts for 16 of the last 17 winners. Putting all that together leaves us with:

Doncaster November handicap trends horses:

Esteaming @16/1 and Manhattan Swing @16/1

Elsewhere on Saturday, if the word “good” disappears from the current “good to soft” going then Jack Dexter will be in his element on a track where his form figures read 1113 on soft ground and he would be my pick in the Wentworth Stakes.

He put in his best run of the season on Champions Day (heavy ground) when 3rd behind Gordon Lord Byron and Tropics. This represents a drop in class for Tropics and Jack Dexter and they would both have to seriously misfire for one of them not to take this.

The Badger Ales Trophy looks highly competitive again this year and Standing Ovation has a great chance of retaining his crown.

He is 3-3 at Wincanton and although he went off the boil after landing this in 2013, he appeared back to his best LTO at Cheltenham when 2nd to Roalco De Farges.

Standing Ovation’s trainer David Pipe has won this race three times since 2007.

Even more impressive is Paul Nicholls who has won this 7 times since 1999. He has two entries, Benvolio and Just A Par. However, both make their seasonal reappearances here and the Nicholl’s horses have tended to need a run this season.

Lamb Or Cod represents the in-form Philip Hobbs and he loves good ground. If it stays good he will be a major player.

Alfie Spinner is closely matched on recent running with Standing Ovation and could run well at an each-way price.

On a final note, three weeks ago we gave you a couple of Godolphin microsystems for the all-weather racing at Kempton.

So far these two systems have pulled in 9.82pts profit at SP so keep an eye out for the Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor runners at Kempton in the coming months.

All the best Nick

http://dailypunt.com/nickhardman

Epsom Oaks Selections

We have a real treat today (and tomorrow actually) with an analysis of Friday's Investec Oaks along with some recommended bets from Nick Hardman of Betting Insiders.

Investec Oaks Preview

The Oaks looks like a great betting race on Friday.

Taghrooda and Marvellous head the betting with Tarfasha and Ihtimal not too far behind.

Everything else is available at double figures which makes this an ideal race for each-way players. It is certainly not a race for favourite backers in recent times with the last four winners returning at odds of 20/1 (Talent 2013), 20/1 (Was 2012), 20/1 (Dancing Rain 2011) and 9/1 (Snow Fairy 2010).

Sariska in 2009 was the last favourite to win. In 2008 it was another big outsider who prevailed in Look Here @33/1. In fact only 3 favourites have prevailed in the last 10 years.

The Oaks has some strong trends and that is where we will start.

All of the last 10 winners had raced over further than a mile. That is a really interesting statistic as it would rule out leading fancy Marvellous.

Casual Look in 2003 was the last filly to win stepping up from a mile.

Six of the last 10 winners won last time out which would rule out Ihtimal from those prominent in the market.

Interestingly it would also rule out all of the O’Brien runners with the exception of Marvellous.

I wouldn’t actually let that put you off backing Ihtimal as a stronger statistic is that 15 of the last 17 winners had a top three finish last time out and she qualifies on that score.

In fact Ihtimal is a fascinating runner. She has form on good-to-soft, good-to-firm and on tapeta where she won the UAE 100 Guineas and the UAE Oaks over 10 furlongs.

Both were Group 3 races but she followed that up with an excellent third in the 1000 Guineas at the Rowley Mile. Of those at the front of the market I think she represents the best value at 8/1.

The lightly raced Madame Chiang is another fascinating runner, especially if the rain gets into the ground between now and race day.

She has only seen a racecourse twice; winning her maiden over a mile on soft ground at Yarmouth before winning the Musidora over 10f at York on her seasonal reappearance (also on soft ground).

With plenty of improvement possible and bred to stay the extra 2 furlongs, she also represents value at the current odds of 14/1.

John Gosden’s string are in cracking form at the moment, especially his fillies. Sultanina (10/1) and Freedom’s Light (9/1) were first and second in a photo finish in the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock last Saturday, thrashing the likes of Group winner Cubanita and Sir Maichael Stoute’s Astonishing.

Taghrooda is Gosden’s only representative and if she is the pick of his middle distance fillies at home then she could be hard to beat. I prefer her over Aiden O’Brien’s Marvellous for the simple reason she has form in the book over 10f and has fewer questions to answer regarding the trip of 1m 4f. However, at 7/2 I am prepared to look elsewhere.

In addition to the big priced outsiders who have won this race in recent times, we have also had placed horses at 16/1, 16/1, 25/1, 25/1 and 25/1 in the last 5 years.

Of those that are currently in that price bracket, Luca Cumani’s Volume has possibilities of making the frame. She has yet to finish out of the 3 in 8 races to date, although two of those were handicaps. She also won the trial at Newbury which is the same race where Izzy Top beat Dancing Rain in 2012.

Those two went on to contest the Oaks and finished 3rd and 1st at 25/1 and 20/1 respectively. She has to improve on what she has done so far but if the ground has some juice in it then she looks all about stamina and could be staying on at the end.

Epsom Oaks Selections:

Best value: Intimal @8/1
Each-way alternative: Madame Chiang @14/1
Lively outsider: Volume @20/1 (each-way)

Weekend Football Review

Today we have a preview of the weekends football action and Premier League football tips from Tipster Warehouse…

A Preview of this Weekends Action

As the Premier League enters its final phase one thing we did find out last weekend was that Arsenal don’t have the necessary mental strength to maintain a challenge for the whole season.

Their loss to Chelsea last Saturday was not just psychologically damaging but emphatically destructive. Yes there were dreadful mistakes made by the officials but that can’t paper over the cracks that have appeared in Arsene Wenger’s squad.

If he is to repeat and improve upon this superb attempt at the title next season then there can have been no clearer message delivered by Chelsea – you need a greater strength in depth and MUST add quality to your squad in the summer.

The money is there for Wenger and he needs to use it wisely and buy 2 or 3 world class players.

So, now the title chase has narrowed down to just three, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. Theoretically Arsenal can catch up the six point gap but in the form that they are in I just can’t see any of the top three dropping many points.

This weekend Jose Mourinho takes his men on the short journey across London to face a Crystal Palace side still fighting bravely against relegation. With the Blues in imperious form at the moment I can see no other result other than a comprehensive victory for the league leaders.

Manchester City, although in third place are sitting pretty. They are just three points behind Chelsea but have two games in hand and this weekend’s game at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal could prove vital to their efforts to take the title.

The Gunners are a wounded beast after the defeat to Chelsea and a lack lustre display against Swansea in midweek. Will they be able to rouse themselves enough to ward off Everton’s challenge to their fourth place in the league?

I’m not so sure they will since the Citizens like Chelsea are in fantastic form. Their last five games has seen them score 11 and concede no goals at all. The form of Champions, surely?

This remains the most interesting game of the weekend – Arsenal have the ability to damage City’s challenge but do they possess the self belief? I see a narrow win for City but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Gunners snatch a draw.

Brendan Rogers and his Liverpool side must wait until Sunday to resume their challenge. I have to admit I suspected that their attempt at the title would have faltered by now – like Arsenal – but they continue to steam roller sides and score with delightful aplomb.

They play a Tottenham side who have performed very poorly against the top sides this season and will no doubt remember the 5 goal drubbing at the hands of Liverpool at White Hart Lane back in December.

The Reds have now won seven league games on the bounce and with the Lilywhites form very much Jekyll and Hyde I expect a home win and wouldn’t be surprised to see Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris getting a severe back ache after picking the ball out of the net several times.

It has to be said that I never thought I would be commenting on a Manchester United side that had lost six times at Old Trafford in one season and that those defeats would have been so comprehensive.

Last weekend David Moyes and his men lost in the Manchester derby by another three goal margin and one does have to wonder just how much longer the owners of the club will keep faith with their choice of manager.

Of course when Sir Alex took control of the Red Devils his first few months were poor. He was it is rumoured on the verge of the sack more than once but came through and I’d bet those in charge were glad they game him the time to get it right. However, the two United’s we are looking at are quite different.

Sir Alex’s first players were not world class – David Moyes’s are or at least were last season. Their total dominance over everyone last season was remarkable in that the same set of players this season seem so hapless.

They get the chance to resurrect their season tomorrow against Aston Villa and even though a Champions League place is probably out of reach I fear for Moyes’s position should they be unable to qualify for any form of European football next season.

As for their opponents Aston Villa, one would do well to be aware that they are not going to be a pushover. They have already this season defeated Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City and it wouldn’t surprise me if they added Manchester United to that list.

Once more as seems to be the case every week we see a couple of six point games at the foot of the table. Swansea have been in freefall of late and they need to get a win under their belt and get it quickly.

This weekend they play Norwich and if any side can emerge a winner then the three points gained could prove vital come the end of the season. A draw is the likely result given the lack of a cutting edge on display from both sides at the moment but this will do neither of them any favours.

Fortune as they say favours the brave and at this stage of the season some of these clubs facing relegation must start to play some good attacking football and try to force results rather than retreating into their shells and hoping a point will be enough for them.

The other relegation six pointer is at the Hawthorns as West Brom take on fellow strugglers Cardiff. A loss for Cardiff could prove terminal as they have in recent weeks begun to drift away from the pack at the bottom.

Although they are only three points from fourth bottom Crystal Palace they have played more games and with opportunities to win points becoming few and far between now they must start to win some games.

A loss this weekend and a win for their opponents West Brom will stretch the gap to six points and with a vastly inferior goal difference and having played one more game it could be curtains for the club from South Wales.

Top Tips

Once again there seems to be some easy money to be taken from the bookies this weekend as I expect both Chelsea (4/9) and Liverpool (5/11) to win and win comprehensively but for a slightly better return on your stake why not cash in on some more Moyes misery as I’d go for an away win for the Villans at Old Trafford at generous odds of 15/2.

If Villa do win it might be worth a quick punt on David Moyes to be the next manager to get the sack at 8/1.

To find out more about Tipster Warehouse and to get more free tips Click Here.

Today's Selection

4.15 Newcastle – Robbie – 10/1 Boylesports

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