RACING POST TIPPING. To paraphrase Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, friends, lend me your ears. I come to praise Segal, not to bury him. I am personally fresh off a Tom Segal early prices kickass Leopardstown treble with Mega Fortune, Disko and Sizing John cheered home as I was clerking and freezing at a poorly attended Punchestown point to point. Irish Gold Cup Day has now become to me, Segal Sunday. He has in fact paid for this web design so I should really rename it Segalstats in his honour. I don't think he likes these things though.
What about Cheltenham 2016? Tom Segal is the most influential tipster in the UK and Ireland because his views change prices. Even at Cheltenham. He had a winnerless annus horriblis in 2014. We have all done that. In 2015 he returned with Windsor Park 12s ante post Neptune and a relief grasping Darna 40s for the Mildmay. In 2016 he tipped 39 horses and gave 2 winners (sorry, its a quiz question). In the RP on the next Sunday he likes to reflect on his week. He said, 'Score Draw. Two winning days and two losing days meant that Cheltenham was neither bad nor good'. Sorry, Tom, nah. £1 on each of your 39 selections with the 2 winners would have left you £17 adrift. There may have been three or four nrnbs in the 39. Reminded me of punters I know when you ask them how they are doing during a days racing, they reply, "about level" when we know that's not quite true. I forgive you, though, Tom.
What about the rest of the team? The straight talking Paul Kealy had 12 selections over his two days, Gods Own 12s ew w/o Un De Sceaux (ok, we'll not jump up and down), Superb Story and Ibis Du Rheu. PK has had a good year otherwise, thanx. Richard Birch kicked off with Altior but Pietro Innocenzi didn't have much luck. Had the line of the week. 'I've been doing these potentially life-changing bets in the lead up to Cheltenham for more than 15 yrs and I can honestly say nothing in my life has changed during that period.' Very honest but would hardly fill you full of confidence. Did tell us to lay More Of That, Yanworth and back Don Cossack.
My nemesis Kevin Morley, the Trends King (is he really that young?) started off with Douvan, Annie, Vroom Vroom and that was about it. Would have expected better. Steve Mason RPRs had a decent week. Altior/Long House Hall (nap), fair choice/Vautour/Thistlecrack/Superb Story/Ballyandy/Don Cossack/Savello/Fringe. As did the great Gerald Delamere who sometimes receives unnecessary criticism for his Quite Interesting pages. (Who? Me?) Gerald stayed away from the obvious and obliged with Yorkhill, Diego Du Charmil, Cause Of Causes and Ivanovich. Keep it up, son. One final point, I would suggest avoiding all spread betting advice from the Post. It looked really expensive last year.
In defence of the team, I always think that it is only when you see 20 of them charging off at the start of the Supreme Novices that you will remember, this is difficult. I never understand the Groundless Optimism Syndrome cheering at that moment, I tend to feel a little bit apprehensive.
The Pricewise Antepost selections for 2017 include Superb Story(25s ew Ch Hurdle nrnb),Tell Us More (Queen Mother ew 66s, nrnb), Outlander (Gold Cup 16s ew), Shaneshill 20s ew (World Hurdle), Alpha Des Obeaux 16s, Singlefarmpayment 40sew (RSA), Neon Wolf (8s Neptune) Charli Parcs 14s, Consul De Thaix 22s (both Supreme Novices) Empire Of Dirt 25s ew, Uxizandre 25 nrnb (both Ryanair) Cloudy Dream (25 ew Arkle), Cliffs Of Dover ew 22s Dinaria Des Obeaux 10s nrnb (both Triumph Hurdle). I have seen him with worse books at this stage of proceedings. (and I am over the cliff with you on Empire of Dirt, Tom)
Click on oddschecker.com at 8.01pm the instant after the Pricewise selections are released on ipad and you can watch the prices disappear. All bookies shrink prices if they think they are about to be knocked over. Remember they will return for a short time the next morning. To get the Pricewise early prices go to my Best Bookie page for advice.
If you fancy a fat one and no one else likes it/thinks you have lost the plot, wait until just before the off before placing your order on Betfair. And I am talking in the final minute as they circle at he start. It is only then that bookies are really pushing out the outsiders. Also bookies now use Non Runner No Bet to their advantage. In 2013 after the 6 day declarations the outsider of 198 runners in the Martin Pipe Conditonals was priced at 33/1. That would have been some overround. This year Bet365 went nrnb best odds guaranteed all races from early February. You can be sure they believe a lot will be bigger on the day. They also believe from nrnb that you will leave your money in your account.
Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Guide. Always an excellent production which I will always buy. I was pleased to see that Matt Tombs kept up the standard that Paul Jones had maintained for all those years. The 'Freshometer' was a new idea. Enjoyed the read and had points that I would never have thought of. I think the 2017 version has even improved again. I am looking forward to Matt's Major Players idea of up to date views on the horses involved. It was part of the book I never read because it had a tendency to go out of date very quickly. Lets hope he got at least part of the idea from Gaultstats' facility to update. Seems a nice man too. Has given my a very reasonable quote for my homepage. This year when I apologised for this new venture maybe stealing some of his pitch, he replied, " not to worry, there is enough room this time of year for everyone." As I spend the £35 on the package every year I like to get the nightly emails during the Festival printed out. Makes me read something between pints. Last year's essays were fine but the tips over the 4 days were a little silly. I know Matt wasn't responsible. According to my calculations all that was tipped was the first few in the market on each race. Fine for 24 runner h'cap hurdles but Arkle tipping Douvan 1/4 and Vaniteux at 8s is 90% of the book. I checked after and they actually tipped 19 winners out of 28 races but £1 on each of their selections would have cost you £3 overall! I do hope we are not going to get some misleading blurb as to their tipping success.
Belfast Preview Night - 6th March 2017 Sean Graham Preview night in Belfast's Europa Hotel is always the Carol Service a week before Christmas. 800 of us sit there (95% male) in our different coloured jumpers, religiously writing our notes on the programmes with Graham's free wee pens. And me, tweeting away. Best to sit at least half way up away from the drunks. Gary O'Brien, 'the Voice', G'OB) keeps things moving with a polished touch. The tips continue to be a selection of jollies and non jollies from what has become a settled group of experts. It is always at its best when you get the feeling that you are eavesdropping on a private conversation. Along with Gary, we have Gordon Elliott (GE), Mark 'The Couch' Winstanley(C) and the polite Richard Hoiles (RH). Brian and Ronan Graham(BG, RG) take a half each. David Casey (DC)comes now as Willie's assistant trainer and from 2016 we now hear from Neil Mulholland (NM) and Noel Fehily.(NF) Those two sat closer this year after the little friction in 2016 when Noel got off Shantou Village (the fav) to ride Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett. Not stupid, our Noel. Very quick to tell us that Altior is the 'best horse I have ever sat on.' and that My Tent Or Yours is actually 'quite slow.' The Couch's jokes have become a little dated in parts. Like I'm a brave age and I can barely remember Frank Bough. Cheryl Cole didn't get a mention in 2017 until about 35 minutes in. His best lines this year were actually on horseracing. "Nige is always finding excuses for Ballyoptic getting beat, like the grass is too green." "Derek O'Connor is to ride seven horses in the Kim Muir." "last year's Supreme form is so good, even the ambulance has won a race since."
It is only when the panel disagree that things heat up. In the Albert Bartlett David Casey was all over Augusta Kate and very confident that she would have beaten Death Duty in the G1 at Naas had she should up. Gary immediately goes to Gordon who opens with "Well, we're all entitled to our opinion.." and then gives the same approval to Death Duty in hushed tones that he always gave Don Cossack. "I love this horse. I told Jack to be easy on him and he still pulled away 8l at the end." RH was all over West Approach and there was good words for Wholestone. Shaping up to be one of the races of the Festival. I like GE. Seems to say it as it is. "The Storyteller will win". "Empire Of Dirt is my best Gold Cup horse. And at the moment, he is running in the Ryanair." When he said that, he didn't look at Gary, just straight out at the crowd. Probably said the same words at Preview Nights up and down the country just in case the owner doesn't realise what his views are. Said "Outlander not good enough", the pace in the Irish Gold Cup was so slow that "for fucks sake, boys, Don Poli was leading". He likes Cause of Causes in the X Country. I personally felt that he never struck me as a horse that wanted to go round in ever decreasing circles. Tombstone goes to Coral Cup. Shattered Love with mares 7lb good value at 25s in the Neptune. Tiger Roll 4 miler "needs good ground and Jamie Codd". Unlikely to get the latter. "Diamond King will take all the beating." "The Game Changer has no chance."
DC was as bullish this year about Yorkhill as he was in 2016. His nap. "Schooled fine at Leopardstown." Felt that apart from Tin Soldier, Willie had nothing well in for the handicaps. All the panel felt that Djakadam was a good thing in the GC. DC said he was 'flying' at home. Ronan even felt that he would be plunge horse on the day. All wanted to lay Cue Card (til the cows come home and start milking - Couch). RH "Its the age stat." DC felt that Royal Caviar far from good enough for an Arkle. All hated Might Bite. All loved Defi Du Seuil, NF "best of the English" GE "not overconfident about Mega Fortune on good ground". NF " Unnowhatimeanharry last run was his best run. Keeps improving."
Neil Mulholland had finally something to say when informing us that Southfield Royale with a 6lb drop since last run, will turn up in Kim Muir. Didn't sound overly bullish about The Druids Nephew is Ultima "same handicap mark as 2015 win, if he came back to his best......" NF best bets were the Nephew and Divin Bere in Fred Winter. Two handicaps. No 'Harry?
Richard Hoiles's Dimbleby Lecture was a little shorter than usual this year but here is the Life Enhancer. Nice man. Holywell in Ultima, Winter Escape NAP County Hurdle, Diamond King, Mildmay, Itsafreebee, Close Bros Ch and Taquin De Seuil in the Coral Cup. The Taq? In the Coral Cup? I love him, Richard, but no. Mind you, Richard did tip a winner last year, the first one I can ever remember.
All over in three hours. I enjoy it. It has become a very smooth operation and the Grahams are to be complimented. The panel seem at ease. At 7.15 we were knocking the doors down to get in. Packed.
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