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RP Tipsters, Kevin Blake, Betting Guides and Preview Nights

· General Trends

RACING POST TIPPING.

Tom Segal is the most influential tipster in the UK and Ireland because his views can change prices. Even at Cheltenham. It has lessened recently as little or no firms stand the advertised prices any more but Tom is still important. I know the Festival is only a snapshot of their tipping year but it is the week when RP sells most papers and they always put the price up on Cheltenham Monday. Its showcase time.

So how was 2019 for Tom? In my time of doing this site I think possibly his best ever Festival. In total Tom tipped 41 horses over the 4 days including all his antepost. Kicked off Tuesday with antepost 25/1 Espoir D'Allen. Didn't see anyone else tipping that up? Impressive. Wednesday - antepost City island 33s, Topofthegame 8s. Thursday - Aso antepost 25s ew Ryanair. Returned 33s, just shows how hard even for experts to read market. Friday - Ch'tibello 12/1, Anibale Fly 50s ew GC, Early Doors available at 7s early doors. Make that a profit of over 60pts level stakes on the week. Good luck to him. Its far from easy. Don't I know.

The Tom Segal antepost portfolio for 2020 includes Sharjah 12s Not So Sleepy ew 33s Ch Hurdle, A Plus Tard 10s QM, Native River ew 20s GC, Apples Jade 14s Summerville Boy ew 25s Stayers, Sam Brown 20s, Copperhead ew 33s (RSA), The Big Getaway 14s, The Big Breakaway 14s (Ballymore) Captain Guinness 16s, Abacadabras 6s (both in Supreme Novice) Frodon 7s (Ryanair) Bapaume 14s, Brewin'upastorm 14s (Arkle), Battle Of Wills 33s and Fujimoto Flyer 20s (Triumph Hurdle), Latest Exhibition 8s, Harry Senior 10s (Albert Bartlett). Handicaps Discorama 20s (Ultima), Up The Slopes 25s (Grand Annual), Pileon 12s (Martin Pipe).

24th Feb - Tom in the RP giving one tip a day - Brewin'upastorm Arkle, The Big Getaway Ballymore, Summerville Boy, Stayers, Latest Exhibition, Albert Bartlett.

The Paul Kealy antepost portfolio for 2020 can be found in the Weekender. It includes Longhouse Poet, 16s, Ramses De Tellee 25s Albert Bartlett, Itchy Feet 8/1 Marsh Chase, Shishkin, 6/1 Supreme, Bapaume ew 25s Arkle, Chris's Dream 40s ew GC, Lostintranslation 8/1 GC, Thomas Darby 40/1ew Champion Hurdle, Call Me Lord 18/1 ew Champion Hurdle Fujimoto Fyler 20s, Mick Pastor 14s, Triumph Hurdle.

29th Feb - PK's one a day, Imperial Aura Northern Trust (has been all over him for weeks. Kim Bailey Hmmm) Stolen Silver (a novice in the Coral Cup Hmmm), Itchy Feet (Marsh), Lostintranslation (Pulled up in KG, wins GC next time out Hmmm)

KEVIN BLAKE is employed by Attheraces, ITV and betfair and has become initially through his work with the Final Furlong Podcast a very well known tipping voice in UK and Irish Racing. He is a noted breeder and Joseph O'Brien's race planner. Shrewd and worth listening too, if only as a gauge to the response of irish trained handicap marks in the Festival. 2019 Kevin says - 'there's some good news and some bad news'. Could be wrong myself, but I don't think there's that much bad news. This are Kevin's tips taken off the Attheraces site as they appear, some posted from the first few days in February. - Brewin'upastorm - Arkle, Tiger Roll - Cross Country, Thyme Hill - Albert Bartlett, Plan Of Attack - Kim Muir, Tronador - Boodles Fred Winter, Appreciate It - Bumper, Eglantine Du Seuil - Coral Cup, Floressa - Mares Novice. 

Previous Festival Success for Tom Segal?- 2018 A curate's egg. In the RP his antepost selections are put on the same page as his 'on the day' selections. And this is probably one of the few sites that can tell you that Tom Segal hadn't tipped an antepost winner at the Cheltenham Festival since Windsor Park in the 2015 Neptune. But the run had to end. In the 2018 Festival tipped Farclas at 16s for the Triumph (returned 9s), Balko Des Flos 14s for the Ryanair (returned 8s), Anibale Fly 33s ew GC (returned 33s) For 'on the day' tipping he just managed Mister Whitaker 13/2. Most folk might not bother with antepost and would not have been totally enamoured with Tom's lack of daily success that year but that's not his fault. Including antepost I counted 43 tips in total this year. I'll give him +4 units for Anibale Fly. Level stakes small loss on the week.

2017 was Tom Segal's best tipping success at the Festival since at least 2013. A total of 42 were given both antepost and 'on the day'. No antepost winners as said but made a profit all the same. Winning selections were Tiger Roll (advised 16s, returned 16s) 4 miler, Apples Jade (9/2 returned 4/1) and Road To Respect (22s returned 14s) Rock The World (14s returned 9s). Decent return, well done. Was perhaps unlucky with Singlefarmpayment 10s to 5/1 fav and Pendra 18s. In the RP the next Sunday he likes to reflect on his week. Last year it was 'travelling comfortably after 1st, blundered badly 2nd, looked to be in trouble 3rd, but late headway and stayed on all right close home.' In 2016 he tipped 39 horses and gave 2 winners. There may have been three or four nrnbs in the 39 but about £17 adrift on level stakes. (I don't count NRNB, I don't buy the paper to get a tip for a horse in a race it is unlikely to take part in. And bookies now that if it doesn't run you will leave your money in the account and bet on something else). In 2015 he returned Windsor Park 12s ante post Neptune and a relief grasping Darna 40s for the Mildmay. He had a winnerless annus horriblis in 2014. We have all done that. In 1988 my chum Robin and I did not have a successful week. A real 'mare. In fact, he was 0 for 17 coming to the last race of the Festival, the County. I wasn't much in front of him. He went large on the 16/1 shot Redgrave Devil. The Racing Post site says the horse was 'held up, third when fell last'. I have to disagree as that is far from my memory, we were standing beside the last hurdle. It was more like, 'inside, tracking leaders, going well, led approaching last, going easily, jumped last two lengths in front, crumpled on landing.' I swear. Afterwards there wasn't much chat for a while. Between us we had just enough money left for either some decent food or a few beers. We decided we could afford to miss the odd meal.

I digress. What about the rest of the Racing Post team in 2019? The straight talking Paul Kealy had 31 selections in the RP over the four days, 8 more than in 2018 I know these things. PK deserves the same billing as Pricewise and I do tend nowadays to turn to his page first. Responds politely to positive comments on Twitter, unlike his big chum, Tony C, who's a bit scary. Bit fortunate on the Tuesday last year with Roksana (Deja Dieux! was the headline). Followed that up with Topofthegame Wed, Frodon and Any Second Now on Thursday. For him, a massive ten selections on Friday, ew returns with Gardens Of Babylon and Champagne Court but major returns from Ch'tibello and Al Boum Photo, returned 12s but 20s available in the Pricewise boxes. Ch'tibello his headline horse. 'County king Skelton can bag another.' Wish I'd paid attention. PK seems quite honest. 'The GC is just as hard as the handicaps but I was impressed with Al Boum Photo and he is my sole ew stab at a double figure price.' He finished nicely ahead over the week. Didn't chat as much about the Guinness as he usually does!

THE REST OF THE TEAM. Steve Mason RPRs continues to tip short priced favs. That's what RPRs are about, tipping mostly favs. They tell you what has happened not what is about to. Had a good Wednesday with Topofthegame, Altior, Tiger Roll, Envoi Allen. Frodon and Paisley Park on Thursday. Favs not plentiful Tues or Fri so, guess what, RPRs don't tend to do well. In 2018 his biggest successes of the week was Rathvinden and Native River. Believe him the only one to tip Native River but that was a losing week, Pietro Innocenzi had responsibility for Bankers or Busters and the spread betting tips. Bankers or Bust ended up him being correct seven from 11. Not bad at all.

My nemesis, Kevin Morley, the Trends King (that picture still makes him very young. He must be older now) had City Island, Altior and Tiger Roll. On Thursday Defi Du Seuil, Not Many Left placed at 16s, Paisley Park, Any Second Now. No luck on Friday but a good week for him. A gentleman. Gave a donation to Marie Curie (as did Boycey from ATR, another gent). And also some kind words which are on my home page.

I enjoy the great Gerald Delamere and his Quite Interesting pages . Gerald had a fine 2018 with a banner Bleu Berry headline (20s) but I'm sad to announce that 2019 was a wipeout with no winners. Happens to us all sometimes and did come on the back of two good years. A decent 2017, if I remember correctly, Sizing John and Rock The World amongst other. God, I can even remember Gerald Delamere's tips from three years ago. Tony O'Hehir is not a great tipster. He only has to tip Irish runners and they won half the races. Wasn't good the previous year when we won 17 of the 28, jeez.

A word for Graeme Rodway who I believe covered the Spread Betting. This column has been notoriously expensive over the years but Graeme did produce a buy of Espoir D'Allen at 6 (50 for winner). Did give a lot of it back over the next three days.

In defence of the team, and I know I say it every year, 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.

Click on oddschecker.com at 8.01pm the instant after the Pricewise selections are released online and you can watch the prices shrink. All bookies shrink prices if they think they are about to be knocked over. Segal selections tend to be well punted Day 1. (Singlefarmpayment 10s to 5/1 fav 2017, Mister Whitaker 2018) The longer he goes without a winner, the less frantic it becomes. Also, they will be cut in the morning but both Kealy and Segal selections more often or not drift in the afternoon, especially on the exchanges.

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL BETTING GUIDES - Matt Tombs notproducing a Cheltenham Festival Guide in 2020 which is a pity because he is really good at it. Did it for Racing TV in 2019. Weatherbys employed Paul Ferguson to produce their own. Pleased to see that Matt Tombs kept up the standard that Paul Jones had maintained for all those years and that Mr Ferguson has continued in the same vein. I have every one of the editions looking at me as I type this. Enjoy the reads and each versions have many points of which I would never have thought. The profit/loss ROIs made it easier to make money rather than (dare I say it) my own ordinary stats. In his 2019 version Matt kindly gave Gstats a full page advert for Marie Curie UK. A gentleman. As is Paul Ferguson who does not scrimp with detail in the 2020 Weatherby's Festival Guide 'The Original.' There are some cracking stats from a professional production. Very supportive of Gstats as well. Rory Delargy provides excellent nuggets with his Bankers and Bust daily section. With it you also get Aintree and plenty of Grand National detail. Well worth the £15.

At 6.99 I must mention the Irish Field Cheltenham Festival Guide this year. It has great interviews, Kevin Blake, Simon Rowlands and even me! Feel very honoured. Support it, its value. I have been asked to contribute to the Irish Field Festival Guide this year.

 

 

 

Man who knows what he is talking about meets Norville's Dad in Belfast, March 2020.

Sean Graham's Belfast Preview Night - 3nd March 2020. Highlights - As informative an evening as you need. It is now a well run and popular event, well controlled by Gary O'Brien. A good night for which the Grahams deserve a lot of praise. Gstats continue to adorn the programme. D Casey, K Blake, Ian 'Busty' Amond, Gordon's Assistant Trainer and the Couch. G Elliott double booked and leant on by Eddie O'Leary to attend elsewhere. Kevin Blake does talk convincingly, live, he would be a hard man to disagree with. Not going to repeat all that was said, you can catch up with it on https://twitter.com/gaultstats time line. Sorry if there's too much, its down as it came out live.

Horses I took from it. David Casey nearly vehement about Allaho in the RSA (but I would wonder about Willie Mullins bingo). Casey then laughed when Kevin Blake tried to talk down the chances of Joseph O'Brien's Front View in the Martin Pipe (Jonjo rides). Even Kevin had to admit that the horse was 'well handicapped', a rare occurrence for KB. Ian 'Busty' also tried to cough when asked about the handicap mark of Galvin in the Northern Trust. And Kevin very, very sweet on the chances of Plan of Attack in the Kim Muir. Big fan of Barry O'Neill who rides. The main races are covered in my timeline. Busty quite insulting about the performance of Davy Russell gave Delta Work in last year's RSA. 'A stones of a ride.'

All the main G1s are covered in my Twitter feed, these would be the summaries for each of the G1s discussed. DC David Casey, IB Ian Busty, Gary O'Brien GOB, Brian Graham, RG Ronan Graham, KB Kevin Blake. C- Mark 'The Couch' Winstanley. BG Brian Graham

(2020 best response for Couch's joke was one connecting Bristol Mai, getting up a hill, Prince Andrew and Blue Peter presenters. Will leave it with you. Also something unprintable about Nico de Boiville and the number of pulls he takes).

All over by 1115. I enjoy it. It has become a very smooth operation and the Grahams are to be complimented. The panel seem at ease with each other. At 7.15 we were knocking the doors down to get in. Packed. Look forward to 2021.

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