Monthly Archives: July 2015


Arsenal v Chelsea – Community Shield Preview


Arsenal v Chelsea – Community Shield Preview

Competition: Community Shield
Fixture: Arsenal v Chelsea
Date: Sunday, August 1st, 2015
Venue: Wembley
Kick off time: 16:00 hrs BST

For many of us it’s still impossible not to call the Community Shield by its former name, the ‘Charity shield’ but the name regardless, it’s the 93rd match of this type on Sunday. Cup winners Arsenal and Premier League winners Chelsea will battle it out or more likely, ease themselves into the season nicely with this early trip to Wembley.

Signings and Team News

Arsenal: No major signings as Wenger seems content with his squad and judging by last season his team is really starting to mature. They did sign Petr Cech from the Stamford Bridge team though and if he starts he will be keen to play a blinder. There’s rumours of Benzema, Lewandowski and Busquets all possibly heading for the Emirates but we’ve heard a lot of this before!

Alexis Sanchez has been on Copa America duties and is not expected to take part.

Chelsea: Their only significant signings has been Juan Cuadrado the midfielder from Fiorentina and Stoke’s Asmir Begovic. Former Man Utd strike Radmael Falcao is also at Stamford bridge on loan. Mourinho has complained about not having much money to spend but the stats show that no manager in Europe has spent more than him over the years.

Diego Costa is out with a hamstring problem.

Betting Advice

The Charity shield is a tough one to call and is usually won by the team who is more motivated. An interesting stat is that Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in 13 attempts as Arsenal Manger. It is clear that Mourinho dislikes Wenger so could he get his Chelsea side more fired up than Arsenal for this one?

More importantly it is clear that the Community Shield is not usually a priority for the blues, having lost 4 of their last 5 appearances in this event. The big Wembley pitch suits Arsenal possession style well as demonstrated when they easily beat Villa in the cup final.

For these reasons I recommend backing Arsenal +0.5 in the Asian handicap market.

Best Bet: Arsenal +0.5 at 1.55 with bet365






3.10 Goodwood – Qatar Nassau Stakes


3.10 Goodwood – Qatar Nassau Stakes

3.10 GOODWOOD – QATAR NASSAU STAKES   (British Champions Series)  
(Group 1)
(Fillies & Mares)
(CLASS 1) (3yo+)

Our latest horse racing Tipster DaveStevos attempts to find us a winner in the Qatar Nassau Stakes tomorrow.

John Gosden, the late Sir Henry Cecil and Aidan O’Brien are the only trainers to have won this race since 2007, with Gosden on a hat trick this year having won it in 2013 and 2014. No favourite has won since the magical mare Midday triumphed for the third time in 2011, and there has only been one winner priced up at bigger than 11/2 since 2005 (Winsili 20/1 2013).

1. BRIGHT APPROACH (GOSDEN/HUGHES)

Very well bred four year old who hasn’t been seen since finishing down the field in the Ribblesdale (12F good to firm) last June. A half-sister to top hurdler Nichols Canyon and dam is from the family of Luso and Peeping Fawn.

Looks to be the third string of Gosden’s trio, and can be backed at odds of 40/1. The fact she hails from the Gosden yard is a positive, as is the jockey booking. However, she has an awfully long absence to overcome and too much has to be taken on trust for her to be regarded as a betting proposition. Best watched at her current odds of 40/1.

2. CLADOCERA (DE ROYER-DUPRE/HAMELIN)

French raider who was an impressive dual Group 2 winner (8F+9F good) at Meydan in January. Stepped up to Group 1 company on her next two outings, and was found wanting both times. She was arguably slightly unlucky at Ascot on the second occasion as she was short of room a couple of furlongs from home.

Is a daughter of Oasis Dream, who is usually an influence for speed, and is out of a listed winning mare (8F). On pedigree it is not a given that this trip will be ideal, and in any case she has yet to show she has the ability to win at this sort of level. Best watched at odds of 14/1.

3. ARABIAN QUEEN (ELSWORTH/DE SOUSA)

Likes to get on with things and can pull quite hard in her races. That didn’t stop her landing a Group 3 at Epsom (8.5 good) on her seasonal reappearance. Also scored at Group 2 level as a 2yo (6F soft).

Bred to get every yard of this trip, and more, but if she doesn’t settle better she will struggle to see it out. Likely to face competition for the lead too if the same tactics are employed on Diamondsandrubies as last time she ran. However, if De Sousa can work his magic and get her to settle, and she gets her own way in front (an unlikely scenario) this filly could well run a big race at odds of 25/1.

4. DIAMONDSANDRUBIES (O’BRIEN/HEFFERNAN)

Ran a cracker in the Oaks at Epsom on her first run at the highest level (12F good) having been hampered at a crucial time, and delivered on the promise she showed that day with a narrow defeat of Legatissimo in the Pretty Polly at the Curragh (10F good), a filly she faces again today.

Beautifully bred daughter of Fastnet Rock and is out of a Group 1 winner who is a sister to Yesterday. She looked to be crying out for the line last time out, when Legatissimo was a fast finishing second to her, and if Legatissimo gets a clearer passage through she will do well to hold her off. Her current odds of 10/3 look a little bit cramped to me.

5. JAZZI TOP (GOSDEN/BUICK)

Represents the trainer jockey combination that has been successful in the last two runnings of this race and is priced up as the second string. Listed winner (10F good to firm) at Newmarket on her second start this year, and was pitched straight into Group 1 company in the Oaks (12F good) where she finished a creditable fifth, six lengths behind Qualify and Legatissimo.

A daughter of Danehill Dancer she is a half-sister to the classy Izzi Top, who was best over 10F, as was her dam, a Zafonic half-sister to Opera House and Kayf Tara. It is a pedigree with a lovely mix of speed and stamina. Definitely bred to be a Group 1 filly, and the drop back in trip should suit. 16/1 looks too big given her connections’ record in this race and an each way contender.

6. LADY OF DUBAI ( CUMANI/ATZENI)

Listed winner over course and distance back in May, and went on to finish third on her next outing in the Oaks at Epsom, a couple of lengths behind Legatissimo. Looked to have no excuses that day, and it is difficult to see her reversing the form with the Wachman filly, especially over this shorter trip.

Nicely bred daughter of Dubawi, whose dam was placed at Group 1 level, and she is by Montjeu out of a full sister to a St Leger winner. Plenty of black type there, but a lot if it was achieved over 12F and further. Is entered in the Yorkshire Oaks and it might be wise to watch her with a view to backing her in that race. Could run on late into a place if her stamina is brought into play and they go too hard early doors. Place prospects at best and can be backed at 13/2.

7. LEGATISSIMO (WACHMAN/LORDAN)

The current market leader, and deservedly so, as this filly is probably a shade unlucky not to be going into this race on a five timer having been short headed on her last two starts. Avoided all the trouble at Epsom in the Oaks when outsider Qualify lowered her colours, and just failed to reel in Diamondsandrubies in the Pretty Polly.

Beautifully bred, as one would expect for a Coolmore horse, and an obvious contender. However, as much as winning can turn into a habit, so can getting beaten and it is never good to see a sequence of seconds building up in a horse’s form. Even so, she is a worthy favourite and she could end up going off even shorter than her current odds of 15/8 if Magnier and chums fancy her. Will be disappointing if she isn’t there or thereabouts at the business end.

8. STAR OF SEVILLE (GOSDEN/DETTORI)

Group 1 and Group 3 winner who is four from her last five, the only blip coming at Epsom in the Oaks when she lost out worst of all after a barging match in the home straight. She made amends in impressive fashion on her next start in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly (10.5 good) and looks to be the Gosden first string.

Given her trainers record in the race, and the fact that she is already a Group 1 winner, the 8/1 that is currently available looks to be a great price. She is unbeaten at this trip and is also unbeaten with Frankie Dettori in the saddle.

9. WEDDING VOW (O’BRIEN/DONOGHUE)

Represents the trainer/jockey combination that won the Oaks. This filly looked below top class for much of the season having tasted defeat at both Listed and Group 2 level. However, she answered her critics in some style last time at the Curragh (9.5F good/yielding) producing what was easily a career best and accounting for the highly rated Weld filly Brooch in a Group 2.

Held by Legatissimo on earlier form this year, but this filly has obviously improved a lot in the last couple of months. Has a regal pedigree, by Danehill Dancer and out of Oaks second Remember When, a half-sister to none other than Dylan Thomas. Looks to be the O’Brien second string, but could be dangerous to overlook at her current odds of 8/1.

CONCLUSION 

The bookies seem convinced that this is a two horse race, between Legatissimo and Diamondsandrubies, and if their meeting in the Pretty Polly is anything to go by there will be nothing between them. The latter is unlikely to get her own way in front this time around with Arabian Queen in the field, and that could spell trouble for her chances.

Of the Gosden trio Star of Seville looks the obvious one, and this looks to be her optimum trip. Wedding Vow, the O’Brien second string is an intriguing contender, and it would be no surprise to see her improve again. If they go too quick early on it will play to Lady Of Dubai’s strengths, but she will need everything to drop right on the day if she is to win.

However, the each way suggestion is JAZZI TOP, who looks sure to be suited by this drop back in trip and represents the trainer/jockey combination that have been successful in this for the last two seasons. Legatissimo is the most likely winner, and should go close, but given her propensity for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory she is not one for the faint hearted at her likely skinny odds.

Prediction:
1) JAZZI TOP (E/W)     16/1
2) LEGATISSIMO         15/8
3) STAR OF SEVILLE   8/1
$) WEDDING VOW       8/1

 

 


Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes


Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes

2.35 Goodwood – Wednesday 29th July 2015
Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes Preview
(Group 3)
(CLASS 1) (3yo)

Sir Michael Stoute trained the winner of this event last year and he has been the most successful handler in recent times, taking three of the last seven. He also saddled Fiorente to be a close second in 2011 and when you consider that he had no representative in the race in 2010, 2012 or 2013 it makes those stats even more impressive. He is only a short head away from having a 100% record with his entries since 2008. He has Disegno this year.

The race has not been a happy hunting ground for favourite backers and indeed the last jolly to oblige was Stoute’s classy operator Harbinger back in 2008. However, whilst favourites do have a poor strike rate, there has not been a winner priced bigger than 7/1 since 2005, which would suggest it is not a race for outsiders either. Below is a preview of the runners and riders and what I believe to be their prospects.

1. DISEGNO (STOUTE/ATZENI)

The only entry for master trainer Sir Michael Stoute, and is entitled to maximum respect coming from those quarters. Had just the three runs as a 2yo, starting off with a pleasing third place in a maiden at Newmarket (6F good) behind Justice First and the useful Burnt Sugar. He then was sent off at odds on at Kempton upped to 7F (polytrack) on his next outing, landing the odds with the minimum of fuss.

He was stepped up in class on his final 2yo run in a listed event at Ascot (7F good) and ran with credit behind dual listed winner and subsequent Group 1 placed Kodi Bear from the Clive Cox yard, shaping as if a further step up in trip would suit.

He reappeared this year in another listed race, The Feilden Stakes at Newmarket (9F good to firm) and ran a cracker to finish second, just two lengths behind Derby winner Golden Horn and again staying on well. He was kept to that class in The Dee Stakes at Chester (10.5F soft), going down by a short head to Not So Sleepy with today’s rival Prince Gagarin a couple of lengths behind in third. It was disappointing that he couldn’t win that day but at least he showed he can handle ease underfoot.

He was stepped into Group 3 company for the first time last time out at Royal Ascot (10F good to firm), and while he reversed the Chester form with Not So Sleepy he still only finished fourth, beaten seven lengths. However, he had to be switched twice having been denied a clear run two furlongs from home, and he may have got closer with a bit more luck as he stayed on well enough for fourth when he eventually found daylight.

This colt lacks nothing on the pedigree front either, being a son of Fastnet Rock and out of a Sliver Hawk Mare who produced her best display over 12F in a Group 2, and was Listed placed over 11.5F, both on fast ground. Her half-sister was second in the Yorkshire Oaks (12F good to firm), and they are out of a sister to five time Group 1 winner Divine Proportions, who is a half-sister to Whipper. It is a truly impressive pedigree, and it would suggest that 12F should be well within Disegno’s compass. One of the main contenders and available to back at 11/2.

2. HIGHLAND REEL (A O’BRIEN/J O’BRIEN)

Beaten favourite in the Irish Derby, a race that I really fancied him for, but had excuses as he sweated up very badly beforehand. He ran well below his best that day, and is surely capable of better. He won a Group 2 here as a 2yo (7F good to firm) on just his third start, and was put away for the winter.

He reappeared at Longchamp in the French 2000 Guineas (8F good to soft) but ended up a well beaten 11/8 favourite. Many of O’Brien’s horses are not wound up fully for their first run back, and it was no shock to see a much improved effort next time in the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club (10.5F good to soft) when he was a good staying on second to the impressive New Bay, shaping as if 12F would be ideal. It was no wonder he was sent off at just 11/4 for the Irish Derby, but he didn’t run his race, and could be worth another chance back at a course where he has already won.

Unsurprisingly for a Coolmore horse he is exceedingly well bred, being a son of Galileo and out of a Danehill mare who is a full sister to a five time Group 1 winner, and a half-sister to another triple Group 1 winner. Overall he has been inconsistent this season, but IF he shows up at the top of his game he could be hard to beat. He is the current market leader at 2/1.

3. MEDRANO (BROWN/LYNCH)

Been the flag bearer for his relatively small yard this season, and was rewarded for a string of consistent efforts at Group 3 and Listed level with an emphatic victory last time out, giving today’s rival Prince Gagarin an absolute trouncing in a Listed race at Hamilton (11F soft). He has been beaten by Storm The Stars twice this year, but there is no shame in that as the Haggas horse went on to be placed in both the English and Irish Derbies.

This colt’s form is strong, and while his pedigree may not be as spectacular as some of his rivals it is still none too shabby. He is a son of Archipenko, who is perhaps not as prolific as some of the other stallions in the race, particularly at this sort of level. He is out of a Lomitas mare who was a Group 3 winner herself (12F good to soft), so the trip today should suit, as should the ground if it stays on the soft side of good (the forecast is for good weather all week).

He is currently priced up as the second favourite at 3/1, and if the ground doesn’t dry out he could run a big race. Anyone considering backing him should wait until ground conditions are confirmed as it will make a huge difference to his prospects. The forecast is not good for him though I’m afraid.

4. PRINCE GAGARIN (E DUNLOP/DETTORI)

This 2yo Listed winner (8F soft) has run some decent races in defeat this season, and his standout effort came behind Curvy in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh (10F good) when he went down by just under two lengths to subsequent Ribblesdale winner Curvy and the Irish Derby placed Giovanni Canaletto (who was ahead of Highland Reel that day). That piece of form puts him right in the picture for this race, but it is difficult to forget the way that Medrano brushed him aside last time out at Hamilton, although perhaps the testing conditions suited the Brown horse better, even if Prince Gagarin’s Listed win did come on soft.

This son of Dubawi is a half-brother to Elusive Pimpernel, who produced his best runs on quick ground at around a mile, and another half-brother, Palavicini, was effective on fast ground too. His pedigree suggests that 12F should be fine, as his dam was a 12F winner, and stayed further too. However, he has looked to struggle to get home in his races this season thus far, and the jury is well and truly out on whether this is his optimum trip. His current odds of 8/1 look a bit skinny to me, and I am not sure he will trouble the best of these, no matter what the ground is.

5. PROPOSED (HANNON/DOBBS)

Has had six starts in total, two as a 2yo, just winning once in a 10F maiden at Salisbury on good to firm ground back in May. However, has been highly tried on a couple of those occasions and must be held in some regard by his trainer. Beaten by a combination of nearly forty lengths on his first four starts, one of those a Group 3 (12.5F soft), before winning the aforementioned maiden at Salisbury.

Last time out he was pitched into handicap company off a mark of 95 at Royal Ascot, in the race won by Space Age, and he ran an absolute cracker, finishing just a couple of lengths behind Scottish in seventh and less than four lengths behind the winner. Proposed was giving weight away to both, and it was a very encouraging performance.

He is a son of Invincible Spirit and a half-brother to Group 3 (16F good to firm) and Group 2 (12F good to firm) winner Soapy Danger, who also won on soft. His dam, a daughter of Mi Cielo, was a 3yo Group 1 winner in America on the dirt (12F). It is an attractive pedigree, and suggests that 12F should be fine for him. He can currently be backed at 25/1 and seeing as he doesn’t have to find too much with the likes of Scottish and Space Age this looks a bit too big to me. One of the more likely outsiders and could be dangerous if he gets a soft lead.

6. RED TORNADO (H DUNLOP/DOYLE)

Has had his limitations exposed at listed level on a number of occasions already this season, and was twelve lengths and six lengths behind Medrano and Prince Gagarin respectively last time out in that listed race at Hamilton.
Has already been gelded, and this son of Dr Fong looks well below the required level in this race. Can be backed at 50/1, and that price is an accurate reflection of his chance.

7. SCOTTISH (BALDING/CROWLEY)

Unexposed son of Teofilo who has already been gelded. Made a low key start at the tail end of last season, well beaten in a maiden over a mile at Nottingham. However, he nearly returned with a bang in a strong maiden at Newbury (11F good to firm) when Mr Singh, a subsequent Group 3 winner, picked his pocket in the final strides. He confirmed the promise of that run with an easy win in a 10F maiden at the same track (good), before appearing in the handicap won by Space Age at the Royal meeting (12F good to firm).

He was giving the winner three pounds that day and just couldn’t reel him in, but there was only a length and a quarter between them at the finish, so off level weights he should get closer. He is a full brother to Godolphin Group 3 winner Royal Empire (13.5F good to firm) and is out of a Listed winning (6F heavy) and placed (8F good to firm) Zieten mare. Not as illustrious a pedigree as some of the other competitors admittedly, but he has looked a progressive type, and with only four runs so far there could easily be more to come. The best price currently available is 9/1, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him in the shake-up.

8. SPACE AGE (APPLEBY/BUICK)

Took three runs to get off the mark as a 2yo, finally obliging at Beverley (7.5F good to soft). Was allocated a mark of 85 and connections opted to go down the handicap route, reappearing in a Class 2 heat at Newbury (10F Good). He was dropped out that day and finished with a wet sail having been given plenty to do, storming home into fifth behind Disegno’s conqueror Time Test, from whom he was receiving 15lb in weight when the jockey’s claim is considered.

Off an unchanged mark he fulfilled the obvious promise of that run at Newmarket, over the same trip and on quick ground. Suffused, the horse he gave 6lb to and beat that day, has since gone on to win twice, last time by six lengths off a mark of 89. He followed up in impressive style in a big field at Royal Ascot stepped up to 12F for the first time off a mark of 88. Scottish was second home that day, and was carrying 3lbs more than the winner who finished just over a length in front.
His winning run came to an end off his new mark of 96 when he couldn’t manage to concede 13lb to the well-bred, Stoute trained, Dartmouth.

This colt is a son of New Approach and is a half-brother to Antiquities, who was Listed placed (10F soft) in France. His dam is a Listed winner (10.5F heavy), and she is a half-sister to the outstanding dual Group 1 scorer Street Cry and also to the dam of Shamardal. It is a truly regal bloodline, and it is no surprise to see connections having a crack at gaining some black type. The best price currently available is 10/1 and he has each way claims.

9. TOMMY DOCC (DALGLEISH/MAKIN)

Another that has already been gelded, and a horse that has left the handicapper with a serious amount of egg on his face this season. Cost just ten grand, and was well beaten on his only run as a 2yo. His first run this season, in March at Southwell in a 5F maiden, resulted in an impressive win and he didn’t go unbacked. The handicapper wasn’t that impressed though, and allocated him a mark of just 70. A poor run at Leicester on his handicap debut (7F good to firm) saw his mark drop to just 67!

He made a mockery of the mark upped to 8F (good to firm) at Redcar on his next start, winning a lot more easily than the winning distance suggests. Mr. Handicapper reacted by raising him just 5lbs to 72, and he duly won again (12.5F good to firm) at odds of 11/1. In hindsight he must have been one of the biggest certainties of all time in those two races considering what happened on his next run, when he got to within half a length of the classy Aloft in the Queens Vase (16F good to firm) at Ascot. He proved that was no fluke with another good run behind Mr Singh in a Group 3 at Newmarket (13F good to firm). He is now rated 94.

It has truly been a remarkable journey for this horse and his connections, and it would be a fairy-tale if this son of Thewayyouare could get his head in front. However, I think he might be punching above his weight in this race, and he could get tapped for toe over this sort of trip. Can be backed at odds of 20/1 but he won’t be seeing any of my hard earned. One for the romantics.

10. AMAZE ME (LITTMODEN/EGAN)

The sole filly in the field and in fairness to her she has run some decent races in defeat this season. Remains a maiden after eight starts and it is difficult to see her breaking her duck in this race. Her best run so far came in a Listed event behind Jazzi Top at Newmarket (10f good to firm), when she was beaten nearly three lengths. That form is decent, but it is probably below the level required in this. Her three runs since haven’t been too bad, but she hasn’t given the impression she is a winner in waiting.

She is a daughter of Aqlaam, and is out of a Danehill filly that won over a mile but was only rated 76. Her half-sister was a Group 3 winner in Germany, but apart from that there is nothing to get too excited about in her pedigree. This looks a bridge too far and it really will amaze me if she can win. Best odds available are 33/1.

CONCLUSION

A fascinating contest with a number of intriguing contenders. The figures would have you believe that Highland Reel should run out an easy winner, and that could quite easily turn out be the case. However, he is not the most consistent of animals, and his current odds of 2/1 are not big enough to tempt me.

If it comes up properly soft, Medrano needs considering and one that might run well at bigger odds could be Proposed for Richard Hannon. In fact there should be little between himself, Scottish and Space Age, who all ran in that handicap at Ascot won by the Godolphin horse.

The one that could improve past them all though is DISEGNO, who represents a yard that has an outstanding record in this race. He should relish the step up in trip, and with man of the moment Andrea Atzeni in the saddle he is a confident selection at 11/2.

1. Disegno 11/2
2. Highland Reel 2/1
3. Proposed 25/1
4. Scottish 9/1






Qatar Goodwood Festival Preview


Qatar Goodwood Festival Preview

This years ‘Glorious Goodwood’ as we knew it promises to be the most alluring in history after Qatar Racing signed a 10 year sponsorship deal for the ‘Qatar Goodwood Festival’. It is the biggest sponsorship deal ever made for the benefit of British racing and will see Qatar Racing invest over 2 million pounds in additional prize money. The Sussex Stakes sees the largest amount invested with the prize money increased from £600,000 to a whopping 1 Million making it the 2nd most valuable 1 mile race in Europe. This year’s prize money has helped to ensure world class fields are attracted to the festival. All in all, the festival has a staggering 4.5 million pounds worth of prize money to be won!

The opening day features the Qatar Lennox Stakes. A group 2 race in which Toormore will seek to make amends for his odds on defeat last year. This year he will be wearing the colours of Godolphin. Can he make up for his neck defeat to Es Que Love last year and take the bounty? The Godolphin second string is Safety Check who bagged a hat-trick at Meydan in February and will be no pushover. Tupi also lines up along with Limato in a bid to foil Toormore and take home the £300,000 prize.

Recommended bet – TOORMORE 11/4 with SkyBet

Richard Hannon has won 2 of the last 7 renewals and had the runner up in 2012 and 2014. The last 10 winners have come from the top 3 in the betting. Toormore is the highest rated horse in the field and we know he handles Goodwood. I think he will make amends for last years defeat.

Day two features the Qatar Sussex Stakes. A mile long Group 1 race and the most valuable race of the festival now worth a cool 1 million pounds! This race was nicknamed ‘The Duel On The Downs’ in 2011 as the race featured the undefeated 3 year old Frankel and the leading older miler, Canford Cliffs. This year looks like another ‘Duel’ as two of Europe’s leading milers clash in a mouthwatering renewal of the race. Gleneagles, the English and Irish 2000 Guineas winner goes up against Solow, who won his 7th consecutive race when taking the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. This is not necessarily a two horse race though as they are both up against some other very promising milers including another Aidan O’ Brien horse, Cougar Mountain who was only 1.5 lengths adrift of Solow in The Queen Anne Stakes . Arod is expected to line up for Peter Chapple-Hyam in what promises to be the most exciting Mile race of the season.

Recommended bet – GLENEAGLES 11/8 with Betfred

It is hard to separate the two at the top of the market and I really do beleive this will be a ‘duel of the downs’. They both have exceptional form but Solow has to give 8lbs to Gleneagles and this may tip the scales in the younger horses favour.

Day three is ‘Ladies Day’ and features The Qatar Goodwood Cup. The highlight of the day, a Group 2 race over two miles and now worth £300,000. Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris heads the 14 strong field this year. The four year old won The Ascot Gold Cup in June and bids to become the first horse since Yeats in 2008 to win both stayers contests in the same season. The shock 25/1 winner of the Princess Of Wales Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month Big Orange is expected to line up against him along with Sheikzayedroad who was impressive when winning the Grade One Northern Dancer Turf stakes in Canada in 2014. He has only raced over two miles once before though and could only manage 9th in the Meydan Gold Cup in March. Will he get the trip? Will the winner be one of these three or maybe Kalaan or Simenon who head the Irish trained challengers? Will Mark Johnstone taste victory with one of his entries? He is expected to put forward both Vive Ma Fille and Oriental Fox. Eye Of The Storm and Quest for More are two others with live chances along with the William Knight trained Aussie Reigns. The competition is fierce and it promises to be a cracking renewal.

Recommended bet – EYE OF THE STORM 17/2 with Betfair Exchange.

Eye Of The Storm is a strong candidate for this years Cup. He is now trained by Amanda Perrett and ridden by Pat Dobbs who rode him to glory in the Coral Cup. He looked a very exciting horse there and can continue his progression on the forecast fast ground. Trip To Paris has every chance but he shoulders a Group 1 penalty which will be a tough task in this field after running such a gruelling race just a few weeks ago. I think Eye Of The Storm offers better value.

Day four sees the Betfred Mile contested. A handicap race for 3 year olds upwards. This year’s entries bidding to take home the £150,000 prize include GM Hopkins, Chil The Kite and Bronze Angel. It is another mouthwatering contest for us to look forward to but the race of the day is the Group 2 race, The Qatar King George Stakes. A Group 2 five furlong sprint with a prize of £300,000. Heading this year’s entries are last year’s winner, Take Cover. The 8yr old will bid to defend his crown but there are many challengers who are here to take it from him. They include the King Stand Stakes 3rd, Muthmir. The Prix de L’abbye winner Move In Time and the fantastic fillies Meccas Angel and Anthem Alexander.

Recommended bet – (Each Way) BELGIAN BILL 33/1 with Bet365

Belgian Bill is on the same mark as when only beaten 1 length in this race last year. Trainer George Baker has said this is has been his target and he nearly always runs his race. He seems way too big a price here at around 33/1.

The final day of this wonderful festival features the Group One Fillies race The Nassau Stakes. The Qipco 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo lines up alongside the French Oaks winner Star Of Seville. Investec Oaks winner Qualify is entered and Sir Micheal Stoute, the most successful trainer of this race having had no less than 7 winners has entered dual Group 1 winner Integral along with Crystal Zvezda. With Diamondsandrubies, Curvy and Pleascach also entered, this looks like being one of the most exciting and competitive races of the festival. Who do you think will win the mouthwatering £600,000 prize?

Also on Saturday, last but by no means least is the Qatar Stewards cup. A 6 furlong class two handicap race for 3 year olds upwards brings us a plethora of established top notch sprinters including four previous winners of the race, Intrinsic, Rex Imperator, Hoof it and Hawkeyethenoo. Fantastic 7yr old Tropics lines up as does Lancelot Du Lac but heading the ante post market is the Roger Charlton trained Huntsmans Close. He won the Ayr Silver Cup and was last seen out in June when he beat Charles Molson by a neck in a 6f handicap. Discussiontofollow also lines up and this is thought to be his main target of the season.

Recommended bet – (Each Way) TATLISU 20/1 with Bet365

Tatlisu won’t mind what the weather does. Is very consistent at this level and has C+D form. In a race that is impossible to work out, I think Tatlisu e/w is a good bet.

This year’s Goodwood festival has been touted as the biggest and best ever and after researching what we have to look forward to and seeing the increased prize money, I don’t doubt it for a second!






Hibernian v Rangers


Hibernian v Rangers

Competition: Challenge Cup
Fixture: Hibernian v Rangers
Date: Saturday, July 25, 2015
Venue: Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh
Kick off time: 12:30 hrs BST

Hibernian will face Rangers in the Scottish Challenge Cup this weekend as the sides get ready for a riveting season of football ahead.

Hibernian’s form: L-W-W-W-D

Hibernian played Rangers twice in the space of four days back in May and the side lost once and won one of those games. Following some time off in the off season, the squad assembled back for pre-season in July and have played three games since.

The hosts have won two of these three games against Berwick Rangers (0-3 away on July 14) and Dunfermline Athletic (1-2 away on July 18). They were also involved in a goalless draw at Ayr United coming into this game.

Ranger’s form: W-L-L-L-L

The last time that the side won a game was back on May 20 when they beat Hibernian. Since then, Ranger have been defeated by Hibernian on the road once while Motherwell compounder their misery by defeating them 6-1 over two legs in the playoff games.

Rangers will again feature in the second tier of Scottish football this season after an unsuccessful attempt to get back in the top flight last season. They began their pre-season preparations with a 0-1 loss at home against English Championship side Burnley.

Key Players and Team News

Hibernian: 19-year-old striker Jason Cummings will be their biggest hopes going into the new season. The youngster has been billed as one of the best up and coming players in Scotland and it will be interesting to see what he brings to the table in this new season.

Rangers: The new manager started off with a fluent 4-3-3 in the last game and he is expected to continue with that formation. David Templeton and Barry McKay will provide the width and should be the most exciting players on the pitch for Rangers on Saturday.

Betting Advice

Hibernian have won three of the last five head to heads between the two sides and the only time that they lost at home to Rangers during this period was in March 2015.

I do not think that Rangers are up to steam yet and they will need some time playing under their new manager. The players need to be more comfortable with each other before I would advocate putting money on this side and hence, I will go with a narrow home win on this occasion at odds of 2.6 with Ladbrokes.






Aberdeen v Rijeka


Aberdeen v Rijeka

Competition: UEFA Europa League
Fixture: Aberdeen v Rijeka
Date: Thursday July 23, 2015
Venue: Pottodrie Stadium
Kick off time: 19:45 hrs BST

Aberdeen need to negotiate Rijeka in the second leg of their Europa League qualifiers in order to proceed further in the qualifiers for the Europa League. The hosts have a 3-0 aggregate lead from the first leg.

Aberdeen’s form: W-D-D-W-W

The hosts have won a couple of games in succession now coming into this game. Their last competitive fixture was the first leg of this tie which they won 3-0 away from home last week.

Prior to that game, Aberdeen recorded a win over Raith Rovers in the league and a home win over Saint Johnstone either side of a couple of successive drawn games against KF Skhendija in the European qualifiers.

Rijeka’s form: W-W-D-L-D

Rijeka are coming into this game on the backs of a 3-3 home draw in the league against NK Slaven Belupo Koprivnica. The first leg of this tie was played prior to that game and the visitors had also drawn a blank against NK Inter Zapresic.

The visitors won a couple of games in succession prior to the Zapresic game with big wins over Rudar and Sarajevo in the league.

Key Players and Team News

Aberdeen: Even though Adam Rooney did not score in the first leg, the Irishman will be a real handful for the opposition in this upcoming game. The striker will look to get his season up and running following a move in the off-season.

Rijeka: 26-year-old Slovenian striker Roman Bezjak will be their biggest hope on Thursday as the man who has 2 goals in 2 games this season looks to perform a rescue act.

Betting Advice

Rijeka are in deep trouble in the tie and the quantum of Aberdeen’s aggregate lead will play heavily in their minds. While the hosts will play without pressure and in front of their home fans, the visitors have to deal with all the pressure in the world.

I expect them to implode and Aberdeen are great value to secure a win at odds of 3.2 with bet365.






Dundalk v BATE Borisov


Dundalk v BATE Borisov

Competition: UEFA Champions League
Fixture: Dundalk v BATE Borisov
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Venue: Oriel Park, Dundalk
Kick off time: 19:45 hrs BST

Dundalk face a tough task in the second leg of their Champions League fixture against BATE Borisov on Wednesday. The visitors have a 2-1 aggregate lead in this contest.

Dundalk’s form: W-W-W-W-L

The hosts are coming into this game in decent form and although they were beaten in the first leg, Dundalk got the all-important away goal which kept them in the tie.

Prior to that game, the side had a hundred percent record with four wins out of four in games against Sligo Rovers, Limerick, Drogheda United, and Galway. They scored 14 goals in the four games while conceding 6 during the time.

BATE’s form: W-W-W-W-L

The visitors already have a goal advantage in this tie and they know that an away goal will mean that they could put some daylight between themselves and the hosts.

Even though they were beaten by Spartak Shklov in the league in their last league fixture, their manager had rested some of their key players with an eye on this tie. They had won against Dinamo Brest, Slutsk, and Slavia-Mozyr prior to the first leg.

Key Players and Team News

Dundalk: With 13 goals from 19 starts this season, Richard Towell is the best player in their ranks this season. Notching up that many goals from midfield proves that the 24-year-old is going to be a thorn in the flesh of the opposition.

BATE: Vitali Rodinov is their top scorer this season with 7 goals in 14 starts. The 31-year-old striker is in good form at this time and if he could score a goal in this tie, it could help BATE proceed in the qualifiers.

Betting Advice

Dundalk have scored for fun in the league in their past few games and it goes on to show that they are extremely strong at home. Although BATE are a good side, I think it will be Dundalk which will proceed to the next round with BATE regretting the goal that they conceded in the first leg. A victory for the hosts is on and at 3.1 with BetVictor.






Stjarnan v Celtic


Stjarnan v Celtic

Competition: UEFA Champions League
Fixture: Stjarnan v Celtic
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Venue: Samsung Vollurinn, Gardabaer
Kick off time: 20:15 hrs BST

Stjarnan are to welcome Celtic to the Samsung Vollurinn stadium this week as the two sides clash in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier.

Stjarnan’s form: L-W-L-L-D

The hosts have been in miserable form over the past few games that they have featured in. In their last five competitive fixtures, the Icelandic side have been beaten thrice. They tasted defeat against KR and Valur in their domestic league while Celtic beat them 2-0 in Scotland last week.

Their only win during this period arrived against Keflavik in the Icelandic top flight and the side went on to win 2-1. Stjarnan are coming into this game on the backs of a 1-1 home draw against IA in the league.

Celtic’s form: W-L-W-W-W

Scottish giants Celtic have regularly featured in the group stages of the Champions League for a while now and with a 2-0 aggregate lead from the first leg, they will be confident.

Other than a minor blip against FC Dukla Praha in a friendly game, Celtic have won their remaining games against Den Bosch, Real Sociedad, and Eibar in their last few games other than the first leg fixture last week.

Key Players and Team News

Stjarnan: Halldor Orri Bjornsson, Jeppe Hansen, and Olafur Karl Finsen have been the better players for this side this season. For this upcoming game, the side will look to attack and should start with two strikers and in such a situation, the 23-year-old Finsen could thrive.

Celtic: New signing Dedryck Boyata already endeared himself to the fans after opening the scoring in the first leg with a well taken goal. In a match where the side are going to have to negotiate a plastic pitch, the defender will need to be at his best to keep the hosts from taking advantage of familiar surroundings.

Betting Advice

Celtic have never lost a European game against a team from Iceland and I expect them to keep that record at the end of the second leg. The best that the hosts could hope for would be a draw but Celtic are coming into this game on great form and have had good preparation for this game as well and thus I am backing Celtic to win at odds of 1.44 with bet365.






Drogheda v St Patrick’s


Drogheda v St Patrick’s

Competition: Irish Premier Division
Fixture: Drogheda v St Patrick’s
Date: Friday, July 17, 2015
Venue: Hunky Dorys Park
Kick off time: 19:45 hrs BST

Drogheda United are slated to go up against St Patrick’s Athletic in the upcoming round of games in the Irish top flight.

Drogheda United’s form: W-D-W-L-L

Drogheda United have had a difficult past couple of weeks with a couple of home defeats against Dundalk and Falkirk. The last one against Falkirk was especially difficult as they beat the hosts 5-2 in front of their home fans.

Prior to these games, Drogheda had won their games against Limerick and Bohemians and drew against Derry. They need to turn things around fast if they are to push forward in this year’s league.

St Patrick’s Athletic’s form: W-W-W-L-L

After going on a run of three straight home wins against Bohemians, Limerick, and Longford Town where they scored nine goals in total and conceded just two, St Patrick’s were brought back down to earth by a hardworking Skonto FC side.

In their last game against the same side, St Patrick’s lost 2-0 at home. They remain fourth in the Irish Premier Division however, and will look to close the gap on the top three.

Key Players and Team News

Drogheda United: 23-year-old striker Lee Duffy has scored five goals so far this season and the youngster remains a big threat to their opposition. The hosts have also have Michael Daly and Sean Thornton leading the scoring from midfield and they will be looking to contribute as well.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Their midfield has been absolutely top notch while the strikers have also played well. Chris Forrester has already scored 7 goals this season and will be looking to add to his tally. Aaron Greene and Conan Byrne have also made handy contributions from the middle of the park.

Betting Advice

The visitors must be the favourites to go ahead and win this game (1.45 at Ladbrokes) although the fact that both teams are coming into this game on the backs of poor form. It could swing the home team’s way but I really cannot see that happening.

Expect excitement and goals in this game look certain (More than 2.5 goals at 1.77 with BetVictor) and I think St Patrick’s could score 3 or more goals in this one.






Derry v Limerick


Derry v Limerick

Competition: Irish Premier Division
Fixture: Derry v Limerick
Date: Friday, July 17, 2015
Venue: Brandywell Stadium
Kick off time: 19:45 hrs BST

Derry City will go up against Limerick in a bottom of the league fixture in the Irish Premier Division this week.

Derry City’s form: L-D-L-L-L

The hosts are winless in their last five league games in all competitions and have not scored in their last three games in succession. They have lost to Cork City, Warrenport Town and Bray Wanderers during this torrid time in the league.

Prior to these games, the side were involved in a 1-1 draw at Drogheda United on June 12 which was the last time that they got some points off the opposition in the league. They were also beaten 4-1 on the road by Shamrock Rovers.

Limerick’s form: L-L-L-L-D

Limerick have not won any of their last five games either but they followed up four straight defeats with an encouraging 1-1 draw against MK Dons in a preparatory game on Tuesday that finished 1-1. That did not help them get any points in the league though.

The visitors were subjected to defeats by St Patrick’s Athletic, Dundalk, Bray Wanderers and Galway prior to the Dons fixture. They conceded 14 goals in these 4 games while scoring four times.

Key Players and Team News

Derry: Mark Timlin will be the one to watch out for in this upcoming game. He has scored from midfield in the past five games and will be a threat. The side have also had decent goalmouth contributions from other midfielders and it will be something that the visitors will need to be careful about.

Limerick: Defenders Paul O’Conor and Ian Turner have accounted for six of their goals this season and are the joint top scorers for this team. They will need to put in a shift at the back for the team to have any chance and they will also look to press ahead at every opportunity, especially set-pieces.

Betting Advice

Derry should be able to win this fixture but it will be a difficult ride for the hosts with plenty of twists and turns. The hosts are 1.62 at Coral for the win.