Welcome to the World of Horseracing

Record of the blog selections

LOSS for the 2016-17 Jumps Season = £40.87

from wagers on 55 individual races (6 winners, 12 placed)

Total Staked = £609.00


Since March 2010, this blog has recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, at cumulative stakes of £5,726 - which has resulted in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 equivalent to a Return on Investment of 26.60%.


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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Aztec Treasure wins in a canter!

Yesterday’s Horseracing
Jonjo O’Neill and Towcester go together like bread and jam – and his chasers are the cherry on top! Yesterday, AZTEC TREASURE never looked in any danger, and simply cruised to victory taking-up the lead at the final fence, but he could have gone on to win the race at any time in the final half-mile. Do not be distracted by the winning distance, he could have won by 20-lengths. He was a very generous 5/2 at SP, but I advised taking the 3/1 that was available when I posted the blog at 10:36am. Remember, if you want to know when the blog goes online, follow me on twitter. I can be found at @wayward_lad. It costs you nothing for the service, and there are some very good exponents of the racing game to be found on twitter. Horseracing is made for twitter as information can be spread at lightning speed.
The other blog selection CHAPOTURGEON was more speculative, but he still ran a fair race. I thought he’d be capable of doing himself justice, but perhaps this 17f trip was too short for him. He was staying-on in the final half-mile and a return to 20-21f could see him in the winners enclosure. Royal Charm, who won the race on the line, looks like he needs 20f or more and on this performance he’s not an “Arkle” contender. The best “Arkle” performance we’ve seen this side of the Irish Sea so far has been from GHIZAO.
At Exeter, Silver Gypsy ran away with the opener and should not have been allowed to go off at 15/8 such was her dominance of this mares hurdle. It seems that AP McCoy went here solely to ride the 4yo mare SWAY to win the Mares Novice Chase at 9/2. She looks one to follow.
At Towcester, after the win by AZTEC TREASURE, I should have followed-up with Bobby Gee who’d beaten him LTO. Put up just 6lb for that win, and with the form confirmed by AZTEC TREASURE, he massacred a good field in the 2m6f h’cap chase. Richie McLernon was able to conjure a run out of RATE OF KNOTS in the same race to be 3rd and, given he is unlikely to be raised in the handicap for this run, that he’s 4lb below his last winning rating and 10lb off his highest rating he is one to note NTO.

Also, just heard that along with TWIST MAGIC, at Bangor GILSLAND collapsed after racing on Wednesday with a heart attack and passed away.


Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part two
)
So far, the following antepost advices have been provided on the blog:-
IMPERIAL COMMANDER, 2pts win @ 9/2 for the Gold Cup (on 22/11 and again on 28/11)
DENMAN, 1pt eachway @ 8/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
BURTON PORT, ½pt eachway @ 20/1 for the Gold Cup (on 28/11)
PEDDLERS CROSS, 1pt eachway @ 14/1 for the Champion Hurdle (on 27/11)
GHIZAO, 1pt eachway @ 12/1 for the Arkle (on 23/11)
GAUVAIN , ½pt eachway @ 25/1 for the QM Champion Chase (on 15/11)

So, there’s 10pts staked already, but perhaps the ½pt eachway on GAUVAIN was a bit too speculative given the revitalised performances of MASTER MINDED and the likelihood that the competition for 2nd and 3rd in the Champion Chase will be much fiercer now.
From Part One (see 14th December blog), I am not tempted by MENORAH at 4/1 nor – following this week’s run in Ireland - by HURRICANE FLY at 11/2 for the Champion Hurdle.
As I wrote on 15th December, POQUELIN is at the fore of the Ryanair market at the very generous odds of 6/1. I cannot see anything likely to be in the race that can beat him at Cheltenham over 2m5f on the likely Good-to-Soft going – but, as he’s unlikely to run again before the Festival, we’ll keep the money in the pocket for a bit longer yet.
Where else to explore? The RSA Chase and Neptune Hurdle markets are still wide open. The World Hurdle looks sown-up by BIG BUCKS who looks unbeatable. The only horse that “may” be capable of challenging him (that won’t go for the Champion Hurdle) is Zaynar, but he has to prove he’s up to the challenge. I reckon the only horse around that could wrest the title from BIG BUCKS is PEDDLERS CROSS, but he’s Champion Hurdle bound. We need to look for eachway value in the World Hurdle. That’s it for now on the antepost front and we will revisit this theatre in about a month’s time.

Today’s horseracing

There is an 11:00am inspection at Ascot which is the only possible jump meeting today. Looking at the temperatures, I doubt racing will go ahead, and, even if it did, there is no selection today.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Rest easy Twist Magic

The most distressing news from yesterday’s racing was the sad demise of TWIST MAGIC. He went down at the 2nd-last when leading and in control. The way he fell suggests his stamina had given out, and as I said in the blog yesterday, the 2m5f trip was going to expose his limitations. Unfortunately, despite getting –up from the fall, TWIST MAGIC was later put-down due to injuries sustained in the fall.
Pistol Basc never got a look-in for his race with the going looking too taxing for most of the runners. In the next on the card at Bangor, Gilsland did prove hard to beat, but he went down by just a head at 4/1 – unlucky. The novice hurdle was won by hurdling debutant BACKSPIN, and didn’t he win it well! Make a note of this one as he could have won this by 20-lengths.
At Fairyhouse, we saw some cracking racing. Make a note of this one – ZAIDPOUR, a half-brother to Zaynar. He won as he liked yesterday with some decent horses behind. He’s just 5/1 for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival, but I reckon he’ll be more suited by the Neptune for which he’s 6/1. But there’s a long way to go yet.
HURRICANE FLY winning the Hatton’s Grace hurdle over 2m4f was perhaps the best form he’s showed (in my opinion). Even so, the result was pretty much in-line with the ratings of the others and perhaps the disappointment was Solwhit not being more of a match. You can get 11/2 about HURRICANE FLY for the Champion Hurdle, but that looks skinny to me. I admit, my 25/1 assessment prior to yesterday’s race was a bit harsh, but I would be looking for 10’s before having an interest. I’m more interested in the fact that PEDDLERS CROSS has been eased in a few places to 13/2 for the CH – this horse knows his way around Cheltenham, and has yet to have his ability fathomed.
The John Durkan was won by TRANQUIL SEA (as I expected yesterday) with J’Y VOLE in 2nd (again, as I expected) but the result did not change my opinion of POQUELIN for the Ryanair next March.
It was a fair chase debut (outside France) for MIKAEL D’HAGUENET, but he fell at the last when he had yet to wrest the lead from eventual winner Jessie’s Dream. Whatever way you look at it, this was not RSA winning form. Jessie’s Dream has not suddenly improved 20lb to win this race, tho’ I would say it was a personal-best performance.

Today’s horseracing
Following yesterday’s jump racing bonanza, we have two solid meetings at Towcester and Exter today.
Jonjo O’Neill has a tremendous strike rate at Towcester, which gets even better with his chasers – 21 wins from 61 runners (34%). In the 1:10, a 3-mile h’cap chase, he sends out C&D winner AZTEC TREASURE who is the top-weight for this. Talented claimer Richie McLernon takes of 3lb, and it is hard to see another in this race troubling the pair. The morning joint-fav Topless is very consistent – at coming 2nd! From 20 chase runs he’s yet to win, but has been 2nd seven times – and has even unseated his rider at the last fence when 5 lengths clear. For me, AZTEC TREASURE at 7/2 looks a decent wager. Later on the card, Jonjo O’Neill can secure a double with RATE OF KNOTS in the 2m6f chase at 2:10. Again, Richie McLernon is in the saddle, and again RATE OF KNOTS is a C&D winner. He lost his form last season, and his reappearance last month was not up to much either; but McLernon gets on well with the horse and he may be able to tease a return to form out of him as he’s 4lb below his last winning rating and 10lb off his highest.
Exeter goes ahead, and at the end of last season I made a mental note to have a wager on this horse if the word “soft” was in the going description – CHAPOTURGEON. I realise that Nicholls also runs his “Arkle” hopeful Royal Charm in the race, and that he gets 7lb from CHAPOTURGEON, but he’s going to have to show some decent form to beat him today. Be fair, the race Royal Charm won was a doddle, and that’s been his only chase race to date. CHAPOTURGEON is capable of running to OR160+ and he will be fit for this. Remember, his is only a 6yo. Odds of 6/1 (Stan James) look mighty generous to me.

Selection:
Towcester 1:10, AZTEC TREASURE, 1pt win @ 3/1 (odds just been cut)
Exeter 1:50, CHAPOTURGEON, 1pt win @ 11/2 (odds just been cut)
Total = 2pts staked

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Peterborough Chase at Newbury

The h’cap chase at Folkestone was dominated by long-priced runners who showed much-improved performances. The race was won by the 10yo Only vintage, who provided trainer Paul Henderson with his 2nd chase winner at the track from just 4 runners in the past 5 seasons. I was on the previous winner, Lidjo de Rouge, when it won over C&D, so it seems that Henderson likes sending chasers here – take note!
The blog selection MIDNIGHT HAZE was almost certainly undone by the drop in trip and a return to 3-mile (or further) should see him back in the winner’s enclosure. I was also taken with the run of CHANCE DU ROY in 3rd as this was only his 4th chase run and his rating of OR130 looks lenient.

Today’s horseracing
There is a cracking day’s racing for a Wednesday, with jump meetings at Bangor and Newbury in the UK and a very attractive meeting at Fairyhouse in Ireland.
There is a host of decent jockeys riding at Bongor (instead of Newbury) including AP McCoy, Graham Lee, Jason Maguire, and Tom Scudamore, as well as Robert Thornton (on the comeback trail from long-term injury).
PISTOL BASC met a good one LTO, and he looks to have more potential to improve than some of these. The trip and going are in his favour and altho’ he is creeping up the handicap, his jumping is assured and he does possess a turn of foot at the business end.
I expect GISLAND is the reason why Jason Maguire is at Bangor and he should prove hard to beat in the 3m6f h’cap chase at 1:15 – a race the McCain family have won in 2 of the previous 3 years.
The novice hurdle at 1:50 is definitely a race to watch and make note of, with some interesting novice hurdlers competing. And in the 3-mile h’cap hurdle, Galaxy Rock always runs much better with McCoy in the saddle as the horse needs hard driving, but I don’t think he truly stays this trip so, if he’s to win, then there will have to be some McCoy magic.
There are some big fields for the races at Newbury, and I’ll be honest and report that big fields put me off. There is only one race for me to consider and that’s the Peterborough (moved from Huntingdon to here). This 2m5f trip will be tricky for some of these including the fav Twist Magic, who has never looked a “stayer”. Last years winner Deep Purple looks like he has a good opportunity to follow-up here, but I am taken by MASTER MEDIC. This horse was last seen totally outclassed in the King George nearly 12 months ago, but the 9yo has very few miles on the clock and has a touch of class at 2-mile with proven ability to stay this sort of trip. At 10/1, he could be the one to cause an upset.
At Fairyhouse, the Hatton’s Grace hurdle (Grade 1) looks a mouth-watering race. Hurricane Fly needs to win this, and win well, to put his doubters to bed. How can he be 7/1 for the Champion Hurdle and 3/1 for this? One of those markets is badly wrong, and I’d say it was the Champion Hurdle market – the horse should be more like 25/1 for that. For me, SUMMIT MEETING was not beaten far by Peddlers Cross in the Neptune last March and he’d had a much interrupted preparation for that race. You cannot argue with the form of that race, and this trip and going will be right up his street. He’s had a comeback “blow-out” to ripen him up and at 20’s he’s the eachway value.
It’s hard to see TRANQUIL SEA being beaten on soft going over the 20f trip of the Grade 1 John Durkan chase, but if any can do it then it will be J’y Vole.
Finally, MIKHAEL D’HAGUENET makes a seasonal debut after long-term injury problems. He is thrown-in the deep end in this, but if he is good enough we’ll learn it today.

Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part two)
I’ll see how the results go today and come back with part two tomorrow, but POQUELIN is at the fore of the Ryanair market at the very generous odds of 6/1. Be honest with yourself, is there anything likely to be in the race that can beat him at Cheltenham over 2m5f on the likely Good-to-Soft going?

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Cheltenham Festival antepost review (part one)

Today’s horseracing
It is likely that both jump meetings at Catterick and Folkestone will go ahead, altho’ Catterick is having a precautionary morning inspection.
The 2m5f class 3 h’cap chase at Folkstone at 2:35 is the pick of the day’s racing. I really rate MIDNIGHT HAZE who won well LTO, and Kim Bailey will have him ripe for this. This trip may be on the short side, but he did win well over this trip at Kempton last November beating a useful field of future winners, and he will lead them all the way and not lose for lack of stamina. There are some potentially useful horse’s in this – Carrickboy, Doctor Pat, Chance Du Roy, The Rainbow Hunter – so, with the trip possibly on the short-side, MIDNIGHT HAZE is an each-way selection, especially as the early odds are 6/1 (Chandler). They have now just gone, and best available is 11/2, don’t take less!
I can’t see anything of interest at Catterick.

Selection:
Folkestone 2:35, MIDNIGHT HAZE, 1pt eachway @ 11/2 (best odds guaranteed)

Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part one)
It’s time for the first review of the antepost markets for the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.
Just about all the races have some form of antepost market prior to the meeting, but at this stage of the season, it is only the feature “championship” races that really should be focused on.
The Festival ‘opener’, the Supreme Novices looks virtually sown-up already by CUE CARD who is best-priced at 11/4. Given that last years “damp squib” Dunguib was at 6/4 this time last year on very flimsy novice hurdle formlines, providing CUE CARD goes for the race (and not the “Neptune" over 2m5f, or even the Champion Hurdle) he looks good value.
The “Arkle” is still a market being formed. I have already recommended taking the 12/1 about GHIZAO, and I still think that is an opportunity. But there are a few hands yet to be shown, and I am very interested in the potential Irish contenders, notably NOBLE PRINCE and MIKAEL D’HAGUENET.

MENORAH now heads the Champion Hurdle market where he will bid to be the first hurdler since Bula in 1971 to win the premier hurdle race the year after winning the Supreme Novices hurdle. He will not be the first to try and, in the past 20 years, 8 have tried including the likes of Brave Inca and Hors La Loi (who both went on to win the Champion Hurdle in a later attempt). By contrast, the “Neptune” hurdle over 2m5f has been won by subsequent champion hurdlers in Istabraq and Hardy Eustace, and Gold Cup winner Davy Lad. I believe that last years “Neptune” winner, PEDDLERS CROSS is a better horse, and I advised taking the 14/1 about him for the Champion hurdle before his win in the Fighting Fifth hurdle. Now just 6’s for that race, he’s still worthy of investment.
The 2011 ‘Neptune’ is still a blank canvas, as is (in some ways) the RSA Novice Chase. No doubt about it, TIME FOR RUPERT was very impressive in winning at the weekend but odds of just 4/1 leave no room for error, and I will be looking for another to carry my money
As I wrote yesterday, MASTER MINDED looks back to his best – if not better than ever! Remember, he won the 2009 Champion Chase at odds of 4/11 (and some thought he should have been more like 1/8). He looks head & shoulders better than anything over the trip and I would grab the 7/4 (2/1 with Bet365) with both hands, as if he wins his next race (likely to be at Leopardstown on 27-Dec) then he’ll be very short odds for the Champion Chase. I think that BIG ZEB who won the race last March, was flattered by the result and his official rating of OR165 that he went into the race with is a more realistic valuation of his ability than the OR174 he was awarded for winning this last year. I am very interested in FRENCH OPERA for this race at 25/1, as he would have finished 2nd or 3rd in the Champion Chase based on his run at the Festival when 2nd in the “Johnny Henderson”. He’s yet to reappear this season, but loves Cheltenham and is a proven 2-mile chaser.

Part Two of the review of Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival will be tomorrow.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors.
This blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Monday, 13 December 2010

Plumpton provides some light relief

What’s going on? It is a Monday and there is the prospect of some jump racing at Plumpton!
That said, the racing even looks fairly good for this course, with the 2m5f novice hurdle at 1:05 providing an interesting field of runners. This race has been won by some progressive sorts in recent years, and I would expect the winner if this race to go into the notebooks. Hendersons’ Skint looks a good sort, as does the Noel Chance runner Brackloon High – but the one that catches my eye is the KIND OF EASY who is a half-brother to Glencove Marina. This will be his hurdling debut and whatever he does today, put him in your notebook.
The novice chase at 1:35 looks good too. Medermit has a few questions to answer, but should be too good for these. Having more than 3 opponents should also help keep his mind on the job in hand.

Weekend racing at Cheltenham

I did not post a blog on Friday or Saturday despite the attractive meeting at Cheltenham – I spent the weekend in the beautiful town of Bath.
Even so, regular readers of the blog will not have been far wrong with a few good winners which have been pointed-out. For instance, MIDNIGHT CHASE merited the comment “unless the handicapper puts him up to over OR160 (which would mean a rise of 14lb) then he must be capable of following-up” after winning LTO. Running off OR155, the handicapper had given him a chance, which he duly took with a gutsy display. Given his fondness for Cheltenham and the bucket-loads of stamina and resolution he possesses, the Gold Cup is on the cards, (3rd pays £50,000, and 4th about £15,000), and he’s worthy of an interest in the betting without the big-3 markets.
MENORAH now looks the business in the Champion Hurdle following his win in the International Hurdle on Saturday. He ended last season on a par with PEDDLERS CROSS on the official ratings, and my immediate reaction to his win in the Supreme Novices was that he would not be good enough this season. Well, I’ve eaten humble pie over this one – but I still think that PEDDLERS CROSS will be the better horse next March, and I would not ignore the chance of the reigning champion BINOCULAR, now out to 5/1. I’ll have a think about this market and may post up some antepost advice later in the week.
MASTER MINDED looks back to his best – if not better than ever! Remember, he won the 2009 Champion Chase at odds of 4/11 (and some thought he should have been more like 1/8). He looks head & shoulders better than anything over the trip and I would grab the 7/4 (2/1 with Bet365) with both hands, as if he wins his next race (likely to be at Leopardstown on 27-Dec) then he’ll be very short odds for the Champion Chase.
POQUELIN winning the 2m5f handicap chase put him at the fore of the Ryanair market at the very generous odds of 6/1. Be honest with yourself, take a look at that market and is there anything in the race that can beat him? Master Minded will take the Champion Chase, Tranquil Sea needs it soft/heavy (and is held anyway IMO), Somersby isn’t good enough, Long Run does not handle the Cheltenham hill. There is only last year’s winner ALBERTAS RUN on 10’s who is capable.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

No racing - so some other financial advice

No jump racing today, and it looks like the next meeting that may go ahead is at Huntingdon on Thursday.

Last night, I took my monthly look over my pension funds. As an lifelong gambler, I have trust in my own judgement and so since 1998 I have managed my own pension funds. I immediately had a bit of a lucky break, as I moved my pension fund out of Equitable Life's "With Profits" funds (surely a misnomer) into their free-standing pension funds just before the company collapsed.

I started 2010 with my usual annual target - a 20% increase in my pension fund. As of last week, I hit the target for the year. Since I started "managing" my own pension, I think it has performed admirably. In 2005, I achieved a 36% increase in my pension fund. I've had a couple of years of about 10% growth, and 2008 was a bit of a stinker (but, then I wasn't paying a financial advisor 5% of my fund value for the privelege of him saying that "markets were unsteady"). Right now, my pension fund is nearly 12% greater in value than it was in the summer of 2007 when the FTSE was at 6600 (its at 5830 as of noon today, about 12% down on its peak), so, I think my judgement isn't too bad.

Generally, I measure myself against the so-called "managed funds". I reckon if I can beat those, then I'm doing alright.

What I noticed last night was that property funds are back in town. I've not been involved in property this year, but its been on an upward trend since Sept 2009 when it bottomed-out. If property can grow in a recession then, as the economy pulls itself out of the mire, there's only one way it can go - up! So, today I'm going to start moving some of my pension fund portfolio into property (about 2%, increasing to 10%).

My European funds are going sideways. Not sure why, but its probably due to the Euro and other economic woes. So, they are the funds I'm selling and moving into property.

Looking long term, I reckon that there will be significant growth in raw materials necessary for modern life - and silver is one commmodity that takes my eye. It has gone up over 200% (from US$9 to US$30 an ounce) since the autumn of 2008, and that must be because that it's many uses in modern electronics is making it more valuable. I'm looking for a fund to include in my portfolio for commodities and raw materials, and would welcome any suggestions.

Outside of Europe, as I lived and worked in Hong Kong for over 7 years in the 1990's, I always have a soft-spot for the Asian markets, and this year they have done me proud - again! They never seem to fail me. If there ever is a correction, they bounce back double quick.

I also have a chunk of my fund in smaller companies and "special situations". If you are going to make a killing in these areas, its best to get into them when the economy is downbeat (and they are relatively cheap) as when the economy turns upwards, they will outstrip the growth of the "blue-chips".

Anyone else out there who manages their own pension funds and want to swap advice?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Get the notebooks ready

Look-ahead at the week’s racing
The thaw in the weather came too late to save the Sandown “Tingle Creek” meeting on Saturday, and the race has been transferred to the Cheltenham meeting this coming Saturday (11th).

Yesterday’s re-scheduled meeting at Exeter was a brief respite for jump racing fans. Paul Nicholl’s Sanctuaire flopped again and now has lots to prove. The 4-mile h’cap chase had 8 fences omitted due to bad ground and that result is of debateable value.

Today’s planned meetings at Bangor and Musselburgh have both been abandoned. Racing planned for the rest of the week also looks dodgy . Tuesday’s jump meeting at Sedgefield has already been abandoned, and there is an inspection this afternoon for Fontwell (which may well go ahead given its proximity to the coast).

Wednesday’s jump meeting at Hexham has already been abandoned, tho’ the meeting at Leicester looks a goer (in my opinion). There is an inspection planned this morning and I would expect this to pass.

By Thursday, we should be back to normal.

In a few weeks times we will enter the most important period in the jumps racing calendar; that between Boxing Day (26th December) and Valentine’s Day (14th February) when just about every horse, that will go on to win at the coming Cheltenham Festival in March, will run. Get the notebook ready, the pencil sharpened and be ready to view the races – especially those in Ireland. Looking at the novice championship races (Arkle and RSA), I am surprised we’ve not seen the markets for these races firm-up as, by this time last year, Sizing Europe had run (and won) twice, and Weapons Amnesty had run three times (won once). It could be that we have already seen the winners of these races over fences – but we’ve not noticed them just yet.

Thanks for reading this blog to all new visitors. The blog takes a lot of effort to maintain and I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it too. If you have had a successful wager on the back of what you’ve read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites.
Thanks from Wayward Lad

Friday, 3 December 2010

Fiasco for England 2018 World Cup bid

With snow covering the country and allowing plenty of time for navel-gazing, there is much gnashing of teeth over the failure of the England 2018 World cup bid.
Not much point in trying to find blame, as the failure is in the system - lying at the feet of FIFA.
It is now fairly evident that FIFA has grown into a monster which holds too much power over world football for which it answers to no-one and no body.
We can ask for a more transparent election/selection system, but that's like trying to hold democratic elections in China - it ain't gonnna happen.
Personally, I am not too put out by England not hosting the 2018 World Cup as not having to qualify would probably have meant our national team would be weak from lack of competitive football. Losing a World Cup as the host nation would signal a mass depression over the country.
I am fairly happy about the selection of Russia as 2018 hosts, as it is a former "Eastern-block" country and the first from the east of Europe to host the tournament. The logistic issues will be the heat in the summer (it can get exceptionally hot) and the terrorist issues.
What upsets me most is that the England bid only recieved 2 votes from the 22 on offer - and one of those was from England's representative on the voting panel. Given that all 4 host candidates for 2018 were based in Europe (Spain/Portugal; Holland/Belgium; England and "winners" Russia) and the Spain/Portugal bid was really a non-starter (Spain having hosted in 1982); England really should have collected a few more votes in the opening round. It should have been a straight battle between Russia and England.
As for 2022 being awarded to Qatar - that deceision is totally bonkers! It cuts against the grain of everything the World is trying to aim for - never mind football. Taking the World Cup to Qatar is FIFA putting two fingers up to conservation and saving the planet. It is FIFA saying they support the subjugation of women. It is FIFA saying that they are religiously intollerant. It is FIFA saying that they are "for sale".

Where do we go from here?
FIFA will not change, and they are now drunk with power. If you think the decisions of yesterday were bad, now that they have got away with it they will get much worse. FIFA has become a de-facto fascist state.
FIFA has to be toppled before it turns the beautiful game into something hideously ugly.
EUFA has already agreed to expand the European Championships in 2016 from 16 nations in the finals, to 24. Why not make the tournament an "invitational"? Invite 4 non-European teams to compete - the likes of Brazil and Argentina, Ghana, Mexico, Chile and Uruguay, USA and Australia.
Create a tournament free from corruption and hidden voting practices, that supports a game that is open to all, and that brings respect back to the game.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm dreaming, of a white Christmas

Look-ahead at the week’s racing
December opens with no jump racing. The meetings at Ayr, Catterick and Plumpton have all been abandoned.

Tomorrow’s card (Thursday) at Wincanton is undergoing an inspection as I write, but conditions are deteriorating, and it is unlikely to go ahead. Have just learned that the meeting is abandoned.

Friday’s card at Exeter is doubtful, as the course is currently frozen. There is an inspection at 3pm today. The card at Sandown is also doubtful as the course is currently unraceable. There will be an inspection on Thursday morning.

Saturday’s meetings at Sandown, Chepstow and Wetherby are all in doubt. My opinion is that the Chepstow meeting is the most likely to go ahead as although it is covered in light snow (as I write on Wednesday morning), a slight thaw in temperatures would make the course raceable.

Sunday’s meeting at Kelso has already been abandoned! The meeting at Warwick is in doubt (the course is frozen and under an inch of snow).

Monday’s planned meetings at Bangor and Musselburgh are unlikely to go ahead unless there is a change in the weather.

At least I’ve not been stuck on a train overnight like those passengers at Orpington in Kent.

If you can, try and find out from websites and blogs operated by racing trainers just who is able to exercise their horses in this weather. Last winter, I noticed that those trainers who were able to gallop their horses came out best when horseracing resumed after the frozen period in early Jan-Feb earlier this year.

Unless there is a significant change in the weather, I will be taking a rest from writing the blog and will resume when racing does. How does the song go? “I’m dreaming, of a white Christmas…”

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Thanks from Wayward Lad