Betting Articles

Whitsun Bank Holiday

Today, Nick Hardman takes a look back over his Bank Holiday Weekend of punting:

Before I begin in earnest, I want to wind the clock back a couple of years.  At that time I would wake up on a Saturday morning with a sense of bravado and a belief that today would be the day I made some serious money.

This was almost certainly down to two things - no work and loads of sport.  Come Saturday evening my feelings were usually very different and, inevitably, Sunday became “chasing” day.

Historically Saturday has not been a particularly successful punting day for me and I put that down to one thing – information overload.  Umpteen racecards, 42,000 football matches, dozens of newspaper NAPs and an inbox full of the day’s best bets.  It was little wonder that Saturday was not my most profitable day when my “shortlist” consisted of half of all the sporting events in the Universe.

Given so much information and a fear of missing that one good tip, I would invariably back far too many horses and my football selections would sit in multiples that had the bookies beaming with delight.  There would be plenty of winners, but given the sheer volume of bets I had placed I invariably ended the day out of pocket.  The word “selective” was not in my dictionary.

Things are a little different now, having learnt from my mistakes.

And so to this Saturday morning.  There will be no Racing Post and coffee while the rest of the family sleep.  No Morning Line for me today.  I’m off to Porthmadog for an all-weekend soccer tournament with my son Jack who plies his trade with Penhrhosgarnedd under 14’s (or Bangor under 14’s if you can't handle the consecutive consonants of the Welsh language!).  If the bookies had a tissue for North Wales under 14’s football matches, then backing the 0-0 half time correct score in Penrhosgarnedd under 14’s matches would pay my mortgage.  Alas they don’t and it doesn’t.  .

With my normal Saturday routine out the window we set on our merry way, just a fully-charged mobile phone as my weapon to attack the bookmakers.  With time at a premium, I have to ditch all meetings with the exception of Haydock, Chester and the Curragh.  First bet is easy.  I had decided to back Van Der Neer as soon as I read that Hughesie thinks “he’s the one they all have to beat”.  7/2 seems fair and I’m on.

Next stop is the Temple Stakes at Haydock.  I really, really want to back Sole Power.  He is one of my favourite horses in training.  Ever since winning the Nunthorpe at 100/1, the critics were quick to label him a flash-in-the pan having turned over Starspangled Banner and Kingsgate Native.  Since then he has performed with admirable consistency at Group and Listed level.  I want him to win and I think he will but I’m not sure about 2/1.  In the end PaddyPower help me make my decision with a free bet offer and I take the 2/1.

The rest of the card at Haydock looks tricky so I quickly move on to Chester.  With the exception of Bangor-On-Dee, Chester is my nearest racecourse.  The draw bias is well known to everyone and horses drawn low are over bet.  I do think course form is a big plus though.  A lot of horses just don’t handle Chester, given that they are almost always racing on the turn, and the two I fancy are Chosen Character and Dr Red Eye in the 4.15pm (both previous course winners).  Franny Norton rides Chester brilliantly so I’m happy to see him booked on Chosen Character.  Dr Red Eye races off a career high of 90 but Billy Cray takes off 3lbs (on board for his last two wins, the most recent at the Chester May meeting) and I’m sure he’ll be on the premises.  I dutch them to equal stakes at SP.

I get home from day one of the football tournament just in time for the Irish 2000 Guineas.  With Van Der Neer being backed in to 5/2 I’m feeling quite confident.  I obviously misheard Richard Hughes.  Perhaps he said “he is the one they will all beat”!  Van Der Neer is never in it and beat just 2 home.  Half an hour later and things don’t look too good as Sole Power (backed into 11/10) finishes a never nearer 4th.  I must admit though, I was very pleased to see Kingsgate Native win (another horse that has had his critics over the years).

And so to Chester.  Chosen Character (3/1F) never got going but Dr Red Eye (9/2) makes all to hold on by a neck.  A good end to a quiet punting day.

Onto Sunday and Jack is going to the tournament’s second day with a friend.  As a rule I don’t bet much horse racing on a Sunday.  It’s good to take a break now and again so I decide to plough into the La Liga matches and I fancy Barcelona (away to Espanyol) and Real Madrid (away to Real Sociedad) to turn on the style.  I use a different bank and different staking on the football.  Feeling confident I place a 15pt double on both games going over 2.5 goals, a 15pt double on both teams to score, a 15pt double on a goal in each half and finally a 10pt win on over 3.5 goals in the Real Madrid match.

I stand to win 63pts from my outlay of 55pts and I’m feeling even better when both games have a goal within the first 15 minutes.

And then it all goes quiet.

A quick check of the half-time scores shows both games are sitting at 0-1.   The Madrid match bursts into life and finishes 3-3.  A late goal for Barcelona lands one of the doubles and I end up 2pts down.  A single goal for Espanyol would have landed the full-house and a nice profit of over 60pts.  Maybe next time.

Monday starts with a text message from a friend saying that he has good information that Michael Laudrup will be the next Everton manager.  The source is a friend of a friend who works in removals in Merseyside.  The text advises me that the price is as low as 7/1 with Hills and as high as 23/1 on Betfair.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Onto the days racing and I fancy two at Redcar.  First up is Danehill Flyer in the 2.50.  The step up in trip should suit and he had a subsequent winner 19 lengths behind when second on his last start.  I’m happy to take the 11/2 e/w with Hills, given I can’t see him not being in the mix.  My only concern is that, with 16 runners set to line up, a late withdrawal would mean a payout for the only first three home.  I’m happy to take my chance though.

Second and final bet is John Gosden’s Eshitibaak in the 4.00pm also at Redcar.  Beaten ¾ length by Sir John Hawkwood last time that looks solid form in the context of this race.  I take the early morning 5/2 with Stan James.

16 runners make it to post in the 2.50pm at Redcar, ensuring 4 places are paid out - and Danehill Flyer duly finshes 5th.  Eshtibaak goes off 3/1F and finishes second.  I got a good run for my money from both selections and I have no complaints.

All in all a fairly quiet bank holiday weekend.

I’m looking forward to the Derby and Oaks next weekend and I will also be keeping a close eye on the Everton manager market!  Michael Laudrup?

I just can’t see it myself...
Back to Basics - Part 1
Nick's Punting Diary


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!