Nick's Punting Diary
Nick's Punting Diary - Derby Weekend
The week’s punting starts on Tuesday in Japan and the J-League football. J-league football usually means one thing – goals.
The 2 games feature sides whose stats and form tell me we are in for a treat. I place my usual doubles of over 2.5 goals, both teams to score and, feeling optimistic, two singles and a tasty double on over 3.5 goals.
The games finish 0-0 and 1-1 respectively and I am put firmly in my place. Feeling rather sheepish I decide to keep my powder dry until Epsom’s Derby meeting starting on Friday.
Friday morning and it’s a beautiful day in Bangor. I decide to forego all other afternoon meetings with a view to cracking the card at Epsom. First up is the Fillies Group 3 and a harder puzzle you could not wish to solve. I can make a case for most of the runners. I decide to duck the race and take an extra horse in the 3.20pm Investec Mile.
Race two is the Class 2 handicap. Resurge is a 3 time C&D winner and that is good enough for me, given the idiosyncrasies of a course like Epsom. Sometimes it’s best not to over analyse and the simplistic C&D approach will do for me. I also have a small e/w on Boonga Roogeta who is a tough horse – just as well as she's making her 6th appearance in 7 weeks!
On to the Diomed Stakes at 2.45pm and I think this is between the top two in the market - Gregorian and Producer. Producer has excellent course form and Gregorian has genuine Group 1 form to his name. I can’t decide between the two so I dutch them both @7/2.
Next up is the 3.20pm Investec Mile. The night before I had pencilled in Benzanno as a possible bet, again based on his superb course form, but I have since had a really good look at this race and feel value lies elsewhere. Mr Music is very interesting at 10/1 and at bigger prices I like Lord Of The Shadows and Karam Albaari. I decide to take the 10/1 on Mr Music to win and have an each-way on Lord Of The Shadows @20/1 and Karam Albaari @25/1.
And so to the big one, the Oaks. For about two weeks it’s been Banoffee all the way for me and 8/1 looks a nice e/w price. I toy with the idea of Gertrude Versed and The Lark at bigger prices decide against it.
Onto the Listed race at 4.45pm and without hesitation I snap up the 13/2 with Hills for Well Acquainted. The final race is a minefield and I give it a swerve.
All bets are placed well ahead of race time and my work is done. This is something I choose do as it helps maintain my discipline. Bets on, shutdown laptop, walk-away. I go for a walk with my baby daughter to get her off to sleep and am I back in time for the 2.20pm.
Resurge wins the first race under a cool ride from Neil Callan and I’m on the board. Boonga Roogeta was booted to the front but was swamped with over 3 furlongs to go and went backwards at a rate of knots.
The Diomed goes according to plan and Gregorian wins well to put some more points on the board. I think this horse will get even better and is definitely one to follow. Lord Of The Shadows runs a cracker in the Investec Mile and grabs second and I manage to squeeze a bit of profit out of the race. Suddenly the Japanese League football disaster is a distant memory.
The Oaks is a great race and a fantastic one-two for Ralph Beckett. Banoffee finishes down the field and never really featured but I’m sure there will be more to come from her. This was, after all, only her third start.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, Well Acquainted wins the 4.45pm after being backed into 4/1. A great end to a fabulous day and I decide to withdraw my winnings straight away. With tomorrow being Derby day I know I’ll be betting on most of the card. Again this is something I would not have done a few years ago. Not so long ago, today’s winnings would have been tomorrow’s war chest.
On to Derby Day and again I choose to focus on the Epsom card. I’m quite keen on High Troja in the opener. A quick scan of my e-mails shows me that some highly respected people in the horse racing blogging world fancy him too. A straight win bet at 9/2 for me.
In the Listed race I back Mark Johnston’s Ifwecan. I’m a big fan of MJ and his horses are as hard as nails. Given the length of the finishing straight at Epsom, and the fact that they tend to start racing over 3f from home, I’m happy that my selection will still be in there pitching when others have cried enough. 15/2 each way seems a fair price.
The Coronation Cup is a race to watch and I fully expect St. Nicholas Abbey to win. No bet for me.
And so to the Epsom Dash. I love these big field sprints and can never resist having a crack at them. Given the size of the field and the depth of form at hand, I opt to whittle the field down to a manageable level using my simplistic C&D approach. I’m left with 4 runners. However I’m forced into a rethink after my main pick Stone Of Folca is declared a non-runner, causing the market prices to contract on my other 2 fancies Long Awaited and Captain Dunne. I abandon Plan A and move to Plan B and back Ajjaadd and Smoothtalkinrascal each way @18/1 and 16/1 respectively.
On to the Big One. Now this is tough. I want Dawn Approach to win but I can’t have 6/4 and I decide to sit this one out. The Class 2 handicap at 4.50pm looks like a really good race. I decide on First Avenue who has run well here before and, being a dual purpose performer, gets further than 1 ½ miles. As long as he’s not done for toe I’m expecting him to run well. I take the 12/1 each way.
The final race is another typical minefield and after 10 minutes going through all the runners I think I might as well don the blindfold and stick a pin in the card. I decide to leave this last one alone.
High Troja was handily placed in 4th but could make no impression on the leading trio and 4th is where he finished. Ifwecan ran a cracker until swallowed on the line to drop two places to 4th, meaning no each way pay-out. St Nick was impressive and won well.
A gamble on Smoothtalkinrascal into 7/1 made my 16/1 look like a steal. From the worst draw he was bumped on leaving the stalls and settled in virtually last place. I thought my money was done early on but he made great headway until being blocked twice in his run and finished a gallant second. With a clear passage he would have won in my opinion, but hats off to Ryan Moore for weaving his way through from a seemingly impossible position to win. Matched at 999 in-running on Betfair I’m just glad I wasn’t the one who layed him at those odds!
The Derby was an incredible race to watch. I’m not going to say anything here about Dawn Approach but Ruler Of The World was a worthy winner and surely Libertarian is a St. Leger winner in waiting.
The day’s bets are brought to a close with First Avenue finishing 5th in the mile and a half race having been held up and then mounting no sort of challenge. All in all a decent two days and I finish ahead thanks to a terrific first day. Not forgetting my Japanese nightmare on Tuesday, I have managed to squeeze a profit from the week and I am happy to leave it there.
Well. Nick certainly had a better Derby weekend than I. I was hoping for a big start to June because May was a shocking month for me. Sadly, I couldn't hjave picked my own monther in a line up, let alone a winner.
Sadly, that's the way of betting at times. It will come good in the end but it's a real pity that betting profits don't arrive in an orderly, consistent fashion!
Finally today, I've managed to negotiate an exclusive discount with one of my favourite betting membership site. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll be well aware of the high esteem in which I hold Secret Betting Club
They are celebrating their 7th birthday and to mark the occasion they've produced a lot of valuable extras for new members. Best of these, in my opinion, is a report that high;ights the best 7 tipsters they've uncovered over the last 7 years. It's an interesting read and it comes on top of all the other benefits you get as a member of the site.
You can read my full review of their service here
Best of all, if you join by midnight on Wednesday 5th June, I've secured you a 10% discount on the already very reasonable yearly membership cost. I love the service and have been a paying member for nearly all of their 7 years.
If you decide to join, you can take advantage of the 10% discount by using the following code on the order page, in the coupon code field: 9C1B48
That's all from me today but I'll be back later in the week when I will be asking for your help in determining the future direction of the site. Watch this space!
In the meantime, be lucky