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Everything posted by Darran

  1. Been a disappointing couple of sessions on the back of a couple of good ones which is annoying as well as the fact the last two Nap's have both been beaten after going 3/3 on that front. It's going to be a busy Bank Holiday weekend with games on Saturday and Monday but hopefully it will be a profitable. I have 8 bets on Saturday. Previews to follow Chorley v Hartlepool Chorley got off to a solid start back at this level, but things have really gone wrong in their last two games conceding 10 goals. It seems that the high of promotion has warn off and the reality has set in. It seems they played well enough against Maidenhead, but to do that and still concede 4 goals is not good. Hartlepool being one of the teams I put up ante-post have done OK so far although their only win came at Maidenhead. They played their part in their 3-2 defeat against Bromley last time and I certainly think they are improving after their first two defeats. If Chorley continue in the same vein they have then they are going to get chances to score and although Hartlepool have been a bit too leaky at the back I am not sure Chorley are going to be up too matching them going forward. I would make Hartlepool slight favourites for this so 19/10 is a nice price. Eastleigh v Dagenham & Redbridge Dagenham were a team I struggled to get right last season and after they beat Harrogate last week I just hope it isn't going to be the same this time around. I wasn't exactly complimentary about them last week and it may surprise to see that I am tipping them up this week, but that was a good performance to put 4 past Harrogate especially as they came from 1 down and 2-1 down. Eastleigh are unbeaten in their two home games so far beating Notts County on day 1 and then drawing with Sutton, but I don't think either of those performances showed they were up too much at the moment and they have lost their 3 away games. I thought they would struggle to reach the play-offs like they did last season, but you have to wonder if they might end up being in a relegation scrap based on performances so far. For me Dagenham look stronger at the moment and at 61/25 they look over priced to me. Ebbsfleet v Notts County It's probably surprising as well to see I am so strong on Notts County this weekend, but it is clear that performances have improved having beaten Harrogate and drawing with Wrexham on Sunday. With a 6 day gap between games that should give the management team time to work with the players that would have been tricky with the Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday/Sunday schedule they have been faced with prior to this week. They looked a million miles away in the game against Barnet, but it seems they are making good progress now and they face and Ebbsfleet side who come into this having lost all 5 games so far. To be fair to them they were close at Fylde and Solihull to getting at least a point so they are capable, but their two home performances have been really bad so far and as much as I think Gary Hill will sort things out eventually Notts County should have too much for them here. Harrogate v Stockport Having put Harrogate up in their last three games and for them to let me down no doubt they will go and win this now I am opposing them, but Stockport are just too big a price for me. Harrogate might end up suffering from 2nd season syndrome and losing their last 3 is not good. Stockport looked clueless on the opening day against Maidenhead, but they have gone unbeaten since and certainly looked to have improved since then. Granted they have had a fairly kind fixture list, but they shouldn't fear playing Harrogate at the moment and at bigger than 5/2 they look a value play. Yeovil v Maidenhead I've tried opposing Yeovil a couple of times without success, but then I did do it with Ebbsfleet and Eastleigh so that was perhaps my mistake. They were really bad against Barrow in a dire game last week and that backed up my view that they aren't anything special. Alan Devonshire continues to work miracles at Maidenhead and they have had a cracking start to the season winning 3 and only losing as mentioned above to Hartlepool. For me Maidenhead will be the sort of team that Yeovil will struggle with this season and like Stockport at bigger than 5/2 they look worth a bet. Chelmsford v Welling Chelmsford have scored 4 goals in both their home games so far and it looks like they are going to be very strong at home again this season as they were last term. Away from home it hasn't gone so well although they manage to keep Havant out last week. They have already been well backed, but there is just enough in the price for me to want to get involved. I must admit Welling have done better than I thought they would so far, but Chelmsford at home ought to be too strong for them. Eastbourne v Dulwich Hamlet I might have got slightly lucky Napping Eastbourne the other week because that win over Tonbridge is their only one so far and I think they are worth opposing against a Dulwich side who are looking strong this season. They have only lost one game so far at a strong Hemel side and they are the only team to have taken points against Wealdstone so far having beaten them. They did well to come back from 2 down against a Concord side who have started the season strongly last week and they have a good chance of getting back to winning ways against a Eastbourne side struggling to win at the moment. Wimborne v Taunton Town I opposed Taunton last week and they finally managed to get a win after two very surprising defeats. That 3-2 win over Chesham was a good effort and that should be them up and running now. Wimborne are fair from the strongest side in the division and Taunton should have too much for them. Hartlepool 1pt @ 19/10 with BetVictor Dagenham & Redbridge 1pt @ 61/25 with Marathon Notts County 3pts @ 177/100 with Marathon Stockport 1pt 133/50 with Marathon Maidenhead 1pt @ 139/50 with Marathon Chelmsford 2.5pts @ 51/50 with Marathon Dulwich Hamlet 1pt @ 9/5 with BetVictor Taunton 2pts @ 121/100 with Marathon
  2. I couldn't believe Skinflint got beat again and the winner won so easy as well. Possibly the 2nd and 3rd set it up for a closer, but I think he was probably just unfortunate again. I don't think there is anything wrong with his attitude he just keeps bumping into one. I'm sure connections must be pulling their hair out. At least Teeton Power landed the spoils and Adam gave her the perfect ride, they even gifted her a few lengths lead at the start to help. It was a good bit of placing from connections as well as this was a very weak contest. I'm sure she will be back over fences and 2m4/2m6f at somewhere like Stratford should be ideal for her. Speaking of Stratford there are 3 worth backing there on Wednesday. The 2.40 sees Meldrum Lad return to handicapping and he looks well worth a bet. He was one of those I put up on Hunter Chase night and he was impressive under a cracking ride from Becky to come through late on to score. Usually those sort of tactics don't work so well round here, but there looks like there should be a decent pace on and it could well set things up for a closer. Becky is a really good jockey and her taking 3lbs off certainly doesn't do any harm. His beating of Buck Dancing at Hornby Castle has obviously worked out as great form itself and I think the form of the course and distance win is rock solid as well. Off 127 I would hardly say he is chucked in, but then this doesn't look a strong race for the grade and the 7/1 looks a good price to me. Pink Eyed Pedro could well be the main danger. Up in grade, but I do think he is in the form of his life and will enjoy this return to fences. Again he probably wouldn't want to be any higher in the handicap, but we know he's in good form and it isn't hard to see him hitting the frame again. In the 3.50 the front 3 in the betting at the time of writing are all horses who have been pointing or hunter chasing this year and there is no doubt that High Hatton is easily the best handicapped of the 3. Not only does he have the highest pointing rating of the 3, but he gets plenty of weight from them as well. He is a bet although not as strong as one as that makes him sound. The problem is he only beat 3 horses in his two wins in May so that form isn't anything special and he has always been prone to throwing a complete stinker in. Even so a mark of 85 is one that he could easily exploit and his trainer has done well with his recruits. Master Sunrise was a winner for us at Worcester last month although the form of that race has taken some massive knocks. We know he is a hard ride though and Richard Johnson is the perfect jockey for him. Given how well he ran in the 4m race at Cheltenham until he didn't stay this trip shouldn't be an issue for him, it is mainly a case of if he wants to know or not, but there is every chance he could and he might and I will be having a saver on him. Velvet Cognac ran well to finish 2nd at Fontwell and can be given a chance on that although he isn't exactly the most consistent either. Outside of that the only other one for me you can give a chance to is Scottshill who won well at Warwick in May, but around that his form has been awful so hard to know what he is going to do either. At Fontwell I am going to have a small bet on Desert Roe in the opener. Granted he hasn't had to beat many horses in his points, but it is enough to suggest he is in the best form of his life and he might be capable of winning a race like this off 95 especially as we know he handles quick ground. It could be that Black Anthem will be too hard to beat though. He beat Skinflint easily last week and gets to run off the same mark as that was over fences and this is over hurdles. Quick ground is an unknown though and he was beaten in-between his two wins so he's not bombproof as much as he's the most likely winner. Brown Bear has run OK the last twice round here, but he hardly looks well handicapped and the other 3 don't appear to have much of a chance. Bets Meldrum Lad 2.40 Stratford High Hatton 3.50 Stratford with saver on Master Sunrise Desert Roe 4.40 Fontwell
  3. 5.00 Worcester Skinflint is a horse who I have put up twice following his 2nd to Midnight Folie at Newton Abbot in June. Obviously he bumped into a well handicapped one that day as he did when he was 2nd over hurdles here last month. I thought he had a good chance to go one better on his next start, but he didn't see the trip out and I really think this 2m4f is the trip he wants. I didn't fancy him last week when he ran back at Newton Abbot as his runs on soft ground had been poor and he never travelled or jumped well, yet still managed to finish 2nd to another well handicapped Dr Newland horse. Here for me he gets his ideal conditions. He is over the right trip, on the right ground, in the right grade and there doesn't appear to be one potentially thrown in. He is well handicapped and just has been unlucky since he went back under Rules from his spell pointing and I think he can finally get the victory his performances over the last couple of months deserve. 7.30 Worcester Must admit wasn't exactly expecting to see a bet in the Mares Maiden Hurdle (7.30) so it wasn't until I was looking at the rest of the card that I spotted that Teeton Power was running in this race. She has never run over hurdles, but these brush hurdles are like mini point fences so there is no reason why she shouldn't be suited by them, indeed she might actually improve for them. I put her up at Cartmel, but she could never get an easy lead and was well beaten in the end. She then landed e/w support at Uttoxeter where she ran really well, but didn't quite see it out albeit the winner was really well handicapped. At Market Rasen earlier in the month she missed the start and obviously couldn't lead after that although she travelled well into the race before not seeing the trip out again. 2m4f round here should be up her street and as long as she doesn't blow the start again she should be able to lead. This looks on paper a really weak contest and if she does translate her pointing and chasing form to hurdles then she ought to go close.
  4. Tuesday night was a big disappointment with most of the teams I put up putting in poor performances. Thankfully my own team stopped it from being a total wipeout as Gloucester came from 2 down to beat Kidderminster 3-2. It was also satisfying because all the Asian money was for the home side and it is always nice to get one over them. Onto this weekend I have 6 bets across the weekend. Dagenham & Redbridge v Harrogate Hopefully this will be 3rd time lucky with Harrogate. It is slightly concerning that they haven't scored in either game I have tipped them up in especially as they created enough chances to have done so and they missed a penalty at 0-0 against Notts County on Tuesday night. They did then go down to 10 men as County converted their own penalty. They did though score 5 goals in their first two games so they do have goals in them and hopefully they can score some here. Peter Taylor was not happy after their 3-0 defeat to Boreham Wood on Tuesday and he was almost admitting that maybe he hasn't recruited as well as he could have done. As I touched on in my ante-post preview it seemed like they would have some money to spend over the summer, but although they had more than the summer before it also didn't look like that had a huge amount. That for me has left them lacking and they have pretty young squad. They have lost 3 of their first 4 games and Taylor would be my favourite for the first manager to be sacked in the league. I would have Harrogate as favourites here so Marathon's 15/8 makes plenty of appeal. Notts County v Wrexham I considered Dover at home to Torquay, but thought the price was probably about right in the end. Barnet were on the shortlist as well but again they look about the right price to beat Chesterfield, a team who have had a very poor start. In the end the only other bet I am having in the National League takes place on Sunday and yet again I am opposing Notts County. As mentioned above they had a bit of fortune on their side to get their first win at this level on Tuesday and they are far from the finished article. Wrexham looked much better on Tuesday crucially keeping a clean sheet and scoring the winner whilst being down to 10 men. I think Wrexham are just the sort of side County will struggle to beat this season especially at this stage of the campaign and the 21/10 about an away win is too big. Blyth Spartans v Hereford I wasn't expecting Hereford to sack their manager when I tipped up AFC Telford to beat them on Tuesday, but it certainly led to a much improved performance as they beat them 1-0. They are going up to Blyth on Saturday who have looked seriously lacking so far in their 3 games. I did put them up at Alfreton last week as they looked over priced, but they were well beaten by Alfreton in the end and not surprisingly struggled against York on Tuesday. If Hereford build on Tuesday night's performance then they ought to be winning this and 6/4 with Marathon looks acceptable. Chester v Gloucester City I am putting my own club up again to win on Saturday. As I mentioned in Tuesday's preview Gloucester's away form has been vastly superior to their home form since they have been playing in Evesham. This record has improved even more since Mike Cook took over as manager as the club have won 9 out of 10 away games since he started his reign with the only defeat at Dartford. That's some stat and as mentioned above they did really well to come back from 2 down on Tuesday. Chester have yet to lose, but they have drawn 3 of their opening 4 games and were very lucky to get a point at Kettering on Tuesday where they under-performed again. The managers weren't happy after the game and as I have mentioned before I don't think they are as strong as their ante-post price suggested they were. I think at 7/2 with BetVictor the away side are a sporting play once again to make it 10 out of 11 away wins under Cook. Curzon Ashton v Kidderminster I have to take Kiddy on again on Saturday. You shouldn't really be letting 2 goal leads slip and their defending left a lot to be desired especially for City's 2nd goal. As I mentioned in Tuesday's preview the win at Bradford Park Avenue was not likely to be a sign of better things to come and they have conceded 7 goals in their other 3 games. Curzon have made a very good start to the season and although they benefitted from playing BPA first day of the season they got solid draws at Southport and Leamington before a really good win at home to Darlington on Tuesday. They clearly have goals in them and given Kiddy's defence they will more than fancy themselves to get on the scoresheet and that might well be enough. I would certainly have them no bigger than 5/4 to win this so 159/100 looks a good price. Taunton Town v Chesham United I'm shocked by Taunton's start to the season. Having pushed Weymouth all the way last term they were fancied to do well again this term and that might still be the case, but it's been a really poor start to their season. Losing 3-0 to well fancied Gosport probably wasn't a total disaster, but losing 4-0 on Wednesday night to a Yate side who had lost 4-1 at home on the opening day certainly was. I'm sure they are going to bounce back at some point, but this is a going to be a really tough test for them. Chesham were one of my ante-post bets for the league and they have had a very good start to the season. They beat ante-post favourites Salisbury 2-0 on Saturday (who beat Gosport themselves on Tuesday night) and then won 3-1 on Tuesday against Beaconsfield. I'm not surprised they hit the ground running and they are worth backing to make it 3/3 against a Taunton side who seem to have a hangover from last season's efforts at the moment. Harrogate 2pts @ 15/8 with Marathon Wrexham 1pt @ 21/10 with Marathon Hereford 1pt @ 6/4 with Marathon Gloucester 1pt @ 7/2 with BetVictor Curzon Ashton 1pt @ 159/100 with Marathon Chesham 1pt @ 161/100 with Marathon
  5. Can’t believe how leaky Wrexham’s defence has become
  6. A great day on Saturday with 5/8 selections winning including the 3rd winning Nap of the season as well as another big price winner with Barnet. Fixtures come thick and fast at this time of year and I have another 8 bets for Tuesday night. Eastleigh v Sutton Sutton are unbeaten in their first 3 games and although in theory a draw at home to Chorley wasn't great I think they will be happy enough with that given the weather conditions. Coming off the back of wins at Hartlepool and a draw at Barnet I am sure their new manager will be very happy with how things have started. I think they can carry on their unbeaten start as Eastleigh have been unimpressive so far. Yes they beat Notts County on day 1, but that wasn't hard and they haven't been great in losses at Yeovil or Barrow. I think Eastleigh have been priced up on last seasons play-off semi-finalists rather than the current side which is a fair bit weaker. I would make Sutton favs for this and not 5/2 shots. Ebbsfleet v Yeovil In theory backing Ebbsfleet who have lost all their games so far looks risky especially as they were bad in their first two games, but they were much improved on Saturday against Fylde. Fylde only won via a penalty early on and Ebbsfleet certainly pushed them close to getting something from the game. If they can carry that on into Tuesday night they can beat a Yeovil side who still aren't really convincing me. They got another point on Saturday against Stockport, but Stockport had a lot of chances and should really have won. I think 17/10 is just on the right side of value. Harrogate v Notts County It seems odd to think Harrogate should be odds on to beat Notts County, but they should be odds on to beat Notts County. The main reason for this is because I think Harrogate will be able to take full advantage of the dodgy Notts County defence. I know Barnet won, but they didn't really exploit County's issue at defending crosses apart from when they scored the equalizer from a corner and boy did that show up how bad Notts County are at defending balls into the box. I'm surprised after that that Barnet didn't test them more, but Harrogate certainly should. The Woking manager made a point of saying that had to defend a lot of crosses into the box on Saturday against Harrogate and I can't see County keeping them out as Woking did. Harrogate were unlucky to lose as the Woking goal was a huge deflection and they will be pleased with the way they have started the season. County look a million miles away from being title contenders at the moment and it is no wonder they are as big as 22/1 for the title already, I struggle to see them turning around their fortunes here. Brackley v Kings Lynn Brackley don't look as strong as they have in the last couple of seasons and having beaten Alfreton on the opening day they have lost their next two albeit one was against title favs York on Saturday. Kings Lynn would have been disappointed about their opening day effort when being well beaten by Guiseley, but they have won their next two against Kettering and Hereford and looked decent in dong so. I don't think there is much between these two sides and certainly not the difference the bookies have them at so the value is backing the away side. Guiseley v Spennymoor Spennymoor are the Naps on Tuesday night as I really fancy them to beat Guiseley. Guiseley had two good wins to start the season, but certainly beating Bradford 5-0 wasn't that hard given how bad they are. They were brought back down to earth with a large bump on Saturday when losing 3-0 at Southport and this should be an even tougher test for them. Spennymoor have only played one game so far as their pitch isn't ready yet so they have had a break since their opening day draw at Hereford. That has to be an advantage at this time of season as Guiseley have 3 quick games in their legs and Spennymoor come into this the fresher. That is certainly part of what makes it a good bet, but I think Spennymoor are potential title contenders and if that is to be right they have to be winning games like this. Hereford v AFC Telford I initially thought Hereford would do well and they played well against Spennymoor in that 2-2 draw mentioned above, but they haven't been great in their two away games since. They beat a 9 man Gloucester last week although were lucky to do so as even with 10 men Gloucester looked the better side and then as mentioned above they were poor at Kings Lynn. It could be they will be better at home, but at this stage we can't be making assumptions like that and I think there is value in taking them on. Granted I am worried about Telford's away form as it was poor last season and they lost at Kettering on day 1, but again it is too early to say it will be an issue this season. They have been solid in their two home games beating Kidderminster and drawing against Gateshead. There is a lot of pressure on Hereford to do well this season and that might just mean their fans get frustrated if Telford can score early or keep it at 0-0. I wouldn't be having Telford at bigger than 2/1. Kettering v Chester I opposed Kettering on day 1 and they ended up beating Telford, but they have been much more like how I thought they would be in losing their next two games and they were really bad on Saturday when losing 3-0 to Darlington. I'm still not sure Chester will do as well as their ante-post odds suggest, but they are still unbeaten drawing against Boston and Altrincham before beating Farsely more comfortably than the 2-1 final score suggests. I still think Kettering will struggle and Chester should have too much for them and they look a good bet. Kidderminster v Gloucester City Obviously because I backed them I hoped Kidderminster would win on Saturday, but I also hoped they would win as I was eyeing this game up as a potential bet. The home side have not looked that great in their first two games and I certainly would not be using a 3-0 win against Bradford Park Avenue as proof that they have turned a corner. It is clear that BPA have been miles off the pace so far this season and have been the worst team in the league by someway. Gloucester have had a solid enough start to life back in the North having beaten Blyth, then that loss to Hereford before drawing with Altrincham on Saturday. Granted Gloucester weren't great, but then ever since they have been at Evesham for their home games they have struggled to get victories and it has been their away form that has been their strong point. It would not surprise me if that is the case again this season and since Mike Cook came in as manager he has made City very hard to beat and the signs are that will be the case again this season. I would have Gloucester at half the price they are and the 4/1 makes plenty of appeal Sutton 1pt @ 5/2 with Marathon Ebbsfleet 1pt @ 17/10 with Bet365 Harrogate 2pts @ 23/20 with BetVictor and Betway Kings Lynn 1pt @ 17/5 with Marathon Spennymoor 3pts @ 11/8 with Marathon AFC Telford 1pt @ 52/25 with Marathon Chester 2pts @ 67/50 with Marathon Gloucester City 1pt @ 4/1 with Betfred and BetVictor
  7. A really good day and great that I could take the knowledge from having watched Wealdstone on Tuesday to make money today. 3/3 winning naps and another big price winner today as well. No rest for the players and no rest for the tipsters at this time of year so back again for the mid week action.
  8. You have to be very careful with fans in my view. Very few have a realistic viewpoint on things. Don't forget we are talking about an ex FL club who look like they won't be going for promotion again. I am not surprised their fans are so downbeat at the moment. I think the price now is the right one.
  9. It’s a little annoying they have a new management team but it’s hard to think they are going to have much of an affect on tomorrow’s game. If kiddie can’t win tomorrow they are in serious trouble
  10. Having struggled a little on the Nap front last season it was good to go 2/2 on that front with Eastbourne winning. It was also good to get the first big priced winner of the season thanks to Aldershot and Guiseley's thrashing of Bradford Park Avenue helped make it a profitable night. 3 of the Step 3 leagues get underway on Saturday to bring us up to 6 leagues and I have 8 bets across them. Previews to follow Bromley v Torquay It was a rude awakening for Torquay fans on Tuesday night as they were hammered 3-0 by Solihull. Gary Johnson called the Torquay performance inept and the worst he has seen since he joined the club. To be fair to the players though they were playing the team who finished 2nd last season and should be a play-off side this and that is a massive step-up from a very poor National League South. This will be another very tough game for them and whilst they will have got a kick up the arse from Gary, this is a good Bromley side who might for me look stronger than Torquay. They had a very comfortable win on Tuesday against Ebbsfleet and whilst this is harder they should be shorter than 6/4 to claim another 3 points. Notts County v Barnet Notts County got their first point of the season on Tuesday when drawing with 1-1 with Stockport. It was more proof though that they are struggling to come to terms with football at this level and that a team who signed 6 players 48 hours before the season started are struggling to gel. I wasn't certain of taking them on with Eastleigh or Stockport but I think Barnet are well worth backing. Barnet have 4 points from their first 2 games and have played well in both although the concern is both their goals have come from penalties. They need to take their chances, but I think they will certainly be capable of creating a few here and for me they should be no bigger than 2/1 and probably a bit shorter than that. Barnet for me are a step-up from the two opponents County have faced so far. Woking v Harrogate Woking played well in the first half against Aldershot on Tuesday, but they weren't so good in the 2nd half and Aldershot were able to take the derby day victory. I think Woking will struggle this season and I can't understand why Harrogate aren't clear favs for this game. They were involved in a great 2-2 draw with Solihull on day 1 and then were comfortable 3-0 winners at Barrow on Tuesday. Barrow is a tough place to go and it wouldn't be a big surprise if that was their heaviest defeat at home this season. Those two performances suggest Harrogate will be up their again this season and despite Woking's win at Dagenham I still think they will be in a relegation battle. Hopefully Harrogate can make their superior quality pay. Alfreton v Blyth Spartans This is a value play for me because Alfreton have been hammered in the betting from the opening prices and Blyth have drifted out to way too big a price. Blyth lost to Gloucester on the opening day of the season and I certainly don't think they will be a play-off contender as they were last season, but then Alfreton don't look like they will be anything special either. They have flattered to deceive for the last two seasons and my initial feeling is they will be no higher than mid-table. This game is currently priced up as if it is against title contenders and relegation fodder which isn't how I have seen it at all. Blyth have also had a week off as their game against Spennymoor was called off and that means they have 90 minutes less in their legs and extra training to get things right ahead of this game. Bradford Park Avenue v Kidderminster Just before I started to write the preview for this game it was announced that BPA had sacked their manager. We usually see the odd casualty during August, but for someone to be sacked with less than a week gone of the season is highly unusual. As I wrote in the preview for their game on Tuesday they had to be really bad to lose 5-0 to Curzon and then they went and lost 5-0 again to Guiseley. It's hard to know if they have done the right thing to sack the manager or not. I guess you could give him time to turn it around, but it would seem he has recruited poorly and its going to be hard when the fixtures come so fast in August for someone else to come in and change things quickly. I'm certainly happy to back Kidderminster here. Now Kiddie haven't exactly looked great themselves and I'm not sure I would want to be backing them at 11/8 to win away at anyone else in the league, but this is the right time to be playing BPA. Kiddie have the players to hurt them even if they look a little bit short of play-off contenders at the moment and they look a good bet to win this. Braintree v Wealdstone I saw Wealdstone in action on Tuesday night when they lost 1-0 to Dulwich. They will probably consider themselves unlucky to lose as they were very much on top when Dulwich scored the only goal of the game and the continued to see plenty of the ball. The problem was they didn't really test the keeper too much during the game despite some good build up play, although Dulwich looked really solid in defence and that was a big part in them keeping a clean sheet. They both look teams capable of being play-off contenders and both look better teams than they were last season. As I mentioned in my ante-post preview I don't think Braintree will do a great deal this season and they have lost their first two games although to be fair they were tough ones against Bath and Billericay. They actually played well against Braintree going down 3-2, but that was a local derby against the team everyone in the league will want to beat. I think they will suffer a bit of a comedown in this and their squad is very inexperienced this season. They also looked weak in defence and Wealdstone should be able to take full advantage. They are a big price and I make them the Nap's of the day. Weymouth v Chelmsford I was a bit surprised that Chelmsford lost to Concord on Tuesday, but it suggests that like last season they could have issues away from home. Weymouth have put in two really good performances in their first two games back at this level beating Maidstone and drawing at home to Bath. Those suggest they will be a force to be reckoned with in NLS this season and it is hard to understand why Marathon have got them bigger than 2/1. I would have them at around 5/4 myself and they have a real chance of winning this. Merstham v Hornchurch Just one bet at Step 3 for me this weekend and although I hope Hornchurch don't win the title I certainly can see them getting their campaign off to a winning start. Merstham lost their manager and most of their squad to Kingstonian over the summer and they really are a shadow of the side who made the play-offs last season. They look likely to be struggling at the wrong end of the table given the strength of their side and Hornchurch ought to be odds on really. Bromley 1pt @ 31/20 with BetVictor Barnet 1pt @ 33/10 with BetVictor Harrogate 2pts @ 17/10 with BetVictor and Betway Blyth Spartans 1pt @ 5/1 with Boylesports (19/4 with BetVictor, 9/2 with Betfred) Kidderminster 2pts @ 11/8 with BetVictor Wealdstone 2.5pts @ 17/10 with BetVictor Weymouth 1pt @ 41/20 with Marathon Hornchurch 2pts @ 11/8 with Marathon
  11. Yeah just been alerted to that even bigger value on Hemel now.
  12. Bit of a disappointing opening day of the season with only Dulwich winning although at least they were the Naps. Telford and Boston ought to have won as should the double, but that's the way it goes sometimes. There were some interesting results and I was kicking myself for not opposing Notts County who couldn't even muster a shot on target against Eastleigh. It seems to me they are a long way from having a side being competitive at the right end of the table and as much as I would love to oppose them on Tuesday night they host a Stockport side who looked pretty poor in the live game against Maidenhead so it's hard to want to back them after that even against Notts County. There are 7 teams I do like the look off though. Solihull Moors v Torquay As I wrote in my ante-post preview I thought that Torquay were, along with Notts County, the worst value to win the title. They won their first game back at this level when beating Boreham Wood 2-1 on Saturday, but they were up against 10 men for a lot of the game which would clearly made things easier for them. This game will be a much tougher test as they face last year's runners-up. Solihull got off to a solid start at the weekend drawing 2-2 with Harrogate in an exciting game which really should have been the live TV choice. They were really hard to beat at home last season and I fully expect it to be the same this time around. I think they should be closer to even money, to beat a team they should finish above come the end of the season, than they are so at 6/5 they look worth backing. Woking v Aldershot Both teams I tipped to go down won on Saturday although that still doesn't mean they won't be in a relegation scrap and I think the odds compliers have over reacted to Woking's win at Dagenham on Saturday. I just wonder if it was a good time to face Dagenham though who have had a big change in players and look like they might take a bit of time to gel. Granted Aldershot have had an even bigger turnover, but they also have a brand new manager which means it is a bit of a different story. They held their own against title favs Fylde on Saturday and that will give them a bit of confidence in this big local derby. I'd imagine both these sides will be in a relegation scrap and therefore the 3/1 on offer about the away side looks big as I wouldn't go any bigger than 2s myself. Yeovil v Eastleigh Eastleigh face the other relegated side after beating Notts County on Saturday. It doesn't sound like they played especially well and there is every chance they faced Notts County at the right time, but they could easily be facing Yeovil at the right time as well. Granted it as only a penalty that beat them on Saturday against Barnet. They did start off well, but manager Darren Sarll mentioned after the game that it was going to be a massive learning curve for a group of players who have been forced together late on. Eastleigh are a more settled side, albeit one who looks weaker on paper than last years, but their experience at this level could prove to be the deciding factor here as it did for them on Saturday. They look a big price at 12/5. Eastbourne v Tonbridge I think Eastbourne look the best bet of the night. They held out until injury time against Billericay and although disappointing to lose so late on I would imagine Lee Bradbury was happy enough with the performance. They should be more than capable of picking up the 3 points here as I am happy to continue to take on Tonbridge. Dulwich went down to 10 men early on, but were still able to take the lead and although Tonbridge ended up with their keeper being sent off and had an outfielder in goal, but Dulwich manager Gavin Rose decided to play it safe and just hold on for the 2-1 win rather than go for the 3rd goal. It worked nicely as although Tonbridge tried to find an equaliser Dulwich saw the game out. Eastbourne look capable of improving on their poor season last time around and look an a better side than Tonbridge who may well go straight back down. The home side look a fair price at 11/8. Dorking v Hemel Hempstead Hemel were very impressive on Saturday and arguably put in the most impressive performance in the division beating Hungerford 4-1. Sammy Moore has put together a decent side and although Dorking should go well this season they are missing some key players at the moment and that could prove key in a fixture against one of the leagues better sides. Dorking beat Slough thanks to a controversial injury time goal after the linesman put his flag up for offside only to put it down again and the Slough defence had stopped. Slough can consider themselves unfortunate to have lost that and Hemel will be even stronger opposition. Marathon are way overpriced on the away win for me at 93/50. Concord v Chelmsford I got Concord wrong on Saturday as they ended up with a very comfortable 3-0 victory over Oxford City, but I am taking them on again here against a Chelmsford side who also had a 3 goal win beating Hampton 4-1. I think my problem with going with Oxford on Saturday was that I was keen to take on Concord and I didn't think Oxford were going to be as bad as they were, but I clearly overrated the Oxford side. Chelmsford are certainly much better than Oxford and I am prepared to back them here to hopefully back up my view that Concord will not do a great deal this season. I would certainly have Chelmsford as favs here and not as big as Marathon's 17/10. Bradford Park Avenue v Guiseley Just the one bet in the National League North on Tuesday. I was tempted to back Hereford to beat Gloucester as I think they will in a game where there are likely to be more away fans than home fans, but I think the price is about right so am leaving it (whilst obviously hoping Gloucester can somehow manage a win). Instead I will back Guislely at just under 6/4 to beat their Yorkshire rivals. As much as I didn't expect BPA to do much this season I certainly would not have thought they would have lost 5-0 to Curzon Ashton. Now granted their could be a positive response to that drubbing, but if you are losing 5-0 to Curzon that suggests you aren't very good. Now I would have had Guiseley as another bottom 6 side ahead of Saturday, but they were impressive in beating Kings Lynn 3-0 and with a performance like that behind them they will be full of confidence going into this. If BPA are every bit as bad as that opening day defeat suggests they are then the away side have to be backed. Solihull 1pt @ 121/100 with Marathon Aldershot 1pt @ 3/1 with BetVictor Eastleigh 1pt @ 12/5 with BetVictor Eastbourne 2pts @ 11/8 with BetVictor Hemel Hempstead 1pt @ 93/50 with Marathon Chelmsford 1pt @ 17/10 with Marathon Guiseley 1pt @ 147/100 with Marathon
  13. The first weekend of the season can be tricky for punters and it is wise to take things fairly carefully. On the other hand you are testing your view of how teams will get on throughout the season and their can be prices about teams that you think will do well that wouldn't exist later in the season. I have 6 bets on the opening day and although none of them are as lumpy as some of the prices I landed on the final day of last season it would be nice if it was just as successful! Hartlepool v Sutton Just the one bet in the National League on the first weekend. I was tempted by AFC Fylde away at Aldershot as it is the type of game they need to win if they are to be champions. The problem is it was just the type of game they failed to win last season and I would rather wait to see how they perform away from home before taking this sort of price about them. Wouldn't put anyone off backing Barnet at home to Yeovil, but they looked about the right price to me. I was desperate to oppose Notts County who look woefully under prepared going into the start of the season. The problem is I don't rate this Eastleigh squad much so I am going to sit it out. Halifax are the same as Notts County, but Ebbsfleet has be priced accordingly and I don't think there is any juice in the price. That leaves me with this match and if you have read my ante-post preview its probably no surprise that I am putting Hartlepool up to making a winning start at 11/8. They look capable of mounting a serious challenge for promotion this season having improved once Craig Hignett took over as manager last season. Now Paul Doswell has left Sutton it looks like they are in a period of transition and it might take a bit of time for them to get up and running and even then they only look capable of mid-table. Boston v Chester I think Chester are poor 2nd favs for the league. They might reach the play-offs, but I can't see them winning the league as their squad doesn't look strong enough. I know I don't pay a great deal of attention to pre-season friendlies and there is a chance that the players were taking it easy, but Chester were well beaten by FCUM on Tuesday night. One of their joint-managers had a right go at the performance after the game in an interview with the press and suggested that a win over Trafford on Saturday had papered over the cracks. It was a pretty scathing view of the team just a few days before the start of the season. It could be that the players respond to that and go and put in a performance in the first league game, but it might just be that the managers have recruited poorly. Also in 11 seasons in management they have only won their opening day fixture once and that was in 2010, they couldn't even manage it whilst they were at Salford. There has to be something in that and Boston, who look stronger than last season, could well be primed to take full advantage. It looks a pretty tough opening game and Boston will look a big price at 143/100. Kettering v AFC Telford Kettering have had a very messy summer. Their manager left in slightly mysterious circumstances and players left some claiming they hadn't been paid all the money they were promised. I think they look possible relegation candidates at this stage and they especially look worth taking on in the early part of the season. Telford's away form let them down last season and that is a slight concern, but they look to have a decent side again and they should be capable of picking up 3 points here. Oxford City v Concord Concord had a great season last time around and finished in the play-offs, but for some reason their chairman couldn't be bothered to get the ground up to National League standard so they couldn't compete in them. Like Kettering their manager Sammy Moore then left in mysterious circumstances and when he joined Hemel quite a few players left with him. They look nowhere near the side they were last season and I think they could be in for a relegation battle. City have lost their star striker to Boreham Wood and that will hurt them, but on paper they look a better side than Concord and I am happy to back them at 13/10. Tonbridge v Dulwich Dulwich look the best bet on the opening weekend. They have already been nibbled in the betting before I put them up and that doesn't surprise me at all. As I mentioned in my AP preview Gavin Rose looks to have built a good side this time around and one that can score goals which was a problem at times last season. Now their off the field issues have been sorted it looks like they are able to spend some cash which you would expect a club who can attract 3000 fans to have. Tonbridge came up through the play-offs, but it wouldn't be a big surprise if they went straight back down and I certainly think these two sides will be at opposite ends of the table come April. 13/8 looks a big price on an away win. Bath City v Braintree and Havant & Waterlooville v Welling Bath would have been a single if they had stayed odds against, but they have gone a shade of odds on so I am putting them in a double with Havant who also look a pretty solid home win. As I wrote in my AP preview Braintree look really weak going into the new season. Their budget has been slashed and they are relaying on players making the step up from leagues below. I think they won't be too far away from the relegation zone. Bath had a good season last time around and they look like being a play-off contender yet again. It's no surprise they are now odds on because they should be. Havant are one of my tips for the title and they really ought to get their season underway with 3 points. Welling look much worse than last season after finishing 3rd. Steve King has gone and after already cutting costs during last season they have done again. I think they will be lucky to finish in the top half this time around. With the double paying 2.3/1 with Marathon that looks a decent price Hartlepool 1pt @ 11/8 with BetVictor Boston 2pts @ 143/100 with Marathon AFC Telford 1pt @ 77/50 with Marathon Oxford City 1pt @ 13/10 with Betway and BetVictor Dulwich 3pts @ 13/8 with BetVictor Bath City/Havant & Waterlooville 2pts double @ 2.3/1 with Marathon
  14. I still can’t believe Buck Dancing was stuffed at Hexham in May. Still it helped the handicap mark at least and we have more than got our money back since
  15. Well I’m fairly confident Billericay or Havant will win the league but as the staking suggests it’s tough to call which one out of the two will do so.
  16.  Been waiting for Buck Dancing to run again after his very profitable win for us at Southwell last time. He beat For Jim who duly bolted up on his next start at Perth so proof that you had two very well handicapped horses as nothing got near them at Southwell. He is back over fences tomorrow and even off a 10lbs higher mark I still think he is well handicapped. As I said prior to the Southwell race I think the handicapper has underrated the Stratford run behind Earth Leader and Buck Dancing looks more like a 120 horse. Interestingly connections have stepped him up to a class 3 here and the fact he is running against a horse who finished 4th in the Summer Plate (El Terremoto) shows what a different level we are dealing with. Still he gets a lot of weight from him and El Terremoto isn't proven at this trip. Old Salt won at Cartmel on the same day as the Summer Plate and looks like he will stay this far, but I thought that race fell apart with the ground seemingly against a few. Powerful Symbol is likely to make the running and although well beaten by Ascokastar in the end at Worcester that was his first run for a while and so could come on for that. With Bells Of Ainsworth not having run since last April I think Buck Dancing has a decent chance of going in again and 7/2 is a fair price to land the 7.25, with Powerful Symbol the main danger.
  17. Just shows you that all most fans want is a successful side as like you say they all came back when the title was on the cards last season and that has obviously carried onto this season. Maybe they were a quality side in a weak league and Johnson is a superb manager as he has proven, but I just can't see them getting anywhere near to winning the league and thus at 12/1 they are awful value.
  18. It seems to come around quicker every year, but it is again that time where I try and predict the winners of 7 leagues from the National League at Step 1 to the 4 leagues now sponsored by BetVictor at Step 3. Last season was just under 20pts profit following on from the previous two seasons which were over 20pts. Only one season in the 11 seasons I have done online has seen me make a loss on the ante-post bets. I feel it right to put a disclaimer at the start. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will probably have seen it hasn't exactly been a great summer wise for me after complications with my new-born son and for obvious reasons I haven't felt quite on top of things as I would be in an ideal summer. Therefore I have to thank former member of this forum Shipsupstreets or Paul as he is also known for providing me with his intensive notes so I could get up to speed. I obviously did have some teams in mind, but certainly Step 3 was one I really needed more research on and he has saved me a lot of time. With that out of the way lets move on to the preview itself. National League Two things to note when it comes to the National League is that favourites have a pretty rotten record and that teams coming down from League 2 really struggle to go back up at the first time of asking. Cheltenham won the title and Bristol Rovers went up via the play-offs, but that is it. Notts County have to defy both those stats although I just don't understand why they are market leaders. They are a team who have had well documented off the field issues and are lucky to not have been wound up, but fortunately for fans new buyers have been found. The club have been unable to sign any players due to a transfer embargo although they have had players playing in friendlies in the hope of signing when things are sorted out. The problem is though how on earth can any wage budget been set so how does Neil Ardley know what he has got to play with so who knows how many he will be able to sign. On the pitch they have done pretty well in pre-season friendlies which did surprise me I must admit, but I stopped using them as a pointer to the season ahead long ago. They look really poor favourites for me and I just can't see them winning the title as I write this. After that it is hard to be confident about how they will go with so many unknowns, but it would be a hell of an achievement for them to win the title and they help make the market. To be fair Notts County aren't favourites with every bookie (9/1 with Betway and BetVictor who have them as 3rd in the betting) with Chesterfield and AFC Fylde heading some bookies lists although both are also as big as 9/1. Starting with Chesterfield and I can certainly see them going much closer to getting back to the Football League than they did last season. You may remember they became the draw specialists under Marten Allen which became an easy way to make money for a good few weeks. They did improve under John Sheridan and they look to have a solid squad ahead of the season. What you have to ask yourself though is they are basically attempting to do what Leyton Orient did last season and are they actually as good as them? In my view they have a lesser manager and not as strong a squad and for that reason they look play-off hopefuls rather than possible title winners. AFC Fylde were one of my bets for the title last season, but they were really frustrating. They hardly lost a game, but they continually drew games away from home that they needed to win if they were going to win the title. Dave Challinor needs to change that this season. What he also needs to change is the reliance on Danny Rowe. They have been very lucky that he hasn't had a mid-long term injury as without his goals they would struggle. They play-off final and FA Trophy Final highlighted that perfectly for me. To be fair to Challinor he has certainly tried to address that issue so it might not be as big an issue as it has been the last two seasons. The other big issue is how play-off final losers always seem to suffer from a hangover. I thought Tranmere would get away with it two seasons ago and it was their slow start which stopped them from winning the title as they were the best team in the league by a mile that season (something highlighted by the fact they went up again last season whereas Macclesfield were nearly relegated). The interesting thing with Fylde though is that winning the FA Trophy might just help them get over that hangover, because they ended the season winning a trophy rather than losing a play-off final. I will be kicking myself a bit if they did win the title, but in what is a wide open league this year I want to be backing teams at double figures and as much as I think they will be in the play-offs at least I think the juice has gone from the price. Having said I want to be backing a team at a double figure price Wrexham just creep into being 10/1 and they are my idea of the champions this season. I don't need to be telling Wrexham fans that they have been in this division for way too long and they really have had a rollercoaster of emotions trying to get out of the league including bumping in Fleetwood when they probably had their best ever season at this level. What they have really lacked in the last two seasons is goals and to a lesser fact having a manager poached from them during the season. Hopefully this season they will score plenty of goals and Bryan Hughes won't be tempted away from the Racecourse Ground. The fact their leading scorer had six last season tells a story, but Hughes has gone all out to rectify that and I really think he has. What they have been very good at is keeping the goals out at the other end of pitch and their defence has basically stayed intact which is very good news. They clearly haven't been far away from title winners the last two seasons and they now look to have the potential to be champions with the squad they have and they are my main bet. Torquay are next in the betting and I just don't get it. I know Paul has them as possible play-off contenders and they might be capable of sneaking into 7th especially as they have a superb manager in Gary Johnson who got a Cheltenham team who weren't the best squad in the league to win the title 3 years ago. Maybe he is the reason why they are so short, but I would be amazed if they won the title. Given my own side have been in the National League South the last two seasons I have watched a lot of it and the standard has been shocking especially last season. Havant and Braintree went up two seasons ago and both came straight back down last season which tells you all you need to know. Now I certainly don't think Torquay will be going down and they were certainly the best team in the division over the last two years. For Johnson to take them from where they were when he took over to winning the league in a canter was impressive stuff, but the fact the league was so bad really helped with that. Johnson hasn't added too much to that squad, but for me they are top half/outside play-off hopefuls and no more than that. Harrogate are next in and they had a surprisingly good first ever season at this level reaching the play-offs. They do actually look stronger than last time around and I do think they will be in and around the play-offs again, but they really faded in the 2nd half of the season and I have always had my doubts about Simon Weaver as a manager which for me will stop them from being possible title winners. We then come to Barnet. I was confident of them having a good season last year with them getting John Still in as manager and him then building a really promising squad. Still left at Christmas as things hadn't quite gone to plan and Darren Currie took over. What was especially frustrating was their FA Cup run showed they had serious potential in that squad last season and they were superb against Brentford in one of the best games I have seen in a long time. They also went on a decent run towards the back end of the season again showing what might have been. If Currie can get them to be consistent then they could be in for a very good season and I am tempted to go in again, but ultimately I just wonder if they might need another season before being true title candidates so I am passing at this stage. Can Solihull go one better than last season? In a word no. Fair play to Tim Flowers as although I certainly thought they shouldn't have been relegations favourites, I didn't think they would be capable of finishing 2nd. When they signed Paul McCallum from Eastleigh I thought it was a real sign of intent, but then nothing else really happened as far as really strong signings went so to me they look weaker than last season. Possible play-off contenders again, but hard to see them making that step up to winning the title. Peter Taylor's Dagenham & Redbridge are next in the betting and they certainly look a more promising prospect than at this stage last season when they had no money and looked real relegation candidates. A takeover meant money could be spent and they did enough to comfortably survive. I had them as a possible team to back at the end of last season given money was to be spent, but it then looks like they haven't actually got that much too spend as I am a bit underwhelmed by the signings. I am also doubtful about Peter Taylor being the right man for the job so I am happy to look elsewhere. Stockport finally got themselves out of the National League last season after getting the better of Chorley in a case of the slow starters (they went out to at least 25/1 for the title having been favs) beating the fast starters. They still aren't fully full time and that is always going to be a hindrance in this league. Top half maybe but hard to see anymore than that. Yeovil are also back at this level for the first time in even longer although of course coming in the other direction. Like Notts County they weren't in great shape, but their takeover happened in mid-June which has helped them. I always like a manager to have non-league experience and Darren Sarll doesn't have that. They look solid enough but I think it will be a year of mid-table obscurity for them. That's every team at 20/1 or shorter mentioned and I have two at bigger prices worth backing. First up is Hartlepool who look a massive price at 33/1. They have suffered badly with picking the wrong manager in their first two seasons at this level, but Craig Hignett looks the right man for the job and he certainly improved them when he took over last term. Based on that and the squad he has I think they should be around half that price and I expect them to have a much better season than their last two. I am also having a small investment in Bromley. One of the smaller teams in the league tend to be surprise promotion candidates and it could well be Bromley this year. They just missed out on the play-offs two years ago when a FA Trophy run got in the way a bit and then they went backwards last season finishing 14 points off the play-offs. I have however been really impressed with their signings over the summer and they look a club on the up having just opened up their brand new stand. They look to be building for life as a possible Football League club and it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if they were that in a years time. They certainly make more appeal at 25/1 than a few teams shorter than them in the betting. Some people might fancy Dover, but I think Hessenthaler needs another season to completely change them around although they maybe sniffing around the play-offs. McCallum choosing Solihull over Eastleigh spoke volumes for me and I find it hard to see them reaching the play-offs again. Gary Hill did a wonder job when he took over at Ebbsfleet last season given the off the pitch issues. They won't be getting promotion, but they should go better than their outsider tags. I can also see Boreham Wood having a better season. They really struggled last term after losing the play-off final to Tranmere last May and they look stronger this time around. Bet365 have a handicap market and I think Hartlepool getting 18 points and Bromley getting 15 points are worth a small bet e/w at 18/1. I love getting involved with the relegation market and there looks come cracking value again this year. Aldershot are odds on after being reprieved thanks to Gateshead and they will more than likely be in for another season of struggle, but make no appeal at the price. Alan Devonshire continues to defy the odds at Maidenhead and I wouldn't want to back against him doing the same again this season. I mention above that Boreham Wood should improve and I'm surprised to see Dover so short as well. Chorley could struggle, but I think they are capable of getting the right side of the line. We have the bizarre scenario of Notts County not being listed with Paddy's and Betfair and only 5/2 with BetVictor. In my view they will either go bust or be capable of surviving so I certainly wont be backing them. Another team with issues Ebbsfleet are the same price, but like Maidenhead the manager is more than capable of keeping them up. The two teams I like are Woking and Halifax. As I mention above the National League South was very low on quality last season and the bet on Braintree to come straight back down always looked like being a winner last term. Woking could well do exactly the same as them having been relegated and then winning the play-offs at the first time of asking. Granted they finished 2nd to Braintree's 7th, but I don't think there was a great deal of difference between the teams in the play-offs last season. They didn't really push Torquay close as they were only as close for so long because of Torquay's poor start before Johnson came in as manager. They don't look to have a strong side and I will be shocked if they don't struggle. They should be much shorter than 5/2 to go down. The other team I am backing is Halifax at 2/1. Jamie Fullarton resigned as manager a couple of weeks ago in very mysterious circumstances. That suggests something might not be right at the club and it is hardly ideal for your manager to leave so close to the season starting. With August being such a busy month the new manager Pete Wild who is not only going to have missed out on a pre-season, but is going to have little time in between matches to work on things and get new players in. Granted that will still give them plenty of times to sort things around, but they have a weak squad and things might not be right at the club. Also Pete Wild's knowledge of Non-League football is unlikely to be strong and he is very inexperienced. This is going to be a very tough first full time managerial job Finally I usually leave the top goalscorer market alone as it is always tricky and has seen some surprise winners, but if Danny Rowe stays fit it is almost impossible to not see him in the top 4 at the end of the season. If he was ever going to leave Fylde it would have been over the summer and given he hasn't (they don't exactly need the money) he will be there until April. Fylde will be up there and he will be scoring 20+ goals if he stays fit. Not only are BetVictor top price at 6/1, but they are also going 4 places which looks an e/w steal to me. Bet365's 11/2 first 3 is also more than acceptable. NB Notts County take over confirmed on Friday 26th July. National League South I am writing this on Thursday evening and it is probably a good thing I am as otherwise I would have had to rewrite the preview as big news came out which has changed my view point on the league a bit. I have been very keen on Havant & Waterlooville all summer. Paul Doswell was a good appointment as manager back in May and it is clear from the signings he has made that the club want to be back in the National League at the first time of asking. Given Torquay and Woking managed that last season it is very easy to see them following suit as their squad looks a cut above all bar one team in the division. Doswell has taking some Sutton players with him and I would say they look a stronger side than they did last season. I still think there is some juice in the price at 9/2. They were going to be one of my biggest ante-post bets and Billericay were just going to be savers, but all that changed when Matt Rhead was announced on Thursday evening. That is a huge signing at this level and although he isn't a prolific scorer, they have Jake Robinson for that, he will help create plenty of goals and he will be able to boss so many defences in this league. He isn't the only good signing either with the likes of Ronnie Henry also joining. Now I obviously have to mention the owner and as he calls himself joint-manager Glenn Tamplin. I really wish he wasn't anywhere near the dugout as I think he is a hindrance there having witnessed it for myself last season. That was in October before the bizarre actions off the pitch. The Non-League Paper ran a story saying they money had run out and they were up for sale and Jake Robinson left amongst others. I never really believed the story though as they still had a good squad although in the end they couldn't recover from a bad spell and even getting Robinson back wasn't enough to see them in the play-offs. I put them up as my strongest bet last season as I couldn't see them out of the 3 and obviously there is a concern that Tamplin could mess things up again, but they have the best squad in the division in what is still a weak league, Havant aside and I honestly can't see anyone else other than the above two teams winning it so I am having the same amount on both teams. Maidstone are next in the betting, but they don't excite me and I am not sure John Still is the right man for the job. No doubt Chelmsford will be up there again as they nearly always are. One year they will gain promotion, but they are going to have to attempt it via the play-offs for me. Sammy Moore left Concord in mysterious circumstances, but ended up at Hemel and has taken Concords best players with him. Concord finished 7th last season and Hemel should be play-off contenders. Bath look solid enough again and should be in and around the play-offs. Welling lost out in the play-off final, but Steve King has left and the budget cut so I can't see them finishing anywhere near the 3rd place King got them to last season. Braintree have got no chance and quotes of 12-14/1 is ludicrous. They have slashed the wage budget and signed a load of young players from leagues below. They will be nearer the relegation zone than the play-offs. Dartford blew a play-off place with a woeful end to the season, but they will be going for one again this term. I can see Eastbourne going better than their big odds suggest as they seem to be giving new manager Lee Bradbury money to invest. I am going to throw in a 3rd small e/w bet to the Havant and Billericay bets and that is my local team Dulwich Hamlet. I actually think Dulwich would have pipped Billericay to the Ryman Premier title two seasons ago had Dulwich not had to move grounds during the season. They were allowed back home half way through the season and were regularly getting crowds in the high 2000's on their return. I went to one game in January and didn't get into the ground until 30 minutes in because of the queues to get in. I am fully expecting them to be the best supported team in the division and with the off the field issues looking better they clearly have money to spend based on the players they have been signing. Gavin Rose is a superb manager and he got his eye in last season and has said he is wanting a play-off place this time around. He has signed well and although on paper they aren't as strong as Havant or Billericay I think they will be capable of pushing them close and at 20/1 they offer each/way value. National League North I have made a right mess of this division the last couple of seasons. Choosing York over Salford two years ago and then getting nowhere near with my 3 picks last season. Hopefully I can do better this time around and having initially thought York were poor favourites I am now tipping them to win the title at 5/1. Steve Watson came in during last season and steadied the ship, but he has made some impressive signings and Steve McNulty is a huge one in defence. I don't think the league looks quite as strong as it has in the last couple of seasons and they look more than capable of making that step-up from their first two disappointing seasons at this level. The main dangers for me are Spennymoor and they look a very fair price at 10/1 to go along side York in the portfolio. They would have been in the play-offs two seasons ago, but for having to play a huge number of games in the last couple of months. Then last season they lost in the play-off final to Chorley in a penalty shoot-out. The squad looks strong again and they really ought to be challenging for the title. Chester are 2nd in the betting, but I am just not sure about them this season. Johnson and Morley had an OK first season in charge, but they seem to be talking down their chances a bit and I'm not sure the squad is strong enough to be going for the title. It could be that the managers need another season to get things right. Altrincham look pretty solid again and they should be in the play-off mix. Brackley might drop back a bit as they look weaker than their last couple of seasons. Hereford have strengthened well and Marc Richards will be hoping they will be in the play-off hunt otherwise he will be out a job. Kidderminster had a poor season last time around and I don't really see it getting much better for them this time either. I backed both Boston and Southport last season and I was tempted by both again as Boston look to be better and Southport showed glimpses of how good they could be last season. They are still full time and I think with another summer behind him Liam Watson has strengthened again. I think at 20/1 they are worth a small e/w bet. Darlington also were half tempting as Alun Armstrong did a superb job at Blyth and I think he will get Darlington in the play-off hunt this time around. BetVictor Northern Premier League The only step 3 league I didn't get the winner off last season as South Shields' dreadful early away form stopped them from beating Farsley for the title and then they failed in the play-offs. They are the team to beat for sure and the signing of Jason Gilchrest was very eye-catching. The problem is with BetVictor being first up and also heavily promoting (understandably) their prices it has meant some of their big prices have long gone and it has meant that the other two bookies, Hills and 365, who have priced up the Step 3 leagues have had their card marked. South Shields are priced up at 7/4 and as much as I think they will win it I can't put them up as a single bet at that price. I do suggest sticking them in any multiple bets you do which is what I will be doing. Instead I will be putting up 3 e/w against them looking to get at least some e/w money back. Warrington have been strong the last 2 seasons in this division making the play-offs both times and Paul Carden again looks like he has built a squad that look set to challenge for the top spot. 12/1 is a big price about them. Ashton look like they have an increased budget this season and have attracted some good players from the league above and at 12/1 they look worth backing as well. The final team is Gainsborough. I thought they disappointed a bit last season, but they look to have built a decent squad and at 16/1 they look overpriced. BetVictor Southern Premier League Central BetVictor made a massive rick when putting Tamworth in at 16/1 and no I wasn't in a position to take advantage at the time. Still I think they are just about value at 4/1 with Hills and Bet365. They did pretty well in the 2nd half of last season and they have made some really impressive signings over the summer and look to have the best squad in the division. With Kettering and Kings Lynn gone this league looks weak and Tamworth look by far the most likely winners. Nuneaton nearly went bust last season, but have had investment and have signed well. They should be play-off contenders, but last season was so bad I just wonder if winning the title is beyond them and they look a bit short in the betting. Stourbridge have a new manager this season in the first time in a long time. They tried to keep with Kettering last year, but were always going to come up short. They should go well again though. Royston and Peterborough Sports warrant mentions as being possible play-off clubs as well. I am going to back a couple of others though. Now this is one bet that really has been led by Paul as I wouldn't be putting them up without him, but he fancies Bromsgrove Sporting and he has sold me on them as well. They were promoted last season and look capable of going up again this term. 16/1 is on the big side. The other team is Rushall Olympic. I put them up last year and they were a bit disappointing, but were much improved in the 2nd half of the season. I like Liam McDonald as a manger and they have a 3G pitch this term and Liam has built his side around that fact. They could pick up plenty of points at home and at 20/1 they are worth a small bet e/w. BetVictor Southern Premier League South I think this could be the most competitive section with some strong looking teams going for the title. The main bet for me are Weston-Super-Mare who are looking to bounce straight back up. They were woeful last season and deserved to go down, but they have got Scott Bartlett in as manager which I think is a good move and he has signed really impressively. I actually think they have a stronger squad than last year and would be capable of doing OK in the National League South. 10/1 looks a big price to me. Taunton nearly pipped Weymouth to the title and it is no surprise they are in single figures. They should be a play-off team again, but they don't really look like they have progressed as a squad and they might pay for that. Gosport were woeful last year, but suddenly some money seems to have been found as they have signed pretty well. They look rather short to me in the betting though. Hayes & Yeading walked to the title last season and although they have lost some players, they still look strong and should go well as should Poole. I haven't mentioned the favourites Salisbury yet and they are the 2nd team I am going to back at 5/1. They had a good first season back at this level and they look capable of progressing past Taunton who have finished above them the last two seasons. The other bet has been that Paul has pointed me in the direction off and that is Chesham. Had a season very much of two halves last time around, but the 2nd half was good. I know I say I don't pay too much attention to pre-season friendlies, but something about one of their games caught my eye. They thrashed Hampton & Richmond a couple of weeks ago and the Hampton Twitter feed mentioned Chesham were playing the game at the sort of intensity you would expect from a league game. That bodes well for the season ahead and at BetVictor's 16/1 they are worth a small e/w bet. BetVictor Isthmian Premier Division The scene of the biggest ante-post winner I have ever had as Dorking won in a canter at 33/1. I also put up Margate, Kingstonian and Enfield and they are the same 3 teams I am going to put up again this year. Margate were very average until Jay Saunders came in as manager and they improved massively. They went straight to the top of my teams to back for the following season until he then left. A few weeks later however he was back and that is huge. He has already won this league and really should still be Maidstone manager and don't forget last summer Macclesfield tried to get him. He has signed well and I would have them as favourites so 10/1 is a big price. Kingstonian had a bizarre season last time around. They were terrible, then really good climbing to 2nd and then only got 4 points in 2019 just missing out on being relegated. They have got Merstham manager Hayden Bird in and after he got them to a play-off place last season he has taking 10 of the team with him. That should be to their advantage and they look to have a squad capable of pushing for the title. Enfield also threatened to play a part in the play-offs at least, but disappointed in the end to finish mid-table. Andy Leese has kept the best of the squad though and looks to have added well to it. They really ought to be capable of being in the play-offs at the very least. Hornchurch (they have dropped the AFC now) have been backed into market leaders. They were favourites going into last season as well and looked poor ones at that. It proved to be the case as they were miles off the pace from the start. Mark Stimson came in and improved things a bit to be fair. They seem to have a bit of cash and made some decent signings, but quite why they are as short as 7/2 baffles me as I would have them in double figures myself. Outside of that Bognor, Folkestone, Carshalton and Lewes should be capable of being in the play-off hunt. Wrexham 1.5pts e/w @ 10/1 with Bet365 Hartlepool 0.75pts e/w @ 33/1 with Bet365 Bromley 0.5pts e/w @ 25/1 with Bet365, William Hill, Marathon and Betway Hartlepool 0.5pts e/w on the handicap @ 18/1with Bet365 Bromley 0.5pts e/w on the handicap @ 18/1 with Bet365 Woking to go down 2pts @ 5/2 with BetVictor, Paddy Power and Betfair Halifax to go down 1pt @ 2/1 with BetVictor Danny Rowe 1.5pts e/w to be top goalscorer @ 6/1 with BetVictor (4 places) Havant & Waterlooville 2.5pts @ 9/2 with Bet365 Billericay 2.5pts @ 5/1 with Bet365 Dulwich Hamlet 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365 York 2pts @ 5/1 with Bet365 Spennymoor 1pt e/w @ 10/1 with Bet365 Southport 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet 365 Warrington 1pt e/w @ 12/1 with Bet365 Ashton 0.75pts e/w @ 12/1 with Bet365, William Hill and BetVictor Gainsborough 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1 with Bet365 and William Hill Tamworth 2pts @ 4/1 with Bet365 and William Hill Bromsgrove 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1 with BetVictor Rushall Olympic 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365 and BetVictor Weston-Super-Mare 1pt e/w @ 10/1 with Bet365 Salisbury 1pt @ 5/1 with Bet365 Chesham 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1 with BetVictor Margate 1pts e/w @ 10/1 with Bet365 Kingstonian 0.5pts e/w @ 12/1 with BetVictor Enfield 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365 Total points - 41 NB price on Rowe now gone with BetVictor but still 11/2 with Bet365
  19. It is a busy day on Sunday with 3 races catching my eye at Newton Abbot. I'm glad Midnight Folie was an unbackable price on Thursday as I would have put her up otherwise. That defeat though means we are getting 15/8 about a horse who should be favourite. She had to do too much to soon with the battle for the lead with the 3rd and it meant she had little left on the run in to fend off the winner. She was backed heavily into 1/4 so it was clearly expected she would go in again and this race should be much more to her liking. Granted it was her smallest winning margin, but I thought her win over course and distance was her most impressive of the 3 and she should be able to get a soft lead here. What is also in her favour is it looks like she only has two viable rivals both of whom are unproven over this trip. Granted Dan Skelton knows what he is doing, but on paper it seems a strange move to run Chasma over this far. If he gets well backed though I would be worried as there winners do tend to be well backed. Chequered View seems like a more logical candidate for stepping up to this trip and he should benefit from a run over 2m at Southwell a month ago. I still think Midnight Folie is well handicapped though. I said off 85 she had at least 30lbs in hand so based on that she has 10lbs still plus her jockey takes off 7lbs. In the 5.00 I really like Ballyknock Cloud. You might remember I put him up as being well handicapped ahead of his return to rules. He was quite well backed and as all good e/w bets do ended up finishing 4th. That doesn't tell the whole story though as he got badly hampered at a crucial stage and it put him on the back foot, before he was able to stay on again. That was a class 4 like this but that was a 0-115 whereas this is a 0-105 so it is a weaker contest. Granted better luck in running I would be amazed if he doesn't go close in a race like this. Damut I'm Out plugged on for 3rd in the race Hidden Charmer just got beat in at the beginning of the month. He was a long way behind Hidden Charmer and he just couldn't go fast enough to catch the 1st 2 up, but he was only beaten just over 3L and this slightly longer trip will help. I also can't see anything being capable of what Hidden Charmer did that night in this so I am having a saver on him. Pointed And Sharp isn't without a chance and Isle Road has been well backed after winning over hurdles here last week. He's up to a new high handicap mark of 100, but for a 10yo he's relatively unexposed so I wouldn't discount him either. I put up This Breac as a small bet against Midnight Folie here last month and he helped make the running before dropping out and being well beaten. Quite how the handicapper only dropped him a lb after that I don't know. The shorter trip might actually help him although he's never run over it and we know Bryony is good on front runners. I might have to have a very small just in case bet given he's 28/1, but I think he needs to probably run in a lesser grade and ultimately it is hard to see him being up to beating Ballyknock Cloud or Damut Im Out let alone the other two I have mentioned. I have to back Skinflint again in the last. He has now bumped into 2 well handicapped horses. First off it was Midnight Folie here over fences and then Brave Helios over hurdles at Worcester. They were miles clear of the rest on both occasions and he really deserves to get his head in front and is clearly well handicapped. Alanjou is probably the biggest danger having won on both starts for Barry Brennan. They were weak races he won and he is up 10lbs, but he has been rated higher in the past so he could still be well handicapped as well. Hopefully though Skinflint can get the better of him and the rest.
  20. I must admit I am worried about the soft ground for both of these so they are only going to be small stakes bets. Boarder Breaker in the 4.15 was disappointing at Worcester, but he should be capable of better than that. The winner of the Hexham race he was 2nd in runs in the big race at Market Rasen today although having said that the form of the horses behind him hasn't really worked out. I do still think Boarder Breaker is well handicapped though and so I will chance him in the ground to get back to the form he showed in points and at Hexham. I think the favourite is the one they have to beat though who looks pretty solid. I was going to suggest a good e/w bet on Damians Dilemma as prior to the rain I thought it would be impossible to see him out of the frame. He has such a good record at Cartmel and this trip suits him much better than the 2m5f trip he was 2nd over here last time. He has run well on good to soft so hopefully soft ground wont be an issue, but it does temper enthusiasm so I won't be having as big a bet as I was. Given how much he loves the track and it isn't a strong race I am still happy to back him e/w at 11/2.
  21. 2 races of interest tomorrow starting with the 2.50. Dutch Canyon won for us at Cartmel last time and I think he can land a four timer in this. He really gutsed it out at Cartmel and because of that the handicapper has only put him up 4lbs so I think he is well handicapped off 84 still. He will no doubt try and make all as he has done in his 3 previous wins. This is a big field but there is a lot of dead wood in it and most appear to have little chance. One I am also backing in the race though is Teeton Power. She went off 11/4f for the maiden hunter chase at Cartmel in May and you might remember that I put her up for that contest. She was disappointing though and was a well beaten 6th. I think the ground might not have been ideal and I certainly want to give her another chance in a race as weak as this. She has gone to Kelly Morgan who certainly knows the time of day. The 2nd at Cheltenham last year suggests to me she has a mark she can win off. The horse who finished 7th in that Cartmel race was Stage One and he runs in this off 100. Granted there was little between them that day, but he never got into the race at all and I didn't fancy him that day either so I can't have him here. There are 3 Irish trained runners so market moves have to be watched for them. Unchago's trainer is 4-9 here so that catches the eye and Home Place was a good 2nd at Limerick on Sunday. The only other one to note for me is Next Lot who was a massive gamble at Southwell on his first start for over 2 years and his first start for Fergal O'Brien. They rarely leave their money behind when they back one of theirs so it is surprising he got beat. That was over hurdles though and he makes his chase debut here. He also gets to run off the same mark off 83 that he ran off at Southwell. He would be the one I am most worried about. Shimla Dawn also runs again in the 3.50 and this time over hurdles. Sunday was a write off after he unseated at the 3rd and the concern for me is this looks a decent enough heat for the grade. I have to back him though and he should be able to get an easy enough lead by the looks of it which will help. If the 8 stand there ground at a double figure price he is worth a small e/w bet.
  22. The 4.10 at Stratford feature's two horses I put up last time in Shimla Dawn and Robin Des People. The latter was a non-runner and so he is worth backing again here. Just to remind people why I think he is worth backing, he has had a wind op since his run at Bangor in May (his first for Fergal) and he was only just beaten despite the fact he was 6th. He won over 2m1f here on last year's Hunter Chase night and the way he stayed on that night suggests this trip will be ideal for him round here. I think he is on a fair handicap mark as well. Bet365 are 4/1 yet he is 9/4 fav with Betfair and Paddy Power and I think they are correct in putting him in as the market leader. Shimla Dawn was well beaten at Hexham in the end and in some ways the handicapper ought to have dropped him more than 2lbs, but I still think he is well handicapped. He was pestered for the lead at Hexham and he looks on paper like he will get an easier lead here and Stratford is a track that suits front runners. He is now 12/1 and at that price he is well worth taking a chance on as if he gets that easy lead he might not come back to them. The only horse I am concerned about is Arthur's Sixpence who won a point last year before finishing 2nd in a Restricted to Mistress Massini who won a couple of handicaps in January albeit off a lower mark than this. However he is unexposed and ran well in a lower grade last time in his first run over fences under rules. If he builds on that he will be a danger. In the 5.20 Hidden Charmer is back at Stratford and it is no surprise to see him drop down in trip again after what happened a couple of weeks ago. The issue this time is the presence of Regulation who also likes to get on with it. They obviously could set it up for a finisher like Atlantic Storm which is what happened to Regulation last time, but I actually think they might end up having the race between themselves. Bryony Frost and Richard Johnson are sensible jockey's and I can't see either of them getting into a strong pace battle early on. With Johnson riding it does on paper mean Hidden Charmer is 10lbs higher than he was the last day, but obviously Johnson is worth more than Shane Quinlan's 7lbs so I'm not worried about that. This isn't a strong race for the grade and I am happy to back Hidden Charmer at 11/4. At Perth Play The Ace is worth backing in the 5.00. I put him up two starts ago at Stratford as I thought the Cartmel run behind Carter McKay was better than it looked on paper and he seemed to be running himself into form. That didn't surprise me as I thought the Bowen's may have been using Hunter Chases' to get his mark down. He was well beaten in the end at Stratford, but he was much better at Cartmel in a stronger race than this last time and although you can give all the field some sort of chance I think he can come out on top.
  23. The pointers/hunter chasers going back into handicaps is proving very profitable again this summer. Would have been nice had they finished the other way round but profit is profit at the end of the day.
  24. The first race at Ffos Las is stronger than the one Bletchley Castle won at Southwell, but he is dropping down in trip which is crucial as I think he would struggle to win over 3m in this grade. It isn't certain he will get an easy lead here, but then he didn't make all the running at Southwell and it certainly won't be like Stratford where he got hindered by the standing start in a big field round a tight track. As his owner mentioned in the interview after the win his jumping seems to be improving with practice and there hasn't been a sign of him making the sort of blunder that he made at Huntingdon in the two rules runs since. That means I think he is improving and I think he's got a decent chance of being up to winning in this higher grade. Drunraven Bowl winner Pink Eyed Pedro has been backed into favouritism at the time of writing this after he won a novice hurdle at Worcester on Monday. I do think he is the main danger and I have had a saver on him at 9/4, but the nagging thing in the back of my mind is the fact he couldn't win a handicap off a much lower mark last year. He was also 4th over hurdles here two starts back off a 5lbs lower mark. That novice hurdle on Monday took little winning after the odds on favourite ran way below par so I don't think he achieved an awful lot. I do think the Chepstow win showed that he is an improved horse though as he beat the right horse easily that night so he could be up to winning off this mark, but I would have the two of them the other way round in the betting.
  25. If I didn't have BOG I would have gone in again as the more I looked at the race the more I fancied him. Great when it all falls into line like that.