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Everything posted by Darran

  1. Sorry didn't see this before but well done with the winner.
  2. I have dealt with Wishing And Hoping in the Taunton thread so I won't repeat that here. Hazel Hill looks set to run in a point on Sunday and I have just read that the Irish hunter chase that was known as the Raymond Smith that was run at Leopardstown has another new home this year and will be run at Naas on Sunday 26th January. No doubt all the leading Irish hopes will be lining up there. Just so it is all in the same thread below is what I wrote about Wishing And Hoping. A great start to the season with a winning tip and a superb performance as well. He galloped them silly and despite jumping out to his left pretty badly at some fences the result was never really in too much doubt. This effort clearly backed up his 3 pointing victories and he is a very good horse. His trainer was quoted after the race though that Cheltenham 2020 might be a year too soon for him and I have to say at this stage I agree with him. Obviously he needs to go left handed, but I still worry about his jumping which was pretty bold at times and I can just see him coming to grief at the fence coming down the hill. Despite his age he is unexposed and as I said in the preview he had only had 3 runs over fences prior to today so there is plenty of scope for improvement to come as he gets more experience. It also suggests to me that he thinks Hazel Hill is a better horse at this stage. Speaking of which it is worth remembering he was really patient with Hazel Hill so it is no surprise to see him talking about doing the same here. For me there are two races I would target. First would be the Walrus at Haydock where the ground is often testing and as he proved at Ffos Las that would hold no worries for him. The 2nd, and it seems odd talking about the last day of the season on the first day, would be the Stratford Foxhunters. Stratford suits front runners and it would be a good building block on the way to the 2021 Foxhunters. He is 12/1 for this year's renewal and needless to say that doesn't appeal at this stage given the doubt about him actually running in the race.
  3. A great start to the season with a winning tip and a superb performance as well. He galloped them silly and despite jumping out to his left pretty badly at some fences the result was never really in too much doubt. This effort clearly backed up his 3 pointing victories and he is a very good horse. His trainer was quoted after the race though that Cheltenham 2020 might be a year too soon for him and I have to say at this stage I agree with him. Obviously he needs to go left handed, but I still worry about his jumping which was pretty bold at times and I can just see him coming to grief at the fence coming down the hill. Despite his age he is unexposed and as I said in the preview he had only had 3 runs over fences prior to today so there is plenty of scope for improvement to come as he gets more experience. It also suggests to me that he thinks Hazel Hill is a better horse at this stage. Speaking of which it is worth remembering he was really patient with Hazel Hill so it is no surprise to see him talking about doing the same here. For me there are two races I would target. First would be the Walrus at Haydock where the ground is often testing and as he proved at Ffos Las that would hold no worries for him. The 2nd, and it seems odd talking about the last day of the season on the first day, would be the Stratford Foxhunters. Stratford suits front runners and it would be a good building block on the way to the 2021 Foxhunters. He is 12/1 for this year's renewal and needless to say that doesn't appeal at this stage given the doubt about him actually running in the race. Bishops Road finished 2nd and it was a good effort from him. It clearly wasn't as good as the Cheltenham win, but it did suggest he can add to that victory at some point this season. I know it might seem a slightly odd thing to say, but I do love to find horses who could be possible winners of the 4m race on Cheltenham Hunter Chase night and given my record in that race it is something I am good at doing. Mustmeetalady goes straight to the top of this year's shortlist as he was outpaced as I thought he might be round here, but he stayed on really well and nearly got 2nd. It was a better effort than I thought he would do and he looks the perfect horse for that contest in May. I reckon Captain Cattistock will win the Fontwell hunter chase next month. Maxwell usually runs something in it and it is usually a small uncompetitive field. This was too sharp a track and trip for him and given his good run in the Southern National we know he handles Fontwell and the longer trip will also suit him there. He clearly performed well below his handicap mark here though. Buck Dancing was outclassed although I don't think he enjoyed the ground and he is better than this. If Leicester has decent ground at the end of next month then I reckon connections should target the decent hunter chase there as that could be a realistic target. I guess they might also look at Aintree for a spin round. Ultragold is going to struggle to even qualify for Aintree on this running and he would make little appeal going forward. The next race is Ludlow a week on Thursday.
  4. I had hoped that Wishing And Hoping would drift back out and he has as the money has come for Bishops Road so I am happy to put him up at 2/1. Wishing And Hoping 1pt @ 2/1 with Bet365 and pretty much everyone else.
  5. Not many games over the next two days but the two teams I backed in the FA Trophy first time around are worth backing in their replays. Atherton were unlucky to only draw in the first match against Barrow and if they had kept 11 men on the pitch I suspect they would have held on. Obviously that could be their best chance gone now they have to travel to Barrow, but I would imagine we will see plenty of changes from Barrow's win in the league on Saturday as they did in the first game. At 12/1 it seems a sporting play to me. On Wednesday Darlington host Solihull and again I am expecting Solihull to rest players especially after a tough encounter at Yeovil on Saturday. The home side again were more than a match for Solihull in the first game and I am not surprised their price has already come in a little bit. I still think though the price is too big and they are worth backing. Atherton 0.5pts 12/1 with BetVictor Darlington 1pt @ 107/50 with Marathon
  6. The new Hunter Chase season is upon us and we have just over 90 races to look forward to between now and the end of May. Last season was another profitable one and the first half of the season was the best ever run I have had. I can't promise a run like that again, but hopefully we will have another decent profit come the end. We have a cracking race to get underway on Tuesday as well. Buck Dancing - Being a hold up horse in a race which looks set to have a fair bit of pace in it could be to his advantage and he has clearly done very well since going to current connections. After a couple of false starts in hunter chases last season, he finally showed his very good pointing form when 2nd to Earth Leader at Stratford. Given how highly I regard that horse that was a good effort and connections knew they had a very well handicapped horse and he duly won a couple of handicaps at Southwell and Perth in the summer. Neither race was especially strong and the horses he beat at Perth have done little for the form since. After a well deserved break he made his return in a Ladies Open at Alnwick and was impressive in winning beating a decent yardstick in Irish Anthem by 5L. I still think a mark of 115 underrates him, but the problem is I am not sure he is going to be up to winning this and a place is the best he can hope for. Captain Cattistock - The latest purchase for David Maxwell as he looks to dominate the hunter chase season again. He has only had 7 runs over fences and at 7yo he is quite unexposed for a horse going hunter chasing. He has some strong form as he was 3rd to the Ladbrokes Trophy winner last March at Uttoxeter and he was 2nd in the Southern National at Fontwell in November when Welsh National 5th The Two Amigos was in behind. He is likely to be up there with the pace which suits his jockey although he can need plenty of driving which might not suit his jockey. Clearly has a leading chance though as we know he his fit and is likely to have Cheltenham qualification as his aim. Ultragold - You would imagine given his record over the National fences that the Aintree Foxhunters would be the target for him although he has been running in staying races of late including the Grand National last season. Having finished 3rd in last season's Becher Chase he ran in the Grand Sefton this time around and was a well beaten 7th. Laim Trott will be having just his 2nd ride under rules and has had only 21 rides in points riding just 1 winner. He might have needed the run at Aintree, but he doesn't really appeal as a likely winner for me. Bishops Road - If he repeated his thrashing of Risk A Fine at Cheltenham in May then he would have a huge chance in this. The problem for me though is that form does look rather suspect. Risk A Fine didn't handle the track or the ground and clearly ran way below par. The others in the race were a pretty poor bunch as well so as impressive as it looked I have my doubts about him. Bizarrely he ran 3 days later and took a pretty nasty fall. He ran at Dunsmore on the first day of the season and couldn't quite run down Don Bersy who had built up a massive lead. That one finished 2nd at Barbury next time out in a decent race. On the Cheltenham form he is a massive price, but I am happy to pass him over given the doubts I have about him. Mustmeetalady - Useful enough although the trip round here could be on the short side and it looks like he is being used to give Anthony O'Neill some riding practice more than anything else. I'm All Set - Has a lot to find in this field. Diligent - Couldn't win a handicap off a mark of 89 when last seen and won't be winning this. Wishing And Hoping - Has looked very good in 3 points in 2019 on his first runs since October 2017. He won the Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett in April and then finished alone at Ffos Las last month. He made the running and just kept going as the others fell away in behind. This race is much stronger but the Foxhunters has already been mentioned as a possible target for him and Alex will no doubt bid to make all, although he could have competition for that. The other question mark is his jumping as he has fallen in 2 of his 3 starts over fences back in 2016. He could be better now he is older though and he clearly has a leading chance. Summary - The 3/1 about Wishing And Hoping lasted a minute and the price has continued to tumble since. I had intended to tip him up, but I just don't think he is value at the current price. I think the front two in the market are priced about right at the moment. I don't fancy Ultragold so he certainly makes no appeal at the prices. I must admit even though I am suspect on his Cheltenham form there is a case to be made that Bishops Road should be a bit shorter than 7/1. The 25/1 about Buck Dancing didn't last long either, but as he looks more a place chance than a win chance his current price looks about right as well. So as much I would love to get involved given it has been so long since the last hunter chase, at this stage it is a no bet race for me and I will wait and see what options there are tomorrow to see if it changes. It is a fascinating opener to the season though and I am looking forward to it all starting again.
  7. Time to recap what has happened since the last update, The day after the last update Top Wood ran at Haydock and wasn't anywhere near as good as he was at Ascot the previous month. He has won in heavy ground in the past so hard to say that was the reason, but maybe he does prefer better ground than that now. I suspect it wasn't his true running though and he will do better next time. Boxing Day saw a hunter chase full of talent on paper at Down Royal although most of the big names disappointed. First thing to say is that Edwulf is not eligible for hunter chases in Britain this year and Skybet should not have him priced up. He drifted during the day and actually opened 4/1 on track before going off 3/1 joint favourite, but could only finish 3rd behind surprise winner Dylrow and Billaway. Neither feature in the betting and given the winner was a 2miler under rules you would have to think if he comes over here it will be for Aintree not Cheltenham. The 2nd was making his seasonal return and he remains unexposed so it will be interesting to see how he progresses and he reversed form big time with It Came To Pass. Coastal Tiep was pulled up at Cheltenham last year, but did finish 4th at Aintree. He was a fairly well beaten 5th here but it was a decent enough seasonal return. Black Hercules was disappointing in 6th especially as he was very well fancied compared to his stablemate Billaway. It Came To pass didn't get into the race at all and Ucello Conti was pulled up after making a mistake. He was found to be slightly lame after the race so you can put a line through his run here although I still can't see him improving on his performance last year at the age of 12. Amazingly Burning Ambition was really backed and was the other joint favourite. He unseated rider at the 6th so it was too early to know what he would have done, but I struggle to see him lining up at Cheltenham and I would imagine it will be Aintree again for him. All in all unless something comes from left field in Ireland in the next couple of months I struggle to see the Irish winning the Foxhunters this year at this stage. Given this is always one of the leading trials for the big names to be so disappointing doesn't bode well for their chances come Cheltenham. Ravished won at Cottenham again in the last point of 2019 and he did it well again although I still can't have him as a Foxhunter winner at this stage whatever the trainer says. Of more interest at Cottenham was the fact Art Mauresque won on his pointing debut for Tom Malone and Will Biddick. It was a comfortable success from Bletchley Castle and although that form will need to be improved on it was a pleasing effort. The worry at this stage is he is unproven over the Foxhunter trip and was mainly running over 2m5f under rules. To me he hadn't appeared as if he would appreciate the step up in trip so the 16/1 with Bet365 doesn't appeal at this stage and hopefully we will get to see him in more of a stamina test on his next start. He obviously still needs to qualify as well. As long as Oddschecker can be trusted last year's 2nd Shantou Flyer isn't in the betting, but the Dave Maxwell owned runner won at Larkhill today in workmanlike style. Given he was so bad on his seasonal return last year at Warwick the fact he was workmanlike wouldn't concern me although given Maxwell decided to ride at Plumpton I can't help thinking that Maxwell doesn't see him as a possible Foxhunters winner and that we may see him trying to mop up some of the minor hunter chases instead to give him more wins under rules. Hazel Hill was entered at Larkhill, but he looks like he will head to Taunton instead on Tuesday for the first hunter chase of the season. Maxwell has a couple of entries including Captain Cattistock who is a 14/1 chance for the Foxhunter. Alcala is also entered for Paul Nicholls who is a best price of 25/1 for Cheltenham. Hazill Hill's stablemate Wishing And Hoping is also entered but I would imagine he won't run if Hazel Hill does. Just to confirm as well that all my hunter chase previews for the upcoming season will be free on Punters Lounge again as per last season and the first race preview will be up tomorrow at some point. Update - Hazel Hill is not declared for Taunton.
  8. Leiston got us off to a good start on New Year's Day, but the 3pm kick offs weren't as kind and there was a small loss on the day in the end. There look to be some good bets on Saturday mainly at Step 3. Kettering v Farsley Celtic I am leaving the National League alone this weekend as it looks a tricky set of fixtures so I start with this game in the National League North which has already seen the home side being backed. Quite why they were 2/1 I don't know, but I still think there is some juice in the price. In my view they should be favourites. As I wrote last Saturday they were unbeaten under Paul Cox going into the Boston game which they were unlucky to lose. They then went to Brackley on Wednesday and got a very good point against an in form side. Farsley seem very in and out and although they beat Bradford 5-0 over Christmas they did lose both games to Guiseley. I think Kettering are the better side and I would have them around 5/4 so the 9/5 available is a big price for me. Leamington v Altrincham On the face of it Leamington are in good form having lost just 2 of their last 8 games, but they have lost George Carline who was on loan from Solihull and he was a key player in their good run of form. By all accounts he bossed the game against Gloucester on Boxing Day and without him Gloucester beat them 2-1 on Wednesday. Altrincham's overall form is good as they have only lost once in their last 9 league games, but their away form isn't as good as it should be with their win at Curzon on Boxing Day being their only away win in the league so far. They did lose at Bradford which isn't great, but prior to that they had got a very good 2-2 at Kings Lynn so it suggests they are improving on the road. I wouldn't want to chase the price down too much, but I do think the 19/10 is too big. Cheshunt v Kingstonian Into the Isthmian Premier Division and I am very keen on Kingstonian here. Their only defeat in their last 10 league games was against Bognor and they have certainly found their form compared to earlier in the season when they were drawing too many matches. They have only lost 4 league games so fr and whilst they might be a bit too far behind to be winning the title they certainly have every right to be thinking they can get into the play-offs. Meanwhile Cheshunt have only won 4 games all season and have only picked up 4 points in their last 10 games. The only points they have been picking up have been against either teams in poor form or the teams around them in the table and it is hard to see them being up to getting anything from this game against a bang in form team. Corinthian Casuals v Leatherhead Kingstonian are 4th in the 10 game form table which Leatherhead currently top having got 25 points out of a possible 30. That is some run of form and interestingly their last 7 victories have all been by a single goal including when they won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in November. What that means is they are very strong defensively whilst they are able to get the crucial goal or goals down the other end. Take out the 3-0 defeat to East Thurrock and they have only let in 4 goals in the other 9 games. Casuals have picked up 4 points in their last 2 games, but they were playing Wingate & Finchley and Cheshunt so that doesn't really amount to a great deal and this match is a big rise in class of opponent. Leatherhead look a big price at odds against. Alvechurch v Royston The BetVictor Southern Premier League Central has been pretty kind to us and hopefully Royston can add to the profits on Saturday. They should be well odds on for me to beat one of the weakest sides in the division. They did manage to win on Wednesday, but that was against Redditch who are detached at the bottom and then they only won 3-2. Royston have only lost one of their last 10 games and they have put 5 past Lowestoft and 4 past Peterborough Sports in their last 3 games. A shade of odds against looks a good bet to me. Hendon v Weston Super Mare At 90 minutes Weston were losing 2-1 to Truro on Wednesday, but 3 minutes later they were 3-2 in front as they scored 2 goals in injury time to take the points. Having beaten Taunton on Boxing Day as well Weston have now won 4 on the bounce and they finally seem to be showing the form they ought to have been showing all season. They have added to the squad in the last 2/3 weeks and they look even stronger because of it. Hendon cost us on Boxing Day when losing to Harrow and they not surprisingly lost to Chesham on New Year's Day. If Weston continue in the vein the have they ought to be making it 5 on the bounce. Kettering 2pts @ 7/4 with BetVictor Altrincham 1pt @ 19/10 with Bet365 Kingstonian 4pts @ 31/20 with BetVictor Leatherhead 3pts @ 11/8 with BetVictor Royston 3pts @ 21/20 with Marathon Weston Super Mare 2pts @ 141/100 with Marathon
  9. 3 winners on Saturday and the Nap won again although the day pretty much summed up what has been a very tough December. Kettering were well backed in the end and they were involved in a game which could have gone either way so the bet was spot on, but sadly it wasn't a winning one. There looks to be plenty of value around on New Year's Day and I have 7 bets. Torquay v Yeovil The 3 goals Yeovil gave away on Saturday against Sutton were all shocking from a defensive point of view and I certainly hope they defend better on Wednesday against a Torquay side who bounced back to form against Woking on Saturday. Having said that there was some fortune in 3 of of Torquay's goals against Woking and Woking were down to 10 men when it was only 2-1. I'm not sure we can use that match as proof they are fully out of their slump and given Yeovil gave them a 6-2 hammering on Boxing Day this is clearly going to be a much tougher game. When betting opened prior to Saturday's games Yeovil were 13/8 and that's the sort of price they should be. I think the markets have massively overreacted to Saturday's results and no way should Yeovil be as big as 5/2 to do the double over Torquay. Hampton & Richmond v Dulwich Hamlet Dulwich should be doing so much better than they are. They have a strong squad yet for some reason it just isn't happening on the pitch and they have won just one league game since August against Hungerford just before Christmas. They are massively under performing and they are in a relegation battle they ought not to be in. They lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day and Hampton have really improved in recent weeks having picked up 20 points in their last 10 games. I would make the home side a shade of odds on to win this so they look value at 13/10. Hemel Hempstead v St Albans I put up St Albans on Saturday and they could easily have won although Wealdstone scored the only goal in the game in the end. That is their only defeat in their last 6 league games and as I mentioned in that preview they have been improving in recent weeks. They ran out comfortable 2-0 winners in the Boxing Day match between these two sides and although Hemel performed better on Saturday against Slough when picking up a point, that did make it 7 league games without a win. I can't have St Albans being as big as they are and I would have them under 2/1 let alone around the 5/2 mark that they are. Boston v Kings Lynn I took a chance on Kings Lynn on Saturday because they were playing a poor team in Alfreton and in the end their class got them a point, but to me it proved that they are struggling with the injuries and the kick turnaround of games. As I mention above there wasn't much between Boston and Kettering on Saturday and fair play to Boston for putting in a performance after their tough game on Boxing Day. Boston were unlucky to lose at Kings Lynn as well and they nearly held out after playing with 10 men for most of the match. I would make them nearer even money shots to win this given the situation so at 8/5 they look a solid bet. Hereford v Kidderminster Hereford haven't won in the league since they beat Leamington on October 1st and despite a change in manger Russell Slade has made very little difference to things. He really needs to freshen up the squad as they don't look good enough at the moment. Kidderminster on the other-hand have improved for a change of manager and have been putting in some decent performances of late. In the last 4 games they have beaten Guiesley and Hereford and drawn with Altrincham. Granted they did lose at Brackley on Saturday, but they performed really well especially in the first half. Given Brackley have only lost 1 in their last 10 league games that bodes well for this match as well. It makes no sense to me how they can be as big as 13/5 as they should be at least a point shorter in my view and I make them the best bet of the day. Leiston v Needham Market I'm annoyed with myself for not putting up Leiston on Boxing Day as they were a big price to win at Lowestoft which they duly did. That backs up my thinking that they are a much improved side and I think they are the right side of value to beat Needham Market. Market have only won once in their last 7 league games (although it was a surprise win against leaders Tamworth) and they drew with a poor St Ives side on Boxing Day. Leiston have only lost once in their last 5 now and that was when they had a chest infection going through the team so I think they can pick up another 3 points here. Stratford Town v Rushall Olympic How on earth Stratford beat Hednesford when I put up Hednesford I will never know as they have been poor apart from that. In their last 10 league games they have only picked up 1 more point and that was a draw against St Ives. Rushall maybe aren't quite in the form they were at the start of the season, but they have only lost 3 of their last 10 games and they were against Tamworth, Stourbridge and Coalville so 3 of the better sides in the division. They ought to be too good for their hosts here. Yeovil 1pt @ 5/2 with Bet365 Hampton & Richmond 2pts @ 13/10 with Bet365 St Albans 2pts @ 129/50 with Marathon Boston 1pt @ 8/5 with Bet365 Kidderminster 2.5pts @ 13/5 with Betfred and William Hill Leiston 1pt @ 161/100 with Marathon Rushall Olympic 2pts @ 117/100
  10. I rarely regret bets, but I certainly made a few wrong decisions on Boxing Day, but I had such a big shortlist I had to cut some out and I left the wrong ones out. I should have known putting 5 National League bets in wasn't going to work out although at least Yeovil were easy winners to land the Nap. I have 8 bets and just some brief reasons for them due to time. Torquay v Woking Fairy self explanatory this one. Woking weren't great on Thursday either, but at 177/10 they have to be a bet against a Torquay side who are struggling really badly. Alfreton v Kings Lynn Alfreton have been well backed despite being terrible because of Kings Lynn injury issues and they had a tough game on Thursday. Still Alfreton lost 3-0 to Telford and Kings Lynn might still have too much for them so with the drift I am happy to back them. Boston v Kettering I was already planning on backing Kettering, but there has been a huge amount of money put on Boston which is crazy in my view. Boston had to play over 70 minutes on Thursday on a pitch described as a quagmire. Kettering are unbeaten in the league since Paul Cox took over and they didn't have to play on Thursday. That is a massive advantage for me and the only slight concern is Kettering had just 3 subs when they won at Alfreton last Saturday. 7/1 is way too big as I would make them about 2/1 myself. Gloucester City v AFC Telford Telford are very inconsistent, but I am happy to back them here to beat my own side. City were woeful on Thursday and were so bad that people who went to the game are being offered free entry to this match. They could barely string two passes together and I would make Telford favourites myself. Braintree v Concord I don't oppose Braintree on Thursday as I didn't trust Chelmsford, but of course in the end they ran out easy winners. Concord are in decent form and look a strong bet as I would make them odds on. Dartford vTonbridge Dartford have struggled at home all season and with Tonbridge not having played on Thursday I think there is some value in going for the away win. Wealdstone v St Albans St Albans have improved massively in recent weeks and although they play top of the table Wealdstone here I think the teams are much closer together than the odds suggest. Hungerford v Havant & Waterlooville Havant had their game called off on Saturday and I am going to try them on the -1 again. In theory they should cover this with ease and hopefully they go and prove their dominance on the pitch. Woking 2pts @ 177/100 with Marathon Kings Lynn 1pt @ 8/5 with Bet365, William Hill, Betfred and Betway Kettering 2pts @ 7/1 with Betfair, Paddy Power and BetVictor AFC Telford 1pt @ 177/100 with Marathon Concord 2.5pts @ 31/20 with Marathon Tonbridge 1pt @ 5/2 with Bet365 St Albans 1pt @ 9/2 with William Hill, Marathon, Betfred and BetVictor Havant -1 2pts @ 7/4 with Betfair and Paddy Power
  11. Probably although I rarely back a team if they have another game to play first
  12. Some wrong choices made today as teams I considered and didnt back (Leiston being the main one!) have won and the ones I have backed have been disappointing although the Naps look like winning.
  13. Saturday was not great with only Weston winning and Havant really should have covered the handicap with ease instead of only drawing which was especially frustrating. Anyway onto Boxing Day and I have 7 bets including 5 in the National League. Dagenham & Redbridge v Ebbsfleet Dagenham did manage to get pass Sutton in the FA Trophy, but they have lost 8 of their last 9 league games and as I mentioned when tipping Sutton up the 6-1 beating of Aldershot sticks out like a massive sore thumb. I just can't have Ebbsfleet as big as 13/5 for this given they have only lost one league game in their last 8. Granted they have drawn 4 of them, but they have been playing well and are unfortunate not to have picked up more wins. Chesterfield v Solihull Moors Solihull's away form nearly put me off this as it isn't as strong as it should be, but I think the Rotherham loss was to blame for the poor performance at Wrexham in their last away match and then prior to that they had picked up 7 points in their last 3 games on the road. Chesterfield beat Torquay on Saturday, but the home side pretty much gifted them the victory given they conceded in the first minute and then had a man sent off. That was their first win in 8 games and given they are playing the team I think are probably the best in the division it ought to be an away win. Dover v Bromley Bromley blew it big time on Saturday by gifting Eastleigh 3 goals and 3 wins in their last 9 league games is a bit of a concern, but it sums up the league that they are still bang in contention. I have to back them here though given Dover's poor home form which I have often spoken about on here and I would have them as favourites. Harrogate v Hartlepool Got to try again with Hartlepool after the FA Trophy game which should have been a winner. They are the better team for me and they should be wanting to prove a point after blowing a 2 goal lead. Yeovil v Torquay 6 league losses on the bounce for the away side and I just don't see how they can suddenly beat Yeovil who have lost just once in 9. It was an impressive effort to come from 2 down to draw 2-2 at Fylde on Saturday and given Torquay are conceding goals for fun at the moment I can see Yeovil's impressive strike force causing them all sorts of problems. They should be odds on for me. Guiseley v Farsley Celtic The last time I opposed the home side was when they beat Gateshead which is their only victory in 9 league games! Hopefully we can get paid out this time as I think Farsely are the better team. Their away form is the 3rd best in the division only behind the top two in the table and I was impressed with their win against a Leamington side who have been showing a fair bit of improvement. They look value at 19/10. Hendon v Harrow Borough Hendon have proved they can do well against the teams around them in recent weeks and they look a good bet to beat a Harrow side who are badly out of form. They lost 4-0 to Weston on Saturday and have only picked up one point in their last 7 games. Hendon are much better at home than away as well having lost just one of their last 5 on the own patch. Ebbsfleet 1pt @ 13/5 with Bet365 Solihull Moors 1pt @ 34/25 with Marathon Bromley 1pt @ 161/100 with Marathon Hartlepool 1pt @ 12/5 with Bet365 Yeovil 3pts @ 107/100 with Marathon Farsley Celtic 1pt @ 19/10 with Bet365 Hendon 2pts @ 129/100 with Marathon I hope everyone has a great Christmas with whatever you have planned and that we can have a profitable Boxing Day.
  14. The entries are out for Chaddesley Corbett and Shantou Flyer who was 2nd to Hazel Hill last season is also entered in the Mens Open and fingers crossed they both turn up. Shantou Flyer is still owned by Maxwell, but is now trained by Rose Loxton. Update to say that the meeting has been abandoned which is a real shame as I was looking forward to going and watching the possible clash. What we do get though is a Boxing Day thriller at Down Royal which pretty much as all the main Irish hopes set to clash.
  15. Saturday is the last day of fixtures before Christmas and the 3 National League divisions play Boxing Day, Saturday 28th, New Year’s Day and Saturday 4th. The step 3 divisions have spread their fixtures across those dates. As regards to previews there is a chance that Boxing Day tips will go up Sunday but chances are it will be Monday night. 28th tips will be be up Friday night but chances are it will be tips and no previews. New Year’s Day should be up Monday 30th at some point. Finally the 4th will most likely be up on the 3rd. Obviously a bit depends on when bookies price up but they should be up by those dates and of course they account for my plans over Christmas. Let’s hope we get some games on at the weekend and get a few quid for Christmas.
  16. Given the weather we could see a few of these called off so I will be fairly brief with the previews. Torquay v Chesterfield Both sides have been in dreadful form, but at least we know Torquay were in bad form because of the fact they had injuries. The bounced back to hammer Aldershot in the FA Trophy last weekend and that is a sign that they are ready to get their league form back on track. They should have too much to beat a Chesterfield side who continue to struggle and you have to begin to wonder if they might even go down. Sutton v Wrexham Sutton have improved although they weren't great in either FA Trophy match against Dagenham who of course had been in poor form themselves. Wrexham's first team had the Saturday off last weekend so they will be fresher coming into this given Sutton had to play the replay as well. They may have played Eastleigh and Solihull at the right time given their FA Cup exploits, but it does suggest they are about to move up the table having been bottom prior to those wins. They are the better side in my view and I make them value to win this if they can continue with their improved form. Gloucester City v Kings Lynn Been a while since Gloucester last won, but I am actually putting them up here. I mentioned in my ante-post update that Kings Lynn are struggling with injuries at the moment and they were like the walking wounded against Dover in the FA Trophy win last weekend. That could hinder their league form especially with such a busy period coming up. Even if they get something out of this I think they could be in for a tough Christmas period if the games go ahead. I'd still have them as favourites, but in the circumstances Gloucester should be shorter than 5/2. Braintree v Havant & Waterlooville Slough didn't cover the handicap a couple of weeks ago against Braintree despite the fact they were all over them. Havant should be more than capable of covering the -1 handicap given how good a side they are and it should be a comfortable away win. Cheshunt v Bowers and Pitsea 3 wins on the bounce for Bowers and Pitsea and they include impressive victories against Enfield and Folkestone. Cheshunt are nowhere near their level and they have lost 8 of their last 10 matches. The only points they have picked up have been against Merstham and Brightlingsea Regent, two teams who are also struggling. Bowers should be favourites in my view and look a big price. Harrow Borough v Weston Super Mare Harrow have just one point in their last 6 games and have lost 4 on the bounce. As I have mentioned before Weston have dropped silly points this season, but if they play as they are capable off then they should pick up 3 points here. Hitchin v Leiston I know Leiston failed to beat a 10 man Peterborough last weekend, but one of their players mentioned on Twitter after the game that a chest infection was going through the team. They should be over that now and we should see an improved performance which gives them a chance of beating a Hitchin side who have been disappointing in their last 2 games. 4 fold We get a rare chance to back Maldon & Tiptree in the league as they are playing at Tilbury on Friday night so they go in the bet. Havant just to win make up the 2nd leg. Truro are top should have no trouble picking up another 3 points against Yate. Nuneaton did lose their last home league game, but they have been superb at home on the whole and given St Ives struggled to beat Redditch last weekend it is hard to see them getting anything at Nuneaton. The bet pays 5/1 with Bet365. Torquay 2.5pts @ 107/100 with Marathon (game on) Wrexham 1pt @ 199/100 with Marathon (Game will be on as it is on a 3G pitch) Gloucester City 1pt @ 5/2 with Bet365 (game off) Havant -1 2.5pts @ 15/8 with Betfair (game on) Bowers and Pitsea 2pts @ 2/1 with BetVictor (game off) Weston Super Mare 1pt @ 34/25 with Marathon (game on) Leiston 1pt @ 137/50 with Marathon (Game off) Maldon & Tiptree/Havant/Truro/Nuneaton 1pt 4 fold @ 5/1 with Bet365 (Maldon and Truro are off)
  17. Correct and they duly went on a poor run of form after putting them up. Chances are it will be a loser although the Racing Post did tip them up at a massive price for promotion today.
  18. So with Christmas approaching I thought I would look back at the ante-post bets and try and predict who might win the titles from here. National League 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) This is looking a bit of a disaster to be honest although if Bromley can win the title then at least we will end up with a profit. Wrexham have been a disgrace and fair to say I got them badly wrong. They should be doing so much better than they are and they do seem to be finally improving, but clearly they aren't going to be winning the title. Whilst we are on getting predictions wrong Woking and Halifax have been nowhere near the bottom of the table. I usually manage to nail one of the relegated teams, but that won't be happening this season as Woking and Halifax have done much better than predicted. With Fylde not doing so well Danny Rowe hasn't been scoring many goals either and whilst you couldn't completely rule out him going on a scoring spree it is looking like that won't be a winning bet either. So can Bromley win it? I wouldn't rule it out and it has been a very odd season, but I just get the feeling they are drawing too many games to actually win the title and I wouldn't be backing them at the moment. Barrow are on an amazing run given they didn't look anything special in the early weeks of the season. That run is surely going to end at some point and as well as they are playing I just wonder if they have the depth in their squad to see it out. As they showed in the FA Trophy against Atherton the fringe players don't seem good enough to back up the 1st team and that concerns me as the games will start to pile up. At this stage I think Solihull are the most likely winners. I think the way they lost to Rotherham in the FA Cup affected them mentally against Wrexham and I wouldn't be using that result as a guide they are about to go on a bad run of form. 7/2 is probably a little on the big side in my opinion given it looks to me a 4 horse race. The other team to consider is Yeovil and it could be argued they are a bit big each-way as well. They have been in good form and I'm a bit surprised by how well they have done. They have made themselves hard to beat and I do like their front line which looks strong. Winners - Solihull with Yeovil looking e/w value National League South 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 I advised to cash out on Billericay bets once Tamplin left so at least that limited the damage there. I think Havant will still win the league and they will continue to improve as the season goes on. They have had some injury issues and will only get stronger as they come back to full fitness. I think they can catch and pass Wealdstone who had a very impressive start to the season, but there have been signs that they aren't as good as Havant and I'm not sure they will hold on to their current advantage. I can't see past one of those two winning it. Winners - Havant & Waterlooville National League North York 2pts @ 5/1 with Bet365 Spennymoor 1pt e/w @ 10/1 with Bet365 Southport 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet 365 This looks a two horse race between York and Kings Lynn. I am not surprised Kings Lynn are doing as well as they are as I was very impressed with them when I went to watch Gloucester play them earlier in the season. They haven't been beaten at home for a very long time now and that is crucial for them. My concern is they seem to be struggling a little with injuries and I don't think they have much depth in the squad. York don't have those issues and I would be surprised if they don't prove too strong for them come April. Spennymoor suffered a play-off hangover, but they have got themselves back into the play-off picture and along with Southport they both have a chance of landing the e/w money. If Spennymoor had made a better start they would be title contenders. Winners - York BetVictor Northern Premier 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 Ashton have been shocking and Gainsborough haven't been much better so those will be losers. I'd be disappointed if Warrington didn't finish in the top 3 though and they could push South Shields close. Ultimately though my thinking that South Shields would win the title before the season started is still what I think now. Winners - South Shields BetVictor Southern Premier Central 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 It's dangerous to think a team have already won the league before Christmas, but I find it hard to see Tamworth not winning the title from here to be honest so hopefully that is one winner. Bromsgrove are one of the main challengers as well so that is handy. Rushall aren't too far away, but I would be a little surprised if they were able to end up in the top 3 from here. Winners - Tamworth BetVictor Southern Premier South 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 Weston have been very frustrating. They really should be higher up the table than they are, but they have lost silly points and that has cost them. Salisbury have drawn too many games and they look too far behind as well. The winners should come from Truro, Tiverton, Chesham, Taunton and Swindon Supermarine although Poole do have a lot of games in hand. It would be great if Chesham could win it, but for me I think Truro are the most likely to stay there as they have been so consistent during the season. Taunton have recovered well after some poor results in August and they could well turn out to be the biggest dangers. Winners - Truro BetVictor Isthmian Premier 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 Until recently I though Enfield were looking likely winners, but they have suddenly forgotten how to defend and they can't stop conceding goals. They still aren't out of it, but they need to turn things around fast. I think this is the trickiest league to call as quite a few teams look in contention, but I like the look of Bognor who are 20/1 with Bet365. They had a horrid start to the season, but they have won 7 of their last 9 games and lost just one of them. They had that very impressive 7-2 over Cray last time out and that proved they are capable of closing that gap. Worthing and Folkestone could be the biggest dangers, but e/w at 20s looks too big a price to me. Winners - Bognor
  19. Yeah it’s off sometimes it takes a while for the bookies to notice a non league game is off
  20. I am sure everyone knows that Don Poli won on his pointing debut at Alnwick on Sunday and it was great to see pointing on the front page of the Racing Post.The race is up on You Tube for those who want to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51gXrX1zuQI. His price was mainly unmoved with the bookies although William Hill cut him from 33s into 25s. Visually on the whole it looked fairly impressive as he won easily and was able to eased down on the run in, but I still have concerns about him. During the race his jockey had to niggle him a couple of times to keep him interested and if he needs to do that in what was a pretty weak race run at a slow pace, then you have to be worried about what he will be like in a much better race run at a quicker pace. My feeling at this stage is that he might well thrown in the towel at Cheltenham and decide he doesn't want to know. He won by 12L, but to be honest he ought to have done given the opposition. The 2nd home was a horse called Dark Mahler who was beaten 30L by Ballotin in a Southwell Hunter Chase in May. Connections will know the northern pointing scene isn't as strong as other areas and it was a good decision to find a weaker race. The time wasn't especially quick either although the slow pace and the fact he was eased down might mean the time is a bit misleading on this occasion. I am sure Nick Pearce would have left a bit to work on and that he will find the best opportunity to make sure Don Poli qualifies for Cheltenham. He now either needs to win a point or finish 1st or 2nd in a hunters chase. At this stage though I couldn't be backing him and certainly want to see how he gets on against better opposition.
  21. Atherton v Barrow Sticking with the bet from Saturday. Been confirmed that Barrow are resting players so I think that gives us a sporting chance at the odds. Darlington v Solihull Backing Darlington again after they pushed a stronger than expected Solihull side on Saturday close. Solihull play Barrow this Saturday and that game is a lot more important than this and I would imagine it will be a weakened side that Tim Flowers puts out for the replay. Merstham v Haringey I have opposed Merstham a few times and they continue to be really poor. They lost 4-2 to Lewes on Saturday and it was another poor display. Haringey's game was off so they come into this fresher than their hosts and their league position is a bit misleading as they have only played 15 games so far and they probably should be in and around the play-offs. They should prove too strong for their hosts at the very least and odds against looks a big price. Treble Bath had to wait to see who won between Paulton and Sholing on Saturday and Sholing won 2-1. That does mean Bath didn't have a game and they should be too strong for a team 2 levels below and who have lost 8 of their 15 league games. Hednesford do look as if they are going to lose players and Chester should be able to beat them at the 2nd time of asking after a 0-0 draw on Saturday. Finally in the BetVictor Isthmian Premier Bognor Regis are looking very threatening for those teams above them in the table and they are certainly making up for a poor start to the season. A 7-2 win over Cray on Saturday was especially eye-catching and they travel to bottom of the table Bognor on Tuesday. They boost the odds of the treble to 3/1 with BetVictor Atherton 1pt @ 111/20 with Marathon Darlington 1pt @ 13/5 with BetVictor Haringey 2.5pts at 13/10 with BetVictor Bath/Chester/Bognor Regis 1pt @ 3/1 with BetVictor
  22. Time for the 2nd update after last weeks action where we saw Wishing And Hoping enter the Foxhunter picture for Hazel Hill's trainer Phil Rowley. Readers might remember the horse when he was trained by Alan King under Rules where the furthest he ran over was 2m5f, but he has shown that the Cheltenham trip shouldn't be an issue with what he has done in points in 2019. He won a couple of races at Chaddesley Corbett last season including winning the Lady Dudley Cup over 3m2f in April. Now it wasn't the strongest renewal of that race, but he did bolt up by 25L. What he did at Ffos Las was even more impressive though as he ended up being the only one to complete the course in the fastest time of the day as well. He made pretty much all and put in a perfect round of jumping. Midnight Folie who ran up a sequence earlier in the year under rules was the only one who tried to keep late on but she was well behind when pulling up at the last. The good round of jumping is important because when tried in 3 chases in 2016 he fell in two of them. Obviously that query will still be there when he does go under Rules, but he has proven he stays and handles any ground as it was testing on Sunday. His trainer reported that he could easily run at Cheltenham along with Hazel Hill and at this stage he has every right to be in the Foxhunter picture. 20/1 with Bet365 seems the right sort of price at this stage. Speaking of Hazel Hill Rowley confirmed in today's Racing Post that he is still on course to return in the race he won last year at Chaddesley Corbett on December 27th. Bet365 have now added Earth Leader at 25/1 and again that seems the right sort of price as well as we wait to see if he can prove his stamina, but as mentioned in the first post I think he is a really promising horse. Finally Don Poli skipped Wadebridge last weekend and will instead go up north to Alnwick on Sunday.
  23. The FA Trophy steps up another gear this weekend with the National League sides joining the competition, although as usual I suspect some won't want to be staying in the competition for long as they will have other matters on their mind. I am going with 6 bets in the Trophy. In the league's I have 2 singles and a double. Atherton Colleries V Barrow Barrow are surprise leaders in the National League at the moment and it isn't hard to think that with the focus being firmly on promotion that they will be putting out a weakened side here. The National League sides have to play 4 games in 9 days over Christmas and with such a busy and crucial period coming up it is easy to imagine that Ian Evatt will rest a few key players for a tie like this. That doesn't mean they won't still win, but I am not sure there is a too much depth in the side and that gives the home team a sporting chance of winning. They managed to upset Boston in the previous round and are unbeaten in their last 3 league games so they are coming into this in decent nick. I'd still make Barrow favourites, but at 6/1 if they face a weakened Barrow side then it is worth an investment. Dorking v Bromley Like Barrow I can see Bromley resting players ahead of the busy Christmas period. They got the final a couple of years ago when losing to Brackley, but they now want to get into the Football League and there is every chance this is going to be their best chance of actually winning the title given how weak and open the league looks. Dorking are having a good season in the National League South and are currently unbeaten in 5. They look over priced and even if Bromley were at full strength I wouldn't rule out them causing an upset anyway. Harrogate v Hartlepool I know Harrogate's home league form is strong, they are unbeaten in 9 and have won 7 of them, and Hartlepool had to play extra time against Exeter on Tuesday, but I still think Hartlepool are over priced at 31/10 with BetVictor. They should have held on for the win at Woking last week, but maybe Tuesday's night game crept into the players minds. They showed how good they are when beating Exeter and I think they are a better side than Harrogate. Given Dave Challinor won the Trophy with Fylde last season I think there is a strong chance he will want to try and win it again with his new club. Id have preferred if they hadn't gone to extra time on Tuesday, but I still think they are too big a price. If they are this sort of price on Boxing Day for the league version of this fixture then I will be backing them again. Maidenhead v Hemel Hempstead Town Alan Devonshire has already raised how annoyed he is with the fact the National League are making them play 4 games in 9 days and survival in the National League is probably more important than winning the FA Trophy. Hemel owe us one after a couple of surprise defeats when I put them up in recent weeks and they have lost 3 league games on the bounce. Even so I don't think there is a great deal between these two sides if Hemel play at their best as they have a good side and thus at 18/5 they are a value play here. Solihull Moors v Darlington Again like Barrow and Bromley I can see Tim Flowers resting some of the 1st team here. One line of theory is that he will want the 1st team to bounce back after losing to Wrexham last Saturday, but I think it would be more sensible to give them a longer break ahead of the busy period to come especially after the mentally tough to take loss to Rotherham in the FA Cup. Darlington proved in their FA Cup run they have a strong team on their day and they are more than capable of causing an upset especially if we see a weaker than usual Solihull side. Sutton v Dagenham & Redbridge Dagenham are in terrible form going into this tie with the 6-1 win over Aldershot sticking out like a sore thumb as they have lost their other 7 of their last 8 games. Peter Taylor must be feeling the pressure and they must surely be thinking about a change of manager if results don't improve soon. They have a tough game here though against an improving Sutton whose only defeat in their last 6 was against Bromley and they played well in that defeat. They look the best bet of the weekend to me. Leiston v Peterborough Sports The price available on Leiston is way too big for this game. As I mentioned last week they are a side who are now much better than their league position suggests. They duly bolted up against Redditch and although this is game is tougher they just shouldn't be 5/1 shots to win this. I would still make Sports favourites and they are having a good first season at this level, but the market hasn't caught up with Leiston's improved side and I am hopeful that even if we don't collect here we will get more opportunites to back them in the upcoming fixtures. Weston-Super-Mare v Wimborne Town Weston have been a bit disappointing this season and they have dropped silly points. They should really be in promotion contention and not near the relegation zone. I like the signing of Vincent Harper in the week as Gloucester had him on loan earlier in the season and I was very impressed with him. He will improve the side for sure and on paper they have a much stronger side than Wimborne. Hopefully they can make it show on the pitch. St Ives v Redditch and Swindon Supermarine v Dorchester Speaking of Redditch they have to be opposed again. They had quite a few academy players playing against Leiston and they then had another heavy defeat to Evesham in the League Cup. This is the only fixture St Ives will be odds on for all season because they aren't great either and they have only picked up 2 points in their last 9 games. This though is a must win for them and they really ought to be capable of doing so. Dorchester drew 4-4 against Gosport on Tuesday in a crazy game that Gosport were a man down for a lot of. This game is much harder for them as Swindon Supermarine are flying this season and look possible title contenders. This should be a home win and it looks a double well worth having. Atherton Colleries 1pt @ 6/1 with BetVictor Dorking 1pt @ 12/5 with BetVictor Hartlepool 1pt @ 13/10 BetVictor Hemel Hempstead Town 1pt @ 18/5 with BetVictor Darlington 1pt @ 4/1 with BetVictor Sutton 2pts @ 117/100 with Marathon Weston-Super Mare 1pt @ 34/25 with Marathon Leiston 1pt @ 5/1 with BetVictor St Ives/Swindon Supermarine 2pts double @ 1.94/1 with Marathon
  24. The Nap selection on Saturday landed with ease as Leiston hammered Redditch 6-0 and it was good to get Boreham Wood over the line as well. Slough should have been a winning bet as well as they had 20 shots to Braintree's 2 and yet could only score 1. There isn't much on this week, but I have a treble and a strong bet on Tuesday night. Alvechurch v Coalville Coalville are having a good season and were unlucky not to win on Saturday as only a late penalty gave Stourbridge a share of the points in a 1-1 draw. That means they have lost just twice in their last 10 games and they face a poor Alvechurch side who are really struggling this season after losing their manager to Stourbridge. They were well beaten by Lowestoft 4-0 on Saturday which made it 5 defeats on the bounce and they have conceded at least twice in all of them. They have only won 3 games all season and with Leiston looking set to climb the table they are going to be struggling to survive. In my view Coalville should be odds on so more than happy with the 11/10 with Bet365 and BetVictor. Treble All these 3 are home teams who look worth putting together in a treble which pays 3.2/1 with Marathon. Gosport host Dorchester who have been in awful form and they sacked their manager after losing yet again on Saturday. Truro are top of their league at the moment having lost just 3 times in 18 games. They host Merthyr and should be too strong for them. Tamworth look like they are walking away with their league and it should be another 3 points for them as they host Needham Market. Coalville 3pts @ 11/10 with Bet365 and BetVictor Gosport/Truro/Tamworth 1pt Treble @ 3.2/1 with Marathon
  25. Profitable day and I know that Boreham Wood drifted out to 3/1 so some may well have got an even bigger price. Good old Asian punters getting it horribly wrong again!