Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2011. 

Many thanks for reading my ramblings, which I started just a few months ago. I hope you enjoy the blog and my best wishes to you for a great year ahead.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Narrowing the gap in EPL

Chelsea beat Bolton, and it was a hard-fought win as predicted.  Arsenal lost another 2 points, and the shocking result of the afternoon was Liverpool losing at home to Wolves. Can anyone argue that this year the demarcation between top and bottom teams have narrowed in the Premier League? Small clubs are having a go at snatching points against these rebuilding big clubs. While it's too early to say whether the gap will keep on narrowing in the near future, what is almost certain to me is that these circumstances dictate that it would be very hard for an English team to win the Champions League this season. Some would argue that is a pretty bold prediction so early, but I really think that there is more downside punting on an English team to win the tournament at this time. So I would say stay away from such ante-post bets for now.  Maybe circumstances can change come February, where injuries and suspensions of players can play a role in affecting teams' potentials, but by then the indications and hence the punting will be clearer.

No recommendations for Thursday; no football and I haven't seen anything of value in racing. The year is really winding down!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Video replays and Chelsea to start winning?

Man City won as expected against Villa, in very cosily fashion. But the Man Utd draw at Birmingham was a reprieve for all its opponents since they should have bagged 3 points instead of just 1. The fact that none of the referees spotted the hand that led to the Birmingham goal (which might have been quite off-side as well, I will let replays decide) is quite amazing... you can bet that something like this can most certainly have an incidence on the final standings at the end of the season. In my opinion, it is quite ridiculous that FIFA and those that manage it, keep showing disdain when things like video replays and goal-line technology are suggested as a means to remove or prevent injustices like we've just seen in the game. I am not a fan of American football but I applaud that league and its managers for being willing to adopt whatever means are at their disposal for the benefit of a fair game. Sure, waiting for referees to view video replays can seem to take an eternity, but at the end of the day, they give you the fairest outcome whether you are at the winning or losing end of the replay decision. There are variations of using replays that can be used; such as for example, in tennis, players are only allowed a certain amount, or it could be up to the discretion of the linesman or referee. These can be tweaked with and refined as the experimentation of using replays or any other technology, gets adopted universally and matures. But the stance at FIFA is clearly to let the game within the hands and limited eye-sight of referees. They can't understand that referees are human and could need some assistance. So, they won't do anything to improve this part of the game and leave real football fans enraged when such injustices occur. An irresponsibility and a shame from the supposedly leaders of world football.

On Wednesday, for all its present woes, I just cannot see Chelsea losing to Bolton at the Bridge. This might be the game where they start their winning ways. Bolton have over-achieved so far this season, and they might make it a tight game at Chelsea, but the decision at the end should go to the hosts, as they are just a better team and will be hungry to avoid another negative result. A draw-no-bet on Chelsea is recommended.

Draw-no-bet: Chelsea

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tuesday football preview

Sloop JohnB came out third; hopefully some of you took a gamble on it being Placed. Arsenal thrashed Chelsea and although there's over half of the season to go, I think the Blues are out of it now. The team is really out-of-sorts and while there is no doubt that they will win soon, they've lost too many points lately to be seriously considered in the title run-in. Hard to believe, but I think Tottenham could be the main danger to the Red Devils. They are gathering wins even in least-likely circumstances like at Aston Villa where they still managed to win while playing short-handed. It's totally Man Utd's title to lose in my opinion, and they could be winning it quite handily with the way things are going.

On Tuesday, I can't see Man City losing at home to Aston Villa. The Midlands club are without their best player Ashley Young, and that is a blow to any aspirations they might have to win the match. Man City are covered in all positions, and although they seem over-reliant on Tevez, they are very dangerous at home. So Man City as draw-no-bet is the recommendation.

Draw-no-bet: Man City

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Clear advantage to Man Utd

Man Utd and Celtic both won as recommended. Celtic only scored two in the 90th minute, and this is a sign that there is a lot of room for improvement over there; you've certainly got to think twice before putting your hopes on them in the future. Man Utd are just plain sailing at the moment, and I really fancy their chances to win the title at the end. Their odds will probably be even smaller tomorrow if Chelsea fail to win. In my opinion, Chelsea will not go get 3 points at the Emirates tomorrow. But their game against Arsenal is really too close to call since both teams are very unpredictable. Any prediction on the result on my part will be pure speculation.

Only for those who really need to have a punt (excess cash from past profit!) on Monday, Sloop JohnB might be worth a look in the Southwell 13:15. I believe it will be in the first 3, but because it's a claiming race, I won't give a recommendation on it. There are no guarantees when punting on claiming or selling races because you just don't know why the horse has been entered into such races in the first place; for instance, is there a problem with the horse? There's the X-Factor of the unknown, and this throws away any past form compiled by the horse. There are obviously exceptions to this rule particularly for horses that display regular form in such races, but I try to avoid analyzing those races in general. Going back to the Southwell race, I like Sloop JohnB because it goes well on the fibresand (course and distance winner), the distance will suit perfectly, the jockey is respectable, and the horse is in good form. The ingredients are there for it to run a good race among this lot (only Matsunosuke is clearly above all on ratings, but it's never won at Southwell), but I'll abstain from a recommendation because of the reasons cited above.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Boxing Day Preview

On Boxing day football, I like Man Utd's chances at home to Sunderland. Obviously the Red Devils are in good form, and as long as they are focused and not too distracted by festivities, they should be winning this game. Last year, Sunderland gave them a major scare by almost winning this game at Old Trafford, but I don't think that this time the Black Cats are equipped to do so. They will missing some first-team players like Mensah, Cattermole and Wellbeck. This might game that Rooney starts rolling, and all the ingredients seem to be there for him to regain form. A Man Utd draw-no-bet seems a safe bet.

In Scotland, I can't see Celtic losing at home to St Johnstone. Obviously, there are no guarantees of wins with the current Celtic team, but St Johnstone are simply not good enough to cause them trouble at Parkhead. Again, a draw-no-bet on Lennon's men should be safe.

Draw-no-bet: Man Utd, Celtic

Friday, December 24, 2010


Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Hope you all have a great one celebrating with family and friends. Enjoy!

Best Wishes,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Madrid canter and Rafa is gone

Madrid annihilated Levante, which renders the return match useless in terms of results. Madrid is proving it can make easy fodder of the average Spanish team, but they become the easy prey when playing Barca. It remains to be seen whether the 0-5 thrashing they got was a one-off or really mirrors the gulf in class between the two.

The news today is that Rafa expectedly got the boot from Inter. I was watching his post-match interview last week when he imposed his 3 conditions to the Club. Quite amazing he would do that really. While I have absolutely no clue what goes on behind the Club's doors, and it's hard to justify the merits of his claims, it seems that was the best strategy for him to negotiate his exit. Anyhow, he's been on a downward spiral for a few years now; I believe it started when he started ranting against Man Utd boss Fergie at this time of the season 2 years back when his Liverpool team could not pass by the Red Devils. Since then his image of being a tactical genius was replaced by that of an under-performing ranter. I actually don't know what the Kop fans actually make of their ex-manager (since he got them the Champions League), but it's pretty obvious what the Inter fans do think. While Benitez can still be considered one of the top managers in Europe, he now comes with "baggage", and that doesn't necessarily open the door to top clubs for him.

There are no racing or football matches of note today. Holidays are really kicking in and good luck to those getting their last-minute shopping done.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday football preview

Oh darn Barcelona. Couldn't find a goal against a Bilbao team that parked the bus right in goal. A bad recommendation on my part. Copa Del Reys are like other League Cup games and the League form does not weigh much. I should have had this match as a draw-no-bet recommendation. This will be the case for the Madrid against Levante match at the Bernabeu today. Ronaldo isn't certain to play as I'm writing this, and Khadeira and Ramos are certain to miss. But Madrid have plenty of cover, and Mourinho will be keen to win this trophy particularly if Barcelona falter like yesterday. It won't be an easy game for Madrid, but I see them either winning or drawing this first leg, so a draw-no-bet on Mourinho's men  is the recommendation.

Draw-no-bet: Madrid

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday football preview

It's at this point uncertain what type of Barcelona team will play against Athletico Bilbao in their Copa Del Rey first-leg encounter at the Nou Camp today. This is the last game of the year for both teams before their winter break. Although Guardiola will probably rest some first-team members, I cannot see Barcelona lose this home match. Indications are that they will want to finish the year in style, and with their current devastating form, they should be winning this encounter hands down, unless only the B team is fielded. A Barcelona win is recommended.

Win: Barcelona

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thanks Spain and Abu Dhabi for the matches.

3 more winning recommendations this week-end, with 2 more cancelled because of the climate in Britain. Barcelona, Madrid and Inter won, while Arsenal and Celtic had their games postponed. In the form that they are in, Barcelona are just stream-rolling everybody, whether at home or on the road. Madrid were made to work for their win particularly when playing with 10 men after the sending off of Carvalho. I was never nervy as I was watching the game since I had them as draw-no-bet, which really takes the stress out of the equation; I wouldn't have been worse off if it ended in a draw. Inter won the World Club Cup, but there isn't much glory for them in that in my opinion, since the other teams were really inferior. But hey, it was easy pickings to punt on them, and punts really won't come as easily than that. It looks that the main story is what Rafa Benitez said after the game, and it will be interesting to see what transpires out of it. He seems to be in defensive mode since his failures in his later years at Liverpool.

It's too bad the weather is still wrecking havoc, with the cancelled cards and matches. Oh well, we'll have put up with it, I suppose. I don't mind, particularly when a race is still on the cards, and the main contenders are withdrawn. This calls for unforeseen value opportunities to arise among the remaining field. I'll keep you posted as I see them.

Really great that AP McCoy won the Sports Personality award. As you can tell, I don't follow much National Hunt racing, and am mainly focused on the Flat. But the way McCoy has re-written the history books is quite unbelievable. And quite a humble being too, I like that.

Have a good week!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Week-end preview

Another winner in Malpas Missile who easily won her race at Wolves.

Super week-end in football coming up as Man Utd go to Stamford Bridge. If they beat Chelsea on Sunday, I the latter part of the season. This game can end up with any score, so I won't speculate on the result.

I like Arsenal's chances against Stoke. Provided that they haven't been too affected by their Champions League draw to Barcelona, Arsenal should be edging this encounter. I recommend a draw-no-bet on them because you never know if Stoke are going to park the bus on their end, and they are pretty good at sneaking out draws.

In the Scottish Premier, I cannot see Celtic losing to Hamilton. Obviously, there are never any guaranteed away wins in this league, as even Celtic and Rangers have their travel woes. So Celtic as draw-no-bet is the recommendation.

In La Liga, I think the safe bets are to have Barcelona and Real Madrid as draw-no-bets as well. Barcelona are playing their derby game at Espanol, and although I expect Guardiola's men to prevail, derby matches are usually a catalyst for the underdogs (in this case Espanol) to over-achieve. Real Madrid should be beating an out-of-sorts Sevilla team, but again here, because Sevilla is very unpredictable, a draw-no-bet on Madrid should safely pay dividends. Mourinho's teams just never lose at home (for now at least).

Lastly, it would be miraculous if Mazembe won the World Club Cup. I just can't see it happen, Inter should be way too superior even with the absence of their playmaker Sneijder. Mazembe's best chance to lift the Cup would be to prolong the match to luck of penalty kicks. Inter as draw-no-bet should be safe.

Draw-no-bet: Arsenal, Celtic, Barcelona, Madrid, Inter

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friday Wolves preview

The recommendation on If You Whisper was good as the Iffraaj gelding won his race by a length.

Let's continue the racing predictions on Friday where I like Malpas Missile in the first race at Wolves. This filly from trainer Tom Dascombe should have too much class in this weak contest. The yard is in very good form, and unless the 3 months rest have made her lose her ability, she should be at the finish. I must admit I am not the best fan of Elusive City progenies, but the opposition here is really poor. So Malpas Missile will probably be winning this, but since she's coming back from a long layoff, a Place recommendation on her is the safe option.

Place: Malpas Missile

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday all-weather racing preview

Inter won as expected, and I think they'll go on and win the final. We'll get to that when the day comes.

On Thursday, I like the first horse on the card at Southwell. If You Whisper, the son of record-breaking first-season sire champion Iffraaj, should be in the first 2. In fact, I think he should be breaking his maiden in this race. The distance will suit and he also has the best form going in the race. Because it's his first time on fibresand, I will stick to a Place recommendation, which will be safer than an outright win. Let me explain. Although the 4 synthetic surfaces (Wolves, Lingfield, Southwell, Kempton) are tagged all-weather surfaces in England, one might think that the form on one inevitably translates to another; i.e., if a horse likes the surface at Lingfield, it is bound to like that at Southwell. From what I've seen, that is not necessarily the case. I would say Lingfield and Wolves are pretty similar, and if a horse does well on one, chances are that it will do well in the other. Southwell's fibresand is different from those two. There is definitely more kickback, and some horses who like polytrack might perform differently on the fibresand surface. Finally Kempton is different than all the other three because it is the only right-handed all-weather track. Some horses are  indifferent to the track orientation, while others will prefer one to the other (think High Chaparral who lost both his races at right-handed Longchamp). I could go on with more relatively minor differences such as draw importance etc, but the above are the most obvious. So, as you can see, all-weather form is not easily transferable from one track to another.

With that in mind, If You Whisper is a Place recommendation at Southwell.

Place: If You Whisper

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inter surely can't lose that one, can they?

Inter makes its World Club Cup entry tomorrow against South Korean team Seongnam. Surely the Italians cannot lose to the S. Koreans like the national team did in World Cup 2002, can they? There is no doubt in my mind that Inter over-achieved in winning everything last year, thanks to the genius of Mourinho. On paper, their team was less superior to the likes of European superpowers like Chelsea, Barcelona etc; yet the Special One was able to work his tactical schemes to perfection to go and win the European Cup. The fact that Rafa Benitez's team has shown such poor form this season would be down to 2 things in my opinion; Rafa has changed the team according to his playing philosophy, which is radically different from the system they worked under Mourinho. Second, once they've overachieved and subsequently won as they did, there was hardly any upside for that team to go than a downhill path. Their path to redemption lays on first securing the World Club Cup, and as importantly for the manager, failure to win that Cup would most likely signal his sacking.

The gulf between European and Asian club football is large. Sure the Asian team is well-organized and has some quick individual players with good technical skill. But we are not talking about Italy against South Korea here, where given the current state of the national teams, South Korea would have a realistic shot of beating the Azzuri in many books. For all their current troubles, Inter will still field a team that is among the best in Europe, even if it is no longer the best. I cannot see Inter losing in 90 minutes. Seongnam can at most realistically aspire for a draw, and hope for the luck of extra-time and penalties. However unlikely, that scenario is still possible, so I would recommend Inter as draw-no-bet on this one; full-refund if the game ends in a draw after regular time. The winner of this match will most likely lift the trophy because the other finalist, Congolese champions Mazembe have shown to be very exposed so far. But Inter would want to cross the South Korean hurdle first.

Draw-no-bet: Inter

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another winning week-end and City talk

Another great week-end where all 4 recommended punts won; Barcelona, Madrid and Bayern all won, and Oversteer was placed when second at Southwell.

Chelsea are still dropping points like flies, but the main story of the week-end for me is the news that Tevez is "officially" wanting out of Man City. The rumours have always been there, and now confirmed with his written letter to the club. There is no doubt in my mind that City's chances of clinching a trophy this season will be very well diminished if they lose their best player. Poor City, the owners have invested so much into bringing stars to the club, but they simply can't shrug off news of continuous unrest at the club. But isn't that the real price that you pay for when you get players like Robinho, Adebayor, Ballotelli, all known for big "I" egos, with little commitment to the team concept? And I'm not even talking about Bellamy who like Robinho was eventually dispatched away. With all the recent attention, Tevez is showing that he isn't far off this kind of mould too, although he was certainly far more restrained in his brief years at Man Utd or West Ham. In any case, I don't think any of the title contenders will be shedding any tears if he decides to leave the Premier League.

It's the big game today between Utd and Asenal. Far too close to call this one. It can go any way. I think it's the best chance for the past years that Arsenal have, to go snatch a win at Old Trafford. For the past years, the Red Devils have had not only the absolute mental edge, but also the better team as well; which has translated into dominant wins against the Gunners. This year is slightly different because Man Utd are a new team and don't boast someone of the Ronaldo-type who can turn a game around at any time. Rooney is also on the comeback trail and not at his peak form yet. So the result is bound to be more open and I'll keep myself from giving any recommendation. Whoever scores first won't lose, I think.

But there'll be more to come this week with the Europa league, and all-weather racing. Thanks for staying tuned, and have a good week.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week-end preview

My pick on QPR, what an absolute disaster; they got trounced 1-3 at home to Watford... I will have to double-check this, but I think that this is the first wrong football pick I've made since the Man Utd/West Brom one on Day 1 of this blog. There goes the winning streak, and OK, this QPR episode was my first and last ever Championship football prediction here, for sure!

Time for a new winning football streak to start and what better way than with some of the week-end match-ups.
In Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona should continue their winning ways and are outright win recommendations. Madrid are at bottom-place Zaragoza, and as long as they don't miss Higuain too much, they should edge this. Barcelona are at home to Sociedad, and on their form, they simply will not drop any points.

Bayern Munich will not lose to St Pauli at home. They should win this, but because of their see-saw results in the League, it's safer to have them as draw-no-bet.

The Premier League is loaded with tight matches, and it will not be surprising to see many drawn matches. Obviously, the 2 key games on the agenda are Spurs v/s Chelsea, and Man Utd v/s Arsenal. I believe the results can go either way in both, so like the other matches, it's impossible to recommend any Premier League game.

In racing, I live Oversteer in the first Southwell race on Saturday. If it adapts well on its first time out on this fibresand surface, this Gosden colt should take all the beating. Being by Empire Maker, the surface should suit on paper. I believe the danger will come from the 2 Dubai Destination geldings in this race. To play it safe, I recommend Oversteer as a Place.

Win: Real Madrid, Barcelona.
Draw-no-bet: Bayern Munich
Place: Oversteer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Friday Championship football preview.

Private Joke was first in front of D'Artagnan at Wolves (14.45 race, not 9.45 race as I had pointed out, thanks Mr B for noting this), so the recommendation on Private Joke was good. This puts my strike rate to 89%; getting higher up slowly but surely...

Tomorrow Friday, I like QPR's chances against Watford. It's the first time I am really giving out a recommendation on a Championship game here. But I see value in having Rangers as a draw-no-bet against the Hornets. They are in excellent form and are at home; Watford are pretty poor on the road, and the most they can aspire tomorrow is to snatch a point, So I recommend QPR as draw-no-bet.

Draw-no-bet: QPR.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thursday racing preview.

Arsenal won as expected, although they labored through it more than they should have. My mean side would love to see a Madrid-Arsenal match-up in the next round so that Mourinho and Wenger can square up again! I think there's still unfinished business between the two and they would both relish to have a chance to outdo each other. That would certainly stir some bad blood up come February next year.

Back to racing, and I like Private Joke in the 9.45 at Wolves on Thursday. It will definitely be in the first 2 and should actually win this, but there is a dark horse in this race in D'Artagnan. This South African raider is rated 80, so will not be as easy fodder as the rest of the field. So, the recommended safe bet is a Place on Private Joke. Some of you who feel more adventurous might go for the outright win. It will all depend on what kind of opposition it gets from D'Artagnan.

Place: Private Joke

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arsenal to go through

Just finished watching the tied game between Man Utd and Valencia. As usual, I cannot thank the draw-no-bet option enough, and it really saves grief when the team you've punted on cannot find that winning goal. So the recommendation on Man Utd as draw-no-bet, ends into a voided bet, which is always better than a losing one. Valencia scored from another Michael Carrick mistake in a European game (Utd fans will surely remember the game against Munich last year), and I wonder if his place is still secure in the Devils' midfield. What looks more or less certain is that the No 2 keeper Kuszczak is on his way out since Amos was selected to start the game.

Tomorrow Wednesday, Arsenal have to beat Partizan Belgrade to be sure to go through. I have no qualms that they will do it. They are in good form (Nasri particularly has been impressing me lately) and I expect them to win this game. Obviously the stakes are too high for Wenger to field too young a team, so I expect him to have a strong line-up even if they are playing lowly opposition. An Arsenal win is the recommendation.

Win: Arsenal

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tuesday Champions League

The stakes are quite big for Man Utd against Valencia on Tuesday. If they manage at least a draw, then they secure first place and avoid any possible confrontation with Madrid and Barcelona in the knock-out stages. So SAF should be fielding his strongest team against the Spaniards. Valencia does not have the same urgency on paper, since they cannot be teamed up with the 2 Spanish giants, and it seems that Joaquin their star player will be rested. Couple that with the tough game they had in Madrid on Saturday, and I think that Man Utd should be too much for them at home. We should also see from this game how the "new" Rooney is shaping up. So it's a draw-no-bet recommendation on Man Utd tomorrow.

Draw-no-bet: Man Utd.

Winning week-end and Tiger talk.

3 more winners this week-end, with Barcelona, Madrid and PSV winning their games as predicted, and the Chelsea drawn game ending in a voided bet. It was a close call on that last one, and I've got to say Thanks to Phil Neville for his blunder in Chelsea's goal. Without it, Everton might well have taken all the spoils there! I'll take those lucky bounces anytime as I know that I'll be at the wrong end of it at other times.

Anyway, what I take out of this week-end is not horse racing or football news, but rather in golf. Tiger lost again, and for the first time, he was not even able to hold on to a 4-shot lead. But even in defeat, it's the first time since his scandalous stories have surfaced, that he's shown that he's about to get his mojo back. And that is Great news for punters. You see, Tiger at his best, is the most dominant athlete in any sport, and backing him at the right time in the right tournaments (think Majors) pays dividends. So this bodes well for next year when I'm expecting him to have his mind cleared, refreshed and focused on golf (and not the "other" things). Like I was mentioning before with Nadal (also Federer if he's really back) and tennis, Tiger and golf present unique opportunities during Major tournaments in particular. So they are to be followed.

This week is dominated by the last round of Champions League football, so will try to find out some sure fire bets there. And hopefully synthetic racing keeps going despite the inclement weather. And despite Lingfield being cancelled the other day, that's why they are supposedly called all-weather right?

Have a good week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Week-end football preview.

Quite a busy football week-end ahead. Hopefully the snowy conditions will not get too much in the way because I can see quite a few opportunities in football.

Premier League. I like Chelsea's chances against Everton. With the return of Terry, Chelsea should be more rigid at the back, and use it as a main springboard for their offensive play. Drogba is due one big flourish very soon, and this could be the game he finds form. Although Everton are always a difficult team to deal with, they have been in a bad spell lately. The loss of Arteta to suspension is non-timely for their tough visit to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will either win or draw this, so I recommend them as draw-no-bet.

La Liga. I see Barcelona continuing their winning ways in Osasuna. They wouldn't want to lose points there following their flawless performance against Real Madrid. So I select them to win outright. Unless something has snapped in Madrid's side as a result of Monday's debacle, things should be back to normal for the Los Blancos when they host Valencia. Arguably this Valencia team is very dangerous, and it would not surprise me if they escaped with a point. Still Madrid should not be losing this game, so I have them as draw-no-bet .

In the Dutch league, I cannot see Heracles go win 3 points at PSV Eidhoven. The only downside for PSV is that they're coming back from a Europa league match in Sampdoria on Thursday. Still, they cannot afford to lose this match after their shock defeat last week-end against Nac Breda. So, PSV as a draw-no-bet is the recommendation.

Win: Barcelona.
Draw-no-bet: Real Madrid, PSV Eidhoven, Chelsea.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back on track in racing, and wow! a non-English FIFA member has voted for England!

Wolf Slayer won! I'm tempted to say "Woohoo!" because it gives my confidence back in analyzing racing after 2 bad calls.

So England got 2 miserable votes for their World Cup bid (surprise surprise), and now everyone is trying to figure out where it went all wrong. With billions at stake, I wonder if it's really plausible to have this kind of vote decided by a 24-member committee, some of whom are under strong suspicion of bribery? The Sporting Life is talking about England and the English not being seen favourably in FIFA; they can have a point. But the real question is with the amount of lobbying that comes with the territory, how different is the trust you can put in the real objectivity of the committee and the trust you have, say, in cyclists being drug-free when competing in events like the Tour de France etc? Even if the England bid won, an Englishman (or woman) would still be thinking that there were surely other contributing dominant forces at play; not the irrelevant "strong technical bid", "impassioned Beck's presentation" headlines used by the press to over-hype England's chances. Reading the press signals in the hours leading to the vote would give you the feeling that England had a real chance, and that got people jumping on-board. At some point, England was "odds-on" to land it. The layers must have laughed all the way to the bank.

Oh well, London has the Olympics. Same lobbying, same story. But then again, we are not talking about Blatter, Platini and co this time, right?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thursday Wolverhampton racing.

Man City won its Europa league game, which adds to the good rate of football recommendations.

On Thursday, the 13:00 Wolverhampton race should be between Lady Platinum Club and Tom Dascombe's Wolf Slayer, unless Motivator's Loyal N Trusted shows something out of the ordinary on his first course appearance.  The distance will certainly suit the Dascombe filly better, and therefore has a better prospect to Place.

My last 2 racing selections have been off-the-mark, so I'm hoping this selection ends the bad run.

Place: Wolf Slayer.

Europa League Preview

One recommendation for today's Europa League matches. Man City should be able to dismiss Salzburg at home. Even if City don't field their first-team, they will have too much firepower for the Austrians in Manchester. Also, the Austrians have a major match coming up this week-end against Austria Vienna in their domestic league; so the coach will certainly have an eye on having his best starting eleven for the more important Saturday match. City to edge this, but with the patchy record of late, a draw-no-bet on them should guarantee returns.

Draw-no-bet: Man City