Roy The Boy Blog with bets on Phil Taylor to win SPOTY and Almandin to win the Melbourne Cup.
Can Pulev pull off Joshua upset?
So Anthony Joshua has vexed every punter clutching an ante-post Sports Personality of the Year voucher by announcing a fight on October 28 against Kubrat Pulev. OK, Joshua top-riced 1/25 to win but defeat would almost certainly guarantee a second loss, in the SPOTY popularity competition due to take place in Liverpool on December 17.
Joshua has been favourite since Andy Murray collected the accolade for a third time last December and his price at that point was 4/1.
A few months ago I flagged-up each-way potential amongst rivals to Joshua and I remain sweet on 250/1 poke Dave Rudling who could be on stage come finals night if winning the opening World Cup Slalom race in Levi, Finland, on November 12th.
Alas many firms seem to have extinguished their each-way option but if you can find it do consider a play on Phil Taylor. The legendary dartsman was SPOTY runner-up in 2010 which was a fair effort considering A.P. McCoy’s victory came courtesy of a massive industry-run and funded PR campaign.
With this being Taylor’s retirement year and him unexpectedly winning the 2017 World Matchplay he looks set for a nomination. SPOTY will coincide with the seventh day of the 2018 World Championships and should the PDC appeal to the fanatical audience of that event, who knows they could generate enough votes to create a Ryan Giggs style supporter-driven SPOTYS winner.
Remaining with novelty betting, I see Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is set to deliver another Royal Baby. This has to be the most outrageous piss-take of Joe Public’s common sense ever. Everything from Alice to Edward and on to Henry can be backed at under 25/1. At a last count around 200 names are listed.
Amazingly no bookmaker is offering odds on the new baby being named Muhammad, Mohammad or Mohammed. This could be a big mistake as, collectively, this name has been the most popular name for a new-born baby boy in the UK year-on-year for over a decade. OK, it’s doubtful they would choose such a common name.
Anyway, if I was employed to launder some drug money I’d have a half-mil on a baby boy at 10/11 and repeat the trick on a girl at 10/11. That’s going to involve a £/€1 million outlay which could be a problem.
What won’t be a problem is getting that million on. I can still clearly vision Ladbrokes PR spokeswoman Jessica Bridge, on the eve of Royal Baby No. 2 being named, telling Sky News that “if any of the top six in the betting prevail it will cost the industry in excess of £1 million.”
That’s amazing stuff, to incur a £1 million loss firms must generate enormous business on these baby naming markets, tens of millions. Who would have thought it? The bizarre thing is, no one I know can get a single bet of more than £/€25 on such a market. So how can this be?
Remaining with Ladbrokes and tying up a previous thread… It looks like David Williams earned the accolade of first PR bod to go following the Ladbrokes/Coral merger.
According to his Linkedin profile Williams hosted the press event for the 2006 Poker Million. Of all the things I should remember of my years at Ladbrokes Poker and on the staff at Sky Sports (who broadcast the event) it’s this, strangely I don’t.
So close to a proper touch
I had some horrible close misses during the last F1 weekend from Italy. For starters, prompted by a weather forecast of heavy rain, I had a lump on Max Verstappen to qualify on pole at 80/1. He did to and for 20secs I was counting a payday of several grand. Alas I never got chance to spend it as Lewis Hamilton hooked-up an even better lap in the closing seconds of qualifying to chin me.
In the race itself I had €40 at 350/1 with Betstars about Fernando Alonso setting the fastest lap. Betstars have to be commended for this (Stan James would only accept €2 at 250/1 and William Hill £2.98 at 200/1) and when, three laps from the end of the race, the enigmatic Spaniard came on the radio saying “shall I come in for fresh tyres and get the fastest lap”, I swear I was no bigger than a 2/1 shot in-running (he did just this in the 2016 Italian GP). It was not to be, the team refused deciding to retire the car instead. Distressing.
Almandin to claim second Cup?
The Melbourne Cup is now less than two months away. I’ve been looking at it long and hard too. The stats throw out some amazing signals, for example we know there has not been a British-trained winner of the race and that quest for glory now encompasses a remarkable 81 runners.
During the course of the last 20 years there have been three 7-year-old winners, three 5-year-old winners, four 4-year-old winners and ten 6-year-old winners. Five of the last seven winners have been 6-year-olds.
Five mares have won the race since 1997, although that figure is technically three as Makybe Diva won the race three times between 2003-2005. Six winners have been gelded and nine were ‘entire’ horses. Furthermore 21 of the past 33 Melbourne Cup winners have been drawn in barrier 11 or lower.
But it is the fate of the favourites in 24-runner race which really catches the eye. 35 of 156 Melbourne Cup SP favourites have ultimately won the race, that’s an impressive 22 percent strike-rate. 73 Melbourne Cup favourites have finished in the top three places; remarkable stuff considering the field size. The last winning favourite was Fiorente who scored at odds of 6/1 in 2013.
In short, identify the favourite and you are 22 percent of the way there. Identify that favourite now and you will be on at at least 20/1 too! Personally I think that favourite is going to be last year’s victor, Almandin. Not always do defending Melbourne Cup champions come back to defend their title, but when they do they start at short prices. Fact.
It’s not been reported in the domestic racing press but Almandin finished an enormously encouraging second place at Mooney Valley in late August. It was a prep-race through and through and the German-bred horse is clearly being given a campaign geared around defending his crown.
Andy why can’t he? He is lightly raced, he won off of a lowly 8st 3lb last year when the front two kicked over four lengths clear at the line and this is a race where repeat winners (when running back-to-back years) pop up.
Makaybe Diva did it twice, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, Think Big 1974-1975, Rain Lover 1968-1969. OK, that’s four times in 48 years but, by my reckoning, it’s only been attempted around 20 times.
Phil Taylor 50/1 (each-way) Sports Personality of the Year
Almandin Melbourne Cup at 20/1 with William Hill and Betfred