Weekly Blog – Horse Racing, F1, Big Brother, Cycling & American Football

Roy The Boy’s weekly blog looks forward to the Epsom Derby before touching on Formula One, Big Brother, the 2015 Tour de France and next season’s American Football.

Learn from History at Epsom

The Epsom Derby is drawing closer, less than two weeks now. I’ve only been to the Derby once, way back in 1985 when still a teenager. It was a wonderful time, we were in the centre of the course and the only thing we saw all day was the jockey’s caps as the horses raced by!

Slip Anchor was the winner that year for Henry Cecil and Steve Cauthen. I know this because I recorded the race on my Betamax video and watched it back when returning home. This was the only occasion I ever saw my grandfather have a bet in a race staged over a distance of more than a mile. He backed the winning favourite simply stating he was a stone in hand of his opposition.

Benny The Dip’s 1997 Epsom Derby win also stands out in my mind. More so for the antics of a rogue bookmaker, who worked under the alias ‘John Batten’. He, Batten, took a fortune on the race and, with a full satchel and the race underway, made his exit from the Downs never to be seen again. The race winner was relatively unfancied at 11/1 due to doubts about his stamina. 1m 2f looked like his ceiling, a trip he won over in York’s Dante. Nevertheless trainer John Gosden opted to run him and the rest is history.

The question now is, will history repeat itself? Forward wind 18 years and John Gosden has another Dante winner on his hands who also has some question marks about his stamina. For me Golden Horn (standout 15/8 with Sportingbet & Betway) will get every part of Epsom’s woeful camber-laden roller coaster and, with him clear on figures, I think he could win by a Slip Anchor-style margin. His winning distance was seven lengths.

Possibly the biggest question is what will Magnier/Tabor/Smith run – only Mike Dillon from Ladbrokes knows for sure – and how soon will it be reverted back to running in six-furlong sprints? More lessons from history.

Expect William’s to be back in Canada

It’s been a “nearly, nearly” punting weekend with the Monaco Grand Prix proving a major faux-pas. I was on a ‘No Safety Car’ scenario at 5/1 and Max Verstappen to finish in both the ‘top-six’ (7/2) and ‘top-10’ (evens).

Verstappen was cruising into a top-six position when a botched pit-stop cost him valuable time and he re-emerged on track towards the tail of the field. Worse was to come when the 17-year-old collided with Romain Grosjean on Lap 64. Not only was the crash a result of the Dutch driver fighting his way back into the top-10 but it also necessitated a Safety Car.

At least the ‘Fastest Lap’ went to Daniel Ricciardo (80/1) who was one of the few cars to pit for fresh tyres on Lap 64 and that new rubber was enough to see him go fastest on the day. Once again, the last competitive car to pit and given some clear racetrack, produced the fastest lap. The difficulty on a race-to-race basis is prophesizing what car that will be.

Verstappen has been given a five-place grid penalty for the next race, in Canada, because of his accident. And that’s what it was, an accident; in no other sport do you get penalised for an accident. It’s nonsensical.

Anyway, Canada is a very different type of circuit to Monaco and Spain and so the speed of the Toro Rosso’s will not be so evident while the William’s cars, which struggled at those two ‘sprinters circuits’, will be capable of top-six finishes once again.

Big Brother’s Big Father

I’m not taking Channel 5’s Big Brother, which is also on Ireland’s TV3, too seriously this summer. It’s not been so kind in recent years albeit the celebrity version of the show, scheduled for the autumn, has been a profitable betting medium.

It’s interesting to see 19-year-old Nick Henderson trading as favourite as he is the son of William Hill’s CEO James Henderson and nephew of David Henderson who is a racehorse trainer in France.

Guess which company are currently going the shortest price about the well-spoken teenager to win the series?

Contador now has 2015 form in his book

The Giro D’Italia is at the mercy of Alberto Contador. The two-time Tour de France winner is currently trading at 1/16. It’s been a great betting race though with the Spaniard’s price fluctuating no end.

For the most part this was due to a crash he suffered in the final metres of Stage 6 of the race where he appeared to have seriously damaged his shoulder. Twitter was soon ablaze with claims of broken collarbone and his inevitable withdrawal from the Giro. In clear agony the Spaniard was back on his bike for Stage 7 and still on the drift in the betting. His continuation and subsequent domination of the race is some testament to the stuff he is made of.

Paddy Power are a stand-out 7/2 about Contador claiming the Tour De France again this summer and I like stand-outs – he is 3/1 biggest with every other firm. It looks, at the very least, a bet-to-lay proposition.

Chris Froome is hardening in the betting – now a general 9/4 chance – but I have to question the strength of his team especially with wingman Richie Porte having such a torrid time in the Giro.

Patriots not just a Patriotic Bet

Another stand-out that I currently like the look of is William Hill’s 9/1 about the New England Patriots for the Super Bowl. Admittedly I won a King’s ransom on them when the team claimed the 2005 Super Bowl but I don’t think I am wearing rose-tinted glasses.

Back then The Patriots were defending their Super Bowl crown and that is exactly what they will be doing in the forthcoming season. Victorious in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2015 they were also beaten finalists in 2008 and 2012.

At the price New England have to be backed. They are currently as short as 6/1 in places and surely they will go into 5/1 at some stage during the season.

They are another long-range savings scheme for me with a small ‘get out’ lay planned for mid-season.

William Hill