First off, let me take this chance to welcome Mark and Dominic to VG Tips. It’s good to have you aboard and I hope you stay for the long term, or at very least until the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals have taken place this March and April.
Long term followers know that I relish the challenge of finding profitable punts at both high class meetings. In past years we’ve enjoyed 16/1 and 40/1 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and, of course, I picked for members the first two home in the 2016 Grand National, including the 50/1 (when tipped to members) winner, Rule the World.
Long term ante-post betting for big race meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival is a fool’s paradise. And, this year and last, I have to some extent been one of those fools.
But I can’t be backing horses many months in advance and celebrate if they win if I have not first advised members what those bets are. So here goes.
For decades I did not touch the ante-post betting market. By far the majority of the time, I was right to swerve the temptation.
Bet before bookies offer non runner, no bet terms and you stand to lose your stake should the horse you have bet on, not take part in the race in question, or even turn up at the meeting at all.
Bet in the very early days on non runner, no bet terms being offered and the odds the bookies will offer are sure to be short. Paddy Power were among the first this year to offer non runner, no bet for the Cheltenham Festival. But the devil is in the detail. The risk adverse nature of modern bookmaking is there for all to see, if you look closely enough. Paddy Power were only offering one fifth of the odds for each way bets. If you don’t think the difference between one quarter of the odds and one fifth of the odds is significant, you’ll realise how wrong you are when you come to collect your returns.
The best offers bookies put on the table these days appear much closer to the Cheltenham Festival beginning. For heaven’s sake, shop around for value. Look not only at the prices using services such as the odds comparison site Oddschecker, but also take notice of whether bookies are offering each way returns on the first 3, 4, 5 or 6 (depending on size and type of race). But also check if they are offering one fifth or one quarter of the odds.
I have not placed a bet under the non runner, no bet terms. Yet. There are still far too many unknowns about which horse will start in which race. Don’t take as fact anything uttered by trainers or owners. Not yet. There are too many weeks to go.
Much earlier, I have placed some ante-post bets for the Cheltenham Festival based on my expectation of those horses turning up. I’ve long since lost on one as the mighty Vautour died after I placed the bet. And Paddy Power will not return my stake. They tell me that they, like the rest of the racing world, “are very sad about Vautour’s death” but, Vernon… tough! Mean, insensitive ******* these bookies.
For members only, here are my ante-post bets placed so far and the date on which that bet was placed. I am telling you about them now because a couple of those horses may be racing at Gowran Park on Thursday January 26th. If they perform well, the ante-post odds about them will shorten. If they perform badly, the price will improve or the horse will be pulled out of the festival altogether. Time will tell.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL – March 14-17th
Bet Placed on April 12th 2016 – Thistlecrack for the Cheltenham Gold Cup EACH WAY at odds of 8/1 (now best price Evens favourite)
Bet Placed on April 12th 2016 – Cue Card for the Cheltenham Gold Cup EACH WAY at 11/1 (now 12/1)
Bet Placed on December 28th 2016 – Getabird to WIN the Champion Bumper at 6/1 (now 5/1) **Getabird scheduled to race at Gowran Park on Thursday at 4.10pm.
Bet Placed on December 28th 2016 – Carter McKay EACH WAY in the Champion Bumper at 20/1 (now 14/1) **Carter McKay scheduled to race at Gowran Park on Thursday at 4.10pm.
Bet Placed on December 30th 2016 – Which race will Vroum Vroum Mag race in at the Festival? I had a bet on the Mares Hurdle at odds of 13/8. **Vroum Vroum Mag is entered to race at Doncaster on Saturday and, currently, in the 1.50pm race at Gowran Park on Thursday (It will be one or the other)
AINTREE GRAND NATIONAL – April 8th
Bet Paced on January 14th 2017 – I fancy Vicente EACH WAY and had a bet on this Paul Nicholls entrant at odds of 33/1.
Bet Placed on January 14th 2017 – EACH WAY on One for Arthur at 40/1
That’s it. They may all be declared non runners and I will lose my money. The ground conditions may go against any particular horse. Or, hopefully, my crystal ball may deliver some nice profit – chiefly via my each way bets – and make me look like a genius. The truth will probably be somewhere between the two.
The next selections for daily racing will centre around that Gowran Park meeting this Thursday. Any selections for Thursday will be with you on Wednesday night.