VG Tips members were in the money once again after I offered them 10 winners from 16 races I selected for deep analysis and my own racing tips. They also received a further five each way placed selections at odds of up to 50/1.
Like Dick Turpin – who was hung at the same location – VG Tips members robbed the Knavesmire bookies of money throughout the 2018 Ebor Festival at York.
Day 1. Phoenix of Spain was our first winner on the opening day of the festival. Selected for members when available at odds of 13/2, the 2 year old grey colt won the Group 3 Acomb Stakes in taking fashion and by a length and a half. Keep that one in your notebooks.
The next race I selected for my form study was the Group 1 Juddmonte International. It was a win-win situation for members of VG Tips and those who like win only bets. Those who like each way bets at bigger prices.
Far from the first time, I stuck by Roaring Lion and he duly obliged when winning the race comfortably, by three and a quarter lengths. Knowing Roaring Lion was going to come out on top a good while before the finishing post, I was able to cast my eyes upon one of my loves of this flat season, the beautiful looking grey called Thundering Blue. Earlier in the race he did indeed appear to be out of his depth in a Group 1 and the odds of 50/1 looked justified. But then, as has so often been the case with Thundering Blue, he weaved his way through the field, finishing the race in fast fashion. Thundering Blue was third, so ensuring those who backed him each way, as I suggested, made handsome profit.
I was on both Roaring Lion and Thundering Blue. I was, therefore, roaring my approval at the result. A 3/1 winner. A 50/1 each way third.
Here’s an example of what members received from me the day before racing at York:- “Roaring Lion and Thundering Blue have been two of my favourite horses of this flat season and the pair meet here. Roaring Lion has been here and done it over course and distance, namely when wining the Group 2 Dante Stakes by four and a half lengths in May. Roaring Lion has not won for us each time I have tipped the John Gosden trained grey colt, but he bounced back to winning form when beating Saxon Warrior by a neck in the Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown in July.
“The rise in class and the handicap will likely prevent Thundering Blue from challenging for the lead. Always coming late in his races, the gorgeous grey gelding won a Group 2 by a neck last time out. He’s raced at York three times, winning twice and finishing a runner up the other time.
“This race is much tougher. The opposition much better than any Thundering Blue has so far faced. That’s why he’s the outsider of the field of 8 intended runners. I shall be on him each way in the hope he can snatch third place… it will not be for the lack of trying should he not be placed in the frame at odds of up to 50/1. But for the winner, I am hoping the Lion roars once again.”
The third winner from four races selected on the Wednesday was 12/1 shot, Ginger Nut. Well backed on the day, the Richard Hannon trained filly won a Class2 Nursery by the margin of a neck. That’ll do nicely. Especially for those who, like me, take early prices. The 12/1 available the night before vanished on the day. She won as the 9/2 favourite.
Day 2. Was more a day for favourite backers. On course bookmakers at York were all the poorer come the end of racing on Thursday.
15/8 selection Fairyland got us of to a fine start. A rare recent winner for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, whose stable has been hit by a bug this summer. Fairyland won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes by a nose. Another close call winner for us. Always nice to win a photo finish.
The classiest winner of the day – possibly the week – was the ever improving Sea of Class. She stepped up in class again to land the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks by two and a quarter lengths. The sky is the limit for the William Haggas trained Sea of Class.
Where the size of field and the odds on offer permit, I try to find each way backing members of my service a bigger price option that could well finish in the places. For this race I offered them then 12/1 shot, Eziyra. Dermot Weld brought her over from Ireland and he doesn’t send his horses to England without believing they have a serious chance in any race. She finished third. So that was another win-win race for VG Tips subscribers who get what my long established personal service is all about.
The late, great Sir Henry Cecil loved York racecourse as much as I do. The next race was named after him and one of my favourite fillies of recent times was my 11/10 win tip the night before racing. Lah Ti Dar, trained by John Gosden, was the easiest winner of the week at York. She landed the Listed race by a whopping 10 lengths. She’ll be stepped up into Group company and is currently entered for the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster in September. She’s a sister of other winners for us, So Mi Dar and our debut winner earlier in August, Too Darn Hot. What a family!
Day 3. Friday began with Pacify snatching fourth place for us, so returning some profit from my 12/1 each way tip in the opening race of the day.
Stradivarius was a short price 4/9 favourite the day before the imperious now eight time winning colt competed in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup. Members of VG Tips know that I am not someone to back 4/9 shots, but I know some of them do and my service is about trying to serve all their varied betting needs. Stradivarius had already won three Group class races since May and my only concern was that John Gosden may be taking him to the well once too often in a short space of time. It was a tired looking win by Stradivarius who only came to life relatively late in the race. Gosden confirmed that the colt will now be given a well earned rest.
In the final race on Friday, my 13/2 each way tip to members, Crack On Crack On, finished second at a shorter SP price of 4/1. Providing they were on early, they got their stake back plus a little profit.
Day 4. So it was we came to the final day of the Ebor meeting well in front of the bookmaker. Always nice when that happens. And things just got better and better for me and my lovely, loyal and appreciative followers.
What better way to begin Saturday than with another equine love of my life? Lord Glitters.
Here’s what I told members on Friday evening:- “I’ve loved and tipped Lord Glitters from his first appearance in the UK when beaten half a length over 7 furlongs at Ascot last October. Next time out, he did the business for us at a decent price and when winning by a neck over this distance of one mile… There have been many near misses in Group 1 and Group 2 races. Four times a runner up and third last time out in a Group 1 race at Goodwood, this drop down into Group 3 company is an effort to give the owners a second win in the UK. The horse deserves nothing less… The fact is that Lord Glitters is the one in here that has performed the best at a higher level of racing. He should be winning this.”
Another former winner for us was my next winning tip. Here’s what I wrote as part of my detailed race preview:- “Expert Eye should be landing this Group 3 for trainer Sir Michael Stoute in the hands of Frankie Dettori… I am usually keen on those that have raced at a higher level and which are dropping back in class. Lord Glitters does so at 1.50pm. Expert Eye does here. The last time he raced at this Group 3 level of racing, he won for VG Tips members at very handsome odds and by four and a half lengths at Royal Ascot… He’s not raced at York previously, so that is always an unknown factor… But he’s in the best of hands and the opposition is not in the same league as that he has raced against most recently.”
A 15/8 tip the night before racing, Expert Eye won at SP of 2/1.
I saved the biggest priced winner for my very last tip at the York meeting of 2018. 20/1 tip Muntahaa won the race that lends its name to the meeting, the Class 2 Ebor Handicap.
The first Ebor I attended in person was in 1980. I’ve always loved the race and have a good record of tipping the winner of it over the past twenty years. But then I love the punting challenge of the larger field handicaps. As Poirot would say, they get the little grey cells working. Long term members know by now that I do best at the most competitive festivals that are big on quality, and in the more competitive big field Class 2 handicaps.
In a field of 20 runners for which several bookies were offering returns about the first 6 past the post (and race sponsors SkyBet the first 7), I offered members three each way tips at a variety of prices. Whiskey Sour was a 7/1 each way tip which finished in the places, in sixth.
But it was my 20/1 each way tip Muntahaa which took the honours. What a race! I thought a jockey I have a lot of time for, Jim Crowley, had lost his marbles when he chose to have Muntahaa on the opposite side of the track for the first 6 furlongs of the race. I thought Crowley had blown it. But, in fact, he was riding under orders of the ever clever John Gosden.
Here’s an expert from my race preview that was for the eyes of members only: “8 of Muntahaa’s last 13 races have been at Group level, two others at Listed level. The grey gelding has only raced at York once and that was a very disappointing performance. To be fair, that was a Class 1 Group 2 race. As with so many of the 20 that will take part in this race, the question mark is the distance. Will Muntahaa stay this far? If I could be sure of that, Muntahaa would be a NAP bet for me.”
No worries about stamina. Crowley produced Muntahaa with exquisite timing to get the better of John Gosden stablemate, the top weighted Weekender which Frankie Dettori rode into second place. The margin of victory was three and a quarter lengths and the 20/1 available when I backed the Ebor winner vanished on the day. He won at SP odds of 11/1.
So it was that I received the following messages from members of VG Tips.
Ankur joined recently. He tweeted: “Hard work pays. The V in VG Tips stands for victory, doesn’t it? Good going Vernon!”
Loyal follower Michael said: “Fantastic stuff as usual, Vernon. Can we have York every week please? Great work , couldn’t ask for more.”
Long term member Matt is never one for understating things: “Vernon’s on fire…all the bookies terrified.”
Benjamin wrote: “Outstanding effort, Vernon. Glad to say I had placed bets this time. Your football bets are also very good.”
Andy summed up:- “Can always rely on you when it comes to the big festivals. Solid picks and insightful write ups. Cheers Vern. £££ made again this week.”
Thank you all. Studying form is hard work. There are people out there in the big, wide world who think us punters wear a blindfold and use a pin to pick winners. Fortunately, my members know much more goes into my service.
I began studying form for races at York at 8am or 9am the day before racing and mailed out my in depth analysis and betting tips around 5.30-6pm. That way subscribers who are online have the opportunity to take the first and usually best prices on Guaranteed Price terms.
So it is particularly pleasing for me when all that hard work is appreciated. It’s been a very good year for VG Tips members, July being the only bad month.
In March I tipped ten winners at the very competitive Cheltenham Festival. In April I managed to tip the winner of the Grand National for the third successive year. In May members got the 22/1 and 20/1 winners of both the English and Irish Derby. Earlier in August, Glorious Goodwood was glorious for members. For the Ebor meeting at York I offered members 10 winners from 16 races and 5 placed each way selections.