Sunday, March 01, 2009

Weekend chit-chat

Philip Hobbs was the guest on Saturday's Morning Line and, as you'd expect, much of the talk centred around his Festival entries. He appeared quite keen on Snap Tie in the Champion Hurdle (provided the ground remained good) and put up Planet Of Sound in Tuesday's Arkle as his best chance of the week. Mike Cattermole highlights the same horse as one of his best bets in the Raceform Update Cheltenham Guide.

After masterminding a Liverpool victory against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday, it was back to earth with a bump for Benitez on Saturday. At The Riverside Benitez, the Liverpool manager, saw his team beaten 2-0 by Middlesborough. At Kempton Park racecourse Benitez, the nine year old gelding, was sent off at 20/1, weakened up the home straight and was pulled up two out. It's interesting to note that the horse is owned by the Lord Helpus Partnership; Liverpool supporters, perhaps?

Spare a thought for four Chesterfield fans who travelled 150 miles down to Brentford expecting to see their team play on Saturday. The fans had misread the fixture list and were two weeks early - their team fought out a 1-1 home draw with Barnet, just around the corner from where the four unfortunate fans had started their journey!

My in-house tennis correspondent, Mrs Tips, informs me that at present Andy Murray would appear to be suffering from a mild form of glandular fever. Apparently Roger Federer suffered something similar last year which may have contributed to a loss of form. I mention this just in case you're thinking of backing Murray for the Men's Championships at Wimbledon in June...

Finally I'm indebted to Sandracer, editor of the excellent racing blog, for bringing to my attention two links that demonstrate perfectly the parsimony of our friends in the bookmaking industry. You may have followed the discussion in the comments under the 'Weymouth wagers win £1 million' post below, but if you never venture into such dark electronic places, here's a summary. Sandracer commented that he'd heard a bookmaking firm say they were around 30k down on the match in which Weymouth, fielding a teenage side, lost 9-0 to Rushden & Diamonds; I'd heard a figure of £100k quoted. All of which led us to agree that you can't always believe what a bookmaker tells you. Sandracer then goes on to recall how William Hill posted profits in the region of £64 million in 2007, two days or so after crying wolf when centenarian Alec Holden collected £25,000 having placed a £100 bet a decade previously that he would reach the ripe old age of 100. Here's William Hill representative Rupert Adams' reaction: "These age wagers are starting to cost us a fortune and from now on we are going to push out the age to 110." Marvellous stuff.

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