Friday, March 11, 2011

Washing machine failure provides timely boost to betting bank

I can't quite believe it - a tale for those who might be persuaded that insurance salesmen are little more than glorified bookmakers. On Tuesday our Bosch washing machine stopped working with three short weeks left on its extended warranty. Chief washing machine operative, Mrs Tips, logged a call with the helpline; a washing machine engineer appeared, took one look at the aforementioned piece of equipment and without hesitation declared it a write-off. The terms of the extended warranty state that if a repair cannot be effected, a new replacement machine will be provided. Now I know the more churlish amongst you will point out that my extended warranty premiums will have contributed to the purchase of the new machine but there's no getting away from the fact it *feels* like I've just bagged myself a free washing machine that would have cost in the region of £350 to replace, and all this in the week before Cheltenham. Those funds can now be diverted to the betting bank before the scheduled trip to the Cheltenham races on Wednesday; perhaps there is a God after all...

I'm not tempted to risk any of those gains at Sandown tomorrow where 24 go in the feature, the Imperial Gold Cup. Ante-post favourite Aegean Dawn has been withdrawn following a lacklustre performance on the gallops earlier in the week; apparently it's now doubtful whether he'll turn up for either of his Festival appointments, the Coral Cup on Wednesday or the County Hurdle on Friday, although this evening layers still quote Henderson's charge 8/1 for the Coral Cup and 10/1 joint favourite for the County. All that puts David Pipe's Arrayan firmly in tomorrow's spotlight. A £75,000 bonus is paid to a horse that wins the Imperial and then goes on to win any race at the Festival - the Pipe yard has pulled the trick off in the past with Olympian (1993), Blowing Wind (1998) and Gaspara (2007). There's (perhaps a bit more than) a hint the yard has left top weight Ronaldo Des Mottes in here to keep Arrayan's weight down - if Ronaldo was a non-runner, the weights would rise seven pounds and give Arrayan a burden of 11-1; as it is the gelding has 10-8 to carry with Barry Geraghty deputising for suspended Tom Scudamore. In the past decade only two horses have carried more more than 11 stones to victory - Polar Red (11-1) in 2002 and Korelo (11-6) in 2003, both trained by... Martin Pipe! The yard has taken five of the last ten runnings and is primarily responsible for the fact that six favourites have obliged in the same timeframe. Via Galilei will be popular having hurdled fluently and won with his head in his chest at Newbury last week - the gelding holds an entry in the County Hurdle, as does course and distance winner Song Of Songs who didn't appear to enjoy chasing but definitely prefers a right-handed track and is 40/1 this evening. Owned by J P McManus, I suppose we should take the hint if the price contracts sharply... If you're tempted, note that several layers pay a quarter the odds five places including Sky Bet, Betfred, Paddy Power and Stan James.

Starluck is long odds-on for the novice chase at 4.10. I'll watch his jumping closely on this particularly trappy course for novices; if all goes well, he heads to Aintree.

Other Festival updates in brief...

Weird Al (Ian Williams) goes in the Gold Cup (40/1 Coral)
So Young (Willie Mullins) now heads the market for the Neptune (7/2 generally)
Choc Thornton rides Somersby in the Champion Chase - spare a thought for Hadden Frost
Our Girl Salley (Prunella Dobbs) misses Cheltenham after a bad scope
Bothy (Brian Ellison) is set to run in the Coral Cup
Zaynar (Nicky Henderson) goes for the World Hurdle (20/1 in places)
Planet Of Sound (P. Hobbs) is likely to miss the Gold Cup
Brian Ellison will wait until Monday before deciding Marsh Warbler's target

And finally...
The Cheltenham Old Course was watered for a second consecutive day today.


Rob The Builder. said...

Maybe Betfair could use some of Bosch's customer care expertise?

GeeDee said...

Couldn't agree more Rob; plenty of anecdotes around about Betfair and aspects of their customer care...

I take the view that in a competitive marketplace, one area you can distinguish yourself from your competitors is in customer care - it's not *just* about the figures and making money - the whole customer experience counts for something. IMO in the long run BF's approach is counter-productive.

Only on Friday morning I received an unsolicited email: 'Enjoy a Cheltenham Offer with Betfair - £25 risk free bet'.

Wasn't tempted... ;)

Good luck next week at the Festival.