Jan Vermeer can bounce back from Epsom blip
bACK in the late 90s, I was heavily involved in the Japanese martial art of Wado Ryu (karate), a sport that proved very useful for the spirit, mind and especially the body -- as the ability to protect yourself was essential in the working-class Dublin estate where I grew up!
While cleaning out the cupboard the other day, I came across some of my old Japanese philosophy books and one particular proverb caught my eye which read: "Money grows on the tree of persistence."
I'll admit that the link between Japanese philosophy and punting is tentative -- but I can't help wondering if persistence will pay off for backers of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Jan Vermeer in tomorrow's Irish Derby at the Curragh (5.10).
The three-year-old went off at 9/4 in the Epsom Derby, but his followers, including me, had to settle for fourth place in a race where Workforce stole the show.
Johnny Murtagh has deserted Jan Vermeer for Cape Blanco, which is a slight worry, but then again, no-one told Frozen Fire or Soldier Of Fortune that they were the so-called 'second-string' horses when they won in 2007 and 2008, so I wouldn't get too worked up about the riding arrangements.
The question is: can we forgive Jan Vermeer's Epsom form? In short, the answer is yes. Murtagh told the press later that his mount just couldn't settle and more importantly, it was discovered that Jan Vermeer had lost his two front shoes, which almost certainly hindered his chances.
Stablemate and pacemaker At First Sight set a blistering pace and even looked like winning -- but he later disappointed at Ascot when running on his own merit and I doubt the Epsom form will stand up going forward.
Mark Johnston has supplemen-ted Monterosso at a cost of €150,000, so connections must be confident of getting some money back. By my reckoning, Monterosso has around five pounds to make up, and with Murtagh now favouring Cape Blanco, Jan Vermeer has become the value bet of the race, priced around 7/2.
Last week's long-shot Australia Day was placed at 20/1 so a couple of euro were returned -- but it would be nice to get a big-priced winner, so it's up to Newcastle and the Northumberland Plate (3.05) for today's each-way instalment. Desert Sea was a little disappointing when racing freely in the Chester Cup last time, but is expected to come on for that run. He had a successful campaign last season, winning twice at this trip, and a drop of 2lbs should see him in contention today, making his early price of 14/1 look a shade too high.
There's been a bit of movement on The Betting Ring's ante-post tip for Holland to win the World Cup (9/1 into 6/1) and I'm happy enough to hold onto the bet for now. If Holland continue to progress, a chance will be offered to lay them off at a lower price than we backed them, thus ensuring an automatic profit or free bet.
I backed England against the USA, but they have been woeful. Fair enough, they looked a little more spirited on Wednesday, but c'mon -- it was Slovenia, so let's put things into perspective. Their price of 3/1 on Betfair to make the last four is terrible value and I'd advise readers to click pink (lay) them in that market with a 3pt liability.