TARTAK should get 2011 OFF to perfect start
AS you finished off the rest of the Christmas booze while pretending to know the words of 'Auld Lang Syne' last night, many of you will have been thinking ahead to 2011 and the changes you are going to make in your life.
Some of you will try to quit the fags, some of you will cut back on the gargle, while others will try to keep fit. If you are reading this article, you probably enjoy a punt, so if I could offer two pieces of betting advice for the New Year, it would be to always shop around for the best price -- and always make a note of your wagers in a spreadsheet or a notebook.
During the week, I spent some time looking back over my 2010 'Betting Ring' articles while adding up the profit and loss on every bet; and the difference between taking the best price and taking the SP was often stark. My records show that, had you shopped around and taken the best available odds (including exchange prices) around 10 minutes before the off, the total profit on the selections for the year would have been €190.20 to a €10 stake. Had you settled for SP, the profit was just €67.90.
If one bookie is offering 21/20 about a horse that is trading at evens, you simply must take the extra tick up, as you need to grab every edge available in this game. Also, make sure your bookie is offering a best odds guarantee so you are not worried about a drift in price.
Looking back, I had a reasonable year, although the Cheltenham Festival was costly. The punting low of 2010 for me was Dunguib's flop in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle -- I'd better not say how much I lost in case herself picks up the Indo today, but suffice to say that the mood in the Bailey household that Tuesday night was sombre!
The year's punting high came on December 4, when my each-way bet, Hidden Glory, came home at 36/1 to win, and 13/1 to place on Betfair. His bookmaker SP of 25/1 echoes what I said earlier about always shopping around for the best price.
Getting back to making a note of every wager, I started doing this around five years ago, and it was quite startling how the little 'fun' bets of a fiver or tenner on a horse or a football match soon add up.
It would be great to kick off 2011 with a winner or two, and I'm hoping the well handicapped Tartak can help me out on that front today in the Grade Three Victor-chandler.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham (2.35).
The Tom George-trained seven-year-old improved significantly in a first-time tongue strap when winning his most recent race, the Peterborough Chase, although that contest was marred by the tragic death of Twist Magic. Tartak was a frustrating one to follow last year, but his trainer seems to have finally figured him out, and I was particularly impressed with his fourth place in the Melling Chase in April.
The likely favourite, Carole's Legacy, is a classy one who is unexposed over fences and poses the biggest danger to the bet, but at 9/2 or thereabouts, the selection offers value.
Bottom-weight Duplicity is expected to go off at a double-figure price in the Happy New Year From Blue Square Handicap (12.50 Southwell), but he's a better horse than his latest two outings suggest. His new trainer, James Given, tries a drop in trip which should help and he's not without a chance.
12.50 Southwell: Duplicity (e/w)
1.55 Southwell: Even Stevens
2.35 Cheltenham: Tartak