Wednesday 13 December 2017

Afsare can make up for broken promises

"DOUBT is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" -- Voltaire

Nearly two weeks ago, I got a phone call from a relation in England urging me to get myself down to the bookies to back Afsare in a Monday evening maiden at Kempton Park, as the colt was an "absolute cert". Luca Cumani had Kieren Fallon booked to do the job and the price would be smashed off the boards -- or so I was told.

While his price did shorten considerably, the huge money never arrived and an hour before the race I tried to advise my contact that there is no such thing as a certainty in this game (which is especially true of an unraced horse) but he wouldn't listen to a word I said and he went all-in on his tip.

I'm not quite sure how some of these tips get started but by the time my contact had heard it, defeat was out of the question. In case you didn't see the race, the horse went off at 7/2 and was beaten fair and square into second place by Michael Jarvis' Eton Forever.

You've got to take 99pc of these 'tips' with a pinch of salt so I didn't back the horse that day; but I did sit up and pay attention when I noticed that Afsare had been entered for today's Maiden Stakes (4.35 Newmarket), a race that is well within his grasp.


Normally, I try to put up a decent priced animal as the main 'Betting Ring' selection for the day, but in this case I'm going to make an exception and suggest that any price around 4/5 for Afsare should be taken.

I've watched that Kempton race a number of times over and the first thing to note is that he didn't break very well from the stalls and I'm certain that knocked half a length off his performance.

He showed a nice turn of foot which put him back into contention down the straight, but he was always playing catch-up and the eventual winner deserved his prize. But like most of Cumani's colts, Afsare will benefit from that first run and with no standout sorts in the field, he should find today's assignment relatively straightforward.

On their website, the Cumani team state that this afternoon's race "promised to be a really warm contest at the five-day stage but the biggest dangers have all come out and hopefully (Afsare) will take this on his way to better things".

Afsare is the yard's best hope for the weekend and the short trip across to the racecourse should pay dividends today. There's no such thing as a cert but he's got a better chance than his odds suggest and that is good enough for me. All going well, a tilt at the St James' Palace Stakes could be on the cards for this son of Dubawi.

Meanwhile, in the rugby, Leinster can continue their impressive run of form against Munster at the RDS this evening and secure a place in the Magners League final. Leinster have won all of their home games in this competition and have beaten Munster in their last three meetings, including a crushing 30-0 victory at the RDS earlier in the season.

As well as having superior form and home advantage, I reckon the Leinster pack will be far too strong for Munster and I can see them winning by at least five points. There are plenty of good betting opportunities about and you could do worse things this weekend than back Leinster to win at 4/7 and also the Leinster/Leinster result in the half-time/full-time market at 11/10.

There is value in the 13/8 on offer for the first score of the game to be a Leinster penalty and I'll also have a smaller bet on Jamie Heaslip each-way in the first try-scorer market (16/1).

Finally, Leinster are still available at 13/10 for the tournament outright. I'm having a fairly big bet on this as they'll be a very short price if they get past Munster, at which point I can lay off my stake on the exchanges and enjoy a free bet.


2.05 Thirsk -- Yarooh

1.25 Newbury -- Lunar Victory

4.35 Newmarket -- Afsare

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