ENOCH Powell, the Conservative MP famous for his 'Rivers of blood' speech, once said all political lives end in failure; and his mantra has been proved right once again after a remarkable week in Irish politics.
Cowen is gone and Martin has the unenviable task of rallying the troops for what will undoubtedly be the harshest round of canvassing seen in decades. Some speculators are predicting a complete wipe-out for the 'Soldiers of Destiny' and 'under 20 seats' in the election is now trading at 7/2.
Despite the 14pc showing in the polls, I don't think it will be as bad as all that and the Irish people are a strange bunch, indeed, when given a pencil and a private voting booth. People are not always honest when it comes to answering a survey or poll.
Respondents often give the answers that they think the researcher wants to hear and it's quite likely that a lot of people who will vote Fianna Fail didn't want to admit it when questioned. I'm not suggesting that Fianna Fail won't have a terrible election, but as they say, 'there is naught as queer as folk' so be careful if you are backing them to be obliterated.
I reckon they'll get around 30 seats and have taken Paddy Power up on two bets: FF to get 26-30 seats; and FF to get 31-35 seats. Whether you love Fianna Fail or loathe them, it's worth trying to make some money off them at least. Both of those bets are available at 3/1, so if you back both, it works out at an overall price of even-money.
On the racing front, it's Trials Day at Cheltenham which normally throws up some clues -- although not one of last year's seven trial winners could manage to place when the festival came around in March -- so beware of any greedy bookmakers cutting prices too much if we have a couple of impressive winners today.
In the Cotswold Chase (2.30), the Nicky Henderson-trained Punchestowns seeks to get back to winning ways after his 4/11 defeat at the hands of Pride Of Dulcote at Newbury last month.
While he did need that run, even-money about the seven-year-old for today is far too short for my liking, but, the upshot is, the price of Tidal Bay has been pushed out to 11/4 and those odds are hard for me to resist.
He can be a bit of a head-case at times, but Cheltenham, where he has four wins from nine races, brings the best out of him.
On my judging, he should have 6lbs in hand if running near his Betfair Chase form when second to Imperial Commander and, if he keeps himself out of trouble, there's a great chance he'll be powering up the famous hill ahead of Punchestowns and The Tother One.
THE former Howard Johnson-trained Killyglen was a fairly smart chaser in his day and the word from Co Antrim is that his current handler, Stuart Crawford, has been training the horse specifically for today's Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster (3.20).
He's been useful enough over timber in Ireland lately and has a great chance of making the placings back over fences, priced around 12/1.
1.05 Uttoxeter: Pepite Rose
1.45 Doncaster: Robinson Collonge
2.30 Cheltenham: Tidal Bay
3.20 Doncaster: Killyglen