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Clear Sailing all the way this time

EARLIER this week, a story did the rounds about a man who supposedly risked €4,400 to win €44 by backing Angola in-running on Betfair who were 4-0 up with 11 minutes to go. Their opponents Mali, however, fired in four goals late on and the match ended in a draw costing the man a small fortune.

When offered a few quid from one of the redtops for his story, the man admitted that he had 'photo-shopped' his profit and loss and the whole thing had been made up.

This guy's story may have been a fake, but similar tales of woe (and euphoria) happen for real every week on the exchanges and the in-running markets can be both a goldmine and a minefield all wrapped into one. It wasn't quite on the same scale, but I had my own in-running disaster story last week in the race involving Clear Sailing (tipped in this column) at Lingfield.


I backed him as normal pre-race -- with a decent few quid I might add -- and was fairly confident of collecting. But as the race progressed, I could see Nicky Mackay getting to work on 16/1 outsider Magnitude and it looked like my money was going to wing its way through cyberspace into someone else's account.

In a pathetic attempt to salvage the situation, I started backing Magnitude, which had now hit 1/5 in-running, with my lad pushed out to 4/1. Big Mistake. All the fast pictures and high-speed broadband in the world couldn't save me and Clear Sailing came back with a late lunge to take it on the line. My first tip of the day wins and I lose money -- it's a strange old game sometimes.

Despite Magnitude hitting 3/100 at one stage, Clear Sailing won by a neck and all I could do was sit with my face in my hands and absorb the fact that I'd been a right wally. To make matters worse, the wife strolls into the room with a copy of the Irish Independent and says: "I see you got the first winner up at Lingfield today." The look on my face said it all, and she quickly realised I'd done my brains. God bless the woman's patience, that's all I can say.

One winner and two losers for this column last week should have meant I just about broke even -- but greed is a powerful thing and it is little wonder that it's one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I should have paid more attention at Mass as being greedy certainly proved deadly for my Betfair balance and I somehow ended the day well down overall.

But onwards and upwards, as they say, and interestingly, a chance is offered to get a few quid back on the same horse in the opening claiming Stakes at Lingfield. I risk digging a deeper grave here, but this is not a case of chasing lost money from last week. Clear Sailing is a reliable, honest sort that loves the all-weather and his never-say-die attitude can see him register another win for this column today (1.0).

I should have stuck with my own advice last week and I certainly won't be playing the in-running markets on this race today; so a good old-fashioned win back is the order of the day.

Once again, the seven-year-old is running over his favourite distance of 1m 2f and his record over this trip is now four wins from eight. Two of those races were on the all-weather and he won both.

Another interesting stat is that his place record on the artificial surfaces is now 71pc and once again he looks primed for victory today. The main danger to the bet could come from Terry Mills' Laurie Grove, who showed ability when coming second in a handicap at Dunstall Park back in October, but he's been unreliable and you can't be sure which animal is going to show up on the day. Clear Sailing is a front-running sort, so if you see Paul Doe taking an early lead, you can take that as a positive.

Each-way value

For the each-way backers, Charlie Smirke makes some appeal in the Bet African Nations Cup Betdaq Handicap (2.10 Lingfield). After 12 races, he's still a maiden, but has been getting progressively better in recent times and looks fairly treated by the handicapper.

Today's selections

12.55 Kempton -- Dee Ee Williams

1.00 Lingfield -- Clear Sailing

2.10 Lingfield -- Charlie Smirke (ew)

3.10 Lingfield -- (Atlantic Story)

Irish Independent