Friday 23 February 2018

Gorden to reward leap of faith

Johnny Ward

T HE return of St Nicholas Abbey augments the considerable appeal of today's Curragh card.

Not seen since an underwhelming effort in the Newmarket Guineas last season, the brilliant son of Montjeu need not be at his best to win the Alleged Stakes. He will be a short price to do so.

Limerick's jumps fixture is of high quality for the time of year and Whats Up Gorden is interesting in the closing Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Steeplechase. This series of races for apprentices, sponsored by JP McManus, is a laudable initiative and Shane Hassett, who rides the selection, is one of the best riders in the contest.

Two factors are worth considering with a view to backing the son of Saddlers' Hall: trainer Adrian Maguire's string have been running really well and Whats Up Gorden has no issue with running after a break. In February of last year, he won at Thurles after a four-month absence.

That the ground is drying out in recognition of the impending summer is in his favour too and he has more talent than his mark. Go back two runs to the Listowel festival when he would have won or come second only to unseat two out in a race more lucrative than today's.

The tissue favourite, Whosaidso, tends to finish his races weakly and there are hardly any horses here withholding secrets from the handicapper. Whats Up Gorden has only run in six handicap chases and should have more to offer.

The fact that he has failed to complete in five of those six is a concern but the predominance of letters above figures in his recent form should prompt bookmakers to underestimate him. With a clear round, he should have every chance at around 9/1.


Whats Up Gorden to win at Limerick,

1pt win at best morning odds

THE Allianz National Hurling League has proven a profitable ally to this column so far this season.

The markets that are most likely to produce exploitable prices tend to be the less popular ones and that is generally the case in sports betting. Think about it: if a high-street bookmaker pays two or three professionals to agree odds in the conventional win-draw-win market -- and allows them a considerable margin for error -- how likely are they to offer a price worth backing?

Even so, the primal sports bet, one team to beat another, remains the one most people want to invest in. This reflects that gambling is a form of entertainment for most people, a means of enhancing one's interest in an event.

Back two goals or more in Galway's clash with Tipperary at 4/7 with Bet365. The price is far too big, with Paddy Power offering 10/3 that one or fewer goals are netted. Indeed, so wrong are the odds, they will not last until throw-in.

In the event that you miss the best bet I have witnessed in a long time, back three goals or more at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.


Two goals or more in Galway v Tipperary,

5pts at 4/7 (Bet365)

THE break imposed due to the international fixtures can only have been welcomed in Blackpool, whose Premier League membership is under threat.

In contrast to Ian Holloway's side, Fulham have found their form under Mark Hughes in the last month. Does that entitle them to be 3/5 at home to a team who have accumulated just two points less than them over the course of 30 matches?

Fulham are a tempting lay at that price but preference is to oppose them to score the first goal at 1/2. The Tangerines have scored exactly two goals to every three they have leaked on the road but Fulham are worse than the median opposition Blackpool have faced.


Lay Fulham to score first against Blackpool

1pt at 1.5 (0.5pt liability, Betfair)


Profit to a €10 stake: €5.58

Still running: €145

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