FOR the first time since this column's inception, nothing is put forward in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
It looks a tricky renewal, with the ground potentially very testing. A field of 20 runners renders the task at hand for each jockey fraught with the risk of traffic problems. The likely pacesetters, unlike 12 months ago, are not complete no-hopers so they cannot be ignored, but will they go too fast on the deep terrain?
At home, there is more scope for making money today, with meetings at Tipperary and Dundalk. John Kiely's Oneeightofamile --which has a 10/1 tissue price -- appeals in the Dolores Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle, a captivating Grade Three contest at 'The Junction'.
Six of the 11 runners won their most recent race, including Ballyadam Brook, which pursues a five-timer this afternoon. The six-year-old has had some gruelling races from the front, though, and giving seven pounds to the selection will not be easy. One Cool Tornado has run eight times since mid-June and his toughness will again be put to the test under his big weight.
Oneeightofamile is potentially a very smart hurdler. A decent stayer on the Flat, he won a 30-runner maiden hurdle by three lengths at Navan last weekend. That seemed a very strong contest, with high-class Flat horse Drumfire and the very well-regarded First Lieutenant subservient to the son of Catcher In The Rye.
The beauty of today's race for him is that there looks nearly certain to be a good pace on, which he can again sit off before hopefully pouncing with his Flat speed. Six of Kiely's last ten runners have won and Oneeightofamile does not seem a 10/1 chance to extend that excellent form.
Oneeightofamile to win at
1pt win at best morning odds
HALF-TIME markets in football frequently offer better value than the traditional win-draw-win markets on which the generic bettor usually wagers. You should always be wary of betting on a team to win a match in any of the top European football leagues, as the prices are rarely wrong.
However, bookmakers tend to put less effort into the ancillary markets because fewer people are interested in betting on them. For example, one highly profitable bookmaker is only laying 13/8 about Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna going in level at the interval this evening, while another quotes 12/5.
A fair price would be somewhere in between. So far, Madrid have played five league games under Jose Mourinho. In four of them, the score at half-time was level.
Madrid have leaked one goal in La Liga this term, while Depor's concession of five is respectable, given their poor start. Obviously, you cannot make grand judgments after just five games, but 12/5 about it being level at half-time at the Bernabeu seems long.
Real Madrid-Deportivo La Coruna half-time draw,
1pt at 12/5 (Betfred)
THE New York Jets may be slightly over-rated on the basis of their impressive start in the National Football League and Buffalo Bills can surprise their divisional foes today.
The Bill's sorry 0-3 start puts considerable pressure on them to get off the mark today; victory for the Jets would be their third out of as many games against teams in the AFC East this season. However, the price difference between the two teams on Betfair may be too great.
Buffalo impressed for long stages in their 38-30 defeat in New England seven days ago. They finished 7-9 for three successive campaigns before last season's 6-10 and remain no pushovers.
Quite a few bookmakers, with their profit margins built in, are happy to lay New York at 2/5, the price at which you can take them on thanks to the advent of the exchanges.
Lay Jets to beat Bills,
2pts at 1.4 (0.8pt liability, Betfair)
YEAR TO DATE
Profit to a €10 stake: €239.47
Still running: €140