Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Murphy should Buck the trend

Johnny Ward

THE Buck should win Cork's Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Steeplechase this afternoon and the chances are he will be overpriced.

Trainer John Murphy bids to exploit a notable discrepancy between the horse's mark as a hurdler and his rating as a chaser. The Buck runs off 86 this afternoon, whereas his mark over the smaller obstacles has risen to 116. That effectively means he should win today bar a fall.

The eight-year-old won at Mallow in October. He has won on good and on heavy so today's forecast terrain (yielding) should not cause any difficulties. He is an uncomplicated type of horse and showed that in victory last time at Gowran, jumping boldly and winning with a bit to spare.

Murphy, moreover, has illustrated with the likes of Whatsabillion that he can exploit lenient chase ratings with hurdlers and The Buck's tissue of 9/4 in the Racing Post looks big.

He has done very little racing over fences (last outing in 2009) but, encouragingly, he completed the course each time and young jockey David Splaine has an excellent relationship with the son of Quws. Splaine can claim four pounds off the horse's back this afternoon.

It is difficult to put forward any of his rivals as particularly well-treated. Rookery Rebel carries a penalty for winning a moderate beginners' chase, while Rakamasi can hardly be improving and Loch Na Beaste wants further.


The Buck to win at Cork, 2pts at best morning odds

GO long on scores today when Dublin host Mayo. Back over 30.5 points (with a goal counting for three) at even money.

Ladbrokes do not seem to have accounted for the importance of the venue in terms of score expectancy: Croke Park is very much a forward's pitch. Indeed, when Dublin played Cork at Croker in round two of the NFL, the two sides' total score came to 3-29; Kerry were in town a week later and lost by the odd point in 37 (Dublin winning 3-10 to 1-15).

That, of course, does not mean that the scoring will be so high this afternoon. Even so, it is understandable that Paddy Power are offering only 4/5 that there will be over 33.5 points -- so either they are wrong or Ladbrokes are.

Mayo are as big as 10/3 to win the match but they ought to be capable of making the home side fight for what would be their fifth win from five games. Longer-term, the Dubs are no better than 6/1 to win the All-Ireland and they are unquestionably contenders this year.


Over 30.5 points in Dublin-Mayo, 2pts at evens (Ladbrokes)

EVEN professional odds-compilers dealing with football at the highest level can get it badly wrong. Shortly after Internazionale were paired with Schalke 04 in the last eight of the Champions League, one leading bookmaker went up with a quote of 1/6 about the Milanese to qualify. The conclusion of another firm was that Inter were 1/2 shots to get through -- a quite incredible difference of opinion at this stage of the competition. As ever with such wild anomalies, the market soon corrected itself to a large extent.

The contrast in concepts of where each team and league stands relative to another was not confined to that match. Real Madrid's intriguing battle with Tottenham has prompted disagreement, with one firm still going 2/5 Madrid to qualify when they are just better than 1/3 on Betfair.

The punters queuing up to side with Jose Mourinho's side on the exchanges may have slightly underestimated Tottenham and the guile of Harry Redknapp. Spurs have already bettered Inter and Milan in this competition, whereas Real Madrid are no Barcelona. They can be taken on at around 1/3.


Lay Real Madrid to qualify against Tottenham, 4pts at 1.34 (1.36pt liability, Betfair)

Year to date

Profit/loss to €10 stake: -€5.58

Still running: €140

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