IT'S often said that luck comes in threes and I'm hoping there's some truth in that saying following two good weeks for the 'Betting Ring' column.
Last week's main bet, Riverside Theatre, was an impressive winner of the Betfair Ascot Chase and bookmakers have reacted by cutting his price down to 6/1 for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
Ante-post punters should be cautious, however, as Nicky Henderson hasn't actually made a final decision on whether the seven-year-old will be sent to the Festival or held back for other engagements.
Speaking of luck coming in threes, I found out yesterday from a mate who visited Vietnam that the number three is considered very bad luck over there and should be avoided at all costs. They even reckon you should never take a picture with three people in it, as the person in the middle of the photo will soon die!
Thankfully, today's main bet comes from Kempton and not Ho Chi Minh City, so hopefully that leaves us in with a chance of collecting a few bob from the bookmakers for a third week running.
Hey Big Spender runs under a penalty in the Racing Post Chase, but I still think he's in with a shout and his price of 12/1 looks like great each-way value (3.0 Kempton).
The Colin Tizzard-trained gelding had little problem disposing of his rivals at Warwick last time while carrying plenty of weight, running off a mark of 150.
It was a career best for the eight-year-old and I've been reliably informed from a friend in deepest Dorset that he came out of the race in fine form and won't be bothered by a quick return to action. Paul Nicholls' Fistral Beach will probably go off as favourite and based on his latest form at Wincanton, he has strong claims.
However, his price at the time of writing seems short at 11/2 and I'm not certain he'll shake off a 9lb rise as easily as the market suggests.
Over in Wales, Philip Hobbs' Voramar Two is the one to side with in the Lindley Catering Novices' Chase (2.55 Chepstow). His fifth place in a novice chase at Huntingdon last time can be forgiven as he was suffering from a breathing problem and we have to take it on trust that he's made a full recovery -- but if he races anywhere near his best, he should have around 20lbs in hand today.
LAST week's each-way bet, Carruthers, looked the winner all over before they hit the turn at Haydock and even traded as low as 10/11 on the machine before running out of gas and finishing fourth, much to my frustration.
Let's see if we can do a bit better this week. Minella Boys is cracking value around 5/1 for the totesport.com Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle (3.15).
I normally try to give a horse priced in double figures for my each-way bet of the day but, having studied this race for a considerable length of time, I can't get away from Charlie Longsdon's nine-year-old.
Carrying 10st 13lbs, he could be well in at these weights. The addition of a tongue tie and cheekpieces worked a treat when landing the Sussex National a month ago and he wasn't shamed when second last time out in the totesport.com Classic Chase, up 7lbs for the Plumpton win.
He's unexposed as a staying chaser and any market support can be seen as positive.
2.25 Kempton: Captain Chris
2.55 Chepstow: Voramar Two
3.0 Kempton: Hey Big Spender (e/w)
3.15 Newcastle: Minella Boys (e/w)