systems are go to favour rip van winkle
EVEN though the internet was in its infancy back in the mid '90s, there were plenty of scammers on the web only happy to relieve young, gullible people like me of their money.
I used to pop into one of the first internet cafes in Dublin, just off Dame Street, to check out the latest sports news on a painfully slow dial-up modem. On one occasion, an advert for a horse racing 'system' popped up on the screen and it promised the user thousands of pounds per year if they followed the simple rules.
It's a bit embarrassing to look back on now, but a mixture of curiosity and stupidity saw a 16-year-old me head to the GPO and send off a £9.99 postal order to England to get 'The System'.
About a week later, a letter stamped with the Queen's Head came through the letterbox and I hoped that this was my first step to becoming a millionaire (or a thousandaire at the least).
Sadly, all it contained was a four-page booklet instructing me to back horses priced around evens -- and, if they lost, I was to double up and chase my losses until I recovered the money.
A fine strategy for those with a bottomless bank, but not much use for someone like me earning seven quid per night working in a bar! Horse racing systems have a bad reputation and it's mostly justified because each of them will fail in the long run.
Many systems are based on randomness rather than sound principles and the ones that actually do make sense will see their profit dwindle over time as the market adjusts. Having said all that, I do sometimes use a system when it comes to Group One racing and for the past number of years, it has earned a pretty decent profit.
Basically, you back the best horses -- that is, back horses with an official rating above 120 in Group One races. Simple as that. This approach has provided 50 winners from 168 races (30pc) since 2003 and a profit of over €200 to a €10 stake.
If we concentrate on Ireland only, the strike rate is 13 winners from 27 races (48pc), and we have a qualifier today in the guise of Rip Van Winkle for the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (3.45).
It might seem a bit lazy of me to put up a 4/6 shot as the main bet of the day, but sometimes odds-on horses can be value and Rip is back near his best if his Juddmonte International Stakes form is anything to go by.
Henry Cecil's Twice Over ticks the right boxes too, but there's nothing to suggest he'll reverse the York form after some hard races. He'd also like some more rain so a price of 3/1 looks about right. Sea Lord could be the dark horse at a double-figure price.
Crackentorp has had a busy season and the Tim Easterby-trained gelding looked quite tired when finishing well down the field last time in the Totesport.com Stakes handicap at York. However, he's been slotted in nicely at the bottom of the weights for today's Betfred Kingspin Old Borough Cup Handicap at Haydock (3.05) and without a big lead burden he may just have enough in the tank to manage a place. Early prices of 14/1 look too high.
2.10 Stratford: Tout Regulier
3.05 Haydock: Crackentorp (e/w)
3.45 Leopardstown: Rip Van Winkle
3.50 Kempton: Biondetti
5.10 Thirsk: Johnny Castle