Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The 2015 Punting Predictions

Happy New Year! Traditionally a time for committing to new resolutions, I’ve asked all my readers whether there is anything that I could try harder to achieve in 2015. Interestingly, you both said the same thing: Could I tip a few more winners?

So now seems as good a time as any to make a few predictions (or speculations) for 2015.

It’s Rugby World Cup year and it would be nice to think that England could win at home – but at 7/2 they don’t represent much value. You could have 300/1 about Scotland, but that’s totally unrealistic; there’s more chance that the Scots will provide the next Prime Minister, given that Ladbrokes quote Gordon Brown at only 100/1 for the job.  

But Gordon’s not even expected to line up for the race when the General Election takes place in May – which doesn’t say much for Scotland’s World Cup aspirations. In fact, on reflection, the odds quoted for the next Prime Minister are a little like those for the 2015 Gold Cup – in that I really don’t fancy any of the runners (fancy seems an inappropriate word here - but I guess it is accurate in any sense). Taking David Cameron out of the equation (as the incumbent), Ladbrokes offer 7/1 about Boris Johnson and 16/1 about Yvette Cooper. 

Alex Salmond isn’t quoted, which probably means he is 1,000-1 or more – about the same price as Elvis being discovered by the Rosetta space probe. It may seem far fetched, but some commentators believe that the SNP could form part of a new coalition Government. Elvis Presley or Alex Salmond as Prime Minister… 1000/1… hmmm. No, best to look elsewhere for our tip of the year. 

Prior to the election, I’m hoping that the politicians will have speeded through some legislation for a Racing Right – replacing the current Horseracing Betting Levy. It will have a major beneficial impact on the sport, but it will also cause a shake up in the betting industry. We should expect to see off-shore betting operators engage on more fronts with British customers – even on the highstreet, where betting shops have been under pressure from increased tax on gaming machines. Following this to its logical conclusion, doesn’t Ladbrokes look ripe for a city takeover? I think it's worth a small punt.  

Priced close to their 5-year low, at 114 pence per share, Ladbrokes’ value is about half what it was on 13th March 2013… Which, coincidentally, is when Sprinter Sacre won his first Champion Chase. Having been off the course for much of the time since, Sprinter Sacre is now 2/1 for the 2015 edition - having demonstrated his wellbeing in a recent schooling session at Newbury. There will be nothing to touch him at Cheltenham and 2/1 could look like exceedingly good value come March. 

In May, I expect Soul Magic to extend his record at Cartmel to eight wins – something no other horse has achieved. If not May, then the introduction of the new meeting in June affords Soul Magic an additional opportunity – with another coming in July, and another in August. Come on Soul Magic – you can do it! 

But to get the year started in the appropriate fashion, I’m going to suggest Aurore D’Estruval (in the listed mares’ race) at Sandown on Saturday. Good luck!

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