Clear, concise, comprehensive horseracing analysis and insight from Paul Jones, former author of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide, concentrating on jump racing in addition to the best of the Flat and leading Sports events.
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Vegas Hangover

9/5/16

A delayed flight back from Las Vegas means that the intended start to the Royal Ascot Ante-Post Service (6 weeks) has had to be put back 24 hours so that will commence on Tuesday at 7.00 p.m. and then on Mondays at the same time thereafter.

Well, it was only a week but my God It felt like three and I’ve no idea where my body clock is right now so please excuse any typos! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do this week as in addition to covering all the usual weekly stuff plus previewing The Players’ Championship Golf, keeping on top of the Dante Meeting and, of course, it’s Eurovision Song Contest week, I haven’t seen any of the 1000 Guineas card, Chester May Meeting or the weekend’s action yet so I’ll have to burn the candle at both ends for a few more days yet. So please keep a close eye on the ticker this week as there will be all sorts going up starting with Paul Ferguson’s Novice Note Book which was uploaded earlier this evening.

I did catch one race whilst I was in Vegas as thought it would be fun to make a point of watching the Kentucky Derby in the mother of all Sportsbooks at Caesars Palace. It was some atmosphere I can tell you and taken in with a glass of Old Forester Mint Julep which is the traditional beverage enjoyed by Americans in the lead up to the race for over 100 years. Basically, it tasted identical to one of those mint lollys I used to get off the ice cream van in my teens. The crowd went proper bananas when the clear favourite, Nyquist, moved up on the final bend and many of those also clearly had the trifecta given the roar that went up when the third was announced in a photo finish meaning a 1-2-3 for the front three in the market. The fourth was sent off as fourth-favourite so, with the right horses dominating, it could be a strong renewal this year. I don’t want to speak too early but I thought Nyquist won it in a very similar fashion to American Pharoah 12 months earlier.

After that experience there was an even better atmosphere a few hours later for Canelo-Khan fight. To say that the Mexicans outnumbered the Brits was an understatement and the Americans were also on Alvarez’s side but it made for a fantastic rendition of their national anthem. If you didn’t catch it, Khan started the sharper but Alvarez was just starting to warm to his task and then CRUNCH. That was a knockout and a half. I don’t why the referee even started counting. Khan was sparko before his head banged on the canvas. Canelo had looked a class act in every way in the lead up to the fight (I attended the interviews four days earlier at the MGN Grand) and that was only underlined when he was on his knees next to Khan checking he was okay the second that the ref waved his arms. Can you imagine Mayweather doing that? I do hope that he gets it on with Gennady Golovkin.

Other highlights were watching the freak show that is Absinthe in a tent outside Caesar’s Palace (ideal if you have an open mind, are not politically correct and want to see outstanding acrobatics almost within touching distance), The Beatles Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage which I actually found quite emotional, and dinner at the Top Of The World (revolving 360 degrees restaurant with bungee jumpers flying past) at The Stratosphere which is the highest building in America west of Mississippi offering magnificent views of the strip. Maybe I’ll bungee jump off it next time! However, if I hear Hotel California one more time!! Heaven only knows what quantity of airplay it gets in California itself. Anyway, enough of my indulgence and back to business.

I’ve given my pre semi-finals Eurovision Song Contest picks over a week ago but, as I mentioned in that copy, I now want to see the two semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday and the draw for the Final before I write the full preview of all 26 songs and my idea of the best bets. The market has it between Russia and France but I quite like a couple of bigger priced contenders for other markets. I will upload the full preview on Saturday morning.

Before then we have the Players’ Championship Golf (also referred to as the fifth Major) and Ante Post Focus going up on Wednesday. No luck with Buratino in the 2000 Guineas but Alice Springs advised at 20/1 repaid each-way support in the 1000 Guineas.

On Thursday, Mike Henderson is back with the penultimate week of the Premier League Darts where Michael Van Gerwen and Phil Taylor face off to see who will top the regular season. The top four in the league then play on Finals Night the following week. Also on Thursday I will upload the next edition of Horses To Follow.

It’s the Italian Open Tennis this week but Carl Redden is now taking a short break before the French Open which starts the following week which he will be covering comprehensively. He went close to landing a 40/1 recommendation when Pablo Carrena Busta was beaten in the final in Estoril last weekend. Still, a nice 20/1 payout for anyone who took his advice.

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