Football Accumulator – Euro 2016 Qualifying

euro qualifying 2016The next round of European Championship Qualifying on Thursday, October 8 has thrown up some interesting fixtures in Groups D, F and I – none of which has yet to be decided – which form the basis of this week’s multiple bet.

Scotland currently lie fourth in Group D and defeat by Poland at Hampden Park on Thursday would end their chances of reaching the finals in France. The home side will be without Ikechi Anya, Charlie Mulgrew, James Morrison and Kevin McDonald and coming into the tie off the back of consecutive defeats by Georgia and Germany, it’s no surprise that Gordon Strachan’s men are second favourites.

By contrast, a win for Poland will see them safely into the finals, if the Republic of Ireland fail to beat Germany on the same evening. The teams drew 2-2 in the reverse fixture in Warsaw in October, Scotland having led 2-1, but the form of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who’s scored 12 goals in his last four games for Bayern Munich, must be a major worry for home fans.

Elsewhere in Group D, the Republic of Ireland can do Scotland a favour by beating Germany, but the World Championships have recovered from a slow start to win their last five competitive matches and may prove too strong for Martin O’Neill’s side.

In Group F, a routine home win for Northern Ireland against Greece, who are out of contention, will be enough to secure qualification and, while Group I is still up for grabs, a win for Portugal against Denmark will also see Cristiano Ronaldo and company through to the finals.

Selections: Poland (17/10 with Bet365), Germany (1/2 with Bet365), Northern Ireland (8/5 with Bet365), Portugal (8/11 with Bet365), win accumulator (17.18/1 with Bet365)

Thursday Trixie

trixieSadly, New Bidder failed by a nose and a neck to land our treble last week but, in the words of Meat Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad, so we’re back again in search of a decent payday.

Our first selection this week is Top Spin, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, in the Ken Muir Memorial Handicap Hurdle (3.50) at Warwick. Formerly trained in Co. Wexford by Colm Murphy, the 8-year-old was second to a subsequent winner on his debut for his new yard at Worcester in August and can go one better.

For our second selection we head to Bangor-on-Dee, where Valadom looks well treated under a 7lb penalty in the Barringtons Cleaning Ltd Handicap Chase (4.00). The 6-year-old only joined owner-trainer Richard Hobson from Emmanuel Clayeux earlier this month, but is clearly thriving at present and can continue his progress.

Last, but hopefully not least, Desert Recluse made a promising seasonal debut at Stratford five weeks ago and looks worthy of support in the 2015 Dealer Principal Event Handicap Hurdle (2.40) at Warwick. A prolific winner he isn’t, but reasonably handicapped he most definitely is, so it’ll be disappointing if he doesn’t go well under ideal conditions.

Selections: Warwick 3.50 Top Spin, Bangor-on-Dee 4.00 Valadom, Warwick 2.40 Desert Recluse win Trixie (3 x win doubles, 1 x win treble)

Thursday Trixie

It’s fair to say that a 17-runner sprint handicap isn’t an obvious selection source for a multiple bet, but New Bidder ran so well in William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup last Friday that he must have an outstanding chance in the Download the Racing UK iPad App Handicap (4.00) at Pontefract on Friday. Jedd O’Keefe’s 4-year-old eventually finished third of 25, beaten 1¾ lengths, behind Go Far at Ayr and drops back in class off the same handicap mark.

The Jockey Club Rose Bowl (4.15) at Newmarket is much less competitive and may provide Flying Officer with an opportunity to build upon his successful reappearance at Salisbury three weeks ago. The runner-up at Salisbury, Melodious, was beaten just a neck in the Group 2 DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster next time, so the form looks even better than it did at the time. Two miles on the prevailing good to soft going should be fine for the son of Dynaformer and it’ll take a smart performance to lower his colours.

Bathos has made excellent progress this season and, having recorded a career-best effort at Thirsk earlier this month, may be able to make it four wins from as many starts. The son of Poet’s Voice is 7lb higher in a better race this time, but a mile on good to soft going clearly suits him admirably and he looks the one to beat in the EBM Papst Nursery Handicap (2.35) at Newmarket.

Selections: Pontefract 4.00 New Bidder, Newmarket 4.15 Flying Officer, Newmarket 2.35 Bathos, win trixie (3 x win doubles, 1 x win treble)

Thursday Trixie

trixies horse racingFollowing last week’s flight of fancy, we’ve decided to rein in our natural impulses and go for three horses that we expect to run well at decent, if not astronomical, odds.

The first of them is Advance in the Matty Bown Handicap (2.45) at Pontefract. The Aqlaam gelding has already won four times this season, but would probably have gone very close to doing so again if not for being snatched up in the closing stages at Leicester last month. A 2lb rise in the weights for being beaten doesn’t seem entirely fair but, frankly, shouldn’t make much difference and he can resume winning ways. He should relish the stiff uphill climb to the line at Pontefract.

Our second selection is Correggio in the next race at Pontefract, the Book Your Christmas Party Here on 0113 2876387 Handicap (3.15). Micky Hammond’s 5-year-old apparently lost a shoe and suffered minor abrasions when below par over course and distance last month, but had previously won a similar contest by 6 lengths and deserves another chance.

Finally, in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Fillies’ Handicap (3.50), Pretty Bubbles is an interesting contender for John Jenkins on a course where he’s had just five runners during the last five seasons. The Sleeping Indian mare has yet to tackle 6 furlongs, but has been running well over 7 furlongs and is another who should find the testing hill over the last three furlongs at Pontefract to her liking.

Selections: Pontefract 2.45 Advance, Pontefract 3.15 Correggio, Pontefract 3.50 Pretty Bubbles, win trixie (3 x win doubles, 1 x win treble)

Deadly Double – Thursday, September 10, 245/1

doncaster racesThere’s no shortage of runners at Doncaster on Thursday, the second day of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival, which gives us the opportunity to back some high class horses at apparently generous odds. We’ve failed to land one of our ‘deadly’ doubles so far, but all of our selections have been there or thereabouts, so we’re far from discouraged.

Our first selection this week is Fadhayyil in the Japan Racing Association Sceptre Stakes (2.30) at Doncaster. Barry Hills’ filly was only beaten half a length in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Royal Ascot in June and, although failing to build on that performance in the Queens Plate Stakes at Goodwood, was trapped wide for much of the way and appeared ill-at-ease on the course in any case. She’s the highest rated filly in the field according to the BHA and looks a decent bet to follow up at 5/1 with Ladbrokes.

Our second selection is more nebulous, insofar as it’s based on Tony Hamilton’s choice of Another Touch from six Richard Fahey-trained entries in the Weatherbys Hamilton £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes (3.40) at Doncaster. The Arcano filly appeared to be beaten fair and square by Time Warp at Leicester last month but, with the winner following up in a French Listed race on Monday, the form looks better than it did at the time. Coral offer a standout 40/1 in the early price lists, which is simply irresistible!

Selections: Doncaster 2.30 Fadhayyil, Doncaster 3.40 Another Touch, win double