Thursday, 31 May 2007

2 pts win LIGHT SHIFT 7.6/1 ( Betfair) Oaks Stakes
1 pt win ALL MY LOVING 9/1 ( Betfair) Oaks Stakes

Although the Cheshire Oaks can usually be dismissed at hand as a genuine Oaks trial, this years renewal looked a bit special. with the first three pulling well clear of the rest, and all looking three quality sorts. Enthusiasm for the race has been slightly tempered since as none of the horses behind have done anything to promote the form. However, as they never figured at Chester it's probably best to give the race the benefit of the doubt.

Light Shift quickened up like a high class filly. She should have no trouble handling the Epsom track, and if she takes anything after her close relative Shiva, she'll handle the ease in the ground - though that does remain a concern. All My Loving is a rangy sort with scope. She had to be driven along at point in mid -race at Chester, and there could possibly be a concern about her handling the track. However, by getting too bogged down in something that will only make issues unnecessarily complicated, we could be missing out on a decent priced winner. Truth be told, she has any amount of improvement in her, she'll act on the ground, and it would not be a surprise to see her find the improvement required to win this.

Light Shift won + 14pts

2 pts win ANNEMASSE 17/2 ( Betfair) Vodafone Surrey Stakes
1 pt win HOWYA NOW KID 9/1 ( Betfair) Vodafone Surey Stakes

The ground is an unknown for Annemasse, but he appeals as a hardy, versatile improving sort. He has chased home Group class animals in his last two starts, and the drop back in trip should enble him to settle better. He makes a quick reappearance and really does catch the eye at his current price.

Howya Now Kid is proven on the ground. A return to this trip should be ideal and his form of two outings ago was given a massive boost last weekend when two of the fillies that he was mixing it in with ran big races in the Irish 1,000 GNS. Is likely to attract alot of support here.

Howya Now Kid won ( deduction for late withdrawal) + 4.8 pts
2 pts win PINPOINT 3.3/1 ( Betfair) Brigadier Gerard Stakes
1 pt win PAPAL BULL 7/1 ( Generally available) Brigadier Gerard Stakes

There have been stronger renewals of this race and this looks the ideal opportunity for Pinpoint to step up successfully into Group class. He has been continually progressing through the handicap and his performance when narrowly beaten under a big weight last time at Newmarket was one of a Group 3 horse. There looks to be more to come and he'll surely give a good account of himself here.

Papal Bull disappointed on his only run on soft ground but he's still worth support at the odds considering that after he'd won the King Edward people were mooting the possibility that he could be the best three year old middle distance horse around. He should be a different proposition here than on his seasonal debut, and has the pace to cope with this drop back in trip.

Lost - 3pts

2 pts win RED CLUBS 3.7/1 ( Betfair) Temple Stakes
1pt win MOSS VALE 9/2 ( Generally available) Temple Stakes

The likeable Red Clubs put up arguably a lifetime best on his reappearance in the Duke of York, and will go very close here. Although he's been on the go since early in his two year old career, he could now be a much improved performer, and is probably capable of turning around form with some of his opponents here. The drop back to five furlongs should not prove a hindrance and I'd rather have him at the price than Firenze who is not yet proven in this grade.

Moss Vale beat Red Clubs at the Curragh last August, and though finishing behind that rival in the Duke of York, he still rates as a big danger here. His efort in Ireland last weekend indicated that he retains all of his ability and the underfoot conditions will not curb him.

Lost - 3 pts

Monday, 28 May 2007

2 pts win PACKERS HILL 6.4/1 ( Betfair) Totesport H'cap
1 pt win SALAASA 7.6/1 ( Betfair) Totesport H'cap

Lacework is being supported as though she's a listed/G3 horse. That could well be the case, but on pedigree there has to be a doubt whether this will be her optimum trip, and the situation means that there are some attractively priced alternatives to consider.

Packer's Hill looked much improved when winning at Newcastle last time. He too is stepping up in trip but his style of victory allied to there being staminia on the female side of his pedigree strongly suggest that he'll cope admirably with it. Another to consider is Salaasa, who beat a progressive Michael Jarvis animal at Newmarket before dropping out tamely at Sandown last time. He is certainly worth another chance.

Lost - 3 pts

2 pts win HASSAAD 3/1 ( Generally available) Zetland Gold Cup
1pt win WIND STAR 45/1 ( Betfair) Zetland Gold Cup

Hassaad is a worthy market leader here. He appears to be on the upgrade fast, and is style of racing makes it difficult for the handicapper to curb him. Off a six pound higher mark here than when quickening well to win at Ascot, he should take all the beating. There is a question mark over the trip but it's probably best to put faith in Haggas's judgement and assume that he'll stay.

Despite being weak on the exchanges, Wind Star is worth a speculative bet. On his seasonal debut he wasen't far behind Bellandonner, and he shaped as though he would soon be winning, and though 10th of 15 in the Thirsk Hunt Cup, he was only beaten around three lengths by the winner.

Lost - 3 pts

Sunday, 27 May 2007

2 pts win MUJOOD 14.5/1 ( Betfair) Connaught Square H'cap
1 pt win ANDRIKOS 17/1 ( Betfair)Connaught Square H'cap

The usual puzzle to solve here, and from a value perspective these two make some appeal. Mujood hails from a yard performing well at the moment. Though raised to a life high rating after his Goodwood success, he performed creditably at Ascot last time and as he is likely to run his race, it will only take a couple of others to run below form for him to go close here.

Supporting Andronikos may require a little more faith but one only has to go back to last Autumn's Ayr Gold Cup to see he probably does retain most of his ablity. He is six pound lower now in the ratings, and though coming into this out of form it is encouraging that he attracted support last time. Worth taking a chance with in the hope that Fortune may conjure something out of him today.

Lost - 3pts

2 pts win NOTNOWCATOO 8.6/1 ( Betfair) Tattersalls Gold Cup
1 pt win DANAK 12/1 ( Betfair) Tattersalls Gold Cup

Notnowcatoo shaped well on his seasonal debut and his trainer will no doubt have him spot on for this. A likeable type with a finishing kick, he appeals at his current odds. The softening ground was blamed for Dylan Thomas's below par effort behind Notnowcatoo at Yor last August, but even if the rain fails to severely change the going here, a look through form lines with the top 10f horses last term, in addition to the result of the York race, indicates that there is not a hell of a lot between the two.

The unbeaten Danak makes the step up into the big time. He'll be much more straightforward in condition than when narrowly beating Heliostatic on his seasonal debut, and followed up by winning in pleasing style last time. The runners from this yard tend not to be overfaced and the chances are that this is now a high class colt who will be serious force here.

Notnowcato won + 16 pts

2 pts win ALEXANDER TANGO 12.5/1 ( Betfair) Irish 1,000 Gns
1 pt win TREAT 10.5/1 ( Betfair) Irish 1,000 Gns

Finscaol Beo was beaten fair and square in France, and instead of looking for excuses it may be worth embracing the opportunity to take on a filly who has peaked and does not want these quick races in succession.

With these three year olds developing at different rates at this time of the season, it could be worth siding with Alexander Tango who won in visually pleasing style last time and is no doubt a lot better than the bare form of the race suggests - which of course she'll have to be to win this. A typically imposing Danehill Dancer, she appeals as one who could be on the upgrade fast and she should figure prominently here. Treat has ground to make up on the fillies that finished ahead of her at Newmarket, but has proven that she is up to this grade, has bags of room for further improvement, and could turn that form around here.

Lost - 3pts

Saturday, 26 May 2007

3 pts FC NURNBERG 11/4 ( Betfair) v VfB Stuttgart German Cup Final

Recently crowned champions Stuttgart attempt the double here, and would no doubt rather be facing different opponents having suffered two wide margin defeats in both encounters against FCN in the Bundesliga. Furthermore, Mario Gomez is a doubtful starter for them - though many thought that his absence from a few games during the last couple of months of the season would spell the end of their championship challenge. Nevertheless, it is still a negative for VfB. Both sides have won the Cup three times and an entertaining match is on the cards. Perhaps FCN will be the more focussed of the two teams, and it could be worth taking the value call and supporting them to take this in 90 minuites.

90 mins FCN 2 Stuttgart 2 - 3pts
2 pts win ELLERSLIE TOM 9/2 ( Generally available) Knight Frank H'cap Hurdle
1 pt win LORD BASKERVILLE 10.5/1 ( Betfair) Knight Frank H'cap Hurdle

Hard to resist getting stuck into this little gem of a race. After being put away for a spring campaign, Ellerslie Tom has his conditions here ( hopefully the weather forecast is correct and the rain will keep away from the Stratford area) and will take some pegging back. He ran a blinder in the Swinton last time, can shoulder this type of weight, and this race is in truth not quite as competitive as it may appear at first glance. Of the longer priced runners, Lord Baskerville catches the eye. He is 2 from 2 here, and the race he won at Aintree last time was better than your average 5K race - the runner up being a useful sort who had been highly tried, and a 7lb rise in the ratings is not insurmountable.

Lost - 3pts

2 pts win LIPOCCO 9/1 ( Ladbrokes and Betfair) Coral Sprint H'cap
1 pt win MASON ETTE 9/1 ( 2 firms and Betfair) Coral Sprint H'cap

The value has now disappeared on Sandrey, and with no rain coming and the trainer expressing concern whether he'll be fully effective on this surface, it's worth finding a couple of alternatives.

A hardy sort, Lipocco was highly tried in his last two outings last year, acquitting himself well but not incurring enough damage from the handicapper to ruin his chance in these events. He won well on his re-appearance at Salisbury, beating an animal who himself looks one to follow in these sort of races. The third horse home has since come out and advertised the form by winning at Lingfield. Lipocco himself will no doubt return to Listed/Group company at some stage during the season, but in the meantime is of considerable interest in this company.

Mason Ette hails from a shrewd set up. She ran in useful maiden company last season and when breaking her duck at Salisbury, she was followed home by a Kevin Ryan animal who herself looks sure to win a few times this season. There is clearly plenty more to come from her.

Lost - 3pts

1 pt win REGAL PARADE 6/1 ( Generally available) Totesport Silver Bowl H'cap
1 pt win PONTY ROSSA 10/1 ( Betfair)Totesport Silver Bowl H'cap
1 pt win AQMAAR 14/1 ( Betfair) Totesport Silver Bowl H'cap

This has always been a fascinating race, right from the days when it was called the Cecil Frail H'cap when the likes of Gunner B and Royal Palace's brother Owen Jones ( ridden by a nutter) won the event. As competitive as always, there is room to take three against the field.

Regal Parade is a worthy market leader. He is on the upgrade fast and there is no knowing what level he'll reach. Admittedly there are doubts over the draw and ground, but it he must be included in any portfolio for this. Ponty Rossa went into all the notebooks with her promising run at York last week and, partnered by the underated David Allen, can confirm the visual impression that she'll improve further over ths trip. Aqmaaris is only 3lb higher in the ratings than when winning at Newbury last time. He should settle better here than he normally does and can confirm that form with Thunder Storm Cat.

Lost - 3 pts

Friday, 25 May 2007

2 pts win CHAMPIONSHIP POINT 13/2 ( two firms 7 Betfair) Letheby & Christopher Festival Stakes
1 pt win HARD TOP 6/1 ( Betfair) Letheby& Christopher Festival Stakes

In a race full of quirky types Championship Point is one who can be relied upon to run his race. He handles this tricky course well, and went off as short as 14/1 at Epsom after winning the Derby trial here last year, and was beaten in a blanket finish in a similar event over C&D in the autumn. He has ran close to his very best in both outings this term and is sure to acquit himself well again.

Hard Top's career has not developed as once envisaged. Now gelded, but retained by his yard, it seems that connections are thinking that this sort of trip will help to settle him. Perhaps a little too fresh on his reappearance, he is worth one more chance here.

Lost - 3pts

2 pts win RECORD BREAKER 2/1 ( Betfair) M Real H'cap
1 pts win SPIDERBACK 8/1 ( Generally available) M Real H'cap

Record Breaker stands out here. Sent down to Ascot for his sole juvenile run last July, he reappeared at Musselburgh, winning in the style of animal who as his pedigree suggests, will improve significantly for the climb up in distance. There are opponents here from some of the other big yards, but all lack the potential of this colt and it could well be that he is head and shoulders above this lot.

Spiderback is worth a saver. A consistent, exposed sort who is holding his form well, he ran well in a Newmarket handicap last time, and ran well over this course as a juvenile. He'll not be far away.

Record Breaker won + 3pts

Sunday, 20 May 2007

3 pts FC AUGSBURG 9/4 ( Betfair) v Carl Zeiss Jena Bundesliga 2

Last day of the season and Augsburg are selected from a value angle. They caught the eye when the price lists came out and while I've very nearly backed out due to one or two good judges being red hot on Jena on one of the betting forums, I'll stick to my guns. True, they have nothing to play for, and face a side who are fighting for survival today; but that angle has been a precarious one to take in this league during the past six weeks, and the Bavarians are a decent side who have lost only three times at home all season. In normal situations they'd be true odds on shots here and they are capable of punishing their desperate rivals here. Both sides have players missing.

FCA 1 Jena 2 - 3 pts

3 pts OVER 2.5 GOALS 0.62/1 ( Paddy Power & Exchanges) FC Kaiserslautern v FC Koln Bundesliga 2

Hard to believe that the two biggest clubs in this league have both failed to return to the top flight. This still has the makings of a cracking match. Cologne have failed to win in the last nine encounters between these sides and threw away a two goal league in that eventful clash before Christmas. While the odds for the overs may seem a little restricted, it is difficult to see there not being a few goals here. In the Offenbach match, the FC created plenty of chances and could have scored more than two. There have also been plenty of goals in Kaiserlauterns recent home matches - overs in five of the last six in fact. FC captain Lukas Sinkiewicz plays his last match for the club and will now move across the Rhein to Leverkusen. He appears to have parted on good terms. The club tend to fire themselves up for these matches, and with the ever pleasing Novakovic and club star Helmes leading the attack, they'll give their opponents a game today.

FCK 2 FC Koln 2 + 1.8 pts

Saturday, 19 May 2007

3 pts HAMBURG SV - 1 Asian Handicap Evens ( Generally available) v Alamennia Aachen Bundesliga 1

HSV could still make the Intertoto Cup. After a frustrating season where a constant injury hit side struggled against relegation, there now appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. One senses an upbeat mood in the camp at the moment and they realeased a message stating that they want to pay back the fans by giving a commanding performance today, and that they will be putting everything into this encounter. Aachen have lost their fight against relegation, after looking at one stage that they were going to stay up. They have not been helped by the attitude of a couple of their players who appear to believe they are too good for the club, and you feel that the bust ups behind the scenes have contributed alot to their downfall. There was a 3-3 scoreline when the clubs met in Aachen earlier in the season, but a comfortable HSV victory is expected today and they must be supported to overcome a deficit on the asians.

HSV 4 Aachen 0 + 3 pts
2 pts win ZAHAM 6/1 ( Generally available) London Paddy Power Gold Cup
1 pt win DUKE OF TUSCANY 29/1 ( Betfair) London Paddy Power Gold Cup

Even though the seventh horse home has since come out and won, the form of the Newmarket handicap where Regal Flush finished runner up has taken a few knocks, and it could well be that it's not after all going to be the fruitful source of future winners that seemed likely at the time. In contrast, the Esher Cup form has received a massive boost with the winner chasing home Admiralofthefleet in the Dee Stakes. The third and fourth horses home, Zaham and Buccellati, meet again and I fancy the Johnston animal to confirm the form here, despite the visual impression that Buccellati was more in need of the extra trip. Zaham himself will improve further for the trip, and despite the fact that some of these Siver Hawk's don't take alot of racing, these generalisations tend not to apply to this yard and it will be interesting to see how his career develops.

It is worrying how weak Duke of Tuscany is on the exchanges at the moment. Nevertheless, he makes some appeal here. He beat a quality sort at Sandown last September, and improved from his seasonal debut when third in a Newmarket handicap last time, giving weight to the first and second, who are useful sorts themselves. He'll appreciate the bit of give in the ground here and should acquitt himself well in a contest where there's going to be a slight change in tactics with many of these with so many of the contenders liking to lead or force the pace.

Zaham won + 11 pts

Thursday, 17 May 2007

2 pts win PRIDE OF NATION 5.2/1 ( Betfair) Hambleton H'cap
1 pt win BLACK CHARMER 49/1 ( Betfair) Hambleton H'cap

Four of this field ran over C&D in similar conditions last August, with Pride of Nation coming outbest of the quartet. Admittedly, Wise Dennis diden't come into that contest in the shape that he's in right now, but there are reasons for believing that the Cumani horse can confirm the form. He's lightly raced and certainly has more to come, like alot of his sires progeny he loves soft ground, and as he has gone well fresh in the past he's bound to be fully tuned up for this - especially considering that the ground will have turned against him when the valuable mid-season handicaps arrive.

Of the longer priced alternatives it may be worth chancing a speculative punt on Black Charmer. He was mixing it in with Sir Percy and Aussie Rules as a juvenile, and while he has lost his way since, it is interesting that the yard persevere with him. Now gelded, he could run much better than his odds suggest.

Lost - 3 pts

Saturday, 12 May 2007

3 pts TSV 1860 MUNICH 1.92/1 ( Betfair) v Hansa Rostock Bundesliga 2

The fact that only KSC have a better home record than TSV1860 is clear testament that their away form has prevented them from challenging for promotion. They play their last home match of the season tomorrow and are tremendous value to dispose of a team in the middle of a crisis. When Hansa were in cruise control earlier in the season and building up the longest unbeaten run of the season in Bundesliga football, a return to the top flight appeared a formality. The warning signs began appearing after the winter break, with performances that were lacking their previous sparkle. And instead of re-discovering their top form they have gone from good to ordinary. They've only picked up a point in their last four games and suffered a heavy home defeat to Koblenz last weekend, following on from a fortunate draw away to Essen, in a game not helped by the antics of their fans. It is difficult to have any confidence in the Hansa team at the moment and they could suffer here.

TSV 1860 1 Rostock 2 - 2 pts

3 pts FC KOLN 1.16/1 ( Betfair) v Kickers Offenbach Bundesliga 2

The FC play at the Rhein Energie Stadion for the final time this season and appeal strongly at odds against to put their rivals into deeper relegation trouble. They lost 2-0 away at Offenbach earlier in the season but should manage to gain revenge here given that their rivals are in a slump at the moment, picking up just six points in their last ten games. The FC gave a real heart on the shirt performance at Duisburg on Monday night, clearly demonstrating that they have been the underperformers of Bundesliga 2, given that they have a squad strong enough to have made a serious challenge to bounce back up to Bundesliga 1. Goalkeeper Stefan Wessels is injured, giving the opportunity for childhood FC fan Thomas Kessler to make his first team debut.

FC Koln 2 Offenbach 2 - 3 pts
3 pts SCHALKE 04 1.15/1 ( Paddy Power & Exchanges) v Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga 1

A Derby between two long established foes, there will be nothing more than the BVB would like than to assist in preventing the SO4 from taking the title. When these two teams met in Gelsenkirchen before Christmas, BVB played better than the 3 -1 defeat would suggest. Neuer had a blinder in goal, and if a little luck had gone their way the visitors could have come away with a point. BVB play hosts today, but such is the nature of this fixture there is probably no such thing as home advantage as born out by the fact that the last time BVB beat the SO4 at home was during the 98/99 season ! BVB have picked up plenty of points against moderate opposition in recent games to take them out of relegation trouble. They are however only run of the mill, and while it can sometimes be worth being on the lookout for angles in which to take on the SO4, with all the aura and razmataz surrounding them, and the great love or great hate felt towards them ( as evidenced in German football forums); they should come away with all the points here. Mirco Slomka has told his team to approach the match as if Bremen and Stuttgart have already won their matches, and indeed, failure to secure victory here will probably dash their title hopes.

BVB 2 SO4 0 - 3pts

3 pts BAYER LEVERKUSEN 1.88/1 ( Betfair) v Hertha Berlin Bundesliga 1

Leverkusen beat Hertha 2-1 at home in December, and won 5-1 in Berlin last season. Their hopes of playing in Europe next season are seriously threatened at the moment, and while they are an inconsistent side, capable of smart and poor performances in equal portion, they are fairly priced to win this match. Hertha's comprehensive away victory over the demoralised Aachen, split defeats by Bremen and BVB. They've failed to win at home in their last six, and will struggle to contain their talented opponents today, who have recently announced that Bundesliga scoring sensation Theofanis Gekas will be joining them from Bochum for next season.

Hertha 2 Leverkusen 3 + 5.6 pts
1 pt win PREMIER DANE 14.5/1 ( Betfair) Swinton H'cap Hurdle
1pt win CARACCIOLA 21/1 ( Betfair) Swinton H'cap Hurdle
1 pt win BORDER CASTLE 22/1 ( Betfair) Swinton H'cap Hurdle

It's hard to resist getting stuck into this race today. Despite it being a real puzzle to solve, the race appeals more as a betting proposition than the Victoria Cup given the uncertainty over the draw at Ascot.

Premier Dane and Carracciola both ran blinders in the County Hurdle. Premier Dane has always looked one who has one of these valuable handicaps in him. He was disappointing in his three starts this season prior to Cheltenham, and considering his fine run when chasing home Detriot City at Aintree the previous season, there was a suspicion that he could have been going the wrong way. He has a pull in the weights with Emmpat on recent Ayr running, should have further improvement left in him considering his age, and is likely run a big race for his claiming jockey. Carracciola retains most of his ability despite his age, as displayed when finishing three places behind Premier Dane when sixth in the County, and previously when fouth in the Tote Gold Trophy. This type of race suits him far better than the Ayr race, and due to him not having a young, progressive profile, is a few points longer than he should be.

For a while in the Imperial Cup, Border Castle was travelling along nicely, looking like he'd get himself involved in the finish. He then hit a flat spot before running on again to finish fifth. True he is far from straightforward, but he retains all of his ability, goes well fresh, is able to perform in big fields, and with the help of the overnight rain comes right into the reckoning and catches the eye at currect odds.

Lost - 3 pts

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

1 pt win GALIENT 5.3/1 ( Betfair) Chester Cup
1pt win FAIR ALONG 10.7/1 ( Generally available) Chester Cup
1pt win FLARE STAR 21.5/1 ( Betfair) Chester Cup

Galient is a couple of points longer due to his wide berth, and it could be worth trusting Robinson to pull something out the hat by managing to get him across near to the rail without being too far off the pace. He is a quality sort who is certain to stay this trip, and one who could yet end up performing with credit in the Group class Cup events.

Provided there are no ill- effects from the three hard races he's had this spring, Fair Along will play a prominent role here. If Spencer gets him across and to the front from stall 11, it will be fascinating to see how things develop. True, he's been punished by the handicapper for those two Salisbury victories last season, and there could perhaps be question about the ground; but at least he's a likeable, realiable sort, who is in good heart and has less negatives surrounding him that many of his opponents here.

Flare Star catches the eye at long odds. She's very difficult to assess, but is clearly open to further improvement and you get the impression that she has been laid out for this.

Lost - 3 pts

3 pts win STOTSFOLD 11/4 ( Betfair) Breitling Watches & Waltons of Chester H'cap

A likeable progressive type with a future Group 1 entry. Has won both of his starts here, and his decisive change of gear should settle matters today. The handicapper hasen't got him yet, and with the ground against his main danger, Blythe Knight, he carries maximum confidence.

Lost - 3 pts

2 pts win AMAZING REQUEST 7/2 ( Paddy Power) Walker Smith Way H'cap
1 pt win SWISS ACT 13/2 ( Betfair) Walker Smith Way H'cap

The Beckhampton horses are running out of their skin at present, and Amazing Request looks to have a far easier task her than on his seasonal debut, where he acquitted himself well in a hot Newmarket handicap containing Group class horses in disguise. He'll appreciate the extra two furlongs here and is a better proposition than his chief market rival Bergonzi, who after beating garbage in a Leicester maiden, ran really well in a Sandown handicap last time, but is not certain to appreciate the step up in trip. A better alternative could be the Derby entry Swiss Act. We don't know much about him - in fact, he could be anything. However, we can be fairly sure that's he's going to be much better than an 82 rated handicapper.

Swiss Act won + 4.5pts

Monday, 7 May 2007

3 pts FC KOLN 5.2/1 ( Betfair) v MSV Duisburg Bundesliga 2

There have been some crazy results in this league recently - not least over this past weekend. KSC apart, no one is assured of promotion. Hansa are on empty, Freiburg and Furth have failed to put the seal on their bids, and the once mighty Kaiserslautern will be starting again from scratch in Bundesliga 2 in the Autumn. Duisburg will go into second place if they win at home tonight. They should really have been all but up into Bundesliga 1 by now. They've only picked up a point in their last two, and allowed Braunschweig to frustrate them at home. However, the state of affairs of both teams seems to have been over factored into the odds. The FC will not view this as a dead game - this will be a hard fought NRW Derby, and with Duisburg desperate to take advantage of the slip ups by the teams surrounding them in the table, there is going to be plenty of opportunity for Cologne on the break. The bare result of the Furth match was slightly misleading, as the FC missed a sackfull of chances. They are due for things to fall right for them and at present odds cannot be ignored from a value viewpoint.

Duisburg 1 FC Koln 3 + 15 pts

Sunday, 6 May 2007

2 pts win PINPOINT 4.3/1 ( Betfair) Stan James Suffolk H'cap
1 pt win ROYAL OATH 9/2 ( generally available) Stan James Suffolk H'cap

The front two have very strong credentails here. Having looked at the longer priced runners for some value it is hard to avoid being drawn back to these two who finished and second in a similarly competitive affair at Newbury last time, and who both could be running in Group races later in the season. Swinburn, with the support of his father in law, is fast making a name for himself as a one to follow closely in these big handicaps. Versatile regarding ground, course type, and distance, Pinpoint goes from strength to strength and there is no reason why he should not go very close to following up here. Royal Oath enjoys a pull in the weights for the Newbury defeat, and being very lightly raced he may have the more room for improvement - though things tend not always to work out that way. Nevetheless, he is a big danger here and is worth back up support.

Lost -3 pts
3 pts FC KAISERSLAUTERN - 1.5 Asian Handicap 1.07/1 ( Betfair) v Eintracht Braunchsweig Bundesliga 2

A little stuttering from some of the teams above them have presented FCK with a lifeline for promotion. It's very unlikely to happen - even if they win this and follow up with victories in their last two matches against Carl Zeiss Jena and Cologne, they would still be relying on slip ups above them. Todays opponents are already down but are capable of frustrating as they showed when packing their own half to gain a goaless draw at Duisburg. That may not work today. FCK have had convincing victories in their last two home matches, they'll have the adrenalin flowing here with a large, desperate crowd behind them, and it's likely that they'll win this by a comfortable margin.

FCK 1 Braunschweig 1 - 3pts

3 pts WERDER BREMEN 1.4/1 ( Betfair) v Hertha Berlin Bundesliga 1

For such a long period over the season Bremen have looked the likely winners of Bundesliga 1 - they were certainly the best team in the country prior to the winter pause. They now find themselves requiring a victory here to keep their hopes alives. The SO4 and Stuttgart have not faultered. There are also problems with the general health of the squad with Borowski, Mertesacker and Klasnic continuing on the injury list, and Nado, Hunt and Almeida suspended. On the positive side, Klose has announced that he will honour his contract at the club and stay for the 07/08 season. This is do or die for Thomas Schaaf's side and though Hertha still entertain hopes of a UEFA place, the visitors must be supported at odds that reflect the absentee's in the side.

Hertha 1 Bremen 4 + 4 pts

Saturday, 5 May 2007

1 pt win WYATT EARP 8.8/1 ( Betfair) Stan James 6f H'cap
1pt win BURNING INCENSE 10/1 ( Generally available) Stan James 6f H'cap
1pt win MUTAMARED 11/1 ( three firms ) Stan James 6f H'cap

Wyatt Earp is in his element over six furlongs on fast ground, and will be a prominent player in the valuable sprint handicaps this term. He went into all the notebooks with the way he shaped on his seasonal debut, and will be a big player here.

Roger Charlton's horses are flying at the moment. Burning Incense chased up an animal that is considered to be Group class by his trainer in his final race last year, and as there could be further improvement to come after the gelding operation, he himself could pick up a Group race this term. If that's the case then it could be that today will be the best handicapped he's going to be for a long time.

Like many of these sprinters, Mutamared has been progressing with age. He acquitted himself well when stepped up into Listed class here last time, and has strong claims to follow up victory in this race last year. In fact, at only six pounds higher in the ratings with the liklehood that he could still be going forward, he looks fairly treated.

Lost - 3 pts

2 pts win ADAGIO 3.9/1 ( Betfair) 2,000 GNS
1pt win EAGLE MOUNTAIN 33/1 ( Ladbrokes) 2,000 GNS

Ante-Post selection Dutch Art was toppled in the Greenham. That in itself was not a disaster - he was no doubt some way off peak fitness and was beaten by a horse from a yard who have their animals fully tuned up for the classic trials. However, the major concern was his weakness on the exchanges last weeked. He apparently worked last Friday and despite connections sounding upbeat about his chances, he was for a few days double the bookmakers odds on Betfair, which indicates that the staff were not going to touch him with a shitty stick. Maybe the workout convinced them that he would not stay - we are told he never pulled away from his lead horses, although apparently he is a lazy worker at home. Anyway, his participation is one of the many interesting aspects of this race though any degree of confidence has been reduced to mere hope now.

Adagio impressed in the Craven. As well as the winners, Stoute has had impressive Craven winners ( such as Shaadi and Alnaswr Alwasheek) who have disappointed in this race. Nevertheless, it may be folly trying to find negatives that don't exist. He's in peak form, has conditions in his favour, and by all accounts has the class to win this. He is still fairly priced.

Eagle Mountain is worth a stab at large odds. Admittedly it's a concern that Ladbrokes go longest on him, and perhaps his form with Teofilio should not be taken at face value. However, on strict form lines he is a high class colt. He who should appreciate this stiff mile, and should not be as big as he is.

Lost - 3pts

Friday, 4 May 2007

3 pts VfL WOLFSBURG 1.48/1 ( Betfair) v Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga 1

Three wins from the last four have taken BVB near to safety. They travel to the Volkswagen Stadium to face a team who though only two points behind them, desperately need a few more points in order to breath a little easier. The home side are not actually playing that badly; they've had some difficult matches in recent times, and with an unchanged team from the one that managed a draw away at Nurnberg last week, they must be fancied to get all the points here. BVB's recent victories were achieved against an uninspired Aachen, and the inconsistent teams Frankfurt, and Hertha. They can be taken on here.

Wolfsburg 0 BVB 2 - 3pts

3 pts ALEMANNIA AACHEN 3.8/1 ( Betfair) v Eintracht Frankfurt Bundesliga 1

Aachen sit in the relegation zone. Frankfurt are only a point ahead of them. With the home advantage, Frankfurt will expect nothing but maximum points - it could be the difference between survival and relegation come the end of the season. This is also a must win for Aachen and it is interesting that Frontzeck is choosing to leave out two of his most talented players in Jan Schlaudraff und Sascha Dum. It would appear that the manager is of the opinon that neither players heart has been with the team recently. Schlaudraff has been dropped before on account of his attitude, and both these players are likely to start next season with new clubs. Expect a fighting performance from Aachen here, and against a team who have the worst home record in Bundesliga 1, they appeal strongly value wise.

Frankfurt 4 Aachen 0 - 3pts

Thursday, 3 May 2007

3 pts OVER 2.5 GOALS 1.88/1 ( Betfair) FC Augsburg v Kickers Offenbach Bundesliga 2

Augsburg had forced themselves into the promotion race only for two consecutive defeats at the hands of Freiburg and Duisburg to end their hopes. They are back on the winning trail now but will not be going up. Offenbach hover above the relegation zone and need the points here. They have only picked up five points in their last ten matches, with 35 goals being scored in those games - they've conceded 24 ! Augsburg have being getting involved in games with plenty of goals in too, and have been finding it easy to find the net in their recent home matches. Needless to say, the overs is a confident choice here.

FCA 1 Offenbach 1 - 3pts