I had a more amusing week than normal once I decided to get stuck in to the Rugby World Cup from a betting perspective.

I freely admit I followed rugby many years ago and have rather lost touch, but having tuned in to the Tonga/France game Saturday morning, the urge to open up BETDAQ on my tablet was just too much and a little in play action ensued. Firstly, I need to read up on the substitution rules as so many players were trooping on and off the pitch that it looked more like Oxford Street on Christmas Eve than a rugby pitch but that still left the French trading as narrow favourites despite trailing at the time. The fun of betting on sports you don’t really know is that you can bet small without expecting to get it right every time, and for historical reasons I just had to oppose our neighbours from across the Channel. A little 1.9 about the Tongan came my way (it’s amazing how often a request is met on BETDAQ, even if you do feel greedy sometimes), and I sat back and watched as our Gallic friends hit the self destruct button, and I collected enough to pay for a decent breakfast if nothing else.

England v Scotland followed and although I did watch, the odds on about England did not appeal that much so I let it go. At half time England were trailing 3-9, so I thought there might be some value, but they still traded too short for my liking, so there went another opportunity I suppose?

Moving onto the football and I had the sense to not let my heart rule my head leaving the Everton Liverpool derby well alone (but what sort of reffing was that?), though I did curse my luck at Newmarket when Richard Hughes rode Coupe De Ville to success in the 3.00 without me having a penny on at 9.4 with BETDAQ. I had noticed Tell Dad who I thought had a good chance (finished second), and then spotted that Richard Hughes had chosen this one to ride instead so the clues were there, though for reasons unknown (still recovering from the football?), I failed to place a bet to watch him come home in front by a pretty comfortable length – ouch.

Still, as a man of my word I do actually put my money where my mouth is which was good news when it came to last week’s football selections. I know the odds weren’t great but I backed all four in singles and an accumulator to watch them all win – and do so easily, so no deep sweats for a change!

On Sunday my bet on Masked Marvel in the Arc actually had me laughing in an embarrassed kind of way as he trailed in an eased but well beaten stone cold last. I can console myself with the thought that winner Danedream wasn’t even on my radar, but still cringe thinking about the run of my selection, though not as much as connections who paid 100,000 Euros to supplement him for the race!

If we saw a future champion then I suggest Dabirsim was the one, showing an electric turn of foot when asked, and sustaining it all the way to the line. Personally, he is the bet juvenile I have seen in 2011 but with the French style of racing so different from our own (more stop start than end to end gallop), I have no temptation to get involved for next season’s 2000 Guineas, even though I suspect he will be part of the Godolphin team by then.

Talking of future champions, this weekend sees Newmarket put on a strange card including two Group Ones for juveniles in the Middle Park Stakes (six furlongs) followed by the Dewhurst Stakes (seven furlongs), and whose mad idea was that? I am convinced they will cannibalise each other but time will tell on that one I suppose, though bets are what we should be looking at and with BETDAQ the kings of value, I am hopeful of another profitable weekend. I have found over the years that we are all a little patriotic when it comes to backing horses leaving foreign raiders as the best value in the market and I am hopeful that will be the case with Family One in the 2.35 from Newmarket. His consistency is admirable with four wins and two seconds from his six starts, including when three lengths runner up to the awesome Dabirsim last time out which has been franked (see above). Anything around the 5.5 mark on BETDAQ would do for me though being greedy I will be looking for even bigger!

The Dewhurst Stakes that follows at 3.10 is one to look forward to with any number of possible winners. Power has the form in the book having taken the Group One National Stakes at The Curragh last time out to add to his other wins which include the Coventry Stakes and is clearly the one to beat but there are so any improvers in the field I doubt it will be that simple. Ektihaam and Bronterre are both unbeaten and held in high regard while Most Improved lived up to his name last time out, cruising home by five lengths here to win his maiden as he pleased. However, the one I like (and will open the wallet for) has to be Spiritual Star who is each way value at 9.2 or thereabouts. Trainer Andrew Balding is hardly known for throwing his horses in at the deep end but this son of Soviet Star ran away with his maiden last time out here and is said to have improved again on the home gallops since. Connections have stumped up the late entry fee so must feel he has a chance and I may even have a little reverse forecast on him and Bronterre just to prove how greedy I really am.

Much as I love my racing, I can’t compete with the experts but thanks to my I-Pad (RIP Steve Jobs), I can sit at the footie following my bets and laying them off if I feel like it. Rugby is not really my game of choice these days but then an opportunity is an opportunity, and we have the World Cup quarter-finals this weekend. I am not convinced the odds on for England to beat France is any value so will give that match a swerve but I do feel Ireland will have far too much power for Wales and make their way through to the semis. Both teams have been scoring freely so it should be a good game to watch, but looking at the current odds, Ireland to win by less than 12.5 points at 2.75 is the bet for me.

With the International break, my usual football games aren’t around to invest in but we can always drop down a few divisions to try and make more money. The televised game I am interested in is Northampton v Crawley and as the away team have plumped up my finances two games in a row, I can hardly desert them now. At odds around the 2.3 mark I will back them in a singles and a double with Charlton who look to have too much class for Tranmere who don’t travel to London too well, and at 1.8 (or thereabouts), my portfolio is finished for another week.

This week’s suggested Bets – prices correct at the time of writing.

1pt Win 1pt Place FAMILY ONE 2.35 Newmarket Saturday (5.5)
1pt Win 1pt Place SPIRITUAL STAR 3.10 Newmarket (9.5/3.5)
1pt Reverse Forecast SPIRITUAL STAR and BRONTERRE 3.10 Newmarket

Rugby World Cup
2pts IRELAND to beat Wales by less than 12.5 points 4.50

2pts CRAWLEY to beat Northampton 2.3
2pts CHARLTON to beat Tranmere
1pt win double the two.

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