I was minded of Noel Coward’s lyrics this week, when I received a red flag from my Interweb security system, alerting me to a sustained attack on the site, emanating from Hamburg. I have no idea why any little hacker would want to turn me over – an irate bookmaker desperate to stop a sudden burst of winter form; or maybe something I said the last time I was in the city, once considered to be the foundry for the Fourth Reich.
When I was last there, it was only because a large NATO exercise had been called off due to bad weather. The notorious Reeperbahn thus had to welcome several thousand frontline warriors, plus the odd acting unpaid lance corporal, who had planned to arrive with his Colonel at the exercise’s target airport, once his safety could be assured! Freed for 24 hours from the constraints and responsibilities of my lofty position, I was treated to a live sex show featuring several extraordinarily pretty girls, a Turkish special forces major, who made Abdul the Bulbul Emir look petite, and an RAMC Captain who was so drunk he had to be supported by members of the audience, as he carried out some unneeded medical procedures. Such was the boost to the local economy, it was rumoured that even the Lutherans prayed for hurricanes, to ensure the exercise never restarted.
I digress. Back in January, I declared my intention of presenting the Raceweb accounts for 2022 and I have uploaded them as promised HERE. The principal thinking behind maintaining a record was in essence to convince The Hon, The Gambling Commission and my bank, that what I was involved in was a hobby rather than some diseased attempt to sell my children into slavery and later shoot everyone in Lambourn in a slough of despondency. The headlines from that record are that we had 155 winners, including 28/1, 25/1 and a dozen at double-digit prices, from a variety of sports including Formula 1 and the Golf Majors. From our 148 placed bets, we had prices from 155/1, 75/1, 45/1 and several at 40/1. In other words and to be brief, we were in fact …
Losers. From our 1000 pt bank, we closed the year with a balance of 526 pts. I think some of my new rules will involve not betting on races with less than 8 runners, and not backing favourites. We might also only back horses to Win that are at odds of 12/1 or less. Everything else – unless dutching – we’ll back each way. Onwards and sideways as the Russian military leadership is heard to say in Ukraine – unless they’re plastering the walls in Lubyanka Square’s basement courtyard.
Talking of avoiding the firing squad, am I missing something with La Sturgeon? As far as I can understand it – and in no particular order – the electorate AND her party have been increasingly asking what is going on. My shorthand precis is that she is off and away because:
- Her relationship with many of the local authorities has become, in some cases, extremely toxic – especially in Glasgow. They have grown tired of being told what to do when they have no money, no budget and centralised decision-making that has led to wage settlements unsupported by any improvement in income.
- Many voters have become tired of a relentless series of rolling strikes which have wreaked havoc on everyday services and council budgets.
- The constant Sturgeon declaration that the next General Election will be a de facto referendum has caused both SNP and the electorate much discontent. A poll last week suggested only 21% thought “the next general election should be taken as a de facto independence referendum”. In the same poll, ‘No’ now leads ‘Yes’ by 12 per cent on the question of independence: the widest margin in years.
- The whole appalling gender-issue crisis which ended up focused on whether double rapist Isla Bryson was a woman has concerned many Scots who are not quite as liberal as Nicola believes
- A now widely understood failing in NHS Scotland can no longer be dumped on Westminster’s door as, according to The IFS, Scotland spends 27% more per capita on public services than England.
- The Greens’ SNP partnership has also been perceived as being full of self-righteous rhetoric, and has resulted in a large number of costly and failed environmental schemes, a combination of poor execution, weak management, lack of foresight and no policy impact studies. These policies are making the partnership untenable, as they largely involve the voters having to replace motor vehicles, heating and packaging in an unworkable time scale and at their own cost
- One example of the Green-driven environmental policies, appears to have led to the errors [?] involved in the recent underselling of offshore wind farm licences – apparently at a loss of £60bn of potential revenue to the Scottish government.
- Endless and costly mistakes and scandals involving £500m on Ferry contracts, a collapsing whisky industry thanks to alcohol advertising bans, a missing £600k in the SNP accounts, the resignation of at least five SNP senior members in the absence of SNP financial transparency, such openness being allegedly stymied by either Sturgeon or her husband the SNP’s CEO. I would be unsurprised if DCI Taggart didn’t make a public appearance soon.
Is it possible that La Sturgeon is hoping to arm’s-length herself from the coming storm? Does she think she’s seen the last of Alex Salmond, who is still seeking vengeance for the “groping” plot? If I were Scottish of any political hue right now, I’m afraid I would be breathing a sigh of relief.
Talking of trying to stay out of the rough, there is an impressive line-up for one of the season’s best PGA Tour games, The Genesis Invitational at the West Coast’s Riviera Country Club, often voted the Pros’ favourite competition.
Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Coral are both going 10 places for 1/5 odds. There are several bookies going 5 places for 1/4 odds. I shall be playing on Betfair and at the odds quoted are at the time of writing. I shall be looking to “Green up” insha’Allah after the third round.
VIKTOR HOVLAND  Riviera course form is a big plus and the Norwegian finished 5th a couple of years ago and bettered that with a 4th last year, 5 shots off the eventual winner. The world no.11 is a decent price here to better both of those results again this year.
SUNGJAE IM  Sungjae had rounds of 66 and 67 here last year and whilst he flies in the face of my earlier “Course Form ” comment, his current stats are tip-top. In his last two competitions, he finished 4th & 6th getting SG Approach rankings of 2nd and 12th his SG Tee to Green figures were 5th and 7th. They’re right up there for what’s necessary for Rivera.
XANDER SCHAUFFELE  A solid putter, but with a marked preference for a Poa annua grass green as per Riviera. In his last 10 Poa annua tournaments, he has 7/8 top 20 finishes. He also has four Top 20 finishes at Riviera in his last five, including T13 last year.
WYNDHAM CLARK  The Yank handicappers have a strong word for Clark and small wonder. His key statistics are impressive, and both his current form and course history are excellent. He’s been no worse than 17th in 3 starts at Riviera with an 8th in 2021. Ranks 3rd in Driving Distance, 3rd in SG: ARG and his price is probably wrong by 50 points.
SI WOO KIM  His best finish at Rivera was T3 and the South Korean’s best results run is currently a win and three Top 25 finishes in a row. You could if you prefer back both Clark and Kim for a Top 5 finish.
TONY FINAU  is my last selection. I tried to leave him out but his short price is no accident. Including a win in the Houston Open, Tony Finau has had 4 Top Ten finishes from his last 6 PGA events. He finished T14 in the Phoenix Open. Has been runner-up at Riviera twice before and ranks 7th in SG: APP and 8th in GIRs Gained.
I have dutched backed the above 6 for a 30 pt punt as shown on the Betfair Ticket above. Good luck.