#CheltenhamFestival Day 2 Picks

It’s a shame Vaniteux fell as second place was guaranteed and that would have made the literal perfect start. Even without each way shot that went off a massive 10/1, yesterday was a successful day.

To recap for new readers, we had 4/1, 8/1, 10/1 and Evens winners as well as 50/1 and 8/1 places and by using the right offers, didn’t lose any money and ended up with a healthy profit.

Day 2 however is always much harder to forecast but sticking with the same principles, here’s another go at making a fortune.

RACE 1

The mighty YANWORTH is the correct favourite with the bookies having crashed from 2/1 to 5/4 overnight. You can get him to win with Paddy Power at 5/1 by opening a new account. Yorkhill will cause him trouble but I reckon he will just be pipped. If you’re not a favourite backer, there’s each way value In YALA ENKI at 40/1 – don’t forget to use the Skybet money back offer for all customers if your horse loses in the first race.

RACE 2

There are five fancied horses in this race for me so splitting your stakes is advised. I can’t see past the favourite MORE OF THAT at 15/8 for the win but will be backing SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT at 11/1 simply for value. He’s won three on the bounce and likes to take the race away from everyone else.

RACE 3

This is the Coral Cup so Coral are paying 6 places, you’d be silly to use anyone else for this race. This race is too tough to call but BLAZER and WAXIES DARGLE are my two small stake punts on this one.

RACE 4

The main event should be taken by UN DE SCEAUX at 8/13 but if you are backing him, you need to take advantage of 888 Sports new customer offer at 6/1. He should be followed home by SPRINTER SACRE – no longer his world beating best but the pick of the rest of the field and worth an each way punt at 5/1 in case Un De Sceaux falls.

RACE 5

I haven’t seen the old Balthazar King that loved a big race for a while and he brings form of 2 falls in the last 4 so I’m opting for another favourite in JOSIE’S ORDERS. However, don’t be too hasty in placing your bet at any odds as 4/1 each way would make it a great bet.

RACE 6

Lots of good but not great horses take to the field for the Fred Winter. I like the look of JALEO but also fancy Missy Tata, Duke of Media or Romain De Senam to pinch a place. Really open race and too tough to be confident in.

RACE 7

I would be backing BALLYANDY in this race if Sam Twiston-Davies wasn’t on my very poor form list. Either sit this one out of close your eyes and choose if you fancy a bet on this one.

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#CheltenhamFestival Day 1 Preview

If you’re going to Cheltenham or simply watching at home or in the work kitchen, then first of all you need to start off with the mind-set that you are going to lose all of the money you stake.

If you apply this mentality, you immediately stand to lose less money than you would throwing cash at every grey horse or every horse called Alan because you met an Alan at last year’s Christmas party.

This doesn’t mean you have to only bet a pound every race and not win any money, however. There are two tactics to apply. The first is finding the safest offer for the specific horse or race you are going to bet on and the second is finding said horse or race at the best value.

For example, you’d rather lose £25 on the first race and have it back ready to bet on the next race than lose £50 over two races. So let’s begin with that offer.

New and existing Skybet customers get money back if your horse loses the first race each day of the festival. Not only if it comes second or if the favourite wins but simply if it does not win. This is easily the best offer for the festival as it allows you to stake up to £25 truly risk free. You don’t need to worry about whether the money comes back as cash or free bets either as you are only going to bet with it again afterwards. There is no fancy link you need to qualify, simply have an account.

RACE 1

The Supreme Novices Hurdle, typically won by the formidable combination of Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins. But my tip is not to back the Mullins favourite, MIN. My tip is to open a new Coral account and get Mullins to train a winner at any point during the festival at 8/1. There are no odds for this anywhere else simply because the probability of this happening are so sky high, it’s the ultimate banker if ever there was on. So if MIN wins, you’ve won and MIN doesn’t win, your bet lives to fight another day.

For my Skybet selection where I will get my money back, I will be going for BELLSHILL as Long Dog is no longer entered into this race. The value at 20/1 is hard to ignore, is the same weight as MIN and is another Mullins horse. This festival is Mullins’ to lose. If you don’t fancy BELLSHILL, take a look at a non- Mullins horse as you’ve already bet on Mullins at this point. Altior is a strong horse but faces some tough competition from Mullins’ army.

If, at this point, you still want to bet on MIN, here’s a link to get MIN at 50/1 by creating a new Betbright account. You can also get any horse at 50/1 by following this link.

RACE 2

The Arkle should be swallowed up by DOUVAN. If you google well, you can find opening a new Betfair account will offer DOUVAN to win at 5/1 or above instead of the no value bet of 4/11. But DOUVAN is another Mullins horse so if MIN has failed you, DOUVAN should cover the above mentioned Mullins banker.

L’ami Serge and Garde la Victoire have been pulled from this race this morning so VANITEUX becomes my each way selection.

RACE 3

The Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase is wide open. Personally, I wouldn’t want to tip this one but for the sake of the reader, HOLYWELL at 8/1. A horse with a pedigree for grinding out long slogs but we haven’t seen the best of HOLYWELL for some time. Jonjo O’Neil has a strong line-up for this festival and he may well have been aiming HOLYWELL at this rather than the previous poor showings.

RACE 4

The Champion Hurdle features some really class horses. ANNIE POWER got spooked by her shadow last year, allegedly but if Ruby Walsh who thrives at this festival can control her, she should stroll to victory. You can get an enhanced 10/1 on ANNIE POWER here by creating a new Betfair account and this one is money back if she loses too. If you’re put off by Ruby Walsh’s recent form of leaping from the saddle in the big race, THE NEW ONE is a big favourite of mine that has won plenty of money and looks a decent each way shout at 6/1. Peace and Co could follow home for third if you’re looking for big odds at 25/1.

RACE 5

The Mares Hurdle looks set to be won by VROUM VROUM MAG if the bookies are to believed so I like the “Betting without VROUM VROUM MAG” market which still offers each way. This shortens the odds of the horse but pays another place. There are some good horses to choose from such as Polly Peachum and Tara Point but my roll of the dice will be on LILY WAUGH at 20/1. LILY WAUGH has only let me down in a big event but arrives a more experienced horse.

RACE 6

The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap is traditionally one to ignore but if you haven’t had enough, my selection will be BLACK HERCULES, a consistent winner for me in recent times.

Voice Over WiFi

I was skimming through Linked In earlier this week and came across an article predicting the introduction of voice over Wi-Fi this year.

There were a few things about this article that interested me, the most interesting part was the writer’s ability to predict technology breakthroughs like Mystic Meg. There are many keyboard warriors on Linked In amongst the billions of spam recruiters that don’t have the time to read your profile but this did prompt me to delve further into the topic.

This isn’t a particularly new concept as EE and O2 have provided Wi-Fi calling for users on the tube and poor mobile signal areas for quite some time now. However, businesses and business VOIP providers are yet to adopt this.

There are, of course, the security concerns that come with making a call over public Wi-Fi. The same goes for internet banking – best not to do so in your local coffee shop unless you have a small fortune spare and don’t mind it going towards Korean hackers. However, as we proceed further into the 21st century, almost every large business has a firewall or even their own IT security department to look after you so we’re in safe hands.

So if it can work in the public domain – and underground no less – what is stopping the big boys from delivering voice over Wi-Fi?

If you can fit a Bluetooth chip into a FitBit, you can fit a wireless receiver into a Polycom or Cisco handset, right? Perhaps remove one of those useless USB ports. Surely, time must nearly be up for USB as a USP. I recall selling my first television and the couple requested one with a USB port. When I enquired the use for the USB, they confirmed they were future-proofing – I don’t think they knew what USB was.

I can sit at home and talk to people in Malaysia via Lync on my laptop (over Wi-Fi) and tell them all about the USB ports on my television. However, if I want to use my Cisco handset in the office then I need to be connected to a LAN port and have a power supply.

A power supply, how trivial! I could begin to go over my Linked In prediction for battery powered VOIP handsets but I have a call coming in from a recruiter that I must attend to so that I can read them my Linked In profile.

 

 

 

10 Things You Can Actually Do With Your Smart Phone

We’re glued to them. We wake up in the morning and check social media. We text our friends when we reach the office. We play a game when we’re taking a toilet break then repeat the cycle when lunchtime arrives. Here’s a trivial list of other things you could use your smartphone for to break the mould.

 

1. Become a fitness freak – when you set those goals to become super strong or super healthy, there is a wealth of fitness apps to help you out and become the ultimate fitness snob via your phone. MyFitnessPal will help show off all of the good foods you’re eating and you can even lie to your friends when you have a second KitKat – they will never know!

Various pieces of kit such as FitBit come with associated apps to download which cleverly track your sleep, steps and calories and reward you with badges which you can show off on social media.

 

2. Mirror – It’s the 21st century and not many men carry around a pocket mirror. It’s more likely that a bloke you pass on the street has a bathroom mirror on his person. So how does the run of the mill man check his hair and his blemishes without being seen? Smartphones! Never leave home without your mirror/ smartphone and you shall be presentable ever more.

 

3. Run Your Business – We are rightly becoming more dependable on our smartphones. Not only can they run your personal life but your professional life can be added to or perhaps even completely run via your phone. Professional bloggers can write a whole entry via their apps whilst on the train to the office. Salesmen can respond to overnight emails and your manager can even reject your overtime sheet all through her smartphone on her commute in.

 

4. Office Olympics – With the ever popular Office Cricket and Office “toss the stress ball” fading out, what better to replace them that Office Smartphone Olympics? The options here are really limitless and it comes down to how brave you can be with your pride and joy. Javelin is the obvious choice but don’t rule out discus or pole vault just yet!

 

5. True Communications – 20 years ago, if you wanted to send an email, an SMS, a fax and print something, this could be an hour long activity. You had to wind up the PC and dial up to the internet then turn on your Nokia 3310 and play Snake before you could think about any content for your email or text.

The fax machine would be engaged whilst your mum was on the phone to Aunty Betty and the printer had run out of paper.

Now, none of this need happen as we simply tap away and get all forms of communication complete in one go and send to all.

 

6. Pretend you have a house phone – You’ve seen them in gift shops and perhaps read about them in history books and yes the landline was an actual thing! Be it corded or cordless, we used to be restricted to not leaving the house until that call was ended.

So why not turn back the years and turn your smartphone into a house phone like one of these: http://mashable.com/2012/09/02/iphone-docks-desk-phone/

 

7. TV Remote – As humans, we lose the TV remote control on average 39292 times a day. How often do you lose your smartphone? Precisely. So let the TV remote be swallowed by the sofa or slobbered on by the dog because the world is your oyster and your smartphone is your new remote.

 

8. Diagnose Your Health – This is not strictly recommended for actual diagnosis but is fun all the same. Various websites like https://www.diagnose-me.com/ exist and various apps such as Prognosis: Your Diagnosis are great to find out you are the first pregnant male or that you have 13.5 seconds to live. The question is what do you do with those 13.5 seconds? Probably, check your smartphone.

 

9. Banking – Most teenagers have never been to a bank. Most people under the age of 40 will never need to go to a bank again. Almost every bank has an app and the majority of these allow access to make a payment, transfer a balance or look longingly at your ever decreasing balance.

 

10. Call Someone – Novel, yes, but we don’t ever call anyone anymore do we? Call someone, that’s what phones are for!

 

My misinformed opinion is more important

On arrival, you have to wait to be seated – nothing unusual there. However, you then have to go and select your own cutlery and pour your own drink. I am not lazy and am fully able bodied but after waiting for a seat instead of sitting at a clearly available table, this is not desirable service.

The menu is overpriced and is a huge display of the same thing over and over again. It’s chicken with sauce with a carb and extra if you want anything unprocessed. A salad or a corn on the cob, for example.

The food will arrive cold and your serving will not warrant the price tag but you shall not grumble because this is what you expected when placing your order – remember, there was no table service.

Personally, I have never eaten here however this review will prove more helpful than other reviews of regulars and passers-by. If everybody who’s nobody is in regular attendance then this culinary experience is not sought after.

Restaurants should be attended for the food not the experience or the geotag. A cult outing should be the local pub or a football pitch and that is what prevented and will continue to prevent my custom.

 

 

Moving to Cornwall

Here’s a blog entry that I didn’t finish/publish from last year. It looked untidy in my drafts so here we go:

Last week, I spent a few days in Devon. A winter getaway if you like. We took the dog everywhere and went to the icy cold beaches and did a bit of pre Christmas shopping and spent many hours in empty, cosy pubs.

Delightful, I’m sure you will agree. I have been to Somerset, Devon and Cornwall on many occasions and in all seasons. So much so that I have often thought how wonderful it would be to move down that way. After all, house prices are lower and you get so much more for your money. Pretty much a no brainer.

There’s one thing that massivley stood out to me whilst visiting, however. What do people do in Cornwall?

Now, I don’t mean surfing and laying on the beach and spending countless hours at beach music festivals. I didn’t identify a career other than publican and we were the only visitors on more than one occasion. This is worrying not only for my aspirations to move there but also for the people living there surely? Ok, so the farmers make an obvious living but there was no evidence of any job you would associate with living in a city or earning a decent crust.

Perhaps, everybody works from home? I did ponder this but only for a few minutes whilst I waited for mobile signal and the public wifi to come back to life. There simply isn’t the bandwidth or technology available currently to support such a lifestyle.

It became apparent in my mind that I need to become a pioneer in this if I wanted to achieve my move to the western part of the country. Working from home on my farm/ pub/ normal person house in this part of the world has quickly become a short to mid term goal.

So please excuse me whilst I bulk buy extension cables and patch my way from London to Cornwall – the internet is quite good here, I wouldn’t want to leave it behind.

 

 

End of January; Reflection on last year

January has absolutely flown by and I haven’t even had the time to make any resolutions. Do people even make resolutions any more?

I remember sitting in class in primary school and being forced to write 10 things I was going to change about my life aged 10 or so. I didn’t smoke, drink or take drugs so what on Earth were we supposed to change so drastically about our lives.

I am still hesitant about what I want to achieve in 2016 so I thought I’d look back on what happened in 2015 first and decided I needed to write it down hence this blog entry.

Last year started off in hospital when my throat decided to stop working so I’ve already bettered that waking up in my own bed.

Around February time, I discovered I had a hernia so all physical activity grounded to a halt, no football, cricket, bending, stretching or making coffee quickly. This was a tough period being the ever keen sportsman and the ever delayed operation just made things more frustrating. Come May and I was operated on and surprisingly signed off works for 2 very pleasant weeks spent on the balcony.

Week 3 of my rehabilatation bought a wedding in Santorini. If you’ve not been, google image Santorini now. Yep, that’s exactly how it looks. Absolutely beautiful and eating fresh fish on the beach every day was the perfect way to recover.

Moving into the summer, it wasn’t all work work work and miss the sun. I played golf from 5 in the morning until 8 at night for charity in what I thought would be the most exhausting day of my life but was up there with the most fun and certainly something I would do again.

The golf bug fully kicked in and became order of the day and I found an absolute gem of a golf hotel in Devon. Another place that I will not hesitate in returning to.

Returning from a week golfing bought a new job for a global giant and the next step in my career. Having hopefully secured myself, I am maybe overly ambitiously looking forward to further prospects and seeking to pull the future inward rather than waiting to see what happens.

As for this year, well I guess it’s now time to consider what I want to be different from last year. So time to ponder before another entry. Wouldn’t want to rush into things now.

 

Disaster Recovery

On a day to day basis, I work closely with many people based in India, specifically Chennai.

I didn’t and still don’t know a great deal about Chennai other than the Super Kings in the IPL. For those that don’t even know that, it’s the Indian Premier League (cricket).

There have recently been floods and major damage caused by the worst rainfall experienced in over 100 years last week. This caused my Indian colleagues rather a lot of inconvenience.

Not only could they not get into work but some buildings and roads have been completely ruined and need to be rebuilt. Add to that the unimaginable chaos and drama of not knowing when the rain was going to stop and when you would be able to purchase food or seek approprioate shelter and you have a scene that Great Britain is in no way prepared for.

My point regarding Chennai is that they have experienced a disaster. My line of work promotes being accessible at any given time and if your office faces a problem then you can work from home or in a local cafe, perhaps. Incoming calls should be routed to a backup location or an answering service in this day and age- at the very minimum.

This is not me being unsympathetic to the terrible time my colleagues and all of the residents of the area have faced. This is my astonishment that I couldn’t get hold of anyone and that my project was virtually on hold for the week.

Again, that may sound selfish but try to look at this from a business perspective.

I work for a global giant and am working hand in hand with another global giant. Personally, I was a little peeved that some of my work is now overdue and I have more red cells on my spreadsheet than I desire. More to the point, I was in pure shock that such huge companies with such huge offices wouldn’t have implemented a disaster recovery plan that kicks in automatically.

I should have learned about the Chennai flooding on the news rather than a group email stating that there is no comms in Chennai currently.

So to Hari and co in India, please stop apologising for the flooding, it’s certainly not your fault.

Curried Coconut Dal Cauliflower Casserole

curried-cauliflower-dal Sooner or later (I fear sooner) there will be an entire category of recipes here loosely grouped under “What To Eat When The World Spins Out of Control.” Cauliflower will play a starring role, as will curry. Soup is always comforting, as much as anything can offer comfort in dark times. And given the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, not to mention Beirut and Kenya, a brutal attack that occurred months ago and is just now making waves in Western media, these are dark times indeed.

I have little to add to what I’ve already said in the face of incomprehensible tragedy: shock, fear, despair, solidarity. Perhaps cooking food & flavors from across the globe, in an attempt to remind myself and others that we are truly all one people under it all, is grasping at straws. But it’s all I’ve got. I fear if we stop…

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Caught Reading A Book

For years, we have taken books for granted. We have them in schools and libraries. We are provided them in the waiting room at the doctors or the dentist. We receive them as gifts and some of us even enjoy a visit to a bookshop.

As a writer, I have naturally been a keen reader from a young age. I remember the basic Biff and Chip books in primary school, Recycled Cyril in bed and who could forget the Jacqueline Wilson girls books that I certainly never borrowed from my sister.

As a teenager, we did the usual Frankenstein and Kes for GCSEs and I was really into the Anthony Horowitz Stormbreaker series. On a long car journey or on a flight abroad, the first thing I would pack would be a book.

Since leaving school, I estimate 90% of my friends and colleagues have not even picked up a book to move it from the coffee table. Each to their own but what is happening to books? Why are they so uncool?

Growing up in the 90s, you would be ridiculed if you were caught reading a book. “Caught reading a book”. How is that a phrase? Answers on a postcard (or in the comment box).

Fast forward 10 years and the technology boom as fully hit us. Within 5 metres of me are the following:

  • PS4 with 2 Controllers
  • TV
  • Surround Sound
  • YouView Box
  • 4 Remote Controls
  • 2 Laptops
  • Wireless Mouse and Keyboard
  • Mobile Phone
  • iPad
  • Router
  • Kindle

And that’s without routing around to look. Its mad, even the keys to your car are wireless! Not that any of this is a problem. I still have a wealth of books, a library card and a Kindle.

The Kindle, what a revolutionary idea this has been. The killer of bookshops, libraries and librarians according to some extremists – not those extremists.

This may be a little extreme but who knows what 10 years time will look like? Instead of doing your Christmas shop in Waterstone or WHSmith, maybe we’ll see a Kindle top up booth or simply everything will be online.

Whilst you ponder that, I’ll be finishing my book. Unless I get caught.