The money continues to pour in for Wild Oats X1 to add another Sydney to Hobart win to its resume, and with still a few days of betting to go, it is going to start a red hot favourite.
Wild Oats X1 opened at $1.40, but 90% of the money in singles, and most of the multi bets, are all going through the favourite. The crew revealed a 'secret' keel on Monday which is very similar to the one used when Australia won the America's Cup, and they expect to shave several hours off their time. If that is the case, then the race record will go, and the race itself will be theirs. Ragamuffin Loyal has eased from $3.25 out to $3.75, while we continue to see support for Wild Thing ($15-$12) and Lahana ($17), but most expect Wild Oats X1 to be victorious. TattsBet will have several exotic bets on the race, and these will open on Friday.
Australia was forced to work hard for victory in the 1st Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart but that hasn’t put the TattsBet price assessor’s off installing them as warm ($1.50) favourites to win the 2nd Test starting at the MCG on Boxing Day. The past fourteen Test matches in Melbourne have produced a result and Sri Lanka ($7.00) will be buoyed by the fact that Australia has lost two of the past four at the ground. The most recent draw ($3.65) at the ground was against South Africa in 1997.
The Draw was certainly a big player on day five in Adelaide and plenty of punters thought that the match would end in a stalemate. Numerous four figure bets were laid on the draw in the final session, including a bet of $3,000 at $1.20.
The Big Bash has attracted as much, if not more interest than the current Test series but picking a winner hasn’t been easy. Only three of the opening 10 matches have been won by the favourite, while the chasing side has won the first ten matches.
Loyal Queensland punters were quick to back local star Sizzling for the Magic Millions Guineas when TattsBet opened its first market on the race with 90% of the early money on him. Within hours of the race going up, TattsBet took two four figure bets on Kelso Wood’s star galloper at $3.20 but the price remains unaltered. His main market rival is Golden Slipper sixth Driefontein ($5.50), who will be bidding to become the first horse to do the Magic Millions Classic/Guineas double.
Clarry Conners won the Classic with Mirror Mirror in 2006 and punters like his chances of celebrating a big race success on the Gold Coast again, backing his filly Assail into $17 from an opening quote of $26. She was due to contest Thursday’s Wyong Magic Millions 2yo Classic enroute to the Coast, as was Gerald Ryan’s unraced Dothraki, who was $35 in to $17 prior to that engagement. Cranbourne maiden winner Clevadude ($11) and Gai Waterhouse’s Certitude ($9) are others towards the head of the market, while Queensland’s leading chances appear to be Phelan Ready Stakes winner Sir Luminar ($13) and Calaway Gal Stakes winner Missy Longstocking ($19).
There are plenty of markets open for the 2013 NRL season, with Melbourne ($6) and the Bulldogs ($6.50) on the top two lines of betting for the Premiership. There has already been a $1,000 bet on Storm, while there have been plenty of nibbles at Queensland teams the Cowboys ($11) and Broncos ($13).
At the other end of the scale, the Titans and Panthers are both $5.50 to finish the season with the most losses. The Titans finished on the periphery of the finals last season and added the talented but inconsistent Dave Taylor to their roster for next season. The big question mark will be who will replace Scott Prince in the No. 7 jumper. Last season’s wooden spooners, the Eels, are $8 despite missing out on Israel Folau’s signature and losing the likes of Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt to retirement.
NRL teams coupled with Hawthorn dominate betting for the Premiership Double. The Hawks-Storm combination is shortest at $24, but Hawthorn and the Bulldogs, Manly, Souths and Cronulla are all featured on the top few lines of betting before you get to the 2012 winning pair of Sydney and Melbourne at $42. It’s worth remembering this double was priced in excess of $220 earlier this year, so smart punters can find plenty of value. One footy fan has already laid $1,000 on the Geelong-Cronulla premiership double. The Cats were comprehensively outplayed by the Dockers in the finals, but some shrewd recruiting has seen young Suns midfielder Josh Caddy, veteran Roos ruckman Hamish McIntosh and underrated former Dees defender Jared Rivers join the Cattery. The Sharks were the NRL’s big improvers last season and they should step up even further in 2013 with Panthers duo Michael Gordon and Luke Lewis joining former Tigers pair Beau Ryan and Chris Heighington at the club.
The Crusaders have drifted from $4.50 to $5 in early betting on the 2013 Super Rugby title. They were nudged out in last season’s semi-finals, but punters have no interest in the Canterbury outfit at all, and the same can be said of their conquerors, the Chiefs ($6), who will be minus Sonny-Bill Williams from their title-winning team. There have been a few bites at the Queensland Reds who have come in from $10 to $9 with the Quade Cooper fiasco now out of the way. The talented fly-half seems more likely to bring a second premiership in three years to Queensland than Israel Folau does to New South Wales, but even so, punters have shown a bit of interest since the man mountain confirmed he’ll be starting out in his third professional sport. The Waratahs are in from $19 to $12, which is the same price you can get for the Brumbies who finished with six more wins than their Sydney-based rivals in 2012.
Most NBL players are taking the week off leading up to Christmas, but the best of the best in the league are in Adelaide for the 2012 All-Star Game. These games are traditionally high-scoring affairs dominated by open court players. For the first All-Star game in five years, the teams have been split in to North and South. The balance of power in the NBL lies in the south, given Perth and New Zealand’s dominance in recent years, and looking at the line-ups, the South All-Stars look best equipped for this type of game. They’ve got MVP favourite Cedric Jackson, his New Zealand team-mate Thomas Abercrombie who is arguably the best athlete in the league, as well as Melbourne’s former NBA point guard Jonny Flynn. The South has lost sharpshooting Perth guard Kevin Lisch, though, as he recovers from a groin strain.
SURF LIFE SAVING
The IronMen and IronWomen series get underway at Scarborough Beach in Perth this weekend. 29-year-old Gold Coaster Shannon Eckstein remains the man to beat, despite finishing third in 2011-12 behind younger brother Caine and rising star Ali Day. Caine Eckstein has opted to miss the series to concentrate on the Ironman Triathlon World Championship, but a reduced field of just 16 athletes should produce plenty of tight races throughout the summer. The series starts with an Accumulator race format, which sees the field competing in separate ski, board and swim races, before the times are collated and competitors set off at staggered start times for the main race. Eckstein won the Accumulator at Kurrawa in 2009-10 and finished third behind Zane Holmes and Ky Hurst the season after, so he is more than adept at this format. Day did edge him out in Perth last season when the pair filled the minor places behind Caine Eckstein in a Marathon race.
Walk Hard ($2.75) set a sizzling time in heats for the TattsBet Hobart Thousand Final which will be raced on Thursday night, but the decider certainly won’t be a walk in the park for the Nicole McRae-trained runner. Local favourite Rewind ($7) missed out by a nose last year, and is the only chaser from that race to be backing up in the 2012 decider. He’s been the best Tassie dog over the past 12 months, but might need a bit of luck from a slightly awkward draw to go one better this time around. Maverick Tiger ($4) was run down by Glen Gallon in the fastest Melbourne Cup heat in November, and went on to win the Group 2 Ballarat Cup. He’s normally great out of the box and should get a clear run early coming out of seven. Just outside him is Blackalls Boss ($5.50), who finished second in the Ballarat Cup. He’s arguably an even better starter than Maverick Tiger, and despite the outside draw should use his pace to get to the front.