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THE BERNIE THE BOOK COLUMN


ANY SECOND NOW PRIMED FOR GRAND NATIONAL GLORY


winner of the 2020 VIRTUAL GRAND NATIONAL is running this year and I have an inkling that he will run well (but more later) as my number one nap is the Irish horse ANY SECOND NOW trained by Ted Walsh.


Ted (Ruby’s father) has charted a perfect course for Any Second Now with victory recently over an insufficient two miles at Navan. Owned by the legendary JP (McManus), Any Second Now is widely available at 10/1. With most firms going non-runner no bet, it secures you in the knowledge that you will get your money back if for whatever reason the horse doesn’t run. Look out for a raft of offers from enhanced each-way to inflated odds from the UK bookmak- ing industry in an attempt to get your money as they will look upon this race as the supreme marketing opportunity.


We say goodbye sadly to Cheltenham for another year and hopefully by next year it will be full once again with 100,000 plus racegoers. And what a Cheltenham it was for readers of this column. Not only did I advise BOB OLINGER at 6/1 for the Ballymore but the opening race of the whole festival went to APPRECIATE IT (an SP of 6/4 on the day but advised at a whopping 14/1). With close seconds on Zanahiyr, A Plus Tard and others which hopefully you backed each way, it was a real money-spinner. Perhaps the easiest victory was in Ireland winning the Prestbury Cup by 24-4 over the meeting and this demolition was advised for big punters at 1/2 where there was never a moment’s doubt that the Irish would not dominate.


Surprisingly, the champion trainer (on countback) turned out to be Willie Mullins who tied with six winners with Henry de Bromhead. Henry was the real victor as three of his six victories were in the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and the Blue Riband of the meeting – the Gold Cup.


But now that Cheltenham has passed we look unashamedly at the biggest betting race in the whole racing calendar – the Grand National. It is a shame that national restrictions will preclude any racegoers being on course this year after last year’s historic abandonment. I details this down because the


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As alluded to earlier, the winner of last year’s Virtual Grand National was POTTER’S CORNER who this year can give us a good run for our money at 25/1. Last year the computers had Potter’s Corner victorious over Tiger Roll, so trust to technology this year (I am sure a lot of you IT geniuses will extol its virtues) to give you a good run for your money. At the end of the day whilst the Grand National is not as much as a lottery as it used to be now that safety measures have been implemented and the quality of runner has improved, thereby reducing the likelihood of a Foinavon winning again. While the chances of CLOTH CAP cannot be underestimated 4/1 hardly represents any value at all.


Lastly, away from horse racing we are now seeing the culmi- nation of the English football season and next Tuesday sees the beginning of the quarter finals of the Champions League.


I would advise a ten unit four-timer on the quarter-finals where I fancy Manchester City, Real Madrid, PSG and Porto to qualify from their respective ties. The four-timer pays a shade over 18/1.


In accompanying Europa League I would also advise a four- timer on Ajax, Slavia, Villa Real and Man United at cumulative odds of 10/1.


Lastly, the Masters takes place in the middle of the month and I would tip up BRYSON (once again) at 9/1, SUNGJAE IM at 40/1 and maybe a resurgent JORDAN SPIETH at 18/1.


Good punting


Bernie the Book APRIL 2021


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