Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Punters have had a sparse time recently, with most jump racing frozen off. And bad weather seems to have targeted my racing excursions – a day of the Cheltenham Festival lost to gales; York's Ebor meeting washed out in August; Cheltenham's pre-Xmas Saturday waterlogged; last Saturday's big Newbury day snowed off. I'm risking Wincanton today but fear a plague of frogs.

To make matters worse, two of the Tote's pool bets – the Scoop6 and Super7 – have had punters on the rack for months. Millions of losing bets have swollen both pools, and though a big-hitting syndicate bagged the Scoop6 pot a fortnight ago, it didn't take the £2.62m bonus last week.

The Totesuper7, offered daily, has been even more fiendish, going unwon since September. Finding seven winners is difficult enough, but the bet's sadistic compilers select races based on field size multiplied by mediocrity – sellers, 20-runner novice hurdles, amateurs' four-mile chases, all-weather sprints. Nostradamus couldn't see his way through this lot, hence a fund of £825,064 yesterday for finding winners in three Wolverhampton races, two at Lingfield and two at Sandown.

If the weather allows today's cards to proceed, punters will feel like men released from custody, and the bookies will be waiting with open arms. So "say hello to my leetle friends!": Duc De Regniere (Haydock 1.20); Nenuphar Collonges (Haydock 1.55); Tamarinbleu (Ascot 2.15); Ashkazar (Wincanton 2.40): £10 win each.

*Ireland (now 2-1 from 7-2) defeated an unexpectedly strong French team and will hope France can mess with England and Wales to help produce a Six Nations "greenwash".

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