It's the Grand National and every single person in the country – mum, dad, uncle, neighbour, postman, whoever – has an opinion on which horse they think will win.
The great thing about those opinions is that they are not based on the form, the facts, the stats or the betting, they are based purely on what having a punt should always be about – having some fun and creating a bit of interest.
In last year’s Grand National and in this year’s Lincoln Handicap, which was run at Doncaster last Saturday, my wife Lin as given me a betting lesson.
For the Lincoln, I studied the form, the jockeys, the ground, the trainers, the betting market movers and just about every stat I could get my hands on. I picked Gabrial’s Kaka.
My wife looked at the horses and picked out Ocean Tempest, the grey. She said “I’ve got to back that because you’re grey and a Tempest.”
She invested £2 each way and it romped in at 40/1, never looking like getting beaten!
When she went through the list of runners for last year’s Grand National (it’s now sponsored by Crabbie’s), she noticed one particular stand-out.
My three-year-old granddaughter is called Luna Aurora, so she put £2 each way on Aurora’s Encore, which went on to win at 66/1.
Now reading all this, I’m sure you are thinking that Lin should be writing this column and not me, and that just highlights what the big races in this country should be all about – and especially the Grand National.
The best backed horses at the moment for this year are Monbeg Dude, which has the Royal connection with Zara Phillips (Tindall), and Tea for Three, which was second in last year’s race for Rebecca Curtis.
To be fair, there are so many good chances this year that you could pick 10 and still not finish with one in the first four.
The best bit of advice I can give you, therefore, is to make sure that whichever bookmaker you choose, they offer to pay the first five places (rather than four).
Once you’ve done that, have fun and enjoy the race.
Saturday Tips from Dale - not Mrs Tempest!
AINTREE: 1.30 Volnay De Thaix, 2.05 Balder Succes, 2.50 Zarkandar, 3.25 Victor
Hewgo, 4.15 1. CHANCE DU ROY (NAP), 2. Prince De Beauchene, 3. Teaforthree, 4.
Pineau De Re, 5.10 Yorkist, 5.45 Aqalim.
CHEPSTOW: 1.20 Dubawi Island, 1.55 Maller Tree, 2.30 Kozmina Bay, 3.05
Dungeel, 3.45 Dovils Date, 4.50 Lamool, 5.25 Max The Minister.
GOWRAN: 1.45 Supposing, 2.20 Fix It, 2.55 Hurricane Sky, 3.30 Diplomat, 4.00
Falkirk, 4.35 Queen Of Alba, 5.05 Waaheb.
LINGFIELD: 1.15 Shasta Daisy, 1.50 Athletic, 2.25 Dark Leopard, 3.00 Brass Ring,
3.40 Barley Mow, 4.45 Talented Kid, 5.20 The Firm.
NEWCASTLE: 1.40 Missy Wells, 2.15 Shared Equity, 2.45 Da’quonde, 3.15 Ebony
Express, 3.55 Magnolia Ridge, 5.00 Lynngale, 5.35 Masked Dance, 6.05 Ferdy.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.50 Top Cop, 6.20 Art Dzeko, 6.50 Mappin Time, 7.20
Wiggle, 7.50 Secret Suspect, 8.20 Conry, 8.50 Life And Times.
Brass Ring boasts some big entries later in the year so he really should be winning the coral.co.uk Handicap at Lingfield tomorrow if
those ambitions are to be realised.
John Gosden’s charge is entered in both the Coronation and Yorkshire Cups after winning two of his three starts last year.
The four-year-old did not make his racecourse bow until last April but he made up for lost time with victories at Haydock and Newmarket
before a minor injury saw him spend the rest of the year on the sidelines.
Connections clearly still think plenty of him and a gelding operation during his absence should not really be viewed a negative.
Barley Mow is another with lofty ambitions following a crack at Group One company last autumn and he can get off to a winning start
in the 32Red International Trial Stakes.