About Alastair Bull

Alastair Bull has been writing on sports and horse racing for many years. Starting in his home near Auckland, New Zealand as news editor for several papers and since contributing for BloodHorse, The Associated Press and Churchill Downs, Inc after relocating to Cleveland, Ohio. Other sporting events Alastair has enjoyed covering are the 2012 London Olympics, Dubai World Cup, Melbourne Cup, Royal Ascot, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.

Tennis: Federer looms once again in Noventi Open

The grass season is in full swing in the lead-up to Wimbledon come mid-June, and for the Noventi Open at Halle, that usually means Roger Federer. The Swiss ace has been nearly as dominant at the German grass tournament as Rafael Nadal has been at the French Open. He has won the event nine times, and in three of those—the most recent being 2017—he didn't drop a set in the tournament. He's also been the beaten finalist three times, including [...]

How Top 10 Stanley Cup Odds Leaders Fared in 2019 Season

The 10 teams with the shortest odds to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the 2018-19 season all made the playoffs, but from there, it’s been unpredictable. With the Stanley Cup Final now set, the Boston Bruins (+1100 at season's start) are left to face the St. Louis Blues (+2000) in a series beginning May 27. Here’s a quick look at how the top 10 odds leaders performed. Toronto Maple Leafs Odds: +650, points projection: 106.5: Toronto was [...]

Tennis: French Open Betting Preview

Can anyone beat Rafael Nadal? As it has been for the past 14 years, this is the only question for punters heading into the French Open. French Open Free Picks: Men's Play: Rafael Nadal (+110), Dominic Thiem (+500) Women's Play: Kiki Bertens (+800), Karolina Pliskova (+1400), Johanna Konta (+4000) Given that he's won the event 11 times, it's hard to bet against him. But for the moment, he's at better than even money. His +110 quote reflects a less-than-dominant run [...]

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second Round Full of Intrigue

The wildness that marked the first round of the NHL playoffs has calmed a little in the second, but it has been very tight, with only one series not square after four games. There is a very real prospect that the Eastern Conference Finals will be between the teams that had the seventh- and eighth-best regular season records in the conference. The eighth-placed Carolina Hurricanes have a 3-0 advantage over the New York Islanders, while the seventh-placed Columbus Blue Jackets [...]

A Moment in Time – October 14, 1978

Affirmed 1978 Belmont Stakes (Bob Coglianese) Two Triple Crown winners dramatically beaten For the first, and to date only, time in U.S. horse racing history, the Triple Crown was won in successive years in 1977 and 1978.  The horses in question: Seattle Slew, the first horse to be unbeaten when he secured the Triple Crown, and Affirmed, who took the Crown after three stirring battles with Alydar. As Seattle Slew had been kept in training at four, racegoers [...]

A Moment in Time: November 2, 1993

Flemington Racecourse (Wikimedia Commons) The Melbourne Cup goes international Most people in Thoroughbred racing around the world knew about the Melbourne Cup before 1993. But it was anything but international. True, horses bred or trained in one foreign country – nearby New Zealand – had contested the race often. The majority of Melbourne Cups after World War II until 1993 were won by New Zealand-breds; indeed, Melbourne Cup training king Bart Cummings had won eight of his nine [...]

2017: The 10 best races of the year

There’s been many fantastic performances in 2017. But for this piece, I’m more interested in the best, or most dramatic, contests. Have a look at all these – they’re worth repeated viewing.   10) Personal Ensign Stakes (1 1/8 miles, G1, Aug. 26, Saratoga, $700,000) Songbird had only been beaten once in 14 starts when she arrived at Saratoga. But she hadn’t been as impressive as usual in her two 2017 starts, and this time she had to face Forever [...]

2017 Year in Review: 10 Best Horses

  Everyone who follows racing will have their ideas about who the best horses in the world are. No two lists will be alike. Ignoring my unfortunate black spot regarding horses in South America and South Africa, these are my top 10 for the year.   Gun Runner topped off a wonderfully consistent season with a Breeders' Cup Classic triumph. (Photo by Steve Dalmado/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images) Arrogate It’s a shame Arrogate ended 2017 so badly. He lost a [...]

Moments In Time: October 28, 1994 – Cigar

Notable Moments in Horse Racing History: The start of Cigar's undefeated run. Cigar began his winning streak in a Friday allowance race at Aqueduct in 1994. October 28, 1994 would have seemed like just another day at the races for anyone who went to Aqueduct Racetrack in New York. Four claiming races on dirt, two maiden special weights, one allowance on turf, and two one-mile allowances on dirt. Nobody there had any idea the day would be historic. [...]

Danon Premium favored in Asahi Hai Futurity

Danon Premium easily wins the Saudi Arabia Royal Cup. Pic: Japan Racing Association. Unbeaten colt Danon Premium could give trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida his first grade one victory when he contests the Asahi Hai Futurity (G1) for 2-year-olds at Hanshin racecourse Dec. 17. One of two colts in the field by champion sire Deep Impact, Danon Premium has been relatively untroubled to win both his starts. At his most recent outing he won the Saudi Arabia Royal Cup (G3) [...]