Archives for July 2013 | Collins McNicholas

The Galway Races….2013

The Galway Races 2013 It’s nearly time for the annual pilgrimage to Galway where punters have two main goals i.e. to wage war on the bookies and to catch up on old friends. The Galway Festival continues to be the standard bearer for Horse Racing Ireland and all eyes will again be focused on the figures for tote and bookmaker turnover this year. Quite simply the industry needs a good Galway to stop the reduction in turnover experienced by most racecourses so far this year. In this article I do not propose to give any specific tips a week before the races and anyway there will be more than enough of these flying around by the time of the first race on Monday. I am happy to give the following general pointers which have served me well over the years and which you might consider when trying to pick a winner:- 1.            Horses for Courses Galway is probably the best example of this old maxim and every year we see horses come good at Galway who have run well there previously. This can sometimes happen even where they come into the meeting with poor recent form. In particular it can pay towards the end of the week to follow a horse that ran well earlier in the week provided the horse did not have a hard race on that occasion. Recording the racing earlier in the week can help you in this regard. You might also pick out a fast finishing one that might have been given too much to do. 2.            Watch the Going This is likely to be of particular importance this week because of the long dry spell. Unless there is a deluge in the next few days you should be following horses who like top of the ground conditions. Proven mud larks are unlikely to run and if they do they should be avoided. 3.            Stamina This may not be as important on very good ground but I like to back horses who have won over a couple of furlongs longer than the race they are entered in as the dip is severe and stamina and courage are needed to see out the trip especially in the longer races. 4.            Direction Galway is a right handed track and I would tend to favour horses which have already run well going right handed. Many horses have a preference in this regard so look at horses which have run in courses like the Curragh, Punchestown, Sligo, Tramore, Ballinrobe or any other right handed track especially those with a dip like Galway such as Tramore. 5.            The Draw This applies in the shorter races where there is a distinct advantage for horses drawn on the inside. Don’t overlook this as most horses struggle to overcome a bad draw. 6.            Up with the Pace Because of the dip and the fact that it is a tight track with a short finishing straight I tend to favour horses which run up with the pace. 7.            Good Recent Form Even though horses are often laid out for Galway and the trainer may have been ‘minding’ their handicap mark I tend to favour horses which have good recent form. Potential is fine but proven performance counts for more. 8.            Weight In handicaps where horses carry different weights it may be better to look for a horse lower down in the weights although weight may not be as much a factor this year in the expected firm ground. Weight tends to be more of a factor in the longer races. 9.            Battling Qualities I like to back a horse which has shown resolution in a tight finish rather than ‘bridle horses’ or horses who ‘down tools’ in a battle. This is particularly true in Galway where there is a big climb up from the dip which puts a premium on stamina and battling qualities. 10.          Trainers Record Some trainers excel at Galway Dermot Weld being the most obvious example – the difficulty is often in deciding which of his to back as he often has a horse in most races. You can sometimes get a nice winner with a local trainer who might ‘lay one out’ for Galway. 11.          Jockey’s Record I would put more weighting on the jockey’s record as a good jockey around Galway can sometimes get an ordinary horse home whereas a less experienced one may struggle to adapt to the unique challenges of the Galway track. Pat Smullen rides Galway very well and usually times his challenge to perfection. 12.          Invest more in the longer races This is probably a debatable point but as a National Hunt fan I prefer the longer race which allow a horse overcome a bad start and where one doesn’t have to take the draw into consideration. Hope some  of these help and one final pointer – if you are having a drink do most of your punting first – doing the two together is a sure way to the poor house!! Good Luck – you’ll need it!! Colman Collins Managing Director...

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JobPlus Scheme – Credit where credit is due

JobPlus Scheme – Credit where credit is due  The new JobPlus scheme announced recently by the government is probably the most radical initiative we have seen since the unemployment crisis started to develop in 2008. When the latest jobs action plan was announced in February of this year the government talked about “disruptive reforms” and we wondered what details would follow. The JobPlus scheme replaces the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job Exemption Scheme and I feel this scheme could be a catalyst to tackle the growing problem of long term unemployment. The previous schemes, while they had many positive features were overly complex and very few employers understood them and availed of them. The beauty of the Job Plus scheme is its simplicity i.e. it offers a direct cash incentive (no tax credits or allowances) to employers to hire the long term unemployed. The scheme operates by making regular cash payments to employers who hire qualifying candidates therefore significantly reducing the cost of employing an additional member of staff e.g. if a business employs someone who has been unemployed for over 2 years and pays them a salary of €20,000 per annum they can reclaim €5,000 per annum over two years. The Incentive is clearly designed to encourage businesses to focus their recruitment efforts on the long term unemployed and this has been identified as the most challenging group to engage with and get back working. The Incentive will provide two levels of payment: a payment of €7,500 over two years to an employer for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24...

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Focus on Careers in…IT

Careers in ICT & Software Development The prospects for anyone considering pursuing a career in IT or software development are excellent. ICT is the fastest growing sector in the economy,with the industry in Ireland expected to expand considerably over the next number of years. There are currently between 3,500-4,500 vacancies in the IT sector in Ireland. The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) has noted that IT jobs are the most frequently categorised as ‘difficult-to-fill’, accounting for 33% of such roles. This is not a trend that is unique to Ireland as there is a global shortage of certain IT skills. The skills most in demand in Ireland are software developers in, Java, .Net, C#, and Oracle. There is also a pressing need for more Network Engineers, Telecoms Engineers, System Administrators, and tech support personnel. Ireland, and particularly Dublin, has developed an international reputation as an ICT hub. Many of the leading global ICT companies now have operations in the country. 8 of the top 10 global ICT companies have operations in Ireland, and the top 10 ‘born on the internet’ companies are all located here as well. According to IDA Ireland ICT companies directly employ 38,500 people, with many more ICT professionals employed across a range of other industries and sectors. Despite the shortfall in certain skills within the sector, Dublin has recently been ranked as the best city in the world for human capital. ICT companies are continuously establishing offices in Ireland. Our ability to attract large multinationals will strengthen as some of the most recognised companies in the industry, such as Facebook and Google, generate...

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