Some of us grew up on ‘Wogan’s Winner’. Back in the late Seventies, at 8.25 every morning on his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Terry Wogan would give us his certainty of the day and those of us on their way to school would either think nothing of it, or take notice. If nothing else, we knew we were either on time, or late. We set our clocks by Wogan’s Winner.
Terry Wogan’s love of horses shone through. He had horses with both Nicky Henderson and Barry Hills. He was also a close friend of the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan and gave a reading at the commentator’s memorial service in October.
Wogan’s friendship with owner Peter Deal led to the naming of a horse, by Presenting, in honour of Terry. That horse was named Wogan and went on to land the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in 2010.
The much-loved broadcaster, who died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 77, also teamed up with Lady Lloyd-Webber to race The Grocers Curate, also trained by Henderson, in 2005. Wogan’s father was in the grocery trade and the horses was named as a passing nod to his profession.
A national treasure, he will be missed by many. Not least a by young boy who grew up on Wogan’s Winner and had his imagination sparked. Thank you, Terry. God bless.
Your club’s new betting service comes complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets and every day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing and offer what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Monday’s preview, along with your Lucky 15…
KELVIN HALL (Kempton 2.50) has an official rating of 67 and is not particularly progressive, but the three-year-old showed plenty of promise when last taking on her own sex. The Mark Johnston-trained Halling filly was a fine third to Flyweight at Chelmsford in mid-November but did not appear to get the trip next time when upped to 1m2f. She was a little keen last time back at 1m before dropping away in a maiden at Southwell, but should give her running dropped into this company. This is the first time she is trying the Polytrack but her style of running suggests she will be hard to pass.
HEAD SPACE (Kempton 4.30) has twice finished runner-up in his last two runs over 6f, here and at Lingfield. He chased home Elusive Ellen last time, not having had a clear run and finished with gusto. Up 1lb for that, Brain Barr’s runner may well be able to start taking advantage of a decent handicap mark now.
NEZWAAH (Wolverhampton 3.40) was well backed to make a winning debut at Chelmsford early last month and did so with ease in what looked a fair 1m maiden. Roger Varian’s runner was keen early on but was full of running turning for home and her rider did not have to get serious to score by a length and a half. She will get further in time, but today’s 1m½f Class 5 handicap, while competitive, looks another good opportunity to gain some experience.
LITTLE BIG MAN (Kempton 2.15) did not see out 1m4f at Lingfield on his penultimate start, but dropped down to a mile here last time, stayed on well under forcing tactics, only to go down by a nose to Celtic Ava. Two years ago, he won off a mark of 70 and has tumbled in the weights, running today off a mark of 49. He is no certainty in a poor handicap, but he is one of the few that has shown a measure of recent form.
SELECTIONS FOR MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2016
KEMPTON: 2.15 Little Big Man, 2.50 KELVIN HALL (NAP), 3.25 Chelwood Gate, 3.55 Mambo Fever, 4.30 Head Space (nb), 5.00 Boston Blue
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.00 Time Medicean, 2.35 Toledo, 3.10 Wavelet, 3.40 Nezwaah, 4.10 Mitre Peak, 4.45 Best New Show, 5.15 National Service
Just two meetings survive on Sunday but we have something a little different for you. Your club’s new betting service comes complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets and every day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing and offer what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Sunday’s preview, along with your Lucky 15…
Race of the Day
The Grade 2 Tied Cottage Chase (Punchestown 3.00) is named after the gritty and ultimately unlucky front-running Irish staying chaser who always gave his all.
Tied Cottage was mugged not once, but twice in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. As an 11-year-old, he fell at the last in 1979, handing the race to Alverton.
He returned to Cheltenham to win the Gold Cup the following year, leading from start to finish under Tommy Carberry, only for the 8-1 shot to be disqualified when failing a dope test afterwards. The Theobromine in his urine was thought to have come from a batch of rouge oats and while his trainer Dan Moore was absolved of any blame, the race was handed to Master Smudge.
The gallant stayer ran at Cheltenham every year from 1975 to 1983 (although the 1978 meeting was postponed and he fell at Becher’s Brook in the Grand National that year).
Among his big-race success were the 1976 Sun Alliance Chase and the 1979 Irish National. He was also runner-up in the 1977 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the 1977 Irish National.
He was still running at the age of 15, winning point-to-points for owner Anthony Richardson, before making a final trip to Cheltenham, where he took fifth in the Foxhunter Chase behind Eliogarty.
Rarely has there been a stayer who gave such pulsating front-running displays.
FELIX YONGER (Punchestown 3.00) looks the obvious one in the race of the day. Willie Mullins has won this race twice in the last five years and the likely favourite looks a fair bet to win for the sixth time in his last seven starts. Winner of last season’s Irish Champion Chase, he flattered to deceive on his seasonal return at Clonmel, but looked in need of the run and came good when taking a Grade 2 at Navan in mid-December. That 2m1f event was run on heavy ground, which was not ideal for him, but he handled it well and he is proving a very consistent animal at this level.
ROYAL CAVIAR (Punchestown 2.00) had the reputation last season for being a bit soft. He threw away a winning opportunity when odds-on at Gowran Park last January, having been keen early and finding little. But with the first-time hood helping him settle at Thurles on his seasonal return in November, he was brought with a well-timed run to win his maiden hurdle at the third attempt. He did not look particularly convincing, but he may just have needed the run after such a long lay-off and may be good enough to follow up in the 2m novice hurdle.
BRIGHT TOMORROW (Punchestown 4.35) showed plenty of ability when making is debut here last April. Sent-off favourite at Naas on his second start at Naas in a similar bumper when making his seasonal bow in November, he was a little too keen early on and was a spent force late on, going down 3½l to Ballela Boy. That experience will have helped and if showing a similar level of form in this run-of-the-mill 2m pro/am bumper, Jessica Harrington’s inmate should be in the thick of things when it matters.
WAITING PATIENTLY (Sedgefield 1.45) had shown a fair level of ability on his hurdling debut in a maiden at Hexham in November, finishing second of 11 in a race where plenty had the benefit of previous experience. Keith Reveley’s runner was a little unfortunate to bump into the progressive Cloudy Dream – whom he had back in third previously – when they clashed again at Doncaster over 2m3½f later that month. This half-brother to point/bumper winner Walking In The Air tackles novice company and a similar trip again today, and holds every chance of breaking his maiden.
SELECTIONS FOR SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2016
SEDGEFIELD: 1.45 Waiting Patiently, 2.15 Up And Go, 2.45 Not A Bother Boy, 3.15 Shout It Aloud, 3.50 Firth Of The Clyde, 4.20 Kara Tara
PUNCHESTOWN: 1.30 Balko Des Flos, 2.00 Royal Caviar (nb), 2.30 All Hell Let Loose, 3.00 FELIX YONGER (NAP), 3.30 Ballyboker Bridge, 4.05 Bonny Kate, 4.35 Bright Tomorrow
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Your club’s new betting service comes complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets and every day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing and offer what our experts feel will be the value bets for another busy Saturday…
WHO DARES WINS (Cheltenham 12.40) can land the JCB Triumph Hurdle to kick off a wonderful card at Cheltenham. Trainer Alan King has won this race four times in the last 10 years and has sent out this son on Jeremy to win a Ludlow and Doncaster over hurdles. Rated 85 on the Flat for Richard Hannon, he handled the heavy ground last time and while he made a slight jumping error, he will be straighter for this 2m½f test. This is a tough assignment against some promising hurdlers but King knows what it takes to win a race of this stature.
O’FAOLAINS BOY (Cheltenham 1.50) is up against a likely odds-on-shot in the Willie Mullins-trained Djakadam in the Grade 2 Trial Chase, which looks a cracking renewal. Rebecca Curtis-s nine-year-old won the Grade 1 RSA Chase at the Festival last year, beating Smad Place (who reposes) by a neck. He lost a shoe and twisted another in the race, so could be marked up for that accordingly. Something was amiss on his season return at Ascot but he was almost back to his best last time when winning a Graduation Chase at Newbury, travelling as well as ever and jumping soundly. He may prefer quicker ground but he stays all day and will likely have an entry in the Grand National as well as the Gold Cup. He is a value pick.
UN BEAU ROMAN (Cheltenham 2.25) is likely to be a decent price in the Grade 3 handicap chase, despite being in receipt of plenty of weight from is rivals. The Paul Henderson-trained eight-year-old, who was formerly with Willie Mullins, picked up the remnants of a furious pace in a small-field 2m2f handicap chase at Kempton, despite never ravelling well. Though the race was run to suit on ground generously described as soft (it was bordering on desperate), he stayed on nicely on his return to the bigger obstacles. This is the best horse in Henderson’s yard and he should still have improvement in him.
THISTLECRACK (Cheltenham 3.35) should take all the beating in what looks an average renewal of the Cleeve Hurdle. Colin Tizard’s exciting eight-year-old won the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Haydock in November and followed up by winning the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, slamming Reve De Sivola by eight lengths. Currently 3.50 (5/2) favourite on your myclubbetting.co.uk sites for the World Hurdle, he would appear to hold a favourite’s chance of completing a hat-trick.
SELECTIONS FOR SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2016
CHELTENHAM: 12.40 Who Dares Wins, 1.15 Un Temps Pour Tout, 1.50 O’Faolains Boy, 2.25 Un Beau Roman, 3.00 Shantou Village, 3.35 Thistlecrack, 4.10 Clean Sheet
DONCASTER: 12.30 Deputy Commander, 1.00 Shaneshill, 1.30 Red Spinner, 2.05 Morning Run, 2.40 Minella Charmer, 3.15 Buywise, 3.50 Atlanta Ablaze, 4.25 Little Acorn
Get your club or team its own betting service, which comes complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets. We will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing and offer what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Frday’s Lucky 15 (4 singles, 6 doubles 4 trebles and an accumulator). Good luck – and after yesterday’s dire tipping performance, you’ll probably need it.
THOMAS BROWN (Doncaster 3.05) is happiest when he is allowed to bowl along in front and when pressure is not applied to his jumping. He can get into a nice rhythm, as he did when landing a beginners’ chase at Ascot in November, following a 224-day lay-off. A 142-rated hurdler, he was highly tried in Grade 1 company last spring and acquitted himself well in a Grade 2 novices’ chase on his last start, when beaten by Le Mercurey. That looked a muddling race, with the winner gifted the race by rank outsider Amore Alato, who unshipped Harry Skelton after a bad blunder at the last. The third home, Out Sam, won subsequently, thus franking the form and the selection takes a drop in class today. A dual winning pointer, he will appreciate this step up to 3m and is a confident selection.
THE CLOCK LEARY (Huntingdon 2.10) has a little bit to prove after a couple of disappointing runs to start the season. He was pulled up after an early blunder on his reappearance and failed to jump with confidence the next time. However, there were signs that he was nearing his best when jumping with much more fluency at Kempton in first-time blinkers earlier this month. He likes to front-run and was forced to work for the lead in that 2m2f Class 3 handicap, and tired quickly approaching three out. Venetia Williams’s runner might get an easier time of it here and the slight drop in class is sure to see the eight-year-old go close.
CACHAO(Lingfield 1.50) may not be one of the leading lights in the John Gosden yard, but he may well get off the mark in the 1m2m handicap. Upped in trip after being beaten when odds-on at Wolverhampton, he looked all over the winner of a four-runner C&D maiden last time, but got touched off. Blinkers are now fitted and while handicaps look to be his future, he has the ability to win a maiden such as this.
ON A WHIM (Wolverhampton 4.45) can follow up last week’s C&D win under a penalty. Dan Loghnane’s filly was good value for her 1¾l victory in a Class 7 handicap, with the front two drawing clear of the remainder. The form looks pretty solid for the grade. The lightly-raced four-year-old takes on some exposed, if battle-hardened performers, but looks to have a bit more improvement in her and can defy the 6lb rise.
SELECTIONS FOR FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016
DONCASTER: 12.50 Pandy Wells, 1.25 Dashing Oscar, 2.00 Globalisation, 2.30 Night In Milan, 3.05 THOMAS BROWN (NAP), 3.40 Big Chief Benny, 4.10 Skyfire
HUNTINGDON: 1.00 Summer Sounds, 1.35 Mystic Sky, 2.10 The Clock Leary (nb), 2.40 Western Warrior, 3.15 At The Top, 3.50 Handsome Sam, 4.20 Bags Groove
LINGFIELD: 1.15 Inswing, 1.50 Cachao, 2.20 Shirataki, 2.50 Lord Huntingdon, 3.25 Custard The Dragon, 4.00 Multi Quest, 4.30 Bayan Kasirga
WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.45 On A Whim, 5.15 Toumar, 5.45 The Steward, 6.15 King Olav, 6.45 Top Offer, 7.15 Trigger Park
DUNDALK: 5.30 Deeds Not Words, 6.00 Spirit Glance, 6.30 Pick Your Battle, 7.00 Jimmy Kelly, 7.30 Ringside Humour, 8.00 Manorov, 8.30 Universal Mind, 9.00 Sixtyfiveroses
Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now!Seemyclubbetting.comfor details.
Get your club or team its own betting service, which comes complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets. We will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing and offer what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Thursday’s Lucky 15 (4 singles, 6 doubles 4 trebles and an accumulator). Good luck!
JUMPANDTRAVEL (Fakenham 4.10) has been in fair form this winter and landed a selling handicap hurdle here in November. She is not the biggest in the world, but she stays well. An ideal ride for a conditional, 3lb claimer Joe Colliver gets on with the lightly-raced seven-year-old well. She was well beaten when third at Doncaster over a similar trip last time but this looks a weak race for the grade and while she concedes weight all round, Micky Hammond’s runner should give another good account.
OGARTIMO (Fakenham 2.20) has plenty going for her in the 2m handicap hurdle, not least the track itself. The Alex Hales-trained seven-year-old won a novices’ handicap hurdle at Fakenham last April and returned to the Norfolk track in December, running Neworld to half a length in a handicap. She ran off a mark of 98 last time and is up 2lb today, and while she is just 1-11 over hurdles, she has been consistent and takes a class drop, which could make all the difference.
RAMPERS (Southwell 1.35) is not the most obvious one on the punting radar, having finished last of nine over 5f at Lingfield when last seen in September. However, Jamie Osborne’s runner has saved his best performances for the Southwell Fibresand, twice finishing second on his only two appearances at the track. Rated 63, he drops back into a weak-looking maiden after a four-month break and might be a bit of value.
WITH PLEASURE (Southwell 3.15) won a 1m½f maiden here earlier this month and can follow up. Simon Crisford’s runner did not have much to beat that day but was far from extended and won comfortably. Victory on his third start meant he was allotted a mark of 77 for his handicap debut and that looks realistic for what he has achieved. We expect him to follow up in this small-field handicap.
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We look to continue our good run with our football selections and, complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, take a glance at some of the big matches in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup this weekend…
DERBY v MAN UTD
You want to know what really happened to Jurgen Klopp’s glasses – they were stolen by Louis van Gaal’s minion. Klopp appears to understand that square pegs fit in square holes.
One example: Brendan Rodgers insisted Emre Can was a defender and after the Liverpool boss was replaced by Klopp, the German quickly saw that the talented youngster should be playing in a more nature midfield role.
You can see it and we can see it, but it appears that Manchester United (1.95) manager Van Gaal has a bit of trouble when it comes to Marouane Fellaini, who is many things, but central midfielder is not one of them. The embattled Dutchman needs the same vision as Klopp if he is to remain in his position.
The return of Bastian Schweinsteiger would certainly help United. He has been missing for a few weeks, but he should be fit to face Championship side Derby in the first of the FA Cup Fourth Round ties on Friday.
Both teams suffered losses last time. United slumped to an eighth defeat of the season, going down 1-0 at home to Southampton and worryingly failing to register a worthwhile chance throughout.
Derby (4.00) were woeful as they lost 4-1 at Burnley on Monday night, leaving them fifth in the table.
It is natural that some players would not want to risk injury before such a big game and although taking nothing away from in-form Burnley, it was still a performance devoid of confidence form Paul Clement’s side.
Derby have lost just twice at home in 14 outings this season but have managed just two wins over United in their last 15 meetings and two home wins over the Red Devils’ last 17 visits.
Goals are usually on the menu – eight of the last 11 meetings yielded three goals or more and we see that more likely than not this time.
United have drawn on five of their last nine trips to Derby but plenty points to United bouncing back. [SM]
VERDICT: DERBY 1 MAN UTD 3 @ 17.00
BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 2.20
COLCHESTER v TOTTENHAM
Tottenham (1.40) really are in a rich vein of form of late. The North Londoners have only lost in one of their last nine games and battled to a vital away win at Crystal Palace last weekend after a goal-of-the-season contender from Dele Alli.
Their Fourth Round opponents Colchester (8.00) are having a tough time of it. The League One strugglers have only managed to win once in their last nine games – a victory against Charlton in the last round of this competition.
Harry Kane is a man in form. The prolific England striker has scored 13 league goals so far this season, which is made even more impressive when you consider his slow start to the season. If risked, we expect Kane to take advantage of a Colchester defence that has leaked a staggering 65 league goals already this season – making him a great first goal-scorer selection, especially with the Dubble Bubble/Hat-Trick Fan-Tastic offer available with My Club Betting.
As well as having the worst defensive record in League One, Colchester are also a side struggling for goals. The U’s have only scored 36 league goals this season, netting just three times in their last six League One games.
That stat, coupled with Tottenham’s fantastic defensive record leads us to believe that this will be comfortable for the visitors and we fancy them to win without conceding here. [CC]
VERDICT: COLCHESTER 0 TOTTENHAM 2 @ 7.00
BEST BET: TOTTENHAM WIN TO NIL @ 2.30
ARSENAL v BURNLEY
Arsenal (1.40) have really struggled for form since beating Sunderland in the last round. Arsene Wenger’s men followed their 3-1 home win in early January with draws against Liverpool and Stoke before losing at home to bitter rivals Chelsea last time.
Burnley (8.00) are currently the in-form side in the Championship. Sean Dyche’s side find themselves just one place below the automatic promotion positions after their rampant 4-1 win over Derby on Monday evening.
Alexis Sanchez returned to the Arsenal first team against Chelsea on Sunday. The influential Chilean winger spent more than two months on the side line with a hamstring injury and, in truth, Arsenal don’t look the same without him in the side. Sanchez offers a pacy, direct threat, favouring long dribbles over sideways passing, which is something the Gunners were really lacking in his absence.
Burnley reached the Fourth Round after an impressive away win against league rivals Middleborough. Wingers George Boyd and Michael Kightly have looked particularly threatening this season, linking successfully with top scorer Andre Gray on numerous occasions since his arrival in the summer.
Both sides are among the highest scorers in their respective leagues and we see this being reflected in Saturday’s score line.
We fancy a high scoring home win at The Emirates. [CC]
VERDICT: ARSENAL 3 BURNLEY 1 @ 11.00
BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.70
ASTON VILLA v MAN CITY
Remi Garde’s first game in charge of Aston Villa (5.25) saw his side battle to a home draw against Saturday’s opponents. However, it has all been downhill since then for the former Lyon boss. Villa are rock bottom of the Premier League after winning only two league games all season.
Manchester City (1.67) have recovered from a mid-season blip and now find themselves within touching distance of league leaders Leicester. City are the most prolific club in England’s top division, scoring 45 league goals already this season.
In the last round, Villa needed a replay to overcome Wycombe Wanderers – a side THREE divisions below them. Although the Midlands club eventually ran out 2-0 winners in the replay, they were far from convincing. Villa needed two goals in the last 15 minutes to overcome their lower league opponents after looking nervy throughout the game.
Kevin De Bruyne has settled back into English football seamlessly. The former Chelsea midfielder arrived from Wolfsburg for £55m in the summer and has made an instant impact at his new club. The Belgian international has scored five times and made nine assists since arriving, becoming a huge favourite amongst the City faithful.
Villa have won just one of the last seven meeting between these sides and, in truth, we see City being too strong again on Saturday. [CC]
VERDICT: ASTON VILLA 0 MAN CITY 2 @ 7.50
BEST BET: MAN CITY TO WIN @ 1.67
PORTSMOUTH v BOURNEMOUTH
These two South Coast sides are separated by just 50 miles and Saturday’s game will be their first meeting since the Cherries 1-0 League Cup win back in 2013.
Past winners Portsmouth (2.88) are flying high in League Two at the moment and caused arguably the biggest shock of the Third Round by beating Championship side Ipswich a week ago.
Bournemouth (2.40) will be prioritising Premier League survival, so we really wouldn’t be surprised to see changes from Eddie Howe on Saturday.
Portsmouth striker Matt Tubbs spent much of his career with Saturday’s opponents. The striker started his career at hometown club, before leaving to make his name at Crawley Town. Tubbs then returned to Bournemouth in 2012 to help the club win promotion to League One.
Another man who will be facing his former side in this tie is Eddie Howe. Harry Redknapp purchased the now Bournemouth boss for £400,000 in 2002. However, his spell at the club ended unsuccessfully. Howe made just two league appearances for Pompey, and after two loan spells away from the club, Howe returned to Bournemouth in 2004.
Portsmouth have scored in four of their last five games, while Bournemouth have scored in all of their last four.
Due to the Bournemouth’s probable squad rotation, we can’t split these two and see a scoring draw being played out at Fratton Park on Saturday. [CC]
VERDICT: PORTSMOUTH 1 BOURNEMOUTH 1 @ 6.00
BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.80
MK DONS v CHELSEA
Guus Hiddink is doing a fine job, with Chelsea (1.30) still unbeaten since his arrival at the club. The Blues earned a vital win away at Arsenal last weekend – however, they did face 10 men for the majority of the game after an early Per Mertesacker sending off.
MK Dons (9.50) are hovering above the relegation zone in their inaugural Championship campaign, after winning just seven league games so far. This will be the first ever meeting between the two clubs, although Chelsea did do battle with Wimbledon and the ‘Crazy Gang’ on numerous occasions.
Diego Costa has looked like a man possessed since Jose Mourinho left the club in December. After struggling for goals in the early part of the season, Costa has turned things around under the guidance of Hiddink. The Brazilian-born, Spanish international has netted in four of his last five appearances and was particularly impressive in their game against Arsenal last time out.
The Dons needed a replay to overcome League Two side Northampton Town in the last round, and in truth Chelsea just look too strong for the hosts.
Everything points to a comfortable away win here. [CC]
VERDICT: MK DONS 0 CHELSEA 2 @ 6.50
BEST BET: CHELSEA/CHELSEA (HT/FT) @ 1.90
NOTTM FOREST v WATFORD
This is one of the more intriguing ties of the Fourth Round, with both sides going well in the Championship and Premier League respectively.
Forest (2.87) are toddling along in 11th place, eight points off the play-off places, having gone on a 12-match unbeaten run that included a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers in the Third Round. They have not been beaten since November 21 when losing 2-1 at Brentford.
Watford (2.50) have enjoyed more highs than lows since returning to the top flight, although they have suffered a dip in form in recent weeks, going five league games without a win before beating Newcastle 2-1 at home last weekend. Coincidentally, they put Newcastle out of the FA Cup in the last round, having also turned them over in the reverse League fixture in September.
Watford have looked tired in recent weeks and it is conceivable that their tough Christmas period, playing the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City within the space of eight days, was a major reason for the dip in form.
Watford have bought reinforcements since, with Nordin Amrabat arriving from Malaga for £6m and goalkeeper Costel Pantillimon arriving from Sunderland (2.5) land as cover for Heurelho Gomes. They may well bring in a central midfielder before the transfer window closes on Monday.
Games between these two have been evenly split in recent years, with each winning five times and drawing five times. Watford have lost just three of their last 12 visits to the City Ground, however, and they should be good enough to earn a replay. [SM]
VERDICT: NOTTM FOREST 1 WATFORD 1 @ 6.00
BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SORE @ 1.91
LIVERPOOL v WEST HAM
With just one win at Anfield since 1963 and seeking an unprecedented third successive win against Liverpool, the odds are stacked against West Ham in their FA Cup Fourth Round clash. Or they should be. The bookies, strangely, think otherwise.
True, the Hammers have won both League meetings this season, beating them 3-0 at Anfield and 2-0 at Upton Park. But Liverpool are on a high following their dramatic 5-4 win at Norwich – celebrated as though it was a Cup final – and reaching the League Cup final in midweek (on penalties… surprise, surprise!).
Defensively Liverpool (2.00) look shaky and Jurgen Klopp will doubtless but reinforcements in the summer, but going forward they are always a threat and this looks a game which will be all about the first goal. If Liverpool get their noses in front, they won’t look back. If West Ham (3.80) score, they can punish the Reds on the break.
Liverpool look a good bet to score the first goal at 1.60 and that is a massive price. West Ham, who lost on penalties to Liverpool in the 2006 FA Cup Final, have failed to score in four of their last six trips to Anfield.
Despite their good early-season from, which brought them victories at Manchester City, Liverpool Arsenal and Crystal Palace, West Ham have won one of their last seven away games since October 17 and they were under fire for long periods before beating Bournemouth 3-1 on January 12.
West Ham have injury problems up front and will again be without Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll. They are attempting to bring in a striker on loan, as Nikica Jelavic can no longer be considered an effective forward at this level and he will likely be shipped out after the season is over.
Liverpool may be mentally fatigued after two emotionally-draining back-to-back games, but they are fantastic value to beat the Hammers. In fact, we’d go so far as saying they are the best bet of the weekend. [SM]
VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 3 WEST HAM 0 @ 13.00
BEST BET: LIVERPOOL TO WIN 2.00
CRYSTAL PALACE v STOKE
Despite losing 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace (2.15) and failing to win for the sixth successive League game last weekend, they played well. Aside from two wonder goals, they gave as good as they got and were unlucky not to take all three points.
Stoke (3.60) cannot play anywhere near as poorly as they did in losing 3-0 at Leicester last weekend, where they rested a few players as they had the League Cup semi-final second leg at Liverpool just a few days after that.
The loss of Ryan Shawcross to injury is a major blow to the Potters. He is the lynch-pin in defence and will miss the next few weeks with a back injury. Since returning from surgery on his back in October, Stoke have lost only five times in all competitions.
The good news is that midfielder Geoff Cameron (ankle) may return after missing last Saturday’s defeat and the midweek League Cup trip to Anfield.
Palace are struggling for goals, particularly from their strikers. In fact, they have benefitted from own goals as much as they have from their marksman, who have scored a total of one goal between them in the Premier League. They are also suddenly leaking goals, having conceded 11 in their four Premier League games this year, but netting only once (and that was an own goal against Spurs).
Stoke have conceded two or more goals in four of their last five Premier League road games, but they have lost just once on their last five trips to Selhurst Park.
This all-Premier League tie is one of the more attractive games of the weekend and with Palace due to win again and Stoke suffering an emotional let-down after their exploits at Anfield on Tuesday, we take the hosts to sneak it. [SM]
VERDICT: CRYSTAL PALACE 2 STOKE 1 @ 9.00
BEST BET: PALACE TO SCORE FIRST @ 1.83
CARLISLE v EVERTON
Carlisle (6.50) returned home to Brunton Park last week, having re-laid the pitch following the horrendous flooding in Cumbria. The hosts were held 1-1 by York on their first match on home soil for two months.
The Blues have been in enforced exile after the floods caused by Storm Desmond in November left their ground unplayable, with United having to stage ‘home’ matches at Blackburn, Preston and Blackpool.
Carlisle have done remarkably well, given their circumstances. Currently, they sit tenth in League Two, just three points outside the playoff places.
Everton (1.44) have been disappointing. They appear to lack a bit of backbone, having lost frequently from winning positions and are giving away too many silly goals.
They were booed off at half-time and again at the final whistle in their 2-1 home defeat by Swansea and they have conceded 22 goals in 12 games Goodison Park. That defeat was the worst kind of preparation for their midweek League Cup semi-final trip to Manchester City.
But despite the pressure they are under at home, they may play with a little more freedom at Brunton Park.
Carlisle have won two of their three previous meetings, but the last time the pair met was in the FA Cup in 2010 and Everton ran out 3-1 winners at Goodison.
This has the potential to be one of the shocks of the round – Particularly after Everton’s draining Midweek League Cup semi-final second leg at Manchester City – but we see the visitors having too much class and they should go through confortably enough with Romelu Lukaku a fair bet to score first.
Don’t forget, if he scores again, you can take advantage of our Dubble-Bubble offer, where you get double the odds if he scores a second. [SM]
VERDICT: CARLISLE 1 EVERTON 2 @ 8.50
BEST BET: HT/FT = DRAW/EVERTON @ 4.33
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Your club’s new betting service comes complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets and every day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing and offer what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Wednesday’s Lucky 15…
FOREST BIHAN (Catterick 2.25) has been highly tried in is three appearances for Brian Ellison since arriving from France and latterly acquitted himself with distinction at Doncaster in a Class 2 handicap, running Minstrels Gallery to just over 3l. The application of a hood last time did not appear to help significantly and it is removed today. He gets the soft ground that he enjoys and this drop in class should see him in a much better light.
VINCIAETTIS (Catterick 1.20) is one of the more exciting horses to come out of the Warren Greatrex yard and not many horses win two bumpers, as this four-year-old has. He defied a penalty at Plumpton, steadily drawing clear to win by nine lengths. Though apparently quite highly strung, this son of Enrique, who changed hands for £72,000 at the Cheltenham sales last April, certainly appears to have a good engine. On his hurdling debut, he is in receipt of 7lb from Point The Way, who looks the biggest danger.
FERN OWL (Kempton 5.40) earned a nice confidence-boosting win at Wolverhampton last time, as he had been threatening to do. Though briefly outpaced, the lightly-raced four-year-old found plenty to narrowly beat 12 rivals over 1m1½f and, as a result, has only gone up 2lb. The Hughie Morrison-trained Nayef gelding only just beat Tangramm, who is slightly better off at the weights today, but the selection is progressive and can follow up.
BUTTERCUP (Bangor 2.10) makes her British debut for the in-form Venetia Williams yard, having been bought for E65,000 at the Arqana July Sale on the strength of some fair form in France. That form included finishing just three lengths down in a Listed 2m1½f chase at Auteuil last June. She could be anything but she could not be in better hands.