Racing Lucky 15 – Tuesday’s top selections

After Monday’s eighth winning nap from the last 10 selections (the other two were second), not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets, we give you a few winners as well!

Each day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is our idea of a Lucky 15 for Tuesday…

Catterick.jpg

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

EASTER MATE (Lingfield 2.10) has not been seen since finishing well beaten by Ebtihaal over 1m at Doncaster on October. Ralph Beckett’s three-year-old by Acclamation had three unsuccessful attempts to break his duck in nurseries over 7f to 1m, having previously been beaten in three maidens over 6f last summer. He starts his sophomore campaign over 7f on a Polytrack surface which looks sure to suit, and given that he has had time to strengthen up, should be able to account for those who have had previous experience. Newcomers Abareeq and Major Assault look the most likely to trouble the selection.

BOLLIN LINE (Catterick 3.30) twice finished runner-up at this track before landing a novice handicap chase over 1m7½f early last month. That was his first win in 16 starts under Rules (he had won two point-to-points) but, up 7lb for that win, he clipped the third last at Musselburgh last time and landed too steeply. Lucinda Egerton’s runner receives weight from five rivals and should go close over the same C&D as his last success.

I AM COLIN (Leicester 2.20) has one win in 13 starts, having taken a modest conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Stratford (2m2½f, good) just over a year ago. Nigel Twiston Davies’s seven-year-old has been sent chasing this season and has improved with each of his three starts since November. His latest effort came at Warwick on December 31, when beaten a short-head by Merchant Of Milan in a heavy-ground 2m4f handicap chase, having been dropped back in trip from 3m. Today’s extended 2m6f looks a competitive affair and he concedes weight all round, but it looks a viable opportunity to get off the mark over fences.

VOLUNTEER POINT (Lingfield 4.10) has won three of her last six starts, including a neck victory over My Call in a decent 7f conditions event at Chelmsford. She was racing against her own sex, but she lowered the track record. She had been campaigned almost exclusively over further but took the drop back in her stride, having come from off the pace to get on top in the closing stages. She goes back up in trip to 1m this afternoon and has plenty in hand on official ratings.

SELECTIONS FOR TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2016

CATTERICK: 2.00 Astrum, 2.30 General Mahler, 3.00 Carthage, 3.30 Bollin Line (nb), 4.00 High Hopper, 4.30 Bespoke Lady, 5.00 Turtle Cask,

LEICESTER: 2.20 I Am Colin, 2.50 Like Sully, 3.20 Tony Star, 3.50 Lockstockandbarrel, 4.20 Thetalkinghorse, 4.50 Spending Time

LINGFIELD: 2.10 EASTER MATE (NAP), 2.40 Apache Storm, 3.10 Scrafton, 3.40 Cosmic Halo, 4.10 Volunteer Point, 4.40 Blue Bounty, 5.10 Candesta

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

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You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

MIDWEEK BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Premier League Guide

Your improved club betting service has arrived. Check it out! And if your club or team has not yet taken advantage, it is time you did. Get one – it’s completely FREE! Take a look at myclubbetting.com and sign up your club at signup.myclubbetting.com – see the great benefits your club can receive, such as 20% cash back and free kit and equipment!

We look to continue our good run with our Premier League selections and, complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, take a glance at the big matches at both ends of the Premier League on Tuesday and Wednesday…

ASTON VILLA v EVERTON

Given Villa’s current malaise, it will be a while before these two are playing each other in the league again.

John Stones
On the move: John Stones

Reme Garde’s Villa (4.75) are all but down with less than a dozen games remaining, while Everton (1.75) boast one of the most attack-minded coaches in the league, a wealth of top young talent and are in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Villa have won two of the last 15 meetings and lost five of the last seven. They have shipped at least two goals in each of the last seven meetings (and nine of the last 10) with the Merseysiders.

And should the Toffeemen do that again, it is arguable that Villa will be able to match it, as their inability to find the net has been a recurring and frustrating theme. They have managed just 21 goals in their first 27 league games and are eight points adrift of safety.

Only Manchester City, Tottenham and Leicester have scored more goals than Everton this season, with Romelu Lukaku spearheading a side with width, guile and verve. It is no surprise that Ross Barkley and Lukaku will be the subject of much transfer speculation in the summer. Defender John Stones is almost certain to leave Goodison Park for a big pay-day, too.

Villa, who have won three games in the league all season, had shown a pulse with two wins and two draws in their previous five outings until thumped 6-0 at home by Liverpool on Valentine’s Day. With Manchester City (A), Tottenham (H), Chelsea (H) and Manchester United (A) to play in the next few weeks, it appears that any remaining life will be sucked out of them and they can start preparing for life in the Championship.

It is possible they will lose their only player with potential – Jack Grealish – although he appears to have something of an indifferent attitude and may scare some big clubs off.

Either way, the season is lost and with Everton losing just once on their travels this season, we see an away win as the only realistic outcome. [SM]

VERDICT: ASTON VILLA 1 EVERTON 2 @ 8.50

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 2.05

BOURNEMOUTH v SOUTHAMPTON

These two South Coast sides find themselves at opposite ends of the Premier League form table.

Everton v Southampton - Barclays Premier League
Ryan Bertrand: Complete full-back

Southampton (2.60) have really turned a corner after a sloppy first half of the season, while Bournemouth (2.88) are back in a relegation battle after a poor run of recent results.

Andrew Surman has been one of Bournemouth’s most reliable players this season and the deep lying central midfielder will be facing his former club on Tuesday night. The ever consistent Surman started his footballing career with Southampton, making over 100 senior league appearances in a 13 year spell that saw him rise from youth ranks to first team regular.

Ryan Bertrand has developed into one of the country’s best full backs and is now looking like a near certainty to be included in England’s Euro 2016 squad. The speedy left back joined Southampton from Chelsea for £10m a year ago, after impressing during an initial loan spell. Bertrand has since gone on to be named in the PFA Team of the Year at the end of last season, continuing his fine form during this campaign, despite his side’s struggles.

Southampton have a fine record in this fixture, winning all of the last four meetings between the clubs by two clear goals.

It is also worth noting that Bournemouth have lost four of their last five home league games, while Ronald Koeman’s side are unbeaten in their last three away outings.

The price looks too good to be true – everything points to an away win here. [CC]

VERDICT: BOURNEMOUTH 0 SOUTHAMPTON 2 @ 11.00

BEST BET: SOUTHAMPTON TO WIN @ 2.60 

LEICESTER v WEST BROM

Amazingly, Leicester (1.62) are looking like near certainties for Champions League qualification, something that nobody expected when Claudio Ranieri took over at the club in the summer.

Darren Fletcher
Darren Fletcher: Leading by example

All is far from well at the Hawthorns. West Brom (6.00) suffered a convincing defeat to Reading in the FA Cup ten days ago, and the post-match incident involving Chris Brunt and the travelling Baggies fan’s did nothing to help matters. On top of this, rumours about the future of under-fire manager Tony Pulis are beginning to circulate, which appears to be having a negative effect on the playing staff.

Between them, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have scored four times in their last two games against West Brom. The two men are among the front runners for this year’s PFA Player of the Year award after sharing over 30 league goals this season.

Darren Fletcher has been West Brom’s best player this season – by a considerable distance. The experienced central midfielder arrived at the Hawthorns from Manchester United a year ago, and was immediately named Baggies captain by Tony Pulis. Since being handed the responsibility, Fletcher has flourished and can often be seen vocally encouraging his teammates as well as leading by example with numerous battling performances.

Since December 2007, these two sides have met on eight occasions, and seven of those games have ended with more than two goals being netted.

In their last two meetings, West Brom and Leicester have shared a staggering ten goals, with the Foxes winning both by a 3-2 score line.

We can’t see past a home win here. [CC]

VERDICT: LEICESTER 2 WEST BROM 1 @ 8.50

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 2.10

NORWICH v CHELSEA

Norwich (5.50) used to have a decent record against Chelsea – until Roman Abramovich arrived with his buying power at Stamford Bridge. And since 2004, the Canaries have failed to win any of the subsequent 10 meetings (losing eight).

Diego Costa
Not convincing us: Diego Costa

Chelsea (1.62) are in the midst of their best run of the season – just one loss in the Champions League (at PSG) in their last 14 in all competitions. They are favourites to win the FA Cup and while still 11 points adrift of the top four, any thoughts of relegation have been banished.

While speculation continues to swirl over who will be the next Chelsea manager, it has to be said that job Guus Hiddink has done in a caretaker capacity since Jose Mourinho’s departure has been nothing short of remarkable.

True, he has quality players in the squad, but many simply cheated Mourinho and the fans, downing tools and regularly not putting in a shift for their ridiculously high wages.

Many fingers were pointing at Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, who were well below par under the former manager, but they have upped the ante under Hiddink, who is happy to slip away into retirement at season’s end.

We are still not convinced by Diego Costa. Good striker though he is, he brings plenty of unwanted attention to the club each week and his petulant behaviour is a blot on the Premier League.

There is no doubt that Chelsea need reinforcements in the summer, particularly at the back, and the loss of Kurt Zouma through injury has stretched resources. They lack pace and that will catch them out against the best.

Norwich cannot stop leaking goals and are fast slipping towards the drop zone and they have suffered six defeats in their last seven games. They have conceded 10 goals in their last three home games and gave up two-goal leads in their last two.

Chelsea may well rest a few stars ahead of a tough game against Stoke at the weekend and a vitally important Champions League second leg against PSG next Wednesday. Even so, Norwich will do well to earn a point. [SM]

VERDICT: NORWICH 1 CHELSEA 3 @ 13.00

BEST BET: CHELSEA TO WIN @ 1.62

SUNDERLAND v CRYSTAL PALACE

When the going gets tough, the tough get going (yes, we’ve been listening to Absolute 80s), but there is no doubt Sam Allardyce is doing exactly what he was brought in to do at Sunderland (2.50): put the Black Cats in with a chance of staying up.

ALLARDYCE
In with a chance: Sam Allardyce

While they are still currently odds-on to be relegated with My Club Betting, his message appear to have got through and they are playing some of their best football of a disappointing campaign.

They attempted more shots in their 2-1 win over Manchester United (21) than they had in any other Premier League game, but their lack of clean sheets must be worrying Allardyce , who is My Club’s Brand Ambassador.

Their 1-0 West Ham at the weekend means they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 13 league games, the longest current run in the division.

Crystal Palace (2.88) gained a confidence-boosting win over Tottenham in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane last week and we suggested it could be the catalyst for a change in fortune. Prior to that, they had failed to failed to win any of their last nine league games (losing six) and it was a run that has seen them slip out of contention for a European place. They appeared to revert to type again at the weekend, when losing 3-2 at fellow strugglers West Brom.

Positive results are usually the norm when these two meet. There have only been four draws in the last 24 meetings (with a maximum of two goals scored in each).

Palace have a poor record in this fixture, however. Their sole win (In 12 attempts) came here last season when Yannick Bolasie scored a second-half hat-trick in the space of 11 minutes.

Sunderland will have to take care at dead-ball situations, as Palace have scored 52% of their goals from set pieces.

While manager Alan Pardew has a near fully-fit squad from which to pick for the first time in a while, we feel Sunderland are playing well enough to steal the points and it should not be too long before they clamber out of the bottom three. [SM]

VERDICT: SUNDERLAND 2 CRYSTAL PALACE 1 @ 9.50

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.85

ARSENAL v SWANSEA

Arsenal (1.33) return to the Emirates for the first time since their 2-0 Champions League loss to Barcelona last week. Despite the result, Arsenal gave a great account of themselves and would have been disappointed not to lead at half-time after having a good share of possession and creating a handful of clear cut chances.

FABIANSKI
Lukasz Fabianski: Faces former club

North London will feel like a new home for Swansea (9.00) who took on Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon. Francesco Guidolin’s side will need to find at least ten points from their run-in to avoid relegation, which will be no easy feat, particularly with games against Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool and Man City still to come.

Lukasz Fabianski spent seven years at Arsenal, before leaving on a free transfer in 2014. While the Polish keeper’s spell with the Gunners will generally be seen as unsuccessful, he will never be forgotten Arsenal fan’s by after his heroics in their 2014 FA Cup success. Fabianski was an ever-present for the Gunners during that season’s FA Cup campaign, saving crucial penalties in their semi-final with Wigan and playing all 120 minutes in their final win over Hull.

Fabianski kept a clean sheet on his first return to the Emirates last May, something that Francesco Guidolin will be desperately hoping for on Tuesday evening.

Clashes between these sides are usually high scoring, with four of the last five meetings ending with more than two goals being scored.

In truth, the Gunners don’t have the greatest of records in this fixture. Swansea have managed to avoid defeat in six of the last ten meetings, winning four of those games.

However, with recent form and performances in mind, we see Arsenal having more than enough to get the job done here. [CC]

VERDICT: ARSENAL 3 SWANSEA 0 @ 7.50

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.80

STOKE v NEWCASTLE

Newcastle (4.00) have lost their last five Premier League away games in a row and have won only two of the last 20 (D2, L16).

Having climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win over West Brom, they reverted to type against Chelsea, losing 5-1 at Stamford Bridge and dropped back into the relegation zone.

Steven Taylor
Steven Taylor: Seeks sharpness after layoff

While Steve McClaren took the Toon away from some warm-weather training, his problems increased when skipper Frabricio Coloccini suffered a calf problem during a warm-down after a 2-1 friendly victory over Norwegian side Lillestrom in La Manga. The Argentinian faces up to a month on the sidelines.

With Chancel Mbemba battling an ankle problem and Steven Taylor just two games into his comeback after a five-and-a-half month lay-off, the timing of Coloccini’s injury could not have been worse.

The club’s failure to strengthen further at the back in recent transfer windows is starting to look more costly, although they may well have Paul Dummett, Jack Colback, Vurnon Anita and Siem de Jong available after absences.

Stoke (1.95) are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Newcastle, winning the last two meetings at the Britannia Stadium 1-0. The Magpies have managed just one win in their last seven visits, and two in their last 15 since 1970.

Mark Hughes’s side ended a trio of 3-0 defeats – by Leicester, Manchester United and Everton – with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth last week and their victory over Aston Villa on Saturday leaves them seven points off the top four. They still have the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham to play, so can have a say in the title race.

Either way, it is good to see that such an entertaining side will likely finish in the top half of the table.

Though they failed to score in four games before beating the Cherries, Germany striker Joselu has weighed in with a couple of goals recently, and it usually pays to go with the hot striker where betting is concerned. He is a fair price to get the first goal, and if he scores a second, you will automatically get DUBBLE BUBBLE (double the odds) if you back him via your My Club Betting site.

We see Stoke exploiting a ropey Newcastle defence and gaining a seventh home win of the season. [SM]

VERDICT: STOKE 3 NEWCASTLE 1 @ 15.00

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 2.10

WEST HAM v TOTTENHAM

Slaven Bilic has really impressed since taking over at Upton Park. West Ham (3.75) are comfortably in the top half of the league table, and recently progressed the quarter finals of the FA Cup after a convincing 5-1 win over Blackburn.

KANE (4)
Harry Kane: Good recent record

Tottenham (2.00) are also having a fine time of it, and stand a real chance of winning the Premier League title this season. Champions League qualification was the main aim for Mauricio Pochettino’s side at the beginning of the campaign, and that now looks a formality after their recent key victory away at Man City.

While Dimitri Payet has been the most popular of the Hammers summer arrivals, nobody should forget the impact of Angelo Ogbonna. The powerful centre back arrived at Upton Park from Juventus for just under £10m and is already looking like real value for money after a string of wonderful performances next to Hammers stalwart James Collins this season. Ogbonna really endeared himself to the Upton Park faithful after his 120th minute winner in his side’s recent FA Cup victory over Liverpool.

Harry Kane is not the most popular figure among West Ham fans. The former Millwall loannee has scored three times in his last two appearances against the East Londoners, however it is not his Millwall past nor his recent goal scoring record that has turned the Hammers fans bitter.

The bad feeling dates back to their meeting last February. Kane appeared to ‘go down easily’ while winning a last minute penalty, which he then converted himself – much to the anger of the West Ham support.

This game falls just three days before Saturday’s massive North London derby, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Tottenham resting a few of their bigger names at Upton Park.

It is also worth noting that the Lilywhites have won just two of their last six meetings with West Ham.

With that in mind, we feel that the visitors are simply too short for this one, and are more than happy to lay them here. [CC]

VERDICT: WEST HAM 1 TOTTENHAM 1 @ 6.00

BEST BET: WEST HAM OR DRAW @ 1.75

LIVERPOOL v MAN CITY

On Wednesday night, Liverpool (2.50) and Manchester City (2.88) clash for the second time in just three days. The two sides went head-to-head in the League Cup Final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, with Manchester City lifting the trophy after a 3-1 win on penalties.

STERLING
Raheem Sterling: Back at Anfield

Phillippe Coutinho has a fine goal scoring record against Wednesday’s opponents. The talented Brazilian has managed to net in four of the last five league appearances, including a sumptuous long-range strike at Anfield a year ago and also in Sunday’s final. Coutinho was the best player on the field in the reverse fixture at the Etihad, scoring once and laying on a wonderful assist for fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s dominant victory.

Wednesday sees Raheem Sterling return to Anfield for the first time since leaving Liverpool in the summer. During his last six months at the club, Sterling became less than popular with the Reds faithful after refusing to sign a long term contract and an evident dip in performances. The England international eventually got his wish in early July, when Liverpool accepted a staggering £49m bid from Wednesday’s opponents.

In truth, the speedy youngster is yet to convince since arriving in Manchester, finding himself on the sidelines in recent weeks after unconvincing performances during the January period. Make no mistakes – Sterling won’t receive a good reception from the Kop on Wednesday night!

As mentioned in the previous edition, goals are usually on the agenda when these two sides meet, and this was evident in the reverse fixture back in November, which ended in a 4-1 away victory for Liverpool.

Both sides have managed to find the net in all of their last seven league meetings and with this in mind, we are going for a scoring draw at Anfield. [CC]

VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 2 MAN CITY 2 @ 13.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.73

MAN UTD v WATFORD

Manchester United (1.62) are currently 7/2 with My Club Betting to finish in the top four and while Louis van Gaal will pay lip service to the fact they can still win the title, the priority is in the Cup competitions.

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay: In flying form

They have a fair chance of getting to the FA Cup semi-finals, since they play a flaky West Ham side in the quarter-finals on Saturday week. They are also still in the Europa League – and victory in the lesser of the European competitions comes with a guaranteed Champions League spot next season.

Still, they are one of the dullest sides in the Premier League to watch.

While Van Gall’s CV is bountiful, it is all about the here and now – and United simply bore the pants off anyone who has the misfortune to watch them. They lack width and are predictable.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United won 38 trophies. Since 2013 under David Moyes and Van Gaal, they have won the Community Shield. Big whoop.

To be fair to the manager, he has had a length injury list to deal with. Already without 13 players before their FA Cup win at Shrewsbury, they lost Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Will Keane to injury. Jesse Lingard also finished the game limping. Wayne Rooney is sidelined for the next six weeks with a knee injury, while first-teamers Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rojo remain out.

The injuries have left plenty of scope to blood youngsters and while Marcus Rashford has been hitting the headlines – his brace against Arsenal (his second double in as many games) – and Memphis Depay has had a couple of good games recently, you don’t win anything with kids. Not at this level, at least.

Watford (6.00) have had a tremendous first season back in the top flight and they are certain to be in the Premier League next season. They also have an FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to.

Unlike United, Watford have a strike-force that is the envy of the division in Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, yet the Hornets have a poor record against United, having lost the last nine meetings. In all but one of those games, Watford conceded two or more goals.

They have managed just two wins over the Red Devils in 18 attempts – and both of those came at Vicarage Road. They have never won at Old Trafford, losing on six of their eight trips.

After two tough games against Midtjylland and Arsenal (both victories), we feel United might be ripe for the taking and take a chance on Watford securing at least a point. [SM]

VERDICT: MAN UTD 1 WATFORD 1 @ 7.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 2.20

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

If you are not affiliated to a club, you can bet via Bet4Causes.com, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

 

Racing Lucky 15 – Monday’s top selections

After a seventh winning nap in the last nine days on Saturday (the other two were second and Sunday’s best bet was a non-runner), not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets, we give you a few winners as well!

Each day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is our idea of a Lucky 15 for Monday…

flemenstar

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

THE CIDER MAKER (Plumpton 3.40) was a little fortunate break his duck here last time, winning a moderate 3m1½f novices’ chase in heavy ground, with the race falling apart (two of the six-runner field pulled up, one unseated and another fell). However, Colin Tizzard’s six-year-old, who had undergone a wind operation since his previous run, made light of the conditions and looked in need of the trip. He made the odd mistake, but that can be forgiven. He runs over the same trip and he should be able to shoulder an 11lb hike at the weights.

MAHLER’S SON (Plumpton 2.00) looked a hurdler with potential when second to a more experience rival at Towcester on his debut over 2m in soft ground. He was unfancied that afternoon, largely owing to a 10-month break after finishing runner-up in an Irish maiden point-to-point. He had previous winners in behind and the sixth home, King Cool, scored at Fontwell on Sunday. That form looks solid enough, trainer David Bridgewater’s stable is in form and the selection should strip fitter today in this competitive 2m maiden hurdle.

FAIRYTALE THEATRE (Ayr 1.40) takes a drop back to 2m, having raced exclusively over further since her bumper days. Dan Skelton’s nine-year-old, well beaten in a 2m7½f Grade 2 mares’ Ascot hurdle last month behind Vroum Vroum Mag, has not won for two years since landing a novices’ handicap at Wincanton. Today, she makes a belated chasing bow and receives 7lb from her sole rival. If she runs anywhere near to her hurdling mark, she should win easily.

KILBREE CHIEF (Ayr 4.20) has finished runner-up on all three chase starts since being switched this term, and has mproved with each run, latterly when a half-length runner-up to Subtle Grey in a three-runner 3m½f heavy-ground affair at Carlisle. Earlier this month. Though flattered to finish so close to the idling winner, Donald McCain thinks quite highly of Subtle Grey, so Lucinda Russell’s eight-year-old can probably be seen in a better light than the bare form suggests. The eight-year-old has a fair chance of getting off the mark over fences in a competitive 3m3f handicap and has to concede weight all round, but runs off the same mark of 119 which gives him a leading chance.

SELECTIONS FOR MONDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2016

AYR: 1.40 Fairytale Theatre, 2.10 Oldrangewood, 2.40 Galleons Way, 3.15 Oscar Blue, 3.50 What A Dream, 4.20 Kilbree Chief, 4.50 Bering Upsun

PLUMPTON: 2.00 Mahler’s Star (nb), 2.30 The Green Ogre, 3.05 Hear The Chimes, 3.40 THE CIDER MAKER (NAP), 4.10 Loves Destination, 4.40 Lillian

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.50 La Asomada, 2.20 Powerful Wind, 2.50 Graceful Favour, 3.25 Kay Sera, 4.00 Lat Hawill, 4.30 Clayton Hall

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

If you are not affiliated to a club, you can bet via Bet4Causes.com, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

 

Racing Lucky 15 – Sunday’s top selections

After a seventh winning nap in the last nine days on Saturday (the other two were second), not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets, we give you a few winners as well!

Each day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is our idea of a Lucky 15 for Sunday…

Fontwell

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

AS DE MEE (Fontwell 2.20) looks the most obvious selection on a low-key day, bereft of quality. Entered in yesterday’s Pendil Chase at Kempton, Trainer Paul Nicholls has obviously decided that a confidence booster would be preferential ahead of a potential trip to Cheltenham for the JLT Novices’ Hurdle. He won a Grade 3 novices’ hurdle at Sandown last March but seeks a chasing victory having been a fair second to Bristol De Mai in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices Chase earlier this month. This drop in class should see him get on top at last.

GRUMETI (Fontwell 3.20) is nothing but versatile. A Grade 1 hurdle winner at Aintree four years ago, he has won a couple of novice chases and his last victory was in the Cesarewitch on the Flat at Newmarket last October. Alan King’s eight-year-old lines up in the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle this afternoon, having been beaten 12 lengths by Rock On Ruby in the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle back in November. He has run well when fresh in the past and the hope is he will do so again.

SPACE CADET (Leopardstown 2.00) has finished runner-up on five of his last six starts in bumpers and maiden hurdles (last four). Gordon Elliott’s representative has been called some names regarding his resolution, which seems fair enough, yet it is also hard to know what his ideal trip is, judged on his narrow defeat at Fairyhouse last time, when he did not seem to get home over 2m4f. He goes over a similar trip today in another maiden hurdle and while enigmatic, this looks a fair opportunity to finally get off the mark.

ORCHARD ROAD (Southwell 4.10) drops back into selling handicap hurdling company, a grade that he has attempted only once, but one in which he was not beaten far at Sedgefield in November 2014. Tristan Davidson’s charge h=is relatively lightly-raced for a nine-year-old and has been found out in class 4 handicaps in his last two starts, but the handicapper has started to relent and Dairmuid O’Regan’s 5lb claim could be invaluable.

SELECTIONS FOR SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2016

FONTWELL: 2.20 AS DE MEE (NAP), 2.50 Cloudy Bob, 3.20 Grumeti (nb), 3.50 King Cool, 4.20 Mendip Express, 4.50 Brave Deed, 5.20 Free Stone Hill

SOUTHWELL: 2.10 Black Mulligan, 2.40 Rocky Stone, 3.10 Princess Tina, 3.40 Amiral Collonges, 4.10 Orchard Road, 4.40 Riddlestown, 5.10 First Du Charmil

LEOPARDSTOWN: 2.00 Space Cadet, 2.30 Anibale Fly, 3.00 Sheamus, 3.30 Fine Article, 4.00 Colms Dream, 4.30 Fr Humphrey, 5.00 Aspen Colorado

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Racing Lucky 15 – Saturday’s top selections

Not only does your club’s new betting service come complete with an extensive suite of horseracing markets, we try to give you a few winners as well!

Each day we will be providing you with a preview of the day’s racing, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is the preview of the big race of the day and our idea of a Lucky 15…

Alan King
Holds the aces: Alan King

RACE OF THE DAY – DOVECOAT NOVICES’ HURDLE (GRADE 2)

3.05 Kempton Park, 2m

THE STATS – This race is an obvious stepping stone or final prep for horses targeting the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, yet the last winner to do the double was Flown in 1992.

Some trainers have also used this as a prep for juvenile hurdlers, despite the fact that the Adonis Hurdle, restricted to four-year-olds, is also run on the same card. Alan King’s Grumeti won this race in 2012 and was sent off as favourite for the Triumph Hurdle (finishing third). He went on to win the Grade 1 Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle at Aintree the following month.

Another notable winner was Sire De Grugy, who landed this race in 2011 and subsequently developed into a Champion Chaser.

There have been three winning favourites in the last four renewals and Nicky Henderson has saddled three Dovecote winners in the last nine years, including two of the last three. Five of the last 10 winners were aged five. 

INSIGHT – There are never very runners in this decent Grade 2 event and this renewal is no exception with five going to post, none of whom won last time out. Four of the quintet scored on their penultimate start, however. Despite the paucity of runners, there should be a decent pace.

Marracudja represents Paul Nicholls, who has won this race twice in the last six years with Escort’men (2010) and Irving (2014). The five-year-old likes to get on with things, as he showed when unsuccessful in his hat-trick bid here on Boxing Day. Having won a novices’ hurdle by eight lengths at Wincanton, he followed up over course and distance in November, but was picked off in a better event here last time. He has dropped 2lb to a mark of 136 and is conceding weight to all bar Welsh Shadow.

The latter-named, trained by former Nicholls’ assistant Dan Skelton, won a decent Class 2 Listed novices’ hurdle at Haydock on his third start in November, having made a winning debut in a Wetherby bumper last March.

The six-year-old was a little disappointing when upped in class for the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on January 2, however. He did not jump fluently out of the heavy ground and, held up, he made little impression when the pace increased. The stable were not in great form at the time, either, so excuses can be made. The Skelton yard scored twice on Friday at Exeter with Captain Chaos and Girly Girl (both tipped by the MyClubBetting experts) and Weslsh Shadow represents the biggest danger to the selection.

Cold March is entered in three chases at the Cheltenham Festival, including the Ryanair Chase, for which Venetia Williams’ runner is a 100/1 shot. Rates 150 over the bigger obstacles, the six-year-old has not run over hurdles since finishing fifth in a Listed 4yo event at Auteuil before joining his current trainer in June 2014. His ability is clearly apparent, as he took a Listed 2m1f handicap chase at Ascot in October.

However, it would be an upset should he plunder the spoils in this hot heat.

Oceane appears to be the second string from Alan King’s yard. He was foiled in a hat-trick bid when second favourite for Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in November, having been upped in class after facile victories in a Fontwell maiden and a Kempton juvenile hurdle on faster ground than he will encounter today.

While easy to back when beaten by Wolf Of Windlesham at Cheltenham, he is no back number and went off second favourite that day.

WINTER ESCAPE (NAP) is the King first string and will take plenty of beating, however. The five-year-old, whose dam is from the family of the high-class hurdler Black Jack Ketchum, has had just two starts and won them both. He travelled strongly on his debut at Doncaster and was good value for is 3¾l win over Deauville Dancer. He then followed up over the same course and 2m½f distance in a novice hurdle Barry Geraghty, despite making a mistake at the second last.

King considers him “potentially exciting” but given his inexperience, it is unlikely we will see him in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he may well head to Aintree instead.

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

WINTER ESCAPE (Kempton 3.05) See above.

MUTHMIR (Lingfield 1.45) heads the weights for a cracking 5f Listed sprint to kick off Lingfield’s six-race card. William Haggas’s six-year-old is something of a turf specialist and won the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood in July (by a head from Take Cover, who re-opposes). He was last seen in October, when sent off favourite for the Group 1 Prix de L’Abbaye at Longchamp when third to Goldream. The draw (stall 1) should be no handicap and he can get the new season off to a flyer.

Muthmir
Leading Chance: Muthmir

ROCKY CREEK (Kempton 3.35) will not be on everyone’s radar in the ultra-competitive 3m chase, given that he was a very disappointing fourth to Houblon Des Obeaux in the Denman Chase at Newbury, embarrassing trainer Paul Nicholls, who said he had him looking “as good as ever” beforehand. Sent off favourite that day and having his first run since being pulled up in the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree, he lacked fluency and Nicholls has opted for first-time blinkers in a bit to liven him up. He has plenty to prove now, but it must be remembered that he was runner-up to the high-class Don Cossack in the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal in October and a replication of that form may well be good enough. Either way, he is going to be a much bigger price than his form warrants.

CULTRAM ABBEY (Newcastle 2.50) should be a decent price in the 4m½f Eider Chase, but he is a horse with plenty of potential. Nicky Richards only started him over fences in November, but the lightly-raced nine-year-old (who has had only 12 starts under Rules), has shown plenty of ability and was unlucky not to get off the mark over 1m short of today’s trip at Ayr in early January. Dropped back to 2m3½f at Wetherby, he was dropped out but made up plenty of ground in the closing stages to win by eight lengths. That was only his fourth start over fences and Richards, who used the sharper trip to sharpen his jumping, knows that his representative has plenty of stamina.

SELECTIONS FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2016

CHEPSTOW: 2.05 Aurillac, 2.40 Ivy Gate, 3.10 Ballyglasheen, 3.45 Arpege D’alene, 4.20 Arthur’s Oak, 4.55 Not For You, 5.30 Bacchanel

KEMPTON PARK: 2.00 Gibralfaro, 2.35 The Saint James, 3.05 WINTER ESCAPE (NAP), 3.35 Rocky Creek, 4.10 Kublai, 4.45 Cloudy Bob, 5.20 Berce

NEWCASTLE: 1.50 Seeyouatmidnight, 2.20 So Satisfied, 2.50 Cultram Abbey, 3.25 Delusionofgrandeur, 4.00 Presenting Rose, 4.35 Special Catch, 5.05 Shambougg

LINGFIELD: 1.45 Muthmir (nb), 2.15 The New Master, 2.45 Plutocracy, 3.20 Energia Davos, 3.55 Si Senor, 4.30 Lady Lloyd

NAVAN: 1.55 All Souls, 2.30 General Principle, 3.00 Owennacurra Milan, 3.30 Kansas City Chief, 4.05 Black Zero, 4.40 Witness Of Fashion, 5.15 Bel Sas

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

If you are not affiliated to a club, you can bet via Bet4Causes.com, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

 

Racing Lucky 15 – Friday’s top selections

We give you free kit. We give you money back. And we give you winners! Thursday saw our SIXTH winning nap (at 11/4) in SEVEN days. Our Next best selection won as well (at 10/3) – that was a nice little 15/1 double.

Remember, 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, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Friday’s Lucky 15…

Carlisle1

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

FOUR MILE BEACH (Wolverhampton 8.15) should take all the beating in the three-year-old maiden that concludes Wolverhampton’s interesting six-race evening card. Mark Johnston’s representative was third on his debut over 1m at Southwell 10 days ago and despite running a little green, stayed on well, having started slowly. He gets an extra half-a-furlong today and there is no reason why he will not go on the Tapeta surface, given that he is trained on it at Middleham. The trainer’s 19% overall strike rate at the track (he is also 19% with his three-year-olds here) in the last five seasons is not to be sneezed at. Newcomer Ultimate Star, who cost £230,000 as a yearling, rates the danger, but that previous experience should make the difference.

PILLARD (Warwick 2.40) was a little disappointing on his British debut for Jonjo O’Neill when beaten comprehensively by Sneaking Budge in a weak 2m juvenile hurdle by Sandown’s standards. The four-year-old, who had won over hurdles at Vichy over 2m1½f on good to soft ground last August, may have been unconvinced by the deep ground he encountered at the Esher track, particularly since he was having his first run four months. It has taken a little time to get over that experience, but he should come on a bit for that and the fitting of a hood may also benefit Richard Johnson’s mount.

JARIR (Lingfield 4.40) has a fair chance of following up his all-the-way 1m2f win here a month ago in a competitive 1m4f handicap. He stepped up on his fine handicap debut second at Southwell to score readily last time and while this son of Oasis Dream has an extra 7lb to shoulder and is upped in class, he is bred to improve over middle distances and should have plenty more to offer.

TRIPLE CHIEF (Exeter 5.30) is a viable option in a very weak-looking 2m1f handicap hurdle that concludes Exeter’s seven-race card. Chris Down’s runner finally got off the mark at the nineteenth attempt at Plumpton 11 days ago under top weight in a conditionals’ event. He was given a peach of a waiting ride by young Cairan Gethings, whose 5lb claim could make all the difference today. He runs off the same mark and while by no means a certainty, this strong traveller may improve a bit for this less taxing ground.

SELECTIONS FOR FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016

EXETER: 2.20 Girly Girl, 2.50 Pemba, 3.20 Captain Chaos, 3.55 Wizards Bridge, 4.25 Milansbar, 5.00 Baraka De Thaix, 5.30 Triple Chief

LINGFIELD PARK: 2.00 Cartographic, 2.30 Highwayman, 3.00 Bahamian Sunshine, 3.35 Arnold Lane, 4.05 Force Of Destiny, 4.40 Jarir

WARWICK: 2.10 Minella Experience, 2.40 Pillard (nb), 3.10 Cheat The Cheater, 3.45 Howlongisafoot, 4.15 Take The Mick, 4.50 Ceann Sibheal, 5.20 Little Miss Poet

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Dark Phantom, 6.15 Easydoesit, 6.45 Wedgewood Estates, 7.15 Frangarry, 7.45 Coillte Caitlin, 8.15 FOUR MILE BEACH (NAP)

DUNDALK: 6.00 Intense Pride, 6.30 Honor Oak, 7.00 Carried, 7.30 Dottie Lottie, 8.00 Stone Mountain, 8.30 Northern Surprise, 9.00 Tom Dooley

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

If you are not affiliated to a club, you can bet via Bet4Causes.com, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

 

Racing Lucky 15 – Thursday’s top selections

We give you free kit. We give you money back. And we give you winners! Wednesday saw our FIFTH winning nap in SIX days. You’re welcome.

Remember, 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, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Thursday’s Lucky 15…

Lingfield AW 2

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

SKIDBY MILL (Lingfield 2.00) is the epitome of what a consistent mare should be. The Laura Mongan-trained six-year-old rarely runs a bad race and while her strike-rate has not been fantastic of late (3-30), she has been placed on numerous occasions. She has gone down fighting by a length in each of her last two starts, both runs coming here over 1m, and while she has yet to win off a mark as high as 64, she has won four times over C&D and has been knocking on the door of late.

OSCAR O’SCAR (Sedgefield 2.55) made a pleasing chasing debut, despite going down by 4½l to Bollin Line in a novices’ handicap at Catterick just shy of 2m earlier this month. Micky Hammond’s inmate, still a maiden after 16 starts, has looked better over further and while today’s extended 2m3f trip may still be on the sharp side, he is expected to reverse form with Discoverie, who was one place and two lengths in front of him last time.

MY TARGET (Lingfield Park 3.45) was upped to a mile at Chelmsford last time, having previously run in a stronger 7f event at Wolverhampton than when scoring over that C&D on Boxing Day. Michael Wigham’s runner ran a fine fifth at Chelmsford, going down by a length to Loyalty (form subsequently franked by sixth home Fleckerl) off today’s mark of 84. He was very well backed, coming from well behind to get involved. A little more luck in running should see the five-year-old thereabouts again.

BLUE RAMBLER (Huntingdon 1.45) won four races in France in 2013, including a Listed 3yo event over a mile and a half. He was not up to that standard for Charlie Appleby last April, finishing last of seven in a 1m6f Listed event at Nottingham, having had six months off. Now with John Ferguson, he jumped soundly on his hurdling debut at Catterick in December, and improved a shade when a narrow runner-up on his second attempt at Musselburgh last month (2m3½f, soft) to an odds-on favourite. Though he stayed on strongly, suggesting he will need a stiffer test of stamina, he drops back to 2m today and the track should suit.

SELECTIONS FOR THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2016

HUNTINGDON: 1.45 Blue Rambler, 2.15 L Frank Baum, 2.45 Emily Gray, 3.20 May Hay, 3.55 Vazaro Delafayette, 4.30 Board Of Trade, 5.05 Penn Lane

LINGFIELD PARK: 2.00 SKIDBY MILL (NAP), 2.35 Sarmadee, 3.10 Guapo Bay, 3.45 My Target, 4.20 Lucky Di, 4.55 Diamond Charlie

SEDGEFIELD: 2.25 Caged Lightning, 2.55 Oscar O’scar (nb), 3.30 Bibi D’eole, 4.05 Verko, 4.40 Charlie Wingnut, 5.15 Asuncion

CHELMSFORD CITY: 5.40 Kristal Heart, 6.10 Jacob’s Pillow, 6.40 The Lock Master, 7.10 Ennaadd, 7.40 Ruby Wednesday, 8.10 Hold Firm, 8.40 Barsanti

THURLES: 2.05 Missypet, 2.40 Sizing Platinum, 3.15 Our Duke, 3.50 Union Dues, 4.25 Rathpatrick, 5.00 Fiddlers Bow, 5.30 Cosmic Dawn

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WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Premier League Guide

Your improved club betting service has arrived. Check it out! And if your club or team has not yet taken advantage, it is time you did. Get one – it’s completely FREE! Take a look at myclubbetting.com and sign up your club at signup.myclubbetting.com – see the great benefits your club can receive, such as 20% cash back and free kit and equipment!

We nailed TWO correct FA Cup scores last week at 9/1 and 6/1 and now look to continue our good run with our Premier League selections. Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at the big matches at both ends of the Premier League this weekend…

WEST HAM v SUNDERLAND

Sam Allardyce goes back to West Ham (1.83). That will be the over-riding sub-plot to a game that has massive implications at both ends of the table.

jermain Defoe
Dangerman: Ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe

Allardyce did what he was asked to do in his tenure at The Boleyn. He got them straight back into the Premier League, winning the 2012 Football League Playoff final. Finishing positions of 10th, 13th and 12th were not good enough for the fans, who ran Allardyce out of town in June 2015, feeling that his supposedly ‘long-ball’ style was not the “West Ham way” of playing.

In fairness, he was never a good fit. The West Ham fans always saw him as the Bolton manager whose side sent them down in 2002/03, despite the Hammers recording 42 points.

And the stats said change was required. Allardyce won three games in charge of West Ham in 2015, before leaving in the summer. Slaven Bilic won three games in 10 days to start 2016.

The Hammers are flying. In 10 games against seven of the top eight contenders in the Premier League, they have the best record, taking 17 points. Arsenal are next best, having taken 16 points from 10 games, while Leicester have 16 points from 11. They currently sit seventh in the table a point behind fifth-placed Manchester United and seven points outside the top four.

Allardyce’s Sunderland (4.50) are second from bottom but only a point away from safety, and have a better goal-difference than Norwich (17th), Newcastle (18th) and Aston Villa (20th).

They have a tricky run upcoming, facing Crystal Palace (H), Southampton (A) and Newcastle (A) in March. They still have to play the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester, although that trio have to go to the Stadium of Light.

While the Hammers are big outsiders to make the top four, they can have a say in the destination of the title. They still have to play Tottenham (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Leicester (A) and Man Utd (H). They are also in the FA Cup quarter-finals. The good news is they raise their game against better opposition. The bad news is, Bilic’s side have lacked consistency against lesser sides: they have lost at Newcastle and Southampton, and drawn at Norwich in recent weeks.

West Ham have lost five of the last 20 meetings with Sunderland, who have won three of the last 16 trips to Upton Park.

However, the Black Cats have one statistic going for them – the Hammers have not managed to stay unbeaten against Sunderland for six consecutive meetings. They are on a run of three draws and two wins. If this stat holds true, you can forget the form. In a good season for Hammers’ fans, this may be one of the more sour notes – losing to the long-ball merchant from Bolton.

More salt in the wound? Ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe will probably score, too! [SM]

VERDICT: WEST HAM 1 SUNDERLAND 2 @ 13.00

BEST BET: SUNDERLAND AND DRAW @ 1.91

LEICESTER v NORWICH

Norwich (6.50) are falling like a stone, are giving up leads and leaking goals. They have shipped 15 goals in the last five Premier League games and have twice thrown away two-goal leads in recent weeks to Liverpool and West Ham. They sit just a point above the relegation zone and you would not fancy them to stay up if in the same position with three games remaining, as their run-in is brutal, facing Arsenal (A), Man Utd (H) and Everton (A).

Wes Hoolihan.png
Good record: Wes Hoolihan

Leicester (1.50) are still two points clear of the pack at the top of the table, despite losing in heart-breaking fashion at Arsenal two weeks ago.

Unlike the Gunners, who are in the middle of a two-legged Champions League last-16 clash with Barcelona, the Foxes are fresh. They have had two weeks to recover and manager Claudio Ranieri has given his players a week off to relax.

With title chasers Tottenham and Manchester City also involved in European competition, there will be no excuses if Leicester fail to maintain their title charge. Yes, they have less squad depth and they have also been extremely fortunate with injuries, but they also boast fresh legs.

Norwich have been something of a bogey side to Leicester in the past. Indeed, they have won six of the last 10 meetings, while Leicester have managed just three wins over the Canaries in 12 attempts.

Wes Hoolihan has been something of a thorn in Leicester’s side, having scored in three of the last four meetings and he may be a fair outside bet to get on the scoresheet once again. Don’t forget, on your club’s betting service, you can get DUBBLE-BUBBLE if your selected first goalscorer grabs a second.

However, Leicester have a month of winnable games ahead, facing West Brom (H), Watford (A), Newcastle (H) and Crystal Palace (A) after this clash, and we think Norwich will do well to keep this close. [SM]

VERDICT: LEICESTER 3 NORWICH 1 @ 12.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.80

SOUTHAMPTON v CHELSEA

After a wretched spell over the November/December period, Southampton (2.88) have recovered, and are now the in-form Premier League side. Ronald Koeman’s men are unbeaten in all of their last six league outings, winning five of those games to climb into sixth position.

FORSTER
Forster: Top keeper

Chelsea (2.50) are also a side in fantastic domestic form. The West Londoners are coming off a stunning 5-1 FA Cup win over Manchester City last weekend, with interim manager Guus Hiddink losing only one game since his return to Stamford Bridge – a far-from-disgraceful away loss at PSG.

It is absolutely no coincidence that Southampton’s form has improved since goalkeeper Fraser Forster returned to the side. The England international missed the first half of this season with the broken knee-cap he suffered against Burnley last March. Forster is yet to concede a single goal since returning to the Southampton side in mid-January, keeping six clean sheets in a row during that time.

Cesc Fabregas pulled the strings against Man City on Sunday, and appears to be enjoying life under Guus Hiddink. The Spanish international was one of the players who reportedly clashed with Jose Mourinho during his final few weeks at Stamford Bridge, which caused sections of the Chelsea faithful to voice negative chats towards the former Arsenal man. However, in the weeks that have followed, Fabregas has managed to shake off the criticism and looks to be back near his best after some fine recent performances.

Despite losing in the reverse fixture, Chelsea have a fine recent record against Southampton. The Blues have won seven of the last 12 meetings between the clubs, losing only twice.

It is also worth noting that both sides have managed to get on the scoresheet in nine of the last 10 meetings, including all of the last three.

With that in mind, we fancy an away win here – with both teams finding the net at some point. [CC]

VERDICT: SOUTHAMPTON 1 CHELSEA 2 @ 10.00

BEST BET: CHELSEA WIN & BTTS @ 5.25

STOKE v ASTON VILLA

Stoke (1.67) were convincing winners against Bournemouth in their last outing, ending a run of four straight league defeats in the process. Consistency has been the main issue for the Potters so far this season. Mark Hughes and his men find themselves in tenth position, despite winning 10 games already this season.

AFELLAY
Affelay: Happy in new role

Relegation is looking like a near certainty for Aston Villa (6.00) after their crushing 6-0 defeat at home to Liverpool in their last league outing. The Midlanders are rooted to the foot of the table, and are now eight points from safety with just 12 games remaining.

Before arriving at Stoke in the summer, Ibrahim Afellay was known solely as an out-and-out winger.

However, the form of Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri in wide areas, and injuries to supporting strikers Jonathan Walters and Bojan have led to the former Barcelona man being used in central areas – either in midfield or as a number ten. This has proved hugely successful, with Afellay’s technique and work rate winning praise from his manager and plaudits alike.

Offensively, Aston Villa have been appalling this season. Remi Garde’s men have scored just 20 goals in 26 league games so far this season, and have failed to score in 11 of those games. Much of this has been down to the form of their strikers, with Rudy Gestede, Gabby Agbonlahor and Jordan Ayew sharing just 10 goals between them.

Stoke have won four of the last five meetings between these clubs, while Villa have only claimed one away victory during this entire league campaign.

Everything points to a convincing home win here. [CC]

VERDICT: STOKE 3 ASTON VILLA 0 @ 11.00

BEST BET: STOKE TO WIN @ 1.67

WATFORD v BOURNEMOUTH

Two of the three sides who came from the Championship are well on the way to preserving their status and it is Watford who look the most secure.

DEENEY & IGHALO
Double trouble: Ighalo and Deeney

Rule of thumb says that 37 points is usually gets a club over the line and Watford (2.30) are just a point shy with 12 games remaining. They currently sit in ninth place in the table and are in the FA Cup quarter-finals, although there has to be a question of whether or not they will be able to replicate this fantastic performance next term once they lose striker Odion Ighalo.

The prolific marksman has pricked the interest of clubs across Europe. Little wonder. The Nigerian striker has netted 15 times in 25 starts for the Hornets and continues to thrive in partnership with Troy Deeney. Ighalo’s partner-in-crime, who arrived from Walsall in 2010, has set up six goals and scored nine himself in 28 League and Cup starts.

What has been most refreshing has been the football both these sides have played. Watford have been expansive under manager Quique Sanchez Flores and they are also keeping plenty of clean sheets (as respective 1-0 FA Cup wins over Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Leeds attest).

Many expected Bournemouth (3.20) to struggle, especially when they lost Callum Wilson for the season early on with a ruptured cruciate ligament. The former Coventry striker had scored five goals in six games before being injured against Stoke in September, which had some big clubs taking note.

With the club’s two most expensive signings, winger Max Gradel and defender Tyrone Mings, also ruled out with knee ligament damage, the prospects for Eddie Howe’s side looked bleak.

Yet despite a run that has seem then lose the last three games in all competitions, the Cherries are 15th in the table, four points above 18th-placed Newcastle, and have a superior goal difference to all those below them except Swansea. That may be crucial at the season’s end.

Bournemouth have a fair recent record against the Hornets, winning one and drawing three, but their sole win came at home and that was their only victory in the last eight meetings.

Watford are going well after a patchy opening to 2016 when losing four league games on the spin. They have won two of the last nine in the League, losing five of them.

This is not an easy game to weigh up and it may be worth chancing the visitors to take a share of the spoils, although this is not a game to have a fortune on. [SM]

VERDICT: WATFORD 2 BOURNEMOUTH 2 @ 15.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.83

WEST BROM v CRYSTAL PALACE

You get the impression things are starting to implode at West Brom (2.63).

All it takes is one disgruntled fan and a few who empathise but don’t throw coins.

pulis
Seeking talks: Pulis

West Brom have won one of their last six league games and were dumped out of the FA Cup by lower-league opposition last weekend. They have won two of their last 11 in all competitions.

Baggies’ fans are obviously concerned by the manner of defeat and the slide in the table which leaves them just six points above the relegation zone.

They are by no means out of the woods, but how the squad reacts to the disgraceful and unacceptable behaviour of coin-throwing at their own players going forward is a question many will ponder. There are 12 games remaining and although seemingly just a win or two from safety, already there is a picking of the thread.

Manager Tony Pulis is refusing to commit his future to the club. His contract expires in 2017 and he came under criticism from fans after their 3-1 FA Cup exit at Reading.

The coin-throwing incident, which he deemed “barbaric” (rightly), may have been the final straw.

With Saido Berahino a valuable commodity, will Pulis be given assurances that the bulk of any transfer money go towards strengthening the squad? It may have a large bearing on his decision to stay or leave.

Crystal Palace (2.88) have looked in freefall since Christmas. They have failed to win any of their last nine league games (losing six) since Boxing Day and have scored just four goals in the process. Their FA Cup win at Tottenham was a welcome lancing of the boil and several big-name players have returned to full fitness.

Reaching the FA Cup semi-finals is a realistic possibility as they face Championship Reading – one of Alan Pardew’s former teams – in the next round.

Confidence is everything and the result at White Hart Lane could be catalyst for a strong run, starting at The Hawthorns.

Palace have 32 points, the same as West Brom, but despite their poor run, there is a totally different (positive) vibe at Selhurst Park. Palace, who have won three of the last five meetings with west Brom, have only lost one of their last seven trips to The Hawthorns, and have winnable games at Sunderland and at home to Liverpool upcoming. This game could be a pivotal one for both clubs going forward, and we feel Palace will pick up at least a point. [SM]

VERDICT: WEST BROM 1 CRYSTAL PALACE 3 @ 29.00

BEST BET: CRYSTAL PALACE WIN, DRAW NO BET @ 1.95

MAN UNITED v ARSENAL

Clashes between Wenger, Ferguson, Keane and Vieira first come to mind whenever this fixture is mentioned, and whilst the hostility between the two clubs has decreased of late, a win at Old Trafford is still vital for both teams.

WELBECK VS MAN UTD
Welbeck: Facing former club

Louis van Gaal is on borrowed time. Manchester United (3.10) have won just two of their last six league games, currently finding themselves six points adrift of the Champions League qualification places.

After their dramatic late win over leaders Leicester in their last league outing, Arsenal (2.40) find themselves back in the title race. However, their squad depth will be tested to the max in March, with away games against Tottenham, Barcelona and Everton all on their agenda during the next four weeks.

The lack of fluidity in transition from back-to-front has really hindered Manchester United so far this season. In years gone by, United have focussed on plotting attacks from the middle of midfield, with the likes of Paul Scholes and the above mentioned Roy Keane both taking games by the scruff on a regular basis, providing both front men and wingers with quality delivery, as well as a constant passing option.

In all honesty, their current crop don’t look up to the challenge. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini all seem to take an age to move the ball from the centre of midfield, often finding themselves passing sideways or losing possession altogether.

Both sides have managed to find the net in three of the last four meetings between the two.

It is also worth noting that the Gunners have avoided defeat in both of their trips to Old Trafford last season, drawing the league game and winning their FA Cup quarter final after Danny Welbeck scored the winner against his boyhood club.

We are going for a scoring draw here. [CC]

VERDICT: MAN UNITED 1 ARSENAL 1 @ 6.00

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.91

TOTTENHAM v SWANSEA

In their last league outing, Tottenham (1.44) well and truly confirmed themselves as title challengers after winning 2-1 away at Manchester City.

DEMBELE
Dembele: In form

However, the North Londoners were really poor in last weekend’s FA Cup exit to Crystal Palace and Mauricio Pochettino will have to ensure that the surprising home defeat doesn’t have a negative effect on the playing staff.

Francesco Guidolin has steadied the ship since taking over at Swansea (7.50) in late January. The experienced Italian guided the Swans to an impressive win away at Everton in his first game in charge, and has only overseen one loss since taking over.

Mousa Dembele has rediscovered his top form this season. The Belgian international appeared unfit and slightly heavy during the previous two campaigns, with many of the Tottenham faithful criticising his work rate on a regular basis. However, the new, slimmed down version of Dembele has been amongst Tottenham’s best performers so far this season. On his day, the Belgian midfielder can be almost unplayable, combining a dominant physical presence with excellent technical ability and vision.

Clashes between these two sides are rarely boring. Six of the last nine meetings between Tottenham and Swansea have ended with more than two goals being scored, while all but two of those nine meetings have ended with both sides getting on the scoresheet.

The reverse meeting ended in a 2-2 draw, with Christian Eriksen grabbing a stunning brace and Harry Kane scoring a spectacular own goal. However, Tottenham haven’t lost to Swansea since 1991, winning eight of the last ten meetings between the clubs.

Everything points to a convincing home win here. [CC]

VERDICT: TOTTENHAM 3 SWANSEA 1 @ 13.00

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.95

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Racing Lucky 15 – Wednesday’s top selections

We give you free kit. We give you money back. And we give you winners! Usually.
Our run of four successive winning naps came to an end when Archie Stevens ran like Shakin’ Stevens and was second at Wolverhampton on Tuesday.

Remember, 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, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Wednesday’s Lucky 15…

AYR

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

MUKAABRA (Lingfield 2.50) is one of those selections where, if you are right, you must know something. Yet if you are wrong, you’ll get panned. For this is a selection purely based on potential. James Tate’s three-year-old Iffraaj filly, who cost 70,000 guineas as a yearling, has yet to set foot on a racecourse. Yet there are three good reasons to back her: Firstly, she does not have a lot to beat in the 7f maiden. Secondly, her astute trainer is in sparkling form (four winners and four seconds from his last 10 runners) and also has a decent strike rate with his 3yo debutants (6-38 in past five season). Thirdly, the dogs were barking, as she was well fancied ahead of her expected debut at Wolverhampton in a much stronger race on Monday, before being withdrawn. Yes, we fancy her to make a winning debut.

OUR THOMAS (Doncaster 2.30) did not appear to find Catterick playing to his strengths last time, when beaten 11 lengths by Jaelo in what is usually a decent 2m juvenile hurdle for the track. Tim Easterby’s four-year-old was not suited by the way the race was run, finding himself out in front off only a steady pace and was picked off late on. He looks like a decent stayer in the making and has been consistent, winning a 2m juvenile maiden hurdle at Warwick in October at the fifth time of asking. Though he will probably need every yard of this 2m½f trip, this galloping course should suit and given that his last run was probably needed (his first run for three months), there should be improvement forthcoming.

THE UNIT (Doncaster 2.00) won a decent Newbury bumper last March but ran like the unfancied horse he was on his seasonal debut in another bumper at Cheltenham in November. The Alan King-trained four-year-old was second in a modest maiden hurdle at Huntingdon, which he could have won had Wayne Hutchinson not left the impression he was accepting defeat (eased off before the leader fell and was picked off, having lost momentum). He might be a better proposition on a sounder surface and is no more than a speculative selection in a competitive 2m½f novices’ hurdle.

FERRYVIEW PLACE (Lingfield 5.00) is 2lb below his last winning mark but his last win was three days shy of a year ago. The Ian Williams-trained gelding has not been in bad form of late, though, and has not had too many chances on Lingfield’s Polytrack surface. He was a fair second in a 1m2f apprentices’ handicap at Kempton last week in a race that was not run to suit and should give inexperienced pilot Ryan Bird a good spin in a similarly competitive 13-runner, 1m2f apprentices’ handicap today.

SELECTIONS FOR WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2016

DONCASTER: 2.00 The Unit, 2.30 Our Thomas (nb), 3.00 Nightline, 3.30 Reaping The Reward, 4.05 Paint The Clouds, 4.40 Ballycrystal, 5.10 Frankly Speaking

LINGFIELD: 2.20 Little Indian, 2.50 MUKAABRA (NAP), 3.20 Ruler Of The Nile, 3.55 Malhama, 4.25 Lady Fontenail, 5.00 Ferryview Place

LUDLOW (inspection 10am): 2.10 Bugsie Malone, 2.40 Drumshambo, 3.10 Cape Caster, 3.40 Sir Note, 4.15 Itsnowcato, 4.50 Mendip Express, 5.20 Glimpse Of Gold

KEMPTON: 5.40 Lutine Charlie, 6.10 Mystic Blaze, 6.40 Captain Cat, 7.10 Kalahari, 7.40 Stake Acclaim, 8.10 Master Burbidge

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Racing Lucky 15 – Tuesday’s top selections

We give you free kit. We give you money back. And we give you winners!

Monday saw our fourth successive winning nap.

Remember, 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, offering what our experts feel will be the value bets of the day. Here is Tuesday’s Lucky 15…

Wolverhampton

LUCKY 15 SELECTIONS

ARCHIE STEVENS (Wolverhampton 4.00) won a 5f handicap on this Tapeta surface in December but has been busy and unsuccessful in four starts since. Now 4lb higher, David Evans’ speedball goes back up in trip after being beaten by five lengths at Kempton, but the key is the drop in class. He is rated 75 and his rivals are rated 5lb or more inferior. The hope is he can get a soft lead and maintain the gallop to the line.

RETRIEVE THE STICK (Wetherby 3.50) won a competitive 2m3½f novices’ handicap chase at Sedgefield in November, before throwing in a bad run off a 3lb higher mark in a 2m1f handicap at Kelso a month later. Malcolm Jefferson’s seven-year-old benefitted from a decent pace last time back at Newcastle when second, giving up almost two and a half stone to the 1¼l winner Rosquero. She is genuinely a consistent mare and while she can make the odd jumping error, she has a fair chance in a trappy 2m handicap.

ROBINESSE (Taunton 3.40) has had just three starts and the first of those was a winning effort, with the Oliver Sherwood-trained mare taking a 2m Uttoxeter bumper at odds of 16/1 last May. She was upped to Listed class for her next bumper start at Cheltenham when a creditable ninth of 20 to Copper Kay on her seasonal debut. Over a longer 2m2½f trip for her hurdling debut at Exeter, she stuck on nicely to be second to Jessber’s Dream, who franked the form when slamming Katie Too by 8l at Sandown last week to earn a 20/1 quote for the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. A similar level of form will see her break her hurdling duck.

LISTEN TO THE MAN (Wetherby 5.00) holds an obvious chance to open her account under Rules in what looks a weak four-runner bumper. Dan Skelton’s runner won a heavy-ground Irish 5yo mares’ maiden point-to-point in December and was subsequently bought for £30,000 later that month. She is a half-sister to Catch A Lucky Star, who was placed in bumpers, and there is plenty of stamina in her pedigree.

SELECTIONS FOR TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016

TAUNTON: 2.00 Shoofly Milly, 2.30 Allchilledout, 3.05 Sonny The One, 3.40 Robinesse, 4.10 Lochnagar, 4.45 Anglingforcharlie, 5.20 Captain’s Buck

WETHERBY: 2.10 Flobury, 2.45 Goldray, 3.20 Born Survivor, 3.50 Retrieve The Stick (nb), 4.25 Zephyros Bleu, 5.00 Listen To The Man

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.50 Caledonia Laird, 2.20 Mr Christopher, 2.55 Shamlan, 3.30 Star Ascending, 4.00 ARCHIE STEVENS (NAP), 4.35 Gorokai, 5.10 Zio Gianni, 5.40 Footlight

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

If you are not affiliated to a club, you can bet via Bet4Causes.com, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsiblyhttp://www.gambleaware.co.uk