Horse racing Lucky 15 – Wednesday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

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ICE COOL CHAMPS (Hereford 2.30) had a previous winner in behind when a well-backed runner-up to Marten on his bumper debut at Warwick on New Year’s Eve and may be able to go one better now upped in trip. That run, against some well-regarded types from a couple of in-form stables, was over 2m. Out of an unraced half-sister to high-class stayer Shotgun Willy and Welsh National winner Mini Sensation, he is bred for further and gets an extra 3½f for his first try over hurdles in a maiden. Heavy ground may well suit this Philip Hobbs-trained six-year-old who is sure to go on to better things after this.

SOME ARE LUCKY (Leicester 3.40) may or may not be aptly-named, depending on whether you punting glass is half full or half empty. Tom George’s six-year-old has been placed in his last six races, but has only managed to win one of those – a 2m4½f maiden hurdle at Southwell last March. Twice runner-up over trips just short of 3m at Uttoxeter and Chepstow in the autumn, he made his chasing debut on New Year’s Eve at Newbury in a decent novices’ event and was involved in a three-way finish with Belami Des Pictons and Aurillac, coming off worse with that duo. He could not quite hold on, having made the running and this former pointer should do better in handicaps. His mark of 132 is a fair one and in what looks a fascinating novices’ limited handicap, he should be in the mix.

AMERICAN PATROL (Kempton Park 2.20) has to overcome a penalty to land the 1m handicap, but regular readers to this column will know that our admiration for jockey Adam Kirby knows no limits and his partnership with the Neil Mulholland-trained three-year-old means we have confidence that if good enough, he will be thereabouts when it matters. He has had only five lifetime starts and while no world-beater, he caught the eye at Chelmsford on his handicap debut before justifying favouritism at Wolverhampton last time. It did look a very weak race but he scored easily and should get this extra furlong without too much trouble.

MEHDI (Newcastle 6.30) also has one of the best on board. It will be worth following Paul Hanagan this year. He is back in the north after what he will probably consider to be a relatively modest association with Sheikh Hamdan’s horses, and while his usual affable and chipper self last year, inwardly the former champion jockey will have been questioning what more he could have done to make a difference. In truth, he never had the firepower. A confident Hanagan is almost unbeatable. We have no doubt he will soon be making headlines again – he is far too good to be out of the spotlight for long. That aside, he will need plenty of guile to get this one’s nose in front. Mehdi is on a losing run of 35 but has been finally dropping in the weights and there were signs in defeat at Wolverhampton last time that he could be on the verge of ending that barren run. It may happen in the 7f classified stakes.



HEREFORD: 1.30 Miracle Cure, 2.00 Dig Deeper, 2.30 ICE COOL CHAMPS (NAP), 3.00 Colin’s Brother, 3.30 Goodtoknow, 4.00 Stone, 4.30 Runasimi River

KEMPTON PARK: 2.20 American Patrol, 2.50 Drumochter, 3.20 Envisaging, 3.50 East Coast Lady, 4.20 Pearl Spectre, 4.50 Alcatraz, 5.20 Thomas Blossom

LEICESTER: 2.10 Sonny The One, 2.40 Dusty Raven, 3.10 Allee Bleue, 3.40 Some Are Lucky (nb), 4.10 Full Irish, 4.40 Moscow Me

NEWCASTLE: 4.25 Go George Go, 5.00 Bloomin Lovely, 5.30 Royal Celebration, 6.00 Tailor’s Row, 6.30 Mehdi, 7.00 Art Obsession

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Horse racing Lucky 15 – Tuesday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Following Monday’s 4/1 winning NAP, take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

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HEARTSTONE (Wolverhampton 3.50) has been given a chance by the handicapper in recent weeks and she may well be able to break her duck at the 13th time of asking in the 1m4f fillies’ handicap. David Evans tried her over this trip for the first time at Lingfield a couple of weeks ago and she got it well enough, despite not having the finishing kick to match Zain Arion. While some may feel her best chance has gone now that she is back up to a mark of 72, the four-year-old is consistent enough and in what appears to be one of those win-in-their-turn handicaps, she may pay to follow.

UN PROPHETE (Southwell 1.30) is turned out again quickly after a comprehensive 16-length success in a Ludlow handicap chase last week. Venetia Williams’ six-year-old had fair Flat form in France but had become a bit frustrating over hurdles before she turned him loose over the bigger obstacles for the first time in Britain. The result spoke for itself, as he seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself once he warmed to the task in the good to soft ground. He has won over 3m on the Flat and could probably do with a bit further than the 2m he gets today, but the soft ground should help his cause as he bids to defy a 7lb penalty.

COILETTE CAILIN (Wolverhampton 4.50) was foiled in a hat-trick bid at Lingfield last week, having previously landed reasonable handicaps at Wolverhampton and Lingfield off marks of 85 and 90. Though up in class last time, it was the sluggish early pace of the race that did her in and she was unable to find her customary turn of foot, having expelled too much gas when fighting for the bit early. That said, she still only went down a couple of lengths to Winterlude and she goes off the same mark of 94 against six rivals in the extended 1m½f handicap. A solid pace should see her thereabouts again.

TEARSOFCLEWBAY (Lingfield Park 3.30) is relatively well regarded by connections. Having been a pretty useful bumper winner, she made a winning debut over hurdles at Worcester on her first start for six months in October, despite pulling hard early on. She disappointed somewhat last time in soft ground at Haydock when fifth of six to Colin’s Sister at Haydock, with her jumping letting her down. That was in a Listed race, however, and she drops down to a more realistic level, taking on four rivals in a 2m mares’ novices’ hurdle. This might be the confidence booster she needs before putting her best foot forward.

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LINGFIELD PARK: 1.50 Athy River, 2.25 Darwins Theory, 3.00 Cheat The Cheater, 3.30 Tearsofclewbay, 4.00 Cape Caster, 4.30 Sea The Springs

SOUTHWELL: 1.00 Its’afreebee, 1.30 Un Prophete (nb), 2.00 Second Time Around, 2.35 Champ, 3.10 Listen To The Man, 3.40 Straits Of Messina, 4.10 Young Lou

WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.10 Castlerea Tess, 2.45 Fossa, 3.20 Wentwell Yesterday, 3.50 HEARTSTONE (NAP), 4.20 Poetic Force, 4.50 Coillte Cailin, 5.20 Fast Landing, 5.50 Billyoakes


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Horse racing Lucky 15 – Monday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Monday, January 30, 2017.

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EMINENT POET (Plumpton 3.20) found 3m a little beyond his stamina last year when upped in the weights and when bidding for a hat-trick at Huntingdon. The six-year-old has strengthened up a bit and made a fair comeback after six month off when fourth of nine to Oscar Rock in a 2m4½f handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in November. Dropped 3lb since, Venetia Williams’ representative is given a second chance to get this 3m1f trip in a lesser grade and he would have a fair chance of defying top weight and beating five rivals.

REIVERS LAD (Ayr 1.50) is worth chancing on his seasonal debut, despite having his first run since April. Anything that the Nicky Richards-trained Alflora gelding did in bumpers was going to be a bonus as he is bred to be a jumper. So to win and be placed twice in three bumpers last year showed clear ability. He was keen on his second start at Carlisle but won convincingly, and was not beaten far by Gibbes Bay at Ayr on his last start. He is bred to do better when faced with obstacles and the yard has not be going badly, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the seven-runner maiden hurdle on heavy ground, which he should handle.

BETTER GETALONG (Ayr 4.35) is one of three previous winners in the 2m bumper and while he meets Sam’s Adventure, whom he beat by a short head here last month, on 7lb worse terms, Nicky Richards’ runner may well be able to frank that form. The six-year-old had almost a year on the sidelines before making his comeback and while he took time to get into his stride, he showed a willing attitude to beat his race-fit rival who was seeking a hat-trick. He needs further than this 2m and is a nice jumping prospect, regardless of how he fares today.

VANTAGE POINT (Southwell 2.30) has been a beaten favourite on two of his last three starts for John Gosden and has a little bit to find given what we have seen from the three-year-old on the all-weather. He does not appear to have moved forward since a couple of runner-up efforts on turf at Newmarket and Bath in the autumn. Forcing tactics did not appear to suit him at Wolverhampton and with cheekpieces fitted at Newcastle, he was unable to find another gear in a 10f maiden won by Doctor Bartolo a couple of weeks ago. Back to 1m and with the headgear retained, he should at least be competitive.

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AYR: 1.50 Reivers Lad (nb), 2.20 Cadeau De Bresil, 2.55 Simmply Sam, 3.30 Newtown Lad, 4.00 Nakadam, 4.35 Better Getalong

PLUMPTON: 1.40 Royal Hall, 2.10 Clonusker, 2.45 Jerrysback, 3.20 EMINENT POET (NAP), 3.50 Talk Of The South, 4.25 Great Link

SOUTHWELL: 1.30 Brigadoon, 2.00 Regarde Moi, 2.30 Vantage Point, 3.05 It Must Be Faith, 3.40 Arcanista, 4.15 Athassel


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Horse racing Lucky 15 – Sunday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British and Irish meetings on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

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WISH IN A WELL (Fontwell 2.10) has proved a little frustrating to say the least. Ben Case’s representative had 19 runs without success before blinker were applied for the first time at Fakenham in a 2m5f amateur riders’ handicap chase four weeks ago They seemed to work the oracle, as he scooted in, despite making a blunder at the second last, to win by 20 lengths. There is no guarantee they will work again but he was rated as high as 113 as a novice and one assumes the eight-year-old should be on a workable mark of 72. Today’s 2m5f handicap chase is more competitive, but if the headgear works, his confidence would not have been hurt and he may well follow up. London busses and all that.

VOLVALEIN (Sedgefield 1.50) won a novices’ handicap chase off a rating of 111 three starts ago here in October, although the form has barely been franked with just one subsequent winner coming out of that race. A soft-ground bumper winner, that was only his second start for the Brian Ellison yard and he did not run badly next time in better company at Sandown off a 5lb higher mark, finishing third to Pilgrims Bay over 2m4f. He is having his first run since before Christmas today and his jumping seems to have improved, if taking his latest narrow second to Eastview Boy at Newcastle is taken at face value. He seems better suited by 2m than a bit further and Ellison applies cheekpieces for the first time today in a better race. Off a mark of 116, he does get plenty of weight from his four rivals, however.

IDENTITY THIEF (Leopardstown 2.30) can land the Grade 1 Irish Arkle on a cracking card at the Dublin track. Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old was good enough to win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in 2015 but he was just short of top class as a hurdler. He has started his chasing career in fine style, though, winning a beginners’ chase at Punchestown before scoring in a Grade 2 novices’ event at the same track in November. He was pulled up lame in his last start in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, but if near his best, the seven-year-old will be a tough nut to crack for his three rivals in the 2m1f affair.

NICHOLS CANYON (Lepardstown 3.30) might upset the odds in the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle. With Faugheen ruled out through injury yesterday, Willie Mullins relies on the seven-year-old, who isn’t a bad second-string. Third to similarly sidelined stablemate Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle last March, he opened his autumn campaign with victory in the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, but the seven-times Grade 1 winner does have a bit to find with Petit Mouchoir on his runner-up effort to that rival in the Ryanair Hurdle in late December. We think he can overturn that form, however.

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FONTWELL PARK: 1.40 Accord, 2.10 WISH IN A WELL (NAP), 2.40 Safe Harbour, 3.10 St Saviour, 3.40 Venetian Lad, 4.10 Sutter’s Mill

SEDGEFIELD: 1.20 Mahlerdramatic, 1.50 Volvalein, 2.20 Old Salt, 2.50 Ascendant, 3.20 Shadows Lengthen, 3.50 Turtle Cask, 4.20 Yur Next

LEOPARDSTOWN: 1.30 Melon, 2.00 Let’s Dance, 2.30 Identity Thief, 3.00 Dallas Cowboy, 3.30 Nichols Canyon, 4.00 Katnap, 4.30 Le Richebourg


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Horse racing Lucky 15 – Saturday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Saturday, January 28, 2017.

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CLOUDY DREAM (Doncaster 2.30) gets the nap vote on a cracking day’s racing. Let’s face it, it would be too easy to go for Vroum Vroum Mag (Doncaster 3.05), In De Sceaux (Cheltenham 1.45) and Thistlecrack (Cheltenham 2.15) and Unowhatimeanharry (Cheltenham 4.0) as our quartet – at current odds, the acca would pay less than 4/1 in any case – and we don’t like being obvious, as our 13/2 winning nap on Thursday proves. So we go for one of the more trappy races of the afternoon. Yes, there are only four runners in the Grade 2 Lightning Novices’ Chase, but either one of them would hold a good chance. We go for Cloudy Dream on the strength of a fine run behind well-regarded Buveur D’air, conceding 8lb, at Haydock last time. Malcolm Jefferson’s seven-year-old made a winning start to his chasing career at Carlisle in October and followed up at Haydock in soft ground. Ideally he needs a decent gallop in better ground over 2m to show his best. With Marracudja in the line-up, the pace should be solid enough and the good ground will help his finishing kick.

COOLOGUE (Doncaster 3.40) came into his own on winter ground last season, stringing up a trio of runner-up efforts here, including when not beaten far by Ziga Boy in the Great Yorkshire Chase. He goes off a 6lb higher mark in today’s renewal of the competitive 3m handicap, having been just as consistent this term. Charlie Longsdon’s galloping grey landed a 3m1f handicap off a mark of 140 at Cheltenham on is seasonal debut at Cheltenham in October off 140 and while the Hennessy was a tough ask (pulled up), he bounced back, albeit to at a distance to be second to Three Faces West at Newbury again in December. We love horses (an people for that matter) with good attitudes, and while he may not be a top-drawer chaser, you know he will always give his best. We can’t ask for more.

COLE HARDEN (Cheltenham 4.00) may be able to upset the odds in a strong renewal of the Cleeve Hurdle, where Unowhatimeanharry is the clear market leader. We think he could be vulnerable and is a poor bet at current odds for the Stayers’ Hurdle. Cole Harden likes to force the pace and has already won the Group 1 Stayers’ Hurdle here two seasons ago. He was a shock 14/1 winner that day but overturned his Cleve Hurdle fourth with Saphir De Rheu to land the big prize. He had no chance with Thistlecrack in defence of his crown last season, finishing fourth. Connections gave him his chasing debut at Wetherby in early December, but with the Stayers’ hurdling division wide open, he was given another spin over them here in the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day. He tried to make all but did not have the finishing kick to stay with Agrapart and L’ami Serge. The ground was softer than ideal that day and better ground should help him today. We simply think a Warren Greatrex’s runner is over-priced at around 25/1.

METRONOMIC (Lingfield Park 1.20) has a tendency to carry his head a little awkwardly and has been beaten twice at fairly short odds on his last two runs for Richard Hannon, yet we feel he has the ability to win a low-grade 7f handicap all-weather against seven three-year-olds who, in one way or another, all have chinks in their armour. The selection can be a little keen so the cheekpieces are retained for a third time and while he is a 10-race maiden, we hope the penny is starting to drop with him.

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CHELTENHAM: 12.00 Charli Parcs, 12.35 Burtons Well, 1.10 Foxtail Hill, 1.45 Un De Sceaux, 2.15 Thistlecrack, 2.50 Cause Of Causes, 3.25 Keep In Line, 4.00 Cole Harden, 4.35 Le Rocher

DONCASTER: 12.50 Saint Cajetan, 1.25 Minella Aris, 1.55 Romain De Senam, 2.30 CLOUDY DREAM (NAP), 3.05 Vroum Vroum Mag, 3.40 Coologue, 4.15 Midnight Charm

LINGFIELD PARK: 1.20 Metronomic, 1.50 Oxford Thinking, 2.25 Horsted Keynes, 3.00 Arsenio Lupin, 3.35 Elysian Prince, 4.10 Compton Prince

UTTOXETER: 1.40 Thisonetime, 2.10 Fearless Tunes, 2.45 The Gipper, 3.20 Plasir D’amour, 3.55 Master Jake, 4.30 Makethedifference

KEMPTON PARK: 5.45 Arizona Snow, 6.15 Gentleman Giles, 6.45 Lord Napier, 7.15 Kamra, 7.45 Al Khan, 8.15 Revolutionary War, 8.45 Stonecoldsoba, 9.15 Sixties Idol


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Horse racing Lucky 15 – Friday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Friday, January 27, 2017.

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ETTU (Newcastle 6.15) may finally get off the mark on her fifth start in the 6f maiden. With an official handicap mark of 73, she should be capable of beating her six rivals, four of whom are unraced and two others who have not yet shown the ability to match Jeremy Noseda’s representative. The ability is apparent, yet she has shown it over further trips and she drops back to 6f today, so that may put a few off. She has hardly been punter-friendly, with both champion jockey Jim Crowley and Jamie Spencer on board when she was odds-on for both all-weather starts. She did not get home over a mile last time at Lingfield and while we still feel an easy 7f would suit her best, this Tapeta track should suit over this trip.

PERCY STREET (Taunton 1.45) was a fair middle-distance handicapper on the Flat for Karl Burke and had a rating of 97 when finishing second to To Be Wild in a 1m4f handicap at Doncaster in October. He was bought for £160,000 thereafter, but the way he ran when fourth on is hurdling debut at Newbury to Final Choice on New Year’s Eve would suggest that he was something of an expensive purchase. It would not do well to write him off after one attempt, however, especially since he is in the hands of Nicky Henderson. He did not jump as well as the master trainer would have hoped and he has done plenty of schooling since, so he should be given another chance to prove he is much better than that, and as a four-year-old, he gets plenty of weight from his nine rivals in the 2m novices’ hurdle.

COLIN’S BROTHER (Huntingdon 2.00) arrives here in good form for the 2m3f handicap chase, having won two on the spin – and three out of four – for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The first of his trio of victories came over hurdles at Chepstow in March last year and he failed to stay over 3m at Ludlow in April. Back over fences for his seasonal return in November at Bangor, he was very well backed and duly landed the odds, despite making a couple of errors. Up 7lb for that win, he stayed on gamely after hitting a flat spot at Ludlow last time in a decent class 2 handicap over 2m. That was fair effort in that company, given that he probably wants a tad further. He drops in class today, but has been hiked another 7lb to a mark of 128. While victory in the extended 2m3½f would be another career-best, there is no doubt he is getting the hang of it in this sphere, not that he has learned to settle.

FASHION BUSINESS (Lingfield 2.40) should be able to land the odds in the 10f maiden for Roger Charlton with normal progress. The three-year-old Frankel gelding, who is out of a mare who won a Group 1 on dirt in the US, has had just the one run, a promising second to Blaze Of Glory in a 1m maiden here 13 days ago. He was not particularly well backed, given his pedigree, especially given that it did not look a particularly hot race. Still, the trainer’s debutants usually improve for a second run and the way he ran suggested he will appreciate today’s extra distance.

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DONCASTER (inspection 7.30am): 1.25 Ghost River, 1.55 Henllan Harri, 2.25 Four Mile Beach, 2.55 Glengra, 3.25 Mount Mews, 3.55 Aux Ptits Soins, 4.25 Brio Conti

HUNTINGDON (inspection 8am): 12.30 London Prize, 1.00 Mixchievous, 1.30 Theo’s Charm, 2.00 Colin’s Brother, 2.30 Ron’s Dream, 3.00 Whataknight, 3.30 Awesome Rosie, 4.00 Or De Vassy

TUNTON: 1.15 Celestial Path, 1.45 Percy Street (nb), 2.15 Dropzone, 2.45 The Unit, 3.15 Aber Gambler, 3.45 Fraser Canyon, 4.15 Clic Work

LINGFIELD PARK: 1.10 No Not Again, 1.40 Dandy Flame, 2.10 Ryan The Giant, 2.40 Fashion Business, 3.10 Burauq, 3.40 Emenem, 4.10 Take Two

NEWCASTLE: 5.45 Custard The Dragon, 6.15 ETTU (NAP), 6.45 Fredricka, 7.15 Newmarket Warrior, 7.45 Oak Bluffs, 8.15 Sugar Town


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WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s FA Cup 4th round guide

There were few shocks in the last round of the F.A. Cup, although there were a few shocks with our Best Bets last week: we nailed a few Premier League winning selections!

The FA Cup returns this weekend, with all 16 fourth-round ties taking place between Friday and Sunday.

Our team has taken the time to analyse the six televised games taking place, providing you with a few tips along the way.

Remember, all of the links below are directed to a generic MyClubBetting site. Once you login, you will be redirected to the club betting site that you are registered to.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

If you are not affiliated to a club and wish to take advantage of our great offers or simply have a bet, you can sign up to our Bet4Causes site, where 20% of the bookmaker’s net revenue goes to our chosen charities.

Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at the televise F.A. Cup Fourth round matches this weekend…

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Friday, 7.55pm

Championship Derby (8/5) have been rock-solid at home. The Championship side conceded twice to Reading last weekend, but it was the first time since September 24 that they had conceded a goal at Pride Park.

They went on to win 3-2 and are nicely settled in seventh place, well within shouting distance of their playoff rivals. Steve McClaren’s side has only conceded seven goals in 14 home games and the Rams won half of those encounters.

Derby won 2-1 at Premier League West Brom in the previous round, so the stuttering champions of England should hold few fears.

However, Leicester (17/10) have held sway over the Rams in the past few seasons. Winning eight of the last nine games, Derby’s sole success was a 2-1 win in the Championship back in March 2013. Positive results have been common in their meetings, too, with just five of the last 31 clashes ending in stalemate.

Leicester may well be struggling at the moment. Their away form is dreadful, taking just three points from a possible 33 on their EPL travels. Furthermore, they have yet to register a road win and have notched just eight times in those 11 games.

Derby will have their tails up, but something tells us that the relief of playing in the FA Cup, away from the constant pressure at both ends of the table in the last 18 months, will be just what the Foxes and Claudio Ranieri need. We take City to edge it with Jamie Vardy possibly enjoying the spotlight again.





Saturday, 12.30pm

Liverpool (1/4) may have suffered a hammer blow to their Premier League title chances last weekend, in going down to a shock 3-2 loss at home to struggling Swansea. Jurgen Klopp’s side now trail Chelsea by 10 points and with the two Manchester clubs chasing hard, there is no guarantee of European football next season.

They have plenty of issues at the back, which is a bit of a recurring theme over the past few seasons and have shipped 12 more goals than Chelsea. Their away form has also been better than it has been at home, even though the Reds’ loss to the Swans was their first at Anfield for over 12 months. They have won one of their last seven in all competitions at home and had to go to Plymouth to sneak through 1-0 in a replay after their FA Cup third round tie ended goalless at Anfield.

They have missed Sadio Mane, who has been ruled out since January 2, while influential midfielder Philippe Coutinho has only recently returned from a six-week lay-off with an ankle ligament injury and Joel Matip has only just rejoined the defence. The problems are not all about individuals, however. They look vulnerable when the ball is pumped into the box.

Having had a gruelling League Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton on Wednesday – and suffering another bitter home defeat – many will fancy Wolves’ (9/1) chances of causing an upset.

Wanderers sit 18th in the Championship, but dumped out Stoke in the last round and turned over Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago. While they went down 3-1 at Norwich, Paul Lambert had to use all three subs by the time keeper Carl Ikeme had been sent off for a push on Wes Hoolihan. In Wanda Helder Costa, they have a striker who can cause plenty of problems for Liverpool. Indeed, we see Wolves notching at least once at Anfield.

However, it is unlikely that Klopp (below) will make wholesale changes and take the visitors lightly, so we plump for a home win with Wolves suffering a backlash for the Reds’ League Cup exit.



Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League


Saturday, 5.30pm

Arsenal (11/10) do not have particularly fond memories of recent trips to St Mary’s. In fact they have won just one of their last six trips to the south coast and have won just three of the last 10 meetings with the Southampton (12/5) in all competitions. They have failed to register a goal in four of the last five clashes, too.

So, do we sniff an upset?

This has come at the wrong time for the Saints, who are victims of their own success, having had to face Liverpool at Anfield in midweek. Though they won 1-0 to reach their first domestic final since 2003, that game will have taken plenty out of Cluade Puel’s side. They will no doubt be aching from that clash (celebratory hangovers aside) and possibly from laughing so hard at West Ham paying £8m for 33-year-old defender Jose Fonte last week.

Saints are going nowhere in mid-table, so the Cup competitions are a nice distraction, but we feel this could be one game too many.

Arsenal are still in the hunt for the title after an unconvincing 2-1 win at home to Burnley, but the fact that Danny Welback (below) is up and running again means Wenger will have plenty of firepower at his disposal, particularly with Olivier Giroud in fine form.

We take the Gunners to get a least a draw out of this and while they are short enough at 21/20 to win, Saints could be running on empty by the second half.





Sunday, 12.00

Millwall (2/1) caused a big shock in the third round, knocking out Premier League Bournemouth in convincing style. However, Eddie Howe made so many changes that Millwall should really have been heavy favourites, rather than the outsiders they were.

Watford (11/8) will not be such easy prey for the Lions. Indeed, they have a horrible record against the Hornets, who have lost twice in the last 16 meetings, winning 10. In fact, Watford have lost just once in their last eight trips to The New Den, which would have become the old New Den if Lewisham Council had not backtracked on their Compulsory Purchase Order plans this week.

The League One side may be just three points off the play-off places and that is where their priorities lay, but while their home form has seen them win seven of 13 and aside from their win over Bournemouth, they have yet to win in January, notching draws at AFC Wimbledon, Charlton and Bradford City. To be fair, they have not lost, either.

Watford’s campaign has been beset by injuries and they have not won in seven league games. Yet there were signs at Bournemouth last weekend that Walter Mazzarri’s (below) side were ready to bounce back. Despite their rather generous odds of 11/8 – which often sets alarm bells ringing – we see the Hornets as one of the better bets this weekend.



Walter Mazzarri.jpg


Sunday, 2.00pm

National League Sutton (4/1) set up a tasty TV tie after knocking out 10-man AFC Wimbledon with a 3-1 win at The Cherry Road Stadium in a replay.

Leeds (4/6), who last won this competition on 1972 under Don Revie, should be a couple of classes apart and having been given a scare by Cambridge United, they won’t take this game lightly.

Garry Monk, who was harshly dispensed with by Swansea, has got ‘dirty’ Leeds playing some attractive football and they are in the thick of the play-off battle in the Championship. While they could have done without a midweek clash with Nottingham Forest (which they won 2-0 to put them third in the table), they should get through this tie without too much fuss, nice story though it is.



West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Premier League


Sunday, 4.00pm

If there was a ‘form’ game that we could consider to be a banker, then this is it. Wigan (14/1) have won a grand total of one meeting in the last 18 against Manchester United (1/6) – who have won the other 17 clashes. Just the recipe for a shock result, then?

Not quite. If history is anything to go by, they will not only fail to score – as has happened in eight of the last nine encounters – they will lose by at least two clear goals, as has been the case in 14 of their last 18 meetings. In fact, Wigan have managed just one goal in their last 10 visits to Old Trafford. Oddly, there has not been a draw and the law of betting averages says we are overdue. But given the history, we’d want double the 6/1 currently offered for that to happen.

Much depends on the strength of the United side that Jose Mourinho (above) will put out. He has already made noises this week about fixture congestion, and it has not helped that United had to travel to Hull for League Cup semi-final second leg on Thursday. They are, of course, in the Europa League, so how much emphasis they place on this competition is arguable.

Still, we are happy to roll with the hosts, whatever side the Special One puts out.



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