YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST – TUESDAY

We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Fontwell Races

Racing’s leaders have revealed new plans for boosting field sizes by effectively offering appearance money down to eighth place once the new funding mechanism yields dividends. British Horseracing Authority COO Richard Wayman said: “As funding increases, we must target that money at grassroots and make the experience of owning an average horse far better than it is now,” he said. “One of the things that we are working on is a significant and substantial appearance money scheme that will see payments made to connections of owners down to eighth place. That, in itself, will help reduce the number of owners whose return from the sport is zero.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/new-plan-to-boost-lower-tier/39004
https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/appearance-money-scheme-among-bha-s-possible-innovations/276447


Classic-winning jockey George Baker, who suffered a horror fall on the ice of St Moritz on Sunday, is likely to be moved out of intensive care today after his condition improved. Baker was brought down when two horses fell in front of him at and suffered heavy concussion. His wife Nicola said: “He doesn’t need any surgery and he had a bit of food at lunch. He’s just very sleepy and he’s back to bed. He had a very severe concussion, but his CT scan came back okay and the best thing for him is sleep and time.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24236524&category=0
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-4265220/George-Baker-remains-stable-condition-Swiss-hospital.html

Thistlecrack


News that Thistlecrack (right) will have a scan today on his partially-torn tendon prompted a gamble on the exchanges, with his price dropping to 10/1 for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, trainer Colin Tizzard all but ruled out the King George VI Chase winner out for a second time, insisting that the scan as to assess the extent of the damage, as opposed to checking for any misdiagnosis. “As far as I am concerned he’s still out,” said Tizzard. “The horse is fine but recuperating.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24236524&category=0


Cue Card could be retired should he win the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and make up for a fall at the third last fence when going strongly last year. Now 11, Cue Card won a Grade 1 chase at Haydock and landed the Ascot Chase by 15 lengths last time. Owner Jean Bishop said: “I wouldn’t want to carry on racing him and see him struggle or anything like that. He couldn’t do anything else if he won the Gold Cup and there would be nothing to aim for. It would be a nice way to end his career. He has been on the go for seven years and it would probably be the best thing for him. We will have to see.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/cue-team-eye-dream-swansong/38844
http://www.skysports.com/racing/news/12426/10784140/gold-cup-glory-a-nice-way-to-end-cue-card-career-says-jean-bishop

arrogate-small


Arrogate (right) will contest the $10m Dubai World Cup on March 25 after being given the green light by Juddmonte Farms owner Prince Khalid Abdulla. The Santa Anita Handicap was under consideration for the world’s best Flat horse, but trainer Bob Baffert confirmed: “I just got the word. As long as he keeps working well, he’s going.” Arrogate clocked 1:38.4 in his 1m work on Monday. Baffert added: “He hasn’t regressed or anything, he looked fantastic. He’s enjoying himself, and he did it the right way. I’m really happy with the way he’s going. He’s just holding his form very well,” Baffert said.
Source: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/220100/arrogate-headed-to-dubai-world-cup


The Last SamuraiThe 2016 Grand National runner-up The Last Samurai (right) is set to carry top weight in Saturday’s Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster as he bids to land the 3m2f race for a second successive year off a 12lb higher mark. He could face as many as 12 rivals and trainer Kim Bailey said: “Basically, he needs to run. This has been the plan for some time and we’d just like some nice goo-to-soft ground, but he’ll run whatever.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/bailey:-samuri-‘needs-to-run’/38904
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/the-last-samuri-needs-to-run-says-kim-bailey-1-8412860


Willie Mullins says Douvan “could be the best I have had” ahead of his tilt at the  Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in two weeks’ time. Douvan is currently the 2/7 favourite for the March 15 feature with Bet4Causes. Mullins said: “When you are going to Cheltenham with a favourite like Douvan, it is relief rather than joy when they win. When you have a 25-1 winner, that isn’t expected, that is joy. There is fair bit of expectation with Douvan so you just want to keep him right and get there.”
Source: http://www.hri.ie/News/?news=P-1b15e154-be66-4ba5-b723-40189336e217
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/willie-mullins-claims-douvan-could-9930895


Sam Twiston-Davies has a strong book of rides at the Cheltenham Festival but has tabbed the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue in the JLT Novices’ Chase as his best chance of a winner. Politologue is currently a 7/1 chance with Bet4Causes, with the market headed by Yorkhill at 2/1. “I think Politologue has a strong chance. He’s done a lot of things right,” said Twiston-Davies. “It was disappointing to get beaten at Haydock, but I don’t think he lost much in defeat as he gave the winner 3lb. He’ll have a hood and ear plugs and that should help him switch off better. He’s becoming the finished article.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd

Willie Mullins 1


Willie Mullins (right) is aiming to get last season’s Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power, currently sidelined through injury, back in time for the Punchestown Festival. He said: “She seems good and we’re very pleased with how she’s responding. I would say we’ll aim for Punchestown with her. We could go to France, but let’s get her back first before we make plans for her.” Faugheen, his 2015 Champion Hurdler, also misses Cheltenham through injury. Mullins added: “I’m sure we’ll see Faugheen again, whether it’s this season or next season. I wouldn’t have any reason to retire him. The problem he has now should be a maximum of 12 weeks (to recover).”
Source: http://www.hri.ie/News/?news=P-32a40018-c975-4622-a726-c44a0749a0cb
http://www.skysports.com/racing/news/12040/10784379/punchestown-comeback-on-cards-for-annie-power


Willie Mullins says it is “50-50” as to whether Limini will be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle on March 14. The six-year-old was impressive on her seasonal return at Punchestown last week and Mullins admitted: “A lot depends on how Vroum Vroum Mag goes between now and then (the supplementary stage), she’s obviously in the Mares’ Hurdle. I think if she’s fine and sparking, we probably might take a punt with Limini. I think Vroum Vroum will go for the Mares’ Hurdle. On her last performance, that’s all I can see her doing.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/27/willie-mullins-indicates-limini-could-be-added-to-champion-hurdle-field
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49429/willie-mullins-indicates-limini-could-be-added-to-champion-hurdle-field


Simon Williams will join Royal Windsor Racecourse as executive director, having previously been employed by Arena Racing Company in a similar capacity at Fontwell Park. Williams said: “Despite the difference in codes, moving from jump racing to flat, many of the initiatives we have implemented at Fontwell Park will translate across to Royal Windsor, and I can’t wait to get started.” Jonathan Acott will replace him in the same role at Fontwell, having joined Arc from Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, where he was head of operations. He added: “I am thrilled to be joining Arena Racing Company. Fontwell Park is a fantastic racecourse in a wonderful part of the world and I am excited to start working with the team and helping them build on their significant recent successes.”
Source: http://www.arenaracingcompany.co.uk/news/story/296


Jockey Alex Birzer became the 174th jockey in the US to win 3,000 races when he guided Numancia to victory at Oaklawn Park on Sunday. The Kansas native Birzer, 43, rode his first winner in 1992. He said: “This is wonderful. I had it in my mind that it would be great to reach this here. I just love Oaklawn. I love the people here. The patrons are just unreal with the way they treat us. It’s a great racing atmosphere.”
Source: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/220091/jockey-alex-birzer-reaches-3-000-wins

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CATTERICK: 2.20 Café Au Lait, 2.50 Life Knowledge, 3.20 Halcyon Days, 3.50 Red Rising, 4.20 Delusionsfgrandeur, 4.50 Turtle Cask

LEICESTER: 2.10 Three Of A Kind, 2.40 Zeroshadsofgrey (nb), 3.10 Rebel Rebellion, 3.40 Paddy The Oscar, 4.10 Miss Oscarose, 4.40 The Highlander

LINGFIELD: 2.00 ANNIE SALTS (NAP), 2.30 Never Folding, 3.00 Dutch Uncle, 3.30 Mise En Rose, 4.00 Pinwood, 4.30 Hold Firm

Monday’s NAP was a winner.

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

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YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST –MONDAY

We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Monday, February 27, 2017.

Ascot Races

Barry Geraghty (above) will miss the Cheltenham Festival following injuries sustained in a fall from Charli Parcs at Kempton on Saturday. Geraghty said: “I’ve a collapsed lung and six broken ribs on my right side. I’m obviously devastated to miss the Festival – there were so many good horses to look forward to as JP’s (McManus) team all look in particularly good shape this year. Last night was pretty rough. I’ve broken ribs individually before but never had six go all at the same time. I’ll be in hospital for a few more days but once the lung improves my recovery should be straightforward and I expect to be back for Aintree.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/barry-geraghty-to-miss-cheltenham-after-kempton-spill
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/geraghty-out-of-cheltenham/38566


Jockey George Baker woke from an induced coma in intensive care last night after suffering a first-race horror fall in the famous St Moritz snow track in Switzerland. He was riding Boomerang Bob for Jamie Osborne when they fell on a patch of ice and Baker was knocked unconscious. He was flown to a trauma hospital in Chur. Baker’s agent Guy Jewell said: “George has woken up, and with the hospital releasing that news I can only imagine they are pleased with his progress. He’d already had a CT scan and that has come back clear. They will obviously need to check that everything is working properly and his wife is on her way out there.” The rest of the meeting was abandoned.
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/george-baker-awake-in-hospital-after-horror-fall-in-switzerland
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49400/george-baker-airlifted-to-hospital-after-fall-at-st-moritz
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/baker-‘awake-in-hospital’/38559


Gary Moore has concerns about the  Stayers Hurdle trip for runaway National Spirit Hurdle winner Camping Ground, who led is rivals a merry dance on his stable debut at Fontwell yesterday. Moore said: “We’ve treated him like a good horse. A lot of effort has gone into him, believe me, from the staff at home. I know the owner is pretty keen to go for the Stayers’ Hurdle. I think two and a half (miles) is his trip. He has got a very high cruising speed and he galloped them into the ground. I think three miles would be pushing it in my opinion.” Camping Ground was cut to 20/1 (from 50/1) by Bet4Causes for the Grade 1 feature at Cheltenham on March 16.
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49408/camping-ground-leads-national-spirit-field-a-merry-dance-at-fontwell
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/camping-pitches-up-in-style/38520

Ascot Races


Cue Card (right) has displaced stablemate Native River at the head of the market for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Bet4Causes going 11/4 (from 7/2), after reporting a string of bets on the Colin Tizzard-trained 11-year-old over the weekend. Native River was weak in the market, forcing Tizzard to issue a report on his wellbeing. He said: “He’s lovely and did a proper bit of work today (Saturday). I couldn’t be any more pleased with him. It’s the same with Cue Card.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/market-turning-in-favour-of-cue-card-as-he-displaces-river/276221


Giggingstown House Stud, owners of the Gordon Elliott-trained Tombstone, have decided to supplement the Gowran Park Red Mills Hurdle winner for the  Champion Hurdle. Elliott said: “It looks an open race this year so we have decided to supplement Tombstone for the Champion Hurdle. He has come out of the Red Mills race in great shape so we are happy to take our chances. Obviously he needs to improve but he hasn’t got many miles on the clock and the turnaround in form with Jezki was very encouraging.” Tombstone is currently 12/1 with Bet4Causes, with Buveur D’Air favourite at 11/4. Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle/276313
http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49406/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle

Michael Scudamore Stable Visit


Trainer Michael Scudamore (right) gained two big staying prizes in two days after Mysteree took the Eider Chase at Newcastle on Saturday, following up success with Kingswell Theatre in the Devon National at Exeter on Friday. Scudamore is eying a third National and explained: “The Midlands National will be too soon for Mysteree, he is a horse who is best when fresh, but we will give him an entry in the Scottish National at Ayr in case it is soft there.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/saturday-reports/mysteree-stays-on-strongest-for-in-form-scudamore/276172


Colin Tizzard will have Thistlecrack’s tendon injury scanned tomorrow “not to make sure we got it right, but to please ourselves”. The ante-post Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite and King George VI Chase hero has been ruled out for the rest of the season. After saddling his 50th winner of the season at Fontwell yesterday, Tizzard said: “There was a little tear there but there’s no heat and no swelling. It’s not like he’s walking around with his leg in a bandage. It’s not very much.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/tizzard-to-scan-thistlecrack-tendon-again-to-assess-damage/276319

Chelmsford Races


Sir Michael Stoute (right) gained his first winner of the year when Convey swooped late to land the Group 3  Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday, booking his place for All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday. Ante-post favourite Mutakayyef missed the 1m2f contest due to a foot abscess. Winning jockey Andrea Atzeni said: “Convey did it quite well. Obviously, it was his first time over this trip – I wasn’t sure that he would get it but Sir Michael was pretty positive and thought he would stay. It worked out perfectly from a bad draw. He was always doing enough to win his race and saw the trip out really well.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/saturday-reports/atzeni-strikes-late-on-coney-to-land-lingfield-thriller/276171


Following her win over Apple’s Jade at Punchestown, Limini could be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle, according to her owner Rich Ricci. He said: “The Champion Hurdle has to be discussed. We were successful last year with it (with Annie Power). It’s a wide open Champion Hurdle. If you fancy Buveur D’Air you probably have to really think about running. She is much bigger and stronger. It will be a last minute thing. We’ll have to see how she works and what she is working against. We’ll make that call after that work.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/ricci-champion-hurdle-option-has-to-be-discussed-for-mare-limini/276176


The BHA has rescheduled the Listed Lady Protectress Chase at Huntingdon for Sunday, following the abandonment of the card last Thursday because of high winds. There will now be an eight-race card and entries for the £30,000 event close at noon today.
Source: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/news-media/press-releases/

Aintree Races


Paul Nicholls has snapped up Katie Walsh (right) for the plum ride on Wonderful Charm for the Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase. Nicholls said: “With Will [Biddick] unavailable for Wonderful Charm we were keen to secure a top amateur and Katie Walsh certainly fits the bill. We enjoyed no end of success at Cheltenham with Ruby Walsh and I am hoping his sister Katie can provide a bit more on Wonderful Charm.” Wonderful Charm is the current 4/1 second favourite to On The Fringe with BetVictor.
Source: https://betting.betfair.com/horse-racing/paul-nicholls/paul-nicholls-cheltenham-festival-news-wonderful-charm-fri-17-march-2017-240217-9.html


The planned semi-finals of the greyhounds Gold Cup, which were to be transferred from Shelbourne Park to Towcester were called off after a row over the distance of the races, with trainer Paul Hennessy allegedly refusing to run his dogs unless the trip was 500m. Organiser Dolores Ruth said: “The Gold Cup was a 480m/525 yard event and everyone was committed to run over 480 metres. We were already down to 11 runners (Burgess Popeye broke a hock in a trial) and it simply wasn’t feasible for the sponsors for only nine dogs to take part.”
Source: http://greyhoundstar.co.uk/trainers-sign-gold-cup-semis-towcester/

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Monday, February 27, 2017

PLUMPTON: 2.00 Cigarisi, 2.35 Bagging Turf (nb), 3.05 Premier Rose, 3.35 Dragoon Guard, 4.05 Coolking, 4.35 Simply Blessed

WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.20 King Oswald, 2.55 Archie Stevens, 3.25 Jashma, 3.55 Fast Track, 4.25 Ravens Quest, 4.55 Atkinson Grimshaw, 5.25 Celerity

AYR: 2.10 Well Joey, 2.45 Antiopia, 3.15 Las Tunas, 3.45 Nakadam, 4.15 Chidswell, 4.45 Ryedale Racer, 5.15 GOLDEN JEFFREY (NAP)

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Six Nations Round Three: More Welsh misery on the cards…

By Brian Rucker, My Club Betting Rugby Correspondent

Are you ready for another scintillating weekend of Six Nations action? Well I am!

It’s only been two weeks since England crushed Welsh hearts, Ireland battered the whipping boys Italy and France brought the Scots back down to earth but it’s felt like a lifetime!

The weekend of action kicks off at Murrayfield on Saturday and ends at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon and here’s my thoughts on how things will unravel…

Scotland v Wales (Saturday @ 14:25)

I’ve had some unconfirmed reports over the last fortnight that every shop in Wales sold out of tissues following their 21-16 defeat to England!

Those shelves better be re-stocked because the demand will be high once again come Saturday afternoon when the Welsh get battered in Edinburgh…

john-barclay-scotland

Captained by John Barclay, the Scots will have to improve on their awful set-pieces which so far, have been as successful as a Wayne Rooney hair transplant.

Do that and they’re onto a winner. The Welsh will try to bully Scotland but what always happens to bullies? They get found out. Wales will be no different. Tissues at the ready folks…

BEST BET: SCOTLAND TO WIN BY 1-5 POINTS @ 9/2

Ireland v France (Saturday @ 16:50)

This game is being billed as the clash which could keep the title hopes alive of the winner but let’s be honest, it’s the decider for second place because neither have the balls to win it.

Yes, the Irish crushed Italy two weeks ago with nine touchdowns but come on, Sutton United’s former pie eating goalkeeper could get into that Italian side!

sexton-ireland

France did what the Irish couldn’t a fortnight ago in beating Scotland but they reminded me of a dying cat struggling to get home, as they stumbled across the line to record a 22-16 victory in Paris.

Ireland will win this one but that’s only because the French wings are as strong as the British economy…

Don’t get too excited though. It’s only second place after all.

BEST BET: GAME TO BE TIED AT HALF-TIME @ 10/1

England v Italy (15:00)

Are you ready for a cricket score? I hope so because that’s what we’re going to get!

In fact, England’s class of 2001 should enjoy their last few days of being the record point’s scorers in a Six Nations game.

Surprise, surprise they registered 80 points against Italy 16 years ago and it’s the Italians who will be on the end of yet another drubbing on Sunday afternoon.

owen-farrell

They’ve managed 17 points so far, but Eddie Jones’ men will have scored more than that in the opening 20 minutes at Twickenham!

It could be that bad that the Italians have to declare a national day of mourning on Monday.

RIP Italian Rugby…

BEST BET: ENGLAND TO WIN BY OVER 50 POINTS @ 9/5

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*Odds correct at time of publishing.

MCB’s SUPER LEAGUE BETTING PREVIEW

Six cracking games are in store this week in the Super League. Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at all of them.
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.

Danny Washbrook.jpg

HULL FC v CATALAN DRAGONS

Thursday, 8pm
Hull FC will go into this a short-priced favourites following their hard-earned 12-8 win at Wakefield, but in truth they were far from convincing in awful conditions. Josh Bowden is back in the squad after missing out the Wakey clash with an ankle injury, but they will miss half-back Albert Kelly who is suspended. Jake Connor comes in to replace him. Quite how much they will continue to miss Dean Hadley (hip) remains to be seen.
Danny Washbrook (above) should get a fair reception from a large and vocal crowd as he makes his 150th appearance for Hull FC. Hull FC also received a boost this week when half-back Marc Sneyd, who has the highest kick-conversion rate in Super League, extended his contract until the end of 2019.
Catalan Dragons won 20-12 at home to Warrington thanks to a late try from Fiji international Brayden Williame, but they will be without star full-back Tony Gigot after he was suspended by the French Rugby League Federation before the start of the season. The Dragons will also be without winger Fouad Yaha, so the balance appears to be in the hosts’ favour. Not a game to put the house on, in our opinion, but we’ll side with Lee Radford’s side. He’ll make believers out of us yet.
VERDICT: HULL FC TO COVER

Jermaine McGillvary.jpg

HUDDERSFIELD v WAKEFIELD

Friday 8pm
Huddersfield Giants were a little guilty of underestimating Salford and crashed to a 20-30 home defeat last time out. They have also been dealt a major blow with the news that forward Tom Symonds will be out for at least six weeks with a knee injury following their 28-16 opening-night win over Widnes Vikings. Sam Rapira deputised last Thursday and will do so again.
Coach Rick Stone will shuffle his pack and hopes that Dale Ferguson (groin), evergreen winger Jermaine McGillvary (above, knee) – who scored his 125th try for the club last week – and skipper Leroy Cudjoe (knee) will overcome their respective injuries to face Wakefield. The Giants were major underachievers last season and have a point to prove.
Wakefield finished in the top eight last season and put up a decent showing against last year’s Challenge Cup winners Hull FC in their 20-30 defeat at Belle Vue, conceding late on. They possibly need to be a little more savvy in the ruck but there is no question that Chris Chetser’s side have brought in some decent players in the summer.
They are being written off too early by some pundits and while they will start as underdogs here, this will be a good barometer to see exactly where exactly Wakey are. Wakefield on the handicap could be a tempting play for us, but we take the hosts to win.
VERDICT: WAKEFIELD TO COVER

Jamie Jones-Buchanan.jpg

LEEDS RHINOS v SALFORD

Friday 8pm
Leeds Rhinos got off the mark in Super League with a 17-14 win at Leigh Centurions last week but their attack looked tepid and they made very hard work of it. Rhinos’ gave the ball away in their own half far too often for punters’ liking and the kicking game was not all it probably should have been.
The weakness in attack put plenty of pressure in the defence but the goal-line D was outstanding, particularly at the death when Leigh looked like scoring. It was only some quick-thinking from Liam Sutcliffe, to land a late 40-20 that lifted the siege. Rhinos star Jamie Jones-Buchanan (above) has been cleared of an RFL disciplinary charge and will play on Friday.
Salford boast a similar record to Leeds, having won last weekend following defeat in the opener. The signing of Todd Carney is a huge one for Salford, although it will take him time to adapt to the style of play. Winger Justin Carney will be missing, though, after he pleaded guilty to a Grade C contact with a match official against Huddersfield. That may tip the balance.
Leeds are no good things, despite playing their first game at home. Headlingley should be rocking but it must be remembered they lost seven games at home last season. Backers will hope that Adam Cuthbertson’s early-season form can give Leeds a lift. They get the tentative vote.
VERDICT: LEEDS TO WIN

Zeb Taia.jpg

LEIGH CENTURIONS v ST HELENS

Friday 8pm
The big news out of St Helens this week was a swap move that sees Zeb Taia joining the club with Joe Greenwood heading to NRL outfit Gold Coast Titans. The 32-year-old Taia returns to Super League on a three-year deal after one season Down Under, having previously had three seasons with Catalan Dragons. It does not look a great swap, as 23-year-old Greenwood is a rising star.
What Taia does bring is big-game experience and a good offload. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is brought in to fill the void left by Greenwood.
Head coach Keiron Cunnigham is still chasing his first trophy since taking over in 2015 and while centre Ryan Morgan and Luke Douglas have also joined from the NRL, the return of Matty Smith can’t come soon enough.
He is still in a boot and it will be a few weeks before he is fit. When he does, St Helens’ halves should be formidable. Jonny Lomax will also be an influential cog this season.
Leigh Centurions were a little unlucky against Leeds last week and they are best judged on that narrow defeat than when opening against Cass, which was never going to be an easy start for the new-boys and that 44-16 walloping should soon be behind them.
Saints would appear too powerful in this one, and a Leigh will have to wait another week or two to get off the mark. We take Saints to cover the handicap.
VERDICT: ST HELENS TO WIN AND COVER

Warington Ben Westwood.jpg

WARRINGTON v CASTLEFORD

Friday 8pm
Daryl Powell has made just one change in his 19-man squad for the trip to Warrington, with Luke Million stepping in to replace Paul McShane, who is serving a one-match ban. Cass looked class in their opening clash with Leigh Centurions, a result put into better light when the Leeds were run so close by the Super League new-boys last week.
Warrington similarly looked very sharp in their World Club Series win over Brisbane, putting the Broncos under a lot of pressure and moving the ball crisply.
It will be intriguing to see how much The Wire left on the field and how much of a different test they will be for the Tigers, who found things coming a little too easy against Leigh.
Head coach Tony Smith has named an unchanged 19-man squad following the stunning 27-18 upset over the Broncos, which saw them congratulated in a motion tabled in the House of Commons.
They were a middle-of-the-pack outfit in our estimations at the start of the season and their loss in Perpignan to an average Catalans side gave credence to that. But last week’s win could be a catalyst for better things and beating dark horses Cass would go a long way to proving their win over the Broncos was no fluke.
VERDICT: WARRINGTON TO WIN

Wigan world club champions.jpg

WIGAN WARRIORS v WIDNES VIKINGS

Friday 8pm
This pundit reckons Wigan are head and shoulders above the rest in Super League. Time should bear this out. After all, they won the Grand Final with half their squad last term and all bar Dom Manfredi will be available this season. Joe Burgess is inarguably the best winger in Super League and captain Sean O’Loughlin is fit again. It is also a major boost to have Tommy Leulaui, one of the best halves in the league, returning. His partnership with George Williams is already blossoming. With the strongest pack, they should go all the way again. Or as near as damn it.
Really, it was not a surprise that they were crowned World Champions after beating the NRL’s Cronulla Sharks 22-6. It was their fourth WWC title and Shaun Wane’s men never looked in danger at any moment.
Widnes come into this one on the back of a 28-16 home loss to Huddersfield and they now face three sides from last season’s top six. Dennis Betts’ boys already look as though they have a mountain to climb. Widnes are struggling for a decent half-back pairing at present and their weakened pack could be exposed. Often.
This one should not be close. Take Wigan to cover.
VERDICT: WIGAN TO WIN AND COVER


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YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST – WEDNESDAY

We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

thistlecrack

Add Thistlecrack (above) to the lengthening list of equine superstars who will not be appearing at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. The King George VI Chase hero has a “small tear” in a tendon and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite has been ruled out for the season by Colin Tizzard. He joins a list of talent that includes Faugheen, Annie Power, Min, Don Cossack, Coneygree and Sprinter Sacre on the sidelines. Tizzard said: “He had a bit of heat and swelling in his tendon on Monday night and as the vet was in on Tuesday I asked him to scan it. It showed a small tear. We’ve seen it in every yard and it happens every year. It’s not a breakdown and hopefully we’ve caught it before it became any proper damage was done. But it means he’s out for the season. All being well he will be fine for next season.”
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2017/02/21/thistlecrack-gold-cup-favourite-ruled-season-tendon-injury/
https://beta.racingpost.com/news/gold-cup-shock/gold-cup-favourite-thistlecrack-ruled-out-of-festival-with-injury/275685


Following Thistlecrack’s injury, Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner Native River is new 3/1 favourite (from 6/1) with MyClubBetting for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. Stablemate Cue Card is clipped to 7/2 next best.
Source: https://bet4causes.myclubbetting.co.uk/


tom-scudamore-smallTom Scudamore (right), who rode Thistlecrack to victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day said it was “very disappointing for everybody” that Britain’s leading chaser would miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the rest of the season with a tendon injury. He said: “Every time you ride these good horses you hope they can be in a position to show just how good they are. He is not going to be able to do that this year and, while hopefully he will be able to bounce back, it is a real sickener for everyone.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/gold-cup-shock/thistlecrack-jockey-devastated-after-injury-rules-out-favourite/275719


France Galop has suspended jockey Robert Havlin for six months after he tested positive for prohibited substances. The ruling body said the Newmarket-based jockey had returned a positive sample when riding at Saint-Cloud on October 30 and that it would “request the reciprocation” of the imposed sanction by the British Horseracing Authority. “Given the positive result to a narcotic and its metabolites present in the biological sample of the jockey, this is a serious breach of the rules of racing of France Galop,” said a statement.
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10776835/jockey-robert-havlin-shocked-by-six-month-ban-from-france-galop


Robert Havlin will appeal his six-month ban handed down by France Galop. In a statement issued by his French solicitor Florence Gaudilliere, Havlin said: “I am the victim of an outrageous miscarriage of justice and defamation of my character. I have never tested positive for any prohibited substance in my 26-year riding career. I am appealing this verdict and suspension on a number of grounds and the counter analysis proves my innocence. It goes without saying that I am deeply upset and shocked.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10776835/jockey-robert-havlin-shocked-by-six-month-ban-from-france-galop


Limini.jpgToday’s clash between Apple’s Jade and Limini (right) in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown will offer more Cheltenham Festival clues. Apple’s Jade won the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December, while Limini will make her seasonal reappearance in the Listed contest. Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, trainer Willie Mullins, said: “Limini is in good form, but I’m sure she’ll come on a lot for the run. She’s wrong at the weights with Apple’s Jade and it will be very difficult to beat her, but we’ve got to start somewhere and we’ll see how she goes.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/preview/762628/top-mares-to-clash-at-punchestown


Paul Nicholls will have a Cheltenham Festival team of “around 18 to 20”, which represents his smallest in years, but hopes are high that Politologue can land the JLT Novices’ Chase. Nicholls said: “He’s one of our leading chances. He’s really progressive and has won three from four over fences. His rating of 152 is very good mark for a novice over fences.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/fred-winter-hope-dreamcatching-leads-nicholls-assault-on-festival-handicaps/275743


paul-nichollsThe progressive Dreamcatching  has been earmarked by Paul Nicholls (right) as one of his leading lights for the Cheltenham Festival. Nicholls said: “Dreamcatching won’t be far away in the Fred Winter. He bolted in at Wincanton on Saturday and has a mark of 131. It’s a race we’ve done really well in, with the first and second the last two years. Qualando, who won it in 2015, was off 131, and Diego Du Charmil won it last year off 133. So he’s around about the right mark.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/fred-winter-hope-dreamcatching-leads-nicholls-assault-on-festival-handicaps/275743


Jim Bolger is among a number of Irish trainers who feel the Irish Derby should be moved after it was revealed development work at the Curragh would limit the crowd to 6,000 from 18,000 last year. Bolger said: “My preference would have been to move it to Leopardstown or Naas. Leopardstown would probably hold a crowd better and have been ideal for the Derby as opposed to limiting the number of people coming to the Curragh.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/trainers-believe-irish-derby-should-be-temporarily-rehomed/27563


arrogate-smallBreeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner Arrogate (right) seems likely to run in the $10m Dubai World Cup (March 25) after working well at Santa Anita yesterday. The Santa Anita Handicap (March 11) is also under consideration, but Garrett O’Rourke, manager of Juddmonte Farms, says a trip to Dubai is the front-runner. He said: “If there was any doubt about that, we wouldn’t even consider going. But the horse seems to be in an exceptionally good state physically and mentally. We’ll discuss the case and if Prince Khalid agrees, I think we’ll roll the dice.”
Source: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/219975/arrogate-his-usual-self-in-five-furlong-move


Former Gala Coral COO Neil Goulden has been appointed as chairman designate for a racecourse-run pool betting operation. Betfred’s £265m deal for the Tote gave it an exclusive right over race pool betting, but that deal expires next year. Major racing stakeholders including the Jockey Club and Arena Racing Company wish to take control in future “to ensure participating racecourses will have full control of their on-course pool betting operation”. The project, led by the British Horseracing Association’s Nigel Roddis, saw a “steering board” plump for Goulden, who said: “I hope my experience can assist British racing in developing its thinking on pool betting so it can grow to the benefit of British racing and all its customers.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/goulden-brought-in-to-aid-racecourse-run-pool-betting-plan/275682


The Gambling Business Group (GBG) is behind a new industry-wide body whose core objective is to improve the regulatory environment for all parties in the UK gambling sector. Entitled The Gambling Expert Group, the affiliation of trade and regulatory bodies, will meet on at least a quarterly basis. Invitations have been extended to a total of 15 regulatory bodies. GBG Chief Executive Peter Hannibal said: “The Gambling Expert Group is the outcome of a programme of close collaboration with the Regulatory Delivery Office, part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Membership is made up of stakeholder representatives including Licensing Authorities, regulators and policy makers. One of the objectives is to provide an opportunity for members to raise regulatory issues and identify and address areas where regulation can be improved.”
Source: http://www.g3newswire.com/uk-gambling-expert-group-formed-enhance-regulatory-environment/


GambleAware launches its first trial advertising campaign to promote awareness of problem gambling. The online pilot of two adverts, targeted at people aged 16-24, is released in the North West and North East of England on YouTube.

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Tuesday, February 21, 2017

DONCASTER: 2.10 Mister Whitaker, 2.45 Soldier In Action, 3.15 The Tailgater, 3.45 SAINT ARE (NAP), 4.20 Ardea, 4.55 Monty’s Award

LINGFIELD PARK: 2.20 Hipz, 2.55 Tempuran, 3.25 Wedding Breakfast, 3.55 Arctic Sea, 4.30 Dangerous Ends, 5.05 Steady Major

LUDLOW: 2.00 Ridgeway Flyer, 2.35 Mercian King, 3.05 Woodfort (nb), 3.35 William Money, 4.10 I’m A Game Changer, 4.45 Mr Mercurial, 5.20 Gulshanigans

KEMPTON PARK: 5.45 Cuban Queen, 6.15 Albaster, 6.45 Askari, 7.15 Steelriver, 7.45 Winterlude, 8.15 Delagoa Bay

Lucky 15 selections: Saint Are (Doncaster 3.45), Woodfort (Ludlow 3.05), Delagoa Bay (Kempton Park 8.15), The Tailgater (Doncaster 3.15)

Both the NAP and Next Best selections won yesterday. Three from four in the lucky 15 went in with the other selection finishing second. Bah and humbug.

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST – TUESDAY

We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Newbury Races

Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) plans to contribute a record £22.9m towards prize money this year, an increase of £2.1m on 2016. A total of £45m is earmarked for JCR’s 15 tracks which have 341 fixtures, with £1.4m of the extra funding going to jump racing. Its seven smaller tracks – Carlisle, Exeter, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Nottingham, Warwick and Wincanton – will see more than £100,000 extra each in prize money and as much as £241,000 in the case of Carlisle. JCR group MD Paul Fisher said: “All levels of British Racing will benefit from the prize money increase, but I hope the clear boost for National Hunt racing and the grassroots of our sport is particularly welcome.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24055224&category=0
http://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/news/prize-money-contribution-up-by-21-million-to-record-229m
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49259/jockey-club-prize-money-boost-for-smaller-tracks


The announcement of £22.9m in prize-money at Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) this year has been well received. Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) chief executive Charlie Liverton said: “This announcement from Jockey Club Racecourses is excellent news for owners and horsemen, and I am further delighted that grassroots racing has seen particular focus. This extra support for the middle and lower tier of British Racing is clearly needed and is welcome. That is where it can help the majority of racehorse owners and horsemen and where more investment is needed around the country.”
Source: http://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/news/prize-money-contribution-up-by-21-million-to-record-229m

Bristol De Mai.jpg


The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai (right), who flopped in the Denman Chase at Newbury having previously been an impressive winner of the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock, is still on course for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. Pushed out to 25/1 for the March 17 showpiece by MyClubBetting yesterday, Anthony Bromley, representing owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, was upbeat. He said: “We’re still going to have a go at the Gold Cup,” but added, “it’s a big roll of the dice. Even the distance is still an unknown and there are some very smart horses in there. He’s a lovely horse but he is an outsider, don’t get us wrong”.
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24055224&category=0
http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/20/bristol-de-mai-team-to-‘roll-the-dice’-and-head-for-gold-cup
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49266/bristol-de-mai-team-to-roll-the-dice-and-head-for-gold-cup


Superb Story has been ruled out of the Champion Hurdle after suffering a tendon injury. He won comfortably on his only start of the season at Musselburgh, but trainer Dan Skelton tweeted: “Superb Story will not be running at Cheltenham. He’s got a small lesion in a tendon and will need time off. Possibly back in December.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10775911/superb-story-out-of-champion-hurdle-with-tendon-injury


ITV has launched new app, ITV Racing, in a tie-up with developer Monterosa. It features a new £100,000 predictor contest ITV7. ITV Digital Studios online editorial director Sheena Peirse said: “Horse racing is a major priority for us and we see the app as a crucial way to reach new and existing fans of the sport and launch the ITV7 competition.”
Source: http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/itv-launches-horseracing-app/5115201.article


The Neil King-trained Lil Rockerfeller will bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the National Spirit Hurdle since Lough Derg after being given the green light for Sunday’s feature at Fontwell. Owner Andy Smith said: “Lil Rockerfeller did a fantastic piece of work on Saturday morning, which Neil was delighted with, so we’re confident he’s over his last run and we go to Fontwell with high hopes.” Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge, second in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham and Different Gravey are also among the entries for the Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle trial.
Source: http://www.arenaracingcompany.co.uk/news/story/295

Emma Lavelle Getty.jpg


Emma Lavelle (right) is doing a rain dance ahead of Saturday’s Eider Handicap Chase for last year’s runner-up Shotgun Paddy. Lavelle said: “I’ve heard a going report saying ‘lovely drying wind’ – that is no good for him, but there is some rain about so hopefully it hits Newcastle. He’s a solid stayer and he deserves to win one of these big chases because he’s knocked on the door in so many of them.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10775728/shotgun-paddy-in-line-for-eider-chase-honours
http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/20/shotgun-paddy-and-raz-de-maree-in-line-for-eider-chase-honours


When it comes to Forest Bihan’s chances of landing the Racing Post Arkle Trophy, trainer Brian Ellison is a realist. “The favourite looks nailed on – Altior looks like a machine so we’re obviously running for place money, but we’ll see,” he said. Forest Bihan has won three of his four starts over fences and was cut to 20/1 by MyClubBetting after Ellison added: “He’s very well, I actually think he’s a little underrated looking at his price.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10775684/brian-ellison-aims-forest-bihan-at-arkle-trophy-at-cheltenham http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/20/brian-ellison-happy-to-take-arkle-challenge-with-forest-bihan


Capitaine is likely to be made favourite Saturday’s Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, a recognised trial for Cheltenham’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old chased home Finian’s Oscar in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time and heads 12 entries, along with Alan King’s Elgin.
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/preview/763094/capitaine-reaches-for-the-sky


Mutakayyef will have to concede upwards of 5lb to his rivals in the Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday. William Haggas’ six-year-old will face a maximum of 10 rivals, all of whom are rated 9lb or more lower, and is likely to be the MyClubBetting favourite. Former stablemate Battalion, now with Jamie Osborne, is also among the leading fancies with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Convey.
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/preview/763094/capitaine-reaches-for-the-sky
http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/20/mutakayyef-leads-11-in-winter-derby-contention


Terry Doherty, stud manager for Watership Down Stud, has been named as Employee of the Year 2017 at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards in a ceremony at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge. The perpetual Godolphin Trophy was presented by Freddy Tylicki, along with a cheque for £40,000, of which £20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at the Stud. It was part of £120,000 in prize money awarded by sponsors Godolphin. Chairman of the Judging Panel Brough Scott said: “The finalists were of a quite exceptional standard and it was really inspiring for the judges to hear their stories. However, in the end, Terry emerged as a clear and very fine winner and I am sure he will be a great ambassador for the sport.” Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24071724&category=0

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SOUTHWELL: 2.10 Log Off, 2.40 Elegantly Bound, 3.10 Vroom, 3.40 Lady Nayef, 4.10 Bounty Pursuit, 4.40 Horseguardsparade

TAUNTON: 2.20 Viking Mistress, 2.50 Lake Shore Drive, 3.20 Verdana Blue, 3.50 Heroes Or Ghosts, 4.20 Top Tug, 4.50 Monsieur Gibraltar, 5.20 My Story

WETHERBY: 2.00 Café Au Lait, 2.30 Money Maid, 3.00 Jerrysback, 3.30 Groomed, 4.00 Modulus, 4.30 Scarlet Fire, 5.00 Our Belle Aime

Today’s Lucky 15 Selections: Monsieur Gibraltar (Taunton 4.50), Bounty Pursuit (Southwell 4.10), Jerrysback (Wetherby 3.00), Elegantly Bound (Southwell 2.40)

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

MIDWEEK BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Champions League Guide

The Champions League returns with four games this week. Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at all of them.

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.

Antoine Griezmann.jpg

BAYER LEVERKUSEN v ATLETICO MADRID

Tuesday, 7.45pm

Leverkusen (12/5) saw off Tottenham and SCKA Sofia to reach the last 16, finishing second in the group to Monaco. Two wins and four draws means they are unbeaten in this competition. One of the more organised teams, Roger Schmidt’s side have shown plenty of resilience, without setting the world alight. The issue for us is a lack of goals and modest league form. They are currently mid-table in the German Bundesliga and striker Javier Hernandez is in fair goalscoring form, stop him and you effectively stop Leverkusen.

Atletico (11/8) come into this having topped Group D with five wins from six and having the likes of Bayern Munich behind them. Having lost two Champions League finals in three years, there is a deep determination to prove they can go the distance and while Diego Simeone has not been able to bring in reinforcements because of a transfer ban, the Spaniards are a side who are always capable of scoring.

Antoine Griezmann (above), reportedly on his way to Manchester United in the summer, Fernando Torres, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro will give any side fits in and around the penalty area. There are no obvious defensive weaknesses, so we expect them to go through, winning both legs.

VERDICT: BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0 ATLETICO MADRID 1 @ 11/2

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 8/15

Sergio Aguero.jpg
MANCHESTER CITY v MONACO

Tuesday 7:45pm

Manchester City’s (8/13) defence continues to look shaky, although John Stones is beginning to blossom after a shaky start to his City career. That is great news for Pep Guardiola and England. City’s home form was a strength in qualifying for the last 16, seeing off Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic, which saw a second-place finish behind Barcelona in Group C.

We do have concerns that Sergio Aguero (above) is unhappy at being replaced by the now-injured Gabriel Jesus, and while you can look at it as a blessing that he will be a hungry player anxious to prove a point, the flip side is his ego has been damaged and he feels disrespected. City look better with Yaya Toure in the starting line-up and in Kevin de Bruyne, they have a world-class midfielder who, for our money, has been consistently the best player in the Premier League since his arrival.

Monaco (17/4) arrive in form and are pushing for a first French title since 2000. Leonardo Jardim’s side were impressive in not only winning Group E (ahead of Beyer Leverkusen and Tottenham), they were also a delight to watch.

The resurgence of Radamel Falcao has been key to their success. He has scored more goals this season than in the last three seasons combined, so the Colombian is a man to be feared. It should be a really interesting battle between Stones and him, and it would not be a surprise should he get on the scoresheet in the first leg.

We see this as being a tight affair, but City’s home form should give them a cushion for the second leg on March 15.

VERDICT: MANCHESTER CITY 2 MONACO 1 @ 7/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 4/6

Andre Silva.jpg

PORTO v JUVENTUS

Wednesday 7:45pm

Porto (5/2) are a shadow of the side that won this competition under Jose Mourinho in 2004. They finished runners-up in the group behind Leicester and lack experience, which has shown in qualifying. The youngest squad in the Champions League have done well domestically, however, losing just twice all season, so they are no pushovers.

Keep an eye out for striker Andre Silva (above) – the Portuguese international has been in flying form recently and must go on the shortlist of players to score at any time.

It has been relatively plain sailing for Juventus (5/4) in Serie A. The Italians are well placed to follow up last season’s title – their fifth consecutive – and they have been excellent away from home in this competition, winning all three qualifying games on the road. The Bianconeri have the ability to soak up pressure and play on the break, thanks to experienced defenders who have a fabulous last-line of defence in keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

What they have lost in Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, they have made up for in work-rate and guile in the midfield. Up front, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have formed a formidable partnership. We don’t expect Juventus to slip up.

VERDICT: PORTO 0 JUVENTUS 2 @ 8/1

BEST BET: JUVENTUS TO WIN @ 5/4

Claudio Ranieri 2.jpg

SEVILLA FC v LEICESTER CITY

Wednesday 7:45pm

Out of the FA Cup and in danger of being relegated, Leicester City (15/2) are in turmoil. The Foxes have been a different animal in the Champions League, though, convincingly progressing to the knockout stage after winning four and drawing one of their opening five matches. Yes, they were thumped 5-0 at Porto, but that was with a second-string team.

Claudio Ranieri (above) is unlikely to employ the same tactics here, but quite what the tactics have been defensively this season is open to argument. They simply do not close down quickly enough and the void left by the departure of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea has been as wide as the Grand Canyon. It is clear he made the team tick, produced his teammates to give that little bit extra which lifted them to the title. Confidence is low and it will be a surprise should they come away with anything in this first-leg tie.

Sevilla (2/5) remain the hunt for the Spanish title and have plenty of experience of Europe, having won the Europa League for the past three seasons. Jorge Sampaoli’s side progressed to the last 16 behind Juventus and they will fancy their chances of building a healthy first-leg lead. Some would say a 2/5 shot does not represent value – in this case we would argue it does.

VERDICT: SEVILLA FC 4 LEICESTER CITY 1 @ 20/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 3/4


Stay tuned to our WordPress site for Previews and Betting Guides on a variety of Sports….

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

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