VENITIEN DE MAI has every right to reverse recent form with GILGAMBOA at these revised weights and with a better jockey. However, the 9 year old isn’t the most natural of jumpers and that’s the reason he hasn’t progressed. Despite winning last time out we were not overly impressed by GILGAMBOA, and the fact is he’s well below his best. Despite making his seasonal reappearance last years winner FOXROCK is the one to be on. From what we see this race isn’t more competitive than that and this fella has a great win record. Furthermore, he’s 5/6 for todays hockey Katie Walsh and half of his wins came on this type of ground. PS - will move to elite after the race.
Some might believe we have lost touch with sense when by tipping ATLANTIC ROLLER. Afterall, he’s finished second seven times and only won the once. Nevertheless, their was a lot to like about his last run over CD, and it was a more competitive race than this one. On that note KEEN HAUL looks extra soft, while GORES ISLAND would have had a better chance with the 10 pound claimer Gary Moore used last time. MULLAGHBOY is the most obvious danger, albeit the races he won were extremely poor. PS - will move to elite after the race.
FOURTH ACT could improve for his recent wind operation, but we say prove it first. THEO’S CHARM disappointed over fences and that last run makes us very concerned for those taking the 2/1. I SEE YOU WELL is consistent, albeit much better handicapped over fences. ROLL OF THE DICE has a bit to prove, so lets take Gary Moore’s other one CHRIS PEA GREEN. While it’s probably fair to say the 9 year old has seen better days, their was more to like about his recent run. The fact is he’s now 23 pounds lower and 10-8 shouldn’t be a burden. PS - will move to elite after the race.
CODY WYOMING loves it here, but a career high mark of 125 following his recent win will make it extra tough. Harry Cobden gave BRAMBLE BROOK a cracking ride at the last meeting to put his head forward near the post. Repeating that feat under a 4 pound higher mark won’t be easy, and he’s not exactly honest! DAREBIN is a decent type, but the ground could be against him and stepping up in trip is an unknown. Last but not least is the big weight, safe to pass. Their should be more to come from NATIVE ROBIN and a 6 pound rise for an easy success isn’t an unfair burden. 11-2 is a good racing weight and he won’t be dated by conditions. When considering the weakness of the others, he’s decent enough odds. - PS - will move to elite after the race.
Gent spent decent money on new players during the summer, so it’s probably fair to suggest the owners could have expected more. Nevertheless, the Buffalo’s have worked themselves up into the championship group, and they are a decent 6-1-1 from their last 8 matches. And, while that defeat came in the last round, it was against reigning champions Anderlecht (1-0). Furthermore, Yves Vanderhaeghe’s side were the equal of that opponent, and they have already beaten todays rival twice this season. When Lokeren lost the reverse fixture (0-3), a red card on 55 minutes didn’t help. However, it’s hard to get away from the fact that the visitors are 0-2-8 over the last ten meetings with Gent. And, you have to go back 24 meetings to 2009/10 season since they actually beat todays opponent. The visitors have at least won back to back, but the fact is they are fourth bottom of the league and don’t have much quality. Take the Buffalo’s to cover -1 (asian handicap). If they only win by a single goal bets are void, and they should certainly win!
Feyenoord shocked most Eredivisie professionals by winning last years championship. With Champions league football assured and a title to defend it would have been fair to expect the club owners to strengthen their squad during the summer. What happened was the opposite, with both Terence Kongolo (Monaco) and Rick Karsdorp (AS Roma) being sold on. And, while coach Giovanni Van Bronckhorst was given a handful of new players, none of them were really upto the class of those leaving. After winning their four opening league matches Feyenoord went into a nose dive. That catastrophic form tied in with the start of the Champions league, and they didn’t begin recovering until the end of november and going out of that competition. Six wins and a draw from their last seven matches suggest Van Bronckhorst’s team are back on track, but the fact is they are 14 points off the top and 9 behind todays rival. Ajax have probably the best footballing academy’s in Europe, and it’s normal for them to sell on there better players. In fact, whether they like it or not the Eredivisie isn’t good enough to keep top players interested for long. With that in mind, we were not overly concerned when the club cashed-in €57.5M during the summer. Afterall, the Godenzonen have plenty of depth and bringing in the youth isn’t an issue. Ajax had a disappointing start to the campaign but they are into full stride now. A 3-0 win over league leaders PSV marked their intent, and the firing of coach Marcel Keizer suggests the owners expect even more. Former Utrecht coach Erik Ten Haag is now at the helm and we expect that to be a very good appointment. A win today will keep them in touch with PSV, and we think that is what will happen. If Ajax win by exactly 1 the bet is void - other outcomes are logical!
Lyon are currently 12 points behind PSG, so the chances are they will be fighting it out for second place with Marseille and Monaco. Nevertheless, this is a team that are progressing nicely, and at least they still have a seat in the Europa ligue. Four wins and a draw from their last five matches tell us Bruno Genesio’s side are in good form, and the 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture was closer than the scoreline suggested. In fact, Lyon had just has many shots on target, and the punchline is the two goals conceded were ‘’own goals’’. PSG won this fixture last season (1-2), and that made it four in a row and eight from the last nine. The visitors have also won their last 8 competitive games, albeit three came in cups. And, while last weeks 8-0 against Dijon suggests the Parisians are in rampant form, they could only manage a 0-1 in Nantes. With all due respect to clubs lower down the division, they are not as competitive as Lyon. Home advantage, strong team news and being up for this big match make the hosts an interesting bet, and that’s especially the case with a goal headstart. If PSG win by one goal bet is void - other outcomes are easy to understand.
Udinese started the season terribly, but they are now in excellent form. In fact, after winning 5 from their last six and drawing the other, this is a very much in-form side. The reason for improvement could be newly appointed coach Massimo Oddo changing how the Zebrette play, since his teams are much more attacking and like to play on the front foot. That type of game suits Udinese well, and a 4-0 win over Verona and a 1-3 in Inter are further proof that they have goals in them! Whatever happens for the remainder of the season Spal have put up a spirited effort. Afterall, the 2013 formed club are new to Serie A and they don’t have the budget or support of other clubs. To be quite frank we can imagine Leonardo Semplici’s side hitting a brick wall, and we still believe they are likely to be relegated at the end of the campaign. On that note, recent back to back losses to Lazio (2-5) and Sampdoria (2-0) showed vulnerability, so we are not expecting much from them here. Honours even with missing players, albeit Udinese have a deeper squad and more options!
Newly promoted Benevento were the laughing stock of Serie A after they managed just one point from their opening 18 games. However, back to back wins against Chievo (1-0) and Sampdoria (3-2) have at least given Roberto De Zebri’s side some hope. And, the cub are at least showing ambition by recently signing new defenders Andrew Gravillon and Jean-Claude Billong. Bologna were promoted three seasons back, and they have improved season to season. With that said Roberto Donadoni’s side lost four from their last five league matches, and in the last round they played an horrible game against Torino. The consequence of recent performances is likely to be changes in the starting XI, so we are not convinced a close to full squad will make things better. Earlier on in the season Bologna won the reverse match (0-1), but that was only after Fabio Lucioni had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside. Visitors have got the bit between the teeth now, and with new defenders shoring up an already decent squad they have the right to point here.
Atalanta are doing much better than they were early in the season, but playing top of the league Napoli brings a different challenge. Whichever way you look at it the Partenopei and Juventus broke away from the pack, and that’s simply because they are the best teams in Serie A. The thing that stands out about the visitors is their near to perfect 9-1-0 on the road. Afterall, it means they have taken 5 more points when playing away compared to home. For the record Napoli managed 28 points from 10 matches (9-1-0), while Atalanta have 18 from the same amount of games at home. The hosts have a near to complete squad, because only De Roon is suspended. Ghoulam and Milik are still sidelined for coach Sarri, but the good news is Hamsik recovered from his knock in the last round and should start.
Traditionally speaking Real Sociedad take most of their points at home. However, this season Sacristan’s team are a negative 3-3-4, and they come into this having lost back to back. The reverse match ended 2-3 to Real, but that was first game of season. In any case, their is an argument to suggest the visitors are actually better on the road, and they come into this having won their last two roadies against Levante (0-1) and Deportivo Coruna (1-3). Neither team can complain about missing players. The hosts are without just Inigo Martinez and Zurutuza, while Vigo have just Hernandez sidelined. We really like Celta in this one!
Alaves lost their first five home matches and then won four from their last five. In fact, under newly appoint coach Aberlado the Basque club won their last three (league matches) at the Mendizorrotza, and they are 5/5 if we include the cup. In the last round of the league the Babazorros beat Sevilla (1-0) and that was despite playing the last qtr of an hour with ten men. With regards to team news, Duarte needs to serve a one match suspension, but Adrian Dieguez won’t have to serve a league ban for his cup red. Key player Alexis is freed up from his ban following five yellow cards. Burgui and Litri are still sidelined, but Carlos Vigaray is ready to return. Club captain Manu Garcia will need to prove his fitness, but he should be ready in time. In the last round Leganes quickly found themselves 2-0 down against Betis, albeit that was guilty of sitting back and making it easy for 2-2. Nevertheless, that luck only held out to the 83rd minute when Betis were given a penalty and converted a goal. To be realistic the better team won has Leganes looked the second best for most of the game. Visitors are without Dos Santos, Munoz, Szymanowski and suspended Gumbau. Take the much improved host to carry on winning. Leganes looked a bit soft last week and the hosts are doing much better under their new coach.