Irish derby - Seamie Heffernan is getting the first choice at Ballydoyle, but has is often the case with this stable they don’t always get it right. His mount and favourite SANTIAGO is a strong staying type who performs more like a group horse, for me he’s beatable. Bearing in mind this is the derby, ARTHURS KINGDOM had one chance too many. FISCAL RULES will appreciate the step up in trip, and unbeaten CROSSFIREHURRICANE is respected. However, for the winner one stands out at these odds and that’s SHERPA. He needed the return run more than most and he’s expected to be fitter and wiser today!
Les Eyre had 6 runners to date, 4 of them finished placed at odds of 12/1,40/1, 22/1 and 22/1. One of them was 2nd placed UNDERCOVER BROTHER, and he’s the one we want to be on here. While the five year old is a bit headstrong, he’s very fast and will be hard to peg back. In his last race at Beverley he was only worn down inside the final furlong, and that’s at one of the stiffest tracks in the country and from a bad outside draw. Redcar is the best track for such types, and he’s genuine enough once he gets racing!
If you had watched Luzern lose that midweek match to Lugano (2-0), you would have probably been asking yourself how did this team go 5-1-0 over the last six games. The Shiners had most of the ball in Lugano, but that doesn’t mean they created many chances. The team who had beaten the top three sides in those previous 6 matches lacked ideas, and when they did get into a good position the forwards put the ball in the stands! We rightly predicted that Sion would take at least a point from Servette (1-1), and that’s exactly what happened. In fact, it could have been a defeat if that opponent hadn’t missed a penalty, albeit with that said it would have been wrong for Alain Geiger´s team not to share the points! The visitors might have drawn both games since resumption, but the fact is they are better than todays opponent. Earlier on in the season they won the reverse match, and they also won the reverse game. Luzern are not particularly beneficiaries when playing at home, thus we have to make this bet!
Prior to the Championship group starting, Aarhus travelled to Aalborg and grabbed another three points. While AAB had most of the ball in that game, it was the Whites who created more goalscoring opportunities. In fact, they managed three times goal attempts (7-21) and 4-11 shots on target. For the record, that was from just 35% possession! While it’s true to say AAB won a more recent cup match against David Nielsen´s team, we suggest you pay more attention to the league. Afterall, while the visitors lost 4 straight, while Aarhus have won at pending champions Midtjylland (3-4) and that followed another win against Nordsjaelland. AAB lost their last three games to nil (8-0), and now their interest is in winning the final of the cup against Sonderjyske. With little left to play for in this competition, damage limitation to key players is a must! Aarhus have been a revelation this season, and if anything they are getting stronger by the game. Playing at home is advantageous, but motivation is the biggest betting factor! Odds moved down a bit over night, but they bounced back early morning. Getting-1 is a good starting point, because we had -1.5 on our sheet!
The players of Betis need a wake up call, and the board of directors have given it them. Following the last round defeat in Athletic Bilbao, coach Rubi was fired. Alexis Trujillo has been given the caretaker manager role. On a positive note, his appointment is at a great time has tonights opposition is bottom club Espanyol! Initially the Periquitos made a good return by drawing with Atletico and then beating Alaves. However, ill discipline appears to have returned to the forefront, and the visitors come into this with defenders Cabrera and Espinosa suspended. Another defender Vila is now on the injury list, while another two back row players Corchia and Gomez are still sidelined. Add to that Ferreyra and Vargas won’t be available, the coach clearly has his work cut out! Betis have a few doubtful, but only Javi Garcia is a confirmed absentee. With the situation like it is, the hosts must be strong favourites to get back winning!
In the last round, Lugano deserved the point against Servette. Following two friendly wins Maurizio Jacobacci had his team well prepared, and to be fair they delivered a good all-round game. With that said, Jonathan Sabottini was stupid to get himself sent off, he’s suspended for tonight. Macek, Obexer and Sulmoni are still sidelined, while Holender are carrying knocks and might sit this one out! In the last round Luzern got the better of Basle (2-1), and if anything the margin of win could have been bigger again. Following a very poor start to the campaign, the Shiners won 6 from their last 7 league matches and the other was a draw. The top three teams Basle, Young Boys and St Gallen have all been victims, proving the mid season appointment of Fabio Celestini has been a great move! The visitors are particularly good travellers, and only Schwegler, Ndenge and Balaruban are confirmed absentees. No doubt the Luzern coach will be wanting to get one over on the club which fired him, and being the form team of the division why not!
In my experience William Haggas leaves a bit to work on, he’s likely to be holding back with AL QAASIM. Don’t get me wrong, he will still be out to do his best, but fully tuned will come when he’s got a h´cap mark and a bigger prize waiting. CAMPARI is 80 rated, so finishing in front of him would mean a mark higher than that. If Roger Charlton´s Due Diligence gelding runs to his level, this should be for the taking!
Low grade affair, with several of these hard to win with. MADRINHO (4/59) and GREY GALLEON (2/25) fit into that category. DESERT LAND was a half a length winner of his last race with MADRINHO fifth (1.25L) and SOLDIERS SON sixth (1.75L), and on this occasion I fancy the latter to gain revenge. Henry Candy is legging up his 7 pound claimer Emma Taff. She knows this lightly raced gelding well, and a 4 pound weight pull on a track which suits prominent racers better gives a good chance to reverse.
At the weekend, Verona rode their luck against Cagliari. To be fair they played part of that game with a man less, but it has to be said they benefitted from their opponents finishing! Don’t get us wrong, the season promoted hosts are having a great season. Ivan Juric must be totally happy with the way his low cost squad have been gelling, and with 8 games remaining they even have a chance to qualify for Europe! However, tonights opponent is Napoli, a team who beat then 2-0 in the reverse fixture. The Partenopei come into this having won the Italian cup, and they lost just one of their last eleven games. A look at the teams Napoli have been beating suggest they just need to turn up to win this. Since Gattuso took over the coaching role row visitors are returning to top form. Add to that Napoli are in a much better place with team news, and Verona must be due a bit of a reality check!
ONE VOICE got caught by his bigger priced stable mate on his seasonal reappearance. In my opinion the form of that race is questionable, she’s ready to be taken on with AMMA GRACE. Declan Weld´s filly should have more to give, and the trainer has found a relatively soft group three here. The selection is a course winner and she’s clearly going to get this trip and more. The two from the O’Brien stable are anyones guess!
Course and distance winner ARBALET finished 5th on his stable debut. According to his past marks he’s well treated, and he’s with the right trainer. However, he was expected to win that Newmarket race, and I’m going to take him on with THE GREAT HEIR. The Kevin Ryan / Kevin Stott team must be on cloud nine following yesterdays Ascot double. Confidence is a great thing in a jockey, and he’s on a course winner who should be ready to do himself justice!
This race is just 7F, thus weights probably mean less. All the same, 4 year old CONFIDE (NON RUNNER) has a welter burden and that debut win is extremely hard to evaluate. HIGH ACCOLADE was expected to win on his debut and he did. The form is worth about 80, so giving 5 pounds to the Ryan/Stott SOARING STAR means he will need to improve. This fella should find a bit more now that he’s gelded, and the extra furlong is right!