Despite like the way Katy Price trains, i wouldn’t touch her mare Luca Lady for any odds. The seven year old doesn’t like winning, and that’s why she’s got seven 2nd places in the book. ROSEMARY RUSSET could improve a bit, but she needs to find a lot on her latest effort. MISH MASH ran well enough on her two attempts this year, but the champ is deserting her in favour of seasonal debutant MIDNIGHT GLORY. The biggest question with the six year old is can she get it back together, and we believe the answer is a definite yes. Trust RJ to get the job done!
Could have cried when Jonathan Burke couldn’t quite get NIGHTFLY (btw SH) past Mercian King yesterday, and to be honest we were a little critical of the jockey after the race. However, he’s a good chase rider and in ROCKLANDER he’s got a real natural. The nonie year old is lightly raced, but he goes particularly well fresh. The 10 pounds he receives from BENATAR is massive, and he should prove stronger than both DOLOS and BEGGAR’S WISH.
Phillip Hobbs had three winners yesterday, but it wasn’t all good. In fact, we can’t get out of our minds how poorly his MELEKOV jumped. The horse never raised a leg and he made champion jockey Richard Johnson look very average. The same combination pair up here with favourite CROOKS PARK, but we have no hesitation in taking on the five year old with ROUGE VIF. The last time we tipped this horse he became a non - runner, and we see that has a positive. Afterall, he’s bred for easy ground, he’s from a really good family and he was impressive on his bumper debut. Being trained by Harry Whittington is keeping the odds honest.
Lots of Novice races in Ireland are very one-sided, so the odds can be very short. However, that’s not the case here, and we see a lot of value in taking decent odds about MOONBALL. The four year old showed a great deal of promise on his chasing debut, and transitioning so young suggests he’s a natural jumper. With that in mind and the massive weight for age allowance he’s receiving, he’s got to be a good bet to beat a bunch of runners who have had their chance!
Tennis (on the site) is just a fill-in this week because of little football - but we won't be making a habit of it, thanks for understanding! --- Margarita Gasparyan dug very deep to see off Kiki Bertens in a match lasting 2:21. However, it should be noted that she had 8 break points against her in the final, and she saved seven of them. That compared to just one for Bertens, who incidentally went a break up before letting the Russian off the hook. In conclusion, we can congratulate Gasparyan, but we have to say Bertens was a let down! Camila Giorgi had it relatively easy against both Jil Terichmann and Pauline Parmentier. And, while those two players are nothing special, we thought the Italian looked accomplished. Giorgi is having a good year, and her rank is back up at number 32. If the 26 year old can continue building, she should hit a new career high this week! Gasparyan won their only meeting, and that was at this tournament. Nevertheless, it’s Giorgi who is doing better now!
We won't be adding tennis tomorrow! ------- Alison Van Uytvanck should never have beaten Anna Schmiedlova. In fact, her opponent had three match points, but she wobbled and that allowed AVU to get back on top and win a final set tie breaker. Nevertheless, it was far from impressive, and you have to believe it was her opponent who lost! Despite it being just a two-setter, Barbora Strycova needed 2:34 to get past Kirsten Flipkens. Suffice to say, some of the rallies in that match were very long, so it was a game of wills. No doubt Strycova was relieved to play just 47 minutes against Kristyna Pliskova, in what amounted to a very one sided match. The 32 year old is playing really consistent tennis, and don’t forget she comes here has the defending champion. Bab’s in two!
Earlier this year Elise Mertens thrashed Su-Wei Hsieh (6-0 6-2). And, while that was on clay, we don’t believe these courts will give Hsieh any intrinsically advantage. Whichever way you look at it, Mertens is a class act at this level. In fact, the 22 year old is 48/19 on the year, and her rank of 15 says it all. The other thing we like about the Belgium player is decisiveness, she’s on top of it all! Fair play to Hsieh for working her way to rank 30, and her 39/22 isn’t bad. However, she’s not at the same level has her opponent, and 15 of those defeats came in straight sets! Elise to win in two!
WE ARE NOT SENDING OUT TIPS TO ANYONE OTHER THAN FULLY PAID UP SUBSCRIBERS TODAY + WE ARE NOT TAKING NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR THIS WEEKS TOURNAMENTS - BIG WRITING, BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE CLEAR!! ———Daria Gavrilova is a talented tennis player, but she clearly lacks focus. That’s one of the reasons she often needs three sets to close out. We also believe it’s playing long matches that leaves her short of energy when the tournament progresses, so that’s a danger here. Nevertheless, the 24 year old Australian is a fair bit better than Shuai Zhang, and we expect her to prove that here. Bare in mind that Dasha made the final of this tournament last year, and she only lost a final set tie-breaker to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. And, to prove that wasn’t a bit of luck, she also made the semis in 2016. Zhang is a real trier, and she’s had a fair bit of success. Nevertheless, she’s not at her best, and Dasha is likely to prove too strong!
In a Big 12 match up, TCU hosts Texas Tech as both teams enter this game at 3-2 and have had extra time to prepare, coming off bye weeks. TCU's last game was an ugly 17-14 win over Iowa St where QB Shawn Robinson struggled with turnovers and was limited to just 182 passing yards completing 21 of 29 pass attempts. Robinson has been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury that's likely the cause of his turnover issues and he is considered questionable for this game. Coach Gary Patterson indicated on Monday that Robinson is cleared to play and we believe he will see the bulk of snaps regardless of whether he starts. On the other side, Texas Tech's QB Alan Bowman is also questionable after suffering a collapsed lung in his last game against West Virginia. Bowman's status is still up in the air but we believe he is much more doubtful and it's likely that Jett Duffey gets the nod under center. This is a setback for the Red Raiders in our opinion as we believe Duffey is a major downgrade in terms of the passing game and his dual threat ability shouldn't be much of a threat against the Horned Frogs' stout run defense. Texas Tech's defense is perennially among the worst in all of Division I but this has changed somewhat over the past 2 seasons and they should also be getting some injured players back in their secondary. At any rate, we don't believe a still injured Robinson is one that can take full advantage of Texas Tech's defensive liabilities nor is Duffey to find the chemistry with his talented receivers against a TCU secondary that can be susceptible to explosive plays. Both teams should be fresh off the bye and have extensive gameplans but we believe the personnel will hold this back into a lower scoring affair!
In an NFC East showdown, two struggling teams square off as the 1-4 Giants host the 2-3 Eagles. The Giants lost a heartbreaker last week at Carolina as they came from 13 down in the 4th quarter to take a 1 point lead only to watch Panthers K Graham Gano kick a 63 yard field goal as time expired to win it for the home team. Despite the loss, it was an inspired performance, especially given some controversial and divisive comments from WR Odell Beckham that were aired on that morning. On the other side, the Eagles dropped their 2nd in a row and 3rd in their last 4 as they lost to the Vikings 23-21 and QB Carson Wentz has looked less mobile and still shaking off some of the rust after missing almost a full calendar year with an ACL tear. Furthermore, RB Jay Ajayi was lost for the season after tearing his ACL against Minnesota leaving an already thin group in the backfield to be led by Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood. The Eagles will also miss key defensive lineman Haloti Ngata and safety Corey Graham. For the Giants, there was positive news as Olivier Vernon will make his return tonight albeit on a limited snap count but TE Evan Engram and WR Russell Shepard are both out. There is no question that QB Eli Manning is on the downslope of his career and he he has tended to struggle more when playing at home. However, the Eagles front 4 hasn't been the dominant line they were last season and struggled against a very poor Vikings offensive line last week, frequently getting handled in the trenches. Furthermore, the Eagles have had issues with their offensive line as well, and could see some pressure with Olivier Vernon back in the fold. The Eagles receiving corps haven't been too impressive and Wentz's top target, TE Zach Ertz should be defended well by a Giants defense that's limited opposing tight ends to just 54.4 yards per game. We believe the hosts have a legitimate chance to win this outright!
You can be pretty sure that Kristina Mladenovic won’t remember too much from 2018, because the French girl has seen a massive dip in form. In fact, the former number ten in the world is just 20/26 on the year, and it feels like a long way back to making the final of St Petersburg. To be fair, Mladenovic has a good record on indoor courts (65.5%), but we can’t imagine her having a chance against Timea Babos. Afterall, the base-liner looked great in beating Donna Vekic (6-1 6-1), and that took her record to 72.34% on such a court. Take Timea to kill it!
The battle for Czech pride taking place here, and head to heads have Barbora Strycova leading 1-0. With that said, that match took place in 2013, and it was played on clay. We bet Flipkens with +3.5 to get the better of Strycova in the last round, and she duly got within the h’cap. However, it was the diminutive Strycova who held her nerve to win two tie breakers, and thus she progressed. Nevertheless, six double faults and 13 break points tell the story, it wasn’t impressive! Kristyna Pliskova beat Irina Maria Bara easily enough in the first round of qualifying, but then lost in straight sets to Anna Blinkova. However, the latter shouldn’t be taken serious, because Kristyna knew she was going to receive a lucky loser card. In the first round proper, the 26 year old was a tidy winner from Valentina Grammatikopoulou. And, it’s noticeable that she’s now back on her favoured surface. We can imagine Kristyna winning here, but +3.5 games is better again!