FLEMERINA is certainly the one to beat for her in form yard, but carrying 11-10 and being the same odds makes her a take-on. HEPBURN falls into the too much weight category, while MASSINI’S LADY needs to prove she wants it and can jump. Since KILLCULLEN LADY has a lot to prove, we believe it’s worth taking a chance with chasing debutant HONEYCHILE RYDER. Dianne Sayer’s seven year old made a pleasing return, and she could do better now she’s going over the larger obstacles. All in all, these odds are very tempting!
A few of these have been winning and that means they have gone up the weights. CUCKLINGTON is one who is finding it hard from his new mark, while stable companion MUFFINS FOR TEA will struggle with 105. HEY BILL and SPEEDALONG are also penalised for winning last time out, and neither have much scope for improvement. Back to back point to point winner was found out by his massive weight last time out. Today the 8 year old is receiving from the principals, and he should prove better still on this decent ground. James Best is a good booking, and odds of 7/2 are fair enough.
BORDER CONTROL clearly didn’t stay the three miles last time out. Prior to that Joseph O’Brien’s five year old ran a cracker against Another Barney, and he finished 3.75 lengths in front of the third place Grotesque. On a strict line of form he’s got a couple of pounds to find with Willie Mullins charge GIANT SPIRIT, albeit we don’t believe that gelding is up to his handicap rating! GREAT KHAN is clearly held, while some of the others will need to improve drastically. For us this looks a race between the top two in betting!
TELL ME ANNIE ran well enough on her return, albeit she only finished a little in front of COUNTESS CATHLEEN. Nevertheless, she should be better suited by the step up in trip than that one. A line through MOONLIGHT ESCAPE suggests TRUMPS ACE has a fair bit to find. While we are not overly happy to be betting a runner giving weight away, the flat form of DECISION TIME stands up well. Not only did she win well when last seen, she also beat 115 rated OSCO MOSCO by 5.5 lengths in a bumper, and she gave that mare 5 pounds.
Mississippi St has been on a roll with 7 consecutive wins ATS but this is a team we have watched carefully and they are a bit underwhelming offensively. Ole Miss ranks as the worst SEC team and while the Bulldogs 79-62 win over the Rebels looks impressive, it was over a checked out team that became more evident when their head coach resigned after the game. Even the game prior where the Bulldogs lost by just a point to a dangerous Vanderbilt team came after the Commodores built a large lead then got careless at the end. We're not sure what Texas A&M's issues are on the road but the fact remains they enjoy one of the better home court advantages as shown by their 12-2 mark at home. The Aggies suffered a setback when Duane Wilson was lost for the season but with everyone else back from injuries/suspensions and distractions at a minimum, this is one of the teams we rate very highly and even moreso playing on their home court. The Aggies' suffocating defense is a site to behold and should allow the hosts to cruise to a comfortable win.
The Explorers have been in dreadful form, especially against the market as they are a dismal 1-12 ATS in their last 13 games. Still, if there is a modicum of hope for this bet, the Explorers have shown to be markedly better at home, where they have won 4 out of their last 5 and the non-covers by just a few points. The Rams have dominated the Atlantic-10 with a 13-1 record but are coming off their lone loss to a conference opponent, St Bonaventure, over the weekend. We will again roll the dice on the hosts as they have the talent and fantastic guards that should do well in this matchup. The Rams excel at guarding the perimeter but the Explorers prefer to drive into the paint for most of their scoring. The Explorers' dreadful 3 pt defense also should be mitigated by the fact that the Rams prefer to shoot inside the arc as well.
We admire anyone who is willing to go out on court and play professional tennis. Nevertheless, we feel like a lot of players are simply going through the motions, and one that fits this description is Johanna Larsson. Don’t get us wrong the Swede is super fit and holds her rank well, but at the same time it’s like watching a machine. In any case, Larsson is more of a clay player and we believe she’s very beatable here. Magdalena Frech has a solid record at ITF level, and she now appears ready for taking to the bigger stage. Beating players such has Sofya Zhuk and Kayla Day (easily) at the Aussie open suggests she’s up to the task of doing well in a minor tournament like this. And, that was rubber stamped in the final round of qualifying when she thrashed Anna Blinkova. Suffice to say, more of the same should be enough!
It's been a terribly disappointing season for Rutgers as they sit in a 3 way tie for last place in the Big 10 with Minnesota and Iowa. It's hard to find motivation for a team that's just playing the regular season out but the Scarlet Knights have endured some embarrassing losses, one of which came at the hands of the Buckeyes, so perhaps that can serve its purpose here. The Buckeyes are in much better shape at 13-3 in conference play and 1 game behind top seed Michigan St. However, they are coming off a tough, always emotional game against Michigan over the weekend and could certainly be looking ahead to another tough matchup against Indiana at Bloomington. The Scarlet Knights' have few redeeming qualities but one has been their defense which should be enough to keep this within reason against an opponent that may not be completely focused.
You have to admire Roberta Vinci for her long career, and it’s amazing to think she reached her highest rank (7) at the age of 33. However, 2017 was full of disappointments and injuries, and 2018 isn’t going any better. The just turned 35 year old is due to go into retirement following Rome, and their is nothing to suggest she’s going to leave with a big bang. While the Italian won matches this season, the fact is she really struggled past Kalinskaya and Lapko in qualifying. And, now she gets to face the very much up and coming Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The 23 year old from Belarus is 9-2 on the year. She beat Mladanovic, Sevastova, Cornet and Kontaveit on her way to the final of Brisbane. And, she treated both Lucic Baroni and McHale with disdain at the Aussie open. In fact, only Caroline Garcia (3 sets) and Svitolina have beaten her this season. If Sasnovich plays her game this should be easy!
Their is an argument to suggest Caroline Garcia is in a better place than Lucie Safarova at the moment, and of course the 24 year old French girl has age on her side. Beating the likes of Cibulkova, Blinkova, Sasnovich and Vondrousova are all decent efforts from the world number 7, albeit they all went 3 sets. It’s probably fair to suggest that Garcia needs to learn how to be ruthless has she’s always vulnerable. That comment has long applied to probably the friendliest player on tour. Everyone loves Lucie and she’s certainly a very good player who can beat most on her day. While the now 31 year old had a tough time of it last season with injuries, she appears to be free of any impediment for now. Lucie beat Cirstea in straight sets at the Aussie, and she also took another power player Kristina Pliskova close. We can imagine her performing well here, and that’s why we want to take her with a h’cap start!
We would bet just about anyone to beat Sam Stosur at the moment. The Aussie might have qualified in fair style, but she really beat very little. Losing recently to an out of form Puig and Hibino tell us all we need to know about the 33 year old. In any case, it isn’t has though Anett Kontaveit will come up short. The 22 year old Estonian has already beaten Krunic, Barthel and Ostapenko at this years Australian open, and she came really good at this time last season!
Qiang Wang dropped Jelena Ostapenko, Ons Jabeur and Kristina Mladenovic out of this competition last year. In fact, she went on to make the QF before losing a tight two setter to Anastasija Sevastova. While the 26 year old had to qualify this time around, we actually see that has a positive. Forget the fact she wis a lucky lucky loser here has that was known before she played Sofya Zhuk. Kiki Bertens went out of this competition at the first hurdle last year. Nothing she’s done recently would suggest she’s going to be a big player here. We would also suggest waiting for the clay season before following the 26 year old.