Ed Chamberlin: Villas-Boas focus
Ed Chamberlin looks at Saturday's St Leger at Doncaster and the Premier League in his latest column.
- Related Content
The sun has set on a glorious summer of sport. The greatest this country has ever seen. Doom and gloom might be setting in for some but I reckon we could see something pretty special at Doncaster on Saturday to lift the spirits. Also, with the Premier League getting in to full swing and the Ryder Cup kicking off the autumn, there is plenty for punters to look forward to.
Bar Frankel's brilliance this has been a low key season on the flat but it could have a high profile and brilliant ending. The appalling weather has been largely to blame but there's also been a shortage of good 'stories' on the track.
That could all change in the final few weeks of the season as the sensational mare, Snow Fairy, was a brilliant winner of the Irish Champion Stakes and could now go for glory in the Arc.
The eyes of the sporting world will be on Frankel's farewell at Ascot in a month's time and more immediately Camelot could go in to the record books at Doncaster on Saturday.
It was amazing to read this week that Aidan O'Brien almost saw St Nicholas Abbey's attempt to win the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last weekend as an irrelevance with Ballydoyle's focus solely on the St Leger and their attempt to make history - a first Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970.
Camelot is trading 1/3 with Sky Bet and I will be cheering him on but certainly not backing him at that price.
"Racing needs stars and stories and I love it when racing features on the back and front pages of the newspapers. However, for all his brilliance this season in the Classics we have no idea how Camelot will react to the slog up the straight over this longer trip on Town Moor."
He might well relish it and win by half the track but I wouldn't want to play at 1/3 to find out. I'd rather back a horse that is set to relish this longer trip and I'm automatically drawn to a John Gosden running in the Leger, a race in which he has a superb record.
Thought Worthy has been the shortest price of his runners in Sky Bet's ante-post market but I much prefer the chance of Michelangelo. This horse has the perfect profile for a Gosden St Leger challenger even down to finishing third in the same race as Arctic Cosmos did at Goodwood on his final start before winning at Donny.
Michelangelo was never travelling on Goodwood's undulations that day and back on a conventional track and over the extra two furlongs this is a horse that I think is open to a stack of improvement.
I'm told that Michelangelo has been working the house down in Newmarket. I think he's the favourite's biggest danger and will be backing Michelangelo each-way or in the market without Camelot.
A brilliant weekend of Premier League football is set to lift spirits after a miserable Tuesday night of World Cup qualifiers for the home nations.
- Barclays Prem
I'll be heading to the Madejski Stadium for Super Sunday and an intriguing contest between Reading (13/5 to win with Sky Bet) and Tottenham (evens). This is our first chance on Sky Sports this season to see the new-look Spurs side under Andre Villas Boas at first hand and we will have Glenn Hoddle in the studio to analyse it.
Tottenham were the second biggest spenders in the summer transfer window - their £55.8m was beaten only by Chelsea (£82.1m). Moussa Dembele should turn out to be an excellent signing, while it's surely just a matter of time before Clint Dempsey gets going again.
Both need to hit the ground running as Tottenham have made their worst start to a season in four years since they took one point from their opening three games in 2008.
That season they took just two points from their opening eight games (their worst ever start to a season) resulting in the sacking of Juande Ramos and the appointment of Harry Redknapp. Slow starts are nothing new for Tottenham - only twice in the last nine seasons have they won more than one of their opening three games (2005 and 2009).
Andre Villas-Boas is bound to feature in plenty of chat on the show as he looks for his first win as Tottenham manager and, worryingly for him, no Spurs manager has ever failed to win any of his opening four League matches.
As for Reading, they have not played in the Premier League for 25 days since the 4-2 defeat v Chelsea on August 22 as the game at Sunderland was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
If they lose on Sunday if will be their worst start to a season since 1997-98 when they took one point from their opening three games and ended up being relegated to the third tier. Reading may be a bit rusty but they are a tough nut to crack and in-running punters must bear in mind how strongly Brian McDermott's side finishes games.
Monday Night Football returns the following day and if Everton (4/5) perform like they did on the first show of the season then Newcastle (100/30) will have their work cut out.
Everton were awesome on MNF against Manchester United and David Moyes will want to see them bounce back to their best after a disappointing display two weeks ago at West Brom.
"The Toffees are down to 13/2 to finish in the top four, 6/4 to finish in the top six, and if they win on Monday night it will be their best start after four games of a Premier league season since they took ten points from the first four games in 2006 before going on to finish sixth."
Most relevant is that Everton have won their last five Premier League home games, scoring 14 goals and conceding only one in the process. It's hard to see Toffees coming unstuck.
I hope you can Gary Neville and me at 7pm on Sky Sports 1HD.