Our team pick out their antepost fancies for a range of sports
Our team pick out their antepost fancies for a range of sports

Best Bets for 2022: Antepost betting tips and analysis for the year ahead


Mount Ida to win the Grand National

By Matt Brocklebank

Timeform reported MOUNT IDA’s Cheltenham Festival victory would be a "performance likely to be remembered for many a year by all who witnessed it", but for those in need of a quick refresher, here goes:

Mount Ida, running under the banner of Denise Foster during trainer Gordon Elliott’s ban, lined up under Jack Kennedy for the Kim Muir, run over three miles and two furlongs on the New Course.

The seven-year-old, who won a bumper and a maiden hurdle but never quite cut it at Graded level before switching to fences, was worryingly inexperienced after just three chase runs, and was making her handicap debut from a BHA rating of 142.

She was sent off the 3/1 favourite.

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Jumping away to her right, she was near the back early on and by the sixth fence had soon dropped to dead last, trading at the maximum (999/1) on the Betfair Exchange.

Despite all of this, Kennedy never looked in the slightest bit rattled and, after picking off rivals one by one on the second circuit, Mount Ida came through to lead two out and forged up the hill to beat Cloudy Glen by six and a half lengths.

It was an extraordinary performance.

Here is a horse with obvious quirks and yet everything about her suggests to me that she could absolutely relish the idiosyncratic nature of a Grand National.

She has already made a fine start to the current campaign, winning at Clonmel, she remains unexposed at marathon distances, and assistant trainer Lisa O’Neill kindly let slip that Aintree is the long-term goal.

A fascinating contender whichever way you look at it, she looks at worst a fun, small-stakes project to sit on until spring. At best, it’s not inconceivable to imagine Mount Ida as a genuine market leader by the time the race comes around.

Check out the latest preview


South Africa to win the T20 World Cup

By Richard Mann

Only net run-rate stopped SOUTH AFRICA from qualifying for the semi-finals of the recent T20 World Cup in the UAE, Australia slipping through the back door instead before eventually going on to title glory in a rain of sixes.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for South Africa, but they will have swift opportunity to put that right in October as the 2022 T20 World Cup takes place Down Under. With a rapidly improving side to go to war with and conditions sure to be their liking, South Africa are worth supporting at 16/1 to finally break their ICC tournament duck.

Fifteen T20I wins in 2021 – a number only bettered on three previous occasions in a calendar year – confirms this is a side very much on the up, one that has fast bowling covered by Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, spin in the form of the world-class Tabraiz Shamsi, and a whole host of other options that ensure competition for places will remain strong.

Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje share a joke
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje share a joke

With Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram developing into outstanding T20 batsmen, and Quinton de Kock boasting such a strong record in Australia, the batting looks equally fearsome before even considering some exciting young prospects who have just under a year to state their case for World Cup selection.

One of those names is Kyle Verreynne – an aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman who has impressed in the nine ODIs he has played so far. He is a big talent, though not quite as big as Zubayr Hamza who has already played Test cricket and is sure to come again.

This is the next generation of South African cricket and it looks good. With such a strong core of established, experienced internationals already settled into their roles and so much talent coming through, the Proteas should be able to make a splash in the forthcoming World Cup.

South Africa weren’t too far away in the UAE, and 2022 might just prove to be their time.


Arsenal to win the FA Cup

By Tom Carnduff

Make no mistake about it, recent history shows just how much ARSENAL love this competition. They won it in 2019/20, and four of the last eight editions of the FA Cup have finished with the trophy in North London.

There is no denying that Arsenal's own recent history has been poor with their league position firmly outside of the top-four we consistently witnessed under Arsene Wenger's guidance – but they are now a side on the up.

Mikel Arteta has this side organised and playing. While questions about performances against the top sides remain, they will sit fourth in the Premier League table on Christmas day.

They face Sky Bet Championship side Nottingham Forest in the third round – a potentially tricky away fixture – but Arsenal will place importance on this competition alongside progress in the league.

It's key given their lack of involvement in Europe this season.

The Gunners squad is also in a decent enough position for rotation in areas. There is the potential for further recruits in January to help with their top-four push.

Another trophy will be a sign of their long-term upward trajectory under Arteta's guidance. At the prices available, they represent good value in the FA Cup outright market.

Our outright preview with best bets for the FA Cup


Tuesday to win the Cazoo Oaks

By Ben Linfoot

There looked to be a changing of the guard last year when it came to the Classic-makers with Frankel landing three British and Irish Classics thanks to his sons Adayar and Hurricane Lane.

The go-to stallion for many a year has been Frankel’s own sire, Galileo, a breeding phenomenon who passed away in 2021 at the age of 23, but his legacy may well have one or two final chapters yet.

He had 44 juveniles run in Britain and Ireland this year, winning with nine of them, but it’s one of the maidens that catches the eye in the Cazoo Oaks with Aidan O’Brien’s TUESDAY available at 33/1.

As you would expect, she’s beautifully bred being out of the dual-Group One winner Lillie Langtry, making her a full-sister to Minding, the seven-time Group One heroine who landed the Oaks at Epsom in 2016. She’s also a full-sister to Empress Josephine, Galileo’s only British or Irish Classic winner in 2021.

Minding ran five times at two, but Empress Josephine wasn’t seen at all as a juvenile – so it’s no real concern that Tuesday was seen just the once at two when she was a highly-encouraging short head second to subsequent Group One winner, Discoveries.

That was in a seven-furlong maiden at the Curragh on June 25 where she shaped tremendously well, despite running green, and given what Discoveries did afterwards when winning the Moyglare, Tuesday has to be rated a top prospect.

She’s 25/1 for the 1000 Guineas, but given she only raced once at two I’d rather back her at a slightly bigger price for the Oaks in June and hope that she lays down a marker for the race with her displays in the spring.

Native Trial edges out Masekela in the Superlative Stakes
Click the image for Ben Linfoot's 2022 Classics preview


Matthew Wolff to win the US PGA

By Ben Coley

MATTHEW WOLFF is a massive, back-to-form talent who is of interest in at least three majors but particularly so for this one, played in the state where he enjoyed so much success as a college golfer.

Wolff endured a nightmare start to 2021, which culminated in him taking a break after a Masters disqualification was followed by an abysmal display alongside Collin Morikawa in the Zurich Classic pairs event. All of this was particularly disappointing given that he'd finished second in Bryson DeChambeau's US Open and then second again on his next start late in 2020.

We've since learned that Wolff needed time away to deal with mental health issues, the life of a touring professional – even one of his class – not always as easy as it may seem from the outside. Thankfully, he was brave and mature enough to step away, and such is his talent that he was able to contend for the US Open straight out of the gate upon his return, ultimately finishing 15th at Torrey Pines.

A quiet summer followed, but Wolff again capitalised on time away when returning to mark himself down as one to follow with a string of encouraging displays to start the new season. Seventeenth in the Sanderson Farms wasn't enough to stop his slide down the rankings but second place next time was, and he's since added fifth in Mexico and 11th in Houston, a sequence of four top-20 finishes which represents the foundations for a big 2022.

Firmly back on track and having contended in three of his five major championship appearances so far, securing top-five finishes in two of them, Wolff's upside is significant, and the fact he'll be roared on by what's effectively home support is a nice little plus.

Sam Burns is too big a price for the Open - and looks worth following in general next year
Click the image for Ben Coley's 2022 majors preview


Germany to win the World Cup

By Jake Pearson

Arguably no team were more impressive in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup than Hansi Flick’s Germany.

Die Mannschaft may have lost to North Macedonia three games in, but that was under Joachim Low. Since former Bayern Munich manager Flick took charge post-Euro 2020, the Germans have been utterly ruthless.

Rejuvenated under their new coach, they won all seven qualification games, scoring 31 goals and conceding just twice.

Germany boast an impressive mix of young talent and experienced heads, and crucially, are a well-rounded team. They do not rely on individuals, with 12 different players netting since Flick took charge.

Their round of 16 defeat by England at the Euros will be a distant memory, and a general price of 10/1 about GERMANY TO WIN THE WORLD CUP looks a little big at present.

Germany under Hansi Flick
Click the image for Jake Pearson's full preview


Tenebrism to win the 1000 Guineas

By David Ord

Inspiral goes into winter quarters as favourite for the 1000 Guineas. John and Thady Gosden’s charge enjoyed an unbeaten juvenile campaign which culminated with a ready win in the Group One bet365 Fillies’ Mile. She’s an exciting prospect but over a mile there has to be a chance TENEBRISM has one gear too many for her.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge was restricted to just two runs in 2021, six months apart, and the progress she made from winning a Navan maiden in March to the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes in that time was staggering.

So was her performance at HQ. Showing signs of greenness at halfway, she really found her stride upon meeting the rising ground and swept through to beat Flotus by a length.

She’s rated three pounds clear of her rival on Timeform figures, both with a 'p' signifying improvement is expected. Tenebrism’s sire Caravaggio would ring an alarm bell over her prospects of staying a mile but there’s plenty of stamina on the dam’s side. If connections get a clear run through the spring with her then she’s a huge player on the first Sunday in May.

Tenebrism sweeps past Flotus
Tenebrism sweeps past Flotus


Anthony McGill to win the World Championship

By Richard Mann

ANTHONY MCGILL is scripting quite the love story with the Crucible Theatre, and he kicks off the 2022 World Championship portfolio with the 66/1 available about the Scot well worth snapping up.

While McGill hasn’t generally been the most consistent performer over the last few seasons, he has been absolutely rock-solid in Sheffield, producing his best snooker in a marathon event that patently plays to his strengths, both in terms of style of play and his granite temperament under pressure.

In many ways, McGill is the perfect fit for Sheffield, being a terrific tactician who scores heavily when at his best, while also having a simple approach and repetitive technique that stands up in a tournament that lasts 17 days. Crucially, he clearly revels at the Crucible, thriving on the big stage and being spurred on by the rich history of the event. As strange as it may seem, that isn’t the case for every player on the tour.

In Sheffield, where the pressure gauge frequently enters the red, McGill had made a nice habit of playing to his best, if not above himself, and while the 2020 season was largely a washout – a last-eight finish at the raucous Shoot Out apart – McGill finished it with a flourish and was only one dramatic deciding frame away from making the final.

At 30 years of age, McGill really should be nearing the peak of his powers, and unlike in previous campaigns, the signs have been really promising so far this season. McGill again confirmed his liking for the big stage when reaching the quarter-finals of the UK Championship, his best run in York since 2014, before going one step further at the Scottish Open. On both occasions, he was unfortunate to bump into a red-hot Luca Brecel.

Whatever comes of his appearance in the Masters in January, we know that McGill is an even better proposition at the Crucible in an event he clearly loves and one he knows he has the game for. As ever, the draw is a lottery, but McGill’s hasn’t had it easy in that regard in the last couple of years and he is one player nobody will relish playing in Sheffield.

Anthony McGill in action at the Crucible Theatre
Click the image for Richard Mann's 2022 World Snooker preview


Egan Bernal to win the Tour de France

By Joe Rindl

Last year’s Grand Tour winners EGAN BERNAL (Giro), Tadej Pogacar (Le Tour) and Primoz Roglic (Vuelta) are, for me, a clear class above their competition.

But while Pogacar and Roglic are both short to win the 2022 Tour de France, 2019 champion Bernal presents immense value at 16/1 to take home the yellow jersey, with the more general 12/1 perfectly fair.

It feels as if the bookies have made a real oversight. The Colombian has already confirmed he will be returning to the Tour this summer where he will lead an Ineos Grenadiers roster stacked with stars.

It is easy to forget that Bernal is only 24 years old. He burst onto the scene two-and-a-half years ago with his early Tour de France victory, but rumours of his staggering potential had been around long before then.

Journalists and fans once described him as the next five-time champion; those words are now pinned to Pogacar.

Bernal does have weaknesses. His time trialling can still be improved and unlike his Serbian rivals he remains prone to the occasional off-day.

And yet, in 2021, he repeatedly showed enough flashes of brilliance to convince me to back him in cycling’s biggest race next July.

Last season, Bernal took the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia on stage nine and held it all the way to Milan. He then skipped the Tour to focus on the Vuelta a Espana, sharing leadership duties with Britain’s Adam Yates.

There, Bernal finished sixth overall, a disappointing placing although he did lose several minutes with a series of late all-or-nothing attacks.

At the Tour, Ineos Grenadiers will go all out for their franchise athlete. A fully fit Bernal should be priced up far shorter than 12/1 and by the time stage one comes around, we should be holding onto real value.

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