What's on: Sporting Life pick out five big sports events for the week ahead

Sporting Life previews the big sporting events coming up over the next seven days

Sporting Life highlights the main events of the week with key details and odds, so you don't miss a thing.

For a full list of returning sports event in 2020 click here


Racing - Phoenix Stakes

Aidan O’Brien is in line to be strongly represented in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes, as you’d expect for a trainer who has won the Group One feature a remarkable 16 times.

Take your pick from his team this time around but there are warning signs in that only Battleground from the Ballydoyle juvenile battalion has won more than once this year and his entries this year don’t include a stand-out colt or filly.

There could be a strong British challenge too with Windsor Castle and July Stakes winner Tactical in the frame along with Kevin Ryan’s much-touted Darvel who won in taking style at Ayr last time.


Football - Sky Bet Championship Play-Off final

The richest game in football takes place as Brentford battle Fulham for the final place in the Premier League.

Brentford narrowly missed out on automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship, but Thomas Frank’s side bounced back to beat Swansea and book their place at Wembley. The Bees did the double over their west London rivals in the regular campaign, and will be hoping for more of the same in their season finale, where they are favourites.

Their opponents are managed by Scott Parker, tasked with trying to secure an immediate return to the top flight. They finished the season strongly, with just one defeat in their last nine games, that defeat coming in the play-off semi-final as they edged by Cardiff.

A huge game for both sides, Tuesday is all about who steps up to the occasion.


Snooker - World Championship

The rearranged World Snooker Championship finally began at the Crucible on Friday and the big breaks have already been flying in.

Judd Trump is favourite to defend his crown and he is already into the second round having outpointed Tom Ford on the opening day.

However, Ronnie O'Sullivan is close behind him in the betting as he bids to claim his sixth world title and a record-breaking 37th ranking win, and he looked in sublime form when making his entrance on Sunday.

The star duo are in opposite halves of the draw so a dream final is a real possibility, but the likes of Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Mark Allen and recent Coral Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire will all be out to stop them.


Golf – PGA Championship

More than a year since the last men’s major, it’s time for the first of 2020 as the best players in the sport flock to Harding Park in San Francisco for the PGA Championship.

Brooks Koepka is defending champion after a return to form last week and he’s in fact going for a slice of history, bidding as he does for a third successive victory in the event.

It’s one which has been kind not only to him but to two-time winner Rory McIlroy in the past, though the Northern Irishman has seen his progress halted by the coronavirus pandemic and admits he’s struggling to focus without spectators on the grounds.

Despite hopes of a small crowd this event is again being played behind-closed doors and is the first of three majors from now until November, when the Masters is scheduled to go ahead at Augusta National.

Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas are other obvious contenders but Lee Westwood will not be winning his first major, having decided not to travel due to coronavirus concerns.

Play begins on Thursday afternoon with a west-coast location meaning some late nights are ahead for UK golf fans, who can get a whopping 11 places on their each-way bets with Sky Bet.


Cricket - England v Pakistan First Test

Hot on the heels of their impressive series win over the West Indies, England are back on Test duty this week as they entertain Pakistan in the First Test of another three-match series.

Old Trafford once again plays host and England will be confident of maintaining their recent progression, particularly with such a strong battery of pace bowlers to choose from.

Look out for Ben Stokes as he bids to continue his golden run of form but the visitors should not be underestimated given they boast a classy batting line-up which is led by the brilliant Babar Azam.

Experience heads Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq should give him plenty of support while in the bowling department, all eyes will be on 17-year-old paceman Naseem Shah who impressed in Australia last winter.


Responsible gambling

We are committed in our support of responsible gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.

Sky Bet's responsible gambling tools are detailed here and if you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133, or visit begambleaware.org.

Further support and information can be found at GamCare and gamblingtherapy.org.

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