Racing at Haydock and Ascot plus Premier League and the Sky Bet EFL make up Saturday's Bets of the Day.
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Jedd O’Keeffe and the Quantum team have quickly established themselves as a shrewd combination and AEGEUS can make a winning start for the team in the Bombardier Golden Beer Handicap at Newcastle.
He won his final start here for Amanda Perrett and Juddmonte before changing hands for 32,000 guineas at the Newmarket Horses-In-Training Sales in the autumn
He remains very lightly raced and unexposed and starts life in handicaps from a mark of 74 which offers plenty of upside. He’s proven on this surface, has the pace to cope with the drop to seven furlongs and can make a winning return against more exposed rivals.
Philip Hobbs’ ST BARTS has the look of a potentially well-handicapped horse ahead of his debut in the sphere in the Ascot Local Sports & Social Clubs Handicap Hurdle at Ascot (4.10) on Saturday.
Obviously the meeting might not beat the elements with high winds forecast, but if it does St Barts could blow away the opposition in this staying handicap off an opening mark of 118. He beat Ubetya by 13 lengths in a novice hurdle at Uttoxeter on December 20 and that horse won impressively at the same track last month, earning a handicap mark of 129.
Outpaced under a penalty at Wincanton last time out, the switch to handicaps looks ideal for St Barts off his lowly mark with the excellent Ben Jones taking another 3lb off his back.
Wincanton are set to stage a good seven-race card on Saturday and when glancing through the declarations I was immediately drawn to the progressive CLOUDY GLEN, who looked set to land a decent prize at Sandown two weeks ago before falling victim to a similarly progressive novice in the form of Deise Aba.
The seven-year-old earned a 3lbs rise for that effort, but he was pitched in against seasoned opposition and he acquitted himself well, and I am sure that the experience won’t be lost on him going forwards.
It’s possible that the three-mile trip and steep uphill finish caught Cloudy Glen out that day, especially given how keen he was during the race. He should enjoy returning to two and a half miles (011712F1R) on ground that will suit and he remains open to plenty of improvement in this sphere.
It should also be noted that he was also entered in novice company at Haydock - a track at which he boasts an unblemished (2-2) record. It may therefore be significant that connections have elected to head to Wincanton instead.
Although undoubtedly disappointing on his return at Cheltenham, Emitom remains a horse of immense potential and could show us why he's held in such high regard by winning the Rendlesham.
His novice form, most notably second place behind Champ, reads really well and there's a feeling this isn't the deepest renewal. Clyne will run his usual Haydock race, West Approach will likely travel well and The Worlds End is entitled to be favourite, but if there's a real star lurking it could well be Emitom and he's worth backing at the prices.
Stats from recent games show just how STUART ARMSTRONG has regularly been trying his luck and it has been paying off. The Scottish attacker has scored two goals in his last three Premier League appearances and his rate of shooting is impressive - in his last four appearances, he has had six, one, three and three shots in a game respectively.
The 27-year-old is capable of scoring and the 19/5 available could be worth backing should he start against a Clarets side that can be hit and miss on the road.
Only Preston have taken more points on home turf than Derby this season and they’ve won five on the spin in their own backyard in all competitions, so it’s a tough assignment for a Huddersfield side with just four wins on their travels this season.
Goals have been flowing in Derby games recently, which rather goes against the trend at home as only five of 16 games have had over 2.5 goals in them at Pride Park this season – yet there’s been 25 in their last five games overall.
Neither are big scorers in general, only two teams have found the net fewer times than Huddersfield so this could well be a war of attrition, but even the Terriers have gone over the magical 2.5 goals every other game recently (seven of last 11) so goals could yet appear.
Best to play safe here though and with odds-against available for such a strong home team we’ll make that one of our bets of the day.
History shows Norwich v Liverpool regularly produces goals. It was 4-1 at Anfield in the reverse fixture, the last meeting in Norfolk was 4-5 (remember when Jurgen Klopp broke his glasses celebrating their winner?), and there was also that spell where Luis Suarez loved coming up against Norwich.
In 13/14 Liverpool won the fixtures 2-3 and 5-1, in 12/13 they won 5-0 and 5-2 and in 11/12 won 3-0, again at Norwich.
Granted, this is a far different team but football has strange ways of history repeating itself. There was a temptation to back the visitors to score four or more at 11/4, but instead backing OVER 3.5 GOALS in the game at 11/8 is appealing.
Leeds are no doubt the class act in the Championship and they play some wonderful football, but from a betting point of view we have to take them on.
They play BRISTOL CITY, who have the third-best away record in the division with an impressive 8-4-4 record to back that up.
Now, Leeds might win with Kalvin Phillips back but at 4/11 they're way too short to be backing. You can have the Robins at 4/5 getting a two-goal start so we can take a 1-0 2-1 or 3-2 loss to collect and with any sort of victory more than suiting Bielsa it seems the sensible play.
DERBY are on a roll at home recently having strung together five straight wins in all competitions, while Huddersfield have bagged just four wins away all season and just two wins in eight overall so aren't exactly in the best of form themselves.
In our second selection we're backing against the worst away team in the division to continue their woeful run as Luton travel to the Riverside to face MIDDLESBROUGH. The Hatters are truly dreadful on the road, having won just twice away in the Championship and are currently sitting on a 12-match losing streak.
PORTSMOUTH lost last time out at Coventry, but they're back at Fratton Park where they've been dominant, literally unbeatable in fact, as they've not lost there in the league this campaign. Shrewsbury have just three wins away from home this term and just one in the last nine in the league on their travels.
Our final selection sees SUNDERLAND gathering momentum after just one defeat in their last 12, including seven wins, as they strengthen their play-off claims. The Black Cats visit Oxford, who have let their FA Cup heroics spilt their league form somewhat. They've drawn a lot of games recently but with Sunderland on a roll they can get the three points here.
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