There are selections for Ascot and Leopardstown in Saturday's Bets of the Day, which also covers the Premier League, IPL, boxing and UFC.
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Cape Byron is a great bet in the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes. The subsequent year off the track tells you all you need to know about his effort in this race last year – he wasn’t anywhere near his best and it’s a throw-out in terms of valuable pieces of form. He’d beaten the eventual winner of this event, Donjuan Triumphant, on his previous start in the Bengough Stakes which was the son of Shamardal’s fourth course win at Ascot.
Trainer Roger Varian would no doubt have loved to prep him in the Bengough again – he was declared to run – but the meeting was abandoned. The horse does run really well fresh, though, so there’s a lot to like around the 14/1 mark.
The Manguard Plus Handicap at Leopardstown on Saturday (4.10) is for three-year-olds only this year as opposed to an open handicap, but that might not stop Thomas Mullins winning it for the third time in the last four years.
He won it with Grand Partner in 2017, who ran in his wife Helen’s colours, and then Takarengo last year, a gelding who was third in last weekend’s Cesarewitch at 50/1.
This year he has two contenders, both in his wife’s silks, and the really interesting one is Lizzies Song at the foot of the weights.
A daughter of Derby winner Ruler Of The World out of a Fastnet Rock mare, she is bred for a trip and is of interest now she steps up to a mile and a half for the first time.
She wasn’t disgraced over seven furlongs at Roscommon at the end of August and then really caught the eye in an apprentice race over nine furlongs at Tipperary last time, where she travelled well before being completely stopped in her run in the last quarter mile.
That effort suggests she’s better than what she has so far shown and now is the time to back her as she bids to defy a lowly mark of 58 in a race her trainer has an excellent record in.
He may be the apparent stable second string but Lord North is one of the most improved horses in training and can land his second Group One prize in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
He wasn’t at his best in the Juddmonte International at York but was still only a length-and-a-quarter adrift of Magical and arrives here fresher than that rival who has since beaten Ghaiyyath in an epic duel for the Irish Champion. Lord North enjoyed his finest hour over course-and-distance in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and handles deep ground so ticks plenty of boxes.
The conditions will be influential in all the races at Ascot and Dame Malliot is fancied to take the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes after her fine third behind Tarnawa and Raabihah in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp, where she would have preferred more cut.
Nevertheless, that looks very strong form with the winner going onto take the Prix de l'Opera while Raabihah was a strong-finishing fifth in the Arc.
Likely favourite Wonderful Tonight gained her second win in France this year in the Prix de Royallieu over the Arc weekend but that race was over a mile-and-three quarters and she had previously finished fifth (not beaten far) when behind Dame Malliot in the Vermeille over this trip.
With that lack of value available in the outright market, cards may be the best route to go down here. Newcastle are actually the most fouled team in the division so far while Manchester United sit second for fouls committed. Solskjaer's side commit an average of 14.3 fouls per game; Newcastle see 14.3 fouls against.
A name of interest in the cards market is Paul Pogba. The United midfielder is yet to be booked and that's why there is a best price of 5/1 available on that happening. However, the stats show that he can consider himself lucky that he has avoided a booking.
Pogba sits top of the average fouls per game charts for any player in the Premier League this season (3.7). There were four in the defeat to Tottenham and four against Brighton. Given how Isaac Hayden, Newcastle's defensive midfielder, also sits high in the charts we should expect plenty of fouls in midfield.
Hayden's been carded twice and his price is a far less attractive 23/10. The referee, Craig Pawson, showed four yellows in his last Premier League game, Liverpool's 3-1 win over Arsenal, while there were five yellows and a red in his last outing - Poland's 4-0 victory over Bosnia in the Nations League.
If Pogba keeps to this level of fouls per game, there's a good chance he will exceed the six bookings he picked up during the 2018/19 season. There was only one during the last campaign but that was largely disrupted due to injury.
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Ritson had plenty of success with his powerful left hook against Davies Jr but landing that money shot make will be trickier this time as it's unlikely Miguel Vazquez will want to engage as much as the Liverpudlian did that night. 'The Sandman' boasts a ramrod jab, and that could be the key to this fight, with the cagey underdog possibly forcing a more patient approach from the favourite.
Everything points to plenty of rounds here and that hasn't escaped the layers, with a best price of 4/7 available about it going the distance. Ritson is 15/8 to win by stoppage and if he does so it will probably be in the second half of the fight, which could be tempting at 4/1, but wearing down this tough and wily veteran will not be easy and a decision win for the younger man looks far more likely at 8/11.
In the night's other big fight, Teofimo Lopez wouldn't be the first hot prospect to stop an ageing champion and you have to fancy his best chance is early, with Lomachenko not noted as a fast starter and those favouring the underdog will be happy with the 12/1 about him winning in rounds 1-6.
However, it is hard to side with the potential of Lopez against the proven greatness of Lomachenko, who has a habit of working his opponent out with his unrivalled ring IQ. The latter often likes to take a look at his opponent early doors and this could be very close in the opening half of the fight, but once he has calculated the information in front of him then he can take over and dominate down the stretch, very much as he did against Campbell in London last August.
Similar to that night at the O2 Arena, he looks likely to have to do it via the scorecards (10/11) as, unless Lopez has really struggled to make the weight, Lomachenko will do very well to stop the bigger man, especially with his punches seemingly having less effect up at lightweight.
While often proving more expensive, it is the fast bowlers who have taken more wickets in the tournament so far with not a single spinner currently occupying a spot in the top five wicket-takers in IPL 2020.
A perfect case in point is Kasigo Rabada, who currently tops that list with 18 scalps that have helped Delhi Capitals surge to the top of the league table. Key to Rabada's success has been his ability to withstand the late-innings assault from opposition batsmen and pick up wickets in those slog overs.
His partnership with fellow paceman and South Africa teammate Anrich Nortje has been a joy to watch but the latter has generally plied his trade in the middle overs, while Rabada is usually saved for the death after bowling one over with the new ball up-front. On occasion, if Radaba has got his outswinger on point, he will be asked to be bowl a second over in the powerplay but it is later in the innings when he has come into his own.
With Delhi captain Shreyas Iyer understandably keen to stick with this tried and tested plan of attack, it is unsurprising that Rabada has claimed eight more scalps than Nortje, and 11 more than Delhi spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel so far.
Even as the pitches in Dubai become more worn, and make playing spin well ever more important, there is the possibility that the likes of Rabada and other leading quicks might be able to find some reverse swing with the older ball. Just how much that theory bears fruit remains to be seen but I fancy the seamers will continue to pick up plenty of wickets, if not always as cheaply as the slower bowlers.
That won't bother backers too much, and as such, I'm keen to keep Rabada on side for Saturday's match with Chennai Super Kings - the 9/4 on offer for the South African to finish the match as Delhi's top bowler should not be missed.
Gillian Robertson has been one of the most improved UFC combatants since she appeared on season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter in 2017. She has developed under the tutelage of renowned grappling coach Din Thomas since then, and is now revered as a dangerous submission threat and one of the most physically imposing fighters in the Women’s Flyweight division.
Poliana Botelho has gone 3-1 in her UFC career so far, but a decisive loss to Cynthia Calvillo in her third outing lowered her stock drastically. In that fight, Botelho showed a glaring weakness in the grappling department, being taken down and submitted in the first round.
Robertson will most likely be chomping at the bit to test her grappling against the Brazilian, as four of her five UFC victories have come by submission. Savage has a unique grappling style in that she is very aggressive in advancing position, often forcing her opponent into making a mistake on the mat and securing a submission as a result.
The statistics across both women’s careers further demonstrate how pivotal the grappling exchanges will be in this fight. Botelho has spent 42% of her UFC career in the inferior position, whilst Robertson has spent 65% of her UFC fight time in a dominant position.
Therefore, if Robertson is given significant time to work on top it is hard to see any other outcome than another tap-out victory for the ever-improving Canadian. She holds the record for the most stoppage victories in Women’s Flyweight history already, and I fancy her to further that record with another on Saturday night.
Modestas Bukauskas is a fighter that I think has the potential to be a real threat in the light heavyweight division. I have seen him come up through Cage Warriors and into the UFC - on his UFC debut he looked fantastic - and I am glad we get to see him take on a step up in opponent skill level.
Jimmy Crute is a very well rounded fighter, he has the ability to use his boxing and kickboxing to disguise his takedown attempts, and when the fight hits the floor he has a arsenal full of ways to hurt his opponents.
This is what makes Crute such a big step up in opposition for “The Baltic Gladiator”, Bukauskas in the past has took on fighters who are either primarily a striker, or primarily a wrestler, but never an opponent who can mix the two together.
I do think Bukauskas can ride this one out though. We saw in his last fight that when he was almost taken down, he was able to keep upright against the fence and land some devastating elbows to secure a KO win, the second time in succession he has used that tactic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he used it again.
If the fight is primarily a stand up bout, that is where Bukauskas will look best. His background in kickboxing has given him some outstanding striking skills, and the speed at which he can move will make him difficult to hit back.
Cam is back, and he’s ready to be Superman again.
Through three games he has rushed the ball 35 times, going for 149 yards and four touchdowns - and Denver will have a hard time stopping him.
Last time out, the Broncos allowed Sam Darnold to rip off a monster 46 yard rushing touchdown, as he finished the game with six total rushes for 84 yards – 84 yards!
A variety of designed rushing plays will help Cam move the chains, as he shows real value to get on the scoresheet.
Shenault is earning his place in this Jaguars offence, with a rapidly increasing target share - last week saw him targeted on 18.2% of Minshew’s pass attempts, a season high for the rookie.
WR1 DJ Chark is dealing with an ankle injury and could be out this week, only adding to Shenault’s value.
This game has the total match points over/under set at 54.5 in what looks to be a high scoring affair – don’t be surprised to see a huge game from the rookie.
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