Snooker expert Richard Mann thinks Ryan Day provides the each-way value at 66/1 in this week's World Grand Prix at the Preston Guild Hall.
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Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby step up their preparations for the World Championship when lining up in the World Grand Prix in Preston this week but, as was the case 12 months ago, both appear vulnerable.
O’Sullivan only made it as far as round two last year while Selby saw his colours lowered by Martin Gould in round one.
Despite crashing out of The Masters in London last month, O’Sullivan has enjoyed a fruitful campaign with three ranking title victories confirming the 42-year-old remains one of the dominant forces in the game.
Sky Bet have boosted the Rocket’s odds to lift the trophy to 7/2 while current World Champion Selby is second-favourite in the outright odds at 9/2.
While O’Sullivan has his game in good working order, Selby has found this season something of a struggle with his International Championship triumph in November a rare high point.
As is so often the case, all roads for Selby lead to Sheffield and expect him to use the next few months to fine tune his skills ahead of another tilt at the Crucible showpiece.
With that in mind, and last year’s winner Barry Hawkins failing to qualify this time around, O’Sullivan makes plenty of appeal at the current odds and rates a rock-solid favourite.
However, there is plenty of value on offer elsewhere and with the early rounds in the best of seven frames format, don’t be surprised to see a few shocks in the first few days.
It could be well worth taking a punt on someone at a bigger price and the 66/1 on offer about Ryan Day looks appealing.
Day has proven something of an enigma since breaking into the top 16 at the end of the 2007/2008 season but a fine break builder with a strong long game, his recent upturn in fortunes have come as no surprise.
Day produced some terrific snooker on the way to a runner-up finish at this tournament a year ago, beating Stuart Bingham, Michael White, Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu before losing out in the final despite producing a gallant late surge.
Ranking-title success did come in the Kaspersky Lab Riga Masters in June, a comfortable defeat of Stephen Maguire confirming his star quality, and Day has maintained his strong run of form with a run to the semi-finals of the UK Championship and quarter-final finishes in The Masters and German Masters more recently.
A tricky first round clash against Jack Lisowski awaits the Welshman but that side of the draw has the potential to open up thereafter and he looks worth chancing at the current odds.
Posted at 1640 GMT on 19/02/18.