Our snooker expert Richard Mann has cast his eye over the Gibraltar Open and has a couple of early picks to go to war with.
Recommended bets: Gibraltar Open, outright
Ding has subsequently withdrawn from the tournament. Outright stakes will be refunded with all major bookmakers.
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The Gibraltar Open kicks properly into gear on Friday and a rejuvenated Ding Junhui looks worth backing to triumph at 6/1.
The Chinese superstar endured a frustrating early part of the campaign but has shown recently that he is approaching something like his best form.
Ding produced some fine snooker on his way to making the final of the World Grand Prix recently, his brilliant break building looking in particularly good working order, and only an inspired Ronnie O’Sullivan was able to prevent him from the lifting the trophy.
A finalist at the World Championship in 2016, Ding enjoyed another fine Crucible run when making the semi-finals last year and looks to be peaking just at the right time 12 months on.
With no O'Sullivan and Mark Selby to contend with this week, he looks to have excellent claims and could be hard to stop if getting on a roll against some inferior opponents.
Ding had been due to meet defending champion Shaun Murphy as early as the second round here but his late withdrawal has left the former with a much easier passage through the initial rounds.
Barry Hawkins is another who looks to be returning from a spell on the doldrums and he made the final of the Welsh Open in Cardiff last week.
Despite losing out to John Higgins there, he played his part in a terrific final which was played to a high standard, and it would come as no surprise to see the left-hander finish the season strongly.
However, an event like this, with a best of seven frame format, can lend itself to a few early shocks so it seems prudent to have another on side at a bigger price.
Snooker Shoot Out winner Michael Georgiou clearly likes the shorter format and he ran Stephen Maguire close at the World Grand Prix recently.
He could be capable of outrunning his massive odds of 175/1 but Gary Wilson is preferred as our second pick.
Wilson is a young player of considerable potential and might have missed an opportunity when nip and tuck in the early stages of his Welsh Open semi-final clash with the aforementioned Higgins last week.
From the moment a close fourth frame went Higgins’ way, Wilson was unable to get a foothold in the match but he still enjoyed a fine week and is backed to continue that form here.
A strong break builder, Wilson ran O’Sullivan close at the World Championship last year and proved again last week that he can mix it with the very best when on song.
Odds of 40/1 about him are too big to ignore.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 08/03/18.