It’s a shame that sport continues in the absence of spectators, but go on it must, and there are some key horses to focus on when analysing the big card.
The shortest-priced favourite on the card is the unbeaten Palace Pier in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.05pm). He’s won all five of his races, including two Group 1 successes in his last two starts, and he’s formed a good partnership with Frankie Dettori. He’s a worthy favourite but you can never get rich backing one at that price and it could pay to take him on with Circus Maximus each-way.
The Irish challenger finished behind Palace Pier earlier this season but the heavy ground may not have played to his strengths on that occasion. A return to Ascot will suit as he’s won both starts at the course and we can expect him to at least grab a place at odds of 8/1.
Star stayer Stradivarius lost his unbeaten record at this meeting last year when beaten by Kew Gardens in the Long Distance Cup. A well-beaten seventh in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe a fortnight ago, he is another odds-on chance set to be ridden by Dettori.
While he has plenty in hand on ratings, this race seems an afterthought and it could be worth taking him on with Search For A Song. She was impressive when winning the Group 1 Irish St Leger on her latest start and has a victory over Stradivarius’s conqueror Kew Gardens on her CV.
Another Irish raider, she looks certain to make the frame and does not have too much to find on ratings to trouble Stradivarius. She rates a solid each-way bet at 11/2.
The banker on the card could well be Magical in the Qipco Champion Stakes. The winner of last year’s race, she has held her form well and produced a superb performance to beat Godolphin star Ghaiyyath in the Irish Champion Stakes last time.
There are a host of derbys, both real and manufactured, in the Premier League this weekend, with near neighbours taking each other on in Merseyside, London and the Midlands, and Crystal Palace taking on Brighton in the M26 derby, Everton supporters will be going into their game with Liverpool probably more optimistic than at any other time in the last decade after an unbeaten start to the season has resulted in them sitting atop the Premier League.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side can be backed at 29/10 to continue their winning run and many punters will be tempted by that price given Liverpool’s recent defensive frailties - it took Liverpool 13 league games last season to concede the same number of goals as they have in four matches this campaign.
But I expect this game to be tight. There have been no nil-nil draws in the Premier League this season but the last three league fixtures between these sides at Goodison Park have all finished scoreless and the draw could well be the way to play here at 29/10.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Manchester United are 4/6 to beat Newcastle at St James’s Park tonight and that looks an atrocious price.
Manchester United have won just one of their three league games and that came on the road against Brighton when their opponents hit the woodwork five times and United needed an injury-time penalty to come out on top.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are a shambles defensively and Newcastle’s are overpriced at 21/5 given their good start to the season.
- Search For A Song each-way in the Long Distance Cup 11/2
- Circus Maximus each-way in the QEII Stakes 8/1
- Everton and Liverpool to draw 29/10
- Newcastle to beat Manchester United 21/5
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For those of you who enjoy placing an accumulator on the football each weekend, there is no better place to play than Coral.
The bookmaker are offering a 10 per cent boost up to £100 as a free bet on winning accumulators featuring three teams or more, so here are the three teams I’ll be backing with Coral to take advantage of this fantastic offer.
We’ll start in the Premier League where, as detailed above, I’ll be backing the draw in the Merseyside derby at 29/10
Given that is quite a big price, we can play it relatively safe with our other selections and we’ll drop into the Championship to select Birmingham to beat Sheffield Wednesday at odds of 33/20.
New Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka has not lost in the league since taking the reins and his side look decent value to secure a win against a side who have not won in their last four matches.
Also in the Championship and Bristol City can continue their 100 per cent record with a win at Barnsley at odds of 7/4. The away side have made a fine start this season and should make a bold bid for promotion.
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All odds within this article correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.