Sunday, February 28, 2010

Game Spirit return for the Master

Dual Champion Chase winner Master Minded is set to return to the fray on Saturday as he seeks to put down a marker to potential rivals with an authoritative display in Newbury's Game Spirit Chase, writes Elliot Slater.

Nothing less than a very convincing display will do as, with the exception of potential rival Voy Por Ustedes, none of the other horses declared at the five-day stage are rated within 20lbs of Paul Nicholls top class chaser.

Master Minded hasn't been seen in action since finishing a disappointing third behind Well Chief in the Connaught Chase at Cheltenham in mid-November, after which it transpired that the gelding had suffered a rib injury during the course of the contest. This kept him off the track for nearly four months and connections will be keen to find out how the absence has affected him as he prepares for Cheltenham 2010.

The Cheltenham odds put him at 6/4 to make it three wins in a row in the two mile chasing championship race, so the seven-year-old will need to prove he is back to his very best to justify his current market position.

During Master Minded's absence his stable companion Twist Magic has been in tremendous form, while last season's Arkle Chase runner-up Kalahari King put up an excellent performance on his seasonal debut at Doncaster when defying top weight to beat a field of smart handicappers with consummate ease.

The presence of Master Minded in the race scared off most of the opposition resulting in the BHA reopening the event for further entries for a 24-hour period. As a result a number of new entrants, including Gary Moore's useful handicapper Fix The Rib, were added to the field.

On paper, the 2007 champion chaser Voy Por Ustedes looks the most likely to trouble Nicholls' charge, but in recent seasons he has appeared a far more potent force over at least two-and-a-half miles than over the minimum trip. It might well be left to Nigel Twiston-Davies' Mahogany Blaze to chase home Master Minded.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

EPL 2009-10: Stoke City - Arsenal goals

Stoke City 1-3 Arsenal

1 – 1

1St Highlight

Ramsey's horrific injury(Tackle by shawcross)

1 – 2

1 – 3

EPL 2009-10: Chelsea - Man City goals

Chelsea 2-4 Manchester City
1-0 - Lampard - Watch
1-1 - Tevez - Watch
1-2 - Bellamy - Watch
1-3 - Tevez(pen) - Watch
1-4 - Bellamy - Watch
2-4 - Lampard(pen) - Watch

Red cards
Belleti carded - Watch
Ballack carded - Watch

Terry Vs Bridge

Bellamy rips apart John Terry - Post match interview

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Murphy's Cerium on National return mission

Apart from Mon Mome's shock 100/1 success in last year's John Smith's Grand National, the other big surprise for the formbook was the run of unconsidered Cerium, who stayed on well after crossing the Melling Road after three out to finish a tremendous fifth of the 40 runners, writes Elliot Slater.

A few years earlier Cerium had been a decent sort when trained by Paul Nicholls, winning the Grade 2 Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot in 2006 after which his official rating rose to a pretty smart 154. His subsequent loss of form resulted in him changing hands for just 13,000 guineas in spring 2008 and joining little known trainer Paul Murphy.

When he lined up for the 2009 Grand National there would have been few prepared to bet that Cerium would even complete the course never mind finish a tremendous fifth, but having shown a little of the old sparkle at home the gelding's owner Fergus Wilson backed his charge at 500/1 each-way to finish in the first five, betting that resulted in his owner being paid out at 125/1 for the place odds when Cerium finished on the heels of the first four home!

Not seen on a racecourse since his Aintree heroics last year, Cerium has been allotted 10st 5lbs for this April's event, a weight that makes it a borderline possibility that he will actually be amongst the starters. Murphy and his team will be praying that the connections of 30 or more horses above Cerium in the weights will decide to shirk the Aintree challenge.

Some horses just seem to come alive over the daunting spruce obstacles of the Grand National and there seems little doubt that Cerium is such an animal. If he gets a chance to tackle the four-and-a-half mile course once again, Horse Racing Betting experts say there is every reason to believe that he will prove last year's effort no fluke at all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sir Alex - title race still wide open

The Premier League title contenders will all drop points before the end of the season, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The veteran manager is looking to make Manchester United the first club to win four Premier League titles in succession, but they dropped further behind Chelsea after slipping up at Goodison Park at the weekend.

Everton beat them 3-1 in the lunchtime kick-off and then their West London rivals were victorious away at Wolves, meaning United are now four points behind in the Premier League title race.

Sir Alex told MUTV that United's next match against West Ham United on Tuesday night is now a "massive game" and a win would keep the pressure on Chelsea. Indeed, at 9/4 to win the title United could be a good football bet.

"The league has been wide open this season - it's been funny like that," said the Scotsman.

"Teams have dropped points you don't expect them to drop, but the very nature of the league suggests we still have a good chance."

United's aspirations to reignite their title charge against West Ham could be buoyed by the return of their first-choice central defensive partnership.

Both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic could be back in the first team together for the first time since October. Ferdinand has been suspended in recent weeks while a nerve problem has meant Vidic is yet to play in 2010.

For his part, Ferdinand will be looking to get games under his belt to ensure he is fit for the 2010 Football World Cup.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

EPL 2009-10: Everton - Manutd goals

Everton 1-1 Manchester United

0-1 - Berbatov

1-1 - Bilyaletdinov

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Manchester United captain buoyant in title hunt

Manchester United hold the destiny of the Premier League title in their own hands, according to Gary Neville.

The United captain has seen his side go unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games and they now sit only two points behind Chelsea at the top of the table.

Neville claims the outcome of the title could be decided on April 3rd - when the West London side have to visit Old Trafford.

United's rich vein of form in recent weeks was exemplified by their 5-0 thrashing of Portsmouth at the weekend, a game in which star striker Wayne Rooney grabbed his 23rd goal of an impressive campaign to date.

Neville claims the form of the England striker could be integral in helping United become the first team in history to win four titles in a row.

Speaking about the battle with Chelsea, he said: "It is in our hands now and it has not been like that for a while. Chelsea have to come here - and that is where we want to be. We want to win our home games."

"I hope Wayne continues like this until the end of the season because we are going to need him. The most important thing is he is scoring vital goals," he added.

Another player who has been instrumental in United's success is Portuguese winger Nani, who Sir Alex Ferguson has called on to continue on his fine displays of recent weeks to help his side win the title this season.

Currently, the Premier League odds make Chelsea favourites for the title, but that could quickly change if results go United's way.