Thursday, May 31, 2012

Di Vaio sets sail for the Impact

Former Italy striker Marco Di Vaio will join MLS’ newest team Montreal Impact this month, linking up with the Canadians as their designated player. The 35-year old finished his Serie A carer at Bologna last season, ending a career in Italy that saw the forward rack up 142 goals in 342 appearances.

The experienced striker will now head to the MLS to try and score the goals that help the Impact build on their impressive start to their rookie season. The former Juventus, Parma, Genoa and Lazio star’s arrival at Montreal will boost their options, linking up with fellow Italian Bernardo Corradi in an all-Italian strike-force and punters who bet on soccer games are predicting a goal-filled future for the Impact.

"I have accepted with great enthusiasm the challenge of joining an enticing championship like MLS. I am extremely eager to make the entire club proud from the president to its supporters," the former Italian international said.

"It was not an easy choice to leave Bologna but I hope to be able to serve a similar role in Montreal, as I am prepared to give everything I have, including my experience and leadership for my coaches, my teammates and the organisation.”

After a difficult start to the season, the Impact have begun looking more like a genuine MLS side, suffering their first loss in five matches against the in-form New York Red Bulls, defying pre season soccer betting tips that they would struggle.

Di Vaio’s arrival will certainly give a boost to the entire squad, possibly giving them the sort of belief that they can start climbing up the Western Conference table. The Italian, meanwhile, will need to prove to the fans that he hasn’t just joined the MLS as a final chance for a payday.

Monday, May 28, 2012

MLB: The Hall of Fame dream

One of the ultimate goals for any MLB player - aside from winning the World Series - is to gain entry to the Hall Of Fame and take their place in Cooperstown.

There's a certain prestige that comes along with entering the Hall of Fame, but when you're inducted on the first ballot, it solidifies your status in the league's history even further.

But which of the current players around the leagues have what it takes to make the Hall Of Fame on the first ballot and give their status more cache than ever?

One of the best ever closers in the history of baseball would be our first pick, and we’re sure it’s a view shared by many MLB betting tips.

Baron Davis’ 2012 season was ended by a torn MCL, and although he claims he’ll be back at some point he has enough back class to justify Hall Of Fame entry on the first attempt - a 2.21 career ERA and astonishing 0.70 career postseason ERA will certainly help punch his ticket to Cooperstown as soon as he decides to hang up the bat.

Moving from pitchers to batters, how about the inclusion of Albert Pujols as a potential first-timer in the Hall Of Fame?

Pujols has either won or finished second in the NL MVP voting in seven of the last nine seasons. Even with his recent struggles in LA, his .326 career average with 448 home runs and nearly 1,500 RBI is a testament to his track record for success.

And it's hard to believe that anyone would doubt that he'll return to form eventually.

For our final pick we’ll go with Derek Jeter, who has to have been one of the most consistent players in the game and to this day features prominently in most MLB previews.

He has multiple World Series rings and is among the best shortstops that we have ever seen play the game. And, since 1996, he has only once appeared in less than 148 games in a season (119 games played in 2003).

Playing in that many games in a season would hurt most players’ numbers but that appears not to have happened with Jeter. His .314 career average and 3,147 hits only add to the aura that he brings to the game. He would be a fine first ballot pick.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Williams looking dangerous ahead of Roland Garros

Serena Williams has struggled with injuries, in recent years, and recently had to pull out of the Italian Open, but the big-hitting American insists that she will be 100 per cent fit for the French Open, a development that could be a blow to her rivals.

The American has endured a torrid recent few years, due to a succession of injuries, but there is no doubting her talent, with 13 Grand Slam singles titles to her name.

Williams has looked back to her ominous best, in recent months, but she had to withdraw ahead of her semi-final with Li Na at the Italian Open as a precautionary measure, due to a back injury.

Going into the French Open, she has a clay court winning streak of 17 matches. She won clay court titles in Charleston and Madrid, in the past month. Williams is currently the favourite to win the Roland Garros, as fans who enjoy betting with will no doubt be aware. 

She will be a dangerous opponent for all her rivals in the French Open, as Williams looks to add to her solitary win in the Grand Slam - which came all the way back in 2002 – but she insists she will be raring to go come Roland Garros.

“On Friday morning, I felt a bit of pain in my lower back and, if it's not 100 per cent, its better not to play and make it worse", Williams said.

"But I am in good form, I have a few days to get better and I am confident I will be 100 per cent fit for the French Open."

Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova could fancy her chances of winning the 2012 French Open, after her success in Italy.

She beat defending French Open champion, Na, in the final, and she seems to be coming into the competition in real form. However, she does not boast the best record at the Roland Garros, with only two semi-finals in nine attempts.

Have a bet with Bet Victor for the best odds on the upcoming French Open, as well as on Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Friday, May 25, 2012

NHL: Prime Time Performers

The Stanley Cup is reaching its climax and the best performers are already playing dominant roles in getting their sides to the pinnacle of the NHL. Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings is leading his team through a dominant run to the finals.

Meanwhile, netminders  Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist, two of the NHL picks from this season, seem impossible to beat, and those performances can only make picking the Conn Smythe Trophy winner all the more difficult.

Being triumphant in a Stanley Cup takes a mammoth effort from all concerned but there is usually one player who comes along to drive the team to the final goal and plays at a higher level than anyone else. We could have written a fairly long list of players who are capable of this but time and space limit us to picking three.

So where to start; well a good place would be with the only man to have won consecutive Conn Smythe Trophies – Mario Lemieux, who was a focal point of the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise which won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.

Lemieux led the NHL in playoff points with 44 points in 23 games in 1991 then 34 points in 15 games in 1992. Only Wayne Gretzky has scored more than Lemieux’s 44.

Talking of Gretzky that’s where we go next and we could hardly leave him out of a list such as this as “The Great One” holds nearly every major regular season honour offensively and is the NHL’s all-time leader in career playoff goals, assists and points.

Not a single player has ever, or probably will ever, produce as much offense as Gretzky did at any time in his career, including the playoffs, where he is the only player in history to score more than 40 points in a playoff run – his 47 in 1985 set a record that may never be beaten.

But while this may be heresy to some the fact remains that Gretsky did not win a Stanley Cup without Mark Messier in the team while Messier did just that without Gretsky

Those that bet on hockey will tell you that Messier won six Stanley Cups in his career, including two without the help of hockey’s greatest offensive player of all time.

If you needed scoring, you went to Gretzky. If you needed to win the Stanley Cup, you went to Messier, whose remarkable will to win and leadership qualities mark him down as one of if not the most influential post-season performer of all-time.

Should We all Just Give Downing a Break?

He finished the season with only one assist in English football, and the laughable form of Stewart Downing (and, to be fair to him, several other of Liverpool's new signings) encouraged Liverpool's ruthless owners to show King Kenny Dalglish the door at Anfield.

However, Roy Hodgson still, for reasons perhaps best known to himself, opted to pick him in the England squad for the upcoming Euros. The Three Lions are not expected to win, regardless of Downing’s inclusion; the side are fifth-favourites for the title in the Euro 2012 tips.

These statements seem a little uncomfortable sitting side by side, and, with derision thrown in the direction of the new England manager ever since he decided not to leave Downing back in England, might it be the case that we are actually missing something?

Well, let us look at the plain, hard facts. Downing may not have been a hit at Liverpool, this season, but who did perform well consistently for the Reds this year?

Underperforming seemed to be the name of the game for much of the season for the whole starting line-up, and Downing actually created more changes for Liverpool than any other wide player.

The fact that the likes of Andy Carroll, the sort of player to feed off Downing's crosses into the box, were unable to convert in front of goal, perhaps should not reflect so badly on the winger.

What's more, who could Hodgson have picked in his place? Adam Johnson has been touted by many as being deserving ahead of Downing, but Johnson hardly featured for the title-winning Manchester City.

With a few more years of international experience under his belt, Hodgson perhaps was not as big an idiot as some have suggested, leaving the youngster at home in favour of a man who hasn't done at all badly in an England shirt, in recent years.

Downing's confidence looks shattered, there is no doubt about that, but in a new environment away from the unique pressures that seem to swirl around Anfield, he could yet prove his doubters wrong, by helping to fire England to the latter stages of the tournament.

If you do not fancy betting on one of the favourites, this summer, visit the Poland Euro 2012 odds page for more information on one-half of this year’s hosts.

McEnroe – Don't Rule out Federer

Patrick McEnroe says he feels Roger Federer has a good chance of adding to his tally of Wimbledon titles, but may need to move himself up the rankings to aid his hopes.

The Swiss ace has not won a Grand Slam title since his success at the 2010 Australian Open, but hopes are high that he can add another major, this year.

Federer, who has 16 Slams to his name, ended 2011 with victory in the ATP Tour Championship at the O2 Arena, and has already won four ATP Tour titles, to date, this year.

By his incredibly high standards though, his last two appearances at SW19 have been disappointing, given that he failed to get past the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011.

The six-time Wimbledon winner suffered a heart-breaking five-set defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, last year, but his recent form gives the 30-year-old renewed hope.

Former US Davis Cup captain, McEnroe, feels a rise in his ranking will give Federer more hope of lifting another major title.

McEnroe told ESPN: "I’m actually a little more optimistic now than I’ve been in, say, the last year and a half. I think he’s playing better.

"If he can be a second seed, going into a Grand Slam, as opposed to being a third seed, that would make - to me - his chances quite a bit better, because then he wouldn’t have to necessarily go through both guys [Djokovic and Nadal]."

The former top-30 player also believes that, despite having won all four of the majors, grass is still Federer's best surface.

McEnroe added: “Obviously, Wimbledon you would think is his best chance, even though he’s been picked off the last two years there. That’s still the surface, where there are far fewer guys that can pick him off.”

Federer is the third favourite to take the gold in Paris in the French Open tennis betting. Find out more about championship tennis, and pick up some gambling tips ahead of a busy summer of tennis on

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cipriani eyes England return

While the nation’s tabloids will be licking their lips at the return to England of Danny Cipriani, the talented fly-half has made it clear his time in Australia has allowed him to mature as both a person and a player. The 24-year old has recently arrived back home after an 18-month stint in Australia with the Melbourne Rebels, returning to the Premiership after signing a three-year contract with Sale Sharks.

The former Wasps star’s stay Down Under was hardly an incident-free spell, with a number of off-field issues once again often taking the focus away from his considerable talents on the pitch.

That said, the fly-half did prove his ability as a player, impressing many with his performances for a Melbourne side looking to establish themselves in Super Rugby, catching the eye of Sale who moved quickly to hand Cipriani the chance to return to England.

The next eye Cipriani will be hoping to catch will be that of new England head coach Stuart Lancaster. The fly-half has made it clear he is leaving Australia and signing for Sale with a recall to the national side as one of his biggest targets. Cipriani knows that it will be his performances for the Sharks that will be the key to his return to the England setup, as well as keeping himself out of the headlines for off-field incidents.

"I just want to make the news for what I do on the rugby field. When it comes down to it, I've got quite a lot to prove to myself as I know where I can be and what I can do, and I want to achieve that with Sale.”

"I think I will be coming back as a better player and a better person for the experience of playing with Melbourne,” claimed Cipriani.

"Playing for England again is a huge goal of mine. but my performance and focus has to start at my club and right now all my energies are on pre-season with Sale."

Click here for all the latest Betfair Heineken Cup, news, odds and previews, as well as the latest Aviva Premiership Betting.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Murray Injury Hope

Andy Murray says that he hopes to have fully recovered from a back injury in time to make a real impact at the upcoming French Open.

The British number one was forced to pull out of last week's Madrid Open, having suffered a recurrence of a back injury, but returned to the ATP Tour in Rome.

Murray crashed out of the clay-court event at the third round, after losing in three sets to Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, 6-7 (1/7) 6-3 6-2.

The 25-year-old admitted after the match that all was not well with his fitness – a real concern with the French Open, on May 28.

Murray is behind both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the stakes to win the French Open, according to the Betfair Tennis betting website.

 Murray said: "My back was a little bit sore towards the end, but I was expecting that coming into the tournament.

"I've had it a while, since December. Obviously, since then, there hasn't been that much time to take an extended break."

Even though there is not much time until the year's second Grand Slam gets underway, the world number four remains optimistic about the impact that he can have at the Roland Garros.

Murray added: "Hopefully, by the time the French Open comes around, I'll be in peak condition. That's the goal."

Murray, who has one title to his name so far, this year, had made a sound start to the 2012 clay-court run, before his recent injury setback.

The three-time Grand Slam finalist reached the quarter-finals in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona, although on both occasions he was beaten by lower-ranked players - Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic.

For more information on gambling on professional tennis, visit the website.

Misbah sees fielding improvement

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq is backing his side to defy the latest odds, after claiming that he has seen drastic improvements in his team’s fielding and fitness ahead of June’s tour of Sri Lanka.

Pakistan are in buoyant mood after whitewashing the best Test side in the world earlier in the year. England struggled to cope with Pakistan’s spin attack and fell to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in the United Arab Emirates.

While Pakistan have a bowling attack to match the best sides in the world, they continue to struggle in the fielding department and their standards are well below the likes of England and Australia.

Misbah insisted fielding has always been a priority and mistakes in the field are not down to a lack of effort in training.

Former Surrey fielding coach Julian Fountain joined Pakistan’s coaching staff in March and Misbah believes the team is making strides.

"Whether it was under Waqar Younis (former coach) and Ijaz Ahmed (fielding coach) everyone did a good job and now Julian is doing a great job and I think we have shown good improvement in fielding and fitness," said Misbah.

Misbah’s men have recent history on their side going into the one-day and Test series in Sri Lanka. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in the three-match Test series and won the one-day series 4-1 in the UAE late last year. However, their last trip to Sri Lanka in 2009 ended in defeat in both forms of the game.

Misbah expects a fierce challenge and wants Pakistan to rise to the occasion and prove a point to cricket’s betting community.

"We have to be at our best in all departments because Sri Lanka is a tough opponent no matter where you play them and in their own country they are even tougher," he added.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20s, five one-day internationals and three Tests on the tour, which starts on June 1.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hussey Defends IPL Teammates

Kings XI Punjab acting captain David Hussey has come out in defence of his team amid allegations of corruption in the Indian Premier League.

Two of the five players suspended by the Indian cricket board (BCCI) are contracted to the Punjab team – Amit Yadav and Shalabh Srivastava – though they have not played in this year’s IPL.

Hussey, deputising for the injured Adam Gilchrist, hopes the Punjab players will not be tarnished with the same brush as the suspended duo.

"Everyone in my team, everyone in Kings XI Punjab as a brand, plays with utmost integrity and if any print or TV media tries to write differently or say something differently about my team, then I will be very disappointed," Hussey said.

The cricket community on Betfair was stunned when it emerged that reporters from India TV had posed as sports agents and recorded the players saying that spot-fixing was prevalent in the competition.

T. P. Sudhindra, Mohnish Mishra and Abhinav Bali were the other cricketers suspended by the BCCI on Tuesday.

Sudhindra has played three times for the Deccan Chargers this year, while Mishra has played one game for Pune Warriors. Bali has not featured in the tournament.

India TV showed Sudhindra allegedly agreeing to bowl pre-arranged no-balls in a local amateur match, while Punjab’s Srivastava apparently stated he could do the same in the IPL. Srivastava denied the accusations.

Mishra told the undercover reporters he was paid a major part of his IPL salary by Pune Warriors in illegal money, though he later apologised, saying he made the comment "casually for personal gain".

The board’s investigations will be carried out by former police officer Ravi Sawani, who has previously worked for the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.

Check out the latest England Cricket betting odds on Betfair.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lambert – Norwich right place for Holt

Paul Lambert has insisted Grant Holt is at exactly the right club he needs to be if he is going to improve as a player and gain an England call-up.

Despite scoring 17 Barclays Premier League goals in his first season in the top-flight, Holt was not in new England manager Roy Hodgson’s squad for this summer’s European Championships.

The striker handed in a unsuccessful transfer request to the club last month, with it believed Holt felt he had missed out on Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad because he hadn’t been at a bigger club.

Manger Paul Lambert has rejected that assumption however, insisting the striker needs to focus on continuing to improve at Norwich, If he does so then an England call could still come around for the former Shrewsbury front-man.

“This club fit Grant and vice-versa - he has been brilliant for this club and that should never be underestimated,” said Lambert.

“If he wasn't at Norwich he might not have made the England squad, he might not have scored 17 goals.

“From our point of view Grant has been brilliant for Norwich and vice-versa and if he keeps playing the way he has next year you just don't know.”

Lambert may have a point in claiming Holt and Norwich are a perfect fit, although, that may not hold much water should a bigger club come in with an offer for the powerful striker this summer. The betting certainly suggests he will move on and Interest from Rangers, as well as a number of Premier League sides, could come to fruition at some point during this summer’s transfer window.

Lambert could have a real battle on his hands to hang on to Holt.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

London 2012: Rhythmic gymnasts set to captivate

The Rhythmic Gymnastics has not been around as a medal event for that long, only making its debut in Los Angeles in 1984, Since then though it has grown in popularity.

This is due in no small part to the fact that each competitor has no help from traditional floor equipment, instead having to put their own personal interpretation on to the music with the help of hoops balls, ribbons or clubs.

The sport itself came to the fore principally in Russia where ballet is big, and as such it was not much of a leap to the crossover into sport from art. Indeed rhythmic gymnastics is an art-based performance in itself, and it is no surprise to learn that Russia has dominated proceedings of late, capturing both the individual and team titles at each of the last three Games.

With six gold medals to date, Russia is the only country to have gained more than one Olympic Games title, and it without doubt that there will be more medals added when the event begins at the Wembley Arena on 9th August.

The star of the show is very much Yevgenia Kanayeva who was just 18-years-old when taking both the Group and Individual All-Around gold medals in Beijing. In 2009 she won a staggering six golds at the World Championships, four more in 2010, and last year repeated her feat of the six-timer.

Quite simply she is the best around which is unfortunate for her team-mate Daria Kondakova, who despite regularly picking up international silverware, lives in the shadow of her fellow countrywoman. One thing is certain, we will definitely get used to the Russian national anthem by the time that the three-day spectacle is over.

For all the best previews, odds and predictions including Athletics Betting, head over to the dedicated Betfair London 2012 page.

McVeigh Calls for Toughness

Co-captain, Jarrad McVeigh, has urged the Sydney Swans to toughen up, after an “embarrassing” performance in their most defeat by Richmond. The match made for awkward viewing, for fans of live Aussie rules.

Sydney, with five wins out of five at the start of the season, have lost their last two matches, after last weekend's 29-point loss to the Tigers at the MCG.

The Swans were never in the contest and McVeigh admitted they got exactly what they deserved. "We just didn't turn up to play and that's just what it is. We can't hide from it. [It was] an embarrassing performance", McVeigh said.

"We went through the review and some of the stuff was embarrassing. Our hardness was way off – starting with myself and the leadership group. If we're not doing it, we can't expect the rest of the team to follow."

Sydney hosts a winless Melbourne team, on Saturday. Melbourne continued its miserable season with a thumping defeat at home to Hawthorn, last Friday, and will be desperate to get some wins on the board before it is too late.

They will face another tough task at the SCG, with the Swans determined to bounce back themselves.
"Our reviews are all about improving, so we need to hit back really hard this week, get our tackles up and be winning those hard balls", McVeigh added.

The Swans lost their 100 per cent home record, last time out, against Adelaide, and McVeigh spoke of the team’s desire to turn the SCG into a fortress, once again.

"We started the year quite well. If we get back to that form, we know that we can beat anyone when we're on. So we'll be looking to get back to that relentless attitude", he said. Find out if the bookies' favour the Swans, by checking out the AFL betting odds.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Joey Barton shows why he isn’t England material

Although Roy Hodgson isn’t a man who has an easy ride ahead of him this year, his selections for the England squad for the upcoming European Championships were made a little easier this weekend, as Joey Barton once and for all ruled himself out of a squad that is already full of enough "big characters".

With Barton once again putting himself in a ridiculous and humiliating situation during a televised league game, he has been left once more in an unenviable position after he appeared to strike out at several players after picking up a deserved red card halfway through what was a magnificent game of football.

Barton himself has seen his career blighted by the sheer petulance that he seems to continually demonstrate, whether when attacking Arsenal's Gervinho to provoke a response at the start of the season, or through more damning behaviour that he has himself admitted when tweeting to his followers after the Manchester City game: "Can do nothing but apologise to the players and the fans. Still don't think its a sending off. Tried to take one of their players with me..."

With comments like these (and worse that don't deserve a mention), Barton has displayed all of the reasons why the British public have started to show a certain level of disdain for the so-called stars of the football world.

If Barton finds himself fortunate enough to be retained by QPR, he will face a lengthy ban that effectively starts from now, with the midfielder wasting the talent that once could have seen him force himself into the England team playing in Ukraine and Poland.

Join the Betfair punters and experts, this summer, for all the European Championship action. Visit the Euro 2012 Free Bets website for all the odds, tips and previews you need.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Federer edges hard-fought Raonic clash

Roger Federer was given a tough examination by the in-form Canadian Milos Raonic in the second round of the Madrid Open before eventually completing a 4-6 7-5 7-6 victory.

The 30-year-old Swiss star, who has won 16 Grand Slams during a glittering career, is hoping to add to his solitary French Open success of 2009, when the action gets underway at Roland Garros later this month.

However, he knows that his form needs to improve if he is to challenge the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in Paris, after being pushed all the way by Raonic, who served 21 aces during the clash. Nadal – often seen as the king of clay – is the runaway favourite for the tournament, even with the presence of the problematic blue clay, and has been heavily backed in the French Open Betting.

World number three Federer admitted afterwards:  "I had a tough first set and one bad game that cost me the set really.

"He could swing big on my service games and I couldn't do that much on his but I was getting more balls back as the match went on. I played a good tie-breaker overall."

Federer was forced to save seven of the eight break-points he faced on his way to a victory that took two hours and 14 minutes and he will come up against the 14th seed Richard Gasquet in the third round.

The Frenchman, who was recently beaten in the final of the Estoril Open by Juan Martin del Potro, edged past Viktor Troicki 7-5 6-3.

Meanwhile, the seventh seed Janko Tipsarevic eventually prevailed 7-6 6-7 6-3 after a tight encounter with qualifier Federico Delbonis.

The Serbian will face ninth seed Gilles Simon in the third round. All the odds for that match, as well as previews and tips, can be found at Betfair.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Djokovic Blasts Madrid Surface

World number one, Novak Djokovic, said that he is not a fan of the new blue clay surface at the Madrid Open, after he struggled past Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the second round.

Djokovic beat the Spaniard, who is 136 places below the Serbian in the world rankings, 6-2 2-6 6-3, but he was stinging in his criticism of the surface, nonetheless.

"To me, that's not tennis. Either I come out with football shoes, or I invite Chuck Norris to advise me how to play on this court", said Djokovic.

The 24-year-old is the defending champion, having beaten Rafael Nadal 7–5 6–4 in the final of last year’s tournament. Nadal has also raised concerns, ahead of his first match at the Open, against Nikolay Davydenko, on Wednesday.

Nadal is currently the favourite for the win at the Madrid Open on Djokovic is next, at 5/2.

Djokovic complained about the surface throughout his second-round clash, but he held his game together to take a decisive 4-2 lead in the deciding third set, before sealing his place in the next round.

"I hit five balls throughout the whole match. With everything else, I was just trying to keep the ball in the court", Djokovic added, after hitting 24 unforced errors.

"When you slide on the red clay you have a feeling you can stop and recover from that step. But here, whatever you do [...] you are always slipping. Not a single player – not woman, not man – I didn't hear anyone say 'I like blue clay.'"

The players are using the tournament in Madrid as preparation for the French Open, played on red clay, which begins at the end of May.

Despite Djokovic's complaints, Tomas Berdych, Gilles Simon, Juan Martin del Potro, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, and Fernando Verdasco all advanced.

Djokovic will face either Stanislas Wawrinka or Jurgen Melzer in the third round. The pair, whoever they are, meet on Wednesday afternoon.

Fans of tennis should head over to the Betfair French Open 2012 website, for the best picks ahead of the start of the tournament.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Triple Crown Bid Beckons for Mighty Camelot

For the first time in decades, it looks as though a horse might just have appeared on the racing scene that is capable of giving a serious shot at emulating the mighty, Nijinsky, winner of the Triple Crown in 1970.

Camelot’s fine victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas has set up that mouth-watering possibility, and given racing fans something to dream about, at least until next month’s Derby, writes Elliot Slater.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt landed the first colts’ classic of the season by a neck, from the brave French challenger, French Fifteen, with another Gallic raider, Hermival, third ahead of Trumpet Major (the best of the home defence). 

The son of Montjeu needed every yard of the mile to get to the front, after being given a very confident ride from the outstanding young Irish rider, Joseph O’Brien, 18-year-old son of the winning trainer, Aidan.

After settling at the rear of the field, it was not until the two furlong from home marker that Camelot made his move, scything through the field to hit the front inside the final furlong, before running on strongly to hold the Nicolas Clement-trained runner-up, a horse already proven as a high-class performer. 

With a pedigree that shouts stamina, it was no surprise to see bookies slashing the odds of a Camelot Investec Derby win, and while some already go odds-on, the best price in the market is now a skimpy 5/4, with online betting on racing at Bet Victor.

For one normally reticent, and loath to give away too much about future plans, it was more than interesting to hear O’Brien senior mention the possibility of a crack at the Triple Crown. The feat would require victory over an extended mile-and-three-quarters at Doncaster, in September, in the St Leger, to go along with the Epsom and the 2000 Guineas. 

Such a prospect already has the racing world in breath-taking anticipation and looks set to illuminate an already fascinating 2012 season. Get great odds on horse racing on