The Cheltenham 2017 countdown has well and truly begun and in the coming weeks we will get valuable pointers for the festival.
This week’s feature race at Ascot, the Clarence House Chase (3.00) will tell us more about Queen Mother contenders Un De Sceaux, Ar Mad and Special Tiara, but how many of them will trouble the mighty Douvan at the festival who is 2/5 on with Sean Graham for to win the two-mile chase at Cheltenham?
Hopefully these famous last words will not come back to haunt me, but the Gary Moore yard is out of form at the minute so we make it a shoot-out between Irish raiders Un De Sceaux and Special Tiara. The Willie Mullins horse just about gets the vote, but the 5-4 on isn’t great value so the straight forecast is the bet for us.
If Un De Sceaux wins on Saturday, then expect the shrewd Mullins to aim him at the Ryanair Chase in March where he is 3-1 favourite with Sean Graham - that could be shorter come 3.10 Saturday.
On the same card, trainer Colin Tizzard can strike in the Grade 2 Olbg.com Mares' Hurdle (1.50) with the improving Colins Sister (4/1) while Le Rocher (10/1) could run a big race in the Keltbray Holloway's Handicap Hurdle (2.25).
Over at Haydock, we have the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (3.15) and we are hoping that Bristol De Mai (5/1) can bounce back to form in this one after successive second place finishes this term.
The Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle (2.05) looks a good pointer for the Triumph Hurdle and the Alan King-trained Elgin (5/2) sets the standard here after a nice win at Kempton, while Lami Serge (7/4) can take the Champion Hurdle Trial at the expense of The New One.
We move on to the weekend soccer and an 11/1 double in our draw treble last weekend was all we had to show for our effort so hopefully a better showing this week.
We start with the weekend quad and we take one final chance on Aston Villa (11/10) who host Preston, while fellow play-off hopefuls Derby (4/5) can bank all three points when they take on Reading.
Rochdale (6/5) will hope to bounce back from that late loss at Southend when they tackle Oxford and we have to wait for the late kick-off to make the weekend quad up and we’re taking a chance with Man City (5/4) to take all the points when they host free-scoring Spurs.
A miserable 8/12 last week for goalrush punters so a massive improvement is required and we suggest both teams to score in the following games: Nottingham Forest v Bristol City; Charlton v Scunthorpe; Coventry v Fleetwood; Southend v Bolton in the 3pm kick-offs.
Hopefully that will leave us a sweat for the 5.30pm kick-offs when Spurs tackle Man City and Barnsley host Leeds.
On to the odds-on acca bet. Again, you will not get rich if these five win at the weekend, but as we said last week it’s a case of trying to start the long, dark month of January with a few quid banked.
Take wins for Cardiff (5/6), West Brom (8/11), Doncaster (4/7), Ross County (4/5) and Ayr (4/6).
PG XXX Trixie
We finish with the draw trixie and we suggest you sit on the fence with the following games: Crystal Palace v Everton; Middlesbrough v West Ham and the Blackburn v Birmingham.
PG tips/bet giveaways/competitions online daily on our Twitter and Facebook feeds and keep an eye on the Sean Graham’s in-shop screens for all our soccer enhancements this weekend.