Relegation Trebles – Who Will Go Down?

Source: Wikipedia 

At the time of writing, the three bottom placed teams in the Premier League table- Swansea City, Sunderland, and Hull City- are favoured at 13/8 to all be relegated this season. With more than 15 games left to play, there is plenty of time for this landscape to change and for one or more of the doomed teams to pull themselves out of the mire. So aside from these struggling sides, who else could be in contention of slipping down into the Championship next season? By successfully predicting which teams will fall, good returns can be made on the Relegation Treble. Here we suggest three teams to keep an eye on.

Crystal Palace

Palace were rock bottom for points won per game in 2016 in the top four English divisions. This led to the sacking of Alan Pardew, but his replacement Sam Allardyce is also facing similar tribulations. After 21 games the Eagles had a mere 16 points, level with 18th-place Hull and above the relegation zone due to superior goal difference. Allardyce is a specialist at keeping teams up, and has never been in charge of a team that has been relegated. Could this record be about to change?  

Bookies are offering 11/1 odds on Hull usurping the London club and Palace, Swansea, and Sunderland all going down. The Bet365 free bet is a deposit match up to £200, and could be used to produce great returns on this outcome.

Watford

 

Betting on Watford to go down is much more unlikely, as they are currently seven points above the drop zone. The Hornets are enduring a dreadful run of form, though, and have only mustered a solitary win in their last nine top-flight games. In their last five league outings Walter Mazzarri’s side have scored 2 goals, and they are desperately lacking a clinical goal scorer.

Odion Ighalo has managed 1 goal and 1 assist all season, but he put away 16 goals and 3 assists in the previous campaign. Similarly, Troy Deeney’s output has severely diminished. The captain has 4 goals to his name, 2 of which were from penalties. Last term he scored 13 goals and assisted 7. If Watford don’t sign a prolific striker this January, they could find themselves in big trouble.  

Leicester City

Leicester have seemingly lost the fighting spirit that saw them miraculously avoid relegation in 2014-15, and then charge on to win the title last season. Add to that the loss of Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, and Daniel Amartey during the Africa Cup of Nations, and the fact that the Foxes also have Champions League football to contend with, and the situation looks tenuous. Losses to Sunderland, Watford, and Bournemouth this season have shown just how much Claudio Ranieri’s side have changed. If they can’t recapture that champion’s spirit soon they could be overtaken by the other teams that are desperately fighting for survival.

Of course, these are merely teams to consider putting into that relegation treble. It is highly likely that at least one of the current bottom three will go down, but there is a chance that some of the teams that thought they were sitting pretty could sink down to the dreaded drop zone by the end of the campaign.  

 

‘Deadly Double’, Thursday, January 19

In the 2.00 at Southwell on Thursday, Bring On A Spinner was beaten, but far from disgraced on his first attempt in 0-90 company over 5 furlongs on New Year’s Day and, dropping back down in class off a 2lb lower mark, is a strong fancy to resume winning ways. His previous course and distance win represented a career-best effort and he can take his record on Fibresand to 4-5 under regular partner Aaron Jones.

In the 5.50 at Chelmsford, Secret Bird can probably be forgiven his failure over course and distance two weeks ago and is better judged on his previous victory at Wolverhampton, where he made all to win by 2 lengths. He remains 6lb higher in the weights, but his most recent form has already been franked by the runner-up, Topsoil, and the return to 6 furlongs should do him no harm.

Selections: Southwell 2.00 Bring On A Spinner, Chelmsford 5.50 Secret Bird, 1-point Win Double

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‘That’s Just Champion’, Wednesday, January 11

Taunton Races 301214

Unsurprisingly, Paul Nicholls is far and away the leading trainer at Taunton, which is just a short trip down the A303 from his Ditcheat yard, but his 31% strike rate overall is still pretty impressive. The champion trainer saddles five at his local track on Wednesday, January 10 and we’ve selected three of them for our multiple bet this week.

Overland Flyer (1.05) hasn’t been seen in public since winning a restricted race, over 3 miles, at Larkhill point-to-point in February and makes his debut for the yard, but is a promising young horse who commands respect on his debut under Rules. In fact, his trainer has nominated him as one to follow in the coming months, so a winning start looks on the cards.

Captain Buck’s (1.35) has also been absent since April, when a beaten favourite in bumper over an extended 2 miles on this course. However, the runner-up in that race, Only For Love, went on to complete a hat-trick, so the form looks fair enough and Captain Buck’s may well improve again for the step up to 2 miles 3 furlongs.

Last, but hopefully not least, Volpone Jelois (2.40) was all out to win a maiden hurdle on the course last month, but demonstrated his battling qualities and is another who should appreciate stepping up in distance. Still only a four-year-old, of course, he has room for improvement in his jumping, but nevertheless has the makings of a decent novice.

Selections: Taunton 1.05 Overland Flyer, Taunton 1.35 Captain Buck’s, Taunton 2.40 Volpone Jelois, 1-point Win Patent

2017 Cheltenham Festival – World Hurdle

Unowhatimeanharry enhanced his claims for the World Hurdle at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival following his victory in the JLT Long Walk Hurdle, where he extended his run of wins to seven at Ascot.

Ascot grandstand and paddock” (CC BY 2.0) by monkeywing

Harry Fry’s hurdler, as highlighted in Oddschecker’s Saturday tipping page, scored by over four lengths ahead of Lil Rockerfeller and Un Temps Pour Tout. The eight-year-old was going stride for stride with Ballyoptic approaching the last but the latter made an error and came down, leaving Unowhatimeanharry to stride up to the line unchallenged at Ascot.

The win is the gelding’s second success of the season. He made his seasonal reappearance at Newbury in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle where he scored by six lengths in an impressive performance on soft ground at the Berkshire track. On that occasion, he had Ballyoptic and Menorah behind him.

Fry, who is increasingly growing his reputation as one of the best young national hunt trainers in the UK, does not have too many horses but he could be set for more Cheltenham Festival glory in March with this long-distance hurdler.

Unowhatimeanharry should be backed at 2/1 to win the World Hurdle in March. The opposition to Fry’s runner is not entirely obvious at this stage as Faugheen, Annie Power, Thistlecrack and Vroum Vroum Mag all have entries in the Championship race but could end up with different targets come the Festival.

Faugheen and Annie Power are likely to be campaigned for the Champion Hurdle over two miles given they are the last two winners of the race. They have yet to see a racecourse this season though due to setbacks, and they are also both owned by Rich Ricci – who tends to separate his horses from running against each other.

Thistlecrack is set to run in either the King George VI Chase or the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase on Boxing Day and if all goes well he will head for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Vroum Vroum Mag is most likely going to run in the Mares’ Hurdle, the race she won by just short of three lengths earlier in the year.

Cheltenham racecourse” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

If he is successful at the Cheltenham Festival in March, it will be Unowhatimeanharry’s second consecutive win at the meeting. In 2016 he landed the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle when going off at 11/1 in the betting under the hands of Noel Fehily. He was held up in the rear of that contest in the early stages and steadily made progress through the course of the race. He hung right up the hill at Prestbury Park where he got up in front, just over a length ahead of Fagan and Champers on Ice who was a further length back.

The eight-year-old is likely to feature next at Cheltenham in the Cleeve Hurdle in January before his bid in the World Hurdle. If successful at Prestbury Park, he could end up going off odds-on for the 3m Festival contest, therefore, punters would be smart to snap up the 2/1 before his next run.

If you are looking for an each-way selection in the World Hurdle next year at a big price, you can do no worse than Apple’s Jade at 14/1. Gordon Elliott’s filly was very game on her last start of 2m4f, where she held off the challenge of Vroum Vroum Mag in the closing stages of the Grade One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.

Apple’s Jade first made a name for herself in the UK when she finished second at the Cheltenham Festival back in March in the Triumph Hurdle behind Ivanovich Gorbatov. She then reversed the form with Aidan O’Brien’s runner on her next start at Aintree a month later. The four-year-old won by 41 lengths in one of the most impressive Grade One victories anywhere last season.

Elliott’s hurdler was less than impressive in her seasonal reappearance last month at Down Royal where she went off in the betting at 1/2 for the Grade One WKD Hurdle but could only finish second behind Rashaan.

Apple’s Jade looked a much fitter horse next time out at Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. She was denied by a nose in a respectable run at the northern track on soft ground where she had Sceau Royal in behind her. If the race was over 100 yards more, she would probably have beaten Irving.

However, it was her run at Fairyhouse last time out that should really give you encouragement that she could be competitive in the World Hurdle. She looked to appreciate the step up in trip. Her next assignment will give you a big clue about her Festival plans in 2017. At 14/1 in the betting for the stayers’ race, she looks to be a price and is worth an each-way play in the ante-post market.

Selections: Unowhatimeanharry (2/1) and Apple’s Jade (14/1) E/W