There are lots of champion betting opportunities today, including the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, Champions League action, and the Valspar Championship (PGA Tour golf).
Cheltenham – Champion Chase 3.20pm
The absence of last year’s champion Sprinter Sacre may have robbed racing purists of the chance of seeing the top-rated National Hunt horse in training – but the race has benefitted from a punting point of view. Sire De Grugy, now the favourite at around 5/2, would undoubtedly be much shorter if he had ever won at Cheltenham – but he hasn’t. This may be coincidental, but his short price means there are plenty of better priced each-way alternatives. The two horses that have been beaten Sir De Grugy at Cheltenham (Captain Conan and Kid Cassidy) both line up, and their trainer Nicky Henderson will be hopeful that one of them can fill the gap left by Sprinter Sacre. However, Sizing Europe has registered form figures of 1/1/2/2 at the last four festivals and may thrive here once more – especially now the ground has dried out.
Sizing Europe each-way 14/1 or better
Football – Champions League: Barcelona v Manchester City 7.45pm
Barcelona take a 2-0 lead into the home leg of their Champions League fixture with Manchester City, and are 4/7 to inflict a second defeat on their opponents. Whilst confidence is tempered by Barcelona’s two recent defeats in the Spanish Primera, this is offset by City’s FA Cup demise at the hands of Wigan. City failed to score in the first leg at the Etihaad, and will have to come out all guns blazing here in order to get back into the tie – meaning Barcelona’s attacking players are likely to have plenty of space to exploit. If Barcelona score first, City may lose heart and Barcelona 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0 should cover plenty of bases.
Barcelona 2-0 10/1
Barcelona 3-0 12/1
Barcelona 4-0 25/1
Golf – Valspar Championship (Thursday-Sunday)
The PGA Tour moves onto the Innisbrook resort this week, a par 71 course that demands precision. Following last week’s brutal four days at the redesigned Blue Monster at Doral, the gut feeling is that anyone who played there may struggle to be at 100% this week. Two players who didn’t play last week are double Valspar Champion KJ Choi and the improving Sang Moon Bae. Choi won here in 2002 and 2006 as well as finishing runner-up in 2010 and, though his game may have its limitations in comparison to some of the young guns, he can put his experience to good use. Bae has played here only twice, finishing runner-up on his debut in 2012, and played well recently at Riviera which had also previously been a happy hunting ground.
KJ Choi 50/1 each-way
Sang Moon Bae 100/1 each-way