Arsenal v Wigan Saturday
Whilst it’s hard to believe that Arsenal haven’t picked up any silverware since winning the FA Cup in 2005, the Gunners should outclass a Wigan side that, whilst being the holders, are only in 5th place in the Championship. Arsene Wenger’s side are just 1/4 to reach the final and, whilst FA Cup history may be littered with dreams come true, Wigan’s are surely going to end today.
Hull v Sheffield United – Sunday
Languishing in 12th place in League One, Sheffield United’s dream run to the semi-final of the FA Cup could hardly have been predicted. However, their run looks likely to come to an end here against Hull and Steve Bruce’s side are 1/3 to reach the final.
Double: Arsenal (1/4) and Hull (1/3) both to reach the final
Horse Racing – Ayr – Scottish Grand National 3.50pm
Top-weight Tidal Bay makes the long journey North despite falling in last Saturday’s Grand National, and his presence has kept many of the runners out of the handicap. However, if your fancy is one of those horses, don’t worry as three winners in the last ten years have also been out of the handicap. Of the other seven winners, five have carried between 10-0 and 10-9, whilst the other two have carried 11-3 and 11-12. In the same ten-year period, winners have been aged seven (1), eight (3), nine (2) ten (2) and eleven (2).
It’s not a race to put all your eggs in one basket, so a three-pronged attack looks a good idea. First up is 10-year-old Lie Forrit (22/1), a horse who looks sure to appreciate running over four-miles for the first time, and looks to have been laid out for the race by shrewd trainer. He also has good course form with two wins and a second-place from five runs. Stable-jockey Peter Buchannan prefers favourite Green Flag, but good conditional jockey Craig Nichol takes a handy 5lbs off his mount’s back leaving him with only 9-9 to shoulder.
Second up is last year’s winner is Godsmejudge (18/1) who, despite being 6lb higher in the handicap this time around, only has to carry 10-5lb here. Pulled up in his last two runs may not be very eye-catching, but he had to carry 11-10 and 11-12 in those two runs and trainer Alan King’s horses continue in really good form after successes at Cheltenham and Aintree.
Finally, despite refusing in the Grand National last week, I can’t resist risking a few pounds on Battle Group (50/1) who was in scintillating form at this time last year, winning twice at Aintree and once at Haydock. Both of those courses, like Ayr, are flat left-handed tracks.
Lie Forrit each-way (22/1)
Godsmejudge each-way (18/1)
Battle Group each-way (50/1)
Horse Racing – Ayr – Scottish Champion Hurdle 3.15pm
My Tent Or Yours (11/10) again didn’t seem to quite get up the hill at Cheltenham, but his record on flat tracks is brilliant. He also hosed up at Aintree last year after finishing second at Cheltenham, and I expect him to do the same here despite giving some pretty useful horses lots of weight
My Tent Or Yours (11/10) win