Monday, June 18, 2012

Royally good

England deservedly beat Sweden to put it in a good position to go through the next. How Ibrahimovic and co can complain that the result was unfair is really beyond me. It's true the Lions let in 2 really ugly looking goals to allow Sweden to take the lead. As mentioned before, this England defence is weak and any potent strike force is going to score on it. But the encouraging thing is that they bounced back and found renewed inspiration in attack. Theo Walcott is one of the best wingers in the world on his best day and is one of the only few in the squad that can change a game. So he did.

Besides the Euros, a few events caught the eye this past week-end. The US Open in golf saw the crowning of unfancied Webb Simpson. Tiger prowled for the first 2 days and then his challenge petered out. He's still not there yet. Mc Ilroy didn't even make the cut. Anyone noticed that since he and Carol Wozniak, the ex-tennis No 1, have been dating, their results have gone downhill? The great thing about watching the Open was seeing Ernie Els challenge on the last day. The South African is one of my all-time favourites on tour and is at the dawn of a great career. I don't know if he'll be in a position to challenge at future golf Majors again, but it was great to see him bring back some of his best golf.

In racing, the Prix Diane produced a surprise result as the undefeated favourite Beauty Parlour was overwhelmed in the late stages by the Aga Khan second-string Valyra. These 2 look set to lock horns in the  Prix Vermeilles at 12 furlongs before tackling the Arc. That a filly wins the Arc again a year after Danedream, looks like a live possibility with the likes of Beauty Parlour, Valyra and Golden Lilac.

Royal Ascot starts tomorrow and the first race is no other than the Queen Anne Stakes where Frankel puts his unbeaten record on the line. Suffice to say that besides Excelebration, there does not seem to be a horse in the race that can possibly stop this being another procession for the Galileo colt. This is a race last year that Frankel nearly lost, having been run to the line by Zoffany, but that can safely be attributed to pilot zest more than anything. He was made to strike for home too early last year, and rider Queally will be all too aware not to make the same mistake. Frankel should win and Excelebration will have to contend with another Place spot again. Those are the recommendations.

Back to the Euros where England take on Ukraine in their last group match. One co-host Poland has already bitten the dust and failed to qualify and Ukraine looks set for the same exit. I don't see them beating an England welcoming back Rooney, and England look good value as a good draw-no-bet.

Win: Frankel
Place: Excelebration
Draw-no-bet: England

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