Friday, October 19, 2012

A last one for Frankel

This week-end is all about Frankel's last race and nothing has changed from my previous assessment that he will end his career in a blaze of glory to which he is so accustomed. Let the ground be worse than very soft, let the greatest foe he will have encountered come from France, let the naysayers mention the unlucky-bound 13th run; I think he will prevail at the end. I might be wrong. American fans know all about Zenyatta and her heart-breaking last race. His odds are short, yet look generous. I don't think he will destroy Cirrus; on good ground, maybe. But on heavy ground, the gap might be well short of the ocean-wide margins he usually leaves in his wake. Frankel to win, Cirrus for the placing; there's no certainty in racing particularly on heavy terrain, but this 1-2 looks to be the play to go for.

League football is back after the usual but not-so-interesting international World Cup qualifiers. There's always the danger that teams don't show up in optimum or true form after such a break because of player fatigue, missed trainings and preparation time etc, so there are always some nuggets that may prop up here and there.

Fulham v/s Villa. This is one of the best shouts of the week-end for a Home win. The Cottagers are very good at home and will have extra ammunition with the return of striker Berbatov from injury.

Liverpool v/s Reading. Liverpool are a better team than what their results suggest. I expect them to come blazing against the sorry visitors. Suarez could have a great scoring game here provided he's well rested from his trip from South America. Straight home win.

Man Utd v/s Stoke. It is no secret that Stoke play for the goalless draw away from home. They might even eke out an odd goal. If an out-of-sorts Man Utd shows up, like the one that got beat by Tottenham a few weeks, then Stoke have a chance for a draw. Orelse it should be another home win. Given that they have lost 2 games already, Sir Alex will be keen to have his team pumped up here for full points, so it might be worth going for the straight home win.

Swansea v/s Wigan. This can go either way. Both teams are two-faced and are capable of the best and worst.

West Brom v/s Man City. If it were not for its current injury woes, I would have given WBA a good chance to snatch a point here. Although they are still a strong team, City seem to have to labor hard to get the 3 points on their travels. They are not yet dominant. It would hardly be any surprise if the Citizens won this late as the hosts will certainly not hand it to them.

West Ham v/s Southampton. Can go either way. If I were to speculate, the hosts as draw-no-bet will be the safest way to go.

Norwich v/s Arsenal. The Gunners look to be a good draw-no-bet proposition here. Norwich has a leaky defence which the visitors will be keen to exploit. Arsenal have their defensive lapses of their own and are not sure to come out of the game with a clean sheat. They should prevail or come up with a draw in the end though.

Sunderland v/s Newcastle. I favour Sunderland slightly for this North East derby, only because of their home advantage. Sunderland looks good value as a draw-no-bet.

QPR v/s Everton. This could be the springboard for Mark Hughes' men to finally get out of their losing funk. Everton is not to be dismissed lightly and they are capable of giving a game to any team in the league on their best day. Long-shot punters should consider QPR as a serious draw-no-bet selection, but they do not offer enough guarantees for me to consider them a safe punt. Better to avoid this match.

In Spain, I see home wins for Malaga and Real Madrid, while Valencia and Barcelona look solid draw-no-bet selections.

Win: Frankel, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Malaga, Liverpool, Fulham
Place: Cirrus des Aigles
Exacta: Frankel/Cirrus des Aigles
Draw-no-bet: Valencia, Barcelona, Sunderland, Arsenal, West Ham

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