Saturday Selection – 21/7/2018

2:25 Newbury – JLT Cup – Class 2 Handicap – 2m½f

This is a tricky puzzle to start the day off, with 17 horses in contention. However, there is plenty of form to get stuck into and 4 places on offer (or 5 if you choose to take 1/5 of the odds), so it’s worth taking a look. Stratum is the 9/4 favourite and he has a very attractive profile – he ran well to finish 3rd at Royal Ascot last time out in the Ascot Stakes over 2m 4f, shaping as if this step back to 2m could suit. Mullins is trying out first time headgear and he has been the subject of market support which is interesting considering he is owned by Tony Bloom. However, his price isn’t overly attractive in a race like this and I’ll be hoping that we can successfully oppose him as he takes up almost a third of the market, and therefore should create value elsewhere.

The next horse in the betting may be of more interest. Almoghared runs off bottom weight by virtue of being the only 3yo in the field, and comes into his handicap debut having also shaped nicely at Royal Ascot last time out, having finished 4th in the Queens Vase.

Buzz is one very interesting contender. He was taken out of the John Smiths Cup last week and the decision has been made to run over this trip instead. He’s unproven over the trip but breeding would suggest that it won’t be a major issue, and one would imagine that he’s being tried out over this distance with a view to running in the Ebor. This won’t mean that he’s not trying here today, however – he’ll need to put in a good run in order to go up in the weights to get into the Ebor. He’s a very consistent type, improving from run to run, and could be seen at his best here if he handles the trip. At 14/1, he looks the best bet.

SELECTION: BUZZ E/W (14/1)

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The Football Tipster – 2/7/2018

Our football tipster has previewed both of today’s World Cup clashes and attempted to find the value in the markets:

15:00 – Brazil v Mexico

Mexico got off to a flying start, beating Germany and South Korea, before disappointing in their final group game when losing 3-0 to Sweden. It’s possible that they had simply taken their eye off the ball briefly, but this loss meant that they’ll have to play Brazil today rather than a preferable draw against Switzerland – it can be quite difficult to find form in a tournament such as this when momentum is lost.

Brazil have failed to be spectacular so far, drawing 1-1 in their first game against Switzerland before beating both Costa Rica and Serbia 2-0. They’re heavy favourites for tomorrow’s match, but it will be interesting to see whether Mexico can catch them on the break as they did against Germany.

It’s hard to tell whether that performance was as impressive as it first seemed, considering Germany’s subsequent form and shaky defence. My instinct would be not, and they’ll play a defence today which should be tougher to break down that Germany’s proved to be.

This has been the natural end to Mexico’s tournament in the last six World Cups and it seems likely that this will be the case today. However, odds on Brazil to qualify are hardly attractive. Brazil have conceded just twice in their last 10 games, whilst Mexico have failed to score in 4 of their 9 games in 2018. A clean sheet for Brazil wouldn’t be a huge surprise, and 7/5 seems generous.

BRAZIL TO WIN TO NIL (7/5 BET365, LADBROKES, CORAL, BETFRED, BOYLESPORTS)

19:00 – Belgium v Japan

Belgium were arguably the most impressive team in the group stages, albeit in an easy group, and they look to have the easiest knock-out game of the round when they face Japan today.

Before their 1-0 win over England, Belgium had scored at least 3 goals (and won by at least 3 goals) in each of their last 4 matches. As a single bet, Belgium -2 looks like value at 23/10. However, for the double, I’m going to go with Belgium -1.

BELGIUM -2 (HANIDCAP) (23/10 UNIBET, 888SPORT)

DOUBLE: BRAZIL TO WIN TO NIL, BELGIUM -1 (3/1 188BET)

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