Blogs & Opinion

Stroke of fortune?

Ed tips up another big weekend of sport

Features - Ed Chamberlin Posted 4th October 2012 view comments

Sport doesn't get much better than that.

The Ryder Cup never fails to deliver and Sunday night was magical television from start to finish. It was a race against time to get back from Villa Park to our London hotel in time to witness the 'Miracle at Medinah' but we made it to enjoy one of the great finishes to a sporting event that you will ever see. My goodness we have been spoilt in 2012.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: one of the biggest races on the calendar

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: one of the biggest races on the calendar

The Ryder Cup was also one of the most amazing in-running betting events of all time. USA were 1/9 to with Sky Bet at the start of the Sunday singles and traded as short as 1/33 during the final day, with Europe reaching 16/1 at one point.

After Europe had defied the odds and Martin Kaymer had sunk the putt to retain the Ryder Cup, European supporters were unfazed by the result of the final match between Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods.

An each-way bet at 9/1, in what is a below-par renewal of the great race, could be a masterstroke.

Ed Chamberlin
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However, bookmakers up and down the land would have been looking on in horror as Woods missed that short putt to hand Europe overall victory. The tie was trading at 1/6 as Woods stood over that putt to win his match and said afterwards that he was thinking "hey, let's get this over with".

Bookmakers and punters won't have been thinking that. Sky Bet estimate Tiger missing that four footer cost them over half a million pounds and it must have hit layers across the board for around ten million. Molinari's victory was also bad news for a handful of backers of the tie at 10/1, which would have been a 'skinner' for the bookies.

In contrast, it had me punching the air a la Ian Poulter as it was magnificent news for us having tipped up a final scoreline of 14½-13½. The credit for that must go to the boys in the golf department at Sky Bet HQ who told me on my visit to the office last week that five of the previous 10 Ryder Cups had finished with that score.

I was also talked in to tipping up Ian Poulter at 7/1 to be Europe's top scorer, who was sensational and landing that bet was never in doubt, and Dustin Johnson at 9/1 who tied as America's top scorer.

Three out of three - a successful and thrilling week. Roll on Gleneagles 2014.

Horse racing

This is one of my favourites meetings of the year. Arc weekend in Paris is different class and where I spent my stag weekend many years ago, followed by many pilgrimages back to the French capital on the first Sunday in October!

The French put on a day like this like no other country with Longchamp a sea of music, colour and fashion, mixed with a feast of Group One races, which creates a unique and special atmosphere. Our Champions Day at Ascot is a vast improvement on the soul-less old one at Newmarket but still not a patch on Arc Day.

The big race itself - the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - has taken hit after hit over the last week with leading contenders Danedream, Nathaniel and sadly Snow Fairy, who I had backed to win the race prior to her Irish Champion Stakes victory, all having to drop out.

However, the race got a shot in the arm when 2,000 Guineas and Derby winner Camelot was given the green light to run on Wednesday with Frankie Dettori on board adding even more stardust. He was immediately promoted to near the head of the market by Sky Bet but I think he's hard to fancy.

Camelot was built up as a superstar in the lead-up to the St Leger and excuses were made for him after his defeat at Doncaster and Joseph O'Brien took some stick. My theory is that the horse is just not that good. The Derby he won is set to go down as one of the worst of all time.

The one I like is the horse Andre Fabre trains for Goldolphin - Masterstroke. He won the Group Two Grand Prix de Deauville last time out, which is not the most high profile of trials but Fabre loves to use it as a prep race for his three-year-old contenders.

The last three he has won with at Deauville have gone on to be placed in the Arc. This horse has a load to find on form but his trainer is THE master of this race and I know he's quietly confident about Masterstroke's chance. An each-way bet at 9/1, in what is a below-par renewal of the great race, could be a masterstroke.

Elsewhere on the card I hope Mayson runs a big race for Richard Fahey in the Abbaye on what promises to be an informative and spectacular day's racing.


Sky Bet's Premier League Title odds: 13/8 Man City, 2/1 Man Utd, 3/1 Chelsea, 11/1 Arsenal, 40/1 Tottenham, 50/1 Liverpool, 66/1 Everton, 400/1 Newcastle, 750/1 bar

We are only six games in to the season yet the title favourites have 'flip-flopped' again.

City are back at the top of the market after digging out a great result at Fulham, while Chelsea shortened further after de-railing Arsenal's good start. I said last week that I was amazed to see Manchester United promoted to favouritism and they came unstuck at home to Tottenham - a result that had been coming with the poor way that United had been playing.

Gary Neville did a superb analysis on his old club's defensive problems on the Monday Night Football and it almost cost them again at Cluj on Tuesday night.

However, just like last week when it was dangerous to get over-excited about United, now there is no need to panic or jump to conclusions. There is plenty of time for Sir Alex Ferguson to put things right and they are still major contenders, as always, in the title race.

What a test Manchester United (5/6 to win with Sky Bet) face in our live game on Super Sunday as one of the last places you'd want to go after a bad defeat at home is Newcastle United (14/5). The home side will be licking their lips after the 3-0 win here in January - their first win in 20 meetings with United - and they now go in search of their first back-to-back League victories against Man Utd since 1972.

With the Van Persie / Rooney partnership starting to thrive and Newcastle attacking flair bound to test United's defensive frailty, we should be in for a thriller.

Before that we have Southampton (17/10) against Fulham (6/4) live from St Mary's. These two sides meet for the first time in seven years but history points to Southampton as they are unbeaten in the last 17 League meetings at home, winning 12 and Fulham's only win in 27 League visits to Southampton came 77 years ago, 2-1 in an old Division Two game at The Dell in October 1935 - the year Fred Perry won Wimbledon title, the board game 'Monopoly' was launched by the Parker Brothers and Elvis Presley was born.

Southampton have looked decent going forward at home but the key questions are whether Saints' porous defence can hold out and if Fulham's win at Wigan was a flash in the pan or proof that they can win on the road. I hope you can join us from 1pm on Sky Sports 1 HD.

Other things to bear in mind this weekend: Liverpool have never lost a top flight game at home to Stoke (49 meetings, 39 wins).

Swansea and Reading last met in the 2011 Championship play-off final at Wembley - Swansea were promoted to the Premier League after a 4-2 win, thanks to a hat-trick from Scott Sinclair. Revenge on the cards?

Sunderland were the only side not to lose to Manchester City in the Premier League last season. Sunderland won 1-0 at home and drew 3-3 away.

As well as the successful bets on the Ryder Cup last week, Stoke beat Swansea 2-0 for us at 15/2. I will be able to thank and congratulate Peter Coates and Tony Pulis who will be at an LMA Conference at St George's Park on Thursday. I'm really looking forward to seeing the spectacular new facility, which will now be home to all 24 England teams, and to interviewing the four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson, who is a guest speaker at the event. I shall report back!

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