Blogs & Opinion


Open road

Ed examines form book ahead of busy weekend of racing

Ed Chamberlin - Ed Chamberlin Posted 9th November 2011 view comments

This is one of my favourite weekends of the year.

The Open Meeting at Cheltenham signals the start for real of the jumps season and will have clues galore for the Festival in March.

The highlight of a brilliant three days is a vintage renewal of the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday. It looks horribly competitive for punters and as always in handicap chases at Cheltenham the winner will need to jump well and have an awful lot of luck.

Mon Parrain: Highly progressive chaser

Mon Parrain: Highly progressive chaser

However, finding the winner of this race has fitted a pattern for years now. You need to find a young, progressive second-season chaser who still has a few tricks hidden from the handicapper.

Sky Bet's 3/1 favourite Mon Parrain ticks a lot of the right boxes. His demise on the run-in at Aintree is a mystery for many but having backed him that day I just thought he was a sitting duck after the last for Always Waining, who loves the course and was too good on the day.

The fact that Paul Nicholls galloped him with Kauto Star and Big Bucks at Exeter last week surely tells us a lot. Mon Parrain could easily be a superstar and different class to the rest.

Ed Chamberlin
Quotes of the week

Mon Parrain lost no ground to the horses behind him and remains a highly progressive chaser, on a good mark who will take a lot of beating on Saturday. Lots of punters will think 3/1 is far too short already but I think he'll go off around at around 5/2 on Saturday.

The fact that Paul Nicholls galloped him with Kauto Star and Big Bucks at Exeter last week surely tells us a lot. Mon Parrain could easily be a superstar and different class to the rest.

The outsider I fancy (25/1 in to 14/1 with Sky Bet) is Dave's Dream. First time out is the time to catch this horse having won five out of six times on his seasonal re-appearance.

He is deadly when fresh. Dave's Dream was hugely impressive 12 months ago at this meeting and I think this longer trip might suit him. The Henderson team seemed very hopeful when I was at Seven Barrows last week and 14/1 looks far too big.

Over the last few weeks I've put up two horses - Kid Cassidy and Spirit Son - who I hope will repeat the success of last season's three horses to follow. Tocca Ferro was a revelation for us last term and I still think he'll be a star when he returns in February.

The horse to follow from Emma Lavelle's stable this season is Penny Max. This horse showed some decent enough form over hurdles last season but his trainer is convinced Penny Max will be better over fences and she thinks his handicap mark is very 'attractive'.

Keep a very close eye on Penny Max's appearance, which might well be at Plumpton next week. Also keep an eye on the two horses owner David Johnson told us in my Sky Sports interview - Cedre Bleu and Our Father.

The Racing Post Ten-to-Follow competition starts on Friday, which is always good fun to have a stab at. My leading 10 are: Big Bucks, Captain Chris, Hurricane Fly, Long Run, Mon Parrain, Noble Prince, Oscars Well, Peddlers Cross, Sizing Europe, Spirit Son.

Football

A really good week last week with Tottenham landing our bet of the weekend at 5/4 and Chelsea (13/8) and Manchester United (evens) both winning to nil.

I think that's a pattern that will continue over the next few weeks as Sir Alex and Andre Villas-Boas tighten things up at the back following their respective defensive disasters against City and Arsenal.

Manchester City continue to shorten to win the title - now down to 5/6 with Sky Bet - while United drifted a fraction after another 1-0 win to 13/8 and Chelsea remained unchanged at 7/1.

Sky Bet's Premier League title odds: 5/6 Man City, 7/4 Man City, 7/1 Chelsea, 28/1 Arsenal, 40/1 Tottenham, 50/1 Liverpool, 200/1 Newcastle, 2,000/1

We were at Craven Cottage on Super Sunday to watch Tottenham ride their luck against Fulham. I hope that victory was a good tonic for Harry Redknapp, who was watching at home under doctors' orders.

We all wish Harry well and hope to see him back on the touchline soon.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ed Chamberlin

Made for Mourinho

Ed Chamberlin says a trip to high-flying Liverpool is a situation made for tactical master Jose Mourinho....

Glenn Hoddle

Pep 'trying too hard'

Glenn Hoddle says Pep Guardiola is trying too hard to evolve and has made Bayern Munich worse....

Latest News RSS feeds

Sturridge eyes Chelsea return

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has confirmed that he is hoping to feature against Chelsea this weekend.

Guardiola defends tactics

Pep Guardiola defended Bayern Munich's possession football in the wake of their Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.

Chelsea trio charged by FA

Chelsea trio Jose Mourinho, Rui Faria and Ramires have all been charged with misconduct by the Football Association.

No WC guarantee for Januzaj

Adnan Januzaj's agent insists that Belgium have not given any guarantees that he will be going to the World Cup finals.

Hull keen to keep Fryatt

Hull City are keen to secure Matty Fryatt on a new contract and ward off interest in the striker.

Features

Sky Sports Scout, in association with Wyscout, reports on Italian keeper Simone Scuffet

Sky Sports Scout, in association with Wyscout, reports on Italian keeper Simone Scuffet

Sky Sports Scout is our exciting feature where we scour the globe, in partnership with Wyscout, looking out for the best talent and bring you a report on what we find.

Andy Walker: Rangers fans deserve more than just promotion

Andy Walker: Rangers fans deserve more than just promotion

Sky's live showing of Saturday's home game with Stranraer should be a carnival atmosphere for every Rangers supporter as they celebrate seeing Ally McCoist and his players raise the SPFL League 1 trophy.

Squad selector

Squad selector

Pick your 23 to go to World Cup with England. How does your squad compare to Sky Sports' experts?