William Hill News
This is one of my more unusual columns for William Hill – a Saratoga/Thirsk double header – and, with due respect to one of my favourite Yorkshire racecourses, I’ll lead on an absorbing edition of the Travers Stakes at the Spa on Saturday night.
Put simply, I think Tiz The Law (11.15) will defy the ‘Graveyard of Champions’ by following up his victory in the Belmont Stakes. This has been a very different season and, in contrast to short priced favourites who come here having had a gruelling Triple Crown campaign, this horse is relatively fresh. What is more, he is sparkling in his work, and looked impressive when breaking his maiden on this track last year.
Clearly, Uncle Chuck has a really interesting profile as a hulking great galloper undefeated in two, heavily reminiscent of Arrogate when he came into this race for the same trainer. The difference is that Arrogate was an 11/1 shot, yet this horse is likely taking an almighty chunk of the market, which I believe makes Tiz the Law a pretty fair price. If you’re looking for an outside shot, I prefer Caracaro, who was the moral winner when a fine second off a layoff in the Peter Pan. Javier Castellano has an amazing record in this race, and will know this horse a bit better now.
I’m going for Pink Sands (8.42) to spring a minor surprise in the Ballerina earlier in the evening. This is likely to be run at a furious pace courtesy of the admirable Serengeti Empress and Cookie Dough. Normally speaking, that would lead me to Bellafina over her ideal seven furlongs, but the worry remains that she might not produce the goods outside California. Pink Sands is probably just short of this class, but this might set up just perfectly for her to keep rolling when the others have had enough.
Gamine (10.39) is the star attraction on the card in the Test and she’ll be a very short price. I don’t think there’s any mileage in trying to oppose her, but it’s well worth tuning in.
There’s no doubt Thirsk’s William Hill-sponsored card on Sunday is rather more taxing, but I like the idea of us backing Mighty Spirit in the 5f handicap at 1.55. She can readily be forgiven her run at York as she got very upset in the stalls, but she is a serious candidate on her run behind Art Power at Royal Ascot.
Bossipop (2.30) looks ready to win again for an in-form yard. He ran a super race behind Staxton at Ripon last time, has run well here a couple of times, and should be suited by the way this race will be run.
Balavad (3.35) is definitely of serious interest in the nursery handicap – this is a significant step down in class from Goodwood, where he ran exceptionally well, and the track should enable him to get rolling a bit earlier.
Grand Canal (5.20) is quite a confident pick to land the last race for Tom Clover. He bolted up at Yarmouth and, while that was a poor race, he looks like he has much more to offer, particularly over this slightly longer trip.
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Silverstone plays host to the second of two back-to-back Grands Prix to be held there during the 2020 season this weekend.
The race marks the 70th anniversary of Formula 1, which had its first race at this venue in 1950, and has held 1,022 races this then, spanning 32 countries.
It’s an event that Mercedes have dominated since the turn of the decade, winning on seven of the last eight visits.
Mercedes’ dominance so far this season is likely to continue throughout the campaign. They have the fastest car considerably and drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sit first and second respectively in the Drivers’ Standings, sharing the four race wins so far this season between them.
It’s no surprise then to see the Mercedes duo as the favourites for Sunday’s race, with Hamilton leading the betting at 4/11 and Bottas following behind at 7/2.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came close to an unlikely victory last week following the punctures to both Mercedes and has managed to put himself on the front row of the grid twice already this season. Whether he has the pace to outdo his rivals this weekend remains to be seen, but he is 8/1 to claim victory.
As we saw last weekend, tyre degradation will likely play a major role in the race. Tyre manufacturers Pirelli concluded that long-stints and unprecedented forces resulted in the three late tyre blowouts that cost Bottas and Carlos Sainz their chance at points. They are still expected to introduce softer compounds for this week’s race, so expect shorter stints and more pit stops in the race.
Despite the tyre blowout for Sainz, McLaren and Lando Norris have been the success story so far this season. Norris finished fifth on Sunday and sits fourth in the Drivers’ Standings heading into this weekend. Tyre issues aside, he and Sainz look well set for a points finish.
Renault also looked significantly improved last weekend, with Daniel Ricciardo scoring the team’s highest finish since Italy 2019 by taking fourth place and Esteban Ocon taking an impressive sixth place. They’ll be hoping for another strong points finish with Ferrari still struggling. Sainz, Norris and Ricciardo all to finish in the points is priced at 17/10.
Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, took his second podium of the season last weekend by finishing third. He seems to be able to extract a better race pace from his car than teammate Sebastian Vettel, who could only manage 10th. Although a victory seems unlikely, he could be in line for another podium, which is priced at 9/2.
Check out all the latest Formula 1 betting odds at William Hill
We’re in for a real treat this weekend as the Champions League makes its eagerly anticipated return.
Four teams are already through to next week’s quarter-finals. There are four more slots up for grabs as the teams battle it out across Friday and Saturday night.
Where else to start than with serial Champions League winners Real Madrid’s trip to the Etihad Stadium on Friday to play Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, where the tie is finely poised after the Citizens secured a fine 2-1 victory away at the Santiago Bernabeu back in February. It should mean we’re all set up for a classic.
While Madrid have made a habit of winning this competition throughout their history, including four of the last six editions, City have been perennial underachievers since returning to Europe’s top table at the beginning of the last decade. Despite having an immensely talented squad in that time they have reached the semi-finals just once. That hugely professional victory in Madrid, however, suggests the tide may have turned in City’s favour, and as a result they are the 10/3 joint favourites to go all the way this year.
Holding that 2-1 lead from the first leg, as well as a vitally important two away goals, ensures they go into Friday’s clash as the 1/8 favourites to advance to the last eight, with Madrid at 9/2. The hosts have been in impressive form in the Premier League with eight wins from their last 10, though they are without talisman Sergio Aguero, who will be sorely missed in this kind of encounter.
But while Madrid come into this clash as the underdogs, they will be sure they have the ability to turn this around. As mentioned, they’ve been here and done that in the Champions League so won’t be overawed by the occasion, while they have won 10 of their last 11 games domestically to secure the La Liga title. Confidence in the camp will be high. Madrid’s top scorer this season, Karim Benzema, has four goals in his last four games and is 5/1 to open the scoring here.
It’s a tough one to call as City could well provide a wobble and Madrid could turn up on the top of their game. We could be in for a long ride – and it’s 33/1 for either team to win in extra-time.
One game that’s on a real knife-edge is the encounter between Juventus and Lyon. The French side hold a narrow one goal lead after the first leg, but with the quality within the Juventus team this one is far from over.
Although Juve (42/100 to win in 90 minutes and 4/5 to qualify) won yet another Serie A title this season, they haven’t been in the best recent form, losing three of their last four matches. This is a top-quality side, though, and as has become customary they’ll be hoping that man Cristiano Ronaldo can dazzle on the biggest stage. He has a pretty handy record against Lyon with four goals and six assists in his 11 appearances against them. Ronaldo is 2/1 to score first, while he’s 6/10 to score anytime.
While Juventus will be relying on Ronaldo, Lyon (7/1 to win in 90 minutes and 10/11 to qualify) will be looking to Moussa Dembele to help them through to the quarter finals. The 24-year-old has 22 goals in all competitions this season 7/1 to open the scoring on Thursday.
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We’re back in Brentwood for week two of Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp, where the headline act sees Terri Harper defend her WBC and IBO super-featherweight world titles against Natasha Jonas.
We preview the best of Friday’s action below.
Terri Harper’s rise in the professional ranks has been exciting to follow. From making her debut in hometown Doncaster in November 2017, to winning the world title in her 10th professional fight in February of this year.
A year prior to her debut, she was still working in the local chip shop in Doncaster, waiting for her chance to sign a professional contract. Now, less than four years on, she’s headlining her own bill on week two of Matchroom Fight Camp.
Her opponent, Natasha Jonas, has made a name for herself in boxing’s amateur ranks, becoming the first ever female boxer to compete in the Olympic Games in 2012, while she won bronze at the 2012 World Championships.
At 36 years old, with 10 professional fights to her name like Harper, this could be one of her last chances to capture a world title in the professional ranks. However, she comes into this one a 6/1 underdog, with Harper priced as favourite at 1/12.
This event is all set up for Harper to extend her run as champion, make a name for herself on the bigger stage, and demand a unification bout from the other world champions in the division. She is 8/11 to do so by KO, TKO or DQ on Friday.
Listen to Eddie Hearn’s thoughts on tonight’s main event, below.
🗣 “All the pressure is on Terri Harper to perform.”@EddieHearn talks us through tonight's main event for #FightCamp week two at Matchroom HQ pic.twitter.com/LwIfMWBxcM
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) August 7, 2020
Anthony Fowler, long-time world prospect who fought for Great Britain on the amateur circuit, enjoyed a strong rise to prominence from the domestic to world stage during his early professional career from 2017 to late-2018.
But the hype train took a wayward turn in 2019, as Scott Fitzgerald ended his nine-fight unbeaten run to win the WBA international super-welterweight title.
Since then, Fowler has regrouped, secured three consecutive wins on the domestic stage, and has put his hat back in the ring for the big fights, but will have to go past unknown prospect Adam Harper on Saturday first.
Fowler, a 1/25 favourite, should have no problem dispatching Harper, who himself is 9/1 to win the fight.
Fowler to win by KO, TKO or DQ is priced at 3/10, with the Liverpudlian having shown his knockout power throughout his career, with nine knockouts to his name.
Check out all the latest boxing betting odds at William Hill