Thursday 31 March 2016

Grand National 2016 Tips

With a later start than usual this year to avoid a clash with the football, we can expect viewing figures for the Grand National to increase from already impressive numbers last year. In 2015  nearly 9 million people watched jockey Leighton Aspell win the race for the second year running. Now 'Many Clouds', the 2015 winner, gets the opportunity to do the double too and is favourite for the 2016 race at a relatively short 8-1. There's plenty of reasons to believe that the nine year old will put up a good performance after recent impressive showings and Many Clouds would be the first to do the double since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974 so plenty of punters will be cheering it on. At the same time though, with such a large field, there are lots of other contenders. Silviniaco Conti is second favourite at 10-1 and he's skipping the World Hurdle in favour of the Grand National so that demonstrates confidence. It's justified too with 7 seven Grade 1 victories under his belt. Third favourite The Last Samuri (12-1) has impressed of late too.

If you're just betting on the National for a bit of fun and feel that it'd be a shame not to put a few quid on, there are of course countless long shot options to go for too. Of course, big priced winners are nothing new at the Grand National so it's not an entirely hopeless task. Who can forget Liam Treadwell riding Mon Mome home in 2009 at a staggering 100-1 with bookmakers. Of the outsiders I'd be tempted to go for 13-year-old gelding Vics Canvas at 50-1. He's a bit long in the tooth but has impressed over the years and has experience over the fences so it'd be nice to see him be thereabouts as an each-way option.

Interestingly Paul Nicholls will put Black Thunder (currently 50-1) up for sale two days before the Grand National takes place. I'm not sure if that speaks to the chance he thinks it has of winning, but it certainly adds another element of interest to what is already bound to be a great event!

Selections:   Silviniaco Conti (10-1 WIN)  Vics Canvas (50-1 E/W)

Monday 21 March 2016

Germany versus England, Saturday, March 26

England, minus Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart, travel to Berlin on Saturday to face world champions Germany. The aforementioned trio are all injured, but other notable absentees from Roy Hodgson’s 24-man squad are Michael Carrick, Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs, who are overlooked in favour of uncapped Danny Drinkwater, Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand. Carrick was largely anonymous, before being taken off on a stretcher in stoppage time, during the disappointing 2-0 defeat by Spain in Alicante in November so, with Jack Wilshere yet to recover from a broken leg suffered in pre-season training, Drinkwater has an opportunity to stake his claim for the holding midfield role.

The subsequent 2-0 defeat of France at Wembley is more likely to be remembered for the dreadful attacks in Paris the previous Friday but, as Hodgson admitted after the Spain game, England must improve if they are to have any chance of competing with the best in the world.

Germany coach Joachim Low, on the other hand, has named a familiar-looking squad, which includes Emre Can, Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger and just one new cap, Bayer Leverkusen centre back Jonathan Tah, who provides cover for injured defenders Jerome Boateng and Benedikt Howedes.

Since the famous 5-1 victory in Munich, nearly 15 years ago, England have beaten Germany just once – a 2-1 victory in Berlin in 2008 – in four attempts and, frankly, are unlikely to get much change out of the current side on home soil. A routine home win seems likely, but in search of a little value, let’s try Germany to win 2-0 at 15/2 with 888Sport.

Selection: Germany to win (15/2 with 888 Sport)