Thursday 23 February 2023

West Ham United v Nottingham Forest


As we move into a key part of the season, more and more teams are beginning to push hard to get results. This has seen teams that might have expected a comfortable season – like West Ham – see a slow start catch up to them. With that in mind, can the Hammers come out the other side of the relegation zone by defeating a Nottingham Forest side that have shown impressive mettle in recent weeks?

West Ham News

Injuries have been a killer for the Irons this year, and the fact they are likely missing the quarter of Maxwel Cornet, Kurt Zouma, Jarrod Bowen and record signing Lucas Paqueta are signs that the injury crisis is not yet over. Manager David Moyes will have seen reports that this is a do-or-die game for his reign, despite the lack of obvious replacements on the market.

This could see West Ham set up in a more defensive, counter-attacking style as they look to play on the youthfulness of Forest.

Nottingham Forest News

The Trent side are going into this game with a massive injury list. Just some of the names who are set to miss out include Omar Richards, Dean Henderson, Willy Boly, Scott McKenna, Taiwo Awoniyi, Serge Aurier, and Moussa Niakhaté. That is a huge number of players to be missing.

Still, they have found some decent form recently and could arrive at the London Stadium keen to make a point after some other less than impressive away results. Forest have stemmed the flow of goals in their games, though, so could be looking to turn this one into a war of attrition.

Verdict

For both teams, not losing would be a decent result. This could see West Ham set out to get a point as opposed to go for all three, which is the nature of Moyes. Forest will come to play, but the sheer volume of players missing could see them play out a rather tough to watch draw with the Irons.

SCORE: 0-0



Thursday 2 February 2023

Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle


The Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle is a Grade 2 hurdle race run over 2 miles at Kempton Park in late February. As the title implies, the race is restricted to horses aged four years – or, in other words, aged three years at the start of the current season – who, by definition, are racing in their first season under National Hunt rules. Inaugurated, as the Tote Placepot Hurdle, in 1965, the race was elevated to Grade 2 from Listed status in 1991 and renamed to its current title three years later.


Despite the obvious differences between the right-handed, flat hurdles course at Kempton and the New Course at Cheltenham, which is left-handed, undulating and features just two flights of hurdles in the final three-quarters of a mile, the Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle is considered a key trial for the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The most recent winner of both races was Zarkandar, trained by Paul Nicholls, in 2011. Indeed, more recent winners of the Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle have a less-than-stellar record in the Triumph Hurdle. Since 2011, eight have attempted the double, but none of them has troubled the judge at Cheltenham, despite being well fancied more often than not.


Nicky Henderson, who saddled Katarino (1999), Punjabi (2007), Binocular (2008), Soldatino (2010) and Fusil Raffles (2019), and Alan King, who saddled Trouble at Bay (2004), Penzance (2005), Master Blueyes (2017), Redicean (2018) and Tritonic (2021), are jointly the most successful handlers in the history of the Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle with five winners apiece. Looking ahead to the 2023 renewal of the Adonis Juvenile Novices' Hurdle, scheduled 1:50pm on Saturday, Februrary 25, punters may like to note that seven of the last ten starting price favourites have won.