It feels strange to be writing about the Ebor on a Saturday, which looks a wide open and tough renewal and 7.2 the field on Betdaq on Friday evening.
My fancy on the final day of what’s been an excellent meeting is Opinion Poll in the Lonsdale Stakes. He looks primed to repeat last year’s win and ran brilliant races in the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup. Opinion Poll looks like he’s still improving for Godolphin and will be very hard to beat again.
It’s great to have the Premier League back. The season’s first Super Sunday gave us glimpses of just how good this new-look Manchester United side could be and they are down to to retain their title.
From the Hawthorns I headed down to London with Gary Neville and my producer plus director to prepare for the first Monday Night Football of the season. The day was spent discussing ideas for the show, looking back on the weekend’s matches and playing with the ‘toys’ and touchscreen in the incredible studio. When Gary said to me that he was more nervous before the show than he was before his first game for Manchester United it summed the day up well.
It also helped that we saw a superb performance from Manchester City, more wizardry from David Silva and one of the biggest impact performances on the Premier League I have ever seen. I said in the column last week that I thought Aguero would take the PL by storm. I just wasn’t expecting the lightning so fast. I enjoyed the tweet I got from someone at half-time on MNF who said “why on earth is Ed Chamberlin so excited about this Aguero guy?”. I think they got their answer and I now can’t wait to see him on Super Sunday at the Reebok – from 3.30pm on Sky Sports HD1. His partnership with Silva should be gold.
The Monday Night Football next week is a mouth-watering prospect too with the small matter of Manchester United (1.68) against Tottenham (6.2).
This weekend I fancy Sunderland to beat Newcastle on Saturday at 2.3 on Betdaq. They got a great result at Anfield last week and are unbeaten in the last three meetings with Newcastle at the Stadium of Light. Steve Bruce has made some excellent additions this summer and I can see them making a winning start at home.
England slumped to yet another defeat last weekend in Wales and their World Cup chances are being written off left, right and centre.
On current form they have no chance but the matches we have seen in the last three years and 11 months are something completely different from knockout matches at a World Cup, where there are no second chances. It’s impossible to replicate that type of pressure in Autumn internationals, Six Nations and Tri-Nations matches. It takes nerves of steel to play the fluent, attacking rugby at which the All Blacks excel, in 80 minutes of winner-takes-all, knockout rugby.
New Zealand are the best side in the world but under the pressure of a home World Cup I won’t be going near the 1.55 South Africa have been woeful in the Tri-Nations but are being prepared solely for next month. Their mentality and style are made for knockout rugby and look a big price at 10.5.
England may lack style but, like the Springboks, they know how to win and that will always give them a chance at a World Cup.