Poor old Ascot and Qipco. This week should have been all about Frankel and the first British Champions Day but all anyone in racing is talking about is the whip. Racing is superb at beating itself up about an issue and it’s done a sensational job again with racing pundits queuing up to bash the BHA and the new rules. However, I don’t think the wider audience and casual racing fan gives a monkeys about the furore and Champions Day can still be a sporting triumph. I think the new rules are flawed and their introduction badly timed but there has been a massive over-reaction to the situation from those in racing. The crowd numbers and betting turnover on Saturday will be totally immune.

The day itself can’t be any worse than the original Champions Day at Newmarket and the vast sums of money pumped in to the day have produced five sensational races.

For once, and unlike the Royal Meeting where the best races come first, they have got the race order spot on as the card builds to a stunning crescendo with the Champions Stakes at 4.10pm. It’s a cracking renewal of the race but it looks a wide open heat on Betdaq and I have no idea who will win it.

Frankel (1.33 on Betdaq) is undoubtedly the star of the show and will hopefully confirm himself as the best horse on the planet in the QEII at 3.35pm.

My bet of the meeting runs in the day’s first race – the Long Distance Cup at 1.50pm. I’m keen to take on the two market leaders, Opinion Poll (3.3 – ground too quick) and Fame And Glory (3.55 – not the same horse since gruelling Gold Cup). I’m going with the in-form and progressive horse in the field, Times Up. I was hugely impressed by him at Newmarket last month where he looked like a stayer with real potential. Times Up is one horse who will be suited by the quick conditions at Ascot and looks a great bet around 4.5.

Our financial interest in the World Cup with South Africa’s unfortunate defeat against Australia. I have spent the week since England’s demise trying to uncover some Welsh relations. I have failed but will still be cheering them on against the French. They promise to be two brilliant semi-finals and both are tough to call.

The Premier League returns with a bang on Saturday. The small matter of Liverpool (3.15) against Manchester United (2.6) kicks off Sky Sports’ live coverage this weekend at Saturday lunchtime.

Liverpool have had the upper hand in recent years, winning four of the last six Premier League meetings, and they were hugely impressive in this fixture last season. Liverpool have also managed to score 14 goals in the last six Premier League matches against United.

I’ll be up at St James’ Park for Super Sunday. First up, Sunderland go in search of their 50th win over Arsenal in all competitions. Both games last season were drawn. It’s also been a low scoring affair in recent years with just eight goals scored in the last seven PL meetings. Less than 2.5 goals at 2.27 would be the bet if Arsenal knew how to defend.

Sunderland have never won at Arsenal in the Premier League – ten games, seven defeats, and their last league win at Arsenal was 2-1 at Highbury in November 1983. That same month was the Brinks Mat robbery.

After that game we’ll see two bang in-form sides meet at St James’ Park – Newcastle v Tottenham. Entertainment looks guaranteed as there has not been a goalless draw in last 63 meetings between these two, since a 0-0 in August 1971 at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham successfully landed our last two football bets but I’m going with Norwich this weekend. Norwich are always going to be tough to beat at home and their win against Sunderland on the Monday Night Football should give their season real momentum. I was then really impressed with their performance at Old Trafford and am confident they can make it back-to-back wins at Carrow Road. Norwich look a great bet at 2.32 to beat Swansea.

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