A fascinating days sport lies ahead of us. The first day of the Dante meeting at York live on Channel 4, then the Europa Cup final where the whole country will be getting behind Roy Hodgsons men as they seek to overcome the odds one more time and complete a fairytale story which has been growing in belief all season. Also tonight Cardiff host Leicester with a one goal advantage from the first leg of thier play off semi final, will the home crowd support and the crucial away goal be enough to carry Cardiff to the Wembley final?
For my bets of the day I'll begin at York. With 4 races live on Channel 4 what better afternoons entertainment could you wish for. As for the card, I think it's a cracker. Sure it may seem to lack a few stand out horses but the flat season is still young and it is the lack of the odds on 'certainties' which makes the card a facsinating one to me. So many have chances today, all the star trainers and jockeys are there and I would not be surprised to see a few blanket finishes and some of the longer prices going in. A few that caught my eye in particular are ;
3.10 - Sayif
3.45 - Deauville Flyer
4.55 - Contract Caterer
Away from the big meetings there is also racing at Fontwell and Exeter this afternoon with Bath and Perth also hosting evening meetings. Bath being my home course I shall endeavour to give it a closer inspection later.
Hamburg will tonight play host to a dream that could become a nightmare. The dream that Fulham could complete an amazing, heroic European run and lift the trophy. The nightmare that they fall agonisingly short at the final hurdle. They face a strong Atletico Madrid side with a talisman who needs no introduction to many English football fans - Diego Forlan. He will be dangerous and he knows England will be watching him and he will want to prove himself. I find it hard to see Fulham keeping Atl Madrid out for the 90 mins so they themselves will need to play positive football and score goals. It is vital for Fulham that Zoltan Gera has a good night, I expect Atl Madrid to pay as much attention to him as they do Zamora as so much of Fulhams good play goes through the intelligent Hungarian. He will have chances though and he will provide a constant and quality threat and given his goal scoring record I think he is a great price at 10/3 to score at any time. Ultimately my heart tells me Fulham but my head knows this is as tough, if not tougher than any game they have played this season. So we would do well to remember they have come through each of those games with spirit, fight, determination and ultimately good football. Roy Hodgson will have a job on his hands keeping his side believing they can win no matter what position they find themselves in through the game but you would be crazy to rule them out!
Blackpool's heroics last night ended Nottingham Forest's dream of the Premiership. It was hard on Billy Davis and the Forest squad after a great campaign that threatened so much finally ran out of steam. Maybe Blackpool had the right idea hitting their peak and getting up a head of steam at the perfect time of the season. Tonight another dream will be ended as Cardiff take on Leicester. Already holding a one goal advantage I fully expect Cardiff to win this tie as I just dont see Leicester scoring enough goals. They simply have to go for it and I have not seen Leicester do that often through the season and although it would be not totally out of the blue for the Foxes to do something special tonight I think Cardiff have enough to see them off. Dave Jones is an experienced manager who has shown consistently that given time he will get results. I expect him to not take any risks and for Cardiff to play their normal game. They have no need to go for it but should seek just to hold Leicester back and score a killer goal on the break. As for the goalscorer, well Cardiff have so many it is impossible to chose. I think the better bet may come in the total match goals market with 3 goals exactly being priced at 3/1.
Enjoy the sport and have a lucky day!