- Horse Racing – Derby Day – The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous and prestigious race but in terms of quality the whole way down the card Derby Day is probably unrivalled in Australia. Four Group 1 races and five Group 2 or 3 races fill the card. The Victoria Derby is the feature race but this year it threatens to play second fiddle. The Coolmore Stud Stakes has a super field and should be a great race. Rich Enuff has been outstanding this campaign but will be challenged not only by the drop in distance but also plenty of worthy challengers, especially from Sydney. I like Rubick and think he could cause an upset. The 2500 metre Victoria Derby see’s the Gai Waterhouse trained Hampton Court starting as a short priced favourite for the three-year old race. As with the other runners the distance is a query, but all indications are he’ll have no problems. Atmosphere has yet to win but flashed home late last weekend for second behind another chance in Moonovermanhattan. Bondeiger was further back in that race but eased up toward the line and if the jockey’s comments afterwards are anything to go by is primed for this weekend.
Tip – Hampton Court is at short odds and is the one to beat. Don’t think he will be beaten but closest challenger will be Atmosphere. Bet of the day for me is Fontein Ruby in Race 2. Deep Field in race 9 is a potential superstar and should continue his winning ways as well.
SUQ – 9.5 – The start of the Flemington Carnival, need I say more.
- Football – English Premier League – The Manchester Derby – Between them Manchester United and Manchester City have shared the last four Premier League titles. But right now neither are playing like Champions. City has suffered two defeats in the last week and in the process have picked up a couple of worrying injuries, notably to David Silva. United played well against Chelsea last weekend but still couldn’t win and have been particularly poor away from home. United will be keen to get one over their rivals who beat them comfortably twice last year. For United to win they’ll need a much better performance from the entire back four. Shaw and Rafael need to offer some attacking threat but most importantly need to provide the platform from which Di Maria and Co can prosper further up the field. The time may just be right for Falcao to finally put his mark on his United career. For City, they will be relying on Sergio Aguero upfront to score the goals. And against a United defence that has looked far from convincing he could well prosper.
Tip – Earlier this week I had City winning comfortably. But after their mid-week defeat and with Silva joining Yaya Toure as a doubt I’m not so sure. I’ll stick with City to win 2-1, but no result would surprise here.
SUQ – 9 – One of the biggest games on the English calendar, a derby with more than just local bragging rights at stake.
- Tennis – WTA Tournament of Champions and ATP Paris Masters – The tennis season is almost at a close. For the women, it is the final engagement of the season at the Tournament of Champions in Sofia. But don’t be confused, this is not that lucrative end of season finals for the top players, which was in Singapore last week. There Serena Williams suffered a thrashing at the hands of Simona Halep in the group stages only to return the favour with an equally convincing victory. Andrea Petkovic is through to the semi-finals in Sofia and the likes of Dominika Cibulkova, and Alize Cornet will be looking to join her and take the title on Sunday. For the men, the Paris Masters is the final chance to qualify for the end of season money bonanza, with Roger Federer in pursuit of Novak Djokovic and the number one ranking. Federer takes on young Canadian Milos Raonic in his quarter-final while Djokovic plays Andy Murray.
Tips – Cornet to win the WTA event, Federer the ATP.
SUQ – 7 – The timing of the women’s event seems a bit odd, with the season reaching its climax last week. Plenty to play for in Paris on the men’s circuit.