Our first cross sport double of 2022 paid out at 17/1 each-way earlier this month, with Will Zalatoris and Any Second Now placing in the Masters and Grand National respectively.
This week, we focus on two of the key races on Saturday – the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown, as well as two big games in the Premier League on Sunday.
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NATIVE TRAIL (3:40 Newmarket – 2000 Guineas)
We start things off with the first Classic of the season – the 2000 Guineas. This is all about NATIVE TRAIL, who has made a perfect 5/5 start to his career and looks the one they all need to beat here.
The dual Group 1 winner was fantastic last season, including when winning the Dewhurst here towards the end of the season. He’s proved he can handle the trip in the Craven Stakes earlier this month, where he eventually ran out a comfortable winner. That was his reappearance run so he should be fully fit for this, and with a likely strong pace to aim at that should benefit him further.
His likely dangers will be stablemate Coroebus, who hasn’t been seen since winning the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket last October, and A P O’Brien’s Luxembourg, who has also made an unbeaten start to his career and ran out an impressive winner of the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster at the end of last season. However, both will have to bring their A game if they are going to serve it up to Native Trail, who should take the world of beating in this and can make it a perfect 6/6.
VAUBAN (5:00 Punchestown – Champion Four Year Old Hurdle)
The second leg of the acca is another horse pick – we’re siding with VAUBAN to confirm his status as the top 4-y-o in training by winning at Punchestown.
He hasn’t put a foot wrong since his debut, where he made a mistake over the final hurdle which cost him the race. Despite that error, he only just failed to catch Pied Piper, and still finished 15 lengths clear of HMS Seahorse, who reopposes in this race.
He then ran out a comfortable winner in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, before landing the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in impressive fashion, dispatching of Fil Dor and Il Etait Temps cosily enough (the pair line up in this race too).
The likely danger in the race will again be Fil Dor, and none of the others will come close here. Even Fil Dor would have to improve to get the better of Vauban, so he’s a confident pick to land another part of the acca and give the Willie Mullins/Paul Townend combination yet another Grade 1 winner!
TOTTENHAM To Beat Leicester + BTTS (2:00 Sunday)
On to the football! TOTTENHAM may have struggled of late, but they simply cannot afford to lose this and with Leicester playing in the Europa Conference League their focus may well be on the second leg of that, rather than this.
Spurs have beat Leicester in seven of the last ten head-to-head matches vs Leicester and come in to this game with a full weeks rest, after their disappointing performance away to Brentford last weekend. Leicester had a tough game against Roma on Thursday night and with a mid-table finish all but guaranteed, they may well focus on their ECL second leg and choose to rest some key names here.
Tottenham have won the last two head-to-head meetings, and both teams to score has landed in both of those games. Couple that with the fact Leicester have only failed to score away from home in the PL twice this season (against Liverpool and Arsenal), you can be confident of them finding the back of the net again on Sunday.
With Tottenham still pushing for top 4, this is a must win game for them and with Leicester perhaps focusing on their game against Roma next Thursday it’s a good time for Antonio Conte’s team to play them. They can resume winning ways here and pile the pressure back on Arsenal.
ARSENAL To Beat West Ham + BTTS (4:30 Sunday)
Our final pick is ARSENAL to continue their superb recent form and get the better in their London derby against West Ham, with the Irons set to field a weakened team with their focus being on their second leg of their Europa League semi-final.
Arsenal have suddenly hit top gear of late, beating Chelsea and Man United impressively and will be determined for that run to continue in their quest for a top four finish. They’ve also won four of the last five head-to-heads against West Ham so will be confident of another three points on Sunday.
With West Ham set to miss out on a top four finish, they’re likely to rest a lot of their star players for their second leg of their Europa League semi against Frankfurt, with that being their best chance of getting into next years Champions League. That being said, they have scored in every Premier League game at home this season, and with Arsenal conceding in four of their last five away PL games, we can expect the Irons to at least score in this.
Mikel Arteta has got his side playing some quality football, and with West Ham having one eye on next Thursday’s second leg tie against Frankfurt, we’re expecting Arsenal to gain another valuable three points and maintain their place in the top four for another week at least.
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