Special Duty has the hard edge
SPECIAL Duty's walk in the 1000 Guineas market out to her present price of around 11/2 is worth exploiting.
The French filly has been matched at 9/4 on Betfair, but -- on the face of it -- she looks to have plenty on her plate after finishing only second on her seasonal bow during the week. However, if we can excuse her that reverse -- which hardly requires a leap of faith -- she must be too big a price now.
Criquette Head-Maarek's filly shot to market leadership as a juvenile when bolting up in the Cheveley Park, a race that featured last season's Albany, Cherry Hinton, Lowther, Flying Childers and Prix Robert Papin winners.
Prior to that, she had split Arcano and 2000 Guineas second-favourite Canford Cliffs in her native country. There is little doubt that she has the best two-year-old form on offer.
The daughter of Hennessy seemed inconvenienced by the very soft terrain at Maisons-Laffitte on Thursday, beaten a length after being sent off a shade of odds-on. Her trainer, whose work has been hampered by the cold weather in Chantilly this year, has yet to train a winner this term.
Connections have admitted that she needed the run quite badly (and she seemed to tire noticeably in the last furlong), but back on the likely quick ground next month at Newmarket, she can restore her reputation. Everything else has to improve past her, and it still seems improbable that a mile will be beyond her stamina limits.
Special Duty to win the 1000 Guineas, 1pt win at 11/2
GALWAY are generally 4/7 to beat Derry today in Division 1 of the National Football League, but Ladbrokes are offering a standout 4/5. When the Magic Sign take a view like this, they tend more often to be right than wrong, but this might be one of the exceptions.
Derry's form is pretty dismal and boss Damian Cassidy has never been a slave to league results as a player or manager in the overall context of the season, particularly given Derry's inability to carry good form in the spring into the summer over the past 15 years or so. Galway come into the game on the back of a confidence-enhancing win over high-flying Dublin. The Tribesmen are still minus Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong, though the brilliant Nicky Joyce is negating the relevance of their absence with his own displays.
Given the threat of relegation that Derry face and the fact that Galway have nothing to play for, punters might be wary of backing the hosts at odds-on. However, there is an apparent hunger among the Galway panel that Joe Kernan has inculcated and -- with places up for grabs -- it seems improbable that any player will be burdened by complacency at Pearse Stadium.
Galway to beat Derry in NFL
2pts at 4/5 (Ladbrokes)
THE first-round World Snooker Championship meeting of Stephens Lee and Maguire at the Crucible on Wednesday week is rather captivating, for a few reasons. Maguire's 9-3 win over compatriot Jamie Burnett in 2008 followed alarming betting patterns and prompted allegations of match-fixing.
Lee, meanwhile, is on bail after being arrested in February as part of an investigation into match-fixing. Back in 2000, the one-time world number five tested positive for cannabis. He is now ranked 25, while Maguire is second only to Ronnie O'Sullivan.
However, there has been some money for the gifted Englishman to beat Maguire and the Scot may be a lay at 1/3 on Betfair. Lee was quite impressive in qualifying and -- while in no way reliable -- he is capable of beating anyone on a given day. The 35-year-old, renowned for his superb cue action, seems if anything to have been motivated by allegations he insists are without foundation.
Lay Stephen Maguire to beat Stephen Lee
3pts at 1.33 (1pt liability, Betfair)
year to date
Profit to a €10 stake: €141.13
Still running: €300