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Good Reasons to support Lyons

F AME And Glory starts out on the intended road to Gold Cup glory in the Vintage Crop Stakes this afternoon at Navan.

The son of Montjeu is a 6/1 chance for Royal Ascot. He boasted top-class form (generally behind Sea The Stars) as a three-year-old and even then gave the impression he would get at last a mile and three-quarters.

He seems to have good prospects of getting two-and-a-half miles on quick ground as a five-year-old and will presumably be trained, in the main, for that race. Should he land today's odds, he might be 4/1 outright this evening.

However, the advice is to back Reasons Unknown in the Family Day Handicap. It may sound contradictory but arguably the main reason not to back him is that he was a major eye-catcher last time at Leopardstown. The problem being it was nigh-on impossible for anyone studying the race not to notice. Bookmakers may opt to run for cover and, as ever, be careful what price you take.

That notwithstanding, his chance seems outstanding -- even in a 19-runner handicap. The wide draw will put some off but four of the last five winners of the race came from stall 14 or higher.

At Leopardstown, Reasons Unknown powered up the straight off a tame gallop after having his dash delayed. The winner was a blot in the handicap which got 15 pounds from the marksman afterwards.

Reasons Unknown, which finished an unlucky third, got just a pound. Ger Lyons has been insisting that all his horses needed their first run and he saddled a well-backed double on Friday at Dundalk.

The only horse to fear in today's field is Port Elizabeth so take anything around the 7/2 tissue.


Reasons Unknown to win at Navan, 1pt win at best morning odds

THERE are a few tempting prices around about today's final round of Allianz NHL matches.

Galway to beat Waterford by at least two points at 23/20 is worth considering, given the team John McIntyre has named and the importance of the game for them. You can also get 8/11 that Tipperary net at least two majors against Wexford and the same price about Kilkenny doing likewise in their clash with Offaly.

Longer-term, however, Donegal are worth a wager at a standout 11/1 to win the Ulster SFC. Often one of the country's most unreliable sides, they have clearly gelled under boss Jim McGuinness. He has guided them to a league final in what looked a strong second tier and they will approach the championship with momentum.

They will have to win four matches to conquer Ulster but a probable win over Antrim would then set them up for a clash against Cavan. It is difficult to envisage them not reaching the semi-finals and they will have no fear of the likes of Tyrone or Down at that point.


Donegal to win Ulster SFC, 0.5pt win at 11/1 (Bet365)

MANCHESTER UNITED can be taken on with considerable confidence in the Champions League outright market at 5/2. They are that price on Betfair. However, the majority of high-street firms -- who should know how to evaluate probabilities accurately at this stage of the competition and whose odds factor in profit margins -- offer the same odds.

Little wonder. If United -- as is likely -- meet Barca in the final, their midfield will embody boys against the men of the Catalans. Even in a one-off game such as that, the English champions would not appeal at 11/4 to lift the trophy.

They also must overcome Schalke, whose confidence will be on a high after their drubbing of Inter. Of course, Manchester may end up facing Real Madrid, but in such a scenario it is still difficult to envisage them winning.


Lay Manchester United to win Champions League, 1pt at 3.5 (2.5pt liability, Betfair)


Profit/loss to €10 stake: -€11.59

Still running: €145


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