Friday 19 January 2018

Zaralanta can pounce for Oxx

Johnny Ward

JOHN OXX has had a rather underwhelming campaign by his own standards, emphasising the cyclical nature of success in the sport after the truly incredible feats of Sea The Stars last year.

Commonly referred to as 'a master trainer', the Currabeg handler would certainly not be one to get stressed during a quiet campaign and he can strike at The Curragh today with Zaralanta.

Prior to yesterday, the form of Oxx's horses was as follows: 272237636131. They are clearly in good heart and Zaralanta looks to have a big chance in the Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Handicap.

The daughter of Danehill Dancer, as with most Oxx horses, has been brought along slowly. She made a winning debut on soft ground in March of last year but today is having only her fifth outing. There is thus every chance that she can improve on what she has achieved to date.

Zaralanta was sent off 4/1 favourite last time at The Curragh in a 20-runner handicap in July. She travelled really well and looked to have justified favouritism, only for Little Arrows to surprise her and pounce by a neck close home.

The ground will probably be similar or softer today -- which is in her favour -- and stepping up to a mile should not inconvenience: there is plenty of stamina in her family. The handicapper only gave her a punishment of two pounds for her Curragh effort and her Racing Post tissue price of 8/1 looks big.


Zaralanta to win at The Curragh, 1pt win at best morning odds

THE Champions League group stages begin during the week and it is worth scouring odds-comparison websites to see if any value remains.

The 1/2 about Arsenal topping their quartet, advised recently in this column, is still on offer with one firm and makes considerable appeal. In contrast, Hapoel Tel Aviv are rank-outsiders in Group B, but the odds about them finishing in the top two seem a bit long.

Hapoel have a very interesting left-wing tradition in Israel and are growing steadily as a club. Last season, they topped their Europa League group, winning all of their home matches. The hostile atmosphere in the Bloomfield Stadium will be very difficult for their Group B rivals, who are Lyon, Schalke and Benfica.

This does not seem an especially strong group and some of the shrewder high-street firms are only quoting 3/1 and 7/2 about Hapoel reaching the last 16. Skybet's 7/1 is probably too long.


Hapoel Tel Aviv to qualify from Group B of Champions League, 0.5pt at 7/1 (Skybet)

BAYERN MUNICH look worth taking on at around 4/5 when they begin their Champions League campaign against AS Roma on Wednesday evening in Germany.

Munich excelled themselves in the competition last season, but they have begun the domestic campaign rather sluggishly and face a Roma team that tends to be difficult to beat in the Champions League.

They should be considered legitimate contenders for Italian glory this year under Claudio Ranieri. Last season, they finished just two points behind Internazionale and 10 ahead of third-placed Milan. Ranieri's assignment this season is to take them a step further and they have certainly been lucky with the Champions League draw.

Basel and Cluj are the other two teams in the group so Roma will be keen not to lose in Munich. Should they manage a draw, they will be in the box seat to finish first.

Last season, it is apt to recall that Bayern were extremely fortunate to get by Fiorentina at the last-16 stage and they only beat them in the home leg because of a ludicrous blunder by a linesman. Fiorentina finished 33 points adrift of Roma in the Serie A last season.


Lay Bayern Munich to beat Roma, 1pt at 1.78 approx (0.78pt liability, Betfair)

year to date

Profit to €10 stake: €237.97

Still running: €135

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