The first round proper of the FA Cup has thrown up a local derby that’s live on television tonight because Chorley and Fleetwood are only about 30 miles apart. However, there is a three-division gap which means Chorley must use home advantage to compensate for the gulf in class. Fleetwood are upwardly mobile and have ambitions to go beyond their current level of League One so must dispense of their neighbours in the Cup tonight if those aspirations are genuine.
Chorley are one of the form teams in the National League North but Fleetwood are on the edges of the play-off places in the third tier of English football. The visitors have only been in the league for six years but they have left semi-professional football behind them. At full strength playing at home you would give Chorley a squeak but they are weakened by the fact that two of their best players are on loan from Fleetwood and so are not eligible to play in this tie.
Fleetwood have lost once in their last seven fixtures against sides that are much better than Chorley and losing the second match in eight tonight is unlikely. This is Chorley’s biggest test of the season to date and Fleetwood will be playing a strong side. The heart hopes for a Chorley victory but the head says back FLEETWOOD at 4/6 with William Hill to win this tricky tie.
You won’t get rich backing Chiroco Vallis at 1/9 to win the novices’ chase at Southwell (2pm) but there is a favourite in the next race at a reasonable price. Octagon and Cliffside Park are at the same level of ratings though the former has better historical form but has not raced for 396 days. The horse has proven ability at a higher level and if ready today OCTAGON is the one to back at 11/10 with Ladbrokes.
You can get up early or stay up late to watch the race that stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup is one of the great traditions of Australia sport but the leading contenders for this year’s race (4am on Tuesday) were bred in Europe. Thomas Hobson is a Royal Ascot winner trained by Willie Mullins who also has Wicklow Brave and Max Dynamite in the field. The champion jumps trainer has never won the Melbourne Cup but THOMAS HOBSON has a chance at 16/1 with Coral.