You can either get up early or stay up late but sadly you won’t be seeing Ben Stokes playing cricket for England in the 2nd Test against Australia. Regardless of the rights and wrongs a famous sportsman should not have been drinking in a bar at 2am. Apparently Bobby Moore loved a drink but always with discretion in mind and he never had to run the gauntlet of smartphones that basically makes ever Tom, Dick and Harry paparazzi. England are now embarking on a match they cannot afford to lose without their most influential player so AUSTRALIA are the bet at 4/6 with Betfair.
Tiger Woods is just three shots off the pace in the Hero World Challenge and the leader is someone my mate calls Tommy Southport from Fleetwood. The Southport lad couldn’t get the job done at the Open at Royal Birkdale but he won the Race to Dubai. He is one of the most improved players from the upper echelons of world golf but Tiger also played well. His odds to win this week have been slashed from 40/1 to 25/1 with William Hill. Like a horse who has been absent the bounce factor could see WOODS struggle today but something very special may happen with a low round.
Thistlecrack is a very special horse back in action at Newbury today and live on ITV4. The facile winner of the King George last year missed the Cheltenham Gold Cup due to injury. The horse resumes his career over hurdles on the first day of Newbury’s Winter Carnival which is in fact the Hennessey meeting in another guise. The race is still one of the biggest staying chases of the season but Thistlecrack runs over hurdles. The horse carries six pounds less than Unowhatimeanharry in the Long Distance Hurdle (3pm) which makes THISTLECRACK the banker bet at 10/11 with Ladbrokes.
The highlight of the football programme is the Championship fixture between Leeds and Aston Villa in Yorkshire. The visitors have played four teams in the top eight and not won any of the fixtures. It will have to be a cracker to steal the limelight from a returning golfer and horse.