Just 29 people to decide general election winner

"After months of campaigning, speeches and endless polling, the winner of the general election could be decided by just a small group of people"

Just 29 people to decide general election winner

After months of campaigning, speeches and endless polling, the winner of the general election could be decided by just a small group of people. With polls indicating a hung parliament is likely, the balance of power and future direction of the country could be decided by a single seat.

Here at Sporting Index, we’re predicting that the size of the smallest winning margin in a single seat will be just 29 votes – or half the number of people that can sit on a double-decker bus.

In 2010, Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP, Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein was elected by a majority of just four votes, three of which were later invalidated by an electoral court.

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Tottenham v Manchester City Preview 3rd May 2015

Tottenham’s home form a big concern ahead of Man City clash

Tottenham’s home form a big concern ahead of Man City clash

Manchester City have nothing to play for but pride in Sunday’s clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Both teams have endured frustrating seasons and, while City at least looked nailed on for another go at the Champions League, Tottenham have again not lived up to their potential and their chances of a top-four finish are all but extinct.

Without Harry Kane’s emergence, Spurs would have had very little to cheer about all campaign. They have taken just eight points from their meetings with the top-six sides this season, worse than any of the other clubs in those positions. Only Liverpool, a team who have managed nearly the whole season without a proper strikeforce, have scored less home goals than Tottenham’s 29. And no club in the top eight has conceded more than Tottenham either.

Their home points haul is …

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European Rugby Champions Cup Final Preview

Toulon set their sights on a European hat-trick

Toulon set their sights on a European hat-trick

Twickenham will host the first ever European Champions Cup final between French pair Toulon and Clermont Auvergne tomorrow. With a heavy spread of international representation across the field, it promises to be a high-quality spectacle.

Toulon/Clermont is currently trading at 0-3 which gives an indication of just how tight the game is set to be. The favourites are going for their third consecutive European title (having triumphed over Clermont in 2013 and Saracens last year) and, if successful, will be the first team to notch up three in a row.

Clermont came within 12 minutes of beating Toulon two years ago in Europe’s premier competition. More recently, they suffered at the hands of the red army 27-19 when the sides met in the Top 14. However, they managed to sweep aside Northampton 37-5 in this year’s Champions Cup quarter final before holding …

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David Cameron to enjoy highest constituency voteshare of major leaders

David Cameron to enjoy highest constituency voteshare of major leaders

David Cameron to enjoy highest constituency voteshare of major leaders while Natalie Bennett predicted to poll the least

David Cameron is favourite to win the biggest percentage voteshare of the major party leaders (or selected representatives) in the respective constituencies for which they are standing to be MPs, based on our Voteshare Index.

Cameron is currently trading at 30-33 on  Voteshare Index. The leader with the highest voteshare in their constituency makes up 50, with 30 for second, 20 for third, 10 for fourth and all others 0.

The Conservatives have dominated Witney since it became a constituency in 1983, with just two years under Labour after Shaun Woodward defected from the Tories to Labour in 1999. Cameron won 58.8% of the voteshare in 2010, up from 49.3% in 2005.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon isn’t running for MP, so Sporting Index has used Alex Salmond, candidate for …

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Leicester City v Chelsea Preview 29th April 2015

Chelsea can outfox Leicester as they close in on title

Chelsea can outfox Leicester as they close in on title

The Premier League title race is over, according to Sporting Index. Chelsea are trading at 59.7-60 on the Premier League Outright 60 Index ahead of their visit to Leicester tonight.

“Boring, boring Chelsea” has been a chant sung from opposing team’s stands in the past few weeks, but Jose Mourinho won’t let that bother him as his men are five points away from securing a first league crown since 2010. Avoid defeat later and they’ll have equalled their best run of 14 games unbeaten from earlier this term.

The goals might have dried up – just two in their last three games – but the Blues are still the top scorers in the division and also boast the best defence – worthy champions on that front at least.

Leicester have rattled off four straight wins as they stage their own …

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Hull City v Liverpool Preview 28th April 2015

Liverpool desperate for a lift against Hull

Liverpool desperate for a lift against Hull

It’s been a rollercoaster season for Liverpool, but there’s certainly been more downs than ups. The very best the Reds can hope for is for Manchester United to continue to play the way they did in their 3-0 defeat at Everton, while they desperately try to recapture their post-Christmas form.

Brendan Rodgers is under pressure with the team set to miss out on a top-four spot. Combined with, doubts over the future of all of the club’s main strikers, and Steven Gerrard about to leave Anfield, it’s going to be a summer of transition.

And Hull might just feel that they can nick something when they host Liverpool this evening.

The Tigers are trading at 17-20 on Sporting Index’s 60 Relegation Index, with only Queens Park Rangers and Burnley trading higher. But after three straight losses, Steve Bruce’s men took a massive three …

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German Cup – Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund Preview 28th April 2015

Tough test for Borussia Dortmund in final Klassiker against Bayern Munich

Tough test for Borussia Dortmund in final Klassiker against Bayern Munich

It’s been a poor season by Jurgen Klopp’s standards as his Borussia Dortmund team have flirted with relegation from the German top-flight for long parts of the season and disappointingly exited the Champions League 4-0 on aggregate to Juventus – the damage done when they crumbled 3-0 at home in the second leg.

Klopp surprised European football when he announced recently he was quitting Dortmund and tonight’s German Cup semi-final will be the last time he faces old rivals Bayern Munich as Die Schwarzgelben boss.

Pep Guardiola won his fifth league title in six seasons of management of the weekend when Wolfsburg failed to win on the weekend, allowing Munich to celebrate a third straight Bundesliga four games early.

Progression tonight would keep Guardiola’s men on course for a second treble in three seasons and a third successive DFB-Pokal …

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Championship Preview: Bournemouth v Bolton 27th April 2015

Bournemouth v Bolton 27th April 2015

Bournemouth out to put cherry on top of a magnificent season against Bolton

Bournemouth’s rise up the Football League has been remarkable and they only have themselves to blame for not winning the Championship in only their second season in the division.

Not team in the top four tiers of English football has dropped more points than the Cherries’ 28 from winning positions this term, a total that would have put them miles clear of Watford, who lead the standings with 88 points and have just one more match to play.

Conceding a 95-minute penalty, which was converted, to Sheffield Wednesday last time in a 2-2 draw will have really hurt Eddie Howe’s men, but they must refocus for tonight’s match with Bolton.

Watford have secured automatic promotion but a comfortable win for Bournemouth at home later – their game in hand – will ensure they have promotion destiny in …

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London could carry Ed Miliband into Number 10

London could carry Ed Miliband into Number 10

London could carry Ed Miliband into Number 10

With just under two weeks to go until polling day, the pressure is on Ed Miliband and David Cameron to steer their respective parties over line and into Downing Street.

Every seat is precious as Labour and the Conservatives start to eye up forming workable governments.

However, as the Tories talk incessantly about the threat that the Scottish National Party poses, might they have taken their eyes off of key seats closer to Westminster?

All signs indicate that Labour is enjoying a surge of support in the capital, and if London organiser and Tooting MP Sadiq Khan can convert that support into seats gained, it could prove pivotal.

We’ve launched a number of London Regional Markets in the past week that indicate Labour are set to gain at least six seats, taking their total to 44 out of the 73 London constituencies.…

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Premier League Preview: Gunners can shoot down boring Chelsea 26th April 2015

Gunners can shoot down boring Chelsea on Sunday

Premier League Preview: Gunners can shoot down boring Chelsea on Sunday

Sporting Index traders don’t miss a trick. I was expecting Chelsea to be narrow favourites on the supremacy market for their clash at the Emirates on Sunday against Arsenal and was dying to oppose them with a sell.

But instead it’s Arsenal that are narrow favourites, trading at 0.1-0.3. That looks worth a buy as the Gunners try to delay the Blues’ seemingly inevitable charge to a first league title since 2010. Jose Mourinho’s men have won no fans for the way they have played of late, happy to park the bus for large periods of the game and strike when they do get a chance.

For neutrals, it’s frustrating to see a team that boasts so many star names resort to these tactics and nearly everyone must be hoping that they somehow collapse and relinquish their grip on the crown.…

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Everton v Manchester United Preview 26th April 2015

Everton v Manchester United Premier League Preview

Everton v Manchester United Premier League Preview

Manchester United return to Merseyside on Sunday to take on Everton, having beaten Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield last month. Although they enter this weekend’s clash on the back of a Chelsea defeat, Louis van Gaal’s side can be confident of securing three points this time out. The Red Devils dominated both possession and the number of shots last week, but it was a piece of Eden Hazard magic which ultimately decided the tie.

Naturally, it was understandable to see van Gaal disappointed in the post-match interview, but the Dutchman will now be wholly focussed on ensuring that United come away with maximum points from Goodison Park. It was recently revealed that United’s sole aim this season was to secure a top four position, something they currently look like achieving.

Although the Toffees have been defeated in 31 leagues games against United, four more …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Monaco v Juventus Quarter Final Preview

Juventus to put Monaco out of their misery

Juventus to put Monaco out of their misery

One of the great mysteries of this Champions League has been how Monaco have managed to progress to the quarter-finals despite being a very average team.

Arsenal’s complete defensive capitulation in the first leg of their last-16 tie handed the French side a place in the last eight, but their limp performance in the second leg when they were completely outplayed by the Gunners proved they really don’t belong here. That win at the Stade Louis II ended an eight-match unbeaten home run.

But this is football and anything can happen. Monaco host Juventus tonight only 1-0 down from the first leg in Turin and that’s not a totally insurmountable task on paper against the runaway Serie A leaders.

Leonardo Jardim has built his team around a solid defence that conceded just once in the group stages. And despite being dominated in …

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Labour to gain six seats in London

"Ed Miliband’s party to increase its advantage in the capital over the Conservatives to 20 seats"

Ed Miliband’s party to increase its advantage in the capital over the Conservatives to 20 seats

Labour’s much vaunted ‘ground war’ is set to pay off in London as the party will gain at least six seats at the General Election based on our London Regional market.

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting since 2005, has led Labour’s London campaign efforts since last year’s local elections – seeing his party gain control of five additional councils including Hammersmith and Fulham – and looks set to stretch the party’s lead at Westminster over the Conservatives to 20 seats.

David Cameron’s Tories are predicted to lose four seats in the capital including Ealing Central and Acton, as well as Croydon Central, but look likely to hold onto Finchley and Golders Green – just.

The London Liberal Democrats are proving difficult for Labour to shift but are predicted to lose former Frontbencher Sarah Teather’s …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid Quarter Final Preview

Real set for more pain at hands of neighbours Atletico

Real set for more pain at hands of neighbours Atletico

The Madrid derby Champions League quarter-final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid is likely to once again prove the importance of an away goal.

Last week Real couldn’t break down their neighbours in a repeat of the epic Champions League final the pair had contested last May and that failure could cost them dear against the La Liga champions.

Atletico haven’t been able to keep up the form that almost brought them an extraordinary double last season, perhaps because they are missing Diego Costa, but more likely because those exertions have taken their toll on what is a small squad compared to the rest of Europe’s elite.

However, they head to the Bernabeu unbeaten in seven versus their fierce rivals – the best run in their history. That includes four wins and they have progressed from their last pair of …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Barcelona v PSG Quarter Final Preview

Barcelona set to sink PSG’s European aspirations at the Nou Camp

Barcelona set to sink PSG’s European aspirations at the Nou Camp

It would go down as one of the most impressive European football achievements if PSG were to overcome their 3-1 deficit against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, tonight. Victory would see the Parisian side progress through to their first ever Champions League semi-final.

Four time champions Barcelona dominated at the Parc des Princes last week as Lionel Messi set up Neymar’s opener, before Luiz Suarez claimed a spectacular brace having embarrassed David Luiz in the process.

Laurent Blanc’s outfit managed to claim a consolation goal in front of their home support when Gregory Van der Wiel’s long-range effort took a slight deflection off Barcelona’s Jeremy Mathieu to end up in the back of Barca’s net.

The challenge alone to beat Barcelona on their own patch is enormous but winning by a margin of three goals is incredibly difficult. Unsurprisingly, …

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Manchester City v West Ham Preview 19th April 2015

Manchester City v West Ham Preview 19th April 2015

Manchester City v West Ham: Premier League Preview

After a 4-2 whipping at Old Trafford last Sunday Manchester City, who had their sights on retaining the Premier League title earlier on this season, will now just be focussing on finishing in the top four.

The Manchester derby result meant that City have been defeated in two league games this month and lost four of the last six domestic outings. It’s unsurprising that a decent portion of the Citizens’ support are calling for Manuel Pellegrini’s exit. However, the Chilean will be more focused on securing three points tomorrow against West Ham rather than his future employment record.

In the other changing room, Sam Allardyce has also copped some flak. The Hammers, who started the season in brilliant form, now find themselves in 9th on 43 points. Although their Premier League safety is assured, it’s difficult to find plausible reasoning as …

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Chelsea v Manchester Utd Preview 18th April 2015

Reliable Chelsea versus revitalised Man United tricky game to call

Reliable Chelsea versus revitalised Man United tricky game to call 

Manchester United fans might dare to dream of more than just a Champions League place and a pinch of restored pride if their team comes away from the sternest of fortnights with six points from six.

It will take a stellar performance to follow up their 4-2 victory over Manchester City with a win away at Chelsea on Saturday. Last weekend’s result reversed a poor run of form against their neighbours, but wasn’t wholly unexpected given United had won their last five. Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini have been in fine form during that period, playing a key part in helping the Red Devils score an average of over two goals a game.

Chelsea, who haven’t lost in 11 league games, should prove a harder test than a downtrodden City. The Blues are unbeaten this season at Stamford Bridge, …

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FA Cup Semi Finals Preview – 18th-19th April 2015

Gunners can shoot down boring Chelsea on Sunday

Arsenal and Liverpool set for final 

After what is starting to become a trademark poor start to the season, Arsenal are finishing the campaign with a flourish as they close in on back-to-back FA Cup trophies. And, after eight straight league wins, they hold onto the slim hope that they can claim a first Premier League title since 2004.

Sporting Index have the Gunners favourites on their FA Cup Outright 100 Index, trading at 82.5-84.5 (50pts lose semi-final, 75 pts runner-up, 100 pts winner), ahead of tomorrow’s Wembley semi-final against Reading.

The Royals have struggled for goals all season and it seems unlikely that the side will be able to live with Arsene Wenger’s high-flying in-form team.  Remarkably, there have been 24 goals in the last three meetings between this pair – all Arsenal wins – and neutrals will be hoping for a repeat of the incredible 7-5 Capital One Cup …

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Champions League 2014/15 – PSG v Barcelona Quarter Final Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – PSG v Barcelona Quarter Final Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – PSG v Barcelona Quarter Final Preview

Tonight’s Champions League quarter-final between PSG and Barcelona is arguably the most anticipated fixture since the knock-out draw took place. The Parisian-based club, who top the table in Ligue 1, host current La Liga leaders at the Parc des Princes later on today.

Barcelona, who are priced at 62-65 on the 100 point Champions League Outright Index, have won their last six consecutive games in this competition, first time since 2011/2012 that they have managed such a run. The Spanish side will head into this match knowing that they have scored in all of the last 18 European meetings against French opponents.

However, one does have to go back to October 2001 to dig out a Barca away win in France (Lyon). Since that time, they have drawn three and lost one. It’s also worth pointing out that PSG failed …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid Quarter Final Preview

Champions League 2014/15 Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid Quarter Final Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid Quarter Final Preview

Champions League holders Real Madrid visit the Vincente Calderon tonight to take on La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid – the side they triumphed over in last season’s final – in the quarter-finals of this season’s premier European competition.

The contest is expected to be extremely tight, similar to the 2014 encounter in Lisbon where Los Blancos needed extra-time in order to seal a victory over Diego Simeone’s men. Sporting Index have priced Real Madrid/Atletico Madrid at 0.05-0.15 which indicates how finely balanced the encounter is expected to be.

With home advantage and an impressive head-to-head record against Real Madrid, there are plausible reasons as to why the hosts would be fancied. They have only lost one (after extra time) of their last eight games against Carlo Ancelotti’s men. Furthermore, the Colchoneros are unbeaten on their home turf against Spanish …

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Liverpool v Newcastle Utd Preview 13th April 2015

Liverpool in need of a boost against freefalling Newcastle

Liverpool in need of a boost against freefalling Newcastle

Manchester City’s recent capitulation will have given Liverpool hope that they can snatch a Champions League place from the champions and end a turbulent league campaign on a high.

The Reds started the season poorly before finding their stride under a more attacking style after Christmas. However, back-to-back league defeats to in-form top four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal prove there is still much to improve on and an unconvincing 1-0 win over Blackburn in the FA Cup last week suggested the team is still a fair way off the form that saw them claim a runners-up spot last season.

The good news is they face a Newcastle side out to avoid a fifth straight defeat at Anfield tonight. The Magpies have struggled since manager Alan Pardew went to Crystal Palace and only once have they been on a worse run …

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Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Grand National Day 2015 Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Grand National Day Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Grand National Day 2015 Preview

WHEN I was known as the foot stool, watching the great Crisp treat the Grand National fences with utter contempt – and they were not the upturned dandy brushes the obstacles are today – in 1974, will live with me until Francis Chappell cuts down half a Brazilian rainforest and sticks me six feet under. I have never liked Red Rum after he reeled in Crisp after the last, but the vanquished horse will always hold a place in my heart. 

The world’s greatest race takes place at 4.15 at Aintree, and the roof will come off if Tony McCoy boots home Shutthefrontdoor on his last ride in the marathon. But this horses is much shorter in the betting because AP is on board, so sell the pair in a match bet with Rocky Creek.

I was very impressed with the …

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QPR v Chelsea Preview 12th April 2015

QPR v Chelsea Preview 12th April 2015

QPR v Chelsea – Premier League Preview

Joey Barton has already fired the first warning shot to Premier League rivals Chelsea by stating that QPR, who host the Blues on Sunday, can pull off a shock result over the current table-toppers.

It’s not out of the question, the Hoops seem to have a spark about them since Chris Ramsey took the reins in early February. After an impressive 4-1 away victory against West Brom last Saturday, QPR’s goal-scoring momentum continued at Villa Park on Tuesday evening. Had it not been for a superb Christen Benteke hat-trick (3-3) the West Londoners would have removed themselves from the bottom three.

However, as it stands Ramsey’s men sit in 18th position on 26 points. They, along with the rest of the bottom six, who are separated by just seven points, know that every point is crucial if they are to maintain their Premiership …

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Grand National 2015 Spread Betting Specials

39 go to post but how many will pass the winning post

39 go to post but how many will pass the winning post?

The Grand National is the world’s most famous steeplechase but it’s a punting puzzle like no other. Every year friends, families and the man your dad met at the pub the other night will all have their own tips.

Maybe it’s the colour of the silks, the funny name, the fact AP McCoy is riding or an unorthodox analysis of the form which throws up a longshot disregarded by the bookies.

One thing is for sure, it’s very hard to find the winner. Since they made the fences easier a few years ago in a bid to reduce fallers and casualties, it’s had the effect of making the horses go a lot faster than they used to. This is because they aren’t so afraid of the fences. And because more of them stay on their feet for longer, the …

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Manchester Utd v Manchester City Preview 12th April 2015

Manchester United decent punt to end recent derby misery

Manchester United decent punt to end recent derby misery

It’s derby day in the North West this Sunday as a resurgent Manchester United look to heap even more pressure on their stuttering neighbours Manchester City.

City are reeling from three defeats in their last five Premier League games, star striker Sergio Aguero hasn’t scored in six and speculation about the future of boss Manuel Pellegrini is rife. The vultures are circling for the Chilean manager, who is overseeing the team’s worst run since Mark Hughes was dismissed in 2009 and has seen all silverware hopes extinguished since Christmas. The gap to leaders Chelsea is now nine points at the top of the league.

Key performers including Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Aguero have struggled to deliver on a consistent basis and much will rely on them rediscovering their spark.

Pellegrini’s opposite number, Louis van Gaal, has also had to dodge his …

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A lot of political talk, but is anyone listening?

A lot of political talk, but is anyone listening?

A lot of political talk, but is anyone listening?

We have now dipped under the 30 days to go milestone before polling day and the rhetoric and bluster from politicians, pundits and pollsters is reaching a crescendo. In the past couple of weeks we’ve had live interviews, leaders’ debates, Scottish leaders’ debates, policy announcements and endless photo calls and interviews.

It’s no wonder the poor student couldn’t bear another second of David Cameron reading a story to her and let her head hit the desk instead.

With all this activity exciting the already rabid political press, for whom a general election is their World Cup and Olympics wrapped into one, it seems that voters may not yet be taking too much notice.

Opinion polls are static, and have been for months, but that hasn’t stopped shrew political spread bettors on our General Election Seats Market. Even with unchanging opinion …

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Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Aintree 2015 Friday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Friday Aintree Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Aintree 2015 Friday Preview

THE Red half of Liverpool will be in good spirits this afternoon, after they scrapped past Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday evening. With 22 runners heading to post in the opening Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle (1.40) run over two and a half miles, there is going to be plenty of problems in-running. 

Likely favourite, The Saint James, is only a four-year-old, and he may lack the experience to take a hand in the finish, even with Tony McCoy in the saddle. I’m going to sell JP McManus’ beast on the Race 50 Index, and sell him in a match bet with Knight’s Parade, who looks a lurker from the powerful Gordon Elliot stable.

Paul Nicholls’ Vago Collonges will be prominent in the betting when it comes to the Grade 2 E-Lites Top Novice Hurdle (2.15) run over two miles, but this beast …

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Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Aintree 2015 Thursday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Aintree 2015 Thursday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Aintree 2015 Thursday Preview

THE Aintree festival gets underway with the One Magnificent City Novices’ Chase (1.40) run over two and a half miles. Josses Hill is going to go off a short-priced favourite after his best run over fences at Cheltenham last month, when he finished third in the Arkle Chase over two miles. 

Nicky Henderson’s massive beast has been a slow burner when it comes to the art of fencing, but he showed his liking for this tight, flat track, by capturing the two mile novice hurdle at last year’s meeting.

He was five lengths in front of Vibrato Valtat at Prestbury Park, and I believe he will extend his advantage over Paul Nicholls’ horse over this longer journey, so buy him in a match bet with Sporting Index.

As soon as Hargam passed the post in third spot in the Triumph Hurdle in …

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Masters 2015 Preview

Don’t rule out a roar from returning Tiger at The Masters

Don’t rule out a roar from returning Tiger at The Masters

The Masters golf from Augusta on Thursday is teeing up to be one of the most unpredictable tournaments in recent memory, but expect a familiar contender in the final mix-up.

It may be seven years since Tiger Woods’ most recent Major win, a decade since his last Green Jacket and two months since he last hit a golf ball in anger, but the 14-time Major champion is fit and looking to recapture his finest form in Georgia.

Woods, now ranked 111 in the world after a self-imposed exile, is adamant he has cast aside the chipping ‘yips’ that plagued him last year. However, he faces a tough field that includes 19 Masters winners including favourite Rory McIlroy, defending champion Bubba Watson, and veterans Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.

The iconic Augusta National golf course offers a test like no …

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Aston Villa v QPR Preview 7th April 2015

"Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has described Villa's fixture against QPR as ‘the biggest match for years’ as the two sides fight for Premier League survival."

Aston Villa v QPR – Premier League Preview

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has described this evening’s fixture against QPR as ‘the biggest match for years’ as the two sides fight for Premier League survival.

Both teams play their 32nd league fixture tonight and every point gained and goal scored could prove invaluable at this time of the season.

Tonight’s hosts are three points and two positions ahead of 19th placed QPR. The pair have respectively won just two of their last 11 league fixtures and know just what is at stake.

The Brummie-based team will have to make do without Alan Hutton, who is side-lined through an ankle injury while Scott Sinclair and Ashley Westwood also miss out. Chris Ramsey, who took over from the Hoops’ previous manager Harry Redknapp back in February, also has to deal with medical causalities. Eduardo Vargas, is out for the season having …

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Arsenal v Liverpool Preview 4th April 2015

Hazard: 22-25 Stoke Team Books: 24-27 Bony: 22-25 Palace: 0.85-1.05

Arsenal v Liverpool – Premier League Preview

This weekend football fans turn their attention back to the Premier League after an International rest bite due to the European Championship qualifiers.

As we head into the business-end of this season’s calendar the pick of the fixtures this weekend has to be Arsenal v Liverpool on Saturday. The Gunners, who are third in the league, find themselves two places above the Reds thanks to their six point differential.

Manchester United inflicted a 2-1 defeat upon Liverpool before the international break, having halted Brendan Rodgers’ side from notching up a sixth consecutive league victory. However, since that United loss, the sport headlines that have dominated the papers have concentrated on the ill-discipline of captain Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel as well as Raheem Sterling’s stuttering contract negotiations.

Injury concerns over Daniel Sturridge, who was ruled out of both of England’s recent fixtures, and …

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Sunderland v Newcastle Utd Preview 5th April 2015

Sunderland v Newcastle Utd Preview 5th April 2015

Magpies powerless to stop the Black Cats in Tyne-Wear derby

Sunderland’s stunning 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby win at St James’ Park last season provided the lift they needed to avoid the drop and they need something similar on Sunday afternoon.

Gus Poyet has since moved on and Dick Advocaat has been charged with saving the Black Cats from relegation to the Championship. Diafra Sakho’s last-gasp effort at Upton Park ruined Advocaat’s first match in charge, but the international break will have given the Dutchman time to assess the job at hand.

Three points against Sunderland’s biggest rivals would provide a timely confidence boost for the run-in. The Black Cats have certainly had the upper-hand in recent local derbies and that psychological advantage should prove key.

A 90th minute winner from Adam Johnson helped Sunderland to a significant win at Newcastle in December to extend their unbeaten run in this fixture …

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Championship Preview: Derby v Watford 3rd April 2015

Championship Preview: Derby v Watford

Championship Preview: Derby v Watford 

Derby County released a statement this week highlighting that the club boast the best average attendance in the Championship. The Rams, who have suffered four league defeats in their last six, will want to treat their loyal home support to a domestic triumph when they host Watford on Friday at the iPro Stadium.

Although Steve McClaren’s side have dropped to fifth position, having secured two league points since the 24th February, there are plausible reasons as to why the Rams can turn their poor form around and continue to apply pressure above them.

The Rams have won four of their last five against Watford, scoring 15 goals in the process and so Friday’s hosts can be assured that despite their mediocre performances of late, they can still pick up all three points.

Sporting Index have Derby County/Watford at 0.25-0.45 which does appeal. Friday’s visitors …

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Netherlands v Spain International Friendly preview 31st March 2015

Spain’s mean defence can keep struggling Netherlands out

Spain’s mean defence can keep struggling Netherlands out

Although it’s an international friendly neither the Netherlands and Spain will take tonight’s game lightly when they take each other on at the Amsterdam Arena.

The Dutch will be eager to display an improved performance from last Saturday as they relied on a Klass-Jan Huntelaar injury-time equaliser to draw 1-1 against Turkey.

Guus Hiddink, national team coach for a second stint after Louis van Gaal departed for Manchester United, will want to see much better. The Netherlands are third in Group A and five points adrift of Iceland, who occupy the second automatic qualification spot. A lot will hinge on this weekend’s home game with Turkey, and a win against Spain would no doubt provide a decent platform to launch an assault on fellow Group B opposition.

Spain, ranked 11th in the FIFA rankings, will be under no illusions how difficult …

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Italy v England International Friendly preview 31st March 2015

England can continue fine form in Italy

England can continue fine form in Italy

It would be a meltdown of nuclear proportions should England not qualify for Euro 2016 after the routine 4-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley on Friday night took them six points clear at the top of Group E qualifying with a 100% record. In truth, the Three Lions should win all their remaining games against limited opponents and head to France next summer raring to go.

Roy Hodgson has already released a number of players from his squad and the team that lines up against Italy in Turin on Tuesday night is likely to be an experimental one. English football’s new star Harry Kane didn’t have to wait long for his first international goal and the Tottenham man is set to make his first start.

England don’t have a bad record versus the Italians – outside of World Cups at least. The last …

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Cricket World Cup 2015 Final Preview

Cricket World Cup 2015 Final Preview

Australia set to win the World Cup for a fifth time

The 2015 Cricket World Cup is set to finish on a thrilling high as New Zealand take on Australia at the Melbourne Cricket ground in the tournament’s final. The Black Caps will travel to Australia for the first time in this year’s global event having hosted all of their eight World Cup games on home soil.

Cricket fans were glued to their screens as proceedings unfolded in Auckland on Tuesday as the co-hosts dramatically triumphed over a powerful South African side in the first semi-final.

It took a six off the penultimate ball from Grant Elliot, who finished on an unbeaten 84, to clinch a four-wicket victory over AB de Villiers’s side.

The Black Caps have won their last 10 ODI’s and they’ve been wonderfully led by Brendon McCullum. The Kiwi skipper’s strike rate is the highest of any batsman …

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Weekend Euro 2016 Qualifiers Preview

Wales will struggle to break down disciplined Israel

Wales will struggle to break down disciplined Israel 

Football fans will turn their attention to the next round of the European Championship qualifications this weekend with England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland all in action. Wales travel to Israel tomorrow knowing that three points would take them to the summit of Group B, albeit having played an extra game.

Both teams go into the game unbeaten and although Israel have won all three of their fixtures, Chris Coleman has the luxury of calling upon Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey again to help assert real pressure on their hosts.

This is the pair’s first meeting since 1989, when they played out an exciting 3-3 draw. But with home advantage, and having won their last four on the trot, Israel start as favourites. Israel/Wales is currently trading at 0.35-0.55 which is worth a small buy considering they have scored 13 goals …

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Parliament dissolved and the campaigning begins, but is anyone listening?

David Cameron to enjoy highest constituency voteshare of major leaders

Parliament dissolved and the campaigning begins, but is anyone listening?

After five years of a coalition that few people – if any – thought would last five months, the race towin  the General Election is very much on following Parliament’s dissolving this week.

After last week’s budget, in which sellers of Osborne’s ‘tax’ mentions cleaned up, the Conservatives failed to see the ‘bounce’ in the opinion polls that they were hoping for. For what seems like months now, David Cameron and Co. have predicted they’d comfortable pull away in the polls but we’ve yet to see that happen.

One place the Tories have separated from Labour however is on our General Election Seats Market. Labour opened on a lofty 294 seats, but a surge in support for the SNP has left Ed Miliband’s party hovering around the 271 mark, 14 seats behind the Conservatives.

It seems increasingly likely that …

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England v Lithuania Euro 2016 Preview

Lithuania powerless to stop Three Lions mauling

Lithuania powerless to stop Three Lions mauling

England continue their Euro 2016 qualification mission on Friday evening when they welcome Lithuania to Wembley.

The Three Lions’ qualification campaign so far has been spot on as they have won four from four. Friday’s clash is the first time the Three Lions have met Lithuania at senior level and Roy Hodgson will be confident of maintaining his 100% record in Group E.

England are one of only four nations that have won all their games, the others being Slovakia, Israel and the Czech Republic. It’s been six years since England last lost a qualifying game for either major international competition and that came against Ukraine in Dnipropetrovsk. During that unbeaten run there have been 16 victories and seven draws. A 3-2 Croatian reverse back in November 2007 was the last time England lost a competitive game on home soil.

In stark contrast, Lithuania …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Update Part Two

Champions League 2014/15 - Update Part Two

Be wary of backing Bayern or Barcelona 

Part one opposed Real Madrid in their search for successive Champions League crowns and part two will take on the other big-hitters Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

There are signs the Barcelona machine is purring once again. They absolutely dominated Manchester City in the last round and again bossed Real for large periods in Sunday’s El Clasico, particularly the second half. Luis Suarez gave notice of how well he’s playing of late with a brilliant winner that day and Lionel Messi is back on song.

However, despite their superiority over City and Real lately, Barca only won each of those games by a single goal. Considering Sergio Aguero missed a penalty at the Nou Camp and Real had a least three clear chances that they could have scored, the final results could have been a lot different.

The fact they have been surprised at …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Update Part One

Champions League 2014/15 - Update Part One

Favourites not as solid as market suggests 

History shows us that since the European Cup became the Champions League in the 1992/1993 season no club has managed to win it in consecutive years. That’s despite a number of big sides like AC Milan, Juventus and Manchester United making successive finals, not to mention Barcelona winning three titles in six years from 2006-2011 and Bayern Munich reaching three of the last five showpieces, only to lift the trophy once.

Of course there is no reason why a side cannot retain the crown and if you are opposing Real Madrid this year simply because of that stat then you should probably reassess your betting strategy.

But there are other good reasons for spread bettors to take on the defending champions. Since embarking on a stunning Spanish record of 22 consecutive wins from September to early January, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been on …

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Cricket World Cup 2015 Semi Final Preview

Cricket World Cup 2015 Semi Final Preview

Australia and South Africa set to meet in the 2015 World Cup Final 

The Cricket World Cup, which began on the 14th February, sees New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and India as the last four sides left in the record-breaking tournament.

The first semi-final is between New Zealand and South Africa which takes place in the early hours of tomorrow morning in Auckland. Cricket fans are expecting this result to go right down to the wire having witnessed both teams play in an aggressive yet entertaining format.

Brendon McCullum and AB de Villiers will be desperate to guide their respective sides to their first World Cup final. The last time the pair played an ODI in New Zealand, South Africa came out on top and so the Kiwis will be wary of the threat the Proteas bring.

History hasn’t favoured the Black Caps in similar situations as they’ve …

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Six Nations Preview – 21st March 2015

Six Nations Preview - 21st March 2015

Title set to be decided on points difference

Wales’ heroics over Ireland last weekend meant that there will no Grand Slam winner for a third year in a row, suggesting a competitiveness that should be welcomed by fans of the sport, particularly as their sides shape up for the World Cup later in the year.

Stuart Lancaster’s England most probably need a comfortable win over France at Twickenham to land their first title in four years. If Chris Robshaw does manage to lift the trophy it would be a real confidence boost ahead of the World Cup and would go some way to making up for the disappointment of missing out on the Slam once again.

The 47-17 result over Italy could prove decisive if Ireland go and win against Wooden Spoon favourites Scotland. The Red Rose will go into the final game against France crucially knowing exactly what they …

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Sporting Index’s Ed Fulton talks Budget with Bloomberg TV

Sporting Index’s Ed Fulton talks Budget with Bloomberg TV

Sporting Index’s Ed Fulton talks Budget with Bloomberg TV

It was an early start for our spokesman Ed Fulton on Wednesday morning as he headed to the Houses of Parliament to talk about George Osborne’s Budget with Bloomberg TV.

Ahead of every big Budget our traders produce a number of novelty markets on one of politics’ most-eagerly awaited acts of theatre. For example, they predicted the speech would be 56 minutes long, that Osborne would take four sips of water, and that there would be 108 mentions of tax.

We saw a flurry of bets, but many were left disappointed as Osborne took just two sips of water.

However, with tax mentioned just 83 times, sellers were counting the cash. Surprisingly, there was also only one mention of euro – traders had anticipated three.

You can watch Ed Fulton’s interview here – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-03-18/u-k-budget-big-bet-spread-56-minutes-over-under.

Follow @SportingIndex

Pioneering politics spread betting

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Liverpool v Manchester United Preview 22nd Mar 2015

Liverpool v Manchester United Preview 22nd Mar 2015

Liverpool to break into top four with victory of north-west rivals

Manchester United have a chance to pull off the league double over Liverpool when they clash at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Ironically, United’s 3-0 victory in December inspired the Reds to a superb run of form that has seen them avoid defeat for 13 straight domestic fixtures. Liverpool were actually unfortunate that day at Old Trafford as they came up against an unbeatable David de Gea. The Spaniard made a string of saves in the first half before United opened up an undeserved 2-0 lead heading into the break.

The keeper was not called upon anywhere near as much against Tottenham last Sunday as United posted one of their best performances of the season. The clean sheet was a third in a row, but Liverpool pose a far greater threat than Sunderland, Newcastle and an inconsistent Spurs.

Rodgers has …

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Cricket World Cup 2015 Quarter Final Previews

Cricket World Cup 2015 Quarter Final Previews

Favourites India, Australia and New Zealand destined to bag remaining semi-final places

Having seen AB de Villiers and his South African side live up to expectations by chasing down Sri Lanka’s paltry 133 with 32 overs to spare this morning, the pressure now rests on India, Australia and New Zealand in the three remaining ICC World Cup quarter-finals.

India will take on Bangladesh in front of a full house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow morning. Although the Tigers are ranked ninth in ODI’s, seven places below India, they can still offer a competitive fixture. Shakib Al Hasan and Co. shocked England and came close to upsetting co-hosts New Zealand last week. They will back themselves to cause an upset as they did in the 2007 World Cup, as well as the 2012 Asia Cup when chasing down a healthy 289.

However, the reigning champions have shown real class, triumphing …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Barcelona v Manchester City Last 16 Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – Barcelona v Manchester City Last 16 Preview

Barcelona to prove far too good for City once again

Arsenal fell foul of the away goals rule yesterday in Monaco when failing to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg at the Emirates, despite a 2-0 away win, and a similar uphill task faces Manchester City tonight when they visit Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 tie.

City should be grateful that they go into the match only losing 2-1 as Barcelona absolutely dominated the Premier League champions three weeks ago, particularly in the first half, and Lionel Messi should really have ended the contest, but missed a last-minute penalty and then an open goal with the rebound.

Manuel Pellegrini has seen his side’s title challenge falter in recent months and Burnley’s shock win over them on the weekend means it’s now just three wins from their last nine league games. Now six points adrift of table-toppers Chelsea, …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Monaco v Arsenal Last 16 Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – Monaco v Arsenal Last 16 Preview

Up-hill task for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners in Monaco 

Arsenal head into tonight’s Champions League fixture knowing that they need to score at least three goals to stay in the competition having succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates on the 25th February.

But Arsene Wenger’s men will be confident going into this fixture and there’s justification behind it. They have won eight of their last nine Premier League fixtures, scoring 22 goals within that time. Due to their superior offensive threats, Sporting Index have Arsenal/Monaco trading at 0.15-0.35 which is worth a small buy – remember we just need Arsenal to win rather than qualify.

However, to put this evening’s challenge into perspective, no side in Champions League history has ever overturned a two-goal deficit away from home in the second leg and Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco have shown decent competition form.

Not only have they won their …

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The Budget 2015 in numbers

"56 minutes, 4 sips of water and 108 mentions of Tax"

The Budget 2015 in numbers

56 minutes, 4 sips of water and 108 mentions of Tax 

The 2015 Budget speech is upon us and as the General Election is just over 50 days away, it could be George Osborne’s last as Chancellor. With that in mind, Sporting Index has compiled a number of exciting Budget betting markets that are always popular with spread bettors.

The opinion polls have fluctuated between a dead heat and single point leads for Labour or the Conservatives, so it’s likely that Osborne will try to woo potential voters from the dispatch box.

The one thing that is for certain is that Osborne will mention ‘tax’ in his speech. Whether it will be when he announces a tax cut or a new tax policy, Sporting Index have priced his mentions of tax at 108 times – or once every 31 seconds.

However, with the traditional debate …

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Swansea City v Liverpool Preview 16th March 2015

Swansea City v Liverpool Preview

In-form Liverpool can tame Swans

With Manchester City dropping further points on the weekend, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool will really fancy their chances of finishing second in the Premier League this season and will still hold onto faint hopes of runaway leaders Chelsea slipping up.

Liverpool are the division’s form team as the only club unbeaten in the league in 2015 and they travel to Swansea tonight looking for a fifth straight league win. That run has taken in victories over close rivals Tottenham, Southampton and Man City and there’s a renewed confidence and flair in the Reds set-up after an inconsistent start to the campaign.

Their defence has been incredible of late, keeping five straight clean sheets away in the league for the first time since 1985 and six in their last eight league games overall.

Swansea have only won one of seven Premier League games against these …

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Wales v Ireland Six Nations Preview – 14th March 2015

Rugby Spread Betting

Ireland’s winning trend in Cardiff is set to continue

When Craig Joubert blew the final whistle at the Aviva Stadium 12 days ago Ireland had beaten England for the first time in four years. It also meant that they were the only team still on course for a Grand Slam and with just two games left to play, Sporting Index have priced Ireland at 47-50 on the Six Nations 60 Outright Index.

Paul O’Connell, who is set to win his 100th cap, will be under no illusions about the ferocity and intensity of tomorrow’s fixture at the Millennium Stadium against Wales. As a triumph over the visitors would give the Welsh a realistic opportunity of winning the title having lost their opening game.

Sam Warburton, who leads Wales for a record 34th time, will be confident having guided his side to back-to-back victories in Edinburgh and Paris.

However, …

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Tanya Stevenson 2015 Cheltenham Preview – Friday

Tanya Stevenson's 2015 Cheltenham Preview - Friday

Tanya Stevenson 2015 Cheltenham Preview – Friday

Advised Tuesday

Over the four days Bryan Cooper winners 2.1 Buy

Over the four days AP McCoy winners 2.3 Buy

Over the four days Gigginstown House Stud winners 2.9 Buy

1.30 Cheltenham 50-30-20-10

Beltor 12-15 Buy

3.20 Cheltenham 50-30-20-10

Djakadam 11-14 Buy

Weather wise for three days we’ve had it so, so good, but the downpour started through the night.  All through the Morning Line there was light drizzle but nothing to the extent that was forecast.  The key to the day is whether we will get any more and to what volume.

With that in mind my original thought of Devilment winning the first has now dissolved.  Nicky Henderson has won the Triumph Hurdle five times and with three of the first four in the betting he is certainly trying to make sure he has win number six.  Those at Kempton recently were left in …

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Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s 2015 Gold Cup Day Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s 2015 Gold Cup Day Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s 2015 Gold Cup Day Preview

THERE is plenty of rain forecast for Cheltenham this afternoon, which could scupper a few well laid plans. But looking at the Gold Cup (3.20) run over three and a quarter miles, one horse I will be selling on the Sporting 50 Index is CONEYGREE, as I can’t have a novice taking on experienced animals. 

Why the Bradstock’s have decided to run the eight-year-old in this heat and not the RSA Chase, which is confined to novices, is a mystery which Hercule Poirot would struggle to solve.

One horse who loves racing at this great Festival is Holywell, who captured the Pertemps Final here in 2013, and followed up with a game success in the three mile handicap chase last year. On both occasions he was ridden by Richie McLernon, so having him on top again is a bonus. I will …

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Tories building up a head of steam just before Osborne’s Budget speech

Tories building up a head of steam just before Osborne’s Budget speech

Tories building up a head of steam just before Osborne’s Budget speech

While most of the other parties have been shouting about TV debates, or being caught out by journalists posing as potential donors, the Conservatives have been quietly putting some distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

The political spread betting markets have been very active over the past couple of days, and it’s the Tories who are the beneficiaries. Starting with a price of 276 on our General Election Seats Market when the markets opened in

November, the party led by David Cameron sits currently on 285 seats, having added three seats this week alone.

Many subscribe to the theory that the incumbent government receives additional support from undecided voters in the weeks leading up to the election, but with 50 days to go until the polls open, this move could be more than just a natural uplift.…

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Tanya Stevenson’s Cheltenham 2015 Thursday Preview

Tanya Stevenson’s Cheltenham 2015 Thursday Preview

Tanya Stevenson’s Cheltenham 2015 Thursday Preview

Advised Tuesday

Over the four days Bryan Cooper winners 2.1 Buy

Over the four days AP McCoy winners 2.3 Buy

Over the four days Gigginstown House Stud winners 2.9 Buy

Thursday Tips

1.30 Cheltenham 50-25-10

Apache Stronghold Buy 17

2.05 Cheltenham Match Bets

Edeymi/Call The Cops Buy 2.5

3.20 Cheltenham 50-30-20-10

Monksland Buy 8

There was an apprehension in the betting ring on Wednesday, from the bookmakers of course, punters were ready to cement further their allegiance to Willie Mullins. And come the RSA Chase he didn’t let them down.  

Don Poli laid down the credentials for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 12 months’ time and for that he is only 6-1. The Young Master put in some really sloppy jumping and I’m well aware he was beaten over 50 lengths in total, so apologies, but I’m hurting too.

Thank goodness for Any Currency …

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Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Cheltenham 2015 Thursday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Cheltenham 2015 Thursday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Cheltenham 2015 Thursday Preview

THE Irish have been cleaning up this week, but one beast from the Emerald Isle I will be selling on the Sporting 50 Index is Apache Stronghold in the JLT Novices’ Chase (1.30) run over two and a half miles. 

Noel Meade has never had a winner over fences at this great Festival and, although he obliged at Leopardstown last time out, he did not impress me with his jumping. I will also be against him in match bets with Vautour.

In the following Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (2.05) run over three miles, I will be buying BROTHER BRIAN on the Sporting 50 Index.

Hughie Morrison’s well-treated beast landed a two miles and five furlongs handicap at Kempton in early November off a mark of 134, and the race has worked out very well, as the third, fourth and fifth, have …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Chelsea v PSG Last 16 Preview

Champions League 2014/15 – Chelsea v PSG Last 16 Preview

Chelsea to triumph over Paris Saint Germain

The reorganisation of the Champions Leagues fixtures – ties at this stage now played over four weeks rather than two – means that both Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain have been busy getting on with other things since their thrilling one-all draw in the French capital.

Chelsea entertained Burnley four days after their trip to Paris and emerged with just a solitary point, alongside a red card for violent conduct issued to influential midfielder Nemanja Matic. However, even with Matic suspended for two FA fixtures, the Blues went on to overcome London rivals Tottenham and West Ham, lifting the first silverware of the season in the process.

PSG meanwhile dispatched Toulouse, before playing out a dire 0-0 against the vanquishers of Arsenal in Monaco in Ligue 1 action. This time last week PSG faced Monaco again, this time in Paris in the quarter …

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Tanya Stevenson’s Cheltenham 2015 Wednesday Preview

Tanya Stevenson’s Cheltenham 2015 Wednesday Preview

Tanya Stevenson’s Cheltenham 2015 Wednesday Preview

Wednesday Tips

Cheltenham 2.05 Match Bet

The Young Master/Southfield Theatre Buy at 1.5

Cheltenham 2.40 50-30-20-10

Hammersley Lake 4-6 Buy at 6

Cheltenham 4.00 50-30-20-10

Any Currency 14-17 Buy at 17

Tuesday will live long in the memory, a real “I was there” day. Part of what might have been – added to a good portion of what already was! Bad grammar sorry, but if like me you are still in the euphoria then you won’t mind. 

A day when bookmakers had to be just that, roll up their sleeves and show some backbone. It wasn’t as if they didn’t know what was coming and after Douvan and Un De Sceaux had obliged then liabilities were distributed to on course as the offices shovelled on the money in an attempt to shorten the last two.

Scenes reminiscent of 1996 and Frankie Dettori’s magnificent seven …

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Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Cheltenham 2015 Wednesday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Cheltenham 2015 Wednesday Preview

Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley’s Cheltenham 2015 Wednesday Preview

WE got off to a great start with Douvan wiping the floor with the opposition in the opener at Cheltenham yesterday, and my banker this afternoon is DON POLI, who rocks up in the Grade 1 RSA Chase (2.05) run over three miles in darkest Gloucestershire. 

Owned by the Gigginstown Stud, this horse is trained by Willie Mullins – had the first winner yesterday – but he won’t be ridden by Ruby Walsh, as Bryan Cooper is the retained rider for Michael O’Leary’s horses.

The six-year-old jumped like a natural when trouncing subsequent dual scorer, Wounded Warrior, at Gowran Park in November over two and a half miles on his chasing debut.

He then took a big step up in grade when contesting the Grade 1 Topaz Novice Chase at Leopardstown in late December, where he bravely fought back having been headed …

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Champions League 2014/15 – Real Madrid v Schalke Last 16 Preview

Real Madrid v Schalke Last 16 Preview

Schalke lack the fight to trouble Los Blancos

Real Madrid’s 2-0 first leg win in Schalke means they are just one win away from breaking the record for consecutive European victories home and away. Los Blancos will also break the 12-game Champions League record for successive home triumphs.

Although well fancied, Carlo Ancelotti’s team have struggled in their past two games which has seen them lose at home to Villarreal and then lose at Athletic Bilbao. However, in Europe the reigning champions have been in imperious form on their way to trying to become the first club to retain the trophy in the UEFA Champions League era.

These two clubs met at the same stage last year, but the Germans arrived in Madrid staring at a 6-1 deficit – this time it’s only 2-0. Real went onto win the second leg in 2013/14 with a 3-1 win where Cristiano Ronaldo …

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