From the very second that Sky Sports News broke the news earlier this week that Rafa Benitez would be leaving Liverpool with a reported 6 million compensation package, all attention has been turned to who would be replacing him in the hot seat. With The Special One taking up the Real Madrid hot seat, and Fabio Capello signing a new contract, the options are slightly narrower than they would have been if making the decision a few weeks earlier. Heading the market currently are Martin O Neill, Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish however I am certainly of the belief that the market is more open than the current prices suggest. With two of the three main candidates currently managing Premiership teams, and the other only a temporary appointment at best, there are certainly grounds to oppose all three at present. O Neill could prove a strong candidate, and is rumoured to be highly frustrated by the Villa hierarchy, but the question needs to be asked whether he would find himself in similar position at Anfield, with the club currently in huge debt any transfer funding would surely be limited. Hodgson has come off the back of a fantastic season with Fulham, but surely may have one eye on the takeover and wouldn't want to go to a club in turmoil despite it being such a big club. Dalglish doesn't look like he is hungry for a return to front line management, and having not managed in the top flight for well over a decade, would be a bizarre appointment from a club that would be thinking with its heart rather than its head. As such I think its worth a small punt on Sven Goran Eriksson who has not only the experience of top jobs both in the UK and overseas, but has recently expressed his love for the Anfield club, and with his availability post world cup with Ivory Coast a possibility, may at the very least have discussions with the US owners. At a bigger price, Frank Rijkaard is a man no stranger to high pressure jobs having managed the mighty Barcelona with some degree of success. His tactical knowledge should not be underestimated, and has the charisma to attract players to a club that finds itself without the golden ticket of Champions League football. Of course a market like this is completely open, but at the prices both these potential gaffers could be worthy of support
This year's Epsom Derby is now upon us and even the shrewdest of punters would agree that it is something of a puzzler, with Jan Vaneer finally producing a display over at Leopardstown within the last fortnight that warrants favouritism in a market that is devoid of St Nicholas' Abbey who is missing with a muscle strain. It should be a fantastic day for all those attending, with the sun shining and temperatures expecting to reach as high as 28 degrees. The beer will be flowing, the champagne will be available upon request for the high rollers and the Guinness will be drunk in abundance. Then people will turn their attention to finding a winner in this years Investec Derby, with 12 runners coming to post and 9 or 10 holding some kind of chance to lift this years' newly sculptured trophy. Jan Vaneer has drifted in the market in recent days mostly because of the wide draw it has received in stall 12 - no horse in memory has managed to overcome this berth and land the odds and the bookmakers have been keen to push it out to as long as 3/1 this morning. However I am still not tempted by the price, because although it was mightily impressive at Leopardstown 13 days ago, the question that all punters must ask is "What did it beat?" and the answer is not a great deal so at the prices has to be swerved. Other runners that have been backed within the last fortnight include Workforce, Midas Touch and most recently Franki's mount Rewilding who brings over some concrete form that the favourite lacks when finishing a close second to tomorrow's French Derby fancy. If Rewilding wins today, this is a big hint to get on Planteur tomorrow - a win would surely be the strongest form possible for the French horse. However for me the price is gone, so wont be backing it at 6/1 when it was double the price a week ago. Workforce is another with a growing reputation, finishing second in the Dante behind another horse destined for Chantilly tomorrow, Cape Blanco. Yet it too has a price which is difficult to believe, almost being backed on reputation when it is clear to me that the horse doesn't hold a straight line. As soon as push comes to shove this horse will buckle under the pressure. Midas Touch has been running well on the gallops and is certainly a live contender for the main honours at a backable 9/1 however its form line from the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial took a notable dent only last night when Address Unknown, second to Midas Touch, was easily beaten over at The Curragh by several horses that can be classed as average at best. As such I have backed Coordinated Cut at 25/1 each way to land the spoils. Finishing only 3/4 length behind Workforce in the Dante, and going off at a shorter price, surely 25/1 is a massive error in judgement. With scope of plenty of improvement, and the longer trip on firmer ground, I am firmly of the belief that this will be more than a match for most, and can certainly turn the tables on Workforce. It may not win, but I think its an each way steal, and with a bit of luck in running can steal this from its more fancied runners. As for other runners, Teds Spread needs an extra 10 miles on heavy ground to stand any chance and Buzzword fans will be left silenced as it finds the field too strong.
1pt E/W Coordinated Cut 25/1 1/4 1-3 with Totesport and Bet365