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Stan James are betting Binocular and Hurricane Fly the 8/1 jt favs for the 2010 Champion Hurdle after the thrilling success of Punjabi in the 2009 renewal when the Henderson six-year-old got the better of an epic dual with two five-year-olds Celestial Halo and Bi

The well-backed favourite Aigle D'Or is a significant non-runner from the Coral Cup one of the feature races of Day 2 at the Cheltenham Festival. Tony McCoy now rides last year's Triumph Hurdle runner up Franchoek with the durable Lough Derg. 

More news on Day 2 of the Festival as it arrives.

The waiting is almost over and the declarations and betting are in for the first day of the 2009 Cheltenham Festival. We are offering 1/4 odds first 5 for the first major handicap of the Festival the William Hill Handicap Chase and will be offering Best Odds Guaranteed on all races.

I'm reliably informed by my mate Rob McCaffrey (ex Sky Sports but now presents the Premier League coverage on Star Sports throughout the Middle East from Dubai) that the Villa (and Pompey) boys will be met with beautiful sunshine on their break in the United Arab Emirates.

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We have a number of weekend football enhanced specials this weekend;

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  • Big 4 all to win? 5/1
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Saturday home bankers?

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  • Arsenal, Chelsea, Celtic & rangers all to win 5/2
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It goes without saying that it hasn't been the best of weeks for Villa and ahead of a very difficult trip to Moscow next week they face a Chelsea side who, we are led to believe, are united behind their new manager Guus Hiddink.

England remain 7/1 shots for the 2010 World Cup but how they can be the same price as Spain is beyond me after events in Seville midweek. Brazil head the market at 9/2 from Argentina at 5s but the Spanish look to have improved again since their victory in last summer’s European Championships and 7/1 looks too big to me.

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Just when you think the FA Cup is dead in the water a hitherto unknown nineteen-year-old goes and scores the winning goal in the last minute of extra-time against a Liverpool side shorn of their talisman, their sulky Spanish striker but at least they still have their David Brent-lookalike manager at the helm. But for how long?

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The sale of Emile Heskey and Wilson Palacios and the injury to Antonio Valencia may have weakened the Wigan side that travel to Villa Park this afternoon but the Latics showed against Liverpool midweek that they remain the most resilient of sides and Steve Bruce would, alongside Martin O'Neill and David Moyes, be my choice for potential Manager Of The Year.

Local boy made good veteran singer Tony Christie visited the Doncaster Rovers training ground bedecked in Red & White this week for BBC's Football Focus which can be seen this afternoon.

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