Non Runner No Bet on all Festival races from 08.30am Monday morning

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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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Table Toppers?

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  • Wolves, Leicester City & Brentford all to win 15/2 (from 6/1)
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Villa were the first side to fall foul of Rory Delap’s long throw when Stoke entertained Villa at the Britannia Stadium back in August, and will be looking for revenge on Sunday against a side fighting for their Premier League lives. Revenge was also in the air when Delap went chasing Shaun Wright-Phillips in Stoke’s recent victory against Manchester City, and Villa won’t have to contend with Delap’s trademark long-throws as he sits out the final game of a three-match ban.

Villa are 2/5 to win their first game in five against a Potters side who are 8/1 to win at Villa Park and 4/9 to be relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season. The draw is a 10/3 shot but this is a game that Villa must win if they are to maintain their push for Champions League qualification. Martin O’Neill’s decision to rest key players from his UEFA Cup squad in Moscow midweek didn’t exactly have Fleet Street extolling his virtues, but the Irishman knows what’s best for his Club and there are now no distractions from his season long objective of breaking the dominance of the “Big Four.”

We believe West Brom (travel to Goodison Park this lunchtime) and Stoke City are doomed but are unsure as to who else is for the drop this term and bet:

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Who will be relegated from the Premier League 2008/09? :

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  • West Brom 1/4
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  • Stoke City 4/9
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  • Borough 5/4
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  • Hull 15/8
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  • Blackburn 5/2
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  • Portsmouth 13/5
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  • Newcastle 3/1
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  • Sunderland 7/1
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  • Bolton 8/1
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  • 16/1 Bar.
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Blues are out to 4/1 for the Championship (behind 11/8 Reading & 13/8 Wolves) after one point and no goals from their two away games this week. They are on their travels again on Sunday when they will be looking to put Sheffield United to the sword at Bramhall Lane in front of the Sky cameras. The Blades are 11/8 with Blues 2/1 and the draw at 9/4. Villa and Blues have an enhanced double price of 10/3 with Stan James and these are games where they must get all three points.

England put up an improved performance at the Millennium Stadium last time but they are underdogs at Croke Park on Saturday as they return to Six Nations action. Ireland are 10/11 with a seven point handicap and England are 10/11 getting a seven point start with the tie on the handicap at 16/1.  Scotland must give Italy a 10 point start in the international that is likely to decide the outcome of the Wooden Spoon and they should be able to cover the handicap against the Azzurri.

We have a number of special markets on the Six Nations internationals this weekend including:

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Top England Try Scorer in Six Nations 2009?

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  • Paul Sackey 5/2
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  • Mark Cueto 11/4
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  • Harry Ellis 7/2
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  • Delon Armitage  7/1
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  • Riki Flutey 7/1
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  • 25/1 Bar
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How many tries will England score in the Six Nations tournament? (7 tries in two matches so far)

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  • Under 12 15/8
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  • Exactly 12 5/2
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  • Over 12 11/10
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The return of Tiger Woods was inconclusive in the Arizona Desert this week with the Great Man exiting at the 2nd hurdle in the WGC Accenture Matchplay. He remains a 2/1 shot for the US Masters with Stan James but that makes little appeal at this stage and I can see his price drifting ahead of Augusta.

Roxanne Pallett has had a desperate time fending off the attentions of the ghastly Andy Sugden in Emmerdale of late and may well have enjoyed her sabbatical in Dancing On Ice, but she may have to go back to Butler’s Farm and face the music after Sunday evening as she is the 13/8 favourite to be evicted from the show.

Ray Quinn missed out on a maximum score last week by the narrowest of margins and Stan James are betting Even money that the highest judges score on Dancing On Ice tomorrow night is under 29.25 (maximum 30) and 8/11 that the highest score is over 29.25.

The racing world is gearing itself up for the Cheltenham Festival in ten days time and from Monday at 8.30am we will be going Non Runner No Bet on all Festival races; you can get all my Festival thoughts and those of ATR’s Irish correspondent David Duggan, leading jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Philip Hobbs and owner John Hale on our Festival microsite at stanjames.com from early next week.

Fassaroe has disappointed over timber so far but the better ground at Doncaster should suit in the 2.25 but it is a low-key racing weekend although Polyfast (Newbury 4.20) ought to be less keen than he was on his recent Sandown comeback with that experience behind him. He and is considered to be better than he has shown on the track so far.

Be lucky

Charlie