Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Changes are afoot in snooker with Sir Rodney Walker being deposed from the WPSBA this week in favour of the original ring-master Barry Hearn.

Hearn is set to make the game more attractive to the younger generation. Plans may well be revealed during the UK Championships which start in Telford today. We can expect borrowing from cricket's Twenty20 format: loud music as players emerge ("Great Balls of Fire"), bikini-clad "frame-card" girls.

The tournament is worth a small bet, on reigning champion Shaun Murphy at 15-2 (Stan James) to a £10 stake.

The "Blue Moon" light-show was certainly effective at the City of Manchester Stadium last Wednesday with the hosts shrugging off Arsenal's kids. City face tougher opposition this evening, Premier League leaders Chelsea, who were in trophy presentation mood after thrashing Arsenal's men. But Wigan and Blackburn gave the Blues the classic Northern reminder, "think on", and City could return to stereotype with a draw today – £10 at 5-2 Ladbrokes.

Santa is at Sandown today but racing needs no jingling bells, being in a "Golden Age". The Tingle Creek Chase has a small, classy field despite Master Minded's absence – Big Zeb was the width of a matzo behind the two-mile champion at Punchestown and can win here, £20 at 13-8, Bet365. The junior 2m chase, the King Henry VIII, can go to Crack Away Jack .

*Big thanks to Nikolay Davydenko, Big Buck's and Denman for providing £200 worth of walking-about money in time for Christmas. No thanks to the Houston Texans and New England Patriots, both soundly tonked.

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