Stan Hey: 6-5 Against
Saturday 06 December 2008
The French journalist Alphonse Karr is remembered for one of his sayings – "the more things change, the more they stay the same". Clearly, he did not work on the back pages, because change is the daily bread of sport. This past week has seen upheavals in Sunderland, New York and downtown Ditcheat – what effect will they have?
Roy Keane walked from Sunderland, a change that, if the rumours are to be believed, the players welcomed. Sunderland face Keane's old team today, who are unlikely to be merciful. But could the change pull them together? As an experiment, I'm backing Sunderland to draw; a fiver at Bet 365's 13-2.
Over in New York, the Super Bowl champions brought new relevance to the phrase "shot themselves in the foot" when wide-receiver Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh in a nightclub. The event has shocked the Giants who may be vulnerable to Philadelphia on Sunday. The Eagles got within five points of the Giants last month; so a fiver, at 13-5 with Betfred.
Finally, trainer Paul Nicholls subbed his No 2 jockey Sam Thomas after high-profile mistakes, replacing him with AP McCoy on Master Minded for today's Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. But Nicholls is not in his usual form (seven winners from 46 runners, in 14 days), so it may be horses not jockeys at fault. I'm taking Tidal Bay, £10 win, 3-1 William Hill.
*A real "kick-the-cat" weekend: Island Flyer jumps well in the Hennessy and leads but is swamped in the straight while last year's tip, Madison Du Berlais (below) wins, un-****ing-backed. A goalie's error and a goal-line clearance give United the win, not City; while an offside goal sees Arsenal win not draw. The Irish golf team shoot five-over in the final round. "Here, puss . . ."
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