October 1: Weekend fancies
Premier League and Serie A football, horse racing and Magners League rugby are the subjects of our first weekend fancies of the month.
By Conor Heneghan and Frank McCann
Manchester United travel to Sunderland this weekend attempting to pick up their first away win of the season.
Another below par outing on Sunday against Bolton saw United draw on their travels for the third time this season. Things wonâ€™t be any easier for Fergieâ€™s men on Saturday, as they face a Sunderland side that are yet to be beaten at home this campaign.
With Rooney out, United will rely on Dimitar Berbatov to provide the ammunition up front. The absence of Paul Scholes could play a factor in this game, as his ball distribution will be missed. Darren Bent has carried on with his good form from last season, and should be confident of worrying Unitedâ€™s defence like he did at Old Trafford last October.
With the Red Devils just back from a tough game in Spain mid-week, expect Sunderland to have a real go on Saturday.
Put a few quid on a 1-1 draw at 11/2.
The big race of the weekend is the Prix de lâ€™Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps racecourse this coming Sunday.
Khalid Abdullahâ€™s three-year old, WORKFORCE, romped home in the Investec Derby back in June and although he has only ran once since, a disappointing fifth behind Harbinger in Ascot back in July, he was given a decent workout in Newmarket on Thursday and is reportedly raring to go for this weekend.
Behkabad, Fame and Glory, Planteur and Cape Blanco will all go close, but we reckon the Sir Michael Stoute trained colt can complete a memorable double in Paris.
Workforce can be backed at 11/2.
Didier Drogba will be looking to continue his amazing goal-scoring record against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
The Ivorian international has found the net 12 times in his last 10 appearances against the Gunners, and scored in both league fixtures last season.
Drogba said this week that Arsenal are one of his favourite teams. Funny how he likes destroying them on a regular basis!
Get on Drogba to score first this Sunday at 7/2. It will happen!
A â‚¬3 patent (total outlay â‚¬21) on the above three bets will return just over â‚¬925.
Break the Bookie
The big game in Serie A this weekend sees a rampant Inter Milan side take on Juventus at the San Siro on Sunday evening. The current Champions League holders have been in outstanding form and currently lie joint top of the Serie A table with Lazio.
The Nerazzurri dismantled Werder Bremen with ease in midweek and Samuel Etoâ€™o was to the fore with a superb hat-trick. Against a very suspect Juventus defence, Etoâ€™o is a good bet to be amongst the goals again this weekend.
We think heâ€™ll do so more than once and he can be backed to score two or more goals at 15/2.
The 3.40 Cambridgeshire Handicap is the biggest race of the day at Newmarket on Saturday with a field of 35 runners. Traditionally, this has been a hard race to call; Spanish Don, for example won it at odds of 100/1 back in 2004.
Mark Johnstonâ€™s three-year old colt Capponi has won three times since July, including at Doncaster just over a fortnight ago. With Johnny Murtagh at the reins, we reckon he could well cause an upset.
Take a chance on Capponi at 20/1.
Leinster and Munster will trash it out in front of a full house at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night, with both sides having contrasting fortunes in the Magners League so far this season. Munster sit joint top of the table with four wins from four, while Leinster are stuck way down in ninth after a pretty dismal start.
To some extent form goes out the window in these encounters, but it will be hard for the Blues to suddenly get out of the rut they have found themselves in. They have won the last four encounters between the sides and havenâ€™t conceded a single try in the process.
We have a feeling that both of those stats will change this weekend and think that after two tries against Glasgow last weekend, Johne Murphy is in with a good shout of being the first man to touch down on Saturday evening.
Have a punt on Johne Murphy to get score the first try of the game at 11/1.
A tenner on those three will reward you with â‚¬21,420, enough to buy boxes and boxes of waterproofs from the merchandise shop at Celtic Manor, just like the Ryder Cup players from the good oleâ€™ US of A.