The biggest and most prestigious meeting of the National Hunt season begins on Tuesday. The big race that day is the Champion Hurdle and Buveur D’Air is going for a hat-trick of victories, although Apple’s Jade is now the 2/1 favourite with Betfair and Unibet. Altior is the big favourite to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase for a second time on Wednesday, while the field for the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday looks wide open. The biggest race of the festival, of the entire season, is the 3 mile 2 ½ furlong Gold Cup, which takes place on Friday. There is a three-way tussle between defending champion Native River, King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux and Presenting Percy to be named the favourite, and the odds on all three keep changing as the race looms ever closer. In total there are 28 races spread across four thrilling days, and 14 of them are Grade 1 contests.
Juventus will bid to pull off a miraculous comeback against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night. Cristiano Ronaldo and co are 3/4 with Boyle Sports to win on the night, but it will be difficult for them to overturn the two-goal aggregate deficit after they were outplayed in the first leg. Man City prevailed in a five-goal thriller against Schalke in the first leg after Nicolas Otamendi was sent off. They are likely to turn Schalke over in the return leg as the German side have since lost three domestic games and conceded 11 goals in the process. Barcelona should also make short work of Lyon, but the big game is Bayern Munich v Liverpool on Wednesday. The first leg finished 0-0, and if the Reds can grab an away goal they should fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals at Bayern’s expense. They are 10/11 with William Hill and a few others to qualify and that looks tempting.
The big upset last week saw Arsenal slump to a 3-1 defeat away at Rennes. The Gunners were 1-0 up and coasting, but then Sokratis was sent off in controversial circumstances and Unai Emery’s men folded like a house of cards. Yet they should feel confident in their ability to turn things around in the second leg, after pulling off a similar feat against BATE Borisov in the previous round. Arsenal looked the vastly superior team when it was 11 v 11 in the first leg, and if they get an early goal on Thursday night they should go on to win the tie. Arsenal are 11/10 to qualify with Ladbrokes and Coral and that looks tempting. Elsewhere, Inter are well priced to beat Eintracht Frankfurt at home.
It is the final weekend of the Six Nations and Wales can wrap up a famous Grand Slam triumph if they beat Ireland in Cardiff. England are just one point behind after winning three of their four games thus far and they could capitalise on any slip-ups when they take on Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday. The Scots have been poor so far and England -15 looks attractive at 10/11 with William Hill and Betway. France should also beat a struggling Italy team comfortably in Rome.
Man Utd look very well priced at 6/5 with William Hill to win away at Wolves in the cup on Saturday. The 5/4 on Brighton beating Millwall at The Den also looks great. Man City should sweep Swansea aside, while Watford v Crystal Palace could go either way and both teams to score looks tempting at 13/15 with Sportingbet.