6:45 Newcastle Racing Tips (24th March) Sprint Handicap (Class 4) (4yo+)

Even with only 8 runners this race is looking quite hard to solve, mainly as there's no known front runners plus I've got 3 that could be hidden dangers and then very closely rated are my top 3, Newsteads Abbey is my 4th top rated but this might be the wrong course and distance and the jockey is 0-28 for the stable, Aprovado and Burtonwood are my joint 2nd top rated and both are being ridden by 7lb claimers which would move them to joint top rated above Money Team my original top rated, I think that the bottom weight Burtonwood may be outclassed in this class 4 race, so I will go with backing both APROVADO 9/2 and MONEY TEAM 15/2 to small stakes to show a profit whichever one wins the race.

ATP & WTA Miami Ante-Post Starts 3pm Wednesday live on Sky Sports and BT Sports

Angelique Kerber
The second leg of the March/Spring double that carries Masters 1000 points for the Men and is the second Premier Mandatory event of the year in the Woman's event.

The big shock coming out of Miami this week is the news both the top two in the World, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic (3x Defending Champion) have withdrawn due to elbow injuries.

This leaves very much a wide open tournament and a one that should be very competitive.
The Big 4, Djokovic (25), Nadal (13), Murray (10), Federer (9), have won a combined 57 of the last 62 Masters 1000 events but with Murray and Djokovic out of the equation I am happy to take on the ageing Federer who is favourite at 7/2 despite a 13-1 winning record in 2017 has only won back to back Spring Doubles at Indian Wells and Miami once which was way back in 2006. This is a tough feat and something only Novak Djokovic has been able to do in recent years at his peak of his powers, so I am happy to be against the skinny 7/2 for the 4th seed jolly in conditions that will be far tougher for him and slower than what he prefers.

Rafa Nadal is the second favourite at 6/1 and he should at least reach the last eight this week but is another that was unable to win this title at his peak so is happily swerved at the prices.

Kei Nishikori is the 2nd seed and he loves playing here in Miami. The Japanese star reached the final last year and fitness, durability, defensive skills, speed, footwork will all come into play here along with handling the humidity. Nishikori has lived in Florida for many years now and also is far better suited to Miami over Indian Wells and signs were bright on the back of his Indian Wells run to the Quarter Finals that he is in good form coming into this event.

Nishikori is a big price at 17/2 with Coral or 7/1 Bet365, William Hill and Betway acceptable, considering the big two are out of the equation and I prefer the all-around skills of last year's runner-up to come out on top over a potential career-changing triumph for the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Alexandr Zverev who could come out the pack but for now are a good 12-18 months shy of a Masters 1000 breakthrough in my opinion.

Milos Raonic is at 9/1 and his recent return from injury appears open to how fit he will be as is the norm. The best effort here of quarter finals in 2014 and 2016 won't inspire many to get on board the 3rd seed and the top half could be between top seed Stan Wawrinka at 10/1 although his runner-up appearance in Indian Wells is sure to have taken its toll and I am not a fan of Stan at this time of the season in any case, and the European clay could be his next success as durability is rarely a tick in the box for Wawrinka, which is a key ingredient to success here in Miami. 

The top half really is wide open and for me, any one of Federer, Stan, Krygios or Thiem could come through that but it is Nishikori who I favour over all potential finalists from the opposing half this week.

WTA Miami

Top seed and World number one, Angelique Kerber, could come alive over this 12 days of play.  The 7/1 second favourite behind in-form Karolina Pliskova at 5/1 will be able to show off her excellent defensive skills and durability this week.

Kerber is usually a springtime of the year player and with the field minus Serena Williams in what is like the men's, a wide open looking draw, Kerber will surely eye this as a great opportunity in favourable conditions unlike what she encountered at Indian Wells where she regularly losses early and comes here crucially fresh.

Pliskova lost in the semi-finals last week 7-6 7-6 to Svetlana Kuznetsova to scupper our 9/2 selection. The Czech 2nd seed is in the form of her life but is short enough at 5/1 and feel her best chance of a title in March came last week and to be honest she wouldn't tempt me unless I saw 10 or 12/1 for her.

Kerber is housed in the same half of the draw as high seeds Simona Halep (3) and Madison Keys (8) both on only their second tournament back from long term injury.

I don't feel Halep will be strong enough for a run in the near future and we won't see the best of Madison Keys until the green grass is Beneath her where she will a very lively threat at Eastbourne and Wimbledon, in particular, this year if fully fit.

Cibulkova, Radwaska, and Muguruza, are a trio of out of form 4th, 5th, and 6th seeds, and for me - two players offering top 5 form at present are 9th seed Elena Svitolina 16/1 and 12th seed Caroline Wozniacki 14/1 who both will favour these courts and have the talents to show off their footwork and defensive skills required where both are also bang in-form.

They are both housed in a bottom heavy draw so my preference as highlighted is to side with Angelique Kerber who can claim her first title of the season at 7/1 general from the far easier top half of the draw.

Recommendations 

ATP Miami to win Outright - Kei Nishikori @ 15/2 Coral or 7/1 Bet365, William Hill & Betway.

WTA Miami To Win Outright  - Angelique Kerber @ 7/1 General.

4:00 Kempton Racing Tips (20th March) Maiden Stakes (Class 5) (3yo+)

2yo racing tips - sky equine
A Maiden Stakes over 6f on Standard going.  

Twelve runners aged from six-year-olds to three. Very few horse are priced to have any particular chance. In fact, just four horses are prices 10-1 and less at the time of writing. 

For many punters, this race is all about one horse. Tom Marquand is booked to ride Richard Hannon's twice raced Ashwaq. This chestnut filly is a daughter of Sepoy in the ownership of Al Shaqab Racing. She was bought in a private sale at Arqana Deaville August Yearling Sales 2015 for 200,000E. We saw a promising run on debut at Newmarket when racing over 7f priced 8-1. Returning in November, this February foal finished second when losing by half a length at odds of 10/11f. She is likely to be odds-on today. 

A big shout. 



    

ATP & WTA Indian Wells Outright's

Patient Speculation
The first leg of the duel ATP & WTA Spring Double starting off today in the Californian Desert of Indian Wells, with Miami the next stop later in March, before we head to the European Clay.

A profitable return last week to AntePost Tennis after a short break as Pablo Cuevas the claycourt supremo successfully defended the São Paulo title at 7/1, so onto this week. 

The Men's draw looks extremely bottom heavy with a potential fourth round clash between Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer on the cards which would be a repeat of the surprise Australian Open final in January.

3x Defending Champion Novak Djokovic could be the winner's quarter-final opponent but don't rule out dangerous floaters in that section like the in-form Grigor Dimitrov or extrovert Aussie talent Nick Krygios, who of course has a recent win just last week in Acapulco over Novak Djokovic.

Andy Murray heads the betting at 12/5 with SkyBet or is 9/4 general and despite the World number one stating, he has never found a way to get comfortable here in Indian Wells throughout his career, the draw certainly gives him a chance to find his feet and top level over the next 11 days.

Patient Speculation
Stan Wawrinka or Jo-Wilfred Tsonga appear his main dangers in making the final and both could pop up at any time, Stan usually is off-form at this stage of the year and is happily bypassed in these attacking, high bouncing, quick conditions, where the balls tend to fizz through the air on the slick side, and see Frenchman, Tsonga, 40/1 winner back to back weeks on tour recently as the chief threat to Murray's title charge in that half.

Nadal 10/1 a former champion here would be my tentative pick from the bottom half with his intentions of a big run this month clear, having swerved the golden swing on the clay in South America for hard court preparation in Acapulco in which he went all the way.

Federer will be all out this week as he favours the courts here over Miami and Djokovic's three titles in a row must be respected but that form and confidence seem a long way off right now.

Preference is for a new Champion, and i am siding with Andy Murray who won his maiden Dubai title just two weeks back and is coming here fully tuned knowing big points are on offer at this opening Masters 1000 event of the year, with little points to defend from last year Murray is fully aware this month is a big opportunity to pull further away from the main rival at the top of the rankings in Novak Djokovic and Murray's price of anything over 2/1 certainly catches my eye.

WTA Indian Wells

The Women got underway a day early but we haven't missed too much with the top seeds receiving a bye into round two and we have the conclusion to round one later tonight.
The big news this week came from the Serena Williams camp as she has confirmed an ankle injury has ruled her out of both Indian Wells and Miami.

I am very pleased to hear this news from a betting perspective as it is often such a hard ante-post market to weigh up with Serena in the field due to playing very little tennis, so we are most certainly looking at a better punting scenario now.

Angelique Kerber is the top seed and 2nd favourite at 13/2, however 4x opening round exits on the trot, coupled with the uneasy form she has shown early this campaign, these quick conditions that favour attacking, front foot players, Kerber doesn't appeal or tick enough boxes for me this week.

Patient Speculation
One player that does is tournament favourite Karolina Pliskova at 9/2 with Betfair or 4/1 general, who is the 3rd seed and highest ranked player in the top half of the draw.
Everything seems to be falling into place for the classy former US Open finalist and she has all the weapons on serve and on the ground to be a difficult to stop over the coming 11 days at what is the opening Premier Mandatory event of the season for the Woman.

Elina Svitolina 9/1 is in superb form winning the Dubai title two weeks ago and is now firmly a title threat where ever she plays at present.

Conditions will favour the Ukranian but I feel her serve may come under pressure more than it would elsewhere and is opposed this week.

A couple of top players are returning from injury in the way of Simona Halep 18/1 (knee) and Madison Keys 33/1 (wrist) would be shorter generally ante-post but again it is an easy decision to bypass this duo so soon on their return to action.

Joanna Konta is big at 14/1 but usually, finds a few too good at this major/premier mandatory level and would see Caroline Woznacki as a big price at 20/1 away from my selection of Karolina Pliskova.

Woznacki is in great heart and a former champion here as well as on numerous consecutive occasions reaching the last 4, but see the Golden Girl of Woman's tennis right now Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic adding the Indian Wells crown to the Brisbane and Doha titles already won in 2017 on outdoor hard courts.

Recommendations 

Men's

Andy Murray to win Outright @ 12/5 SkyBet or 9/4 General.

Women's 

Karolina Pliskova to win Outright @ 9/2 Betfair or 4/1 General.

Follow the Round by Round selections daily for Indian Wells on Twitter @ReddenCarl

Good luck everyone! 

How Much Do You Love Your Horse?

So often horse racing is about winning and losing. However, in reality, it isn't the only story for followers of their favourite race horse. In fact, for some fans, it is all about love and giving. Well, that is what horse trainer Ben Haslam found when opening his mail to find a letter and present to Mr Mole. 

Mr Mole, a nine-year-old brown gelding, received his surprise gift of four packets of Polo mints after falling at Sedgefield. 

Such is the love of Mr Mole, that his fan asked if they could have one of his shoes as a keepsake and sent five pounds to cover the cost of postage.

Here is the letter, below.        


Sometimes the human spirit shines so brightly. 



WTA Kuala Lumpur

WTA Kuala Lumpur
Elina Svitolina defends her title and is the 2/1 firm favourite this week at the Malaysian Open.

She will have to do things the hard way as all seeds will feature in the first round with no byes, and is coming off a hot run in Dubai, where she stormed to the title on Saturday.
It will be so hard for the classy, improving Ukranian to repeat her top level for a second consecutive week again in difficult climate conditions following on from a semi-final win over World number 2, Angelique Kerber who she has now beaten three times in a row I may add. Then defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the final, two players you would not want to face who make you play for every point hard.

A chance is taken on a player housed in Svitolina's half of the draw and who has been on my radar since the turn of the year.

Elise Mertens is the 7th seed and up to 80 in the World rankings from over 100 at the start of this campaign and I expect the improving 21-year-old being top 50 very soon and top 20 in the not too distant future. She does have improvement to make but is very much on the upgrade and at 16/1 with Bet365 for Each-way terms of half the odds to make the final looks the best bet in Malaysia should Svitolina be running on empty or withdraw at some stage.
Mertens is a very clean striker of the ball and the Hobart Champion prior to the Australian Open is worth keeping on the side this year.

The Bottom half features second & third seeds in Carla Suarez Navarro and French powerhouse Caroline Garcia. It is Garcia who is the second favourite at 5/1 with Spaniard Suarez Navarro at 7's. The latter is very much an early season performer despite having a slow start this year. It is this lack of form this year that moves me further in the direction the young Belgian Mertens where 16/1 looks over priced and is preferred over single figured odds of inconsistent performers right now.

A trio of Chinese players fill the middle seedlings with the back to fitness and in-form Peng Shuai leading the way at 9/1 and she is the better of Ying Ying Duan and Quang Wang at 20/1 who's best results comes in their home continent but usually against a lesser quality of field as this week.

Recommendation: 

WTA Kuala Lumpur - Elise Mertens to win Outright Each-Way @ 16/1 Bet365 or 14/1 General. (Each Way terms half odds if makes final 1-2 finish).