usa womens team
Football

Women’s World Cup 2019 – Can the USA win?

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off on 7th June in Japan and with the popularity of women’s sport soaring, the tournament promises to be one of the best yet.

Favourites

USA (7/2)

The number one ranked side in the world and current holders, USA will be the team to beat. They also have history on their side having won 3 of the 7 Women’s World Cup tournaments to date. Recent draws against England and Japan in the SheBelieves Cup and a friendly loss to France show that this American side are beatable though.

France (7/2)

The hosts are ranked 4th in the world and with home advantage, they will be confident of going far in the tournament. Back in January, France defeated co-favourites USA 3-1 which may give them the edge should they face the USA in the latter stages.

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Best Outside Bet

Japan (12/1)

Considering Japan qualified for the final of the last World Cup and have drawn with number one side USA recently and beat Brazil with World Player of the Year Marta, 12/1 is a massive price for the Asian side. Bookies may have factored in their disappointing 3-0 loss to England in the SheBelieves Cup but that could well prove to be a one-off.

England’s Chances?

Phil Neville’s side overcame the odds to win the SheBelieves Cup building on their 3rd place finish at the last World Cup. Odds of 13/2 suggest they have a good chance of going one further this year. To win the whole tournament may be a step too far but with the growing popularity and attendances across the country, another good showing should boost England’s chances in the long run.

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Female Horse Racing Jockeys
Horse Racing

Female Horse Racing Jockeys

Horse Racing has been a sport dominated by men since the day it began. This has certainly changed over the last decade with many extremely talented female jockeys getting the chance to shine. Here are just a few female horse racing jockeys that have been making waves over the last few years.

Bryony Frost (National Hunt)

Bryony Frost certainly has all to credentials to become a top jockey, with her father Jimmy winning the 1989 Grand National on Little Polvier.

As an amateur jockey, she won the Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham on board the great Pacha Du Polder. Then as a pro, she became only the second female jockey to win a Grade One when winning the Kauto Star Novices Chase in 2017, on boxing day.

Since then, Bryony has gone from strength to strength, most recently at Cheltenham becoming the first female jockey to win a Grade One at the Cheltenham Festival with Frodon. At just the age of 24, I expect Bryony to be breaking more records in the near future, paving the way for more female horse racing jockeys.

Rachael Blackmore (National Hunt)

Blackmore is a jockey on the rise at the moment, she has had such a wonderful season nearly becoming the first female to win the Irish jockeys’ championship currently in 2nd to Paul Townend. In the 2016/17 season, Rachael did become the first female jockey to win the Irish Conditional Jockeys title.

She is currently ahead of true greats like Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell in the race for the title, which on its own is a huge accolade. One thing is for sure the 29-year-old has a huge future ahead of her.

rachael blackmore

Hayley Turner (Flat)

Hayley Turner has been a stalwart in the British flat racing game for the last decade. Not only has she been the best female jockey, but she has also simply been one of the best jockeys of the last decade. She became the first female jockey to have 100 winners in a calendar year in 2008. Her most significant wins came in 2011 when winning the Nunthorpe Stakes & July Cup. Hayley temporarily retired from the saddle in 2015. She made many TV appearances over the year with At The Races and became a regular on ITV Racing. In 2018, she came out of retirement.

Josephine Gordon (Flat)

Josephine hit the headlines when winning the British flat racing Champion Apprentice title in 2016, she really was fantastic that year. In 2017, she won her first big race the Victoria Cup at Ascot for William Haggas. Gordon rode her first Group race winner in July 2017, winning the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle. In September that year, Josephine had another group winner on board Apphia in the Princess Royal Stakes. Following in Hayley Turner’s footsteps she became only the second female jockey to have over 100 winners in a calendar year.

josephine gordon

Grand National Free Bets
Horse Racing

Grand National 2019

What is the Grand National?

The Grand National is a horse race held every year at Aintree. The Grand National was first raced in 1839, run over a distance of 4 miles 514 yards with horses jumping 30 fences. This event resembles British Culture at it’s finest, the Grand National is the race where the whole country will follow the race and have a small wager. Grand National Free Bets.

Grand National Free Bets

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Which horses are running in the Grand National – Top 40?

[table id=44 /]

Current Favourite

TIGER ROLL – Last year’s winner Tiger Roll is the favourite for the Grand National. Currently priced around 5/1 he looks to be going off the shortest priced favourite in the last decade. Since winning the Cross Country at Cheltenham by 22 lengths, Tiger Roll was only put 8lb by the handicapper. There is no such thing as a sure thing in the greatest race in the world, however, Tiger Roll must be close to that. Can Tiger Roll break the chain and emulate the great Red Rum?

Horses that failed to win back to back Grand National’s

BINDAREE 20/1 – 2002 Winner, 2003 Sixth

Nigel Twiston-Davies has had some fantastic chasers in his time, undoubtedly winner of the 2002 Grand National Bindaree is up there. Sadly,  he couldn’t win the next year but did make it round safely in a more than respectable 25-1 sixth, trailing winner Monty’s Pass by 40 lengths.

HEDGEHUNTER 7/1F 2005 Winner, 2006 Second

2005 Winner Hedgehunter nearly prevailed the next year after being gambled into Favouritism. Sadly, for owner Trevor Hemmings, Numbersixvalverde trained by Martin Brassil was much too strong.

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COMPLY OR DIE 7/1JF 2008 Winner, 2009 Second

Rated 139 going into the Grand National, Comply Or Die powered clear under Timmy Murphy. The next year into 2009 Comply or Die would finish second too 100/1 shot Mon Mome.

BALLABRIGGS 14/1 2011 Winner, 2012 Sixth

Ballabriggs another Grand National winner owned by Trevor Hemmings. However, his attempt at to emulate Red Rum ended when he was sixth behind Neptune Collonges.

MANY CLOUDS 25/1 2015 Winner, 2016 Sixteenth

Shock winner when winning at 25-1 in the world’s most famous chase. It wasn’t to be in 2016 when Many Clouds was all but pulled up in sixteenth.

Which horse to back in the Grand National 2019

The first ever winner of the Grand National was called Lottery and that is exactly what this race is. Whether you like the name, or it’s your favourite number any horse really can win this race. My advice would be to watch, enjoy, gamble responsibly and hope that every horse and jockey comes back safe and sound in the World’s most famous race.

 

 

royal rumble
WWE

WWE Royal Rumble Q&A + Predictions

The WWE Royal Rumble is just a day away. It’s time for a Q&A as well as Royal Rumble predictions!

Can Finn Balor slay the Beast?

Rob – No chance. Balor is only in this match because Strowman is injured let’s face it. There is no way Brock will lose to Finn. However, I am glad to see Balor finally get a shot at the Universal title that he never lost.

Jack – Would be the biggest shock of the decade. Balor is a worthy opponent for Brock and sure he will have a very good match but this very much feels like a filler feud before the obvious match against Strowman at Mania.

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Will there be any surprise entrants/returns?

Rob – I can see Kevin Owens returning, and doing well in the Rumble match. If he doesn’t then Sami Zayn surely will. As for legends returning, I don’t see it happening in the men’s but in the women’s they will surely have to bring back the likes of Trish or Lita to make up the numbers.

Jack – This is always the expectation with a rumble and part of what makes it so exciting. Like Rob says one of Owens or Zayn will almost certainly return, and I can see EC3 making his debut among others.  There will be one nostalgic entrant and my bold left-field prediction is Lethal Weapon, Steve Blackman. Rob is also right when he says the woman will need to make up the numbers.

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Any outside tips for the Rumble matches?

Rob – The favorites certainly appear to be Rollins and Charlotte. As I said before, I can see KO returning and doing well so he would be an outside tip. I can’t see past Charlotte unless something happens with Becky Lynch. The only other females I could see winning is Alexa Bliss or Shayna Baszler if she was to be called up.

Jack – This one is more in the realms of ‘in your dreams’ but it would be cool for Finn to lose against Lesnar, but then win the Rumble as the Demon Finn. After a couple of years of having a Smackdown winner I’ll be very surprised if the blue brand takes the honor again but it’s not unlikely, with John Cena winning to set up a match with Bryan being my outside tip. For the woman,  I can see either a debuting wrestler winning.

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Apart from the Rumbles, what match are you most and least looking forward to?

Rob – I think The Bar vs Miz/Shane will be highly entertaining and should actually be a good match. Styles vs Bryan the other obvious choice but I will go for the tag match. As for least looking forward to, I’m not really bothered about the Cruiserweights.

Jack – The Cruiserweights consistently put on some really fun matches and the fatal four-way should be no different so I’m looking forward to that. Becky Lynch is also given the performances of her life and will surely impress once again here. For the least, although I believe the match features 3 of the most talented performers in the WWE I’m not a fan of Shane McMahon taking away a spot from others who are arguably more deserving and can see him also winning the match.

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Match predictions

Men’s Royal Rumble

Rob – Seth Rollins

Jack – John Cena

Women’s Royal Rumble

Rob – Charlotte Flair

Jack -Shayna Baszler

Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar vs Finn Balor

Rob – Brock Lesnar

Jack – Brock Lesnar

WWE Championship – Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles

Rob – Daniel Bryan

Jack – Daniel Bryan

Raw Women’s Championship – Ronda Rousey vs Sasha Banks

Rob – Ronda Rousey

Jack – Ronda Rousey

Smackdown Women’s Championship – Asuka vs Becky Lynch

Rob – Becky Lynch

Jack – Asuka

Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The Bar vs The Miz/Shane McMahon

Rob – The Miz/Shane McMahon

Jack – The Miz/Shane McMahon

United States Championship – Rusev vs Shinsuke Nakamura

Rob – Rusev

Jack – Shinsuke Nakamura

Cruiserweight Championship – Buddy Murphy vs Akira Tozawa vs Hideo Itami vs Kalisto

Rob – Buddy Murphy

Jack – Hideo Itami

If your in the mood to watch a Royal Rumble match already. Take a look at the 2018 Royal Rumble!

royal rumble
WWE

Top 10 Worst Royal Rumble Matches

The Royal Rumble is usually one of the most exciting and unpredictable evenings of the year, but not always. Let’s take a look at the worst Rumbles in history.

10 – 2011 (Winner: Alberto Del Rio)

2011 saw the only Rumble to feature 40 men and, whilst it is always nice to try new things, it didn’t really work. Santino Marella ended up as runner up which, for the biggest Royal Rumble ever, is a bit of a letdown. Del Rio ended up losing at Mania in the opening match too.

9 – 1993 (Winner: Yokozuna)

There are 2 main reasons I’m not a fan of this one. Firstly, having never been a fan of Yokozuna, the way he won the match was a joke. Randy Savage went for a pin (why? He has been in Rumbles before) and Yokozuna eliminated him by kicking out of the pin. Secondly, Undertaker was eliminated by Giant Gonzalez which just gives horrible flashbacks of their Wrestlemania match.

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8 – 2013 (Winner: John Cena)

2013 wasn’t necessarily a bad Rumble. We had a great surprise return from Chris Jericho, which received a huge reaction from the crowd. However, the problem was that this match was so predictable. The fact that Cena won also made the title match between The Rock and CM Punk predictable because everyone knew Cena and Rock were heading towards a Mania rematch, which everyone knew Cena would win too.

7 – 2012 (Winner: Sheamus)

Again, this is another match which may be harshly placed but there is a reason. Chris Jericho had recently returned and was claiming that the Royal Rumble would be the end of the world as we know it. And nothing really happened. He just got beat by Sheamus. Massive disappointment.

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6 – 1988 (Winner: Hacksaw Jim Duggan)

The first Royal Rumble deserves credit for being the original and creating a spectacle we still enjoy today. Having said that, this 20 man Rumble was a bit rubbish. No offence to Jim Duggan, but he is not really in the same league as future winners like Stone Cold and The Rock, nor was he in the same league as the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, who were in WWF at the time.

5 – 1991 (Winner: Hulk Hogan)

Back in the days when Hulk Hogan had to win everything, even if people wanted to see something different. Bret Hart was eliminated early, Randy Savage no-showed and Earthquake finished as runner up. Says it all really.

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4 – 1995 (Winner: Shawn Michaels)

1995 is a Rumble that will always live forever because of the legendary ending with Michaels surviving with 1 foot on the floor. However, when you look at the whole match, you can see why business was in the toilet in 1995. The star power of this Rumble is non-existent and, apart from the ending, the match was awful.

3 – 1999 (Winner: Vince McMahon)

A Rumble where more happened outside the ring than in it. Austin and McMahon were the first 2 in and the final 2, with the Chairman winning after The Rock distracted Austin. However, this was only because they went backstage for most of the match, with Austin being attacked in the ladies toilets. Undertaker abducted Viscera instead of actually being in the match. Kane was the only superstar who could realistically challenge Austin and Vince but he eliminated himself after the Corporation sent down white coats. A mess of a Rumble.

2 – 2014 (Winner: Batista)

In January 2014, the WWE Universe was swept up in the YES! movement. Everyone wanted Daniel Bryan to win and thought he was the final entrant. But no, Rey Mysterio entered to widespread boos. Batista won on his return, which not many people cared about, last eliminating Roman Reigns (who had eliminated 12 men, a new record). ironically, this was one of the last times a WWE crowd were fully behind Roman Reigns at the end.

1 – 2015 (Winner: Roman Reigns)

The good news a year later was that Daniel Bryan was in the Rumble and everyone was excited to see him finally get his victory…. oh no wait he was chucked out halfway through by Bray Wyatt. Not to worry, there was lots of young talent in this match. Oh no wait, Big Show and Kane went around getting rid of all of them. Roman Reigns won but no one wanted him to this time. Even The Rock couldn’t save Roman from getting booed out of the building. Truly horrible Rumble.