STAR SPORTS £20.23 BETS CHALLENGE – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Welcome to 2023! At the beginning of last year the great and good of Star Sports – and some friends of ours – set out on a challenge writes WILLIAM KEDJANYI.

Try and win the Trussell Trust as much money as possible with a £20.22 budget for selections that took place in the upcoming 12 months.

After successes for yours truly, Johnny Ward, Paul Krishnamurty, Matthew Shaddick, Steve Mullington and Neil Watson, we’re back again for 2023.

So without further ado, here’s the £20.23 Star Sports Challenge!

Paul Kealy (@PaulKealy), Racing Post & Weekender Tipster

Cheltenham is the only show in town as far as my ante-post betting is concerned right now, so we’ll go with a 60p each-way Lucky 15 and a £1.11ew acca.

Marie’s Rock
We’ll start in race order and Marie’s Rock to complete the double in the Mares’ Hurdle.
She was an 18-1 shot when causing an upset last year, but I think she’ll win it again even if Honeysuckle’s connections do decide to swerve Constitution Hill and come here instead.
Marie’s Rock has continued to blossom and her performance in slamming a decent Relkeel field when carrying the full penalty marks her out as top class for a mare and she’s the one to beat.

Blue Lord
Energumene is going to be tough to beat in the Champion Chase, but he won what turned into an awful race last season and it will be much tougher this time around, particularly if the ground isn’t bottomless.

Blue Lord was no match for Edwardstone in last season’s Arkle, but you had to be impressed with the way he sprinted away from his rivals in his Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time.

Yes, Chacun Pour Soi was not at his best, but Blue Lord still trounced the 160-rated Captain Guinness by 11 lengths. All bar two of his runs have been at around 2m, and I don’t see any reason why he won’t take on his stablemate at Cheltenham. He’ll be incredibly hard to kick out of the frame in what will surely be a small field anyway.

James Du Berlais
I actually backed this one for the 2022 Turners straight after the Punchestown festival in 2021, so it’s fair to say I’ve been waiting a while to see him jump a fence.

He did so far too late for me to have struck a winning bet, but I’ve gone in again for the same race after watching him dot up on his debut over fences at Fairyhouse.

Top-class over hurdles in France, he jumped like a natural and looks sure to take top rank in the novice division this season, with the Turners by far the most obvious of his potential targets.

Flooring Porter
Flooring Porter has lost his position as favourite for a Stayers’ Hurdle treble after his second defeat this season, but I still make him the one to beat. It’s worth remembering that he went into last season’s race without a win and he’s just a different proposition when it comes to Cheltenham. It’s also worth remembering one word that features at the end of his in-running comment for each of his Stayers’ Hurdle wins – unchallenged.

That’s right, he has won both easily, and I’d be fairly confident he can go very close again.

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
60p each-way Lucky 15 and a £1.11 each/way acca on Marie’s Rock (5/2, Mares Hurdle), Blue Lord (5/1, Champion Chase), James Du Berlais (8/1, Turners Novices Chase), Flooring Porter (6/1, Stayers’ Hurdle) with

Steve Palmer, Racing Post Golf Tipster

Collin Morikawa has become the forgotten man of golf after a winless 2022, but this gifted 25-year-old should quickly remind the world of his talent in the months to come. The two-time Major champion looks a massive price for June’s US Open.

Morikawa showed signs of a revival in the latter weeks of last year and the recently married Californian still has more than five months left to peak for the US Open – a title which would be the third leg of a career Grand Slam of Majors.

While many in the US Open field will be seeing Los Angeles Country Club for the first time this summer, Morikawa competed there in the 2017 Walker Cup, a prestigious amateur event, and won four points from four matches for America.

Morikawa was born in Los Angeles and is guaranteed huge support for the US Open. He is good enough to feed off the love and give the galleries what they want. A £20.23 stake at the 22/1 being dangled by Star Sports returns £465.29.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 win Collin Morikawa, 2023 US Open at 22/1 with

Bill Esdaile (@BillEsdaile), City AM Racing Editor

I’m lucky enough to run the Pay The Bill syndicate that have the very exciting novice hurdler Rare Edition. He won in emphatic style at Kempton on Boxing Day and the clock backed up that performance. He is currently 16/1 with Star Sports for the Supreme Novices at the Cheltenham festival and would be at least half that price if trained by Nicky Henderson or Willie Mullins. The plan is to have one more run, perhaps at Haydock or Huntingdon and then potentially head to the Festival opener.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 win Rare Edition, Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, 14/1 with

Gearoid Norris (@icyestretro), #BettingPeople interviewee

The SHROODS on racing Twitter dominate the ante post markets at this time of year. One snippet of news and they’ll react within minutes. As ever, they get more wrong than they get right. Recently Charles Byrnes has been quoted twice about setbacks for Blazing Khal. What the SHROODS haven’t factored in is that most gallops were frozen for 3 weeks before Christmas. This is most likely the reason why the horse is not where he wants it to be rather than anything physical. He is the only horse left (don’t bore me about failed chasers switching) with the potential to really shorten up in the market. I think NRNB is completely overrated, I would play it this way, wait for him to be entered in the next few weeks and when he is back him at 6/1 or bigger for Stayers. You’ll be on the right side of the bet.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 win Blazing Khal, Stayers Hurdle at 6/1 with

#BettingPeople: GEAROID NORRIS

Paul Jacobs – Record-breaking six times Racing Post NAPS Champion – Moorestyle (Daily Star Sunday)

Let’s go big and try a £5.05 win patent for Cheltenham.

My first port of call was the Stayers Hurdle which looks eminently winnable. I fancy Marie’s Rock would start in the first two in the betting if aimed for the race, but connections seemed hell bent on her defending her Mares Hurdle title which to my eyes could be the hottest race of the whole meet…a case of heart ruling the head for those in charge of her (come on Nicky… it has to be the stayers). In her absence the progressive HOME BY THE LEE is the call. He simply outstayed Ashdale Bob last time out and may take yet another step forward.

He can take the scalp, again, of reigning champ Flooring Porter. I know Constitution Hill is the proverbial good thing in the Champion but I’ve never been afraid of one horse, even though I have actually backed him ante post at 2/1 AGAINST – happy days. But in the betting without him VAUBAN is the call to reverse Leopardstown form with State Man.

He should come on bundles for the run and if the CH was run on the New Course, I would make him a massive e/w play in the outright market. My third selection is MINELLA COCOONER for the Brown Advisory. Second in the Albert Bartlett last year, chasing was always going to be his game. I was hugely impressed by his jumping on his chase debut when second to stable mate Classic Getaway (looked in need of the run) at Gowran Park. Two and a half miles was sharp enough that day and I fully expect him to cement his festival claims at the Dublin Festival.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£5.05 win patent Home By The Lee (6/1, Stayers’ Hurdle), Vauban w/o Constitution Hill (Champion Hurdle), Minella Cocooner (Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, 10/1), all prices with

Ryan Sidebottom (@RyanSidebottom), ex-England cricketer and Star Ambassador

I’m going to try and get some value here for the challenge with a selection in the Grand National and a big price Ashes selection.

Longhouse Poet ran a great race when sixth in last year’s renewal and impressed with his hurdling win over Christmas. He should be a leading contender once again and 16/1 looks fair about his chances.

Next take a big chance for a bit of fun on a 5-0 England win in the Ashes! After all we’ve only lost one test since McCullum took over and we’ll have home advantage too. If they can do it to us, why can’t we return the favour?

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£10.12 win Longhouse Poet, 2022 Grand National at 16/1 with
£10.11 England to win the Ashes 5 – 0 at 25/1 with

David Stewart, Head of Content (@david_stewart)

Have managed to see my hometown Darlington play a couple of times this season and for a team that are (at the time of writing) top of the National League North I seem to have an uncanny knack of finding the home matches they lose … Banbury, Scarborough …. 🙁

If any dignitaries from DFC are, per chance, reading I’m quite happy to be paid to stay away from Blackwell Meadows. Sort code: 12-34-56 account number 123456789.

This isn’t going to be a heart overruling the head recommendation but I like the Star Sports split stakes option on Darlo (5/1) and Kings Lynn Town (9/4). I’m hoping it’s a bet to nothing (as in no downside rather than no return GULP). Kings Lynn are fourth, again at the time of writing, but have a significant four games in hand over Darlington which could send them theoretically nine points clear. I know many will argue it’s better to have the points in the bag and a congested final phase of the season isn’t ideal, but I like their current form and think the two sides will dominate the race to the National League proper.

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£10.23 Darlington to win National League North at 5/1 with
£10.00 Kings Lynn Town to win National League North at 9/4 with

Joe Citrone (@Joe_Citrone), Social Media Assistant, Star Sports

There were glimmers last season of the side that Arsenal could become under Mikel Arteta, but their rise into title contention this season has taken everybody by surprise.

It has just all clicked for Arsenal with young players like Buyako Saka and Gabriel Martinelli really starting to show what they can do on a consistent basis and proving that they are good enough to help Arsenal return to the top-table of English football.

The Gunners entered 2023 seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table and no team has been that far ahead at New Year and not gone on to win the title. Of course they face competition from a superb Manchester City side, but Pep Guardiola’s side have seemed to struggle for consistency at times.

This seems like Arsenal’s to lose at the moment and – at 6/4 with – you can still get value on the Gunners winning their first Premier League title since 2004.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 on Arsenal to win the Premier League title at 6/4 with

William Kedjanyi (@KeejayOV3), Political Betting Analyst, Star Sports

One would normally expect me to start with politics – and there’ll be more on that in a moment – but there’s limited ante-post value with Rishi Sunak less vulnerable than Boris Johnson or Liz Truss (remember her?) was for various reasons whilst the US is already looking towards 2024.

My first bet – and arguably the best value in my view – comes in the FA Cup, where there’s a high chance that Newcastle will be much shorter than 9/1 for glory after the weekend. A third round tie at Sheffield Wednesday is not a total gimme – the Owls are second in League One and enjoying a strong season – but Eddie Howe’s men, one of the most impressive sides in the Premier League this season, are just 2/5 to progress in normal time.

Champions League qualification is obviously the key goal but the Magpies haven’t won a major trophy for 53 years so motivation for a serious cup run ought to be sky high and Newcastle have the quality to go head to head with any of the big clubs, as they’ve proven already in the Premier League this season.

With no European football to worry about and a squad strong enough to play Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron, Bruno Guimaraes, Joe Willick, Fabian Schar, Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup, Newcastle look well placed for a serious shot at FA Cup glory this year.

Next, it’s onwards to Rugby, where the inclusion of South African sides to the Champions Cup has added a whole new dimension to the tournament. Last year’s Ultimate Rugby Championship saw an All South African final and given the quality of South Africans those franchises can pick from, they could have a major impact on European competition.

With that in mind it’s a surprise they’re not shorter in the Champions Cup betting and 16/1 looks big about the Sharks, who have won both pool games so far and boast seven Springboks in their strongest XV.

Last but never least, we’ll go back to football for a Champions League bet that feels the wrong price.

It’s a big surprise that Real Madrid are 11/1 to retain their trophy given the all-round quality available to Carlo Ancelotti. There were moments of fortune in their victory last season but that victory also required exceptional performances from Real and their squad is littered with a mix of youth, experience and the star quality needed for a successful European run. They can beat a shaky Liverpool in the last 16 and will fear no side after that.

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£3.37 each/way Newcastle to win FA Cup at 9/1 with
£3.37 each/way Sharks to win Champions Cup at 16/1 with
£3.37 each/way Real Madrid to win Champions League at 11/1 with

Andy Richmond (@Bickley14), NFL Expert

Having already tipped the Philadelphia Eagles (20-1) and the Los Angeles Chargers (14-1) for the Super Bowl in my Star Sports Preview back in early September it’s good to see both of those sides make it to the post season and still have a shot at the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

With the Eagles now being 4-1 I’d like to use my £20.23 to provide some cover and pick out the two sides one from the NFC and one from the AFC who I think will have a big say and possibly provide the Super Bowl winner if either of the two original selections fall by the wayside.

First up and for the slightly larger stake of £10.23 I’ll select the San Francisco 49ers who despite being on their third starting quarterback of the year (Brock Purdy) are looking to enter the post season on a fine winning run having been victorious in their last nine starts and have a chance of wrapping up the No1 seeding in the NFC this week with a win and an Eagles loss. Offensively they are scoring points for fun (37 in their last two games) and carry a threat both on the ground and through the air. Defensively despite a slight blip this week against the Raiders they are capable of shutting down most teams and they will be side that nobody wants to play in the post season.

For my second pick I’ll take the Kansas City Chiefs from the AFC who could also take the No1 seeding in the Conference although events are rather more fluid due to the awful scenes in Cincinnati on Monday night with the serious injury to Bills player Damar Hamlin (let’s hope that he continues to progress). The 2019 Super Bowl winners they have won the AFC West for the past seven seasons and are perennial post season and Super Bowl contenders. They will face some tough opposition from the Bills and the Bengals to win the AFC and return to the Super Bowl, but their array of offensive talent led by QB and possible MVP Patrick Mahomes means that they are always a threat. An underrated defence led by Pro Bowl bound defensive tackle Chris Jones and a solid special teams and kicking game mean that the Chiefs are once again one of the most complete teams in the NFL led by the excellent head coach Andy Reid.

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£10.23 San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl at 6/1 with
£10.00 Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at 7/2 with

Jordan Neild (@jjneild), Boxing and MMA Expert

My £20.23 stake this year will be placed on Ilia Topuria to become UFC featherweight champion.

Topuria is undefeated in five fights inside the UFC and is already ranked at #9. He finished the year with a brilliant performance against highly touted Bryce Mitchell and it is going to take a special fighter to stop his charge towards UFC gold.

The featherweight division is one of the most competitive in the entire promotion but with champion, Alexander Volkonovski, looking to step up to lightweight the belt could become vacant and Topuria will be in prime position to claim a vacant title shot, providing he gets another big win in early 2023.

It won’t be straight forward for Ilia Topuria but he is a special fighter and has all the attributes to be a long reigning UFC champion.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 Ilia Topuria to become UFC featherweight champion at 2/1 with

Flynn Goward (@flynngoward), Head of Operations, Star Sports

Back in November last year, I was asked to put up a horse to follow for the upcoming season. That horse was Scriptwriter. Now in January of 2023, I see no reason not to put him up as my selection for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

During the HTF piece, he was 18/1 for the Triumph. Now having been kept ticking over by the shrewd trainer Milton Harris, he is only marginally shorter at 16/1 for the race. As stated in the HTF (which you can read here), Scriptwriter was rated 102 on the flat for Aiden O’Brien last season, then this season he has achieved RPRs of 121 over hurdles and 109 on the flat when winning a decent prize at Wolverhampton last week. It is an unusual campaign running on the AW mid-way through a juvenile hurdle season, but Milton Harris was clear that he wanted to win prize money for the owners and Scriptwriter was ready to run.

Lossiemouth is the warm favourite at 6/4 with us, which to me looks very short and the gap between the two horses in the market is gaping. Milton Harris knows what he is doing with these juveniles, see Knight Salute last year. Scriptwriter has the form round Cheltenham, when winning the Triumph Hurdle trial back in November which is another positive for an already rock-solid form book.

I still feel he is overpriced and overlooked, so 16/1 for the Triumph Hurdle is worth taking.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£10.11 each/way Scriptwriter, Triumph Hurdle at 16/1 with

Dave Jolly (@djol123), Head of Trading, Star Sports

With the Premier League approaching the halfway stage, there has been a lot of focus on the under and over achieving teams so far, Liverpool, Chelsea, West Ham and Leicester have all under performed, whilst Arsenal, Newcastle, Fulham and Brighton have all exceeded pre-season expectation. There may be many reasons for this, injuries, new signings, even a winter World Cup, therefore I expect some normality will return in the second half and see some value in those current under performers., with this in mind and with my fingers firmly crossed I’m going to go for West Ham to finish in the Top Half of the Table @ 5/1.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 West Ham to finish in the Top Half of the Premier League at 5/1 with

Blue Horseshoe (@betteranbetter1), Star Sports Golf Expert

Happy new year golf fans. Blue Horseshoe Loves Cameron Young at the Masters as my bet of the year. He’s currently trading at 40/1 with Star Sports and that looks superb value to me.

Augusta Country Club is a long, testing track and I think Young will be primed for a big showing there come April. Both Young and Tom Kim are my players to watch for the majors in 2023. Good punting one and all.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£10.11 each/way Cameron Young in The Masters at 40/1 with

Graham Sharpe (@sharpeangle), Sharpe Mind writer

Here’s one – Frankie Dettori to abandon his retirement plans and carry on next year! If that’s not possible, then I fancy the 3/1 about Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua taking place…..

⭐ Stake and Selection:
£20.23 Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua to take place at 3/1 with

Steve Mullington (@mulldog), Racing Reporter

After advising 2022 readers to back “Les Bleus” for the Six Nations at odds of 6/4 last year, I was very disappointed that politics got in the way of Belarusian tennis starlet Aryna Sabalenka being able to compete at Wimbledon.

I am of the view that Wimbledon will be forced to drop their highly controversial stance in 2023, and the current world No.5 Sabalenka can win the Wimbledon Ladies’ title at odds of 14/1.

Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) will be hosting the The Open this summer and the claret jug can be lifted aloft by the American Scottie Scheffler who was in tremendous form last season.
Four victories, including a Masters jacket, are a golfing pedigree not to be sniffed at and his odds of 14/1 appear to be more than generous to me.

After watching Lucinda Russell’s Corach Rambler win a 3m1f Handicap Chase at Aintree in October 2021 I was immediately of the view that her horse was potentially another Grand National winner for the stable. I’m on at 33/1 already but I believe 20/1 is still regularly available?

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£3.37 each/way Aryna Sabalenka to win Wimbledon (Women’s) at 14/1 with
£3.37 each/way Scottie Scheffler, 2023 Open at 14/1 with
£3.37 E/W Corach Rambler, 2023 Grand National at 20/1 with

*Donate the 0.01 to charity!*

Anthony Kaminskas (@AKBets87), #BettingPeople Interviewee, Punter and Bookmaker

There are a couple of football bets I still like antepost but nothing that’s going to get the numbers swelling for charity. So slightly left field I’ll stick up RB Leipzig EW for the Champions League as a bit of value at a big price.

They meet a team you might have heard of called Manchester City in the Round of 16 toward the end of February. At least we’ll know our fate early!

At the time of writing Leipzig have yet to return from their Winter Break/World Cup hiatus which they went into on the back of 9 wins and a draw out of 10 games. Their star man this season continues to be Christopher Nkunku, a name City fans will be familiar with, so the downside of this bet is his return date from injury is still unspecified.

RB Leipzig are the clear 2nd best team in Germany this season and quotes of 100/1 are dismissive of the threat they pose.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£10.11 each/way RB Leipzig, Champions League, at 100/1 with

John Brackenridge (@Moley777), Star Sports Trader

The “Jester from Leicester” had a really tough 2021-22 season failing to win a title for the first time for over a decade before revealing he had been struggling with mental health issues but said a huge weight had been lifted since speaking about it publicly, which he has continued to do this season. An emotional Selby finally returned to the winners enclosure at the English Open last month, prior to this he had shown improved form reaching the Quarter Final in a further four events. The World Championship is the ultimate test of a Snooker players grit and determination and the four time World Champ has this in abundance. With question marks over market favourites Neil Robertson & Judd Trump’ love of the unique challenge of 17 days at the Cruicible Theatre it could well be Ronnie O’Sullivan that provides the biggest test but at the prices I like the way Selby shapes up for a tilt at number five.

⭐ Selection and Stake:
£20.23 win Mark Selby to Win the World Snooker Championship at 7/1 with

Graham Woods (@wggwg2987), Leopardstown groundman and Irish form expert

Bluestocking, Epsom Oaks – 20-1 (£10.11 win)

A daughter of Camelot out of G1 winner Emulous, she made a very taking debut at Salisbury last September, where for a stage she looked all at sea, but when the penny dropped the response was impressive, she won easy in the end going away from a highly touted Gosden newcomer, her trainer indicated straight after the race that she would be put away and reappear in an Oaks trial, she very much strikes me as a highly talented filly that should stay well, she’s trained by a man who specializes in training middle distance 3yo fillies, I’ll be surprised if she isn’t capable of mixing it with the best middle distance 3yo fillies around next year, and 20-1 is very fair.

Auguste Rodin, 2000 Guineas – 5-1 (£10.12 win)

An impressive looking son of Deep Impact who was pretty much faultless at 2 barring an unlucky debut run, he stepped up every time he raced, but it was his G1 win at Doncaster that really stuck with me and indicated he could be pretty special, many people feel he won’t be quick enough for the Guineas, but I think his running style is deceptive in that regard, and Saxon Warrior and Mgana Grecia didn’t look like Guineas winners when they won at Doncaster, he can take the Guineas en route to a live triple crown bid where he will be running over distances more in keeping with his pedigree

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£10.11 Bluestocking to win The Oaks at 20/1 with & £10.12 Auguste Rodin to win the 2,000 Guineas at 5/1 with

Lewis Tomlinson (@LT_Racing), Timeform Analyst

My charity bet comes in my favourite, and often the trickiest, punting puzzle of the year, the Grand National, and I’m hoping one of last season’s beaten horses can improve their position this time around.

The 25/1 about last year’s third DELTA WORK appeals as a standout ante-post price for this year’s race. Reigning champion Noble Yeats looks an improved performer this term and quite rightly heads the betting, but I thought Delta Work shaped best of those behind and perhaps offers more value at more than double the price of the favourite.

Gordon Elliott’s 10-year-old’s found himself much further back than ideal following a couple of early mistakes but largely jumped soundly thereafter. Still only twelfth at 3 out, Delta Work made rapid progress to be upsides the leaders before the last before the impact of that significant move told, but it nevertheless represented a remarkable effort for Delta Work to have found himself in a position to lay down a challenge after being in the second half of the field for the majority of the race.

A five-time Grade 1 winner with proven stamina, I also consider there to be greater scope for Delta Work’s price to shorten before now and April than with most other Grand Nartional contenders. I expect him to successfully defend his Cross Country Chase crown at Cheltenham, and it’s not too hard to envisage him doing so by a sizeable margin with no Tiger Roll to tussle with this time around.

Provided that the handicapper doesn’t add any cross-country tax, Delta Work should be racing in the National from a 3 lb lower mark this year and I think he’s wildly overpriced at 25/1 to repeat, or even better, last year’s showing.

⭐ Selections and Stakes:
£10.11 each/way Delta Work, 2023 Grand National at 25/1 with



Author: Eugene Morris