*Each-way 1/4 odds, 5 places
Dan Geraghty: Back Ryan Fox @ 80/1
There's a lot of unappealing prices at the top of the market this week and I'd hoped for bigger about a few of the outsiders. Regular readers will know I like Thomas Detry but I had hoped for more than 80/1. I very much like the chances of Steve's selection, Dean Burmester, but at the prices I'm going to nail my colours back to the Ryan Fox mast. Sure, the price has nearly halved from last week but his top 20 finish confirmed he's still in great nick and this week's course promises to suit the New Zealand bomber even more. Ans so he'll be carrying my each way money again; godspeed, sir!
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Bradley Dredge @ 80/1
Following on from his most consistent and productive season for a long while, Bradley Dredge is well up to building on a strong course record. The Welshman has made seven top-25s here, including fourth last year. As a fairly long hitter with plenty of experience in windy conditions, whose prowess is putting, Dredge ticks the right boxes for this long-established test at Doha G.C. Last week's top-20 in Abu Dhabi represented a solid start to 2016 and his best result at that Gulf track since 2009. That must bode well for another personal best here.
Joe Dyer: Back Callum Shinkwin @ 100/1
There was a frightening amount of world-class golfing quality on show last week but there's less depth this time around and I am prepared to take a chance on a longer odds selection in Qatar. Callum Shinkwin is my man this week, available to back at 100/1, but with a far better chance than those odds suggest. First up, Shinkwin is a huge driver - ranked seventh in driving distance on the European Tour last year - which is a key stat on the course. The 23-year-old enjoyed a decent opening event to the season, finishing 23rd last week, with a pair of very decent rounds (68 and 65 on days one and three) interspersed by a pair of poor rounds (two 74s). Stats-wise Shinkwin was ticking along very nicely and I'm hoping that this exciting young prospect is warmed-up and ready to perform on a track where he showed promise last year with a debut 35th, ending day one just outside the top 10.
Steve Rawlings: Back Dean Burmester @ 50/1
The Doha Golf Club is an exposed track with Bermuda greens so it's perhaps not surprising to see that South Africans, who grow up playing in windy conditions and putting on Kikuyu and Bermuda greens, have an outstanding record here. Charl Schwartzel has finished third here, Louis Oosthuizen, George Coetzee and James Kingston have all finished second and Darren Fichardt, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Branden Grace (twice) have all won the event in its short 19 year history. And Zimbabwe's Tony Johnstone also claimed the spoils here in 2001. Big hitting has proven a huge asset at Doha and I can see the current number one ranked distance driver on the European Tour, Zimbabwean-born South African, Dean Burmester, really taking to the place. He's making his course debut this week but on the back of a fourth place in the South Africa Open and a seventh last week in Abu Dhabi, I thought he looked fairly priced to contend again at 50/1.
You can read Steve's comprehensive Qatar Masters 2017 Betting Preview behind the link.
Mike Norman: Back Nicolas Colsaerts @ 66/1
A missed cut in Abu Dhabi last time is hardly off-putting if you want to back Nicolas Colsaerts this week given that was the Belgian's first tournament in two months. Two opening rounds of 73 wasn't exactly a disaster either, and I'm sure he'll be much sharper in Qatar at a venue he has played well in the past. The big-htting 34-year-old has finished ninth, 13th, and 27th in his last three visits to Doha, and he has plenty of other desert form to boast too, including an excellent fourth place at last year's season ending DP World Tour Championship, which just happens to be the last tournament he played before Abu Dhabi. As Steve rightly points out in his in-depth preview, players with links form, big-hitters, and those who have gone well at Gleneagles and in Portugal must be considered. Colsaerts ticks all of those boxes, most notably with a second place finish at the Portugal Masters in 2014, a top 20 at Gleneagles in 2012, and some top 10 finishes in the Open Championship, the Alfred Dunhill Links, and the Scottish Open. At an industry best 66/1, Colsaerts looks well worth chancing this week.
under a month remains until the most prestigious race on North American soil is run - the Kentucky Derby takes place May 2. After a season of prep races just two qualifying chances remain for Derby hopefuls - the Arkansas Derby which offers 100-40-20-10 points for the first to fourth place finishers and the Lexington Stakes which awards just 10-4-2-1 points for first to fourth. The field is taking shape for the Derby and some definite favorites have emerged already. With four races this past weekend (the Louisiana Derby, the Wood Memorial, the Kentucky Blue Grass Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby) we have a decent idea of which 20 horses will line up in the gates for the Run for the Roses. Let's break it down.
Mike Maker trained International Star has been on the Derby radar for five months - he cemented his status as one of the legitimate favorites this past weekend with a win in the Louisiana Derby. International Star also had wins in the Risen Star Stakes, the Lecomte Stakes and Grey Stakes. He leads the points race with 171 and should be a factor May 2. Currently second in the standings is undefeated Bob Baffert trained Dortmund who currently has 170 points. He won the Santa Anita Derby this past weekend to go along with victories in the San Felipe, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and Los Alamitos Futurity. Todd Pletcher trained Carpe Diem is third with 164 points after a win this past weekend in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, a victory in the Tampa Bay Derby, a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a win in the Breeders' Futurity.
Kiaran McLaughlin trained Frosted will be in the starting gate May 2 after a terrific win this past weekend in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Prior to that results was a fourth in the Fountain of Youth and consecutive runner-up finishes in the Holy Bull and Remsen Stakes. Some international flavor comes in the form of Irish bred Mubtaahij who may or may not ship from overseas. He sits tied with Todd Pletcher trained Materiality who has just one start in Derby qualifying races and one win - in the 100-point Florida Derby March 28.
Kentucky Derby Championship Season betting with OffTrackBetting.com
Another one of the early favorites El Kabeir sits in seventh place with 95 points after a slightly disappointing third this past weekend in the Wood Memorial. El Kabeir holds wins in the Gotham, the Jerome Stakes and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes to go along with a second in the Withers Stakes. Upstart is next with 76 points - he has consecutive seconds (the Florida Derby and the Fountain of Youth), a win in the Holy Bull Stakes and a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile among his qualifying results. Two colts are next with 60 points - they round out the top 10. Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah after just two qualifying-race appearances has been tabbed as one of the three early favorites - he had wins in the Rebel Stakes March 14 and the FrontRunner Stakes back in September. Itsaknockout out of the Todd Pletcher barn had a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in February to go along with a fourth in the Florida Derby March 28.
Firing Line sits in eleventh place with 58 points - he won the Sunland Derby March 22 and has two runner-up finishes in a pair of prep races. Mark Casse trained Danzig Moon has 45 points after a second in the Blue Grass Stakes this past weekend, Tom Amoss War Story has 44 points but has yet to win a race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Tencendur makes an appearance in the top 15 after a second place finish in the Wood Memorial on Saturday
Four colts have 40 points and look as though they will have enough points to be in the starting gates May 2. Maftool, Bob Baffert trained One Lucky Dane after his second this past weekend in the Santa Anita Derby, Josie Carroll trained Ami's Flatter and Todd Pletcher pupil Stanford should be good to go May 2.
On the bubble - tied for nineteenth with 30 points are Ocho Ocho Ocho thanks to a third place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes and a win in the Delta Downs Jackpot, Carla Gaines pupil Bolo and Prospect Park.
There are a host of horse on the outside looking in - they could make their way into the top 20 with a good performance in one of the last two prep races. These are the horses that still have a chance:
- Conquest Typhoon - 26 points
- Far Right - 22 points
- Keen Ice 22 points
- Daredevil - 20 points - shocking to see this Todd Pletcher trainee here. He was fourth in the Wood Memorial this past weekend - maybe his last chance to qualify.
- Madefromlucky - 20 points
- Tiz Shea D - 20 points
- Frammento - 20 points
- Bold Conquest 17 points
- Mr. Z - 14 points
- Classy Class - 13 points
- The Truth Or Else -11 points
- Pain and Misery - 10 points
- Metaboss - 10 points
- Divining Rod - 10 points
- Firespike - 10 points
It has been a long and intriguing Road to this year's Run For the Roses but that Road is coming to its finish line. Stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for everything that is Kentucky Derby and information on all graded stakes action as we head into what in certain to be a sensational summer of racing.