Well, folks, it doesn’t better than this. What a weekend in store.
The Masters, the Grand National, Manchester City v Leeds. Boom!
I’ve had the jab, am playing golf most days and working on various deals - but it all stops this weekend when it’s feet up watching the golf and the horses and, in between shots and races, reading scripts.
So, who wins the Masters?
Well, it’s just got to be Colin Morikawa. I’ve being saying for weeks now this kid can win at Augusta. He’s going to look great with the green jacket on and the biggest smile you’ll ever see.
He’s one of the great iron players, is a major winner already, won on the PGA Tour a few weeks back and arrives fresh after missing the Texas Open. He also has a fantastic temperament which is well needed given the trials and tribulations of one of the most unique golf courses on the planet.
Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas will be most people’s favourites and it’s easy to see why.
Dustin is defending the title he won in November and, remember, he won by five shots - so form students will certainly favour DJ.
As for JT, he’s back winning again and looks sure to launch a major challenge along with his great pal Jordan Spieth. He also won at the weekend in the Texas Open and when his putter is hot everyone needs to watch out.
However, I’m looking for two bigger-priced ‘runners’ for Vinnie’s Three Off The Tee this week to go with Morikawa and I’m going with Victor Hovland and Justin Rose.
Norwegian star Hovland has shown himself capable of dining at the top table and, like Morikawa has a great temperament - remember how he bounced back from that second-round nightmare 18th hole at The Concession earlier this season to still finish second?
And there’s no cooler customer out there than Justin Rose. He’s performed well at Augusta before, twice finishing second and even making a playoff against Sergio in 2017, and arrives fresh after an injury setback during the Bay Hill.
Obviously, no Masters preview can exclude Rory McIlroy - and it’d be great to see him bounce back, although he’s had a rotten season up to now. The man is class, so like Tiger two years ago the neutral will be cheering on Rory.
And if you follow the theory which says new dads should be backed, then Jon Rahm is your man. Big Jon and his good lady are celebrating the arrival of their baby son - and they’ve called him Kepa Cahill Rahm. I’m assuming they’re Chelsea fans!
It’s the Randox Grand National on Saturday at Aintree and, while it’s another major racing occasion without punters, it’s still the greatest horserace of them all!
The action from Aintree starts on Thursday and sees Shiskin, one of our good things from Cheltenham, a red-hot favourite to follow up. He’s a champion and cannot be opposed.
But looking ahead to the Grand National, Uncle Vinnie’s got two for you - Anibale Fly and The Storyteller.
Of course, all eyes will be on Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead as they bid to clean up again - this time with Minella Times. Victory would make Rachael the first lady to win a National and that’d be great. But watch the price tumble!
Instead, Anibale Fly has been there, seen it and (almost) done it! He’s finished second twice in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and has Grand National experience already - and was fourth to the unbeatable Tiger Roll in 2018. This could be his time for Tony Martin and JP.
I’m also sweet on The Storyteller. My pals tell me he once ran in the US Grand National at Far Hills - although fell at the last fence. But he was younger then and ran well enough at Cheltenham for Denise Foster and could go well.
So, to the Premier League this weekend and we’re on the closing stretch. Teams have seven or eight games left - and the fight for the top four looks a cracker.
Man City are home and hosed surely, but don’t be surprised if Leeds give them a game this weekend. Bielsa’s boys are my team of the year already and the beautiful game will definitely be on show for their Saturday lunchtime clash. Both teams are superb on the ball.
Take Fulham to bounce back in the Friday night game against Wolves. It’s a quick turnaround for Nuno’s lads after a tough game against the Hammers on Monday - and Scottie Parker will be keen to change Fulham’s fortunes after that defeat against Villa.
Heaven knows what happened with Chelsea against West Brom - but fair play to Big Sam’s team. They didn’t look like a team batting relegation. They were ruthless in demolishing the Blues, but Tommy Tuchel had them in training the next day ready for Porto and then Crystal Palace. They should win both games.
Make sure to keep up with all things Rogues Gallery Racing. Eaglesglen almost won for our syndicate last week and should improve after his wind op
Keep in touch via www.roguesgalleryracing.com and @roguesracing_ on Twitter.
Be lucky all.
Vinnie’s best bets
Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderer FULHAM WIN
Manchester City v Leeds DRAW
Liverpool v Aston Villa DRAW
Crystal Palace v Chelsea CHELSEA WIN
Burnley v Newcastle NEWCASTLE WIN
West Ham v Leicester City DRAW
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United DRAW
Sheffield United v Arsenal ARSENAL WIN
West Bromwich Albion v Southampton WEST BROM WIN
Brighton v Everton BRIGHTON WIN
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