Ed Chamberlin: Integral weekend

Ed Chamberlin is looking forward to another busy weekend and will have one eye on Newmarket's Cambridgeshire meeting.

Last Updated: 26/09/13 at 08:22 Post Comment

Integral: Worth backing to win the Sun Chariot on Saturday

Integral: Worth backing to win the Sun Chariot on Saturday

During an unpredictable first few weeks in the Premier League we'd been waiting for one of the title contenders to lay down a marker. Manchester City did just that in the Manchester derby.

It was the 'signature' performance that David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini had both been seeking. A Super Sunday that started with any one of six teams able to top the table ended with Arsenal on the summit but Manchester City hot favourites for the title.

Sky Bet were impressed as they cut Pellegrini's side to 7/4 to win the League with Chelsea at 10/3, Man Utd 9/2, Arsenal 6/1, Tottenham 11/1, Liverpool 14/1 and it's 250/1 bar those six.

City were dynamic from the off on Sunday and over-ran United, especially in central midfield.

When Yaya Toure is in that kind of mood he's pretty much impossible to stop and was Gary Neville's selection as man of the match. He often talks about City's spine of Hart-Kompany-Toure-Aguero being the best in the League and on Sunday afternoon they were imperious.

Vincent Kompany in particular was immense. He handled everything from the physical tussle with Wayne Rooney in the first half to starting the moves for goals three and four in the second.

I was fascinated when Jamie Carragher, who knows a thing or two about playing centre half, told me it was probably the best performance he'd ever seen from a central defender. A big call. But Kompany was that good and City are a completely different side with their captain in it.

That was the performance of the week and season so far. The team of the week though was definitely Swansea. To go from that spirited second half on Monday Night Football to a famous victory in the Mestalla and then avoid the usual Europa League hangover to win at Crystal Palace was a superb effort.

I said in my Sky Bet video preview, as I have been reminded by numerous people on Twitter, that I fancied Palace as they were catching Swansea at a good time. How wrong I was. Congratulations to Michael Laudrup and his team.

This weekend the Super Sunday team will be at Sunderland, where it's been a turbulent week. Paolo Di Canio had been trading as Sky Bet's favourite to be the first manager to lose his job for some time and plenty of punters would have been counting their money on Sunday night.

He was sacked after just 175 days and 13 games in charge but Sunderland had taken one point from their first five Premier League games of the season, which is their worst start to a season since 2005-06 when they lost their opening five games and went on to suffer their last relegation from the top flight.

Kevin Ball has been named as Interim Head Coach, though Gus Poyet has been trading as a 1/8 chance with Sky Bet to get the job on a permanent basis. Ball got off to a good start in the League Cup on Tuesday but they now face a really tough run of fixtures, starting with Liverpool and Luis Suarez on Sunday.

Before the game at the Stadium of Light we have Stoke against Norwich. The Canaries have never won at the Britannia and the last time they won in the top division at Stoke was in the year of the fire at Bradford's Valley parade, the Heysel disaster and the Live Aid concert (1985).

Norwich need something as they have matches against Chelsea, Arsenal, Cardiff and Man City looming.

After Super Sunday it will be a dash to the airport to catch the last flight down to London to prepare for Monday Night Football - Everton v Newcastle.

The Cambridgeshire looks as impossible as ever and should come with a warming for punters. There have been just seven winnings favourites since 1977 and eight of the last 11 have finished unplaced.

William Haggas has been the handicap king this season and could have as many as six runners in Saturday's big one.

Graphic seems to be the one punters have latched on to but I prefer the chance of Queensberry Rules at 14/1 with Sky Bet.

A big-field handicap like this will hold no fears for him as he was third in the 27-runner Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. He was beaten less than a length and was a little unlucky too.

Queensberry Rules looked like a sure-fire big handicap winner that day and was heavily backed to do so on King George day back at Ascot but little went right for him again in the race.

Then at York last month he took a fierce hold early on and didn't settle yet still managed to catch the eye when staying on for sixth. A return to a cavalry charge over a longer trip should suit him well.

Queensberry Rules only made his racecourse debut in April so should still be open to plenty of improvement and is due a change of luck.

Educate is my other fancy in the race. He won four times from five starts up to May of this year but has been horribly unlucky ever since. Last time out was bad enough as he was squeezed up in typical Goodwood fashion in the Celebration Mile but worse was the run before at Haydock last month.

Educated was the moral winner as he went down on his nose yet still nearly got back up to win. He needs a fast pace and decent ground to be seen at his best, both of which should be guaranteed on Saturday.

The bet of the day is Integral each-way in the Sun Chariot. The race will revolve around another Sky Lantern v Elusive Kate clash but Integral looks far better value at around 11/2.

She has won three of her four races to date and you can put a line through her one defeat in the Nassau as she was green that day and had no luck in what was a mess of a race.

Ryan Moore held his hands up after the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown last time yet Integral was still brave enough to get up and share the race with Ladys First. Integral is tough, still improving, fresher than most of the field and looks set to run a big race on Saturday.


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