Ace set to prove a trump card
Top-class cueman returning to form
Coral Welsh Open
Eurosport 2 & BBC Wales, from 10am Monday
Judd Trump should be backed to cruise to victory in the Coral Welsh Open, the last event of the Home Nations series at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
Trump is a top-class cueman at his best and while things have been a little lean of late, there were signs in the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix that a return to his best may not be far away.
The Ace in the Pack will have to improve on recent performances in the Masters and German Masters and while he made only the second round in Preston last week, his loss to Barry Hawkins can be forgiven given that the Hawk has been playing as well as anyone on tour.
Prior to the last few events Trump had won the European Masters, made the final of the English Open and backed up those top showings by reaching the last four in the International Championship last November.
The Bristolian has a decent draw and should have a relatively untroubled passage until a potential last-16 clash against Ali Carter. At 10-1 the Ace certainly looks the best-value card to play of those at the head of the market.
Stephen Maguire is a 40-1 shot for the title and the Scot’s prospects may be underrated.
Outright backers know they can only be hopeful that the Glasgow potter returns to somewhere near his best in Cardiff – Maguire hasn’t enjoyed the best results recently. But that is reflected in his inflated odds and there wasn’t a lot wrong with his 4-3 defeat to Mark King in the Grand Prix last week. Maguire looked far more dangerous in the balls and a few unlucky splits when among the reds may have cost him that match.
Mags is housed in a favourable section of the draw and should find his confidence boosted with what looks a winnable first-round clash against young Zhang Yong.
Stuart Bingham and Liang Wenbo are in the same section but Bingham has been out of sorts and Wenbo is an enigmatic character who is no certainty to back up decent recent displays.
At a huge price an interest can be had on Robert Milkins.
It’s funny the difference one game can make. Milkins looked on course for a win over Stuart Bingham in the Coral English Open in November before a bizarre ending saw the Gloucester cueman chuck away his hopes of victory.
The wheels came off after that defeat, but the Milkman put up a improved showing in the Coral Scottish Open in December and he could outrun quotes of 300-1.
2pts 10-1 Betfred, BoyleSports
1pt 40-1 general
0.5pt 300-1 Coral