Talented Wenbo set to deliver the goods in Thailand
Short format should suit the explosive Maguire
Tournament starts 5am Monday
The invitational Six Red World Championship takes centre stage in Thailand this week, with 32 players lining up hoping they have what it takes to be crowned the champion of snooker’s unique event.
The players are split into eight groups of four, with the final 16 advancing to the knockout stages later in the week, and defending champion Ding Junhui is a warm order at 11-2 to repeat last year's success.
Ding is one of just seven top-16 players lining up in Bangkok but the quirky format can produce surprise results and there may be value in opposing the world number four.
However, Ding's classy compatriot Liang Wenbo has been handed a favourable draw and could go well in a tournament that has served him well in the past.
Wenbo is housed with Michael Holt, two-time winner Mark Davis and home hope Atthasit Mahitthi, three players he would outclass if performing at his best, and he was a gallant runner-up two years ago.
The world number 14 was dumped out in the quarter-finals last term by Ding but in hindsight that was a good effort and he is blessed with the game to go the distance.
In such a wide open event it can pay to have a couple on your side and the fiery Stephen Maguire is another who makes plenty of appeal.
The Scot was champion in 2014 and made the last four 12 months ago and this short format clearly brings out the best in his attacking style of play.
Maguire is grouped with Stuart Bingham - who made the final at his expense last term - but the former world champion takes time to find his stride and we may not see the best of him until later in the campaign.
The talented Kyren Wilson would be a danger to all if he can build on his last-16 efforts in the Paul Hunter Classic but the draw hasn't been kind and Marco Fu, despite being one of the classiest players in the event, is one who may come on for the outing.
1pt 22-1 Coral, Ladbrokes
1pt 11-1 BoyleSports