Roy The Boy Weekly blog which looks at Andy Murray for Sports Personality of the Year, Nairo Quintana in the Tour De France, Hungarian Grand Prix for Red Bull, Matchplay Darts and Olympic 100 metres.
It’s time to Rage Against the Personality
So Andy Murray won a one-sided Wimbledon final. A peak viewing audience of 13.3 million British people in the UK watched on their TV sets and I’d say you could easily add another half million online viewers to that tally. It leaves me bewildered.
Those with a ringside seat included the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon (Scotland’s First Minister), the Duke of Kent, the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor, Princess Alexandra and Lady Annabel Goldsmith, the Duchess of Gloucester and Lady Mary Keen. I’m sure Clare Balding was in there somewhere too! Now tell me tennis is not an elitist sport.
Concurrently, over at Silverstone, there was not a Royal in sight as Lewis Hamilton lifted his third consecutive British Grand Prix winner’s trophy. The closest to Royalty there was two of the Spice Girls – do note one is married to an F1 team boss – and Frank Bruno.
With seven F1 teams based in the UK, the sport bringing in £1bn in research and development annually, and 40,000 people employed by the motorsport industry, surely it is time that the reigning monarch made her first visit to the British Grand Prix since 1950.
At least the public are a little more open minded. They may have given Andy Murray the Sports Personality of the Year trophy (SPOTY) for a second time in 2015 – despite achieving very little – but that have also bestowed it on Lewis Hamilton as recently as 2014.
The big question now, in this Olympic year when Chris Froome is odds-on to win a third Tour de France and Lewis Hamilton a fourth World Championship, is Andy Murray truly an 11/10 shot to win his third SPOTY in four years?
I say 11/10, which is the top-price at Stan James. For the uninitiated that means place £10 on him and if he wins, you will get your account closed.
Can he really get much shorter? Surely not. Jessica Ennis Hill could get her second Olympic Gold next month and she has already been on the SPOTY podium four times in seven years. And Mark Cavendish, the 2011 SPOTY winner, has already won three stages of this year’s Tour de France.
Surely two thirds of the British public want revenge on Murray. Those that do not hail from the upper tiers of society and still resent his anti-British statements regardless if his first, and most famous of which, was now a decade ago.
The potential is there, the form is there. Ryan Gigs won the 2009 SPOTY award purely because of Manchester United’s fan base. Kevin Sinfield, with the support of his team and all of Rugby League nearly done the same last year. He polled 27.5% of the vote as opposed to Murray’s 35.8%.
Murray won last year’s award due to the proximity of the Davis Cup final, pure and simple. In fact, it was a breach of the BBC’s SPOTY rules which even allowed him to be added to the list of ten candidates.
To run a tub of Saxa into the wounds the Beeb also gave him the pimp seat in their running order making his victory on the night an inevitability.
But I really feel 2016 SPOTY will see a ‘Rage Against the Machine’ moment when someone cries enough, orchestrates a well-funded campaign and generates plentiful votes for an unconsidered wheel-chair bound athlete allowing them to collect the prize.
Let us not forget the voting window is just 35 minutes long, throw in phone lines which melted down in 2015, and consider 320,000 votes is likely to be enough to ‘buy’ the prize.
That’s a meagre £48k in phone calls, not much for a country with 60 million people, and only a small scratch on the profits if you have managed to spread around £2,000 to win on said candidate at 100/1. Unfortunately this bet placement may take longer than 35 minutes but it would be doable.
So, in short, the system is flawed. It is open to corruption just like Murray’s inclusion in the 2016 short-list of 10 which became 12. My only hope, someone goes ahead and manipulates the system and makes a public mockery of it.
Still Fancy Quin
Our Tour de France fancy Nairo Quintana, has lost 23 seconds to Chris Froome which is a drop in the ocean considering the contestants have already cycled for over 44 hours. It matters none, Froome made hay in a closing downhill stretch on Stage 8 of the race but, unflappable and unfazed, Quintana sat on his tail for all of Stage 9.
I remain certain the Colombian will win the 2016 Tour and expect him to pull lumps out of Froome once the peloton reaches the Alps. Stages 12, 17 and 19 are the key mountain stages, all feature summit finishes. Quintana will surely distance himself in/on one of these and get the job done in a single day. 11/8 with Coral and Bet365 looks worth taking.
Can’t Beat a Bit of Bully in Hungary
Beyond that all focus for me is on the weekend after next. I intend to lump on the Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen to win the Hungarian Grand Prix.
That may sound like a brave statement but the Hungaroring is best described as ‘Monaco without walls’ and that’s meat and veg to the design of the Red Bull cars. The formbook shows it and all of the paddock knows it. Thankfully no one has told the odds compilers and so the pair can be backed at 10/1 apiece with William Hill and BetVictor.
Just consider the current spec Mercedes has yet to win here finishing third and fourth in 2014 (when Ricciardo won) and sixth and eighth in 2015. In 2014 this was one of just three tracks the Mercedes did not win at. That statement is also true for 2015.
Anderson For Me
I’ll leave the darts preview to someone more knowledgeable but I’m backing Gary Anderson to win the World Matchplay. He’s won three of the last for ‘World Series’ events in Tokyo, Auckland and Dubai. His most recent victory, 10-8 over Michael van Gerwen, saw him average over 100 and bang in a 161 check-out.
As MVG’s is 6/5 (Boyles) town outright I simply cannot turn-up the 5/1 about Anderson as an each-way play - he is not scheduled to meet the Dutchman until the final after all.
Olympic 100m for Thompson?
Dafne Schippers was impressive in winning the European Championship 100 metres last week and I can easily see her winning the 200 meters at the Olympics. However the former Heptathlete represents no great value at 8/13 for that competition (the 200m).
By default Schippers is also favourite for the Olympic 100 metres (7/4 at Paddy Power) but I much prefer the 5/2 about the 24-year-old Jamaican Elaine Thompson who won in a fast time (give the headwind) at the Rabat Diamond League in May.
She also won the Jamaican National trial last week in a phenomenal 10.70sec. Looking very much on the improve she has to be backed at 5/2 for the Women’s Olympic 100m tile.
LAY Andy Murray Sports Personality of the Year 2.4 Betfair
Nairo Quintana Tour de France 11/8 Coral/Bet365
Daniel Ricciardo Hungarian Grand Prix 10/1 William Hill
Max Verstappen Hungarian Grand Prix 10/1 BetVictor
Gary Anderson World Matchplay Darts 5/1 Ladbrokes
Elaine Thompson Olympic 100m for Women 5/2 Paddy Power