Snooker is back on ITV for the first time this season this week when the stars of the game head to Cheltenham for the British Open, a tournament which is slowly getting back to the prestigious event it was in the past.
Ryan Day kept this title in Wales a year ago when he stunned Mark Allen in the final to win the biggest trophy of his career and he’ll head to Cheltenham looking to keep hold of his crown against a top field.
2022 – Ryan Day
2021 – Mark Williams
There has been a complete change in the format for this year. A qualifying round has already got rid of 48 players and will get rid of 16 more at the venue. The main draw is a random draw just like last season but the format has gone up. Each match up to the quarter finals is the best of seven rather than best of five from last year. The quarter finals are the best of nine before the semi-finals over the best of 11. The final will be played out on the Sunday over the best of 19 frames where the champion will walk off with £100,000.
With Ronnie O’Sullivan withdrawing ahead of the event it is the European Masters finalist Judd Trump who is the 13/2 favourite to walk off with the trophy on what is effectively home soil for him with him coming from the Bristol area. I’m sure Trump will have plenty of support this week and he won’t be short of motivation having not won a tournament since The Masters right at the beginning of the year. If the draw stays kind to him you would expect him to go fairly deep in the event.
John Higgins is a 10/1 second favourite to come out on top in the tournament this week. He has got a couple of comfortable opponents to begin his campaign against but he seems unable to hold onto a lead over the last season or two. He has lost some big leads and even in the Shanghai Masters recently he lost 6-5 to Ronnie O’Sullivan from 5-2 up so the deeper he goes in this competition the more you would worry about that. He is a little short to me.
Mark Selby is an 11/1 third favourite to win the tournament. Selby made the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters earlier in the season before losing to eventual winner Ronnie O’Sullivan but he scored well out there and although he has a tricky initial draw in this event, if he plays well you would expect Selby to make it into the third round and then from there anything can happen. The deeper he goes the more he’ll be reminded he has never won an ITV event though and that isn’t ideal.
Neil Robertson hasn’t really looked himself for a while but he will head to Cheltenham as a 12/1 shot to win this tournament. Robertson will carry extra motivation into this event with him as he is in grave danger of not making it into the Champion of Champions courtesy of winning silverware and that is a tournament he will very much want to be a part of. One thing which isn’t ideal is Robertson could run into the Chinese player Si Jiahui in the second round and at this price I can pass the Australian up.
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With the random draw this week I’m looking for some value to my picks and at 40/1 Ali Carter is the first one to grab my attention. He won the German Masters last season so we know that he can win tournaments and he looked in fairly good order at the Shanghai Masters earlier in the month before Ronnie O’Sullivan hit the turbo booster against him. He won’t be doing that this week and with a fairly comfortable draw against Allan Taylor who he beat in the International Championship qualifying last week and Xu Si in the second round, there is no reason why Carter can’t reach the last 32 and then anything happens from there.
There is a bit of an all or nothing look to the displays of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh but this could be a tournament which is right up his street with no time to prepare or panic over an opponent. He can just turn up, play with freedom and see if he can beat the man in front of him. He could be a big price at 50/1. This is a player who took Mark Allen to the cleaners in the International Championship earlier in the season and who has made 19 70+ breaks already this term so he is winning frames in one visit which will be useful the longer this competition goes on and players potentially have to play twice in a day. I’ll take a punt on the Thai here.
The Welsh have won this title for the past two seasons and I’ll pay to see if Daniel Wells can keep the trophy in that part of the world. Wells has qualified for all of the events bar the English Open when Stephen Maguire had a massive stroke of luck against him in the deciding frame. Being off the tour last season meant that Wells played a lot of these short course matches and I think he is one of the players who will go really deep in a tournament this season. If the draw stays kind to him for a few rounds here that could easily be this week at a monster price.
Back A.Carter to win British Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Coral (1/2 1-2)
Back T.Un-Nooh to win British Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)
Back him here:
Back D.Wells to win British Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)