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Malaysian grand prix betting its now or never for vettel


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The way the season started, Sebastian Vettel was one of the "big three". We might not have fancied him to win too many races given the dominance of Mercedes, but the four times former champion's Ferrari was certainly expected to be up there and competing.

Sadly for Vettel, it hasn't unfolded like that. The Prancing Horse has been, too often, more like an ageing old pony stood in the corner of the field munching on a bale of hay. He's watched Daniel Ricciardo zoom 26 points ahead of him in the race to join Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Drivers Championship top three.

That, of course, is not an impossible gap to close with six races still to go in a crowded season. But if he's going to start catching up he has to do it soon - and where better to start than at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix?

While most of the teams are beginning to turn their engineering focus strictly on to the demanding new rules for 2017, Ferrari haven't given up hope of closing the 15 point gap to Red Bull in the Constructor Standings. They are arriving at the Sepang circuit with a substantial upgrade to their cars which will give Vettel an extra edge.

The package has a range of modifications aimed both at improving the engine cooling for a race that's run in more than 30 degrees of heat, and enhancing the car's downforce. Both changes should be well suited to this track.

Vettel has great memories of Sepang. It was where last March he won a race for the first time since he had started wearing the red of Ferrari, holding off Lewis Hamilton's late charge.

Hamilton is [2.14] to be the Race Winner with Rosberg [2.94], but this might be the weekend for a big punt by backing Vettel at [15.5]. (He's [2.2] for a podium finish).

There are, you see, reasons not to just go with the short-priced favourites. Moving the fixture from the early part of the calendar to the start of October has given track bosses in Kuala Lumpur time to make some significant changes to the circuit. The entire 3.4 miles have been resurfaced.

Additionally nine corners have been altered. Turn 15, the final left-hand hairpin leading to the main straight, has been rebuilt with a reverse camber which will force drivers to find a completely different line and approach. Sepang's CEO Razlan Razali says "the drivers will feel like they are there for the first time."

Then there's the weather forecast, predicting rain both for qualifying and during the race. The early suggestion is that the conditions will be showery which immediately makes choosing the right tyres at the right time a bit of a lottery.

Vettel has had a miserable season, and at times has looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but behind the wheel. But the combination of confidence from last year, and improved performance from his car, makes this his big opportunity to restore his status.

He started the season considered to be part of the "big three". Malaysia will tell us whether he can finish it in the same way.

The road to the kentucky derby update march 9


´╗┐than two months remain before the top 20 points earners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby line up and contest the biggest race on North American soil. Things got a little clearer this past weekend when three qualifying races were contested. The Gotham Stakes from Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby from Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe Stakes from Santa Anita all awarded 50-20-10-5 points for first to fourth place and produced at least three sure-fire starters for the Run for the Roses in May.

Three races remain before the points values double- the Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn Park this upcoming weekend and the Spiral Stakes and the Sunland Derby will be contested the next two weeks before seven races award 100-40-20-10 points for first to fourth.

So what do the standings look like after three races awarded at total of 255 points this weekend? Let's take a look.

Kentucky Derby Championship Season betting with OffTrackBetting.com

John Terranova trained El Kabeir now leads the way with 75 points after a win in the Gotham Stakes this past weekend - he was second in the Withers Stakes and posted wins in the Jerome Stakes, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and Champaign Stakes. Mike Maker's International Star is second with 71 points after wins in the Risen Star, the Lecomte Stakes, a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club and a win in the Grey Stakes while Bob Baffert trained Dortmund is next with 70 points. He won the San Felipe Stakes this past weekend and also posted wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Los Alamitos Futurity. All three of the aforementioned are virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Todd Pletcher trained Carpe Diem sits in fourth with 64 points after a win this past weekend in the Tampa Bay Derby, a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a win in the Breeders' Futurity in October with another Todd Pletcher pupil Itsaknockout in fifth with 50 points thanks to a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes February 21.

Rick Violette trained Upstart is sixth with 36 points after a second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a win in the Holy Bull Stakes, a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a second in the Champagne Stakes while Tom Amoss trainee War Story is seventh with 24. Rounding out the top 10 is Far Right with 22 points, Ami's Flatter with 20 points and Prospect Park who also has 20 points. All horse outside the top 5 will have some work to do in order to qualify for the Run for the Roses.

D. Wayne Lukas trained Mr. Z has 14 points, Kiaran McLaughlin pupil Frosted and stablemate Classy Class each have 13 points, highly regarded Texas Red after a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile has 12 points and Dale Romans trained Keen Ice rounds out the top 15 with 12 points as well.

Eight colts are tied with 10 points and will need some good results going forward in order to crack the top 20. They include Jim Cassidy trained Ocho Ocho Ocho who won the Delta Downs Jackpot November 22, highly regarded Bob Baffert trained FrontRunner Stakes winner American Pharaoh, Champagne Stakes winner Daredevil, winner of the Withers Stakes Far From Over, El Camino Real Stakes victor Metaboss, Lucky Prayer who won the Iroquois Stakes, Bolo and Nick Zito trained Frammento.

The 24th-30th place colts are as follows:

  • Firing Line - 8 points
  • Bold Conquest - 7 points
  • Conquest Typhoon - 6 points
  • Lord Nelson - 6 points
  • The Truth Or Else - 6 points
  • Rock Shandy - 6 points
  • St. Joe Bay - 6 points

There are 16 other hopefuls with at least one point on the Road to the Kentucky Derby - they are on the far outside looking in and will need a win the next couple of months just to crack the top 20.