The Europeans look good

THE European contingent will carry a lot of confidence into the big sporting event of this weekend, the US Open.

Graeme McDowell’s success at last year’s tournament showed what can be done while the recent progress of Lee Westwood and Luke Donald to world number one level means they are strong favourites for the competition.

Westwood is an 11/1 favourite to land his first major and has reportedly looked incredibly impressive during practice.

Donald stands at 14/1 with Phil Mickleson leading the American field at 16/1 with

Mickleson has finished runner-up five times in the US Open and few would begrudge the leftie victory in Maryland.

There are any number of potential US winners including Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

But my nod goes to Hunter Mahan at 22/1 given he shares the course record after carding 62 in the final round of the 2009 AT&T National.

In the cricket, England are even money to win the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl starting today.

A draw is also priced at evens while a shock Sri Lanka win is at 10/1.

On the domestic front, Yorkshire host Lancashire in the T20 fresh from their win at Old Trafford last Friday which I’m sure brought more than a few smiles to faces there in Timesland.

The victory brought Yorkshire in to 25/1 for the trophy and another win tomorrow night is essential if they are to make finals weekend.

Royal Ascot stages five-days of top quality flat racing this week and Friday’s highlight the Coronation Stakes can go to Theysken’s Theory (3.45) who made such an impressive comeback at York last month.

This is a step up in class for Brian Meehan’s filly but she was a juvenile I always considered likely to go to the very top.

And she can reverse last season’s Fillies’ Mile form with Irish challenger Together who has finished runner up in both the Newmarket and Irish Guineas.

Together may have to settle for an unwanted hat trick with Theysken’s looking strong.

Nathanial (3.05) would be a confident selection in the King Edward VII if there was significant rain.

But as long as the ground isn’t too fast he ought to enhance his St Leger credentials, for which he is currently the 7/1 favourite with

Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes revolves around Await The Dawn, who looked a potential star when running away with the Huxley Stakes at Chester last month.

My one reservation would be he has yet to race over a mile and a half and on breeding he is not guaranteed to get the trip.

The ground will be pivotal to the outcome of both big sprints – the Golden Jubilee and the big betting race of the weekend, the Wokingham Handicap – with rain forecast for the latter part of the week.

One who won’t be inconvenienced by rain-softened ground would be Irish raider Bewitched (3.45) who made a winning reappearance at Leopardstown over 7f.

The grey mare is currently 10/1 and if there is more rain her price can only contract.

The Wokingham is one of my favourite races of the year and my initial selection Pastoral Player is one who would be at a disadvantage if there was plenty of rain.

But Deacon Blues (4.25) is a progressive horse and Johnny Murtagh takes over from Hayley Turner, who is required for Margot Did at Ayr.

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