Of the home contingent, I could easily have backed Stephen Dodd before seeing his price. Dodd has been resurgent recently with consecutive top-5s and six top-25s from his last eight, but starts at less than a third of last week’s odds. While I very much respect the Welshman’s claims, that price collapse is too much of an over-reaction and maintaining that fine level of form for a sixth consecutive week will be tough. Still, Dodd looks far likelier than the player who has usually carried his country’s main hopes in recent years, Bradley Dredge, who is struggling badly right now. A third Welshman, Jamie Donaldson, is not a completely forlorn hope after some encouraging form that is barely reflected in his finishing positions.
 
Its a very long time since I backed THOMAS BJORN, but Celtic Manor could be just the track to maximise his talents. 21st last year only looks moderate on paper, but that ignores the fact that he couldn’t make a cut at the time. Bjorn looks a different animal at the moment, much rejuvenated with a pair of top-6s the highlights of a consistent spell of form. Its important to remember with an erratic character like Bjorn that, at his best, he is a world beater. A player like that, even if they are never likely to consistently reproduce past glories, is always capable of popping up on the Euro Tour at a decent price when in good heart.
 
Others to consider include last year’s 3rd, Raphael Jacquelin. Never the most consistent, Jacquelin has only three top-20s to his name in 2009, though two of those would have rewarded each-way backers. He should enjoy a birdie-fest. The ever-consistent Antony Wall will no doubt be there or thereabouts yet again, offering a glimmer of hope to his long suffering supporters still waiting for that long, long overdue second win. Yet again last week in Kent, Wall was bang in contention for 45 holes before falling away as the competition hotted up. Steve Webster very much took the eye with his efforts on Sunday, and should like this course. Another contender in Kent, Jose-Manuel Lara, is unlikely to be as well suited by the expected low scoring in Wales.
 
With the emphasis on greens in regulation, par-5 performance and birdie average, ROBERT ROCK looks a massive price at 66/1. Surely those odds are an over-reaction to one missed cut, albeit with a huge total, because prior to last week he was one of the most in-form players in Europe. Consecutive runners-up spots in Italy and Ireland were followed with a respectable, and career best, 16th at Wentworth, so with Celtic Manor set to suit I expect Rock to resume an excellent run of results.
 
Spanish youngsters Carlos Del Moral, top-20 in five of his last six events, and the talented but erratic Pablo Larrazabal both look plausible outsiders. Instead though, the final place in the staking plan goes to a youngster I’ve mentioned before, DANNY WILLETT. At 90/1, bookies seem to have read too much into Willett’s last two missed cuts. He is still very young and inexperienced, which inevitably means a less consistent set of results than most, so we shouldn’t read too much into it. Previously, just three starts ago, he played some outstanding golf in tough conditions to make the top-10 in Korea, confirming my view that he is good enough to win the first of what will be many titles very soon. This weaker company, and course set-up, look the ideal opportunity.