Value lies with Richardson to beat Merritt for Olympic hurdles gold

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Only three men look capable of winning the 100m hurdles final and although it is hard to back against Aries Merritt, his price has now shortened too much and so the value lies with either Jason Richardson or Dayron Robles.

With Liu Xiang eliminated in the heats of the competition for a second successive Olympics because of an Achilles injury, the door has opened even more for Merritt, who is now 1/4 to take gold.

After finishing fifth at the World Championships last year, Merritt has rapidly shown the promise this season which he threatened from a younger age when claiming the World Junior title back in 2004.

His spell of dominance started at the US Trials when winning with a world lead this year of 12.93secs and he has gone on to equal this time on two occasions since in the Diamond League events in Crystal Palace and Monaco.

However, perhaps more so than any other athletics event, the capacity for error is greater in the sprint hurdles.

Women’s favourite Lolo Jones discovered this when being sent off balance clearing the ninth hurdle of ten and ended up fourth at the last Olympics, while athletes have been sent sprawling across the track already in the heats of the men’s event this year.

This could happen to Merritt and Richardson would look the most likely to profit at 9/2.

Richardson chased home Merritt in the US trials and is also the only other man to dip under the 13.00sec barrier this season.

Meanwhile, as the defending world champion, Richardson may have the edge in terms of big-race experience.

Robles is the current world record holder but has been absent with a back problem for much of the season.

Despite this, if he rediscovers his best he can go close and 9/1 at worst looks like solid each-way value.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.