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WST Classic preview: Ronnie O'Sullivan primed for Leicester glory

The World Snooker Tour has reached the business end of the season with both the lucrative Tour Championship and the World Championships on the horizon.

On Thursday, a new event begins in Leicester - the WST Classic - which replaces the cancelled Turkish Masters and crucially is the final event carrying points before the Tour Championship.

WhatWST Classic
WhereMorningside Arena, Leicester
WhenThursday 16th March - Wednesday 22nd March
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsRonnie O'Sullivan 11/2, Judd Trump 7/1, Neil Robertson 10/1, Mark Selby 10/1, Shaun Murphy 10/1

There is a total of £427,000 up for grabs, including a winner's cheque for £80,000, and the top 64 players in the world face-off in the opening round against players ranked 67th to 128th.

The outright market has a very familiar look to it with world number one and seven-times world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan heading the betting at 11/2, followed by 23-time ranking event winner Judd Trump (7/1).

Former world champions Neil Robertson (10/1), Mark Selby (10/1) and the very much in-form Shaun Murphy (10/1) also feature in a classy field.

Murphy climbed to second place on the one-year money list which guaranteed him a place at the Tour Championship in Hull later this month.

Only the top eight in the list will compete at the Bonus Arena with a number of big names needing a big run in the WST Classic to qualify.

Jack Lisowski, who is still chasing his first-ever ranking event title, must reach at least the quarter finals, while the aforementioned Trump must reach the final after a moderate season by his lofty standards.

Robertson, O'Sullivan and Welsh potting machine Mark Williams all need to win this event to qualify.

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Soft start for O'Sullivan

Ante-post jolly O'Sullivan is the number one seed and has drawn world number 117 Mohamed Ibrahim, who has never progressed behind the first round of any ranking event.

The Rocket has fared very well in the draw with Luca Brecel and Mark Williams the notable players joining him.

O'Sullivan has just the Champion Of Champions and Hong Kong Masters to his name this season but has a great opportunity to go deep in Leicester this week.

Carter hoping to progress

One of the ties of the first round is recent German Masters champion Ali Carter, who is available to back at 28/1 for outright honours, taking on the enigmatic Thai Dechawat Poomjaeng in what should be an entertaining contest.

The Captain claimed the spoils at the German Masters last month, beating Tom Ford 10-3 in the final, while he also reached the final of The Players Championship and the last-four stage of the European Masters.

If Carter can overcome a challenging opener against Poomjaeng, he will fancy his chances of enjoying a deep run in the tournament.

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