UK Championship odds: Can Judd Trump win in York for the first time in a decade?

Planet Sport's tipster guides you through some of the standout contenders at this year's UK Championship in York.

The UK Championship will see snooker's biggest stars on show as they battle it out for the prestigious ranking title.

The tournament - associated with the Triple Crown for events, which also includes the World Championships and the Masters - has a total prize fund of more than £1million and will take place in York once again.

It's 2021 and Stephen Hendry is in the tournament - yes you heard correct and you can get him at odds of 2500/1 while Jimmy White is at 3000/1...

Neil Robertson is the defending champion and is looking to become just the fourth player to successfully defend the title after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and more recently, Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2018.

When, where and how to watch it

When: Tuesday, November 23

Where: Barbican Centre, York, England

How to watch: BBC / Eurosport

Trump the red-hot favourite

judd trump

Judd Trump will head into this week's UK Championship on a high after crushing John Higgins to claim his first title of the season at the Champion of Champions tournament in Bolton.

Trump begins his quest for a second UK crown on Thursday against David Lilley, the World Seniors champion who he also beat in the first round in Bolton last week.

Having previously reached quarter-finals at the Northern Ireland and English Opens respectively, 32-year-old Trump's 10-4 thrashing of Higgins served up a spectacular reminder that he is back on top form.

Trump said: "It's my first win of the season and it's a massive one, but there are a lot of other major events coming up and hopefully this will kick-start my campaign.

"The standard is so high that any final you reach is incredible. To get this one under my belt early in the season, hopefully I can take some momentum from here."

Trump claimed his sole UK title in 2011 and came closest to adding a second last season when he was beaten in a thrilling final-frame decider by Neil Robertson. He is ranked World No.1 and it is about time he added to his UK Championship tally.

Robertson a dark horse

neil robertson

The Australian starts his title defence on Thursday when he takes on John J Astley in the opening round at York Barbican.

Ronnie O'Sullivan recently said if he could continue the form he had displayed over the last couple of seasons then 'he is the man to beat' not only at the domestic level but also the Worlds.

Ranked No.4 in the world, Robertson won his first event of the season at this years English Open, overcoming John Higgins 9-8. At the Champions of Champions, he reached the quarter-finals before tasting elimination to Kyren Wilson.

While it was a disappointing exit, Robertson reached a milestone by hitting his 800th century on the circuit. He is just the fourth player to have achieved the accomplishment, after O'Sullivan, Higgins and Stephen Hendry.

At 5/1, it's certainly worth backing the Aussie who is looking to win the tournament for the fourth time.

Fourth time lucky for Higgins?

john higgins

Three-time champion Higgins is one of the star attractions in the first round on Tuesday as he faces Michael Georgiou, hoping to show no ill effects from a third consecutive final loss.

Higgins lost final-frame deciders to both Mark Allen and Robertson in the Northern Ireland and English Opens respectively, before his hammering at the hands of Trump.

"It's obviously an achievement, but you want to win events and I've lost three on the trot, so it's not a great feeling," admitted Higgins.

"But at least I can hold my hands up and say that I've been beaten by three unbelievable champions."

Higgins also suggested that perhaps he is no longer good enough to compete at the highest level but his performances have been up there until reaching the final match of a tournament.

At 46 though, he may have lost his killer instinct to win a big trophy. Expect the Scotsman to reach the latter stages but fall just short once again.

Can Ronnie turn up?

ronnie o'sullivan

Another golden oldie perhaps slowing down with age. Ronnie O'Sullivan, 45, starts his campaign on Wednesday against former ranking event winner Michael White, the same night that world number one Mark Selby faces Ross Muir.

O'Sullivan is not as dedicated as he once was with him picking and choosing events. Fifteen months ago he won his sixth World Championship and there were talks about whether he could tie Stephen Hendry's record (seven) or even better it at the Crucible.

However, like John Higgins, he has been unable to convert wins in finals, losing five last season.

O'Sullivan is yet to win a trophy since his 2020 World Championship triumph but you can never rule him out. O'Sullivan is still ranked World No.3 which is staggering based on the lack of tournaments he enters compared to others in recent years.

York is a place Ronnie loves playing at. His most recent victory there in 2018 saw him win the event for the seventh time - the most in snooker history with Hendry his nearest rival at five.

Before the quarter-finals, all of the games are best of 11 frames and the final is a best of 19 frames. O'Sullivan can blow hot and cold in tournaments but the UK is perfect for him. But at his age, and lack of commitment on the practice table, we fancy him to reach the last eight before coming unstuck.

Wilson with a point to prove

kyren wilson

Here's a player who has hit the headlines recently, but not for his performances on the table. After TV channels snubbed his English Open game against Noppon Saengkham, Wilson expressed his frustrations to the Metro.

"I feel like I'm spending all my time on Table Two and Table Three, on the graveyard shift. I want to be back on Table One where I feel like a world number five should be really.

"I feel like at the minute, world number five counts for nothing, whereas you're actually in the real top bracket of the game. What does it mean if you're out in the sticks all the time and not on the showbiz table?"

The World No.5 is yet to win a tournament this season but made the semi-finals in his last appearance at the Champions of Champions. Oh, how he would love to win this tournament and stick two fingers up at the TV broadcasters.

One to watch out for: Bingtao

bingtao

Planet Sport's outside tip for the tournament. There is talk about the Chinese player becoming the next superstar of snooker.

In 2016, he became the first player to compete who was born in the 2000s and by the 2019/20 season, at the age of 19, he won his first ranking title at the Riga Masters. He was also the youngest player to win a ranking tournament since his fellow native Ding Junhui in 2006.

Last season he won the Masters - edging out John Higgins 10-8 - although he is yet to win an event in the four tournaments he has entered in 2021/22.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is the youngest winner of the UK Championship at 17 but if Bingtao could win at 21 years old then it would be some achievement.

Read more: Six takeaways from the 2021 LPGA season