Two genuine World Championship dark horses sit in the 22nd and 21st seeded positions.

A lot of eyes will be on both Chris Dobey and Krzysztof Ratajski at the Ally Pally. We take a closer look at the pair in the latest of a series of seed profiles. In case you missed it earlier, Max Hopp and Jeffrey de Zwaan preceded Dobey and Ratajski – check that out here. All odds are provided by World Championship sponsors William Hill, and are correct at time at publication.

Chris Dobey

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Seed: 22

Age: 29

Nationality: English

Previous World Championship appearances: 3

Best PDC major performance: Semi-Finals, Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals (both 2019)

Walk-on: No Limit – 2 Unlimited

Odds to win: 80/1

Quite rightly, Glen Durrant has caught the most attention for his exploits in majors this year. But, in the list of 2019 success stories, Chris Dobey deserves a spot alongside Durrant and Gerwyn Price. He has been nothing short of spectacular, ever since an eye-catching Premier League Darts debut as the first ‘contender’. That night, he was unlucky not to beat Mensur Suljovic in Newcastle. As is typical of the poker-faced Bedlington star, he didn’t let the near miss faze him.

His Grand Prix debut saw him beat Ricky Evans, Gary Anderson and Ian White, with only Michael van Gerwen able to deny him a place in the final. He went and repeated the trick at the Players Championship Finals, with Price proving a step too far in Minehead. Dobey also made his World Matchplay debut and achieved a best-ever placing at the European Championship, meaning that he finds himself among the World Championship seeds.

If he’s to break new ground at the Ally Pally, that would mean reaching the quarter-finals. The 29-year-old almost did it last year, pushing Anderson all the way before an agonising defeat. He’s in a nasty section of the draw, with Durrant, Suljovic, Daryl Gurney and Jose de Sousa all potential opponents even before a slated quarter-final versus Gerwyn Price. Yet Dobey, a model of cool consistency, won’t fear any of them.

Krzysztof Ratajski

Kelly Deckers/PDC

Photo: Kelly Deckers/PDC

Seed: 21

Age: 42

Nationality: Polish

Previous World Championship appearances: 2

Best PDC major performance: Last 16, UK Open (2018 & 2019), World Matchplay (2019), Grand Slam (2018), Players Championship Finals (2018)

Walk-on: We Like To Party – Vengaboys

Odds to win: 66/1

Krzysztof Ratajski has two objectives left to have really made it in the PDC. One; to do something special at a major. And two; to have Barry Hearn pronounce his name properly. Rattajeski – I mean….Ratajski – has become a household name. With stunning back-to-back Players Championship titles and a UK Open Qualifier, all earned without holding a Tour Card, the former BDO World Master burst onto the PDC scene in style.

Now with a Tour Card in hand (for a long time, you’d expect), the Polish Eagle has added a European Tour success to two more floor wins. He’s not only the guiding light for European darts outside of the more established hotbeds of the Netherlands, Austria and Germany, but someone whose major-winning future feels more of a case of ‘when’, rather than an ‘if’.

So why has he been so poor at them? It’s a mystery, probably to Ratajski as much as anyone. He has been to the World Championship twice, and lost at the first hurdle both times. You feel that he’ll put that right this time, except that he could face Jamie Hughes. Getting the toughest non-seed feels like a rotten slice of luck for the 42-year-old.

But the thing is, top-tier players win those sort of matches. Why not get one under the belt early? This could be Ratajski’s watershed moment. If it’s not, you wouldn’t bet against it coming in 2020.

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Author: Ed McCosh