My initial thought was to go with SHAKING HANDS in the West Wales National, but he’s been raised 9lbs for his demolition job LTO and, at OR128, he’s 4lbs out of the handicap so he’s effectively running-off OR132. His trainer, David Pipe, also supplied the top-weight Junior (who is now a non-runner) and that, for me, is a big pointer that SHAKING HANDS has a decent chance. It all depends on whether Cannington Brook can repeat his latest winning form away from Haydock. If he can, he has a great chance in this at the weights as he is 1 of only 3 in the handicap proper. I’m not sure about this race; 3m3f on heavy going may prove too much for a front-runner like SHAKING HANDS off OR132 and there’s not much scope in his odds of 11/2.
The all-chase card at Sandown looks spectacular on paper. The novice chase over 2m4f & 110 yards at 2:25 could be a fine opportunity for HOUBLON DES OBEAUX to get back in the winners enclosure. This talented 3-mile hurdler seems best at around 2m5f as a chaser, and he should be able to handle the heavy ground at Sandown. You could say he’d prefer better ground as he’s not won on heavy for the last 3 races he’s run on it, but his stamina should help him get the better of today’s opposition, which includes the odds-on fav Captain Conan. At 9/2 he’s worth a speculative ½pt win wager in this 4-horse race.
The Betfred Masters Chase at 3:35 looks tricky. There is no value at all in Keppols Hill representing Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh at odds of 7/4. Opposing him will be Mister Hyde on (9/2) Viking Blond (9/1) and On Trend (8/1). The form of the Keppols Hill race LTO does not look strong. I’m in a bit of a quandary with this race as I think Viking Blond must win a good race soon off OR132 but this race is on right-handed Sandown which is a new area for him. Mister Hyde will love the heavy ground (as he did LTO) but a 13lb hike for his LTO win looks tough. ON TREND hammered Mister Hyde as a novice chaser and his latest run (2nd to Brackloon High) was a huge step forward on his comeback trail. Odds of 8/1 look fair value to me as I expect him to be either 1st or 2nd (to Keppols Hill).
Wetherby usually has a solid card and today’s is no different, altho’ I see no benefit for punters putting a hunter-chase on as the 2nd race in the card. The novice chase at 3:20 has David Pipe introducing his very promising GOULANES, but he has some tough opposition. Fill The Power will put in his usual strong performance at about 138-140. But the winner could well be FOURJACKS who won his debut chase well (beating another Pipe novice chaser in Poole Master) and looks sure to improve on that performance. The current odds are a bit disappointing as I was hoping for 4/1, but he’s no longer than 7/2 as I write. If you can get 9/2 he’s worth a ½pt win wager, but I cannot advise a wager at 7/2.
By the way, I'm now subscribing to the ratings provided by Formbet but I am writing this blog without reference to them. This blog, and the selections within it, is based on my personal alert list and the observations I have made from the form-book.
Remember! Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose. Thanks from Wayward Lad.