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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Tingle Creek day at Sandown

Azure Fly went close yesterday, but 2nd wasn't good enough.  We can take some comfort from the fact we had the value having obtained 6/1 on Thursday evening.  
Plenty of racing on Saturday with meetings at Ascot, Sandown, Chepstow and Wetherby and some top class racing as well.  Having pondered the cards overnight I think that with the earlier start times on a Saturday for the race meetings that, in previous seasons, I've put myself under pressure to get selections out on the blog before I have properly considered the races. As such, I am going to restrict my wagers to horses that I consider tick all the boxes, and not rely on an element of "gut feeling". 

At Aintree today we have the Becher Chase at 1:35pm with a huge field declared, and while I'd love to put one up for this it is too big an exercise to analyse in full. Some of these ran at Cheltenham a few weeks ago, and my selection in that 3m3f race (which was won by Viconte Du Noyer) was Cogry who was (unfortunately) brought-down by a loose horse.   Cogry was going well that day and he could be the answer as these modified "National" fences are not the big-issue that they once were.  I'm expecting a better run from Silvergrove, but his trainer only has the National in mind this season as do a few others. Ziga Boy is another that fits this "National target" bill. Alvarado ran a cracker at Cheltenham as the ground was a lot softer than he likes, and I'm expecting a big run from him even if he'd prefer a longer trip. There is some quiet support about last years winner Highland Lodge who has been well prepared to repeat the win by trainer James Moffatt.

Later in the afternoon, the "Grand Sefton" handicap chase over 2m5f of the National course looks just as competitive a race. They won't hang about in this with Troika Steppes likely to lead from the off. Overall, the racing at Aintree looks entertaining but tricky for the punter.

At Sandown we have a fairly competitive looking "Tingle Creek" over 2-miles at 3:00pm; even so, it will be a surprise to me if the 8yo Un De Sceaux is beaten given his brave front-running display at Cheltenham last March. That is the best form on offer, and he should be able to win this. I don't recommend wagers at odds under 9/4 but, given the opposition, I would have Un De Sceauxat 5/4 for this so the current offer of 2/1 (available generally) looks generous to me. The 6yo Ar Mad has to find about 10lb to win, the others are held on known form. 

Perhaps the most interesting race at Sandown is the last of the day at 3:30pm, the London National over 3m4f. Based on his 3rd at Chepstow 14-months ago over a 3-mile trip off OR132, Doing Fine looks well-treated here off OR126. He's down the handicap having lost his form, like a lot of horses did, when with Rebecca Curtis last season. She's turned the corner now, and her stable has returned to form, but connections of Doing Fine evidently decided to give their horse a change of scene. He ran well over hurdles last month and that should have set him up for this. There are a couple of others in the race that look capable of winning: Jimmy The Jetplane and Five In A Row. Both will likely stay the trip (though JTJ is more of a proven stayer), and both will handle the ground - my feeling is that Jimmy The Jetplane is the least exposed and more likely to find improvement. Belmount  was exposed LTO.  I cannot see Loose Chips beating this level of opposition off OR139 even though he loves Sandown, and if he cannot win the neither can Court By Surprise.  I am not confident Cona Tois can be effective off OR121, and I will have to see it first. It is nearly 2 years since Rocky Creek won the Betbright Chase at Kempton off OR154, and while he is possibly capable of a decent effort, it is unlikely he will put it together. 
The "good" ground has swung me towards JIMMY THE JETPLANE as on a similar surface he is 5 wins and 4 x 2nd's from 10 runs, whereas many of the others including Doing Fine will be wanting softer ground.  The odds of 11/1 look more than fair about JIMMY THE JETPLANE and he's worth an eachway selection.  However, be aware that should Doing Fine replicate his run at Chepstow of October last year, then he wins this.

Chepstow has a 3-mile handicap chase at 3:20pm and with Champion Jockey Richard Johnson riding here there is lots of support for Lamb Or Cod.  If he has retained his ability then he is on a very lenient handicap mark and will be hard to beat. If you hasn't, then there are a couple of others that come to the fore: Fergal Mael Duin and Potters Cross. Colin Tizzards Fergal Mael Duin ran well LTO and because of the stable form he has attracted a lot of support, but that race at Fontwell fell apart somewhat and his best form has been on soft ground, whereas it is good ground there today. As such, I reckon Potters Cross holds the key to this race as he is a prominent runner who did not enjoy the loose, soft ground at Cheltenham LTO but, before that won over C&D here in October and is a very lightly raced 9yo.  Odds of 10/1 look fair eachway value but with only 3 places on offer the odds are too short for me to recommend a wager.

A busy day, but a day for small stakes and watching with interest from the sidelines.

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