A decent day of racing with meetings at Sandown, Musselburgh and Wetherby, and some good chase handicaps.
The Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown looks very competitive. However, I think the fact that Paul Nicholls enters both Clan Des Obeaux and Le Prezien suggests that he is not sure of either winning, and so in my eye the focus is on TOP NOTCH who I think is a top notch novice chaser and if you can get some of the 3/1 then that looks value.
The rain is likely to make Sandown very soft and it could be a bit grueling in the 3-mile Class 2 handicap chase at 3:35pm. The early fav is Beg To Differ who ran his best race in 12 months when 4th in the Welsh National at Christmas time, and his last win (and last piece of decent form) was when winning here over this 3-mile trip on soft ground beating the decent yardstick Loose Chips in the process. He beat Loose Chips easily that day yet meets him on 1lb better terms in this race. I just feel he may need further than this 3-mile. Next in the market is Otago Trail who we wagered on 2-weeks ago and who was a brave 2nd to Bristol De Mai at Haydock. and while he will love this ground that Haydock race was a tough one. Rock The Kasbah does not look a 3-mile chaser, and Antony was going well LTO (after winning well over this trip at Ascot in October) but went wrong and has questions to answer on his first race since November. He could be worth watching in-running. Irish Saint does not look a 3-mile chaser as he's failed at the trip in the past. Both Loose Chips and Turban are outclassed and that leaves the one that stands out, to me, in this race - SANDY BEACH We were on him LTO and possibly he didn't run as well as expected but was still a good 3rd. At 10/1 he looks the value in this race. Well worth a £5 eachway wager is SANDY BEACH.
The 4-mile chase at Musselburgh looks like providing a possible wager as the 6/1 fav Alvarado is at about his level at OR135 and I just cannot see him improving on his run at Cheltenham last October. The 2nd-fav Five In A Row just doesn't strike me as a marathon horse although he should be able to plod on to a place. As such, with the front 2 in the market opposable, there looks to be value in the others. Just A Par should go well but the burden of 11st12lb may prove too much and I think his target is Aintree. Dancing Shadow lost his maiden tag LTO and while he should go well, it all fell right for him then. There are two in the race who should go close: Gonalston Cloud and Azure Fly. We were on Gonalston Cloud LTO and he only just failed to catch the winner staying on strong. He's gone up 3lbs to OR133, but I feel this 10yo could be better than that and we know he stays all day long. Azure Fly is on a losing run of 11, but he stays well and jumps well and just lacks a change of gear to win races. Odds of 7/1 about Gonalston Cloud look fair as I'd have him the fav for this race based on his run LTO at about 4/1.
Musselburgh 2:05pm Gonalston Cloud - £5 eachway @ 7/1 (available generally)
Sandown 3:35pm Sandy Beach - £5 eachway @ 10/1 (available generally)
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