Bang in form Charlie McCann of BetVictor.com goes through Saturday’s card and picks out the best bets for TRF readers
Sandown Park plays host to the 2016/17 jumps season finale with the highlight the 13-runner Bet365 Gold Cup. The Young Master won the corresponding race last year and he can race off the same handicap mark today having only got as far as the sixth (Becher’s) when falling in the Grand National last time. The Neil Mulholland gelding must go close but stablemate Doing Fine (3.35) was a fluent winner at Cheltenham (3m 4f) earlier in the month and escapes a penalty for that success.
The selection would be 8lbs worse off if this were not an early closing race and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run very well with Tom Scudamore a positive booking – at 9/2 with BetVictor I will be disappointed if he didn’t go very close.
The Oaksey Chase sees Menorah (2.25) go for a fourth successive win in the race and he looks to have been laid out for the race by connections. The selection is a 12-year-old but ran well in the first park of the season and can give weight away to all bar Nicky Henderson’s Josses Hill. The Philip Hobbs-trained gelding is 15/8 at BetVictor and he can make his guaranteed stamina prove decisive given a number of the opposition are not sure to get home up the Sandown hill after two miles and six furlongs.
Arkle winner Altior (3.00) goes head-to-head with the Champion Chaser Special Tiara but the novice cannot be opposed despite the fact that the Irish raiders form has been franked in no uncertain way by the subsequent wins of runner up Fox Norton. Special Tiara won this race two years ago but Nicky Henderson saddled the winner 12 months ago with Sprinter Sacre and if Altior is as good as I think he is then he should come out on top. He is no betting medium at 2/7 with BetVictor but if he as good as I think he is then he will maintain his unbeaten record over jumps.
I am convinced we didn’t see the real Brother Tedd (4.45) at Ascot last time and the handicapper has dropped him 3lbs for the run. It was reported that he was suffering from post-race ataxia and never went into the unsaddling enclosure – if he is back to his best, he is well-handicapped on his hurdles form and has ideal underfoot conditions. Shantou Village and Kilcrea Vale are considered the biggest dangers to the selection who is 12/1 at BetVictor and can reward each way support.
At Leicester Never Back Down (2.55) can go one better than on debut when runner up at Newmarket to a decent sort of Godolphin’s – he will be unlucky to bump into a similar sort and I know connections consider him a very fair juvenile.
Four of the five unexposed three-year-olds who contest the 12f handicap won last time out including Percy’s Word (3.30) for whom trainer Simon Crisford has booked William Buick. The selection won his sole 2-year-old start when getting up close home at Kempton Park and he is bred to come into his own over staying trips this term.
The 7f listed King Richard III Stakes is the highlight and Home Of The Brave (4.05) has won first time out for the last couple of seasons and is taken to land the hat-trick for Hugo Palmer and James Doyle. The selection took this race last year and this seven-furlong trip looks his optimum although he is entered in the Gp 1 Lockinge Stakes over a mile at Newbury next month.
At Ripon Cymro (4.30) will appreciate the step up in trip having looked in need of the outing on his reappearance at Pontefract earlier in the month and he can land the 12f handicap for Tom Dascombe whose string have been running well without striking gold of late.
There is a valuable 1m handicap at Haydock and Frankie Dettori takes over on El Zip (2.05) who was just touched off at Bath last time under Jamie Spencer. The selection has only had five career starts, but needs to be played late and the hope is that the Italian gets the breaks from what looks a decent draw in stall three. The selection is only 13/8 with BetVictor but could easily make up into a Pattern race performer this term.
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