Good morning all,
Sadly, Wetherby has hit the buffers this morning, the overnight rain was too much for the course and their fixture has been called off. I suspect we will be losing a few more fixtures over the next week as the bad weather takes hold.
I have concentrated on Sandown today for a few selections, but this does look a keep-your-money-in-your-pocket sort of a Saturday, I have to say!
This is Dolos’s Gold Cup, having won the race in both 2019 and 2020, and his win over First Flow last year looks all the better after that one’s exploits this season. Worth remembering how much weight he gave him too….a whopping 22lb!
Basically, he has his conditions once again and he’s only 1lb higher than last year, and with many of his rivals having something to prove, he can complete the hat-trick.
Paddy’s Poem might be the one to chase him home. I have been a fan for some time and he really got his act together here last time out, running the improving Ibleo to a length and a half. That’s good form, but he races from 5lb out of the handicap here, which doesn’t make his task any easier.
1.50 Sandown – Scilly Isles Chase
Shan Blue looks like a favourite I want to take on today, with much of his good form coming on better ground than this. On the plus side, there’s no doubting his stamina for it, having bolted up over 3m in the Kauto Star at Kempton and even if he gets beat here, if it is better ground at Cheltenham come March, he’ll still be of interest there.
Hitman is open to improvement stepping up in trip, and lost little in defeat to Allmankind in the Henry VIII, but Dame De Compagnie, in receipt of a 5lb mares allowance, makes the most appeal.
I wondered whether they were going to keep her novice status over fences for the season and aim again at the Coral Cup (for which she’d still have a nice enough racing weight) but her appearance at Ayr put paid to that theory. Bar one poor jump at the fourth (where she was clever enough to find a leg) she jumped well in the main, and beat Cornerstone Lad how she liked. This step up in trip can only help her cause, and she too is open to plenty of improvement.
2.20 Sandown – Cotswold Chase
I have to say, after numerous looks at this, I’m none the wiser as to what the winner is. I can find positives and negatives pretty easily for all six, and I genuinely have no idea what will come out on top. If you stuck a gun to my head I’d go for Santini, but with no conviction. Pass!
2.55 Sandown – 2m4f Handicap Chase
Alnadam heads my shortlist for this. He clearly didn’t get on with Kempton last time but if you concentrate on his previous C&D win here in December, he’d have a great chance. That form has worked out very well, with the third, fourth and fifth all winning next time and given that was only his second chase start, it leaves him open to plenty more improvement.
Evander is both talented and quirky and I’m not sure that swapping the hood for a tongue tie is going to improve him any.
Those wanting to take a flyer on something at a price could consider the multiple point-to-point winner Colorado Doc, who has some ugly looking form figures to his name this year but hosed up in heavy ground around this time last year at Plumpton, looking a useful prospect. It was a better effort than it looked on his Newbury seasonal debut despite pulling up in the end, and he’ll enjoy these conditions today.
3.45 Musselburgh – Edinburgh National
It says a 0-150 on the tin, but in truth it is a 0-140, with top weight Le Breuil having that mark and this looks a lot less competitive than the Warwick contest he took in last time.
In fact, the more I look at this, the more I think he's not got to give that much weight to some much lower-class horses and this looks a golden opportunity for him to score and get that much-needed rise in the weights he needs to get in the Grand National proper. 3-1 actually looks a fair enough price.
Today's selection – Dolos 1.15 Sandown
Good luck with all your bets today,