Daily Punt Home - Sandown Tingle Creek – Saturday

Sandown Tingle Creek – Saturday

Good morning all,

A really good weekend of racing starts with Sandown and Aintree today before some superb Irish racing tomorrow, and the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

My thoughts on today's card, plus the Many Clouds at Aintree, on today's piece.

1.50 Sandown

You’d think, from the prices quoted, that Third Time Lucki only has to turn up and jump round but make no mistake, this is his toughest test to date by some way and isn’t that far clear of them on the ratings. If he wins this convincingly then he really ought to be very short for the Arkle.

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Edwardstone was impressive when beating Stepney Causeway at Warwick, quickening away nicely when asked to, and we know from his hurdling exploits that he’s got the quality to make it to the top over fences. I don’t think going right-handed will make any difference and I think he’s the main threat.

That’s not to say the rest of the field aren’t, and it’s difficult to rule any of them out with any conviction. Stolen Silver continues to progress and deserves his chance at a big prize, but the joker in the pack is surely Il Ridoto, turning out just seven days after his easy win at Newbury last week. Reports tell me he barely had a race at Newbury, he wasn’t blowing at all post-race and clearly Nicholls thinks a fair bit of him to throw him in at the deep end here.

2.25 Sandown

Not a vintage Tingle Creek but interesting all the same.

A lot will depend on how forward Chacun Pour Soi is for this. We know, from the odd anecdote that we’ve heard on RTV that Closutton aren’t quite as forward as in previous years, which might make him vulnerable here. We know he’s quality but his Champion Chase defeat shows he’s not bombproof, and maybe a race-fit Nube Negra can give him something to think about.

Given that this wasn’t the plan (post-Shloer, the trainer intimated Kempton was probably the target) you can only assume Nube Negra is working the house down at home and needs to go now, rather than in four weeks time. So impressive at Cheltenham, he stepped his game up again there and looks a major player this year. Neither should it be forgotten that he did finish in front of Chacun in the Champion Chase before blowing out at Punchestown. There’s very little between them on form and that makes Nube Negra the bet.

The Nicholls pair, Hitman and Greanateen finished second and fourth in the Haldon Gold Cup, and as much as Greanateen will come on plenty for that, he was beaten in the race last year and I’d say this is a tougher ask this time around. Hitman was clearly wound up for the Haldon but still found Eldorado Allen too good, and that form needs improving upon today.

Captain Guinness is useful but has been found out at this level a few times now, and is probably biting off a bit more than he can chew.

3.00 Sandown

Of course, the moment I desert Salty Boy he goes and gets his head in front by winning the Southern National at Fontwell last time, producing another stamina-laden display. Can we now trust him? Has he turned a corner? A 5lb rise is more than fair, a drop of rain would only enhance his chance, and I might now jump back on board. (Cue a lifeless display…)

Strictlyadancer has turned into a win machine this season and made it three on the bounce at Haydock despite it looking less than likely at various points throughout the race. Another 7lb on his back means he needs more again, but I doubt we’ve got to the bottom of him.

Christmas In April’s form looks all the better after Cloudy Glen’s win last week – this time last year he was trying to give him 3lb and a beating in the Southern National, which looks a very good run in retrospect – and like so many from the yard appeared to be back to form when second to the unexposed Hold That Taught at Carlisle, again trying to give weight away. He still appears well treated and the ground should be ideal for him. He’ll be my saver.

One of these days, The Mighty Don will jump everything perfectly and win easily. But the railway fences…

2.05 Aintree

Protektorat looks a favourite to take on.

It’s not that I don’t like the horse, I do, but there’s no evidence as yet he is crying out for three miles, never miles three miles and a furlong against one of the classiest gallopers around in Native River.

You can perhaps argue that Native River might need the run but equally, last year’s farce of an event missed out so many of the fences, and his key asset – being able to jump at pace, and keep the gallop up – was nullified. In the circumstances, getting beaten only three lengths rated a good effort, and off the back of it, gave them all a running lesson in the Cotswold Chase (at Sandown).

With Simply The Betts likely to be ridden with a touch more restraint over a new trip too, Native River may well have it his own way on the front and can be another big-race winner for the resurgent Tizzards.

Imperial Aura had still to be asked for an effort when falling in the Betfair Chase but it was a long way out, and he’s another who is going to have his stamina put to the test here. In fact, if the dead 8 stand up, there’s a case to be made for The Two Amigos each-way. He might get towed along with Native River and as others stamina gives out, he could plod on into the places. The more rain the better his chance.

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Today's selection – Christmas In April (e/w 4 places) 3.00 Sandown

Good luck with all your bets today,


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