Good morning all,
Final day of the jumps season today before the jockeys have a well-earned week's break, and then we do it all again….
Three races from Sandown looked at, and I've thrown in one from Doncaster that has attracted my eye too…
1.55 Sandown – 2m Novices Championship Hurdles Final
The more I look at this the more I think it won’t take a lot of winning.
Top of my list is Ed De Giles’s Faltique De L’Isle, who I was rather cross with myself for not backing at Stratford last time. Winner Stepney Causeway (easy winner again at Ayr last week) aside, he was the only one in the paddock I liked – some real size about him, and a bit of quality – and for some reason I didn’t look at the market, or have a bet. It was only when I looked later I saw he’d gone off 25s I managed to fall out with myself, and swore to make sure that, under similar conditions, I’d be with him again next time. Isolate, 3l behind him at Stratford, is 3lb better off here, so they ought to be the same price, at worst, and given that was Faltique De L’Isle’s first start in this country, you’d hope there’s more to come.
Royaume Uni is the other I like, and he holds a first-rate chance. He looks well in on his Flat form and was very well backed to make it a winning handicap debut at Ascot last month. He travelled as well as anything but Josh Moore, by going right up the inside, was rather blindsided by Paddy Brennan’s move on the winner between the final two flights and by the time he’d seen him, he had three lengths to make up. That just proved too much to pull back, going down ½l at the line but he’ll have his chance to redeem himself here.
3.05 Sandown – Celebration Chase
It’s a pity we haven’t got the dead eight, as an each-way bet on Dolos at 50s would have made some appeal. Sandown really is his track, with most of his best efforts over the past two years coming here, although it must be said his fourth to Rouge Vif under a big weight at Cheltenham at the start of the season wasn’t far behind. There must be a fair chance of a couple at the front of the market blowing out after long seasons, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him outrun his odds.
Altior at his best would win this, easily, and it’s worth remembering he did win this on good ground two years ago, but we’ve not seen him since December and at the age of 11, Nicky now reaches for the cheekpieces for him. I really don’t know what to make of him, as the bare figures make him the one to beat, but he takes longer and longer to go through the gears and looked less than enthusiastic at Christmas.
Put The Kettle On is the one on recent form that they all have to beat, but Sceau Royal would surely have gone close to beating her in the Champion Chase but for finding a lot of trouble three out. He was all but on the deck and it cost him both ground and impetus at a key time. There’s really very little between them on form, so at the prices, I’d rather bet Sceau Royal to come out on top today.
3.40 Sandown – Bet365 Chase
Again, I have to say, this looks one of the weakest renewals in recent times, and my shortlist is not a long one.
Top weight Crosspark is top of my list, and God knows he deserves one of these. It’s generally thought soft ground brings out the best in him but that’s not the case at all, with some of his very best efforts coming on good (or quicker). Three runs at Sandown have seen him finish second every time, never beaten more than a length, he stays well, has a bit of quality and after trying to give Singlefarmpayment 22lb at Ascot, only to find him on a going day, he really does deserve a change of luck. He looks nailed on to run his race, and the yard have had three winners from four runners in the last two weeks (the other, Thomas Shelby, bled at Warwick yesterday).
Given the Irish have won everything else this season, I suppose we have to look to Plan Of Attack for the De Bromhead/Blackmore axis, but there’s more letters than numbers in his form this season and that’s never a good thing. He was still going well when falling three out in the Kim Muir, but fall he did, and at the price I can pass him over.
I ought not even be looking at The Young Master but he’s clearly been saved for this, and the booking of the excellent Kevin Brogan has prompted me to look twice. He won this back in *checks calendar* 2016 and has run well in it on other occasions, has won fresh in the past, and with Brogan’s 5lb taken into consideration, is 7lb lower than his solid third in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter last year. I’d be wanting a big price, given his age, but I’d say this is less competitive than a couple of the 365’s he’s run in, and I could see him going well.
8.00 Doncaster – 1m Handicap
I might be totally wrong about Alketios, but the fact he's been off for getting on for 1000 days would lead me to think he'd need the run, so why Chris Gordon would send him all the way up to Doncaster from his Hampshire base has got me thinking a bit. It would have been easy enough to find him a race at Brighton or Windsor, much nearer to home, than send him all the way here for the last race of the night, and a guaranteed early Sunday morning finish for the staff on getting him back.
A straight mile on quick ground should suit, and if he attracted a bit of support, that would make him even more interesting. As I say, could be barking up the wrong tree, we will see.
Today's selection – Crosspark (e/w) 3.40 Sandown
Good luck with all your bets today,