The first race of the day may be a flat race but in terms of distance it’s as long as some of the jumps action we’ll also see on Channel 4 today.
Course and distance winner Ardlui seems quite a big price at 14/1; with conditions to suite it should certainly have a better chance than its place in the market suggests but at the age of seven it may be too much of an ask on its seasonal reappearance.
Gabrial’s King is trained by the in form Richard Fahey who’s yard is based locally to Ripon. The six year old is relatively inconsistent but when it puts its best foot forward it has a great chance. All this being said however as with the aforementioned Ardlui it may be too much of a task to win first time up.
The biggest danger to my selection seems to be Taws. Rod Millman’s stable are starting to fire in a few winners and with Taws already winning this season it’ll be fitter than most of its rivals today. The horse won’t be inconvenienced with the return to turf and should have an outstanding chance.
My slight doubt however is that the horse stays in a class two handicap and considering it didn’t seem to do all that well at this level last time out it may still be a tad too much this time as well.
This leads me on to my selection and although it is unlikely to be the biggest price I think the current favourite Norab is the one to beat. At the age of four it has room for improvement and with a win to its name on its comeback run it clearly retains its ability from last year. With that winning run under its belt it’ll strip fitter and from the top Marco Botti stable it should be the one to beat.
Our first taste of jumps action today sees us take in the first race from Sandown and what an open contest it looks to be.
The current race favourite Alzammaar seems to be worthy of his place at the head of the market and is improving with each run. Both Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan have had a wonderful season and is, without belittling their achievements, the opitomy of over achievers this year. The horse looks like the most likely winner and I couldn’t really put people off but there’s one horse in the race that seems better value.
Sternrubin is a bit of a dark horse and is very lightly raced but is building up a reputation of being a constant bridesmaid with three second placed finishes in a row.
We all know how Paul Nicholls loves to have a winner on Saturday and sends top weight Old Guard into this with a relatively lively chance. Unfortunately with top weight and a poor performance last time out it is likely to be too big a task.
The horse I’m plumping for in this was very disappointing at Cheltenham when a few whispers were going around for it in The Fred Winter. That race aside and Sebastian Beach would have a chance better than its double figure price tag would suggest. Jonjo O’Neill has his yard doing well still and it could shock a few people in this. It may not win the race but at a decent price a placed effort could be on the cards.
Sebastian Beach (E/W)
Our return to the flat for our one and only race from Haydock sees us take into a sixteen runner handicap over a mile.
With so many runners, despite the chances of both Extremity and Yourartisonfire, I just couldn’t opt for a horse that wasn’t at least 8/1 or bigger. This isn’t to say that neither horse has a chance and if truth be told they are worthy of being at the head of the betting but I just have to look for value in a race of this nature.
It may seem a less than wise decision to go for a horse that is the oldest in the race and hasn’t won in its last ten starts but Prince Of Johanne is a course winner who will relish the firmer ground. The horse is now back to a decent winning mark and can go well fresh. From the plumb draw of stall one it has a great chance and should go close.
Of the remaining runners if Gabrial’s Kaka was able to rekindle its best form it would have a great chance but I couldn’t be confident of that happening.
Sticking with the same Dr Marwan Koukash silks and I’m going to go for the owners other runner Apostle.
The horse isn’t given the best draw in stall fourteen but is a very consistent runner. Trainer David Simcock has a 26% strike rate with his four year old or older horses in 2015 and Jamie Spencer seems to be picking up a fair few wins at the moment. Some people think this horse will need cut in the ground but with a win on the all-weather to its name I don’t think it actually does. If the horse can overcome a less than advantageous draw it could put in a great effort.
Prince Of Johanne (E/W)
Heading back to Sandown and the jumps where the remainder of todays TV Tips come from.
The market seems to be telling us that this is just a two horse race between both Al Ferof and Menorah. Both horses are in the twilight of their careers at the age of ten and both have course wins to their name. If I had to pick between the two I’d go with the course and distance winning Phillip Hobbs horse but that aside I’m not going with either of them in this.
I mentioned earlier how Paul Nicholls loves a winner on a Saturday and with three runners entered in to this it certainly looks like he’s plumping for the win in and this and I’m opting for one of his alternative runners.
I’m a big Rebel Rebellion fan and was one of my selections for the Grand National. It has a course and distance win to its name but has had a very tough campaign with a lot of races this year.
Unlike Rebel Rebellion fellow stable mate Rolling Aces has only raced three times this year and considering it’s a nine year old it is lightly raced throughout its career. It may be fresher than most of its rivals and has ran consistently well this year and may be a dark horse here and worth a punt for the top three.
Rolling Aces (E/W)
We see the first of just two rides for the retiring AP McCoy in this and what a chance he seems to have onboard Paul Nicholls Mr Mole.
I hate to say it but unfortunately we see Sprinter Sacre race again. In my own opinion the horse should well and truly be retired. Obviously if the horse was to recapture even 50% of its best it should win this hands down but I think the chance of that is slim to none and the horse is a shadow of its former self.
It’s somewhat strange to see Special Tiara head the market and although the horse has run some races that were way above expectations with only seven runners I couldn’t be confident of the horse even placing.
Vibrato Valtat seems markedly overpriced considering it’s a course and distance winner and ran consistently this year but as with Special Tiara I couldn’t be confident of it winning and with only two places I have to look elsewhere.
Gods Own, as with the favourite, has run well above expectations but without a win to its name in its last four starts I could be confident of victory with the Tome George runner.
It may seem like I’m being sentimental but I genuinely think McCoy can win his penultimate ride and despite Mr Mole’s poor Cheltenham Festival performance it should prefer conditions today and will be there come the end.
Mr Mole (WIN)
The marquee race of the day sees twenty horses line up for the Bet365 Gold Cup in our second to last race and with so many runners it’s looking markedly open.
That being said I am plumping for one of the market leaders. Le Reve missed both Aintree and Cheltenham and may be fitter than some of its rivals. Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell takes the ride and this seven year old could have scope for improvement. The horse hails from a much lesser known yard but don’t let that put you off a horse that has been very consistent this year.
Paint The Clouds has a fantastic chance but I fear this sort of race is too big a step up in class and may find a handful of runners much better here.
Likely dangers from over in Ireland will be Grand Jesture and Guess Again but I’m going to stick with an English runner and although I’ll sound like a broken record I’m going to plump for yet another Paul Nicholls runner. Not better know of Nicholls four entrants I am in fact going to go with eight year old Just A Par.
The Sean Bowen ridden horse is relatively lightly raced and if you look through its earlier career with seconds behind Many Clouds, At Fishers Cross and Shotgun Paddy it doesn’t read that badly at all. Obviously it needs to make a big step up but the horse does come from top yard and will be my outsider of the field to do well.
Le Reve (E/W)
Just A Par (E/W)
This Saturday we have a special treat as Channel 4 extend their usual Saturday coverage and make the wise decision to ensure they cover AP McCoy’s final ever race in the saddle. It’s no surprise to see his mount, the appropriately named Box Office, as the short priced favourite and is being backed off the boards with the best price currently around 3/1. It would be great to see such an illustrious champion finish on a high but with so many runners in this field I couldn’t tip his mount. I’m hoping to find a bigger priced runner to finish placed behind what will hopefully be a glorious AP winning send off.
If the tope weight Clondaw Kaempfer can recapture some of its past exploits it should have a decent enough chance but I fear its better days are long behind him.
The two horses I fear the most, aside from the favourite, are Charlie Longsdon’s Wilberdragon and Dan Skelton’s Go Odee Go. The former has won three of its last four starts and looks to have bags of improvement left however the Longsdon yard has had muddling form recently and I’d argue the horse is short enough at a price of 17/2.
Go Odee Go won nicely last time out but at the age of seven may be open to a younger horse with more scope for improvement.
One of those younger horses with room for improvement I hope is L’Aigle Royal. the John Quinn trained four year old ran a very eye-catching race to finish fourth in a Grade 3 race last time out over todays course and distance. A drop in class should benefit the horse who is saddled with a low enough weight today and could easily finish in the top four here.
L’Aigle Royal (E/W)
by Rory Paddock