RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) returns to share his best bets from Saturday's action at Aintree and Sandown.
Saturday 8th December 2018 | 1:30 Aintree | ITV
The Becher Handicap Chase is one of the rare races over the National fences and is often won by one who doesn't quite get home in the National itself. This year on soft ground it will take a lot of getting and I'm backing one who may be having his first look at the fences but is a high-class stayer.
Ballyoptic (8/1 BetVictor) is a horse I've long liked. I thought he could be a high-class staying hurdler but he lost his way although he’s gradually fulfilling his talent. Fourth in the RSA before a gallant second in the Scottish National is good form. and providing he takes to the fences, he has a good chance here.
He can run well fresh and I've backed him each way for this.
Saturday 8th December 2018 | 3:30 Sandown | ITV
The Tingle Creek is one of the biggest races of the season and it's attracted a very small field with only four lining-up. However, it's an all-star cast and I'm really looking forward to this.
Despite the field all being high class, this is a one-horse race, in my opinion. Altior (8/11 Ladbrokes) is the best National Hunt horse in training and in 14 races over obstacles he's yet to taste defeat.
Altior stays incredibly well over this trip and his jumping is exceptional. I can't quite believe the price he is and though I don't like to put up odds-on horses, this is an exception.