RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) returns to share his best bets from Saturday's action at Leopardstown and Sandown.
1:25 Leopardstown | Irish Champion Hurdle | Racing TV
Leopardstown has thankfully avoided the worst of the weather and the Irish Champion Hurdle has got the go ahead on Saturday. A small field, there are a few in here that are top class horses and this should be a very good race.
Apple's Jade is my favourite mare in training and she is remarkably consistent. She has had a fantastic career and this multiple Grade 1 winner will be a tough nut to crack. However, her form is over further than this and she is without a win over this trip since her juvenile days. Against two proven two-milers, she is opposable.
Melon (11/4 BetVictor) is, in my opinion, the quickest horse in the race. He's also the top rated but this Champion Hurdle runner up is starting to become frustrating. Even so, despite only having two wins from nine starts, I think he will win this and prove a major player at Cheltenham in March.
1:50 Sandown | Contenders Hurdle | ITV4
The Contenders Hurdle is a listed race over two miles and this decent renewal that has been transformed in recent years with dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air using it as his prep race for Cheltenham. He's back again and is unsurprisingly long odds-on, but there is one here who should follow him home and is a good bet in the Betting Without market.
Vision Des Flos was a high-class novice last season and has returned this year with a decent level of form. He's not likely to trouble the favourite but his run last time out in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham puts him clear second best. He's had a wind op and based on ratings and potential he looks a good bet in the market without the favourite.
1:25 Leopardstown – Melon to win (11/4 BetVictor)
1:50 Sandown – Vision Des Flos to win Without Buveur D'Air