RACING fan Gaurav Chaddah (@GauravChaddah) shares his best bets from Saturday's action at Leopardstown and Sandown.
12:50 Leopardstown | Racing TV
Gordon Elliot and Gigginstown claimed this race last year with Commander of Fleet, who then went on to finish second in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham, and I think Elliot can make it two successive wins in the race here with Fury Road. (3/1 Betfair)
He was very much a hype horse last year during his bumper career but didn’t make too much of an impact, only winning one of his three starts but is ever improving over hurdles and is currently three from three.
He was well backed on hurdle debut at Down Royal back in November and subsequently ran out a 18 length winner before an easy win in the Monksfield Grade 3 at Navan in the same month, when massively odds-on.
His most impressive performance however came at Limerick at Christmas, when winning a Grade 2 by a length. That day he travelled and jumped well before making a mistake at the last but held on and I feel there is more to come from this six-year-old, who may well end up going close in the Albert Bartlett.
Latest Exhibition (11/4 William Hill) is the rightful favourite, having been second to subsequent Grade 1 winner Abacadabras before then beating next time out winner Andy Dufrense. He steps up in trip again and could again improve but I’m confident Fury Road can be better than him.
Willie Mullins fields Elixir DAinay (10/3 Betway) a stable in form and he chased home perhaps the best novice hurdler of the season in Envoi Allen last time and could go lost. He should also hold the form with Longhouse Poet (11/2 Bet365).
That being said, I still feel Fury Road has the most scope for improvement and can land Elliot and Gigginstown a second successive win in the race.
1:25 Leopardstown | Racing TV
Chacun Pour Soi (7/4 Bet365), was very much the talking horse coming into this season after bursting onto the scene late last year. He travelled and jumped well on his seasonal reappearance but perhaps burned out in the home straight, when he was beaten by the race fit A Plus Tard (3/1 Bet365).
Henry De Bromhead has nominated the Ryanair has A Plus Tard’s intended engagement at Cheltenham and perhaps this might not be his optimum trip and I’d be confident that Chacun Pour Soi can overturn the form.
Despite that, his price still seems skinny and it may be worth chancing with another one of Willie Mullins’ four runners in the form of Min (3/1 William Hill). The nine-year-old loves Leopardstown, he is four from four over course and distance, including winning this very race in the last two years.
He looked as ever impressive when winning the John Durkan chase on his seasonal reappearance at Punchestown in December and the step back to two miles shouldn’t be an issue. He might be second string on jockey bookings, but this is a very much horses for courses selection and he should certainly give both Chacun Pour Soi and A Plus Tard plenty to think about.
It should be a very informative contest, and many will be expecting Chacun Pour Soi to come on from his Christmas run however conditions may just be perfect for Min.
2:00 Leopardstown | Racing TV
I think that form will be held here, with Fakir Doudairies looking more like a two-and-a-half-mile horse and perhaps will end up in the Marsh Novice Chase at Cheltenham instead.
Notebook is a worthy favourite, but Willie Mullins has won three of the last four Arkles at Cheltenham and is a master of these two-mile novice chasers and it may be worth looking at his three runners here.
Melon (11/2 Betway) broke his tag over fences last time but would have to reverse form with Fakir Douadaries and like him, also looks like he’ll be better over further whilst Bapaume (6/1 Bet365) was impressive at Naas last time after disappointing on chase debut.
Despite this, I’m siding with Mullins’ third choice, Cash Back (13/2 Bet365), who made all for a 13 length win a Naas last time and is two from two over fences. He could get an easy lead here, might prove difficult to peg back and could be overpriced, with possibly more to come.
2:25 Sandown | ITV
It’s interesting Willie Mullins has chosen to send over Laurina (2/1 Coral), instead of staying in Ireland and so she warrants respect. She won on chase debut at Gowran in November nicely, beating Minella Indo, who was a next time out winner and is the second favourite for the RSA at Cheltenham but it’s difficult to analyse how good that form is with Minella Indo not fit that day.
Laurina went off 11/10 favourite when pulled up in a Grade 1 over Christmas, with it emerging afterwards she burst her blood vessels however it’s difficult to trust her and her overall ability and is worth taking on.
Good Boy Bobby (7/2 Bet365) should give her a lot to think about. On chase debut he was a head second to the highly-rated Brewin’upastorm who won next time and is fancied for the Arkle at Cheltenham. He was also ahead subsequent Grade 2 winner Midnight Shadow and Global Citizen, who has won three times since, including a Grade 2.
He was second in a novice chase at Cheltenham in December, when beaten by Nicky Henderson’s Miser Fisher, who was a Grade 2 winner at Doncaster last week. That form looks solid and he should certainly dish it up to Laurina.
12:50 Leopardstown – Fury Road (3/1 Betfair)
13:25 Leopardstown – Min (3/1 William Hill)
14:00 Leopardstown – Cash Back (13/2 Bet365)
14:25 Sandown – Good Boy Bobby (7/2 Bet365)