IT’S another big day in the racing calendar. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) brings us his best Saturday bets from Sandown.
13.55 Sandown | Channel 4
The Henry VIII's Novices’ Chase has only attracted six runners and, though it's not a top class renewal, it looks a good race on paper. It may be lacking a superstar but there is one in here that I am very excited about.
As De Mee was a decent novice hurdler for Paul Nichols last season, and though he's yet to win over fences, he's looked a good prospect in his his attempts over the larger obstacles.
He's come second to two useful prospects and can count himself unlucky to still be a maiden. However, he comes up against more useful prospects and I can see him playing second fiddle again, here.
Willow's Saviour from the up-and-coming Dan Skelton yard has won his last four starts, the last of which was his chase debut after a break of just under two years. He is still improving and is worth his place in the field but he still has improvement to find to get competitive so I'm happy to take him on.
Step forward Bristol De Mai. Winner of the Grade 1 Future Champions Hurdle at Chepstow on his British debut for the Twiston-Davies camp, he looked like a potential superstar.
However, his form tailed off after that before he looked close to his best again with a third place in the Aintree Juvenile Hurdle race.
Connections decided to send him novice chasing where, as a four year-old he receives a handy weight allowance. His chase debut was promising behind Garde La Victore, but his second attempt was breathtaking – he made the decent juvenile hurdler Karezak look pedestrian. He attacked his fences and looked a natural over the larger obstacles.
He loves soft ground and I cannot wait to see him jumping the railway fences, as his fast accurate jumping is his main asset. I fully expect him to chalk up his second victory over fences here at 13/8 with Bet365.
15.00 Sandown | Channel 4
The Tingle Creek is one of my favourite races of the season and two miles round Sandown is a real test for any chaser. Unfortunately the race has lost some of its gloss with Simonsig and Un De Sceaux both being withdrawn in the build up. However, we still have a field of eight and it's still a good renewal.
Former champion chase winner Sire De Grugy comes in to this with questions to answer after a below par return to action in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. His record at this course is exceptional but I'm not convinced he is the force he once was. Connections claim he is showing sparkle in his homework but he isn't a betting proposition, for me.
Vibrato Valtat beat Sire De Grugy last time out, and after a promising novice campaign, he looks like he's still on an upward curve. Paul Nichols has a fantastic record in this race. He was bullish about his chances during the week and he is the horse to beat.
Unbelievably he's the only horse in the race who won last time out, which is almost unheard of in a Grade 1 race, but I feel the value lies elsewhere, here.
Special Tiara was a revelation last season. Beaten out of sight by Sire De Grugy in the Champion Chase two seasons ago, he has never stopped improving since then and finished ahead of SDG in last seasons renewal.
He then landed the Grade 1 his form deserved over course and distance in the Celebration Chase and looked like one of the best two-mile chasers around.
I would make him a confident selection if it weren’t for his seasonal debut, which was awful. He was sent off favourite for a Navan Grade 2 where he tailed off behind Hidden Cyclone.
Connections are confident that he needed that run and he has been well backed during the week. If he is 100% fit here, he wins and at 7/2 (Bet365) he is worth the risk.
13.55 Sandown – Bristol De Mai to win (13/8 Bet365)
15.00 Sandown – Special Tiara to win (7/2 Bet365)
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