Racing action from the meetings at Sandown and Wincanton today, with the richest race being the Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase, run over the Esher course at 3.00.
With 17 old-timers due to go to post and 7-1 the field, this might look tricky, but we have no hesitation in nominating Cultram Abbey as the one to be on.
Nicky Richards’ 12-y-o has been laid out for this, winning one of the last qualifiers for today’s final at the start of December and this lightly raced horse has everything you need for a race like this. Just 5lbs higher for its win, trust Ryan Day to bring home the bacon at 11-1.
Obviously dangers abound, including last year’s 1-2 and, as insurance, we also recommend a modest each way play on the fragrant Venetia‘s old warrior Houblon Des Obeaux at 16-1, after a promising tune-up at Haddock.
The two quality hurdle races on the telly are dominated by the favourites, namely Laurina (1-12) and Rathhill (11-10) and, frankly, are not betting races.
Sandown‘s card closes with the televised 32Red.com Handicap Hurdle at 3.35 and this can be safely left to the ‘Delboy’ horse, Thistimenextyear, which is available at 4-1.
This 85-rated Flat racer made a good return to hurdling over CD last month and can defy a hurdle mark of 120 under Jimmy Bowen.
Three races from Wincanton complete our Saturday entertainment, starting with the BetVictor Bet £5 Get £30 Offer Chase at 2.05.
Just the 7 runners, but 4-1 the field, which brings in our selection Molineaux, which can make up for an unlucky ‘unseat’ last time out and give Dear Dickie yet another winner.
We’ll double up in the 2.40, the Lengthen The Odds With BetVictor Handicap Hurdle, starting with the favourite Tedham at 7-2.
Placed behind some top class novices in three races, Tedham steps up in trip for its handicap debut and looks well in off 125.
We also suggest a win bet on the permanent headcase that is Wallace Spirit, trained by Nicky Henderson. This horse panics when it sees the winning post looming and has chucked away its last two races at, or after, the last, but we have it on good authority that, since its last disaster 76 days ago, it has spent lots of time on the specially adapted psychiatrist’s couch at Seven Barrows and has responded well to treatment. That’s the theory, anyway.
The BetVictor Guaranteed Run For Your Money Handicap Chase at 3.15 completes the coverage and this race can be safely left to the hooves of the class act called Copain De Classe, which is available at 3-1.
Cultram Abbey 3.00 Sandown 2pts e/w @ 11-1 (6 places)
Houblon Des Obeaux 3.00 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (6 places)
Thistimenextyear 3.35 Sandown 2pts win @ 4-1
Molineaux 2.05 Wincanton 2pts win @ 4-1
Tedham 2.40 Wincanton 4pts win @ 7-2
Wallace Spirit 2.40 Wincanton 1pt win @ 9-1
Copain De Classe 3.15 Wincanton 4pts win @ 3-1