Yes, folks, we are finally out and what better way to celebrate than picking lots of winners on a day of top class jumping fare – well, that’s the theory, anyway.
Primary meeting is at Sandown, with the first race on view at 1.50, the Betway Contenders Hurdle over two miles.
Odds-on for this 5-runner contest is the admirable Call Me Lord but we are going to take it on with Eldorado Allen, trained by Colin Tizzard.
This 6-y-o looked a potential superstar when winning over this CD on stable debut, but then suffered a bad injury when attempting to follow up at Aintree in December 2018. Patience and skill were rewarded 4 weeks ago, when the horse reappeared to run a close second in a fierce handicap, again over CD, off a mark of 145 which prompted connections to whisper ‘Champion Hurdle’.
Well, we’ll find out today whether that is just a pipe dream or a reality and, in receipt of 6lbs from the Fav, we recommend a win bet at 5-2.
The Betway Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at 2.25 sees the Willie Mullins‘ trained mare Laurina installed as favourite at 15-8. Having won a ‘nothing’ Novice chase, she then bled when contesting a Grade 1 on Boxing Day and was eventually pulled up. This does raise sufficient of a question mark to look elsewhere and our pin has selected Good Boy Bobby as the way to go.
Highly progressive as a hurdler, GBB has continued the progress over fences and, although trying to give weight to Mister Fisher last time out proved just too much, with that horse following up in a Grade 2 next time it was still progress and, with trip and ground ideal, the 3-1 on offer looks worth a bash.
The Betway Heroes Handicap Hurdle at 3.00 falls firmly into the ‘impossible’ category, but, there again, maybe not, as we have two darts to throw at it, starting with Ask Ben, which is available at 11-2.
We selected Graeme McPherson‘s 7-y-o last time out, when an unlucky second at Cheltenham and this strong stayer shouldn’t be worried by the subsequent 2lb rise – take it each way.
Our other choice is the David Pipe trained Remastered.
Very well handicapped on Novice form, Remastered sprang back to life in December when finishing second to Welsh National hero Potters Corner, two days after which it was given a wind tweak and you can betcha that the Nicholshayne shrewdies have had this in mind ever since.
At 11-1 this looks a great bet.
The Betway Masters Handicap Chase at 3.35 completes the televised coverage and in this race we go ‘all in’ on Philip Hobbs‘ representative Diese Aba. Winner of Irish Point before joining the Maestro, this 7-y-o did OK over hurdles but this is it’s game and showed it last time out, beating a 132 rated rival by an easy 16 lengths.
Off 135 today, if its jumping holds up, they may not see which way it went so take the 8-1, sit back and enjoy.
Two races at Musselburgh are on telly, starting with the bet365 Scottish County Hurdle at 2.05.
This sees a rematch between Sir Chauvelin (our selection then) and Ashington, who finished first and third in a similar contest here just over a month ago.
However, there was a touch of the premature ejaculations in that race, with Brian Hughes coming much too soon on Ashington, storming into the lead before the second last only to be nailed by the finishers inside the last half furlong. With a five pound pull and more restraint we expect Ashington to make amends this afternoon and suggest you wade in at 9-4.
The bet365 Edinburgh National Handicap Chase at 3.15 features our own, our very own Bob Mahler, who is following in the footsteps of Missed Approach, which finished second in this for Sir Greatrex before going on to pouch the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
Hopefully we can go one place better before heading off to Prestbury Park and we recommend an each way bet at 5-1.
Just the one race to watch at Wetherby, the William Hill Towton Novices’ Chase at 2.45 and in this we are taken with the chances of Dominateur from Oliver Sherwood‘s yard.
This horse has won its last two, both handicaps, so we can be sure its rating of 145 is tried and tested and should be good enough.
Have a win bet at 3-1.
That’s it – now off to apply for a blue passport – deep joy.
Eldorado Allen 1.50 Sandown 2pts win @ 5-2
Good Boy Bobby 2.25 Sandown 2pts win @ 3-1
Ask Ben 3.00 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (5 places)
Remastered 3.00 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (5 places)
Deis Aba 3.35 Sandown 2pts e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)
Ashington 2.05 Musselburgh 4pts win @ 9-4
Bob Mahler 3.15 Musselburgh 1pt e/w @ 5-1