Not just The Easybeats in 1966, but also all jumps fans as ITV cover the meetings at Sandown and Exeter this afternoon.
Starting at the Esher track, first race up is the Betfair Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at 1.50, with a line up of eleven.
Favourite is the fragrant Venetia‘s representative Funambule Sivola which is 3-1 to follow up after its victory at Wetherby just nine days ago. A longer trip, very different ground and a penalty means we have to oppose and we do so with Before Midnight and Killer Clown.
Before Midnight is trained by the rejuvenated Sam Thomas and posted its best run so far over fences when a close third at Newbury last time out. Weighted to reverse the form with the winner, Morning Vicar, and a winner of a Bumper on heavy ground, 7-1 looks an attractive each way price.
Killer Clown has yet to fulfil its potential over the larger obstacles, having been knocked out of the race early on on chase debut and then finding 3m at Exeter too far on second try. Today’s trip and ground should be ideal and the 10-1 should be taken.
The Ballymore Winters Novices’ Hurdle at 2.25 has just 4 runners and Star Gate is the even money jolly after a visually impressive rules debut at the end of October. However, the yard of Evan Williams has sent out 36 runners in the last fortnight with zero winners, so we are going to suggest a bet on Sending Love at a more palatable 11-4.
Paul Nicholls’ 7-y-o reappeared after a break and a wind op to thrash a fair field at Ffos Las and can only improve for that run. Said to need ‘softer the better’ ground we hope to give the fav a run for our hard-earned.
At 3.00 the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle has an open look to it, but our trusty pin has landed firmly on Illegal Model, trained by Charlie Longsdon. Just 3 runs in its life, this 6-y-o won a Novice hurdle at Leafy back in January (heavy ground) and came back in October with a tremendous effort to finish 3rd on handicap debut at Uttoxeter. Just nudged up 2lbs for that and with seemingly lots more to come, we trust Twister to come home in front at 5-1.
There is currently a ‘dead eight’ field for the Betfair Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 3.35 and, on the grounds that you never know your luck, we recommend an each way bet on Emmpressive Lady trained by Sue Gardner.
Handicap debut today for this lightly raced 5-y-o who stormed away with a Novice event at Exeter 3 weeks ago and looks well in off 115. We’ll have an each way bash at 9-2.
Down in the West Country, three races are being shown, although the 2.05 features a 2-9 fav in the shape of The Big Breakaway, which we won’t be taking on, thank you very much.
The Tote Handicap Chase at 2.40 has a field of seven and a worthy favourite in Severano, trained by Oliver Sherwood. Just 4lbs higher than when making a winning chase debut at Sandown four weeks ago a follow up looks on the cards and we recommend a win bet at 6-4.
Additionally and just in case we also suggest a minor ‘cover’ bet on Limited Reserve at 10-1 – we’ve checked with our lawyers and are able to say that this horse ‘may have come on for the run’ after tailing off on chase debut.
Sloggers are to the fore at 3.15 with the Close Brothers Handicap Chase over 3m 6f in the mud and there are few better sloggers than Dawson City, even at the ripe old age of 11, going on 12. Said by its trainer to need at least 3m 3f to warm up and already twice a CD winner, the old boy will do for us at 5-1.
Back again tomorrow – is that a tingle we feel?
Before Midnight 1.50 Sandown 1.5pts e/w @ 7-1
Killer Clown 1.50 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Sending Love 2.25 Sandown 2pts win @ 11-4
Illegal Model 3.00 Sandown 2.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)
Emmpressive Lady 3.35 Sandown 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2
Severano 2.40 Exeter 4pts win @ 6-4
Limited Reserve 2.40 Exeter 0.5pts win @ 10-1
Dawson City 3.15 Exeter 2pts e/w @ 5-1