Al Stewart provides our musical headline today for the final day of the Jumps season from Sandown, which has the bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase as the centrepiece at 3.40.
Almost inevitably the sole Irish challenger Plan Of Attack has been installed as favourite at 9-2 to continue the Henry and Rachel love-in.
This 8-y-o hasn’t won anything since October 2019 and is at the top of the market on the strength of a seemingly improved run at the Cheltenham Festival, going well when tipping up at the third last.
Making headway just behind it and unable to avoid tripping over it was our very own pet Bob Mahler, which is 3lbs better off this afternoon.
Not a great deal has gone right for Bob this season but the handicap mark is now very attractive and, on the ‘last chance saloon’ principle, we suggest a tad of an each way bet at 20-1.
The other one we like in this race is the inexperienced but rapidly improving Kitty’s Light, trained by the Welsh Hippie.
Winner of four of six chases, our feline friend produced a storming finish to win at Kelso last time out and, off just 4lbs higher, can take advantage of the Sandown hill and carry Jack Tudor to the front on the run in.
That’s the theory, anyway – have an each way bet at 10-1.
Televised action starts at 1.55, with the bet365 Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle with a field of 14.
We’ve picked two from this somewhat nightmarish contest and recommend each way bets on On To Victory at 9-2 and Pasvolsky at 11-1.
The former is rated 105 on the Flat and runs off 127, while the latter is a typically tough Chris Gordon jobbie on an upward curve.
The Grade 2 bet365 Oaksey Chase at 2.30 has cut up to just four runners and, with Frodon best priced 8-11, it’s a ‘no bet’ race, so swiftly on to the bet365 Celebration Chase at 3.05.
At long last we may get to see the once mighty Altior, which would be 1-6 if this race was two years ago, but is 5-2 against today.
The key to this race may be the Champion Chase from last month’s Festival, won by Put The Kettle On, with Greaneteen 4th and Sceaux Royal fifth.
All three re-oppose and there are strong reasons to suppose that Sceaux Royal is the one to be with today. Alan King‘s 9-y-o was lucky not to be brought down when badly squeezed out after the third last and to be beaten just under 4 lengths at the line was a remarkable performance.
Already a CD winner, today may be the day SR finally gets the better of Altior after years of trying. Have a win bet at 11-4.
For whatever reason, ITV are also showing the Casumo Handicap from the meeting at Haddock, a 7f affair with 13 runners.
With so many ‘first-time-outers’, this race should perhaps be renamed the Bookies Benefit Stakes, but we’ll give it a whirl by suggesting an each way bet on Cold Stare at a juicy 20-1.
David O’Meara‘s 6-y-o has the benefit of an outing, is twice a course winner and has won off higher in the past. So there.
Bob Mahler 3.40 Sandown 0.5pts e/w @ 20-1 (5 places)
Kitty’s Light 3.40 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places)
On To Victory 1.55 Sandown 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places Hills/SkyBet)
Pasvolsky 1.55 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (5 places Hills)
Sceaux Royal 3.05 Sandown 3pts win @ 11-4
Cold Stare 2.50 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (4 places)