Neil Diamond wrote it, UB40 sang it and it’s running in the feature race of the televised meeting from Sandown this afternoon.

The race in question is the Virgin Bet Heroes Handicap Hurdle at 2.55 and the beastie is Re Okka. (If you’re wondering, try saying it out loud)

Harry Fry‘s 6-y-o turns up today after an impressive demolition job at Kempton, after which esteemed trainer was talking about a Graded race programme for his charge. That was before he noticed the assessor had allocated a mark of 130, which, we opine, is at least 10lbs below the figure connections expected and the lure of a £56 grand pot proved irresistible.

That’s the way we see it, anyhow, so a decent each way bet is recommended at 9-2.

Dangers abound, however, in this 18 runner affair, not least Dans Le Vent from the Evan Williams operation.

Comfortable winner of the Swinton in November, DLV has run two crackers in defeat since, both over shorter trips and the return to 3 miles makes it hard to knock this 9-y-o out of the frame. At 8-1 we take the rapidly improving Issy to make the frame at least.

Our final choice in this race is Beaufort trained by NTD. This 6-y-o has looked as if crying out for 3 miles in both races this season and gets its chance to prove it today. Take the 11-2 each way.

Televised coverage starts with the Virgin Bet Handicap Chase at 1.15 which sees a rematch between Gunsight Ridge and Bun Doran which finished first and second over CD four weeks ago. The latter named has a 4lb pull for less than two lengths, but we think the younger legs of Gunsight Ridge will prevail again and recommend a win bet at 3-1.

We also are unable to resist a tad each way on last year’s winner Moonlighter, now 7lbs lower than in 2021 and with a 9lb pull with Gunsight Ridge after finishing third in the aforementioned race. Take the 11-1.

The Virgin Bet Contenders Hurdle at 1.50 features the wildly enigmatic Goshen, which will win half the track or be tailed off – take your pick.

Given the above, we suggest a bet on the ultra consistent Song For Someone at 9-4, with this afternoon’s conditions in its favour.

At 2.20 the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase looks at the mercy of L’Homme Presse but at 8-11 we just watch this one.

That leaves the Virgin Bet Masters Handicap Chase at 3.30 which currently has a ‘dead eight’ field, which prompts us to have an each way bet on Five Star Getaway at 5-1.

While not always a fan of the Mad Welshman, Christian Williams has done a belting job with this 8-y-o which has done nothing but improve since going over fences and is just 4lbs higher than when winning at Kempton at the end of December, bringing its chase record to 4-7.

Cameras are also at Wetherby today for just the one race, the Towton Novices’ Chase, which sees Ahoy Senor attempt to get back on track after an underwhelming display last time out. At a shade of odds-on, this does not appeal and in Saint Palais the fav has a fight on its hooves. In receipt of a very handy 11lbs, we suggest a bet on this one at 11-8.

Musselburgh has three races for our pleasure as well, although, with the clock ticking away, we must be brief with our selections.

We think that Calipso Collonges is the one to be with in the Veterans Chase at 2.05 and recommend an each way bet at 5-1, while in the Scottish County Hurdle at 2.40 we like course specialist Fiveandtwenty at 100-30.

Finally, the Edinburgh National at 3.45 looks at the mercy of The Wolf, if it can avoid trying to take at least one fence away with it – have a win bet at 11-4.

Rather breathlessly, that’s yer lot.


Re Okka 2.55 Sandown 2pts e/w @ 9-2 (7 places Skybet)

Dans Le Vent 2.55 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (7 places Skybet)

Beaufort 2.55 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (7 places Skybet)

Gunsight Ridge 1.15 Sandown 2pts win @ 3-1

Moonlighter 1.15 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-1

Song For Someone 1.50 Sandown 3pts win @ 9-4

Five Star Getaway 3.30 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 5-1

Saint Palais 2.30 Wetherby 3pts win @ 11-8

Calipso Collonges 2.05 Musselburgh 1pt e/w @ 5-1

Fiveandtwenty 2.40 Musselburgh 2pts win @ 100-30

The Wolf 3.45 Musselburgh 3pts win @ 11-4

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