Alan Dudman starts his week in the tipping chair, and begins with two win bets at Sandown on Friday...
"He does like soft and tacky ground, and with sometimes tearaway front-runner Loose Chips in the contest, it will certainly bring Bertie Boru's stamina into play."
13:40 Sandown - Fingers crossed with Webber's charge
The hurdles track at Sandown will be more testing than the chase course on Friday, and that should suit Fingers Crossed - who runs in the 13:40 at the Esher venue.
Paul Webber's horse looked as if he had a future when scoring in a Leicester Novices' race over obstacles in 2014, but for whatever reason, he didn't build on that. However, that was in heavy ground, and he looked a real stayer - which will help him up the hill on Friday with conditions to suit.
He was subsequently well beaten in a pair of handicap hurdle races, and his mark was lowered to 110. But he showed his first glimmer of ability since Leicester, when finishing fourth at Wetherby last month. Again he had heavy conditions, and he might have needed that run (his first start since April 2015).
The Bach gelding will be fitter, will have his ground, and his trainer has picked up a little in 2016 (with three winners this year). The horse could strike from his current mark.
I've written here before how much I enjoy staying races, and whilst I pondered the Royal Artillery Gold Cup for inclusion, the later contest over three miles and fences gets the verdict.
I'm backing the horse that has an appetite for a stamina test; so I'll stick with Bertie Boru, who races from a mark of 130, and still could be well handicapped.
Adorned with strong staying abilities, it's a shame his jumping ones don't quite match. Had it not been for errors, he could have landed the Betfair sponsored London National at the track in December. That was over 29f, and a stronger race than today's.
I'd ignore his run in the Welsh National last time, a brutal test that saw only six finish. He himself lasted until three out, but was miles behind before pulling up.
He does like soft and tacky ground, and with sometimes tearaway front-runner Loose Chips in the contest, it will certainly bring Bertie Boru's stamina into play.
The Phillip Hobbs trained nine-year-old will clearly need to jump better and iron out those mistakes, but he runs well at the track and could be worth a couple of quid in-running at a higher price too.
Friday's Recommended Bets
Back Fingers Crossed @ 8.5015/2 in the 13:40 at Sandown
Back Bertie Boru @ 7/1 in the 16:20 at Sandown (price available on Sportsbook)
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