Friday kicks-off a great few days in the racing calendar, and Alan Dudman guides you through all the latest betting news, stats and tips starting with Sandown in the afternoon...
"I like the claims of Copper Coin 9.08/1 each-way as he looked so impressive on good to soft ground at Uttoxeter and he looks all over a three-miler. We also have the Extra Place Special on the Sportsbook."
Welcome to Friday, and the two-day Betfair Tingle Creek meeting begins with four of the races on the Sandown card televised on ITV4, with Exeter enjoying some terrestrial action too with three covered on the telly.
Sandown has Grade 2 action over hurdles and three handicaps with nine runners or more (at the time of writing). Elsewhere one of my favourite punting tracks Sedgefield starts early at 12:00 and the all-weather action as always on a Friday is at Dundalk and Newcastle - with the two pencilled in for matinee starting times at 16:00 and 15:10.
A super busy Friday on the eve of a mouth-watering Saturday and Sunday.
Money Talk continues to highlight the Betfair Sportsbook big-money moves to keep you in the loop. This section highlights market moves between 1:00 am and 9:00 am.
12:00 Sedgefield: Jungle Jack 13/8 from 15/8
13:30 Exeter: Tip Top Cat 15/8 from 7/2
16:15 Newcastle: Eyes 2/1 from 11/4
The market says LAY!
Which horse is the Betfair Sportsbook market suggesting to Lay?
14:25 Sandown: Fair Frontieres 11/4 out to 3/1
15:25 Sedgefield: Summergrounds 9/4 out to 3/1
Mark your card
The Betfair Sportsbook is paying extra places today!
Checking the forecast on Thursday night, there is some rain scheduled for Sandown, which will be music to the ears of nearly every trainer. We can probably expect good to soft at the track to start with and there is the potential of a Cheltenham horse in the Grade 2 Winter Novices at 14:25. Brave Kingdom 2.26/5 couldn't have been more impressive winning on debut for Paul Nicholls following his switch from Harry Whittington.
The way he galloped suggests Sandown could suit and his trainer says he is a big player in his Friday preview . He faces four rivals and the quartet were all last time out winners.
Scudamore and Williams could be worth following
The 15:25 Pertemps Qualifier at the Esher track is an Extra Place Special contest on the Sportsbook and a fairly open betting race at 10/3 the field.
Michael Scudamore's Copper Coin was backed last night from 10/1 to 8/1 initially, and the trainer has had four winners from his last 24 runners at nearly 17%. While not an earth-shattering number, he has shown a level stakes profit in that period of +65.00, and Copper Coin will be interesting if he is more forwardly ridden as he seems to stay well. Held up in a tactical race will be of no use.
Trainer Richard Hobson was the man who discovered the great Hurricane Fly, and he's a much under-rated handler who is currently boasting an impressive 25% strike-rate with two winners from his last eight. He saddles front-runner Valadom 8.07/1 in the opening 12:45 Amateur Jockeys Handicap Chase over 3m.
There's a cracking 3m7f Handicap Chase with a big field at Exeter on ITV with an Extra Place Special too. Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies boasts one of the best win-rates in Devon at 22%, and he rides Poppa Poutine 9.08/1 for his father Nigel, and he should strip fitter following his debut for the season recently.
Also keep an eye on another family combo with Nick and Chester Williams each holding impressive 40% and 35% strike-rates of late. Hermes Boy 3.814/5 lines up in the 12:55 and Helios Allen 3.814/5 in the 13:30.
Horses for courses
This section highlights horses that have won twice or more at today's tracks and could be in with a chance today.
15:00 Sandown - Darebin - has won here three times (27%).
14:40 Exeter - The Kings Writ - has won here twice (67%).
13:40 Sedgefield - Justforjames - has won here twice (40%) and Quick Pick - has two wins (33%).
14:50 Sedgefield - Mah Mate Bob and Cilluirid - both have three wins each here (both at 60%), Road Warrior - has two wins here (33%).
Weighted to go well
12:25 Exeter - Airton has won off 101 and runs off 89 today.
16:45 Newcastle - Chookie Dunedin has won off 80 and runs off 69. Hart Stopper has won off 84 and runs off 71.
17:00 Dundalk - Geological - has won off 98 and runs off 77.
This section highlights a trainer, owner or jockey who is in excellent current form and their runners or rides for the day.
Up at Newcastle (or down if you're in Scotland), Newmarket's William Haggas has four good chances to consider and he's running at a 26% strike-rate since the 3rd November. Pink Crystal 1.84/5 has an excellent chance in the 17:15 Novice Stakes over 6f. Boosala 1.910/11 headlines the feature 18:15 race, and Tom Collins 5.04/1 needs to show a bit more sparkle in the final contest at 18:45.
A treble on those three pays 14/1 on the Sportsbook, and jockey Tom Marquand rides Boosala alongside Tom Collins, and when he teams up with Haggas they hit 23% together.
Somerset trainer Ben Lund has sent Kind Witness 305 miles to Sedgefield where he partners Brian Hughes in the 13:40, and he could get the 3m3f distance judged on his second at Newton Abbot in the summer.
The stable using plenty of fuel for the Exeter trek is Peter Bowen's with Montanna 17.016/1 who is travelling 210 miles from Wales in the 15:15 3m6f Handicap Chase .
Tony Calvin's tasty selections
Tony Calvin has four tips aimed at Sandown and Exeter, all at rather decent prices too, so make sure you read what he has to say.
Race of the day
The biggest field at Sandown comes in the Pertemps Qualifier - where Tony Calvin has advised a reverse forecast or Exacta with Pileon and Stoner's Choice. He has three double-figure bets advised in his latest column (with one ante-post).
For an each-way bet I will offer up Copper Coin 9.08/1 for Michael Scudamore. I've highlighted the stable are in reasonable nick, and I expect a good run from this stayer who bolted up at Uttoxeter over 3m in October. It was a handsome victory by 11L and one of the placed horses boosted the form subsequently with a Hexham score.
A rise in the weights to 133 followed, but he disappointed at Musselburgh and made an error late on. If the rain stays away and ground has good in the description, it could suit him better than the soft in Scotland. He's also out of Len Lungo's Silken Petals - who has produced a few winners that all stay a trip well.
Storm Arising finished second in this race last year from 134 and he is 5lb higher this time around. He got outstayed up the run-in 12 months ago by Portrush Ted and hit a low of 1.051/20 that day as the layers who went low copped. Soon after that he was given a lovely ride by Bryony Frost at Chepstow and scored at a BSP of 8.07/1 but hit 36.035/1 in-running.
He wears cheekpieces for the first-time and will fare much better than he did at Chepstow last time. He was winning form on good to soft and heavy and Harry Cobden might make plenty of use of him.
Fergal O'Brien is running at 20% at the moment with 18 winners since the 3rd of November, but has a better 22% strike-rate at Sandown with his horses. Stoner's Choice 6.511/2 has a couple of comfortable successes to his name for his rider Max Kendrick, who usually gets him up with the pace, and he's a brave horse as he isn't the biggest, but he has shouldered penalties to win races and he is best when dictating. He needs to prove himself over this distance however.
His latest run at Kempton was over shorter and his first of the season, so he should come on from that and Kendrick riding in his mother's green and red livery is searching for his fourth win of the season. He'll need the ground to stay on the good-ish side.
Big race verdict
If you are looking to trade, Stoner's Choice represents the best "beetle" bet ie 'b' to 'l', and from 6.05/1 or 7.06/1, you might be able to get out at around 3.55/2 as he is likely to try and control it considering his form is over shorter.
However, he could be susceptible to something with more staying power and I like the claims of Copper Coin 9.08/1 each-way as he looked so impressive on good to soft ground at Uttoxeter and he looks all over a three-miler. We also have the Extra Place Special on the Sportsbook.
Timeform offer up three of their best
Ben Linfoot takes over for Timeform to look at Sandown and Exeter, and as always, has three afternoon bets including a nap and an each-way shot. One is priced at 22.021/1 so is well worth checking out.
Read Timeform tips here.
The Tingle Creek reminds me of a story I once heard from a well-known paddock judge who attended this great meeting and race on the big day. Whether it's true or not, or whether the truth has been somewhat embellished down the years I don't know. But he was in the parade ring alongside someone who commented that one of the runners didn't look very fit and might need the outing.
The horse in question was indeed the bold-jumping Tingle Creek himself parading before his race, who was about 22 years of age at the time and had gone in his coat! Still, he might have given some of those young upstarts a race as older sages than myself often tell me of his brilliance and swashbuckling style.
Western Victory scored for us yesterday with a tremendously brave effort at Clonmel and she earned my star of the afternoon award. There will certainly be a few stars over the weekend. I am on duty at Sedgefield for Friday's tips where Don McCain has some serious chances - you can click here for my latest Sportsbook multiple that pays 8/1.
You can follow me on Twitter @DudmanAl
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