Alan Thompson finished his last stint in the chair in style with a winner and an each way selection finishing a close second. He is looking to pick up where he left off with two selections from Sandown and Leicester...
"There are plenty of front runners in the line up so that should ensure a truly run contest which should suit him"
There are currently 11 going to post for this year's renewal of the Grand Military Gold Cup for amateur riders at Sandown today, the last five winners of this contest have all started at less than 5/1 in the betting market so it's worth looking at the top of the market for the potential winner of this Class 3 event.
The current favourite is last year's winner Rathlin Rose, the same combination of David Pipe and Captain Guy Disney are looking to repeat last year's feat and claim this again. With three wins from three starts over course and distance he clearly enjoys this venue. He also has no problem with the conditions or trip and won't mind a strong pace which he looks certain to get, he's certainly the one to beat.
Despite the favourite's obvious claims it is the Nicky Henderson trained novice Baden at a much more attractive 9/2, that I think may be able to get the better of Rathlin Rose today. The lightly raced seven-year-old grey gelding has only had three runs under his belt over fences, but was only beaten three lengths by the 144 rated Dingo Dollar last time out. That form is a bit difficult to quantify as it was a falsely run three runner contest and he was well held but nevertheless the top rated in this is only 129. There are also plenty of front runners in the line up so that should ensure a truly run contest which should also suit him and he's still unexposed over fences. At the prices I am prepared to give him a chance as he could outclass these.
This looks like a fascinating six runner chase to try and sort out, where the outsider of the race is currently quoted at 8/1 in the betting market.
Quickly going through the field in race card order, O Maonlai hasn't been running that well lately but has dropped from a mark of 143 this time last year and if the application of the headgear has the desired effect he could go close. Icing On The Cake, you can certainly forgive him his last run as he was out of his depth at Ascot, his only win to date came after a decent break (73 days) and he is returning to the track today after a similar 76 days away, so I don't see that as a negative. He commands respected but others are preferred today.
Apart from his Ascot run in December, Rock On Rocky hasn't been running well, he hasn't been within 10 lengths of the winner of his races this season, I'm happy to leave him off the shortlist. After winning at Sedgefield in early November off a mark of 119 (his career best), Beggers Wishes has struggled, I think he is best left until he gets back down to a winnable mark.
That leaves a shortlist of the hattrick seeking pair of Newberry New and Granville Island. Newberry New had Granville Island behind him on his last start and is better off at the weights this time around for an 11 length win. Granville Island has certainly improved since that meeting, coming out twice since, winning both starts.
Newberry New still looks well handicapped over fences to me but the market currently has Granville Island as favourite. At the prices I am more than happy to side with Newberry New as I am not sure Ganville Island can reverse the form under today's conditions of their previous meeting.
2018 Overall (prior to this week): +4.75 pts
This week so far...
Staked: 0 pts
Returned: 0 pts
2017 P&L +53.30pts
2016 P&L +15.23pts