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Saturday Racing Tips: Amigo can be your friend at Sandown

Tony has two picks from a soggy Sandown on Saturday
Tony has two picks from a soggy Sandown on Saturday

"He didn’t run too badly when seventh in the Welsh National last time and the handicapper has finally played ball, dropping him 5lb, which makes him fairly treated on his hurdles form. I think the step back in trip will suit him, he has a heavy ground Chepstow win to his name, and I expect him to be delivered late, if not fast, in these conditions."

Back Amigo at 10.09/1 or better in the 15:35 at Sandown

We asked big prices tipster Tony Calvin to don his cagoul and wellies to find some runners who will be able to plough through the heavy ground on Saturday. Read on for his recommendations and thoughts on a possible Cheltenham star...

When Saphir Du Rheu was streaking clear from a good field in the Lanzarote at Kempton last month, I remember saying to myself: "I think I've just seen the winner of the World Hurdle there."

And if he was given the green light for Cheltenham, then I certainly would be interested in him at any double figure-odds, as the race lacks any depth and he has proved himself a seriously progressive horse since being stepped up in trip on his last two starts.

Horses do come from relative obscurity to win Festival big races and the manner in which won off a mark of 145 last time more than reminded me of Master Minded's rapid rise to 2m chasing dominance in 2008.

In the space of little over two months, Master Minded went from winning a Sandown handicap in January, also  off a mark of just 145, to landing the Game Spirit, before putting up his jaw-dropping performance to win the Champion Chase by 19 lengths in March.

As it stands, there is no guarantee that Saphir Du Rheu will even line up for the World Hurdle, even if he wins on Saturday. 

That may seem odd, given a win off 158 here would put him bang up to Grade 1 class, but you have to remember that his owner Andy Stewart also has a certain Big Buck's for that race, as well as Celestial Halo and Salubrious, not to mention Ditcheat also have Zarkandar earmarked for the step up in trip in March.

So while all ante-post bets are on hold, I certainly wouldn't be in a rush to oppose Saphir Du Rheu in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las (14:05). In fact, I think the only thing that will stop him winning is the weather, as there is an inspection in the morning.

But if racing gets the green light his odds will reflect his outstanding chance, even off a 13lb higher mark than Kempton, and I will be happy just to see him win. 

I couldn't find much of angle in the other Channel 4 race on the Ffos Las card either - though Smoking Aces should go well in the West Wales National at 14:40 - nor in the Grade 2 novices' chase at Wetherby.

There is also an inspection at Sandown tomorrow morning, and the foul weather has already claimed the hurdle races on the card, so you want your horses to be more Graeme Souness than Graham Norton in the hardness stakes. 

Sandown 15:35 - Amigo

I like the look of Amigo - not a word most footballers would use to describe the Liverpool enforcer of the 70s and 80s - in the 15:35. Back him at odds 10.09/1 or better.

He hasn't cut much ice in three starts this season, but he didn't run too badly when seventh in the Welsh National last time and the handicapper has finally played ball, dropping him 5lb, which makes him fairly treated on his hurdles form.

I think the step back in trip will suit him, he has a heavy ground Chepstow win to his name, and I expect him to be delivered late, if not fast, in these conditions.

Sandown 13:50 - Grey Gold

I can see the gutsy Benvolio giving Oscar Whisky a fright, but for my other bet on a small-stakes Saturday I am plumping for Grey Gold in the 13:50.

He is weighted to reverse placings with Desert Cry on their Wetherby form last month - being 8lb better off for a seven length beating - and I don't think he was at his best that day, either. I have a feeling a right-handed track like this may suit him better.

The worse the ground the better for this horse, and I think he will take plenty of beating if reproducing his Ascot third in December.
Back him at odds 7.06/1 or better.

Recommended Bets
Back Grey Gold at 7.06/1 or better in the 13:50 at Sandown
Back Amigo at 10.09/1 or better in the 15:35 at Sandown

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31 January 2014

Channel 4 Races

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