Saturday Racing Tips: Get George and Billy on-side at Sandown

Tony is backing two runners in the big race at Sandown (above) on Saturday
Tony is backing two runners in the big race at Sandown (above) on Saturday

There's some excellent looking racing on ITV on Saturday and Tony Calvin has found a juicy selection of big priced punts from the cards at Sandown and Musselburgh...

Fortunate George has enough going for him to throw a few quid at, not least a very attractive price of 18.017/1 and a possible pace angle...

A two-handed approach to the Handicap Hurdle

I don't think there is a "slow motion" track to match Sandown's hurdle course - horses can stride clear on the run-in while appear to be going up and down on the spot - so siding with a horse with a stamina question to answer on what will be very testing ground in the 15:00 may not be the wisest idea.

That said, I think Fortunate George has enough going for him in the 2m7f98yd handicap hurdle to throw a few quid at, not least a very attractive price of 18.017/1 and a possible pace angle.

As far I can see Fortunate George is the only horse that likes to go on here - or rather has gone on recently - and he had them all in trouble when trying to make all at Wincanton last time. Indeed, he traded 1.111/9 in the run on Betfair.

He eventually ended up getting humped ten lengths by the impressive KK Lexion, who re-opposes here but does so on 13lb worse terms and I reckon Emma Lavelle's 7yo can reverse the placings.

He is unproven over this trip and has yet to show his best away from Wincanton but I think he is very fairly handicapped off just 1lb higher mark here - he pulled ten lengths clear of the third last time - and connections apparently think this longer trip may suit. The soft ground will hold no concerns, at least and he simply looks to be at 16/1+.

The stable also had a very welcome winner with Full Irish earlier in the week, too, their first since December after a "dry" January from 17 runners.

As you would expect there are plenty of solid horses towards the top of the market.

Paul Nicholls loves mixing and matching on the headgear front and he puts first-time cheekpieces, and 5lb claimer Stan Sheppard, on his Wincanton Boxing Day winner Mr Mix, and Phillip Hobbs also does the same with his good Chepstow runner-up Rolling Dylan. Nicholls was one from three with initial cheek pieces in 2016, and Hobbs 1 from 2.

But if I was going to play any of the market leaders it would be El Terremoto, who could be thrown in here off a mark of 132 if he finished close to Clyne and Le Rocher over 2m3f at Haydock last time.

I say "if" as the handicapper had no option but to leave him on the same mark as nobody knows the distances involved in that fog-bound race.

However, we do know that the winner Clyne gave The New One a fright in the Haydock Champion Hurdle trial and Le Rocher won at Uttoxeter on Saturday. He had previously looked a progressive horse but he has his stamina to prove over this longer trip in this ground.

No, the other one I want on my side is Billy No Name at 23.022/1 or better.

I must admit that I had never heard of his 10lb claimer Angus Cheleda before I looked him up, but his record so far is very encouraging. And as this horse only stands 15.1 hands the more weight they can get off his back the better, and that could be a significant angle here.

He won on this horse over an extended 2m3f at Lingfield in November (where he thwarted Earls Fort going for a four-timer) and is three from five for the Colin Tizzard stable this season, so that claim in this ground could be very important.

We know the trip holds no fears for the horse, having chased home the well-handicapped Missed Approach over 3m at Newbury last season, and he travelled and ran well for a long way on the inner before getting tired in the straight when fifth at Chepstow last time (the race in which today's rivals Rolling Dylan and Desert Sensation finished second and third).

And it could be simply that humping 11st 10lb round there wasn't for this diminutive sort.

Anyway, regular readers will know I will forgive any horse a below-par run at the Welsh track - plenty of horses just don't handle it - and in any case he has an 8lb pull with the runner-up, and that is without factoring in Cheleda's claim.

Turban well worth a shot at a big price

There is no betting angle in the Contenders Hurdle at 13:50, unless you think that course favourite Rayvin Black can steal it from the front. It's possible but it will be disappointing if Buveur D'Air or Irving can't pick up a 141-rated hurdler in a four-runner race.

Nothing appeals at all in the novice chase at 14:25, but Turban is worth chancing at a big price in the 15:35.

He was a 153-rated horse at his best when trained by Willie Mullins - he finished third to Boston Bob in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse over 3m1f in the heavy this time last year - but showed nothing in his first two starts for Paul Henderson.

However, there were glimpses of promise over 3m in a first-time hood at Kempton last time and this is the first time he has those Fairyhouse conditions for new connections - namely, 3m+ and testing ground - and he does so off a mark of just 133, having been dropped 7lb since his last run.

He is well worth a shot at 36.035/1 or bigger. Henderson's small stable had a winner earlier in the week and have done well with another former Mullins inmate in Un Beau Roman this season and last.

Back battler Beeves at Musselburgh

I hate reading tipping columns where the case is basically a one-liner but Beeves' claims are pretty simple in the Edinburgh National at 14:05.

He ran okay over 3m at Doncaster last time but has long since shaped as though another attempt at this marathon test would suit him - he outclassed in the Cheltenham four-miler three years ago when only rated 132 - and good ground is what this hardy battler wants, even if he has won over 3m in the soft at Warwick. Simples.

Back him at 21.020/1 or better.

The 15:15 looks a bit too trappy for me outside of the obvious at short prices - i.e. Drumcliff. And the obvious rarely tempts me in, so over and out.

Recommended Bets
Back Beeves at 21.020/1 in the 14:05 at Musselburgh
Back Fortunate George at 18.017/1 and Billy No Name at 23.022/1 in the 15:00 at Sandown
Back Turban at 36.035/1 in the 15:35 at Sandown

For Paul Nicholls Verdicts on his Saturday Runners then please follow the link.

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