Saturday Racing Tips: Back Araldur to prevail in race of old-stagers

Tony has a couple of big-price selections for Saturday's meeting at Sandown
Tony has a couple of big-price selections for Saturday's meeting at Sandown

Sandown is the main meeting this Saturday afternoon and our big-price tipster Tony Calvin has two selections for you to consider at the Esher venue...


"He hasn't shown a great deal in two chases since his return but he has been dropped 4lb as a result, and it is a fair bet that this race has been his plan since coming in from grass in the summer. Testing ground over this trip is ideal for him, and he makes most appeal of the old-stagers."

Back Araldur at 15.014/1 in the 15:00 at Sandown

Very tricky punting cards at Sandown and elsewhere on Saturday, but there could be some mileage in supporting Leviathan in the finale at 15:35 at the Esher track.

There is nothing sexy or unexposed about him, so the case is simple and straightforward. He has run respectably on both his starts this season, conditions here will suit, and has fallen to a very attractive mark, now 2lb lower than when winning by three lengths in the soft at Ascot last season.

He is worth a small interest at 15.014/1 on a day where punting opportunities look thin on the ground. To me, anyway.

There are no end of dangers in here, and Melodic Rendezvous is very interesting off a mark of 150 on his ground after a seemingly back-to-form effort in the International last time, while down the other end of the weights Romain de Senam is considered better than a 136-rated horse at home. The latter could be more at home on this softer ground, too.


***


The Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at 14:25 promises to be one of the better renewals in recent years, largely due to the presence of Willie Mullins' Yorkhill, who is a short-priced favourite.

And it is not hard to see why he heads up the market, as his bumper wins stack up very well and he was an easy scorer on his hurdles debut over 2m4f at Punchestown last month. He drops back down to 2m here but that shouldn't be a concern in this ground.

I don't back short-priced favourites, though, and especially not when they face four dangerous, unexposed, last-time-out winners, as he does. O O Seven is probably just about the form horse going into the race, but that probably means little given the profile of the field, and runaway Aintree winner Agrapart interests me the most.

But it looks the classic "watch and no bet" race to me.


***


There is a cracking 16-runner veterans' handicap chase at 15:00 - remember the original four place terms stand on the exchange if there are non-runners, but with a reduction factor applied - and the sprightly 12yo Araldur could be the answer at odds of 15.014/1.

Sandown is the scene of his career-best effort, when he clocked an impressive time figure in beating Free World by a neck in the then-Grade 2 (now Grade 1) Henry VIII novice chase back in 2008. It is fair to say both winner and runner-up didn't build on those performances, but Araldur hopefully has enough left in the tank to go close.

He hasn't shown a great deal in two chases since his return but he has been dropped 4lb as a result, and it is a fair bet that this race has been his plan since coming in from grass in the summer. Testing ground over this trip is ideal for him, and he makes most appeal of the old-stagers.


***


I was tempted by Barrakilla in the 13:50 as he ran really well at Taunton on his reappearance and I like the fact that most of his form has come over longer trips.

To state the bleedin' obvious, you will need to stay - and stay well - in this ground and his form over 2m/2m4f should stand him in good stead here. He is a heavy-ground winner, and has some decent course form, too, notably when third to Sound Investment here last season.

But I'll keep my powder dry.


***


Nothing stands out in the RUK-only contests, though in the 13:15 Fairy Rath should make a bold bid to follow up his win in the race last season.

There are two Ayr races on C4, too, but nothing stands out in either the 14:05 and 14:40 though Desert Cry is on a very workable mark back over hurdles in the latter race.

It is highly questionable whether C4 viewers want to see all-weather action on their boxes at this time of the season, but the seven-runner handicap at 15:20 gets an airing. Precision Five, one from one at the track, looks the likeliest winner to me, but I won't be punting on it.

Sorry there isn't more to get stuck into from my end, but if the opportunities aren't there, don't try to force them.

Good luck.


Recommended Bets

Back Araldur at 15.014/1 in the 15:00 at Sandown
Back Leviathan at 15.014/1 in the 15:35 at Sandown


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