Saturday Racing Tips: A suite of selections for Saturday at Sandown

Tony serves up a trio of Sandown selections
Tony serves up a trio of Sandown selections

It's the final day of the National Hunt season and Tony Calvin focuses on the Sandown action pulling out a trio of recommended bets all available at 10/1 or bigger...

"Vyta Du Roc has an excellent record when fresh and last year's Scottish National fifth looks very well treated now off a mark of 137. He beat Minella Rocco of levels in the Reynoldstown last season, too, after which he was rated 145, and is one from one at the track, having won a Grade 2 over hurdles here."

The Flat action takes a definite backseat as the National Hunt season rolls to a close on Saturday afternoon - though there are two Haydock races on ITV - so the place to start is Esher and the bet365 Gold Cup at 15:35.

I suppose first question to ask when betting at Sandown is what will the ground be like.

Most people thought it would be on the fast side on the track today, but it quickly became apparent that the watered ground was more good to soft, according to the times and the jockeys. So it probably makes sense to proceed on that basis, though that may translate to more like good on the jumps track.

It's fair to say that the Scottish National didn't go to plan for me last week, with Sugar Baron unseating at the first and Arpege D'Alene breaking down, fatally, when going well in the race.

I was all set to give Sugar Baron another chance - his strong-finishing effort in the Kim Muir suggested this sort of trip would bring out the best in this lightly-raced chaser - but the fact that he went on and jumped every fence after that first-fence mishap at Ayr must count against him here.

It won't be the first time that I have kicked myself for deserting one - and perhaps I am over-reacting to his rider--free round last week - and when you start looking elsewhere the first horse you land on is Doing Fine, who is a very acceptable 5/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook, and that is the best price in the marketplace in fact.

He is 8lb well-in after his Cheltenham win 10 days ago and also has an excellent course-and-distance second here in December on his CV. I couldn't put you off him, as he is the likeliest winner.

We also have the last two winners of the race in here, The Young Master and Just A Par, but the one that gets my vote is Vyta Du Roc at 11.010/1 or bigger.

He went off 8/1 for the Hennessy off a 6lb higher mark in November and ran well to be sixth but he failed to build on that effort on his next two starts, not jumping with any fluency, although he did lose a shoe at Kempton last time out in February.

He has not raced since but he has an excellent record when fresh and last year's Scottish National fifth looks very well treated now off a mark of 137. He beat Minella Rocco of levels in the Reynoldstown last season, too, after which he was rated 145, and is one from one at the track, having won a Grade 2 over hurdles here.

If he jumps adequately, then he should go close off this mark.


Look to Lambeau to land us a winner


Landin and Lambeau Field were my two against the field in the juvenile handicap hurdle at 13:50 and preference is for the latter.

I would like to be able to tell you that I knew that the horse was named after the ground where the Green Bay Packers play. without having Googled it. But lying is not my strong suit, and anywhere that is an irrelevance anyway, so I don't know why I even mentioned it!

More pertinent is that he races from 1lb out of the handicap here, which is hardly ideal, but apart from that there are positives.

He showed promise when with Charles O'Brien last season and mixed it in good company on his first two starts for Charlie Longsdon before dropped down to handicap company at Towcester last time, where he was just touched off after looking set to win 2 out. In fact, he traded at 1.271/4 in the run.

He is effectively 4lb higher here but, in the context of this race, that Towcester second came in a good time and the horse has obvious scope for further improvement, like many of these admittedly.

I think he is worth backing to small stakes at 15.014/1 or bigger. The 14/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook is obviously worth taking, too.


Special Tiara may be an overpriced each-way/place bet

Menorah is going for his fourth straight win in the 14:25 and his chance of doing so is there for all to see.

But there are enough dangers in here - two are tried in first-time cheekpieces, including the unpenalised Traffic Fluide who receives 10lb from him, and Josses Hill will be better suited to going right-handed again - for me to pass at the odds on offer. Not that we play at those prices anyway in this column.

I'm sure there will be plenty willing to back Altior at even shorter odds in the Celebration Chase at 15:00 - the best you will get in the marketplace at the time of writing is 1/3 - but you will not be surprised to hear that I am not one.

He meets three rivals at the top of their game at the end of the season, and one of those is the winner of the Champion Chase who is only 1lb his inferior on official ratings and looks set to get an easy lead.

In fact, you can easily argue that Special Tiara is considerably over-priced at 5/1 in a place, but I can let the race pass for betting purposes, especially as he is one horse who would have preferred it had nature been allowed to run its course as regards the going.


Stick with RUK for this punt in the 16:10...

There are three excellent races on RUK at the end of the card, and I can pass on a very good word for Thomas Campbell in the last - he got no sort of run throughout at Aintree last time - but I am going to stick up Volnay De Thaix at 15.014/1 or bigger in the 16:10.

The first thing to say about this 2m5f hurdle is that I couldn't rule out any of the eight runners, but I also gave my selection a better chance than odds of 14/1 suggest.

His two runs over fences this season don't scream positivity but he switches to hurdles here, and that is the discipline in which he has shown his best form, for all he finished a good second in a handicap chase on this card last season.

He is proven in this grade in the past, and comes here a fresher horse than most, and that is a big positive. He won first time out in 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as other runs off a break.

I can't get overly-excited by the two Haydock races - though Twin Appeal looks a fair price at around 5/1 in the 7f handicap - so this is a day to concentrate the punting on the jumps.

Recommended Bets
Back Lambeau Field at 15.014/1 or bigger, or at 14/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook, in the 13:50 at Sandown
Back Vyta Du Roc at 11.010/1 or bigger in the 15:35 at Sandown
Back Volnay De Thaix at 15.014/1 or bigger in the 16:10 at Sandown

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