Tony Calvin crosses codes on Saturday with bets at Haydock and Sandown - after landing a 7/1 winner to brighten our Friday can he land any more big-priced winners?
"The Skelton string are back in good form, as evidenced by three winners in the last fortnight. And in Stephen Hero I think he has a potentially well treated horse off a mark of 119."
The 2013-14 National Hunt season is finally put to bed at Sandown tomorrow, and it is a shame that the Grade 1 Celebration Chase at 15:15 should prove little more than, well, a celebratory stroll for Sire de Grugy at heavy odds-on.
Or will it?
His credentials do look impeccable. He has proved jump racing's star turn this season, is the clear form choice, won this race last season, and the recent rain is very much in his favour. So what is not to like about odds of around 1.341/3?
Well, to start with, you would have drag me kicking and screaming to back a horse at that sort of price over fences, especially one that is at the tail-end of a long season and who has had his issues along the way.
I hope that he wins, but an upset wouldn't come as a great surprise. However, I am not going to get involved in the race, or the 14:40, which looks a very trappy six-runner race with no real punting edge.
I am definitely going to give Stephen Hero a whirl at odds of 15.014/1 or better in the opener at 14:05.
Dan Skelton made a tremendous start to his new training career at the beginning of this season, before enduring a quiet, lean spell when the horrendously wet weather arrived and forced him to effectively draw stumps for a month or so.
But the horses are now showing the benefit of that unplanned winter break, and the Skelton string are back in good form, as evidenced by three winners in the last fortnight.
And in Stephen Hero I think he has a potentially well treated horse off a mark of 119.
He bumped into two fair sorts when runner-up at Wetherby and Kempton earlier in the season, and it looked as though he was going to have a big say in the finish when leading 3 out at Doncaster last time, only to drop away to finish fifth.
But it was still a run that hinted at much better to come, he is 1lb lower here, a stiff 2m with give in the ground will suit him to a tee - he was a 1m4f winner on the Flat in Ireland, where he was thought ideally suited by soft ground - and he comes here a fresh horse.
In short, he has an awful lot going for him.
If Poungach could get his jumping together, then I think he would just about win the main race of the day at 15:50, but he is just as likely to sulk and fence poorly than show a zest for the job and wing them and he is reluctantly passed over on that basis.
However, I have to give my main Grand National fancy Burton Port another chance at odds of 11.010/1 or better.
He only got as far as the second at Aintree before blundering and unseating, but he has been dropped 4lb to the mark in which he finished second in a veterans' chase at Newbury last month and in his 2012 pomp he really would waltz home here.
Glen Moss was well backed when second at Kempton last week, which suggests he was plenty fit enough for that reappearance run.
But there was no disgrace in splitting two well-treated horses in Georgian Bay and Ayaar, and he can race off the same mark here on a track in which he has run well on both his visits in the past.
I think he could take an awful lot of beating in the 14:20 at Haydock and suggest backing him at odds of 7.06/1 or better.
Bayan and Angel Gabrial are my two against the field in the 15:30 at Ripon, with preference for the former, who ran a blinder when third in the Coral Cup last time and looks a very well-handicapped horse to me. And he ran well on his only start here when trained by Brian Meehan in 2012.
I will probably regret it but I was hoping for a bigger price, so this is a no-bet race for me.
Back Stephen Hero @ 15.014/1 or better in the 14:05 at Sandown
Back Glen Moss @ 7.06/1 or better in the 14:20 at Haydock
Back Burton Port @ 11.010/1 or better in the 15:50 at Sandown
Scoop6 rollover: A huge £4m in the pot!
The Scoop6 this weekend is worth an estimated £4m - but before you choose your lines, Timeform has picked its way through the selected races and made some suggestions.
Want to know more about Scoop6? Check out the lowdown here.
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