1st February 2019
We’re down at Sandown Park for tomorrow’s target race – assuming racing goes ahead as expected – the C2 Masters Handicap Chase at 3.35….
A good-sized field of 17-runners goes to post for the 3-mile contest on ground that is currently described as good to soft….
Two horses that haven’t been seen in more than a year are prominent in the betting – Venetia William’s Belami Des Pictons and Paul Nicholls’s Give Me A Copper (a horse with an entry in the Gold Cup)….
I’ve nothing against horses coming back into decent races off a lay off. The evidence of this season supports the view that such horses can prove dangerous and plenty competitive….
But both are plenty short in the context of this race against plenty of match-fit rivals and I am happy to oppose….
We’ll get to my selections for tomorrow’s race in a moment….
First a quick word on what you missed on my paid ATC service this week….
If racing goes ahead at Sandown tomorrow afternoon, the Heroes Handicap Hurdle looks like a very competitive affair….
A big field of 18 horses goes to post hoping to and a big prize pot that has doubled in size from 2017….
The market has bet the right horses to the top of the prices, but I reckon a couple at double-figure quotes are underestimated….
You can get immediate access to these extra bets on the website when you take a FREE 14-day test drive of my Against the Crowd service….
Back to tomorrow’s target race and the pick of the prices….
Lucy Wadham’s LE REVE is a serial performer around this right-handed track. He’s won over course and distance (including this race twice) on ground with a bit of cut three times – the last twice off marks of 139 and 144….
Of course, at 11-years-old, he isn’t getting any younger. And last time out he was well-beaten over course and distance in the Veterans’ Final in January – getting spanked a good 38-lengths by the winner, Houblon Des Obeaux, who re-opposes tomorrow….
But I can forgive that run. He was brought to a virtual standstill at one point and ran a much better race than it looks on paper….
It was also only his second run back off a long lay-off that had lasted 571 days. He maybe still needed it a bit….
Whatever, tomorrow he’s back at his favourite track over a 3m trip he thrives on and running off a mark of just 132….
He hasn’t run off that kind of mark since he was setting out on his chase career and if the Sandown air gets his blood pumping again then that mark gives him every chance of putting in a big round….
The booking of Aidan Coleman in the saddle is a welcome bonus. He’s been on the horse before. He’s won on the horse before. Granted, it was a while back – but horse and jockey are not complete strangers….
And right now, Coleman is the man going best at the weekends. He’s getting on competitive horses and making the most of them. He could be the right man getting on at just the right time for Le Reve tomorrow afternoon….
The Pick of the Prices….
To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….
In the Masters Handicap Chase (3.35 @ Sandown).
That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.
That’s all from me this week.
Enjoy your weekend.