Friday, April 23, 2010

Sandown's end of term meeting

Tomorrow's mixed card at Sandown marks the end of the National Hunt season, the highlight being the bet365 Gold Cup (still referred to as 'The Whitbread' in our house). Twenty are set to face the starter for this trip just shy of three and three quarter miles; half the field comes from three big stables - Paul Nicholls has entered four while both David Pipe and Philip Hobbs have three runners each. Favourites don't have a good record and only two winners have carried more than eleven stones in the past decade. I've gone for something with a low weight that will act on the ground at an each-way price - Jonjo O'Neill's Nostringsattached, 14/1 with William Hill this evening, is the suggestion.

All eyes will be on Twist Magic in the Celebration Chase at 2.30. In the past he has performed particularly well at Sandown and, if he consents to put his best foot forward, he's the clear form choice. Having said that, he refused to race in the Champion Chase at Punchestown on Tuesday. The travelling over to Ireland is likely to have taken its toll but this evening Paddy Power offer 11/8 which many would consider big should he decide to take an interest. If you're tempted to take an interest, monitor his behaviour in the paddock before placing a bet - at Punchestown it was clear beforehand he was in one of his reluctant moods. Of the others I prefer Oh Crick to Fix The Rib - the latter's jumping at Newbury on his penultimate run wasn't great. Last year Twist Magic won this with Mahogany Blaze just run out of second by Kalahari King. On that occasion Mahogany Blaze was an 11/2 shot yet this evening he's 11/1 with totesport - provided the bare eight go to post Mahogany Blaze each-way looks decent value in my book.

Petit Robin is the form choice in the 1.30 but with the prices on offer I'll sit on the sidelines while the opening Flat v. Jump Jockeys handicap is always worth watching and will, no doubt, be keenly contested.

For those who have followed the selections through the week at Punchestown, tomorrow is the final day of the 2010 Festival. Much to my surprise (and, no doubt, yours as well) I haven't been doing too badly with three winners and two seconds from seven selections. In the only Grade One race on Saturday's card, the Airshow 100 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle, I'll side with Barizan - his run in the Triumph at Cheltenham last month was one of the highlights of the season. On form he's closely matched with both Carlito Brigante (missed Aintree and so comes here relatively fresh) and his Aintree conqueror Orsippus, while it would be unwise to dismiss Sweet My Lord, given the form of anything Willie Mullins has run over the past few days. I just hope Barizan is well enough to do himself justice after two tough races in the last five weeks.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

The end-of-term meeting at Sandown produced a couple of end-of-term performances from the selections. They went mad up front in the bet365 Gold Cup - for a moment I wondered whether Johnny Farelly on Piraya thought this was a two mile handicap chase; only eight of the nineteen starters completed. Piraya fell away in due course as did Irish Raptor who didn't appear to quite last home but full marks to winner Church Island - the chestnut gelding stayed every yard and won decisively for 19 year old claimer Adrian Heskin. Nostringsattached (16/1) was always in the rear and gave up the unequal struggle before the 19th.

In the Channel 4 betting show seconds before the start Twist Magic was 15/8 favourite. As soon as he jumped off, the returned SP was 13/8f... We've seen that before, haven't we? Those who had been brave enough to take a chance with the Nicholls horse (and my guess is there won't have been too many) must have thought the hard work had been done; in the event it proved anything but. Twist Magic took it up from Fix The Rib at the eighth but David Pipe's I'm So Lucky (9/1) went on soon after and put plenty of daylight between himself and the pursuers. To be fair to the handler, he tipped up this one to Morning Line viewers. Selection Mahogany Blaze (7/1) was travelling in fifth and hadn't been asked for his effort when he crumpled on landing at the ninth - a rather soft-looking fall.

It's rewarding to finish the season with a winner and Barizan (4/1) delivered in some style at Punchestown. Racing from the front, he built up a lead but that was markedly reduced by Carlito Brigante (2/1f) two from home; Jason Maguire had fortunately kept something up his sleeve and Barizan stretched away again to win by twelve lengths and deservedly take this Group One contest.

The Punchestown figures make surprisingly good reading - here's the details to a £1 level stake:

Forpadydeplasterer 7/2 2nd
General Miller 2/1f 4th

Ad Idem 3/1f 6th

Quevega 5/2f WON return 3.50
Captain Cee Bee 4/1 WON return 5.00

Solwhit 5/1 2nd
Reve De Sivola 9/4f WON return 3.25

Barizan 4/1 WON return 5.00

Total wagered: £8.00
Total returned: £16.75
Profit: £8.75
Win strike rate: 50%
Profit as % of turnover: 109.38%

Next winner due sometime towards the end of June...