Friday, February 02, 2024

A suggestion for Sandown

The action this side of the Irish Sea this weekend is somewhat dwarfed by the Dublin Racing Festival (DRF) at Leopardstown where total prize money of two million euros is on offer.

Over here Musselburgh's highlights include the Edinburgh National (tomorrow 2.15), the Scottish Triumph Hurdle (Sunday 1.20), the Scottish Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Sunday 2.25) and the Scottish Champion Chase run over an extended two and a half miles (Sunday 3.35).

The Scilly Isles (2.35) is the showpiece at Sandown but while everyone else is looking elswhere, I'm going to chance one in the Virgin Bet Masters Handicap Chase (3.45). 

Ten have been declared for what looks a below par renewal on paper; the going on the chase track is now described as good, good to soft in places.

Off a mark of 132 favourite Blackjack Magic won the Badger Beer at Wincanton at the beginning of November with an immaculate round of jumping (Certainly Red fourth). 

The top weight wasn't foot-perfect at the fences next time when fourth behind Victtorino at Ascot - Rex Dingle did well to keep the partnership intact at the last - and, with just six chase starts to his name, Anthony Honeyball's charge is the least experienced in the field over the larger obstacles.

Dom Of Mary looked impressive beating Tommie Beau ten lengths in the Sussex National at Plumpton for which the handicapper has raised him nine pounds. I'm not sure the step back in trip and better ground here play to his strengths.

Mare Kestrel Valley won a mares' handicap chase at Hereford off 104 in October and goes off 127 tomorrow. She appears prone to make at least one bad error in a race.

Wearing first-time cheekpieces Bangers And Cash ran his best race for some time in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury in December; his chance is respected, as is that of Certainly Red, fifth in the same race. Two lengths separated the pair that day and they re-oppose on the same terms.

Lydia Richards' charge, a course winner and a distance winner, has a ten pound pull at the weights with Blackjack Magic from their encounter in the Badger Beer; his liking for this particular track is a major plus. 

Grozni has his third start for James Owen; a lot of his Irish form was over shorter trips but the booking of Harry Cobden certainly catches the eye and he has been well supported in the market throughout the day.

I'm a fan of course and distance winner Fortescue but he has become notoriously lazy in his races of late; the worry is he'll become detached, especially on this better ground, before staying on stoutly at the end. 

Java Point is potentially well handicapped on 126 having won off 130 at Newbury in April 2022. He appears to like the Berkshire venue and faded out of contention there behind Inch House on his first run for new connections.

Full Back's profile suggests he hasn't been the easiest to train; he fell behind L'Homme Presse at Lingfield a fortnight ago after a break of 434 days. 

Moroder has been bang out of form this term, having pulled up twice before finishing last behind Flegmatik at Kempton  - the trainer subsequently reported the gelding had made a respiratory noise.

Last March Seamus Mullins' charge pipped Undersupervision a neck in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster off 131 and then ran an excellent second at this track behind Kitty's Light in the bet365 Chase off 136.

Four on the shortlist: Certainly Red, Grozni, Bangers And Cash and Moroder. 

I'm hoping the fitting of a first-time tongue-tie and the drying ground will show Moroder in a better light than we've seen so far this season. I took 28/1 each-way four places earlier this afternoon and he appears to have come in for support this evening.

Moroder is the each-way suggestion, currently 18/1 with Betfred who are paying four places.


TW said...


You've thrown a bit of a curve ball with your race selection this week!

You are clearly a forgiving fellow [you'll be letting William Hill of with that fiver next] allowing Moroder another chance after pulled up [bled], pulled up, last [breathing]. The system also thinks he might need further than this 3m nowadays.

I cannot see a value angle so I'll be giving the race a miss and hoping Moroder can re-find his mojo for the blog.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Fingers crossed, TW...
After a saga that put back customer care ten years, I eventually claimed my free bet for tomorrow's racing earlier today.
Will use it on Certainly Red... :)

GeeDee said...

James Best's muddied silks bore witness to the fact selection Moroder (20/1) got loose before the start - and then didn't appear particularly keen on having his tack readjusted for the task in hand.

I'm not sure the pre-race antics made any great difference to the final result as he ran a similar race to that at Kempton last time - close enough a mile out - in spite of some scrappy jumping - before weakening when the race began in earnest; he eventually finished last of the eight runners.

The spoils went to 10/1 shot Java Point who raced just behind the pace set by leaders Blackjack Magic (3/1f), well-backed Grozni (4/1) and Bangers And Cash (15/2).

As the leading trio ran out of steam, Java Point went on after the penultimate flight and had enough in reserve to hold off the challenge of fast-finishing Certainly Red (4/1) by one and a half lengths with Dom Of Mary (11/2) third.