Our resident tipster is eyeing up a trio of midweek runners at value prices.
Today’s bets are spread across three meetings and all are available at decent prices.
First up, the 17-runner 5f sprint handicap that opens Sandown’s card – I like a challenge – and I’m giving another chance to the speedy and appropriately named ROCKET ROB. The nine-year-old let me down when disappointing here in July, by that was a rare poor performance over track and trip, over which he’s won four times in total, and he rather spoiled his chance by missing the break that day and then having to race widest of all.
A decent start is important over this stiff 5f and so is a low draw – ten of the 18 races run here this season were won by a horse drawn 1, 2 or 3, so the selection looks ideally berthed in stall three. He could only finish fifth (of eight) over Goodwood’s 6f last time, but he’s far better over the minimum and is undoubtedly well treated on a mark of 67, 8lb lower than the last of his course victories.
I must be feeling masochistic today as I’m also going to tackle Beverley’s 5f handicap, which has at least drawn a less daunting field of 15. Plenty can be fancied but in these type of races it’s all about spotting the well handicapped runners who signalled a return to form last time, and the Tony Coyle-trained KEEP IT DARK is an ideal candidate, with a plum draw in stall one to boot.
The six-year-old has not won for a while – May 2014 to be exact – but he’s come down the weights as a result and lines up today on a perch of 69, which is 9lb lower than his last winning mark. What’s more he found only I’ll Be Good too good at Chester last time, despite not getting the clearest of runs. His last two wins have come from the front and I’d expect his rider Patrick Mathers to bounce him out and make the most of his inside draw. Hopefully he can make all.
Over jumps now and I’m very hopeful that ROBIN’S COMMAND can follow up his recent Perth success under a 7lb penalty. That means he runs off a mark of 122 and he still looks well treated, having slipped down the weights of late, and his rider Craig Nichol, who is 7-13 on him (including twice here), takes a handy 3lb off his back. The partnership made all last time and with ground conditions similarly fast, a repeat is very much on the cards.
The danger is the David Pipe-trained Purple ‘N Gold who returned to winning ways at Worcester last time and is the forecast favourite. However, that was in a small-field novice chase and he doesn’t look particularly well treated on his return to handicap company. Besides he’s never been the most consistent of horses.