Our racing expert gives his verdict on each of the seven ITV4-televised races from Sandown (four), Musselburgh (two) and Wetherby (one).
Sandown 1:50, 2m (1m7f216y) Betfred “Supports Jack Berry House” Contenders Hurdle (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
This looks a penalty kick for reigning champion hurdler BUVEUR D’AIR who won this without coming off the bridle last year and it should be similarly straightforward again against a couple of inferior rivals. Unfortunately we’re not going to get rich backing him at the available 1/12.
Musselburgh 2:05 1m7½f (1m7f124y) bet365 Scottish County Hurdle (A Handicap) (Class 2) (4yo+)
Paul Nicholls’ top weight Amour De Nuit is afforded plenty of respect with Bryony Frost up and claiming 5lb. However, it’s clear that smart Flat handicapper SIR CHAUVELIN has transferred all his ability to this sphere, with his latest impressive course and distance success making it 3-6 over hurdles. An 8lb rise doesn’t look enough to stop him going in again and rewarding backers at bet365’s 13/8.
Sandown 2:25, 2m4f (2m4f10y) Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
The ex-French Terrefort made a good impression when winning on his debut for Nicky Henderson, but Paul Nicholls’ CYRNAME was equally impressive when scoring over 2m at Kempton last time, jumping notably well and giving the impression he would be as just as good over this longer trip. He gets the vote at bet365’s 3/1.
Wetherby 2:40 3m (3m45y) totesport.com Towton Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Captain Chaos fell in this race last year when still in touch and he is preferred to Ballyoptic, who disappointed at Kempton when last seen out, and Vintage Clouds whose lack of toe has contributed to his poor strike rate (1-10) over fences. But a chance is taken on AMI DESBOIS at Paddy Power’s 6/1 as he is unbeaten at this track (2-2 over fences here this season) and had an excuse for his pulled up effort at Cheltenham last time.
Sandown 3:00. 2m7½f (2m7f98y) Betfred Heroes Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
A typically competitive renewal and a chance is taken on DASHING PERK at a double-digit price – 11/1 with bet365 – for all the reasons given here.
Musselburgh 3:15 4m1f (4m176y) bet365 Edinburgh National Handicap Chase (Class 2) (5yo+ 0-150)
Most of these are relatively exposed and it could pay to side with lightly-raced LOOKING WELL as he’s running off the same mark as when second in last season’s Sky Bet Chase and as that came after a year off, we shouldn’t be too concerned about his absence since June. His canny trainer Nicky Richards may well have primed him for this valuable prize and he promises to stay this far. He’s an each-way price at bet365’s 11/1.
Sandown 3.35, 3m (3m37y) Betfred Mobile Masters Handicap Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)
Another tricky handicap for punters to solve but I’m very sweet on the chances of Charlie Longsdon’s BALLYDINE at Ladbrokes’ 13/2 and you can read why here.
Sandown 1.50 Buveur D’Air @ 1/12 Paddy Power
Musselburgh 2.05, Sir Chauvelin @ 13/8 bet365
Sandown 2.25, Cyrname @ 3/1 bet365
Wetherby 2.40, Ami Desbois @ 6/1 Paddy Power
Sandown 3.00, Dashing Perk each-way @ 11/1 bet365
Musselburgh 3.15, Looking Well each-way @ 11/1 bet365
Sandown 3.35, Ballydine (nap) @ 13/2 Ladbrokes
All odds were correct at time of posting.