SANDOWN – APRIL 23
Last year’s corresponding toteplacepot dividend:
2015: £48.00 (6 favourites: 3 winners - 2 placed - 1 unplaced)
Saturday's Placepot permutation at Sandown:
Leg 1 (): 4 (Duke Street), 2 (Tommy Silver) & 5 (Doubly Clever)
Leg 2 (): 1 (Menorah) & 6 (Valseur Lido)
Leg 3 (): 4 (Sprinter Sacre) & 2 (Sure De Grugy)
Leg 4 (): 19 (Hadrian's Approach), 15 (Just A Par), 16 (Measureofmydreams), 13 (The Young Master) & 20 (Gold Futures)
Leg 5 (): 3 (Vrioum Vroum Mag) & 2 (Ubak)
Leg 6 (): 10 (Antony), 35(Calipto) & 1 (Volnay De Thaix)
Suggested stake: 360 bets to 10p stakes
2.20: Paul Nicholls has saddled a gold and two bronze medallists via just four renewals of this opening event to date, the soft ground winner TOMMY SILVER representing the Ditcheat based yard this time around, with Paul having held three options for the race earlier in the week. A winner of the middle of three assignments to date, I have to draw your attention to the Paul Nicholls stats at Sandown which stand at 1/22 before Saturday's sport in contested. Paul will be confident of casting those figures aside having declared 19 runners on the card on the last day of the NH season. Willie Mullins had just the one entry and sure enough, VOIX DE REVE has been offered the green light in attempt to whittle into Paul's lead at the top of the table. All four winners have carried a minimum burden of 11-1 thus far, which also brings in the likes of DUKE STREET and DOUBLY CLEVER. Two points to make relating to the latter named raider, as Harry Cobden's mount will drop into the 'inferior' sector of the handicap via Harry's claim, whilst the jockey would not be popular in the Ditcheat camp if he denies TOMMY SILVER on the run in.
Favourite factor: Two of the four market leaders have finished in the frame to date, statistics which include the first successful (4/1) market leader in the contest thus far.
Sandown record of course winners in the opening event:
2.55: Defending dual champion MENORAH has been declared to attempt to keep up the fine recent form of Philip Hobbs, with connections probably having most to fear from the Mullins raider VALSEUR LIDO. Connections might want some rain to fall for Willie's main charge, whereas Paul's popular inmate SAPHIR DU RHEU seems to cope with all types of ground. Philip Hobbs suffered during the Cheltenham/Aintree festivals by his high standards but the "Master Trainer" in certainly back among the winners now and with MENORAH seemingly loving this Esher test, Richard Johnson can celebrate his first championship to winning effect on the day.
Favourite factor: One of the two favourites thus far gained a Placepot position last year by winning this event, commemorating the great name of John Lawrence, or Lord Oaksey as he was better known in ‘recent’ years. .
Sandown record of course winners in the second contest:
1/2--Saphir Du Rheu
3.35: Eight-year-olds have won five of the last eight renewals with UN DE SCEAUX desperately attempting to turn around the Champion Chase Cheltenham form with SPRINTER SACRE on behalf of the Irish contingent. Three and a half lengths separated the pair at Prestbury Park last month, whilst SPRINTER SCARE ran second in this event last year, albeit Nicky Henderson's grand servant has become the force of old by comparison. Rated as much as 13 pounds below his best now, Nicky's ten-year-old wowed the Cheltenham crowd recently as as much as Willie Mullins would like to gain revenge for the recent defeat, the Sandown masses (Paul Nicholls included) will be roaring their support for SPRINTER SACRE. It would be churlish in the extreme to ignore the chance of former champion SIRE DE GRUGY. Paul's three runners look to have been declared to try and pick up some prize money along the way and even if the trio trail in behind the others, £11,687 will be added to Paul's kitty for the year.
Favourite factor: All 14 winners have scored at 9/1 or less to date, whilst nine market leaders have reached the frame, statistics which include three winners.
Sandown record of course winners in the third race:
4/6--Sire De Grugy
4.10: I was at Sandown in 1970 to watch Richard Pitman boot home Royal Toss in what was known as the 'Whitbread' for many years and the main reason for offering you that insight into my ‘dodgy upbringing’ was that Royal Toss was the first of 14 eight-year-old winners in ‘recent’ times. If we add the 12 victories from nine-year-olds, we can quickly deduce that these vintages have accounted for 26/46 victories or if you prefer, 56.5% of the contests down the (relevant) years. 29 of the last 34 winners (85.3%) have carried a maximum burden of 11-2. Eight-year-olds have won five of the last 12 contests and putting the stats and facts together produces a speculative short list of HADRIAN'S APPROACH, JUST A PAR and MEASUREOFMYDREAMS. The first named pair have won the last two renewals between them but even so, both qualify via the vintage and weight trends, as does the Mullins raider MEASUREOFMYDREAMS. Willie's Shantou gelding ran well to finish third at Cheltenham before departing the scene 'early doors' when a joint favourite in last week's Scottish Grand National. GOLD FUTURES is no forlorn hope at the foot of the handicap, though marginal preference is for THE YOUNG MASTER as the overnight reserve nomination.
Favourite factor: Nine of the last 25 market leaders have claimed toteplacepot positions (one winner) during the more recent study period, whilst nine of the last 17 winners scored at odds of 14/1 or more.
Sandown record of course winners in the fourth contest on the card:
1/2--Just A Par
4.45: Connections of VROUM VROUM MAG might feel a little disappointed that the ground at Sandown on Friday appeared quicker than anticipated, though Ruby's mount looks to have enough class to cope with this opposition whatever the conditions. Official figures suggest that Silsol could win but I rarely get that individual right whereby I anticipate UBAK being the main threat to the Irish raider, marginally ahead as PTIT ZIG. Please form an orderly queue outside betting shops up and down the country overnight as you wait to back Silsol accordingly!
Favourite factor: Both favourites have obliged to date at 9/4 (Nicky Henderson) and 15/8 (Paul Nicholls).
Sandown record of course winners in the fifth race:
5.00: Gary Moore "Sandown is my Cheltenham" saddles course and distance winner ANTONY with a definite chance of improving Gary's staggering ratio 10/21 at Sandown this season, with CALIPTO from the Nicholls yard possibly giving the six-year-old most to do at the business end of proceedings. ANTONY was an impressive eight length winner on good to soft ground here in December and though the official assessor didn't take too kindly to that success, a subsequent drop of a couple of pounds since his last assignment brings Jamie's mount right into the mix from my viewpoint. CALIPTO is the pick of the Nicholls trio, with VOLNAY DE THAIX in the thick of things this side of midnight.
Favourite factor: The toteplacepot finale rightly remembers the name of Josh Gifford. Goodness knows what he and Terry Biddlecombe are up to as we wrap up the 2015/2016 NH season! The entire racing world is that much poorer for the passing of two great names from the past, notwithstanding John Lawrence who (in Lord Oaksey's previous guise) is probably trying to bring the pair to order right now! For the record, both favourites thus far have missed out on Placepot positions.
Sandown record of course winners in the toteplacepot finale:
2/4--As De Mee
All place details offered on my pages relate to an 'exact science', whereby horses that finish third in 5/6/7 runner races (and other such scenarios) are not 'placed' regarding my statistics.
Trainers with their relevant number of runners on the Sandown card on Saturday:
19--Paul Nicholls (1/22 at Sandown this season)
10--Willie Mullins (1/3)
8--Nicky Henderson (4/14)
4--Gary Moore (10/21)
4--Colin Tizzard (0/5)
3--Neil Mulholland (2/4)
2--Warren Greatrex (1/5)
2--Philip Hobbs (2/17)
2--Dr Richard Newland (0/7)
2--Jonjo O'Neill (1/8)
2--David Pipe (2/10)
2--Evan Williams (0/6)
+ 22 different trainers who each saddle just one runner on the card
82 declared runners
Placepot dividends from last year's corresponding meetings:
Doncaster: £595.60 (7 favourites - 2 winners - 1 placed - 4 unplaced)
Haydock: £801.60 (8 favourites - 1 winner - 2 placed - 5 unplaced)
Leicester: £45.80 (6 favourites - 2 winners - 3 placed - 1 unplaced)
Ripon: £227.00 (6 favourites - No winners - 2 placed - 4 unplaced)
Wolverhampton: £38.10 (6 favourites - 2 winners - 2 placed - 3 unplaced)
The meeting takes on a relatively new twist with the Mullins/Nicholls 'battle' taking centre stage. We 'anoraks' are not too keen accordingly, given that the Irish trainers upset the 'routine' of the meeting. For the record, Willie saddled the beaten (third placed) 6/1 favourite in the 'Gold Cup' event (4.10) back in 2013.