Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Sandown, Leicester and Haydock
Sandown was due to stage a two-day meeting, with Saturday's end-of-season jumps fixture preceded by a quality card on the level, but after all the rain clerk of the course Andrew Cooper had no option but to call off Friday's proceedings. But things look much rosier over the sticks and Cooper confirmed no inspection is planned ahead of the bet365 Gold Cup meeting on Saturday. Before we get into the detail let's have a canter through our list of top tips. You can find more info on each of our highlighted selections further down the page.
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13:05 (Sandown) Killaloan 13:40 (Sandown) Jonbon 14:15 (Sandown) Frodon 14:50 (Sandown) Hewick 15:05 (Leicester) Al Mubhir 15:25 (Sandown) Cap Du Mathan 15:45 (Haydock) Montassib
13:05 (Sandown) Killaloan
Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden teamed up to win the bet365 Novices' Championship Final Handicap Hurdle with Knappers Hill last year and they appear to have fair claims of following up with Killaloan.
The five-year-old gelding has been a cosy winner of his last three starts on varying ground conditions and can continue his upward trajectory to defy a 6lb rise for his latest victory. Under Control has been given a 7lb hike for an impressive win at Cheltenham nine days ago, when conceding weight all-round, and will appreciate underfoot conditions. Beau Balko was a comprehensive winner over course and distance in February and was just headed in the final strides at Stratford earlier this month, so he's likely to be thereabouts.
13:40 (Sandown) Jonbon
The Grade One bet365 Celebration Chase has attracted a field of five, where the exciting Jonbon has his first start outside of novice company. Nicky Henderson's star barely saw another rival as he sauntered to victory in the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree a fortnight ago and while last year's winner Greaneteen will prove a tough nut to crack, he was beaten a long way when third in the Champion Chase last month. Captain Guinness, who was 24 lengths ahead of Greaneteen when runner-up in the Champion Chase last month will push Jonbon close. The Henry De Bromhead-trained gelding won a Grade 2 at Navan in November and is likely to forge a strong challenge.
14:15 (Sandown) Frodon
Frodon can shine once more in the featured bet365 Gold Cup.
The 11-year-old, together with jockey Bryony Frost, have become one of National Hunt Racing's most enduring and endearing partnerships. The King George VI Chase winner of 2020, the front-running Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon will likely set out to make this extended three-and-a-half-mile handicap a thorough test. The evergreen gelding, who has won over £1.1 million in prizemoney, is still a very capable conveyance and has fallen just once and won 17 times from a total of 41 chase starts since joining the Shepton Mallet yard from France. Though he has won just once from five runs this term - in the Badger Beer Chase over three miles and one furlong at Wincanton in November - he has been placed on three other occasions. The fact that he has not tried a trip this far before should not mean he does not have the stamina for it and the hope is Frodon's class, consistency and accurate jumping can reap dividends in a race where some of his rivals have bigger question marks against them.
14:50 (Sandown) Hewick
Last year's bet365 Gold Cup hero Hewick can make a successful return to the track in the Grade Two be365 Oaksey Chase for trainer Shark Hanlon. The eight-year-old bypassed the Punchestown Gold Cup in midweek to run in this, having run well for a long way in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Though he fell two out when beginning to tire in the Cotswolds, it was a cracking effort from the Galway Plate and American Grand National hero, who is rated 10lb or more superior to his rivals this weekend, making him very much the one to beat.
15:05 (Leicester) Al Mubhir
Lincoln favourite and eventual fifth Al Mubhir looks the one for the money in the Madri Excepcional Kin Richard III Cup Handicap, with William Buick a notable jockey booking. Notre Belle Bete justified market support in the Easter Classic on All-Weather Finals Day at Newcastle, but he will need to transfer that form to turf now stepping back into a handicap off top weight. Aerion Power, who contested warm handicaps in 2021 and makes his return to grass after a two-race campaign on the all-weather last autumn, is also worth a look.
15:25 (Sandown) Cap Du Mathan
On the day he will be crowned champion trainer for a 14th time, Nicholls appears to hold a pair of aces in the bet365 Josh Gifford Novices' Handicap Chase, with Cap Du Mathan narrowly preferred to stablemate Quel Destin. Ultra consistent, the selection has won twice and finished second three times from seven starts over fences and has been unfortunate in his last two outings, getting touched off at Wincanton and Kempton. Harry Cobden has been booked to ride, jumping off stablemate Quel Destin, who was a neck runner-up in a Grade Three over the course and distance last time.
15:45 (Haydock) Montassib
Montassib was quietly fancied for the Lincoln, but didn't break well and hung. He ran some fine races in defeat last term, including when narrowly denied over a mile on similar ground at Haydock in September, so is worth another try in the seven-furlong Join Racing TV Now Handicap. Others to consider include Spycatcher who was a most impressive winner of a conditions race at Thirsk last Saturday. He came from the back of the field last week and with the likely strong pace sure to suit and Pierre-Louis Jamin keeping the ride, he will put up a strong challenge. Biggles had a fine time of it last season and has a respectable record when fresh, so enters calculations along with Boardman, who ran a creditable race in the Lincoln.
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