Saturday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for Sandown, Haydock and Leicester

·9-min read

Out tips and the reasons behind them are below and you'll find the race cards for the three televised meetings - Sandown, Haydock and Leicester - at Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre.


Hasty Parisian each-way (13.50 Sandown)

Sir Dancealot each-way (14.05 Haydock)

Nuts Well (14.25 Sandown)

Aratus (14.45 Leicester)

Greaneteen (15.00 Sandown)

Enrilo / Hewick each-way (15.32 Sandown)

13.50 Sandown - Hasty Parisian each-way

The latest edition of the Novices' Championship Final Handicap Hurdle run over 2m is predictably competitive and those at the head of the market can boast plenty of winning form. Paul Nicholls' Knappers Hill is the current favourite and rightly so as he was a ready winner at Newton Abbot seven days ago, when appreciating the better ground, and doesn't look handicapped out of it by any means. Jonjo O'Neill's Head Law is chasing a four-timer and is clearly improving, while the Dan Skelton-trained pair of Doctor Parnassus and Boombawn also have to be considered. The latter horse justified odds-on favouritism in comfortable fashion at Ffos Las earlier this month but the runner-up, Hasty Parisian, is much better off at today's weights and yet is almost twice the odds of his conqueror.

Trained by Milton Harris, who is having a dream season and is bang in form with four of his last five runners obliging, his sole victory over hurdles from five tries came over this track and trip last month, when going clear on the run-in to beat the hat-trick-seeking Langafel.

Milton Harris is having a dream season
Milton Harris is having a dream season

He's been a shade unlucky on a couple of occasions too, including when hampered by a faller at Ascot two starts back causing him to unseat his rider, and he shapes as if a fast-run handicap will bring out the best in him. Off joint bottom weight and sporting cheek-pieces for the first time, he looks sure to be involved at the finish and rates decent each-way value.

14.05 Haydock - Sir Dancealot each-way

Likely favourite Alrehb has won his last two starts on the all-weather and will take plenty of beating if translating that form to turf, while Boardman ran an encouraging fourth on his seasonal debut 19 days ago given he has no good record fresh. The latter horse might prefer a little more cut in the ground, however, and the temptation is to take the front pair on with the classy Sir Dancealot, who has been plying his trade in Group company for most of his career under the care of the now retired David Elsworth.

This is his first start for the in-form John Butler and his first run back since finishing fifth in the 2020 running of the Group 2 Lennox Stakes, in which he finished a less than four lengths fifth behind Space Blues, and you have to go back to October 2017 for his last run in a handicap. He's clearly a risky proposition give his long absence of 634 days but if retaining any of the old ability that saw him win four Group 2s, all over this trip of 7f when displaying his customary late finish, his current Planet Sport Bet odds of 14/1 would look huge and they're big enough for an each-way interest.

14.25 Sandown - Nuts Well

On official ratings alone, this should be between Mister Fisher and Saint Calvados (both are rated 157) but neither arrive here in great shape and have questions to answer after disappointing efforts in Aintree's Melling Chase on their most recent starts.

The latter horse fared a little better in that 2m4f Grade 1 contest, finishing fifth, whereas Mister Fisher was pulled up, and his trainer Paul Nicholls seems to think he needs better ground these days having done all his winning in testing conditions. He'd be the pick of the pair but it could be worth taking a chance on one of the two remaining runners and while improving novice Erne River could easily take a hand, the more assured jumping and staying power of Nuts Well earns him the vote. And Hamilton's 11-year-old looked as good as ever when winning over a trip just short of 3m at Kelso two starts back under champion jockey elect Brian Hughes, who is back on board, and then ran as well as could be expected (sixth of the seven finishers) in the Grade 1 Betfair Bowl won by Clan Des Obeaux. While he stays 3m, this slightly shorter trip is probably ideal for him and he could easily pick up the pieces late on if one or both of the front pair fail to fire.

14.45 Leicester - Aratus

Charlie Appleby continues to churn out the winners, with Nahanni's victory earlier in the week making it 33-80 (41%) since the turn of the year and 12-51 (57%) in the last fortnight, so perhaps we shouldn't look any further than his Path Of Thunder for this three-runner 7f Listed contest. The five-year-old is also fit from a Meydan campaign, which yielded a win and a respectable third of 16 when last seen out 49 days ago, although the drop back to 7f seemed to find him out on that occasion and all his winning has been over a mile. Given this could be a slowly-run tactical affair, he's worth taking on at short odds and Happy Power, who is also fit from the all-weather and has winning form over this trip, looks a worthy adversary. But we're going to take a chance on the outsider of three, the Clive Cox-trained Aratus, who was unbeaten in three starts last season, twice in quality handicaps, and has the potential to make the transition into a Pattern performer.

He was quite keen last year, so a gelding operation may well have been beneficial in that respect, and he has been "thrilling" his trainer at home in the build up to this. Today's fast ground is perfect for him.

15.00 Sandown - Greaneteen

Both Greaneteen and Nube Negra are on comeback missions, having run below-par on their latest starts, but they are best fresh and the former horse was a comfortable winner of this 2m contest 12 months ago, when he had the re-opposing Sceau Royal almost 16 lengths back in third.

His trainer Paul Nicholls, who will crowned champion trainer for the thirteenth time at this meeting, will no doubt have primed him for a repeat bid and his record at Sandown (112 over fences here) entitles him to the pick over Nube Negra, who finished a long way behind him in December's Tingle Creek and is arguably best suited to the undulations of Cheltenham. Of the remaining two runners, the Nicholls second string Rouge Vif is no forlorn hope as he's shown some smart form at this trip in the past and might reproduce it here, having had a tie forward operation to help his breathing since finishing well beaten at Kempton in January.

A stable 1-2 is not out of the question.

Paul Nicholls will be crowned champion trainer for the thirteenth time on Saturday
Paul Nicholls will be crowned champion trainer for the thirteenth time on Saturday

15.32 Sandown - Enrilo / Hewick each-way

Enrilo's season has been geared around another crack at the bet365 Gold Cup, a race in which he was first past the post last season, having travelled and jumped well throughout, only to be disqualified by the stewards and placed third.

Ready to run for his life, according to his trainer Paul Nicholls, he also enjoys a healthy pull at the weights with the horse he hampered on the run-in 12 months ago, the fast-finishing Kitty's Light, who was pipped for second on the line by the returning Potterman. However, any backers of the Nicholls runner will be hoping that Harry Cobden can hold on to him for as long as possible, given that he doesn't find much once hitting the front, and for that reason we're going to put one up against him at a much bigger price. The Irish last won this race with Church Island in 2010 and Shark Hanlon's Hewick has all the credentials to end their drought in that he's a progressive young stayer who loves this good ground. He was a comfortable winner of the Durham National at Sedgefield back in October, when appearing well suited by the marathon trip on 3m6f, and we can put a line through his pulled up effort in last month's Midlands National as he was badly hampered by a loose horse, and would have found the soft ground against him besides. That was perhaps a blessing as he avoided a hard race there and will line up a fresh horse, which can't be said of many of his rivals, and he goes well for claiming professional Jordan Gainford, who is taking a handy 3lb off his back. The seven-year-old has already been nibbled at in the betting - into 16/1 from an opening 22/1 with Planet Sport Bet - and he's got to be worth a few quid each-way, although a saver on Enrilo is also advised.

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