Today’s ITV races
It is disconcerting to see just 13 runners for Sandown’s Bet365 Gold Cup, which has had a field of at least 18 for each of the last seven years. The betting market has a much better chance of getting it right with fewer horses to consider and Doing Fine looks a worthy favourite but 16-1 might be too big about What’s Happening (3.35).
A steady improver since joining Tom George from Ireland four years ago, this 10-year-old was quietly fancied for the Kim Muir at last month’s Cheltenham Festival. He faded into a well-beaten 11th that day but showed up well for a long way and George now believes it may have been too much, too soon after his reappearance run on deep ground at Exeter.
What’s Happening has had six weeks to recover and is reported to be working well once more. He should love this ground and is handily treated on the same mark from which he won at Cheltenham two years ago.
Doing Fine is 8lb well in because of his Cheltenham success 10 days ago and the switch from Rebecca Curtis to Neil Mulholland has evidently done him no harm. Perhaps this will come too soon for him but the only real problem with him is the price, one third of the odds available about What’s Happening, which doesn’t leave much margin for the sort of things that can go wrong in a marathon handicap chase.
1.50 Sandown Twice a winner over this course and distance, Gregarious looks well handicapped with just a 4lb rise for his latest success, the runner-up having scored twice since. Hopefully there is enough juice in the ground for him.
2.05 Haydock Since being gelded, War Glory has put up two excellent efforts in defeat at Lingfield, looking unlucky in running on Good Friday. These conditions ought to give him a bit more time to get going.
2.25 Sandown It’s the one day of the year when it’s a good idea to back Menorah, winner of this race for the past three years. He’s getting older but ran to a high level when second in the Charlie Hall in October and the lack of a recent run is no more of a concern now than it was last year or the year before.
2.40 Haydock This might not be the best time to catch Oh This Is Us after a couple of big efforts in the past month. Penwortham should do much better than his seasonal reappearance, when he was too keen and had a wide trip from a difficult draw.
3.00 Sandown It’s a risk to be taking a short price about a jumper this late in the season but Altior is by far the most likely winner and has presumably given no cause for concern in his home work. He should have the legs of Special Tiara, though the Irish horse was impressive in this two years ago.
Tips for all Saturday races
Sandown 1.50 Gregarious 2.25 Menorah 3.00 Altior 3.35 What’s Happening 4.10 L’Ami Serge 4.45 Shantou Village 5.20Stowaway Magic
Haydock 1.30 Chiswick Bey 2.05 War Glory (nap) 2.40 Penwortham 3.15 Maghfoor 3.45Western Safari 4.20 Casina Di Notte 4.55 Zain Arion
Ripon 2.10 Faradays Spark 2.45 Wilde Inspiration 3.20 Pipers Note (nb) 3.55 Gabrial’s King 4.30 Noble Gift 5.05 Daawy 5.40 Coolfitch
Leicester2.20 Diamond Lady 2.55 Never Back Down 3.30 Above Normal 4.05 Home Of The Brave 4.40 Navarone 5.10 Splash Around 5.45Angelical
Doncaster 4.50 Tomahawk Kid 5.25 Darkanna 6.00 Gilded Reflection 6.35 Maraakib 7.05Delannoy 7.35 Karisma 8.05 Lahore
Wolverhampton5.50 Compas Scoobie 6.20 Want The Fairytale 6.50 Deep Challenger 7.20Global Empire 7.50 Amazing Red 8.20 Outlaw Torn 8.50 Manchego