Lucky 15 January 6th 5pm

Three selections on ITV4. Having looked at the weather forecast for Sandown I just can’t see it being frozen off. Some rain due later on and it looks like being Soft ground at worst. Mind you in my current form they’ll get a freak thunderstorm and it will be waterlogged!

As for today Ludlow was lost to the frost and as for my observations for Wetherby, gentlemen that is why I don’t play at Odds On! Would still put all three in your tracker for at least their next three runs along with the two winners, the mighty impressive Lakeside Castle and the gutsy Uncle Alistair. Write a bit more tomorrow a.m. when I’ve seen the comments of their trainers and my favourite northern paddock watcher, Adam Norman, who was on track.

Anyway it’s Sandown we are going to have a go at! At these prices you could almost play each way!

Sandown 1.15            ATIRELARIGO                  9/2 general

ITV4 Sandown 2.25    CHARLEMAR                   15/2 PP 7/1 general

ITV4 Sandown 3.00    CLOUDY TOO              14/1 general

ITV4 Sandown 3.35    CHOCALA                    6/1 PP 9/2 general

At these prices you could almost play each way!

and here’s why…

Sandown 1.15            ATIRELARIGO Looks an improver for the powerful Hobbs/Johnson combo having won at Chepstow on his third attempt over fences in the UK, he won a chase in France as a 4yo. In his RP Stable Tour the trainer suggested Atirelarigo would “go well in Soft ground” and “be effective between 2m 4f and 3m”. That’s two boxes ticked. He went up just 5lbs for his Chepstow win and if the Champion Jockey and get him a good sight of the fences he can power up the hill to victory.

ITV4 Sandown 2.25    CHARLEMAR I’m not surprised the field has cut up to six but I’m amazed that Charlemar is still available at 7/1! My reservations about the two at the top of the market are Capitaine’s attitude and Finian Oscar’s dropping back half a mile in trip so I will cut and paste from Tuesday’s Ante Post blog. “However regular readers of this correspondent know there are two things I really like are an improver and “a man with a plan”. In CHARLEMAR and Harry Whittington I believe we have both. The horse won on his hurdling debut in a C4 at Bangor before really taking the eye when running away from a C3 field at Aintree when Harry Whittington suggested the Tolworth would be the plan. This horse jumps, travels and quickens and with Capitaine giving him a lead to the last I think he has plenty going for him and at 7/1 to win on Saturday I think that is a fair price as Charlemar attempts to throw his hat into the Supreme ring.”

ITV4 Sandown 3.00    CLOUDY TOO Now having said I like an improver I don’t think I’m going to find one here in the final of the nineteen runner C2 3m Veterans Chase series amongst a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds! However when it’s 7/1 the field and there is £62K to the winner you have to have a go.

You could make a case for most of these on their best form but my eye was drawn to two. Theatrical Star from the all -conquering Tizzard yard who races prominently, usually jumps for fun, has just 10st 4lbs on his back and gets on well with Brendan Powell. His last run was over hurdles, finishing third over shorter with decent horses behind, and it may just have sharpened him up. BUT is he better going left handed, are there too many front runners in this field and his chase form has been poor for two years, indeed since he was 2nd to Le Reve in a smaller field over C&D off a mark 12lb higher.

So it has to be Cloudy Too. Any runner from Sue and Harvey Smith’s windswept Yorkshire yard running at Sandown has to be of interest and stable jockey Danny Cook declines the pleasures of Newcastle and travels south for the ride. In 2014 Cloudy Too contested the Cheltenham Gold Cup no less and just twelve months ago won the Grade 2 Tommy Whittle 3m Chase off a mark just a pound less than he races off here. Most importantly the horse comes here in great form having won a 3m hurdle off his generous hurdle mark and then ran a solid eleven length second to Gas Line Boy at Kelso who re-opposes here on 11lb worse terms and the selection is sure to enjoy the extra three hundred yards and the softer ground.

ITV4 Sandown 3.35    CHOCALA Second to Solid Pursuit and Reigning Supreme is solid novice form and I think he has been thrown in here off just OR127. Alan King continues to bang in the winners and stable jockey Wayne Hutchinson rides Chocala who was good enough to win on the Flat off OR85. Softer ground and a drop back in trip could eke out further improvement. I think I’ve persuaded myself to have a single as well! Top two in the weights are fully exposed, the Henderson French import gets in on a French mark so no idea. The main danger could be the bottom weight, Gary Moore’s Krugermac, who seems well treated on OR122 and the yard love winners at Sandown! However in his RP Stable Tour trainer said the horse had had “a little problem” and “needed good ground”.


SimpleSimonSays49…009 Fri. Jan 6th


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