It’s all about Sandown Park and the Tingle Creek Chase this Saturday, but so rarely do we get the chance to have a punt on a real value type in these big Grade 1 events, though things appear different this time around.
It’s all about quality rather than quantity for us over the jumps this week though, with bets only in the two Grade 1 events on the card, however we have some nice information for the all-weather meeting at Wolverhampton on Saturday evening with a little Brucie Bonus from the States later on to help supplement what hopefully will be a profitable day.
1.50 Sandown (Henry VIII Novices’ Chase – Grade 1) – SUMMERVILLE BOY
Favourite Torpillo of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard is of obvious interest, especially as his two wins this season from three runs have come away from Cheltenham where it’s felt the track beat him as much as the opposition, while he is already two from two here at Sandown and that has contributed to his skinny price.
The four-year-old is a little inexperienced though and remains vulnerable in top-class company even with the weight concession, coming out very close on private ratings with Grandy Sancy of Paul Nicholls’ but rated even higher than him, no fluke at all in my eyes, is the nicely priced Summerville Boy.
Tom George’s runner reached an official mark of 156 over hurdles and, having had a wind operation before switching to fences, is expected to be even better over the larger obstacles as the season progresses.
He started his campaign with a very nice win at Uttoxeter and he is sure to go on significantly from that, making him look great value in this race and at around the 7/2 mark at the time of writing he seems to be terrific betting value as well under jockey Jonathan Burke.
3.00 Sandown (Tingle Creek Chase – Grade 1) – POLITOLOGUE
Naturally this is an extremely high-quality race and one in which the angles are numerous. For example old-timer Un De Sceaux remains very solid but is unlikely to get any better, while Janika’s rating suggests he can be very competitive yet his history in handicaps sheds some doubt on his quality as far as Grade 1’s are concerned.
Waiting Patiently is a fascinating contender now that he’s moving down in trip, and while he’s undoubtedly a top-class animal this is essentially a trial for Ruth Jefferson to see if her charge has the pace for this division in the absence of Altior, therefore making him a poor betting prospect with no proof as to his speed or lack thereof.
The likely favourite is Defi Du Seuil, a horse who appears to be heading for the top, who beat the selection last time and who has close form with Gold Cup market leader Lostintranslation which all reads well at a glance.
There’s nothing not to like at first look but as the JLT Novices’ winner, something that supplements other key pieces of evidence, you’d have to wonder whether he wants more of a test than this race will provide.
The opposite could be true of Politologue though who, after a closer look at his profile, may well just be getting quicker and so without the Cheltenham hill to climb over this two miles, he just might tap his old rival for toe here and claim a huge Grade 1 win under Harry Cobden at a thoroughly backable price.
6.20 Wolverhampton (Conditions Stakes) – AUCHTERARDER
Auchterarder is an eye-catching contender for the great Mark Johnston in a contest where we should see plenty of support instead for Raaeb, the Godolphin runner likely to go off favourite unless there’s a huge drift.
The latter named looks to have some genuine quality about him, but perhaps prefers a quicker surface than this while Johnston’s filly, despite having to contend with a wide draw, could get to the front and gallop the finish out of her rivals in conditions that look absolutely ideal for her.
Her win here over five furlongs shows she likes this surface, while the style of her victory there as well as the one she put up on debut at Beverley, would suggest she can pull out more if needed especially over a longer trip and so her performances can be upgraded somewhat.
Even on the numbers the filly seems to have been given a very fair chance; rated 4lbs below Raaeb but in receipt of a 5lbs allowance, so she gets the nod ahead of the aforementioned Raaeb, Dancin Inthestreet and Maystar.
7.20 Wolverhampton (Handicap) – PATHS OF GLORY
There are some very good yardsticks here who perhaps just have too much weight based on their current or recent form, whereas two of this field could yet do better and therefore may be well-handicapped.
Clive Cox’s three-year-old Getchagetchagetcha could come back to himself now he’s been gelded and may be dangerous off a mark of 98, though for me the recent form shown by Paths Of Glory is the best on offer here and he still has more to give which is always crucial in a handicap.
While doing well twice at Newcastle on a similar surface to this, I’m not convinced the finish up the hill there was fully to his liking and so it’s his win against the talented El Misk around here that reads much better, the feeling being that he can improve a fair bit from that particular run, making him the pick this time.
9.16 Aqueduct (Cigar Mile – Grade 1 Handicap) – MAXIMUM SECURITY
While Whitmore and Spun To Run have put in some good performances recently, they are possibly not ready to peak for the season on Saturday night and may already have run their best for the year, unlike rightful Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security.
For me, the star of Jason Servis’ barn is a mid-120’s horse over this sort of distance and so he is a pretty confident choice in this race having seen the weights, as long as he is available at 5/4 or bigger.