Back and hopefully rejuvenated after what could only be described as a trialing Christmas racing period, the champ.ie #8PointstoPlay brigade return to New Year’s action with tips coming from Sandown, Wincanton, Cork & Newcastle this Saturday.
The festive season belonged to Colm Finlay (BetXS) with his 8 pointer (Epatante) at Kempton. Additional blog highlights over the Christmas period included Top Ville Ben at (Haydock) & Dalton Highway (Leopardstown).
Let’s hope the lads can kick 2020 off in style !
Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score : +69.5pts
3:50 Wincanton – Arkyn (15/2) 8pt win
Was conceding nearly every allowance and penalty conceivable to the winner LTO at Huntington which is usually a strong enough track for Maiden Hurdles. This race here is a much weaker affair and I have him a 9/4 shot. I expect him to be right in the mix. The morning favorite for the race is probably going to be Arriverdici. His price for this is reflected in his last outing versus Fiddlerontheroof. If you look at the race that day Fiddler walked in and was being eased down.
Alan Doyle #8PointstoPlay score : +7pts
13:55 Cork- Snugsborough Hall (10/3) 8pts win
If the 28lbs lower hurdles mark was not a big enough pointer, Moon Over Germany (carrying +20lbs) was 27L behind in 4th and Bun Doran (carrying +23lbs) was 28L behind in 5th in the Grade B 2m handicap chase in Punchestown last April. Moon Over Germany went on to record a solid second in behind Notebook in the Craddockstown novice chase while Bun Doran was a surprising winner of the Desert Orchid in Kempton. Given how the Punchestown handicap form is starting to look, the 3/1 on offer for Snugsborough Hall on a hurdles mark of 115 would seem like a steal so I’m going for it again this Saturday with all 8pts on the nose.
Barry Doyle #8PointstoPlay score : – 1.4pts
12:50 Cork – Takarengo (2/1) 3pts win
Came in for plenty of market support before hurdles debut (3rd) at Leopardstown over Christmas. Travelling smoothly on the front end, a bad mistake three from home cost him a chance of winning. The Little Yank disappointed me at Limerick LTO and I’m happy to take him on with the Thomas Mullins trained 4yo who should be open to further progression.
14:25 Sandown- Silver Hallmark (11/1) 1pt win
I think the favourite is rock solid here and it may be hard to turn over Fiddlerontheroof but I must include Fergal O’Brien’s Silver Hallmark in the Saturday team sheet. Visually at Chepstow, he looked a classy animal and I noted his jumping to be exceptional. This is obviously a step up for him and most of the others too. The O’Brien team will be looking towards the future and chasing with this ex Irish pointer but I’ll take a chance he could prove above average.
14:05 Wincanton – Molineaux (7/2) 2pt win
Rated 3Ibs inferior over fences than he is over hurdles, I thought Molineaux looked especially interesting back in trip significantly at Wincanton, a track where he’s won twice before. He was disappointing on previous two starts this season but I believe he can go well in this for team Tizzard and Jonjo O’Niell Jnr.
15:15 Wincanton – Valdez (7/2) 2pt win
Valdez is a fantastic jumper and a horse I’ve always loved. The flashy 13yo son of Doyen has run 8 times since his twelve hundred days off the track and it was super to see him back in the winners enclosure at Hereford in November. A hike of 5Ib looks leniant and he can go in again here at odds of 7/2. Credit goes to Alan King for getting him back and in a period where veterans are running like they are, remember to select old Valdez today.
Ronan Groome #8PointstoPlay score : – 6.37pts
15:00 Sandown – Dark Flame (11/2) 3pts win
One of the least exposed horses in this veterans’ chase final and has significant course form to boot, having finished second here after long layoff and then “third” in the void London National. Doing Fine gave that form a boost when winning at Cheltenham and that must bode well for this lightly-races 11yo back here off an unchanged mark.
13:55 Cork – Snugsborough Hall (10/3) 3pts win
There are a couple of dangerous-looking profiles in this two-and-a-half mile handicap hurdle but Snugsborough Hall should be clear favourite. Liam Cusacks nine-year-old improved out of all recognition over fences late last season which culminated in him bolting up in the Punchestown Festival. It means that he starts his season here off a hurdles mark which is 28lbs below his chase assessment. That gives him plenty of leeway, even if he’s not 100% first time up.
14:25 Sandown – Hang In There (10/3) 1pt win
Emma Lavelle’s novice comes in here on a hat-trick after taking the Supreme Novice Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham at the Open meeting. Encouragingly, the time of that race was similar to the Greatwood Hurdle on the same day and in a race full of potential, but not necessarily proven ability, he looks the more solid option.
15:35 Sandown – Eldorado Allen (5/1) 1pt win
Long layoff to defy but he absolutely bolted up at this course and distance on his British debut last season and the form of that race could hardly have worked out better.
Thomas Coyle #8PointstoPlay score : – 12.32pts
3.50 Wincanton – Arrivederci (15/8) 2pt win
Chased home Fiddlerontheroof the last in Sandown that’s surely good enough form to win this!!
3.05 Cork – Debuchet (15/8) 4pt win
Had a couple of entries this weekend maybe the change of discipline has helped from hurdles to chasing. Was a top class bumper performer who was very frustrating over hurdles had a nice introduction to fences at Fairyhouse 2 starts ago and was a good second in Ascot the last day.
3.10 Newcastle – Ted Veale (20/1) 1pt ew
Has taking some plummit in the ratings from 134 last January to 109 now and claiming another 5lbs off his back this could be a last hurrah for the 13yo former County Hurdle winner.
Andrew Blair White #8PointstoPlay score : – 13.13pts
2.25 Sandown – Fiddlerontheroof (2/1) 2 Pt Win
The best horse in the race with some brilliant, solid form in the book. He has good form tied in with The Big Getaway, Thyme Hill and Edwardstone. He won over C&D last time out and should have the ability to win this race for last years winning trainer.
1.20 Sandown – Waikiki Waves (8/1) – 1 Pt Win
This horse has been extremely progressive over Fences and is now 5/6 in this discipline. Gary Moore has a great record at the track and this horse should not be underestimated in a race that is wide open.
3.15 Wincanton – As De Me (2/1) 2 Pt Win
A non-stayer in the Becher last time after shaping brilliantly and travelling well. This race has cut up extremely badly and is now a very weak renewal. He is a worthy favorite and Bryan Carver is extremely good value for a 7 pound claim at the moment. He should be bang there.
1.30 Newcastle – Looks Like Murt (6/1) 2 Pts Win
This horse was a brilliant winner on Chase debut last time out and he has been hiked up 10 pounds for that effort. He looked progressive that day and seems overpriced in an attempt to go in again. If taking to the job as well as last time, I would surprised to not see him collect.
3.00 Sandown – On Tour (10/1) 1 Pt Win
These veteran races are always very tough to decipher. On Tour has been around the block and back again, and he finished a good 3rd in this race last year. He ran a huge race on reappearance at Chepstow before underwhelming last time. Still has a big win in him and he seems a big price.