CeeBee previews two races on the Tolworth Hurdle card at Sandown with bets in the 2 mile handicap chase and the 2 mile handicap hurdle.
Given the prices of the two CeeBee selections today on Channel 4, you can avail of a great offer from Bet365 if he has any winners, as if you back a horse at 4/1 or greater in a Channel 4 race, you will get a free bet with Bet365 of €50 in the following race.
1.50 - 32Red.com 2m Handicap Chase
Jumps Road is not an obvious flashy pick but he has a solid chance in an average enough race. Often those out of the handicap proper are ignored by punters but 1lb wrong is very little. Jumps Road returned to chasing this season having unsuccessfully tried it in the 2012/13 season. As such he started the season on a chase mark of 124 which is lenient compared to his hurdles mark of 132 (high of 136). After a decent seasonal reappearance where he was 2nd at Chepstow (winner won since off 7lb higher mark) he went up 4lbs to 128. From studying videos of his last 3runs jumping is not an issue so he should be able to run this hurdles mark which would suggest he has a few lbs in hand. His last run, 2nd at Warwick kind of proves this. He was a clear 2nd, 6L back to the 3rd, when bumping into the well handicapped Top Gamble (interestingly has gone off favourite on 7 of his 8 starts, winning 4) who jumped impeccably from the front and was never going to be beaten on the day. There’s nothing as well handicapped as Top Gamble in today’s Sandown race so a repeat performance from Jumps Road could see him go close.
5 times Jumps Road has won, all at today’s minimum trip of 2miles. They have come on heavy, good and good to soft ground so today's going won’t be a problem if it does get softer. He won twice last season and twice the season before so he is relatively prolific for an ‘exposed’ handicapper and one could argue, due a win.
Desert Cry is hard to fancy coming from a yard with 1 winner in their last 30+ runners. Williams Wishes won this race 2yrs ago but is still 5lbs higher despite missing a year and doing very little when returning. For me he ran poor enough in the Tingle Creek, ok it was different class to today but to be beaten 10L by Hinterland and have Third Intention finish in front of him doesn’t suggest he’s up to winning off 149. The softer ground that day may have suited better than today’s will. Parsnip Pete looks held by the handicapper after winning twice at Aintree in 2014. Mr Mole is not a trustworthy horse, the last twice, in small fields he has got the run of the race from the front and won easily but when pressured he can find very little. Brick Red finished 2nd to him last time but had he jumped better and not given Mr Mole first run on him things may have been different, today’s test could see the placings reversed. Whilst both are in form neither look well handicapped on their handicap form from last spring so I’m happy to look elsewhere. Dance Floor King is obviously a danger looking for a 4timer but only 3 starts ago he was racing off 97. Some 29lbs higher now, he’ll need to be improving at a serious rate to go in again in this better company. He’s another who likes to make all, this won’t help him or Mr Mole and they may tee it up for the slightly one paced (over 2miles) Jumps Road.
Only the 7 runners now so must go win only rather than the planned e/w bet.
3.00 - 32Red.com 2m Handicap Hurdle
Song Light won impressively at Huntingdon last time. He went up 10lbs for that effort but it’s worth noting the 2nd, Cloonacool, went up 5lbs and managed to win again at Kempton over Christmas. It’s strong form. The well beaten 3rd was a C&D winner last time out. The Huntingdon win was no fluke either, Song Light had previously finished a close 3rd in a super competitive handicap at Cheltenham’s November meeting. I can’t help feel that the strongest form on offer here is being slightly ignored as it’s coming from a small trainer with a relatively unknown 7lb claimer on board. The likes of McCoy, Pipe and Nicholls feature at the head of the market. First Avenue beat Tanerko Emery in an Imperial Cup over course and distance almost 2yrs ago but FA has shown little in 2 starts this winter whilst TE has been off for 400days and changed yards, both hard to fancy. Balgarry had no chance the way he was ridden in the Ladbroke but after 2yrs off having been primed for that start I’m happy to ignore him next time. Similar Pipe inmates like Unique de Cotte and Katkeau were beaten on their second starts. Amore Alato is hard to weigh up. Initially I didn’t like his last piece of form as I felt Snake Eyes was only ever going to win by a small margin, he’s one to dodge in my opinion, but then the 4th and 5th have both won since so maybe it’s solid form. He is however 7/2F which is too short for me to find out. Preference is for the one who got his head in front last time, 1pt win Song Light 6/1
In the Mares Listed Hurdle at 12.40 I wouldn’t be rushing to taking evens about Aurora D’estruval. She is a strong traveller but weak finisher and conceding weight at Sandown may not suit. For all her ‘class’ she has only 2 career wins to her name. Mischievous Milly is only rated 7lbs lower yet gets 8lbs in allowances whilst both Dark Spirit and Kayfleur are coming here in top form having won last time out.
The other big race is of course the Tolworth Hurdle at 2.25. I expect L'ami Serge to oblige at odds on 1/2. I’ve already backed him for the Supreme Hurdle at Cheltenham, a market that’s been made by one horse, Douvan, who we’ve only seen once winning a maiden at Gowran and it has been muted could be a Neptune horse yet. After today L'ami Serge could be 3/3 in the UK including a G1, G2 where the champion bumper 6th was thrashed and a flawless handicap win off 132.
Final mention is for Triolo D’Alene, if the ground holds up during the day (he needs it good) he could be worth a play in the last at around 16/1.