Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips by Dave Stevos

by | Jan 7, 2022

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips

We got off to a pretty solid start in 2022 last weekend. Aurora Thunder did what I hoped she’d do at Aintree and hacked up, advised at 20s as the NB. Our e/w NAP Deyrann De Carjac stayed on strongly late on to land place money in 5th, also advised at 20/1. It was also great to see Tommy’s Oscar show, yet again, that he deserves to be running in graded company. Unfortunately, this weekend’s fare is not up to the same standard but we’ll do our best to find a winner or two. Check out Dave Stevos’ Wincanton and Sandown Saturday tips below.

1.30 Wincanton – Handicap Hurdle (Class 5)

It’s not often we get a class 5 handicap hurdle on ITV on a Saturday but here we are. At least it is the biggest field of the day with 14 runners so hopefully, we can find an each way angle. Looking at the weather forecast, the ground is going to be on the soft side at Wincanton. I am not usually one for backing handicap debutants but at odds of 18/1, Inferno Sacree makes some appeal in this trappy race.

This son of Saint Des Saints has been racing on good/good to soft ground. His best run by far was on his penultimate start at Ludlow when he finished 4th, beat 10L. The winner of that race won next time up and is rated 115. The 5th, 0.5L behind Inferno Sacree off level weights, won next time up. He has since finished 2nd in a handicap off 115. On that form, an opening mark of 93 looks more than fair.

Last time out this son of Saint des Saints was beat a distance at Ffos Las. However, he was never put into the race and it looked to me like he was just out for a spin to get a mark. The soft ground is admittedly an unknown for him.  However, he is by a sire who has produced lots of horses that enjoy testing ground and his half brother has won on soft. It could be that he wants further in time but if he gets a strongly run race, hopefully Inferno Sacree can stay on late for place money. At odds of 18/1, he is the e/w pick.

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Inferno Sacree e/w @ 18/1 (4 Places)

1.50 Sandown – Handicap Chase (Class 2)

Looking at the weather forecast, it is going to be extremely testing at Sandown on Saturday. Given his course record on that sort of ground, Mister Lecoq could be worth backing each way. We were on this fella at Ascot three runs back when he went mightily close in a Listed Handicap off 132. The son of Diamond Bay has blotted his copybook twice since then, as he tends to do. However, the return to this track could well spark him back to top form.

He has had three runs here over hurdles, all on soft or heavy ground. He won a class 2 handicap off 122, was beat 1.25L off 135 into 2nd in the Imperial Cup and then on his last visit he finished 3rd off 145. This will be his first chance over the bigger fences at Sandown.Thanks to his last two runs, he is back down to the mark off which he went so close at Ascot. In fact, With Chester Williams’ claim he is effectively 3lbs lower. This horse is never one for maximum faith but at odds of 9/1, he is worth backing each way.

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Monsieur Lecoq e/w @ 9/1

2.05 Wincanton – Handicap Chase (Class 3)

Belle De Maneche heads the market for Honeyball and Dingle in this 16f handicap chase. This mare hacked up last time at this track over 20f off 117. She has won over hurdles here at the minimum trip too so the drop in trip, especially on this softer ground, shouldn’t be a worry. What is more of a worry is a 10lb hike from the handicapper. However, this daughter of Vision D’Etat is still only a 6yo. So, it wouldn’t be overly surprising if she improves again.

The bookies haven’t missed her though and at bigger odds, perhaps Rikoboy can resume his progress now back on soft ground. The good Dr Richard Newland trains this ex French performer. I think this 6yo son of Enrique could be well handicapped off a mark of 127. Yes, he is 17lb higher than for his last win. However, on his penultimate start he ran a blinder off 123 and on that form he is more than capable of being competitive off his current rating.

His upturn in form for Newland came on his only two starts on soft ground last season. He was nowhere near as effective on faster ground at Doncaster and Ascot on his final two outings in class 2 company but he is back in calmer waters now on ground he’ll enjoy. He ran well enough first time up last season so his lack of a recent run isn’t a massive worry and his trainer is in super form (winner and four 2nds from last five runners). Again, this isn’t one for maximum stakes but at 18s, a small e/w interest is advised.  

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Rikoboy e/w @ 18/1 (4 places)

2.25 Sandown – Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

One of the season’s hype horses is long odds on for this Grade 1. Constitution Hill, beaten a head in a point to point and a novice winner on his only rules start, is the second favourite for the Supreme on the back of his C&D win last time. Yes, he destroyed the field and it was an impressive display but he didn’t really beat much. The ground was good too and it’ll be very different this afternoon. He is no banker to handle heavy ground and at I think he could be worth taking on.

The only horse in this field with winning form on heavy is Mr Glass. His three wins this term have come on good/good to soft but arguably his best display came when he won his bumper by 11L on heavy at Wetherby. Paul Nicholls’ charge last two wins came over 19f at Chepstow and 22f at Newcastle. So, one thing we know he has is stamina. His dam is a half sister to dual heavy ground Grade 2 winner Yanworth so he is bred to be a decent animal and at double figure odds, hopefully Mr Glass can upset the favourite.  

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Mr Glass e/w @ 10/1

2.40 Wincanton – Handicap Hurdle (Class 3)

Another class 3 contest and it is a trappy heat. The rain softened ground won’t suit a lot of these horses. The top two in the betting will handle conditions fine but at bigger odds, maybe Ouro Branco can go well. He needs to bounce back from a poor run on his reappearance at Ffos Las (19f sft). He was pulled up by his jockey after making a mistake but hopefully that outing has blown some of the cobwebs away after his summer break.

This horse is rated 120 over fences and he has a 6lb lower hurdling mark to exploit. He won a chase here on Boxing Day in 2020 off 114, beating Francky Du Berlais by nearly 5L (20f sft). He followed that up with an excellent run at Newbury off 124 (23f hvy) before falling on his last run of the season at Kempton on ground that was too quick for  him. Now, this horse has admittedly failed to place in five previous hurdle starts but those came when he was a much younger horse in 2017/18 and he is a better horse now. Regular partner Kieran Buckley retains the ride and with track and ground to suit, hopefully Ouro Branco can hit the frame at odds of 20/1.

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Ouro Branco e/w @ 20/1

3.00 Sandown – Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Class 2)

I’m still sick as a parrot over the 2019 renewal of this race when Buywise fell at the last. It is a great series of races for the Veterans and it is good to see it has been well supported again this year. A field of 13 ‘old boys’ will line up behind the flag and a case can be made for a few. We backed The Kings Writ last time out at Exeter but he finished well beaten. Today’s trip and ground should suit him better but he has shortened in the betting to 9s from 14s and the value is gone from him.

At odds of 25/1, maybe Dancing Shadow can make his presence felt off 123. This 13yo son of Craigsteel ran a cracker to qualify for this race over today’s C&D back in November. He finished just 1.5L behind Wandrin Star on good to soft ground and he is 2lbs better off with him here, despite being 2lbs ‘wrong’ at the weights. That was one of three solid runs by this fella this season. You would think connections have had this race in mind since that Sandown run.

Last time out he was far from disgraced when 4th of 17 at Exeter (30f gd/sft) against younger horses. Gwencily Berbas won that by 10L off 124 and he re-opposes off 132 today. Over this shorter trip, I think Victor Dartnall’s horse can get a whole lot closer to that rival. Dancing Shadow handles heavy ground and he has form figures of 32402 at Sandown. At odds of 25/1, an each way interest is advised.

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Dancing Shadow e/w @ 25/1 NAP (4 Places)

3.35 Sandown – Handicap Hurdle (Class 2)

The previous handicap hurdle at Wincanton makes zero appeal as a betting heat. This closing handicap hurdle is slightly more appetising, as long as there are no non-runners. The one I like in this race at odds of 10/1 is our old pal Navajo Pass. We backed his fella last season at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day when he dotted up in a handicap hurdle off 142 (20f sft). On his next outing he landed the Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock (15.5f hvy), beating The Champ Buveur D’Air by 4L. However, he came unstuck in another G2 behind Goshen on his last start of the campaign and Donald McCain put him away for the Summer.

The son of Nathaniel made his return over today’s C&D in a Listed handicap off 149 (16f gd/sft). He was too fresh, pulled hard and he trailed in well beaten. He is better than that and the handicapper has given him a real chance now, dropping him back to 145. Theo Gillard takes off another 5lbs so he is effectively racing off 140. On his two runs in January last year he is well capable of winning off that type of a mark. With his comeback under his belt, he should hopefully settle better today. The ground will be more up his alley too (form figures on heavy: 21213) and at odds of 10/1, Navajo Pass looks well worth backing each way.

Wincanton and Sandown Saturday Tips: Navajo Pass e/w @ 10/1 NB

-DaveStevos

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