We’re still on a high after Vicente banged in for us at 14-1 in last week’s Scottish National.
We now have a terrific Saturday ahead, with the end of the jumps season a truly fantastic climax at Sandown with lots of decent Flat action at Haydock and Ripon too.
There’s a tricky 2m Flat handicap at 2.40pm. The one I like each-way here is YORKIDDING for Mark Johnston. This is a race packed full of ‘iffy’ characters and I’ll take a chance on the selection’s stamina holding out from a good draw.
There’s a huge-field for the 1m handicap at Haydock at 3.20pm. I like CLASSIC COLLECTION for Godolphin. He’s up 10lb for a win at Doncaster last year, but is improving and will stay on strongly as ideally he needs a bit further.
But they are just the sideshows to the main event…
Sandown’s title decider and coronation of Richard Johnson starts with a handicap hurdle over 2m at 2.20pm. TOMMY SILVER was far from disgraced at Cheltenham behind Ivanovic Gorbatov and can get trainer Paul Nicholls off to a flyer. He’s lighted raced and open to improvement.
I like last year’s winner MENORAH in the Grade 2 Oaksey Chase. He’s been lightly raced recently but wasn’t disgraced when not getting home behind Don Poli when last seen. I imagine he’s been saved for this by Philip Hobbs and good ground will help.
It’s the Grade 1 Celebration Chase at Sandown at 3.35pm and Un de Sceaux tries to get his revenge over Champion Chaser Sprinter Sacre.
Un de Sceaux probably didn’t run to form at Cheltenham last time but an uncontested lead looks assured. He’ll have to brush up his jumping over Sandown’s stiff fences but he has to be the selection for Willie Mullins to get a big prize on the board in front of the TV cameras.
The last TV race at Sandown is the big betting race of the day and it’s a tough, tough handicap puzzle to solve. I’m going for a bit of value with Colin Tizzard’s THEATRE GUIDE .
He fell heavily the last time but he stays strong and if he has recovered in time can run a huge race under Paddy Brennan. A mark of 150 is workable on his previous best form.
So best of luck. What a day. And it will be even better if Paddy is a little poorer. Yeeehaaa!