Sandown stages the last major jumps fixture of the 2013/14 season, and purists will be relishing the chance to watch Champion Chase winner Sire de Grugy attempt to claim his fourth grade one of the season.
With well over a stone in hand of his pretty ordinary competition, quality course form, and a liking for soft ground, Gary Moore’s stable star looks over-priced at 2/5 and may well go off nearer 1/5.
Sire de Grugy 2/5
Bet365 Gold Cup
For punters looking for a working man’s price, the Bet365 Gold Cup looks the ideal race with the bookies offering 10/1 the field. The last ten winners have been a mixed bunch with seven of them carrying 10-13 or less to victory and three carrying 11-4 or more, whilst the top-class Tidal Bay is the only horse to have won carrying over 11-5. From an age perspective, 8-year-old have been the most successful with four victories, whilst 11-year-olds have registered three victories, and 7, 9 and 10-year-olds one victory each.
The 3m 5f trip will take some getting on soft ground, and I think those who ran in the Scottish National just two weeks ago may struggle here ruling out the fancied Godsmejudge and Roalco de Farges. The other fancied runner I’m keen to avoid is last year’s second Same Difference who, despite being well in at the weights, is not guaranteed to go on the ground.
The two horses I really like are Hadrian’s Approach and Burton Port. Hadrian’s Approach contested this race last year off a 1lb higher mark and, although he finished 17 lengths behind winner Quentin Collonges, the ground was faster than he liked. This sort of test on softish ground is something he’s always promised to relish, and I think he also has a slight preference for going right-handed. Only six last year, he may well have been laid out for this all season by trainer Nicky Henderson. He’s also ridden by jockey-of-the-moment Barry Geraghty.
Burton Port was undoubtedly Jonjo O’Neill’s plot for this season’s Grand National, but came down to early to say whether he would have been in with a chance. However, he’s so well handicapped on his form from a few seasons ago that he could easily gain compensation here. Having finished second in a Hennessey and fourth in a Gold Cup, he gets to run off a mark of 141, and his chance from a handicapping perspective is there for all to see.
Hadrian’s Approach each-way 14/1
Burton Port each-way 10/1
Football – Premiership
Southampton v Everton – Saturday
Southampton have a pretty decent home record this season with 7 victories, 5 draws and 5 losses, but look a little more closely and their record against the higher-placed clubs isn’t that good. Draws against Manchester City and Arsenal are perfectly acceptable; however they’ve lost to Liverpool 3-0, Spurs 3-2 and Chelsea 3-0. They’ve also only claimed one point and one goal in their last three fixtures. Sure, Everton may have the pressure of getting into the Champions League to deal with, but 8/5 looks too big.
Liverpool v Chelsea – Sunday
Liverpool may well end up as Champions, but quotes of 8/11 to beat a Chelsea side who will battle to the bitter end look a little on the short side – and 11/8 that Chelsea either draw or win looks an interesting play.
Lay Liverpool 8/11