ITV Racing are showing horse racing from Sandown on Saturday but, before we get down to trying to pick some winners, we’ll have to mention one horse that could prove popular in Sandown’s first race on the card. The horse in question is called Fukuto (or, said slowly, Fuk-u-to), and there’s been much debate as to how the racing authorities let that one past their naming officials. I mean, the name hits the nail right on the head, it’s not even a play on words like the infamous Mary Hinge (swap the first letters of the two words about if you’ve not worked that one out).
Anyway, enough about dodgily named horses, and let’s get down to trying to pick some of the winners of Saturday’s top TV races.
The potentially brilliant Laurina has scared away all but three opponents in the Unibet Mares’ Hurdle and there will be some long faces back at the Closutton stables of Willie Mullins if she doesn’t win this before going on to achieve much bigger and better things.
However, only the really big-hitters will be diving into back her at prices of around 1/5, but good luck if you backed her at the available 4/9 earlier in the week. The only real play for most punters in the race looks to be the forecast, with the in-form Sensulano fancied to chase home Laurina in second, as Smaoineamh Alainn has yet to prove she stays this far, whilst Got Away has been running poorly over fences recently.
Unibet Mares’ Hurde Free Tip
Forecast – Laurina to beat Sensulano @ 1.83 Bet365
Trainer Nicky Henderson knows what it takes to won the Tolworth Hurdle, as he’s won four of the last eight renewals. Therefore, it looks significant that he relies solely on the highly-regarded Rathhill, having also had recent impressive winners Epatatante and Birchill entered earlier in the week.
Rathhill certainly looked the part when winning on his stable debut at Newbury and he’s also, interestingly, by the same sire as the stable’s Christmas Hurdle winner Verdana Blue.
Tolworth Hurdle Free Tip
Rathhill @ 2.25 Be5365 and Unibet
With a first prize of £61,500 up for grabs in the Unibet Veteran’s Handicap Chase, expect all of the 17 runners to have been targeted at this race for a long time. Therefore, great recent form may not be the best pointer to a horse’s chances of winning, as trainers will have been trying to get their veterans here as well-handicapped as they can.
One horse that looks thrown-in on the best of his form is La Reve, who has won off a mark as high as 144 but gets to race of 135 here. Even more interesting is the fact all his best runs have come over course and distance. For example, he beat previous winner Pete The Feat over course and distance once, when giving him 14lbs, yet only has to concede 3lbs to him here. The stable of Lucy Wadham is also amongst the winners.
Unibet Veteran’s Handicap Chase Free Tip
La Reve (Each-Way) @ 11.00 Ladbrokes, Betvictor, Coral, BlackType
The stable of Jane Williams enjoyed three winners from just 10 runners in December, one of which was Monsieur Lecoq. The five-year-old was well-backed prior to landing a novice hurdle in effortless style and he looks to have got in nicely here off a mark of 122 near the bottom of the handicap. It’s likely there is plenty more to come from him and his high cruising speed should allow him to save some energy for Sandown’s notorious climb to the line.
32red.com Handicap Hurdle Free Tip
Monsieur Lecoq @ 4.00 WilliamHill, 3.75 Widely Available
Odds Correct at Time of Publication