Saturday Races: Rock the Bookies…

Trainers’ titles on both sides of the Irish sea are up for grabs today. At Punchestown it will be a busy afternoon for Messrs Mullins and Elliott as they fight out a photo finish. At Sandown it’s Nicky Henderson’s to lose, but nonetheless both he and Paul Nicholls have flooded the card with entries.

There are plenty of good horses to admire, and the Altior clash with Special Tiara down the Railway Fences at Sandown will be a joy to watch. From a betting perspective though the value lies in two handicaps, one at each meeting.

The Bet365 Gold Cup (1535 BST)¬†gives Paul Nicholls his best chance to catch up, but it’s trainer Neil Mulholland who saddles the front three in the market. None of those float our boat, and while we respect the chances of Sugar Baron for Henderson if he can jump well, this is essentially a field of well exposed types with the exception of Philip Hobbs’ novice Rock The Kasbah.

It is unknown if this extended test of stamina will suit, but he has been running well in novice events and will have the help of champion jockey Richard Johnson.  Good ground might help and he looks overpriced for a young horse with potential.

Over at Punchestown the valuable handicap hurdle (1735) looks set for one of the Cheltenham Festival’s most unlucky eye-catchers, Scoir Mear. He was one of the fastest finishers of the week when rattling home for fifth in the Coral Cup, having been unlucky to lose his position.

He will need a bit more luck in running in this strong field, but granted a clean run he looks poised to land one of these big prizes. He is given a confident vote to come good, and we strongly expect to see him well backed, so get on early, and often.


Rock The Kasbah, (1535 Sandown), 12/1 generally available

Scoir Mear, (1735 Punchestown), 7/1, Bet365

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