Apr 26 2018
Finale Day at Sandown lights up the racing action this coming Saturday, as the Champion Jockey and Trainer honours are dished out for another year. It wouldn’t be a big jumps meeting without a Gold Cup of some description on offer, and Sandown doesn’t disappoint. Unlike many other “Gold Cups” over the course of the year though, the Bet365 version is a handicap affair and is invariably the most popular betting race on the card.
This looks as competitive as ever, but like many courses, solid previous form at the track can count for plenty at Sandown. Overall we like the look of one from the yard of Nicky Henderson who ran a solid race in this race last year.
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Bet365 Gold Cup Tip
Sugar Baron each way at 12/1 with Coral
A marathon 3m5f is the trip for this Grade 3 Chase which offers a total of £150,000 in prize money. The going at the track is currently described as food.
The most obvious trend here concerns the weight carried by the winner. Only once in the past 10 years has the winner carried more than 11st to victory. Saddled with 11st12lbs, can current market leader, Blaklion, defy the stats?
We have had four dual winners of the race in the past, with Ad Hoc being the most recent in 2001 and 2003. The Young Master and Henllan Harri bid to join that club this year, although at present both need a couple to come out in order to secure a run.
Baron To Lord It Over Rivals
With no winning favourite in the last 10 years, this has been a race which the market has struggled to get right. Nowhere more so than in the 2017 edition which was landed by 40/1 shot Henllan Harri.
Richard Johnson will be crowned Champion Jockey on Saturday afternoon and would surely love to celebrate with a win the big race. He partners Rock The Kasbah for Philip Hobbs.
Blak To Bounce Back
The Grand National at Aintree must have been a hugely frustrating experience for Nigel Twiston-Davies. Having campaigned Blaklion with the big race in mind all season, the nine year old came unstuck at the very first fence. Through no fault of his own it must be added, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time when brought down. Picking up this prize wouldn’t be quite the same, but would at least provide some form of compensation. The classiest horse in the field, he heads both the weights and the betting and will likely have his supporters. On the downside he is 0 from 4 at trips in excess of 3m3f.
Guide Handicapped To Go Close
Whilst last year’s winner Henllan Harri may not make the cut – and will likely have to run from out of the weights if he does – the 2017 third placed finisher, Theatre Guide, will get in and is weighted to go well. Saddled with 11st he fits the weights trend and is 3lbs lower for just a ½l defeat twelve months ago. Things have hardly gone to plan since his wind op, with a heavy defeat, a pulled up effort and a fall at the first, but if Tizzard has him right, he undoubtedly has the class to win this. Career form figures of 1271R83 in the month of April offer enough encouragement about his place prospects to make him of interest at a big double figure price.
Sweet On Sugar’s Chances
But for a flop last time out at Cheltenham, we would expect Nicky Henderson’s Sugar Baron to be trading a little shorter here. Seventh in this race last year when just being run out of the places close home on good to soft ground, the slightly better going here may enable him to see it out that bit better. In addition, whilst he is 3lb’s higher in the handicap, he actually carries 6lbs less in real terms. A racing weight of 10st2lb can only aid his cause when push comes to shove in the closing stages. A fast finishing second on his last attempt over this course and distance in December, he looks primed for a big run.
Blaklion is an admirable type but looks short enough with those slight stamina concerns. Theatre Guide meanwhile is tempting but just hasn’t shown enough lately to confirm that the fire still burns.
Sugar Baron is the one for us here. Early mistakes put paid to his chances last time out at Cheltenham, but he jumps well around here and looks a solid each way option. Get on the odds of 12/1 now!