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Horse Racing

Sandown Park – Saturday 8th January

Saturday 8th January 13:50

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith previews the Tolworth Hurdle card at Sandown Park on Saturday 9th January, and has some big-priced selections.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Paddy's Poem 18/118/1 13.50 Sandown Park
each-way ( 3 places)
Place BetPlace Bet
Wandrin Star 8/18/1 15.00 Sandown Park
each-way (5 places)
Place BetPlace Bet
Mack The Man 4/14/1 15.35 Sandown Park
each-way (4 places)
Place BetPlace Bet
Zambezi Fix 9/19/1 15.35 Sandown Park
each-way (4 places)
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 07/01/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (18:52 07/01/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Not for the first time when attempting to preview and recommend selections for a busy Saturday of top class jumps racing, it seems that a band of rain is booked in to sweep across the country at some stage on the day!

Quite when it hits various tracks differs, and in quite what amounts too, but what is for sure is that at the main meetings at Sandown Park and Wincanton, it is going to pretty blooming testing!

So, with that in mind, the first pick is the biggest priced selection of the day, and might just be a real gem of a bet. It would need to be very testing, but even if they get just a couple of mm’s before the race time, it will be ‘soft’ at best.

The Unibet Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Chase at 1.50 at Sandown Park on Saturday has much more competitive look to it than the market suggests I feel. Gunsight Ridge and Numitor are both 5/2 or skinnier, and I think that creates some scope for value elsewhere.

As with many 7 runner races, a couple of firms have gone to the trouble of offering 3 places, namely Betfred, Ladbrokes and Coral – and a few others will have a section on their app/website/shop terminals where you can find 3 places.

Anyhow, the horse in question is last year’s runner-up Paddy’s Poem, who is 18/1 each-way with Coral, for those 3 places. Paddy’s Poem went on to finish 3rd and 1st on his next two starts, but it was his reappearance run which was the best of those three runs on speed figures, and being fresh again for Saturday’s big race is the key angle. Heavy ground is a real leveller, and having a horse on your side who we know can cope with it at the Esher venue is paramount.

At 18/1, I can’t get away from the notion that Paddy’s Poem is just about the most significantly overpriced horse of the day.

Many misty-eyed soppy old things like me will be cooing over the Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase at 3.00, as we get to see these lovable old rogues have their time in the sun (or rain!) again.

Much will depend on the weather, but the crux of this race is that I would like to take on favourite Aso, as despite being by far the class edge in the field, he has a modest record right-handed.

If they didn’t get too much rain, then last season’s third Sir Ivan comes into the reckoning, and if they had a real downpour, then Final Nudge would be a bet. But the safe option, who will handle whatever the weather does and comes into this race off the back of a career best, is the Kim Bailey-trained Wandrin Star.

Available at 8/1 with Sky Bet or William Hill for 5 places each-way is the way to play it, despite 9/1 being on offer generally. Wandrin Star has always been a horse who has gone well fresh, so it is a positive that he has had two months off the track, since winning a qualifier for this very cosily last time. As an 11-year-old, he represents the much sought after age group in these veterans’ races.

The closing race on the Sandown Park card is the Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Handicap Hurdle, run over the bare 2m, but will be a real slog by this time. A slog over course and distance is exactly what Mack The Man enjoys, as he won here in 2019 and was a very creditable 3rd in last season’s Imperial Cup.

At 4/1 with Sky Bet, Mack The Man is worth backing each-way with Sky Bet on this race, as they are offering 4 places. 5/1 can be found elsewhere, but only for the industry standard three places.

Favourite Hermes Boy could be on a very lenient handicap mark, but this race will be as much about handling conditions as it is potential handicap blots.

With that in mind, it would be advisable to also have an each-way bet on Zambezi Boy also, at 9/1 with Sky Bet. Again, you can get bigger, but the extra place draws me in more often than not. Zambezi Boy was a smooth travelling second behind runaway winner Samarrive over course and distance last time, and will love the ground.

Plenty of other horses on the day might prove tough to beat – Gauloise, Apple Rock, Bavington Bob and Shallwehaveonemore (without Constitution Hill) all will give you a chance of a winner on the day, but skimpy prices dictate that I’ve passed them over.

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