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21st October 2021

Saturday Racing Tips and Trends: 5th December 2020

As we move into the second week in December the top-class jump action continues to come at as thick and fast as this Saturday the ITV cameras head to Sandown racecourse for their Tingle Creek meeting, plus they are also up at Aintree racecourse to take in four races that include the Becher Chase and Grand Sefton Chase - two races that are run over the unique Grand National-style fences.

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here at TQ with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races - we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get going!


Sandown Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RacingTV)

1.50 – Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices´ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m ITV4

17/17 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
17/17 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
16/17 – Had won between 1-2 times over fences before
16/17 – Had won a UK chase race over at least 2m
16/17 – Aged 6 or younger
15/17 – French (11) or Irish (4) bred
14/17 – Won last time out
11/17 – Placed favourites
11/17 – Returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
11/17 – Raced at either Cheltenham (6) or Warwick (4) last time out
11/17 – Winners that went onto run in that season’s Arkle Chase (2 winners)
10/17 – Winning distance – 2 ¾ lengths or more
7/17 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
6/17 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
5/17 – Winners went onto finish 1st or 2nd in that season’s Arkle Chase
2/17 – Trained by Alan King

TQ VERDICT: A nice renewal of this Grade 1 Novice as we get a chance to see some stars of the future strutting their stuff. We can expect another bold display from the front from the Jamie Snowden-trained Ga Law and if he gets into a nice rhythm in the lead might just be hard to peg back. He’s clearly a rapidly improving young chaser and we know he stays further than this 2m trip so we can expect connections to make full use of that. Those against him will not this is another step up in grade and in recent races he’s been getting a lot of weight – this time he won’t really, with the likes of Hitman and Allmankind running off the same burden. He’s clearly got plenty of pace too, but it’s also worth noting all three recent wins have been over a fair bit further so things might just be happening a tiny bit quicker for him here. It’s hard to put you off his chance, but I’d rather be a watcher, than a backer this time. The Paul Nicholls yard have a good record in this race so their two runners – Tamaroc Du Mathan and Hitman have to be respected too. Both were good winners last time out, but jockey bookings suggest the Harry Cobden-ridden Hitman is their main fancy, with Nico de Boinville riding the other. Hitman was a very easy winner on his UK debut at Ffos Las Allmankind got his chasing career off to the perfect start with an easy win at Warwick and looks another decent Nicholls chaser in the making. This is harder, but he’s clearly well-regarded and should go well too. Eldorado Allen, I feel was a slightly lucky winner last time out at Cheltenham when Gumball fell late on gifting the race to him. He’s certainly no back number though and being the only course winner in the field (hurdles) is a plus. PHOENIX WAY (e/w) won with a bit more in-hand on his return at Warwick last time and is a horse that could be anything. This 7 year-old has clearly had his issues though as that was only his second run since Jan 19. The dreaded bounce factor might come into play, but he looks the most interesting of those priced bigger. The drop back in trip is a slight concern but the softer ground will bring his stamina into play and the stiff finish will be to his liking – he’ll just need to keep in touch during the first half of the race and that is the only concern. However, the main pick is the Dan Skelton runner – ALLMANKIND. This 4 year-old was a 148-rated hurdler and made a cracking transition to fences last time at Warwick – winning by an easy 13 lengths. The form of that win has since been more than franked with the runner-up – Zanza – bolting up at Newbury last weekend too. Yes, this will be harder, but he jumped well last time and last season’s Triumph Hurdle third looks to have an exciting season ahead over the bigger obstacles – he’s currently around 14/1 for the Arkle, but a win here will surely see those odds vanish.

2.25– Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m ITV4

17/18 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
17/18 – Aged 9 or younger
16/18 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
15/18 – Had won a Grade One chase before
15/18 – Winners that went onto run in that season’s QM Champion Chase
14/18 – Placed favourites
14/18 – Aged between 5-8 years-old
14/18 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
13/18 – French bred
13/18 – Officially rated 165 or higher
13/18 – Returned 5/2 or shorter in the betting
12/18 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
11/18 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or more
11/18 – Winning favourites (2 joint)
11/18 – Won last time out
10/18 – Had won a chase race at Sandown before
9/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
6/18 – Went onto win the Champion Chase (Altior, Dodging Bullets, Sire de Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded & Moscow Flyer) at the Cheltenham Festival that season
1/18 – Went onto win the Gold Cup (Kauto Star) at the Cheltenham Festival that season
The average winning SP in the last 18 years is 5/2

Note: The 2010 renewal was staged at Cheltenham

TQ VERDICT: All eyes here will be on the return of ALTIOR, who won this race in 2018. He’s not getting any younger at 10, but for his age he’s been fairly lightly-raced (24 runs) and more so in recent seasons. He missed the Festival late on last season with a niggle but is reported back to himself and being the top-rated runner that has a decent record fresh I’m happy to stick with him at his beloved Sandown. He’s 5-from-5 here at the Esher track so we know it suits and the stiff uphill finish seems to bring out his best – just like at Cheltenham. His only blot over fences from 16 runs came at the hands of Cyrname last season at Ascot over the longer 2m5f trip so it’s hard to knock his record. What was encouraging after that Ascot defeat though was that he bounced back to win at Newbury back in February in the Game Spirit - so hopefully he can return with another win here and it will be all systems go to the Festival after – he’s around 6/1 for the Champion Chase in March. He won’t have it all his own way though with the 2017 winner and current Champion Chaser – Politologue – in the race. But, for me, he’s not the most consistent and despite clearly being capable of running well here, the fact he’s won just one of his last seven means he’s not for me. Rouge Vif and Greaneteen are the two up-and-coming chasers in the field and could have big seasons ahead. They both returned with wins too and even though they’ve a bit to make up at the ratings are young enough to do so. Of the pair, I think the Nicholls-trained GREANETEEN – looks the most interesting. As we know the yard have a top record in this race – winning it 9 times in the last 18 years – and this 6 year-old could be ready to make his mark. He’s got age on his side and should be a lot fitter for his return win at Exeter in the Haldon Gold Cup last month. The likely softer ground here will be in his favour and the fact Nicholls is ready to step him up to this level suggests he thinks he’s capable of running well. Brewin’upastorm and the Irish raider Castlegrace Paddy make up the six runners. I think Brewin’upastorm is clearly better than his last run on heavy ground, but with rain on the cards he might not get his favoured better ground here either. He’s one to note later in the season when conditions might get dryer.

3.00 – Betfair Back And Lay London National Handicap Chase Cl2 3m5f110y ITV4

14/15 – Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
14/15 – Aged 7 or older
14/15 – Won between 2-6 times over fences before
14/15 – Had won (fences) over at least 3m before
13/15 – Raced within the last 5 weeks
12/15 – Rated 126 or higher
12/15 – Aged 8 or older
11/15 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
10/15 – Unplaced favourites
10/15 – Irish bred
9/15 – Had raced over fences at Sandown before (2 won)
8/15 – Carried 11-0 or more
5/15 – Ran at either Cheltenham (3) or Towcester (2) last time out
4/15 – Won last time out
3/15 – Ridden by Richard Johnson
3/15 – Trained by Tom George
1/15 – Winning favourites
Morney Wing (12/1) won this race in 2018
2019 running was declared a void race

TQ VERDICT: It goes without saying stamina will be the order of the day here over this gruelling 3m5f trip. Last year the race was void – we won’t go into that – but was won by Doing Fine, who is back for more this time. This 12 year-old is the second oldest in the field behind the 13 year-old Regal Flow, but has returned this season in good order and can go well again. Yes, he’s a year older and he’s rated 6lbs higher this time but connections help again with a 7lb claimer (Millie Wonnacott), plus it’s a race the Mulholland yard have a fair record in – winning it in 2015 too. He will have a test though to beat the Venetia Williams runner – CLOUDY GLEN – who finished 13 lengths ahead of Doing Fine at Fontwell in the Southern National last time. A 11lb hike for that looks a tad harsh but he won with a lot in-hand and at the age of 7 looks a rapidly improving staying chaser. Trip and ground are fine, and he’s run well at the track over fences in the past too. The consistent Classic Ben is another with a solid chance, but fell in this race last year and has only won 1 of this last 14 races. Pobbles Bay and Regal Flow are proven distance winners so that’s a plus, while SHANROE SANTOS (e/w) does like it here at Sandown and might be worth chancing at a big price. Okay, he was pulled up in this race 12 month ago, but is 7lbs lower this time and is a proven course winner. He retuned last time with a fine third at Huntingdon and gets in here with only 10-6 in weight. Harry Cobden riding also catches the eye.

3.35 – Betfair Exchange December Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 1m7f216y ITV4

16/17 – Won over at least 2m (hurdles) before
15/17 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
15/17 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
14/17 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
14/17 – Had won between 1-3 times over hurdles before
13/17 – Aged 4,5 or 6 years-old
12/17 – Winning distance – 1 length or more
12/17 – Carried 10-13 or less
11/17 – Rated between 116-128
10/17 – Irish bred
10/17 – Unplaced favourites
9/17 – Won last time out
4/17 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
3/17 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
10 of the last 11 winners returned 8/1 or shorter
Mack The Man (6/1) won this race in 2019
Man Of Plenty (8/1) won this race in 2018

TQ VERDICT: Expect to see the Fergal O’Brien runner – Totterdown – blast out in front here and if allowed to get an easy lead might be hard to peg back. He’s 9lbs higher than when winning here last November but connections are taking off 7lbs with the jockey’s claim and should be better back over hurdles after not liking it over fences the last twice. But, for me, he does need to bounce back from falling over fences last time out, so it remains to be seen if his confidence has been impacted. I think the Michael Scudamore-trained Rosie and Millie ran a cracker at Ascot last time out behind the useful Buzz and can go well again. But with Henderson training Buzz then he should have an idea where he stands with his runner – MISTER COFFEY, plus this is a race the yard like to target – they won three of the last 8 runnings. This 5 year-old won well last time here over this CD too and the runner-up ran well (2nd) at Haydock in the week. A 10lb rise makes life harder but he’s and exciting sort and in this better race actually gets in here racing with 7lbs less than he did last time. The Nicholls runners – Solo and EGLANTINE DU SEUILL (e/w) will be popular too and the last-named looks interesting back in trip after not quite seeing out the 2m5f at Wincanton last time. He travelled well for much of the way and that was also his first run back since March and his first since a wind op, so could have more in the locker. Jockey Angus Cheleda also helps by taking off 7lbs. Of the rest, Benson and Galice Macalo both head here on three-timers so have to be respected, while the old-boy Jolly’s Cracked It could run a big race off his dropping mark and with a 7lb claimer riding.


Aintree Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RacingTV)

1.30 – William Hill Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 3m2f ITV4

15/18 – Had won between 2-5 times over fences before
14/18 – Carried 10-12 or less
14/18 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
14/18 – Had no more than 1 start that season
13/18 – Had raced within the last 7 weeks
13/18 – Had run over these Grand National-style fences before
12/18 – Aged 9 or older
12/18 – Officially rated between 123-138
12/18 – Had raced at Aintree before
11/18 – Irish-bred winners
10/18 – Went onto finish unplaced in that season’s Grand National
10/18 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
8/18 – Ran in the previous season’s Grand National
7/18 – Placed favourites
4/18 – Winning favourites
3/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/18 – Irish-trained winners
3/18 – Won last time out
3/18 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
1/18 – Went onto win the Grand National later in their career
0/18 – Went onto win the Grand National that same season
The average winning SP in the last 18 years is 12/1
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race 6 times since 1993
Walk In The Mill won the race in 2018 and 2019
Blaklion won the race in 2017
Vieux Lion Rouge won the race in 2016

TQ VERDICT: Plenty of old faces on show here – including the 2016 winner, Vieux Lion Rouge, but we’ve also got the 2018 and 2019 hero – WALK IN THE MILL – in the race. He’ll be looking to become the most successful horse in the races history if he can land it for a third time and after blowing away the cobwebs at Ascot last time out should be ready to rumble again. We know he loves these National-style fences and despite being rated 8lbs higher this year I think he’s still set to run a big race. He had Kimberlite Candy 2 ½ lengths back 12 months ago in second so there might not be a lot between then two again here, but with a recent run under his belt he might just be the sharper of the two and, as we know, these fences seem to bring out the best of him – having also been fourth in the 2019 Grand National. Trainer Paul Nicholls has a good record in the race too – winning it 3 times in the last 18 years – he runs Yala Enki and Give Me A Copper. However, another yard that often do well in this race is the Nigel Twiston-Davies camp, with three wins since 2010. With that in mind, a chance is taken on their runner – CALETT MAD (e/w) – who returns from a 693-day break. He’s clearly had some issues over the last few years, but is still only 8 years-old and was showing a lot of promise over these staying trips back in the 2018-19 season. He gets in here with just 10-9 to carry and being a sound jumper could really take to these fences. Of the rest, Le Breuil will be popular too and will be a lot fitter for a recent fourth at Kelso but was 20 lengths behind Walk In The Mill in this race last year. The in-form Minellacelebration and former Cheltenham Festival winner – Coo Star Sivola – are others to consider.

2.05 – Williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (3Yyo) 2m1f ITV4

Just 8 previous runnings
8/8 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
7/8 – Won between 0-1 times over hurdles
7/8 – Ran in the last 6 weeks
7/8 – Returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
7/8 – Winning distance 8 or more lengths
7/8 – Carried 10-12 in weight
5/8 – Winning favourites
4/8 – Won last time out
3/8 – Irish-trained winners
3/8 – Trained by Alan King
2/8 – Trained by Gavin Cromwell

TQ VERDICT: This has been a target for the Irish yard of Gavin Cromwell in recent years so even though we are going in a bit blind here with their runner – ARMY OF ONE (e/w) – the booking of Tom Scudamore is interesting. This 3 year-old is having her first run over hurdles too but has some fair flat form and the fact they are sending her over to a race they like to target should be respected. The Joseph O’Brien yard are also sending one over from Ireland – Scholastic – so any support in the betting on this one should be noted too. Megan is probably the one to beat after a nice win on her UK debut at Leicester last month. This former German flat horse looks a nice mare and should be bang-there, but at likely short odds doesn’t look great value. Hiconic should go well, but a chance is taken on another hurdling newcomer – HER INDOORS. From the Alan King yard that have a good record in this race too – winning it three times, including 12 months ago. This former flat performer was rated in the 70’s and knows how to win after landing a handicap over 1m4f at Lingfield back in September.

2.40 – William Hill Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f ITV4

9/9 – Returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
9/9 – Had won over at least 3m (chase)
8/9 – Placed favourites (top 3)
8/9 – Ran at Aintree, Wetherby or Cheltenham last time out
7/9 – Didn’t win last time out
6/9 – Aged 8 or younger
6/8 – Had run at Aintree in the past
6/9 – Winning favourites
6/9 – Irish Bred
5/9 – Ran in the last 4 weeks
4/9 – Ran at Wetherby last time out
2/9 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/9 – Trained by Brian Ellison
2/9 – Ridden by Danny Cook
Native River won this race in 2019
Definitly Red won the race in 2017 and 2018
Trainer Paul Nicholls won the race in 2013 & 2014
Trainer Nicky Henderson won the race in 2011

TQ VERDICT: Another nice race to look forward to here, despite only five runners. Firstly, don’t read too much into the jockey bookings for SANTINI as Nico de Boinville is, of course at Sandown to ride Altior – Jeremiah McGrath steps in, but has won on the horse in the past so it’s no biggy. We last saw him running a neck second in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and heads here as the top-rated runner (172) so clearly the one to beat. He’s also won at the track before (hurdles) and has a decent record fresh, while will be fine if the Aintree track get any more rain – everything points to a big run and at 8 years-old and with just 6 runs over fences then he’s surely a horse that can be expected to have more to come. That will be bad news for the 10 year-old Native River, who won this race well last year. He’s still a top class stayer but you feel his advancing years and his hard career will catch up with him at some point. If it gets any softer that will, of course, increase his chance, and bring his stamina more into play. I’ve also thought some of the Tizzard horses have looked like they need their first runs back this season. He’s a player, for sure, but might just be outdone by some younger legs. Lake View Lad and Keeper Hill have a fair bit to find on the ratings, so the main danger to Santini can come from Frodon. This likeable Paul Nicholls runner returned with a solid win at Cheltenham back in October – carrying a lot of weight that day in a handicap. We can expect another bold showing from the front from him, but my only niggle would be if the ground got any softer over this sort of trip – his last four runs on soft ground have all been losing ones.

3.15 – William Hill Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Cl2 2m5f110y ITV

14/15 – Had between 1-4 previous chase wins
13/15 – Aged 8 or older
13/15 – Rated 124 or more
11/15 – Had run at Aintree before (4 over the GN style fences)
11/15 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
11/15 – Had won (chase) over at least 2m4f before
10/15 – Irish bred
9/15 – Carried 10-12 or more
7/15 – Returned a double-figure price
6/15 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
4/15 – Winning favourites
3/15 – Went onto run in that season’s Grand National
1/15 – Won last time out
Hogan’s Height (16/1) won the race in 2019
11 of the last 14 winners were aged 8 or 9 years-old

TQ VERDICT: Another race over the National-style fences here. 19 runners head to post but the trends can hopefully knock some out. 13 of the last 15 winners were aged 8 or older, so Lord Du Mesnil, Senior Citizen and Didero Vallis, who was 5th last year, will have this trend to overcome. The former King George winner Might Bite is on show here too and off a mark of 150 then it goes without saying he’s very well handicapped on old form, but also a shadow of his former self at the age of 11 now. The fences might spark him into life though and a good run here and you never know the Grand National in April might be on the cards. Trainer Paul Nicholls has a good record in the race and run Modus, who was a nice winner here on the Mildmay course here last month. But he’s not always been the best of jumpers and over these fences that might find him out. Nicholls also has SAMETEGAL (e/w) – a horse that has form in this race after running third in the 2017 renewal. He’s rated 2lbs lower now and despite his advancing years (11) has returned this season with two solid efforts at Aintree and Sandown. Huntsman Son and Springtown Lake head here in form, while in a race over the National fences it’s hard to ignore any Twiston-Davies runner – they’ve Flying Angel, who was fourth last year and is rated 3lbs lower, and Crievehill. Of the pair, FLYING ANGEL (e/w), get the call. He was staying on last year to be fourth, but is 8lbs better off this time with a 3lb drop in the ratings and jockey – Jordan Nailor’s 5lb claim. He’ll be fitter for a recent run at Ascot and we know he handles these fences!

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