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A couple of shocking runs from Friday's selections. Eleanor Bob was given an odd ride to be kept extremely wide throughout. She was jumping to the right, so why Charlie Deutsch positioned her as far right as possible I'll never know, but she finished last of 4, so she was either running on the worst ground on the track, or she just wasn't on a going day.
The Meydan horse was pathetic. Drawn in Stall 2, broke like a snail and was at least 20L behind the leader within the first 2f. He was staying on a little at the finish, but had no chance of doing anything from the position he was in, which is probably why he was 28/1 when I thought he should've been much shorter.
Sandown 1:25 – Onethreefivenotout 3/1 (1pt, Bet365)
If there's any horse in this race that is a decent way ahead of his mark it would have to be Onethreefivenotout.
This horse is yet to get a win over hurdles but has shown plenty of ability from his last two runs to suggest that he is on a decent handicap mark and today's move up to 2m 4f will assist in him in breaking his duck over obstacles. From his last two runs (best to leave his hurdles debut) he hasn't been stopping at the line, so though it's a 4f trip difference today on a stiff track, I believe it'll bring out the best of this horse who didn't quite have the speed for Kempton when finishing behind a horse who was well-supported. The run at Wincanton which saw him finish second to Lump Sum looks like a decent effort despite the winner doing it with a bit in hand, as he has since finished a close 2nd in a Grade 2 behind one of the ex-leading fancies for the Supreme (Jeriko Du Reponet).
Paul Nicholls' horse shows he handles any ground ranging from good to heavy as he has run well on both surfaces in his last two runs, and if he stays the trip, which I think he will given his pedigree and running style, he should prove to be on a lenient handicap mark.
Sandown 2:35 – Le Patron 4/1 (1.5pt)
At the start of December I stuck up Le Patron in a Grade 1 over 2m at Sandown and has been written off by the bookies and nearly every punter, but I felt there was a nice horse with him and he proved me right to keep the faith by winning the Grade 1. Today, he is back at Sandown but over 2m 4f with a crack at adding another Grade 1 to his CV.
I am evidently not deserting Le Patron in his attempts to land a second Grade 1, and I think he will be underestimated yet again. I don't think we'll get 16/1 for this time around, but I think decent odds will be available, and a drift wouldn't surprise me either. Many might believe it was a fluke last time out or that he won't enjoy 2m 4f this time but I think he has a cracking chance in this race. He proved last time out that he doesn't need to make the running as he did on his first two chase starts, and he won't be challenging for the lead in this race as that would be suicide going against Nickle Back and Djelo has been handy in his races too.
Le Patron has been targetted this race since winning the Grade 1 at this venue in December, the others have been running elsewhere and this will have been the short-term plan whereas Gary Moore has had this in the back of his head for a long time, and for that reason, as well as the performance of last time out I think he has to be given a strong chance
Musselburgh 2:15 – Peaches And Cream 7/2 (1pt)
With National races I think you can get bogged down trying to find ‘value' and most of the time that comes from horses who have to prove they stay the trip, when more often than not they don't see the trip out and the horses you already knew stayed the trip are winning or finishing in the places. So with that being said I've opted with the proven stayer over today's trip with Peaches And Cream.
Gavin Cromwell has been winning a lot of the UK big pots, especially at Cheltenham's monthly meetings, but this is a rare runner for him at Musselburgh, with this being just his fourth horse at the track and he'll be hoping it's going to be his first winner at the Scottish venue.
This horse returned to form at Cheltenham in December when finishing 5th behind Malina Girl. That was this lad's first run over fences since July 2022 so it was a pleasing comeback, having been kept over hurdles last summer, which was never going to suit him as he is better over fences. He was tapped for speed running down the hill but was seen to be staying on strongly up the hill, which is a positive for his return to today's trip. His sole run over 3m 7f saw him bolt up in a Punchestown 0-145 handicap where he won on the bridle by 11L. That came off a mark of 125 which is 4lbs lower than today's mark (3lb claimer on board today), but that still puts him in with a great chance.
The form of the Cheltenham race has worked out well and I like the drop in grade angle for this horse, which is what happened with Dom Of Mary who was in the Cheltenham race before winning with ease in the National race at Plumpton.
Sandown Park - 1:25 pm
3/1 @ Bet365
Sandown Park - 2:35 pm
4/1 @ Bet365
Musselburgh - 2:15 pm