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Saturday Horse Racing Tips

With only a few days to go until the start of the best race meeting of the year punters have a chance to get some useful ammunition in their banks today as Sandown hosts two big handicaps with plenty of value on offer.

EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Final     

First up is the EBF final for novices and likely favourite AL SHAHIR looks to have a good chance as the form of his recent efforts is working out really well. He’s been second to both First Flow and Kalashnikov, who head to Cheltenham next week with decent claims. He may have been laid out for this and won a bumper on heavy ground last season.

At bigger prices, the two we like are RUN TO MILAN and SAM’S GUNNER.

Victor Dartnell often has a good horse in his yard and Run To Milan was highly tried in an Aintree bumper last season to suggest he had been showing plenty at home. He has improved again since switching to hurdles as he has plenty of stamina, so the testing conditions here could suit him more than some of his rivals.

Sam’s Gunner makes the long trip south and he too has always been highly regarded by connections. He’s been brought along slowly and, as a result, may be ahead of the handicapper and he stayed on well over two miles in heavy ground last time out, suggesting this step up in trip will really suit him.

Turtle Wars and The Dubai Way are others to consider, although the last few runners from the latter’s yard have performed disappointingly.

Bet365 are offering 5 places for each-way bets on this race.

Al Shahir (ew)1.50 Sandown5/1Bet365
Run To Milan (ew)1.50 Sandown14/1Bet365
Sams Gunner (ew)1.50 Sandown14/1Bet365


All odds quoted are subject to change

Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle     

Next up is the Imperial Cup, where the market is dominated by two Nicky Henderson horses.  Of the pair, Whatswrongwithyou makes most appeal and he might just turn out to be a class above these.  However, his price reflects that now and instead we think the key race to focus on is the recent handicap hurdle at Ascot where Le Patriote beat FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHT.

We think Friday Night Light can reverse the form here over a slightly shorter trip and with a handy swing in the weights.

MASTER OF IRONY looks a big danger for a yard that does well with this type. He caught the eye when staying on strongly in the closing stages at Newbury last time out. He has Richard Johnson back on board today.

Finally, for those looking for a massive price winner before the Festival, take a chance on BIRCH HILL, who never fulfilled his massive potential for Henderson. He has won a few races for Sophie Leech since changing yards and could still be unexposed. He gets into the race with exactly 10st.

Paddy Power are offering 5 places for each-way bets on this race.

Friday Night Light (ew)2.25 Sandown15/2Paddy Power
Master Of Irony (ew)2.25 Sandown11/1Paddy Power
Birch Hill (ew)2.25 Sandown33/1Paddy Power


All odds quoted are subject to change

EBF Stallions/TBA Mares’ NH Flat Race     

There are two other contests on ITV4, starting with a listed mares’ bumper.

Eight go to post, so the race has a nice shape to it for each way punters and both QUEENS CAVE and PRINCESS ROXY look solid options.

Queens Cave cost current connections a fortune after winning her only point to point and she started to repay that purchase price when also winning her only bumper to date. Encouragingly, that was on heavy ground.

Princess Roxy has the same profile – one point to point win and one bumper win – and she beat a big field in good style at Doncaster last time out. She looks to have been underrated as her yard isn’t as fashionable as those of some of her rivals.

Queens Cave (ew)3.00 Sandown13/2Bet365
Princess Roxy (ew)3.00 Sandown12/1Bet365


All odds quoted are subject to change

Matchbook Racing Handicap Chase     

The final race is the only chase on terrestrial TV and here it is worth chancing TOPPER THORNTON, who was progressive before pulling up last time out in a big race at Warwick. The marathon trip seemed to stretch him and the drop in distance in a much easier race can see him resume his upward curve.

Topper Thornton (ew)3.35 Sandown10/1Betfred


All odds quoted are subject to change