Former Talksport man Charlie McCann shares his weekend selections for Sandown, Haydock, Newton Abbot, Nottingham and Fairyhouse
Saturday’s feature meeting at Sandown signals the end of the 2010-11 jumps season (the new one begins at Plumpton Sunday) and the highlight is the Bet365 Gold Cup. Last year’s winner Church Island heads the weights but has it all to do under 11st-12lbs and preference is for Maktu (3.10) trained by Pat Murphy who is bidding to saddle his first winner of the season!
The selection pulled like a train when failing to get home in the Welsh National over Xmas and ran a cracker when partnered by Ruby Walsh for the first time at Newbury last time. The outstanding Walsh is required for the Paul Nicholls-trained Meanus Dandy today so Leighton Aspell takes over. There are any number of dangers but at 12/1 with victorchandler.com Maktu can reward each way support.
Bet365 Gold Cup: ¼ odds 1,2,3,4: prices from
Baby Run 5/1
Balthazar King 11/2
Poker De Sivola 10/1
Meanus Dandy 11/1
Gentle Ranger 11/1
Can’t Buy Time 12/1
The Group 2 Mile sees a small but select field go to post. Richard Hannon has trained the winner in five of the last seven years including the last couple and last year’s Guineas’ runner up Dick Turpin (3.45) can maintain the sequence although the Mick Channon filly Music Show goes well fresh, will love the prevailing fast ground and is a big danger to the selection.
Viscount Nelson (4.20) is a fascinating runner in the Gordon Richards Stakes for Aidan O’Brien having been off the track since finishing a close third to dual-Champion Stakes winner Twice Over in the Eclipse over today’s C&D back in July. He wore blinkers or a visor in his last three starts, but the headgear is left off for his reappearance; first time out could be the time to catch him.
Tataniano (2.35) is the weekend nap in the Celebration Chase having missed Cheltenham and Aintree with a slight setback. The selection loves good or faster ground and as long as the executive haven’t over-watered he must take the beating despite conceding 4lbs to the rest of the field. The 5/2 available earlier in the week didn’t last long but he is a fresh, talented horse running under his optimum conditions.
If Sonny Mullen jumps as violently out to the right at Haydock tomorrow as he did at Towcester last time then jockey Ed Cookson could end up in the silver ring! He is a horse I have plenty of time for, but Ballyveysey (2.55) will make sure this is a true test of stamina and jumped very well at Ffos Las last time. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is looking to finish the season with a bang and he has the blinkers on River D’Or for the first time; he represents a big danger.
Despite top-weight I think Toby Jug (4.00) could go well at a price in the Tim Maloney Chase. The section came down at Cheltenham last time before the race began in earnest but he will love the ground and is fairly treated on his best form. It is possible that he is being primed for the Summer National at Uttoxeter, but I am prepared to take a chance at what looks sure to be a big price.
Lemon Drop Red (7.00) had no luck in running at Lingfield last time and passed the line full of running. He is bred to be considerably better than his current rating and despite the worst of the draw he can break his maiden tag at Nottingham’s evening meeting.
There is a decent card at Newton Abbot and Pepe Simao (3.50) can land the valuable 2m handicap chase with leading amateur Ryan Mahon taking off a valuable 5lbs.
There is a wonderful card from Fairyhouse on Sunday with the Jewson Novices’ Chase 1st & 3rd Noble Prince and Loosen My Load re-opposing on identical terms. The winner did us a favour at Cheltenham but I must give Mikael D’Haguenet (4.05) one last chance for Willie Mullins. The selection was still cantering when he came to grief in the RSA Chase last time and he is given one last opportunity to show what he is capable of over the larger obstacles.
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