Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with five to follow over the weekend at Sandown, Leicester & Wetherby. View selections below
The Bet 365 Gold Cup is the highlight of a mixed card from Sandown this afternoon the final day of the 2012/13 jumps season; it has not been a great week for sport, unless you are a German football fan, and although we haven’t heard the last in the extraordinary doping scandal surrounding former Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni we should at least be pleased that the BHA acted swiftly and effectively.
Without the brilliant Sprinter Sacre, who took his unbeaten record over fences to 10 at Punchestown earlier in the week, there is a cracking 2m Chase and I have always thought if last year’s winner Sanctuaire (2.40) was going to win a Big One this season this would be it this event. I think the selection is slightly better going right-handed and although last year’s success was gained on soft ground he will appreciate the decent ground and, more importantly, the lack of Sprinter Sacre.
The novice Hadrian’s Approach (3.50) looks a thorough stayer and gets the nod in the Gold Cup for the all-conquering Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty; if he can avoid the litany of mistakes that blighted his RSA bid at Cheltenham he must go close and at 8/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support. Well Refreshed is another who must go well if avoiding serious errors but he is 13lbs higher than when scoring at Haydock last time and will need to brush up his own jumping especially in the seven quick fences down the back straight at Sandown.
I am very much looking forward to the racecourse debut of Continuum (5.05 Leicester) from the yard of Sir Henry-Cecil despite the fact that he wears a hood for his racecourse debut; the selection is bred in the pick and is taken to break his maiden tag at the first time of asking before going onto better things.
Betvictor are refunding losing bets up to £25 on horses who finish second to a Willie Mullins-trained animal at the Punchestown Festival and after his five-timer on Thursday we have had to refund plenty of cash; On His Own (3.45) travelled beautifully for a circuit in the National before his jumping went to pieces and I still think he is potentially well handicapped despite top-weight in the 3m 1f Handicap Chase. It is possible his confidence might be shot after coming down for the 2nd year running at Aintree but he is a class act and, if his confidence has not been dented, must go close.
On Sunday Muldoon’s Picnic (2.30 Wetherby) must go close in the 2m 4fhandicap chase as long as the ground is no worse than good; trained by Kim Bailey who has a number of good-ground horses and I suggest you stay on the right side of the yard in the summer. The selection just missed out at Kempton when last seen back in November and fitness is unlikely to be an issue with the booking of Jason Maguire suggesting the stable expect a big run.