• Tue 26 Sep, 2017
  • 10:13 BST
  • 06:13 EST (BST-4)
  • 12:13 CEST (BST+2)

Charlie’s Weekend Whispers

Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Sandown Park and Wincanton. View selections below

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A cracking card at Sandown this afternoon and I hope to see Coeur De Lion (12.10) get back to winning ways in the opener having finished runner up to the Triumph Hurdle favourite Defi Du Seuil (giving 3lbs) at Cheltenham last month.

The selection must give 6lbs to his six rivals and will get further in time, but I am a big fan of both he and Defi Du Seuil who is 6/1 at BetVictor for the Triumph at Cheltenham in March.

The listed Mares’ Hurdle is a cracker and I hope to see Sam Twiston-Davies deliver the progressive Lifeboat Mona (12.45) late in a race that looks sure to run at a good clip with Desert Queen in the field. The selection gets further than today’s two-and-a-half-mile trip so will appreciate a strong gallop to chase and Midnight Jazz also made all at Doncaster last time. The Paul Nicholls trained Lifeboat Mona is 5/2 with BetVictor and she can pass what is a much stiffer test than on her reappearance.

The 2m 4f handicap chase is a belter and one of these days we are going to see an improved show from Fort Smith although it is unlikely to be in as competitive a contest as today’s. My two against the field are Morning Reggie and Marcilhac (1.15) with marginal preference for the latter who is 9lbs lower over fences than timber and was a most promising sort earlier in his career. He certainly has the scope for the larger obstacles, had plenty of experience over fences in his native France and made a satisfactory return at Ascot last month coming back from a long break.

The handicap chase over the minimum trip is another hot contest; jumping is always the name of the game at Sandown with the seven railway fences coming up thick and fast and Hollywoodien is a fast and slick jumper who showed improved form to score at Wetherby over an additional half mile last time. I am going to give top-weight Garde La Victoire, however, another chance having just missed out to Sir Valentino in the Haldon Gold Cup in his last start over fences.

The selection has a tendency to jump out to his left which is a concern but there is nothing wrong with that Exeter form given the winner has subsequently run two cracking races in defeat in graded company.

Global Stage makes his hurdling debut in the Grade 1 32Red Tolworth Hurdle but is certainly a horse to keep on the right side of going forward – and do note the horse has also been declared to run on Sunday at Chepstow. The market is headed by 11/8 favourite Capitaine who was impressive when making all in a Grade 2 at Ascot last time.

The hope is that the Nicholls runner is not given a soft lead out in front, Charlemar also likely to race prominently, and that might set the race up for Finian’s Oscar (2.25) who drops back in trip having impressed when winning on his British debut at Hereford albeit over an additional three-quarters of a mile. The selection comes into the “could be anything” camp and is held in the highest regard by trainer Colin Tizzard.

The big betting race of the day is the final of the Veterans’ Series and my two against the field are Forgotten Gold (12/1 at BetVictor) and Court By Surprise (3.00) with preference for the latter who is the each way recommendation at 20/1 with BetVictor. The selection has yet to win at today’s track but has finished runner up three times in four starts and underfoot conditions (forecast good to soft) look ideal.

Chocala (3.35) may not have quite got home when tried over 2m 4f at Wincanton last time and it should be noted that the winner (Strong Pursuit) followed up at Hereford earlier in the week. Gary Moore loves to have winners at Sandown and bottom-weight Krugermac is interesting coming back from a lengthy absence and a market move would be worth noting.

The ITV (4) cameras are also at Wincanton and Wild West Wind makes his chase debut for Tom George although the trip may be on the sharp side; the nod goes to another making a belated seasonal reappearance and first start over fences Clondaw Banker (2.40) who also has the scope to make into a decent chaser for the yard of Nicky Henderson.

Captain McGinley (1.30) jumped well at Taunton last time and looked sure to take a hand in the finish before being badly impeded by a faller and wisely pulled up by Aidan Coleman. He will go off a double-figure price for Rebecca Curtis and can reward each way support given better luck in running.

There is a mouth-watering clash between Death Duty (1.50) and the mare Augusta Kate at Naas on Sunday with preference for the gelding over Willie Mullins’ mare who is owned by a partnership that includes the great former England footballer and BBC pundit Alan Shearer.

For all your racing odds this weekend check out BetVictor.com – new customers can claim Bet £10 Get £30 free

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