Simon Holt best bets and tips for Veterans' Handicap Chase day at Sandown

Simon Holt previews the action
Simon Holt previews the action

Evan Williams can enjoy more high-profile success at Sandown this weekend, according to Simon Holt - he has three Saturday selections.

Recommended bets

2pt win Mystical Clouds in 1.20 Sandown at 9/2

1pt win Darebin in 1.50 Sandown at 13/2

1pt win On Tour in 3.00 Sandown at 14/1


Sandown stages the popular Unibet Veterans Handicap Chase Final on Saturday and, while Jepeck looks likely to start a warm favourite, the race could provide an opportunity for value hunters in the form of ON TOUR who is 7lb lower in the ratings compared to last year when he stayed on into third behind the ill-fated Houblon Des Obeaux, in whose memory this renewal is being run.

Evan Williams' chaser is not the most consistent of performers but that applies to several of these and he is closely weighted with Vieux Lion Rouge on his reappearance second in a similar race at Chepstow.

He was disappointing at Aintree next time but, always best when fresh, the race may have come too soon just a fortnight later at the end of October.

While stable jockey Adam Wedge has chosen to ride the top weight King's Odyssey, On Tour will get the benefit of Richard Johnson's assistance and I can see the champion jockey getting the best out of him with a visor fitted for the first time.

Given that the selection has hovered in the mid-140's for much of his career, there is nothing wrong with his handicap mark (128) and, likely to picking off flagging rivals in the closing stages (as he did 12 months ago), On Tour looks worth a play.

Jepeck's chasing mark has been protected by three outings (twice successful) over hurdles this season and he certainly looks interesting on his second to the Scottish National winner Takingrisks over fences at Carlisle last March. However, the bookmakers have seen him coming.

In the Read Nicky Henderson's Unibet Blog Handicap Chase, MYSTICAL CLOUDS is fancied to build on a promising chasing debut at Leicester last month.

Aidan Coleman's mount travelled well into the home straight that day but then got buffeted about and lost his place before keeping on at one pace behind the promising Henderson-trained Pistol Whipped.

Like many of owner Trevor Hemmings' horses, Mystical Clouds is almost certain to be a better horse over the larger obstacles and is potentially well handicapped on a decent run over hurdles at Kempton last January when finishing about 16 lengths third to Pym and The Cashel Man who have both moved up the ranks this season.

The run was even more creditable given that Alan King's charge was struck into that day and, in his Weekender column this week, the trainer sounded hopeful of a bold show especially if the ground dries a bit which, looking at the forecast, it may well do.

Dashing Perk, up 6lb for making all (jumped well) over the course and distance on his reappearance is the likely danger especially as the runner-up Paint The Dream finished so strongly in the Dipper at Cheltenham on New Years Day.

However, I suspect Paint The Dream would have beaten Dashing Perk but for a serious mistake at the second last.

Earlier, DAREBIN can repeat last year's victory off just a 2lb higher mark in the New Unibet Uniboost Handicap Chase.

Gary Moore's heart-on-his sleeve prominent racer loves Sandown and gets a 6lb pull for the four lengths he was beaten by the re-opposing Johnbb over the course and distance early last month (fourth placed Prairie Town won at Leicester a week ago).

A fine jumper, Darebin is worth a small bet to turn the tables.

Posted at 1620 GMT on 03/01/20


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