Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has four bets for Saturday's action including in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and the Flat card at Haydock.
Recommended Bets: Saturday April 27
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The curtain comes down on another jumps season at Sandown on Saturday with Altior in action in the bet365 Celebration Chase as he bids to go 19 from 19 over obstacles.
He wasn’t at his brilliant best in the Champion Chase but he still beat Sceau Royal by over three lengths and that horse is his main rival this weekend.
The better ground is in Sceau Royal’s favour, though, and his best ever victory came at this track, so I’m not sure I’d want to be taking skinny prices about Altior even if he should get the job done.
As always on this day, the best betting race is the old Whitbread, now the bet365 Gold Cup, and two previous winners help shape the market with Step Back and The Young Master among those vying for favouritism.
The one I like, however, is JUST A STING at 11/1 (General) for Harry Fry, the most unexposed horse in the race and crucially one that should relish the anticipated good ground.
That’s not the case with plenty of his opponents, but Just A Sting loves a sound surface and such conditions helped him make a flying start to his chasing career when he won at Uttoxeter and Exeter before finishing second at Kempton.
All of those runs were in handicaps off marks of 125, 131 and 137, so he looks fairly treated off 136 as he’s highly progressive and is easily forgiven his 10th-place finish in the Kim Muir last time.
The ground was softer than he’d like that day, but he jumped and travelled well before tiring on his first start for almost three months.
It should’ve put him spot on for this assignment and Just A Par was well beaten in that race in 2015 before winning this contest.
Sean Bowen was aboard Just A Par that day, the first of two wins in this race for him, and Fry has booked him for the ride on Just A Sting, with the pair aiming to improve an already great record together (nine wins and seven seconds from just 26 goes).
Like the trainer, I think he has a good chance of staying the trip, especially on this ground off a light weight, and Scorpion progeny have a decent record at Sandown (five wins from 21 at 24 per cent).
Richard Johnson will collect his champion jockey trophy on Saturday having notched the 200 on Friday, and he could celebrate with a win aboard SCARLET DRAGON (11/1 Ladbrokes, 10/1 General) in the opening bet365 Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle.
This horse didn’t settle at all at Kempton last time and that contributed to him jumping poorly, but he’s potentially really well handicapped off 132 considering he was rated as high as 107 on the Flat.
After only four runs over hurdles he has plenty more to give and he has shown glimpses of real promise over timber, notably his debut at Kempton and then his Huntingdon win in January.
Indeed, he was rated 136 after Huntingdon and a 4lb drop after his latest run might be a bit hasty as he now enters handicap company over hurdles for the first time.
Two things could help him settle on Saturday: the bigger field and the reapplication of a hood. He nearly always runs in a hood on the Flat and, certainly, all of his best form on the level was when sporting one, so hopefully it has the desired effect at Sandown.
In the bet365 Oaksey Chase (2.25) Definitly Red and Black Corton head the betting but I just wonder if they’ll be caught out over this 2m6f trip on good ground.
Charbel, on the other hand, has to prove he stays, but the intermediate distance could be absolutely perfect for GO CONQUER (8/1 General).
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ horse ran well for a long way in the Grand National and could well take the step up to Grade Two level in his stride now he runs over a more suitable trip.
He jumped well at Aintree, as he always does, just not staying the distance which was a big question mark hanging over him heading into Liverpool.
Dropping back to 2m6f around Sandown looks ideal, as his jumping can help him get into a great rhythm which is always essential around here.
His Sky Bet Chase win is arguably the best recent form in the race and if he arrives at Sandown in similar form he could be tough to beat as he absolutely bolted up at Doncaster.
Finally, GROWL (14/1 General) looks well handicapped in the Betway Old Boston Handicap up at Haydock off a mark of 97 and he’s worth backing for the Richard Fahey team.
Rated 114 in his pomp, he’s dropped down the ratings after a losing run of 18 but he went close in good handicaps off a mark of 99 three times last season including in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.
He has tried seven furlongs a few times without success, but all of those runs were on soft ground where his stamina was stretched beyond its limit.
Rain is in the air at Haydock, but it’s likely to be nothing worse than good ground regardless and that can help Growl stay the distance on this flat track.
Drawn well in stall two, Connor Murtagh takes another 5lb off what is already Growl’s lowest mark in almost three years.
If things pan out nicely from his inside stall Murtagh could well use Growl’s six-furlong speed to good effect and things might just go perfectly with the front-running Masham Star drawn to his outside.
Ben Linfoot's Value Bet aim: The Value Bet is designed to generate long-term profit by searching for overpriced horses in the feature weekend races and at the big Festivals in the UK and Ireland. Running total: +340.69pts to advised stakes/prices (from inception of Value Bet column in January 2010 to current).
Posted at 1700 BST on 26/04/19.