Ray Flanagan with Saturday selections
Thought for the day: I happened to switch on Racing UK betting lab last night and was saying to myself I would not mind having the physique of Tony Calvin.
I like my staying handicap chases but I have never been a judge of heavy ground slogs in the mud. A few selections more in hope than expectation.
Lingfield 1.45- Towerlands Park
Lightly raced five-year old trained by Michael Bell. Strong run following a break when third at Newbury back in October and encouraging effort at Wolverhampton last month. Five pound claimer makes him look very well weighted today and should be hard to beat attempting to make all from berth 1.
Chepstow 2.05- Bishops Road and Alfie Spinner
Putting my faith in Kerry Lee’s (pictured) two representatives. No one would ever have believed Bishops Road was a future Welsh National winner when trained by Henry De Bromhead in Ireland, but Kerry has a way of impacting stamina in her horses and the selection was a winner of a 3M 4 F contest at Haydock last season. Well weighted based on good fourth in what was a very hot Rehearsal Chase back in 2016 and I was very pleased with his sole outing this term in the 2017 Rehearsal Chase. I do not know if he will stay this gruelling marathon but if he does he should go very close.
Alfie Spinner is 13 years of age and also has a stamina doubt but otherwise you can make a case. Comes into the race on the back of a solid effort over the track behind Wild West Wind and enjoys a significant swing at the weights with that rival. In-addition he ran a very good race in the Midlands National last March where he was probably given an over aggressive ride. If ridden with more restraint today off a feather weight his stamina may hold out enough to give him a chance.
Sandown 3.00- Buywise and Fox Appeal
I backed Buywise in the race referred to above at Chepstow on his latest start and while I said I will never back the beast again after than run, on mature consideration it is fair to say he did not run that badly there. He actually jumped as well as he ever has and travelled sweetly out the back but leaving the impression that he may not have been fully tuned for that contest.
Sandown should suit better in the sense that it is a sharper three miles and if he can jump fluently he is certainly handicapped to win.
Fox Appeal is the quickest horse in the race , it is just a question has he the stamina for 3 miles on soft ground. Wincanton raises a doubt but he was close to Bob Ford at Chepstow over the distance and as mentioned above the welsh venue is a stiffer track. Possesses a high cruising speed which will give him an edge against mainly weary veterans today and will be travelling the best for the majority of the race.
Sandown 3.35-Drops of Jupitor
Hard pulling type who enters her first handicap today. Got the job done nicely in a weak novice at Exeter last time and while 121 is stiff enough on the bare form, I suspect this mare is better than that rating. Interesting to see how she settles today but there are a few pacesetters on the line up and the race could be run to suit her coming off the speed.
2 pts win-Towerlands Park-1.45 Lingfield-2-1 General
0.75 pts win-Bishops Road-2.05 Chepstow-12-1 General
0.75 pts ew-Alfie Spinner-2.05 Chepstow-33-1 Ladbrokes-5 places
1 pt ew-Buywise-3.00 Sandown-14-1 SkyBet- 5 places
0.75 pts ew-Fox Appeal-3.00 Sandown-20-1 SkyBet-5 places
0.75 pts win-Drops Of Jupitor-3.35 Sandown-6-1 Betfred