Seven Saturday Selections from Sandown, Navan, Hereford and Ayr

There’s Sandown betting tips for the Imperial Cup card this Saturday, plus selections from Navan, Hereford and Ayr. The horse racing world gears up for Cheltennham, so check out who to back before the Festival!

Sandown betting tips – One True King up for the Imperial Cup

Cheltenham local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won two of the last four renewals of the 2m Grade 3 Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown (14:25), so One True King looks each-way value now dropping down in distance. All of the six-year-old’s victories over hurdles have come at this trip.

He found the Lanzarote at Kempton stretched his stamina in January and was an unlucky third at Ascot last time out. One True King sprawled on landing after jumping the second last and simply couldn’t recover. His front-running style is better suited to 2m.

Off a mark of 131, One True King has a nice racing weight. The stable has also been among the winners in midweek too, so he has plenty going for him each-way at value odds of 16/1 with bet365 for Imperial Cup glory. Many bookmakers will offer extra places on this ultra-competitive contest and big betting race.

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Patroclus the punt in National Hunt Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final

Patroclus is another one to consider each-way in a wide-open renewal of the extended 2m 3f Grade 3 National Hunt Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final earlier on the card (13:50). One of two in the race trained by Nicky Henderson, this five-year-old Shirocco gelding has won his last couple of starts.

The way he kept on and defeated re-opposing rival Riggs suggests he can give him 1lb here and confirm form. Obviously, many are in with chances here but Nico de Boinville has opted for Patroclus over stable companion Captain Morgs. His choice of mount looks significant. Patroclus is 10/1 with Betfair, who pay five places, and each-way value.

Just 11lb separates all but one of the field here, so the likes of Karl Philippe and The Mick Preston also have each-way claims. A potential lay is worth considering for exchange punters too with Martinhal upped 10lb for winning by just a head last time out and he’s now burdened with top-weight.

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Over in Ireland at Navan, the in-form Velvet Elvis can complete his hat-trick in the 2m 7f novice hurdle (15:20). Trained by Thomas Gibney, this five-year-old also by Shirocco has beaten some useful horse when landing his last couple of starts.

After chasing home Albert Bartlett fancy Torygraph on his hurdles bow at Fairyhouse, Velvet Elvis went one better at Cork. He found plenty for pressure and kept on well there when holding the now 125-rated Mercury Lane by half-a-length. Velvet Elvis also followed-up when dropped back in trip at Thurles.

There, he beat Capilano Bridge, now on a mark of 127, by 3 1/2 lengths. Further down the field that day was the 135 rated Crosshill. Velvet Elvis has earned his mark of 132 which is joint-top in this line-up. James O’Sullivan takes a handy 5lb off with his claim and, taking it into account, he has bottom-weight. Therefore, at 9/4 with bet365, Velvet Elvis is the one to be on.

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Coqolino could go one better in opener

In the 2m maiden hurdle that gets the Navan card underway (13:40), Coqolino can finally get his head in front. Denise Foster’s charge is an Irish point winner owned by JP McManus. His second behind subsequent Grade 1 winning hurdler Bob Olinger in a Gowran bumper reads well in the context of this.

Coqolino has filled the same spot on two of his three hurdles starts, and fell at Punchestown in-between those efforts. When chasing home the now 133-rated Lieutenant Command, he pulled a further 22 lengths and upwards clear of the remainder at Galway.

There was no beating favourite Alko Rouge over course and distance last time out. However, Coqolino again came well clear of the rest of the field. Today might finally be his day, and the odds on offer reflect that. Coqolino has more going for him than El Barra, who hasn’t been right for Willie Mullins.

Hereford betting tips – Hooper has claims for Henderson

Seven Barrows maestro Henderson saddles Hooper in the first race at Hereford, an extended 2m 3f novice hurdle (14:17). This Flat-bred Rip Van Winkle gelding showed ability in winning a couple of bumpers this season at Stratford and more recently on the all-weather at Kempton.

Hooper chased home Nightboattoclyro in a Doncaster handicap on his most recent hurdles outing. He now steps up in trip after keeping on well, and the winner has won twice since to be rated 131. That suggests that Hooper is better than his own mark of 121.

There was just three-quarters of a length between the pair at the line. Henderson may have found a nice opportunity for Hooper to get off the mark over hurdles. Aidan Coleman now takes the ride for the first time too. Hooper is thus a strong fancy at 13/8 with bet365 for victory at Hereford here.

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Ayr betting tips – Wetlands can give weight all-round

Another horse seeking a hat-trick is Wetlands and he might just get it in the extended 2m 4f novice hurdle at Ayr (16:20). Trained by Nicky Richards for owner Trevor Hemmings, this six-year-old by Westerner bolted up over course and distance two starts ago in testing conditions.

They seem to bring the best out of Wetlands and he gets them again here. Since his Ayr win, he followed-up at Newcastle when beating Lord Of Kerak by almost five lengths. As a result, there is a double penalty in this, but Wetlands should be up to that.

On adjusted ratings, he still has 3lb in hand on Bass Rock. That inmate of the Sandy Thomson stable has undergone wind surgery since his last run, but remains a maiden after four starts. The bigger danger may be Olly Murphy’s Tamar Bridge. This three-runner race looks all about Wetlands.

Nells Son the bumper bet

In the bumper which closes the Ayr card (17:30), Nells Son looks worth siding with to follow-up on course and distance success. Also trained by Richards, this six-year-old kept on well to score here on similar going in December.

The third horse home that day, Fortescue Wood, re-opposes after winning another bumper at the track. As the pair meet again off exactly the same terms, thee is no reason why Nells Son shouldn’t confirm form. In fact, Irish raider Arlo could be a bigger danger here.

There was lots to like about the way in which Nells Son went about landing the spoils last time out. He’s also had a mind-winter break. Nells Son comes here fresh, then, so may well be worth backing at odds of 11/8 with William Hill in this.

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