With Cheltenham’s New Year card abandoned due to waterlogging, Sandown’s Tolworth Hurdle day is the first major meeting of 2021. Supporting that this Saturday is jumps action at Hereford and Ayr. Our expert tipsters have come up with three delightful doubles that are well worth backing for 2 January…
Sandown betting tips – Harry Fry at the Mares’ and Tolworth Hurdle double
Starting at the Esher venue, in-form trainer Harry Fry has two live chances in the top two races. First, in the Listed 2m 4f mares’ hurdle (12:40), Whitehotchillifilli looks a value alternative to favourite Stormy Ireland.
Although there is 11lb difference between the pair on adjusted ratings, Paul Nicholls’ charge has disappointed since joining the stable. By contrast, Whitehotchillifilli outran odds of 25/1 in the Grade 2 Dawn Run at Cheltenham in March.
Both the winner Concertista and five mare home Colreevy have won graded races since. That advertises the form nicely. Whitehotchillifilli faced an impossible task giving 15lb away when beaten 3 1/4 lengths in a handicap over course and distance when last in action.
Now back into a conditions contest, she appeals as the type to do better at 3/1 with William Hill. Whitehotchillifilli is 2-3 on the going, and there have been no signs that Stormy Ireland can reproduce her form of last season when trained by Willie Mullins.
Fry also saddles Metier in the feature 2m Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle for novices (14:25). This four-year-old is unbeaten in two outings over the obstacles after joining the yard from Ireland where he was fifth in the October Handicap at Leopardstown.
Metier has clearly improved since being sent hurdling after recording two easy wins at Newton Abbot and Ascot. The latter saw him score unchallenged, so he his well worth a crack stepping markedly up in grade. Odds of 7/4 with William Hill on offer for Metier reflect his chances. The Fry double works out at 10/1.
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Tom Symonds juveniles could deliver double debut successes at Sandown and Hereford
This has been a real breakthrough season for up-and-coming trainer Tom Symonds, so it is worth chancing a couple of new stable recruits in juvenile hurdle company. Firstly, at Sandown (12:05), Hystery Bere is a fascinating French import to the yard.
The gelding is a first-ever British National Hunt runner for Coolmore’s ill-fated American sire Pedro The Great. Hystery Bere was progressive across the Channel when switched off the Flat by former trainer Joel Boisnard. He finished second to next time out winners Sin Del Ria and Blackiron before scoring in the French provinces.
Despite having to give weight away to Gary Moore’s useful course and distance runner-up Hudson De Grugy, Hystery Bere could be anything at 5/2 with Bet365 and is therefore the first leg of a quickfire Symonds juvenile double.
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At Hereford (12:12), meanwhile, the case for Table Mountain comes on the pick of his Flat form. An Ascot handicap winner off 82, he comfortably beat County Hurdle eleventh Scaramanga that day. Table Mountain struck into himself during a Group 3 contest at Goodwood, but was far from disgraced in his final start on the level.
That came back at Ascot in the Noel Murless Stakes where he was ten lengths behind gallant St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco. The pair were stable companions in the Andrew Balding yard and, on that evidence, a Flat racing of 91 may underestimate Table Mountain.
Berkshire Rocco has a mark of 116 on the level. The distance Table Mountain was beaten that day suggests he may be better than the assessor’s opinion. If now translating his fair Flat form to hurdles, then his odds with bookmakers could be value.
Ayr betting tips – Nicky Richards another trainer in with claims of a double
Up in Scotland, Wetlands can follow-up on his previous course and distance win, and give weight all-round, in the 2m novice hurdle that opens proceedings (12:20). Trained by Nicky Richards for Trevor Hemmings, this five-year-old won a Newcastle bumper in March.
Wetlands has needed his first couple of hurdles runs to earn another victory, but bolted up last time out. He won at a canter and relished the same heavy going he gets here today. The standard of opposition is again so poor that Wetlands is impossible to oppose under champion jockey Brian Hughes.
Connections should be looking to mop up another easy race in which it is difficult to make a case for anything else. That is reflected in the odds available about Wetlands here, however, so a Richards Ayr double is the suggestion.
Tidal Point makes his yard debut in the 2m 4f maiden hurdle later on the card (13:30). He looks a fascinating recruit to this sphere on his back Flat form. A four-year-old gelding by Sea The Moon, Tidal Point was behind Technician and Sir Ron Priestly earlier in his career.
Both of those horses went on to be very useful Flat stayers indeed. Technician landed the Grade 1 Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp in October 2015, while earlier that autumn Sir Ron Priestly was runner-up in the St Leger.At his best, Tidal Point was 14-15 lengths behind these horses rated 116 and 112 on the level.
Now sent hurdling, it will be very interesting to see how he gets on. As those with hurdles experience haven’t pulled up any trees, with the possible exception of The Edgar Wallace who has another engagement at Exeter, Tidal Point looks worth chancing each-way at odds of 10/1 with BetVictor on offer to go with the long odds-on price of Wetlands.
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