Betfred Saturday Horse Racing Tips: Matt’s musings from Sandown

 | 26th April | 

6 mins read

El Fabiolo vs Jonbon

Saturday marks the end of the National Hunt season and the day that, bar a miracle, Willie Mullins will become just the second trainer from Ireland to win the British Jumps Trainers' Championship, emulating the great Vincent O’Brien and Harry Cobden will be crowned Champion Jockey for the first time.

It's to Sandown I go for Betfred's Saturday horse racing tips, with the opening four contests on the card assessed.

Betfred Saturday Horse Racing Tips

  • 13:50 Sandown - Secret Squirrel @ 8/1, Geezer Rockstar @ 12/1
  • 14:25 Sandown - Al Dancer @ 15/2
  • 15:00 Sandown - El Fabiolo @ 8/11
  • 15:35 Sandown - Kinondo Kwetu e/w (5 places) @ 14/1

13:50 Sandown - Secret Squirrel @ 8/1, Geezer Rockstar @ 12/1

A wide-open, 20-runner novice handicap hurdle opens proceedings at Sandown. Easy!

It would take hours to sift through all these, but the two that I like are SECRET SQUIRREL and GEEZER ROCKSTAR.

The former cannot be missed in appearance, with his blonde main and tail a standout, but his ability is also quite noticeable. He won a nice Kempton novice in November despite being keen and I noted him as a horse to keep on the right side of. He then bumped in the useful Jeriko Du Repnoet before going down fighting to Fire Flyer (over a longer trip), who are once again evenly-matched, at Taunton.

He then looked to have gained a few quirks when switched to the flat and the all-weather at Southwell, but that may have been anomaly as he looked back to his best under a confident David Bass when making all back at Taunton a fortnight ago, surging five lengths clear from Helnwein. A mark of 126 almost certainly underestimates his true ability.

I was also taken with the victory of Geezer Rockstar at Ascot five weeks ago. He has plenty of ground to make up on Fiercely Proud on their Taunton meeting in December, but that was this fellow's hurdles debut and having pulled up on heavy ground at Exeter, he showed his true mettle at the royal racetrack back on good ground over slightly further, holding a well-backed Irish raider.

The stiff track will suit him and pilot Jonathan Burke has been in tremendous form lately, enjoying six winners from his last 30 rides.

Secret Squirrel to win the 13.50 Sandown at 8-1

Geezer Rockstar to win the 13.50 Sandown at 12-1

14:25 Sandown - Al Dancer @ 15/2

The Oaksey Chase is not a race I can approach with much confidence in any of the runners.

The Real Whacker is probably the most-likely winner on his King George and Cotswold Chase runs, but he has to bounce back from pulling up in the Gold Cup. He has the best form courtesy of his Festival success in 2023 and may be left alone up front.

Hitman will find this easier than the Ryanair, but he has always found winning difficult - while Easy Game’s Gowran win in September looks good now, but he isn’t the most solid conveyance from Closutton.

Ga Law has had more bad days than good lately. Fantastic Lady saves her best for the big Aintree fences but was third in this last year albeit in a weaker renewal, while Straw Fan Jack showed a lot more at Cheltenham when third in the Plate - but he steps up in class again.

That leaves AL DANCER for young Dylan Johnston, who has ridden four winners in eleven rides.

Al Dancer

The 11-year-old has been hard to keep sound but he rarely lets his fans down. He has proved this season he can still compete and although they are largely in handicaps, this may not take as much winning as a normal Grade 2 contest.

Al Dancer to win the 14.25 Sandown at 15-2

15:00 Sandown - El Fabiolo @ 8/11

The race we all wanted to see at Cheltenham will be staged at Sandown instead with EL FABIOLO and Jonbon fighting it out for two-mile supremacy (in the absence of Captain Guinness).

Jumping frailties have always been Willie Mullins' star's Achilles heel, which surfaced once again at HQ with a horror mistake that saw him immediately pulled up at the fifth fence in the Champion Chase. It was a small blot on an otherwise immense week for Willie Mullins - one that he will want to correct back on these shores.

Jonbon would have faced an easier task, but of course he never made it to the track courtesy of the well-documented stable issues. He stepped up in trip successfully to win at Aintree but now comes back to a track and trip he has been successful over three times, all in Grade 1 company.

It is hard to forget though how much better El Fabiolo looked in last year’s Arkle and if he is back to his best, it should be the final victory Mullins needs to cement the trainers' title.

El Fabiolo to win the 15.00 Sandown at 8-11

15:35 Sandown - Kinondo Kwetu e/w (5 places) @ 14/1

The Whitbread, as I still affectionately call it, is the big betting race to conclude the jumps season.

Won 12 months ago in style by Kitty’s Light, it could take a decent performance to lower his colours again.

We all the know the emotional connection with this horse and the trainer’s daughter Betsy, and we continue to wish her all the best in her battle. It was a great effort to be fifth in the Grand National considering three of those ahead had run in a Gold Cup (one of them a former winner) and the other will surely head there next season. He is 5lbs higher than his win last year and will surely be competitive at the finish.

However, at around three times the price I will row in with KINONDO KWETU for the Englands.


The key to him is the ground.  His record when the word ‘soft’ is absent from the going description reads 47221111113 - and add to that another two PTP successes.

It was a good return to action when fourth at Aintree in a warm contest where Ultima runner-up Twig was just behind. He wasn’t beaten far in tyring to give over a stone to that rival at Uttoxeter last summer and although the trip is an unknown, if he stays, he will surely be involved and at around 14/1 he rates a cracking each way play.

Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls saddle a trio each but another interesting one at a price is Weveallbeencaught. He has always been held in high regard and has run against some top-class opposition all season. This is a step up in trip and a slight drop in class off a low weight, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him outrun his price.

Kinondo Kwetu each-way for the 15.35 Sandown at 14-1

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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