ITV Racing Tips: Jonbon has the chance to shine again

 | 26th April | 

7 mins read

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The NH season reaches its climax on Saturday in front of the ITV cameras. Four cracking races then from Sandown; plus a couple on the flat from Haydock, and Leicester.

Fantastic action - and in time-honoured fashion we're going to look at the races in turn to see if we can highlight some likely types to run well for us. Here's our ITV Racing Tips for Saturday April 27 - if you're playing, have fun, and good luck!

ITV Racing Tips Saturday

  • 13:50 Sandown - Panjari each-way @ 8/1
  • 14:05 Leicester - Al Mubhir @ 5/2
  • 14:25 Sandown - The Real Whacker @ 5/2
  • 14:45 Haydock - Rhoscolyn each-way @ 9/1
  • 15:00 Sandown - Jonbon @ 9/4
  • 15:35 Sandown - Amirite each-way @ 8/1

The ITV racing schedule for Saturday;



14:25 Sandown bet365 OAKSEY CHASE (GRADE 2) 2m 6 1⁄2 f


15:00 Sandown bet365 CELEBRATION CHASE (GRADE ONE) 2m

15:35 Sandown bet365 GOLD CUP (HANDICAP CHASE) 3m 4 1⁄2 f


13:50 Sandown - Panjari each-way @ 8/1

Some fine novice hurdlers line up, pursuing a tasty prize of some £50k.

My selection Panjari represents the top stable of Paul Nicholls, and will be ridden by outstanding young 5lb claimer Freddie Gingell. We're paying five places, and that's a godsend in a contest as competitive as this.

The six-year-old Camelot gelding joined Paul from Germany in October last year, and has won on three occasions from eight outings. Last time, at Ffos Las, he took his form to a new level when winning easily off a mark of 127.

He's up to 136 today, and raised in grade. The million-dollar question therefore is 'can he step up?' Unsurprisingly I'm in the 'yes' camp. The Ditcheat maestro has had plenty of time to work his magic, the evidence of that upward curve could be clearly seen last time in Wales, and looking at the horse's period in Germany he appears to clearly appreciate decent ground (the forecast going for Saturday is 'good').

The steadier of 12st must be defied, but Freddie's claim helps on that score and he's certainly worth every ounce. What a way to kick-off proceedings!

Panjari 13.50 Sandown each-way

14:05 Leicester - Al Mubhir @ 5/2

Another nice pot, and plenty appearing to be in with a shout of grabbing it. Al Mubhir took this last year off a mark of 97, on heavy ground. The advertised 'soft' will hold no terrors then.

He tries to retain the trophy today off 104 and Cieran Fallon rides the Frankel gelding for trainer William Haggas, a handler operating at a strike-rate of 29% over the past fortnight.

He's a Listed horse back in a Class 2 handicap but of course pays the price in terms of weight. Only Raadobarg carries more here (one pound; 9st 12lb), and he's plied his trade of late in Group 3 company.

There are any number of dangers but his talented trainer is in form, the horse goes well at Leicester, a tough track with a stiff finish, and the ground is not an issue. The Frankel bloodline is a huge bonus, and he's well-fancied in the market for very good reason in my book.

Al Mubhir 14.05 Leicester

14:25 Sandown - The Real Whacker @ 5/2

Full disclosure - I've dissected this a dozen times or more and find it just about the toughest race of the day to decipher. Small stakes for me then - but you might have a stronger, more enlightened view.

There are seven declared to run, and I couldn't rule any out, frankly. A Willie Mullins runner muddies the waters too, Easy Game, who was pulled-up at Aintree just over a fortnight ago but on previous form, well, you know what I'm about to say.

Willie is looking to secure the UK Trainers' title today and this one is evidently thought capable of adding to his prize money haul, despite hardly going a yard in Liverpool.

The Real Whacker was highly-tried last time out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup no less, and tending to jump slightly right, was himself pulled-up before two out. Such a jumping trait will be less harmful here at right-hand Sandown; and prior to HQ the horse was mixing in all the right circles and performing with credit.

He won the Brown Advisory at last year's Festival, and had performed with honour in the King George (beaten 10l) and in a Grade 2 at Chelters in January (2nd). Aged eight, this is a talented gelded son of Mahler that for me has a bright chance in a fiendishly-tricky affair.

The Real Whacker 14.25 Sandown

14:45 Haydock - Rhoscolyn each-way @ 9/1

Another flat race interlude, and a selection running in the silks of the now-famous Horse Watchers, trained by David O'Meara. The six-year-old gelding Rhoscolyn is a course-and-distance scorer who reappeared a week ago after a 182-day break, and having had wind surgery last month.

He was beaten just over 7l, but for me it's significant that he's turned out again so quickly, and is a horse who has winning form on both soft, and the forecast heavy ground.

He's been rated as high as 106 and is down to 98. It will still be a career-high if successful, but he has scored off 94 in the recent past and gone close off 104/105 in seasons gone by.

His shrewd connections and that liking for the ground, plus our four places each-way offer, tempt me easily into having a little interest in what should be a gripping heat.

Rhoscolyn 14.45 Haydock

15:00 Sandown - Jonbon @ 9/4

Ah, Jonbon. I've been very late to his celebratory party. It's not that I don't rate him - it's that I didn't rate him highly enough. He's not completely bomb-proof, but a very impressive CV was further enhanced last time at Aintree in the Grade 1 Melling Chase.

He's tough, genuine, and has gears - all traits being on full display in Liverpool a fortnight ago. He missed the Festival given the cloud hanging over trainer Nicky Henderson's yard at the time, and in his absence Willie Mullins' El Fabiolo was meant to dot up in the Champion Chase.

Sent off the 2/9 jolly he ran listlessly, made errors and was quickly pulled-up. He returns to the fray today but super-talented though he is on a going day, I couldn't take odds-on about him after Chelters without compelling evidence up front.

If he's on-song it should still be a terrific race with Jonbon. If he's remotely out of sorts then Nicky's JP McManus-owned, Nico de Boinville-ridden eight-year-old will surely punish him. Marvellous contest.

Jonbon 15.00 Sandown

15:35 Sandown - Amirite each-way @ 8/1

The last big NH race of the season - the old Whitbread, and its latest incarnation, the bet365 Gold Cup. Amirite is an eight-year-old Sholokhov gelding in the care of Henry De Bromhead. Rachael Blackmore rides.

He's a quality performer, fairly lightly-raced, and indeed hasn't seen a racetrack for real since December. On that occasion he was a staying-on fifth (beaten 11.5l) in a big handicap chase (Listed) at Leopardstown, never looking quite like getting there.

His best form has been shown on good ground, so I'm assuming that's part of the reason we've not seen much of him of late. Given the forecast decent terrain, about 4f further to travel than Leopardstown, and the beyond-brilliant trainer/jockey combo, it's not hard to get enthused.

A spring campaign taking in events like this, and potentially limited summer targets where they can be found, might just be the plan. In any event, from such a respected yard I'm according appropriate deference and investing a few bob each-way in a splendid-looking affair. We're paying five places.

Amirite 15.35 Sandown

Have a brilliant afternoon's sport.

ITV Racing Tips from Betfred Insights.

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