ITV Racing Tips: Nicky’s big guns withdraw – fingers crossed for Sandown

 | December 09 | 

4 mins read

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Tip-top fare from the ITV cameras on Saturday. Sandown's Tingle Creek meeting stages its showpiece race, honouring that great 'chaser who used to devour the fences around here in the most thrilling fashion. The feature itself is at 15.00.

Sandown has passed an 07.30 Saturday inspection, but rain continues to fall and officials are "monitoring conditions and will react if necessary."

Fingers crossed all round. Nicky Henderson has withdrawn both Shishkin and Constitution Hill given the attritional nature of the ground, sadly, but entirely understandably.

The rescheduled Fighting Fifth kicks-off the coverage, and there's four crackers from Aintree, too. It's one of those stepping-stone Saturdays in the National Hunt season - one week closer to Xmas, and one week closer to - well, you know what ...

The ground might deter more horses from running - again, we need to monitor the situation and keep hopeful.

Here's the menu - Saturday, Dec 9th, 2023. I'll publish what we've got ASAP given that we waited for news of Sandown's inspection, and return for updates and more information as and if we need to. Let's get some selections up as our first priority, and take it from there.

Sandown
13.15 Park Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m)
13.50 Park Betfair Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (1m7½f)
14.25 Park Rachael Blackmore Serial Winners Fund Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (2m)
15.00 Park Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) (1m7½f)
15.35 Park Betfair Exchange London National Handicap Chase (Class 2) (3m4½f)

Aintree
13.30 Boylesports Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase (Class 2) (2m4f)
14.05 Boylesports Becher Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (3m2f)
14.40 Boylesports Daily Money Back 2nd Juvenile Hurdle (Listed) (2m1f)
15.15 Boylesports Extra Place Races Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (2m4f)

ITV Racing tips, Saturday

Sandown
13.15 - Love Envoi @ Evs
13.50 - Colonel Harry @ 7/2
14.25 - Arqoob @ 6/1
15.00 - Jonbon @ 4/11
15.35 - Fontaine Collonges @ 2/1

Aintree
13.30 - Heltenham @ 3/1
14.05 - Percussion @ 5/1
14.40 - Le Fauve @ 5/2
15.15 - Vicky Vale @ 11/2

San 13.15 - Love Envoi @ EVS

No Henderson titans, so this looks a good opportunity for former Mares' Hurdle Festival winner Love Envoi, who is 3-from-3 around Sandown. Harry Fry trains, regular pilot Jonathan Burke does the steering.

Aintree 13.30 - Heltenham @ 3/1

Highly progressive last term ascending the ranks, and represents the powerful Skelton team. At 6 rising 7 should be approaching the absolute peak of his powers this season and has a handy racing weight of 11st 3lb.  Career-best required - could well be on the cards.

San 13.50 - Colonel Harry @ 7/2

Won a maiden hurdle here, and dotted up on reappearance at Chepstow. That was on heavy ground, so we'd be hopeful today's conditions will be manageable. In-form Gavin Sheehan rides for Jamie Snowden.

Aintree 14.05 - Percussion each-way @ 5/1

The Becher, over the Grand National fences.

Percussion ran extremely creditably here over these legendary obstacles last month in the Grand Sefton. Stayed-on stoutly at the finish - just as well, as this is around 5f longer in distance. We're paying 4 places each-way, so that's the way I'm playing it. Harry Reed rides for Laura Morgan.

Raced prominently when here last.

San 14.25 - Arqoob @ 6/1

I like the Sean Bowen booking for Lucy Wadham's course-and-distance scorer. He is penalised 7lb for that last victory, but won a shade cosily. Has won here on the flat too - the 5-yr-old continues to alternate and has been in the care of both Marcus Tregoning and William Jarvis for his exploits on the level.

Fascinating contender.

Aintree 14.40 - Le Fauve @ 5/2

This 3-yr-old gelding has just joined the Skeltons from France, and was second in a conditions hurdle on his sole start in Sept. Could be anything, but is in the right hands and has shown ability already.

Kicks-off in Listed company - that's a big positive for me. Opposed by most notably a Nicholls tool that's won already at Wincanton. Should be highly informative - a cracker.

San 15.00 - Jonbon @ 4/11

Unopposable for me, but we know what bad ground can do to results! It's the Tingle Creek - one of the season's very best 2-mile chases - and one hopes the conditions won't spoil things too much.

Beat Edwardstone readily at Cheltenham nearly 3 weeks ago. No obvious reason to suppose anything different will materialise today.

Aintree 15.15 - Vicky Vale @ 11/2

A Skelton mare that ran really well on seasonal reappearance at Wincanton, after a wind op in July. The stable is running at 23% regarding wins in the last 14 days and as you'll have noticed I'm hoping they're going to have a big day today.

San 15.35 - Fontaine Collonges @ 2/1

Originally I selected a Henry Daly stayer, but sadly it doesn't now run. Fontaine Collonges is trained by Venetia Williams, and I think that's a huge reason for her prominent place in the market. She's patchy, but does possess pieces of very good form.

It's the ground though that will be intriguing many - as Venetia seems to have few peers when her chasers pursue nice pots under such conditions.

Good luck; and let's hope we arrive for what's a fantastic afternoon's sport in one-piece, weather-wise.

ITV Racing tips, from Betfred Insights.

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