Betting Preview: Sandown 13th March 2021
Anticipation is building for the biggest four days of the National Hunt season as the Cheltenham Festival gets underway in under a week. The final stop on the road to Cheltenham takes place on Saturday, with two Grade 3s taking place from Sandown on ITV Racing.
Betting on Sandown Races
Paddy Power EBF Novices’ Handicap (Grade 3)
The opening race on ITV this weekend will be the first of the Grade 3s that fans will be able to enjoy. It is one of the biggest race days of the year at Sandown, and this race has been a huge occasion since being introduced in 1998. It will be run over two miles and three furlongs, and was most notably won by Albertas Run, who went on to win the Ryanair Chase on two occasions.
This looks to be a difficult race to pick through. Annual Invictus had been in good form at the beginning of the season, as he has won three from four. However, he didn’t look to enjoy the distance at Newbury last time out. Karl Philippe will come into this after a win at Exeter, while Martinhal has won his last two.
Flic Ou Voyou would be our pick for this race, as we expect him to bounce back from a disappointing last run after being given a decent handicap. The Paul Nicholls-trained horse will also have the added advantage of having ran at Sandown in the past, as he finished second here in the Betway Novices’ Hurdle last season.
Paddy Power Imperial Cup (Grade 3)
The Grade 3 Imperial Cup will be the featured race of the day on Saturday, and like all handicaps, this will be a difficult race to predict the outcome. It is one of the more prestigious races, as it first took place back in 1907. The Imperial Cup will be run over two miles, and the race has produced a number of Festival winners, with bonus cash up for grabs for horses that can achieve success in both. Horses to achieve success in this en route to the Festival include Blowing Wind and Olympian.
Natural History will be the favourite in the betting for this race, having won impressively at Plumpton at the beginning of March. Rockadenn and Miranda also come into this race having recorded wins, and the latter of those will get an allowance. Paul Nicholls trains the five-year-old, and he trained the winner in this race 12 months ago.
We like the look of the big market mover throughout the week though, Langer Dan. The Dan Skelton yard has been in excellent form recently, and Langer Dan finished a decent fourth last time out after returning following wind surgery.
Gamblers looking for some each-way value could opt for One True King, who won well at Leicester in December and was in good form when finishing third in the Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot back in February.