There are two fantastic race meetings taking place on Saturday at Aintree and Sandown. Both meetings feature heavily on the ITV racing coverage, with four races from each meeting being shown live on ITV 4. These races are a great mix of competitive handicaps and top quality races, meaning there is something for everyone and betting on the horse racing this weekend is sure to be very popular.
The feature race of the day is the Tingle Creek Chase, which takes place at Sandown and although we have a couple of the best two-mile chasers missing from the line-up, this is sure to still be a great race. This isn’t the only Grade 1 contest we have to look forward to at Sandown, the Henry VIII novice chase is also the top grade. Being for novice horses, these are still young and learning, but expect to see at least a couple of those taking part here to contend some big races at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
At Aintree, although the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase is the feature, all eyes will surely be on the Becher Chase, which is the first properly recognised Grand National trial of the season. We will see horses run over the big Grand National fences, and with a distance of over three miles, we could see a Grand National winner this Saturday. The big fences are used in the final televised race from Aintree too, the Grand Sefton Chase, and that is sure to provide great excitement for those tuning in.
Here is a run through of the fantastic card on offer for those watching live on ITV on Saturday.
1:30 Aintree – Blaklion
1:45 Sandown – North Hill Harvy
2:05 Aintree – Malaya
2:20 Sandown – Crossed My Mind
2:35 Aintree – Definitly Red
2:55 Sandown – Fox Norton
3:10 Aintree – Sametegal
3:30 Sandown – Dancing Shadow
What Races are on TV?
1:40 Aintree – Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
The opening race on the ITV schedule is a cracking race, that many see as a trial for the Grand National, so make sure you watch out for how the horses run. This race will be run over the Grand National fences, so expect to see plenty of drama. The standout here is Blaklion, who ran a great race to come second in the Charlie Hall Chase on seasonal reappearance. He came 4th in the Grand National last season, comes here much stronger and can win this on his way to going very close at Aintree in April.
The Last Samuri and Vieux Lion Rouge are the two others to watch out for, and all three should find their way into the Grand National at the end of the season.
1:45 Sandown – Henry VIII Novice Chase (Grade 1)
Potentially the race of the day, with many huge Cheltenham Festival fancies going head to head and putting their reputations on the line. Brain Power and Finian’s Oscar have done nothing wrong and deserve to share favouritism, but neither has North Hill Harvey and at a much bigger price he is worth siding with. All five horses are likely to clash again at the Cheltenham Festival, and this is certainly an intriguing race, but North Hill Harvey looks to be great value against the field.
2:05 Aintree – Fillies Juvenile Hurdle (Listed)
Malaya won a very similar standard race to this at Wetherby last time out and there is nothing to suggest she cannot follow up here. She has only run twice in the UK and looks the sort of horse who will improve with runs, but she only needs to reproduce the same form as last time out to win this. Hillcrest Fire is an intriguing contender, rated highly in Ireland on the flat, she won on debut at Leicester and while she wasn’t foot perfect with her jumping, she did enough to win comfortably. This is a big step up in class though, and Malaya looks to be the one to be on.
2:20 Sandown – Handicap Hurdle (Listed)
It is very interesting that Crossed My Mind comes across from Ireland for this race, and with top jockey Barry Gerraghty on board, this improving horse can go close. Just five year old, he really could be anything, but it shows how much the stable think of him when they are sending him across the Irish Sea to run here. The handicap looks typically competitive but Crossed My Mind is the one who looks to be on a potentially very lenient mark, and with improvement still coming, it is hard to go against him.
2:35 Aintree – Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2)
This looks to be a tight contest and the one who can come out on top is Definitly Red, who ran a very good race on seasonal debut to finish third in the Charlie Hall Chase. The ground is a slight worry for him, he has won on soft before but is seen in a better light on the better ground. If the ground dampens his chances then Cloudy Dream will be the one to take advantage, but Definitly Red looks to be the one to be ongoing into the race, he is not too far off being top class.
2:55 Sandown – Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1)
Unfortunately, due to the absence of Douvan, this isn’t a vintage renewal of the Tingle Creek, and Fox Norton should take the beating here. He is the only one in the field who has proven himself to be top class time and time again, and if he is to compete at the Cheltenham Festival, then he needs to be winning this race.
It is a shame to see the feature lacking a true star other than Fox Norton, but this is still a race to relish and hopefully, Fox Norton lights up the track at Sandown.
3:10 Aintree – Grand Sefton Handicap Chase
The final race from Aintree is another ran over the Grand National fences and Sametegal can take this after a fantastic reappearance second behind Guitar Pete at Wetherby in November. That was his first run for well over a year, and he can go on to better things if keeping fit this season. This race looks ideal for him, he is a very good jumper and after showing a lot of patience, Paul Nicholls can begin to reap the rewards from him.
3:30 Sandown – London National Handicap Chase
Dancing Shadow won nicely last time out over a trip that would have been far too short for him on seasonal reappearance. That race will have put him spot on for this, which will have been earmarked as one of his early-season targets. He will relish the trip here, having run over four miles last season and he looks the ideal type of horse for this test. It looks hugely competitive, but the one who could be ahead of his mark right now is Dancing Shadow.
All odds correct at time of writing.
Those looking at the feature Tingle Creek Chase will notice that Fox Norton is odds on favourite to win the race and that is no surprise. He is currently best priced 8/13, and only Politologue who is best priced 7/2 has a chance of upsetting him according to the betting.
Brain Power is currently favourite for the Grade 1 novice chase and he can be backed at 13/8, with Finian’s Oscar in behind him at 2/1. Those two will remain close in the betting, but if you are looking for value then North Hill Harvey can be backed at 7/1 right now.
Those looking to get on the big race at Aintree will see that Blaklion is the 3/1 favourite for the Becher Chase. He is sure to be a popular bet at Aintree, he could be this year’s Grand National winner and it would be no surprise to see that 3/1 quickly disappear before the race.
The other big race of the day at Aintree is the Many Clouds Chase and Definitly Red can be backed at a best price of 7/4 to win this, with the other contender Cloudy Dream available at 11/4. Cloudy Dream runs in the same colours as Many Clouds, who this race is named after, and would be a hugely popular winner with the locals.
If you are looking to take advantage of an offer then make sure you check out what is on offer below.
Those looking at backing each way in the Becher Chase should look to place their bets with Betfair this weekend. Right now they are the only ones offering 5 places each way, one place more than anyone else so well worth considering.
Staying at Aintree, if you would like to place a bet on the Grand Sefton Chase then make sure you head to Bet365, who are the only company to be paying 1/4 odds each way on the first three places. The rest of the bookmakers are paying standard terms of 1/5 odds, but not Bet365.