How to bet your £20 on Saturday: Dynaste to strike with handicapper’s help
Friday 6 January 2017
The veterans’ chase series is a great initiative and the £100,000 final at Sandown on Saturday sponsored by 32Red represents a rare opportunity for most in the field to land a big pot.
Nine races at the Cheltenham Festival carry less prize money and there is a first prize of almost £62,000, which means the winning connections will pocket £18,000 more than the King George VI Chase runner-up.
That may offer some food for thought for Colin Tizzard, whose Cue Card will be 12 next year and might not fancy chasing Thistlecrack around too many more times.
In theory, a 19-runner race in which the combined age of the equine competitors is 215 should be wide open race but I’m not sure it will be because Dynaste was rated 169 at his peak and has the potential to blow the opposition away off mark of just 145.
The 2014 Ryanair Chase winner is clearly not the force of old and his latest effort at Kelso made for sorry viewing because the grey, who has contested 14 races at the highest level over jumps, never budged out of the rear.
I’m inclined, however, to put a line through that effort because David Pipe left off his usual blinkers and instead of being ridden up near the pace, as he usually is, Tom Scudamore anchored him in rear from the outset. The jockey later reported he was “never travelling”.
The 800-mile round trip was not completely wasted because that race represented the last chance to get Dynaste qualified for Saturday’s decider - won last year by his stablemate Soll.
As a bonus, the handicapper took the run at face value and dropped him 5lb.
Dynaste has been eased 10lb since putting up a bold show in the bet365 Chase at Sandown in April (Racingfotos.com)
He had also eased him the same amount for his two previous runs - when up against quality opposition in the bet365 Gold Cup and Charlie Hall Chase.
I’m not sure either defeat warranted such treatment.
On the first occasion Dynaste traded at 9-4 in-running on Betfair only to be betrayed by a lack of stamina over the 3m5f trip and at Wetherby, when entitled to need his comeback run, he led until blundering badly six from home. He was still only beaten an aggregate of 13 lengths - finishing within hailing distance of third-placed Cue Card, albeit receiving 10lb.
So Dynaste is able to race off a mark 10lb lower than in the bet365 - when the first eight home in the April feature were nine or younger - despite little solid evidence he has deteriorated anything like so much. Also, he will be racing over a much more suitable trip against much more exposed opposition.
The blinkers? They are back on and, similarly, it will be no surprise if Scudamore reverts to more positive tactics. The general 7-1 on offer is well worth taking.
The bookmakers dropped a clanger when pricing up the 32Red Tolworth Hurdle at the start of the week when offering Finian’s Oscar at 8-1.
He looked a really exciting prospect when beating a well-regarded rivals over 2m5f at Hereford on his British debut and I’m not worried about him dropping back in trip because the £250,000 purchase did not look short of toe and, in any case, conditions are likely to be stamina sapping.
Colin Tizzard says Finian’s Oscar is the most exciting young horse in his yard and he can outstay Capitaine, the favourite, who is a keen sort who looks more about speed than staying power.
Another young horse going places in Mercian Prince, who looks a fair punt at 6-1 with the sponsor to keep up Amy Murphy’s excellent start to training in the 32Red Handicap Chase (1.15).
The six-year-old French recruit looked in need of the run when making a promising British debut at Uttoxeter and confirmed that when a well-backed and easy winner at Southwell last time.
He has to cope with an 11lb rise and stiffer competition but he did not look your average Southwell horse last time - he jumped superbly and did not come out of second gear - and Murphy, 6-25 with her initial runners on the Flat and over jumps, is proving more than adept at placing her horses.
Garde La Victoire heads the market for the 32Red Casino Handicap Chase (1.50) and seems bound to run well but, at 8-1, preference is for his stablemate, Bold Henry, who won last year’s running of in good style and is only 4lb higher.
His subsequent efforts have been nothing to shout about but he was not given a hard time on his return at Cheltenham a couple of months ago when the ground would have been on the quick side for him. Any rain that arrives will help his chances.
The progressive Briery Queen, a fluent winner on her return at Cheltenham, looks overpriced to follow up at 4-1 in the 32Red.com Mares' Hurdle (12.45). She keeps improving and is more straightforward than Desert Queen, who may pose a bigger threat than Lifeboat Mona.
Finally, I was also going to risk the well-related Krugermac after a year off in the 32Red.com Handicap Hurdle (3.35) but have gone of the idea because I did not expect him to be chalked up 4-1 favourite.
He looked a horse with lots of potential on his first two starts at Punchestown and Ascot before fluffing his lines when a 1-4 chance at Lingfield. He could not have been right that day but he returns off an attractive mark and Gary Moore’s Sandown runners are always worth a second look.
How to bet your £20 on Saturday
12.45 Sandown: £4 win on Briery Queen at a general 4-1
1.15 Sandown: £4 win on Mercian Prince at 6-1 with 32Red
1.50 Sandown: £3 win on Bold Henry at a general 8-1
2.25 Sandown: £2 win on Finian’s Oscar at 15-8 with 32Red
3.00 Sandown: £7 win on Dynaste at a general 7-1
A 70p Win Super Yankee on the five tips above plus a 90p each-way accumulator
Placepot perm (A dozen £1 lines costing £12)
Plus three £1 Reverse Exactas; costing £6
12.45 Sandown: Briery Queen and Desert Queen (horses 2 and 3)
1.15 Sandown: Mercian Prince and Atirelarigo (3 and 7)
1.50 Sandown: Garde La Victoire and Bold Henry (1 and 6)
3.00 Sandown: £2 win on Dynaste at a general 7-1