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Blaklion and Missed Approach head betting for thrilling Sandown Gold Cup

Noel McParlan will renew is Kim Muir winning partnership with Missed Approach in the Sandown Gold Cup.

Blaklion and Missed Approach sit side-by-side at the head of the betting for the Sandown Gold Cup, after the final field of 20 runners were confirmed for Saturday’s main event.

Despite being burdened with top-weight, many pundits were backing Blaklion to do the business in the Grand National. Sam Twiston-Davies took the ride for father Nigel, but their race came to a rather abrupt end, as Blaklion was brought down by the falling Perfect Candidate at the very first fence.

None-the-worse for that tumble, Twiston-Davies has decided to send Blaklion on a redemption mission to Sandown’s season-ending Festival. The former RSA and Becher Chase winner will have to give away a stack of weight to several capable rivals, including newly-crowned Kim Muir winner, Missed Approach.

Hardly a sole inside Prestbury Park would have fancied Missed Approach to hold onto his lead at Cheltenham, with Irish raiders Mall Dini and Squouateur looming ominously on either side entering the home straight. Yet, Warren Greatrex’s chaser produced a stunning, battling display to hold his rivals at bay and claim a maiden Festival crown.

“He's done really well and came out of the race great," Greatrex told Racing UK earlier in the week. 

"Everyone's gone to Ayr, Punchestown or Aintree, and I just felt it was worth waiting. I feel the jumping that you need to produce at Sandown will suit him.” 

Bigbadjohn (right) winning at Kempton on his first start for Nigel Twiston-Davies.


Greatrex also said that the Grand National will be Missed Approach’s primary objective next season and a strong finish at Sandown will give his charge a wonderful platform to build from. Ladbrokes currently quote Missed Approach as the 6/1 joint-favourite to claim the final big handicap prize of the National Hunt season, with possible 2019 Grand National rival, Blaklion also sitting on the same price.

Twiston-Davies has also thrown Bigbadjohn into the mix and he’s been heavily backed over recent days, coming in from 14s to 10/1. Another to have received significant support is Peter Bowen’s Minella Daddy. Bowen claimed this prize last season and, with son James taking three pounds off his back, punters have pushed Minella Daddy into 9s from his original 20/1 price when the betting opened.

The Young Master’s appearance in the Scottish Grand National ended much earlier than expected and Neil Mullholland’s chaser has been clipped into 12/1 to reclaim the crown he won two years ago. Philip Hobbs’ Rock The Kasbah hasn’t seen since pulling up in the attritional Peter Marsh Chase, but he’s drawn plenty of admiring glances and continues to hold his place around the 12/1 mark.

While defending champion, Henllan Harri failed to make the final field of 20, Stuart Edmunds’ Doomsday Book will be making a surprise appearance on Saturday. The eight-year-old hasn’t been seen since carrying a 40/1 price tag to victory in the 2017 Kim Muir and he’ll be lumbered with similar odds when he makes his first outing in more than 400 days.

*Current Sandown Gold Cup betting with Ladbrokes*
6/1 Blacklion, Missed Approach, 9/1 Minella Daddy, 10/1 Bigbadjohn, Sugar Baron, 12/1 The Young Master, Rock The Kasbah, Step Back, Regal Encore, 16/1 Bar

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Blaklion and Missed Approach head betting for thrilling Sandown Gold Cup

Blaklion and Missed Approach sit side-by-side at the head of the betting for the Sandown Gold Cup, after the final field of 20 runners were confirmed for Saturday 28th April.

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