ITV Racing tips Saturday 4 January – Live TV tips for Sandown and Wincanton

ITV Racing best bets at Kempton, Lingfield and Newcastle.ITV Racing best bets at Kempton, Lingfield and Newcastle.

Get Brian Healy's race-by-race ITV Racing tips and best bets for Saturday's live TV horse racing action from Sandown and Wincanton.

The ITV Racing cameras are back in action on Saturday with a line-up of seven live races covering the best of the action from two of the day’s meetings across the UK and Ireland.

The cameras will have four races live from Sandown where the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle is the feature race of the day; while there will also be a trio of competitive handicap contests from the card at Wincanton.

1:50 Sandown – New Unibet Uniboost Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 1m7½f
2:05 Wincanton – Download The Boylesports App Handicap Chase Cl3 (5yo+ 0-130) 1m7½f
2:25 Sandown – Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m
2:40 Wincanton – Boylesports This Is Betting Handicap Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+ 0-130) 2m5½f
3:00 Sandown – Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase (In Memory Of Houblon Des Obeaux) (Final Of 2019 Veterans’ Series) Cl2 (10yo+) 3m
3:15 Wincanton – Boylesports Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 2m4f
3:35 Sandown – Read Nico De Boinville’s Unibet Blog Handicap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m

Ed Chamberlain and the team will be on hand as usual to offer their expert tips, insights and post-race analysis on the live TV action; and Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections for all seven live TV races going to post on Saturday’s broadcast.

1:50 Sandown – New Unibet Uniboost Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 1m7½f

LOCKER ROOM TALK (5/2, William Hill) was due to turn out at Hereford on Friday, but the decision to switch the Beneficial gelding to this contest could reap dividends, and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge could go close here.

A dual-winner over hurdles last term, he has perhaps been unlucky to bump into Nube Negra and Baddesley Knight in successive starts since switching to chasing; but he made no mistake at the third attempt over the larger obstacles when running out a seven lengths’ winner over Admiral’s Secret, and there could be better to come in this sphere where he remains unexposed.

He showed soft ground to be no issue in that success, making most of the running before idling in front, and he might not get such an easy time of it up front this time. But he is open to further improvement and can defy a 7lbs rise in the weights to double up.

1:50 Sandown – New Unibet Uniboost Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 1m7½f

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LOCKER ROOM TALK 5 /2
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Nigel Twiston-Davies can saddle a Sandown winner on Saturday.

2:05 Wincanton – Download The Boylesports App Handicap Chase Cl3 (5yo+ 0-130) 1m7½f

SAINTEMILION (13/8, Paddy Power) showed some decent form over fences last term, winning at Exeter and finishing third in successive outings at this venue and Newton Abbot prior to a break, and Paul Nicholls’ charge has been working his way back to form this term.

The Diamond Green gelding found only Le Coeur Net too strong when last seen at this venue on Boxing Day, beaten only a neck having rallied well from the last and he just failed to collar the idling winner with the pair clear of the rest.

He has only been raised 3lbs for that effort which is unlikely to prove beyond his scope having run well in the past from this mark, and he can continue to find further improvement on the back of that latest outing where he can get back to winning ways now under Bryony Frost.

2:05 Wincanton – Download The Boylesports App Handicap Chase Cl3 (5yo+ 0-130) 1m7½f

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SAINTEMILION 13 /8
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2:25 Sandown – Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m

FIDDLERONTHEROOF (9/4, Ladbrokes) could be the one to side with in what might turn into a bit of a slog, and the Stowaway gelding’s proven stamina being a point-to-point exponent could prove to be a big advantage here.

Colin Tizzard sent out Elixir De Nutz to win this prize twelve months ago, and his representative this time around has shown progressive form over hurdles in his three runs to date, getting off the mark at the third attempt when successful over course and distance in December when beating Arrivederci by an easy seven lengths.

A soft-ground bumper winner, he found only subsequent Grade One winner Thyme Hill too strong in the Persian War Hurdle at Chepstow on his reapperance, and the sharper nature of Wincanton perhaps didn’t play to his strengths next time.

That race has since thrown up a trio of subsequent winners, and he was an impressive winner latest where he hinted at better still to come as he ploughed through the mud to score easily. He looks well worth a crack at this higher level, and with the potential for better still he could follow up that last-time success.

2:25 Sandown – Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m

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FIDDLERONTHEROOF 9 /4
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Fiddlerontheroof can win the Tolworth Hurdle on Saturday at Sandown.

2:40 Wincanton – Boylesports This Is Betting Handicap Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+ 0-130) 2m5½f

MAYPOLE CLASS (4/1, William Hill) looks a progressive sort who ought to continue to improve, and Jonjo O’Neill’s charge can improve again on his latest outing at Lingfield where the Gold Well gelding was value for more than the official three lengths’ winning margin.

Placed in point-to-points prior to joining this yard, he struggled to get competitive on his first couple of runs over hurdles last term; but since returning from a summer break he has bettered his finishing position with each start and ran out an easy winner latest where the heavy ground proved no issue.

This further step up in trip could unlock another jolt of improvement, and a 7lbs rise for that last-time win looks fair. While this is a stronger race, he looks to be going the right way and proven in the conditions could have more to offer so every chance he can follow up here.

2:40 Wincanton – Boylesports This Is Betting Handicap Hurdle Cl3 (4yo+ 0-130) 2m5½f

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MAYPOLE CLASS 4 /1
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3:00 Sandown – Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase (In Memory Of Houblon Des Obeaux) (Final Of 2019 Veterans’ Series) Cl2 (10yo+) 3m

DARK FLAME (15/2, William Hill) crossed the line in second in the voided London National where Houblon Des Obeaux – who this race is named after – sadly lost his life; and Richard Rowe’s charge could be the one to side with here.

The Gold Well gelding is relatively low-mileage over fences, winning here back in November 2016, and he was making his reappearance from more than two years off the track when crossing the line in second behind Houblon Des Obeaux in a similar contest over course and distance back in November.

He showed no ill effects of that effort following his lengthy layoff in the London National, and he could go one better here now fitted with cheekpieces and turned out 1lb lower in the weights which clearly leaves him well handicapped given he was placed off 135 in his earlier chase career prior to his long layoff.

He ought to go well then, and the ‘winner’ of the London National struck at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day so every chance he can post a big effort here.

3:00 Sandown – Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase (In Memory Of Houblon Des Obeaux) (Final Of 2019 Veterans’ Series) Cl2 (10yo+) 3m

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DARK FLAME 15 /2
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3:15 Wincanton – Boylesports Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 2m4f

A case can be made for all five runners in this race, but with proven ability to handle testing ground it could be worth siding with GALA BALL (4/1, Ladbrokes) to get back to winning ways, and the Flemensfirth gelding ought to strip a lot fitter for his recent reappearance behind Oldgrangewood at Newbury when last seen.

Philip Hobbs’ charge won three times in soft ground over hurdles earlier in his career, and he made the frame in all five starts over fences during the 2016/17 season which included a Exeter success. Although he was absent after finishing runner-up to Warriors Tale back in March of that season, he returned from a lengthy absence of almost two years to find only San Benedeto too strong in the 2019 Greatwood Gold Cup last March after which he beat the reopposing Valdez at Newbury.

He shaped as if amiss on his reappearance, but he could be worth forgiving that effort and he’s been eased slightly in the weights. Assuming he turns out here back to something like his best, then it wouldn’t come as a big shock to see him posting a much improved effort in conditions that will present no problem to him.

3:15 Wincanton – Boylesports Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 2m4f

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GALA BALL 4 /1
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Gala Ball can strike at Wincanton on Saturday.

3:35 Sandown – Read Nico De Boinville’s Unibet Blog Handicap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m

SMARTY WILD (6/1, Unibet) is given another chance having ran a shade below par over course and distance in a Listed handicap last month, but Philip Hobbs’ charge had looked progressive last term and may be able to bounce back.

The Fair Mix gelding won three times over hurdles last term, showing improved form with each start, and he possibily needed his reappearance at Exeter in October prior to scoring readily at Exeter next time.

He wasn’t seen to best effect over course and distance last time in some arduous underfoot conditions, and the ground here ought not to be quite as testing; while that form was given a boost by the runner-up being first past the post in a Listed contest at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day only to lose the race in the stewards’ room.

He’s been eased 1lb in the weights ahead of this latest outing, and he can give another good account with Richard Johnson back in the saddle.

3:35 Sandown – Read Nico De Boinville’s Unibet Blog Handicap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m

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SMARTY WILD 6 /1
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ITV RACING TIPS SATURDAY 4 JANUARY – SANDOWN & WINCANTON

1:50 Sandown – LOCKER ROOM TALK (5/2, William Hill)
2:05 Wincanton – SAINTEMILION (13/8, Paddy Power)
2:25 Sandown – FIDDLERONTHEROOF (9/4, Ladbrokes)
2:40 Wincanton – MAYPOLE CLASS (4/1, William Hill)
3:00 Sandown – DARK FLAME (15/2, William Hill)
3:15 Wincanton – GALA BALL (4/1, Ladbrokes)
3:35 Sandown – SMARTY WILD (6/1, Unibet)

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