Saturday’s Daily Double – 5/1 double covering two huge races at Sandown and Aintree

Jon Vine has taken a closer look at two of the feature races at Sandown and Aintree on Saturday, combining his selections into this ante-post double on Saturday 7th December.

Another weekend and another fantastic day of racing! Sandown hosts two prestigious Grade Ones, including a high-quality renewal of the Tingle Creek, while Aintree stages their popular Becher Chase day.

Earlier in the week, I picked out two horses running in huge races this Saturday and rolled them into this double with Unibet. Both have been declared and the odds of the double are in from 8/1 to 5/1, but I still think it represents excellent value!

Saturday’s Big Race Double

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1:50pm Sandown Read Road To Cheltenham At Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 1m7½f

Some fantastic horses, including Altior, Al Ferof and Sceau Royal have won this Grade One in recent years. This season edition, however, looks a modest affair and paints a fairly bleak picture for the British novices looking ahead to the big spring Festivals.

Grand Sancy will prove an exciting recruit to the chasing ranks, but throwing him into a Grade One – albeit a weak one – on his first start over the larger obstacles seems ill-advised. Summerville Boy responded well to pressure to secure victory on his first chasing start at Uttoxeter. I’m not sure how strong the form of that race is though, and he was far from convincing at many of his obstacles.

Jumping is always at a premium here at Sandown, especially down the back-straight with those railway fences. Nube Negra has jumped superbly on both of his starts in novice chases and could relish the challenges posed by this track. That being said, TORPILLO (NB) (5/2 into 2/1) jumped every bit as neatly as Nube Negra when winning a competitive race at Warwick and there are plenty of other factors that swing the vote in his favour.

On the back of two solid hurdles efforts, Torpillo tackled Mister Fisher, Lisp and Not That Fuisse over in a two-mile novice chase last month. Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount outjumped his rivals from the front and pulled clear of the rallying Mister Fisher to secure a very taking victory. Lisp has come out and won since, further enhancing the form Torpillo brings to the table.

Being a four-year-old, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge will gain six-pounds on his older rivals. Torpillo bolted up twice as a juvenile hurdler around Sandown and all of his best work has been done on soft ground. Conditions on Saturday could even come up heavy at Sandown, a factor which would likely see Torpillo backed into a much shorter price than the one he currently carries.

Torpillo flies home to win a juvenile hurdle at Sandown last season.

2:40pm Aintree Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) 3m1f

Taking everything into account, NATIVE RIVER (NAP) (13/8 into Evens) could be the best bet this weekend, even at Even money. Colin Tizzard’s nine-year-old may have failed to seal victory since his Gold Cup triumph in 2018, but Richard Johnson’s mount registered three excellent placed efforts in Grade Ones last season and should comfortably have the beating of this field.

Native River was outstayed and outjumped by Haydock specialist, Britsol De Mai in the Betfair Chase on his reappearance last season. Tizzard’s charge then stayed on for third in the King George, around a right-handed track he clearly hates. The defending champion then rounded off his season with an excellent effort on his return to the Gold Cup, finishing fourth on good ground which was never likely to suit.

Might Bite has tons to prove after a terrible campaign last term. Black Corton and Definitly Red are both talented chasers, but neither are in the same league at Native River and will have to give six-pounds to the favourite on Saturday. Neither Top Notch nor Aso have won over three miles and Kildisart, who I believe will develop into a very classy chaser, has 12 pounds to find at the ratings.

Native River is a course-and-distance winner, having won the Mildmay in 2016. The softer the ground the better where Native River is concerned and I’d be surprised if the ground didn’t come up soft, at best, on Saturday. I can’t see any other winner.