A bumper Saturday in store with one of the features of the season, the Tingle Creek, taking centre stage at Sandown. 

Here are Nick Luck’s thoughts on the action there plus the racing from Aintree.


IL RIDOTO can win the Henry VIII at Sandown on Saturday, live on ITV4 (1.50pm). He could hardly have been more impressive at Newbury last weekend and, although he was racing off a low mark there, he was arguably value for more than his rise. His revised rating puts him right in the mix here and, with the 4yo allowance and his slick jumping technique, he can put it up to all of these at 5/1.

NUBE NEGRA looks the bet at 5/2 in the Tingle Creek (2.25pm). The drier forecast could just be the answer to this race: although the selection was thumped by Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown, he had finished ahead of him at Cheltenham, when Chacun was racing on the quickest ground he had encountered. It could yet be quicker here, which will really suit Nube Negra. The performance he posted on the clock in the Shloer Chase suggested he could have improved a fair bit, too, while Chacun has made a chunk of improvement from seasonal debut to subsequent run in the last two seasons.

LARRY (7/1) is worth another try at a marathon trip in the London National (3.00pm). He didn’t run too badly in the bet365 Gold Cup, but he was out of form then and is in much better fettle now. He has excellent course form, loves a sound surface, comes from a yard still going pretty well, and hasn’t been unduly punished for his win at Ascot in what was arguably a more competitive race than this.

NAVAJO PASS is a big price to land the finale (3.35pm), but must be backed each-way at 18/1. Although he won a tactical race in the mud at Haydock last year, I’m not sure he wants extremes of ground, and his breathing operation subsequent to a flop in horrid conditions at Wincanton gives credence to that. He has proven before that he can boss a field of handicappers off a big weight and, with his stable going really well and the possibility of a soft enough time on the lead, he is quite interesting.


SEA SESSIONS is the value alternative to the favourite in the Aintree TV opener (1.30pm) at 15/2. She ran a nice race on her debut when travelling very strongly and, at first glance, didn’t move forward at Down Royal. That said, time subsequently told she ran into a really good prospect in Fil Dor that day and this should be a fair bit easier. The track should play to her pace.

SIMPLY THE BETTS offers value in the Many Clouds Chase (2.05pm). He is better off with Protektorat for their runs in the Paddy Power, where he ran with great credit having always been on the sharp end despite reportedly not being fully wound up. If the improvement comes as expected, and with the step up in distance, he should run well at 11/2.

CHRIS’S DREAM can land the Becher Chase (2.40pm) under a huge weight at 12/1. He was running a screamer in the National itself off two pounds higher when coming to grief four out, and this is obviously a significantly easier and less demanding task. He’s a pretty lightly raced horse for his age and, although his recent form figures don’t obviously make pretty reading, that’s a bit misleading. The Grand National was his first ever handicap, having been kept exclusively in Graded company to that point, and I can see him just being too good for these.

Checkitout makes a bit of appeal off a low weight. His run at Ascot suggested a whole load more to come and connections aren’t leaving it too late for a go over these fences, while Ravenhill and Mighty Thunder are others with the right credentials to go well in race where William Hill are paying seven places.

  1. Chris’s Dream; 2. Checkitout; 3. Ravenhill; 4. Mighty Thunder

MARTINHAL can go well at 14/1 in the last (3.15pm). He looked quite promising at Exeter when beating a now-134 horse (form franked) with the pair clear. That makes him looked well enough treated, and you forget his shocker at the Festival which was just too bad to be true. He’s not short of a bit of pace for this track and he won’t mind any more rain that falls.