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Sandown Saturday – Best Bets and Preview

Thu, Dec 22, 5:39pm by Senior Writer

The festive racing season is in full swing across Australia, with the period around Christmas and New Year the busiest for the year for Australian racing in terms of the sheer amount of meetings.

There’s plenty of places to bet over the bet couple of weeks and plenty of chances to combine the traditional holiday period with a trip to races somewhere.

It’s been a terrific December so far for those following my Best Bets, with the past three saluting, albeit last week Miss Wonderland started $1.50. But it’s all money in your pocket.

These race previews will be slightly abbreviated over the festive season, due to time restraints, but I’ll promise to pick out a Best Bet and Best Value at all the major metro meetings, plus offer my thoughts on the Top Four in each race.

Sandown on Saturday is the first of those meetings and it’s not an easy one, with not too many horses as clear top picks.

We’ve landed on Race 7 No.2 Shikarpour as our best bet. Shikarpour has claims on being the most consistent galloper going around at the moment having finished top two at his past five starts.

He found one better at Adelaide last start, but feel back to Melbourne in more familiar surrounds he should be winning here over the 2400m. The key for me will be a positive ride and the fact apprentice Ben Allen takes a couple of kilos off with his claim. Expect him to settle just a few lengths off the lead and finish too well for them. He’s around the <$4.40 mark at the moment, so there is some value there as well.
WATCH: Our Preview of Sandown on Saturday

By best value for the day comes up in Race 8. No.1 Spirit or Lager. He’s a <$34 shot (Merry Christmas!).

I’ve followed him throughout his career and seen his substantial improvement through his campaigns. His two runs this campaign have been solid without being spectacular but I feel he is ready to take big step forward here with a senior jockey in the saddle in Jamie Mott.

Here’s my tips and comments on all the races on the Sandown card. They will be updated after 9am Saturday once final scratchings are through.

Race 1 – Blue Star Group Hcp – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st:  3. Fille Champagne ($2.30)

2nd:1. Invictum Domina ($3.50)

3rd: 8. Macattack ($17)

4th: 2. Alma’s Rossa ($7.50)

Confidence: Fille Champagne’s current form gives her the edge in this over Invinctum Donna. Those two are rated well ahead of the rest with Macattack the best value.

Race 2 Yarramalong Racing Clun Hcp – 1000m

Tips (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Invincible Al ($4)

2nd: 3. Mr Sneaky ($2.75)

3rd: 2. Cappanello ($5.50)

4th 4:. Ghenwaa ($8)

4th: 9. Pearl Congenial

Confidence: Invincible Al has been excellent this campaign, rates well clear of the others.

Race 3 Argyle Maintenance Hcp – 1000m

Tips (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 4. Crystal Dreamer ($3.50)

2nd: 9. Amadeus ($3.30)

3rd: 5. Dance With Fontein ($7.50)

4th: 1. Big Reel ($13)

Confidence: Crystal Dreamer is just ahead of Amadeus in this, with Dance With Fontein the value and capable of causing an upset.

Race 4 Ridgeview Park Thoroughbred Stud Hcp – 1800m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Domino Vitale ($4.40)

2nd: 2. Tears of Joy ($10)

3rd: 7. Lopartega ($8.50)

4th  6. Jennio ($8)

Confidence: It’s an even race, but Domino Vitale looks to have a slight edge on these. Tears of Joy is great value.

Race 5 Swettenham Stud Championship – 1400m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Tried and Tired ($17)

2nd: 5. Sovereign Nation ($4.20)

3rd: 1. Burning Front ($2.60)

4th: 6. Airalign ($6.50)

Confidence: Very tough and even race. Tried and Tired is superior value and will improve.

Race 6 Ladbrokes Challenge – 1600m

Tips: (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Black Sheep ($6)

2nd: 6. Rewarding Effort ($2.60)

3rd: 8. Shockaholic ($11)

4th: 12: Ballybrit ($6.50)

4th: 4. Aurum Spirit

Confidence: Very even across the top three chances. Black Sheep gets nod on superior consistency.

Race 7 – OTI Racing – 2400m

Tips (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Shikarpour ($4.40)

2nd: 3. Renew ($11)

3rd: 6. Hardern ($5)

4th: 5. Zourkhan ($4.20)

Confidence: Shikarpour ranks clear of a very even bunch of stayers. Confident he wins.

Race 8 – Le Pine Funerals – 1300m

Tips (Odds Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Spirit or Lager ($34)

2nd: 5. Top Me Up ($14)

3rd: 2. Ballinaclash ($34)

3rd: 3. Harbour Grey ($12)

4th: 9. Labuan Star

Confidence: Think there’s a heap of value here. Confident top three picks are all above odds, assuming Oak Door is withdrawn to run Boxing Day.


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