Horse Racing Preview for Saturday 5th January 2013

This weekend’s racing has a super line up with Grade One action coming from Sandown and Chepstow with the rearranged Welsh National taking centre stage.
Torrential weather this winter has cost a number of racecards already this winter but luckily, just like the Peterborough Chase, the Welsh National has been promptly rearranged.
Teaforthree (3/1) heads the betting for the Grade 3 handicap having produced a number of good jumping performances this season despite not scoring even a place since his festival win at Cheltenham last March.
The Rebecca Curtis trained 9-year-old was sixth in the Hennessy last month and finished a lowly eighth in the Henrietta Knight Handicap at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting.
However, despite the lack of winning form, Teaforthree jumped well throughout both of the races and was facing stiff competition especially in the Hennessy.
Curtis has had her 9-year-old in contention for this race for some time and has even put him through his paces on the beach to make sure the heavy ground does not hamper his chances.
He carries the second top weight of 11-3 and looks the best of the field but I am not sure whether that justifies his price.
With Teaforthree the outstanding favourite there is plenty of each way value should you oppose Rebecca Curtis’s 9-year-old.
Last year’s runner up Giles Cross (12/1) beat Grand National winner Neptune Collonges at Haydock last year before disappointing in the Grand National when pulled up.
This is his season reappearance and connections are confident of a big performance off a handy mark of 11-3 considering his decent form last season.
Paul Nicholls’ big chance comes in the form of Michel Le Bon (7/1) and the lightly raced 10-year-old is in good form after running a good race when second to The Package in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton in November.
Sona Sasta (9/1) is the best out of the lower weights (10-0) and has course form after his win of the 3m course earlier in the season. However David Pipe’s number one jockey, Tom Scudamore, has chosen to ride Master Overseer (14/1).
Viking Blond (9/1), Universal Soldier (10/1), Soll and Monbeg Dude (12/1), make up the rest of the top end of the betting with the rest of the field 16/1 or greater.
That is apart from Alfie Spinner (14/1), but the Nick Williams trained is more likely to go for the HBLB Handicap Chase at Sandown where he is a 5/1 chance.
There is a stiff challenge facing the Noel Fehily ride with Johns Spirit (11/2) and Royal Charm (6/1) looking very promising off good marks and Fruity O’Rooney (9/1) has produced a string of good handicap performances over the past year.
Hey Big Spender (14/1) is top weight but you have to question the reason for running it so soon after a shocking reappearance at Ascot last month. There could be some each way value if he is anything close to his best and if the last performance was just a one off.
Sandown is also staging the Tolworth Hurdle which looks set to be a belter with a range of promising novices such as Royal Boy (3/1), Melodic Renezvous and Poet (7/2) going head to head for Grade 1 glory.

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