An excellent start to 2021 today as NAVAJO PASS, tipped at 9/1, returned an impressive winner. Here are tomorrow’s four selections.
DESARAY GIRL (12.40 Sandown, 0.5pts each-way @33/1) An interesting Mares Hurdle race and I’m surprised to see DESARAY GIRL available at such a big price. Micky Hammond’s five-year-old has failed to fire on both starts this term but she’s established herself to be effective on taxing ground and has winning form at this level on her CV. It would take a leap of faith to be confident about her returning to the winner’s enclosure on the form she’s demonstrated this campaign, but she’s more than capable of outrunning her overpriced odds and is worth an each-way interest. SPEREDEK (13.15 Sandown, 0.5pts each-way @12/1) SPEREDEK hasn’t won for nearly two years, but shaped encouragingly when fourth over hurdles 34 days ago. He seemed to benefit from a positive ride that day and given the fact that he’s won twice at this track previously, he has to be respected with track, trip and conditions to suit. Furthermore, the last time we saw the 10-year-old tackle a fence at this track, resulted with success from a mark of 135 when easily beating the 147-rated and useful Gino Trail. From a mark of 126 returning to the bigger obstacles this weekend, he’s extremely well-handicapped and could offer a bit of each-way value as a result, though he’s capable of winning this if on a going day. IBLEO (13.50 Sandown, 2pt win @2/1) The best bet for the weekend, from my point of view, looks to be IBLEO, who will take some stopping in this race. He duly obliged in a couple of races over fences at the beginning of last year and lost little caste in defeat when second to the improving Canelo over the extended two-miles, three-furlongs at Huntingdon March last year. He was giving the winner 5Ib that day and he essentially advertised the strength of the form by claiming the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase from a mark of 142. Venetia Williams improving handicapper was just touched off by a short head at Ascot in a listed event and then filled the same position when second to the well-handicapped Sky Pirate at Cheltenham. The winner had previously run well in the Paddy Power Gold Cup so the form looks comparatively strong and, on the basis of those three performances, he has an excellent chance of going one better here. ILLEGAL MODEL (14.40 Ayr, 1pt win @11/4) ILLEGAL MODAL didn’t get the rub of the green when only fifth at Sandown last time having been well-supported beforehand. However, he’s shown plenty of promise in all three starts for connections and his latest effort wasn’t a bad effort given the fact that the fourth horse, Flemcara, has come out and won nicely since. The Charlie Longsdon-trained seven-year-old should be more suited to the Scottish venue and I’m convinced he’s better than his current mark of 131 judged on his easy debut success over a horse now rated in the high 140s over fences and rated in the 130s over hurdles.