In these troubled times, I wonder whether we are worrying too much. So I am happy to say that there is not much to report. All quiet on the Great Western Front. Then I read that the number of patients acquiring C19 in hospital is soaring, and someone tells me that some/many/all doctors are being required to sign The Official Secrets Act. This raises several questions over what the sequence of events might be if you accidentally picked up a dose of Novichok from a door handle. (Don’t say it could never happen). You’re rushed to a hospital, but nobody can tell your relatives you’re there and the doctors cannot reveal your illness. You are hidden on a mixed ward of Covid-free patients. Still, your police protection officer, posing as a bedside priest, has asymptomatic Covid-19 (the Essex variant with a hint of Afrikaans, which makes it very hard to understand how it communicates). He infects 13 of the 22 patients in the 14-bed ward. However, no one can reveal this has happened because you’re still in there with Novichok poisoning. They remove you from the ward, as the excessive mortality rate is blamed on Novichok, which cannot be revealed on several fronts. You are taken to the last remaining 4000-bed Nightingale Hospital, which only has one other patient. A Russian spy who picked up Covid-19 while spraying Novichok on a door handle, the only other patient. You catch Covid-19 from him, and you die. So does he. He receives a posthumous Order of Zhukov medal. No one ever knows just how badly wrong it all went, apart from Armando Iannucci, whose hands are not tied by the OSA.
Talking of how things can go badly wrong, here are today’s tips …
1:50 SANDOWN Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 1m7½f
If this were proper Heavy ground on the Chase course I’d be more inclined towards IBLEO who has been consistent to date. My concern is focused on his last race where he patently was not enjoying himself four from home. This Chase ground is apparently Soft – G/S in places – and I think it will ride too quick for him. Instead I’m torn between at least three of the others! You could put up an argument for DAREBIN, SAN BENEDETTO and HOLLYWOODIEN, but I’m going to plump for course, ground and distance winner DAREBIN, who with eight runners has a good chance of stealing a place – especially since he won this two years ago off a 4lb higher mark.
2:05 AYR Ayrshire Cancer Support Patient Transport Journeys Hcap Chs Cl3 (5yo+ 0-140) 2m4½f
Now that CHARMANT is dropped back we might see something of the horse that won off 136 last January. – which he has today. He needs bottomless ground and he is being backed. FLOWERY is probably best of the rest.
2:25 SANDOWN Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hdl (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m
METIER was an easy winner on both his hurdle starts and he might try to win this from the front, with SHAKEM UP’ARRY helping to force the pace. He’s top on the trends and I really can’t see anything else. However I have a niggle about GRANDEUR D’AME who is the rag at 22/1. Oliver Sherwood is not one to have his horses make their Hurdling debut in Grade 1s, and the Sherwoods know the family well, as he is a full brother to Dominateur who is also in the yard.. I might bung him in the forecasts. Watch the price!
METIER Win – GRANDEUR D’AME 6 x ¼pt RFC with the field
2:40 AYR Support The Injured Jockeys Fund Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 3m½f
The 6yo ILLEGAL MODEL has only raced three times, but the word is already out that Charlie Longsdon has a good ‘un. He won by 7l on his hurdling debut at Lingfield, beating Tom George’s Springfield Fox, rated 140+ and now Chasing. He had wind surgery after that, and has not exactly shone since – but has also met some potentially very good animals without disgrace. In other words he might just be a good deal better than the others in this race.
There is some e/w value in JUSTATENNER who has won here before, likes the ground and is only 1lb shy of his last winning mark. If you’re a Betfair player, he’ll come from behind so theyre might be value at the 2f post.
ILLEGAL MODEL Win – JUSTATENNER e/w
3:00 SANDOWN Unibet Veterans’ Hcap Chs (The Final Of The 2020 Veterans’ Chs Series) Cl2 (9yo+) 3m
The favourite in a very tight handicap full of Chasing stars is POTTERS LEGEND who is now 6/1. He has had a super season and beaten a number of these en route to the final. But, do I really want to back him at 6/1? I think not. Instead I prompt you to consider THEATRE GUIDE who is 18/1 and together with REGAL FLOW (12/1) and BALLYDINE (11/1) for a 6pt Dutch, which at current odds, would show a profit of 20.11pts or near 7/2.
THEATRE GUIDE – REGAL FLOW – BALLYDINE dutch for 6pts
3:15 AYR Retraining Of Racehorses (RoR) Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m
LATE ROMANTIC Win
3:35 SANDOWN Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m
MONSIEUR LECOQ won this last year, and there is nothing to suppose he can’t do it again. RUACANA is now theoretically back to a winning mark but…
MONSIEUR LECOQ Win