Oli Bell: Rock and roll!
ITV Racing's Oli Bell talks us through his best bets for Saturday with Rock The Kasbah well-fancied at Sandown.
Rock The Kasbah: Shareef don't like it… but Oli does
Another excellent Saturday afternoon's racing coming up and there is something for every racing fan to enjoy with some really exciting young horses, proven hardy old timers and then some high-class all weather action as well. It should make for an exciting day and despite the absence of horses such as Charli Parcs and Brain Power I think there will still be some important Cheltenham notes to make! Let's get straight into it this week…..Here is who I will be backing on Saturday.
2.25 Sandown – Clan Des Obeaux
I was at Newbury when this horse was victorious in November and was absolutely blown away by him. He looked like he had a real X Factor. I interviewed his winning rider that day, Sean Bowen, who said he was the best young horse he had ever sat on. His trainer Paul Nicholls has not hidden the incredibly high opinion he has of this horse either. They would have both been a bit disappointed that this horse wasn't able to beat Whisper at Cheltenham last time out but I'm not convinced Cheltenham is the track for him and he didn't seem completely in tune with himself that day. I'm of the view that Sandown's test will suit him far better and I rate him as the most naturally talented horse in the race. To put it bluntly, I think he is a good bet.
3.00 Sandown – KK Lexion
The same comments would apply to KK Lexion although given the nature of this very competitive handicap hurdle perhaps we must tread with a touch more caution. In saying that, I was hugely impressed by the closing stages of his 10 length victory over one of his rivals Fortunate George, at Wincanton. Tom George has had a stellar season to date and I know the whispers on the track are that this horse has an awful lot more to offer. It is by its very nature a competitive race and if Harry Fry's horse Behind Time can get his act together then he is a danger but he still looks very raw and is likely to be well supported because of his profile, so in terms of market position and form, KK Lexion will appeal more.
3.35 Sandown – Rock The Kasbah
Richard Johnson will be appearing as a guest on The Opening Show – ITV4, 10am – this week and I am hoping he speaks positively about Rock The Kasbah who finished second last time out behind the talented Politologue. He made an error at the 11th fence that day and was admittedly readily beaten by Paul Nicholls' grey. The form reads very well though with Politologue running well in defeat subsequently and the third that day, Royal Vacation, subsequently landed a Grade 1 (albeit fortunately) before winning at Cheltenham on trials day. Therefore, Rock The Kasbah in my view has one of the strongest pieces of form in the book and is attractively-priced making him a play in the 3.35.
2.45 Wetherby – Missed Approach
For those who have seen the Sporting Life video I did with Ed Chamberlin this week you may have heard him reference the fact that I tipped him this horse at Exeter on his chase debut. I excitedly studied the race the night before and couldn't wait to get up and chat to Ed about what I thought – he liked my case and we subsequently both backed this certainty. Cue five minutes of watching the race through our hands and two very dejected men talking through what went wrong. He put things right last time out though with an impressive win and this is a horse with bags of talent. I haven't lost faith with him after Exeter and I have a feeling this horse will reward me for sticking with him.
3.15 Musselburgh – Drumcliff
Harry Fry's charge was so unlucky last time out that if there is one horse that deserves to win a Saturday race this weekend it is him. On his last visit to a racecourse at Kempton, he got rugby tackled by William H Bonney at the last, losing both ground and momentum, yet he gathered himself up again before flying at the finish just going down in second. His trainer walked back into the parade ring and was gutted, as you would be, but I think he will get redemption this weekend at Musselburgh.
2.00 Lingfield – Pretend
Newmarket is normally the central point for racing gossip during the summer but during the much quieter winter months the talk is normally about all-weather horses. One in particular has got everyone talking and the horse in question is Godolphin's Pretend. His victory at Kempton last time out after a lengthy break was about as cocky a performance as you will see from horse and rider. It was almost as though Adam Kirby wanted to give them a bit of a head start to prove to us just how good this horse is. It was breathtaking, and backed up by the clock. His jockey William Buick bases himself with the Godolphin operation in Dubai during the winter – the fact he is flying back from the warm desert of Dubai to cold and rainy England to ride this horse tells you all you need to know. He is an aeroplane!
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