Saturday racing: what’s on TV and who to watch

Sandown: hosts the two big races of the day on Saturday

PICTURE: Getty Images Saturday racing: what's on TV and who to watch By Peter Scargill 5:30PM 6 JAN 2017

FEELING fat, cold and significantly poorer than you were a month ago? Of course you are, it is January after all.

Fortunately, there is some fascinating racing to keep you entertained while you stay tucked up under the duvet and eat that final box of Roses that you have earned by going back to work this week.

What do I do first?

Having bought or downloaded your Racing Post, you will want to be watching the first edition of ITV's new Saturday morning magazine programme The Opening Show.

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Starting at 10am on ITV4 (Sky channel 120, Freeview 24, Virgin Media 118/178, Freesat 117 or live streamed via the ITV Hub) The Opening Show is ITV's replacement for the Morning Line and will be hosted by the affable Oli Bell.

Much like ITV's first broadcast from Cheltenham last Sunday, there is sure to be a great deal of attention paid to what happens on The Opening Show.

Which channel is the racing on?

Like The Opening Show, the afternoon racing from Sandown and Wincanton is also on ITV4 (see channels above if you have forgotten them) and will be fronted by Ed Chamberlin. Sir Anthony McCoy steps aside this week with Rishi Persad making his ITV debut.

The team will be hoping the rain stays away and it's not too cold at Sandown given they may have only just thawed out after broadcasting in the elements at Cheltenham.

The reaction to that opening show has been mixed and there will be plenty waiting with fingers poised to comment on social media should the coverage not be what they want.

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Whether there will be a return of Matt Chapman's 'Hair or No Hair' game has yet to be announced . . .

What are the main races then?

Horses at opposite ends of their careers star in the two feature races at Sandown with the Grade 1 32Red Tolworth Hurdle and the 32Red Veterans' Handicap Chase final.

The Tolworth (2.25) has six runners, two of which have pretensions to be among the leading novice hurdlers in Britain.

Capitaine made all to win the Grade 2 Sky Bet Supreme Trial at Ascot last month in the style of a smart horse, while Finian's Oscar cost a lot of money and bolted up on his debut at Hereford last month.

Add to that the progressive Chalonnial and Charlemar then you have got a fascinating contest – and that is without mentioning Celestial Path, the Racing Post Trophy third and 2,000 Guineas fifth who makes his hurdles debut.

Dynaste Haydock 19.11.2011

Dynaste: leading contender for the veterans' handicap chase at Sandown

PICTURE: Martin Lynch

The veterans' handicap chase (3.00) is chock full of old favourites with the likes Dynaste, Saint Are, Ericht, Rocky Creek and Aachen battling it out for glory in this valuable contest.

What is happening away from Sandown?

Plenty. There are five other meetings in Britain and Ireland with plenty of tricky handicaps to try and find the winner of. Good job you have your Racing Post to help you out.

At Cork, JP McManus has a number of runners to keep an eye on including Bon Papa (1.55), Blazer and Squouateur (3.05), who has not lived up to the Cheltenham Festival plunge that took place on him for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle last year.

The all-weather racing is well worth a look too, with a competitive conditions race at Lingfield (2.20) featuring synthetics stars Alfred Hutchinson, Captain Cat and Realize, while Chupalla, who defeated the useful Stormy Clouds on debut and has been off since finishing fifth in the Listed National Stakes in May, returns to the course at Wolverhampton (7.45).

And is there any chance to pay for Christmas?

There's an estimated £800,000 in the pot for the Scoop6 after the win fund rolled over again last week. The six races take place at Sandown and Wincanton so start your studying now.

Scoop6 races: 1.15 Sandown, 1.30 Wincanton, 2.05 Wincanton, 3.00 Sandown, 3.15 Wincanton, 3.35 Sandown

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