- Back Theatre Guide Each-Way at 20/1 with RedZoneSports
- Back Pete The Feat Each-Way at 14/1 with BetVictor
Sandown hosts a veritable feast of betting on Saturday as the notoriously tricky Veterans Handicap Chase Series Final goes to post.
Picking A Trends Winner
Sandown's Veterans Handicap Chase Series Final hasn't been going very long, so we've looked back at the last eight 3m veterans handicap chases to be run at the London course. Each season, there's one in November/December and then this final in January.
The key trend to note is that all eight winners had run no more than twice that season, before their Sandown win. These veterans chases are for horses aged 10 or older, they have a lot of miles on the clock and are perhaps much better kept fresh.
Two other trends really stand out: 7/8 winners had at least one win in a chase run over 2m7f or further, and 6/8 had two or more wins over those distances. In addition, 7/8 winners had won at least two handicap chases before.
The average rating of winners was 134 - with the average rating for those finishing second or third up to 137 - and topweights have finished last or failed to finish in the last five veterans chases at Sandown.
Former November veterans handicap chase winner Houblon Des Obeaux, and fellow course-and-distance winners Le Reve and Theatre Guide best fit the Sandown veterans chase trends, with ground coming right for the last-named, who is racing off a career-low handicap mark.
Veterans Chase Best Bet:
The ground is also right for Sandown regular Loose Chips, who is running in his 13th Sandown chase this Saturday, boasting three course-and-distance wins, two in handicaps off 130 and 137.
11 lengths behind him when he won at Sandown in November was second-placed Rock Gone (8/1f Unibet), who would almost have featured in the trends top three if he had justified favouritism to win that day.
That was his first in more than a year, and he has retained the same handicap mark, so it's no surprise to see him favourite again, but he's now tried 3m twice over fences and been beaten nearly 15 lengths, having already been well-beaten twice over the distance over hurdles.
Grade 1-winning hurdler Beat That (10/1 Paddy Power) has made a promising, if rather late, start to chasing this season. He's been on the veterans handicap chase circuit since winning two novice chases, finishing second in a competitive race at Aintree and seven-lengths first in a three-runner affair at Warwick.
This has clearly been the 11-year-old's target and he also looks a good bet, but the best bet is perhaps Mendip Express (10/1 Bet365), who has returned to handicap chasing after a long spell hunter chasing. In his prime, he won off 139, and this season he won a course-and-distance handicap off 124.
Owned and ridden by David Maxwell, the 13-year-old is an excellent jumper, having twice been placed over the Grand National fences, and been twice placed in Ireland's Champion Hunters Chase. He's set to carry bottom-weight off a handicap mark of 129.
What About An Each-Way Bet?
Pete The Feat would, at age 15, be the oldest horse to have ever run in a Sandown veterans chase if lining up this weekend. The Charlie Longston-trained contender has run 10 times over fences at Sandown, winning three 3m handicap chases, including this race aged 13.
The other each-way bet for Sandown's Veterans Handicap Chase Series Final is the reigning champion Buywise. His rating ballooned to 145 after his victory, allowing him into the Aintree Grand National, where he unseated his rider at the Canal Turn.
However, two runs into this season, that has dropped back down to 138 - the same rating he won off back in January. He's not the most reliable character, but trainer Evan Williams does seem to have managed him well for a repeat win and odds of 16/1 with Unibet (4 places) could be worthwhile.