Arsenio Lupin (advised 12-1), Indy Five (12-1) and Lacan (8-1) have been recent winning tips for Andy Stephens in his How To Bet £20 column. Below are his fancies for Saturday.
By Andy Stephens
Visiting the yard of Nicky Henderson on Tuesday and seeing Altior, Might Bite, Buveur D’Air, My Tent Or Yours and Apple’s Shakira paraded before the media was a treat.
Henderson is likely to send an overall team of about 40 to the Cheltenham Festival and gave an upbeat bulletin on most of his contenders.
I had assumed bookmakers would have stopped betting on the trainers’ title because he is already at the top of the table and will have more ammunition for Cheltenham and Aintree (plus Ayr and Sandown afterwards) than his closest pursuers - Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Dan Skelton - put together.
However, Betfair still offer Henderson at 1-3, while you can get an absurdly big 4-7 with SunBets. He looks a certainty to be crowned champion for a fifth time. Fingers crossed, we can find a winner or two at slightly larger odds on Saturday, starting with:
1.15 Kempton: Django Django at 7-1 with William Hill and Betfair
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Django Django has been crying out for a longer distance and, now switched to handicap ranks, is finally unleashed over 2m5f.
I thought he might have blown his mark when runner-up in a hot novices’ hurdle at Doncaster on his penultimate start but the handicapper was not overly harsh and the gelding has since gone one better in workmanlike fashion kept to two miles at Huntingdon.
There should be plenty more to come from him over this extra half-mile and, in the future, perhaps even further. His wonderfully named sister, Top Totti, was effective over three miles.
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Redicean is the obvious one here because he was still on the up when switched from the Flat and has taken well to hurdling, winning twice over course and distance despite a few scruffy jumps.
The one who catches my eye at a much chunkier price is Kasperenko, trained by Brendan Powell.
He was/is a smart middle-distance performer on the Flat, being rated in the mid 90s, and encouragingly is out of a dam, Jardin, who has already produced performers who have made their mark in this sphere.
If Kasperenko takes to jumping then he might easily be an above-average recruit. It is a pity there are only seven runners, but he still makes each-way appeal at 33-1.
2.45 Newcastle: Vinnie Lewis at a generally available 11-2
Milansbar looked a different horse equipped with blinkers with Bryony Frost on his back when making all at Warwick last time, but he’s up 9lb and in a race where several others like to try to boss things.
Since 1988, only three horses aged 11 or older have won this marathon and it generally pays to focus on the younger, less exposed types.
One who fit the bill this year is Vinnie Lewis, who again looked a young stayer going places when a commanding winner of the Sussex National at Plumpton last month.
He is up another 9lb in the ratings but there is more to come from this thorough stayer.
3.00 Kempton: Mont Des Avaloirs at 5-2 with BetVictor and SkyBet
There are some interesting recruits from the Flat in this, including Humphrey Bogart and Scarlet Dragon, but they are going to have to be quick learners to cope with Mont Des Avaloirs.
Paul Nicholls’s exuberant front-runner has taken well to hurdling and ran even better than the bare form suggests when third in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time.
This track/better ground should play to his strengths and he will take some pegging back if jumping with a bit more fluency.
3.15 Lingfield: Clear Skies at 5-2 with Bet365 and William Hill
Aidan O’Brien runners on the all-weather in Britain are a collectors item - you have to go back 16 years for the last one - and so the fact he sends over Clear Skies for the Winter Derby is a tip in itself.
This filly, a half-sister to Derby winner Motivator among others, has flourished on the Polytrack at Dundalk this winter and absolutely hosed up off a mark of 96 in a ten-furlong handicap there last time.
She is up in grade here but she could not be in better heart, will be fighting fit and will have the services of Ryan Moore for the first time. Many of her rivals lack a recent run or have questions to answer, including last year’s winner Convey.
I look out for the stock of King’s Theatre when the ground starts drying up but that does not completely solve the puzzle here because five of his progeny are in line-up.
The pick of his quintet could be bottom weight Theatre Territory, a half-sister to Irish Gold Cup runner-up Glencove Marina who looks favourably handicapped to judge by her near-misses behind Ms Parfois and Mister Whitaker over shorter trips at Cheltenham this season.
I’ve a hunch the combination of three miles/better ground will show her in an even better light, plus she is wearing first-time cheekpieces, which my colleague Tony Calvin assures me is often a positive with Warren Greatrex runners.
Hopefully, Sam Waley-Cohen will bide his time because with front-runners Loose Chips, Go Conquer, Monbeg Charmer and Josses Hill in the field the race could well be teed up for a stalker.
How To Bet £20 on Saturday: (Prices correct at 5.30pm)
1.15 Kempton: Django Django £3 win at 7-1
2.25 Kempton: Kasperenko £1.50 each-way each-way at 33-1
2.45 Newcastle: Vinnie Lewis £3 win at a generally available 11-2
3.00 Kempton: Mont Des Avaloirs £4 win at a general 5-2
3.15 Lingfield: £4 win on Clear Skies at 5-2 with Bet365 and William Hill
3.35 Kempton: Theatre Territory £3 win at 9-1 with bet365
£1 Win Patent on Mont Des Avaloirs, Clear Skies and Theatre Territory.
Above trio in a 50p Win Super Yankee along with Django Django and Vinnie Lewis.
Select any odd to add a bet