It goes against the grain to tip a thirteen-year-old in any kind of National, but Raz De Maree is not your average teenager. Far from it, in fact, because he’s honest, always gives his best and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty!
He ran an absolute screamer in the Welsh National last year when beaten by one of the best winners of the race in recent years. Put simply, there is no Native River in this year’s field and Raz De Maree doesn’t look like he has deteriorated one bit on the evidence of two starts this season.
You couldn’t fail to like the booking of James Bowen who looks so deadly for his 5lbs claim and I firmly believe it is only his advancing years which make him a 12/1 shot when he should be 8 or 9/1.
The rest of my attention will be firmly focussed on Sandown, where another veteran is my best bet on the card. In this race however, he’s the joint youngest at eleven years old.
The horse in question is Buywise, who has given so many punters heart failure over the years with his tendency to walk through at least one obstacle at the crucial stage of any given race.
That said, many of those races have come in fast, furious contests, often at Cheltenham. But, as we saw in the Kim Muir last year, he stays every yard of this trip nowadays and that, combined with very soft ground, should enable him to find a better rhythm.
I like the booking of Leighton Aspell, whose quiet style should suit this gelding perfectly. In short, Buywise is beginning to look well handicapped on form from only a few months back.
I’d love to recommend a clever selection in the Tolworth Hurdle, but like many who have already expressed a view on the race, I have been deeply impressed by Kalashnikov and think he could be a little bit special.
In the final race I’m going for Drops Of Jupitor to continue the fine recent run of Anthony Honeyball. Let’s be clear, the race that she won at Exeter last time was a poor one, but she couldn’t have done it any more stylishly and the handicapper has had to take a guess of what she’s capable of. What we know is that she handles a stiff track, she handles soft ground and she’s firmly on the upgrade.
Nick’s Saturday Picks…
Welsh National at 2.05 – Raz De Maree 12/1
2.25 – Kalashinikov 15/8
3.00 – Buywise 16/1
3.35 – Drops Of Jupitor 7/1
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.