Sunday 18 February 2018

Sarteano is the value in National

Wayne Bailey

THE race once known as the 'Dubs' day out' hasn't been an easy one for punters in recent times, and nine of the last 10 winners were priced in double figures, three of which were 33/1 outsiders.

For the stats fans, it's worth noting that no horse carried more than 10st 12lbs to victory during that period with the last four winners being 10st 5lbs or less, so that's definitely worth taking account of.

Of the outsiders today, Sarteano is worth a second glance at around 20/1. Dessie Hughes' gelding hasn't won a chase in nearly a year. However, he came close at both Kilbeggan and Navan as last season wound down and he shook off the cobwebs on the all-weather at Dundalk recently when placed in a two-mile handicap on the level.

Stablemate Deal Done ran well for a long way when finishing third to the well-backed Junior in the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham -- form which got a boost when the fourth-placed Galaxy Rock subsequently sluiced up in a handicap at the same venue.

Aged just seven, Deal Done could have more to come, especially as he's attractively priced at around 20/1.

Jonjo O'Neill's Synchronised could struggle with top weight but he's a quality chaser and can't be ruled out. He took the Welsh National at Chepstow carrying plenty of weight but it's fair to say that he'd much prefer softer ground and that's reflected in his price which is generally around 14/1.

Eoin Griffin's versatile The Last Derby gets in nicely at the weights. The seven-year-old's last outing was back in October when, despite making a bad blunder at the last fence, he was a respectable third to Streets Of Gold on heavy ground in the Cork Grand National. That contest was run over three and a half miles so it wouldn't be a big shock to see him land a place at around 20/1.

The last favourite to win was Desert Orchid in 1990 so the 5/1 about ante-post favourite Beautiful Sound doesn't exactly scream value. However, Gordon Elliott has the nine-year-old in fine form and, if he gets into the race, he'll have a chance.


1 Sarteano

2 Deal Done

3 The Last Derby

4 Synchronised

Best of the rest

2.35: The word from Colm Murphy's yard is that Voler La Vedette is primed for this.

3.10: Rivage D'Or is expected to atone for a disappointing Cheltenham.

3.45: Rathlin just about gets the nod ahead of Dare To Doubt.

4.15: Keep an eye on the market but Kandinski gets a tentative vote.

5.30: Based on his Gowran form, Torphichen is a worthy favourite.

6.0: Coscorrig has the form and she'll appreciate the drying ground.

6.30: Guts For Garters is expected to improve from his Tramore run.

Irish Independent

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