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Todays Best Racing Bets

Barry Hill gives us his best bets today from Dundalk, Sandown, Sedgefield and Lingfield.

7 highly competitive races from Dundalk this evening bring punters great value betting opportunities.
7 highly competitive races from Dundalk this evening bring punters great value betting opportunities.

With top quality racing from Sandown as well as racing from Dundalk, Sedgefield, Wolverhampton  and Lingfield Barry Hill gives his best bets.

2.25 SANDOWN - GENERAL MEDANO - 8/1

You could make a case for any of the six horses in the 2.25 novice handicap chase, but I'm leaning towards giving General Medrano another shot now that he's back to racing at 1m7½f.

Last time at Kempton during Christmas, General Medrano ended up fifth, way behind Kotmask who was fourth. He was right up there with Kotmask at one point, but then it was clear he just couldn't keep up towards the end.

Remember, this horse was fourth behind Under Control and Iberico Lord in a super competitive handicap hurdle at Sandown last season's end. Since then, he's really taken to chasing. He aced his first two chases at 2m, but then got outpaced over 2m3½f by Brave Kingdom at Plumpton.

General Medrano is only seven and hasn't been raced a lot, so there's a good chance he's got more tricks up his sleeve. I'm betting he'll outrun Kotmask this time, even if Kotmask doesn't mess up his jumps - which is no guarantee since he's not the best jumper and fell in December here.

Mount Tempest, who won that race Kotmask fell in, is tough competition and will be hard to beat, especially if he gets to lead. But there are a couple of others, like Keep Running and maybe Sir Psycho, who might challenge for the lead. This should create the perfect conditions for General Medrano at 2m.

3.00 SANDOWN - ROSE OF ARCADIA - 7/2

Last year, Lucy Westlake rode a 40-1 underdog to second place, which was way better than anyone expected. This time, in the Grand Military Gold Cup, she's riding Rose Of Arcadia, who has a much better shot.

If the race was just about the horses and all jockeys were on the same level, Rose Of Arcadia would only be 2lb lighter than last year's winner, Broken Halo. But with this race's rules, she's actually 16lb lighter.

Rose Of Arcadia did great in a recent race at Newbury and was solid in the Sussex National at Plumpton. She hasn't fallen in her ten chases and can handle any kind of track. If all the jockeys were pros, she'd probably be the top bet. So, I'm willing to bet on Westlake pulling it off.

You can't ignore Broken Halo. He won big last season with Jody Sole. But his recent form hasn't been great, with a fall and a pull-up. So yeah, not looking too sharp right now.

3.35 SANDOWN - HAIVALA - 8/1

The 2m4f handicap hurdle at 3.35 is shaping up to be a real nail-biter, but I've got my eye on Havaila, who seems like he might be sneakily well-handicapped. I think he deserves another shot.

Looking back at his last season, he was just a hair behind Spirit D'Aunou at this track, finishing a close second. Then he came in third, two lengths behind Blueking D'Oroux, before nailing a win at Fakenham in what was pretty much a no-contest race.

Since then, Spirit D'Aunou and Blueking D'Oroux have shot up in the ratings, 24lb and 21lb respectively. But Havaila? He's only 2lb higher, even after showing some decent form on the Flat races.

His Flat rating is 73, and with a hurdles mark of 108, it really looks like he's got an edge. His sixth place out of 14 at Ascot in December wasn't too shabby either. Plus, moving back up to 2m4f could really play to his strengths.

2.10 SEDGEFIELD – TRAC - 3/1

Micky Hammond's Trac, who nailed back-to-back wins around this time last year, looks set for a repeat performance this Friday afternoon at Sedgefield.

Both Hammond and jockey Emma Smith-Chaston have been hitting their stride lately, racking up a few wins in the past couple of weeks. So, it wouldn't be a shock to see this seven-year-old French-bred giving it his all in the 2m3½f race.

With four chase victories out of 15 starts over the bigger fences, Trac has proven to be a real thrill for his Orchard & Partners owners. He's shown he's got the chops for this, and a course like Sedgefield could be right up his alley.

3.35 -  SEDGEFIELD – DYSANIA (E/W) - 14/1

Dysania's journey to the 3m3f Go North Red Rum Series Qualifier at Sedgefield sounds like something straight out of an early 2000s Peter Andre song, with all the miles it's traveled.

Last time I was at Sedgefield, trainer Peter Bowen pulled off a win in a long-distance Handicap Chase with a horse that reminds me a lot of Dysania. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed he's got a similar game plan in mind this time around. Dysania's got the miles under its belt, and if it follows in the hoofprints of Bowen's previous winner, we could be in for a treat.

5.OO DUNDALK - FREESCAPE - 4/1

Freescape might be tricky to catch, but man, did he show his magic when he won easily at the same track and distance in a handicap race last month. He's looking like the one to beat in the Dundalk Winter Series Leading Trainer & Jockey Championship Race.

David Marnane's nine-year-old really took advantage of a lower weight that day. Switching up to a more aggressive racing style paid off big time, with Luke McAteer nailing the pace perfectly in the saddle.

Fun fact: all of Freescape's seven wins have come at Dundalk. He's also lined up for the Winter Derby at Southwell next month, so the team's definitely aiming to head there in winning form.

5.30 DUNDALK - GATSBY CAP - 7/2

The first division of the mile handicap is a real brain-teaser, but I'm putting my money on Gatsby Cap, trained by John McConnell, to repeat his win from two weeks ago over the same course and distance.

Last time, as a 28-1 shot, this eight-year-old gelding really turned heads. He made an impressive move as he rounded for home, took the lead a furlong out, and stayed strong, crossing the finish line with energy to spare.

Gatsby Cap has mostly been racing over 1m2f lately, but it turns out that shortening the distance was just what he needed. This time around, he's practically racing just 1lb higher, thanks to jockey Hugh Horgan's 5lb allowance. Plus, he's drawn in stall two, which should give him a sweet spot to hug the rail and make his move. I'm betting he'll take the win again.

7.30 DUNDALK - I BID YOU AJOU - 4/1

Amo Racing's Manhattan Dreamer definitely deserves some attention, especially after being a hot favorite and finishing a close third over 6f here earlier this month. But, she might have to take the runner-up spot in the 7f maiden that's closing the day, with Michael O'Callaghan's I Bid You Ajou looking like a stronger contender.

I Bid You Ajou put up a really solid performance last time, finishing third over the same course and distance on his first try on an all-weather track in December. His fifth-place finish here when they stretched him to a mile can be overlooked. He was the favorite in that race, took an early lead, but got way too excited and burned himself out too soon.

The return to 7f seems like the perfect move for him, and it's definitely worth giving him another shot. He's shown he's got the talent, and with a bit more control, he could be crossing the finish line first this time.