Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Thursday 27th April 2017

Racing UK

Something for the weekend: Nicholls seeking Par at Sandown on Saturday

Paul Nicholls has a very strong hand in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on Saturday, which, given his recent form, means he is likely to win it. 

Incredibly in the last 14 days he has had 51 runners 18 of which have won giving him a current strike rate of 35%.

Just A Par
© Racehorse Photos
Johnny Og

I believe his best chance of success comes in the form of last year’s runner-up Just A Par. This horse is trading at 8-1 at the time of writing, which seems very fair. Here is my case for this horse. 

1. As stated he ran really well in this race last year. He was only beaten a short head by The Young Master, proving that the track and trip suit him well. Further evidence for that is the fact that he won this race in 2015. This is clearly a time of year when he comes good at a track that he loves in decent ground that suits him best. 

2. It could be argued that coming into this on the back of a hard slog in the Grand National is a tough ask. That is exactly the preparation he had in 2016, however, where he finished 15th in the National behind Rule The World. This year he was 14th behind One For Arthur, but that will clearly be no bar to a big run on Saturday. 

3. Just A Par is something of a mercurial character, thus the fact that Harry Cobden rides is a big plus. Cobden gets a really good tune out of this horse, and rode him 12 months ago. What's more, Cobden is in sensational form. He has won on seven of his last 20 rides and the confidence he will bring to this race can only be a positive 

4. This could be something of a white-knuckle ride as Just A Par can come off the bridle early in a race and can get behind. As long as the pace is strong he tends to come home well, as he showed when winning at Newbury two starts ago. If he is behind and seemingly outpaced at halfway, he should not be written off. The faster they go early on the better.

5. If you are an in running player there may be some big prices on offer if he looks to be struggling at halfway and if so a small investment would be strongly advised. 

I recommend we back him each-way at 8-1 and then sit back and enjoy what could be a fascinating ride.