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  • Sandown Best Bets: Jonbon And El Fabiolo To Dominate Celebration Chase In Long Awaited Showdown

Sandown best bets: Jonbon and El Fabiolo to dominate Celebration Chase in long-awaited showdown

There’s a feast of National Hunt racing to enjoy at Sandown on Saturday, and the Grade 1 Celebration Chase finally gives racing fans the mouthwatering match-up they’ve been longing for.

15:00 Sandown: bet365 Celebration Chase (1 mile 7½ furlongs)

Problems at the Seven Barrows stable meant that Jonbon was withdrawn from the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, depriving racegoers of an eagerly awaited showdown between Nicky Henderson’s prized gelding and the highly-rated El Fabiolo.

The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old had won his previous seven outings and was duly sent out as the 2/9 favourite, but his expected stroll to victory was scuppered by a bad mistake at the fifth fence, after which jockey Paul Townend was quick to pull him up.

Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if El Fabiolo wins by more than 8 lengths, get a £5 Free Bet

El Fabiolo is back fighting fit here, and by all accounts so is Jonbon, whose 16 career outings have included 13 wins (the other three were runners-up) over both hurdles and fences, of which six have come in Grade 1 races.

Henderson’s eight-year-old signed off last season by winning this very race with plenty in hand, and he hit the ground running this term with cosy victories in the Schloer Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting and in the Tingle Creek Chase over this course and distance in December.

Suggested best bet: Jonbon in the 15:00 at Sandown

A bad mistake four out ultimately cost him the rearranged Clarence House at Cheltenham in January, albeit still rallying bravely in the latter stages to come within a neck of grateful winner Elixir De Nutz.

Jonbon was last seen coping easily with an extra half-mile to land the odds in the Melling Chase at Aintree 15 days ago, and assuming he turns up here none the worse for that recent outing, then he should give odds-on favourite El Fabiolo a real run for his money here.


Nico de Boinville retains the ride after winning all three of his previous rides on Jonbon, and a note of interest is that De Boinville boasts a slightly higher winning percentage (22.88%) than newly-crowned Champion Jockey Harry Cobden (22.55%), but has only had a third of the rides of the PlanetSportBet racing ambassador. 

READ MORE: Winning the Champion Jockey title is every jockey’s dream - Harry Cobden

With only seven runners and no extra places up for grabs, it’s hard to make an each-way case for any of the other five runners, four of whom are available at 40/1 or more at the time of writing, with only former Arkle winner Edwardstone deemed to have even a vaguely realistic chance at around 10/1.

To make it into the two-horse frame, they would surely need one of the two principals to suffer a fitness or jumping mishap, although that hasn’t stopped some of Tipstrr’s pundits from clutching at a few each-way straws.

Elixir De Nutz has been better than ever this season, and did claim the scalp of Jonbon in the Clarence House two outings ago, but he was subsequently found wanting in the Champion Chase, having to be pulled up and he looks vulnerable in this stellar company.

Boothill could be ready to outrun his odds after falling on his last two outings, but if anyone had some loose change they didn’t particularly need, then they might be tempted to put a quid each-way on Nube Negra, despite the 10-year-old likely to be well out of his depth here if the race runs to form.

Recent performances suggest that the Dan Skelton yard should never be underestimated, and with the aid of first-time cheekpieces, a fair wind and the two favourites getting in each other’s way, they might fancy their chances of causing an upset here.

Outsider punt: Nube Negra each-way in the 15:00 at Sandown


READ MORE: Saturday ITV racing tips: Best bets for Sandown, Haydock and Leicester on April 27

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