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Uttoxeter best bets: Conditions set to suit Santos Blue down to the ground

As the dust settles after the Cheltenham Festival, Tipstrr pundit Steve Jones has turned his expert eye for value to Uttoxeter, where there’s a decent National Hunt card to look forward to.

13:50 Uttoxeter: Never Ordinary at bet365 Handicap Hurdle (2½ miles)

Santos Blue appears to be a bigger price than he should be for this handicap, largely because of his unplaced finish at Ascot last time, despite that run being easily excused because he has no form whatsoever on right-handed tracks and the ground was livelier than he would have liked.

All his best form has come on left-handed tracks, especially the sharper ones like Wetherby, Aintree, and Kelso, as well as the more undulating left-handed track at Chepstow, all of which means he should enjoy this circuit, especially on this slower ground.

Suggested best bet: Santos Blue each-way in the 13:50 at Uttoxeter

His latest win came in this grade at Wetherby in January when he beat a field of very useful 0-137 handicappers by 2.25 lengths on soft ground. He has won over as far as 21 furlongs and his two best performances, both over that same trip at Wetherby, came on genuinely soft ground.

Both came under today’s rider, Ben Sutton, who knows him better than anyone, and the seven-year-old is only 3lbs higher than when he finished runner-up in a higher-graded Class 2 handicap on the sharp, left-handed track at Aintree last October.

Given that he would have preferred slower ground, he looks an attractive option in Class 3 under today’s set of conditions.

 

Of the others, Castle Rushen is another who needs his latest run excusing because three miles in heavy ground at Haydock was too much of a test for him.

He is a specialist on heavy ground and all his career wins have come on such a surface, but he doesn’t really stay three miles and his latest win came over half a mile less at Ayr.

That was some time ago, and all three of his wins came at that same venue, but he showed that when he gets his conditions, he is still a big threat, as he demonstrated by finishing runner-up in this grade at Newcastle only three outings ago. He is now 3lbs lower and if he doesn’t find this circuit too sharp, he will be in with a chance.

Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Castle Rushen finishes in the first 3 places, get a £5 Free Bet

 

READ MORE: Saturday ITV racing tips: Best bets for Kempton and Uttoxeter on March 16

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