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ITV Racing Tips - Saturday's selections at Sandown and Ayr

  • We take a look at each of the seven races being shown live on ITV Racing on Saturday 2nd January
  • The Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown is the main event on the card
  • Moonlighter, Sametegal and The Pink'n are our tips at Sandown
  • Illegal Model is our best bet at Ayr
Moonlighter finishing second to Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup. (Getty)

Sandown Park stages the first Grade One of 2021 on Saturday, with a classy field entered in the Tolworth Hurdle. ITV viewers have three further races to take in at Sandown this weekend, along with three intriguing handicaps from Ayr.

Let's dive straight into Saturday's best betting tips.

Saturday's ITV Racing Schedule

1:50pm Sandown Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap Chase (Class 2) 1m7½f
2:05pm Ayr Ayrshire Cancer Support Patient Transport Journeys Handicap Chase (Class 3) 2m4½f
2:25pm Sandown Unibet Tolworth Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m
2:40pm Ayr Support The Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) 3m½f
3:00pm Sandown Unibet Veterans' Handicap Chase (The Final Of The 2020 Veterans' Chase Series) (Class 2) 3m
3:15pm Ayr Retraining Of Racehorses (RoR) Handicap Chase (Class 2) 3m
3:35pm Sandown Unibet Casino Deposit £10 Get £40 Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) 2m 

ITV Racing Tips - Saturday 2nd January

Race 1 - Uniboosts Handicap Chase Tips

Ibleo has risen up the weights by ten pounds this season, despite only finishing second on his last three starts. Early Du Lemo fell really heavily on his last outing. Behind him we find four ten-year-olds, and bottom-weight Darebin won't like the extra juice in the ground.

Process of elimination leaves me looking at MOONLIGHTER, who's proven at a higher level than this and won't mind the ground. Nick Williams' charge has 12-2 to carry, but he's the only runner in this field who still looks progressive. If Moonlighter really is the best horse in this race, he should be able to deal with that welter burden.

Race 2 - Ayrshire Cancer Support Handicap Chase Tips

FLOWERY only ran three times last season, losing out by a length on his reappearance, before hacking up on heavy ground at Sedgefield, clocking an RPR of 148. 

On his reappearance here at Ayr over two miles, Flowery ran well again, finishing second and proving he can challenge off this career-high mark. This step up in trip will suit and his best performance came on bottomless ground. 

Race 3 - Tolworth Hurdle Tips

Read our full guide to the 2021 Tolworth Hurdle to find out which novice we think will come out on top.

If you want to watch the first Grade One of the New Year via your mobile or tablet, then check out our Tolworth Hurdle Live Streaming page.

Race 4 - Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle Tips

ILLEGAL MODEL is a horse I was keen to follow throughout 2020, and I think he's only going to improve during the upcoming season. Charlie Longsdon's seven-year-old hacked up in a maiden hurdle last January, and that race has worked out very well since. 

Brian Hughes' mount travelled well into the Pertemps Qualifier at Uttoxeter in October, but couldn't muster the finishing pace after a couple of sloppy jumps at the last. Illegal Model then looked threatening in another big handicap at Sandown, but jumped the last two hurdles big and the tank emptied on the run to the line.

This is the easiest task he's faced during his career thus far, and he carries just 11-1 to post. Illegal Model will need to win before the Cheltenham Festival if he wants to guarantee his spot in the Pertemps Final. He's certainly a horse worth following.

Sametegal winning at Newbury back in 2016. (Getty)

Race 5 - Veterans' Handicap Chase Tips

This looks a cracking renewal of the Veteran's Final, and cases can be made for most of the 16 entrants. Potters Legend remains a classy operator and it wouldn't be a shock to see last year's champion, Jepeck run well off the same mark.

The one who I think is definitely overpriced is SAMETEGAL. Paul Nicholls' 12-year-old moved ominously into contention in the Veterans Chase here at Sandown in November, but pecked a little on landing the last and could match Step Back or Cross Park on the run to the last.

Nicholls' has given his chaser a month to recover from that run in the Grand Sefton, and I think he still looks well treated in with his fellow old boys. 11/1 offers cracking each-way value.

Race 6 - RoR Handicap Chase Tips

LATE ROMANTIC holds an entry in the Veteran's Final at Sandown. Yet, this is a much easier opportunity to claim his second win on the bounce, and I think Oliver Greenall's will plump for this option.

Robert Dunne's mount powered to victory under 12-00 to win on heavy ground at Kelso last February. After a pipe-opener at Carlisle, Late Romantic again showed his love for a slog on heavy ground, edging out The Dutchman at Haydock. Ground conditions will suit Robby Dunne's mount more than former Scottish National winner Takingrisks, and Late Romantic looks the one to side with.

Race 7 - Unibet Handicap Hurdle Tips

Handicap debutante, Guard Your Dreams holds appeal, but I've been so impressed with THE PINK'N this season, I'm going to side with Seamus Mullins' five-year-old as my final ITV Racing tip.

Rated in the high-70s on the flat, The Pink'n improved with each of his starts, winning third-time out on soft ground at Stratford. Daniel Sansom's mount has continued his progression this season, following very classy sorts like Thyme White, Botox Has and Floressa home in much better races than this.

The Pink'n ran well twice on heavy ground as a juvenile, and finished third in a flat race here at Sandown. Despite finishing second in the Gerry Fielden, Mullins' charge has only been upped a pound, and Sansom takes three off his back again. He'd be one of my best bets of the day.

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