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Sandown Tingle Creek – Friday

Good morning all,

We're off to Sandown for the weekend. Hopefully it'll thrown up some more pointers and clues towards Cheltenham, and I'll report back next week.

Here's my Friday thoughts.

1.50 Sandown

You can argue the well-bred Halo Des Obeaux is well treated on his hurdles third to I Like To Move It at Worcester, but a fall at Newton Abbot last time is hardly what you want to see when tackling fences for the first time, especially at a proper jumping test like Sandown, and for all he might have the talent to win this I’d rather go with Mahler’s Promise, who has shown himself very useful over fences already and put in a smashing round here last month when only finding the winner-machine that is Minella Trump too good. I can see him going from the front and putting these to the sword early in the contest. I wouldn’t want the ground desperate but that’s looking unlikely at this stage.

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2.25 Sandown

Strictly on what they have achieved to date, Brave Kingdom is a poor price at 6-4. Yes, he was impressive at Chepstow when travelling all over them to win by ten lengths, but he might not have beaten a lot there. What does make it stand out is an excellent time figure, but all the same this is a different test and I’m happy enough to try and get him beat at the price.

Harper’s Brook might have been a lucky winner at Carlisle, with Brayhill seemingly going a bit better when running out at the last, but Famous Bridge, back in third that day, came out to win a decent novice race at Ayr on Monday and the form seems solid. It’s a brave man that takes 3-1 about one from Ben Pauling’s yard, given the lack of winners (just 3-40 in November) but they are at least running a bit better again, and Harper’s Brook has a solid form chance.

At current prices I’ll take Lossiemouth as the bet. I’m a little concerned about the drop back in trip, as staying seems to be his game, but equally I could see Stan Sheppard going to the front on him and trying to draw the finishing efforts out of some, which could work. He found loads for pressure when scoring at Ascot and then made mincemeat of them at Ffos Las, travelling very easily throughout to score by 10l. The blinkers (on again here) seemed to enable him to travel smoother and he remains capable of better again.

3.00 Sandown

There’s the prospect of a very easy lead on the cards for One True King here, and that might make him hard to catch. After a dismal first effort over fences at Perth (clearly not his form) he was much better at Ffos Las, finishing second. You’d actually expect him to jump fences well, having had plenty of point-to-point experience and I’d expect him to improve again today.

Desque De L’Isle knows how to win but he’s a tricky sort and perhaps not the ideal ride for a 10lb claimer. Darebin knows his way around here backwards but is not the most reliable, and perhaps the danger is Out On The Tear, who shaped nicely on his reappearance at Worcester, getting tired late on after looking second best.

3.35 Sandown

There’s not many I’d have onside here….

Al Dancer ran a stinker in the Paddy Power after carrying my ante-post cash but I was pretty sure, having seen him in the paddock that I’d done my dough. So it proved. He should strip fitter here, but this switch to hurdles hardly looks what he wants, nor a step up to three miles. To try and get my money back, I’ll probably be place laying him here.

Pileon is probably the right favourite, given he comes off the back of a solid effort at Aintree, and is on a good mark. Again though, I’d ask the question whether a stiff three miles is really what he wants. I suspect we’ll find out today.

Most of the others look pretty exposed, but Mr Harp still lurks at the foot of the handicap and there’s definitely a handicap in him off his current mark. His form last year – a defeat of Saint Dalina at Uttoxeter and second to the well-treated Imperial Alcazar at Warwick – is just about the best in the race and he’ll be a lot fitter after a pipe-opener at Ffos Las at the end of October. No trip or ground worries, and double-figure prices look worth taking.

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Today's selection – Mr Harp (e/w 4 places) 3.35 Sandown

Good luck with all your bets today,


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