Inside today’s main piece I preview the best of the action from Sandown.
My hunch that Sandown Clerk of the Course that Andrew Cooper would have watered sufficiently to allow the likes of Shishkin and Edwardstone to run looks spot on. Looking at the races there yesterday there didn’t seem to be too much good left in the going description on the chase ground.
Besides Sandown we have strong looking card at Aintree and it’s day one of the Fairyhouse Winter Festival. Although the best of the races of the two day meeting are on the Sunday card.
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Tingle Creek Chase (2:55)
It’s Tingle Creek Day at Sandown. The Grade 1 two mile chase is the Champion Chase apart the best race of its type run either side of the Irish Sea during the winter season. The roll of honour includes some of the sport’s biggest names. And if the main protagonists do run this afternoon its going to be a cracker despite the small field.
If Shishkin is at his best, he’s the class horse of the race and wins. Mind you to take a bit on trust his well-being and there’s also the nagging doubt that he may now need further than 2m. At around 11/10 I can let him win. At 2/1 he would be a bet.
After Greaneteen’s all the way win the Haldon Gold Cup on seasonal return I was sweet on his chance. And if the ground is better than good to soft, he will be hard to peg back in his back- to-back wins in the race. Earlier the week I had thought 5/2 might tempt me in and it could still do so.
I’m not convinced that last year’s 2m novice chasers are that good. So, I can see why Edwardstone has drifted out to 6/1. I would be delighted if he did take a big step forward on his second season chasing but I’m not convinced he will.
Rest of the Sandown card
Not live on ITV but the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (1:10) see’s Bridge North back in action for the first time since an encouraging 5th of 11 at Aintree 41-days ago. He’s on competitive mark and I have been waiting to see the 6-year-old run over 3m.
Jonbon will be long odds on to win the Grade 1 Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices' Chase. His nearest market rival Boothill is a progressive novice chaser who I like and hopefully he give the favourite a race> However, I don’t think he can win unless Jonbon fails to complete.
Betfair Daily Rewards Handicap Hurdle (2:20)
Ten have been declared for this 2m Class 2 handicap hurdle. Homme Public ended last season with a win a Newcastle and looking a progressive 2m handicap hurdler in the process. The 5-year-old picked up where he had left off with an improved performance when winning at Wetherby last month. Up 7lb and up in class but looks capable of handling it if the ground isn’t too testing.
Martator, a Grade 1 placed hurdler when trained in France, returns from a 384-day lay off and is having his first start for Venetia Williams. His best French form has come over further and on more testing ground. However, he could go well off his present mark if ready to roll first time.
Love Envoi was in excellent form last season winning a Grade 2 Listed Mares Hurdle here in February (2m 4f). Before going on to win the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. And only lost her unbeaten record when finishing runner-up in a Mares Grade 1 Hurdle at Fairyhouse in April. She’s well suited by soft ground and can go close if she’s fit enough on her return from a 230-day break.
At first glance I thought marathon handicap chase was between Revels Hill and dual course winner Deise Aba who has never been out of the first two at the track. After a deeper look I realised that might not be the case.
London National (3:30)
Given Revels Hill needs 3m+. His 3 ½ length 2nd of 13 to Your Darling on his seasonal return at Ascot (2m 5f) 15-days ago was very encouraging. The 7-year-old had ended last season with two wins at Taunton. He looks a young handicap chaser on the up. The most likely winner but at 15/8 he’s not for me today.
Deise Aba’s record at the track is excellent. Beside his two successes he was beaten a nose in last year’s race, from 2lb lower, and the 9-year-old was beaten just a head by Le Milos (3m) in February off today’s mark. He’s gone well off a lay off in the past and this has likely been the plan.
Of the rest In Rem shapes like he could improve for the step up to marathon trips and is on workable mark if he does. The first time cheekpieces go on and if he they have the desired effect he can go well.
Eclair De Guye was a 7-length 3rd of 10 in last year’s race and can race off 7lb lower this time around. He’s none to consistent but goes well fresh and is on a good mark.
Quick Wave put in a career best over fences when running out an impressive winner at Ludlow in January. A 7lb rise might not stop her and she goes well off a lay off. However, her very best form has come on soft/heavy ground which she’s not going to get here.
Gloire D'athon did the business on Friday at Sandown. I thought he was the value in the race against the Nicholls odds on favourite and 3/1 BOG was very generous. I’m back off to Sandown for today’s selection.
1:10 – Bridge North – – 9/2 @ Bet365.
Good luck with your Saturday bets.
I will be back tomorrow with a Sunday column which will cover the best of the action from Fairyhouse and Huntingdon.