Good morning all,
As long as the weather doesn’t intervene, then Sandown will take centre stage today, and once again it’s going to be testing, dead ground. The Tolworth is the main feature, but for many the Veterans Chase Final will hold as much interest, and I’ve had a look at both races, along with another of the races on ITV, on today’s piece.
1.50 Sandown – 1m7½f Handicap Chase
On better ground, I might have been a bit more interested in San Benedeto, as he’s fallen to a very attractive looking mark and he should strip fitter for his run at Newbury in November, but whether heavy ground is what he wants these days is questionable. I suppose the drop back to 2m will help, in that regard, as he does have stamina, but maybe the spring will be the time to catch him.
Moonlighter has won on heavy but an early fall last time is hardly the ideal prep, and although Ibleo is obvious enough, he keeps getting nudged up the weights for not winning, Early Du Lemo has chances with a clear round but that is far from a given, Paddys Poem – as much as I like him – wants better ground, so maybe Hollywoodien is the answer. The fact there’s no headgear is a concern, but he has run to form without, and fresh might be the time to catch him, given he ran well after a massive absence back in 2019. The ground shouldn’t be a problem and Tom Symonds continues in good form.
2.25 Sandown – 2m Tolworth Hurdle
Metier is going to be the likely favourite after two ready wins, both in soft/heavy ground. He might not get such an easy time of it on the front as he did at Ascot, but all the same he has the best form in the race, surely has more improvement to come, and should take the beating.
I’m not sure what to make of the next pair in the betting, though. Galice Macalo looked all over the winner here last time out, only to get a bit tired up the hill, and she was picked off by Benson. Chester Williams is unable to claim his 5lb allowance here either, and for a horse that clearly has her quirks – she refused to line up at Stratford before being handed an easy lead once the tapes went up – I can pass her over.
In the hope the dead 8 line up, Tile Topper might be worth an each-way poke. He’s 5lb worse off with Metier on Ascot form, so on the face of it has plenty to do, but he gave the impression that more of a stamina test would suit – his half-brother, Hot Ryan (who Chris Honour also trained, for a while) stayed 3m, and if they go a decent pace here, that is likely to help. A place is far from out of the question.
3.00 Sandown – 3m Veterans Handicap Chase
Like a tin of Celebrations at Christmas, there’s something for everyone in here. Sadly though, not everything is a Mars or Malteser, there’s some Bounties in here as well, so tread carefully…
Last year’s winner, Jepeck, goes again, and on the same mark too, so from that point of view has a bit going for him. But whereas he came into this in good form, that’s not the case this time around, having pulled up on his last two. Connections try headgear, but he might have had enough.
By contrast, last year’s short-head second, the seemingly invincible 14yo Regal Flow, has shaped perfectly well in two starts here this season, and 3lb lower than last year to boot. Backing horses as old as he is clearly has isn’t profitable in the long term, but you always knew this would be his Gold Cup, and with the ground no problem, the old boy looks sure to give you a run for your money.
Late Romatic’s win over The Dutchman at Haydock looks good form, with the latter bowling along and looking sure to take a hand in the finish of the Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day. He disappointed on his only start at Sandown to date, but he has improved since then, so I wouldn’t hold that against him.
Crosspark isn’t doing anything wrong and has plenty of good track form, but whether he wants it really soft/heavy is debatable. The handicapper is asking him for a bit more too, and this looks a stiff task.
I’ll take Regal Flow each-way with the extra places.
Today’s selection – Regal Flow (e/w, 6 places available) 3.00 Sandown
Good luck with all your bets today,