What a great weekend of racing in prospect. Just a few Saturday selections this morning.
12:50 Novice Hurdle – Grade 1 – 2m 6f
Latest Exhibition (15/8) was very impressive last time out and is probably the right favourite but I’m with Elixir D’ainay (11/4) to build on his last time second to Envoi Allen.
13:25 Dublin Chase – Grade 1 – 2m 1f
Chacun Pour Soi (7/4) needs to improve on his last outing and could well do so. He’s also the selection of Paul Townend of the two Ricci horses. However, Min (9/4) is on a hat-trick in this race, is completely proven at this level and is a confident selection, under Robbie Power.
14:00 Arkle Novice Chase – Grade 1 – 2m 1f
Notebook opened as favourite for this race but has now been joined by Fakir D’oudairies (both at (9/4) and the latter was always going to be my selection and I expect him to supplant Notebook as the favourite for the Cheltenham version after this.
15:10 Irish Champion Hurdle – Grade 1 – 2m
I’m not in the least surprised to see Sharjah (5/4) as the short odds favourite for this. Honeysuckle gets the mares’ allowance and is unbeaten, but this is a big step up. I’ll also have a little each way on Aramon at 25/1 (ran very well against Klassical Dream (non-runner today) at last year’s meeting).
15:45 Ladbrokes Hurdle – Grade B – 2m
Buildmeupbuttercup (11/2) is ideally suited by a big field challenge such as this.
16:20 Bumper – Grade 2 – 2m
WP’s 13/8 favourite Appreciate It is surely the one to beat.
13:50 Contenders Hurdle – Class 1 – 2m
It’s worth noting that the ground is heavy at Sandown today and we could see some slow-motion finishes. Call Me Lord is too short for me at 8/13 and Quel Destin (13/2) is a tough campaigner with form on the ground.
14:25 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase – Grade 1 – 2m4f
I wanted to oppose Laurina, whose last race was too bad to be true and subsequently turned out to be attributable to a burst blood vessel. The chase debut before that was also unconvincing. However, I’m finding it hard to find a suitable opponent in this field. I might have a small wager on Itchy Feet (8/1).
12:57 Novices’ Chase – Class 3 – 2m 4 1/2f
I have a strong preference for Espoir de Teillee at 9/4 ahead of the odds-on favourite Southfield Stone.
14:05 Scottish County Hurdle – Class 2 – 2m
14:40 Scottish Champion Chase – Class 3 – 2m
14:45 Towton Novices’ Chase – Grade 2 – 3m
Chapel Stile (13/2)
15:58 Hunters’ Chase – Class 6 – 3m
A small field for this type of race but fascinating nonetheless with Hazel Hill (1/3f) looking to build on a winning point return 20 days ago and Minella Rocco (85/40) who won his hunter debut 10 days ago.