The ground is given as good to soft for Sandown’s two-day card which begins on Friday and features two Grade 1 contests the following day. Defi Du Seuil is 5/4 (from 6/4) at BetVictor for the Tingle Creek while the four-year-old Torpillo is 9/4 (from 5/2) with BetVictor for the Henry VIII Novice Chase.
No four-year-old has won the race for over a decade but do note that from 2006-8 inclusive the 4-y-o generation – who now receive 6lbs weight-for-age from their elders – ruled the roost with a hat-trick of wins. There is some rain forecast on Friday which would suit Summerville Boy who is 11/4 with the Dan Skelton pair Nube Negra (3/1) and Marie Banrigh (4s) also in the five-day entries.
The ground is described as good for today’s card at Wincanton and there is a valuable £25k+ chase for the grade (0-125). My two against the field are El Presente and Copperhead (1.30) with marginal preference for the Colin Tizzard trained novice.
The each way selection won twice going right-handed over timber and he looked in need of the experience when fifth at Chepstow on his chase debut last month. The five-year-old lacks the experience of most of his rivals, but he has the scope for the larger obstacles and gets a narrow vote. El Presente ran a terrific race at the weights when a close fourth in a good novice chase over 2m4f but he has stamina to prove this afternoon stepping up to an extended three miles.
My two against the field in the valuable handicap hurdle over 2m are Scaramanga and Humble Hero (2.05) with marginal preference for the latter who was bogged down in the soft ground in the Greatwood at Cheltenham last time. The each way selection is one of three runners in the field trained by Dan Skelton although it should be noted that stable jockey Harry Skelton is at Market Rasen for a couple of rides.
Acaro (3.15) is another each way selection in the amateur rides’ event. The selection finished third in a better race than this last time, has been dropped 1lb as a result and, while his hurdles win was gained on soft ground, as a son of Sinndar, he should not be inconvenienced by today’s sounder surface.
At Market Rasen Winningseverything (12.30) is taken to follow up his recent Southwell success for Harry Fry and Richard Johnson who takes over in the saddle. The selection carries a 6lbs penalty for that success, but he looks sure to run well in the colours of Paul and Claire Rooney.
The hope is that Third Time Lucki (3.25) can make it, well third time lucky in the concluding Bumper for the Skeltons. The gelding finished runner up in a point before finishing third in an Ascot bumper and he can outpoint Jayaaah who shaped with considerable promise when second at Carlisle on his racecourse debut for Sue Smith.
At Leicester Hold That Taught (12.45) can follow up his recent Lingfield success when he was backed off the boards and landed the odds against a decent David Pipe novice. That followed a winning start in the point field, and he is considered a good prospect by the Venetia Williams team.
Whiteoak Fleur (2.05) may only have an official rating of 108 but I feel she will appreciate the return to a right-hand track, and I felt she ran a decent race behind the subsequent listed winner Floressa at Worcester on her reappearance over two miles. Today’s additional half-mile should suit Donald McCain’s mare.
Wenceslaus (3.05) lost nothing in defeat reverting to hurdles last time and his previous Plumpton win over fences was an excellent effort. A 6lbs rise looks fair and a bigger concern may be his ability to be as effective on a right-handed track. If he is, I feel he will take a fair amount of beating.