The Duke’s Weekend Preview

It’s a small field for the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

Sometimes you hear trainers moan about the lack of opportunities for their horses, but it’s hard to get away from the fact a Grade 1 has attracted only five runners. Maybe they are all put off by Nicky Henderson’s favourite Terrefort. He was a winner in France before switching to Seven Barrows and the way he put the race to bed at Huntingdon suggests he could be pretty decent. I certainly wouldn’t say he is unbeatable though and Paul Nicholls’ Kempton Grade 2 winner Cyrname should be a danger.

No Comment has never seen fences before but he may take to them and he’s not totally dismissed on his chase debut. I would however, say it is likely to be between Henderson and Nicholls, as we have said so many times before.

Paul Nicholls may have one set up for the 3pm Grade 3 hurdle. Topofthegame looks just the type stepping up in trip and no doubt set up for a big run in a handicap.

Melrose Boy, Dashing Perk and Golan Fortune have all been in good form so must enter the shortlist. I still think Beat That has some quality about him and he may improve for his latest course and distance third for an each-way selection.

The Towton Novices Chase at Wetherby is really open. Ballyoptic is edging favouritism but Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard is not firing and the in-form Captain Chaos or Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds could be more attractive options.

The latter doesn’t have the best strike rate but ran well at Chepstow in the Welsh National and a similar effort should see him go close. Best of luck.

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