Sandown Unibet Tolworth Hurdle Day Preview 2020

Vieux Lion Rouge (Right) Runs In The Veterans’ Race (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

Sandown offers a nice card of seven races made up of small and select fields. The card is sponsored by Unibet and the feature contest is the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle. I have previewed the races below…

12:15- Unibet Casino Juvenile Hurdle
Hereia has top weight of 11st4 as he won in August on his first start over hurdles at Roscommon. He was an average flat horse for Andrew Slattery and moved to Neil Mulholland after coming fourth next time. He’s yet to win for new connections but his sole run was fifth to the smart Triumph hope Botox Has. Brambledown and Mr Chua have both ran three times over obstacles and appear exposed. Brambledown comes from the Gary Moore yard and he’s good with his juveniles so is just preferred. However, PALLADIUM has ran just the once over hurdles after making the switch from Martin Meade to Nicky Henderson. This horse was favourite on debut and was just denied by a 33/1 shot, who was fourth in a grade one last time. Zarafshan came from the Dermot Weld yard to Emma Lavelle and got to within three lengths of Sir Dragonet. His best runs have come on softer ground and he’ll be a player.

Indefatigable (left) (JTW Equine Images)

12:45- Unibet Mares’ Hurdle (Listed)
INDEFATIGABLE has ran well on her last two outings to run into Lady Buttons and Dane De Compagnie. She won a listed race over this sort of trip in April so this should be well within her capabilities. Silver Forever is interesting, stepping up from novice company. She never runs a bad race. Cap Soleil is a good mare but but comes off a long break. Copper Gone West won over a lot further last time and Fleur Irlandais won at 100/1 on her second start in Britain at Kempton, in good style.

13:20- Read Nicky Henderson’s Unibet Blog Handicap Chase
Chef D’Equipe and Mercy Mercy Me have been running well in defeat lately. Dashing Perk was a good winner over course and distance, beating a horse who has subsequently ran well in a grade two, last time. Vinnie The Hoodie got outpaced at Doncaster in December and has only won once – at Gowran when in training with Joseph O’Brien. Mystical Clouds has ran nine times and he will have come on for his Leicester fourth. Cap Du Nord represents the Welsh National winning trainer and jockey. He goes off the same weight as WAKIKI WAVES. He has won his last four, riding from a mark of 98 to 122. He’s not under the grip of the handicapper just yet. Clondaw Westie and Volt Face are bigger prices.

13:50- New Unibet Uniboost Handicap Chase
Darebin was victorious in this race last season and he’s won twice since and placed a few times since. He comes across as a horse who appreciates a firmer surface and connections will be hoping the ground dries out even more to alter the soft, good to soft in places description. Last time out, this horse was a four length third to JOHNBB over course and distance. This six year old is rather unexposed as he’s ran just the six times – but he’s ultra consistent with form figures of 231331. Locker Room Talk is another well-fancied runner. He’s partnered by Jack Savage, who knows the horse well, and he won by seven lengths over two miles two when last seen. He’s a winner over this trip and is Johnbb’s biggest rival. Luca Morgan picks up a nice ride on Delire D’Estruval and this hiRse won here in March over two miles four. He needed the run last time out on bad ground and he won’t lack the speed for this. Finnegan’s Garden was a decent third seven days ago but will need to step up. American Tom hasn’t won since Ruby Walsh rode him to victory in a beginners chase in 2016. He looks up against it for new connections.

14:25- Unibet Tolworth Novices Hurdle (Grade One)
This race has been won by good horses recently – Elixir De Nutz, Summerville Boy and Finian’s Oscar. The former and latter were sent out by Colin Tizzard and he has Fiddlerontheroof. This horse was sold to the yard after running three good races in Ireland. On the first outing of this campaign, he was beaten two lengths by subsequent grade one winner Thyme Hill. Next time, he arguably shouldn’t have come second to Edwardstown but that horse has won subsequently so could be smart. The son of Stowaway finally got off the mark over course and distance last time on similar going. He was an easy winner and the record of the yard in this makes him interesting.

However, he is not the highest rated. That title sits with HANG IN THERE. He goes for Emma Lavelle and Aidan Coleman, who teamed up with Paisley Park to win the Stayers Hurdle. Their runner in this is rated 5lbs superior to Fiddlerontheroof. He began his career with Mags Mullins and he followed in Royal Rendezvous and Castletown Quary (who was part of last year’s 20 To Watch but sadly was fatally injured). He was second on his final start for them before unseating on his first outing for Lavelle. He won at Exeter by seven lengths and then in a grade two by three lengths on soft/heavy ground. I like that he has already won a grade two but it will be very close between my selection and Fiddlerontheroof.

Son Of Camas ran in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper on racecourse debut and came last. He won a bumper in early November and made a successful hurdling debut at the end of that month. The second horse has won since. Jeremys Flame comes over from Ireland and she won at Listowel in September. On the last two occasions, she’s followed in good mares in grade three and listed company at Gowran and Newbury respectively. She gets weight form the boys.

One of the other runners is Calva D’Auge for Owners Group and Paul Nicholls. This horse ran in France before making a winning British debut in November. He ran in a listed race at Haydock last time and was beaten five lengths by a smart prospect. He rallied well but a jump let him down at four out. Silver Hallmark ran in one bumper and was a decent third. He reappeared at Chepstow in November and stayed on well to reverse the form with the bumper winner. He could be anything from a yard in form. Logan Rocks has ran seven times and has managed to win once. Outsider.

King’s Odyssey (JTW Equine Images)

15:00- Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase (In Memory Of Houblon Des Obeaux)
This race is in memorial for last year’s winner of this, Houblon Des Obeaux. The loveable twelve year old died of a pulmonary haemorrhage at this course in December. He won ten of his fifty eight starts and will be missed. His yard has Burtons Well. He won after a long absence on reappearance at Aintree and he was then seventh last time. Two of these horses ran in last year’s race behind Houblon Des Obeaux – Theatre Guide came second and On Tour was third. Since then, Theatre Guide has been second to Carole’s Destrier, sixth to Vieux Lion Rouge, third to Burtons Well and fifth to Kings Odyssey. On Tour was second to Vieux Lion Rouge and was fifth to Burtons Well so both have a bit to find.

Carole’s Destrier was part of the voided race after the death of Houblon Des Obeaux and so was Shanroe Santos and Dark Flame. The former pulled up in the Haydock Grand National Trial and Scottish Grand National. These sandwiched a victory in a veterans chase with Theatre Guide, Abolitionist and Shanroe Santos behind. Shanroe Santos ran at Carlisle just after the voided race and was only denied a short head, giving a stone to the winner. He seems on good terms with himself and goes off a very winnable mark. Dark Flame was second to Houblon Des Obeaux on season reappearance after a 736 Day lay off and ran creditably. He finished the voided race but hasn’t won since 2016. Abolitionist was a good horse for Ellmarie Holden, winning the Leinster National, and he won on his first start for Dr Richard Newland. He pulled up at the Cheltenham Festival and has been seen getting well-beaten twice this season.

King’s Odyssey has top weight after winning at Warwick last time with Smooth Stepper, Regal Flow, Wild West Wind and Theatre Guide behind. This horse was held up but galloped through the race well to win by a half length. He’s a very solid horse and placed in the Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018. It was an improved run for Smooth Stepper since his last win in 2018 when in training with Sue Smith. Currently with Alex Hales, he’s 3lbs lower than his last winning mark. Regal Flow fell in the Becher and came fifth at Ludlow last time. He won the 2018 Midlands National off 129 and now races at 127. He’s 13. Wild West Wind is a quirky individual and has more letters than numbers by his name. He’s been running well lately and came third at Kelso last time out. Vieux Lion Rouge won a veterans race at the beginning of the season before coming ninth in a Hurdle race and ninth in the Becher. He’s an excellent yard stick and retains lots of ability.

Horatio Hornblower and Jepeck have been in great form. The former is two from two. He won at Ffos Las by eight lengths and then at Doncaster when he was shaken up to win. He’s got a good pilot on board and he’s won off higher before. A big run is expected. Jepeck came second to subsequent Scottish National winner Takingrisks; then he won at Bangor in a hurdle by nineteen lengths; next he came second to The Mulcair and last time out he won well at Chepstow, once again over hurdles.

This is an extremely competitive race and I’m going to go with SHANROE SANTOS. He’s an excellent horse and Lucy Wadham does well with her older horses, particularly Le Reve recently. Horatio Hornblower could go well but as long as all the runners come home safe!

15:35- Read Nico De Boinville Unibet Blog Handicap Hurdle
Remiluc hasn’t been seen for 629 days, when unseating at Plumpton next time out. He’s four from twenty six but he’s 5lbs higher than his last winning mark and will probably need this. Ainchea hasn’t been seen for 700 days either. He came second on debut in 2017, then won over course and distance and was then second in a Listed on New Years Day 2018. He fell last time and hasn’t been seen since. His stablemate Elorado Allen has top weight. He’s making his seasonal debut after just two starts under rules – one was a win over course and distance and the other was an unseat.

Nicky Henderson has two – Gunnery and Mill Green. GUNNERY has Nico De Boinville on board, aiming to win the race named after him. In his last three starts, he won by thirty one lengths; came eleventh at Wincanton and then won by twelve lengths. I’m going to assume that the Wincanton run was a blip. Mill Green is making his reappearance. He’s won twice but will probably need this.
There are two female jockeys riding in this race. Isabel Williams rides her father’s horse John Constable and Page Fuller rides Ruacana for Zoe Davison. John Constable hasn’t won since July 2017 and he was behind Smarty Wild on his penultimate start. Smarty Wild came fourth in a listed race, when last seen, over course and distance. He dislikes heavy. Ruacana completed a double in November but he’s been beaten on both starts since. He was fifth in the lasted race and and Distingo was sixth. Distingo has ran in some good races without success. Blu Cavalier won well at Doncaster last month but he’s been put up 4lbs. Totterdown won over course and distance in November. He’ll probably make the running alongside Gunnery.

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