The highlight of this afternoon’s card at Sandown is the return of Kid Cassidy, who could easily have been the first fatality at Newbury 13 days ago.
Thankfully Nicky Henderson’s promising five-year-old survived and it is very much hoped that he feels no effects of the incident today. Assuming he’s fine, he sets a very good standard, but still faces a stiff task in conceding 7lbs to dual bumper winner Shuil Royale, who looked pretty smart at Wincanton last time.
The race between that pair looks a cracker, but from a punting angle it can pay to take a chance on Rajamand (1:45) in the opener, despite his uninspiring form figures.
A faller on each of his last two starts, the grey looked set to take a hand in the finish when coming down at the final flight on his penultimate start at Cheltenham in what looked a stronger race than this.
Warren Greatrex’s charge again came down at the last when last seen at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting, though on that occasion he was well held at the time.
The drop back to 2m is in his favour here and he looks worth another chance off the same mark.
Over in Ireland Philip Fenton, who saddled Dunguib to make a winning return last Saturday, introduces Last Instalment (3:20) in the 2m4f maiden hurdle at Navan and the former points winner created a big impression on his rules debut last April.
The son of Anshan is owned by Gigginstown House Stud and he won their own bumper at Fairyhouse by 27 lengths when last sighted and, though he appeared to get his own way out in front, there was no disguising that he clearly has a big future.
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase