The 32Red Tolworth Hurdle from Sandown is the weekend racing highlight with five novices going to post for the Grade 1 contest including Prospect Wells (2.35) who didn’t have the race run to suit in the Ladbroke last time, when the race developed into something of a sprint despite it being an ultra competitive 16-runner handicap.
The selection had previously given weight and a beating to Nicky Henderson’s top class recruit from the flat All The Aces and the runner up has subsequently franked the form when trotting up at Newbury.
Colour Squadron beat a couple of decent yardsticks at Newbury last month and is likely to try and force the pace with Ruby Walsh stalking on Prospect Wells. The dark horse of the race is French import Captain Conan who makes his British debut for Nicky Henderson.
The Lambourn trainer has an embarrassment of riches in the novice hurdle division and it is significant that the handler has targeted this prestigious race with this winner at Auteuil back in June. Molotof from the same stable was under consideration for the event but it is Captain Conan who represents the very much in-form stable.
The 32Red.com Handicap Chase is a fascinating contest with Hold On Julio bound to have his supporters, having landed a gamble over C&D when making his debut for Alan King a couple of months ago. He is effectively 16lbs higher today (3lb out of the weights) in a much better race but he remains unexposed and open to considerable improvement.
The nod, however, goes to the Henderson trained Master Of The Hall (3.10) who is four from six going right-handed and made a successful seasonal reappearance at Aintree on heavy ground last month. He has been raised 6lbs for that effort in a race that didn’t take much winning but he has always been highly regarded at Seven Barrows and must go close. Note victorchandler.com are betting ¼ odds all races from Sandown.
The Channel 4 cameras are also at Wincanton where I hope Coup Royale (2.50) can jump with more accuracy than he did at Newbury on his reappearance when very well backed. Pasco wouldn’t get 3m in a horsebox and this trip of 2m 5f looks ideal and a similar comment can be applied to Atouchbetweenacara who looks very well treated down the foot of the weights. There may only be seven runners but it is a terrific heat and I am convinced that if Coup Royale’s jumping holds he is very well handicapped…but it is a big if!
Paul Nicholls rarely leaves Wincanton empty handed and his Doeslessthanme (4.00) lost nothing in defeat at Taunton last time and can get the better of expensive purchase Skint who made a winning Chase debut at Bangor last month. The selection ought to appreciate the return to further having been done for a turn of foot over 2 miles last time.
We have a sponsored card at Hereford on Sunday and a speculative selection is Douryna (3.30) who is ridden by excellent conditional Brendan Powell claiming a valuable 7lbs for the first time. The selection ran well over C&D off a 7lb higher mark last spring and although she may need the sun on her back to be seen at her best there is no denying she is well handicapped on her best form.
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