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In association with The Two Minute Trader


13:50 Sandown A ridiculously tough race to call as twelve four year olds battle it out in this juvenile handicap hurdle. Nine of the twelve runners have already tasted victory so far this season so the majority have enough to find the winners enclosure and the remaining three yet to win have been placed. You may be better just closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the paper but never the less I’ll endeavour to decipher this puzzle. On paper Call Me Lord ticks a tonne of boxes, he’s won his last two and represents top trainer Nicky Henderson. There’s no doubt he’s going to go close but in a race of this nature I have to look for each way value and I’m hoping Vincent’s Forever could be the answer. He hasn’t made a trip to the winners enclosure yet but the David Pipe team are always dangerous in handicap races. He’ll enjoy the ground and with new headgear applied if it helps his cause he could outrun his larger price. VINCENT’S FOREVER (E/W)

14:05 Haydock The first of two trips to Haydock on ITV sees fan favourite Top Notch Tonto set to compete. Despite seemingly being around the game for a while he’s still only seven years old and no doubt will be up there for most of the race. A poor run of form with no win in his last thirteen starts and on what is expected to be firmer ground his best hope is probably a minor place. Another fan favourite is undoubtedly Frankie Dettori and he could add another televised victory to his list of career successes. He’s scheduled to ride the Luca Cumani trained El Vip who looks to improve on his promising third placed return to action at Bath last time out. A youngster who looks a progressive type and although he faces some more experienced heads could be better than his opposition. EL VIP (WIN)


14:25 Sandown Menorah may be twelve years old but if the old saying “horses for courses” is anything to go by then he cannot be beaten. He’s competed here at Sandown on five occasions and has found the winning line with his head in front four times. He’s a Grade 1 winner in his pomp and although he’s probably not at that level any longer has enough to claim victory here. Josses Hill and Vibrato Valtat look the biggest threats but Josses Hill is mightily inconsistent and despite claiming a victory here at Sandown Vibrato Valtat doesn’t seem to really enjoy the course. MENORAH (WIN)

14:40 Haydock Although I may be doing a disservice to the rest of the field I can only see this as a theoretical three horse race. Oh This Is Us, Afjaan and Fawaareq look the likely contenders and my selection hails from this trio. The Richard Hannon trained Oh This Is Us has the advantage of race fitness on his side however he’s been running over the winter and sits a whopping nine pounds higher than the rest. We last witnessed Afjaan in a very competitive big runner handicap at Ascot back in October. He finished fourth that day but was only a couple of lengths behind the winner. If he’s trained on over the winter and he’s gone well fresh in the past he represents a yard bang in form and will be there or thereabouts. Fawaareq became a revelation after switching trainers and Owen Burrows has done a great job. A second and two victories since changing yards he’s not put a foot wrong but that was in lesser grade handicaps. He may well be up to this task but that’s the question he has to answer. AFJAAN (WIN) – NAP

15:00 Sandown It’s a shame to only see four horses contest this Grade 1 chase but it’s relatively competitive none the less. Two Cheltenham Festival winners, three of the four are course winners and all four won last time out. They all have a very good level of talent and with Special Tiara winning the Champion Chase back in March he’s achieved the most but Altior is held in very high regard and to many in the know looks a special horse in the making. The Nicky Henderson runner has been very impressive this season and if the hype is real and continues to grow he’ll prove that his odds-on price is fair. ALTIOR (WIN)

15:35 Sandown The marquee race of the day is the Bet365 Gold Cup, a race that was won by the mighty Desert Orchid and a field of seventeen look set to take their spot in this years prestigious chase. The likely market leader is Neil Mulholland’s Doing Fine who’s win at Cheltenham last time out looked very impressive. He’ll need to step up on that effort as he tackles a much classier level of opposition and with an eight pound rise in weight is going to have to improve. Trainer Neil Mulholland has a great hand in the race with The Young Master and The Druids Nephew also entered. Of the Mulholland trio I’d probably side with The Druids Nephew who’s been lightly raced this term and put in a decent effort at the Cheltenham Festival but never the less my selections lie away from the aforementioned three. Rock The Kasbah has only finished out of the top three once in his six starts this term and as such shows he’s ultra consistent. A defeat to a very promising horse last time out shouldn’t put you off and a step up in distance is likely to help this improving novice. Of the rest of the field a small fancy goes to Le Reve who seems to relish Sandown and finished third in this race back in 2015. Another horse who’s been lightly raced this term and may have more left than some of the rest. ROCK THE KASBAH (E/W) LE REVE (E/W)


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