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1.55 - Paddy Power Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (2m)
Song of The Hunter has finished second in both starts since joining trainer Johnny Farrelly. The prominent racer didn't throw in the towel at Newbury last week when the challenges were laid down to him, but it's a minor worry that this task comes up only seven days later, despite the fact he's got something in hand on official ratings.
Therefore, preference goes to STARVOSKI on handicap debut for a Kim Bailey yard enjoying a fine season. The Irish point winner has improved in each of three starts for this trainer and she was probably going to score last month at Southwell, even before Yauthym crashed out at the last.
That allowed her to coast home some 14-lengths clear of Harry Fry's useful-looking French import Fortunes Melody, the odds-on favourite in the Suede/Munir colours.
A mark of 113 looks exploitable for Starvoski now that she turns attention to handicaps and Bryan Carver's mount can give the boys a beating.
Both Gericault Roque and Mr Jack bring solid credentials to the table and they can scrap it out for the minors, with those worries over Song Of The Hunter accepted. The form of Mr Jack's second at Hereford 12 days ago has already received a solid hat-tip from the winner up at Kelso in a good race and he's the biggest threat on paper.
2.30 - Paddy's Rewards Club Novices' Limited Handicap Chase (1m7½f)
Beaufort West (second) finished a place in front of DOSTAL PHIL over course and distance last month on heavy ground but Philip Hobbs' inmate is fancied to reverse that form now.
That contest was won by the progressive High Up In The Air, completing a five-timer for Gary Moore, once again dominating proceedings from the front. Dostal Phil and Richard Johnson weren't done any favours when badly hampered early on by Vado Forte.
Dostal Phil is perhaps better judged on January's defeat of another progressive sort, Funambule Sivola, at Newbury. That was his first start over fences and, after the guts of a year off, he travelled supremely well, jumped perfectly and was barely shaken up by the former champion jockey to go and win his race. That form has been well advertised on multiple occasions and there's a chance the run here came along too soon after that return to action.
He's had a month off now and is one to keep onside with that initial chasing success at Newbury in mind.
Antunes was a first-fence casualty in that race here last month and has easily won at Huntingdon since, though this race looks tougher on paper.
Dan Skelton's Longhouse Sale is conceding weight all round on handicap bow but commands respect too, though Dostal Phil is the confident pick.
3.05 - Paddy Power 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle (2m)
A fairly useful race in prospect here and all four previous winners atop the racecard have prospects.
Orbys Legend is highest-rated and had Morfee behind when third at Exeter last month. He's likely to be on the front end based on previous efforts and might just end up setting this up for a closer.
Method Madness made a winning start over timber in a Ludlow maiden last month on heavy ground, accounting for an exposed stablemate of Orbys Legend, but will surely have to build on that to maintain winning ways now.
The two that make most appeal are Franigane and LECALE'S ARTICLE, for trainers Harry Whittington and Nicky Henderson respectively.
The former had no trouble making it second time lucky at Wetherby (2m, soft) last month and the form of his Ffos Las second in November is also solid. He, too, will likely go forward early and has plenty scope for improvement.
Nico de Boinville's mount is preferred. He made plenty of the running in a winning hurdles debut at Newbury in December before just failing to defy a penalty at Warwick (2m5f, soft) last month when second to Benny's Oscar (just missed out under his own penalty at Newcastle this week).
De Boinville was keen to educate his mount that afternoon at Warwick, restraining him despite being keen early on. He looked to be going best before two out, but was just outstayed giving 6lb to the winner. The drop back in distance should suit him well and the presence of plenty pace angles is surely in his favour. He's taken to score.
3.40 - Paddy Power Handicap Chase (1m7½f)
Monsieur D'arque was fancied to go well at Kempton 13 days ago but that first start post wind-op could scarcely have gone any worse. He never travelled with any enthusiasm and came home tailed off. Dan Skelton's charge isn't one to write off but he's certainly got something to prove off the back of that lacklustre run.
Gary Moore's runner THE FLYING SOFA can have a major say. He put up some fairly pleasing efforts last season after going chasing, including a Fakenham win in January over this sort of trip. He acts on any ground and ran a sound race back at Fakenham this January in what was his first run for 353 days. He finished fourth there, tackling 2m5f for the first time, and has since sharpened up with a good run (fourth) in a jumpers' bumper around Kempton.
Eased a perhaps generous 3lb from that comeback run, he's within 1lb of his last win-mark and should be capable of a challenge here with the stiff finish playing to his proven ability to go further.
French import Frero Banbou is very much respected for trainer Venetia Williams and heads the dangers. A chase winner at Auteuil before departing for these shores, his Exeter run in November had plenty promise in it and, after a tame showing at Haydock afterwards, he comes off the back of a wind operation and could do much better.
4.15 - Paddy Power '4 Sleeps To Cheltenham' Handicap Hurdle (2m3½f)
This looks wide open on paper and, projected to go off a double-figure price, it might be worth giving a chance to GOA LIL for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies.
He made a pleasing start to his season at Chepstow in October, giving a lead to his rivals for much of the journey before finishing third in a decent 4YO Handicap Hurdle behind improving sorts Thyme White and The Pink'n.
Goa Lil went over fences afterwards but his jumping held him back in three starts leading into Christmas and it's not a massive shock to find him back over timber. He had a chance to stretch his legs last month in a jumpers' bumper at Kempton and a mark of 130 can be within his reach now.
He was giving chase to Goshen - no less - on one previous visit to Sandown on his debut in late 2019 before he unseated late on and he's worth a chance at the prices.
Bard Of Brittany made short work of his rivals at Doncaster last Friday and has to have every chance under a penalty if he's in a similar mood on this slightly slower surface seven days on. Also firmly in the mix should be Pol Crocan for the Philip Hobbs yard. He's picked up a couple of minor prizes at Wincanton either side of New Year (December/February) and likely has a challenge in him from an opening mark of 127 now focusing on handicaps.
4.45 - 'From The Horse's Mouth' Podcast Novices' Handicap Hurdle (2m3½f)
Sopran Thor continued some good recent progress to be second over C&D three weeks ago and should have another challenge in him despite a 3lb nudge up the ratings for that run.
This is, though, a finale with some in-form rivals facing him, each boasting winning form.
They are headed by Apple Rock and GOLDEM EMBLEM, with minor preference for Neil Mulholland's runner. She's 2-3 since undergoing wind surgery/switching to handicaps and wasn't fully charged to score at Wincanton this month under Sam Twiston-Davies. She has a penalty to carry but officially remains 4lb well-in for this contest and it's likely she has further progress in her. Proven over further, her stamina could be vital on the run to the line.
Apple Rock has won three times in five starts himself since moving into handicaps and the improving seven-year-old commands plenty respect with Kevin Brogan's claim offsetting the ratings-rise he earned for scoring at Carlisle last time.
Handicap debutant Top Drawer is one to monitor in the betting, while it would be hard to deny Sexy Lot a change in fortune after a hat-trick of runner-up finishes since December. David Pipe's mare is very consistent and will have her say again should the first-time cheekpieces elicit a positive response.
ODDS ARE CORRECT AS OF 11/03/2020 HOWEVER ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS