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12.05 - Unibet Extra Place Races Every Day Juvenile Hurdle (2m)
HUDSON DE GRUGY made a promising start to life with Gary Moore when attempting to make all over C&D (heavy) four weeks ago and, on the strength of that effort, the French import is fancied to go one better this afternoon and get the locally-based trainer off to a winning start at Sandown Park in 2021.
He was defeated by the smart-looking hurdling newcomer Elham Valley that afternoon (useful sort on the Flat) and has less on his plate in this contest, seemingly.
Another French recruit, Hystery Bere, was an easy winner over hurdles in July before he left the continent and any market support should be noted for his new connections. The remaining trio have it all to prove.
12.40 - Unibet 'You're On' Mares' Hurdle (Listed, 2m4f)
Stormy Ireland has the beating of these at her best but it's hard to predict whether she'll arrive here with that game. She was twice second over fences after joining Paul Nicholls from Willie Mullins (odds-on for both cases) and then found the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last month too warm.
This represents an ease in grade for her and she's a danger to all concerned but the Ditcheat supremo has endured a hard time with the Sullivan Bloodstock team he inherited from Ireland.
WHITEHOTCHILLIFILI therefore may be a safer alternative. She was held in this grade at Wetherby over two-miles on her seasonal comeback but built on that when finding only one too good over C&D (heavy) four weeks ago. She was giving a stone to the winner in that handicap and is well worthy of another crack at getting a Listed success on her CV.
Robin Gold has won 4-5 starts since September and is clearly thriving. She needs to find further improvement to land this prize, but could have it in her and, if stamina becomes a key factor, she has it in buckets.
1.15 - Read Nicky Henderson's Unibet Blog Handicap Chase (2m4f)
A useful maiden over timber, DESTINEE ROYALE positively thrived for the switch to chasing when routing her rivals at Market Rasen in February. Granted, four of the five that lined up threw in the towel before the race was over, but she still looked to have plenty going for her.
Venetia Williams won't leave her lacking for fitness coming back from a lay-off and the front-running sort has the scope for better things in this sphere now.
Top-weight Evander justified market support when getting on the board at the third time of asking at Doncaster last month and is another with definite claims, while Sir Jack Yeats finds a more realistic opening after a good second at Aintree last time from out of the handicap. He won before that at Fakenham on good ground, but he's also proven in the mud.
1.50 - Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Handicap Chase (2m)
IBLEO left the impression he had further progress in him when denied only by a progressive rival on his comeback at Ascot in October and Venetia Williams' lightly-raced eight-year-old once more filled the runner-up berth in a competitive heat last month at Cheltenham.
The winner that afternoon sauntered through the pack to score, seemingly improved for a drop in distance, leaving Ibleo isolated and clear of the remainder in second spot.
He's gone up 3lb in the ratings for his troubles, but that should still leave him in a position to register a merited first win of the season here.
Top-weight Moonlighter will have a major say in proceedings if reproducing the level of form he showed in a narrow defeat behind the progressive Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in November, though he must banish the memories of a fall at Newbury since (favourite).
San Benedeto was perhaps too keen at Newbury (2m4f, good) after a short lay-off in November and that cost him in the end, he would be dangerous if allowed a handy lead in front over this shorter journey.
Darebin won over C&D last month, just holding off Early Du Lemo into second spot. The latter was in the process of running a big race at Ascot (2m3f, heavy) a fortnight ago and both are entitled to get involved in the scrap for place money.
2.25 - Unibet Tolworth Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m)
Britain's first Grade 1 race of 2021 and favourite-backers will be hoping that METIER can get them off on the right note. The Mastercraftsman gelding achieved a rating of 90 on the level in Ireland before making the move to Harry Fry and has quickly gone 2-2 over timber.
He was an easy winner at Newton Abbot in October and built on the promise of that effort when making all the running before coming home with more than five-lengths to spare on the re-opposing Tile Tapper at Ascot in November. Both of those wins came with plenty give underfoot, so conditions here are not going to be a worry.
He looks ready for the step into Grade 1 company and, following Admirel's defection, has seemingly got an excellent opportunity to prove that theory.
The best of Shakem Up'arry's form over timber gives him claims too and Ben Pauling's charge should be more at home down in distance after a fair run over 2m4f at Haydock last time out.
The mare Galice Macalo won at Warwick and Stratford in the autumn before a pleasing second to Benson in a Listed handicap hurdle over C&D on heavy ground last month. With the useful Mr Coffey some seven-lengths behind in third, that form entitles Jane Williams' charge to her place in this grade. She'll need to improve again to win, but has every chance of finding more.
3.00 - Unibet Veterans' Handicap Chase (3m)
A competitive Veterans' handicap chase in which Jepeck will attempt to retain the crown he claimed 12 months ago. He hasn't looked to be in love with the game in two recent starts and Anthony Honeyball will be reliant on the applications of first-time cheekpieces and tongue-tie helping him to turn things around.
CROSSPARK has been second in all three starts this season and surely deserves a chance in fortune after just failing to land the London National over a marathon trip here last time.
He handles any ground and while he's rather unfortunate to be up 3lb in the ratings for another second-best, he has already gone close in a similar contest over C&D this season and seems as likely as anything to give his running.
By the nature of these veterans' races, it's hard to rule anything out. Potters Legend has seemingly benefitted from a wind operation as he backed up his comeback win at Warwick with an excellent second in a Cheltenham Grade 3 handicap (3m2f, soft) last month. He's off an unchanged mark for this and rates as a very obvious danger to all concerned
3.35 - Unibet Casino Deposit 10 Get 40 Handicap Hurdle (2m)
Friend Or Foe was fancied in the betting and duly improved considerably on his previous efforts when cruising to victory on soft ground at Wincanton in mid-December for the in-form Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden team. The handicapper didn't miss it, however, and he'll need another step forward to defy a 13lb hike in the ratings.
Monsieur Lecoq won this race in good style two years ago, but has yet to prove equal to a mark as high as he remains on now. He's giving away weight to all bar Highway One O Two, who has twice failed to complete over fences lately and now returns to the smaller obstacles on a rebuilding mission.
The Pink'n has been second in his last three starts and should go well again but the vote goes to the front-running TOTTERDOWN. There won't be any waiting around with him and while he faded over C&D last month in a Listed event, this might be more his thing.
He has been eased a handy 4lb on the back of that run here last time and the first-time headgear might prove a key to getting him a first success since his easy C&D score in November 2019 from 5lb lower.