Sandown Tolworth Hurdle Day Preview
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Sandown Tolworth Hurdle Day Preview

The first weekend proper of January is upon us and, for racing fans, it brings with the first Grade 1 race of 2022 on British soil - the Unibet Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown Park. The two-miler is the centrepiece on a quality card at the Esher venue, set to run from 12.05pm-3.35pm and boasting a Listed Mares' Hurdle and the final of 2021 Veterans' Chase Series as supporting races. The Racing Post previews Saturday's Sandown action.


12.05 - Unibet Extra Place Races Every Day Juvenile Hurdle (2m)

Romeo's Bond sets the standard on form, with Milton Harris' charge having won at Exeter in November and then finished a distant second behind a useful rival over this C&D in early December. He could build on that run, but he'll need to, and his case isn't helped by having to concede 6lb and more to these rivals.

Family Time has to improve after a layoff, while the filly Malakahna drops in class after coming up shy in a Listed contest at Aintree last month. Her earlier win at Fakenham had promise in it and she's got a leading chance down in grade.

Better was seemingly expected of MOULINS CLERMONT on his debut for Gary Moore at Fontwell (2m1½f, good) in November but he didn't find a lot in the latter part of that race. This softer surface should be a positive and it won't be a shock if he leaves that run behind him now.

Selection: Moulins Clermont

Next Best: Malakahna

12.40 - Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Mares' Hurdle (Listed, 2m4f)

Whitehotchillifili won this contest last year from a misfiring Stormy Ireland (then with Paul Nicholls) in second spot, but Harry Fry's Milan mare was well beaten in two starts afterwards and last month's return in a C&D handicap didn't offer much enthusiasm for this challenge. She's opposed.

Anythingforlove is another previous C&D winner and her record stands at four wins in six starts over timber, including over three-miles at Ffos Las three weeks ago after aborting a campaign over fences. She won't mind testing ground and certainly doesn't lack for stamina but, on ratings, Jamie Snowden's mare has more to find.

Skyace defeated Gauloise at Fairyhouse in a Grade 1 novice in the spring and Shark Hanlon's charge is a heavy-ground winner too. She has not fired in three runs this season, and while she takes a drop in class here, it's hard to be confident at the moment.

The Mullins mare, meanwhile, put that Easter defeat behind to land a Listed event at the Punchestown Festival in good style when last spotted. She was progressive on the whole last season and but all three wins came at the minimum trip. Despite a lack of a prep run, she won't lack sharpness coming from this source and she's a big player as the second of two Irish raiders.

MARTELLO SKY might take this for the home team. Lucy Wadham's 6YO is now 5-7 over hurdles and has won two of three this season, wins at Market Rasen and Cheltenham sandwiching an Aintree fourth in a race won by the smart Brewin'upastorm in November (all at this distance).

Last month's Cheltenham handicap won was a shade cosy and Aidan Coleman's mount might well have more to come.

Selection: Martello Sky

Next Best: Gauloise

1.15 - Read Nicky Henderson's Unibet Blog Handicap Chase (2m4f)

Farinet was a disappointment on reappearance last month but that came in the Grade 3 Racing Post Gold Cup at Cheltenham and sights are lowered now.

Venetia Williams' charge was impressive when scoring over this track and trip (soft) back in March on second start after arriving from France and, eased 2lb now, could soon get back on an upward curve. He's not one to cross off just yet.

Goa Lil has something to prove on testing ground, something that may apply to Luckofthedraw also, while Darebin has course-winning form on soft ground but is yet to completely prove himself at this sort of trip.

Chef D'equipe is a former winner of this race and can bid to give owner/jockey David Maxwell successive Saturday afternoon successes, while Red Happy is worth noting on first start for David Pipe. It's a long time since we spotted Redzor on the racecourse - Cheltenham Festival 2020 - so he's got plenty to prove, so the vote is handed to KILBROOK for the Jonjo O'Neill's.

The Carlisle race he won in October on chasing bow isn't a strong piece of form but he showed determination to hang on in a driving finish and, raised 4lb, has the scope to do better if handling this softer ground. With so many of his rivals questionable, he has a chance to make progress, though Farinet is greatly feared.

Selection: Kilbrook

Next Best: Farinet

1.50 - Unibet Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Chase (1m7½f)

Gunsight Ridge has shown a definite affinity for jumping fences in two starts and shouldn't be waiting too long to get on the scoresheet. His promising Aintree bow was followed by finished second to L'homme Presse at Exeter, that rival 2-2 since including last weekend's Grade 2 Dipper at Cheltenham.

Olly Murphy's charge was clear in second and respected now but the drop back to this trip isn't necessarily a total positive for him.

Bun Doran and Paddy's Poem are capable sorts but bot now 11YOs and the likes of the Up The Straight and NUMITOR are viewed as clearer dangers.

The former won a three-runner novice chase at Plumpton on seasonal comeback in October and has been asked a pair of awkward questions since in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham and the Grade 2 Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot. This offers him a chance to get back on the ascent.

Heather Main's Numitor is preferred. Tactics will be straightforward for this frontrunner and he could be hard to peg back. He won nicely at Wetherby on his comeback and November's Newbury second in a valuable handicap was another sound effort. He's just 2lb higher here and has plenty going for him.

Selection: Numitor

Next Best: Up The Straight

2.25 - Unibet Tolworth Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m)

Fair to say that CONSTITUTION HILL looked like some kind of superstar in the making when spread-eagling his eight rivals over C&D at the Tingle Creek Festival here last month on debut for Nicky Henderson.

He had 14-lengths in hand on the hitherto promising Harry Fry-trained Might I in second spot, while the others finished at wide intervals behind.

Along with his stablemate at Seven Barrows, Jonbon, he's right towards the front of the market for Supreme Novices' Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in March and Nico de Boinville's mount is impossible to oppose on the visuals of that opening salvo here last time.

Mr Glass is 2-2 over hurdles for Paul Nicholls already and clearly progressing, while Datsalrightgino boasts similar credentials having accounted for a decent opponent in Jpr One at Cheltenham last month.

Along with Jetoile they form a trio of hat-trick seekers in this race, though their paths are blocked by the daunting shadow of Constitution Hill.

Shallwehaveonemore made a pleasing start over timber when second in an Ascot novice in October and Gary Moore's Authorized gelding will surely win races over flights before long.

Selection: Constitution Hill

Next Best: Datsalrightgino

3.00 - Unibet Veterans' Handicap Chase (Final Of The 2021 Veterans Chase Series, 3m)

Aso is the starting point, with Venetia Williams' 12YO having found only Blaklion too strong in the finished at Haydock last month in one of these veterans' contests.

He lost no caste in defeat conceding over a stone to the winner (scored again since) that afternoon and the fear once again is that a hefty weight-burden might be his ultimate undoing now. He's got a clear chance, though his favouritism in the betting will reflect that.

Rolling Dylan was clear in second over C&D last month and is respected on the back of that, while Final Nudge landed one of these contests at Warwick in November and has his chance again for Fergal O'Brien and Paddy Brennan from 3lb higher.

Wandrin Star is another winner in the series, scoring over C&D in November and he will be player if in the same form today.

SIR IVAN was third in this contest a year ago behind Seeyouatmidnight and Harry Fry's charge arrives back in good nick. He made the running in that Warwick race won by Final Nudge in November and his case wasn't aided by a mistake at the second last.

Factoring in Lorcan Murtagh's claim, he is 6lb better off with the re-opposing winner now and he should be in their pitching at the end.

Selection: Sir Ivan

Next Best: Rolling Dylan

3.35 - Unibet Casino Deposit 10 Get 40 Handicap Hurdle (2m)

Handicap debutant Hermes Boy did the job nicely in an Exeter novice last month after a pair of silver medals at Worcester and Bangor. He's likely got more to come and an opening mark of 124 looks about fair.

Volkovka won on her comeback at Carlisle (2m1f, good to soft) before finishing second over 2m4f here last month. She's a mare on good terms with herself but is now rated 5lb higher and must cope with a drop in trip.

Mack The Man made a winning return at Exeter in the autumn but needs to improve again in this field, while Navajo Pass has a big weight to overcome in first-time cheekpieces having run poorly in a better race over C&D last month. He handles testing ground and the assessor has offered some relief.

Natural History has seen his form stall but is creeping down the weights as a result but perhaps MCGOWAN'S PASS can land an open finale.

He, too, boasts heavy-ground winning form and he shaped well for a long way in last month's stable bow for Jennie Candlish at Haydock (2m3f, heavy) before fading. That was his only run of 2021 and he should be sharper for it, while the drop back to this trip is another plus. The veteran is on a fair mark and has sound each-way claims at the early prices.

Selection: McGowan's Pass

Next Best: Hermes Boy




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V: 1.37.0 All rights reserved. August 2021