Friday, February 01, 2008

Sandown on Saturday

The highlight at Sandown tomorrow is the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase due off at 3.10. Hobbs Hill obliged for this blog earlier in the season and I'm keeping the faith here with Paddy Brennan replacing Tony McCoy in the plate. The five length defeat of Silverburn giving that horse seven pounds at Newbury reads well. Lead On is respected but if there is to be an upset, Wee Robbie might be the one. WR came from a long way behind on his first run of the season recently to collar Mahogany Blaze at Ascot. He's well regarded and the step up in distance here will suit.

Only five go to post in the Totescoop6 Contenders Hurdle; on offical ratings it looks a match between Afsoun and Straw Bear. Neither appears the most hardy of performers but I prefer Straw Bear, although the price will be of no interest. The ground on the hurdle course is currently described as soft, heavy in places which should pose no problem for Northern raider Bywell Beau.

Over at Doncaster all eyes will be on Arkle favourite Tidal Bay in the 1.35. I saw Leslingtaylor win at Aintree in October but he fell last time out; this course should play to his strengths. TB looks the one but his price will be prohibitive.

Favourites have a poor record in the 3.00. Pablo Du Charmil likes to race from the front while Castleford Chase winner Calatagan looks a little inconsistent. I feel Lennon hasn't really delivered to his potential so I'd be prepared to take a chance on first time blinkers helping Alan King's Howle Hill collect the spoils.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

I was disappointed to see Hobbs Hill declared a non-runner in the novice chase. It looked as though the Nicholls' stable had decided to make all with Silverburn who was sent off 10/11 favourite. Half way through the race he appeared to lose concentration in a big way, wandering around and jumping very deliberately. Full marks to Sam Thomas who gave the horse a couple of reminders. In the end he won well enough; I wonder if they'll consider blinkers next time. Paul Nicholls has always had a soft spot for Silverburn but I've never been totally convinced. The Market Man ran extremely well after a long lay off to finish five lengths second while Wee Robbie lacked the toe to stay with the front two - further should suit.
In the match between Afsoun and Straw Bear I was surprised to see Afsoun (2/1) come out on top. He handled the preliminaries much better here - it's difficult to know whether Straw Bear ran a little flat or whether Afsoun is now a better horse with his head sorted.
A shock over at Doncaster with 1/4 favourite Tidal Bay turned over by Leslingtaylor (5/1). To be fair, Tidal Bay seriously compromised his chance with an horrendous jump at the seventh; he led going to the last but again didn't put in the best of leaps which handed the initiative to Leslingtaylor who did the favourite for speed on the run-in. Tidal Bay is now quoted 12/1 for the Arkle with Blue Square. Whatever your opinion, the fences need to be jumped; TB will find the Cheltenham fences less forgiving than those at Donny, while Leslingtaylor looks to be all about speed to me.
A big thank you to 'Choc' Thornton for a never-say-die ride on Howle Hill (6/1) to get his mount up in the shadow of the post. The horse put in very mediocre jumps at the final two fences but Thornton threw the proverbial kitchen sink at his partner on the run to the line; Lennon (8/1) was a gallant second and Pablo Du Charmil (11/1) third.