Sandown 1.50 – Buveur d’Air
I suspect the dual Champion Hurdler will be made to work a fair bit harder than his odds suggest, but he should still win. Vision des Flos is talented enough to make Nicky Henderson sweat a little bit, particularly now that he’s had a minor breathing operation.
Sandown 2.25 – Defi du Seuil
A fascinating little race for the Scilly Isles in which the big three have very similar claims on form.
Vinndication and Lost in Translation may both want a little further in due course, and Defi du Seuil is three pounds better off with the latter for a narrow defeat at Cheltenham. The chase track at Sandown is not a significant stamina test despite the uphill finish, and can enable him to reverse the placings.
Sandown 3.00 – Ballymoy
He might be top weight in a full race, but the handicapper has not been unfair on Ballymoy by raising him five pounds for his win at Ascot in what was arguably a better race. He steps up in distance again, which should suit on pedigree and running style, and he can give it another good shot here. He probably should be most fearful of the ‘could be anything’ Casko d’Airy, but alternatives at much bigger prices could be Flemcara and Dans le Vent.
Sandown 3.35 – Belami des Pictons/No Hassle Hoff
I’m having a couple of stabs at this. First up, Belami des Pictons, who was withdrawn from Ascot a couple of weeks ago because the ground was considered too quick. He has a fair absence to overcome, but looked borderline Grade 1 class on a couple of occasions and should find this company perfectly easy to handle.
He could be quite tough to peg back if connections are prepared to let him roll along at the front. The other one to catch my eye is No Hassle Hoff, a novice who looks very dangerously handicapped on the best of his hurdles form. It hasn’t really happened for him so far over fences, but he’s faced some difficult tasks and this slightly softer ground should suit him very well.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.