A wonderful card to bring the curtain down on the 2021/22 jumps season at Sandown where conditions were described as goodN on Friday morning with a dry forecast.
The Bet365 sponsored card begins with a valuable novices’ hurdle over the minimum trip. I thought Whizz Kid had an outstanding chance in the conditional jockeys’ race at Aintree earlier in the month, but his jumping went to pieces late on. Sam Twiston-Davies takes over this afternoon and he must go close but my two against the field are Head Law and BOOMBAWN (1.50) with the latter getting the each way vote.
Head Law has won his last three including the last couple on good ground but has been raised 10lbs for dotting up in a modest handicap at Southwell last time. He remains feasibly treated, however, and looks sure to run another big race.
He must give, including Jack Andrews’ 5lbs claim, 10lbs to Boombawn, however, and that might prove just beyond him. Dan Skelton’s 5-year-old has made all to land his last couple of starts and his fast fluent jumping is an asset. It will be difficult for the gelding to make all in such a hot race, and it might be significant that Harry Skelton rides stablemate the juvenile Doctor Parnassus last seen finishing 12L behind Vauban in the Triumph Hurdle.
It is an ultra competitive heat as befits such a valuable prize, but Boombawn gets the each way vote.
Recommendation: Boombawn EW 1.50 Sandown at 8/1 with Bet365 4 places
SAINT CALVADOS (2.25) jumped and travelled very well at Aintree in the Melling Chase last time, but he lost momentum at the top of the home straight and could never get back into the race in that Grade 1 contest.
The selection receives 6lbs from market leader Mister Fisher this afternoon yet had the Nicky Henderson trained 8-y-old behind on Merseyside. All five of the selection’s wins in Britain have come on a left-hand track but he did run very well in the King George VI Chase at Kempton when he looked all over the winner until his stamina gave way.
Trainer Paul Nicholls has saddled the winner of this corresponding race for the last couple of years and I will be disappointed if he can’t land the hat-trick.
Recommendation: Saint Calvados 2.25 Sandown at 9/4 with BetVictor
Last year’s winner of the Celebration Chase Greaneteen finished 12L in front of NUBE NEGRA (3.00) in the Tingle Creek over today’s C&D back in December, but I do feel the Dan Skelton trained chaser can reverse the form on this better ground.
The ground went against Nube Negra in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month and he was wisely taken out when the rains arrived on the Wednesday. With Shishkin out for the season and a similar contest at Punchestown next week, this is a poor renewal of this Grade 1 contest but, if Nube Negra is back to the form of his Shloer Chase win at Cheltenham back in the autumn, I do feel this is an excellent opportunity for the 8-y-old to gain his first win at the top table.
Recommendation: Nube Negra 3.00 Sandown at 6/4 with Boylesports
WIN MY WINGS (3.32) has done us a couple of favours in recent months and I cannot desert the mare in the feature Bet365 Gold Cup despite being a stone higher in the weights for her facile success in the Scottish National three weeks ago.
Christian Williams’ mare is 12lbs worse off with Kitty’s Light for the 7L she was in front of her stablemate at Ayr, but she won with any amount in hand and is clearly thriving at present. Conditions were described at good to soft last time, but the winning time suggested it was no worse than good ground and the excellent Irish amateur Rob James again makes the journey across the Irish Sea.
It is possible that the excellent Williams is going to the well once too often, but I don’t think it is a particularly strong renewal of this prestigious race. Kitty’s Light is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time and is considered the main danger although Hewick would be a threat to all if you could guarantee his jumping would stand the test.
At Leicester I am looking forward to the reappearance of John & Thady Gosden’s MAGISTERIAL (3.51) who has been on my radar since finishing fourth at Newmarket over a mile on debut on good ground back in September.
He broke his maiden tag when scoring at Haydock the following month and holds entries in the Dante and Derby. A well-bred son of Frankel he won’t have things all his own way though as there are a couple f beautifully bred debutants in opposition.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Delight is from the family of Crystal Ocean while Charlie Appleby introduces Ruling Dynasty who holds an entry in the Derby and is a half-brother to the stable’s Old Persian. It promises to be a most informative contest.
Recommendation: Magisterial 3.51 Leicester at
Over to Haydock and I am looking forward to the return of KINGMANIA (3.45) stepping up to a mile for the first time for Chris Wall and Jack Mitchell. The filly won three on the bounce prior to disappointing at Newmarket and she has been off the track since July.
The selection’s draw in stall eight is less than ideal but she represents a yard who, at the time of writing, have won with two of their last three runners.
Recommendation: Kingmania 3.45 Haydock at 10/3 with William Hill
Jessica Harrington has her string in good order and ADMIRALTY PLACE (3.55) can build on an eye-catching reappearance at the Curragh last month when finishing third behind a couple of well bred three-year-olds who were receiving 13lbs from the selection.
The runner up has since gone one better for Jim Bolger and the 4-y-old has a good draw in stall three. There are no prices available at the time of writing – Racing Post tissue 7/4 – but I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.
Recommendation: Admiralty Place 3.55 Limerick at