It’s the end of the UK winter jumps season at Sandown on Saturday, and we have some juicy races to get stuck into as the curtain comes down on another fantastic term. This was a tough one to call, especially if you were jockey Tom Cannon, who had the choice between ON TO VICTORY (who he has chosen to ride) and Pasvolsky, who he also rides. They could be first and second in this!
Alan King’s On To Victory is a highly-rated Flat operator and could be very well handicapped judging on a very comfy victory at Warwick. The time of that race was five seconds quicker than the other division on the card. It was won by Calico, who went on to finish fourth in last week’s Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr. On To Victory will win a handicap like this and I’m banking on Saturday being the day.
Cannon also normally rides Pasvolsky for trainer Chris Gordon and is a major player too. He likes to bowl along in front and got away from his rivals when winning a novice hurdle at Kempton last time, so has to be respected. Jamie Moore’s Royaume Uni was second at Ascot to Herbiers in a Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. He could be improving still.
When I looked through this race I was looking for something that is rated close to to the favourite, but who hasn’t been to Cheltenham or Aintree. Well, there isn’t one! So for that reason, I have to go for FRODON after Mr Fisher disappointed at Aintree.
Frodon does like to go left-handed, which is not ideal around Sandown, but the King Gorge VI winner he still should have a bit in hand of this field. Mr Fisher is a talented horse, but he has never delivered on the track like he works at home. Born Survivor is smart too if you’re looking for something to take the favourite on with.
I know I will get plenty of stick for staying with ALTIOR, but I don’t care. He has been an amazing Champion and not having gone to the big festivals this year, should be relatively fresh. He has been in training all season and it has not been easy for him.
He has cheekpieces on to help him concentrate and when you watch him jumping at home, he does it with relish still loves the game. I am hoping that we can see the best of him again back on some nice ground. There will be plenty of pace in the race as Ornua and Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On like to be ridden handy. That may well help Sceau Royal who could end up being the big danger to the market leaders.
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Kitty’s Light comes here on the back of a hard fought win at Kelso, but he can make the odd blunder and too many of those will cost him at Sandown. He is normally held up and in a big field on decent ground, that could be a cause for concern. He is by Nathaniel and will handle ground conditions, which is a plus.
Another who will like conditions is El Presente for Kim Bailey. He won on good to firm at Exeter beating Irish Prophecy, but he is 15lbs higher now and Irish Prophecy is 14lbs higher too! Potterman will like the conditions as well and last time he met El Presente there was very little in it as they were a short head apart at Wincanton.
PLAN OF ATTACK was spared too hard a race at Cheltenham as he fell three out in the Kim Muir. He has good solid form in big handicaps and Rachael Blackmore makes the trip over from Ireland to ride him. We all know how valuable an asset she is to Henry de Bromhead. The Young Master was placed in this two years ago and he could be the surprise package each-way.
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