This is a belter of a race, and the best Novices Chase seen at the track for some time. Last year, famously, the highlight was Altior’s performance en route to winning the Arkle.
I am keen to see how Finians Oscar gets on over this trip, as he has looked like it might happen a bit quick for him at two miles over fences. However, if his jumping can hold up and keep him in it he will finish best of all.
He is a Grade 1 winner over two miles over hurdles at the track, but he has some hot opposition in Brain Power who was ultra impressive winning at Kempton recently. Add in Dual Chase winner North Hill Harvey and you have a great race.
It will boil down to jumping and if Finians Oscar can keep tabs on them he can score here. If he relaxes he will take some pegging back.
A Hare Breath is one I really like in here. He goes well fresh and is a strong traveller, and with his trainer in great form is a great each-way shout. Meanwhile, Jenkins will be a lot better for his run at Cheltenham.
It’s not often when one of the supporting races is better than the feature, but this Saturday at Sandown that’s definitely the case. The Tingle Creek was robbed of some of its star billing when it lost first Altior and then Douvan. It will surely now be Fox Norton’s to lose, but Ar Mad, who loves the track, will run well at a big price.
This is a race that Doing Fine should love. He’ll appreciate the trip and he finishes well, while the each-way play could be Dancing Shadow.
The Becher is all about Blaklion. After his second in the Charlie Hall to Bristol De Mai, he ticks all the boxes: he has course form and handles the ground. However, as a result, he is now very short in the betting
The each-way play is The Last Samurai as he also ticks the boxes and is better off with last years winner.
Paul Nicholls’ mare will revel in the conditions and has lots going for her here. She should be the one here, though Hillcrest Fire – if better relaxed than at Leicester – can also play a part.
A race named after Many Clouds, and it would be fitting if it were won by Cloudy Dream. Definitely Red has lots going for him here, but I’m sticking with the Trevor Hemmings’ nebulous entry.
Gas Line Boy finished fifth in the National and, if he can get out in front over this shorter trip, will take some stopping. Mystifiable, for the in-form Fergal O’Brien, is the alternative.