The calm before the Cheltenham storm. Yes, in many ways Sandown and Wolverhampton today on ITV4 feels a little irrelevant, but of course a winner is a winner and that’s what I’ll be trying to find!
Let’s get straight to it. The 1.50pm at Sandown is a novices’ handicap hurdle, a Grade 3 over 2m4f. CHAMPAGNE WELL won last time but was disqualified and placed second. He stays well and runs off the same mark here. Fergal O’Brien could well get a big prize and a decent each-way chance.
Next at Sandown is the big betting handicap of the day, the Imperial Cup, over 2m at 2.25pm. MALAYA has been dropped 1lb for a good effort last time at Ascot. He didn’t get a clear run that day and has strong place claims for the former champion Paul Nicholls.
There’s a Listed mares’ open bumper at 3.00pm over 2m. A lot of guessing here, and the pin came down on MISTY WHISKY for Harry Fry. He won well at Ludlow last time and while this is a very different test he had previous decent form at Aintree.
And finally at Sandown a handicap chase over 3m at 3.35pm. AMI DESBOIS is up 4lb for a defeat last time when I fancied him at long odds. This will be hard under 11st 13lb but he’s got an each-way chance for Graeme McPherson.
There’s Flat action at Wolverhampton, ITV4 show the 2.05pm, a Lincoln Trial handicap over an extended 1m. GORING is not a well-handicapped horse or an obvious selection. However, he stays well and has a good raw to work from for Charlie Bishop. Plus, he’s not in bad form and is at decent odds. Worth an each-way poke.
And finally at Wolverhampton, the Listed Wulfruna Stakes over 7f at 3.15pm. OH THIS IS US should get a lovely lead into this race out wide with Cardsharp likely to go hard from the nine box. Richard Hannon’s hope is a class act at best and won snugly last time. Hard to beat.
So best of luck and hope for Yeeehaaas. I will be back every day of Cheltenham to try take cash off Paddy. You hear me Paddy?