Sandown Race Preview, 04/01/20

Sandown
Saturday January 4th

Sandown 3.35
Handicap Hurdle Class 2 0-145
1m7f216y – Going: Soft (Heavy in places) – 11 runners

Eldorado Allen
Promising British debut at Sandown in November 2018, prominent, settled, tracked leaders from 3rd, travelled comfortably home turn, niggled along approaching 2 out, led jumping, pushed along, found more, drew clear, led 5 lengths last, ridden out, ran on to draw further clear, readily with a bit in hand from the now 134-rated Sevarano. Only other start at Aintree in December 2018 and only got to the 1st where badly bumped and unseated – on that occasion he didn’t settle as well as he did at Sandown; both times the field stood still for a few seconds when the tape was released. The handicapper’s taken no chances and the most generous interpretation of his form would give him around 8 to 10 lbs of improvement to find, but he might well have that in him
Blu Cavalier
Knocked on the door a couple of times last season and finally got a win for current connections at Doncaster on December 14th, moved comfortably approaching home turn, shaken up approaching 3 out, pushed along and hung left approaching 2 out, every chance jumping, put under pressure, stayed on under strong pressure approaching last, again hung left but led last, ridden out, pulled clear of Irish Roe under a ride last 175 yards. Consistency not his strength, but hard to rule out
Remiluc
In good form when last seen in Spring 2018, giving Mohaayed a race in the 2018 County Hurdle at Cheltenham, headway to chase leader though niggled along approaching 2 out, soon more firmly pushed, led off home turn, headed by Whiskey Sour approaching last under a ride, stayed on and every chance, hit last, hard driven, took leader’s measure then headed by Mohaayed, one pace last 150 yards, stuck to task and went down with honours. When last seen out was likely to have been placed when unseating at the last in Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton that Easter and not seen since. Ground in favour, but now 11 and probably best watched after 643 days off
Totterdown
Won in a big field at Sandown in November 2018, then ran 3rd to Man Of Plenty in the Listed handicap hurdle over this c/d that December. Reappearance and only start so far, followed up in the handicap hurdle over this c/d in November off 130, allowed a clear lead, went even further clear before 3rd, was 40 lengths clear turning out of back straight and nearer 50 lengths clear coming off home turn, pushed along between last 2 and still 25 to 30 lengths clear last, eased inside last 250 yards, unchallenged from Nebuchadnezzar. Was very much allowed too much rope and hardly stands out off 142 (bit surprised connections aren’t using a conditional) but as he’s two from four at Sandown, he’s hard to leave out
Ainchea*
When last seen out in 2017/18 looked an above average novice, particularly good effort when 2nd in Listed novice at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day 2018, closer order after 2 out, hard ridden, stayed on, challenged Tikkanbar approaching last, the better jump, hard driven, one pace when winner asserted last 175 yards, no extra but stuck to task. When last seen out, was 3 lengths up and had the measure of Countister in Class 3 novice at Sandown in February 2018 when falling at the last – it had been steadily run and everything travelled comfortably on the home turn, so that illustrated that he has pace. Interesting if fit enough and this seven year-old is accurately treated
Mill Green
Not a bad effort when 4th in EBF Final at Sandown last March, tracked leaders, mistakes 2nd and 3rd, pushed along approaching 2 out, kept on but little impression on leaders when mistake 2 out, hard ridden and looked held approaching last, hard driven, kept on, took well-held 4th 175 yards out, going on a bit at the post, 4 lengths 4th to Third Wind. On last start was a bit below that when 3rd to Dashel Drasher at Cheltenham in April, chasing leader when mistake 8th, moved comfortably going down the hill to 2 out, mistake there and shaken up for a few strides, moved well enough turning for home, pushed along some 3 lengths down approaching last, lost 2nd nearing it, kept on under pressure up the hill, no impression on 1st 2, stuck to task. Jumping needs a lot of work judged on both those runs; racing over the minimum trip for the first time over hurdles, might have a bit of use made of him
Smarty Wild*
After staying on well to beat Manvers House at Exeter two starts ago, ran well to a point when 4th to Mack The Man in Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown on December 7th, headway and prominent 3rd going comfortably, ridden into 3 out, niggled along turning out of back straight and made a little ground to chase leader, soon more firmly pushed along, every chance approaching 2 out, jumped it half a length down, driven and no extra approaching last, faded run-in, no more. Might do better if ridden with more restraint, but was competitive last time and likely to be again
Distingo
Hasn’t progressed since winning as a novice and looked ungenuine last time in Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown last month behind Mack The Man (and today’s rivals Smarty Wild and Ruacana), SP 50/1; niggled in rear early, firmly pushed along when started a move 5th, had made little ground by 3 out, started to pass rivals turning out of back straight and noted headway into midfield by home turn, continued to make ground approaching 2 out, hung right and not stay on between last 2, looked held last, no more run-in. Has become well treated, but was well in on back form last time
John Constable
Been going through the motions for a while now (as well as favourably treated on old form) and last time at Cheltenham behind Repetitio was more of the same, held up rear, mistake 6th and pushed along away from it, looked held 2 out, pushed along and outpaced approaching home turn, making no ground under a ride when jumped left last, passed beaten ones late, never a factor. Not likely to be doing much here either
Ruacana
Veteran hurdler (who seven years ago won the Finale Hurdle at Chepstow as a four year-old) has been in fine form since joining Zoe Davison with two wins at Lingfield, and after a modest effort at Lingfield in early December was back to form again with a super effort in Listed handicap hurdle behind Mack The Man although was ridden prominently, which proved a disadvantage: midfield, headway to track leaders 3rd, chased leader before mistake 4th, travelled comfortably till pushed along approaching 2 out, mistake there, put under pressure, no extra and faded, was held when blundered last, lost further ground, driven and no more last 175 yards. Was competitive to the second last and has been dropped a lb here, but still has a bit to do in the grade
Gunnery*
After a poor run on seasonal debut, stepped up and looked improved when running away with a 0-120 handicap at Doncaster last Sunday, led 1st, a little keen, set a medium pace, in close to 5th, moved comfortably as pace increased approaching home turn, was a length ahead 3 out and not shaken up, reached for 2 out, pushed along, found more to draw clear and was some 10 lengths up when steadied into and mistake last, driven early on run-in though no challenger was near, eased last 125 yards, decisive by 12 lengths in the end from The Twisler. Just about Listed-class on the Flat, might be up to the step up in grade here if able to overcome the quick turnaround

Shortlist: Ainchea, Smarty Wild, Gunnery

Copyright Roy Waterhouse 2020. All rights reserved.