Only Suwaan gave us a return yesterday when he was placed at Doncaster.
1.50 – Sandown:
Oistrakh Le Noir. 1 pt e/w. Available at 14/1. (Skybet – 1/5 odds first 6)
The New Pharoah. 0.5 pts e/w. Available at 28/1. (Paddy Power – 1/5 odds first 5)
An ultra competitive handicap for Novices’ over hurdles opens Sandown’s card. Some of the big yards are represented by lightly raced types open to improvement but it’s that type from two of the less fashionable stables that are preferred. Oistrakh Le Noir represents Ben Pauling and makes just his seventh start over hurdles this afternoon. He has shown progressive in four starts since joining current connections and was only just beaten on handicap debut last month. He was nearly seven lengths behind Act Of Valour last time out at Fakenham but he is eight pounds better off here and this track is likely to suit him better. A last flight blunder when beaten didn’t help his cause and he will have no problem with underfoot conditions. He stays further so the likelihood of a strong pace and a stiff finish could bring that stamina into play. The New Pharoah was a bit disappointing on his handicap debut at Sedgefield last time out but he was seen to good effect when winning a Novice race over two miles at Leicester the time before. Back on a stiff track he would be well handicapped here judged on that effort and he looks worth supporting to small stakes at big odds.
2.05 – Haydock:
Medieval. 0.75 pts e/w. Available at 16/1. (Coral – 1/4 odds first 4)
Rene Mathis. 0.5 pts e/w. Available at 33/1.
The soft/heavy ground here will be hard work. Medieval was beaten seven and half lengths by Mjjack on his reappearance at Newmarket eleven days ago but he only faded in the latter stages and should come on for that first run in seven months. He is six pounds better off with his conqueror today and, although he has lost the services of Ryan Moore, he is reunited with the jockey who partnered him to victory on his final start last season. He is six pounds higher here but he is still well weighted judged on the balance of his Juvenile form. Rene Mathis is an exposed eight year old and was disappointing on the A/W in two starts last Dec/Jan. He has a mixed record fresh but he has fallen to a good mark judged on form as recently a year ago and he a couple of wins in soft ground over seven furlongs to his name. This may prove too tough for him nowadays but at his current odds he is too big to resist.
2.20 – Ripon – Kingston Kurrajong. 2.5 pts win. Available at 9/2.
There looks likely to be a decent pace put to this race and, although he heads the market, Kingston Karrajong looks a worthy favourite. He has run well on his last two starts for current connections on the A/W at Kempton and returns to turf on a mark of 78. He may not be as good as he once was but that latest form is not far behind his old form on the artificial surfaces so he may not have regressed that much . He was a one mile winner on soft ground from a nine pound higher mark at Windsor back in June 2016 and it’s likely he retains enough of that ability to make him seriously competitive in this race. Harry Bentley takes the ride for the first time and he has a very profitable 44% strike rate (8 from 18) at this track.
2.55 – Ripon:
Nameitwhatyoulike. 1.5 pts win. Available at 9/1.
Red Pike. 1.25 pts win. Available at 10/1.
3.35 – Sandown – Sugar Baron. 1 pt e/w. Available at 14/1. (Generall available – 1/5 odds first 5)
5.15 – Sandown:
Lough Derg Spirit. 1.75 pts win. Available at 15/2.
Fidux. 0.75 pts e/w. Available at 16/1. (Skybet – 1/5 odds first 5)