We attempt to begin the ITV horse racing coverage with a bang as outsider HIGH UP IN THE AIR catches the eye at a huge double-figure price. Gary Moore saddles two in this handicap chase, but our eye is drawn to a well-handicapped individual – 8lb below his previous winning mark – and he boasts a course victory to his name. He enjoys soft ground, too, which could be crucial on what is predicted to be soft ground at the Esher venue.
At Wincanton, CELEBRE D’ALLEN can return to winning ways. The three-time chase winner is unexposed over fences and should benefit from a solid reappearance fourth at Warwick. The drop in distance is also likely to play to his strengths and he can stamp his authority on this small field.
Gary Moore could continue a good day if AUTHORISED SPEED can land the prestigious Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle. A perfect two from two over hurdles, the strong-travelling son of Derby winner Authorized relishes soft ground and has posted high figures on Racing Post Ratings this season. This race has been a key target since the start of the season and we believe he can extend the winning sequence, throwing his hat into the ring for a tilt at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
We are treated to a spectacular veterans’ handicap chase, in which 18 popular horses line-up in their quest for Sandown glory. Three previous course winners are in attendance, with PRIME VENTURE the most obvious having bolted up in last year’s race. He’s dropped 9lb subsequently and should arrive at peak fitness after a pair of Ffos Las efforts this campaign. One other who offers strong credentials from a handicapping perspective is COO STAR SIVOLA, 15lb below his last winning mark. He cannot be discounted.
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