Saturday 8th January 2022
Author: Jordan Yates (EvRacing_)
Welcome to this week’s Saturday Preview where the feature event of the day is the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown. In this preview, I’ll be sharing with you my opinions on that particular race as well as some other fancies I’ll have throughout the day elsewhere and at Sandown.
A look back at my Friday picks, and we came close once again, Azaheer was narrowly denied into second at Lingfield and the most agonising of the day had to be Relkadam at Wetherby. Tipped up at 7/2, he skipped three lengths clear after the last only to idle in-front and get collared close home. You can relive the pain in the clip below.
As ever though, enjoy the preview!
The first race I’ll be taking a look at comes from Wincanton and is the 11:45 which is a Class 4 maiden hurdle over a mile and seven furlongs. I like Future Investment here for Alan King, who’s the mount of Brendan Powell. He was a smart performer on the flat having won three times, as well being placed in several hot handicaps which consequently resulted in him having a peak rating of 98. Soft ground won’t be an issue for him as he has previous form on it, and I’ll take him to put in a bold bid on his hurdling debut. Great Ocean looks to be his main danger.
It’s over to Sandown now and their 12.40 which is a Mares Listed Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs. It’s all about the Irish raider Gauloise here for me who represents Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. Sporting the famous Alexander silks she signed off in style last season when bolting up in a Listed race at Punchestown by the best part of 10 lengths. Previously she was narrowly denied in Grade 1 company and on this form is the one they all have to beat here, Martello Sky looks to be the chief threat.
Staying at Sandown and on to the 1:50 which is a Class 2 Handicap Chase over a mile and seven and a half furlongs. Gunsright Ridge looks to be the hot favourite here, and looks to be the one they all have to beat. I’ve taken him on though and I’ve done that with Moonlighter at 7/1 for Nick Williams and Harry Cobden. He didn’t run too badly at Cheltenham last month and is a course and distance winner around here off higher marks. If things fall right for him he’s got every chance of being involved at the business end of things in this.
It’s back over to Wincanton now for their 2:05 which is a Class 3 Handicap Chase that’s once again contested over a mile and seven and a half furlongs. I’m a big fan of the Sam Thomas yard as regular readers will know, therefore my allegiance is with Grey Diamond here who’s the mount of three-pound claimer Jack Tudor. He’s not ran badly in defeat the last twice, having finished third and fourth at Ascot and Newbury and I think there could well be a bit more to come from him. This is a competitive affair so he’ll have to be close to his best, but if jumping holds up I think he has solid claims.
BIG RACE VERDICT
The big race of the week comes from Sandown this week with the Tolworth Hurdle taking centre-stage at 2:25. The Grade 1 affair is ridden over two miles and is seen as a stepping stone to the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, despite in recent years winners of this race having a terrible record in it. In this year’s renewal, it’s impossible to oppose Constitution Hill for Nicky Henderson and Nico De Boinville. He bolted up by fourteen lengths over course and distance last month beating some very solid horses in behind, most notably the well regarded Might I. He seems to have scared some of his opposition away here, and he looks to have bundles of potential moving forward for Seven Barrows.