Steve Hughes has two selections for Sandown’s first jumps card of the season
Another in the batch of good Sunday cards in the autumn sees Sandown get its new jumps season underway. For the purists, Santini’s return to the track might be of most interest but I am concentrating on the two handicaps immediately following. We found the winner of the big race at Wincanton yesterday in Give Me A Copper (advised 7/1).
Sandown 2.55: Totterdown
An easy winner of this race last year from just a 1lb lower mark, Totterdown looks the one to beat again on his first start for the in-form yard of Fergal O’Brien.
Whilst it is true the 8yo came into this race straight off the back of two wins in novice company and was therefore fully fit, the change of scenery could work wonders as he seemed to reach the ceiling of his ability for his old yard in the winter. Nevertheless he still ran a fine race to be third here in a listed handicap and a stiff 2m like this suits him well.
He coped fine with the heavy going when making all last year in this race so today’s going should not hamper him. A 5lb drop for his last run is handy, but really it is the switch in yards that could be key. We might know our fate early as this horse can take a fearsome tug and he will be fresh from a long absence. However if Paddy Brennan can keep a good hold of him early he will prove tough to pass.
Sandown 3.30: Rathlin Rose
Another in the popular veterans series and the key here is which horses are running purely to qualify for the valuable final here in January, or which are primed ready for today. Rathlin Rose should definitely fall into the latter category.
He comes here off the back of a strong run in the Pardubice last month where he was bang in contention until two out. Therefore he should be fully fit for today – of the others only Loose Chips has had a proper run this season.
Also in his favour is his excellent record around Sandown. His overall form here reads 1112P40U77 – perhaps the generally drier going last season contributing to that less impressive finish. However he did one of these veterans races at Ascot in the spring. I also like his chances given a strong pace looks assured. I am sure David Noonan will look to track the pace and this race could begin to fall apart late on which could play into his hands.
1.5 pts win – Totterdown – 2.55 Sandown – 6/5 general
1pt each-way – Rathlin Rose – 3.30 Sandown – 8/1 general