This weekend Sandown will host the seasons last big handicap over fences . It’s a race that last year produced a very exciting finish and a big price winner and this year there are plenty of fine horses on offer.
Blaklion carries top weight officially rated 161 which is a big step up from last year’s top weight. His inclusion adds to the already decent field assembled.
The ground is currently good, and forecast looks set to remain that way which is great news as most have grown tired of watching racing on bottomless ground all season.
This will mean the pace will be high and jumping will be tested for those who want to come out on top. After our English and Scottish Grand National blogs being successful we’re keeping the method of focusing on horses that we think will run well at the time of publishing this…
REGAL ENCORE 16/1
The first thing to say is he comes with a health warning having pulled up in seven of his seventeen starts over fences. He clearly is a horse you need to catch on a going day but when you do he is a horse with plenty of ability and this showed last time out when winning at Ascot impressively. His third in the Ladbrokes Trophy in December is another indication of his ability finding only the top-class Whisper and Total Recall too good on the day.
He has a lot of weight to carry but there are no stamina doubts and is proven on the ground, finishing eight in last years Grand National which also bolsters his case having jumped and travelled well for a long way. Having bypassed all the big festivals, it looks like he’s been laid out for this race and hopefully he turns up and runs his race.
THE YOUNG MASTER 12/1
A horse we fancied for the Scottish National only to unseat at the first which was frustrating, but compensation may await here. A horse that showed a spark of his old self at Cheltenham finishing sixth in the Kim Muir could come here massively well in. He’s had a breathing operation and maybe this is the catalyst for a revival. He should be fit after running two circuits at Ayr after unseating and will get his ideal ground here. He comes here a massive 16lbs lower than last year when finishing ninth however, it was a blanket finish that day and ninth position wasn’t that far from the winner. His trainer Neil Mulholland says he’s come out of the National fine and is expecting a big run.
RELENTLESS DREAMER 33/1
Rebecca Curtis will be hoping for more success here with this reliable nine-year-old, having won last weeks National she has another live contender in Relentless Dreamer. Finished seventh in last years Close Brothers at Cheltenham behind some very decent types and comes here in decent form after another good season. His last two races have been in two decent handicaps which he ran with credit in both. His last run at Kempton on good ground was a very encouraging effort, a race full of quality horses in which he jumped and travelled well throughout. This trip and ground may bring out more on Saturday and could see him pull off the biggest win of his career.
MISSED APRROACH 13/2
The winner of the Kim Muir comes here in flying form and on top his game. Rated 148 the handicapper may not have him figured out yet. He has tonnes of great form in big handicaps over marathon distances and looks a big contender here.
His second to Tiger Roll in the four miler at last season’s Cheltenham Festival reads brilliantly now after the Tiger won Aintree’s showpiece. He also finished eighth in the Scottish National last season under similar conditions to what he should encounter here. He jumps well and stays all day, so he seems ideally suited for the race, has a lovely racing weight and should be bang there at the finish.
Hopefully you enjoyed our blog and you can head over to our twitter page for more selections. Keep an eye for our Instagram page that will be live soon and best of luck with whatever you’re backing this weekend.