This year’s Cheltenham Festival may only be days away, but it’s all about Sandown and Wolverhampton on ITV4 this Saturday.
The Imperial Cup is the standout race of the day, where Monsieur Lecoq will be hoping to complete a hat-trick for Jane Williams.
Can the favourite hack up with an extra 12lb to carry? Or will we see a shock from further down the field? We’ve previewed the day’s big race, along with all the others, in our ITV Racing Tips.
We’re sidestepping the favourite in the Imperial Cup and taking a chance on 2018 runner-up, Call Me Lord, for Nicky Henderson and Daryl Jacob.
The six-year-old has won on three of his four spins round Sandown, with his only defeat 12 months ago when second by a neck to Mr Antolini over the 2m distance.
His last run in Grade 1 company at Ascot didn’t quite go to plan when seventh in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. But this is a much simpler task back down in trip, class and at his favourite track.
He’ll have to defy top weight to hit the front, but even on each-way terms, the Slickly gelding should make plenty of appeal.
It’s off to the all-weather now, as high-class flat performer Oh This Is Us bids to follow up his impressive Lingfield win last month with a quickfire double.
Richard Hannon’s raider placed at Group 2 level just last year and should be versatile enough to hit the front back down at 7f here.
He had to overcome a huge weight when landing a tough-looking Handicap contest last time out, and he can do the business again in an eight-runner field at Wolverhampton.
Briery Hill made a winning appearance at Aintree in October and followed that up with a good fifth behind Silver Forever at Huntingdon next time.
He’s had plenty of time off since that run and the feeling is that he’s capable of further progress if taken off the leash a little.
Noel Williams’ charge has the eye-catching booking of champion jockey Richard Johnson, too, and looks a nice price to hit the frame over 1m 7f.
ITV Racing tips:
1:50 Sandown – Russian Hawk
2:05 Wolverhampton – Pactolus
2:25 Sandown – Call Me Lord (NAP)
3:00 Sandown – Briery Express (Lively Longshot, each-way)
3:15 Wolverhampton – Oh This Is Us (NB)
3:35 Sandown – Commodore
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication