Testing ground means Venetia Williams’ charge is our Ffos Las pick

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It’s Champion Hurdle day! OK maybe not ‘the’ Champion Hurdle, but the Welsh equivalent is a decent alternative as we edge towards that magical Cheltenham roar.

With a great card at Sandown, featuring the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase providing a great racing partner, the action live on Channel 4 looks top notch.

Remember you can pick up a free bet, up to £25, if backing a winner at 4/1 or bigger in any live race!*

To hear our thoughts on a trio of the biggest races, take a listen to the latest Ladbrokes Racing podcast.

But we are feeling lucky this weekend, so are plumping for a big each-way Lucky 15 to help build up some ammo for the Cheltenham Festival.

Arkaim – 13:50 Sandown

A real progressive sort, Pam Sly’s charge has won two of his four runs this season, and gets into this contest with a welter weight compared to his rivals.

A switch to fences has brought out the best of him, rising from a mark of 101 to 129, finishing in the first two in seven of his nine chases.

More improvement is perfectly plausible from a reasonably rare National Hunt son of Oasis Dream, and if ekeing out a bit more can easily challenge the placings.

Little Boy Boru – 14:05 Ffos Las

The top few in the market of the Welsh Champion Hurdle look worth opposing, and we are going to do so with another improver this season.

Suzy Smith’s charge runs off the same mark as when he was second in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton, form that looks pretty strong.

He handles the heavy ground he will be facing at Ffos Las and stays the trip well, and looks well overpriced, having improved 22lbs this season.

Gorgehous Lliege – 14:40 Ffos Las

When looking for a horse to fight it out in heavy conditions in a marathon trip, Venetia Williams should be your first port of call.

The Herefordshire trainer won this race last year with subsequent Welsh National winner Emperor’s Choice and has a great chance to double up here.

The nine-year-old galloped most of his opponents into the ground in the Southern National, a slip at the second-last the only thing letting the runner-up get as close as he did.

A real grinder, this one stays the trip and can challenge.

There’s No Panic – 15:35 Sandown

A winner of the London National at the Esher track in 2013, Paul Nicholls’ charge was unable to double up this season, when perhaps left with too much to do turning in, eventually staying on strongly for second.

He’s only 5lbs higher in the weights than for that victory and has run some good races this season, to suggest he still boasts plenty of talent.

A consistent type, we’re hoping he can round off a bumper day for the Ladbrokes News team.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.