All three meetings across the UK and Ireland are over jumps on Sunday.
First off is Naas in Ireland, before they go at Sandown and Ffos Las.
Amongst our Sunday fancies is a Grade 2 winning novice hurdler for Paul Nicholls, who is returning to the scene of that success to make his chasing debut at Sandown off a mark of 130 following a breathing operation.
13:05 Sandown – Henri The Second @ 7/4 and in Reverse-Forecast with Le Patron
Five horses are set to go to post for an intriguing Class 3 2m4f Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Sandown, Four of the field are making their debuts over regulation fences, and from their number Rock My Way won an Irish point after a break in October 2022 before joining Syd Hosie.
Le Patron sets the chasing standard after making an improved winning debut over fences at Fontwell last month, and any Gary Moore handicap chaser at Sandown piques your interest. That easy 20-length Fontwell success registered a Racing Post Rating of 128, so he should still be competitive from a 9lb higher mark of 122.
Harry Derham has begun his training career in encouraging fashion and his record with handicap chasers is a notable 4-13. His Game Winner does have potential as a chaser, and a mark of 121 could be exploited if he shows a real aptitude for the new discipline, but he may prove best watched on this occasion stepping up in class after a 202-day break.
Tom Lacey’s Blow Your Wad ran well when second in a Class 2 handicap hurdle on heavy ground at Chepstow from a 2lb lower mark last month, but a reproduction of that level of form is far from guaranteed changing discipline on a better surface.
In terms of class though, Rock My Way and HENRI THE SECOND both won Grade 2 novice hurdles last season, and their debuts over regulation fences are keenly anticipated.
Rock My Way had Henri The Second 10.25 lengths behind in fourth when winning at Cheltenham in January on soft ground, but the winner is 8lb off worse on this occasion, and Henri The Second’s Grade 2 success came over this course and trip.
That Winter Novices’ Hurdle victory, and last season’s reappearance second at Chepstow behind Chianti Classico, is strong form in the context of an opening chasing mark of 130. He has an encouraging pedigree for this switch to chasing and should tap into that potential on his reappearance following a breathing operation.
Rock My Way is likely to leave his recent reappearance run over hurdles way behind. He and Le Patron are considered the biggest dangers to the selection, but LE PATRON gets the nod in our second bet of the day, a Reverse-Forecast with HENRI THE SECOND.
16:00 Sandown – Jack Sparrow Grey @ 10/1
The concluding Class 4 2m bumper at Sandown features two horses that have shown a solid level of form in bumpers already.
Nick Kent’s Diamond Koda finished a close second to Chocabloc at Market Rasen in May. The winner struck again over hurdles at Ludlow earlier this week.
Martin Plage joined Ben Brookhouse for £110,000 in April, shortly after winning a 2m4f Sheriff Hutton point. He finished third in a Class 2 Cheltenham bumper last month.
The best chance punters have of beating those two horses is through the two French-bred debutants Touquet, representing Paul Nicholls, and JACK SPARROW GREY, representing Gary Moore.
Touquet is understably short in the tissue for Nicholls, but Jack Sparrow Grey is worth speculating on at bigger odds. He has a likeable pedigree for this test, his half-brother Golden Boy Grey won going away on his debut over hurdles over this course and trip. His other half-brother Onewayortother won readily on his debut in a Kempton bumper. Gary Moore won this race with a debutant in 2014.
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