Tat looks Imperial at Sandown
Man On The Spot previews all of Saturday's terrestrial television action from Sandown and Wolverhampton.
- Related Content
Richard Johnson is fancied to go close in the opener and has another excellent chance in this on board HORIZONTAL SPEED, who is still on the upgrade judged on his latest wide-margin victory at Taunton. This is a step up but all of his rivals also have to prove themselves in this grade. Tom Scudamore rides the hat-trick-seeking Knight Of Noir instead of top weight Doctor Harper and he has to be feared while Ceasar Milan has finally got his act together. Strollawaynow is shooting up the weights, however, while Portway Flyer came up short against Vaniteux at Doncaster last time, though the winner is Cheltenham-bound. Plenty of the remainder arrive in good form and warrant respect with Theatrebar among those at the bottom of the handicap with each-way claims.
Kenny Powers hasn't raced since going very close in last year's renewal. Beaten a short-head on that occasion by Marco Botti's Solar Deity, the Newmarket trainer relies on HASOPOP this year. The latter was having his first start since October when sixth to stablemate Grey Mirage over track and trip last month. He can reverse running with third-placed Bertiewhittle to land this. Chookie Royale has every chance on collateral form with Grey Mirage and is preferred to stable companion Santefisio but Highland Knight is penalised for winning a Group 3 at Newmarket in October. Alben Star arrives in good form and went close on his only previous start over 7f.
Soll is being aimed at the Grand National but runs his best races here. Noble Legend was just beaten off today's mark at Leicester but is better over shorter trips and Merrion Square looked to be struggling when taking a heavy fall at Kempton over Christmas and hasn't been seen since. CHARTREUX was in front and still going well when falling at Kempton last month. Jumping is obviously a concern over these tricky fences but Tom George's grey is clearly well treated at present and could gain compensation with a clear round. De La Bech can't be ruled out either but Howard's Legacy hasn't been at his best this season and this looks a big ask for Kasbadali and Goring One.
Strictly Silver is 6lb higher than when winning this last year when Alfred Hutchinson, Global Village and Loyalty were all well beaten. Alfred Hutchinson arrives in better form this time around and may well turn the tables. Noble Citizen has rattled up a hat-trick at Southwell this year, counting Tellovoi among his victims, but is upped 8lb for his latest win. Sky Khan caught Fashion Line at the post to dead-heat for first over track and trip last time and the former has Connor Beasley's 5lb allowance in his favour today. Tres Coronas may need his first start since September so STAR LINKS is preferred having won a shade cosily in this grade last month, with Strictly Silver well behind, and he gets the vote.
There are races to be won with Little Jon but he looks all over a chaser in the making. Regal Encore will be fancied with McCoy doing the steering but there are definitely alarm bells ringing after he was beaten at short odds at Hexham. New Year's Eve has been picking off lesser contests and doesn't look the heartiest of battlers but there is probably more to come from Baltimore Rock while Gassin Golf is the type to sneak into the places off a reasonable mark as he stays further than this and will get a strong pace. The four-year-old Harristown will find this a tall order however. VIBRATO VALTAT ran Vaniteux to a length-and-a-half over course and distance in December and the winner is a leading fancy for next week's Supreme Novices'. Paul Nicholls' five-year-old easily beat Tiqris at Exeter last month and that one would almost certainly have won at Newbury last week had he not been brought down. A mark of 130 seems more than fair and Daryl Jacob's mount should take all the beating.
The four-year-old Pitter Patter tackles 2m and older rivals for the first time but is unbeaten so far. Tara Mist goes on the short-list as she beat subsequent winners Side Step and Ballyhollow at Ludlow on her debut and probably came up against a decent sort in a Listed race at Huntingdon subsequently. John Queally has sent Gowran scorer Gaillimh A Chroi over to test the water while there is more to come from Pressies Girl, narrowly beaten on her first start for the Nicholls team at Taunton. AVISPA stepped up markedly on her debut when beating the well-backed Promanco at Huntingdon. The pair finished a long way clear of their rivals and she can improve again to go close here.