Oscar can land top prize
Oscar Whisky is a worthy favourite for Saturday's headline event at Sandown, says Anita Chambers. She has race-by-race picks for all Saturday's action.
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FAIRYHOUSE: 12.55 Roll It Out, 1.25 Exit Seven, 1.55 Boondooma, 2.30 Playing, 3.05 Suntiep, 3.40 Refused A Name, 4.15 Kayf Hampshire.
FFOS LAS: 1.30 Bar A Mine, 2.05 Whisper, 2.40 Soll, 3.10 Maller Tree, 3.45 Scales, 4.20 Gorsky Island, 4.50 Ashford Wood.
LINGFIELD: 12.10 Saharia, 12.40 Captain Mo, 1.10 Mr Bossy Boots, 1.45 Waterloo Dock, 2.20 Kasbhom, 2.55 REBELLIOUS GUEST (NAP), 3.30 Blue Wave, 4.05 Bold Ring.
SANDOWN: 1.15 Pistol, 1.50 Eastlake, 2.25 Oscar Whisky, 3.00 Aachen, 3.35 Soll, 4.10 Un Anjou.
WETHERBY: 1.00 Pink Mischief, 1.35 Sir Mangan, 2.10 No Planning, 2.45 Beauboreen, 3.20 Shutthefrontdoor, 3.55 Killary Bay, 4.30 Manor Brook.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.15 Under Approval, 2.50 Uncle Bernie, 3.25 Silken Express, 4.00 Take The Lead, 4.35 Funky Munky, 5.05 Indira, 5.35 Stanlow.
DOUBLE: Oscar Whisky and Soll.
Oscar Whisky can add another Grade One victory to his haul in the Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices' Chase, the feature event at Sandown on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson's charge struck twice at the highest level over hurdles and has made quite an impact since switching to fences this term.
While he suffered a shock defeat on his first try over the bigger obstacles, he has more than adequately compensated his followers since then by winning twice at Cheltenham.
He avenged his initial defeat at the hands of Taquin Du Seuil when beating that rival on his latest outing, landing a Grade Two event on New Year's Day.
Oscar Whisky's jumping has improved with each outing and he was pretty sharp that day, a factor which should stand him in good stead.
Henderson's charge is already proven on heavy ground and can land top honours on the way to a crack at a Festival novices' prize.
Soll should feel the benefit of his seasonal bow as he tackles the Betfred Masters Handicap Chase.
The nine-year-old thrives on both a marathon trip and heavy ground, as evidenced by his fine victory at this track last March.
He was far from disgraced in subsequently finishing seventh in the Grand National, but he was clearly in need out of the outing when fifth back at Sandown in December.
That said, he was not beaten far and remains an interesting contender in this kind of staying event.
Eastlake was a fine winner at Cheltenham in December and should bag the Betfred "Goals Galore" Handicap Chase for a second successive year.
Jonjo O'Neill's charge held off a decent yardstick in French Opera by a length on his most recent outing, keeping on all the way to the line under pressure.
An 8lb rise will obviously make life tougher this time and he is some way higher in the ratings than last year, but nevertheless he can go well on deep ground that should suit.
Shutthefrontdoor can make it a memorable day for the Jackdaws Castle team in the totepool Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby.
The seven-year-old made the best possible start to his chase career when winning at Aintree back in October but he was eclipsed by Le Bec at Cheltenham next time out.
The pair then clashed again at Prestbury Park in December, with Le Bec finishing a creditable second, while Shutthefrontdoor proved terribly disappointing in finishing last of four runners.
Good ground may not have played to his strengths that day but conditions at Wetherby could spark a revival.
Henderson appears to have an excellent chance of victory at Ffos Las as Whisper lines up in the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle.
Like Oscar Whisky, Whisper is owned by Ffos Las supremo Dai Walters and he really does enjoy fielding decent runners at the Welsh venue.
Whisper was a seven-length winner on his most recent outing but as a relatively unexposed five-year-old, he could still have plenty up his sleeve.
Rebellious Guest snapped a long losing run when winning at Lingfield last week and he can repeat the trick in the Ladbrokes Handicap back at the same track.
The five-year-old had been without a win since his juvenile days before finally poking his head in front in a similar event to this a week ago.
Tried in Group company in the past, George Margarson has lowered his sights after a fruitless 2013 chasing a share of the money in some of the most competitive handicap events.
Dropped to a career low of 80, Rebellious Guest showed signs of a revival when third at Southwell on January 20 before turning out again just five days later to see off Emkanaat by just over two lengths.
He showed a nice turn of foot that day and given that he appeared to win with a little in hand, a 6lb rise may not be enough to derail his renaissance.
Blue Wave shoots for a hat-trick in the coral.co.uk Handicap and it would brave to side against this in-form runner.
A gelding operation appears to have brought out the best in Mark Johnston's charge, with a three-and-a-quarter-length win at Lingfield quickly supplemented by a similarly simple success at Southwell.
Blue Wave is going from strength to strength this winter and while a 10lb rise is a big enough jump, this hardy performer can defy a career-high rating.
Stanlow finally came good at the sixth time of asking at Lingfield last time and can quickly double his tally in the Coral Mobile "Just Three Clicks To Bet" Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Having his third start for Mark Loughnane, Stanlow showed plenty of heart to repel the challenge of Kindlelight Storm by a neck in what was probably only a moderate event.
There was much to like about his attitude that day though and given the recent strides he has made, he could have a touch in hand, despite his 3lb rise in the ratings.