15:35 Sandown Sat 7 December 2019
- Betfair London National Handicap Chase (Class 2)
- 3m 4f 166y, Soft (Good to Soft in places)
- 14 Runners
- Surface: Turf
Raised 7lb for winning by just three-lengths over 3m here last month, when he had Dark Flame back in second. Likes it here, but he hasn't scored off a mark as high as this one for almost six years.
Built upon encouraging return to action to finish third in the Badger Beers Silver Trophy at Wincanton (3m1f; good to soft) most recently. Won over this far back when victorious at Taunton (3m4f; good to soft) at the start of the year.
Always runs well here, and another solid run is in the offing on this seasonal return. Signed off last season with a gallant third in the bet365 Gold Cup over C&D. Won that contest the year beforehand, and he is a big player if fit enough.
Capable of popping up at a big price. Makes seasonal reappearance, and he was pulled-up when last seen in the Scottish National at Ayr (4m; good). Might need the run and is still 5lb above his last winning mark.
Still holds potential for this yard, and he was staying on at Ascot (3m; soft) last month. That would suggest he could improve considerably on what he has shown if the step up to this marathon trip helps. Not fully dismissed.
10-length second to Crievehill at Haydock (3m1f; good to soft) last month. However, that was a step forward from his seasonal return at Kelso (3m2f; good to soft). Should stay this far and he isn't fully exposed over fences just yet.
Unexposed six-year-old who should improve again for the step up in trip. Got no further than the first when he unseated his rider on seasonal debut at Ascot (3m; soft) last month. Major player if avoiding jumping errors.
Runner-up over 3m at this course on final start of last season. Difficult to enthuse over given the moderate manner of his comeback run over this sort of trip at Sedgefield (3m5f; soft). May strip fitter for the run though.
Broke his maiden status as a chaser at the fifth attempt over 3m at this track back in February. Should come on from recent return to action when fourth at Bangor-on-dee (3m; heavy). Holds obvious claims as he tries this trip for the first time.
Was fancied to run well in this race last year (sent off 3-1f), but only managed to finish fourth. Back down to his last winning mark now though, and he hinted at a return to form when fourth on seasonal return last month.
Stays this trip as shown when third in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter (4m2f; heavy) on final start last season. Pulled-up on seasonal comeback at Cheltenham (3m1f; soft) but may have needed the run. Interesting if market speaks in his favour.
Twice a winner of the Royal Artillery Gold Cup over 3m at this track in the past. Struggling for form at present though, and he was tailed-off in the Cross-Country at Cheltenham (3m6f; soft) last month. Yard in-form but he has a fair bit to prove.
Hugely encouraging effort on comeback from long absence when second to Houblon Des Obeaux at this track over 3m last month. Steps up to 3m4f for the first time which could bring about further improvement. Dark horse.
Posted a respectable effort when fourth at Cheltenham (3m1f; good to soft) recently. Still 7lb above last winning mark. This is a slight step up in grade, but he was fourth in this contest two years ago so has place claims again.
Last Year's Winner
|T: C J MannJ: Rex Dingle|
Classic Ben (10/3), Step Back (6/1), Dragon D'Estruval (7/1), Sharp Response (9/1), Get On The Yager (10/1), Vinnie Lewis (10/1), Shanroe Santos (10/1), Dark Flame (11/1), Royal Vacation (12/1), Doing Fine (14/1), Coningsby (14/1), Houblon Des Obeaux (16/1), Carole's Destrier (25/1), Rathlin Rose (40/1)
- Sharp Response
- Step Back
Log in for access to this exclusive content.
Next Race Off
Our racing expert Ben Linfoot seeks out the best Value Bet selections on the second day of Cheltenham's December meeting, featuring the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
ITV Racing's Oli Bell has four fancies for the action at Cheltenham and Doncaster on Saturday including a big-priced each-way fancy in the Caspian Caviar.
The Venetia Williams-trained Cepage can make his class count in Saturday's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, according to Simon Holt.