Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 15:40 02/01/2015
Sandown stage a valuable card on Saturday afternoon but both the course and the sponsor must be disappointed with a turnout of only four runners in the Grade 1 32Red Tolworth Hurdle at 2.25 although the extended two mile contest provides an opportunity to see the exciting Nicky Henderson-trained L'Ami Serge once again, with the King's Theatre gelding expected to gain his third straight victory since joining the Seven Barrows team after a series of decent efforts in his native France.
From a betting perspective however it is the final race of the day that makes most appeal with the combination of Venetia Williams and jockey Aidan Coleman, who did us a big favour last Saturday when landing the Coral Welsh Grand National with our 20-1 selection Emperor's Choice, and fancied to bag another valuable prize in the £50k 32Red Casino Handicap Chase at 3.35 with course and distance winner Relax.
That victory was gained off a 5lb lower mark last February when proving too resolute for both runner-up Ardkilly Witness and Theatrical Star after which the son of Fragrant Mix found the 4m 1f trip of Newcastle's Eider Chase a step too far on heavy ground, eventually being pulled-up after disputing the lead for most of the race.
An easy winner of a Doncaster handicap in February 2013 the ten-year-old was then set some pretty stiff tasks, including at the Cheltenham Festival and in the Coral Scottish Grand National, and after a pipe-opener at Chepstow last month will find tomorrow's smaller field much more to his liking and can get off the mark for the season at the 11-2 available with William Hill and Skybet.
The lightly-weighted Count Guido Deiro ( 8-1 Hills ) could prove the biggest danger to the selection as the eight-year-old is open to plenty of improvement and will have the services of decent 7lb claimer Jamie Bargary, fresh from landing a decent prize courtesy of Splash Of Ginge at Cheltenham on new year's day.