A 9/2 winner at Sandown yesterday gave Alan a good start to his week in the chair, today he is looking to build on that with two from Sandown...
A field of nine go to post for the mares only mid card listed bumper at Sandown and it looks a tricky race with some quality runners in the field but I can't seem to get away from Nick Williams runner Aimee De Sivola. She pulled well clear of the rest when runner-up at this level at Market Rasen in January, only being beaten by a head late on that day and the front pair were a long way clear of the field, including Belle Amis who she lines up against again today. She also receives a handy weight for age allowance against her older rivals and the champion jockey Richard Johnson takes over in the plate for in form connections - There are plenty of positives for her today
I expect the one that could cause the selection the most problems is the well named Posh Trish, connections dug deep to pay £135,000 for her after a point victory. She looked like she could be the real deal after winning two bumpers but she was disappointing in a tough race at Ascot in December. No doubt this is an easier task than the Ascot race and she will love the testing ground at a track that will probably suit her. I am sure she will run better today, although she has to carry a 4lb penalty and that might be just enough to allow Aimee De Sivola to get the better of her.
The Imperial Cup is always a hugely competitive handicap hurdle, with the added incentive of a nice bonus for connections of the winner if the horse follows up at the Cheltenham Festival. Traditionally this race normally goes to the lightweights but I have a feeling this year's contest may be a bit different as I think the top weight Call Me Lord has a great chance of at least being placed. He is rated 152 and today is running against a 0-140 class field and before his run in the Grade 2 Kingswell Hurdle, a race where he was sent off 13/8 favourite, he was quoted at 25/1 to win the Champion Hurdle. Topweight or not, the Nicky Henderson trained ex-French horse is two from two over course and distance, he's still improving and I just think he is better than this grade and at 8/1 with four places available I think he is a stand out each way bet.
It's a competitive renewal of the race and the others I had in my shortlist were Friday Night Light who has taken off since going into handicaps and ran a good second at Ascot on his latest outing. He has a nice lightweight (which traditionally is good in this race) to carry and is an unexposed type so has to be respected. My only reservation is the trip, I thought he would appreciate further so a drop back in distance may not be in his favour today.
The other one I thought would go well was Le Patriote, who finished ahead of Friday Night Light in that Ascot race and there is lots to like about the improving six-year-old. He's now 8lbs higher which does make things tougher, but it's still early days for him with this yard and he should have far more to offer. The drop back in distance is of no concern for him given the way he ran over two miles three furlongs last time and with conditions to suit, you have to expect him to be close.
2018 Overall (prior to this week): +4.75 pts
This week so far...
Staked: 2 pts
Returned: 5.5 pts
2017 P&L +53.30pts
2016 P&L +15.23pts