Sandown Placepot: Saturday April 27

Sandown plays host to some excellent racing on Saturday.

Matt Gardner tasted Placepot success on this day 12 months ago and, having warmed up for the event with a fruitful permutation on yesterday's Sandown card, he is looking to hit the mark once more...

"It is hoped that a gelding operation will work the oracle for Ektihaam, who clearly has bundles of ability, and the drop in trip ought to suit Thomas Chippendale, having failed to stay in the St Leger when last seen..."

13:30 - It is quite possible that Mcvicar, sporting first-time cheekpieces, will improve enough to take a hand in the finish but the pair that we are most interested in with regards ti the Placepot are Ptit Zig and Calculated Risk. The first mentioned made a winning start for this yard at Ludlow in February and stepped up on that when finishing third in the Fred Winter last time; a 4 lb rise incurred for that performance seems fairly lenient. Calculated Risk appears to be thriving at present, improving on each of his last two starts, and he actually had a number of today's opponents behind him when winning at Ascot last time; it is difficult to suggest that he won't confirm the form here.
 
14:05 - There are 18 runners in the second leg but plenty of them arrive here on the back of poor efforts, something that cannot be said of Minella Forfitness. The six-year-old has improved with each outing but took a marked step forward when scoring at Aintee last time, hitting the front on the bridle before quickening clear, and a 9 lb rise seems unlikely to stop him going very close this afternoon. 

14:40 - Sanctuaire, Finian's Rainbow and Wishfull Thinking would be the picks on form in the Celebration Chase but none of them appeal as Placepot horses as they are prone to throwing in a stinker. The two more solid options are French Opera and Oisea De Nuit, who are both likely to run their race, with conditions seemingly in their favour, for all that they may lack a touch of class that their rivals can boast. 

15:15 - Eagles Peak is exactly the sort that Sir Michael Stoute excels with but he doesn't strike as one to rely upon, given the amount of time he has spent off the track, whilst Al Kazeem makes his first start after suffering a pelvic injury so the two we want on side are Ektihaam and Thomas Chippendale. It is hoped that a gelding operation will work the oracle for Ektihaam, who clearly has bundles of ability, and the drop in trip ought to suit Thomas Chippendale, having failed to stay in the St Leger when last seen. 

15:50 - This is a typically competitive renewal of the bet365 Gold Cup but the Willie Mullins-trained Away We Go is a fairly obvious selection, as he contests this race off the same mark as when finishing second in the Irish Grand National on his first start over fences for this yard. It's also worth sticking in Mr Moss, who is prone to a mistake but comes here fresher than most of his rivals and could pick up the pieces late on were the leaders to go too fast. 

16:25 - Dashing Star and Nichols Canyon are the two selected to get us across the line, with both holding a decent chance of taking the win on their respective handicap debuts. Swing Easy could well have more to offer but his best efforts have come on polytrack and we are quite content to take him on with a couple of progressive types. 

Selections: 
13:30 - 1, 3
14:05 - 2
14:40 - 3, 4
15:15 - 5, 7
15:50 - 12, 19
16:25 - 2, 5
= 32 lines

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