Sandown Placepot: Saturday April 28

Clive Cox trains Poet, a banker in the fifth.

Timeform's Matt Gardner heads to Sandown for Saturday's placepot.

Poet is likely to relish the heavy ground on Sandown’s Flat track...

13:30 - A really tough handicap gets us underway, requiring three selections in the form of Sonoran Sands, Creekside and Ulck du Lin. The first-named will have no problem with the testing conditions and could well improve further on his handicap debut, while Creekside took a step forward when second at Ascot on his latest start and the application of a visor could bring out more. Ulck du Lin has made two starts for Paul Nicholls since switching from France, showing more of what he was capable of on the latter occasion at Chepstow, and he is certainly worth having on side, too.

14:00 - The Nicky Henderson-trained Gibb River is likely to be suited by the step up in trip he is faced with today, having stayed on well to finish third at Aintree last time, and he could yet have more to offer, whilst Big Easy has improved for the switch to handicaps, winning at Doncaster and Bangor, and he resumed his progress when a good third at Cheltenham earlier this month.

14:35 - Wishfull Thinking is yet to convince at two miles, with his return to form coinciding with a step back up in trip when second to Finian's Rainbow at Aintree, so Somersby and Sanctuaire are the selections here. The former beat subsequent Champion and Melling Chase winner Finian's Rainbow at Ascot and, although he didn't fire in the Ryanair, he is respected as a former C&D winner. Sanctuaire has impressed in his two starts over fences to date, winning impressively on both occasions, and while this clearly demands more, he is still of definite interest.

15:10 - The Sandown Gold Cup handicap chase looks a fairly tight-knit affair, but it is hoped that just two selections will see us safely through. Philip Hobbs landed this contest in both 2006 and 2008, and he has another interesting contender in Roalco de Farges who, in his first season over fences, has won at both Newbury and Chepstow and is still fairly unexposed in handicaps. West End Rocker was an impressive winner of the Becher Chase and, although he came down early in the Grand National (fell at the second), he should still be fresh having been laid out for that race and has an excellent record under Wayne Hutchinson (four wins from six starts).

15:45 - Having been rather trigger-happy with our lines to this point, the first of two bankers will be the Clive Cox-trained Poet, who is likely to relish the heavy ground on Sandown's Flat track. He pushed Derby and Arc winner Workforce hard in the Brigadier Gerard over course-and-distance last May, should be sharper for his return in France (on unsuitably quick ground), and his record when the mud is flying makes plenty of appeal (won twice on soft and twice on heavy).

16:15 - This Group 3 Classic Trial is arguably the toughest of the six legs, with it being virtually impossible to rule out any of the four participants. However, in an attempt to maximize profit and keep the lines in check, Imperial Monarch will be the sole selection. The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt created a most favourable impression when winning on debut at the Curragh in September, readily accounting for a field full of representatives from top yards and achieving a Timeform master rating of 105P. He is open to considerable improvement, is beautifully bred being closely related to Derby runner-up The Great Gatsby, among others, and is taken to see off the placepot in style.

13:30 - 4, 6, 8
14:00 - 1, 3
14:35 - 1, 5
15:10 - 3, 13
15:45 - 5
16:15 - 1
= 24 lines
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