Saturday brings several chances for Paul Nicholls
Track should play to his strengths
12:35 - Iliko D'Olivate
He won tidily by six lengths at Taunton early last month over two miles, three furlongs and while he is now coming back in trip to two miles, Sandown is a stiff track which should play to his strengths.
Consistent and in with a chance
13:10 - Twin Power
A consistent type, he ran a race of some promise from the front last time at Plumpton early in January when second behind a red hot favourite Twinjets. He goes handicapping now off a reasonable mark and looks to have a decent chance.
Three time winner can extend record
13:45 - Dolos
He has made this race his own over the past five years, winning it three times and finishing runner up twice. On his seasonal comeback he surprised me a bit by chasing home Greaneteen in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter before finishing third to Editeur Du Gite at Kempton over Christmas. That form looks gilt-edged after the winner beat the best two mile chasers around at Cheltenham last Saturday.
Dolos won this race last year off a mark of 143, is now three pounds higher and tends to come alive early in the the spring at Sandown. Fit and well he has every chance of extending his fine record.
Sound chance will enjoy stiff track
14:20 - Monmiral
He has come up against two very smart horses in his first two races over fences, was far from disgraced behind Jonbon at Warwick and then finished second again at Cheltenham to The Real Whacker who had the run of the race in front. We will make plenty of use of Monmiral who is in good shape, jumps fine and will enjoy the stiff track at Sandown. Sound chance.
Should be competitive again
14:55 - Jet Of Magic
He is going the right way, won his novice hurdle tidily at Hereford and has since finishing runner up twice, most recently at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. He was raised 2lbs for that run, continues to improve and should again be competitive in this stronger race.
Must get on the front foot
15:30 - Broken Halo
He has been slightly disappointing this season and they went far too fast for him over two miles, three furlongs last time at Chepstow. He was always on the back foot that day, definitely wants further and I'm hopeful of better from Broken Halo now that he steps up to three miles.
Should improve on promising debut
16:03 - In The Waterside
He's a big, backward horse who showed a willing attitude to hold on in a tight finish on his racecourse debut in a bumper at Exeter two months ago despite showing signs of greeness through the race. That was a pleasing debut by a nice prospect who will improve with experience.
Unbeaten and ready to go again
16:03 - Wrappedupinmay
He won his only Point-to-Point in Ireland by 30 lengths and then made an eye-catching debut for us on New Year's Day when he ran right away from his rivals in a bumper at Exeter, winning by what seemed half a furlong. He now has to carry a 4lbs penalty for that victory in what probably wasn't the strongest race. But he is unbeaten, goes nicely at home and will be suited by the stiff nature of the track at Sandown.
The softer the ground the better
14:03 - Truckers Lodge
With blinkers on he ran a solid race when finishing fourth in the Coral Welsh National just after Christmas. Four miles is made for this horse who stays all day and will again be ridden by Freddie Gingell who got a fair tune out of him at Chepstow and still claims a handy 7lbs. It's taken a long time but at last Truckers Lodge is becoming nicely handicapped. The softer the ground the better his chance.
It won't be long before he wins
14:35 - Halo Des Obeaux
He ran encouragingly on his chasing debut at Newbury five weeks when finishing second to Tea For Three and was then dropped one pound by the handicapper to a mark of 132. He shouldn't be long in winning races over fences and has fair claims in this Class 3 handicap.
Should go well on better ground
15:16 - Grivetana
She hated the deep going last time at Newbury. She is much happier on better ground, which she should get at Musselburgh, has a nice light weight and would have a decent chance on her fine run into second place behind First Street in the Gerry Fielden at Newbury late in November. Should go well.
Solid progress means sound claims
15:48 - Outlaw Peter
There were only four finishers in the Lanzarote Hurdle last time on attritional ground but he actually ran very well for a long way before cutting out and being pulled up like most of the field. Outlaw Peter will be much happier on drier conditions at Musselburgh. He has made solid progress this season and has sounds claims back in novice company.
Paul's Best chance - Monmiral, 14:20 Sandown: "We have several nice chances on Saturday and I'm hopeful that Monmiral can get off the mark over fences."