Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls sends four runners to Sandown on Saturday afternoon as well as one runner to Hereford. Here's what he has to say about their chances...
"I am expecting an improved performance now from Alcala who showed his liking for Sandown last season when a close third in the EBF final."
- Paul Nicholls on Alcala
13:50 - Cash Again
Jumped a shade stickily at Fakenham last time and ran a bit green before keeping on at the one pace to be third. The sharp track there didn't appear to suit him and he should be more effective at Sandown racing off a mark that looks fair.
Cash Again schooled alongside Touch Kick this morning and they were both in top form.
13:50 - Touch Kick
I can't split my two here and would emphasise that jockey bookings are not significant as I think both horses have decent outside chances. Nick Scholfield gets on very well with Touch Kick who is still quite free and ran all over the track in front at Musselburgh before finishing second.
He was undone by a lack of pace there. What he wants is dropping in towards the rear in a big field and then coming fast and late at the finish, tactics at which Nick excels.
16:10 - Vicenzo Mio
Looked like winning at Kelso last time where he led at the last fence before tiring on the long run in and fading into third place on seriously testing ground over two miles and almost seven furlongs.
Back in trip here on better ground he must have a good chance.
16:45 - Alcala
We are putting a hood back on Alcala who ran very well on his debut over fences at Uttoxeter and again travelled nicely at Hereford on ground that was almost un-raceable before a tired fall.
I am expecting an improved performance now from Alcala who showed his liking for Sandown last season when a close third in the EBF final.
16:00 - Sirabad
A really nice chaser who was in top form on the track at Wincanton and Newbury towards the end of last year before a little setback put him on the sidelines for a few weeks. He is fine now, is ready to kick on, goes well fresh and should go close.
Watch below as Paul discusses the chances of his opening day runners at next week's Cheltenham Festival...
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