Racing UK ambassador Aidan Coleman gives us the inside track on his weekend rides at Sandown and reflects on some of the key performances from last weekend,including his victory on Champ
I head to Sandown on Saturday for five rides and my first ride of the day is Papagana for Oliver Sherwood in the 2m4f Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
I won a 2m Novices’ Hurdle on her at Ffos Las in May and I thought there was lots of improvement to come from her that day.
She has had a break since and ran a good race at Market Rasen on her seasonal debut in October. A track like Sandown should suit her.
It looks a competitive race on paper, but she’s a nice mare and if she has strengthened up since her run at Ffos Las, and improved for her seasonal debut, she should go well.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle has cut up quite a bit and if Fortunate George brings his A Game to the table, he will have a great chance.
He has plenty of ability and was a good performer over hurdles before he was switched to fences last season.
I ride Pingshou in the randoxhealth.com Henry VIII Novices’ Chase and he is a very good horse who won at Grade One level over hurdles before his long lay-off.
He ran well on his comeback run at Cheltenham behind Lalor in November, which was his first start over fences.
He just got a bit tried, which he was entitled to do, and that run should have brought him on as he was fresh early and did a bit too much in the early stages.
Lalor, who we take on again, was impressive at Cheltenham as it looked as though there was lots of improvement to come from him before the race.
Diakali is sure to set a good gallop and it is a strong race, but I think Pingshou will run well.
Friday Night Light, who is my mount in the Listed Handicap Hurdle, has had a wind op since his last run and will be making his seasonal debut.
He ran some good races last season and hopefully the wind op has improved him.
My final ride of the day is Royal Vacation in the Betfair London National.
He ran a great race when second at Cheltenham on his seasonal debut in November and if he reproduces that run he will not be far away.
Milansbar, Chase The Spud and Money Wing are all specialists in these type of races but I’m hoping Royal Vacation will run well.
Altior sets a high standard:
This weekend sees the return of Altior and I am looking forward to seeing him run in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
He is an exceptional horse and is one of the best two-mile chasers we have seen for a long time, and there have been plenty of them.
It is a small but select field and is sure to be a great race, but Altior will be hard to beat.
Champ delivers in style:
I was impressed with Champ, who I rode to victory in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Newbury last Saturday.
He raced keenly, as it was his first run of the season and he was a bit fresh, but he stayed on nicely and won well in the end.
I am not sure where he will be going next, but he goes on any ground and is a fine, big horse.
Buveur D’Air put up a taking display in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. To put Samcro in his place like that was impressive.
Sizing Tennessee produced a great performance in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
It just goes to show the power the Tizzards have and how good they are at getting horses ready for the big days as training the first two home in a race like the Ladbrokes Trophy is no easy feat.