Grade One Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle Guide 2023

Louis Moir | @LouisMoir99

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Richard Patrick

Nemean Lion

J: Richard Patrick
T: Kerry Lee
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 131
Days: 38

This horse was bred to be quite smart on the flat and he proved his worth as he was a talented stayer for French trainer Andre Fabre in France, finishing runner-up in the Group Two Prix Chaudenay at the Arc meeting in 2020.

It remains an unknown whether or not he can be as useful over the smaller obstacles in higher graded races, but we have not seen much of him since then.

He made a decent start to life over hurdles in Britain when winning in good fashion at Hereford before chasing home the talented Fergal O’Brien trained Hullnback under a penalty at Haydock.

That latest effort should not be dismissed, as the winner was a smart bumper horse last season and trainer Kerry Lee is not usually one to over complicate things with her horses.

Will have to come on from that second last time out to have any say in this as Nemean Lion is stepping up into what now is Grade 1 company.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Gavin Sheehan

Colonel Harry

J: Gavin Sheehan
T: Jamie Snowden
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 122
Days: 62

He was sold for a fee that is not as much as some other horses, £130,000 to be exact after landing his second point-to-point and confirmed the promises of his rules debut at Uttoxeter when going one better here on heavy ground in early November.

Colonel Harry got really warm and was sweating up beforehand, but despite that he still managed to run a good race and win beating Uncle Bert by 7 lengths.

The form from that race does not look the strongest as the placed horses in that contest have since been beaten at Ffos Las and Taunton.

He is probably a work in progress and could well be capable of more, but finds himself being a big price on this occasion.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Aidan Coleman


J: Aidan Coleman
T: Olly Murphy
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 129
Days: 55

Won his first three races, but we learnt more about him when he split Fennor Cross and Springwell Bay in a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham in mid-November.

Others in the line-up have achieved more and he is now likely to find himself on much more testing ground as he is used to having ‘good’ in the going description of his races.

There is probably a whole lot more to come with this horse, but this race may just be a step too far for him in what will only be his fourth start over hurdles. Hard to make a case for and may have better days ahead in weaker graded contests.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Jamie Moore

Authorised Speed

J: Jamie Moore
T: Gary Moore
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 132
Days: 35

In what looks a tricky race to pick the winner from, Authorised Speed is certainly at the right end of the market for good reason.

The pick of his five runs in bumpers was when he was fifth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March, and he has made a promising start over hurdles since.

He won in convincing style at Lingfield beating Broadway Joe by an impressive 15 lengths before following up at Sandown despite a blunder at the final flight.

Fiddlerontheroof (2020) and Constitution Hill (2022) won that same Sandown race before taking this so he can keep that trend going here.

Gary Moore’s 6 year old looks to have a decent mix of both speed and stamina, with soft/heavy ground clearly being no issue for him.

Jockey Jamie Moore believes it will be a case of the softer the better for this lad and he is sure to put in a big performance here which would make it 3-3.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 134
Days: 49

Trainer Paul Nicholls landed this prize four times between 2003-2008, but has had no joy since. We are now in 2023 so that poor run of not winning the race for so long may come to an end here as Tahmuras warrants his place after winning both his starts over hurdles in pleasing fashion.

He has won both of those races by a combined distance of 13 ½ lengths and looks a talented horse who seems to be making more progress with each run.

His win in Listed company at Haydock was impressive as he travelled strongly throughout and picked up when it mattered most.

Tahmuras looks a straightforward horse when it comes to race day as he has already adopted a change of tactics in his only two starts over hurdles.

He will be hoping that the going description does not change too much from what it currently is as more of a deeper going could blunt some of his undeniable pace.A very worthy contender and makes up the three at the top of the market who seem hard to split.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Rachael Blackmore

Arctic Bresil

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
Days: 27

Arctic Bresil rounds up the three who head the top of the market, but has just had the one start so far for trainer Henry De Bromhead.

He changed hands for £305,000 in 2021 despite being beaten in his two point-to-point runs which is interesting to say the least.

They must think a lot of this horse and he has shown so far that he can justify that big price tag.He landed a 22-runner maiden hurdle at Cork last month, despite a couple of below par jumps in the second half of the race.

Henry de Bromhead suggested afterwards that the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Hurdle at Punchestown in the middle of this month might be his next race, but it is certainly intriguing to see that connections are instead opting for this Grade 1 contest at Sandown.

An Irish raider has only ever won this race once and that was in 2016 so this son of Blue Bresil may be able to defy the odds of another Irish winner in this.

Rates a major player and may have the ability to go and win which would prove he is good enough to line-up in a field such as this.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Stan Sheppard

Blow Your Wad

J: Stan Sheppard
T: Tom Lacey
Age: 5
Weight: 11-8
OR: 126
Days: 47

This 5 year old son of Walk In The Park showed plenty of ability in his three bumpers without winning as he came second in two of them.

He was no match for Luccia (who has been a late withdrawal for this race) as she beat him on debut at Warwick.

Blow Your Wad will also find it hard to reverse any sort of form with Tahmuras as that rival beat him back in March too.

He did win on his second start over hurdles as that came on his latest outing at Kempton where he beat Carrigdoun Boy by 1 length.

For what it is worth, his dam is a half-sister to none other than Faugheen so he has a very likeable background. This race is going to ask a lot more of him, but he looks set to struggle here.

One at a bigger price who cannot be feared compared to a few others in this eight runner field.

Sandown - January 07 2023
Sandown 14:25
Adam Wedge


J: Adam Wedge
T: Evan Williams
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
Days: 43

L’Astroboy beat one rival who he faces again here in Tahmuras on his debut in a bumper at Ffos Las 11 months ago. He backed that performance up when looking a good prospect when winning on his hurdling debut at the same track in late November.

He was well on top at the finish that day and in both of his races, he ran like a good prospect. If you are looking for more value then Evan Williams’ 6 year old represents that.

It may be difficult to understand why there is such a big difference in price when comparing him and Tahmuras.One to note at a bigger price who could run a big race and have his say in this.