ITV Racing Saturday Sandown, Leicester and Haydock Preview

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Sandown - April 28 2023
Sandown 12:05
Rex Dingle

Celtic Art

J: Rex Dingle
T: Jeremy Scott
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 120
Days: 86

The first race of the afternoon at Sandown on ITV is the Novices' Championship Handicap Hurdle over two miles and we are playing two against the field.

The first is the Jeremy Scott trained Celtic Art who was a decent flat performer reaching a peak rating of 90 and now going over hurdles has put in three solid runs.

Making his hurdles debut at Kempton in November when running a superb first event over hurdles to finish third behind the talented Attacca.

Since then he has gone unbeaten in his two runs, winning over 1m7f at Wincanton in a Maiden and then over the same C&D in a Novice Stakes under a penalty he got the job done again.

Making his handicap debut in this event he runs off a mark of 120 which does not look to be beyond him if improving again.

Sandown - April 28 2023
Sandown 12:05
Bryony Frost


J: Bryony Frost
T: Lucy Wadham
Age: 5
Weight: 10-13
OR: 114
Days: 36

Another runner from the flat that is now hurdling is the Lucy Wadham trained Arqoob who reached a rating of 94 on the level and has improved for the move to hurdles.

Leaving William Jarvis and going to Lucy Wadham in January, he has since been seen four times making his debut at Huntingdon when a good second to Imperial Bede.

Sent to Newbury for his second test over timber he took a backward step when fourth of 9 but never looked like winning.

However, his last two runs have seen him back to form, winning at Huntingdon by a neck before going back to Newbury and finishing second behind a next time out winner in Russian Ruler.

That run was on Handicap debut off a mark of 114 and he runs off the same mark here which could be nice with the winner scoring since.

Will handle any ground.

Sandown - April 28 2023
Sandown 12:40
Aidan Coleman


J: Aidan Coleman
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 159
Days: 14

The Grade One Celebration Chase is one of the feature events of the afternoon at Sandown and we have been treated to seeing Jonbon one more time this season.

He is our selection in this event stepping out of novice company to take on proven performers in this division but we think he will be too classy for them.

A £570,000 purchase and full brother to the top class hurdler/chaser Douvan, Jonbon was an easy 15 length winner of his Irish PTP and subsequently went on to cosily land his sole bumper start on his first run for Nicky Henderson.

He then marked his debut over obstacles at Newbury, on the back of a 244 day break, with a cracking performance, winning by an eased down six length margin in November this year.

He stepped up in grade next time at Ascot in the Grade Two Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle and again was an easy winner and then sent to Haydock on his prep run before the Cheltenham festival he was a determined winner of the Grade Two Supreme Trial.

His only defeat under rules came at the Cheltenham festival when second behind the superstar Constitution Hill, but he showed just how good he was on his final start of last term when landing the first Grade One of his career at Aintree in the Top Novices' Hurdle beating El Fabiolo.

Bought to be a chaser, Henderson gave him his debut over fences at Warwick on his seasonal debut this term and he looked an improved animal once more when bolting up at Warwick seeing off Grade One winner Monmiral and smart hurdler West Cork to win by seven lengths eased down.

Stepped up to Grade One company on his second chase start in December he again bolted up and landed the Henry VIII Novices' Chase from Boothill, who has since won and placed in decent Grade Twos.

Jonbon was last seen in his prep run for this event at Warwick when beating Calico in the Grade Two Novices' Kingmaker Chase.

He got a little scare that day when Calico went for home early but his jumping, speed and staying ability came to the fore and he was a comfy winner in the end.

Running a great race when next seen back in second behind El Fabiolo in the Arkle at the Cheltenham festival, he got back to winning ways at Aintree's Grand National festival when comfortably taking the Maghull Novices' Chase by 43 lengths.

He did not have to be good to win that event but he will in this one, but Henderson would not have run him so soon after Aintree if he was not flying at home.

Sandown - April 28 2023
Sandown 13:15
Jack Tudor

Kitty's Light

J: Jack Tudor
T: Christian Williams
Age: 7
Weight: 10-8
OR: 140
Days: 7

The feature race of the meeting is the Grade Three bet365 Gold Cup over 3m 4 1/2f and last weeks Scottish Grand National winner Kitty's Light is well handicapped to back himself up here.

We can't look past the favourite Kitty's Light in this event with the horse still on a lesser mark than when a good third in this last year.

A superb stayer at these trips, seen to date finishing second and third in this race at Sandown the first time by a short head over 3m5f and second in a Scottish Grand National over four miles.

This season his mark of 144 looked to be beyond him and he has ran poorly on his first four occasions in what was maybe a ploy to get his mark down.

Next time out off a mark of 135 he ran a better race to finish third behind Annsam at Kempton in a competitive Handicap Chase over three miles.

Dropped a further 3lb to a mark of 132 when last seen in the Eider Chase over four miles at Newcastle he needed every bit of the trip to take the race.

Given an 8lb rise to a mark of 140 for the Scottish Grand National at Ayr last week he again revelled in the trip to take the race by three lengths.

Running off the same mark of 140 as he did in the Scottish National he should run another good race.

Sandown - April 28 2023
Sandown 13:50
Rachael Blackmore


J: Rachael Blackmore
T: John Joseph Hanlon
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 168
Days: 43

Next up is the Grade Two Oaksey Chase over 2m 6 1/2f and with Hewick being switched from the bet365 Gold Cup to this event, he makes for a very easy selection.

A horse that cost €850 and has taken Shark Hanlon to places he never thought he would go, a horse of a lifetime for the yard that can get back to winning ways here.

First bouncing on the scene as a horse to watch out for when winning the bet365 Gold Cup last year off a mark of 149l, he then went to Ballinrobe in May back over hurdles off 19lb lower and was a head second in a decent handicap.

Kept in training throughout the summer he went into the Galway Plate over the same distance as today and ran out a good winner of the valuable handicap, with the race having plenty of drama.

He then looked set to land the Kerry National Handicap Chase at Listowel in September off top weight before unseating Jordan Gainford at the last.

A month later he went over to America to try and land the American Grand National and he went on to bolt up by close to 12 lengths.

Saved since then for a crack at the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham festival he was running a decent race before falling and with all that form alone, if being able to not make any jumping errors, he should take all the beating in this very weak Grade Two.

Leicester - April 28 2023
Leicester 14:05
William Buick

Al Mubhir

J: William Buick
T: William Haggas
Age: 4
Weight: 9-5
OR: 97
Days: 28

Breaking up the events over the jumps from Sandown is Leicester's feature race on Saturday with the King Richard III Cup seeing a good field go to post.

The horse we like the look of is the William Haggas trained Al Mubhir getting his preferred soft ground and William Buick doing the steering.

A horse that was highly touted to have bundles of potentially took his time to show it last season, only putting it all together on his final start of the season over a mile at Haydock when bolting up off a mark of 90.

Heavily backed on seasonal debut this term in the Lincoln Handicap he ran a fair race into fifth only going down by four lengths.

He runs here off the same mark of 97 and with the going soft at Leicester he has a big chance to bounce back to winning ways.

Sandown - April 28 2023
Sandown 14:25
Jamie Moore

Hudson De Grugy

J: Jamie Moore
T: Gary Moore
Age: 6
Weight: 11-4
OR: 126
Days: 49

The final event from Sandown on ITV this Saturday is the Josh Gifford Novices' Handicap Chase and Hudson De Grugy for Gary Moore is worth taking a chance on if the rain comes.

As a hurdler he performed extremely well at Sandown on soft/heavy ground winning three of his four events at the track over two miles.

Sent chasing this term in November he took plenty of time to find his feet and get used to the fences but when last seen back at Sandown over 2m4f he put up a career best effort to land the Grade Three Novices' Handicap Chase from Quel Destin.

Only being given a 3lb rise for that win sees him potentially well handicapped again and if that ran comes down he could feature again.

Haydock - April 28 2023
Haydock 14:45
Rossa Ryan


J: Rossa Ryan
T: Ralph Beckett
Age: 6
Weight: 9-4
OR: 100
Days: 175

The final event on the ITV Racing show comes from Haydock on the flat with the Class 2 Handicap over 7f seeing a very competitive field go to post.

We like the look of the Ralph Beckett Biggles who has gone from strength to strength of late in handicap company and although higher in the weights looks to still be improving.

Highly consistent throughout the last few seasons, last year he saw himself on a mark of 87 at Chepstow in August and put up a good performance to land the Class 4 event by a head.

Upped into Class 3 company at Newbury in October on soft ground he made it back to back wins, easily seeing off a decent handicapper for Richard Hannon giving over a stone away.

Getting his chance in a Class 2 at Doncaster at the end of the season on heavy ground he finished a close second to Baradar for George Boughey, giving him 6lb on heavy ground.

Baradar has since franked the form with a good third of 22 in the Lincoln Handicap and with Biggles only 1lb higher in this event off a mark of 100 he should run a big race.