Who To Follow At Sandown on Saturday - 12/03/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Sandown - March 12 2022
Sandown 14:25
Nico de Boinville

Balco Coastal

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 6
Weight: 11-0
OR: 134
Days: 42

The feature race of the afternoon at Sandown is the Grade Three Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle over two miles and we can't look past the favourite Balco Coastal.

The six year old has always been thought of highly at Seven Barrows, finishing second in a PTP in December 2020 to Gentlemansgame, who has turned out to be a nice horse for Mouse Morris.

Given to Henderson after being bought for £100,000, he won a nice bumper on rules debut, bolting up by 17 lengths and then went to Aintree for the Grade Two Bumper and finished a fair seventh of 18 behind the likes of Stage Star and Knappers Hill.

Sent hurdling this term he has been seen three times over obstacles and looked very impressive on his first two runs, winning on debut at Huntingdon in taking style and was then gritty next time out at Ludlow, with the second that day since winning well.

He then stepped up in trip last time out at Cheltenham in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle in January and was out battled finishing second.

The winner that day North Lodge has since gone on to be beaten in another Grade Two at Kelso, with Hillcrest also falling that day and since winning a nice race at Haydock.

Making his handicap debut off a mark of 134, going back down to his optimal two miles, this contest looks set up for him.

Trainer To Follow - Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls is right back to form ahead of this meeting and with that in mind has sent a strong team to the Esher track ahead of the weekend.

In the Grade Three Handicap Hurdle he fields the talented Knappers Hill that was sixth in the Betfair Hurdle last time out and although top weight in this has a live chance.

In the Imperial Cup he has two pokes at the race with his best chance coming from the talented Samarrive and then Hacker Des Places at a bigger price could run a big race.

One of his best chances of the day comes in the Listed Novices' Handicap Chase over 2m4f with Danny Kirwan looking to land back to back wins.

Nicholls heads into the meeting sporting a 24% strike rate for the last two weeks, managing to land nine winners from 37 runners.

Jockey To Follow - Paddy Brennan

Paddy Brennan is a man in form at the moment and he has some great rides on Saturday that can help him add to his tally over the last few weeks.

In the Grade Three Handicap Hurdle final he sits on Marble Sands who although a 16/1 chance is not ruled out at all on his mark of 119.

In the Listed Mares Bumper he gets the leg up on Hidden Beauty who was very impressive on debut and if putting her last run behind her should hit the frame.

Brennan heads into the meeting currently posing a 24% strike rate for the last few weeks, managing to land four winners from 17 rides.