ITV Racing Sandown & Wolves Preview - 11/03/23

James Mackie | @jamesmackieee

Wolverhampton (AW) - March 11 2023
Wolverhampton (AW) 13:30
Rossa Ryan

Dubai Station

J: Rossa Ryan
T: Stuart Williams
Age: 6
Weight: 8-13
OR: 92
Days: 28

The first race of the afternoon on ITV is the Class 2 Handicap over 6f and we are giving a chance to one at a price with Dubai Station for Stuart Williams looking to go close at a double figure price.

Having been falling through the handicap of late not winning since May 2022 when off a mark of 95, he went up to a high of 100 but having only ran well on a few occasions he now sees himself back to a mark he can compete off.

Third two starts ago off a mark of 93 behind two smart sprinters in Strong Power and Spangled Mac over course and distance, he was then dropped to 5f last time out and although finishing fifth of nine, he was less than four lengths behind the winner.

6f is his optimum trip and getting back to that this afternoon with Rossa Ryan taking the ride makes him interesting, also only having his second start for this new stable.

Sandown - March 11 2023
Sandown 13:50
Harry Skelton


J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 6
Weight: 11-1
OR: 119
Days: 44

The first race of the afternoon on ITV from Sandown is the Grade Three Novices' Hurdle Handicap Hurdle Final and we like the look of the Dan Skelton trained Etalon.

Sent hurdling in November at Warwick when second to a nice type in Gunnery Officer, he then went to Aintree and again settled for second, chasing home the very talented Strong Leader for Olly Murphy.

Strong Leader franked the form and so did Etalon getting off the mark for his career at Wetherby last time out in a 17 runner Novices' Hurdle, bolting up by seven lengths.

Making his Handicap debut on Saturday off a mark of 129 looks lenient, especially with the ground conditions set to suit this improving gelding.

Step up in trip is a positive aswell with how he hit the line last time out.

Wolverhampton (AW) - March 11 2023
Wolverhampton (AW) 14:05
James Doyle


J: James Doyle
T: John & Thady Gosden
Age: 5
Weight: 9-2
OR: 94
Days: 22

One of the better races on the afternoon at Wolverhampton is the Lincoln Trial Handicap over 1m 1/2f and near the top of the market Unforgotten for John & Thady Gosden looks interesting.

A five year old that has been very lightly raced throughout his career only being seen five times but he holds bundles of ability and it looks as though the Lincoln could be his big aim.

Second on his first two starts in his career at Lingfield over a mile showing enough ability, he then got off the mark in the April 2021 when dropped to 7f at Newcastle, bolting up in a Novice Stakes.

Not seen for almost two years returning in February this year at Lingfield over a mile he picked up form where he left off winning on handicap debut off top weight.

Bumped up 4lb for that win to a mark of 90 when last seen over the same C&D he landed the hat-trick, just doing enough close home.

There looks to be more improvement to come from the gelding the more he races and only up another 4lb he should give another good account of himself.

Sandown - March 11 2023
Sandown 14:25
Aidan Coleman

Zoffany Bay

J: Aidan Coleman
T: Peter Fahey
Age: 9
Weight: 10-10
OR: 125
Days: 21

The feature race of the afternoon from Sandown is the Betfair Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle over two miles and with 18 runners going to post we have picked out two chances at each way prices.

The first is the Irish raider Zoffany Bay for Peter Fahey with the trainer winning this race last year with Surprise Package.

Zoffany Bay had his first run for the yard and first run for almost two years last time out at Ascot when second to the talented Irish Hill in a valuable handicap at Ascot.

Raised only 3lbs for that run to a mark of 125, if not bouncing for his second run after so long off he looks to have more up his sleeve and getting testing conditions will play to his strengths having won a Listed Handicap in France on heavy ground.

Looks like an Irish plot job.

Sandown - March 11 2023
Sandown 14:25
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 5
Weight: 11-3
OR: 132
Days: 63

For the British we like the look of the Paul Nicholls trained Iceo who was bought by Chris Giles and given to Nicholls after being a taking winner at Dieppe in August 2021, he then made his British debut at Kempton when bolting up by 17 lengths in a Juvenile Hurdle on soft ground.

Sent into deeper waters next time out at Cheltenham's Trial Day meeting in late January of last year he finished fourth behind the very talented Pied Piper.

Rounding off last season again in Grade Two company at Kempton in the Dovecote Novices' Hurdle, he finished a close up fourth behind some talented horses.

Sent handicapping this term making his seasonal debut over two miles at Sandown in January, he ran a cracker on soft ground to finish a good second behind Hardy Du Seuil.

Nicholls has explained that the ground on Saturday will suit, he needed the run last time out so will strip much fitter for this and only 1lb higher running off a mark of 132, he looks a serious player.

Big improver.

Wolverhampton (AW) - March 11 2023
Wolverhampton (AW) 14:40
Rossa Ryan

Angel Bleu

J: Rossa Ryan
T: Ralph Beckett
Age: 4
Weight: 9-5
OR: 113
Days: 227

The final event from Wolves on Saturday on ITV is the feature Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes over 7f and if Angel Bleu is fit and ready for this event his price of 3/1 is wrong.

A Group One winning two year old back in 2021 winning five of his eight races throughout the season including the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Group One Criterium International from Saint Cloud.

Last season he never got his ground running three times all term on good or good to firm with us having an unusually dry time of things during the summer.

Third on his seasonal debut to Perfect Power in the G3 Greenham Stakes, he then finished ninth of 11 at Royal Ascot in the Group One St James's Palace Stakes, finishing less than eight lengths behind the winner Coroebus.

His final run of the season came at Goodwood when fifth of seven in the Group One Sussex Stakes behind Baaeed, again only beaten by just over four lengths on the day.

He is a highly talented horse that has proved his worth at Group One level and dropping back to Listed company makes him very interesting if not needing the run.

Sandown - March 11 2023
Sandown 15:00
Sam Twiston-Davies

Casa No Mento

J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Age: 5
Weight: 11-2
Days: 40

Another race we have two running for us in the event is the Listed Mares' Bumper over two miles and this looks a competitive affair on heavy ground.

The first horse we think can go close is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Casa No Mento who was a 2m PTP winner at Bangor in March 2022 winning well on heavy ground.

Showing she prefers testing conditions, she made her rules debut at Hereford at the end of January when again bolting up by 12 lengths.

This mare is getting her perfect conditions and looks to have more improvement to come.

Sandown - March 11 2023
Sandown 15:00
Jack Quinlan

Mercian Omen

J: Jack Quinlan
T: Amy Murphy
Age: 5
Weight: 11-2
Days: 108

A horse at a bigger price that takes the eye in the Mares' Listed Bumper is the Amy Murphy trained Mercian Omen who has only been seen once to date but it was a very taking debut.

Ran at Wetherby on yard/rules debut back in November the mare learnt a lot on the job, with the penny dropping the further she went and in the heavy ground she ran on brilliantly to be narrowly beaten by a nice type for James Moffatt.

It was a real learning experience for this mare and if she has improved since then she could look a big price at 11s, showing she is already proven on this ground.

Sandown - March 11 2023
Sandown 15:35
Sean Bowen

No Risk Des Flos

J: Sean Bowen
T: Olly Murphy
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 139
Days: 44

The final runner from on ITV from Sandown comes in the Grade Three Novices' Handicap Chase over 2m4f and No Risk Des Flos could go close for Olly Murphy.

Sent chasing this season having been an average hurdler the season before, he has shown decent ability in the majority of his four starts, with the best run of his career coming on heavy ground.

Racing behind the likes of Datsalrightgino and Calico on his chase debut at Chepstow when finishing fourth, he then went to Wetherby on heavy ground and got off the mark in good style beating a nice type for the Skelton's by seven lengths.

Upped to 134 over the same course and distance he couldn't replicate the performance unfortunately putting in a lesser run, but last time out he bounced back to his best, stepping up in trip to 2m 3 1/2f at Wetherby to win nicely off 134.

Getting 3lb off the favourite on Saturday and revelling in the step up in trip last time out, he deserves his chance in this one.