ITV Saturday Racing Sandown, Musselburgh And Leopardstown Preview

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 13:15
Aidan Coleman

Gunsight Ridge

J: Aidan Coleman
T: Olly Murphy
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 135
Days: 28

A competitive Handicap Chase starts the ITV show off over two miles and we are going with last time out winner Gunsight Ridge who looks to have turned a corner getting his head in front last time out.

The seven year old was a smart hurdler running five times, winning once on good ground and then placing in all four of his other events.

Sent chasing this term by Olly Murphy, the gelding made his debut at Aintree over two miles running well and then backed that up with a narrow second at Exeter behind the impressive L'Homme Presse, who has since franked the form in Grade Two company.

Gunsight Ridge himself got off the mark over fences last time out when battling well in tough conditions to land a handicap chase over course and distance.

Only 5lb higher today, getting better ground he can back that performance up.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 13:35
Paul Townend


J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
Days: 36

Next up is the first Grade One event from Leopardstown with the Spring Juvenile Hurdle and it looks a match race with the two at the top of the market.

We are siding with the Willie Mullins trained Vauban who has less form to go off but looks to be the horse with the most potential.

Being bought by Rich Ricci from France after four decent runs on the flat, he was given to Mullins and made his hurdles debut around Christmas time.

He took on the ex John Gosden horse Pied Piper and went down by half a length in heavy ground, but the Gordon Elliott Juvenile has since gone on to bolt up in a Grade Two at Cheltenham.

Fil Dor looks a very smart gelding winning all three of his events to date, getting better with each run but we believe Vauban is the better value in the race.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 13:50
Sam Twiston-Davies

Guard Your Dreams

J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
Age: 6
Weight: 11-11
OR: 147
Days: 35

One of the better events on the Sandown card is the Listed Contenders Hurdle over two miles and Guard Your Dreams for Nigel Twiston-Davies has leading claims.

The six year old has been a very smart horse between 2m and 2m4f this term for the yard, making his seasonal debut over the latter trip at Cheltenham in October and winning impressively.

Looking to better that in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot he had to settle for second behind the smart Buzz and rival in this contest Song For Someone.

He then reversed the form next time out at Cheltenham back at two miles when landing the Grade Two International Hurdle in gritty fashion.

Back up in trip last time out in the Relkeel Hurdle at Prestbury Park he was outstayed by Stormy Ireland and McFabulous and the drop back to two miles makes him look very appealing.

Musselburgh - February 05 2022
Musselburgh 14:05
Lilly Pinchin


Lilly Pinchin
Richard Hobson
Age: 13
Weight: 11-7
OR: 124
Days: 28

The first event of the afternoon on ITV from Musselburgh is the Veteran's Handicap Chase over 2m6f and the value looks to be the Richard Hobson trained Valadom.

A model of consistency this 13 year old wheres his heart on his sleeve and always gives his running and although knocking on the door of late has not won since November 2020, leaving him on a favourable mark.

Last seen winning at Newcastle over 2m4f, He has since placed in four events and ran well in another without hitting the frame.

Racing twice this term, he finished third in a Handicap Chase at Sandown over three miles and then last time out in heavy ground just got tired and tailed off into fifth.

Now running off the same mark of his last win and back on good ground, the veteran has plenty in his favour.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:20
Charlie Deutsch

L'Homme Presse

J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 154
Days: 35

The feature race of the afternoon is the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices' Chase over 2m4f and strong L'Homme Presse could be very tough to pass.

The Venetia Williams team are in top form this season, as they currently operate at an impressive 24%-win strike rate for the last 14 days, and the favourite for this weekend’s Grade One Scilly Isles Chase has contributed towards that good from this season.

Already a three-time winner this season, including the Grade Two Dipper Chase to his name at Cheltenham last time out, this lightly raced novice chaser looks one of the leading Novice Chasers of the season for us in the UK, only having the seven rules starts, four of them resulting in him getting past the post in front.

He was campaigned very lightly over hurdles, obviously going over the larger obstacles was always at the forefront of connections thinking, and that was a brilliant decision made by them.

L’Homme Presse has won all three of his chasing starts by a combined 29 lengths, and his win in the Dipper last time out at Cheltenham was arguably a career best, making all and not touching a twig when jumping.

He was clearly to much for his other rivals that day as when he was pushed along, he responded superbly and flew up the Cheltenham hill, something a lot of horses cannot accomplish, with that form being franked by Fantastikas winning next time out.

He looks superb over fences, and if he is given an easy time of things, he could take home his first career Grade One, before heading onto bigger and better things later on this season.

Musselburgh - February 05 2022
Musselburgh 14:40
Brian Hughes


J: Brian Hughes
T: Donald McCain
Age: 5
Weight: 10-11
OR: 124
Days: 35

Musselburgh's Scottish County Hurdle sees some well handicapped horses go to post and we believe the best of them is the smart mare Fivenadtwenty.

The five year old mare is having her second run since having wind surgery in this event and although needing to improve on what she has done of late, she has a big chance to do so at this track.

Around this time last year the Middleham Park owned mare landed a hat-trick of wins over course and distance, on her final performance off a mark of 128.

Having since been seen four times and struggled in handicaps off higher marks, she drops down to a mark of 124 for this race, 4lb lower than her last winning mark.

Although finishing a tame fourth last time out over course and distance the form of the race has worked out with the winner Tommy's Oscar since landing a valuable Grade Two event at Haydock.

Huge each way chance and would enjoy a bit more rain to fall before now and the off.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:55
Sean Bowen

Ree Okka

J: Sean Bowen
T: Harry Fry
Age: 6
Weight: 10-6
OR: 130
Days: 21

The big fielded Grade Three Handicap Hurdle over 2m7 1/2f looks a cracking contest and with so much each way value on offer we have two selections for the event.

Our first pick is the Harry Fry trained Ree Okka who is gelding that is weighted to go well in this event having already showed plenty of strong form this term.

Bought for €60,000 after winning a P2P he was given to Harry Fry and made his hurdles debut in October finishing second to the smart Gelino Bello, who has since franked the form in better company.

Ree Okka also franked the form next time out when winning well in a Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow and last time out improved again on his first try under rules at three miles to land a good event by six lengths.

Given a mark of 130 for his handicap debut it looks very workable and having ran well on good ground before he should handle the surface.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 14:55
Kevin Brogan

Born Patriot

J: Kevin Brogan
T: Peter Fahey
Age: 6
Weight: 10-11
OR: 135
Days: 105

At a bigger price is the interesting Born Patriot for the Irish handler Peter Fahey with the son of Born To Sea getting better this season with every run and last time out on his first try at three miles looked superb.

Having his first run of the season over 2m6f at Navan he looked to blow away the cobwebs in a race that has worked out well with the third and first since winning good events.

Born Patriot also franked the form last time out when a narrow second at Cheltenham in the Class 2 Pertemps Qualifier in October and having been saved since then, it is now time to exploit his handicap mark of 135.

Big each way player.

Leopardstown - February 05 2022
Leopardstown 15:15
B J Cooper

Asterion Forlonge

J: B J Cooper
T: W P Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 164
Days: 41

The feature race of the first day is the Grade One Irish Gold Cup and we are taking a punt on the quirky Asterion Forlonge who is due to go close in a race like this.

The eight year old holds all the ability in the world but has failed to complete many races due to jumping errors when going well.

Being a smart hurdler, winning the Grade One Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at this meeting in 2020 and then finishing fourth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, he looks a better chaser even though he has his problems.

Last season he was very frustrating when winning on debut at Punchestown but then found his jumping to not be up to scratch and it cost him in tough events.

Towards the back end of last term he got back on track, finishing third in the Marsh Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, before again placing in a Grade One at Fairyhouse.

He rounded off the season winning a valuable handicap by 14 lengths, jumping lovely and showing just how classy he can be.

This term he has been his frustrating self, unseating his rider when going well in the Grade One John Durkan at Punchestown and then last time out when looking to have a big chance in the Grade One King George at Kempton, he fell at the last.

Showing he stays this trip very well, he is worth another go at the prices if being well since the fall.

Sandown - February 05 2022
Sandown 15:30
Harry Cobden


J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 9
Weight: 11-6
OR: 139
Days: 70

The penultimate event of the afternoon is the three mile Class 2 Handicap Chase and Kapcorse for Paul Nicholls looks the value in the field.

In November 2020 he was seen for the first time in 18 months in the Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at Newbury when looking like needing the run.

He had another year off the track and returned off a lenient mark of 131 in the same race and this time look to have plenty up his sleeve when winning by close to six lengths.

He has been raised 8lb for that win but if coming on for that first run for a year he can't be discounted, especially having good ground form.

Musselburgh - February 05 2022
Musselburgh 15:45
Tom Scudamore

Mighty Thunder

J: Tom Scudamore
T: Lucinda Russell
Age: 9
Weight: 11-11
OR: 148
Days: 40

The final event from Musselburgh and also on ITV this Saturday is the Edinburgh National Handicap Chase over four miles and Mighty Thunder for Lucinda Russell is a thorough Stayer, especially on good ground.

Last season the nine year old bounced back to form in a big way by landing this event off a mark of 129 and off the back of that finished a length second in the Midlands Grand National.

Looking to round of the season in style he got back to winning ways in the Scottish National in good ground at Ayr off a mark of 144.

Not seen again since October for his seasonal debut this term, he blew the cobwebs away at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase, finishing a respectable fourth.

Off a mark of 150 in extremely testing conditions last time he went in to the Welsh Grand National and like many of the horses in the race did not finish.

Down 2lb to a mark of 148 he is looking to use this race to get back on track for a second time and has every chance to do so.

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing