Sandown Saturday Preview - 02/02/2019

12:40 - Winston C

The opening race from Sandown - should it go ahead, is the 888Sport Novices' Hurdle, where Winston C has made a positive transition from a horse who has spent most of his life on the flat.

Has some excellent form in the bank too, with his third on debut at Huntingdon behind Olly Murphy's Brewin'upastorm - who fell heavily when in contention for a Grade Two Ballymore Trial last weekend.

Won at Wincanton five days into the new year and has plenty more to offer his connections and backers.

13:15 - Red Mix

We have been educated this year many-a-time by a training masterclass from Dr Richard Newland, as he always seems to get his horses right first time out.

Red Mix is a new name for the yard - a fresh import from France, and with a lot of these under the 'almost' category not posing that much quality, we think its worth essentially backing a blind shot.

One thing for sure is that he looks very well handicapped.

14:25 - Defi De Seuil

No bet for us in the 13:50 Contenders Hurdle, with Buveur D'Air expected to coast home, so on we go to the next where Defi Du Seuil can take a competitive looking Scilly Isles Chase.

The 2017 JCB Triumph winner certainly looks to have his career back on track since making the transition to fences.

He looked so awkward for Barry Geraghty on his debut in an Arkle trial back in November, before improving massively for a novice chase over further at Exeter - beating both Topofthegame and Black Op.

Second to Lostintranslation in the Dipper on New Years Day was still a good effort, and we think he will reverse the form here.

Major player.

15:00 - Casko Dairy & Brio Conti

A big field go for the Grade Three 888Sport Heroes Handicap Hurdle so we have come up with two selections.

Firstly, Casko Dairy is a new French import to the national hunt sphere, and he took a few runs to warm to the game, but got off the mark on his third attempt in a staying novice hurdle contest at Ascot.

He scurried away that day, and it is intriguing his trainer is pitching him out of novice company for the first time in such a competitive contest.

The seven-year-old sneaks in at the bottom of the weights, and goes into the race as the dark, unexposed horse.

Meanwhile, Brio Conti - a long-time absentee, was last seen narrowly getting up to win a Novice Chase at Carlisle in November 2017.

Before his lay-off, the grey had encouraging form over the smaller obstacles, with a fifth behind Finian’s Oscar in a grade one at Aintree.

He makes his return in an extremely hot affair and he could return to chasing in the near future.

15:35 - Houblon Des Obeaux

It would not be Sandown without some sort of Veterans Chase - so we have the 888Sport Masters Handicap Chase which includes younger horses - but Houblon Des Obeaux can reign supreme again.

A fifteen-length victory in the Veterans final over the course and distance three weeks ago despite benefitting from a fall of his closest pursuer.

Has moved 9lb up in the weights as a result, but Venetia Williams calls upon Hugh Nugent who will take 7lb off.

Effectively 2lb higher than his last appearance, and should be in the hunt again.

16:10 - She Mite Bite

She Mite Bite has been an interesting horse to follow this campaign - as are many of the offspring of Scorpion's, as the mare heads to the finale, the Take 'Em On With 888Sport Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

Running around at Warwick on stable debut, she then fell at Leicester three out when in with every chance.

Finding it hard to get her head in front after finishing third on New Years Eve again at the West Midlands venue, but Nicky believes he has a good one here, and time for her to shine.