Saturday’s Big Race Preview, 7th January 2017

There are 2 big races to look forward to, at Sandown on Saturday. We preview both encounters and provide our top tips.

Mares’ Hurdle (Listed) (4yo+, 2m 3f 173y, Class 1, 7 runners)

Going: Hurdle: soft, good to soft in places; chase: good to soft, soft in places

This renewal of the race won last year by Polly Peachum looks very competitive and none of the 7 runners are without a chance.

Desert Queen fell when an odds-on favourite at Wincanton on Boxing Day. It was only her 3rd run over fences, but you would want to see how her confidence has been affected before backing Harry Fry’s charge again – even over hurdles.

One horse that certainly has put a December fall behind her is Briery Queen. Since coming to grief at Haydock, at the end of 2015, she’s completed all 4 of her races and won the last 3 of them.

The last of those victories was at Cheltenham, in a Class 2 handicap. Briery Queen gave weight away to the likes of Debdebdeb and Run Ructions Run. That form should give her the edge over Lifeboat Mona, whose wins have all come in fairly modest-looking company.

Betting Tip: Briery Queen (1 point win) Bet Now!

Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (4yo+, 1m 7f 216y, Class 1, 6 runners)

Going: Hurdle: soft, good to soft in places; chase: good to soft, soft in places

Colin Tizzard’s decision to thrust Finian’s Oscar into a Grade 1 contest, at such an early stage of his career, has certainly raised eyebrows. The 5-year-old certainly won with ease, on debut at Hereford, but this race is a world away from that Class 4 procession.

Paul Nicholls’ Capitaine looks by far the better bet. Runner-up in the Listed Newton Novices’ Hurdle (Haydock), he then beat Captain Forez by 3.5 lengths to win the Grade 2 Kennel Gate at Ascot.

Both of Nicky Henderson’s horses ran disappointingly that day and Capitaine himself was somewhat keen. If the Montmartre-sired gelding settles, he should be the one to beat here.

Betting Tip: Capitaine (3 points win) Bet Now!


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