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Saturday's expert quotes - Nicky Henderson and Jessica Harrington discuss their runners with Unibet

Jonathan Vine 2 Feb 2019
Nicky Henderson poses at Ascot.

Using their blogs with Unibet, top trainers Nicky Henderson and Jessica Harrington discuss their runners at today's big meetings at Sandown and Leopardstown.

Sandown's card highlights proceedings in Britain this afternoon, with the first day of Leopardstown's Dublin Racing Festival dominating the sporting horizon over in Ireland. Using their blogs with Unibet, Nicky Henderson and Jessica Harrington discuss their chances of saddling winners at today's major televised meetings.

Nicky Henderson

Sandown

12:40 Novices’ Hurdle
El Kaldoun (4/1 Unibet)
He won a Bumper at Lingfield and was placed after that but we thought we might as well get on hurdling with him as he’s schooled well and should make into a nice prospect. He’s a lovely big horse who is going to make a chaser, so to coin a very familiar phrase, “whatever he achieves over hurdles will be a bonus.”

Raising The Bar (8/1 Unibet)
He’s been off for a very long time but has actually been going along very nicely so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run a decent race. Ground-wise, I simply don’t know, but it’s the same for them all and I just have to get him started somewhere. He’s had a wind op but it’s his legs which have caused the most trouble so I’ll be happy for a solid run.

1:50 Listed Contenders Hurdle
Buveur D’Air (Barry Geraghty) (1/7 Unibet)
Hopefully the meeting goes ahead as this has been the plan ever since the Unibet Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and I don’t like the alternative because the timing for this race is perfect. If it is off, I’ll have to take a look at the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso but that’s in two weeks time which is closer to Cheltenham than I would like. As with Altior two weeks ago, there’s not much more I can add that hasn’t already been said. Things obviously didn’t go to script last time but he made a horrible mistake at the last on the far side where his head almost hit the floor which could have pulled him about all over the place. Verdana Blue is very good on fast ground and while I’m not saying Buveur D’Air doesn’t go on it, he is much more useful on soft ground, which I suspect he’ll get here.

3:35 Handicap Chase
Divine Spear (Nico de Boinville) (20/1 Unibet)
We all thought it was pretty quick at Ascot so I didn’t dare run him because he didn’t enjoy it at Cheltenham the time before so what’s the point in doing it all over again. It’s a fiercely competitive contest but our horse does at least get his ground but I’d be looking to see him run a decent race and put his run last time out behind him.

Kilcrea Vale (Jerry McGrath) (16/1 Unibet)
He wants to go up to three miles nowadays so this will suit him and he’s been in good form at home. He’s very street-wise and will go on the ground.

4:10 Novices’ Handciap Hurdle - She Mite Bite (Nico de Boinville) (4/1 Unibet)
I think this filly does have a chance and her form is pretty good. I was praying this meeting would go ahead as I thought this race is ideal and she ran well behind a good mare of ours called Yellow Dockets. It’s a Handicap and I think her mark is very workable.

Jessica Harrington at the Curragh.


Jessica Harrington

Leopardstown

12.50 - Magnium (Robert Power) (33/1 Unibet)
He ran very well in the Grade 1 at Naas and the step up to two miles and six will suit him. There is no Battleoverdoyen in the line-up, but it’s a hugely competitive race and on ratings, our horse goes into the race with a chance. We were just touched off in this race last year with Jetz and Magnium is more of a stayer than him. Ideally, he’d want softer ground, but Robert will let him bowl along and we’ll see how he gets on. He’s in the Albert Bartlett and the Ballymore at Cheltenham and tomorrow will tell us more about him - I’d like to take him to Cheltenham, as the strong gallop over there, would really suit him. I’ve been very happy with Magnium and I think he’ll run a big race.

1.25 - Supasundae (Robert Power) (3/1 Unibet)
This is the race of the day and like last year, Supasunade, heads into the race a little bit under the radar, which suits us. I think he has really sharpened up for his two runs this season and he appears to be getting quicker with age. Apples Jade looks sure to bowl along, as she is dropping back to two miles and she has been very impressive, winning her three starts this season. Melon was second in the Unibet Champion Hurdle last season and is bound to have come on for his first run of the season at Christmas time. Supasundae finished in front of him and Petit Mouchoir at Christmas and all I can say is that I’ve been delighted with our horse since. He improved throughout last season and he will love the good ground. It’ll be a hell of a race and they will go some gallop, but that will suit our horse and it would great to win this race again.

2.00 - Jezki (Daragh O’Keeffe) (40/1 Unibet) & Jetez (Robert Power) (11/1 Unibet)
We run two in this race and Jezki has been a great servant and it’s amazing to think that he ran in the Champion Hurdle at this fixture behind Hurricane Fly in 2014 and while he’s not as good as he was, he has dropped to reasonable mark. Daragh is good value for his 7lb claim and that will help him. It looks a very competitive race and it won’t be easy for him, but he should run well.

Gerry McGrath who owns Jetez, used to own Jezki and he has bred both horses. Gerry has been a very lucky owner for me and I think his horse has a great chance. He loves good ground and he was an impressive winner here at Christmas time and he ran a solid race when second in a Grade 2 the last day at Punchestown. He likes to be handy and that tends to be a plus in a race like this with so many runners. He has a reasonable weight on his back – anything blow 11st is a help in these competitive handicaps. We won this race back in 2012 with Citizenship, and recent results show, that it really favours those with a low weight. Our horse is improving and I think he’ll run very well.


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Saturday's expert quotes - Nicky Henderson and Jessica Harrington discuss their runners with Unibet

Using their blogs with Unibet, top trainers Nicky Henderson and Jessica Harrington discuss their runners at today's big meetings at Sandown and Leopardstown on Saturday 2nd February.

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