Paul Nicholls has been in some serious form of late, sending out six winners from his last eleven runners! He has a couple of runners on Friday at Chepstow which could give him even more winners, but it’s his fantastic four at Sandown we’re interested in. He’s got four BIG chances on their Jump Finale card on Saturday, all live on ITV – we talk you through their chances.
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Knappers Hill (1:50 Sandown – bet365 Novices’ Championship Final Handicap Hurdle)
KNAPPERS HILL can get Paul Nicholls off to a flyer in the opener. The trainer won this race two years ago so knows the type of horse needed to win this, and Knappers Hill looks the ideal type here.
Two miles is his optimum trip, having won two of his six wins over this distance. More importantly, the good ground is going to be perfect for him. He has won each of his four races on good ground, and his only poor run this season has been on soft ground and over an unsuitable 2m4f.
He has won three of his six races on his debut season over hurdles, and the only times he has failed to win has been in Graded company. Everything points towards a big run from him here. His biggest danger is likely to be Jonjo O’Neill’s Head Law, who has rattled in a quickfire hat-trick of wins and could still be improving. However, it’s worth siding with the proven quality of the Nicholls runner here to get the acca off to the perfect start!
Saint Calvados (2:25 Sandown – bet365 Oaksey Chase)
Next on the list is SAINT CALVADOS. He may have only had three runs this season, but they’ve all been in Grade 1 company and this drop back into Grade 2 company will surely benefit him.
He was impressive on his reappearance run in the King George on Boxing day, running well throughout before eventually tiring and finishing third. He had an excuse for his poor showing in the Ascot Chase next time out, after he was found to have burst a blood vessel after soon pulling up when blundering five out. After being given time to recover from that, he didn’t disgrace himself in the Marsh Chase at Aintree earlier this month, finishing fifth but well ahead of the other two who finished.
Although never racing at this distance before, he has form over 2m4f and 3m so the trip shouldn’t be a concern. The drop to Grade 2 company will see him in better light and he looks to have a huge chance here.
The likely challenge will come from Nicky Henderson’s Mister Fisher, but having won one of his four races this season (he’s pulled up in two of the others), it’s worth sticking with the Nicholls form and the acca can continue onto the next race!
Greaneteen (3:00 Sandown – bet365 Celebration Chase)
Paul Nicholls won this race last year with GREANETEEN and is the overall leading trainer in this race having won it six times. He sends out Greaneteen for the race again this year and they look to have an excellent chance or making it back-to-back victories in the race. He absolutely loves Sandown – with a Chase record at the course reading 211 (the second being behind stablemate Politologue, who was a heavy favourite) and can bolster his record here.
He oozed class when winning the Tingle Creek Chase earlier this season, and wasn’t disgraced when finishing behind Shishkin in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over the festive period. His last performance can be ignored, where he didn’t run his race at all. But back at a course he loves, and on suitable ground he can resume winning ways on Saturday.
Nube Negra will give him plenty to think about, but he hasn’t been seen since Greaneteen finished comfortably clear of him in the Tingle Creek Chase. There’s no reason for him to reverse that form so Nicholls can gain yet another win in the race.
Enrilo (3:32 Sandown – bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase)
The final leg of the acca is ENRILO, who won the race last year but was demoted to third after hanging left in the run-in and hampering a couple of rivals. He comes to life around Sandown, having been first past the post on both his races here in his career, and is weighted to go well in this again.
He’s only 1lb higher than he was in this last year, and did incredibly well to finish first past the post after making a couple of big big mistakes over a couple of fences. The blunder two out cost him a lot of momentum and had he jumped it better, the fact he drifted left probably wouldn’t have mattered.
The Christian Williams duo Kitty’s Light and Win My Wings will be tough to beat, but Enrilo is much better off at the weights than Kitty’s Light and Win My Wings is at his highest ever rating after trouncing the field in the Scottish National earlier this month. Enrilo has the course form, the jockey and trainer in hot form, and tends to run best on good ground so has everything in his favour in this. He can give Paul Nicholls yet another winner on the card and hopefully complete our acca!
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