2020 Scilly Isles Chase tips – Guide to Sandown’s Saturday feature

Scilly Isles Chase Tips

Jon Vine takes a look through the runners in Saturday’s highlight at Sandown and provides readers with his Scilly Isles Chase tips.

The Scilly Isles Chase provides novice chasers in Britain with their final chance to land a Grade One prize before the Cheltenham Festival. The greatest winner of the Scilly Isles Chase has to be future three-time Gold Cup winner Best Mate, who landed this Grade One back in 2002. Last year’s renewal will live long in the memory too, as Defi Du Seuil held off Lostintranslation to collect his first top prize over fences.

For Racing Tips, I’ve taken a look at each of the runners who currently feature in the ante-post betting for Saturday’s renewal of this great race and provided readers with my top Scilly Isles Chase tips.

Good Boy Bobby

The current market leader, who’s won one of his three starts over fences so far. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ youngster went down by a head to Brewin’upastorm on his chasing debut, before another narrow defeat to the impressive Mister Fisher at Cheltenham. Sandwiched in-between was a simply victory at Wetherby, where Good Boy Bobby defeated a subsequent winner by a snug two lengths.

Twiston-Davies’ mount has run well twice around Carlisle, a track which has many similarities with Sandown. This trip looks to be ideal and soft ground won’t be a bother either. A worthy favourite.

Itchy Feet

Ran a blinder to finish third in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Moved up to chasing after finishing fourth to Silver Streak in a Listed race over hurdles in the Autumn. Won as easily as a 1/5 shot should do on his chasing debut at Leicester, where he faced two far-inferior rivals.

His jumping will come under much greater scrutiny in with classier rivals, and jumping is always at a premium here at Sandown. Itchy Feet has much more to prove than many of the others behind him in the betting. He won’t be one of my Scilly Isles Chase tips.


I said when I published this ante-post preview that there was a good chance Laurina will be sent to Sandown over Leopardstown. That has turned out to be correct. On Thursday, Willie Mullins raider was cut into favouritism for this Grade One. She remained in the entries today, with Nico De Boinville booked to take the ride.

On her first start last season, Willie Mullins’ mare came to Sandown, hacking up on heavy ground to win the Unibet Mares’ Hurdle. I’m guessing that ground conditions have swayed Mullins’ thinking, as the going will likely only be yeilding at the Dublin Racing Festival. If Laurina can show the sort of form she produced when beating Minella Indo on her chasing debut, and not the shocking performance she put in over Christmas, she could take all the beating.

Danny Cook and Midnight Shadow return to the stables after winning the Dipper.

Midnight Shadow

Took advantage of Champ’s fall to win the Dipper at Cheltenham. That was his first victory in four starts over fences, having been beaten twice and suffering a fall when looking the most likely winner on the other occasion.

I was excited to see Sue Smith’s charge jump a fence at the start of the season. Yet, I’ve been a little underwhelmed with what he’s produced and the fact that Paint The Dream – a 130-rated horse – got within a length of Midnight Shadow at Cheltenham suggests that wasn’t a high-quality race.

Vision Des Flos

Finally made his chasing debut in the Berkshire Novices’ Chase at Newbury, and only finished eight lengths adrift of Champ in eighth. Faced just one rival over three miles on heavy ground at Chepstow last month. Jumped well enough to win by almost ten lengths.

The highest-rated of these over hurdles and certainly has room for progression over fences. He’s run well here at Sandown in the past and dropping back to this sort of trip seems an excellent idea. A big player if he’s declared.

Grand Sancy

A very capable hurdler, who beat Sceau Royal and Vision Des Flos in the Kingwell Hurdle last season. Thrown straight into Grade One company on his chasing debut, and was found out a little in finishing a 15-length third. Jumped much better on his second chase start in the Wayward Lad, staying on to finish third again behind Global Citizen.

Grand Sancy has been little too keen in the early stages on both starts over fences so far, and can’t afford to do that now he’s stepping up in trip for the first time. Certainly a question surrounding his stamina.

Champagne Platinum

Ended novice hurdles campaign with an appearance in a Grade One at Punchestown. Results over fences haven’t been good though, finishing a 60-length fifth on debut and fourth of four at Newbury last time out.

On both starts, Henderson has pitched Champagne Platinum in with short-priced stablemates and Barry Geraghty didn’t ask him for much on either start. I doubt he will be competitive here, but it seems there’s been a plot to get him in the Close Brothers with a nice low weight.

Vision Des Flos (right) could be primed to strike in the Scilly Isles.

Scilly Isles Chase Verdict

Itchy Feet, Midnight Shadow and Grand Sancy all have questions to answer. Good Boy Bobby, though, looks a fairly solid proposition. Laurina also has a point to prove after her run at Leopardstown, but could take all the beating if back on top form.

That being said, one who looks vastly overpriced to me is VISION DES FLOS (8/1 Betway), and I’m inclined to take an each-way punt on Jonjo O’Neill Jnr’s mount, even with only two paid places available.

Colin Tizzard’s charge did what he needed to on his second chasing start, pulling clear of his lone rival three from home before staying on to score victory. Three miles on heavy ground could have taken it’s toll, but Vision Des Flos hardly had a hard race that day. Add in the fact that Vision Des Flos beat If The Cap Fits in the National Spirit Hurdle on the back of a lesser break this time last year, you could even say the swift turnaround between runs could be a positive.

Dropping back in trip seems a sensible move, especially when you consider Vision Des Flos is not entered in the RSA at Cheltenham. Tizzard’s star has plenty of strong form around right-handed tracks and, if he’s improved as expected in the jumping department, he looks the best each-way Scilly Isle Chase tip in this year’s edition.