Four To Follow: He Ain’t Heavy


As much as we wouldn’t like it to be, the ground is pretty heavy going out there. In the space of a week we’ve gone from freezing over to a bottomless pit. But a drop of rain won’t spoil the party, as there’s some top class action at Sandown, plus action over the National fences at Aintree.



Love Is All Around

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1:15 – Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Grade One) – Love Envoi @ 7/1 (888Sport)

With the ground looking on the boggy side, and more rain expected overnight, it’s unlikely we will see Constitution Hill. Which makes the race wide open, until you see soft ground specialist Love Envoi in the mix. Expect Love Envoi to be short-odds favourite if the unbeaten Champion horse is pulled out. Love Envoi always makes a good impression on reappearance and can build on her defeat to Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle at the Festival.


The Party’s A Bit Heavy

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1:50 – Henry VIII Novice’s Chase (Grade One) – Unexpected Party @ 4/1 (General)

It’s weird to see Unexpected Party in this race, twelve months on from finishing third last year. He’s by far the most experienced in the group, and in open company looks to be threatening. He’s the highest rated horse in the field and given the situation with potential Arkle hopes from the UK, he should have these on toast. Ground won’t be a problem and is stepping back in trip in another weak looking Grade One Novice Chase.


Fontaine Of Youth

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3:35 – London National Handicap Chase – Fontaine Collonges @ 16/5 (BetVictor)

This race is always a highlight as it means we’re getting closer to that yuletide treat of the Welsh National. And with the Trial happening today at Chepstow, it’s worth a pivotal look at both. Mud lovers need apply for both races, and at Sandown one springs to mind.

Fontaine Collonges has the making of staying chaser, and the more mud the better for her. She’s first time out this season for Venetia Williams, who we all know is in fine fettle. Ned Fox claims a crucial five pounds, to make her weight even more attractive. A wind operation will excuse the poor run at the Festival and put her right in the picture for today’s heavy going test.

Another mud-lover at Sandown is Truckers Lodge. Surprising that Paul Nicholls chose to come here instead of Chepstow, the former Welsh National winner has the conditions in his favour. He was unlucky when brought down at Cheltenham, though he may not have won in the firmer conditions that day. The 11-year-old can still show some class in a race that could just fall apart. Worth a shout at 10/1 (Betfred, BetVictor, BetUK).



That Same Lad Again

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2:05 – Boylesports Becher Handicap Chase (Premier) – Ashtown Lad @ 5/1 (William Hill)

It always helps when you have some experience in testing conditions, and over the hardest fences in the land. Ashtown Lad ticks both those boxes. His handicap mark was protected by the Skelton’s who ran him in hurdle races before a poor run in the Topham Chase. He blew the cobwebs off at Wincanton in the Badger Beers and is only two pounds higher than last year’s mark. Harry Skelton also decides to come here instead of Sandown, which could prove key to Ashtown Lad’s chances.

The Big Breakaway also ticks the boxes that Ashtown Lad does, but at a healthier price. He finished fifth in the Badger Beers but sees his handicap mark drop two pounds. A drop like that could prove pivotal. He has experience around the National fences, although will need better luck than falling at the second. A shout at 15/2 (888Sport).

The very best of luck!

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