1.50pm Sandown Tips & Betting Preview 07/01/2017

Plenty of decent horses declared here, and with four winning favourites in the last 10 years punters will be hopeful that we can find the winner again in 2017 in our race preview. Two miles at Sandown can take some getting with the stiff uphill finish changing many a race, but thankfully we have another classy field this year. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won this race three times in the last decade, and  he will rely on Ulck Du Lin (12/1 Each Way) in 2017, though at first glance he has a bit to find. Digging deeper we note that he has been running in some pretty hot races of late and has the very useful Jack Sherwood on his back (claiming three pounds), and should be cherry ripe now after a fifth to the classy Ultragold at Newbury. Dropped a pound for that he races off the same mark as when a nose second over course and distance last February, and with the majority of his career wins in small fields like today he has an excellent chance of scoring this afternoon.

The Philip Hobbs trained Garde La Victoire (2/1) is all set to carry top weight of eleven stone twelve, with Richard Johnson booked to ride, though carrying that amount here will take some doing. Last time out the eight-year-old ran over hurdles and was a perfectly respectable third to Yanworth at Ascot over further than this trip, a blunder two out putting pay to any chance he might have had. His chasing form is even better, with a second to Sir Valentino at Exeter when last seen over the larger obstacles, and a repeat of that effort would see him challenging this afternoon, even though he has to carry three pounds more thanks to the dreaded handicapper.

Recent winners are thin on the ground with the obvious exception of the Tom Symons trained Hollywoodien (100/30) who scored by a fairly comfortable five lengths at Wetherby over further when seeing off Astracad off a handicap rating eight pounds lower than he has to shoulder now. That is a quite serious rise in the weights but he looked to be idling once he hit the front and could be interesting dropped back to this trip, and may even be the one with the most improvement to come at the tender age of six.

Bold Henry (8/1) has been quietly backed at bigger prices in the last few days even if he doers appear to be the Philip Hobs second string. He ddi win the race last year off a rating five pounds higher so his case is clear, but he has raced four times since without success and has presumably had his problems. if back to his best he can go well again this afternoon but he is yet to show that on the race track this season.

One more dark horse to go, and the Evan Williams trained De Faoithsedream (6/1) is a pretty useful tool when everything goes his way, and would be more than capable of winning this off his current mark. Last time out he was going well enough in front at Cheltenham in the race where Vaniteux finished third to suggest he would have been involved in the finish before tipping up after the third last, and off of the same rating now, he would be a serious player if he can get round in one piece.

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