It’s Grand Military Gold Cup day at Sandown on Friday and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway has been through the card to provide his best bets at the Esher venue.
The 2m novice hurdle (1.15) kicks off the card at Sandown and it provides a good opportunity for Southoftheborder to bounce back from a below-par run here last time.
The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding had looked good when a comfortable winner over course and distance on his previous outing and went off 11-8 favourite on the back of that to land a 2m4f Grade 2 here last time . However, he was beaten when unseating rider two out.
The heavy ground that day is a possible excuse, especially with 2m4f putting more of an emphasis on stamina, and there is a good chance that he can bounce back over this 2m trip.
Southoftheborder is held in high regard by his top stable and it will probably take a smart performance to beat him now that he takes this significant drop in grade after a 49-day break.
The 1m71/2f novice limited handicap chase (2.25) can go to Sir Psycho, who looked good when winning on his return to fences at Ascot in November and didn’t run badly last time.
Sir Psycho went off 4-6 favourite to follow up his Ascot win at Exeter on that occasion and ran into well-backed winner Stormy Flight. The front two were 45 lengths clear of the rest.
That was probably a solid effort off a mark 7lb higher than for his stable debut victory and the handicapper certainly thought so, putting Sir Psycho up another 2lb for finishing second.
A mark of 136 leaves him with top weight, but he might have a class edge now that he drops from a 0-140 into a 0-135 and up-and-coming trainer Harry Derham can coax more progress.
The 2m4f handicap hurdle (3.35) is probably the best race on the card and Nicky Henderson might hold the key. He saddles East India Express and Spring Note and preference is for the James Bowen-ridden Spring Note, who was impressive when winning at Newbury last time.
Spring Note dropped a mile in trip on that occasion and jumped well en route to making all. She won unchallenged by 16 lengths and looked like a horse capable of going in once again.
The handicapper didn’t miss it and has whacked her up 13lb in the weights, but connections were talking in terms of black type after that contest and she is evidently held in high regard.
The step back up to 2m4f shouldn’t be a problem for Spring Note and neither should a mark of 123 if she is going to be good enough to contest Listed and Graded races in coming weeks.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.