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WATCH: What A Shout: Longsdon hopeful Snow can thrive in the rain

It's the first full weekend of 2023 and, with it, the opening Grade 1 races on both sides of the Irish Sea at Sandown and Naas.

The Tolworth Hurdle (2.25) is Saturday's main attraction in Britain, while a day later it is the Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle over in Co Kildare that opens up the top-level action in Ireland for another year.

On this week's What A Shout, we hear from trainer Charlie Longsdon, who gives us an update on his impressive youngster Rare Edition.

We also get the latest news on Snow Leopardess, who goes for the Veterans' Chase at Sandown on Saturday, as well as tips for Sandown and Wincanton with Dave Orton, Racing Post tipster Paul Kealy and bet365's own Pat Cooney.

Watch the full video on the link above and read below for our best bits from the latest edition of What A Shout in association with bet365.

Kealy's note of caution for Hermes Allen fan-club

The final British Grade 1 of 2022 was the Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury and it was won in ultra-impressive fashion by Hermes Allen for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.

Hermes Allen has won all three starts over hurdles, including at Cheltenham in November, and is now the 10/3 favourite for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle in the Cotswolds in March.

However, Racing Post tipster Paul Kealy sees some reasons to be wary of that status.

"I was very, very impressed with Hermes Allen – it was hard not be," says Keals. "He cruised through the race and went further and further clear on the bridle and it was a lovely win. But we've seen it all before and that's the only issue.

"He's now favourite for the Ballymore. Paul Nicholls has had four winners of the Challow before this and three of them went straight to the Ballymore…all of them, including Denman, were put in their places by Irish-trained horses!

"The worry is that Willie Mullins will have a dozen horses that are better than the Challow runner-up. The good thing is he's been to Cheltenham and won well on decent ground – so he doesn't have the unknown to him."

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Snow Leopardess heads for Veterans' Final

Charlie Longsdon enjoyed a fantastic festive run with his horses and is keen to remain in good tune going into the New Year. 

He spoke to Dave Orton about plenty of those that did well over Christmas and where they might be aiming during the spring, before turning his attention to this weekend.

He runs 15/2 Snow Leopardess in the Veterans' Final (3.00) at Sandown on Saturday afternoon. The mare is a former winner of the Becher Chase and, while well beaten in that Aintree contest last month, her trainer is eyeing a big run now.

"I think she's got a great chance. We have rain forecast (on Saturday) which I think is massive," says the trainer.

"She takes rivals out of their comfort zones in the middle part of a race, and that's the key to her really. If it's very soft ground, which it looks like it will be, I'm hoping Aidan Coleman will be really positive on her and take them out of that comfort zone because she just gallops and gallops and loves it.

"She's taken a long time to come to hand this year. She didn't get her prep run for the Becher Chase which meant she was a bit short there. She ran well for a long way at Aintree and has improved since. She likes wet days, and I'm hoping she will get that!"

Lion could roar in Tolworth upset

The Tolworth Hurdle (2.25) is the Grade 1 feature at Sandown on Saturday and some big yards are sending unbeaten hurdlers into battle.

Paul Nicholls will look to begin 2023 as he ended last year, by bagging the big prize on a Saturday afternoon, and his Tahmuras is rated a 5/2 chance after two impressive wins over timber so far.

Henry De Bromhead sends over 10/3 Arctic Bresil after an impressive first-time-out hurdles win at Cork – with Rachael Blackmore in town to ride – while Gary Moore's Authorised Speed is 7/4 to continue his perfect start over hurdles with a third straight win.

He triumphed in a course and distance race last month that was won twice in the last three years by the subsequent Tolworth winner.

Evan Williams' L'astroboy and Kerry Lee's Nemean Lion are amongst those looking to have a say in a strong Tolworth.

Pat Cooney points to six of the previous eight favourites winning as a good omen for Authorised Speed, who was as big as 5/2 on Thursday, though he's siding with Nemean Lion as the each-way option at 16/1.

"You don't see Kerry Lee horses running in a lot of Grade 1 races – they only run them if they believe they have a chance," says Pat. "I can see value in him at the price – I'm kind of smelling an upset in this race."

Paul Kealy, meanwhile, feels there "isn't a superstar in the race" and backs up the theory that Kerry Lee's record when running horses in graded company is very strong while adding ground conditions for Nemean Lion are ideal and that he "should go close".

Dave Orton is siding with Authorised Speed, a horse he believes will keep improving with his racing having at times looked keen so far in his outings over hurdles. 

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