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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 9th December 2023

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Sandown Park, Aintree & Navan

Sandown Park

Betfair Claremont Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) 11.35
Booster Bob
The opener should be a good contest between Alan King’s Helnwein and Olly Murphy’s Booster Bob, with a marginal preference for the latter. Both arrive here on the back of a win in Class 4 contests, but the selection’s cosy 18 length win at Uttoxeter on heavy ground caught the eye. It’s a stiff finish here at Sandown Park on ground with plenty of cut in it, but Booster Bob looks the one to cope best and gets the nod

Betfair Supports Racing With Pride Mares’ Handicap Hurdle 12.05
Elle Est Beau
In a tricky looking affair, a chance is taken on Dan Skelton’s mare, Elle Est Beau. This Walk In The Park mare outran her odds when sent off at 150/1 last time out at Warwick, with the returning Tristan Durrell again taking of a handy 5lb claim. An open race, with a few having questions to answer, so Elle Est Beau gets the vote from the bottom of the weights

Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle 12.40
Operation Manna
Tom Lacey might have the answer to this Handicap Hurdle with Operation Manna. Lining up in search of the hat-trick, after wins here and at Lingfield last time out, Cameron Iles is getting a good thing going with this Champs Elysees gelding, and his 7lb claim adds to the appeal. Ground to suit, and the hat-trick very much on the cards

Fighting Fifth Hurdle (Grade 1) 1.15
Reverse Forecast: Constitution Hill & You Wear It Well (nap)
With Constitution Hill all but impossible to oppose at the start of this big campaign, who’s going to chase the superstar home? Our guess is Jamie Snowden’s mare, You Wear It Well, who lines up here with race fitness assured after landing the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at Wetherby five weeks ago. She won all the way from the front on soft ground there, so will relish conditions here at Sandown Park. Nicky Henderson’s Shiskin is on a bit of a rescue mission after refusing to run at Ascot two weeks ago, but might just need further these days anyway, so the trainer sends him out here just to get a run into him. Constitution Hill was the outstanding horse of last year, and has it all in front of him this season, but with two wins on this track already in the book, has to go off a short-order favourite. The reverse forecast with You Wear It Well looks the value bet here, with Love Envoi the best of the rest should you want to back the three

Betfair Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 1.50
JPR One (nb)
Joe Tizzard’s young star was desperately unlucky when unseating at the last in the Arkle Trial at Cheltenham last month, having seemingly wrapped up the race. He can make amends here and get his fledgling chasing career back to winning ways, remaining totally unexposed over fences and likely to go to post a hot favourite. Paul Nicholls is in superb form but Iceo has 11 lengths to find with JPR One from their clash at Newton Abbot, so Jamie Snowden’s Colonel Harry rates the main threat. JPR One to make up for that slip at Cheltenham and score Grade 1 honours here

Rachael Blackmore Serial Winners Fund Handicap Hurdle 2.25

Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) 3.00
The best two mile Novice Chaser on this side of the Irish Sea last term, it took Irish raider El Fabiolo to spoil an otherwise perfect season. This campaign is all about the road to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next March, where this pair would be expected to line up against each other once more. Jonbon has started perfectly, winning by over 9 lengths in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham from two of these rivals, Edwardstone and Nube Negra, and it’s hard to see a reversal of those placings given conditions here. Boothill is improving well with a brace of wins in Ascot Handicaps, but this looks a tough ask for Harry Fry’s Presenting gelding, so it’s hard to oppose Jonbon at very skinny odds

Betfair Exchange London National Handicap Chase 3.35
It may pay to side with David Dennis’s Cylcop for this marathon. The veteran chaser is always there or thereabouts and will still be going when plenty of others have thrown in the towel. Last month, he ran a cracker here when third to Good Boy Bobby and this extra trip on deeper ground should suit. Fully out there after 45 starts over fences, but solid each way claims once more


BoyleSports Best Odds Guaranteed On Racing Beginners’ Chase 11.45
Golden Son
French import Golden Son may be the one to follow here with soft ground expected at the Aintree track. The Martaline gelding has made the mover over to Paul Nicholls’s Ditcheat yard from Francois Nicolle, so will be right at home on ground this deep ground. Pembroke disappointed over the bare minimum here in October, and he Walked Over in his last run at Warwick, so it’s tricky to estimate how big a threat he will be. Just the four runners, so a trappy affair, but Golden Son gets the nudge

BoyleSports Houghton Mares’ Chase (Listed) 1.30
Pink Legend
Venetia Williams will be hoping that Pink Legend can act on this ground to take this Mares’ Listed Chase. Though she might not want too much more rain, the same would be true of Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Zambella, and these two should be the ones to keep on side. Zambella will be going for a race treble here, having landed the race here in 2021 when it was moved from the usual Carlisle venue, and scored again back in Cumbria last year. Venetia Williams will have Pink Legend ready to go, and she goes well fresh, so gets the tick ahead of Zambella

BoyleSports Becher Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 2.05
The Big Breakaway
It’s hard to tell how The Big Breakaway will get on over these fences on the National Course, having only got over one last April. That said, Joe Tizzard’s charge was badly bumped when going down at the second fence, but at least will know what to expect over the first on Saturday. He’s got a big weight to lump around here, but if staying out of trouble, this could be his day. So often the bridesmaid over fences, with just the one win in thirteen starts, but five runners-up spots, so must have a real chance

BoyleSports Moneback Meetings Everyday Juvenile Hurdle (Listed) 2.40
Le Fauve
Dan Skelton sends out French import Le Fauve for this Listed contest, and the French import might be worth putting in the tracker. His sole run under rules at Bordeaux showed plenty of ability, and this rangy type looks a good addition to the yard. Interesting


Tote Navan Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 1.07
Better Days Ahead
Gordon Elliott holds the key to this Grade 2 contest with Better Days Ahead. He has responded well to the step up in trip this season, having every chance when falling three out at Down Royal on his seasonal reappearance, before making amends at Fairyhouse in a Maiden in good style. Ground to suit, and Black Type on offer for this progressive sort

Foxrock Handicap Chase (Listed) 2.17
Mars Harper
It could pay to side with another Cullentra inmate in Mars Harper for this Listed Chase. He’s been knocking on the door from November of last year, in a busy campaign that has seen him rack up thirteen starts in as many months. Despite that busy spell, he looked as fresh as ever when runner-up at Punchestown two weeks ago, and can go one better here. Conditions to suit, and another big run on the cards, with Jack Kennedy aboard adding to the appeal

The Mandarin

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