Turf Talk: Could Revels Hill triumph at Sandown on last day of National Hunt season?

Harrogate Advertiser horse racing correspondent Jeff Garlick’s latest weekly column.
Revels Hill in action last year. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty ImagesRevels Hill in action last year. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Revels Hill in action last year. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

It is the last day of the National Hunt season on Turf at Sandown Park on Saturday, where the feature race is the Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase.

For readers of a certain age, which includes yours truly, this race will always be called the ‘Whitbread’. Fond memories are recalled of such great horses as Arkle, Mill House and Desert Orchid winning this famous race.

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The class of horse entering this race has dropped due to the proximity of the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals, though it still remains a tricky one to solve.

Last week’s Scottish National winner Kitty’s Light could make a quick reappearance, but I like the look of the Harry Fry-trained Revels Hill. He has been knocking on the door in these long-distance chases this year and looks to have dropped to a winnable weight.

Mucho Mas and Enrilo are two others to consider in what is a competitive renewal.

The 1958 Whitbread was won by Taxidermist ridden by a young amateur called John Lawrence, who later became famous racing owner and pundit Lord Oaksey.

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The chase named in ‘the Noble Lord’s’ honour can be won by the Paul Nicholls-trained Solo. Nicholls will collect his 14th trainers title on Saturday and can celebrate with victory for this seven-year-old, who has been saved for the better ground found in Spring.

Josh Gifford won the Whitbread as a jockey on Larbawn in 1968 and then trained Shady Deal to win in 1982. He also has a race named in his honour, the novice chase, where I fancy course specialist Hudson De Grugy to run well. He has triumphed at the Esher track four times, twice over these tricky fences.

Jonbon had little more than an exercise canter when winning by 43 lengths at Aintree two weeks ago. He could run in the Celebration Chase, but my preference is for Greaneteen. He is going for a hat-trick in this race and has a good break to recover from his Cheltenham exertions.

Garlick’s Goodies: Saturday Sandown 1:40 - Greaneteen; 2:15 – Revels Hill; 2:50 – Solo; 3:25 – Hudson De Grugy.

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