Turf Talk: Venetia Williams can complete a hat-trick of wins at Sandown
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls won the final Grade One race of last year with Hermes Allen and has a good chance of winning the first in 2023 with Tahuruma.
This six-year-old tackles the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday having won both his outings this season in the style of a progressive young hurdler.
The favourite for the race is the Nicky Henderson-trained Luccia, who is unbeaten and receives a vital 7lb mare’s allowance. Both are respected, but I think the Henry De Bromhead-trained Arctic Bresil represents a bit of value.
Having won a point-to-point he impressed on his hurdling debut at Cork beating a strong 22 runner field. He led most of the way that day and pulled clear on similar yielding ground he will probably face at Sandown.
He is as low as 12/1 for the Ballymore Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival so is obviously well thought of at home.
Venetia Williams is always the trainer to follow at this time of the year and she is double-handed in the Veterans Chase with Chambard and Coo Star Sivola. The latter has been transferred from the Nick Williams’ yard and was well beaten on his debut for the yard at Haydock.
That was however after a 595-day break, so he should improve for the run. He is an out-and-out stayer, so the heavier the ground the better, and he has got into the race with a nice low weight.
Williams can also strike in the last race with Djelo. This son of Monmartre won on heavy ground in Nancy and was impressive on his first run for the yard in England when winning at Exeter. He disappointed when brought out eight days later, but looks a good recruit for the stable.
I will go ‘all-in’ with Williams in suggesting her Frero Banbou is the one for the two-mile chase. He is a course and distance winner and another who will relish heavy ground.
Garlick’s Goodies: Saturday Sandown 1:50 – Frero Banbou; 2:25 – Arctic Bresil; 3:00 – Coo Star Sivola; 3:35 - Djelo.