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Ginger Joe - Saturday Preview - Three Grade 1s at Sandown

Publish Date: 08/12/2023
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • A preview of all three Grade 1 races at Sandown
  • Constitution Hill is back in action in the Fighting Fifth!
  • Can Edwardstone revive his previous form?

A fantastic weekend worth of racing ahead!

Racing fans! What a treat we are in for this weekend - we have no less than three Grade 1s happening at Sandown and some awesome horses running in all of them.

But first, the (slightly) bad news. There will be a track inspection taking place at Sandown at 7.30am on Saturday, which will determine whether or not the meeting goes ahead.

Nevertheless, I’m putting my doubts to one side and getting stuck straight into the action regardless to bring you an exclusive preview of each race.

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13:15 Constitution Hill - Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle 2m (Grade 1)

The Fighting Fifth was a no-go due to frozen ground at Newcastle last weekend and was subsequently rerouted to Sandown tomorrow. We are all in for a real treat this weekend if they all line up, but Nicky Henderson has already expressed “concerns” about the going.

Nevertheless, Constitution Hill is still running (as it stands this evening) but with the inspection coming early at Sandown tomorrow, it would be no surprise if connections decided to sidestep tomorrow’s encounter and waited for better ground nearer to Christmas.

I am desperate to see him back on a racetrack strutting his stuff because he should wipe the floor in this field…. That said, Constitution Hill isn’t the only interesting runner in the race.  Last year’s Mares’ Hurdle runner up, Love Envoi, is also declared here. She was only beaten by the iconic Honeysuckle that day and she will make light of these testing conditions.

What makes this race even more fascinating still, is that the Mares’ Novice Hurdle winner, You Wear It Well, is also in contention. So, regardless of whether or not Constitution Hill runs, I’m really keen to observe how the two mares perform.

And then of course we have Shishkin, who I’m finding hard to read after his shock refusal to race last time out at Ascot. So at this point, there are lot of unknown quantities here, but what I do know, is that if Constitution Hill runs, he’s your winner.

13.50 Colonel Harry - Henry VIII Novices Chase 2m (Grade 1)

This two-miler for the Novices is a fiddly race to try and figure out and that’s because (with due respect to the runners) I simply don’t see any Grade 1 performers in this field. JPR One sets the standard, although I have doubts about his chances tomorrow.

He made a huge blunder at Cheltenham, which unseated his jockey at the last. But the problem here is that he was looking like the winner when it happened. To cut a long story short, he has been given an 11lb hike for that performance, he is in much better company here and the predicted going is a bit iffy for him.

Moving on, Dan Skelton’s Unexpected Party could go well off bottom weight, but I think this race could end up in a tussle between Iceo and Colonel Harry. There’s no doubt that Iceo is a decent mover, I’m not convinced he has the gears for two miles, but I’m sure the ground being deep won’t phase him.

After all that debating, the one to be on this week is Colonel Harry, who will find this ground no trouble whatsoever and is a very nice young improver. So, my money is on Colonel Harry for the Snowden team to win here.

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15:00 Jonbon - Tingle Creek Chase 2m (Grade 1)

The Tingle Creek is a race I usually look forward to, but this year’s renewal looks to me like a bit of a one-horse party. Edwardstone hasn’t been the same for some time now and I wouldn’t back him with anyone’s money.

Boothill and Haddex Des Obeaux are two improvers, but not yet up to Grade 1 standards in my opinion. Which leads me to the firm conclusion that this is Jonbon's race for the taking. He is a superb jumper and if he is destined to win at Cheltenham in March, then he will brush this field aside. It’s not the race that I’d like it to be, but at least Jonbon brings some real class into this rather lukewarm field.

My top picks for Sandown on Saturday

  • 13:15 - Constitution Hill
  • 13:50 - Colonel Harry
  • 15:00 - Jonbon

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