CALL ME LORD (2.25) can provide Nicky Henderson with the perfect launchpad for Cheltenham by landing the Imperial Cup at Sandown.
The top weight clearly has no easy task but he has shown a distinct like for the Esher circuit, scoring emphatically on two previous visits.
Still only a five-year-old, Call Me Lord also acquitted himself well in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, chasing home Elgin and Ch’Tibello. With Cliffs Of Dover setting a breakneck pace before folding, it was something of a messy event and Call Me Lord didn’t find much cover through most of the race.
Hendo also saddles favourite Whatswrongwithyou and this one doesn’t look overburdened for his victory over stablemate Ok Corral at Newbury. He returned to the track last month to whip Rockpoint by nine lengths but the runner-up was beaten 30 lengths behind Global Citizen at Kempton a fortnight ago which is a slight worry.
Evan Williams’s Silver Streak made an early exit in the Betfair Hurdle but his second to Hunters Call at Ascot before Christmas entitles him to plenty of respect.
MELROSE BOY (1.50) has proved a tad disappointing but the return to 2m 4f could trigger another victory.
He handled Sandown well enough when third to Topofthegame and Golan Fortune in a Grade 3 over three miles, after sauntering to a 50 lengths success in an egg and spoon race at Fontwell.
Melrose Boy posted another creditable effort when third to Mr Whipped and Gowiththeflow at Newbury in December and despite being nudged up 2lb for his latest placed effort, he wins a narrow vote.
SHANROE SANTOS (3.35) bids to repeat last year’s triumph in the 3m handicap chase.
He races off a 9lb higher mark this time following a 13 lengths victory at Carlisle last time out but Lucy Wadham’s gelding goes well in the mud.
The Listed mares’ bumper is sandwiched in the middle of the card and DUHALLOW GESTURE (3.00) made a favourable impression when beating Diamond Gait fairly comfortably at Huntingdon on Boxing Day.
Aimee De Sivola receives the four-year-old allowance and this Newbury winner should go well, with Richard Johnson replacing Lizzie Kelly.
The Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton is a reminder that the turf Flat season is just around the corner and CONSTANTINO (2.05) may follow-up last Saturday’s cosy win over in-form Humbert at Lingfield.
Richard Fahey’s blinkered gelding travelled strongly in behind the pacesetters and a 3lb rise is very fair. Constantino has yet to race on the Wolverhampton Tapeta surface but he has some solid form at Newcastle which offers encouragement that he could develop into a very good all-weather handicapper.
- Sandown 2.25 – Call Me Lord (7-1, bet365)
- Sandown 1.50 – Melrose Boy (10-1, Ladbrokes)
- Sandown 3.00 – Duhallow Gesture (4-1, bet365)
- Sandown 3.35 – Shanroe Santos (11-4, Paddy Power)
- Wolverhampton 2.05 – Constantino (11-2, William Hill)
Johnb's Saturday Tips
- Wolverhampton 2.05 – Mythical Madness (16-1, Sky Bet) eachway 1/5 odds 1-2-3-4
- Sandown 2.25 – whatswrongwithyou (4-1, Sky Bet) NAP
- Gowran Park 3.05 – Robin Des Mana (9-2, L
- Sandown 3.35 – Fourth Act (11-2, Be NB