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Preview 02 February 2008


3.40 Sandown Totesport Masters Handicap Chase class 2, 3M 1/2F Soft

1. Cerium - Another big Saturday for the Nichols yard in which he has a strong hand for this handicap with the top weight and the talented Gungdu in this race. Comes into the race not in the best form and the 7lbs claimer gives the look of a horse that is considered to high in the handicap. Yet to really stay this trip in two tries he is only 7 and could still improve in time to have a chance and some improvement could come over this trip, but in a competitive race he may just be weighted out of it.

Tissue Price - 20/1

2. Butler's Cabin - Festival winner who comes into this race needing to rediscover his best form. Handicapper at best he does look very high in the weights and needs to put up a grade performance to win from this weight. The trip and the testing ground may be against him and looking at the weights he has a outside chance of landing this prize.

Tissue Price - 33/1

3. Gungadu - A grade 2 novice chaser, hasn't quite fulfilled his potential over fences for Paul Nichols and may look back at the 4 miler at Cheltenham as his undoing, however he showed up very well in the welsh national in which he didn't quite see out the trip but was swinging of the bit around the 3M marker in that race and the drop back in trip is certain to have its positive. That form gives him some positive and he still could be at his best at 8yo to have a say in class 2 handicaps such as this as he is potentially graded class in handicaps, has quite a bit in favour today and is very much to have in mind for taking the honours in this handicap with trip and ground suiting.

Tissue Price - 7/2 fav

4. Harris Bay - A bit of a enigma, but certainly does well for Timmy Murphy who has impeccable timing with the horse at producing him at the right time, he handles the deep ground well at this level of handicapping. Has good form coming into the race and should have a good chance if everything falls right for him. Quite exposed handicapper he has got to beat some potential improvers at a lower weight but he has some claims in the handicap and can't be totally discounted with the ground in favour.

Tissue Price - 14/1

5. Kelami - One of the most raced horses in the race at 10yo but still has strong claims around this level with much in favour and good recent form at Cheltenham to go well in this handicap and the trip suiting for a trainer who knows the time of day for winners at Sandown. The weights have been favourable and everything should be in place for a big run today with another 3lbs dropped in the handicap.

Tissue price - 7/1

6. Eric's Charm - Has cracking form around here and he recent performance over course and distance and the narrow defeat at Exeter the time before suggest he as good as ever this season and even though he is fully exposed he is remarkably consistent. Goes very well this time of year and no doubt's over fitness he is likely to give a good account of himself in what should be a stamina zapping race to saviour. However he may find a few of these just too class for him and place looks his best chance.

Tissue Price - 12/1

7. Irish Raptor - A massive sized horse that has potential just by his scope for improvement. Loves soft ground and stays this trip well he has every chance as long as he doesn't come of the bridle early around a stiff galloping track. Has a lot in favour to run a big race and the last run has put him in with a good chance in this handicap despite the penalty for the win. Nice weight.

Tissue Price - 5/1

8. Caribou - Non runner

Tissue price -

9. Principe Azzuaro - Strikes me as a bit of plodder and should be ideal for this type of event today with the trip in favour, the tacky conditions of the track should help him to run a big race here despite not running the most consistent races on this ground. Suited to biggish types of fields he should get plenty of cover and work his way into the race and under Richard Johnson has a pilot who gets on well with the horse.

Tissue Price - 7/1

10. Tora Bora - Has progressed well this season and has a future as a chaser as he is still relatively young for a chaser at the age of 6. Was found wanting in a grade 3 handicap seven days ago when he had quite a bit in favour and has to improve to land this sort of race. The ground suits him well with a good action on testing ground and even though he would be more suited to the smaller gaff tracks he is one that will no doubt win a smaller handicap before the season is out.

Tissue Price - 25/1

11. My Immortal - David Pipe has been in good form of late and his low weighted runner here has a good chance from near the bottom of the handicap. Has fairly decent form recently to make him of some interest and the 5lbs clammier makes him very nicely weighted below 10 stone if he can do the weight that is. Not as much in favour as first appears on paper with quicker ground on a sharper track in a field he can dictate most probably his most optimum conditions.

Tissue Price - 12/1

12. Burntoakboy - Stayed on well last time from the rear at Cheltenham and well suited to the stiff climb at Cheltenham where he won the 2007 coral cup in good style, trying chasing late as he had good form as a hurdler and landed his big prize and the 2nd last time in a tougher race should stand him very much in good stead for this handicap at the foot of the weights, however he had more in favour last week then this and may just find one more suited to the conditions.

Tissue Price - 10/1

Tisue prices - Gungdu 7/2, Irish Raptor 5/1, Kelami, Principe Azzuaro 7/1, Burntoakboy 10/1, My Immortal, Eric's Charm 12/1, Harris Bay 14/1, Cerium 20/1, Tora Bora 25/1, Butler's Cabin 33/1.

Verdict  Gungdu has great claims for the champion trainer while Irish Raptor has a great chance of following up, however Kelami is well overpriced for a horse that has a lot in favour and a trainer that does well around this track, Principe Azzuaro has a great chance for a unexposed horse and should go well as well.

Selection  Kelami 1pt @ 20-1 + 3pts place @ 5/1

Well Chief