Sandown Park Tips: Giovinco to land Friday’s feature

 | December 07 | 

3 mins read

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It's a small but select card at Sandown on Friday, with two Grade 2s - namely the Winter Novices' Hurdle and Esher Novices' Chase - taking centre stage.

I'm against the favourite in both - in the case of the latter, with one who I'm hoping can solidify himself as a 2024 Cheltenham Festival contender.

Sandown Park Tips

  • 13:50 - Insurrection @ 9/4
  • 14:25 - Giovinco @ 6/4

13:50 - Insurrection @ 9/4

'Only' five go to post for this novices' hurdle over two-and-a-half miles, but what a fantastic five it is. Not only are the top British yards represented, but all five runners are last-time-out winners.

Southoftheborder heads the market at time of writing. He's held in high-regard by trainer Nicky Henderson and has won a PTP, bumper and maiden hurdle all rather easily, so he's taken very seriously indeed.

The form of Personal Ambition's success at Warwick last month was given a fair boost recently and Ben Pauling's four-year-old is therefore also respected - while Dan Skelton's Deafening Silence can't be ruled out lightly on the back of a wide-margin victory last time out.

Hat-trick seeking Josh The Boss rates the least likely winner in my book, but he's not without a chance either.

It's Insurrection, for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden, that I've landed on.

I was sweet on a Joe Tizzard-trained novice called Diamond Ri on his hurdling debut at Exeter about a month ago, but he was handed an eight-and-a-half-length beating by the selection.

Originally, I thought the former had underperformed. That remains somewhat true, as he did jump deplorably, but at the same time he was 21L clear of a previous winner and I'm inclined to think it's more so just strong form.

The step up in trip should suit Insurrection who, providing he handles what's likely to be very testing ground, must have as good a chance as any in this very competitive Grade 2 contest.

14:25 - Giovinco @ 6/4

Then, just over half-an-hour later, it's the feature.

The current market suggests this Grade 2 novice chase over three miles is a bit of a match between Stay Away Fay and Giovinco. I agree. The Changing Man is far from hopeless, but he has 15lbs to find on ratings - while Conkwell Legend is 20lbs inferior in that regard.

Albert Bartlett hero Stay Away Fay is a hardy sort who should relish the Sandown hill on testing ground. It'll take a good one to beat him under these circumstances - it just so happens that I think Giovinco is a bit special.

I've been really impressed with the six-year-old - who forms part of my 2024 Cheltenham Festival antepost book - in his two starts over fences to date.

Up until he unseated jockey Stephen Mulqueen, the six-year-old was travelling and jumping excellently at Carlisle - and it was a solid triumph at Aintree last time out, giving away plenty of weight in a trappy contest that featured many omitted fences.

This will suit much better. I suspect Stay Away Fay, who has a 3lbs penalty to contend with, will make the running and Giovinco will track him all the way, before push comes to shove.

Hopefully that's when he shows the ability I - and Lucinda Russell who recently labelled him a "phenomenal horse" - believe he possesses. Then, all roads lead to the Brown Advisory? Fingers crossed.

Find more Horse Racing Tips here at Betfred Insights

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