Racing: Punters' Guide

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The Independent Online

1.15: Mon Amie has excellent credentials and could defy a hike in the weights. Zander's chance is hard to assess after an absence of more than four months. Quistaquay performed badly when favourite at Fontwell three weeks ago. SIBERIAN MYSTIC has yet to show her best form in the mud but this grey mare, the race's youngest contestant, looks best.

1.45: Brave Highlander must carry 9lb more than his proper handicap mark, and the Josh Gifford stable is in the doldrums. The poor recent form of Jenny Pitman's yard could also count against Idiot's Lady. Belmont King has yet to recapture last year's form. SAIL BY THE STARS is the safest bet.

2.15: Effectual's persistent tail-swishing, again evident in victory on soft ground at Doncaster last weekend, does not seem to affect his prowess. It is of concern, though, that the stable's conditional rider Shane Kelly cannot claim his 7lb allowance today. Tony McCoy is aboard SIMONS CASTLE, a Lingfield winner last month, and can make this count.


2.55: SURSUM CORDA lacks the experience of many of his rivals but has put in solid performances, notably when third at Wawick last time. Mrs Em won four of her six completed starts over hurdles last season and has clear prospects.

3.30: The Sandown turf is often very holding at this time of year and several of today's fancied runners would not want any more rain. One of them is Country Beau, who disappointed on soft going here in January. Red Curate carries the biggest burden in a highly competitive final, but does have the assistance of smart 5lb claimer Seamus Durack. MASTER PILGRIM is an interesting contender now Toby Balding's yard seems to be hitting form.

4.05: Judging the ability of Blowing Wind is very difficult. He finished alongside Champion Hurdle-class runners at Haydock in January but even Martin Pipe said he was flattered. Sadler's Realm likes the mud and will surely be challenging at the finish. An outsider worth each-way support, however, is STAR SELECTION. John Mackie's runner has made a quiet start over jumps but was decent on soft ground on the Flat.

4.40: EULOGY has thrown away winning chances because of dodgy jumping. Richard Dunwoody takes over today, however, and it is worth relying on his skills to get his mount into the winner's enclosure.


4.25: REFUSE TO LOSE, who turned a competitive-looking 1m handicap into a procession when sailing home 7 lengths clear of Plan For Profit at Lingfield last time, remains on a fair handicap mark and can folow up. Gulf Shaadi, who won in good style here lately, is the obvious danger.