Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 3rd January 2015

Racing UK

Tolworth might be light on numbers but not on quality

Keep an eye on the weather as the forecast is for rain at Sandown overnight and maybe throughout racing on Saturday.   

It was mild with a light breeze at the course on Friday. I love being at a racecourse the day before a fixture, especially if there is no racing on. It allows me some time to sit and daydream in the stands looking down on the course, to reminisce about previous visits.  

Sandown has such great viewing, allowing, in certain places, a head-on view of the course.  On Saturday morning I’ll be getting up close to the final fence and hurdle while interviewing clerk of the course Andrew Cooper.  

I sat in the stands today reliving French Holly’s Tolworth victory - he was a huge, striking-looking horse. He was imperious in 1998, and just romped away 14 lengths clear of Grey Shot and on that day left those who watched in no doubt of his talent.  He converted that ability into a Cheltenham Festival success, but was lost to us too early at a time when he could have achieved so much more.  

While sipping coffee and fumbling around on my phone trying to find out what year he won I was shocked to discover it was so long ago.  

Today’s 32 Red Tolworth Hurdle is short on numbers, but three of the runners are potentially very good in L’Ami Serge, Shelford and Jolly’s Cracked It.  

As a betting proposition, I like Aurore D’Estruval back running against her own gender after taking on Irving in the Fighting Fifth.  Then there is Amore Alato for the in-form Nick Williams. He ran a solid second on his last visit to the course, although I’m very wary of Bouvreuil off a featherweight ridden by Sean Bowen so I may well pitch in with a small forecast.  

After posting some thoughts for the year ahead in Thursday’s blog there are some further additions.  On the Flat it may well pay to continue to keep a close eye on Eddie Lynam.

Sole Power and Slade Power were his flag bearers this year, but in 2015 look out for Gathering Power, whose effort to run seventh in the Champions’ Sprint went unnoticed. He is a man who had four runners at Royal Ascot and won with three. Need I say more?

Daniel Tudhope gained well deserved Group One success. He has bloomed along with trainer David O'Meara and the pair have steadily pushed their way to the top echelon and they are set to stay there. 

I can't understand why Martin Lane doesn't get more rides when you check out his big wins in 2014. They include the SkyBet York Stakes, the Hungerford Stakes and the Northern Dancer Turf Stakes in Woodbine. Where was the recognition? It was certainly deserved.

A young apprentice for the future? Why not Alistair Rawlinson? Three winners in 2013, has turned that in to 32 in 2014.  It is time for him to kick on in 2015, and keep an eye on his progress on the All-Weather.  I note he rode Westminster to victory at Southwell on Friday.

Bryan Cooper made the headlines at Leopardstown over Christmas, but when he had to miss Tramore due to a sore wrist it was Kevin Sexton who stepped in.  While Sean Bowen and Jamie Bargary caused a stir at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, Kevin Sexton’s win on Roi Du Mee went unnoticed.  Earlier in the year he won the Troytown on Balbriggan.  

There's enough to be getting on with.

Tanya Stevenson's Saturday tips:

12.40 Sandown: Aurore D’Estruval at 6-5 with Coral

3.00 Sandown: Amore Alato at 4-1 with Ladbrokes

Tanya Stevenson's Saturday pointers: 

2.25 Sandown - 32 Red Tolworth Hurdle:

Since 2001 the race has been nomadic due to the weather and been run at Ascot, Warwick, Wincanton and Kempton Park as well as its normal home at Sandown.

Four of the eight favourites have won.

Nicky Henderson has won the race four times, including three of the last four. He runs L’Ami Serge.

When riding for Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, Barry Geraghty has had six winners from nine this season over hurdles. He rides L’Ami Serge. 

Nicky Henderson has a 50% strike rate for L’Ami Serge’s owners this season (10 from 20).

In December over hurdles L’Ami Serge’s owners had a 53% strike-rate.

This season Munir & Souede can boast a 43% strike rate (20 from 46).

Four winners of the race have gone on to win at the Cheltenham Festival 1990 Forest Sun, 1998 French Holly, 2000 Monsignor, 2006 Noland.

Harry Fry has had five winners from his last eight runners.

1.50 Sandown Park - 32RedSport.com Handicap Chase:

Four of the last eight favourites have won.

All eight winners were no older than nine.

Paul Nicholls last eight runners have produced three winners, a second and two thirds.

Six of the eight winners carried 11 stone or more.

Six of the last eight winners came from the first two in the betting.

Nick Williams has sent out four winners from 11 runners in the poast fortnight.

3.00 Sandown Park - 32Red Handicap Hurdle:

Sean Bowen has had seven winners from his last 13 rides.

Six of the last seven winners were no older than six.

The last seven favourites have all been beaten.

3.35 Sandown Park - 32Red Casino Handicap Chase:

Seven of the last eight winners had finished no worse than third on their most recent run.

 Seven of the last eight favourites have been beaten.