Malton-born Andrew Tinkler can take Grade 1 honours at Sandown today aboard Golden Hoof, who is fancied to complete a hat-trick in the 32red Tolworth Hurdle for Nicky Henderson.
The Lambourn trainer has won the last two runnings of this classy event with Minella Class and Captain Conan, and Golden Hoof has what it takes to follow in their hoofprints, though Henderson has another useful string to his bow in Royal Boy, who is the choice of stable jockey Barry Geraghty.
Winner of his last two races, at Kempton and on this course, Golden Hoof had eight lengths to spare on his latest start and could easily have doubled that margin had Geraghty, who rode him on that occasion, driven him out to the finish.
Tomorrow’s race has attracted a useful field, with Melodic Rendevouz and Royal Boy, first and second at Cheltenham last time, Court Minstrel and Pendra bringing useful form into play, along with former smart Flat racer Poet, who won on his hurdling debut at Newbury.
But Golden Hoof has plenty going for him and he is taken to score for Tinkler and Henderson.
Stablemate Royal Boy might well prove the principal danger.
Henderson and Geraghty can clinch the opening 32red.com Mares’ Hurdle with Une Artiste, who has won seven of her 11 career starts.
The five-year-old easily won in similar Listed company at Wetherby in November and will be hard to beat on the evidence of that form.
Paul Nicholls, Henderson’s big rival in the trainers’ championship, can dominate much of the rest of the Sandown card.
He has excellent prospects with For Two, a beaten favourite on his debut at Aintree for Nicholls, but previously successful in his only start in his native France.
He runs in the 32 Bonus At 32Red Casino Juvenile Hurdle.
In the 32Red Casino Handicap Chase, Nicholls runs Domtaline, who has run two creditable races in defeat since winning at Stratford, while in the 32Red Handicap Hurdle, the ultra- consistent Valco de Touzaine can be another winner for Nicholls and Daryl Jacobs.
Wolverhampton continues its busy period of racing tomorrow and Malton trainer Richard Fahey has a fighting chance of a double.
Dakota Canyon (2.15) finished second when equipped with first-time blinkers on this course on his latest start. That race was won by Alfred Hutchinson, who has won again at the same venue since.
David Nolan is aboard Dakota Canyon as he bids to go one better.
Rene Mathis (3.50) will have Jamie Spencer on board as he aims to follow up his recent course win which was gained on his debut for Fahey, who purchased him out of the Ed Dunlop yard in October. He carries the nap vote.
Also worth watching on the Polytrack circuit are the in-form Brown Pete (2.45), who is seeking his fourth win off the reel, and recent course winner Invigilator (4.20), who is aiming for a hat-trick of successes for Derek Shaw.
12.45 Une Artiste, 1.15 For Two, 1.50 Domtaline, 2.25 Golden Hoof, 3.00 Valco de Touzaine, 3.40 Johns Spirit.
Today’s other meetings: Chepstow, Lingfield, Newcastle and Wincanton.
1.45 Deveze, 2.15 Dakota Canyon, 2.45 Brown Pete, 3.20 Activate, 3.50 Rene Mathis (NAP), 4.20 Invigilator, 4.50 Kai, 5.20 Putin.
Tomorrow’s other meeting: Plumpton.