After watching yesterday’s nap flounder on the Chelmsford dirt, it is a relief to see some quality turf action at Sandown.
Nothing impresses us more than Cheltenham Festival form, even when it is well beaten form. Step Back was a well held 9th in the Albert Bartlett last year, but on only a second hurdles outing that was a pretty decent effort at Grade 1 level.
With nine races of point-to-point experience it was always likely that chasing would see him to best effect. Well his chasing debut at Chepstow certainly promised much. Jumping fluently he just didn’t have the sharpness to hold off the winner, but in pulling 18 lengths clear of the rest he signalled his potential.
Sandown takes some jumping, but that has looked a strength and nothing in this field has Cheltenham credentials and Step Back should be well placed to record a first chasing success on the way to better things before the season is out. A 3 mile trip on soft ground is precisely what his breeding would prescribe with a classic national hunt dam line through soft ground stamina influence Roselier.
Top toff Nico de Boinville gets the leg up, and hopefully need only stay on board for victory.
Whilst we don’t think much of the opposition, there is old rogue and blog favourite Vino Griego, and he is likely to far outrun his double figure odds. He is a danger, but is surely too soft in the finish these days at 13yo to guts out a win. He’ll give us a scare but no more.
Recommendation: Step Back, (1540 Sandown), 1pt win, 11/4 generally available.
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