The Tolworth Hurdle is a Grade-1 novice hurdle run over 8 hurdles and a trip of just over 2-miles at Sandown (Saturday 2.25). Winners in the last decade have been aged between 5 and 7, and Paul Nicholls was responsible for 3 of those. Meanwhile, SP’s have ranged from 4/9 to 9/1, with 5 of the last 10 favourites winning.
6-Runners are set to go to post for the 2017 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls holds him in high-regard, and he belied odds of 9/1 to win a Grade-2 at Ascot last-time, which is the best-form on offer in this field. However, he was allowed an easy lead there, and out-speeded 5 rivals who looked in need of longer trips. Best form is also on good-to-soft ground, and was beaten on soft ground when racing on it at Haydock the time before.
This is his first run over hurdles, but he was good enough to finish fifth in the 2,000 Guineas in 2015, even if that form didn’t particularly work out afterwards. Now rated 104 on the flat, and his sixth-place finish in the 2016 Cambridgeshire over 9-furlongs was creditable. However, he may find 2-miles on soft ground at Sandown too much of a stamina test.
Winner of an average bumper and novice hurdle in three starts, though his 7/1 SP last time suggests he wasn’t overly fancied. Form not tested since, but stable is red-hot this week.
Won class-4 and class-3 novice hurdles in decent enough style, though form not boosted since. Trainer not one to tilt at windmills though, but could also run down the field and qualify for a handicap mark.
Expensive purchase by the Potts, and trainer Colin Tizzard has shown what he can do when given the right ammunition. Absolutely dotted-up at Hereford over 21-furlongs on soft-ground on debut and, though form has no real substance to it in the contest of a grade-1, he showed enough speed and jumping prowess to suggest he can drop back in trip here and be competitive.
Hard to know what to make of his second in an average bumper last time, and this former pointer makes his hurdles debut for shrewd trainer who has booked his favourite jockey Paddy Brennan. The outsider of the party, but can’t be dismissed out of hand.
2017 Tolworth Novices Hurdle Summary
Capitaine sets a standard that is currently some way above that achieved by his 5 rivals, but soft ground may not be ideal for him. Celestial Path, Chalonnial, Charlemar and Global Stage all have untapped potential, but it’s Finian’s Oscar that made a deep impression on his hurdles debut – and he’s fancied to relish conditions and live-up to his big reputation.
2017 Tolworth Novices Hurdle Tip
Finian’s Oscar @ 2/1 (Skybet, Betvictor)