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Free Tips For 2020 Contenders Day
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Free Tips For 2020 Contenders Day

Sandown Racecourse stages its 2020 Contenders Day on Saturday 1 February, a card on which several contenders for some of the biggest races at the Cheltenham Festival will be trying to win. The highlights on the card are the Contenders Hurdle, Silly Isles Novices’ Chase, and the Heroes Handicap Hurdle.

Check out our trends, analysis, and free tips for Contenders day at Sandown.

Contenders Hurdle 2020 Analysis

13:50 at Sandown on 1st February

This is a warm-up race for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and one that has been used successfully by Buveur Da’Air and trainer Nicky Henderson in the past. Surprisingly, it always attracts a small field but two of this year’s five runners look up against. Benson would be a shock winner on his hurdles debut, whilst Zambella has plenty to find on ratings.

Quel Destin only has 7lb to find on official ratings with the top-rated horse but looks exposed at this level and is stuck between being too high in the handicap and not good enough to take on the top boys. Eldorado Allen has more potential to improve but is up 7lb for finishing second in a handicap last time, though that at least proved he’s effective over course and distance.

Free Tip for Contenders Hurdle 2020

This looks an obvious target for favourite Call Me Lord who won the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December and has a great chance of doubling up here. He’s not only got quite a bit in hand of his rivals, but he’s also got an excellent course and distance record. A repeat of his third in last year’s Imperial Cup off his current mark of 160 should be good enough.

TipCall Me Lord @ 1.73 SkyBet, WilliamHill

Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase 2020 Analysis

14:25 at Sandown on 1st February

The last four winners of this race have been Bristol De Mai, Terrerfort, Top Notch, and Defi Du Seuil, and we look set for another cracking renewal. Champagne Platinum qualifies for a handicap mark for the Cheltenham Festival after this, whilst Vision De Flos is another that could prosper in handicaps after another run over fences.

Itchy Feet looks inexperienced for a race of this nature after just one run over fences, but it would be no surprise if Grand Sancy appreciates the step up in trip to 2½ miles for the first time. Midnight Shadow was probably lucky to collect last time at Cheltenham, but the ground may be on the heavy side for him.

Good Boy Bobby’s form behind Mr Fisher last time has been boosted by the winner. He should also handle the ground, but it will bring his suspect stamina into question.

Free Tip for Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase 2020

It could pay to give Laurina another chance after she flopped last time. The plus points are she was by far the best of these over hurdles and beat the useful stayer Minella Indo easily over this trip on her chasing debut. She’s also unbeaten on heavy ground and on right-handed tracks, whilst she proved she handles Sandown when hacking up over hurdles here last January.

TipLaurina @ 2.75 SkyBet, BetVictor

Heroes Handicap Hurdle 2020 Analysis

15:00 at Sandown on 1st February

This grade 3 hurdle takes place over a distance of 2 miles 7 furlongs and 98 yards and it will take some getting in the forecast heavy conditions. The last five winners have been returned at odds of between 5/1 and 20/1, so a shock result isn’t out of the questions.

Other interesting trends include that four of the five winners have been rated between 123 and 134 and have carried 10-10 or less. However, it’s not impossible for classier types to win, with last year’s RSA Chase winner Topofthegame winning this off a mark of 142 carrying 11-7. Of course, that was a much lower mark than the one he achieved over fences.

Trainer Nick Williams tries to win a handicap with the once useful Agrapart and a 5lb claimer and a first-time tongue-tie could help this thorough stayer. But he has looked in decline of late and he has to concede plenty of weight to all his rivals. Bold Plan and Ask Dillon are the two other horses that must carry over 11-0 but neither look to have the class to go onto be rated much higher than their current marks.

Free Tip for Heroes Handicap Hurdle 2020

It could pay to give the 2018 runner-up Golan Fortune a chance to go one better. He’s effectively 4lb higher this year but doesn’t look to have anything as good as Topoftehgame to beat. He also looked good when winning at Cheltenham last time.

TipGolan Fortune (each way) @ 8.00 WilliamHill, BetVictor (5 places)

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