The is the race of the day at Sandown and we have a brilliant novices' chase in prospect with two excellent looking runners going head to head.
Tea For Two, trained by Nick Williams, is unbeaten over fences so far with two very nice wins. He destroyed a field in heavy conditions at Exeter and then when stepped up in trip to three miles at Kempton he beat a much better field and confirmed himself as a real prospect in the chasing division. He appeared to really relish the step up in distance last time out so the drop back to two and a half miles here today is a slight worry, however he seems to go well over a variety of distances so perhaps won't be too inconvenienced.
Bristol De Mai for Nigel Twiston-Davies has more experience over fences having run five times so far, winning there and coming second twice. Both of his defeats have been to excellent horses and he has a real chance today. He beat a small but good field as easily as he liked last time out at Haydock in heavy going and is progressing nicely. He receives three pounds from Tea For Two here and that could make a difference. I expect it to be tight but am backing Daryl Jacob to come out on top.
Bellshill and Tombstone go head to head in this novice hurdle which should paint a clearer picture for the Cheltenham festival in March. Bellshill is the second favourite for the Neptune behind the impressive Yanworth with Tombstone a little further down the list.
Tombstone runs for Gordon Eliott and was a close second last time out behind Long Dog. He was a little free that day and fiddled a few hurdles with cost him the win in my opinion. If he can settle better this time then I think he can give Bellshill a real race. In doing so he price of 16/1 for the Neptune could be considerably shorter by this afternoon.
Bellshill has won his last four races, three at very short prices, and comes here as favourite to make it five in a row. He powered away impressively at Naas last time out, however the opposition was poor and Tombstone will give him a lot more to think about today. He was also a little untidy at some of the hurdles and I think there is a big possibility of him being a little short in the betting for what he has actually achieved so far.
Sandown 14:25 - Bristol De Mai - 2 points @ 13/8 (Racebets)
Leopardstown - Tombstone - 2 points @ 2/1 (William Hill)