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Sandown Preview: Warrior primed for battle

The Surbiton Handicap (7.35) is the feature race on a good card at Sandown this evening, and the unexposed Warrior Of Light looks the one to beat following a highly promising effort last time out.

The son of High Chaparral only had two starts as a juvenile, and looked a smart prospect when easily landing a 12-runner mile maiden at Kempton on the second of those.

After racing close-up behind the leaders, Warrior Light was ridden to lead at the furlong marker and then quickened clear to put the race to bed and win readily.

It was an effort which suggested he needing keeping onside, and the David Lanigan trained colt confirmed that impression on his handicap debut earlier in the month when a length runner-up to Devilment at Kempton off an opening mark of 82.

After travelling strongly at the rear of the field, Warrior Of Light made good headway two from home to hold every chance inside the final furlong before being unable to find any extra near the finish.

The pair pulled 4 1/2 lengths clear of the 88-rated Moontime, and had the rest of the field well strung out.

That gives the form a solid look, and it was a run which suggested Warrior Of Light was ahead of his current mark despite being 6lb higher in the weights now switched to the turf for the first time.
Trainer Sir Michael Soute and stable jockey Ryan Moore have been in terrific form in recent weeks, and looks to have major claims of landing a double with the Cheveley Park Stud owned Russian Heroine and Provenance.

The former shaped really well when runner-up on her debut at Windsor and granted normal improvement looks the one they all have to beat in the 5f maiden that opens proceedings (5.55), while
Provenance looked a very smart prospect when showing a good turn of foot to score on debut at Kempton and should be up to defying top weight in the mile handicap (7.00) off what looks a lenient opening mark of 84.

In the 1m 1f finale (8.40) Ballyshonagh looks potentially well-treated on her handicap debut.

Chris Wall’s filly didn’t show much in her first two starts last season, but put up a much improved effort on her final outing when fifth of 7 to Hawker in a 1m 2f maiden on the all-weather at Lingfield.

The daughter of Tiger Hill kept on to be beaten 7 1/2 lengths under tender handling, and the winner had some decent form going into the contest.

The runner-up Vermont has also won since and is now rated 83, and the third home Red Warrior went on on to score on his handicap debut off a mark of 77.

That is strong form in the context of this class 5 contest, and makes Ballyshonagh a fascinating contender and potential improver off an opening mark of just 64.

Selections:
5.55: Russian Heroine
6.25: Vent De Force
7.00: Provenance (NB)
7.35: Warrior Of Light (NAP)
8.10: Mutakayyef
8.40: Ballyshonagh