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Sandown Preview: Work In Progress weighted to go well

Work In Progress could well have got in lightly on his handicap debut in the 2m 4f contest at Sandown today (4.45), and can take advantage to open his account at the third time of asking.

This gelding finished runner-up in an Irish point before being bought for £42k and joining trainer Dan Skelton, and has shaped with bags of promise in two starts for his new handler.

In the first of those, the five-year-old finished fourth of 18 to Robinsfirth in a hot novice hurdle at Exeter.

The winner has gone on to be beaten just 2 1/4 lengths when fourth in a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham off an official rating of 137, the runner-up One For The Guv’nr bolted up on his next start and is now rated 135.

Third home that day Hello George is also held in high regard, and has since finished a decent sixth of 18 to Bayan in an ultra-competitive handicap at Ascot off a mark of 129, to give the form a very solid look.

It makes Work In Progress’s opening mark of 116 look potentially on the lenient side, and the five-year-old has since run very well to finish runner-up in a decent contest at Doncaster.

The son of Westerner also remains totally unexposed and open to bags more improvement, and everything points to a huge run.

In the 2m conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle that kicks-off proceedings (1.30), Benefique Royale is a fascinating contender now switched back to the smaller obstacles.

Trained by Nick Williams, the mare has had a disappointing season over fences, but had some solid form over hurdles back in 2013.

This seven-year-old finished a decent fourth of 18 to the now 154-rated Garde Le Victoire in a novice contest at Warwick before going on to score in good style on her handicap debut over course and distance by 2 1/4 lengths in a class 3 contest off 104.

Benefique Royale is now able to race in this lower grade class 4 affair off just 3lb higher, and has the services of the talented Lizzie Kelly whose claim takes another 3lb off her back.

If taking Kelly’s claim into account, the daughter of Beneficial is racing off her last winning mark and that gives Benefique Royal a huge shout at the weights now returned to the scene of her sole career success.

Selections:
1.30: Benefique Royale (NB)
2.00: On Trend
2.30: Briery Belle
3.05: Cowards Close
3.40: Bidourey
4.15: Pearls Legend
4.45: Work In Progress (NAP)