Ballyandy and Utilty among Friday tips for Sandown
Coral horse racing experts give their Sandown tips for Friday, December 2, the first day of the Tingle Creek meeting, featuring Ballyandy bets and Utility odds.
Ballyandy bets to open hurdling account at Sandown
Ballyandy looks a worthy red-hot favourite to open his account over the obstacles in the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown (14:25) now upped in trip.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained gelding won four of his six starts in bumpers last season, and in the last of those successes showed a tremendous attitude to beat Battleford by a nose in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
Ballyandy got shuffled back into midfield after getting trapped behind a weakening rival four furlongs, but rallied strongly two out to take up the running inside the last and gamely hold off the strong finish of the runner-up.
It was a terrific effort, given how the race panned out, and the five-year-old went on to round off the campaign with a solid fourth of 17 under a penalty in the Champion Bumper at Aintree.
Fine effort on hurdling debut
Those performances marked Ballyandy out as a top prospect when going hurdling this season, and there was lots to like about his debut run over the obstacles when losing out by 3/4 of a length to Moon Racer in a driving finish at Perth.
Ballyandy then disappointed slightly when a 2 3/4 length third behind the same rival in a Grade 2 contest over 2m at Cheltenham when better off at the weights.
That race was run at a crawl, however, and he was far from disgraced in the circumstances after getting outpaced at a crucial stage.
The step up to 2m 3f in this looks sure to suit the strong staying son of Kayf Tara, so it will be disappointing if Ballyandy does not outclass his rivals and take this en route to much better things.
Utility odds fit the bill in finale
In the 2m novices’ handicap hurdle that brings proceedings to a close (15:35), Utility odds say he can cash-in on what looks a lenient mark to land the spoils.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained five-year-old looked a very smart prospect when cruising clear to score by 11 lengths on his debut in a bumper at Uttoxeter 12 months ago.
He was sent off just 4/1 for the Champion Bumper at Aintree’s Grand National Festival on the back of that runaway success, but trailed in a tailed-off 14th of 17 to Bacardy’s and was clearly amiss.
Utility was then off the track for 178 days, before shaping with bags of promise on his hurdles debut at Southwell when a very tenderly handled fourth.
The gelding then duly showed the benefit of that experience when ridden prominently throughout, and readily beating Mister Big by 1 1/2 lengths in a competitive 13-runner maiden hurdle at Chepstow.
Utility scored with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests, and an opening handicap mark of 118 could seriously underestimate his ability, given how short he was sent off for the Champion Bumper at Aintree.
Sandown tips for Friday, December 2
12.40: Twirling Magnet (E/W)
13.15: Dino Velvet
13.50: Antartica De Thaix
14.25: Ballyandy (NAP)
15.00: Greywell Boy
15.35: Utility (NB)