Capitaine to lead by example

It is tough to make a case against Capitaine at Sandown argues Chris Wilson. He provides a tip for every race on Saturday.

Capitaine is hard to oppose in the Tolworth Hurdle

CORK: 12.50 Veinard, 1.20 Chateau Conti, 1.55 Bon Papa, 2.30 Scoir Mear, 3.05 Blazer, 3.40 After Aspen, 4.10 Drumconnor Lad.

LINGFIELD: 12.05 Envisaging, 12.40 Pattie, 1.10 Billyoakes, 1.45 Mica Mika, 2.20 Kingston Kurrajong, 2.55 Coral Sea, 3.30 Heads You Win.

NEWCASTLE: 11.55 Listen To The Man, 12.30 Forest Bihan, 1.00 Oscar's Prospect, 1.35 Trickaway, 2.10 Island Confusion, 2.45 Cross To Boston, 3.20 Illwalktheline.

SANDOWN: 12.10 Coeur De Lion, 12.45 Lifeboat Mona, 1.15 Atirelarigo, 1.50 Garde La Victoire, 2.25 Capitaine, 3.00 COURT BY SURPRISE (NAP), 3.35 Robinshill.

WINCANTON: 12.55 Miracle Cure, 1.30 Get In Pat, 2.05 Fox Appeal, 2.40 Draytonian, 3.15 Fortunate George, 3.50 Black Valentine.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Just Fred, 6.15 Dakota City, 6.45 Menelik, 7.15 Tanzina, 7.45 Chupalla, 8.15 Lawfilly, 8.45 Ahead Of Time.

DOUBLE: Court By Surprise and Capitaine.

It is tough to make a compelling case against Capitaine in the 32Red Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown.

The Grade One at the Esher circuit cut up quite badly at the final declaration stage, which has unquestionably enhanced the claims of Paul Nicholls' grey.

Nicholls has spoken in pretty glowing terms about this one during the season, and it is not too difficult to understand why.

Capitaine made a breezy start to life over hurdles at Wincanton in November, when he sauntered 20 lengths clear in what was admittedly a moderate encounter.

But much to the surprise of most folk a few weeks later at Haydock, he was defeated as an even-money favourite in a Listed race over two miles.

There were extenuating factors that day, though, as he was far too keen for his own good and did not enjoy life under hold-up tactics.

Connections learned plenty from that defeat – as did the horse – and all trespasses were forgiven in a Grade Two at Ascot last month.

Sam Twiston-Davies allowed Capitaine the chance to bowl along merrily from the outset, and the tactics worked a treat as his companion was much too good for Captain Forez – even in spite of carrying a penalty.

Deeply unexposed and seemingly unfazed by any variants of ground, he is highly unlikely to be knocked off his stride in Esher if his jockey forces the issue from flag-fall.

Court By Surprise is a good price in the 32Red Veterans' Handicap Chase.

The 12-year-old should really have won more races during his career, but he has a decent record at Sandown and could feasibly have been trained to the minute for this assignment.

Court By Surprise found three miles and five furlongs too overwhelming at this track on December 3, but his prior run over course and distance served notice that the fires still burn from within.

Emma Lavelle's old-timer only went down by half a length to Loose Chips in a qualifier for this race, so it is far from beyond the realms of possibility to suggest that form can be reversed.

Court By Surprise has not won for well over two years, but he is enticingly handicapped as a result and warmed up for this with a satisfactory fourth in a handicap chase at Doncaster, where, interestingly, he was the subject of plenty of market support.

Coeur De Lion must be followed in the 32Red-sponsored juvenile hurdle.

A typically smart young buck from Alan King's yard, the four-year-old backed up victory at Wetherby in November with a solid second in a Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham.

With the winner Defi Du Seuil having since plundered a top-level success over Christmas, the form is noteworthy, to say the least.

Similarly sharp horses appear thin on the ground at Sandown, so this could be a formality.

Chupalla could develop into a really interesting filly ahead of her return to the fray at Wolverhampton.

This well-bred daughter of Helmet absolutely surged home on her debut over five furlongs at Kempton last March, after which she was quickly elevated into Listed class at Sandown in May.

Chupalla disappointed in the National Stakes, and has since been out of action, but she is not the highest-rated horse in the 32Red.com Conditions Stakes on a whim and is also in receipt of weight from three of her four rivals.

Read More at Sporting Life

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