Saturday 18 January 2020

Hughes pair in Sandown mix

Thomas Kelly

Dessie Hughes is contemplating running both Vic Venturi and Rare Bob in Saturday's end-of-season finale across the water, the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

Vic Venturi won two point-to-points this year, but the 12-year-old's return to Aintree -- where he has run so well in the past -- didn't go so well last Saturday week when he refused at the 19th fence in the Grand National.

Rare Bob also ran last in the Aintree showpiece and he was very unlucky to be brought down at the fifth fence when travelling in mid-division.

Jonjo O'Neill's Galaxy Rock, Major Malarkey and West End Rocker are the 8/1 co-favourites among the 25 confirmed entries. West End Rocker is one of a number of horses which failed to complete the Grand National a fortnight ago but is set to be turned out again, along with Rare Bob, Vic Venturi, Viking Blond and Deep Purple.

Galaxy Rock would have an even shorter time-lapse between races, as he was pulled up in last weekend's Scottish National.

It is the finale of the jumps season at the Esher track and while Paul Nicholls has already secured another champion trainer title after his Grand National victory at Aintree, he may be double-handed through Tidal Bay, which has been left with top-weight, and Aldertune.

On the Flat, Aidan O'Brien's Thomasgainsborough will be the only Irish representative to make the trip across for tomorrow's Investec Derby Trial at Epsom.

The 10-furlong conditions race has the added bonus this year of offering an automatic entry into the Derby itself, but a field of only six will take part. These do not include Jim Bolger's Light Heavy, which is not in the Derby and had been considered for the race after winning the Ballysax Stakes, or O'Brien's unbeaten Imperial Monarch.

Thomasgainsborough, which will be ridden by the trainer's son Joseph, won a Leopardstown maiden last October and was third in a decent Dundalk handicap over a mile on April 11.

Like O'Brien's representative, Roger Varian's Cameron Highland already has a Derby entry himself but will be looking to step up in class after an effortless victory at Redcar. Richard Hannon's prior course winner Mister Music comes out quickly after his second-placed finish in last week's Feilden Stakes.

Unex Michelangelo completes the sextet with the experienced pair Goldoni and Cravat.

Recent Nottingham winner Electrolyser remains poised for a step back up in class in the Moss Bros Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on May 2.

Clive Cox's grey was third in the 2010 running of the Group Three race before taking second in the Goodwood Cup, but his front-running performance a fortnight ago in the Further Flight Stakes was something of a return to form.

John Gosden suggested the Sagaro as a possible port of call for his impressive Kempton winner Thimaar.

Irish Independent

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