Sean Bowen Sandown and Cheltenham Preview: He's certainly handicapped to go close

09 Mar 2024
Coral Racing Ambassador, Sean Bowen, previews his rides at Cheltenham next week as well as his two rides on Imperial Cup Day at Sandown.

Cheltenham Preview

We’re now at that nervy time just before Cheltenham where trainers and jockeys alike just want everybody to make it there safely. I won’t have tonnes of rides throughout the week, and I might go elsewhere to ride on a couple of the days, but I’ve picked up a few spare rides that I’m really looking forward to.

I’m really excited to get back on Not So Sleepy in the Champion Hurdle after winning the Fighting Fifth on him earlier in the season, and if you take State Man out of the equation, it doesn’t look the strongest Champion Hurdle there’s ever been. He is getting on now, but he still retains a huge amount of ability, and I think he goes there with a really solid chance of making the frame at the very least.

Fugitif is another nice ride I’ve picked up in the Ryanair on Thursday, and he’s another horse who would definitely go there with an each-way chance. He saves his best form for Cheltenham, and the Ryanair looks one of the more open Grade 1’s of the week, so It wouldn’t be a surprise to me at all if he was to run a huge race.

There’s still time to hopefully pick up a few more spare rides, and I think there’ll be a few in the handicaps I’ll be riding. Found On will be a big price in the Ultima for Martin Keighley, and Roaring Legend is an interesting contender in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap, so although the majority of my rides are away from the head of the market, I’d be hopeful I can pick up a winner somewhere along the way.

Sandown Preview

14:25 Sandown – Go Dante

The Imperial Cup is obviously a very competitive race, but I thought he ran a cracker last time in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, and a reproduction of that effort could put him bang there. I think he’s progressing with every run too, so he could even take another step forward this weekend. He’s got form on all different types of ground, so I think he’s pretty versatile with regards to underfoot conditions, and I think he’ll be absolutely fine on deep Sandown ground, so hopefully when a few others are struggling to get through it, he’ll power through it up the home straight.

As I say, it’s a very competitive contest, but I don’t think this lad has reached his ceiling yet, and I’m really looking forward to riding him once again.


16:10 Sandown – No Risk Des Flos

Even though the majority of his best form has come round Wetherby, he was a decent third here at the backend of last season, and he’s now 7lb lower, so he’s certainly handicapped to go close if he can return to his best form. He hasn’t quite found his best yet this year, but he goes up in trip here, so hopefully this stiffer test will spark a bit of improvement from him.

He’s another horse who has plenty of form on deep ground, so I don’t see conditions being a problem, it’s just whether he stays the trip. He’s hit the line hard on a few occasions over 2m 4f, so I’d be hopeful he can, and providing his stamina does hold out, then he’d have to go there with a decent chance off this mark.

Sean Bowen, Coral Racing Ambassador

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