London – Double Ross can defy the burden of top weight by winning the 188bet.co.uk Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown on Sunday.
The 11-year-old has been a grand servant for Nigel Twiston-Davies over the years and showed at Chepstow last month that there are still races to be won with him.
Sent off a 4-1 joint-favourite in a veterans’ race he had won 12 months previously, Double Ross travelled smoothly from the outset and was only worried out of it in the closing stages.
That was a terrific effort when you consider he had been out of action since last November, so it is hardly an outrageous claim to suggest he should trip much fitter at the Esher circuit.
Double Ross is at the summit of the weights for this 4800m test, yet he won at Chepstow a year ago off the same mark of 147 and is, by now, experienced to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at him at Sandown.
Might Bite is the big name in action on Sunday and he should not let the side down in the 188Bet Future Stars Intermediate Chase.
Much was written about the eight-year-old’s rather wayward streak last season when he fell with the Feltham at his mercy and then nearly pulled himself up in the RSA at Cheltenham.
Might Bite ended up winning at the Festival, but looked much straighter at Aintree a month later when he charged two lengths clear in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
Trainer Nicky Henderson is adamant Might Bite does not fall into the “quirky” category, but this is such a big season for him that he will be found out if any of those perceived kinks resurface.
A big run could quietly begin to fuel Cheltenham Gold Cup dreams.
Keep an eye on Casper King in the 188Bet Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Philip Hobbs’ six-year-old was not beaten far on his seasonal reappearance at Fontwell in early October in what was a really nice race over 3800m.
Suitably inspired by that blow-out, he looks to have been given a chance by the handicapper if his back-to-back victories last winter are factored into the equation.
There is some good racing at Navan, with Mengli Khan taken to cut loose in the Grade Three For Auction Novice Hurdle.
It would be a surprise, too, if stablemate Apple’s Jade does not stick to her end of the bargain in the Lismullen Hurdle.
Superb at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals, Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old will not need to be fully firing to win this Grade Two. – Press Association