Sam Twiston-Davies’ hopes to prevail at Sandown

Sam Twiston-Davies rides Benbens for his father, Nigel. Picture: Getty Images
Sam Twiston-Davies rides Benbens for his father, Nigel. Picture: Getty Images
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Everything looks set fair for a good run from Benbens in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final at Sandown.

With £100,000 up for grabs in the culmination of what has been a popular series, the three-mile affair has predictably drawn a strong cast featuring many familiar names.

There does not appear a great deal between the major players, but Benbens can come out on top for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his jockey-son, Sam.

He was probably out of his depth in the Hennessy, but before that connections must have been well chuffed by his five-length victory in the seventh leg of this series at Aintree.

There was even Grand National chatter after that uplifting triumph, but it obviously makes logical sense to head to Sandown in the interim.

Benbens admittedly makes the odd mistake, but last season’s Scottish National third is usually a pretty reliable fellow as he has never fallen in 23 starts under Rules.

Assuming the ground does not get too heavy, he should be involved when it matters.

Yorkhill is the shout to give Willie Mullins more rich pickings in Britain courtesy of the 32Red Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle.

Owner Graham Wylie has been particularly complimentary about his former smart bumper horse, who made an deep impression on his debut over timber at Punchestown.

Testing ground holds no fears and all Cheltenham options are open at this stage.

Chelmsford stages a fast-track qualifier for All-Weather Finals Day, with Lancelot Du Lac likely to take some hauling back for the Dean Ivory operation.

The gelded son of Shamardal was involved in most of the big domestic sprints during the summer and was only beaten four and a quarter lengths in the July Cup at Newmarket and the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Ivory’s representative has since rubber-stamped his prowess on the all-weather, too, winning two decent prizes at Kempton during the autumn.

His last success at the Sunbury circuit on November 25 was especially likeable as he gamely made all of the running en route to a length-and-a-quarter defeat of Intransigent in what was arguably a better race than this.

With Dubai ruled out in the spring, Lancelot Du Lac is likely to be trained to the minute for races like this.