Richard Fahey’s seven-year-old got his head in front at Sandown in August but then notched up a string of four second places and a fourth before coming good again at Lingfield.
His consistency saw him continue to sneak up the weights without actually getting his head in front, but he proved a mark of 88 was no bar to success when seeing off Mythmaker by three-quarters of a length in what was a really decent event of its kind.
The handicapper obviously viewed that as a decent effort as he has raised El Viento by 4lb but given he was rated 98 a couple of seasons ago, the current perch should not be beyond the capabilities of Fahey’s charge.
Nonios can make it second-time lucky in the Best Odds Guaranteed At Coral Maiden Stakes. David Simcock’s runner did not make his racecourse debut until last month when he finished just under two lengths behind Bromyard at Wolverhampton.
He could not get near the winner, who was ridden more prominently, but he stayed on nicely to suggest a race like this should be well within his compass.
Roadie Joe can make it a Grade Two double in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, the feature event on the opening day of Sandown’s Tingle Creek meeting.
The six-year-old has been something of a revelation for Evan Williams since joining his team in the summer, winning a bumper and two hurdles before stepping up for the Persian War at Chepstow in October.
While that may not have been the best Grade Two ever run, Roadie Joe showed an admirable attitude in seeing off Cardinal Palace by a short head, battling back after being edged into second.
He is clearly a runner on the upgrade and can continue his progress with victory here.
Golden Doyen has shown ability in two starts over fences so far this season and he can make it third-time lucky in the Harry Dutfield Memorial Novices’ Chase at Exeter. He looked decent over hurdles early last season but found it tough going later in the campaign so a switch to chasing seems an obvious move.
Sent off favourite on each of his two starts to date, Golden Doyen has had to settle for second both times with the slickness of jumping he showed on the first occasion not really in evidence at Sandown last time. He is better than that, though, and should go well here.
Meanwhile, officials at Sedgefield have called a precautionary inspection for 8am this morning ahead of today’s card.
Rain totalling three millimetres had fallen by lunchtime yesterday, and with further rain forecast on already heavy ground before clearing, clerk of the course Sophie Barton is keen to monitor conditions.
Providing the meeting gets the go ahead, Gunner Lindley is the pick in the Stray Aid Coxhoe Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.