Final Meeting Of Hunt Season On Saturday

The first is off at 14h50

The final meeting of the National Hunt season is at Sandown racecourse on Saturday afternoon.

The track hosts a quality seven-race card with massive prizemoney of £650 000 on offer.

That’s good news for top English yards Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls as they attempt to catch Irish supremo Willie Mullins.

Dan Skelton trails Willie Mullins by approximately £178,000 heading into Saturday with Paul Nicholls another £74,000 further back.

Willie Mullins – looking strong!

Mullins is taking no chances and sends over nine raiders including Group 1 winners El Fabiolo, Impaire Et Passe and Sir Gerhard.

El Fabiolo meets Jonbon again in the Gr1 bet365 Celebration Chase (16h00). Edwardstone is no back number, but this looks a rematch between the top two in the market.

El Fabiolo was unbeaten over fences prior to his misadventure at Cheltenham and could be the fresher of the two with the Nicky Henderson’s star having had to dig deep to secure victory in the Melling Chase at Aintree earlier this month.

Victory for odds-on favourite El Fabiolo would add £96,815 to the Mullins total and that would confirm Mullins as the first Irish trainer to win the UK championship since Vincent O’Brien in 1954.

Impaire Et Passe and Sir Gerhard both run in the Gr2 bet365 Select Chase (17h10). Paul Townend rides the former who showed great determination to outgun Bob Ollinger in the Aintree Hurdle. Langer Dan, from the Skelton stable, was a further short head behind in third and was slightly inconvenienced in running over the final furlong. This re-match should be entertaining, and Langer Dan is narrowly preferred receiving 2lbs.

The bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (16h35) over three and a half miles is also worth £96,815 to the winner. Grand National fifth Kitty’s Light, a course and distance winner, looks the horse to beat. Dangers in a competitive field of twenty include Le Milos for the Skeltons and the Paul Nicholls trained top-weight Threeunderthrufive.

However, the Irish raiders look more of a threat. Mullins saddles three including natural front-runner Minella Cocooner with Danny Mullins aboard, and Nick Rockett, the choice of Paul Townend. Amirite for the in-form duo of Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore is the other Irish runner of interest.

The first is off at 14h50.

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