Home Horse Racing Altior to steal the show at Sandown
Altior to steal the show at Sandown

Altior to steal the show at Sandown

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The jumps racing season concludes in Britain and Ireland on Saturday afternoon, with flagship meetings at Sandown Park and Punchestown.

Nicky Henderson will be crowned champion trainer in Britain once more while Willie Mullins has roared past Gordon Elliott and is now on course to be champion for the 12th time on the opposite side of the Irish Sea.

There will be more competitive betting heats than the Celebration Chase at Sandown on Saturday although none will boast the star appeal of reigning Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Altior.

The unbeaten chasing superstar showed all his determination and desire to maintain that vaunted perch last month at Cheltenham and can thrill the crowds at Sandown with another Grade 1 success.

Later on the Sandown card, Wholestone looks a good bet to win the Grade 2 Select Hurdle (16:05) for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. He runs in the two-tone green of owners Simon Munir and Isaac Suede who saw L’ami Serge win the race for them last season.

Daryl Jacob, in excellent form this week, will be on board and he can steer Wholestone to a deserved win at 13/8 after excellent efforts in defeat at Cheltenham and Aintree.

Across at Punchestown there are a pair of Grade 1 races on the final day of their five-day meeting.

Elliott’s fading hopes of being champion trainer almost certainly rely on winning both and the dual-Grand National winning trainer is fancied to oblige.

Apple’s Jade was beaten at Cheltenham last month by Benie Des Dieux but she can reverse that form at 6/4 in the Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle.

She got into a battle with La Bague Au Roi an awful long way from home at Cheltenham in a race where she just didn’t seem to be at her best in any event. On peak form, Apple’s Jade still holds her re-opposing Mullins rival by a decent margin.

She has won pretty much as she pleased at this meeting in the previous two seasons and remains very much the one to beat again.

Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas is capable of confirming placings with Mr Adjudicator from last month’s Cotswolds showdown.

Both skipped Aintree, with this contest on their agenda, but, having finished one and two in their last two meetings, there’s no reason to desert the Gigginstown youngster here at odds of 9/4.

The biggest danger could come from the mare Stormy Ireland if she has gotten over her heavy tumble in the Triumph last month.

For Elliott, the medicine might come just too late to see him foil the late surge of Mullins as his wait to become champion trainer now looks destined to go on.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.