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Venitia's Tenor can hit the high notes at Sandown

 

By Keith Hamer

It is often folly to ignore the evergreen yard of Venetia Williams once it hits form, and she may just hold the key to Sandown's ultra-competitive Unibet Veterans' Handicap Chase.

If so, and either of her two admirable 12-year-olds Tenor Nivernais or Houblon Des Obeaux proves up to the task, the winning odds are likely to be rewarding.

The latter, twice a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender and Newbury Grade Two victor in his comparative youth, has marginally the better back form.

Houblon Des Obeaux was also sixth to Buywise here last year, as the winner of a qualifier for this annual final for ageing friends - over course and distance 14 months ago.

Charlie Deutsch has become by far his most regular partner, so Saturday's jockey bookings may not be entirely instructive.

More persuasive perhaps is last month's hint of renewed well-being for Tenor Nivernais.

Ridden by Deutsch at Ludlow, but Aidan Coleman again this weekend, Tenor Nivernais threatened to run away at one point with a minor handicap before fading into a 17-length fifth behind improving youngster Beau Du Brizais.

Since then, Williams has embarked on one of her traditional hot streaks - delivering a near 25% winning strike-rate, including a notable across-the-card double at Cheltenham and Exeter on New Year's Day.

Pundits typically ascribe a rush of her winners to the pre-requisite of soft ground, but that is not necessarily the case this time - with so little winter rain of late. Either way, when it starts to happen it usually pays to get involved - and Tenor Nivernais, a proper force in many of the best handicaps not so long ago, may be another case in point.

There is also a decent jumping card at Wincanton, where Paul Nicholls can almost always be trusted to excel. The well-touted My Way is his eye-catcher in the last - dropping in class after a disappointing stable debut but surely a very likely winner of the Every Race Live On Racing TV Maiden Hurdle.

At Newcastle, Ravenhill Road is weighted to come out on top in the Watch Sky Sports Racing HD On Sky415 Novices' Chase after chasing others home in his first two attempts over fences.

Dutch Uncle enjoyed a first success for 22 months when scoring at Lingfield last week, and can repeat the trick back at the Surrey venue in the Betway Live Casino Handicap.

CORK: 12.20 Laverteen, 12.50 Fast Buck, 1.25 Castlebrook, 1.55 Dromore Lad, 2.30 Dontdooddson, 3.05 Sir Carno, 3.40 Vipers Nest.

KEMPTON: 4.15 War No More, 4.45 Rajman, 5.15 Luxford, 5.45 Roman Spinner, 6.15 Count Calabash, 6.45 Wedding Date, 7.15 Ilhabela Fact, 7.45 Power Home.

LINGFIELD: 12.40 Bayston Hill, 1.15 Mythical Madness, 1.45 DUTCH UNCLE (NAP), 2.15 Straight Right, 2.50 Renegade Master, 3.25 Critical Thinking.

NEWCASTLE: 11.55 Suggestion, 12.25 Ravenhill Road , 12.55 Mountain Hawk, 1.30 Younoso, 2.00 Pinspot, 2.35 Thedrinkymeister, 3.10 Zakharova.

SANDOWN: 12.15 Torpillo, 12.45 Capeland, 1.20 Creep Desbois, 1.50 Laurina, 2.25 Elixir De Nutz, 3.00 Tenor Nivernais, 3.35 Monsieur Lecoq.

WINCANTON: 12.30 Unsafe Conduct, 1.05 Braventara, 1.35 Dancingatdunraven, 2.05 Kupatana, 2.40 Kk Lexion, 3.15 Calipto, 3.50 My Way.

DOUBLE: Dutch Uncle and Ravenhill Road.

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