Sandown preview: Colin’s Sister primed for long-range target
Thursday 16 February 2017
Fergal O'Brien is hoping Colin's Sister can take another step forward with victory in the Weatherbys GSB Goes On Line Jane Seymour Novices' Hurdle at Sandown on Friday.
The six-year-old, who is three from three over hurdles, will bid to extend that unbeaten run when taking on four rivals in the Grade Two event. Bet365 make her 11-10 favourite.
Although Colin's Sister carries a penalty for her last-time-out Listed success at Haydock, the Naunton handler is optimistic she can add the extended two-mile-three-furlong prize to her name.
He said: "We've weighted a long time for this race. We are very lucky to have an owner and breeder that wants to take their time with her.
"There are lots of races we could have gone for before this one, but we wanted to keep her against her own sex for now.
"She did it well at Warwick on her penultimate start and did nothing wrong at Haydock last time. She has been very good so far.
"It is the right ground and the right trip, we just need a bit of luck on the day. I think the filly gets better the further she goes. In her bumpers last year she was never doing her best work until the end. We are hopeful of another good run."
Anthony Honeyball expects the uphill finish at the Esher track to play into the hands of Warwick winner Ms Parfois, who renews rivalries with Colin's Sister for the second time this season having finished third behind her at Haydock.
He said: "She won nicely last time out at Warwick. We ran her there just to try and get her head in front. Although Colin's Sister goes there nice and fresh, our mare is still fresh, although she has had that run and we have just been keeping her ticking over.
"Her run in the Listed race at Haydock was a real step forward and I'm very happy with how the season has progressed.
"It's going to be tough up that hill and that will suit her as will the soft/heavy ground as she is big and scopey. It is a case of hoping the race unravels in her favour to give her the best chance.
"We are really looking forward to running her. She is now off a mark of 125 and deserves her place in a race like this."
Paddy Power quote Ms Parfois at 20-1.
Although the Nicky Henderson-trained Theatre Territory enters the race on the back of tumble at Newbury, her rider Sam Waley-Cohen is optimistic the 7-2 chance can leave that effort behind.
He said: "She has been really progressive and she was very unlucky last time at Newbury.
"She had travelled well and her jumping, in that race up until that point, was great, it was just one of those unfortunate things. I know that she has schooled at home since then.
"I was expecting her to go on and finish that race well, so I don't think that the step up in trip would have been a problem.
"This is a big step up in class and we will see if she is good enough. She has done everything asked of her and clearly she has ability, it is just finding out what level."
Connections of the Kerry Lee-trained Happy Diva believe the race is the right opening for the six-year-old, who will have the assistance of champion jockey Richard Johnson for the first time in her career.
Lee's brother, Tom, said: "We are delighted with her progress. Obviously she has had two good handicap wins. She was up against the boys at Doncaster and fingers crossed this looks the right race.
"She's showing all the right signs at home. It is only a small field and we are delighted to have Richard Johnson available to ride her.
"This is her biggest examination. She's earned a shot at a race like this, so we're all saying 'let's go for it'."
The field is completed by the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Kelka.