Ballyandy (red): bids for first hurdles win at SandownPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Exeter and Sandown face checks for Friday cards
A MILD night would be welcomed by officials at Exeter and Sandown, with both tracks facing inspections for their meetings on Friday.
Nigel Twiston-Davies is likely to be hoping temperatures do not plummet, as The New One is pencilled in to make his chase debut at Exeter, while last season's Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy will bid for a first win over hurdles at Sandown.
Beaten twice by Moon Racer so far this season, Ballyandy is set to run in the Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.
The race represents a step up in trip to nearly 2m4f from 2m, but Twiston-Davies is not concerned, and said: "I think he could go back to two miles - he's got plenty of pace and last time was just a muddled race. He's been superb since Cheltenham last time and there's no reason the track shouldn't suit."
Clerks confident of beating the weather
A 7.30am inspection has been scheduled at Sandown, and clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: "We are being quite cautious in calling an inspection and are extremely optimistic. Hopefully we can give the thumbs-up straight away.
His Exeter counterpart Barry Johnson is also optimistic the track will pass its 8am check, and said on Thursday: "The forecast looks as if it will only hover around freezing this evening and we should be okay if that is correct, but if it dropped below we might have a problem.
"There are a few patches in the back straight under the trees that are still frozen but we can get around that by bypassing the fences on that stretch. On the home turn there is also a patch or two that needs to thaw out."