One trainer, jockey, horse and race to watch out for on Saturday
One trainer . . .
Chris Gordon has had a campaign to remember, eclipsing his prize-money haul by more than £70,000 and finding himself just two winners short of his seasonal best of 30.
The trainer, who is based near Winchester, fields the promising Highway One O One in the bet365 Novices' Championship Final Handicap Hurdle (1.50) at Sandown following a comfortable victory at Kempton this month.
Gordon does not always find himself in the spotlight, but his six-year-old appears to have a fine chance of landing the £61,900 first prize.
One horse . . .
Sandown's card is billed as a celebration of jump racing's finest performers and they do not come any bigger than Altior, who is widely considered to be the most talented horse in training.
Nicky Henderson's star secured his place in the history books with a memorable victory in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month, when he forged ahead of plucky rival Min to win in emphatic style.
The eight-year-old's presence in the bet365 Celebration Chase (3.00) was enough to frighten off several possible rivals, but last year's Champion Chase winner Special Tiara takes up the mantle and leads the challenge.
Altior was a novice when landing this contest 12 months ago and it will take an extraordinary performance from the rest of the field to stop him ending the season in style.
One jockey. . .
The nine-year-old was among the favourites heading into the Aintree showpiece, but was brought crashing down at the first fence.
He is well fancied heading into the race and looks the best of the jockey's five chances on the day, with the next best being Act Of Valour in the novice handicap hurdle.
One race . . .
With the Irish trainers' championship going down to the wire, all eyes will be fixed on the final day at Punchestown, where the season-long battle between Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott reaches its climax.
The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle (3.50) is one of two Grade 1 races on the day and it features the Mullins-trained Benie Des Dieux, winner of the Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, facing last year's winner Apple's Jade.
Gordon Elliott's representative faltered in defence of her title at Cheltenham, surrendering a five-race winning streak when finishing third to her reopposing rival.
With Jack Kennedy on board, the stage is set for Apple's Jade to enact her revenge for Elliott - but she will be made to work for it.
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