Racing Preview 2 February 2013

Captain ConanDespite the withdrawal of the all the hurdle races, Sandown Park has beating the weather to get an all chase card including the classy novice chaser Captain Conan.
The Nicky Henderson trained six-year-old has looked very impressive in his first season over fences with victories at Cheltenham’s Open meeting and Sandown Park.
He looks a real old fashioned chaser jumping at pace with ultimate control and elegance and at 4/9, he is a big odds on favourite to take the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase.
Although it looks promising for Captain Conan, it is by no means going to be a procession. He is moving up from 2m to 2m4f which will not be easy.
That is most probably due to the fact stablemate Simonsig seems to be the leading contender for Nicky Henderson in the 2m novice division.
Henderson is consequently leaving his options open and moving Captain Conan up in trip gives him the optimum chance for festival success come March.
Captain Conan will face three with Houblan Des Obeaux (9/2) and Changing Times (8/1) the most likely to come up with a challenge leaving Third Intention (14/1) as the outsider to take the Grade 1 spoils.
Despite no hurdling at Sandown, Ffos Las is to host the wide open Welsh Champion Hurdle with the impressive Oscara Dara taking top weight and favouritism after a very impressive win at Kempton last month despite making a mistake at the last.
The eight-year-old trained by Henderson is a 7/2 shot with William Hill and looked in real control throughout his last race before wobbling at the last losing all momentum.
However what impressed the most was the way he responded as he simply regained his composure and sprinted away from his rivals to win by 3 ½ lengths.
Tanerko Emery (4/1) however looks to hold a big chance following up his second at the Open Meeting with two victories at Sandown and Lingfield.
With them races being subsequently weaker than this, the handicappers have laid off him (10-5). That means he gets nearly a stone-and-a-half on the favourite (11-10).