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  • Andy Gibson’S Race Review: Fallout From The Select Hurdle At Sandown

Andy Gibson’s race review: Fallout from the Select Hurdle at Sandown

Racing analyst Andy Gibson concludes his weekly review of the National Hunt campaign with a look back at how Knappers Hill kept Goshen at bay in a tight finish in the Select Hurdle at Sandown.

Sandown 16:00 April 29 2023

Bet365 Select Hurdle - 2 miles 5 furlongs 110 yards (Going = good/soft)
Five runners lined up for this stiff test on testing ground, and with barely three lengths covering all five at the finish, it was 11/2 shot Knappers Hill who put a smile on the bookies' faces by finishing a neck clear of the three market leaders.
Andy Gibson takes a closer look at how each each horse performed:

Knappers Hill

The sedate pace followed by the sprint finish in the home straight played into the hands of Knappers Hill, who had his stamina to prove for this race prior to this performance and still has it to prove post-race.
He made his move to take up the running at the second-last hurdle and rather stole a march on his main rivals. He was hanging on at the death despite the pedestrian pace and was being closed down by both Goshen and Thyme Hill from the last to the line.
The eventual third horse to finish, Theatre Glory, managed to maintain her losing margin behind the winner from the last to the line. His trainer was concerned about the ground and the trip prior to the race and I would rather remember those doubts than trust the outcome of this slowly run affair.


The winner just got first run on Goshen and probably caught him a little flat footed. I would not trust the reliability of this form on another day given how inconvenienced the eventual fourth horse was and how advantaged the winner was by the sprint up the home straight.
Although he is clearly not top class, at the same time, on his day he is a decent performer and one that is well capable of winning a decent pot next season when conditions suit.
If the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in February is run on a very soft surface in 2024 then that would be his obvious number one target of the season.

Theatre Glory

I doubt it is purely a coincidence that her latest three victories have all been earned on officially good ground, and my best guess is that on a sounder surface Theatre Glory may well have given the winner most to do.
Her record when competing on ground officially described as good now reads: 1 1 1 1 U 1 - and she lost her jockey at the fourth hurdle at Newbury in November 2022 and therefore too early to guess what might have happened.

Thyme Hill

Thyme Hill would have been more unsuited by the slow pace than any of his rivals. He was outpaced and quickly dropped to last place when the pace suddenly quickened from the second last hurdle.
He was still close to four lengths behind the eventual winner jumping the final hurdle before he managed to half that deficit from the last to the line. This was an excellent run for a horse devoid of pace and competing in an extremely slowly run race over a distance shy of his optimum trip.

Call Me Lord

His recent win-to-run ratio reads 1/21 which is hardly encouraging, and the one race Call Me Lord managed to win in that sequence was a Class 2 handicap hurdle when he competed off a 138 rating.
In theory he would have had to reach the heights of a mark close to 160 to get the better of an in-form Thyme Hill. Moreover, the winner was rated 150 and the runner-up 154.
Both of those horses were conceding weight to Call Me Lord which translates to him having to compete to 148+ to get the better of Goshen and 145 to beat the eventual winner.
The difficulty of his task was obvious, and even more so when one considers how long it has been since he was in his prime.
READ MORE: How Hewick won the Oaksey Chase - Andy Gibson reflects

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