GIVEN the likes of Brain Power and Lil Rockerfeller have won the Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle (2.25pm) in the past, it clearly takes a pretty smart sort to win it.
I’m hoping that horse might be Dan Skelton’s PROTEKTORAT who made a promising return to action last time where he was just touched off over course and distance last month.
That was his first start since having a wind operation and given the way he travelled, there looks plenty more to come from the unexposed four-year-old.
He looks nicely handicapped on his form from last season and his trainer is an expert at winning these decent two-mile handicap hurdles.
Skelton’s inmate should be backed at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
The weights are headed by improving Song For Someone who made a winning comeback at Fontwell three weeks ago when scooting home by 12 lengths.
The handicapper has hit him hard for that victory, but it’s hard to know if we’ve got to the bottom of Tom Symonds’ four-year-old just yet.
His trainer learnt his trade from Nicky Henderson so he’s well used to dealing with quality horses.
In the Betfair London National (3.35pm), STEP BACK looks the best bet with him returning to his favourite course.
He put in a superb round of jumping when running away with the Bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the 2018 season.
He failed to sparkle on left-handed tracks last term but he bounced back to form when attempting to defend his Bet365 Gold Cup crown in the spring.
Although Mark Bradstock’s hope was beaten 19 lengths, he made plenty of the running and it was good to see some of the old zest back.
He is in with a great shout at 8/1 with Ladbrokes.
Protektorat 2.25pm Sandown
Step Back 3.35pm Sandown