Making an appearance at next month’s Cheltenham Festival is now under serious consideration for impressive Sandown winner Le Reve.
After storming home by 21 lengths on his seasonal return at the course back in November, the seven-year-old once again underlined his liking for the Esher track on Saturday when winning the Class Two Betfred Masters handicap chase.
Jumping boldly throughout the 3m½f contest, the Lucy Wadham-trained runner picked his rivals off one by one before staying on stoutly up the finishing hill to win by five lengths.
“He jumped so well and it was a very good ride from Daryl Jacob as he did not panic when the leaders went haring off,” said the Newmarket handler. “He seems to love Sandown as the galloping track takes his huge stride.
“It suits his sort of action and plays to his strengths.
“He will be entered in what was the Racing Post chase at Kempton, but that will probably come too soon so we will probably head for something like the three-mile handicap chase on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
“I am not sure that Cheltenham suits him as you are on the turn a bit more there.
“But he has only run there once as a novice and he is much more experienced now.”
While connections of the son of Milan are now contemplating sending him on a trip down to the prestigious four-day meeting, they have ruled out a tilt at the Crabbies Grand National in April identifying instead another race back at Sandown later that month.
“I think the Grand National will be a year too soon for him and that it will be better to wait for next year’s Grand National,” said Wadham. “Although his jumping is pretty good, four-and-a-half miles around Aintree maybe a bit too much at this stage.
“I am quite keen on going back to Sandown for the bet365 Gold Cup at the end of the season as he will like the better ground.
“He does not really want it as soft as it was on Saturday.
“He is a very exciting horse and we don’t want to over do it with him, but he seems to have taken his racing well this season.”
Wadham looks to have another Cheltenham candidate on her hands after Shanroe Santos made it two wins from as many starts over hurdles on Sunday when knuckling down to land the Class Two Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial novices’ hurdle at Musselburgh.
As a result of his victory at the weekend the six-year old is now a general 33/1 shot for the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the festival.
“It was fantastic that Shanroe Santos won but I thought he was quite well in at the weights as he didn’t pick up a penalty for his win at Ludlow,” said Wadham.
“I was very impressed by the way he finished as I thought for a moment that he wasn’t going to do it.
“He will probably go straight for the Albert Bartlett at the festival now.”
n Pin Money pointed readers in the way of Le Reve (5/1) in last week’s paper to give the in-form Journal tipster his seventh winner from his last three columns. He returns in a fortnight.