Charlie Longsdon is struggling to pick between his two course specialists Pete The Feat and Loose Chips in the Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown.
Pete The Feat is now the grand old age of 15 and his last three wins have come at the Esher venue, including in this race two years ago. He was also second 12 months ago.
Loose Chips is a 13-year-old but has been as good as ever already this season, winning at Sandown in November, in a race named after his stablemate, and finishing third over hurdles most recently.
Longsdon said: “Everyone knows all there is to know about Pete. He’s 15 years young but he seems in the same form as last year.
“I’ve been very happy with him at home, he loves Sandown and seems as sprightly as ever.
“He looks overpriced to me. If he wasn’t 15 and was judged purely on recent form, he’d be 10-1 not 16s.
“Maybe this race is more competitive than last year, but he’s about a stone better at Sandown than anywhere.
“Loose Chips has already won this season and similar comments apply, but he’s two years younger.
“He ran well in a Pertemps Qualifier last time out and he also saves his best for Sandown. It’s a great place to like in truth.
“Let’s hope one of them wins, I don’t mind which.”
Colin Tizzard also has two runners in Theatre Guide and Kings Lad and while both need to bounce back from disappointing runs last time out, assistant trainer Joe Tizzard believes there are reasons for thinking they might.
“Theatre Guide has run some nice races in the last 12 months even though he hasn’t been winning, he seems to be just coming right at home,” he told Racing TV.
“There still seems to be a bit of fire in his belly and he won’t mind the ground drying out, either. He’s been placed in a couple of Hennessys and is a good horse on his day.
“Kings Lad was running very well in the summer then after his last run he was a bit flat, so we’ve just freshened him up for this.
“He’ll definitely like the ground drying out, but it is ultra-competitive with a maximum field which is no surprise as it’s a good pot.”
Evan Williams is not so bullish about his two runners, last year’s winner Buywise and On Tour, but believes both deserve to take their chance.
“They’re both grand, but it’s pretty clear they are not what they were,” he said.
“This is a great series, though, and it needs supporting and they deserve a crack at a decent pot.
“Both of them are badly out of form, unfortunately.
“On Tour ran well last spring, but I couldn’t fancy either of them if I was being honest. They deserve to run, though, as at home they are fine.
“It’s a great race, the public love seeing these old horses and the series has been a smashing success – it deserves supporting.”
Top weight is Phil Middleton’s Exitas, while 2017 bet365 Gold Cup winner Henllan Harri and Venetia William’s Houblon Des Obeaux are others to note in the 17-strong field.