Good Boy Bobby has some very strong form to his name, so looks the one to be on in the feature race at Sandown on Saturday, the 2m 4f Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (14:25).
This Nigel Twiston-Davies trained seven-year-old has a tremendous strike rate of 63 per cent having won seven of his 11 starts.
He ran a blinder on chasing debut at Carlisle back in October when chinned on the line and beaten just a head by Brewin’upastorm after a ding dong tussle up the stiff uphill run-in.
The winner is a smart sort who has gone on to follow-up at Taunton, and the pair pulled 16 lengths clear of the third home Midnight Shadow who landed the Grade 2 Dipper at Cheltenham last time out.
Global Citizen, who finished a further 4 1/2 lengths back in fourth has also given the form a boost when scoring in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over the Christmas period.
Fine efforts over fences
Good Boy Bobby then duly went one better next time up at Wetherby.
He made all to win unchallenged by two lengths from Ravenhill Road, who has since run very well to finish fourth in a hot Listed handicap at Doncaster.
The Paul and Clare Rooney owned son of Flemensfirth also lost little in defeat last time out when going down by just over a length to Mister Fisher in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham over this trip.
Mister Fisher, to whom he was conceding 5lb, is a highly regarded Nicky Henderson inmate who has since landed a Grade 2 at Doncaster.
The front two pulled 15 lengths clear of the 139-rated Beakstown. That again gives the form a solid look.
Good Boy Bobby is clearly going the right way and looks well worth a crack at this level.
Testing ground also holds no fears, so he has lots going for him here. Good Boy Bobby makes plenty of appeal at the 7/2 on offer with Boylesports for Scilly Isles success.
In-form Murphy’s Itchy Feet feared in Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase
Olly Murphy has his team in red-hot form at present, so Itchy Feet is feared most following a most taking debut over the larger obstacles.
This six-year-old developed into a top class novice hurdler last season when winning three times.
In the last of those, he beat the re-opposing Grand Sancy by just over two lengths in a Listed contest at Kempton.
Itchy Feet then went on to run the race of his life two starts later at the Cheltenham Festival when finishing third of 16 to Klassical Dream in the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
After getting outpaced two from home, the son of Cima De triomphe rallied strongly and – despite making a mistake at the last – stuck to the task really well to be beaten five lengths.
That is the strongest hurdle form on offer in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase line-up.
Itchy Feet comes into the race having relished the step up to 2m 4f when running out an impressive wide-margin winner on chasing debut at Leicester.
He jumped like a stag at the head of affairs and made all to win in a canter by 26 lengths from Leskinfere.
Although that was a weak class 3 three-runner affair, Itchy Feet was visually very impressive and clearly possesses the potential to go right to the top over fences.
He also proved that day that he handles soft ground. Murphy’s yard is operating at an incredible strike rate of 38 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing, and that’s another plus.
So, with regular pilot Gavin Sheehan now back in the saddle, Itchy Feet is sure to go well and can be backed at 11/2 with BetVictor to notch a fifth career success.
Grand Sancy also has claims
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase four times, so that makes his sole representative Grand Sancy well worth a second look.
This six-year-old developed into a top-class novice hurdler last season when winning four of his eight starts.
The last of those successes came in the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, where Grand Sancy showed a really willing attitude to scalp more experienced rival Sceau Royal by three-quarters of a length.
It was a superb effort, especially as he gave 2lb to the runner up who was rated 9lb higher going into the contest.
Prior to that, Grand Sancy ran a blinder when a half-length runner-up to Elixir De Nutz in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at this venue.
The form of those races is strong, as is his reappearance outing when runner-up in the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.
He made then unbeaten Champion Hurdle hope Fusil Raffles battle hard before going down by just three-quarters of a length.
Grand Sancy was then pitched into the deep end on chasing debut when third in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase over 2m at this venue in December behind Esprit Du Large.
After being held-up, he got outpaced three from home before staying on again to be beaten just under 15 lengths.
Grand Sancy jumped well in the main and it was a highly promising introduction in a hot contest.
He has since had one outing, finishing a staying on third to Global Citizen in the Wayward Lad at Kempton.
Those efforts suggest there are races to be won with Grand Sancy and he is well worth a try at the 2m 4f trip of this. At 8/1 with William Hill, he could represent a bit of value.
Irish raider Laurina doesn’t appeal at Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase odds
The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase betting is headed by Irish raider Laurina, a course and distance hurdles winner who hails from the all-conquering yard of Willie Mullins.
This seven-year-old mare won her first six races over the smaller obstacles, and they included an easy 16-length success in the Grade 2 Dawn Run at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Laurina also ran well at last year’s Festival when fourth of 10 to Espoir D’Allen in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle.
She then had her attentions switched to chasing at the start of this campaign and impressed when making a winning debut over the larger obstacles in a 10-runner affair at Gowran Park.
Laurina jumped well and travelled strongly throughout, before asserting between the final two fences.
She then stayed on strongly to beat fellow Cheltenham Festival winner Minella Ido by eight lengths.
That saw her sent off the 11/10 favourite for a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, but Laurina made mistakes and was pulled-up before the last when well-beaten.
It was a shocking effort and a huge bounce back is now called for.
She is certainly in the right hands to do just that, but backing her at odds of 2/1 with Coral makes little appeal and she is thus readily opposed on this occasion.