• Horse Racing

Captain Conan scrapes home at Sandown

ESPN staff
February 2, 2013
Captain Conan © PA Photos

Captain Conan was made to dig deep to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has plenty of strings to his bow in the novice chase department, Simonsig the most high profile, and Captain Conan is high up the pecking order.

He looked good in his two previous novice chase wins this term and he took the grade one event - but he was made to work hard to justify 1/2 favouritism.

Captain Conan was only faced by three opponents, but they are decent performers. Barry Geragthy anchored Captain Conan at the back of the field for the first mile and a half. He allowed his mount to engage battle at the Railway Fences, but he was under pressure turning out of the back straight.

Third Intention was three lengths to the good at the second last and showed no signs of stopping. A fine leap at the last appeared to seal victory for Colin Tizzard's runner, but his stride began to shorten up the hill and Geraghty galvanised Captain Conan to get up in the shadow of the post.

The fine recent form of the Jonjo O'Neill yard continued as Eastlake ran out a ready winner of the Betfred 'the Home Of Goals Galore' Handicap Chase. With market leaders Kudu Country and Toubab running lamentably, the form may not amount to much but Eastlake proved six lengths too good for Lord Singer.

Ffos Las' big day of the year saw a success for the Alan King yard, with Medinas running on doggedly up the straight under Wayne Hutchinson to deny Peckhamecho and Tanerko Emery in the Welsh Champion Hurdle.

The West Wales National proved an attritonal affair but the three and a half miles in soft ground held no terrors for Carruthers, who disputed the lead throughout and battled on well all the way up the straight to fend off the challenge of Cannington Brook.

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