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The Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle is the feature at Sandown this afternoon and the affair has attracted a strong field.

It looks likely that COLIN'S SISTER will go off as favourite for the contest and she holds decent claims. The daughter of Central Park enters the affair with plenty of confidence having racked up a hat-trick and she also tops BTO+ ratings by a fair margin. Colin's Sister was a decent bumper horse last term who finished a close second in a competitive Listed race at Sandown the weekend before the Cheltenham Festival started. She has continued her rapid improvement this term, first winning on her hurdles debut at Chepstow by two lengths before blitzing the field on her second start over obstacles and scoring by an easy 11 lengths. Fergal O'Brien's charge then stepped up into Listed company and Haydock last December and she handled the better grade of race with ease as she soared to a six-length victory. Colin's Sister looks more than capable of being competitive against this sort of opposition and O'Brien's runners have been in frantic form as he boasts a 61% better than expected strike-rate in the last two weeks.

It took HAPPY DIVA seven attempts to break her duck over obstacles, but she has come into her own since. Kerry Lee's charge is second best rated by BTO+ and tops speed ratings and she'll be sure not to go down without a fight. Happy Diva finally put it all together at Fontwell last December as she cruised to an 18-length victory. That made her confidence shoot through the roof as she took her first win in her stride. The daughter of King's Theatre then ran at Wetherby last month where she carried top weight by some margin. But, her class proved more than enough that day as the mare only needed a shake of the reins to win by seven lengths. Happy Diva could only finish a 14-length fifth at Doncaster last time but she was facing a much stronger field than she meets today as Lee ran her six-year-old against the boys in the River Don Novices' Hurdle and it was always a stiff ask. Happy Diva will relish back racing against her own sex and champion jockey Richard Johnson has shrewdly been booked to ride, who brags a 50% better than expected record in the last two weeks.

THEATRE TERRITORY was highly regarded enough to contest Aintree's Grade Two mares' bumper last term, although she wasn't able to make her presence felt. Nonetheless, it shows how highly connections may think of her and she pulled clear of the field at Uttoxeter on her debut over timber to score by nine lengths. However, the daughter of King's Theatre ran poorly next time at Taunton before falling last time at Newbury when travelling well. Her lacklustre Taunton run could be blamed on the good surface and Theatre Territory seemingly prefers juice in the groud, which she will encounter at Sandown, and Henderson has a 39% better than expected record on the Surrey circuit's hurdles form.

KELKA is making a long trip down from North Yorkshire for Malcolm Jefferson. The daughter of Exit Nowhere racked up a double at the back end of last year at Hexham and Kelso respectively, with both wins coming as easily as connections could have hoped for. Kelka was beaten decisively last time however, although she did have to give five pounds to a gelding. Jefferson will mean business but Kelka does have plenty to find on official ratings.

MS PARFOIS was in the winners' enclosure last time as she stuck on stoutly in the closing stages at Warwick to win by two lengths, although she was beaten by Colin's Sister the time previous so will have to improve significantly.

Article Posted on Friday 17th February 2017 @ 08.10

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