Timeform’s three best bets for Saturday 2 January

Timeform highlight three horses worth backing at Sandown on Saturday…

“…less exposed than most of his rivals after only three starts over hurdles…”

Timeform on Guard Your Dreams

Ibleo – 13:50 Sandown

Ibleo is improving all the time and produced his best effort yet when second at Cheltenham last month. He ultimately proved no match for the strong-travelling winner Sky Pirate, but the first two pulled well clear of the rest, and Ibleo certainly showed enough to suggest there are more races to be won with him from a BHA mark of 140. He remains open to more improvement, too, and looks to hold leading claims as he attempts to gain a deserved first win of the season for the in-form Venetia Williams.

Metier – 14:25 Sandown

Metier has quickly developed into a useful hurdler for Harry Fry, scoring by 10 lengths on his debut at Newton Abbot in October and then defying a penalty to follow up at Ascot three weeks later. He was well on top at the finish on the last occasion, quickening smartly on the run-in to win by five and a half lengths in a time that compared well with the handicap later on the card. With further progress on the cards, he is fancied to take the step up in class in his stride to complete the hat-trick in this prestigious Grade 1.

Guard Your Dreams – 15:35 Sandown

Guard Your Dreams proved a big disappointment on his penultimate outing at Bangor, but he bounced back to belatedly confirm the promise of his hurdling debut with a dominant front-running success (by 10 lengths) at the same course last time. His strength at the finish suggests he’ll be suited to this test on heavy going, and he is less exposed than most of his rivals after only three starts over hurdles, so there are plenty of reasons to be positive about him now handicapping from a BHA mark of 128.