GRAEME McPherson can further advertise his skills with a thoroughbred by saddling KAYF BLANCO to a significant victory in the Matchbook Imperial Cup at Sandown.

The Gloucestershire handler has had a fine campaign with his small squad and has especially high hopes of a big run from Ami Desbois at the Cheltenham Festival.

This eight-year-old has realistic claims as well but is still likely to be overpriced as he does not belong to a big yard and has hardly been in prolific order.

Indeed, he has not won since November 2015, although that slightly concerning statistic is offset by the level at which he has been operating this winter.

After all, it should not be forgotten that he got to within four and three-quarters of a length of the Champion Hurdle-bound Brain Power in a Listed race over this course and distance in December.

Kayf Blanco's last outing was probably his best, though, as the McPherson runner finished fifth behind Ballyandy in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

What was significant that day was the manner in which he scrapped his way through the Berkshire mud, which tends to align with the fact his two victories to date have been achieved in soft ground.

With Sandown's terrain highly unlikely to be rattling fast, that might well be a prize asset. Kayf Blanco hardly looks a handicap snip but he is tough, honest and seems to enjoy himself at Sandown, with Kielan Woods in the saddle of today's nap selection.

He also demonstrated at Cheltenham last year, when a smashing seventh in the County Hurdle, that he can at least go toe to toe with the best handicappers in the business.

CAP SOLEIL will not be heading to Cheltenham but the wise Fergal O'Brien looks to have engineered a nice bit of placing with her in the Listed mares' bumper on the card.

The four-year-old filly served notice of her qualities when she bolted up on her racecourse debut at Newbury, after which she was sent into action at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

Cap Soleil had to survive a stewards' inquiry but her head defeat of Daphne Du Clos, who was considered a big player at Cheltenham next week until injury struck, was really good.

O'Brien's inmate, ridden by Paddy Brennan, also appears to have less on her plate at Sandown – and yet she is also in receipt of a good bit of weight from virtually all the field.

There is some grand all-weather racing at Wolverhampton, where EXAMINER might be worth a bit of interest in the Lincoln Trial Handicap.

Stuart Williams' six-year-old is a good horse when the mood suits, as evidenced by him winning a big prize at Epsom in the summer.

He is certainly no all-weather slouch, either. Examiner has not been beaten far on his last two outings over farther at Wolverhampton and yet he is still reasonably treated on his best form.

This return to just over a mile, a distance at which he has done all of his winning, could eke out that necessary improvement in the trusty hands of Oisin Murphy.

The Listed Lady Wulfruna Stakes looks a wide-open affair but it might pay to side with YUFTEN under Andrea Atzeni.

Roger Charlton's six-year-old has a lengthy absence to overcome but his trainer can nearly always be relied upon to have one ready for the big occasion.

His strong all-weather form in Ireland, when trained by Johnny Murtagh, further enhances his profile with this race in mind.

FREDDIES PORTRAIT hit the target at Carlisle last month and should be in the frame again at Hereford as Will Kennedy takes the reins.

He looked set for defeat last time when Greybougg kicked on but capitalised upon a mistake from that one to finish with real purpose and land a first racecourse victory.

An 8lb rise may be a bit harsh on behalf of the handicapper, yet Freddies Portrait can still do the business in the 188 Bet-sponsored limited handicap chase for novices.