One thing I can report is that there has been a lot of rain in the London area over the last 8 hours or so, so the “good to firm” going description at Sandown Park tonight could alter slightly. Nevertheless, the Esher track will be in top nick for a quality evening of flat racing action, where we have two Listed races and also a pair of Group 3 contests to look forward to.
In the 6.35pm, an open renewal of the Group 3 National Stakes over 5f takes place up the centre chute at Sandown. A low draw and early pace is often so important here and Vintage Brut from stall 1 is the chief threat to all with that in mind. Altair shows good early speed and has decent claims under Jamie Spencer, while Kinks will also have his say from stall 6 if adopting the same forceful tactics he has lately for Mick Channon.
Blown By Wind is the best in the race on form, but comes out of stall 9, which is a potential problem to his chance of winning. But you can get 4/1-9/2 this morning and if he is indeed the best horse in the race, is 9/2 a fair price about him overcoming the draw and stamping his authority a bit? I may just take a chance that he can at those odds.
The second Listed contest is an intriguing renewal of the Listed Heron Stakes at 7.05pm, where the John Gosden trained WITHOUT PAROLE looks a potentially special talent over a mile or so this season. Unbeaten in two starts to date, he was very impressive around Yarmouth the last day and has the lure of being an exciting Frankel colt, contributing – no doubt – to his very short price here. He could be worth taking an each way view against though. Gabr and Silver Quartz probably make the most appeal in that regard.
Stamina is the order of the day in the 7.35pm Group 3 Henry II Stakes, where eight horses will go to post for the two mile, £70,000 contest. Gosden and Dettori team up once again with exciting Chelmsford winner Weekender, another Frankel colt sure to attract plenty of support tonight. Ralph Beckett’s Mount Moriah is a progressive stayer and has a good chance if building on his Nottingham success on seasonal debut, while Chester Cup winner Magic Circle adds some handicap form and flare to the race for Ian William and Fran Berry.
This is a tricky race, an interesting one, but a hard race to have a confident view in. If the ground does dry up again by the evening, SHEIKHZAYEDROAD might be the each way play. A quality veteran stayer on his day, the 9yo remains in sound form and is a danger to all if bringing his best at this level.
The Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes over 1m2f takes place at 8.10pm and is the last of the pattern class action on Thursday evening. This time, Sir Michael Stoute is the man responsible for the favourite Poet’s Word, who is sure to go off at prohibitive odds under Ryan Moore. He brings plenty of Group 1 form to the table and will be tough to beat, but isn’t a working man’s price by any means. With that in mind, Michael Bell’s FABRICATE is the logical next choice. His close 2nd to the improving Crystal Ocean here last month does read very well here and James Doyle gets the ride again aboard the Queen’s runner, a man who is riding out of his skin just now. Michael Bell’s runner has conditions in his favour and there’s no obvious reason why he can’t give Poet’s Word a race of it if continuing his generally upward curve.
Fancies and opinions aside, this is just a cracking midweek card and I can’t wait to watch how it all unfolds.
Bonus Goodwood Treble…
I did promise some Goodwood fancies in Tuesday’s piece, so I will honour that by way of a cheeky each-way treble on the Sussex Downs this afternoon:
Goodwood 2.00pm – Love Dreams 11/4
Goodwood 3.10 – Cuban Heel 4/1
Goodwood 5.30 – Oeil De Tigre 5/1
A £5 E/w treble on the above trio, would pay over £500 to morning odds. Fingers crossed they all run their races and can help to spice up the afternoon a bit, with a little luck!
You can read more from Kevin O’Malley and find the latest form, racecards, free tips & news on GG.CO.UK.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.