There is a great card of racing to look forward to at Sandown on Friday and the ITV racing team are bringing us live action of the four best races on the day. There is a great mix of classic contenders and old stalwarts to suit everyone.
Will we see a future Derby winner in the Classic Trial? Or perhaps we will see a miler stamp their authority on the division in the Sandown Mile. We have went through all four races and have hopefully picked a winner or two.
Esher Cup Handicap
This handicap is restricted to three-year-olds and looks like quite a tricky contest to pick apart. Andrew Balding has got his string in good form at present and Fox Leicester has already contributed to this good start. He confirmed some juvenile promise when taking a novice event at prohibitive odds at Chelmsford.
Masaru has to give weight away all round having already won twice including when staying on well over seven furlongs last time out. The step up in trip will definitely suit and has to be considered.
It’s a maiden that catches my eye the most, in the form of Migration who has progressed steadily on each of his three starts. He finished runner-up in a hot looking maiden at Newbury most recently and a mark of 82 looks lenient.
Others of note include House Of Kings and Reggae Runner.
Gordon Richards Stakes
Ryan Moore is the joint most winning rider(4 wins) in the history of the race along with Lester Piggott. Last year he partnered Crystal Ocean to victory and the pair team up again here and should be hard to contain in their bid for back-to-back victories.
Sir Michael Stoute’s classy inmate is a multiple Group winner but keeps coming up short at Group 1 level. A short head is all that separated him and Fabricate last year and although he should win again, he may not have as much in hand as the prices suggest.
Fabricate has had the benefit of a run already this season and could pose the biggest dangers again. Of the other Thundering Blue made up into a smart horse last season and was placed at Group 1 level. I think he will come on for the run but if he progresses half as much as he did last season, then he’ll be a proper Group 1 horse.
Selection: Fabricate – E/W
This race is often used as a Derby Trial but the last horse to run in this and go on to win the Derby was Benny The Dip in 1997. There are a host of very exciting prospects lining up this season that will have Derby aspirations.
Technician was very well touted on seasonal debut and showed a nice turn of foot to easily account for his rivals under Oisin Murphy. Martyn Meade’s charge looks like a very smart colt and could make them all go.
Andrew Balding and Silvestre De Sousa team up with the experienced Bangkok who has held good company on all his starts thus far and showed improvement to take a Doncaster maiden on season debut when beating the highly regarded Telecaster. He’ll need to improve again to take this but that’s very much possible.
The stoutly-bred Alfaatik showed so much greenness on debut at Chelmsford that connections have reached for the blinkers here, which isn’t overly encouraging but he’s got definite ability.
Of the remainder Persian Moon, Prince Eiji and Travel On all hold chances.
Richard Hannon senior and junior have a fantastic record in this race having won 8 of the past 15 renewals of the race. Oh This Is Us is the Hannon representative this year and showed his well-being when winning on All-Weather Champions Day at Lingfield last weekend. He comes in here as the form horse and will make them all work.
Addeybb took this contest twelve months ago in very impressive fashion but he came into that race on the back of a big win in the Lincoln. This time around he is making his seasonal debut and if he can recapture that early season here, then he could be a force to be reckoned with.
Another horse coming here in decent form is Sharja Bridge who took the Balmoral on his final start last season and began the current campaign with a smooth victory in the listed Doncaster Mile. Roger Varian’s charge is on an upward curve and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Beat The Bank ran well all of last season and will be many people’s idea of the winner but I think he’ll need this and will be a horse to follow once he’s got this run under his belt.
Selection: Oh This Is Us