Between Haydock and Sandown there is plenty of good racing to come today and if the weather holds up it should serve up a cracker. The only slight negative is the few runners in the Coral Eclipse, which could make it more about tactics than the racing.
14:00 Sandown – Coral Charge
First of all it is worth saying that the ground has come up against Mecca’s Angel again and she was declared a non-runner yesterday evening by her connections. For her search for softer ground they could be heading to France if they can find a suitable race in the near future.
The one to be with here has already been well supported and is now currently Waady. All three-year-olds in this race are getting a weight allowance from their elders in the race, so that is the first positive. Secondly this colt has won on all three starts here at the track. He is one very much on the up following his 2l success here last time and is the one they all have to beat. Profitable was second to Waady last time out and was fifth in the Commonwealth Cup.
That leads us nicely into his main danger. Another three-year-old is Salt Island who drops back in trip to 5f here after contesting over 6f. He beat Profitable home finishing 4th in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup, which looked a race that will bring some strong form to the table. This Charles Hills runner travelled strongly into his race and kicked for home when Muhaarar, Commonwealth Cup winner, came up alongside him. He has the Group form and is the most likely threat to the selection.
Of the rest Spirit Quartz has blinkers on instead of cheekpieces for the first time however the quick ground may be against him. He was a good third behind Muthmir at Chantilly but that ground was described as good to soft. Veteran Kingsgate Native would be in with a chance but could be too high in the handicap after being raised for his win last time out; on top of that he has a wide draw to contend with. Wind Fire has course form but for me he needs to find more to go close to Waady and Salt Island. The four-year-old is giving them a bit of weight and has ran well in defeat.
Advice: Waady (9/4 win)
14:15 Haydock – Lancashire Oaks
This Group 2 for fillies and mares has some nice types in it and there is a shortlist of three. The three in question are Jordan Princess, Lady Tiana and Miss Marjurie.
With the ground currently good to soft with more rain forecast it is hard to look past Lady Tiana. It looks like that is already being taken into account looking at the market. In the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes over 1m4f here last time out she travelled strongly but found problems in running while the winner Miss Marjurie had a clear run down the outside. However with conditions to suit the Lucy Wadham’s runner she could take some beating because she is proven on slower ground. Her sire is Sir Percy and his progeny have a 23% strike rate on ground described as soft or good to soft, which it is likely to be.
If the ground was firmer then I’d be more willing to side with Luca Cumani’s Jordan Princess. She was fourth behind Miss Majurie at Goodwood in a Listed race and again it was Denis Coakley’s runner, who had the first run to make it count. After that race James Doyle said a horse rolled into her just knocking any momentum she was building. She is one that needs to find improvement but is a type that looks to be a stayer.
Miss Marjurie is going for the hat-trick after winning on both of her starts this season. For that the handicapper has raised her 12lb but she does look a progressive type. My only doubt today is that the ground is a bit of an unknown. The slowest ground she has run on turf was been described as good. Her sire is Marju and his progeny have a 19% strike rate on ground described as soft or good to soft plus he was more of a quick ground horse.
Ballybacka Queen is worth a quick mention, She comes over from Ireland and has Silvestre De Sousa booked to ride. She is proven on slower ground after winning a Leopardstown Handicap on heavy ground. If she settles into her race she could be a threat to the three mentioned above, as she is likely to challenge late.
Advice: Lady Tiana (7/2 each-way)
14:50 Haydock – Old Newton Cup
Kinema won the Cumberland Plate the feature race of Carlisle’s season last time out and comes into this carrying relatively little weight. At a double figure price he would be the one that I would be willing to give a chance to considering he’ll enjoy the cut in the ground. At a double figure price he could be one to side with each-way.
Luca Cumani Penhill is the one that everybody has to beat. He didn’t show his potential at Newmarket last time out in a race won by Watersmeet but he’s had difficulty at that track before. He is proven over this trip plus has won on softer ground, so that shouldn’t be a problem. If Luke Morris can ride him prominent and get some cover then he should be one that travels strongly and come to win this race.
The ground may have come against Battersea. The Roger Varian yard are in good form and if the ground was quicker you’d give him more of a chance. The trainer did tell the Racing Post that his participation would be in doubt with any overnight rain. Elbereth won from out of the handicap at Epsom under Edward Greatrex, who keeps the ride today claiming 7lb. She has won over this distance on an artificial surface at Wolverhampton and has to cope with a career high mark but is a filly in form and could continue to show progress.
Apertix is two win from four starts since coming to race on the flat. He was rated 117 over hurdles and comes into this off bottom weight and a mark of 89, which he could very much exploit here. He won well at York in a Lady Amateur Riders Handicap. He is a strong traveller and likely to be kept prominent. With conditions to suit it is no surprise to see some early money for him. Watersmeet is in good form but a question mark over the ground. He’ll be challenged for the lead by Notarised, who took up front running duties in the Northumberland Plate last week. One at a bigger price is John Reel, who has won over further on the all-weather and has some form considering he was sixth in the Chester Cup behind Trip To Paris and that form looks good, while last time out here he was beaten by Seamour, who is on the up too. If he handles the ground he could be overpriced.
Advice: Kinema (14/1 each-way)
15:45 Sandown – Coral Eclipse
The Group 1 Coral Eclipse takes centre stage today and will give us another chance to see the special Golden Horn, making his first course appearance since his sublime Derby victory.
There are only five runners going to post and it is priced up as a one horse race with Golden Horn 2/5 to win this race. It is going to be a tactical race with a lack of front-runners in this field. On top of that Sandown is a track that favours front-runners or prominent runners, as it is very rarely you see something come from last to first.
Frankie Dettori has acknowledged that potential lack of pace and has said he will take the running up with Golden Horn if necessary. If that were to be the case then the race could be over from a fair way out. We know Golden Horn is the class in the race with his Derby and Dante wins. That form has been franked, especially the Derby with Jack Hobbs and Storm The Stars coming out to finish first and second respectively in the Irish Derby last weekend.
In another perspective, Oisin Murphy in his blog for the British Champions Series spoke about Tullius and said: “The plan is to try and make all.” However the rank outsider would be better with some cut in the ground plus his two previous efforts over this distance have seen him well beaten. The positive is his course form where he has four starts, winning twice and finishing second once. This is a big ask for the Andrew Balding seven-year-old.
For value purposes I’d be looking to be backing Western Hymn in the market without Golden Horn. This is John Gosden’s other runner in this race and is currently best priced 25/1 with Bet365 in the outright markets. He is the course specialist having won on all three starts he at the track where he tends to be ridden prominently. He won the Group 2 Gordon Richards Stakes here on his first start of the season beating Tullius. He followed that up with a Group 3 win in the Brigadier Stakes again here at this track in a race where he beat Eagle Top, who was second in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He raced in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot finishing third, over two lengths behind The Grey Gatsby, who was second. Just looking at that it is worth pointing out is that the handicapper has lowered The Grey Gatsby 3lb for that effort while Western Hymn remains off the same mark. The Kevin Ryan runner will be doing his best work late but I’m not sure whether the track will suit. Similar can be said about Cougar Mountain, who finished strongly when third behind Solow in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting.
Overall with Golden Horn getting a hefty weight allowance it is hard to look past him however I wouldn’t be backing him at the price considering it will be a tactical affair. I however would be more inclined to back the other Gosden runner in Western Hymn, who has the course form and may be asked to go forward to give Golden Horn something to aim at.
Advice: Western Hymn without the favourite (7/2 Paddy Power)
14:35 Sandown – Coral Challenge
Spark Plug fell at Royal Ascot as he was making his challenge. None the worse for that he comes here and is the one that should go well. Despite being a hold-up horse he is in stall one and has a front-runner in Ifwecan next to him in stall two. The Mark Johnston runner won at Carlisle last time making all, so Ryan Moore could potentially us him as the one to track and get cover on before making a late challenge. Of the dangers there are Basem and Jacob Black, who were first and second over course and distance last time out. Then there is Sahaafy and Master Carpenter, with the latter finding his feet last time and could be overpriced here.
15:10 Sandown – Coral Distaff
Straight to the point here. Black Cherry is the filly in question. She was in my tracker before her last run when she was an emphatic 5l winner here last time. She has to cope with a 15lb rise in the weights for that but she is a filly in form, seeking the hat-trick here. I do think she’ll take some beating. Jellicle Ball seems a precocious type and she is plenty short enough. If she has a going day she is the likely danger after her last two runs. That latest was in the Sandringham won by Osaila, which could be good form for fillies. Montalcino looks dangerous after her good second over 1m3f last time behind Crystal Zvezda. She is likely to be prominent if Ryan Moore can get her across to the rail from stall 12.