Our racing expert is out to hit the Sandown bookies.
Goodwood has never been a lucky track for me so I’m happy to swerve this afternoon’s action on the Sussex Downs for the delights of Sandown’s evening card instead.
Action at the Esher track kicks off at 5.50pm with a competitive-looking novice fillies’ stakes for juveniles and the betting should prove the best guide. Ralph Beckett’s TROPICAL ROCK has to be amongst the favourites, though, as she ran a promising third on her Ascot debut, despite being slow into her stride and running green, and she should know more of what’s required here. Her stablemate and fellow two-year-old Reign On won at the second time of asking at Leicester recently and she can follow suit.
Hugo Palmer’s unraced Bithynia rates a danger and especially if she attracts market support, with the stable’s juveniles always to be respected here (2-6 record).
There are some promising young stayers on display in the 1m6f handicap restricted to three-year-olds (6.25pm). They include the Roger Varian-trained Recognition who is chasing a hat-trick after beating up modest opposition on the all-weather the last twice. He’s opposable off an 8lb higher mark and with just 5/2 on offer.
Instead, let’s have a few quid on the Laura Mongan-trained top weight HARBOUR LAW, who was a convincing winner of a maiden over 1m4f at Salisbury 20 days ago under today’s pilot George Baker and has the scope to do even better over this longer trip. The third horse, Real Dominion, had run well in a handicap off a mark of 79 previously, so the selection’s initial mark of 85 looks far from insurmountable.
The extended 1m handicap for three-year-olds (6.55pm) is competitive, but MEDICIMAN could go well at a price. Henry Candy’s charge is making his handicap debut off an exploitable mark of 78 after three juvenile runs last season. He caught the eye when finishing third on his debut at Salisbury – the form of which has worked out well – and was still green on his next start when beaten less than five lengths into by Folkswood, who now has an official mark of 97 after his win at the Craven meeting. Softer ground was against him on his final start at Newcastle, though he still ran well to finish third and that form has a solid look too.
He looks a ready-made winner of a maiden so it’s noteworthy that Candy is throwing him straight into handicap company, and the trainer was talking him up in a recent Stable Tour, saying “he moves very well loves, top of the ground and looks a classy sort.” It’s possible he might need today’s outing and I would have liked to have seen the stable in better form, but at 10/1 it’s worth taking the risk.
In the closing 1m1f handicap for fillies (8.35pm) it could be worth throwing some money at FOREST LAKES, who has joined rookie trainer George Scott after three runs under the Godolphin banner last season. A promising second on her racecourse debut at Catterick in October, she went to be placed twice more in fair Kempton maidens and is making her handicap debut this evening off a potentially generous perch of 71.
Scott, a former assistant to Lady Cecil, has made a solid start to his training career with three winners on the board already, and two of his eight (25%) turf runners have obliged. His booking of Jamie Spencer, who is taking his first ride for the stable, suggests he expects a big run from the filly and she might be able to upset the forecast favourite Danilovna. While respected, she is no value at odds-on when you consider she only scraped home in a Lingfield maiden on her sole start (form has not worked out) and the poor record of her stable (1-21) at this track.