Coverage of the meets at Sandown and Haydock this afternoon, with the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at 3.35 the highlight of the Esher card.
This race sees the long-awaited reappearance of dual Arc winner Enable, in her first step towards the treble later in the year.
Slow to come to hand this season but reported to be flying at home in recent weeks, John Gosden‘s superstar has been installed as the 10-11 favourite and, if she turns up in ‘business as usual’ mode, the others won’t see which way she went. That’s quite an ‘if’, though and, at that sort of price, our strong recommendation is to settle comfortably in your armchair and watch the events unfold without getting involved.
The card starts with the Group 3 Coral Charge over the minimum trip with Sergei Prokofievand Garrus disputing favouritism at 4-1.
These two both have credentials, but we prefer to look further down the list and suggest an each way bet on Pocket Dynamo at 12-1.
Trained by the forgotten man of sprints Robert Cowell, this 3-y-o has been beaten by Calyxand Battaash in his last two starts and will meet nothing of that calibre here today. Add to that a 6lb pull with Garrus for just a length beating three runs ago, the value is there to see.
The Coral Challenge Handicap at 2.25 is wide open on betting (11-2 the field) and our pin has landed firmly on Greenside as a 15-2 each way punt. This 8-y-o has had just 15 runs on turf and all its best runs have been on this track, including a CD win off today’s mark of 94. Run style means it’s occasionally a hostage of fortune, but if Harry Bentley gets the gaps, we could be in business.
The Listed Coral Distaff at 3.00 affords a good opportunity for William Haggas‘ Hidden Message to come good at the third time of asking this year and reverse earlier form with joint favourite Muchly. Trust the ‘sauce man’ to bring her home in front at 11-4.
Over at Haddock, the first three races are on telly for our delectation and delight, beginning with the bet365 Handicap at 2.05 and there’s just a sniff that Braveheart is trying to win this, as he supplies no less than 57% of the runners.
Fearlessly, we will take ’em all on with a bet on Roger Varian‘s runner Prefontaine at a sporting 11-1. Unsuited by soft ground at Chester last time out, this horse’s best ever run was over this trip and on this ground at Sandown at the end of May, when just failing to overhaul the winner. That was first run since last October, so with ideal conditions today, David Egan might just do the biz.
The bet365 Lancashire Oaks at 2.40 has a John Gosden trained runner as joint favourite but we prefer his other representative Highgarden, the mount of Robert Havlin. Already a Group 3 winner as a 3-y-o, this Nathaniel filly warmed up for this with a very close third off a mark of 104 in a valuable Chelmsford City handicap and should have come on a ton for that first run for 8 months. Take the 13-2 each way, please.
The valuable bet365 Old Newton Cup Handicap at 3.15 rounds off today’s entertainment and another John Gosden trained inmate First Eleven is fav for this at 3-1. The term ‘Group horse in a handicap’ is overused, but this may be a case in point and we advise a win bet at the price.
One horse in here that could cause a surprise is the James Given trained 4-y-o Indianapolis, which was not far behind First Eleven at York last time and has a 6lb pull today. An each way bet on this beastie at 16-1 would not go amiss.
Happy punting to you all.
Pocket Dynamo 1.50 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 12-1
Greenside 2.25 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (5 places William Hill)
Hidden Message 3.00 Sandown 2pts win @ 11-4
Prefontaine 2.05 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (2 places)
Highgarden 2.40 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 13-2 (2 places)
First Eleven 3.15 Haydock 2pts win @ 3-1
Indianapolis 3.15 Haydock 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (5 places)