All eyes this afternoon will be focused on the 3.35 at Sandown, the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse, which sees the return to action of the dual Arc winner Enable, who is being prepared for a fourth tilt at the French highlight after finishing second last year to Waldgeist.
Said by her trainer to be difficult to get fit, this could be the time to take on the wonder-mare and we do so with Charlie Appleby‘s ‘monster’ Ghaiyyath.
Leaving aside our mantra that ‘if you can’t pronounce it, you can’t back it’, this 5-y-o is a different animal this season, specialising in making mincemeat of the opposition from the front and, despite the presence of a potential Ballydoyle ‘spoiler’ in Magic Wand, we think William Buick can get the fractions right and triumph again. Have a win bet at 9-4.
Coverage starts with the Coral Charge at 1.50 and this should be dominated by two of the 3-y-os in the field, Lazuli and Liberty Beach. It’s 8-1 bar the two, but Sod’s Law he say you pick wrong one always, so we’ll sit this one out.
The Coral Henry ll Stakes at 2.25 has just the five runners and represents the best chance of Cross Counter returning to the winner’s enclosure since his last win in Meydan over a year ago. Usually seen competing at Group 1 level, Charlie Appleby‘s Melbourne Cup winner meets lesser lights today and should be backed at 6-4.
The Coral Challenge Handicap at 3.00 has Montatham and Dark Vision at the head of the market after fighting out the finish of the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, but our preference is for a horse that finished behind them that day, namely Qaysar.
After a very promising re-appearance run, Qaysar raced on a different part of the track from the other two and was held up in its run as well, so, at the adjusted weights, could hunt them up this afternoon. At a very palatable 11-1 we’ll have an each way bash.
Over at very wet Haddock, the feature race is the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at 2.40, with the already small field now reduced to 5 after the withdrawal of what would have been our selection. This leaves Manuela De Vega no better than even money, which is no fun and therefore no bet.
The bet365 Handicap at 2.05 has William Haggas‘s Favorite Moon installed as, er, favourite, but we prefer the chances of Braveheart‘s Subjectivist under Haddock specialist Richard Kingscote.
This Teofilio colt was a strong finishing 3rd at Royal Ascot over 12 furlongs and stepping up to 1m 6f today looks a good move. Have a win bet at 5-2.
Last but (hopefully) not least is the bet365 Old Newton Cup at 3.15, in which 16 runners stand their ground.
We like the look of the favourite Ranch Hand in this after a pleasing tune-up at the Royal Bunfest and this Andrew Balding trained 4-y-o should be backed at 4-1.
We are also sweet on the chances of Babbo’s Boy, which put up a much improved performance, first time out, when running all over Harrovian on this track a month ago. Have a decent each way bet at 13-2.
Right, that’s it – what time do the pubs open?
Ghaiyyath 3.35 Sandown 2pts win @9-4
Cross Counter 2.25 Sandown 4pts win @ 6-4
Qaysar 3.00 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 11-1
Subjectivist 2.05 Haydock 2pts win @ 5-2
Ranch Hand 3.15 Haydock 2pts win @ 4-1
Babbo’s Boy 3.15 Haydock 1.5pts e.w @ 13-2 (5 places)