What is probably the best evening horse racing of the season goes ahead at Sandown on Thursday the Matchbook Brigadier Gerard Evening fixture. It's good-firm good in places overnight with the cahnce of a shower or two during the day so hopefully perfect racing ground by the time they line-up for the first. As the bookies have chalked-up early I am on BPG overnight.
A plus for anyone who can’t get there is that the ITV4 cameras will be on track beaming the action straight to your front room; we have two Listed heats and a couple of Group 3’s to enjoy. Racing starts at 6.00. ITV4 is covering the four main races with the programme starting at 6.15. The bookmakers have priced-up nice and early and my fancies follow.
Now that’s got to beat an evening with Annie Sugden down on Emmerdale Farm, is she still in that kitchen? What happened to Amos Brearly and Mr Wilks? Is Seth Armstrong still poaching? Sorry lost my track there, that’s enough T.V. nostalgia back to business and the tips for the Brigadier Gerard Evening.
The Listed National Stakes is the first televised heat at 6.35 with the 2yo’s going on the straight five-furlong strip in what is the most competitive betting heat of the TV races. Blown By Wind from the Mark Johnston yard is the one for me at 4-1. Being drawn nine of nine worries me but he is all about pace and his front-running style will suit here. The colt won over the straight five at Ascot last time which is a pretty stiff test suggesting the steady rise of the course here should hold no fears. Hopefully, James Doyle can pop him out the stalls and he will show the opposition a clean pair of heels.
At 7.05 it’s the Listed Heron Stakes over seven furlongs for 3yo’s. Without Parole is a shade odds-on arriving two for two as he does. He won on debut on the Tapeta at Newcastle over a mile as a 2yo and returned to action winning at odds-on at Yarmouth last month also over eight furlongs. By Frankel out of Without You Babe, making him a half-brother to G.1 Breeders Cup Mile winner Tamarkuz, he really should prove better than this level, has Group One entries, and I have the 10-11 about him taking this.
They head off over 2m for the Group Three Henry II Stakes at 7.35. The race was won last year by Big Orange as a warm-up to his famous triumph in the G.1 Gold Cup at Ascot. Sheikhzayedroad is a battle-hardened stayer I have backed a few times and is a likeable type that just about always gives you a run for your money. He put in two fine efforts out in Dubai during the Carnival finishing second in the G.2 Dubai Gold Cup when last seen; I tipped him on here each-way when third in the G.3 Nad Al Sheba prior to that. At 6-1 I think he can win this.
It’s the 1m2f trip for the main event of the evening the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at 8.10. Poets Word has been a shade odds-on all week since the first Bookies chalked-up and is 4-5 in places as I write. The five-year-old is dropping into calmer waters having finished second on three of his last four runs all at G.1 level- Irish Champions Stakes, Qipco Champion Stakes and Sheema Classic – was sixth in the Hong Kong Cup. That is pretty decent form and he is fancied to get back to winning ways returning to action on these shores. Fabricate was second over track and trip on his seasonal reappearance in the G.3 Gordon Richards Stakes, Crystal Ocean franking that form winning at Newbury last weekend, and he is the most likely to follow the jolly home.