I am having a run of it at the moment. It’s not that I am not finding winners, I am, simply not enough of them with a smattering of hard luck stories mixed in for good measure. Right now, if I fell into a barrel of boobs, I'd come up sucking my own thumb!
It's a very good card at Sandown Park on Thursday evening with a couple of Group Three’s and a Listed race alongside some fair handicaps. It is also a tricky card with a couple of short ones in the mix and the handicaps are proper puzzles. I am on three overnight in the hope I have got the prices correct and that they all get backed in.
Best bets for the horse racing at Sandown Park
The Listed 5f Coral "Beaten By A Length" National Stakes at 6.15 is certainly worth a watch with all eight two-year-olds lining-up having at least one victory to their name this could prove a race to follow form wise as the season progresses. Navello left the rest of the field for dead in the Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes at Chester last time winning by six lengths. That was on good-soft having won at Brighton on good-firm before that and on the Tapeta at Wolverhampton prior to that. By Ivawood, winner of the G.2 July Stakes and G.2 Richmond Stakes as a two-year-old himself the dam Caprella won just once in her career but that was at two, so the colt is bred to be handy this season. Nicola Currie rides again and the yard of George Boughey is in pretty good form this year both of which are positives so I am on at 9-4.
At 6.50 we are at the other end of the spectrum for racehorses as the stayers are out for the 2m Group Three Coral Henry II Stakes. Ocean Wind and Nayef Road are clearly closely matched, just half a length between them when second and third respectively behind Stradivarius in the G.3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot. The latter was disappointing in the G.2 Yorkshire Cup Stakes a fortnight ago with no obvious reason for the poor effort, the fact he is out again suggests connections aren’t overly concerned by anything. Neither yard is exactly in great form and both are probably better on good going rather than the soft we’re going to get, it might pay to take them on. Ranch Hand will need a career best to win on paper but the All-Weather Marathon winner had looked a fair stayer last back and actually won a hurdle over the winter. Recent run in the G.3 Al Rayyan Stakes was over an inadequate 1m4f and this step back-up in trip will surely suit. Andrew Balding's charge has winning form on the soft and the yard have been amongst the winners of late. At 6-1 I am taking on the two at the head of the market.
They face 1m2f at 7.25 for the Group Three Coral Brigadier Gerard Stakes (In Memory Of Joe Mercer). Extra Elusive picked up a couple of Group Three’s last season, one of those on soft for the Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor, and has run well in defeat a few times since. The yard of Roger Charlton has been under a bit of a cloud though so far this year, just six winners at a strike rate of 7% which is a concern. Sangarius is the obvious form choice having blown away the winter cobwebs when second in the G.2 Huxley Stakes at Chester last month. I cannot get the horse right though. I tipped him when third in the Listed Heron Stakes here in 2019 for example, then bet against him the following month when he won the G.3 Hampton Court at Ascot, then, to rub salt in the wounds, I took him on again with Bangkok when he won the Listed Quebec Stakes in December just gone by a nose, from, you guessed it, Bangkok! That win in the Hampton Court was on soft and the five-year-olds best form does appear to be with cut in the ground. He should win and I have backed him at 11-8 but I will be crossing my fingers that the curse of Sangarius is lifted. Perhaps I should pray to the Greek Gods, apparently he was a Phrygian river God in Greek mythology - must be why the horse prefers soft going :o)