Sandown Park in Esher very much takes centre stage over the next couple of days with the Bet365 Classic Trial Day Friday followed by the Bet365 Jump Finale on Saturday. It will surprise no-one I am getting involved on Friday at what is a great meeting, if you can get down there I would thoroughly recommend it.
The meeting gets underway at 1.50 with the Esher Cup but I am not punting in that. I will be getting involved in the 1m2f Group Three Gordon Richards Stakes at 2.25. Last years winner Crystal Ocean arrives rated a minimum 7lb higher than the opposition and is odds-on 8-11 for a reason, was twice placed at Group 1 level last year. On all known form he should win this a shade comfortably. Fabricate was of course second last year only a short-head behind and would have blown away a few cobwebs when fourth in the Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton last month. The 7yo rarely runs a bad race and may give the jolly most to think about again. Thundering Blue has to give them all 3lb and may struggle to do so.
We stick to the 1m2f trip for the Group Three Classic Trial at 3.00. Bangkok looked a 2yo that would be better at three and over further and duly won well on his 3yop debut over 1m2f at Doncaster last month; that form has been franked since by the second and fourth both winning next time out. Trainer Andrew Balding has high hopes for the rest of the season saying earlier this week “I’ve been delighted with him at home and he looks a high-class horse. We will find out where we are heading with him after Friday, but I’ve been very pleased with him. The only concern I would have is if there is heaps of rain, which it doesn’t look like there is going to be. It was only a maiden race he won last time, but it has worked out well and he was impressive winning it. I think he deserves a go at a trial.” At 6-4 I think there is more to come yet from the colt.
Race of the day is the Group Two Bet365 Mile at 3.35. Addeybb won for me a couple of times last season, namely when winning the Lincoln at Doncaster and this race, a couple of G.1’s proved a step-up too far after that and a try on the Polytrack over 1m2f showed he didn’t quite get that trip. The chestnut has gone well fresh in the past and the addition of the cheekpieces for the first time might just eke out a little improvement. At his very best he wins and I have the 9-2 about him. Beat The Bank is an obvious danger dropping down from G.1’s whilst Sharja Bridge is worthy of an attempt at this level.