Best bets for the horse racing Friday 5th July at Sandown Park

Sandown's popular two-day Eclipse meeting starts on Friday with two Listed prizes up for grabs. The sun is set to be shining bright all weekend all being well so get that SPF30 on and enjoy and beer and a bet in the summertime. I am having three punts.

The first of the Listed heats is the 5f Chasemore Farm Dragon Stakes at 2.20 for the 2yo’s. Liberty Beach and Al Raya were fourth and fifth respectively in the G.2 Queen Mary and are on the shortlist as is Makyon who faded out of contention in the 6f G.2 Coventry. Godolphin owner Charlie Appleby trained Expressionist blew the start in the 5f G3 Norfolk and I would think the sot going was of little help either to him. The chestnut colt looked like one to follow when winning on debut so is forgiven that run in the Norfolk and given a chance here at a decent looking 11-2 with Coral BPG.

Riot will be jolly for the 7f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Stakes at 2.55 but I can’t get away from the feeling that he did not want to go by and win when beaten a head over track and trip on his debut in June. I am prepared to take him on with the Godolphin newcomer trained by Saeed bin Suroor Laser Show. The yard has been bang in form the last week or so, he knows how to get his newcomers ready and the chestnut is nicely bred. I have 8-1.

1m2f Listed Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes at 3.25 is a fair race for the level. I have tipped two Godolphin horses so far and in this Sheikh Mohammed’s old colours are on show, now , of course, the colours of his daughter and HH Sheikha Al Jalila Racing, carried by the John Gosden trained Royal Line. The 5yo improved in all three races he ran in last year and looks well worth a tilt at this level. The lay-off since November last year might be a worry for some but the chestnut has won of the back of a 199-day break before; good-firm ground is perhaps of more concern as that win was on soft in the Doncaster November Handicap. Looked like a potential Group horse that day and is backed at 5-2 in the hope he is raring to go on seasonal debut. Elarqam is a danger but has to give them all weight under the conditions whilst Oasis Charm hasn’t quite cut it at this level.

A Sheikh Mo Patent if you wish.

Be lucky