Sandown Park and the Eclipse card take centre stage this Saturday and armchair sports fans are in for a treat with the ITV cameras also at Haydock where they host the bet365 Lancashire Oaks. It all kicks-off a little earlier than usual so as not to clash with the World Cup Quarter Final with England taking on Sweden; oh and there is, of course, the Tennis from Wimbledon, qualifying for the British G.P. at Silverstone tomorrow and the Tour de France begins. Anyway, I digress, to the horse racing and the bets for this Saturday.
The Group Three Coral Charge over the five at Sandown is the first race of interest at 12.20. Haddaf appears to like it here with track and trip wins in April and June, the latter being the Listed Scurry Stakes. This would require another step-up on that but he is going the right direction and the draw has been kind as he comes out of three. At 13-2 I am on the three-year-old. Sound And Silence is a horse I like but he was beaten by Haddaf in the Scurry and hasn’t looked as good this year whilst Muthmir is feared but stall seven does not help his chances.
The G.2 Lancashire Oaks up at Haydock is due off at 1.10. The Luca Cumani-trained God Given has reportedly been aimed at this having won the G.3 Betway Pinnacle Stakes last time out over track and trip. I think she has some improvement in her yet and have taken the 3-1 about her. Andrew Balding’s lightly raced Horseplay is feared.
They line-up for the G.1 Eclipse at 2.10 and some have been billing it as the latest in the very enjoyable Godolpiin versus Coolmore battle of 2018. Charlie Appleby was to saddle Derby winner and 2,000 Guineas third Masar and his colt was the jolly - I took 15-8 NRNB. Reportedly he put in a ‘sparkling gallop’ on the July Course at Newmarket last Saturday in his final piece of serious work. Brett Doyle was in the saddle and Appleby seemed in bullish mood telling the Godolphin website “I was very pleased with that. That should have him spot on for Saturday. It was nice building work. It was copybook, just as he had done prior to Epsom. He pulled clear of African Jazz and Alqamar, who were the same horses he galloped with before the Derby.” Sadly he is not here and its no bet for Triple G.
Stable mate and 2016 winner Hawkbill will line-up. The Ballydoyle contingent numbered five early this week but that has whittled down to three but it’s not a bad trio. The master of Ballydoyle saddles Saxon Warrior, Cliffs Of Moher and Happily, who gets the sex allowance as well as weight for age. They are clearly desperate to get another victory with Warrior, I was surprised to see him declared having been beaten into third place when a hot favourite in last Saturday’s Irish Derby; can he bounce back? Let’s not forget Roaring Lion who was beaten two lengths in third at Epsom. This distance is possibly the John Gosden trained colts best trip, and he has to be feared, but the plain facts are he has finished behind Masar in the Craven Stakes, the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby. Forest ranger is perhaps the best hope for the older generation as Cliffs Of Moher and Hawkbill aren’t two to trust.
My last piece of advice for Saturday would be crack open a beer and enjoy an afternoon sport.