It’s a busy couple of days at one of my favourite tracks in the shape of Sandown Park with Bet365 Classic Trials Day on Friday 28th April and Bets365 Jumps Finale on Saturday 29th – a little bit of something for everyone. I am not getting involved with the Jumps on Saturday but will be having a go on the Friday for the Flat.
One of my Dirty Dozen for 2017 is out in the Bet365 Esher Cup at 1.50. Frankel colt Atty Persse is the horse in question and I said of him earlier in the year ‘He was only seen once at two when he won his maiden at Sandown over a mile like a decent sort and is one to keep on side.’ That is exactly what I plan to do and though I still feel 1m2f will be the colts trip eventually he can win this over a mile and I have the 9-4.
At 2.20 it’s the Group Three Bet365 Gordon Richard Stakes over 1m2f. There are a few old friends lining up here with Ulysses for Sir Michael Stoute, Royal Artillery for John Gosden, Deauville for Aidan O’Brien and My Dream Boat for Clive Cox all in with a chance. Royal Artillery is the one for me based on his win in the G.3 Rose Of Lancaster which he followed up with an excellent third to Almanzor in a Group 2 at Deauville in August. He is lightly raced and looks the type to still be getting better, a scopey sort, and I have the 9-4.
At 2.55 there are more three-year-olds strutting their stuff in the Group Three Bet365 Sandown Classic Trial also over 1m2f. Frankuus, as the name suggests sired by Frankel, arrives top rated off the back of some decent efforts at two; was found out in the G.1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on soft in October when eighth. Prior to that run the colt won the G.2 Prix de Conde at Chantilly over 1m1f and the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock over a mile.
John Gosden saddles two, the first being another Frankel colt in the shape of Cunco. He won on debut at two and run well without winning for the rest of the season in some decent races finishing off the season running seventh in the G.1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud mentioned above.
Monarchs Glen is yet another son of Frankel and he won the 32Red Handicap at Kempton on the all-weather over 1m3f earlier this month as a warm-up for this. A colt that just might be on the upgrade he was heavily eased the last 100yds to win by a length; could have been six. After only three runs, two wins and a short-head second, he is open to plenty of improvement and arrives match fit after the win earlier this year. I think he may prove to be the best of the Frankel threesome that line-up as a three-year-old and have grabbed the 10-11 available about him to win this.
It’s the Group Two Bet365 Mile at 3.30 and Aidan O’Brien sends over Cougar Mountain who has been running in G.1 events across the globe during the winter including the Breeders Cup Mile, Hong Kong Mile and Dubai Turf; the relatively short pop across the Irish Sea will feel like he has hardly left his stable! I think he can gain a much deserved victory at this slightly lower level and have taken 7-1.
A low draw has been a huge advantage in recent years on the five furlong strip here in Esher so Queen In Waiting has been done a favour copping for the two stall in the Bet365 Handicap at 4.05. If she can bang out like she did last time at Wolverhampton when winning she should lead this line-up a merry dance from the front. Grab the 9-4 and hope she goes on the B of the Bang!
As for Saturday and the Jumps Finale Altior versus Special Tiara is the main event on Saturday as far as I am concerned as the Jumps season draws to a close. Both horses are favourites of mine but Altior is fast taking on Moscow Flyer like status with me and would be the pick in what could be a cracker for the Grade One bet365 Celebration Chase at 3.00 with Gods Own in the mix also. I say would be the pick as he is long odds-on and unbackable so it is a race to enjoy rather than punt in.
As is always the case there is plenty of racing on Bank Holiday Monday but as usual it’s best left alone. There is plenty to look forward to in the first week of May and I will be concentrating on the first Classics of the season, 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas next week.