Tonight’s Sandown card features a couple of Group races and is, undeniably, the British best evening flat card of the year. Case Key and Strands Of Silk are well drawn for two juveniles who made all on debut but preference is for Godolphin’s Steady Pace (6.35) who quickened up well at Ascot on debut and, if getting the breaks, must go close in the listed National Stakes.
Simenon hasn’t been seen on the flat since finishing fourth in last year’s Gold Cup although he did win back over timber at Tipperary in July. The booking of Ryan Moore suggests this is not seen just as a prep run for another tilt at the Gold Cup (also second in 2013) and Moore was in the saddle when he scored twice at the Royal meeting back in 2012.
I am going to take a chance, however, with the Chester Cup winner Trip To Paris (7.10) who is unbeaten in two starts since being asked to try two miles or more and I thought he was well on top on the Roodeye last time showing a sharp turn of foot for a stayer when seeing daylight. At 6/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
Tryster (9/4 favourite at BetVictor) was a revelation on polytrack last winter winning five on the spin but can he transfer that all-weather form to turf? If he does he is going to be very hard to beat and he might be the ten furlong specialist in what is a fascinating renewal of the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes.
There is no guaranteed pace in the race but I hope Ryan Moore takes the bull by the horns and dictates on Arab Spring (7.45) who drops back a couple of furlongs having won the John Porter at Newbury last time over a-mile-and-a-half. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute was considering waiting for the Coronation Cup at Epsom on Derby Day but the handler must think he has the necessary pace and he has won this previously with perceived 12f horses Carlton House and Workforce.
Heisman is a fascinating runner in the finale making his turf debut for Olly Stevens having won twice from four starts on the all-weather last year. Andrea Atzeni takes the ride and a market move would be worth noting but Pastoral Player (8.45) has been knocking on the door for Hughie Morrison of late and he should have the race run to suit.
The 8-y-old has never won over a mile but ran a cracker at Newbury over tonight’s trip last time and he has run well for his talented apprentice Charlie Bennett in the past. A good draw in stall six helps and at 12/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
At Haydock Count Montecristo (1.50) can go one better than his last couple of starts in the opening mile maiden. The colt has the plum draw in stall one and the hope is that jockey Jamie Spencer doesn’t over-complicate things. The Sea The Stars newcomer Tashaar cost 380,000 gns as a yearling and makes a belated racecourse debut under Frankie Dettori; a check of the market is suggested to see if there is stable confidence.
Winner Harvard Man failed to frank the form subsequently back at Newbury, but Ring Of Truth (2.50) made a promising debut when second over the minimum trip last month and will appreciate the extra furlong in the fillies’ maiden.
No surprise to see Multellie (4.20) stepped up in trip as he didn’t do anything very quickly at Beverley on his reappearance but that should have blown the cobwebs away and he is bred to appreciate today’s 12f trip. Honour Promise may have been flattered to win at Chepstow (soft) last time and this faster ground may be less than ideal.
At Worcester American Legend (2.10) has had his jumping issues but enjoys fast ground and has been given six weeks to get over what was a tough race at Exeter last time for Jonjo O’Neill.
Winner Buy Back Bob was put in his place in no uncertain terms by Improvisation earlier in the week at Huntingdon but Proofreader (4.40) is entitled to come on for his first start over timber and is fitted with a hood this afternoon as he tries to go one better.
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