Day One of Sandown Park’s two-day Eclipse meeting is today’s racing highlight and I am looking forward to the racecourse debut of Line Of Duty (2.25) a son of Galileo out of Jacqueline Quest who was first past the post in the 2010 1000 Guineas -trained by Henry Cecil – only to lose the race in the Stewards’ Room to French raider Special Duty.
Charlie Appleby saddles the selection although one point of interest is that William Buick – Appleby’s number one jockey – goes to Doncaster with James Doyle taking the mount on Line Of Duty. Those that have racecourse experience look vulnerable to an above-average newcomer and John Gosden’s Alrajaa should be noted if the market speaks in his favour.
In the listed Gala Stakes Euginio (3.30) (pictured) can go one better than when runner up at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton Stakes in first time blinkers. Silvestre De Sousa keeps the ride and I hope to see the champion jockey make plenty of use of his mount from a good draw in stall two.
The form of Alfarris’s (4.05) Chelmsford win on his belated reappearance last month was given a boost when the runner up – Rainbow Rebel – subsequently scored at Pontefract. The selection is 6lbs higher this afternoon and has to transfer that improvement back to turf, but I thought he was well on top at the line having been forced to come five wide round the final turn.
The William Haggas-trained four-year-old is currently 20/1 with BetVictor for the John Smith’s Cup at York next weekend and would need to win to stand any chance of getting into the race.
Zeelander was backed as if defeat was out of the question when a staying on second at York (1m 4f) last time and Roger Varian steps him up in trip another quarter mile this afternoon. The colt is 5lbs higher this afternoon and is overlooked in favour of Sarrog (4.40) who was dropped 3lbs by the handicapper for winning a Goodwood maiden last time over today’s trip.
The runner up at Goodwood – Gosden’s Surya – bolted up in the warm Newcastle contest last weekend and that colt is now rated 84. Sarrog gave the 3-y-old Suyra 18lbs and a beating (weight-for-age) at Goodwood and a mark of 85 could be lenient for Simon Crisford’s runner at this trip.
Sayf Shamal (2.40) made a winning debut at Kempton back in January over 7f and her turf debut is eagerly anticipated such was the ease of her 5l success. The slight drop back in trip this afternoon is of no concern and the hope is that this is the reason that William Buick will be in South Yorkshire rather than Sandown Park this afternoon.
Asoof (3.45) has been raised 4lbs for making all over 10f at Ripon last month and talented apprentice takes off a valuable 5lbs this afternoon with the filly stepped up in trip to a-mail-and-a-half for the first time. The danger is likely to come from Luca Cumani’s handicap debutante Saving Grace who won at Lingfield over 10f on her penultimate start before just losing out at Haydock when giving weight stepped up in trip.
At Haydock this evening I hope apprentice Rhona Pindar can make all aboard Broken Force (6.15) who went down by half a length to a progressive Prescott horse who has already followed up at Brighton earlier in the week. The selection will be 3lbs higher in the weights tomorrow and it might be worth noting that trainer Karl Burke has declared the 3-y-old back here on Saturday.
The beautifully bred Frankel filly Frisella (6.45) can make a winning debut for John Gosden in receipt of weight from the previous winners. The trainer has a good record with newcomers at this evening’s track and this 7f trip should be ideal.
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