It’s a very busy weekend, with most of the top action at Sandown. Friday is Classic Trial Day on the flat, while Saturday is Jump Finale Day.
During the latter, Irish Prophecy looks a big price in the bet365 Gold Cup, Frodon is odds-on, the Select Hurdle is very tight and there is a fascinating clash between Put The Kettle On and Altior.
The value may well lie elsewhere however, with these eight being where our money is going over the two days:
Friday 23rd April 2021
1.50 Sandown (Esher Cup Handicap) – QUINTILLUS
A competitive handicap as always, but it’s one that the current hotshots at Charlie Appleby’s yard can take to add to their ever-growing haul this season.
Their Quintillus, having just his fourth race and first in a handicap, is improving all the time yet was never likely to have been suited by things when running fourth behind Fundamental at Chelmsford last time.
By Dubawi out of a Nashwan mare, he is beautifully bred, can take another leap forward here and off this mark looks likely to get his head in front with Tawaareq, Dingle and Buxted Too preferred to shorter-priced Ilza’Eem.
2.25 Sandown (Gordon Richards Stakes – Group 3) – WALDKONIG
There was a rather major move with the sponsors for Sir Michael Stoute’s Highest Ground on Thursday, but it’s partly due to him that Waldkonig looks more backable now.
Always thought to be very high class, the now four-year-old of John & Thady Gosden’s was a strong favourite to beat Highest Ground at one point last season and frankly he should have done.
He demolished a handicap field at Pontefract last time and seems to be coming of age, so while Thunderous and Highest Ground appear close based on their Dante form of last season and Waldkonig was always considered better than they are, his match fitness should give him a clear edge. Hukum is well fancied but may need the run.
2.50 Doncaster (Handicap) – SIDE SHOT
In the grand scheme of things considering this weekend’s action this tight-looking £9,000, 66-85 handicap doesn’t seem all that important.
However, when assessing the form of this field it seemed entirely reliable and so the numbers really appear to stack up. Those numbers, by my reckoning, have John & Thady Gosden’s Side Shot a few pounds clear of this field and so he’s worth a bet.
His main rival is Colonel Faulkner, but his best form is not guaranteed in the conditions while Taravara has a little more to find.
3.35 Sandown (Classic Trial – Group 3) – YIBIR
While Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle remains of interest, this could be all about the Godolphin runners and it’s unlike William Buick to pick the wrong one (though Frankie has to ride Trawlerman).
On a line through Megallan, as well as Adayar and Trawlerman who Yibir beat to the first-choice Godolphin colours, it would appear that the Dubawi colt has enough ability to see off this field and add his name to Charlie Appleby’s growing classic team, perhaps heading to York next.
Both Adayar and Trawlerman are improving nicely, however Yibir has the look of a real Derby candidate, hasn’t been overly pressed as yet, and having been off since September is likely to have improved a hell of a lot since last seen on the track.
4.10 Sandown (Fillies’ Novice Stakes) – CHIASMA
We don’t advise too many newcomers, especially when they’re not big prices. Because of Chiasma’s pedigree, she won’t be massive either but there is a ton of evidence to suggest she shouldn’t struggle when making her debut here on good, fast racing ground.
Chiasma is a full sister to Frankel, the only sister he’ll ever have now that dam Kind has passed away, and the whole family tend to be at or very near three figures in terms of ratings by this age.
With that in mind, Royal Harmony (by Shamardal out of a Dubawi mare) is well bred but statistically unlikely to be at the same level, while Nash Nasha for Godolphin has arguably run to a level of around 65 and 75 so far, so even with improvement and giving away 7lbs, she shouldn’t get near the Juddmonte mare who will have all eyes on her on Friday afternoon.
Saturday 24th April 2021
2.10 Leicester (King Richard III Stakes – Listed Race) – MUMS TIPPLE
An interesting wee Listed race over seven furlongs. Lord Campari has been a little over bet considering his achievements so far and that he may not be at his best in the conditions, while the 112-rated Pogo naturally remains of strong interest.
The value in the race comes with Richard Hannon’s Mums Tipple however. Spectacular in a sales race at 2, he’s been slowly getting close to his very best and didn’t want the full mile behind a very good rival last time. This should suit a lot more and he’s backed to give away 3lbs.
2.50 Haydock (Handicap) – PERSUASION
A thoroughly decent price for this Class 2, seven-furlong handicap is Charlie Hills’ Persuasion with William Buick on board.
Although not really going on last year, Persuasion was an excellent debut winner at 2 during Glorious Goodwood and also finished second to Wichita in a Group race. He finished the year well on soft ground however and looks set for a better season now.
This is a quicker race than he’s had for a while which is exactly what he appears to need, so we can now see the best of him. Dreamloper and the bang in form Gobi Sunset also made the shortlist.
5.55 Doncaster (Handicap) – THIBAAN
Assuming in this five-runner race that he’s not forced down to a silly price, which is doubtful, then Thibaan is worth a small bet.
A four-year-old of Sir Michael Stoute’s, he’s almost guaranteed to improve plenty this season. Having finished a fine second to Frankly Darling last June, his best run was over this course and distance on similar ground and now having had a breathing operation, he can comfortably outrun was now looks like a lenient mark of 87.