With Royal Ascot fast approaching the racing isn’t of the highest class this weekend, but there is a cracking and ultra competitive card at Sandown Park on Saturday. Mashaaref (1.55) was, arguably, fortunate to beat Maali at Nottingham last time but that colt ran very well behind the progressive Alkimos at Doncaster in a decent race last week.
The selection looks to have been given a fair mark for his handicap debut and, as long as he behaves himself in the preliminaries, (has been a bit coltish shall we say) he has more to offer. If he doesn’t don’t be surprised if he has the cruellest cut of all before his next run! If only he knew.
Night Carnation (3.30) didn’t impress everyone with her high head carriage at York last time but she appeared ill at ease on the fast ground. She returns to the scene of her impressive seasonal reappearance on Saturday and, as long as the ground is no quicker than good, she can maintain her unbeaten record this season.
Dinkum Diamond reverts to the minimum trip having disappointed behind Elzaam at Newbury last time. He had previously travelled like the best horse at Newmarket on his reappearance and it is possible that we will see last year’s National Stakes winner in a much better light back at 5f; he gives 8lbs to the selection, however, and that is likely to be too much.
Gifted Leader is owned in partnership by new West Ham boss Sam Allardyce and ran, arguably, a career best when runner up in a similar heat at Newmarket last time. That said he has been raised 5lbs for the run and marginal preference goes to Crocus Rose (5.15) who finished runner up in the corresponding race last year and looked to be coming to hand at Wolverhampton last time.
Over at York there is no question that Antigua Sunrise (2.10) hit the front too soon in the Queen Mother’s Cup last year and, despite being 3lbs higher this year, Richard Fahey’s five-year-old mare can make a bold bid in a race she looks to have been laid out for again this year. Luck in running will always play their part in races for lady amateur riders’ but this dual C&D winner must go close in a race where Fahey is triple-handed.
Desert Law was clear of the third when just failing to make a winning reappearance at Newmarket in a valuable 3-y-o handicap on Guineas Day. The fact that he has been raised 6lbs for that narrow defeat makes life more difficult and he only meets the winner Majestic Myles on 1lb better terms.
The obvious danger is recent Ripon winner Elusive Prince who escapes a penalty for that success but, at the time of writing, he is not guaranteed to get into the race and Godolphin’s Ahtoug is another who merits serious consideration in a terrific race.
Bond Tyres Trophy: York ¼ odds first 4: prices from Victor Chandler
Desert Law 13/2
Seal Rock 7/1
Majestic Myles 8/1
Elusive Prince 8/1
Sea Moon (3.50) was touted as a Derby horse during the winter following his maiden win at Yarmouth on his second start and he makes a belated reappearance in handicap company at York. He still has entries at Royal Ascot and in the Irish Derby and he must be showing up well on the Newmarket gallops.
Swiss Spirit (4.25) was arguably unlucky not to make a winning debut at Newmarket and he can go one better in a valuable maiden that has been won by some decent sorts in the past.
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