Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Sandown and Haydock. View selections below
The Coral Eclipse is the big race of the day but only five go to post for what is the first clash of the generations and it is impossible to look beyond the unbeaten Derby winner Golden Horn (3.45).
There is no guaranteed pacemaker in the field but jockey Frankie Dettori might wish to try and make all on his colt dropping back in trip from Epsom. The Grey Gatsby finished runner up to Free Eagle in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting last time but if there is a danger to the odds on favourite it might come from Cougar Mountain last seen finishing a running on third in the Queen Anne over a mile again at Ascot last month.
In the opener Use You Filbert (1.25) has been raised 4lbs since finishing runner up at Newmarket last time and this lightly-raced son of Acclamation was slowly away at HQ; if he breaks on terms he must have every chance for Robert Cowell.
The Coral Challenge is a hot mile handicap but a single figure draw has been essential in the race in recent years and last year’s runner up Ifwecan is 4lbs lower than 12 months ago and has a cracking draw in stall two especially for one who likes to race prominently. With 8st 5lbs on his back the Mark Johnston trained 4-y-old is unlikely to be stopping up the Sandown hill but I am a big fan of Basem (2.35) who has won three of his five career starts including over C&D from a 5lbs lower mark last time.
Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor the selection is a brother of Godolphin’s dual Group 1 winner Farhh and whilst he would ideally prefer a bit of juice in the ground there is the chance of an isolated shower overnight. At 9/2 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if he didn’t make the frame with Ifwecan likely to ensure it is a decent test.
In the Distaff connections look to have found a great opportunity for Jellicle Ball and trainer John Gosden saddled the winner of the corresponding race 12 months ago. The filly ran an excellent race when fourth in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot last time but is taken on by the progressive Black Cherry (3.10) who ran away with a handicap over C&D in a decent time last month. The selection must improve again, raised in class, but such was the manner of her latest success that she is taken to land her hat-trick.
In the Marathon I am loath to desert Angel Gabrial who ran a cracker in the Northumberland Plate last week but Havana Beat (4.20) has been in good form this term and won this corresponding race last year for Andrew Balding. The selection has never been out of the first two in three starts at Sandown but confidence is tempered by the lack of any front-runners in the eight strong field. The booking of Ryan Moore for Suegioo, who finished best of all in the Plate last weekend, looks significant but he is another who wouldn’t want a tactical affair.
The ground is drying out all the time at Haydock but is likely to be tacky and quite testing following the 10mls of rain that hit the track on Thursday. The opener sees Lord Ben Stack (1.45) dropped in grade and jockey Danny Tudhope looked to go too hard on the colt in the Dante last time. That form has been franked of course by the subsequent classic wins of Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs and Karl Burke’s colt can get his season back on track with any ease in the ground a plus.
The ground is a concern for Battersea making a belated seasonal reappearance in the big betting race at Haydock the Old Newton Cup but a check of the market is suggested with the yard in such good form. At the foot of the weights Apterix (2.50) could be overpriced at 14/1 with BetVictor for Brian Ellison; the selection won a competitive Lady Riders’ race at York last time and has been raised 6lbs for that effort. Silvestre De Souza takes the mount on the gelding who must overcome a modest draw in stall fifteen.