Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Sandown and Haydock. View selections below
The Coral Eclipse is this afternoon’s feature event and with the ground drying out all the time at Sandown Park there should be no excuses with two pacemakers in the seven-runner field to ensure a true test.
Time Test put up one of the performances of the season when winning the BetVictor Brigadier Gerard Stakes over today’s C&D back in May when coming from last to first despite giving weight away all round. He is a top class colt but would ideally want to hear his hooves rattle and he is reluctantly overlooked.
The only three-year-old in the last decade to win this prestigious and valuable prize were the Derby winners Sea The Stars and Golden Horn dropping down in trip, whilst the selection The Gurkha (3.45) goes the other way and steps up to 10f for the first time having been campaigned exclusively at a mile so far.
Unraced as a juvenile the selection won a Navan maiden by 9l on his second start before running away with the French Guineas at Deauville. That marked him down as a Group 1 horse and he was too far out of his ground when runner up to Newmarket Guineas’ winner Galileo Gold at Royal Ascot last time in the St James’s Palace Stakes giving every indication he would be seen in an even better light stepped up to 10f.
He is Even money with BetVictor and can make the most of the 11lbs he receives from the older horses; another top-class renewal of this famous contest, but The Gurkha to give Ballydoyle their first winner in the race since So You Think five years ago.
The listed Fillies’ race over the extended mile is a cracker and at a double-figure price I expect a big run from Australian Queen who didn’t see much daylight at Salisbury last time but finished full of running. This stiff mile will suit, but marginal preference is for Snow Moon (3.10) who wasn’t given the best of rides by Frankie Dettori last time and I hope she is ridden more prominently dropped back down to a mile – she looked a filly to follow at Nottingham previously and she gets the vote at 10/3 with BetVictor.
The Esher Stakes is a cracker and ultra-competitive. Hughie Morrison saddles three and all have leading chances but Quest For More (4.20) ran a terrific race at York on his comeback and last season’s Northumberland Plate winner is entitled to come on for the run.
Natural Scenery (4.55) was backed as if she was a good horse when scoring on the July course last month and a mark of 81 could be lenient for this daughter of Dubawi. She has a good draw in stall three and the bit of cut in the ground will certainly be a help.
At Haydock I am looking forward to seeing Endless Time (2.15) in the Lancashire Oaks; off the track since running away with a listed contest in Naas on fast ground, the filly improved in leaps and bounds last term including when scoring on her reappearance, albeit in a lowly handicap, on soft ground.
The Old Newton Cup is as competitive as ever and the vote goes to the progressive Desert Encounter (2.50) who is 5lbs higher than when landing his hat-trick at Windsor last time. Jamie Spencer takes over in the saddle, he has a good draw and can reward each way support at 6/1 with BetVictor.