• Sat 28 May, 2022
  • 00:58 BST
  • 20:58 EST (BST-4)
  • 02:58 CEST (BST+2)

Five to follow on Thursday

The best evening card of the year is today’s highlight with Sandown due to race on good to soft ground – watered – although conditions were faster than the official description at the last meeting at the Esher track. There is no further rain forecast and conditions are likely to be good by the start of racing.

The Henry II Stakes over two miles is the first of two Group races on the card. In the absence of Alan King’s Trueshan the stayers’ race is a fascinating heat.

They finished in a heap in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month, but ENEMY (6.50) didn’t get the clearest of passages from two out and was, arguably, an unlucky loser. The fourth horse home Wordsworth did nothing for the form at the Curragh over the weekend, but he was given far too much to do dropped back to an inadequate trip. Quickthorn finished a neck in front of the selection at Ascot, but I hope to see the Ian Williams trained 5-year-old reverse the form.

Thunderous is not proven over this evening’s two-mile trip but he might get a soft lead and Franny Norton might be able to dictate his won fractions. He was coming back at Stradivarius at York over 1m 6f last time and looks a big danger. John Leeper and Rodrigo Diaz are both stepping up to the trip for the first time and wouldn’t have to improve much to take a hand.

Recommendation: Enemy 6.30 Sandown

Mostahdaf has been put in a short-priced favourite for the Gp 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes, but I wasn’t overly impressed with his success in the three-runner Gordon Richards Stakes over tonight’s C&D and he must carry a 3lbs penalty for that win.

Addeyb has been a wonderful servant to connections, but he would prefer a bit more juice in the ground, and I hope to see BAY BRIDGE (7.25) make a winning reappearance for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore who, surprisingly, keeps the ride. I say surprisingly because Moore is unlikely to ride the 4-y-old at Royal Ascot or back here in the Eclipse given he will be claimed by Ballydoyle. Richard Kingscote will ride the Derby favourite for the stable next weekend but is plying his trade at Ripon today.

Bay Bridge won all four starts last season culminating in a listed success at Newmarket at the end of October. This is his sternest test to date, but Stoute often targets the race – has trained the winner three time sin the last five years – and Bay Bridge remains potentially top class. https://twitter.com/i/status/1454458269204893710

Recommendation: Bay Bridge 7.25 Sandown

FOX CHAMPION (8.00) won the German 2000 Guineas over a mile three years ago but has been campaigned almost exclusively over seven furlongs since. He has a good history of running well fresh and he gets the each way vote in the Coral sponsored Whitsun Cup. The gelding has a plum draw in stall one, has dropped to an attractive mark and gets the each way vote for Ralph Beckett.

I can’t have the two at the head of the market Farasi Lane and Wonder Elmossman and the two dangers could be Stoute’s Inigo Jones – dropping back in distance – and Ouzo who is 6lbs lower than when finishing fourth in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last year from a 6lbs higher mark or nine if you include the 3lbs claim of Saffie Osborne.

Inigo Jones does not hold an entry in the Hunt Cup which suggests connections aren’t convinced a mile is his trip, but Ouzo does. The bottom weight in the Hunt Cup was rated 93 last year and Fox Champion (92) and Ouzo (90) are unlikely to get a run from their current marks. The weights were announced earlier in the week, but I presume they will get a small penalty if successful tonight.

This is a race that I am sure plenty of winners will come out of in the weeks to come but it is just Fox Champion for me.

Recommendation: Fox Champion EW 8.00 Sandown

A moderate card at Haydock Park this afternoon but I hope to see a big run from SOUND REASON (3.10) in the 5f handicap. The selection is entitled to be sharper for his reappearance at Hamilton where he was posted out on the wing but made steady headway from halfway before his run petered out. He has been dropped a pound for that run, Kevin Ryan had a good winner at Newcastle earlier in the week and he gets the each way vote at a track where he was beaten less than a length on his sole previous visit.

Recommendation: Sound Reason EW 3.10 Haydock

It is interesting to see Dettori, Buick, Doyle and Egan shun Sandown for Yarmouth where there is a fascinating 12f handicap for three-year-olds.

James Ferguson fits The Writer with blinkers for the first time, but he must settle better than was the case at Windsor last time when he finished behind both Fast Forward and Rita Rana. If the headgear helps him settle, he can reverse the form, but I’m not convinced that was the best race in the world and the each way vote goes to the filly CAIUS CHORISTER (2.30) who is bred to be smart and has her first start on turf since finishing last on debut over a mile at Goodwood.

The selection was beaten 10L on her handicap debut at Lingfield, but this stiffer track will suit, she is 3lbs lower in the weights and has excellent apprentice Benoit De La Sayette taking off a further 5lbs. Yes, she will get further as the year progresses – by Golden Horn out of a winner over two miles – but she represents the yard of David Menuisier who, at the time of writing, has saddled two winners from his last three runners.

Recommendation: Caius Chorister EW 2.30 Yarmouth

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