As we have been saying all week there is rain forecast to hit Sandown ahead of today’s terrific flat card although there are varying suggestions as to how much of the wet stuff will hit Esher.
ITV (4) are showing the first 4 races on the card beginning with the Esher Cup over a mile for the classic generation. Fox Leicester (1.50) must go close for King Power Racing having dotted up in a Chelmsford Novice event last month. The selection – 4/1 at BetVictor – has decent juvenile turf form and looks the type to improve this term for the inform Andrew Balding yard. His draw in stall 9 (of 11) is less than ideal but Silvestre De Sousa has made a terrific start to life as the retained jockey for the owners and I will be disappointed if the grey does not run a big race.
Clive Cox fits blinkers on House Of Kings for the first time and this Leicester maiden winner – 7s with BetVictor – is likely to be a threat to all.
The top-class Crystal Ocean finished runner up in the Champions Stakes last season having won his first three starts of the campaign including this corresponding race (the Gp 3 Gordon Richards Stakes) on his reappearance and the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. He is a worthy market leader but he only scrambled home 12 months ago and is, arguably, better over 12f.
I am going to take a chance on Knight To Behold (2.25) who is well drawn in stall one for a colt who is likely to try and make all under Oisin Murphy. The selection won the Lingfield Derby Trial first time out last season and I remember him turning a Deauville Group 2 into a procession from the front back in August. He could easily help set the race up for the favourite but at 12/1 with BetVictor I feel he is a fair each way price although I would have preferred eight (3 places) runners rather than just seven.
Bangkok (3.00) would be receiving 16lbs from Prince Eiji if this were a handicap so why are connections running the colt in the Group 3 Classic Trial?
The selection’s Doncaster maiden win was franked in no uncertain terms by the recent Windsor win of the runner up Telecaster and Andrew Balding’s son of Derby winner Australia is just 33/1 for the Epsom classic – despite being rated just 88. We highlighted the colt’s chance earlier in the week at 7/2 and 11/4 and is he is now just 13/8 at BetVictor. I would be disappointed, however, if he didn’t run a very big race.
The Gp 2 Mile is another fascinating contest with last year’s winner Addeybb (3.35) just favoured over Sharja Bridge. The selection – 3/1 at BetVictor – will appreciate any of the forecast rain having followed up last year’s Lincoln Handicap romp with a fluent win on good to soft ground 12 months ago.
Things never went to plan after that for William Haggas’s gelding but he is fitted with cheek-pieces for his reappearance and first time out might be the time to catch him.
Haggas’ also saddles the well-bred newcomer Sea Of Faith (4.35) in the 10f maiden and the filly is only 40/1 at BetVictor for the Oaks despite the fact not having set foot on a racecourse. The market should provide valuable clues as to stable expectations, but she is certainly bred for the job being a sister to Brian Meehan’s Gp 2 winner Raheen House.
Private Secretary (5.05) broke his duck at the third time of asking at Redcar on his reappearance and I feel he could be well treated for his handicap debut. Trainer John Gosden landed this prize and a massive gamble with Jack Hobbs in this corresponding race four years ago and the selection still holds an entry in the Derby although that does look rather fanciful.