The recent heatwave is due to break today and there is rain forecast for Sandown Park in the build up to their tremendous two-day meeting this weekend. There is an excellent flat card on Friday followed by a quality jumps’ meeting on Saturday to mark the end of the 2018/19 season with the feature the Bet365 Gold Cup. But just how much rain will they get at the Esher track?
It is possible that there will be just drizzle and isolated showers over the next four days but there is always the possibility of a thunderstorm and that would change the landscape, and the ground, considerably. I’m looking forward to seeing Andrew Balding’s Bangkok in Friday’s Classic Trial – 11/4 from 7/2 at BetVictor – and I know he is held in very high regard by all at Kingsclere.
Rain/drizzle forecast for today’s excellent Epsom card and in the listed Derby Trial I am looking forward to the reappearance of Tom Dascombe’s Royal Ascot winner Arthur Kitt. The colt is the highest rated in the field and – as a son of Camelot – should stay today’s 10f trip despite his half-brothers’ and mother being successful sprinters.
Irish raider Cape Of Good Hope ended last season finishing third in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile at Newmarket. The colt – a son of Galileo – is 40/1 with BetVictor for the Derby back here in June and looks a worthy market leader.
The vote, however, goes to Ed Walker’s Cap Francais (2.45) who won two of three starts as a juvenile including when giving Prefontaine 6lbs and a beating at Haydock in September. The selection has plenty to find on official figures, but he struck me as the type who would appreciate stepping up in trip this season and he gets a narrow vote. Note the each way selection is not engaged in the Derby but does have an entry in the Dante at York next month.
Former Ballydoyle inmate Lucius Tiberius paid for trying to keep tabs on impressive stablemate Ghaiyyath – 7/2 joint favourite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot with BetVictor – in the Group 2 Prix Harcourt at Longchamp earlier in the month and Charlie Appleby’s 4-y-old is one of a number of fascinating runners in a quality renewal of the City & Suburban Handicap.
The form of Mildenburger’s second to Roaring Lion in the Dante back in May has been franked by the subsequent exploits of the winner although Mark Johnston’s inmate will be having his first start since York when he faces the starter this afternoon. The each way vote, however, goes to Roger Varian’s Mountain Angel (3.55) who will certainly appreciate the forecast rain and has a good record fresh. He strikes me as the type who will improve again as a 5-year-old and his stable are in red-hot form.
Casanova was drawn wide and slowly away when fourth at Wolverhampton on debut. This son of Frankel has a Derby entry – 100/1 at BetVictor – and looks sure to improve but Current Option (4.25) did very well to be a close third at Newbury on his second start as a juvenile given he was quite free throughout the race.
Good ground forecast at Perth this afternoon with again the likelihood of showers. In the feature race the listed Novices’ Hurdle over just shy of 3m the progressive Eur Gone West (3.00) can land his hat-trick having made all to win handicaps at Exeter and Taunton in recent weeks. The selection – who makes the long trip north from Devon – must go right-handed, and he certainly deserves to take his chance at this level.
A true gallop is guaranteed with Valadom sure to take them along in the 3m Handicap Chase and I hope to see Ballykan (3.35) pick up the pieces late on for Daryl Jacob and Nigel Twiston-Davies. The handicapper has certainly given the selection a chance given the form of his 12l second to Some Chaos on his penultimate start is very good for this level with the winner now rated 18lbs higher.
At Southwell this evening winning pointer Danboro (4.45) still must prove he fully gets three miles, but I think he can land the opener for Tim Vaughan and conditional jockey Charlie Price who is still chasing his first success over the larger obstacles.