So the Derby and Oaks are done and dusted for another year, but the big-race action just continues Sunday with a cracking Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
The Eclipse is one of seven races Sunday shown live on the main ITV network from the Esher track and Haydock, so let’s get straight to it and try and find a few winners.
Here’s what I fancy on Sunday.
The action kicks off with a Group 3 sprint over 5 furlongs. DAKOTA GOLD could have run a lot better on his debut this season, but I am forgiving any horse a bad debut after lockdown! If he puts his best foot forward here he has every chance for Michael Dods and is an each-way chance at decent odds.
Those odds are bigger than they should be because of his draw which is terrible. But, he has the early pace to get away with it under Connor Beasley.
From sprinters to stayers with another Group 3, the Henry II over 2m. Cross Counter never got in the mix in the Gold Cup and I’m not sure about him at a short price.
I’ll stick with the improving DASHING WILLOUGHBY under Oisin Murphy for Andrew Balding. The 2019 Queen’s Vase hero was better than ever at Newmarket first time up this season and he might just have a bit more pace than the likely favourite.
Cross Counter does hold my selection on Goodwood Cup form, but I’m hoping things will be different here.
Next, we have a handicap to solve over 1m. SHELIR is interesting each-way here. He’s well handicapped for David O’Meara and is another for Murphy.
His run over 7 furlongs at Royal Ascot was seriously eye-catching and the step up a furlong should be right up his street. He’s raced up to 10 furlongs in a short career, so 1m is probably ideal.
Lastly at Sandown, the Group 1 Eclipse for only older horses this Covid-19 year over 1m 2f. It has been suggested ENABLE – another for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden – might need the race. But even if she does, I’ll think she’ll be far too good for this lot.
The defending champion and dual Arc heroine gets 3lb from Ghaiyyath and is rated 2lb superior, so officially has 5lb to play with in any case. Added to that I RECKON this trip will suit her more than Ghaiyyath, even though he won over the distance in Dubai.
The action at Haydock begins with a tricky handicap over 1m 6f. This is wide open, but I like the look of DUKE OF CONDICOTE as an each-way shout here for the in-form Alan King, who had such a good Royal Ascot.
I have a feeling my selection – ridden by David Egan – will feel let loose under 8st 2lb and will relish stepping up to this distance. There are others in here open to more improvement, but they will have to do a lot better to keep the ‘Duke’ out of the frame.
Now we are in Group 2 company for the Lancashire Oaks over 1m 4f. Tough to call between two ‘Vega’ horses for Ralph Beckett, but I’m taking a chance with ANTONIA DE VEGA and Harry Bentley.
She returned this term with a decent win at Pontefract and she just idled there suggesting there was much more to come.
I thought Manuela de Vega might have been flattered last time, for all that she is decent, and Cabaletta could be anything, but is lightly raced and inexperienced for this test.
And finally at Haydock the Old Newton Cup, a famous handicap over 1m 4f. RANCH HAND seems to have been around for ages, but the great big gelding is lightly raced and has a big win at Haydock already on his CV.
A strong stayer, Andrew Balding’s hope has gone up to 2m 2f in his time, but off a strong pace this will not be a problem and he’s not a slow horse. David Probert takes the ride and I’ll have a few quid on each-way after a fair sixth at Royal Ascot.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?
* Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date.
13:50 Sandown – Dakota Gold
14:25 Sandown – Dashing Willoughby
15:00 Sandown – Shelir
15:35 Sandown – Enable
14.05 Haydock – Duke Of Condicote
14:40 Haydock – Antonia De Vega
15:15 Haydock – Ranch Hand
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