Racingtv.com's Harry Allwood has taken aim at the nine-race card at Sandown on Monday as he bids to get the week off to a flying start with his three selections.
I have to start this column by praising record-breaker Hollie Doyle who lit up Saturday with an incredible five-timer at Windsor, and it is hard to find the superlatives for the rising star who has done nothing but impress in the saddle this season.
Doyle is riding on the crest of a wave at the moment and has picked up her first ride in a Group One in Britain aboard Glen Shiel in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday.
It is surely only a matter of time before she records a victory at the highest level and there is no doubt the Royal Ascot-winning jockey - who also recorded a treble at Yarmouth on Sunday - will be a contender for the champion jockey title next year.
Anyway, on to Monday’s racing action and there is a decent nine-race card at Sandown - live on Racing TV - featuring some competitive handicaps. I have three selections at the Esher venue where the ground is likely to be good to soft.
A drop back to five furlongs should not stop progressive sprinter Aljady from getting back to winning ways in this Class 2 handicap.
Robert Cowell’s charge ran a huge race to finish seventh in the Stewards’ Cup last time out off a career-high rating of 98 and was beaten just over two lengths.
Surprisingly, the handicapper has dropped him a 1lb for that run and he has won on soft in the past, so should have no problem handling any cut in the ground on Monday.
He has the plum draw in stall one which should enable him to grab the lead from the off and the pace he has shown over six furlongs on his most recent starts suggests he will take some catching.
There are other potential front runners in the race – Glamorous Anna, Recon Mission and Leodis Dream - which is a slight worry, but Aljady breaks well and he ought to be able to lead on the rail from his draw.
Tinto has shown some useful form at Sandown, including when third in the Coral Charge in July, and looks the main danger to the selection.
The consistent River Dawn looks overpriced at 7-1 with BetVictor following his fine effort in a Class 3 handicap over course and distance on good to soft ground last time out.
Having won a handicap at Kempton in impressive style off a rating of 76 in July, the four-year-old probably found the run coming too soon when returned to turf under a 5lb penalty on his next start.
He was given a short break before his effort behind Dean Street Doll this month and should now be fully fit again ahead of his bid for a fourth victory this year.
Admittedly, his three victories in 2020 have been on the all-weather and he is rated 4lb lower on turf, but his run last time out was one of his career best efforts and a repeat performance here will see him involved in the finish.
Oisin Murphy – fresh from a treble at Goodwood on Sunday - is a positive jockey booking and everything looks in place for another big run from River Dawn.
Moomba caught the eye when runner-up on his handicap debut at Goodwood last time out and it will be disappointing if he is not capable of getting off the mark here.
The son of English and Irish Derby winner Australia was forced to wait for a clear run and was closing all the way to the line, but the winner got first run on him.
That looked a useful contest as the winner, Cepheus, is clearly held in high regard having run in the 2000 Guineas and the pair pulled clear of the third who had shown a useful level of form in handicaps on his previous starts.
A 5lb rise for Moomba following that effort was probably fair as he ought to have plenty of progress left in him and had shown plenty of promise in novice stakes on his first three starts.
The three-year-old is also a half-brother to stablemate and Group Three winner Lavender’s Blue, so it is wise to think connections expect Moomba to be better than a rating of 84.
We all know how well Jim Crowley – who recorded his 2,000th career victory on Sunday - has been riding this season and the leading rider has been operating at a 23 per cent strike-rate at Sandown in 2020.
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