Our man Harry Allwood has four fancies for the high-quality action at Sandown on Saturday, live on Racing TV, including one in the £790,000 Coral-Eclipse.
Race: Coral Charge (1.50pm)
General odds: 6-1.
This looks an ideal opportunity for Equilateral to return to winnings ways and, given the strength of his form, I’m surprised he’s chalked up at 6-1.
The consistent sprinter has run creditably in Group One company on more than one occasion and gained a deserved Group Two success at Meydan last year before finishing fourth in the Al Quoz Sprint on his final start in 2021.
Charlie Hills’ charge was not seen again until his return in the King’s Stand Stakes this month where he finished fifth having travelled strongly, and that will have at least blown any cobwebs away.
Admittedly, he does go well fresh, but that was still a high-class effort after such a lengthy absence, and it also signalled this seven-year-old retains all of his ability.
His draw in stall five here should allow him to get a decent position early and, providing he avoids the bounce factor, he is surely capable of outclassing his rivals.
Quite a few of these are hold-up performers, including the front two in the market – Raasel and Mitbaahy – and the pair will need luck in running to score plus will also need to improve again to defeat the selection.
Race: Coral Challenge (2.25pm)
General odds: 11-4.
Sinjaari was a major eye-catcher at Royal Ascot when left with too much to do in the Royal Hunt Cup and holds strong claims off a pound lower here.
The six-year-old has predominantly raced over ten furlongs for the past couple of seasons, but a step down to a mile has always promised to suit given the way he travels, and he’s also clocked some decent sectionals, too.
He was last off the bridle at Royal Ascot and fared best of those who raced towards the stands’ side early plus the rivals who finished in front of him had kicked for home earlier.
He would have undoubtedly finished closer had he been asked for his effort sooner, and I am hoping those who like to race prominently here help set a good pace, as a strongly run contest will suit the selection who was an unlucky loser off this rating in a similar handicap at York last season.
I probably wouldn’t back Sinjaari at any shorter than his current odds as he needs things to go right to score, but he’s the most likely winner against contenders who are largely hard to make a strong case for.
Checkandchallenge is clearly held in high regard and was most impressive when winning a Listed contest on his second start at Newcastle. He lacks experience, though, and needs to prove his effectiveness on turf, so the consistent Lion Tower probably rates the main danger.
Race: Coral-Eclipse (3.35pm)
General odds: 13-8.
It was hard not to be taken by the way Vadeni quickened clear of his rivals in the French Derby last time out and while that may not have been the strongest Group One contest on paper, he still defeated some useful rivals plus was eased down in the closing stages having put the race to bed in a matter of strides.
The French raider produced a similar turn of foot on good ground on his penultimate start, so I do not envisage conditions to be an issue on Saturday, despite the fact his latest success was with give underfoot.
The vibes from his connections are strong, and there may be a lack of pace here with no confirmed front runner, so Vadeni’s ability to quicken could prove vital.
He’s only rated 2lb below the highest-rated contender in the field, Mishriff, and holds strong claims in receipt of 10lb from his older rivals.
General odds: 7-1.
Forest Falcon has relished the step back up to ten furlongs on his past two starts and was a convincing winner of the Zetland Gold Cup, a handicap that usually proves to be strong form, on his latest outing.
That was his first success from five starts off a rating of 90, but he appeared to struggle to show his best over shorter trips earlier in the season and was narrowly denied on his previous outing over this trip.
Stall two should allow this front-runner to race up with the pace again here, and his four victories have been on good or good to firm ground.
Given the manner of his victory at Redcar, a 6lb rise may not be enough to stop him scoring again with Ryan Moore on board, and he appears a good each-way bet at 7-1.
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