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The Price Is Right: Have some Pride when punting at Sandown

Sat 4 Jul 2020

The Tote's Kevin O'Malley has three big-priced selections for the racing action at Epsom on Saturday, including in the Investec Oaks and Derby.

After a memorable day at Epsom, world class horse racing continues in Britain on Sunday with a stellar card at Sandown Park, including the return of the great Enable.

I’m looking to Sandown for two dark horses, along with one of interest up at Haydock Park, with a cracking afternoon to look forward to at both venues.

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1.15 Sandown Park: MACHO PRIDE

Ben Haslam hit the crossbar with a little run of fancied runners a couple of weeks ago, but the stable has fired in two winners in more recent days to steady the ship and continue a fine start to the delayed campaign.

MACHO PRIDE added to Haslam’s early tally on his debut at Newcastle before improving again to finish fifth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, when going off at 80-1. The son of Camacho showed bright early speed but was he was just a bit too keen and paid for it in the final 200 yards.

Even in defeat, it was a significant improvement on his Newcastle effort. I think the Sandown 5f track will suit him and he’s favourably drawn in stall two, but his chances of lasting home on the final climb to the line will depend on his rider’s ability to harness that early energy.

With champion jockey Oisin Murphy booked and the stable in good nick, Macho Pride has decent claims here and there’s a chance the nippy juvenile will be underappreciated in the market.

3.00 Sandown: VIA SERENDIPITY

Royal Hunt Cup winner Dark Vision’s form so far this season has been mustard, but he isn’t the most reliable. Who knows what to expect from him following that day in the sun. One thing is for sure, there’s not a great deal of room for error from his mark of 106 in this warm handicap.

As promising as Montatham is, Dark Vision beat him last time and he’s been nudged up 3lb for this different test. Of those left in single figures in the early betting, Mutasaamy doesn’t appeal on the clock, so I’m happy enough to take a look elsewhere.

VIA SERENDIPITY is a difficult horse to catch right, but under the right conditions he is much better than his mark of 88. We know he’ll like the track as he’s won here before and he wasn’t beaten far behind Mojito in this race last year when racing off a 9lb higher mark. He was also third in the 2018 renewal, which you can watch above.

A heavy enough shower or two would probably be enough to scupper his chances. But if the going remains on the good side, he’s not without a chance and the booking of Hollie Doyle is a solid tick to boot.

2.05 Haydock Park: CEDAR CAGE

Handicaps over 1m 6f are not often my betting bag, but I’m not sure there’s anything particularly progressive in this Class Two affair.

With that in mind, Sir Mark Prescott’s CEDAR CAGE has to enter calculations. He hasn’t done a lot on the clock over shorter, but has definitely caught the eye a couple of times, looking like he could gallop for days.

A well-built son of Golden Horn, he stayed on nicely in third at Kempton first time out last month when stepped up to 1m3f. More notably was what he did after the line, as the horse appeared to have absolutely loads of running left in him. Which is often what you need over a distance of ground at Haydock Park.

Cedar Cage goes against two of my chief betting principals for finding a sound bet, as he’s not actually proven at the distance and his speed figures are not particularly good. He just has an interesting profile and happens to find himself in an ordinary enough looking race off a mark of 80, which is unlikely to represent the ceiling of his ability.

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