By Kevin O'Malley www.tote.co.uk
As a horse racing fan, few things scream of summer like an evening of Flat racing at Sandown Park. On Thursday, racing gets under way from 4.20pm at the Esher venue and I have three selections for your consideration who may be overlooked in the market.
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Michaels Choice is going the right way and on the back of a win at Bath last time out, will be deserving of his place near the top of the market for this five-furlong sprint. It is worth noting that he was well held off 7lb lower over the course and distance four starts back.
Anything Cieren Fallon takes 3lb off is worthy of inspection at present and he rides George Baker’s consistent May Remain, who will prove hard to remove from the frame.
The one to back though is KING ROBERT for Charlie Wallis and Richard Kingscote.
This five-year-old has been holding his form to fair effect in recent outings, but he is a horse with similar ability whichever surface he encounters. The thing worth noting is his form at Sandown as, in June last year, King Robert finished an excellent second behind Fantasy Keeper here from a mark of 76.
He runs off 68 on Thursday and there should be few excuses for him not to run a decent race. Hopefully the market undervalues him a bit and we can get a nice price.
Eye Of Heaven had the speed gurus singing after his debut at Newmarket last month, but Mark Johnston’s Exceed And Excel colt failed to fire in the Norfolk Stakes and it was probably more disappointing than the excuse of unsuitable ground is able to explain.
On the flip side, Robert Cowell’s DELIVER THE DREAM took a really nice step forward from runs one to two and scored handsomely at Windsor last time out. He was well on top of a Hugo Palmer-trained hotpot there and looked to have plenty in the tank at the line.
He’ll need it at this more demanding track in this significantly warmer company, but you can never discount an improving young horse and it’s perfectly possible the market will underestimate his chances.
Cieren Fallon was mentioned earlier in the piece as a man to either be frightened of or have on side for the foreseeable future. He takes the reins on DIVA KAREEM in a Class 5 handicap over 10 furlongs at 7:30pm and George Baker’s charge looks to have decent each-way claims.
The Al Kazeem filly seems to have appreciated a step up in distance on her two recent starts at Lingfield and Bath. On her effort at the latter two weeks ago, her handicap mark of 63 looks workable if she can improve again and Sandown Park on decent ground may just suit the horse really well.
This is a competitive race, but one where none of the performers on show have a win to their name and Diva Kareem - while probably no superstar - might just prove up to running well at fair odds under a jockey who can do little wrong at present.
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