If our Channel 4 Lucky 15 comes in tomorrow the bookies will be on their knees, with four well-fancied runners expected to prevail.
Sandown 2:05 Tickled Pink @ 4/1
Three-year-olds have taken five of the last eight renewals of this Group 3 sprint and they have a likely contender in Gary Moore’s hat-trick seeking Dutch Masterpiece, who will enjoy a 5lbs weight-for-age advantage over five of his rivals, but progressive as that one looks, Tickled Pink could have more up her sleeve.
Having only shed her maiden tag on the final start of last term, she stepped up on that in a big way when putting the field to the sword from the front in a 6f Newmarket Group 3 on her seasonal bow, beating proven Group performers like Tiddliwinks, Hawkeythenoo, The Cheka and Jimmy Styles in the process. Her two off-colour runs since have been on good-to-soft ground and a return to good-to-firm – on which she’s won two of her three runs – is fancied to see her continue her upward curve.
Haydock 2:55 Albasharah @ 2/1
Were there some cut in the ground then Irish raider Midnight Soprano would most certainly enter calculations, but conditions could be too fast for her here. As a result, beaten Royal Ascot favourite Albasharah looks the pick of the bunch.
A fifth in that contest – off 16lbs higher than her previous handicap win – cost the filly her unbeaten record, but she’d been busted down to virtually last place by in-running trouble and she belatedly came home with great purpose. Being out of Arch – who had previously sired a Breeders Cup Classic winner – she should have no problem gaining compensation on this step up in trip, which comes on just her fifth career start.
Sandown 3:15 Nargys @ 7/4
Royal Ascot’s Sandringham Handicap can give us a fine handle on this contest, over an identical trip and on the same good-to-firm ground. Auction took second in that contest, with Woodland Aria and Nargys filling the places immediately behind and Light Up My Life in sixth.
Nargys finished less than a length behind the former pair and three lengths in front of the latter. Meeting them off level weights this time, she receives a pull of 12lbs, 10lbs and 3lbs respectively for a run that was all the more impressive given she broke from stall 22 and the first three home were drawn 3,5 and 2.
Sandown 3:50 Al Kazeem @ 5/2
Mars and Mukhadram look potential value picks here, with the former the beneficiary of a generous weight-for-age-allowance and the latter still lightly-raced, having finished second to Al Kazeem last time on just his seventh outing. However it’s difficult to back against the latter, who would surely be odds-on if he raced for Aidan O’Brien.
He enters this contest on a Group 1 hat-trick and has previously proved his liking for this going and the 1m2f trip around Sandown with a course and distance win on his seasonal reappearance.