A horse that has already been well supported for this year’s Epsom Derby, the seasonal reappearance of one of last season’s hottest prospects and a wide-open Group Two contest suggests that this Sandown card could be a corker.
Four races are being shown on Channel 4 and we have run the rule over them below as the Flat season begins to pick up speed ahead of the opening Classics of the campaign.
John Gosden won the Esher Cup in 2009 and 2010 with Racketeer and Fallen Idol and his Sacred Act is tough to oppose this time.
A winner on his sole start last season when handed a wide draw and in a race that wasn’t run to suit, should he quicken in the same way again, he will be well fancied to triumph in Group One company later in the campaign.
Richard Hughes’ decision to ride Art Official over Cricklewood Green must be deemed a slight negative for the latter, while End Of Line has done nothing wrong so far and should enter calculations if drifting to an each-way price.
There may be some doubt about backing Telescope in the Gordon Richards Stakes, as it is run over the sharper 1m2f rather than his preferred 1m4f and there has been some suggestion that he will need the run.
However, there is little doubting that he is really a Group One horse competing in a Group Three contest here and in what looks a two-horse race, his price smacks of generosity.
The main rival to last season’s long-time ante-post Derby favourite is Sky Hunter, who is having his first start for Godolphin after a solid last campaign for Andre Fabre, when his sole defeat was when third in the French Derby.
Frankel’s half-brother Noble Mission is consistent in this grade and has the benefit of a race under his belt this season. If the fancied pair mis-fire, he could be the one to take advantage.
Richard Hannon has trained five of the last six winners of the Bet365 Mile and this statistic alone means that Montiridge has to make the shortlist.
The four-year-old is also unbeaten at Sandown and rarely runs a bad race. But given there isn’t much between this field on ratings, it may pay to look further down the betting.
Top Notch Tonto will need as much rain as possible and is the highest rated of the entrants, while Penitent has won all three starts at Sandown, but has often struggled to get involved at Group level.
Garswood is far from guaranteed to stay 1m, but at the prices, it looks worth taking the chance, having got close to Moonlight Cloud in a Group One on his final start of last season over 7f on soft ground.
This race almost entirely revolves around unbeaten Derby entry Western Hymn, who has looked untroubled in landing two races to date, with the latest earlier in April at Newbury over this trip.
Competition from the remainder doesn’t appear to be of the highest class, but some each-way value can be found given how well fancied the favourite is.
Truth Or Dare from the Hannon/Hughes partnership is the highest rated in the field and seemed to run below par on his seasonal reappearance, so he could be worth another chance.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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