RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) picks out his best bet from Thursday night’s action from Sandown.
7:05 Sandown | Heron Stakes | ITV
The Heron Stakes is a mile listed race and looks a very hot renewal. Plenty of these look to have big futures ahead of them, and with the top stables well represented, I wouldn’t be surprised if it produces a few above-average sorts.
Without Parole (8/11 Marathon) is unbeaten in two starts and the son of Frankel looks very talented. He takes a big step up in class, and though he looks capable, I’m avoiding him at a shade of odds-on.
Sir Michael Stoute sends two in the race – one unbeaten and the other fifth in the Racing Post Trophy, but I’m prepared to take his pair on as well, as the yard’s runners tend to improve for their seasonal debuts.
The one I’ve backed is the David Menuisier-trained Vintager (14/1 Unibet). He ran at a good level as a two year-old without much success, however he was always well backed, so someone is expecting a lot from him.
He was once again well backed on his return and he ran well when second in the Esher Cup where he was conceding weight to the winner. He looks to hold an each-way chance.
7:35 Sandown | Henry II Stakes | ITV
The Henry II Stakes looks like the race of the night and this is a very competitive looking renewal. A good mix of experience and up-and-coming young stayers make up the field and I’m backing one who, despite his experience, looks like he’s on the way up.
Sheikhzayedroad (5/1 Bet365) is a real star of the staying game and, despite not winning very often recently, has ran some huge races in his career. In my opinion, he is the one to beat in this line-up, but I can’t back him with a losing run just under two years.
I’ve backed Magic Circle (5/1 888). He was a sensational winner of the Chester Cup and when you look at what previous winners have achieved after winning, he could well end up high class.
He needs to be a group race winner to gain entry into the Melbourne Cup (connections target with him) and I feel he can gain that here and book his ticket to Australia.