Horse Racing: Derby runner-up can Eclipse rivals in Sandown showpiece


RACING expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) picks out his best bets from Saturday's action at Sandown.

13:50 Sandown | Coral Charge | ITV

The Coral Charge is a Group 3 over five furlongs and on the anticipated quick ground it will be over in a flash.

Eleven are scheduled to go to post and there is a mix of horses looking to get back in to the winning habit, and ones on the up; there’s one that has improved significantly in recent weeks that I like.

Muthmir (6/1 Ladbrokes) is an old favourite and a largely consistent sprinter but he may struggle here. His fourth in the Kings Stand reads well here but he has a penalty to contend with and I expect him to struggle from a win point of view.

He will run his race and did win under a penalty at Goodwood two years ago but I'm against him here.

Battaash (5/2 Ladbrokes) was a decent juvenile without looking like he would become high class but on his return over course and distance he suddenly became a real sprint prospect.

That form looks solid with the second win since and he could be anything, but my concern is his two wins came first time out and he's a watch=only proposition for me.

Line Of Reason (12/1 Bet365) has won two good handicaps in the past few weeks and comes in to this in peak form. He steps up to group level here (he's ran ok at this level in the past) and after spending a year in decline, he looks better than ever and I'm backing him each-way in the hope his resurgence continues.

15:35 Sandown | Coral Eclipse | ITV

The Eclipse is one of the highlights of the summer and the first chance for three year-olds to take on their elders at the top level.

The classic generation are well represented here and on paper it looks like they will win it but which one will it be?

Of the older generation Decorated Knight (8/1 Betfair) is the one to beat and he's improved with almost every start. He faces a tough task as three year-olds receive a lot of weight from their elders and it's likely he is playing for a place.

He will love the fast ground and this trip is perfect but I'm looking elsewhere.

Barney Roy (3/1 Ladbrokes) was second in the 2000 Guineas and reversed that form when winning the St James’ Palace at Ascot. He is clearly a high-class colt and shapes as if this trip is within range.

The ground is fine and he settles well, I just worry that he may not be as effective over 10 furlongs, especially against rivals with proven stamina.

The one I have backed here is the favourite Cliffs Of Moher (2/1 Ladbrokes). He was second in the Derby and I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. He sweat up badly and though that's a concern with a hot day forecast, the fact he was in front in the final furlong speaks volumes.

Not bred to be a Derby horse, he is not short of pace and I suspect this is his ideal trip. Both he and Barney Roy hold Eminent on classic form and I'm backing Cliffs of Moher to gain his first success at the top level.

Best Bets

13:35 Sandown – Line Of Reason (12/1 each-way Bet365)

15:35 Sandown – Cliffs Of Moher (2/1 Ladbrokes)


About Author

I grew up watching Hearts games with my dad and playing football at every opportunity so betting on it was the logical next step! Football coupons became a Saturday ritual and it introduced me into the world of horse racing. I started watching it on a regular basis, and after Galileo's Derby win in 2001 I was hooked. I follow both flat and national hunt racing attending the northern meetings when possible.

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