SANDOWN’S Brigadier Gerard evening is always a good’n and this Thursday’s looks no different.
There’s Ascot Gold Cup hopefuls on show, as well as a red-hot Heron Stakes with all the big names in town.
Race 1 – 6.00 Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap
Far from a star-studded lineup to get the night underway, and a 14 runner 0-75 is far from a punters dream.
I like two in this, but won’t be going overboard, and if anything I’ll be keeping my powder dry.
Towards the top of the weights, both My Boy Sepoy and Sudona make appeal.
Both come from the same Lingfield race and that was both of their first runs this season too. It’s very hard to split the pair, and both could have a bit more to offer this season.
It’s impossible to ignore the claims of hat-trick hunting Matewan for shrewdie Ian Williams – who has also enlisted Ryan Moore to ride.
VERDICT – 1. Sudona 2. My Boy Sepoy 3. Matewan
Race 2 – 6.35 Matchbook Betting Podcast National Stakes (Listed Race)
Things perk up in the next, and we have a decent little field assembled for this Listed juvenile heat.
Six are set to go to post after an early non-runner, with only one of those six not having won already.
Full Authority will rightfully be the strong favourite, but I’m happy to take him on. Everything went his way at Chester. He broke well, took the lead and never looked in danger in the mud.
While he looked professional and did everything asked, this is a completely different test and at short odds I can look elsewhere.
The one I’m with is PROPER BEAU for the Bryan Smart team. He was a surprise winner on debut very early in the season and was expected to come on plenty for it.
The front two pulled miles clear that day, and the well-regarded runner-up has since hosed up.
Despite being the only maiden in the field, Jm Jackson also deserves respect having finished second to subsequent Ascot winner Ventura Rebel on debut.
It’s a wide open race, but should throw up a decent horse or two.
VERDICT – 1. Proper Beau 2. Jm Jackson 3. Full Authority
Race 3 – 7.05 Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes (Group 3)
Mark Johnston has half the field in this six-runner Group 3.
The Middleham man has spoken highly of DEE EX BEE ahead of an Ascot Gold Cup tilt, and if that’s to be the case he should really be winning this.
He’s unexposed up at this marathon trip and showed at Ascot there could be a bit to come over two miles.
Magic Circle has to be feared. He hacked up in this last season and don’t worry about his Chester run. That was over far too short and conditions were a farce by then.
He’s clearly the main threat to Johnston’s hotpot.
Mekong is the other interesting runner. However he’ll likely come on for this and it could be a bit of an experiment for the Sir Michael Stoute team.
VERDICT – 1. Dee Ex Bee 2. Magic Circle 3. Mekong
Race 4 – 7.35 Matchbook Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Group 3)
Another intriguing Group 3 here and again only the six runners.
At a glance it looks a match between Matterhorn and Regal Reality – but that may be a tad harsh on Owen Burrows and Elwazir.
I’m siding with the one that has the least questions to answer and that is Regal Reality for Sir Michael Stoute; who has a terrific record in this race.
He improved last time when third to Beat The Bank, and looked like he’s desperate to step up in trip which he gets here.
Matterhorn still has to prove he’s as adept on the grass. It’ll be only his third run on turf here, and his first without some rain around.
As for Elwazir, he burst onto the scene last year before coming up well short in a Group 3 at Haydock when the Burrows stable was under a cloud.
He has some impressive form to his name though and if fit, could run a huge race.
VERDICT – 1. Regal Reality 2. Elwazir 3. Matterhorn
Race 5 – 8.10 Matchbook Low Commission Exchange Heron Stakes (Listed Race)
For a Listed race, this is some heat. Group form, exciting novice winners and all the big yards combine for a Thursday night race to savour.
More or less the whole field remains unexposed and for punting it is no easy puzzle to solve.
It’s easy to be drawn to Sangarius, and he is the most likely winner, but at the odds I think the value may lie elsewhere.
WALKINTHESAND is well up to a race like this, and if he can keep calm before the off, will be well suited by a solidly run mile.
Richard Hannon won this for the same owner in 2017 and his experience could come into use when push comes to shove up the Sandown hill.
You can’t ignore the claims of Roseman who was mightily impressive at Nottingham. This is much tougher, but Roger Varian is flying and he’s well worth a shot at this.
VERDICT – 1. Walkinthesand 2. Sangarius 3. Roseman
Race 6 – 8.40 Matchbook Casino Whitsun Cup Handicap
There should be more to come from LUSH LIFE this summer and she ran encouragingly on her comeback at Windsor, despite plenty going wrong.
She re-opposes with Greenside here, who will be tough nut to crack only up 4lbs, but his unpredictable nature puts me off him at early prices.
History Writer is also interesting, and the course and distance winner looks a decent bet for those each-way scumbags out there.
It’s not an easy race to read though and not one to be going out with a bang on.
VERDICT – 1. Lush Life 2. Greenside 3. History Writer