THINGS haven’t gone quite as well for Hugo Palmer in 2017 as they did last year, but his string certainly seems to have turned the corner in recent weeks.
A Group race double last Saturday was a big step in the right direction following an uncharacteristically quiet period for the yard.
Although he doesn’t have a contender in today’s highlight, I expect him to land the opening seven-furlong handicap (1.20pm) with MAZYOUN.
Josephine Gordon has quite rightly been getting plenty of plaudits this season, but she didn’t give this gelding the best of rides at York last time.
He was simply too far back when the action unfolded, finishing with a rattle to be beaten just 2 ½ lengths into fifth.
The son of Mayson ran really well in defeat in some hot races as a two-year-old and picking up a handicap like this should be well within his reach.
James Doyle takes the ride and I’m convinced that this horse is much better than his current mark of 88.
Jeremy Noseda’s Firefright with Gerald Mosse in the saddle could be the biggest threat.
Next up it’s the Group Three Coral Charge (1.50pm).
There are a number of horses lining up here that chanced their arm in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, hoping a drop down in grade will do the trick.
They will all be fearing race favourite Bhattaash, who looks like a rapidly improving three-year-old with a handy weight allowance to boot.
However, at as short as 5/2 he’s hard to side with in a race full of proven Group winners.
Muthmir got the closest to super-filly Lady Aurelia of any of today’s field in the King’s Stand and must have a big chance of getting his nose in front here.
Again, though, he’s second in the betting at around the 4/1 mark and that’s short enough for me.
Bryan Smart’s ALPHA DELPHINI wasn’t far behind Muthmir in sixth at Ascot but could turn the tables at a price tomorrow.
He was bumped off stride around two furlongs out that day, but stayed on well to beat off the challenges of Cotai Glory and well-backed French speedster Signs Of Blessing.
Further to his cause, Alpha Delphini is 5lbs better off with Muthmir tomorrow and is a big price at 8/1.
I’m not too concerned about his wide draw in stall 11 because he’s a hold-up horse.
GEORGE WILLIAM catches the eye later on the card as he bids to land the Coral Challenge Handicap (2.25pm) for in-form trainer Richard Hannon.
The four-year-old son of Paco Boy finished well down the field in the ultra-competitive Royal Hunt Cup last time out, coming home 22nd of 29 despite being well backed.
However, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for that performance as he was drawn on the wrong side of the track and was left with little chance.
He had previously finished second behind the talented Fastnet Tempest at Ascot and was also beaten less than a length back in fourth in a handicap at Newbury.
The likes of Banksea, Another Touch and Fastnet Tempest finished narrowly in front of him that day and that represents very good form in this sphere.
He’s 17/2 to land the prize with 188BET and that looks like a terrific each-way bet from a good draw in stall six.
Mazyoun 1.20pm Sandown
Alpha Delphini e/w 1.50pm Sandown
George William e/w 2.25pm Sandown