RARELY can I remember being more disappointed in a horse than when CODE OF HONOR trailed in ninth of 10 finishers at Haydock back in May. Henry Candy’s unexposed three-year-old was headlined that day in this very column and was checked in his run at a vital stage before being heavily eased.
My concern prior to that latest outing was that the one mile trip may prove a little on the short side, so I’m delighted to see him reappear over an extra couple of furlongs this afternoon in the Coral.co.uk Handicap (4.35pm) at Sandown. He runs off the same mark of 90 and, with his stable in cracking form, I’m keen to give him another chance.
The feature race of the opening day of the Coral Eclipse meeting is the Ambant Gala Stakes (4.00pm) which features Richard Hannon’s Van Der Neer who was placed in both the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and at Royal Ascot in the Tercentenary Stakes.
However, I’m not sure he’ll be able to repel French raider MANDOUR, who is a lightly-raced and fast-improving four-year-old. Alain De Royer-Dupre always has to be respected on these shores and I’ve got a feeling that this son of Smart Strike may be too good for these.
Only six juveniles are set to face the starter for the Coral Dragon Stakes (2.50pm), but the race is full of well-regarded sorts. Tom Dascombe has made no secret about the regard in which he holds Fine ‘n Dandy and he looks a serious player if over the problems which prevented him from running at Ascot last time.
Richard Hannon’s Langavat looks talented but quirky, while the filly Survived showed up really well in the Queen Mary. Yet, they will all have to go some to catch Mick Channon’s AMBIANCE who can build on an excellent run in the Norfolk Stakes.
Ambiance is slowly beginning to justify the reputation that saw him sent off favourite for a really hot maiden at Newbury back in May. He was too green to do himself justice that day, but will be a different proposition this afternoon.
Finally, if you’re looking to go racing in the next couple of weeks, The Racecourse Newbury is hosting its ‘Retro at the Races’ day on Saturday 20th July in celebration of the 1960s and 70s. It should be a fantastic day and if you don’t manage to win the Best Retro Dressed competition you will still enjoy some excellent racing, including the Weatherbys Super Sprint. Order tickets by visiting www.racecoursenewbury.co.uk.
AMBIANCE 2.50pm Sandown (today)
MANDOUR 4.00pm Sandown (today)
CODE OF HONOR 4.35pm Sandown (today)