French Derby winner New Bay’s absence from tomorrow’s Coral-Eclipse (3.45pm) at Sandown means that Investec Derby winner Golden Horn is as short as 1/3 with Betway to see off his four rivals and land the 10 furlong Group One contest.
However, those expecting a stroll in the Esher sunshine should tread carefully as John Gosden’s son of Cape Cross may not have it all his own way.
Don’t get me wrong, he is without doubt the one they all have to beat and his Derby form was well and truly franked in the Irish equivalent last weekend. I just think he has more on his plate tomorrow than his price suggests.
In The Grey Gatsby, he faces an older horse who was desperately unlucky not to have won the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting on his latest start and memorably beat Australia over this trip in last season’s Irish Champion Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain also has potential to improve again with the application of first time blinkers and a step up in trip. I’m not saying that either will be good enough to beat Golden Horn, I’m just convinced that the market is too one-sided. Both Authorized and Bosra Sham were sent off long odds-on favourites in this very race and were undone in tactical small field affairs.
It really wouldn’t be a huge surprise if history repeated itself.
Gosden saddles WAADY in the Coral Charge (2.00pm) and I’d be far more interested in supporting the son of Approve at 3/1 with Betway than steam into the odds-on about stablemate Golden Horn.
My selection has been to Sandown on three occasions and is yet to be beaten at the Esher track. The trip and ground are both spot on and he has the perfect draw in stall four.
The Coral Challenge (2.35pm) looks a far more competitive affair and it’s hard to confidently rule out any of the 17 declared runners.
Godolphin’s Basem will take plenty of stopping off just a 5lb higher mark than when successful over course and distance last month. He’s bound to step up again from that performance and remains unbeaten over the trip.
Yet, I’m prepared to take an each-way chance on Mark Johnston’s IFWECAN at a generous looking 14/1. The four-year-old was second in this race last term racing from a 4lb lower mark and bounced back to form at Carlisle last week.
It won’t be easy making all in such a competitive handicap, but he has been given every chance by the handicapper and has the perfect draw for a front-runner.
WAADY 2.00pm Sandown (tomorrow)
IFWECAN e/w 2.35pm Sandown (tomorrow)