Eyes down for Sandown Storm
Man On The Spot previews Friday's card at Sandown which includes the bet365 Classic Trial.
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13.40 bet365.com Handicap
Smoothtalkinrascal made a winning return in a competitive conditions race at Leicester and the form has a solid look with the runner-up having subsequently won. But whether he'll prove as effective on today's forecast fast ground is open to question and THE TAJ is just preferred. He ran out of steam over 6f on his reappearance but has every chance on last year's victory over the minimum trip at Ascot. Top Boy landed the odds as expected at Wolverhampton recently but will find this much tougher while Riskit Fora Biskit lost her unbeaten record on the Polytrack last time and is 1lb higher today. Haydock winner Barracuda Boy has decent claims on last year's best efforts and makes more appeal than New Fforest and Secret Missile while Equitania will do well to confirm recent running at Headquarters with the selection.
14.10 bet365.com Esher Cup (Handicap)
Yarroom won a couple of races on the Polytrack last season and should be winning on this surface before long. FEHAYDI sports his owners second colours but finished a creditable fifth behind the much higher rated Windhoek in a valuable race at Newmarket last week. He looks to have strong claims in this company and gets the vote. Top Notch Tonto would prefer a slower surface and Flashlight is unproven over mile. Market Town has to prove he's up to racing in this grade having won a maiden at Lingfield on his reappearance, although Haafaguinea wasn't beaten far in a decent race at Doncaster in September and can figure. Red Avenger ended last season with victory in a Newmarket nursery and is another to consider with Richard Hughes on board for his return to action.
14.45 bet365 Mile (Group 2)
Richard Hannon has a stranglehold on this race training six of the last nine winners and Libranno is one of this year's representatives. The latter won a couple of Group races over 7f last season but that looks his optimum trip and he's toting a 4lb penalty in this. Not surprisingly, Richard Hughes prefers stablemate and last year's Craven Stakes winner, TRUMPET MAJOR. The latter added a Group 3 race at Goodwood to his tally later in the season and will appreciate the return to faster ground. Highland Knight was sent off favourite at Doncaster on his comeback but ran nowhere near his best. Better is expected here and he can reverse running with third-paced Stand My Ground while last month's Winter Derby winner, Farraaj, is facing his toughest task to date back over a shorter trip. Both Red Duke and Chil The Kite have plenty to find on today's terms.
15.15 bet365 Classic Trial (Group 3)
All seven runners have entries in the Derby including the three raiders from Ireland. Aidan O'Brien won this with subsequent Group 1 winner Imperial Monarch last year and should have a good line on the consistent Sugar Boy in this. He trained Battle Of Marengo to beat the latter in the Ballysax at Leopardstown earlier this month and will fancy the chances of EYE OF THE STORM doing the same. The Ballydoyle colt also had compatriot Galileo Rock a couple of lengths behind when third in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in October and will come into his own over middle-distances this season. There was little between Al Waab and Fantastic Moon when they finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Royal Lodge last season and the latter had won the Solario at this track earlier. They looked closely matched once again while we'll find out how good recent maiden winners Libertarian and Woodstock are today as they step up in class.
15.50 Casino At bet365.com Conditions Stakes
Smileswithhiseyes and Glacial Age may find this too competitive having won maidens on the all-weather recently. Jalaa made a winning debut at Leicester but never figured in the Chesham at Ascot in June and is having his first race since. Mujazif ended last year with a maiden victory at Newmarket and is held in high regard judged on entries in the 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes. The latter race is also a target for QUEENSBERRY RULES who scored in good style at Kempton earlier this month on his introduction. Ryan Moore keeps the winning partnership intact and the Teofilo colt is fancied to land this with normal progress.
16.25 bet365 Maiden Fillies' Stakes
Newcomer Riposte doesn't boast any fancy entries but is a half-sister to the high-class Powerscourt among others and the Cecil yard is bidding for it's third straight win in this contest. Fellow debutant, Filia Regina, is out of Ouija Board and is entered in the Oaks along with CUSHION. The latter could make her experience tell here after a couple of placed efforts over a mile last year and she gets the tentative vote. Ryan Moore rides Auld Alliance and she may prove better than stablemate Waila. The latter has a bit to find with Muthmera on running at Nottingham last season while Regal Silk is another in the Oaks, but she'll need a big improvement on her recent second at Lingfield to figure. Near Time is another newcomer to keep an eye on in the betting.
17.00 Nordoff Robbins Willie Robertson Memorial Handicap
Fast ground is not ideal for the returning Lupo D'Oro while Cruise Tothelimit would also prefer some cut. But the going should be no problem for BLUE JACK, who won at Lingfield in February and is a dual course and distance winner. He's just preferred to Temple Road, who has also been in winning form on the Polytrack this year. Both Rebecca Romero and Macdillon look high enough in the weights on their seasonal debuts and Pontefract winner Kellys Eye could prove a bigger threat with a recent outing under his belt. Alpha Delta Whisky looks best of the rest on the back of a couple of wins at Kempton.