Racing tip of the day
Our Will Hayler gets into the the military spirit at Sandown and fancies a freshened-up Bradley to take the big race.
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Tip Of The Day: 3.05 Sandown - Bradley
Back in the days when I lived south of the Watford Gap, Grand Military Gold Cup day used to be one of my favourite trips of the year to Sandown.
It's quiet in the stands (and that's being polite) - even granted a performance or two from the military band, the racing is fairly decent, and the winner of the contests restricted to serving or past Armed Forces personnel can usually be relied upon to throw up an emotional celebration or two (and at Sandown they do a decent interview on the winner's podium after every race, something should be standard practice at every top-level racecourse).
Of all those taking part in the main event today, Sally Randell has the most experience in racing, having ridden in these events for many years, as well as working full-time in Oxford stables under Sean Curran and Paul Rich. That experience is a useful positive.
She partners Bradley for Fergal O'Brien and there are several reasons for thinking he can win this - not least that he is an obvious choice on the formbook.
He comes into this contest on the back of a break of more than two months, and that could prove crucial as he has regularly run his best races when relatively fresh. Indeed, it was for that reason that I took him out of my Notebook list a few months ago, as he simply looked to be hating the game on his last couple of starts having had a couple of quite attritional races early on this season.
It's possible to argue that he might be better going left-handed having run most of his very best races at Cheltenham, but I think it's more a case of finding a track where his stamina comes to the fore, and Sandown should certainly fit the bill on that score.
Of his rivals, it's Le Reve who I fear the most as Polisky hates winning and I'm not convinced the application of a visor to Solix will prove as rejuvenating second time around as it did at Doncaster.
But Bradley is a resolute and enthusiastic galloper when on song and a repeat of the form he showed at Cheltenham three runs ago will see him win this.