Simon Holt: Mount to challenge
Channel 4 Racing commentator Simon Holt picks out his best bets on Saturday's card at Sandown.
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Sandown's clerk of the course, Andrew Cooper, reports a record amount of rain has fallen on the Esher course during August, and the likely soft-ground conditions could see ODELIZ putting up a strong show in the TBA Atalanta Stakes.
Karl Burke's four-year-old goes well with some cut in the ground and has run some solid races in defeat this season, notably when third to Ambivalent in the Middleton Stakes at York in May and second to the high class Thistle Bird at Epsom (Zurigha seventh, Audacia eighth) during the Derby meeting.
Odeliz was again not disgraced when a close fourth behind Mango Diva in Group Two company at The Curragh (good to firm) last time and one or two interesting rivals here will hopefully ensure she starts a decent price. If anything, she is probably better over slightly further than this mile trip, but stamina could be very important in the conditions.
France's top trainer Andre Fabre is always a man to fear on his forays across the Channel, and Fintry looks a promising filly having won three of her four starts, most recently in comfortable fashion at Chantilly. However, she has been off the course for three months and her 7lb penalty means she has to concede weight to older horses.
It's quite possible that the daughter of Shamardal will be classy enough to defy both negatives, but this looks a pretty strong field.
Meanwhile, German raider Diamond Dove is another useful contender. She was second in the German Oaks (1m3f) at Dusseldorf last time but, even accounting for conditions here, the mile does look short of her best and she is very stoutly bred on the dam's side. A winner on heavy going last year at Baden Baden, the going won't be a problem.
Best of the others - and a difficult filly to weigh up - is John Gosden's Water Hole who takes a step up in class after winning a four-runner handicap at Newmarket recently off a rating of 87.
Clearly, she will have to improve again to play a hand in this company but this expensive and nicely-bred daughter of Oasis Dream is with the right team and, having had just four starts, can only get better.
Later on, MOUNT SHAMSAN looks a potential improver in the St James Theatre Handicap.
The William Haggas-trained gelding has got better with each of his four starts and finished second on softish ground at Haydock (the third twice a winner since) before losing his maiden tag by three lengths from subsequent wide-margin Kempton winner Classical Duet at Ripon last time.
This is a much more competitive race but many of his rivals hold very few secrets from the official handicapper whereas Hayley Turner's mount should have more to offer.
As for the European Wealth Solario Stakes, it looks a weaker renewal than some with the form of leading juveniles Estidhkaar and Highland Reel set to be put to the test by Aktabantay, Cock Of The North and Pallister.
In truth, all three of the colts were no match for their conquerors at Newmarket and Goodwood respectively and they might be worth opposing with FUTURE EMPIRE who looks a promising type for Godolphin.
This well-related son of New Approach won a maiden at Newmarket first time out and the form has been boosted since with the second, third and fourth horses all winning. That race was run on good to firm ground but Future Empire's close relations Black Arrow and Muhtaris both won in the soft.
The promising Elm Park, a clearcut winner at Newbury on his second start, would be a danger if rerouted from Salisbury on Friday evening when he was declared to run in the listed Stonehenge Stakes.
- Preview posted at 1410 BST on 29/08/2014