Monte Looks Massive
- Related Content
1pt win Elusivity in 14.05 Sandown at 10/1 (Betfred).
1pt win Hillview Boy in 15.25 Haydock at 14/1 (General).
1pt win Kiama Bay in 15.25 Haydock at 20/1 (General).
1pt win Monterosso in 15.45 Sandown at 12/1 (Coral, Hills).
It's an intriguing and competitive renewal of the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday despite the absence of last year's winner So You Think and the lack of three-year-old star quality.
Bonfire brings the Derby form to the table again but he perhaps showed in that race that he might not have the necessary class to take a prize like this at the moment and it looks like the older horses will come to the fore once again.
The oldest of them all is Twice Over, a previous winner of this race, who is a big price on several pieces of form and can be forgiven his run here last time as that was in very heavy ground.
Sandown looks set to miss the worst of the rain this weekend which will be in his favour, but, there are several younger rivals that look capable of out-running him this time around.
Those include Nathaniel, whose best form is over longer, and Cityscape, who has never gone this far, but both have claims if finding their best over the 10 furlongs.
However, it's the Godolphin duo that are of most interest to me with MONTEROSSO overpriced at 12/1 to prevail.
The vibes coming out of Godolphin aren't particularly strong for the Dubai World Cup hero, but that is more than factored into his price and I just can't resist him at the odds.
The boys in blue reckon he's going to be rusty and is being trained for big prizes later in the autumn, which may well be the case, but he may not have to be at his best to win this, as, on all known form, he's the best horse in the race at this trip.
Since the application of a tongue-strap, drop to 10 furlongs and the presence of Mickael Barzalona in the saddle, he's taken his form to another level.
With all those factors in place again on Saturday and with Sandown crucially missing out on the rain, a small wager is suggested.
Stablemate Farhh is a big danger, as he's massively unexposed and looked a tad unlucky not to get closer to So You Think at Royal Ascot.
However, I think there's been a bit of an over-reaction to that run as I couldn't have him at 9/4 in a race as competitive as this.
Earlier on at Sandown it's worth backing ELUSIVITY in the Coral Charge at 10/1.
Brian Meehan's four-year-old arguably has the best form in the race from this season as he was a close third in the Palace House Stakes, an example of what he can do over a strongly-run five.
He hasn't got to find much improvement on that form to win this contest and the first-time blinkers could help him find the necessary amount.
With Sandown's stiff finish set to play to his strengths too he looks well worth a bet at double-figure prices.
Finally, it's the Old Newton Cup over at Haydock and the ability to stay the trip in heavy conditions looks a prerequisite looking at the forecast.
Donald McCain's Lexi's Boy has an obvious chance after his Carlisle romp last time but the handicapper has whacked him up 10lbs for that and this is much more difficult.
My main fancy is Jim Goldie's HILLVIEW BOY as he thrives in these big handicaps and is proven over a trip in the mud.
He ran a cracker at York last time as it was an inadequate test and he should be primed to put in his best effort now, especially as he's dropped to a winning mark.
I wouldn't be put off by his aging legs as experience and being able to tough it out in the conditions is more important than potential in this race given underhoof conditions.
With that in mind I also think it's worth chucking a few quid at KIAMA BAY at 20/1.
John Quinn's charge stuck to his task well in a very wet Chester Cup when he was sixth and though beaten a long way, he has dropped a couple of pounds to a competitive mark.
The last time he raced off 95 he was second at Ascot and then York in good races, and, in hindsight, it looks like a testing 12 furlongs is exactly what he wants.