Richard Fahey: Sands can shine

Sporting Life columnist Richard Fahey on his weekend team
Sporting Life columnist Richard Fahey on his weekend team

Our star columnist is relishing running Sands Of Mali in the Darley July Cup and has a horse-by-horse guide to his full Saturday team.

Big chances:

1440 Chester

5
4
38-3OR: 81BF
7/4
Last RunWatch last race

1615 York

4
8
49-2OR: 86D
2/1
Last RunWatch last race

1900 Hamilton

6
4
39-2OR: 72CD
7/2
Last RunWatch last race

Everything has gone well with Sands Of Mali in his preparation for the Darley July Cup. We’re very happy with him and of course he ran really well in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last time.

He was drawn away from the main action that day when beaten by Eqtidaar and I’m slightly worried that we’re away from the fancied horses this time around too. There’s speed close to us though which will help and while the far side dominated the six furlong handicap here on Thursday, Paul Hanagan said they were always in front and it didn’t feel like a draw bias.

The stalls come stands’ side on Saturday too which will help. I’m really looking forward to running him and hope things fall right.

Clubbable is very tough and hardy and she steps up to a mile in the very competitive bet365 Mile Handicap. I think the trip is going to suit her and while she needs to improve to win it, the extra furlong could unlock a bit from her.

They went no pace in the race Mr Lupton ran in at Sandown last week and it was a complete non-event for him. In contrast they should go a real good clip in the John Smith's City Walls Stakes at York and that will really suit my fellow. I’d expect a better run.

It was great to see Third Time Lucky bounce back at Ayr last time – when he arguably should have won. He ran into all sorts of trouble there and is well handicapped now so you’d like to see him go close in the John Smith's Racing Handicap.

It’s unbelievable that Another Touch has landed stall 19 for the John Smith’s Cup. He was in the exact same slot last year and was never able to get to them and again we’re again totally at the mercy of what the others do. The hope is they go a real good gallop and we can slot in and come through late.

There were no excuses for Northwest Frontier at Ayr last time but he’s a horse still on an upward curve and the return to two miles in the John Smith's Stayers' Handicap is going to suit him. He needs to step up again but it’s possible given the form he’s in right now.

Absolute Dream ran really well at Redcar last time, just touched off in second, and the form was franked on Thursday with the third horse winning. He needs to go forward again to win the John Smith's Novice Median Auction Stakes but there’s more to come from him. He’s quite laid back and getting better with racing.

We’re double-handed in the closing John Smith's Nursery but I don’t think the handicapper has been particularly to either of our runners.

Aurag showed improved form to win at Hamilton last time. Before that he’d have been rated about 60 – now he’s 79. It seems tough to me but let’s hope the handicapper is right.

Posh Perfect won on very fast ground at Pontefract last time and if you watch the race she was the only one who handled the surface. Again, she’s hardly thrown-in rated 78 but is very tough, genuinely and tries hard.

Call Him Al probably needs to go down the nursery route and runs in the TMT/EBF Stallions Novice Stakes at Chester. I’d be surprised if he could win a race like this but that’s why we have a handicapping system for horses like him. I hope he runs well and then it’s down to the handicapper.

The Signature Living Fillies' Handicap looks a good opportunity for Crotchet. She’s in great order and running really well right now. We’ve absolutely no excuses in this and it would be great to see her get her head in front.

Kimberella needs to bounce back from a very disappointing effort at Newcastle last time when he runs in the Corbettsports City Plate. We don’t know what happened there but Chester and seven furlongs suits him and while stall seven is a little wider than you’d like to be drawn, he’s capable of going well.

Andok ran his best recent race at this track so we’re coming back for the CSP Audio Visual Handicap. He didn’t stay the mile-and-a-half at York last time and this is a more suitable test for him.

We also run Dark Devil who is down in grade. They’ve had rain in Chester which will suit him and while he has a big weight to carry, he seems very well at home.

Gabrial The Devil handled the track well when second here last time and he has his chance in the MBNA Handicap.

Gabrials Centurion ran ok in a warm race here last time and the MKM Building Supplies Apprentice Handicap could be a decent opening for him.

Micronize has shown nothing either at home or on the track so far and needs to improve drastically in the BB Foodservice Novice Auction Stakes at Hamilton.

Our finally runner is Cameo Star in the JFM Electrical Ltd, Services & Facilities Management Handicap and I’ve been a fraction disappointed with him for all he won a couple of starts ago.

I just don’t think we’ve got all the ingredients right yet but and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go very close – or even win this.

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