With the Epsom Derby meeting less than two weeks away top class horseracing is thin on the ground at the moment, but Sandown Park host a card on Thursday evening that is full of quality.
Feature event is the Group 2 Blue Square Henry II Stakes, always a strong trial for Ascot’s Gold Cup, which has attracted a field of 10 runners.
The Totesport.com Cesarewitch winner Darley Sun, now part of the Godolphin team, is expected to be a major force in this seasons Cup races, and will be the mount of Ted Durcan, with Frankie Dettori aboard stable companion Sabotage.
Darley Sun is a top price 12/1 with William Hill for Ascot, while Kite Wood ( possible mount of Dettori in Gold Cup ) can be backed at 8/1.
Likely favourite for the 2m 1/2f contest is Michael Jarvis’s Opinion Poll, who created a big impression when storming home at Nottingham last month from Montaff ( set to reoppose again on Thursday ), over 1m 6f.
The other Group race on the card is the Blue Square Brigadier Gerard Stakes run over 1m 2f, and the 9 runners are headed by Sir Michael Stoute’s Glass Harmonium.
Connections decided to bypass a clash with Fame and Glory in last Sunday’s Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in favour of Sandown’s Group 3 contest.
The Verglas colt is likely to use this as a stepping stone to Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, with the main danger likely to be Earl Of Sefton Stakes winner Sri Putra.
Another race that is sure to produce Royal Ascot clues in the two year-old division is the Listed £66 of Free Bets At Bluesq.com National Stakes.
The Richard Hannon stable’s two year-olds are flying at the moment and their Cape To Rio is sure to be a warm order before a possible trip to Ascot ( 16/1 for Coventry Stakes ) next month.
Two competitive handicaps, along with the Listed Heron Stakes, complete an evenings racing that is sure to whet the appetite with Epsom and Royal Ascot just around the corner.