The highlight on a superb card at Sandown this afternoon is undoubtedly the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at 3.50 featuring some of the top middle-distance performers in Europe headed by the first three home in Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, Al Kazeem, Mukhadram and The Fugue. From a betting perspective however it is the Coral Challenge at 2.40 which provides the best bet of the day in the Mark Johnston-trained Windhoek, available at a guaranteed 9-2 with bet365 for the valuable 17 runner mile handicap.
Unbeaten in his first three races the son of Cape Cross looked a potential Derby candidate until failing to give his running in York’s Dante Stakes finishing fifth behind Epsom runner-up Libertarian and Irish Derby winner Trading Leather. Fancied to go close in Royal Ascot’s Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes Joe Fanning’s mount held every chance a furlong out but appeared not to get home over the 1m 2f trip and is sure to appreciate the shorter distance this afternoon and off a mark of 104 could prove different class to his rivals.
The horse’s prominant style of racing looks ideal for Sandown Park and the booking of Ryan Moore has to be a big plus on a course he rides so well. Despite failing to find the winners enclosure at the royal meeting the Johnston stable has struck form this week and Windhoek is strongly fancied to win on his handicap debut before stepping back into Group company.
The betting is headed by the Richard Hannon-trained Wentworth on 7-2 after what appeared to be an unlucky run when fourth in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot but the son of Acclamation may find himself with too much ground to make up on a track which suits front runners so well.