Ben Linfoot marks your card with a verdict for every race live on ITV on Saturday afternoon from Haydock and Sandown, including the Coral-Eclipse.
MITBAAHY – 1.50 Sandown
Saturday’s ITV action takes in seven races starting with the Group 3 Coral Charge at Sandown and Roger Varian’s MITBAAHY appeals most here.
This looks the obvious next step for the Profitable colt after his impressive Listed win over the course and distance in the Scurry Stakes last time out, a race in which he saw off the 110-rated Caturra without fuss.
That victory was against his own age group so he steps into open company for the first time here, but the 5lb weight-for-age helps on that score and he can continue the fine record of 3yos in the race (they’ve won six of the last 10 renewals).
Impressive Hamilton scorer Raasel is on a steep upward curve of his own, despite being two years older, and he’s the biggest danger.
SEA KING – 2.05 Haydock
It might be tough for value-seeking punters to get SEA KING beaten in the bet365 Handicap over 1m6f at Haydock.
Everyone knows about Sir Mark Prescott’s skill with staying handicappers, but if you want numbers the Newmarket handler is 19 from 45 at 42% in Haydock handicaps over distances more than 1m4f since 1997.
Sea King is a typical project, striking on his handicap debut when stepped up in trip to 1m4f for the first time at Doncaster two months ago, where he won doing cartwheels.
A 9lb rise to 92 shouldn’t stop him and the step up another two furlongs to 1m6f looks ideal – his dam, Pamona, won a Listed race over this distance at York.
ESCOBAR – 2.25 Sandown
Sinjaari will be a relatively short-priced favorite for the Coral Challenge but he lacked for a bit of pace in the Royal Hunt Cup and the suspicion is he’s better over further, so he’s worth taking on.
ESCOBAR does not lack for speed, being a seven furlong to a mile type of horse, and while he was behind Sinjaari at Ascot he wasn’t far behind and this could pan out better for him.
Indeed, he has an excellent record at Sandown, with form figures of 2-7-2-2-4-2 here, the majority in big-field handicaps, the fourth in this race last year and the latest second in Listed company last September.
This would be one of the weaker handicaps he’s challenged at the track and he’ll probably travel away nicely, as he does, and in this company he could well outclass them all in the run for the line.
ESHAADA – 2.40 Haydock
A Frankie Dettori-less Free Wind heads the betting for the bet365 Lancashire Oaks and she had a near-perfect 2021, winning four from five including the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes by seven lengths on her final start.
On that form she’s the one they all have to beat, but she got better as last season went on and she was at her very best over a couple of furlongs further, too, so she might be caught out by a fit and firing rival here .
Step forward ESHAADA from the Roger Varian yard, a filly who is unbeaten when she has raced on ground with cut in it, her battling win in the Group One Fillies ‘& Mares’ on Champions Day at Ascot a career-best performance on good to soft.
She wasn’t at her best at Newbury on her return, but that should have put her straight for this and the conditions swing things in her favor.
QUEEN AMINATU – 3.00 Sandown
Heredia heads the market for the Listed Coral Distaff and rightly so after her Sandringham win at Royal Ascot last time out.
Three of the last 10 winners of this race graduated from the Sandringham, but all were beaten in the Royal Ascot handicap and it might well be tougher backing up here after a hard-fought win.
Indeed, the other seven winners in the last decade missed Ascot altogether and at the odds I’m quite keen to have a go at her with William Haggas’ QUEEN AMINATU.
Haggas is well used to winning Listed races with lowly-rated fillies – he’s won nine of the genre with fillies rated lower than 90 in the last 15 years – and this daughter of Muhaarar was desperately unlucky against the boys over seven furlongs in handicap company last time out.
FANCY MAN – 3.15 Haydock
Gaassee will be a short price in the bet365 Old Newton Cup but he’s not the only potential Group horse in this handicap and preference is for a rival that has already acquired himself well at Group 3 level, FANCY MAN.
Richard Hannon’s horse has run four times at Group 3 level, with two seconds and two thirds to his name, fully justifying his rating of 109 and he’s interesting on his first ever go in a handicap.
His Haydock form stands up to close inspection, as he beat Alenquer by over three lengths here on soft ground on his third career start – in the Listed Ascendant Stakes – having already won at the track on debut, while he was second to Foxes Tales here last season in the Rose Of Lancaster.
One from two in his races over 1m4f, he’s unexposed over the distance and is expected to travel well into this, and at 20/1 he’s a big enough price to find out if he can outclass his opposition from top weight.
ALENQUER – 3.35 Sandown
The ITV action concludes with a super renewal of the Group One Coral-Eclipse at Sandown with two Classic-winning three-year-olds taking on a quartet of top-notch older horses.
Bay Bridge falls into the latter category and he’s the only horse in the field not to have won a Group One, but he could well change that here if he’s not caught out tactically.
That’s not a given though in a contest lacking in obvious pace and Tom Marquand could benefit from such a situation on the unheralded ALENQUER.
William Haggas’ horse is a tough nut to crack over this trip, as he showed in the Classic Trial here when beating Adayar, Lone Eagle and Yibir, while he toughed out the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last time out from two subsequent Royal Ascot winners.
He could well grind this out from being well placed on the run for the line, with French Derby winner Vadeni and the aforementioned Bay Bridge feared most.
Published at 1435 BST on 01/07/22
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