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sandown top picks 25 05 2023 sport preview

Sandown Top Picks – 25/05/2023

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Sandown, Thursday 25th April 2023

Thursday’s meeting at Sandown is often referred to as the best evening race card of the Calendar year and this year’s Brigadier Gerard certainly fits that bill. It’s not often that we get to see a Derby winner running on a midweek card but that is what we have and with Desert Crown making his long-awaited return, the feature race at 7:42 looks to be an obvious place to start this preview.

7:42- Racehorse Lotto Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Group 3)

If Desert Crown runs to his best, he will win. Sir Michael Stoute has an excellent record in this race with 7 wins since 2,000 and his Derby winner is a long way clear of this field on the ratings. Connections have also decided to run Solid Stone in the race, presumably to ensure that there is a decent gallop set, although it will be a rare thing to see Ryan Moore onboard a pacemaker. Injury kept Desert Crown off the track after his impressive win at Epsom last summer, but his connections have not brought him back as a 4-year-old out of sentiment and if he builds on his 3-year-old form, he could dominate the middle-distance division this year. It is hard to form a strong opinion about his chances as there are clearly bigger targets ahead, but he is the most likely winner even if he isn’t fully tuned up for his comeback. Solid Stone should lead, but he has been found out at the highest level in the past so if there is a horse to give the favourite a race it could be Cash, trained by David Simcock. 

He is a lightly raced son of Sharmadal and although he has had his issues, he was only a length behind Westover in the Classic trial at Sandown last season and his comeback at Ascot last month, when he was narrowly beaten by Chindit, now reads very well after the winner’s performance in the Lockinge at the weekend. He is likely to get a patient ride under Jamie Spencer and should be running on at the finish, although whether that is good enough to beat Desert Crown is open to question and there are better betting opportunities on the card.

6:42 – Racehorse Lotto National Stakes (Listed Race)

The first of the Pattern races comes up at 6:42 with the Listed Racehorse Lotto National Stakes. We have ten 2-year-olds going to post and nine of them won last time out, but if there is a standout candidate in this field, it could be WORLD OF DARCY. Trained by Karl Burke, he made a striking impression when winning on debut at Pontefract, travelling strongly on the front end before kicking clear up the hill and winning a shade cozily. The second placed Dawn Charger won at Ascot next time to boost the form and the pair produced a time figure of 85 which is amongst the best on offer here. Having raced prominently throughout in a truly run race (the finishing speed percentage was 100.2%) he looks to have a very good engine and with the eye-catching booking of Ryan Moore and a decent draw in stall 3, there is a chance he could prove to be the best of these. 

7:12 Racehorse Lotto Henry II Stakes (Group 3)

The other pattern race comes at 7:12 with the Group 3 Henry II Stakes over the marathon trip. This race has a history of going to dour stayers, with the likes of Pallasator, Big Orange and Brown Panther landing this in the last 10-years. We only have a field of 5 to choose from this year and although the French raider Princess Anne offers a different angle into this race, the level of form that she has shown in France is some way below the principles and this looks more likely to be a speculative attempt to put some Black Type on to her CV. 

Sleeping Lion and Enemy haven’t looked themselves in recent starts, although the latter may appreciate the return to a quicker surface, but this looks more likely to concern Nate the Great and Roberto Escobarr. The former is the likely pace angle here and he should put up a better showing than his fifth-place finish in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, where the steady pace and sprint finish would not have played to his strengths. He could get an easy lead, but after 35 starts it is fair to say that he is a one paced grinding type, and the suspicion is that he will be found out at this level once again. 

ROBERTO ESCOBARR has been a frustrating horse given the amount of time that he has missed, but he is talented and despite his injury woes and wind operations, his connections are persisting, and he remains a stayer with potential. He made a pleasing comeback when 2nd to the All-Weather specialist EarloftheCotswolds’ at Wolverhampton in March, tracking the leader before sticking to his task under a relatively gentle ride. He was beaten less than a length and has been given plenty of time off since, presumably to ensure that he doesn’t “bounce” after a first start in 13-months. He should get this race run to suit and ought to be able to slot in behind the leader before making his challenge as they run up the Sandown hill.

Sandown Top Picks – 25/05/2023

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